Irish Election Upheaval?

Irish Election Upheaval?


I have become cynical.

In  doing so I have joined the mass of the Irish dispossessed. We were dispossessed centuries ago by rain and mud and the difficulty in herding animals and tending crops in an unfavorableclimate. We were dispossessed by the lure of power and privilege (i.e. violence) like most transient human groups who battled witha reptilian instinct for survival. We were dispossessed thenby the invader, who like all invaders didn’t just want your property but wanted your very soul, and if theycouldn’t get that, well, to “Hell or to Connaught”, as if there was a differenceat that time. We were finally dispossessed by the lure of words versus actions when we shot and bombed our way to national ‘independence’and it made little difference, as James Connolly pointed out it would not, other than the post boxes were painted green instead of red and with the royal emblem still intact. Finally we were dispossessed by the international financialcarpetbaggers that drove that Celtic Tiger like a suicide bomber into the heart of everything we thought could be held dear, a human society, finally-and-after-much-waiting, based on wealth and prosperity. Now with the roulette dice starting toroll again between the bankers, the corporationsand their friends in power, and after the world has melted right in front of our eyes without apparently effecting the slightest change in the order of business, it appears there is no other option but to become cynical.

However the cynicism of this recent election could be a new creature, brutally bred from the dissipation of the smoke (and mirrors) of the illusion that development equals wealth creation and that wealth creation means everyone and everywhere in every way each day gets betterand better. Etcetera. Etc. Instead we look at the chaos and human suffering in our hospitals, at our homeless people and families on the streets and in temporary accommodation, at our young people forced once again to emigrate, at our unemployed people, at this shanty town ofa society that contradicts every word those in power speak when they wavetheir magic wands to pull the rabbit of prosperity out of the hat while we ignore the fist of steel hidden behind their back as well as the wad of euro notes they are stuffing in their back pockets.

You would wonder, looking at the landscape around us following the financial meltdown, and in a  country possibly (in terms of assets) with one half of the population’s hand in the till and the other half with both hands amputated, could there be any position, in the face of such power and its politics, (including this farce of “representational democracy”) with integrity other than cynicism?

With the count only halfover (at the time of writing 97 of 158 seats in the forthcoming Dáil have been filled) Gene Kerrigan writes of this election[1]:

The collective vote of the right wing parties is shrinking. Thirty years ago, in 1987, they – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, the PDs – got 89pc of the vote.Twenty years ago, in 1997, they got 82pc.At the last election it was 72pc.Now, it’s about 57pc.This election was about slowly evolving change…

… The ball is in the right wing’s court. We’d rather do without any more of your mock fights, based on the position your ancestors took in the civil war. Have the courage of your servile convictions.

Meanwhile, perhaps the left could bother to provide voters with an analysis that says politics need not be about lies and betrayal.

Gene Kerrigan might be right. In this ‘revolutionary year’of 2016, maybe the hot air of “lies and betrayal” has finally run out of steam and business asusual can’t continue? That doesn’t mean that there is a promise of justice and equality on the horizon: a society and a  world fit for human beings. As Marx apparently predicted, theworld has shifted, in the last 40 years, increasingly towards  the dispossession of the mass of humanity. Instead of lookingto the future with promise we wait for the next catastrophe to hit, not those in power and privilege, but those, the mass of humanity, the dispossessed. And despite all its rhetoric, the Left needs to see the part it played in this scenario for the last 100 years as well as for the lifetime of this small State now in the process of upheaval. Maybe Gene Kerrigan is right and now that the Right, those who protect the interest of property and the bankers and the elites that control our planet’s resources with lies, tanksand magic wands (the media), will be forced to consolidate and offer the Irish people the opportunity, for thefirsttime in our history to build a coherent opposition, one with integrity and one that looks to the future of humankind with the promise of a better world, of justice, equalityand solidarity,  not more of the same old business?

I wouldn’t be cynical, if I didn’t tell you: I am holding my breath…



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