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(en) Ireland, Anarchist Workers Solidarity #88 - Politicians - We Don't Need Them!

Date Tue, 25 Oct 2005 09:12:46 +0200

Evidence that Ireland is run by a golden circle of the rich is
everywhere. Bertie Ahern earns close to 250, 000 euros each year.
Other cabinet members receive 197,000 euros a year. Since Bertie has
taken office, his salary has almost doubled.
Cabinet members wages increased in 1996, again in 2000, and again
this year they get a pay rises of 7.5%.
Now Bertie's weekly pay is almost Euros4,807. This is fifteen times the
pay of someone on the minimum wage, eight times the average pay of
someone working in a local authority or of a man on the average
industrial wage. Prison Officers, with a weekly wage of Euros1,106.71
are the highest paid public sector workers according to the Central
Statistics Office (www.cso.ie) yet they still earn four times less than

Suits You Sir

These pay levels put Bertie and his cabinet colleagues into a small
elite group of high earners. And the decisions made by this wealthy
cabal reflect their class position. They don't use the public health
service, they send their children to private schools, they know they
won't have to depend on state pensions and they can afford to hire
private childcare for their children.

So it is no surprise that when they talk about healthcare, ducation,
care of the young and the old they talk about tax breaks to people so
they can buy more private services. More private services means less
spending on public services which also means that the only way to
access basic services is to go private, which most of us can't afford.
We would like a world where public services are available to all, not
just those with money. In this day and age it is scandalous that many
Irish people don't go to their GP when they are sick because they can't
afford the cost of the visit.

In fact, when you look closely at how Ireland is run, you discover that
the unelected friends of the politicians, who are also members of the
wealthy elite, govern much of our society. The National Roads
Authorities oversees the Irish road networks. Its members are
unelected, appointed by government.

The Competition Authority is the body that decides whether business
mergers can occur. Its members are unelected, appointed by
government. Dublin's urban regeneration projects, whether it be in
Temple Bar, the Docklands, or the Digital Hub in the Liberties are all
run by unelected boards of managements.

Unelected bodies 'quangos', have responsibility for a wide share of
Irish society from the health service, to tourist promotion, to inland
fisheries. And who gets appointed to these boards? The wealthy and
the powerful. For example, Fianna Fail appointed their friend, the
builder Joe Burke as chair of the Dublin Port Tunnel and Bertie
recently appointed his ex to the National Consumer Agency. Is it any
wonder that Ireland ranks 17th out of 146 countries on the Global
Corruption Index.

Anarchist Democracy

As opposed to dodgy politicians and their well heeled mates.
Anarchists have a very different idea of democracy. We are in favour of
direct democracy rather than representative democracy. With
representative democracy people are elected to 'represent' the views of
the general population. We know from bitter experience that in reality
politicians ignore the wishes of the electorate for the three years
following a election.

A cunning party like Fianna Fail spends the year preceding a election
doling out grants and funding in the hope of buying a couple of votes,
only to cut-back drastically once elected. The bottom line is that under
the sham democracy we live in today, there is nothing much we can
do if a politician displeases us, bar wait for the opportunity to vote for
his or her equally self-interested colleague at the next general election.
Direct Democracy

Direct democracy is different. It is a democracy from the bottom up,
where people have the meaningful opportunity to participate in
decisons that affect them. Here rather than electing people to
represent us on all possible issue that may come up, people gather in
assemblies, whether at work or in the local community, to discuss and
decide issues that concern them.

When the issues concern people from different areas or workplaces,
delegates are mandated to represent us only on the particular issue
that is under discussion. So for example, if a decision needs to be
made on a new road or on hospital funding, each local area would
discuss and decide on proposals, and these proposals would be taken
to a meeting of delegates from all the relevant areas.

If the issue is a controversial one, the delegates can bring the
discussion back to the local level with the ideas of other communities
and the debate continued again. This sounds slow, but in reality, as
the decision making with regard to the Shell pipeline in Mayo
illustrates, its inclusivity is far more efficient than depending on
alleged experts, profiteering capitalists, and corrupt politicians.
Furthermore, delegates would not be paid anymore than anybody else.
And unlike the politicians in Dail Eireann, they would be re-callable.
That is, if a local area is unhappy with the work done by the delegates,
they would have the power to immediately replace them. This is the
world where people would have the power instead of a minority of very
wealthy, self serving politicians.
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html

We also provide PDF files of all our
publications for you to print out and distribute locally

Print out the PDF file of this issue

You can find out when new issues of the paper come out by joining
the Ainriail list http://struggle.ws/other/ainriail.html

This edition is No88 published in Sept 2005

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