Weed the citizens

The We the Citizens National Citizens' Assembly takes place this Saturday and Sunday in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. They describe a Citizens' Assembly as 'a way in which citizens can recapture trust in the political system by taking ownership of the decision making process.' But, writes Hugh Green, the project assumes, wrongly, 'that the institutions that regulate society are a little bit short of perfection, and that what is needed, in effect, is some tweaking here and some tinkering there.' 

Hands up if you've had enough

The brittle edifice that has so far kept the Irish populace quiescent in the face of destruction will crack; once it does, it will crumble to dust, writes Hugh Green.

I am guessing, since I have not been paying attention, that there has been scant coverage devoted to the massive protests taking place in Greece at present, and in so far as such coverage exists, it is only in indirect terms, or rather, in terms that identify with power: of problems and challenges faced by the government in going up against the Greek population.


Symbolic gestures are all well and good, as is symbolic symbolism in general, but mind out lest those interpreting the symbols invest them with some significances, while obscuring others, writes Hugh Green

¡Democracia Real Ya!

Thousands have taken to the streets this week in Spain to protest against corruption, unemployment, and a political structure that favors a two-party system.

“We're not merchandise in the hands of bankers and politicians,” was the motto of tens of thousands who demonstrated all over the country on 15 May, 2011.

The real public sector

{jathumbnail off}The long-running project whereby a wedge is driven between private and public sector workers, as if each was a separate species (and with the defining characterisitics of the latter a tail and pointy horns) has had a fairly simple outcome, as Hugh Green writes below, and that is 'to mobilise animosity among disaffected and hard pressed workers employed in the private sector...so that they seek, via the assault on the public sector, to drive down their own wages, working conditions and social provision.' Meanwhile, overlooked

We are Ireland, we will resist

Promotion of private property ownership in Ireland in the 1950s was based on the idea that 'The man of property is ever against revolutionary change.' This point has been overlooked in the glut of armchair psychoanalysis seeking explanations for Irish passivity in an inherent selfishness or idiocy. But, as Hugh Green writes, if the so-called 'Negative Equity Generation' is not agitating for revolutionary change, it's not least because they're struggling have to pay off mortgages many multiples their annual salary on insecure and dwindling incomes.

BlackRock, stress tests, and more of the same: it's time for an alternative

Ireland's crisis is also an international one - a fact that is routinely ignored in the standard media narrative. If only the Galway Tent had blown into the sea in 2001; if only the line between business and politics had been drawn in barbed wire; if only Lenihan hadn't guaranteed the banks; if only...While it is true that the scale of the crisis in Ireland is unique, the austerity mania currently sweeping this country is certainly not, and points to the wider, international crisis that has been ongoing since 2008.

Shut the revolving door on the way out: the politics of negative internationalisation

Of the many fulsome initiatives intended to normalise the trauma of forced emigration, an ad campaign for a soft drink goes in at number one with a bullet. By purchasing the product of this global corporation, you enter a draw for the prize of bringing back a group of your recently emigrated friends. They will, if you are successful, be back in Ireland on Saint Patrick's Day for 'the craic'. Recession-busting pizza might give you heartburn, but as Hugh Green examines, there's nothing like an emigration-busting soft drink to ease the heart ache.

Cowards of the county

A common theme of the crisis has been the idea that the eyes of the world are on Ireland, a coded – and sometimes not so coded – way of tellings dissenters to button it for fear their flappy jaws will land us in even more trouble with those we like to call our European ‘partners’, for want of a better word to describe them. Business, policy and media elites, eager to embrace what they see as the shiny cosmopolitanism of an imaginary Europe in the sky, are slow to point out that European institutions may not have the best interests of all classes of Irish society at heart.

Naming the Shameless

The onset of recession might have been expected to ensure that those jaded ideas that got us into this mess might be set aside. In reality, however, the end of the boom only appears to have strengthened the authority of neoliberal doctrines. Hugh Green maps out the strategic poverty of public discourse in Ireland during the crisis...