Paul Murphy TD (sitting second right) during protests in Jobstown on Saturday
The Tallaght protests.
Joan Burton was not ‘Trapped’, ‘Under Siege’, ‘Held Against Her Will’ or ‘Kidnapped’. This was an old fashioned, down and dirty, power struggle between politicians fighting over the same territory. The true factual position is that one elected TD blocked a road on another elected TD.
This is no slide into fascism, no rise of a sinister fringe. This is cynical main stream politics hijacking a largely non political, classless popular people’s movement against the daylight robbery of their water.
If Joan wanted out of the situation she put herself in, Gardai would have obliged as they have done on numerous other occasions to enforce the instillation of water meters. The only thing ‘holding’ Joan Burton was her own fear of bad press if the Gardai beat a path through peaceful protesters to facilitate her exit. It is ridiculous to seriously claim that Gardai are incapable of breaking up 100 protesters.
“But Joan was hit by a water balloon, maybe even an egg, that’s violent protest” we are lectured. Food as protest tool has a long history, the first recorded food protest took place in 63 A.D. 18th-century texts recorded an act of egg-throwing to persecute Methodists on the Isle of Man.On the campaign trail for governor of California, in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was hit with an egg. (He brushed it off like a boss.) In 2011, Afghan demonstrators threw eggs at the Iranian consulate to protest a blockade of fuel tanks that caused prices to skyrocket. Dutch King Willem-Alexander was on the receiving end of some very angry tomatoes in Moscow. A New York Times article from 1883 discusses John Ritchie, an actor who was “demoralized by tomatoes” after an underwhelming performance.
In August 2013 French farmers took to the streets, breaking 100,000 oeufs a day to protest low prices set in place by the European Union. The throwing of food (even water balloons) is a time honoured act of non-violent protest. It’s objective is the same as circus performers throwing custard pies, to make one look foolish like a clown.
Indiscriminate use of pepper spray against women and children is not an act on non-violence. It is an act of aggression. It’s Labour’s way or pepper spray enforced on a community where Labour’s way means children going to school hungry, jobsbridge slavery and rising poverty for the working poor who see their standard of living reducing month on month despite their hardworking efforts. Working families in Jobstown face the same struggle as working families in areas perceived to be more affluent. They are all running flat out and still going backwards.
If you find yourself thinking “Your protest offends me more than your children going to school hungry does” or if you’re more outraged at a protest than structural violence inflicted by austerity, maybe you should lay down the MSM newspaper that’s flogging these lies to you.
During the riots here in Stockholm last year, more people were injured in the rush to condemn the violence than were ever in danger from the riots themselves.
Such condemnation serves nothing but the ego of the politician or journalist already well-served by the democracy they claim to be upholding – the one that depends on the votes and the purchases of working-class people, and then abandons them as soon as power is secured.
The kind of people who live in places like Jobstown, Neilstown, Coolock, Ballymun and Darndale. The kind of people who voted for Joan Burton – who sat in that car – and then saw her completely betray the mandate they had given her.
If you want a real story about the collapse of democracy, it was sitting in the car, not rocking it or shouting at it.
That story is how an unelected four-person “economic management council” has, with the support and full active participation of Labour, set aside Ireland’s parliamentary democracy until further notice.
No, the only thing that ran riot in Dublin yesterday was the middle-class sensibilities of journalists and politicians confronted by the dawning realisation that it is too late, and the proles have had enough.
For the hacks, there is no point back-pedalling now.
So do not start with your own answers and then tailor the facts to fit, as currently seems to be best practice at the Irish Water Meter and on Water Meter FM.
Instead, put aside your pointless pontificating, go back to your basic journalistic training and ask the five Ws and one H that we all learned on our first day in class.
And of all those questions you should be asking, right now “why?” is the most important.
And from what I’ve seen in this morning’s papers and online, not one of you has asked it yet.