The Labour Party vs. Direct Democracy Ireland: Comment

I left this comment on an article by Fintan O’Toole in today’s Irish Times titled ‘Labour leaders keep the party on the road to its own doom’.


‘Down With Econocynicism’ – El Roto

Anyone who thinks Direct Democracy Ireland is where a political solution to the current crisis lies is out to lunch, quite frankly.  

 Nevertheless there is something telling about the fact that the Labour Party’s humiliation was at the hands of Direct Democracy Ireland. The Labour Party is supposed to stand for social democracy -that is, the extension of democracy and equality beyond formal political institutions, towards socialism and beyond capitalism.  

 That’s how it works in theory anyway. In practice, the Labour Party -its leadership in particular- has been the embodiment of the political rationality of neoliberalism.  

 It has defended a process of expropriation, bank bailouts, privatisations, outsourcing, and attacks on public welfare, and tried to claim this is the democratic will of the people.  

 It has pretended that popular sovereignty will magically emerge from the sovereignty of CEOs, investment bankers and technocrats by simply doing as CEOs, investment bankers and technocrats say. 

 In this context it is not surprising that plenty of people are waking up to the fact that whatever this buffoonery is, it is not democracy. The tragedy-farce is that people are seeking quick-fix solutions in adjustments to formal democratic provisions -ironically, the sort of footering about that the Labour Party got up to with their constitutional convention- that in the final instance are about saving the political institutions of capitalism, not the democratisation of society.

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