By Frank Hayes
I tuned in a bit too late to watch the full return of Vincent Browne to chairing TONIGHT and the Peoples’ Debate on TV3. But from the little I saw, he remains perhaps, the only journalistic voice here prepared to clearly challenge the mess of stupidity, denial, and avoidance, which are the Irish Dail political establishment and its retinue. The First Republic is withering before us. It now has nothing to offer!
Vincent Browne is very good at appearing to lose his temper (he has the patience of Job) and showing frustration at the insulting propaganda belched from the bowels of the cosy Irish political class and its supportive ‘journalistic’ commentariate.
And they were in full swing last night.
It might have been like a very bad rehearsal session by the Count Basie Orchestra, on an occasion where the Count himself was missing, and the brilliant musicianly talent with which he usually surrounded himself, had been replaced by ranks of amateurs and elementary students, untutored in their instruments, unused to co-operative performance, and unable to keep up with reading scores they had never seen before.
During the 1970’s an English composer, Gavin Bryars, assembled a wonderful collective to be known as The Portsmouth Synfonia. This ensemble had unusual entry requirements. Musicians had to be beginners or, if experienced, agree to play an instrument which was totally new to them. It was an entertaining experiment which tackled both imposing orchestral repertoire and classical trivia producing novel innovative living sound. They even made a few recordings, still worth the hearing for those interested in musical experimentation.
Well, Vincent’s Return was a bit like all that in some ways, but without the entertainment value. The few sane voices we could see in the audience hardly got a look in. But the pure gibberish, the almost unimaginable idiocy of the Fianna Fail ‘spokesman’ attempting unpolished avoidance was actually painful to observe. It proved – if proof were necessary – that the Nuevo FFers still haven’t a clue about the complex nature of the global crisis, nor do they possess any slight grasp of its local realisations and/or its historic implications.
He was, however, still streets ahead of Eamon Ryan, failed Leader of the Irish Capitalist Green Party, still prattling on with the IMF ‘Green Capitalist’ illusions carefully crafted to distort scientific evidence and keep their Titanic Troika system ploughing full steam ahead into the icy field of inevitable historic decay. He actually tried justify being part of the wretched ‘government’ which buckled to bullying from the banksters and brought to Ireland the Austerity Mongers Dictatorship, giving them the keys to Leinster House.
OLD STRATEGIES FAIL
That event marked in practice the death knell of the functional existence of the first Irish Republic. Sovereignty ended!
As their successors, the present ramshackle coalition of Right Wing Labour and Far Right Fine Gael proto-fascists, stumble onwards towards disunity, we can note that the whole sorry Leinster House Gang are in massive denial about the real economic, social, and political realities unfolding everywhere. Even the ‘Left’ opposition of Sinn Fein can offer only neo-Keynesian impressionism as a solution to the underlying systemic economic disintegration unfolding around them.
Such unscientific speculations, based on eighty year old theories which have long reached the end of any possible relevance, and which died on August 15th 1971, anyway, can only fool some for a rapidly shortening time. Sinn Fein’s hero worship of the Greek Syriza Party’s failed attempt to use similar ideas is a hard lesson for both SF and for anyone who thinks voting for them might make the Dail viable ever again.
The presence of the ‘new’ Social Democrat Party TD, Róisín Shortall illustrated the futility of looking backwards politically to try find solutions to the problems of the present moment of political development, let alone imagine or conceive a viable and appropriately human world for our future. Social Democracy grew, changed, and was transformed from a revolutionary theory into a compromise for the continuance of capitalism through a wish for reform. It remains so.
A RAPIDLY CHANGING REALITY
From the body-strewn shores of the Mediterranean to the lone parents hatch in the local post office (now threatened with closure by the banksters friends) we have entered a new moment of history.
It may be that bourgeois philosopher Fukuyama was not entirely incorrect when he announced the end of history. I (and perhaps unconsciously or naively he) refer, of course, to the end of the history of the bourgeois period. And this ending is a process and not an event. It is a process of transition. A decadent old whore is passing on, and the painful birth of a new way of being is just commencing.
The increasingly obvious redundancy of the broken capitalist system, including its restrictive elitist social hierarchies, its destructively competitive economic marketteering and antipathy to planning, its political manipulation based on lies, obfuscation and violent coercion, demands alternative strategies in all these related areas. Some of these are already entering reality.
OUR TRUE HERITAGE
As the century-old state postulated by Padraig Pearse, James Connolly and Thomas McDonagh in 1916 – and degraded by the counter-revolutionaries of Cumman na nGeal into a self-serving bourgeois conspiracy out of which The Republic of Ireland was produced like a neutered rabbit out of a toff’s Top Hat, today reaches the limits of its functionality, we must enter again the road of those determined, kinder, and humane minds which entered the GPO in Sackville St.
Today’s 26-county state cannot feed its own children, let alone bury the corpses of the children in whose murder it participates via Shannon Airport.
It cannot run a health service using fully all the great advances in medical science, because it demands that health is primarily a process for the acquisition of profit through the creation of a ‘Health Market Place’ where only money counts.
It cannot educate because its Education Market must seek profit one way or another, and serves – not the cherishing of human knowledge – but instead limits its vision to training for employment opportunities (by corporations at the minimum wage, or worse via workfare).
It cannot protect the delicate balances of our living environment because it must make commodities out of all nature’s attributes and despoils them for corporate profiteering.
ATTACKING THE PEOPLE
It abolishes the concept of the welfare of all members of society replacing that with a market for the Protection of its own Social interests – that is maximising potential profiteering through the creation of a huge underclass of unemployed and underemployed to reduce worker’s wages to Dickensian levels. Just as it takes money from the public purse and gives it directly to the bank profiteers!
And then has the duplicity to put on a legal pantomime jailing junior bank functionaries while the shareholders and their top administrators laugh all the way to their bank (subsidised by public money because privatisation has failed). And how facile the obfuscating scribbling and prattling of the hack ‘journalytes’. (The word-mincing misleader from the Irish Times deserves a special mention for his performance last night.)
This state, the first Republic of Ireland, has reached the end of its road. Conceived out of counter-revolution and the domination of manipulative class exploitation, its Gombeen heart is giving out. If it ever had a heart!
However, the religious bigots and social snobs which imagined it and constructed it are not losing their grip! The fact is their hands are clasping a disintegrating political form. Their grip is tight, but fastened to a shrinking legal and coercive entity. The world moves on from them.
WE CAN BUILD A BETTER FUTURE
It is time to re-engage with the vision of Connolly, McDonagh, Pearse, and those who thought and fought with them. The proud revolutionary heritage of creative and scientific humanism and socialism awaits us. And we must connect again with its enduring values and humane ambitions.
It is time for us to create a Second Republic worthy of those men and women who gave us the promise of a better future. It is a future we must construct for ourselves. And to construct it, we must overcome the foul limitations of the Leinster House variety of hollowed-out representative democracy. For it represents only the interests of the capitalist and his needs. It is democracy only for the exploiter. And it is dying.
A new generation, globally communicating, enabled by a new leap in human technology, to think in new ways, is now passing out beyond the moribund political class of capitalism. And they can do little about it. The rule of law – will be the people’s law. The Nuremburg verdict that “obeying orders” will not wash, now haunts the police thugs who allow themselves be deployed against the people.
BEING HELD TO ACCOUNT
Just as it must haunt the waking moments of war criminals Blair and Bush awaiting their moment of accountability.
As Cameron joins them in the dock of history for his ‘shoot to kill’ turn this week.
As bankster pals Ahern, Cowen, Ryan, Kenny, Gilmore, Rabbitte, Burton and the others on the Shannon Airport trafficking control team await their appearance before the tribune of the people.
We must prepare ourselves as ordinary people to assume responsibility for our own future as those of the old political elite find themselves swamped by their own ricketty circumstances.
The leaky rubber boats which ferry desperate souls away from the continuing war crimes of the above named political gangsters, when compared to the ship of capitalist statehood, appear sound and seaworthy.
This broken system enters new waters and we must learn how to navigate with skill.
That learning must include a turn to study the true and fundamental tenets of scientific socialism, and the proven world-view through which they were elucidated by the founders of our progressive tradition, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Joseph Dietzgen, and those who, despite humiliation and murder, held on to that thin but strong line of truth.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
Two and a half millennia ago, human thought expressed the concept of dialectical development out of the mouth of Heraclitus of Ephesus. Two centuries ago, Hegel retrieved this mode of understanding and in the hands of the Young Hegelians, it became a practical and theoretical revolutionary tradition which alone, offers a pathway to a truly human future.
We now recognise human knowledge as a social possession, and not just the expression of an individual personality. And we understand the relationship between the individual and the social, the particle and the universe, as the form of an always moving relativity, mutually enriching through a dialectical process of interaction and interpenetration, creating change. That’s how things are!
Today as communities come together forming Assemblies for Democracy, and network together in defence against the attacks of Corporate Austerity Politics, time should also be given to remembering these truths and relearning the revolutionary and rich theory of knowledge which guided Connolly and Markievicz.
It is time to bring this tradition up to date, into the present moment, to creatively use scientific socialism as the science of change for today.
It is time to leave aside the dead dogmatic clichés and stultifying metaphysics of the twentieth century, and boldly, creatively, scientifically develop this body of knowledge, these great ideas, amidst the new challenges of this new moment.
WE MUST EDUCATE OURSELVES ANEW
VI Lenin once said, “If we are to regard our subject as a science, then we must treat it as a science. We must study it”.
And proper study involves research, speculative thinking, open democratic debate and consideration, practical evaluation, a process of moving dialectically from the abstract to the concrete, through the guiding of political action. Let us join together in an organised way to embrace anew this creative task. And those who laugh at such an idea? We give them their laughter and wish them happiness with it. But we can never treat them seriously, or trust their judgement. Nor should we begrudge them their sarcasm or cynicism, for these are of no value.
As I slowly climbed the stairs towards slumber, the phone rang. It was an old friend, and we hadn’t spoken for months. She said “Would you just look at TV3, Vinnie is back with a collection of arrogant gobshites. You won’t believe the crap they’re coming out with. They’re delusional.”
“Hold on” I said, “you seem very excited, and not even a ‘how are you’ after all this time. What’s up?”
“Just listen” she said, “these tossers are ten years out of date, we were right about them all along”.
BUILD ASSEMBLIES FOR DEMOCRACY
And so I did. And so they are. And so we were. But that’s not enough. And so we must now get together and start a fresh move forward in theories and practices, leaving the limitations, misunderstandings, and stupidities of the past in the past. Comrades and friends, our moment approaches and we must prepare for it.