Neoliberalism is a deceptive modern term, used to hide the reality of deregulation and corporate fascism, introduced by secret state, mentored politcians, like Margaret Thatcher in Britain. Like much of the British left, I too was fooled by the Sinn Fein's reality of Neoliberalism. My first experience of this, was when they first participated, as a party, for the Assembly elections of 1982.
In my capacity as election agent for the South Down candidate Cyril Toman and as chairperson in Newry Sinn Fein, I attended the party's first election convention in the present troubles, with approximately 30 other representatives from across the North, to decide on what would be the Party's manifesto for the election.
Being from an area with approximately 80% unemployment in Newry, which was also reflected in other republican strongholds like Derry and West Belfast, I pushed hard for unemployment, to be one of the principal issues to be addressed, on the Party's Election Manifesto. I was shocked to learn, I had hardly any support on this issue. However, I persisted on this issue and to the annoyance of many, the convention voted to adopt unemployment, as one of it's principal issues. However lo and behold, when the Manifesto was published, the agreed issue was not included.
As an Election Agent, it was too late for me to do anything about it but this will give you an insight, into their right wing reality, as opposed to their left wing public image. I eventually resigned from the party, some years later, on this and other issues, when I realized, I could not bring about the changes, I worked for within the party. Believe me, from personal experience, Sinn Fein are as right wing as the Blueshirts of Fine Gael, and will be their natural Coalition partners, after the next election in the South. Watch how they walk not how they talk, in the examples below.
Sinn Fein are content to serve as junior partners in a right wing, dominated coalition at Stormont, which have agreed to austerity, reductions in public spending, privatisation, the PFI, and tax cuts for business, as proposed by David Cameron and Fine Gael, in what was dubbed by Martin McGuinness as the "remarkable" Stormont Agreement.
This has been the Sinn Féin progression, since it agreed to the "Northern Ireland Executive" in 1999 with the Democratic Unionist Party. This corporate fascism happened, under the cover of the contemporary deception, of what is called Neoliberalism, which is anything but Liberal in the traditional sense. It is a precise duplicate, of what is currently happening in the south of Ireland, under a Fine Gael (Blueshirt) led Government, Sinn Fein are in reality, ‘Stormont Thatcherism’.
Sinn Fein surrendered Irish working class unity, in the Bad Friday Agreement, by giving Unionists a veto, over Irish unification, which is de facto acceptance, of partition and British rule. Sinn Féin are only purporting verbal resistance, to the neoliberal policies, imposed on Occupied Ireland by the Tories of Westminster and have actually incorporated, Thatcherite deregulation, into party policy.
An example of this reality, Sinn Féin's control of the education brief, has established, drastic reductions for children with special needs, enforced major school closure programmes and adopted PFI, to replace school structures, particularly damaging rural and disadvantaged areas. Sinn Féin despite EU stipulations, have cut rates of corporate tax, so that all of the money, ends up in the pockets of the rich, from the British block grant, which will see the loss of £300 million, without any job created.
Sinn Féin members of the Social Development Committee, have also unanimously approved plans, to introduce workfare. Sinn Féin have further agreed, to the privatisation of water infrastructure and the public transport network, while supporting the DUP to facilitate local government privatisation.These are clearly, an extension of Thatcherite, neoliberal, policies The paradox of Sinn Féin in the South, are pretensions of being to the left, for tactical, electoral reasons, only. Sinn Féin are in reality ,a neoliberal party, a modern term for the rebranding or sanitizing of the modern fascist corporate state.
To put all of this into context.The reality of the Bad Friday Agreement, was that it was in effect, Sunningdale Mark II by deceptive, secret, means, with the same implications, as the enforcement of the Treaty signed in secret in 1921 and enforced in the South by the Blueshirts.
Provisional Sinn Fein are both in historical terms and economic terms, the natural Coalition partners of the Blueshirts, not the Irish Left, after the next election in the South and will enforce their mentored mandate, with the same ruthlessness, as the Blueshirts formerly did in the Irish Civil War, with the help of the British. It would appear, that this strategy was adopted since Sunningdale and both McGuinness and Adams, were key components of it, since.
Greece: The Way Forward for Ireland?
February 21, 2015 "ICH" -The Greek government is in Brussels to discuss the full range of economic issues with its European partners, including budgets, debt and structural reforms. At issue is whether funds will be available to keep paying the bills, on policy terms that Greece can accept.
Two factors complicate this issue. The first is the past Memorandum, alongside a set of tight deadlines, created by the previous government in part to entrap the new one. The second is the European decision-making process, which gives great apparent weight to governments of small countries, many of whom are internally insecure. The easiest path for them is to insist on no changes; anything else amounts to self-rejection.
So far, the Greek achievement consists of stating raw truths in rooms full of self-serving illusions. This exposes contradictions, bringing on facile ripostes, easily rebutted. It also brings on threats and menacing gestures, intended to test resolve. The Greek government seems to have met that test.
It can now proceed to the next step.
The next step is to define carefully what may be accepted. As for reforms, as much as 70 percent of the previous memorandum is (and always has been) common ground. That which is not – fire-sale privatizations, destructive labor market liberalizations and the unreachable 4.5-percent target primary surplus – can be spelled out. Reasonable language to describe the process of discussion to follow may be found.
When this is done, the final decision will be up to Europe – and to Germany, above all. Will Berlin continue to squeeze, in order to pressure, and so risk bringing on a Greek collapse? If so, it will be better to know soon. But Europe may well decide, if not from pragmatism then from a larger strategic vision, that Greece cannot be allowed to fail. In that case, agreement may be reached and the revival of Greece may begin.
James K. Galbraith
James Galbraith is the author of “The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth.”