Dec 02 2013

IRELAND TO EXIT TROIKA – OLD IRELAND FREE? A NATION ONCE AGAIN?

John McAnulty of Socialist Democracy (Ireland) provides an analysis of the forthcoming exit of Ireland’s economy from the direct control of the IMF, EU, ECB Troika 

 

The Anglo-Irish Bank promoted the property speculation which contributed to the economic crash in Ireland

The Anglo-Irish Bank promoted the property speculation which contributed to the economic crash in Ireland

Ireland’s exit from the Troika mechanism, that had taken over as the effective government of the country, has been presented as a triumph for democracy and national independence by the coalition government. One can almost imagine the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government reenacting the 1916 rising and holding the GPO against the forces of the IMF and ECB.

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Jun 12 2013

IRELAND – UNION STRATEGY, KEYNES AND THE DEBT

This article, by James Fearon, is from the Socialist Democracy (Ireland) website. It highlights how the Irish Congress of Trade Union’s (ICTU) support for Keynesian reforms is tied to a strategy to make workers pay for the ruling class’s debts – only more slowly than the incumbent Fine Gael/Labour coalition government.  

In the UK, Ed Balls has flagged up Labour’s acceptance of current Tory attacks on our class, and his willingness, if Labour is elected in 2015, to go down the same road with further attacks on universal benefits. The TUC’s thinking goes no further than that of the ICTU. Only when pushed does it mount any actions – such as on November 30th, 2011 over pensions. However, these actions are merely token, as the TUC’s ignominious collapse in the subsequent days highlighted. The TUC is trapped in the same Keynesian thinking as the ICTU.  It has no wider vision than a return of a Labour government, hopefully committed to  some Keynesian economy boosting measures, so that, as in Ireland, workers are given longer to pay off the ruling class debts. With such miserable aspirations, it is unlikely that the TUC will be able to shift Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. Their appeal is directly to the  banksters and other corporate capitalists –  ‘You can trust Labour to continue the austerity offensive and the welfare counter-reforms.’

David Begg, General Secretary of ICTU whipping up worker enthusiasm

David Begg, General Secretary of ICTU whipping up worker enthusiasm

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), and reformists in general, have been particularly animated recently over flaws that have been found, in the research by Reinhart and Roghoff, on the effect of austerity on the fiscal multiplier. They have taken this as evidence that ‘austerity isn’t working’ and that the possibility exists that they may still receive a lifeline from a slower, less virulent capitalist attack on the working class. If this ‘Better, Fairer Way’ to pay off the banksters’ debts should be adopted by the political elite in any meaningful way ICTU could claim that the slightly reduced pain of a slower austerity was their doing, and this in turn would provide them with some semblance of a fig leaf to cover their shame.

A former senior advisor to Citibank was quoted favourably in union literature recently when he expressed doubts about the efficacy of austerity based on figures which show a larger than predicted fiscal multiplier of €1.6 in economic shrinkage for every €1 removed through austerity measures. Figures from the IMF, based on data from 28 countries between 2009 and 2013, actually put the multiplier as high as 1:1.7 and Keynesian economists, the TUC and ICTU have all seized hungrily upon these figures. While trade unions exhibit a touching, perhaps over zealous, faith in these figures, the findings are not so readily accepted by the financial establishment.

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Mar 18 2013

SINGLE ENDS AND HOBBIT HOUSES

Murdo Ritchie places  the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ into the  wider economic and political context of housing provision today.

Inside a  Glasgow single end

Inside a Glasgow single end

When debating supporters of capitalism and capitalist markets I am told about the system’s greater efficiency in the use of natural resources. At this point, I ask my opponent if they have an indoor toilet. They smile at the bizarreness of the question. The answer is always yes. I then ask the obvious question, “Why are you not sitting on it?” Usually they consider me flippant or simply scoring a trivial debating point. But I always add that for decades houses in Scotland were built on the efficient use of natural resources with many houses sharing one toilet usually on the tenement landing. Economic efficiency was socially disgusting.

The single end was term for a one-room house that has largely ceased to exist. It is no longer as common as it once was. As a term, it described more than a kind of accommodation. It was a highly descriptive term of housing despair. The so-called bedroom tax is enthusiastically bringing its return. Some 94,000 Scots will overnight be plunged into rent arrears and forced to move. The single end is a sentence of punishment.

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Dec 20 2012

RADISSON BLU OR POST-RADISSON RED?

This blog has already commented on the earlier organising behind the Radical Independence Conference. It has also provided a fraternal critique of Britain Must Break, written by James Foley for the International Socialist Group (ISG), the organisation which initiated the RIC. Many others have commented on the conference itself (see end of articles below for links to these)

Below are posted two related articles. The first  examines the politics of the ISG and how these could  influence the future of the RIC. The second makes a comparison between the ISG (which has come out of the SWP tradition) and seeks to reunite the Left in Scotland, and the International Socialist Movement (which came from the CWI/Militant tradition) and sought to unite the Left through setting up the Scottish Socialist Party. Continue reading “RADISSON BLU OR POST-RADISSON RED?”

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