The Centrists United, Will Only Occasionally Be Defeated!

For fans of recursion, I want to report a hijacking of the hijacking below. I was a little dubious about the merits of the SWP’S Night of the Long Flagpoles at first, but the more I gaze upon the forces arrayed against it, the more I’m warming to it. The Irish Left Review are foregrounding the scandalised response of a Decent Upstanding Citizen who turned up to an SWP-fronted march and was mortified to find the SWP present.

Apparently, you see, the protest movement which will sweep Fianna Fáil from power is going to be led by forces of “the centre.” You know, the same centre to which Fianna Fáil and the other two major political parties backing the cuts belong. The same centre to the left of which the government devouring its own children in Greece is, by Irish standards, very definitely positioned. (I submitted a comment to this effect over on ILR yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared down the memory hole. EDIT: Donagh clarifies that there’s no conspiracy here, it just didn’t negotiate cyberspace successfully.)

Conor McCabe of Dublin Opinion (who appears only slightly less exercised by the whole affair than Joe Duffy) has struck a blow for the forces of sweet moderation by throwing a massive fucking eppy in the comments section at ILR. I would commend perusal thereof to anyone with a spare moment and a slappable forehead to hand. Hugh Green has a very sober and valuable exegesis of the definition of leftism in the conditions of asymmetrical class warfare which presently obtain throughout Europe.

8 Responses to “The Centrists United, Will Only Occasionally Be Defeated!”

  1. Conor McCabe Says:

    A massive fucking eppy?

    Oh well. At least that’s bigger than the pathetic attempt by the SWP to appear all tough and Greece-like outside Leinster House on Tuesday.

    Fucking hard-ass leftys. More brain-cells in a bap.

  2. Donagh Says:

    I submitted a comment to this effect over on ILR yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared down the memory hole.)

    Sorry DD, can find no record of it anywhere. Maybe you thought it but didn’t type it 🙂 Its a pity, as god knows ILR needs more proper socialists commenting.

    Especially as you’re so funny…

    by throwing a massive fucking eppy

    hahaha, very good. But seriously, let us know how you think this event is significant. Sure it pissed off Pat Kenny, but suggesting that we shouldn’t cut public sector pay pisses Pat Kenny off.

  3. Garibaldy Says:

    What has happened me at the ILR is that I’ve previewed comments instead of posting it. Pain in the hole. I’m heading over there to read the comments now though.

    As for the incident itself. The Greeks pointed out in the aftermath of the 2008 riots that half-cocked incidents can strengthen the hand of the state for repression. What chance the Dáil ends up like Westminster, with protests kept away from it, and with this used as an excuse?

  4. Garibaldy Says:

    PS what’s an eppy? Some free state word for throwing a fit?

  5. DublinDilettante Says:

    Yeah, northside expression. My cosmopolitanism fails me sometimes.

    I’m pretty ambivalent about the handbags at the gates. Sure, even if they’d got in it wouldn’t have achieved anything concrete, but what does any form of protest tangibly achieve? It’s a symbolic expression of discontent at the site of the grievance. I didn’t notice any sudden surge in the popularity of NAMA when someone put a brick through the window of the Dept of Finance las year.

    Look, we all know the SWP are, in the nicest sense of the phrase, an awful bunch of chancers. But Donagh, I think the event was significant because they marshalled a decent (and it was decent in the circumstances) number of people to publicly oppose the TINA consensus supported by Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the media. A little bit of argy-bargy pushed it up the news agenda slightly. No harm done, except to the skulls of a few brave/foolhardy people.

    The optics of that are important. What TASC produced yesterday was a fine piece of work which graphically illustrates the corruption endemic in Irish capitalism. But when its stated aim is to appeal for “improved corporate governance” and its audience an academic and media establishment whose class affiliations are set in stone, one has to wonder about the viability of reforming capitalism one piechart at a time. Give me feet on the street any day.

    As I noted in my lost comment on ILR, Shane doesn’t need to worry about the SWP dominating any protest movement. They don’t have the numbers or the competence to do so. They’re far more likely to balls the entire thing up. But while they’re visibly connecting with and harnessing public anger, they deserve to be supported.

  6. Mark P Says:

    Shane’s comment is not something I have much time for. The socialist left is small, but it is, as CMK notes, the only force in Irish society which is willing to give a lead in opposing the current consensus. A consensus which in its essentials if not necessarily all of the details includes FG and Labour as much as FF and the Greens.

    If this mythical new “centre” which opposes the neo-liberal consensus actually existed it almost by definition wouldn’t be of the “centre” in the Irish political spectrum.

    As far as the bit of pushing and shoving at the Dail gate is concerned I think that quite a lot of people are placing entirely too much significance on three dozen people trying to push past ten cops to get into an empty car park.

    It suits the right wing media to talk about lunatics “storming the Dail” and oddly enough it suits the SWP to allow themselves to be portrayed as lunatics “storming the Dail” because it feeds their self image and gives them an attractive (to some) whiff of cordite. The “Athens has come to Dublin” stuff on their website is beyond silly but it does give an insight into the way their excitable little heads work.

    It’s the sort of stunt that had the potential to go badly wrong, (as Conor notes if they’d actually got into Leinster House, what was going to happen then?) but as it stands it seems that nothing very much did go wrong apart from a few people needing a couple of stitches. The bit of publicity the pushing and shoving gathered will, I would guess, encourage more people to come than it will scare off (although we’ll see one way or the other next week).

    So in concrete terms I wouldn’t be too worried about it. As far as the future is concerned I’d be a bit worried that it will encourage the SWP to continue trying to “take the initiative” or as they no doubt see it “show leadership” by pulling stunts on demonstrations without wider discussion which result in more serious consequences.

    And more generally the entire “Right to Work Campaign” is an example of the worst kind of front group building – they didn’t even bother to discuss it with their “partners” in People Before Profit before trying to present the wider left with a fait accompli. As an aside, the observant may have notices that they wouldn’t allow a Socialist Party speaker on the platform, despite the SWP/PBP/RtWC earlier agreeing to one in return for Joe Higgins speaking at their press conference.

    Finally can anyone remember what was the name of the short lived front the SWP tried this same weekly march thing with a few months ago? That one was put back in the office drawer after nobody turned up on the second week. My guess is that the second weeks showing for the new front will be a bit more impressive.

  7. irishelectionliterature Says:

    Was the SWP campaign ‘Campaign against Cuts’ or something like that ?

  8. brina Says:


    The Centrists United, Will Only Occasionally Be Defeated! | Circumlimina

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