Joe Higgins: from Daily Mail, March 25, 2009
A ferocious campaign is now in full swing denouncing the proposal for a one day national strike on Monday next by workers whose incomes are being savaged, thanks to the disastrous economic crash brought about by the rampant greed of speculative and crony capitalism.
‘Strike plan is economic suicide’, thunders the Irish Examiner while the Irish Times brands it ‘national sabotage.’ Going one better Sunday Times journalist, Frank Fitzgibbon, speaking on RTE said the proposed strike was not national sabotage but was in fact ‘economic terrorism.’
These mouthpieces for the capitalist establishment want to get on with the greatest frame up in Irish history and will tolerate no resistance from the victims. The perpetrators of the criminal profiteering in property have had some token criticism levelled in their direction but in effect they have made good their escape.
Meanwhile low and middle income workers should meekly accept that they must pay for crimes which they not only did not commit but, of which they are in fact victims. Workers in the private service must accept that the general air of crisis means that they must take wage cuts and longer hours, even when they suspect that their employers are using the panic to squeeze more profits for themselves out of the situation.
Thus the innocent victims are paying for the crimes of the perpetrators. Usually the media feigns outrage when in our courts system, a victim of crime seems to be treated less fairly than the alleged perpetrator. Very different treatment, however, for the victims of the crimes of the economic establishment.
In media circles there is now no toleration when some of us insist that we continue to lay the responsibility for this crisis of speculative and crony capitalism where it belongs. ‘We are where we are, we must look forward,’ is the handy cliché employed to avoid an embarrassing reprise of why ‘we are where we are.’
The truth is that many sections of the corporate owned media now thundering against workers objections to being fitted up for the crimes of others, were themselves actively collaborating with the real perpetrators and profited handsomely from that.
Go through any of the main newspapers from 1997 onwards and see if you can find a significant expose of the outright racketeering in the housing market by big developers, big builders and big bankers. Find among the editorials of the newspapers today denouncing the ‘economic sabotage’ of workers fighting for survival, even one editorial in the past ten years thundering against the ‘sabotage’ of the lives and working people – the hardship of monstrous mortgage repayments, the chaos to workers personal and family relationships as they were forced to spend hours travelling to work each day because they could not afford to buy a home in the cities where they were born.
The fact is that much of the corporate media was facilitating the blackmail in the housing market and making a fortune from their property supplements. Like the super profits of the developers, the millions taken by sections of the media in the property market will be paid for in mortgages for the next thirty to forty years.
Low and middle income workers do not own newspapers and local radio stations. Big corporations and wealthy capitalists do. And when their system crashes, they ruthlessly use their media to divert attention from their responsibility, especially avoiding any questioning of the profit system itself. They pressurise working people into accepting that they should ‘take the pain’ and, of course, they roundly abuse any who dare stand up and say, ‘You pay for your own crisis.’
In the one sided propaganda war now being waged against workers who simply cannot afford to bail out crony capitalism this time, strong leadership from their own organisations could stand against torrent of abuse and denigration. Unfortunately the leadership from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is weak and vacillating. Having already conceded, quite disgracefully, the principle that workers must pay for a crisis caused by others, the ICTU is preparing for next Monday’s industrial protests with an utter lack of conviction and if any pretext arises, will call it off.
The Labour Party, which was founded on the back of major industrial campaigns of workers’ resistance to injustice, has utterly betrayed the worker victims of the crisis. Lending comfort and support to the campaign of the big business mouthpieces in the corporate owned media, Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore has actively attempted to undermine the effectiveness of the action by saying that Monday’s action should be called off.
Workers should be undaunted however. It is only by standing in solidarity with each other that they can fight off the massive onslaught being prepared against their living standards and public services. A major turnout on Monday will demonstrate that solidarity.