Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mass Demonstration in Ireland Says "Let the Rich Pay!"

In a call to action for the Nov. 27 mass national demonstration and march in Dublin, Jack O’Connor, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, called on union members and all the poor and working people in Ireland, not to stand idly by “allowing speculators, bankers and developers to run riot, pillaging and ruining our economy.”

More than 100,000 came out to the action in Dublin Nov. 27 to protest the brutal austerity measures by the European Union and banks over the past few years. And in particular the ICTU, Sinn Fein and other independent people’s organizations including socialist ones, are incensed and fighting back against the recent International Monetary Fund and EU bailout of banks in Ireland to the tune of at least $115 billion. The IMF and EU as well as the European Central Bank are now demanding that Irish poor and working people are to pay back the bailouts that were caused by the banks and speculators.

Some of the demands by the IMF, EU and ECB are that the Irish government carries out massive cuts to welfare entitlements, education and health spending and a drastic cut in the minimum wage. As in Greece, France, Portugal and elsewhere throughout Europe the demand from many progressives in Ireland is: “We didn’t create the capitalist crisis, we’re not paying for it.”

Ireland is a country with 32 counties. Twenty-six are subjected to neo-colonialism and six in the north are colonized by the U.S. and Britain. There is an official 34 percent unemployment rate for adults and 32 percent for youth.

Poor and working Irish people have begun resistance with the Nov. 27 protest in the capital and many others throughout the country from Cork to Derry to Galway and elsewhere. Youth and students are a leading force as on Nov. 3 some 40,000 students marched on government buildings in Dublin and on Dec. 10 hundreds protested over tuition increases in Belfast.

— Bryan G. Pfeifer

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