Saturday, October 03, 2009

Victory for neoliberalism in Ireland

Just to quickly point out - this is immensely dispiriting. The political blackmail that didn't work when the Lisbon Treaty was first voted on some 16 months ago, did work in the new circumstances of global recession and an hysterical campaign by the right-wing press and companies such as Intel and Ryanair to get the treaty ratified. That blackmail was essentially that if Irish workers don't accept neoliberal policies with more powers for the ECB, more privatization, reduced restrictions on capital mobility and more militarism, then Ireland would be cut out of future financial assistance. Ironically, it took a crisis caused by these policies to make them acceptable, which gives the lie to any assumption that capitalist crisis automatically benefits the left. It is much easier to bully people into making irrational decisions when they're frightened. Most EU countries don't get a vote on Lisbon, so this was a tremendously significant campaign. Ireland was voting for us, and I'm afraid we lost this time. With the 'yes' campaign successful, the EU will now become a much more authoritative body, a legal 'personality' with a president - very likely to be the despicable Tony Blair. It will also have enhanced abilities to police, facilitate and defend a revamped neoliberalism.