Last night RTE’s Prime Time looked at the impacts on Ireland’s crisis on different age cohorts. Prime Time focused their report around two studies, one from the ESRI and one from UCD, which broadly explored the ways in which different generations in Irish society were being affected by, and copying with, the crisis. The first of these studies suggested that over-45s were less hard hit by the recession, while the latter suggested some of the ways in which families were engaged in inter-generational solidarities that helped them cope with unemployment and cut-backs.
Episode four of the Unfinished Business 1913 podcast series is on the media, looking at different aspects of both mainstream and alternative media from 1913 to contemporary times. Henry Silke of Critical Media review took part in the podcast. For the rest of this excellent series see here
1913 Unfinished Business wants to reinvigorate class politics using the centenary of the Dublin lock-out as an inspiration and focal point.
We will engage in popular education about the events of 1913 and their contemporary relevance, producing imagery to provoke and research to inform.
2013 will see elite commemorations by government, political parties and a union leadership that has sold out the working-class. We intend to critique and oppose these attempts to sanitise this important moment in Ireland’s history of class conflict. We will endeavour to ensure, as we enter a decade of commemorations, that the workers’ story is told.
We want to work with rank-and-file union members to advance the cause of a modern, fighting union movement inspired by the one Larkin led one hundred years ago. It is time to restate the political nature of a union and reclaim the idea of it in people’s minds as a working-class, anti-capitalist institution.
We will challenge the right of today’s William Martin Murphys – oligarchs and organised business interests – to control our politics, economy and society.
The 1913 lock-out raised the fundamental question: who owns the city? Capital has shaped the urban landscape to meets its ends, we aim to assert the people’s right to shape the place where they work and live.
Dan O’Brien complains in the Irish Times that financial and political commentators have started coming under unfair criticism. It says a lot that after five years of recession and a near monopoly on political discourse that O’Brien is shocked to discover that there are in fact those who disagree with him. Ironically considering the title of his piece he builds a straw man argument against those who critique the dominant economic discourses.
In Ireland, a similar unhealthy trend in political debate is emerging. Reactionaries on the left of the political spectrum increasingly describe others very critically as “neoliberals” and policy proposals that are not state-led as forms of “neoliberalism”. The private creche scandal revealed by RTE is the most recent example this sort of name-calling, and it happens even though no political party, grouping or individual in Ireland describes itself/himself/herself as “neoliberal”.
Leaving aside the notion the notion that pro-market policies are viewed as simply common sense and in fact a ‘reality’ rather than an ideology that is adhered to, which is a common position in the Irish press; the question of neo-liberalism and the state is far more complex than O’Brien allows. After all the greatest state intervention since the crisis began has been the state guarantee of all private debt, which was done specifically to protect private markets. As discussed in an earlier piece on critical media review neo-liberal economics and politics has a close connection to the state which both guarantees and regulates it:
While radical neo-liberal discourse can often be anti-state or anti political this is from the point of view of the social democratic re-distributive state (or socialist appropriation) and state regulatory policies or programmes such as permanent employment or wage rates, here the state is seen to ‘interfere’ with the market. It is opposed to Keynesian demand interventionism. On the other hand an interventionist state to either defend or create markets is deemed permissible (Amble 2010 ). The role of the state therefore is to keep the market competition from either collective interests of monopolization, in that sense the neo-liberal state is regulatory. That is to say nothing of protecting private property (and private markets) by force if necessary, up to and including from the state itself (through taxation). There is an anti democratic discourse which calls for the rule of ‘experts’ rather then those who must answer to the electorate or what is termed ‘political influence’. This is linked to elitism (Amble 2010). When it comes to state enterprise there is an overall discourse of public sector enterprise being bad and private enterprise being good, except (so far) the repressive state apparatuses of the police and military.
The role of celebrity economists, opinion writers and much of the financial media has been, as O’Brien himself consistently does, to normalise and depolitisise what should be contentious and political decisions. This article in denying any real opposition to what are class based political decisions does more of the same.
I left this comment on Dan O’Brien’s piece in today’s Irish Times titled ‘‘Neoliberalism’ is being used as a straw man to close down reasonable debate on policies’. In it, he claimed that 'in a world that is increasingly complex, reason and evidence are, thankfully, triumphing', against 'reactionaries on the right' and 'reactionaries on the left'. The latter, in Ireland, are 'seeking to close down debate' through 'name-calling', which 'happens even though no political party, grouping or individual in Ireland describes itself/himself/herself as “neoliberal”.'
Follow the link below:
Solidarity to all Greeks tonight - Critical Media Review
Follow the link below:
Solidarity to all Greeks tonight – Critical Media Review
Damian Mac Con Uladh (@damomac) tweeted at 10:15 PM on Tue, Jun 11, 2013:
European Broadcasting Union (EBU) urges #Samaras “to immediately reverse” decision to shut down #ERT
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Cutting costs or cutting out opposition voices (critical media review).
Janine Louloudi (@janinel83) tweeted at 9:24 PM on Tue, Jun 11, 2013:
Police didn’t even wait for the clock to turn 12 to shut down ERT. Tons of people on the way to #ert, church bells ringing as well #greece
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