The Debt Justice Action (DJA) campaign, of which I am a part, has just lodged an application with the Guinness Book of Records to recognise Ireland as having the world’s most expensive ever bank bailout. A video accompanying the application can be viewed below. The satirical intent behind the project is well captured by DJA member Diarmuid O’Flynn: “We’ve had a difficult few years here in Ireland.
Much of the treaty debate has revolved around whether Ireland could access more loans if required and whether the treaty will mean greater austerity. These are important issues, but the even more important issue of democracy has been somewhat neglected by comparison. Put simply, ratifying the treaty would give its provisions immunity from constitutional challenge and would make it much more difficult to change economic policy through the election of a new government. The wording of what we are being asked to vote on is as follows:
Between 6 and 8 May hundreds of campaigners against debt and austerity gathered in Athens to exchange ideas and information on everything from the experience of default to the structure of debt audits. Andy Storey was there, and reports that delegates came away from the event determined to build a truly global movement for economic justice.
Ireland is now ruled by 'financial speculators unknown'. Ireland's governing elite has pledged itself to providing for these speculators, at the expense of all of its citizens, for the foreseeable future. It has not asked who they are, nor, it seems, does it plan to. It is enough, it seems, to leave tithes outside the cave of the mythical beast, and run away without checking if the beast is real, or just a man with a dragon mask and an eye for a scam.
As has been noted on CrisisJam before, failure is no barrier to success in the thin air that prevails in the offices off the topmost corridors of power. The IMF’s dismal record in evaluating and forecasting economic performance – and its tenured poistion as arbiter of same - bespeaks a very special kind of insulation from the consequences of stupidity and failure.
Radical analyses of the Irish and European debt crisis can benefit from engagement with some mainstream (or even right-wing) analyses – there is much to be learned there, and sometimes a surprising amount of common ground. However, where the mainstream falls down is in its misunderstanding (wilful or not) of the politics of the way in which the debt crisis is being managed – it does not recognise (or chooses not to recognise) the instrumentality of the debt response for the furtherance of corporate power and wealth. In other words, what good does it do, and for whom?