Via Irish Left Review, Julie L. MacArthur at Monthly Review writes – Mortgaging Irish Independence – From Financial Crisis to Socialist Resistance:
A specter is haunting Ireland—the specter of James Connolly.
Connolly was shot to death by a British firing squad for his role in Ireland’s 1916 rising for home rule. Celebrated as a hero of Irish independence by Irish political parties of both left and right, his socialism is all too conveniently overlooked. The Irish struggle is one that speaks to the challenges of independence, sovereignty, and democratic freedom, both then and now, for people of all countries. What value is formal political independence if it is not backed up by economic control; if the real decisions of public policy are made in boardrooms and backrooms rather than main streets and parliaments?
… Not only are the Irish people bailing out the very property developers who drove up house prices, but the Irish state is now, because of assuming the bank debts, unable properly to finance crucial areas such as retirement pensions or teachers’ salaries. According to Morgan Kelly, “[E]very cent of income tax that [an Irish person pays] for the next two to three years will go to repay Anglo’s losses, every cent for the following two years will go on AIB, and every cent for the next year and a half on the others.”10 According to another estimate, “[E]ach Irish family of four will be liable for €200,000 in public debt by 2015.”
… Put simply, the austerity measures are not going to work. The “green shoots” in Irish GDP for the first quarter of 2010 were entirely due to multinational exports. In Ireland, wages are dropping, prices are dropping (except in health and education), and demand is dropping. This is disastrous for the Irish economy since, as John Maynard Keynes pointed out in the 1930s, business cycles are not self-correcting. Currently, there is no climate for investment, for a real economy based on jobs, taxes, and spending to take root.
In the high-stakes game of musical chairs that is global financial speculation, the average Irish person (representing all four-plus million of them) is caught chair-less. Soon, that may change to homeless…
There are always alternatives. The government could have required creditors to bear a share of the costs by allowing defaults and some bank failures. They could also have required the companies that have benefitted for years from the corporate tax policy to pay an equal share. Google, for example, reportedly saved $3.1 billion in taxes over the last three years by setting up in Ireland.20 More recently, calls to withdraw from the European Monetary Union have emerged in order to follow Iceland’s lead of currency devaluation (an option denied Ireland). Policymakers in Dublin and their financial allies have elected to take from the public’s purses instead.
The coming waves of mortgage and debt crises may serve to politicize the citizenry of this tiny country to fight for more radical alternatives.
This is just an extract – the whole article is well worth reading.