Monthly Archives: February 2013





Extremadura can bear no more. There are more than 160,000 people (more than 30% of the active population) who are unemployed, and 70,000 of them no longer have any form of income. Extremadura is currently the most impoverished area of Western Europe: more than 40% of Extremadurans live beneath or on the threshold of poverty. The brutal cutbacks imposed by the neoliberal executives in Brussels, Madrid and Mérida are destroying our region’s public systems of health and education. Men and women, young and old, workers and unemployed, are all suffering the neoliberal attack and debt blackmail in the form of unemployment, exploitation, misery, eviction, exclusion and criminalisation.


We demand a basic income now. For months, thousands of people have mobilised throughout the whole of Extremadura seeking the implementation of a Basic Citizen Income, in successive street demonstrations and by signing up to the Popular Legislative Initiative. The Extremaduran Platform for a Basic Income and the dozens of social collectives that have supported its demands do not and will not accept the so-called ‘basic income’ -which is nothing but a very limited selective charity- proposed by the Extremaduran Government in response to the social mobilisation. We demand the implementation of a Basic Income that covers 100% of people in our region without an income, one that is high enough to guarantee the minimum of dignity that every human life deserves above and beyond the rules of the market: we are people, not commodities.


We demand public employment and the end of evictions. The creation of public employment is an urgent measure, not only to alleviate the tragedy of unemployment, but also to reactivate the public welfare system and protect the commons. That is why we demand the creation of 25,000 public jobs, directly orientated towards alleviating the grievous deficiencies in our systems of education, health, long term care, and the protection of our natural environment. And of course, we demand the immediate cessation of evictions conducted against the family homes of our region, and the immediate re-accommodation of those families who are already victims of eviction from homes both in public and private ownership.


That is why we camp. The Extremaduran Platform for a Basic Income, accompanied by people from other friendly collectives and by neighbours in Mérida, have begun this Camp Dignity (in Spanish, Campamento Dignidad) (#AcampadaMérida) as a means of exerting pressure on the powerful and as a call for a mobilisation of the citizens, by that 99% of the population who are suffering government-driven austerity and looting by corporations. Camp Dignity offers itself as a meeting point for the tides (mareas) of protest that defend jobs, homes, public services, co-operation, social rights, civil liberties and environmental sustainability. We call on everyone to take part in the citizen tides that will take place this Saturday 23rd February in Plasencia, Cáceres, Miajadas, Don Benito, Mérida and Badajoz. We will stay here, indefinitely, until those who have the power to do so take the required measures to put an end to the torrent of suffering visited upon us through this plunder by illegitimate debt.


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‘Today, the idea of democracy is inseparable from the non-payment of debt’

Translation of an article by sociologist Jorge Moruno and philosopher Juan Domingo Sánchez Estop, published today in Público, analysing the present conjuncture in the Spanish state in light of major corruption scandals and the crumbling of the current regime’s legitimacy.


Government resignation – and then what?

The Bárcenas papers are not a simple case of political corruption in which a boss puts his hand in the till and all can be simplified by talking about rotten apples. Beyond the final denoument, what we are faced with is an entire process of putrefaction of the party system that arose from the 1978 assembly (cortes), in which the Partido Popular is the main -but not the only- political exponent of the Spanish real estate-financial bloc which has benefitted so much from these decades of bubble. Some of us have taken to referring to this ruling layer from the political-speculative tandem, which draws together the worst of our society, as a lumpen-oligarchy, thereby highlighting the nature of its policies and the way it puts them into practice.

This modus operandi functions by democratising the idea of the speculating property owner, turning every citizen into a potential entrepreneur with regard to his home or the one she aspires to obtain. The spreading of this idea and its practice brought about a situation in which, for a time, the possibility of social ascent was associated with the negotiating ability of the individual and not with the extension of collective rights and the development of a democratic culture that placed value on what is public. This operation of moving society to the right, based on the ideology of the property owner, always works as long as one can speculate a little bit more. Corruption, then, is not a mere consequence of casino-capitalism; it is also the necessary lubricant for putting it into practice. The common thread between regime politicans, speculators and builders is reflected perfectly in the Bárcenas papers, where many of the donors are now receiving contracts for Madrid hospitals up for privatisation. Corruption -of the systemic kind- is also seen in the way the vice-president of the CEOE (Spanish employers’ body) receives a discount in the cafeterias of public institutions such as universities and ministries, whilst at the very same time he rails against anything that sounds public, even when this sector is his biggest source of payment.

When an entire caste from business -the Rosells, Fernández, Ferrán- and finance -banks, investment funds- gets the support of the political caste of a regime completely removed from citizen feeling in order to traffic in public wealth and services, to speak of corruption is to speak of the decomposition of the entire political edifice as we know it. As such, corruption cannot be reduced merely to people with surnames, but rather, it refers to a widespread and embedded practice, which ends up eroding the legitimacy and the morality of a transition that dates back to 78. The composition of the entire political regime has been altered, but there is no reason why this should translate mechanically into a social transformation that benefits those at the bottom, or entail a pre-revolutionary situation.

This conjuncture of generalised crisis can also be understood as a crisis of authority itself, since it can no longer appear as a ruling class because it cannot establish a minimum consensus and can only maintain itself in the final instance through coercive and repressive domination. The lumpen-oligarchy no longer bothers keeping up appearances and appears in the raw, directly as a mafia. When one no longer directs but simply dominates, the forms and ideologies hitherto installed in the imaginary and in everyday life crumble away, thus opening up the field to the unpredictable. In this indeterminate time, when things are not what they were but nor are they what is coming, an opening onto the unpredictable appears, and with it, the possibility for new combinations to surge forth, for new models, faced with the difficulty of restoring the tried and tested through the path of coercion. It is an essential task to prevent these openings from ending up in the Berlusconian swamp where UPyD or an unpredictable Aguirre would play a degenerative role with regard to democracy.

But this crisis of authority which is now becoming a crisis of the constituted regime, the regime of 78 in our case, equally, and perhaps primarily, affects the left wing forces that have found a place for themselves within the regime. In their favour, and perhaps to their chagrin, they are not completely inserted within the regime, which could become a strength if they are able to take appropriate advantage. The historico-political moment ahead of us does not allow for acting in accordance with a worldview and a prefabricated discourse adapted more to a belief than a testable material reality. With things as they are, the only thing we can be sure of is that in a situation that was not of our choosing, the curtain is being pulled back whilst we are still undressed, leaving us at first unable to put forward alternatives and narratives to the widespread disorientation. Even so, it is of the greatest importance to hold back a train headed straight for collision, to remove it from the line, and to explore new lines, once we have managed to apply the brakes and avoid debacle. The line we must take does not entail reviving formulas that correspond to very different times, realities and compositions, as is the case with ‘mass fronts’. Today there are no mass organisations such as those of the 20th century, nor can the reality of antagonism be defined by a limited and inadequate call for left unity.

To draw together all that exists beneath an umbrella bearing the brand “Left” serves to centralise plurality and at the same time proves of little political use. To flood the discursive frames ingrained on the left means to give new meaning to the potency that the left once held. To reject any other possibility and automatically interpret in it an anti-political or even fascist tendency amounts to a grave political error that exudes stiffness, conservatism and, as a consequence, the belief that metaphors and symbols are timeless entities and not the product of material times and the people in whom they originate. Lenin took Marx to Petrograd not to recite psalms, but in spite of the insults and every manner of accusation he had received from those of the saddest passions. One could say the same about the Cuban revolution, or the current Latin American processes that have found the official left to be politically clumsy when not an obstacle.

In these conditions, to be responsible can only mean going on the offensive and breaking off with good manners and niceties; to be responsible today, more than ever, is to break off with those at the top (los de arriba) and open up to those at the bottom (los de abajo), but without repeating supposed self-justified truths that leave us nearer to the parochial house than to politics. Today, the idea of democracy is inseparable from the non-payment of debt, from breaking with and holding back the country’s impoverishment and social destruction. We need to apply a triple A for debt, using different criteria to those usually imposed by ratings agencies: Audit (auditoría), Cancellation (anulación), Alternatives (alternativas) are our AAA. To place the debt at the centre of the debate is to place emphasis on access to housing, public services and to think about labour flexibility not as precarity or unemployment, but as access to a continuous income when jobs are discontinuous.

Protests and waves (mareas) must be at once functional in their own spheres and protagonists of a change, since they represent the true value of politics through conflict. The presence of new candidates and organisations in institutions and the development of the movement’s own democratic institutions need not be incompatible; what is more, both should feed back upon each other in a process that is constituent in scope. This will not happen in the way that this relation has been understood until now; the hatred of democracy practiced by European and Spanish elites can be fought only if this combination is taken into account. Mobilisation, democracy, and candidacies which manage to draw together and interpret in a vivid way the totality of social aspirations and frustrations in terms of radical democracy, would be the different aspects of an enormous ¡sí se puede!

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The Troika Party and the Magdalene Laundries: A Response to Stephen Collins

This is a response to an article published in today’s Irish Times by its political correspondent Stephen Collins. No link to the article, for the usual reasons.

Readers should ask themselves whether any of what Stephen Collins has to say about Fianna Fáil matters an iota. Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are all committed to the implementation of the same Troika-backed policies. They all engage in less-than-honest manoeuvrings in order to make it seem as though they had any intention of changing the current policy direction of perpetual austerity.Whatever their rhetoric in the search of votes, once ensconced in power they set about enacting policies so that the financial sector gets to party as much as it wants, and everyone else gets to clean up the vomit.

We would save ourselves a hell of a lot of hot air if we stopped worrying about how each of these three parties competes or collogues with one another, and started referring to them en bloc as The Troika Party. They are all committed to the rolling back of the welfare state, to forced labour for the unemployed, to the privatisation of public infrastructure and the outsourcing of public service functions, and to the neoliberal vision of Europe.

My friends, the Troika Party is not your friend, and it’s best not to get enthralled by the order in which its candidates fare at the polls. The real crisis in Ireland is not the resurgence of a Zombie Fianna Fáil on the back of years of sustained necrofiannaphilia by the country’s media; it is the incapacity of the political institutions at both local and central government level to operate in the interests of the majority of people who live in Ireland. The Irish government strips away social and labour rights because it is subordinate to the interests of financiers and compradors, not because Fianna Fáil are smelly rotters (which of course, they are).

The only other thing to be said about this piece –which reads as if it were dictated by a Fine Gael grandee- is the suggestion that a State apology should be avoided because of ‘enormous cost to the taxpayer’. This is one of the most obscene things I have ever read in this newspaper. The author has spent years presenting the transfer of tens of billions of euro in public money to private bondholders as a matter of urgent and self-evident necessity. Now he has the gall to claim that the Irish State should not make proper amends to people whom it stripped of basic human rights and whose slave labour it used. The Magdalene Laundries and the slave labour that sustained them give the lie to the fairytale that Ireland since the foundation of the State has been a continuously democratic entity. It was not then, and it is not now.

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On Ireland’s Mission Civilisatrice in Mali

This is a response to an editorial entitled 'Mission to Mali' published by the Irish Times, on the subject of Ireland's participation in a joint deployment in Mali alongside British forces.

Imagine if during the past 40 years the British Army had decided to bomb the Bogside and West Belfast from the air in order to ‘defeat the brutal militias’ who were ‘terrorising its population’. Imagine if the Irish Times welcomed such aerial bombing, describing it, in the clinical term it uses here, as an ‘intervention’. The situation is somewhat different, but not the impact on human life of such bombing.  
For all the affinity the Irish Times feels with the United Kingdom, a visiting martian might think the recent history of the British Army in Ireland would still inform its analysis of colonial powers re-asserting themselves in other parts of the world, affording it some degree of critical scepticism. But what do martians know anyway?  
What is ‘normalised’ relations with ‘the British’ these days? Prince Harry, the grandson of the monarch, so fulsomely welcomed to the 26 counties, is exalted as a hero for blowing Afghans to bits with an Apache helicopter (perhaps EADS may introduce a helicopter called ‘Fenian’ one of these days), and you can be arrested for posting a picture of a burning poppy on the internet. Meanwhile, there is a whopping great MI5 headquarters, just up the road in Belfast. Does Ireland have a whopping great military intelligence headquarters somewhere in Norfolk? 
What is stunning –and near criminally stupid- about this piece is how it pretends that the United Kingdom is in any position to teach anyone anything about human rights. If the United Kingdom were a planet from another galaxy, you could understand the Irish Times getting the wrong end of the stick. But there are ample examples of the grossest human rights abuses, including indefinite internment without trial, torture, and murder, perpetrated by British state forces in Ireland. These abuses continue right up to the present, as illustrated in the case of the incarceration of Marian Price. What is more, they are well known to many people, even to those who live in a bubble in and around Dublin 2.  
Many such abuses will never be investigated. What this joint deployment shows is that the Irish government –and by extension the Irish establishment- is concerned more with defending the interests of former colonial powers abroad –their access to uranium, for instance, in the case of Mali- than it is with justice for people in Ireland. And the victims of such ‘interventions’, as far as they are concerned, do not even exist.

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Intolerable Democratic Freedoms: A response to John Bruton

This is a slightly extended version of a comment I left in response to an article by former Taoiseach and current chief IFSC lobbyist John Bruton published in today's Irish Times. No link, for the usual reasons.

If you seriously believe ‘the people’ have the right to force a woman to give birth, you are saying that a woman’s body is the property of the State to do with it as it wishes. So on reading this, I ask myself whether John Bruton’s commitment to forcing women to give birth is on account of religious conviction, or more earthly concerns. A loosening of legislation on abortion in Ireland would mean a loosening of the State’s claim over women’s bodies.

‘The people’ that appears in the constitution is largely the creation of men, in particular, privileged men such as John Bruton. This can be seen in the way the constitution designates women as subalterns, with their role in society carefully and piously organised in terms of their duties in the home. Similarly, the concept of ‘equal right to life’ of the mother and the unborn arises from the notion that a woman’s body is the State’s to dissect as it sees fit, not from the notion that women ought to have autonomy when it comes to their own bodies.  As that renowned benefactor of commercial property to the Catholic Church, Benito Mussolini might say, Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato

Yes, it is rather rich of John Bruton to be talking about human rights and constitutions as if he had any interest in them beyond the possibility of using them for purposes of control and domination. His only interest in constitutions is when they can be used anti-democratically.

Bruton is the head of the lobby for the IFSC, an entity that assists with the suffocation of public finances for schools and hospitals and social services –the very things that allow human rights to be realised- by seeing to it that corporations can ratchet down the amount of taxes they have to pay. Contrary to his claims here about wanting constitutional simplicity, he had no trouble advocating the constitutionalising of structural balances in the so-called Stability Treaty campaign. He did this because it prioritised debt repayment to the financial sector over schools and hospitals and social services, and because it laid the basis for the kind of starkly right-wing society he and his ideological bedfellows across Europe –such as Jose Maria Aznar in Spain, fervently desire.

But the achievement of such a society requires control –often obsessive control- in the face of popular discomfort and resistance. The idea that the State might give up some of that control is anathema to the likes of Fine Gael in general and John Bruton in particular. I suspect that is why John Bruton wants a continuation of Ireland’s draconian abortion laws, just as he called for a heavily regulated environment for social media and just as he called for strict controls on the decade of centenary commemorations in Ireland – because there comes a point when the thought of real democratic freedoms proves simply intolerable.

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Baptism Ceremonies At The Hotel California

I was sitting in Mass one day. I can't remember precisely where, or precisely when, but since I was sitting in Mass, it was in Ireland, and a long time ago. There was a priest giving a homily, and everyone was asleep, and I was probably conjugating French verbs in my head or something. Then the priest said something that made me prick up my ears. He said "now I'm sure a lot of you are sitting there thinking, what is this eejit on about, sure I didn't sign up to any of this? I didn't ask my parents to baptise me in the Catholic faith?" A pause, and then he said, with a hint of relish and malice: "Ah, but didn't ye renew your baptismal vows with your confirmation?"

Did we? Did I? My own confirmation experience consisted of a man reading the story of Fatima to the class, since he thought that the confirmation lessons were a load of nonsense and he wouldn't be able to hold the attention of our 10 and 11 year old minds. It would have been more fruitful, I imagine he thought, to enthrall us with the story of the foul and terrifying visions of hell that one of the children witnessed, and the secrets Mary had told the children, one of which entailed the conversion of Russia, or something. So what the priest was saying to teenage me sounded like a load of bollocks. How could I have renew my baptismal vows when I scarcely had any idea what I was getting myself into? This was before the age of clicking on End User Agreements and other automatic acceptances that any rights or claims you may have to anything are thereby rendered null and void, and before the time I was legally able to sign contracts. Though not, come to think of it, confidentiality declarations under Canon Law in the event that I ever became the victim of clerical sex abuse. Thankfully, no such need ever arose.

Somewhere, I can't remember where exactly, Marxist critic Terry Eagleton says one of the problems with Catholicism in Ireland is that Irish Catholics were never taught enough about Catholicism in order to repudiate it properly. I think he's right about this, as my experiences mentioned above illustrate. Clearly, what I was taught -if you can even call it 'taught'- is rubbish. But is it just Catholic teaching? What if this not being told the full story about things -or at least a story compelling enough that you can set about rejecting it- extended into other spheres of thought? Like, for instance, politics?

I am bringing this up because I spent quite a while yesterday reading through the comments on a very well-written article by Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole on the 'normalised freak show' of Anglo Irish debt, about how private banking debt has been transformed into sovereign debt (I'm not linking to the article as I can't be bothered writing to the Irish Times for permission to provide the link).

A visiting alien might arrive in Ireland and, on learning about how the public has had the private debts of bankers transformed into sovereign debt, and that this debt burden will lead to the evisceration of Ireland's social infrastructure, its schools, its hospitals, its welfare services, might conclude that there is something gravely wrong with Ireland's political institutions.

The alien need not be some kind of radical communist from the future to conclude that such a polity could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called democratic, despite the formal constitutional declaration that it is a democratic state. She-He-It might also conclude that the only way to resolve the issue would be for people injured by such a situation -the majority- to look at the way the political institutions operate -to whom do they listen? In whose interests do they act?- and decide on some forms of collective organisation and action that might remedy the situation.

She-he-it would then be puzzled to find that the situation is a great deal more fragmented than that.

She-he-it would encounter many people who have passed into numb resignation. One person says 'Unlike Hotel California where you could check out anytime you like and never leave! The option we still have is emigration. And seeing that the last vestiges of hope has gone it is an option we should all seriously consider!'. Another person says: "It seems that nobody on the corrupt little island is bothered either way. The wasters in The Dail can go about their daily business untouched. The streets are quiet apart from a little parade the other day all jovial and all that. All`s fine there looking at it from abroad." Another person says "God this is so depressing. I really hate this country and all our bloody politicians. I would so love to emigrate, leave the whole place to the bankers and the politicians and let them pay the debt they created."

She-he-it would encounter many others who believe that the political institutions themselves are fine, the means of decision-making are fine, and the real problem is the fact that folks just vote for the wrong people. What is more, they will go back to voting for the wrong people (Fianna Fáil), again. Therefore the people -like a twelve year old who condemned himself to a life of guilt, and eternal damnation in the hereafter, when he renewed his baptismal vows at confirmation- are to blame for the entire situation. Thus they must pay the debt.

But guilt here is not conferred by the all-conquering glare of an omniscient God-Policeman, but by the demands of the all-powerful earthly Sovereign whose origin is, well, a bit shady.

A person says -and this is quite representative of what many people think, not just people with the time on their hands to be leaving comments on websites:

I continue to find it surprising, just how little respect so many people like FOT (Fintan O'Toole) have for the concept of democracy and the institutions of the state. 
There seems to be total indignation at the idea in Ireland, that people might actually be held responsible for their democratic voting decisions. But this is how democracy, and the concept of the nation, works. 
Democracy is predicated on the idea that the 'will of the people' is spoken during election. That as a nation, we collectively make decision on our shared destiny, and make choices on the direction of the nation. 
FOT would absolve the voters of all responsibility for their actions. He, and others like him, are creating a caricature of a democratic nation, where people should only be willing to accept rights and privileges in a democratic nation. But are allowed reject the grown up stuff like responsibility and obligations. 

You have to do this because you made that vow at your confirmation. This is what many people think, or, if they do not think like this, what they have to contend with, any time they turn on the news or read the analysis of a political correspondent. Politics is representative democracy, nothing more. This, by the way, is also what the General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions thinks too. Even as social democracy collapses across Europe in a giant fondue of contradictions, incoherence, and money-grubbing managerialism, and even as parliaments enact legislation gutting social and labour rights at the behest of the European Central Bank -or in the service of their local compradors- David Begg says that the trade union movement should not challenge the decisions made by the Irish parliament. Civil disobedience, you see, is for Trotskyites.

I responded to that person above like this:

Sorry, this is rubbish. Democracy has nothing to do with the concept of the nation. Democracy is not a form of state. Democracy is not predicated on the idea that the 'will of the people' is spoken during election. This is a particular notion of democracy, based on Hobbes's conception of the sovereign: those individuals who make up 'the people' must surrender any right of their own to the sovereign, who acts on their behalf. According to this conception of the sovereign I must accept that Leo Varadkar and Phil Hogan and so on are carrying out my will for the duration of an election term, even as they dismantle each and any provision that allows for a modicum of democratic equality.

But much as I might wish it otherwise, leaving the odd comment here and there on websites is not really going to change people's minds.

Not only is there an economic, material, crisis placing more and more people in states of enforced deprivation and poverty, as the Central Statistics Office revealed today, but there is also a political crisis.

There are at least two dimensions to the political crisis. One is in institutional terms. The parliament has a kind of zombie legitimacy: its ruling parties legislate while drunk, and responsibility is leveled at 'the politicians' by mass media, and large sections of the public who look on aghast. But there is also a political crisis in terms of language.

We have not developed the vocabulary, or the experience, or been able to set aside the time, to find words for what is going on. Imagine you go to a doctor, and he asks you what the matter is, and you say, well, "this thing here hurts". And in reply he says, "ah, I see. The problem is that your thing is hurty. So we will have to give you some stuff for it and do some things with it. And then the hurty thing is going to be less hurty, sometime, maybe, probably, in the future". No-one would accept this kind of communication was a decent way of practising medicine. But somehow we assume the way we talk and think about things now is adequate to the task of political emancipation. Well it isn't. We need new spaces, new dynamics, for this kind of thing to happen. Otherwise we'll just keep on renewing the same old vows.

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#occupypropertytax, Phil Hogan, and the search for scapegoats

The night before Paul Murphy and other CAWHT campaigners were assaulted by undercover police whilst engaging in democratic protest in council buildings that belong to the public, a house in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal was burnt down in an arson attack. The house had been bought by Donegal County Council to house a Traveller family. Racist remarks had been made by local councillors about the housing of Travellers in the area. One Fine Gael councillor said “as far as I’m concerned they can be sent to Spike Island for all I care”, in support of comments by a Fianna Fáil councillor that “there should be an isolated community of them some place – and give them houses and keep them all together”.

Some months ago, it was revealed that Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, who is also the minister responsible for the introduction of property and water taxes, had made racist representations to the council in his local constituency, on behalf of constituents who wanted to make sure Travellers were not allowed to move in to the local area. This blatantly racist abuse of power by Hogan received scarcely any public censure, and Hogan was allowed to continue in his current role.

The fact that Hogan was -and is- allowed to continue in his post is one of the contributing factors to the arson attack in Donegal. The failure to censure him -he should have lost his job, at the very least- has set a precedent. It has shown that blatant racist abuse can be perpetrated by public representatives, with impunity. That Hogan -who received a preferential loan from Michael Fingleton, let’s not forget- remains where he is shows the determination of Ireland’s ruling caste -including the ICTU leadership- to ram through the Troika programme, regardless of the destructive effects on the population, and without any fear of the consequences for whoever gets singled out as a scapegoat, or gets beaten up by the cops, or gets burnt out of their homes.

Those who stand against the dismantling of Ireland’s already emaciated welfare state, the stripping away of social and labour rights, and permanent kleptocracy, can expect no protection or support from the likes of David Begg, the president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. In an interview with the public broadcaster on Sunday, Begg voiced support for the property tax. He said that its implementation was the democratic decision of parliament. He said his people would not be joining the ‘Trotskyists’ who are always trying to interfere with what ICTU does.

I said in a previous post that ICTU does not take democracy seriously. That is far too benign a judgement in light of Begg’s words, and in light of ICTU’s anti-German posturing on Saturday. They take democracy seriously all right, but only as an alibi for repression and robbery. They have no problem with the expropriators taking what they please, just as long as it is conducted in the name of the Irish people. Anyone who stands in the way of the sovereign – ‘Trotskyists’, anti-property tax campaigners, whoever – can be crushed like bugs for all they care.

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