A Note From Below To The Yes Voter.

“WE, the working poor, the unemployed, the people with the material least have a functional value is neoliberal society. We aren’t just blackmailed or threatened. We are the blackmail, we are the threat. We are Ghosts. You might see us, you might recognise us, Shit, you might even tweet us.  But we will remains Ghosts to you, the see-through collateral damage of a state that is told by its owners that it must be the economy of their desire rather than it be a society of our desire.

Like an inverse cruelty lottery, our growing numbers, our visibility, our actual existence,  is blackmail writ large. Ghosts seen but without voice as Ghosts with voices are people.  “Take the hit, vote Yes, suck up this policy”  they say, “or you will join the growing ranks”.  The professional PR teams from Merrion Row place such incendiary rhetorical devices carefully yet irregularly. To talk solely of ‘bombs’ and ‘guns to our head’ is a dangerous game in Irish politics. They know that, we know that.

Instead explicit vocal threats are wrapped up for consumption with phrases such as “the benefit of the country” or “patriotism” that melt away like ‘the body of christ’, sticking to your mouth and the back of your gullet. The swallowing is hard because you know it to be untrue, you know yourself that this emanates from mouths within opportunistic political organisations,  and is scripted by professional liars, both that have been part of the fabric of abuse and corruption since the states inception.  Our health must suffer for the collective health of Mythical Mother Ireland is seems.

Irelands new middle classes, our ‘relatively secure’ – a few paychecks away from an economic cliff themselves –  are taught to see us as a manifestation of their own fears.  They/you act like scaffold and window dressing to an empty pyramid of injustice and power-over that has no moral legitimacy in our eyes. Drape what you like on the scaffolding, but the Wizards of Oz has bolted. Long live the Wizard of Oz. We reject the legitimacy of other human beings to treat our lives as the waged slaves of the gambling rich. We reject their authority to make our futures dependent upon the protection of the institutionally corrupt. We will burn their debt before we let them burn our futures with their debt.

Your/our elected ‘leader’ even refused to come on to TV to debate and discuss financial dictates and capitalist desires inherent in this referendum. This in a time where the internet has been around for the life time of some voters! The PR teams manage this man – supposedly who put himself before us to serve us – to not talk about the referendum. They may mange their reality, but they will never manage ours.

So yes today in this Yes vote we recognized our function. Our function today is to remain materially impoverished so that the possibility of you joining us keeps you in your place. We are the humans that manifest the PD matra that inequality is necessary. We are the Ghosts of neoliberalism and representative ‘democracy’. Today you may even celebrate a Yes because it reduces your fear of becoming one of us. The gun remains at your head, but the finger was lifted off the trigger. Are we stable yet?

We give a warning based in care, solidarity and an expression simply of another humanity and another way of doing this. We are not Ghosts to each other. We will continue to dig at the foundation of this disgusting economic and political system and its immoral arithmetic. It was with our bodies that we built ghost estates only to become Ghosts ourselves. But Ghosts have memories. Ghosts know how to care for each other. Ghosts know how to love as they fight for a society that places the eradication of social injustice as its primary function. As we dig at the foundations to build something new we make sure with give encouragement to you in the middle but really, like us, outside. We carry you, whilst you carry fear. The burden is heavy. Let go of the scaffolding, Let go off your fear. Say out loud “I’m afraid of no Ghosts”, see us as humans to struggle with and beside and we will catch you.”

An unemployed labourer.


11 thoughts on “A Note From Below To The Yes Voter.

  1. I have migrated twice and came back twice and maybe I should have learned something and just stayed away because little changes. This country has such a large percentage of civil and public servants (someone should calculate the percentage and compare against a real country) who are easily threatened and who depend totally on government budgets (borrowing) and who therefore do not vote against the government. Any anti-austerity movement will therefore fail unless 60%-70% of the electorate gets off its ass to counter the civil and public service vote. We are our own worst enemies in more ways than one and we are stuck with this until we can successfully motivate ourselves.
    Austerity measures do not affect the public and civil service because they will be paid from additional borrowing. There will be grumbling for our benefit but they will get pay rises in teh end. Real business cannot operate that way because they are driven by markets and so they will fail or downsize, producing less revenue for the country to pay back these borrowings. So austerity only affects the non governments sector. That is where the Yes vote comes from.

    Been there so I know how you feel and sympathize but believe me, these assholes will see the size of the hole they have dug for themselves when they realize there will soon be insufficient non government tax payers and businesses, who pay for everything and repay everything, to ever balance the books and all they can do is keep borrowing. That is the reality except now – after their yes -they will be told how to fix it by the EU and then the heads will really start to roll.
    That is the light at the end of the tunnel for real workers – Hang in there and try to enjoy the show.


    • Disagree with the aggregation of all public sector workers as complicit.

      I like doctors, teachers, nurses, etc. They tend to be one of the groups who consistently organise against the attacks of the government.

      “Austerity measures do not affect the public and civil service because they will be paid from additional borrowing”
      Thats simply factually incorrect. Sure the top dogs get the bigger bone, but front line services have taken real hits.

      ‘So austerity only affects the non governments sector’
      Less doctors and nurses, less hospital bed affects us


  2. So… the entirity of the poorer people in this country (of which I count myself amongst their ranks – I live on rent allowence in a tiny bedsit) are revolutionary socialists now? I was once in one of these organizations for a brief time – they struck me as mostly middle-class students suffering from a bad case of middle-class guilt, their defacto leadership all too eagre to use us as cannon/protest/newspaper fodder to bring about some vague notion of a revolution they couldn’t describe in detail.

    There is no movement in this country that represents my kind without ulterior motives, unfortunately…


    • “There is no movement in this country that represents my kind without ulterior motives, unfortunately…”

      A reliance on the politics of representation is one of the biggest problems we face.


  3. As a former public servant I can tell Denis McClean that all of my former colleagues were against it. What’s more the cutbacks in public finances mean worse working conditions as well as more pain and poorer education. I detect a classic American right-wing small government argument at work here. If there are strikes against government policies they are far more likely to come from public service unions – for a variety of reasons, including that public services can’t be relocated to China, but also because public service workers ARE unionised. The answer is not to attack public service unions but to organise in the non-public sector. The decline in union membership and increasing individualism in the private sector is one of the reasons why these policies can be passed with hardly a murmur. In my view, right wing views are far more likely to come from the non-unionised majority in the private sector.


  4. Great piece. I also disagree with the comments damning of our public service and those ordinary folk who do most of the work in it to keep the streets clean, the taps running, the traffic moving, the hospital beds clean…

    The fact is that ireland is at the lower end of public service spending in the EU and below average for both EU15 and the eu27 states. See details here…http://notesonthefront.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8342f650553ef014e8941938a970d-pi

    Denis is falling into the trap the seeks to divide those whose interests are in fact the same. The false dichotomy of public Vs private sector worker is created by the very same establishment that promoted the Yes vote and the one that benefits from your migrations and all this debt. This is where the anger should be directed at not at public sector workers who are just trying to get by as best they can and are in many cases the working poor mentioned above.


  5. 2 Years on and no-one in the public service has lost a job versus 350,000 who lost their jobs in the private sector and have already left the country. The additional taxes and levies imposed in the last two years are being largely paid, without noticeable rancour, by those in public sector employment because they already got a rise, which of necessity comes from private taxes. As the recession continues, where is private business going to get rises so their workers will also be in a position to pay the increased taxes (If they so wish) being demanded by austerity or face being criminalised for non payment. We can now see the demands being made on private sector (Greyhound etc) to accept pay cuts and those I see objecting to water meters, property tax etc are largely unemployed or in private employment. I sincerely wish it could be otherwise and I do agree this is an extremely divisive issue that is being used by government to their advantage, but it will take all workers to stand up together. What we have clearly seen in the last two years is that the public sector prefer to disregard private sector hardships and use their unions (Who have been bought off) to fight their causes in isolation and as predicted. There is none and there can be no objection to the public sector getting paid for jobs well done, but there is, as we have now seen, total disparity in where jobs and pay is being lost.


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