The Irish left comes of age

One of the more eye-catching trends in last week’s General Election was the emergence of the radical left as a viable political force. The success of five candidates from the United Left Alliance was arguably the most significant expression of a radicalisation of the Irish electorate. Here Sinéad Kennedy examines the potential of the ULA and suggests that the recent electoral successes mark an historic opportunity for the advance of the Irish left.

Where next? A British perspective

With a stronger Labour tradition and a stronger right-wing tradition, there are many lessons to be learned from our nearest geographical neighbours. Today, with a conservative leadership and a vibrant student resistance movement, Ceasefire’s Omayr Rehmaan Ghani gives us a valuable British perspective on the limitations and possibilities that may lie ahead.

The unaffordable housing scheme

Tenancy in Ireland is a stepping stone. That's long been the idea, anyway: one rents til one buys, and god have pity on anyone not in a position to buy. Government policy throughout the boom was calculated to ensure tenancy could not be a viable long term choice for anyone wishing to have a roof over their heads, leaving, for most, only the option to purchase a home at a hyper-inflated price. Post crisis, not much has changed, says Tadhg O'Sullivan.

Crime and crisis in three easy election clichés

While budgets for various essential forms of social provision are being viciously and repeatedly slashed, the state seems to be able to find plenty of cash to fund some of its more punitive functions. Even though crime is not on the rise, the prison population in Ireland is exploding. Here Liam Herrick explains the looming crisis of an approach to crime that increasingly leans towards the hugely expensive and self-defeating option of incarcerating young working class people for often very innocuous offences.

Low paid workers and the meaning of 'exploitation'

The advent of the present economic crisis has provided a convenient opportunity for the corporate and political elite to erode the pay and conditions of the most vulnerable sections of the Irish workforce. But this exploitation is of course nothing new. As Fran P Bowman reminds us, even when the Celtic Tiger was in full swing, migrant workers in particular were subjected to most appalling treatment by unscrupulous employers.

Selling off the soul of science

As Dan Hind points out in The Threat to Reason, "Reason and science can be empolyed for swindling ends but they can also serve in the cause of human liberation. The decision to treat human beings as objects of rational administration does not derive from the operations of rationality. It is an act of will." Below, Eadaoin O'Sullivan tries to rescue science from its ideological hijacking, and suggests that in fighting against technocracy, we should be wary of being drawn into a fight about who's got the smallest p-values.

Brand of brothers

American companies are usually considered to be at the forefront of attempts to push the boundaries of possibility when it comes to branding things, but in Ireland, two parties - Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael - are true innovators. They have dispensed entirely with the thing a brand is usually attached to, says Nyder O'Leary, and have become all brand.

Who is homo economicus?

In part two of his series on neoliberalism, Aidan Regan asks who, exactly, is homo economicus, and finds that he's a mythical beast composed mostly of bits and pieces of brus from the bottom of an ideological barrel.