user preferences

The Lisbon Treaty Referendum in Ireland

category ireland / britain | miscellaneous | opinion / analysis author Thursday June 19, 2008 20:32author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. Report this post to the editors

Another obstacle in the path of the architects of a Europe of Capital

The NO victory in Ireland is a clear demonstration of the lack of support among the people for the European project being promoted by the Brussels technocrats and the transnational corporations grouped together in the capitalist cartel, the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT). This rejection by the country with the highest levels of approval and popularity for the EU shows that a different form of European unity is needed, a real unity of all the people. And the gap between public opinion and their "representatives" is a clear sign of the crisis in representative democracy and the need for direct democracy. [ Castellano] [Ελληνικά]


The Lisbon Treaty Referendum in Ireland

Another obstacle in the path of the architects of a Europe of Capital

Against (almost) all the predictions from the political elite, the Lisbon Treaty was rejected by referendum in Ireland. With over 50% of the electorate participating, the No vote won by a clear margin of just over 53% of votes. The result is like a bucket of cold water for the Irish and European elite. And there is no doubt that the result is cause for celebration for a majority of European citizens, who have been denied a chance to vote on the Treaty by a European Union that is becoming increasingly less democratic and more bureaucratic.

Every possible means to put pressure on the electorate to endorse the Treaty was used: media terrorism that forecast all sorts of dire consequences for the economy and society if the referendum were defeated; the saturation of radio and television with messages calling for a Yes vote in an attempt to brainwash the people. And instead of providing information that was as impartial as possible, the press opted for enthusiastic and unashamed support for the ratification. Everything was tried, everything was done in order to ensure a Yes vote. Everything except one thing - providing a convincing argument in favour of the Treaty.

Vote Yes, vote with your eyes closed...

Propaganda in favour of the Treaty started late in order to avoid debate, and never provided serious arguments in favour of its endorsement as it stuck to bland clichés, tired slogans and meaningless phrases, such as "Yes to Europe", "For more jobs, vote Yes", "Let's stay at the heart of Europe", "Good for Ireland, good for Europe", etc. Apart from seeking to instill fear into the hearts of the electorate, the Yes camp behaved appallingly, trying to fool the electorate of this country (which has some of the the highest levels of support for the EU in the whole Union), and making out that the Lisbon Treaty and the European Union are synonymous. According to them, "No" to the Treaty would mean "No" to Europe...

What is certain is that the Yes campaign was unable to provide convincing arguments because they had none: they could not show the average citizen of the Republic what benefits the Treaty would bring, or in what way it would benefit the interests of society as a whole, of social rights or of greater participation and democracy. This sort of debate was avoided at all costs by the government and by the whole political elite as they knew perfectly well that they would have lost. Thus, they placed all their bets on a vote of trust: posters showed the faces of politicians from all the main parties: Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. Next to their happy (but fake) smiles, the call to vote Yes.

Some went a little further in their defence of the vote of trust. A couple of days before the referendum, in the right-wing Irish Times newspaper, caricaturist Martin Turner published a cartoon showing two people: one was saying "I'm not buying into Lisbon as I don't understand it and have never read it...". Beside her, the other was saying "I won't be buying a car as I don't understand the internal combustion engine and have never read a manual...". The message was that it was not necessary to know the ins and outs of the Treaty, it was enough to trust the "great men who guide the destiny of the nation". They would not trouble themselves to explain how the motor worked, they just asked us to trust the mechanic. But what they forget is that politics works differently to a motor. Society is not governed by the laws of physics or chemistry. In society, there are social alternatives and the people have the right to know everything about the political processes that concern the way they live. If the Yes camp was unable to provide arguments in favour of its option (and the burden of proof was theirs), then it was natural for voters not to trust "the mechanic".

The entire spectrum of official/parliamentary politics (except for the Sinn Féin republican party and several independents) supported ratification of the Lisbon Treaty But nevertheless, the people voted against the opinion of 94% of their elected representatives - a clear rejection by Irish people of this country's traditional politics and a distancing of themselves from it. At the same time they distanced themselves from the official media, which strongly supported the Yes campaign. Indeed, seeing party leaders like John Gormley (Green Party), Eamon Gilmore (Labour), Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fáil, ex-prime minister who was forced to resign recently for corruption) and Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) hand-in-hand with the insufferable Progressive Democrats (ultra-neoliberals), all calling for a Yes vote, they have every right in having suspicions about what is going on...

The No vote: many different reasons, but the right instinct

But it would be quite wrong to suppose that the triumph of the No vote is explained only by the campaigns waged by a range of groups and organizations from right to left, just as it would be wrong to deny their importance as the government is trying to do. These groups, coming from different and often contradictory perspectives, actually provided more convincing arguments than their adversaries. The No was not simply a form of punishment as the disheartened Lisbon supporters would have us believe. The No vote came about for various reasons, as many as the various reasons given during the No campaigns. One thing is certain: the so-called "Europhobe" vote in Ireland is insignificant. In general the people's instinct was correct in rejecting bureaucratic centralization in Brussels and the project of the elites, cooked up with the leftovers from the European Constitution that was rejected a few years ago in popular referendums in France and the Netherlands. Not a few people asked themselves why such an important document was being put to referendum only in Ireland...

If the people's instinct was right in rejecting the democratic deficit represented by the Lisbon Treaty, the arrogant and deeply hostile reaction from the European authorities to this manifestation of sovreignty by the Irish has only served to confirm that Ireland was right to say No. Tantrums on the continent have been the order of the day: from Sarkozy, who continues to ignore the "Irish incident" and is proceeding as if nothing had happened, to the German minister who hinted at the possible exclusion of Ireland. These histrionics should be taken for what they are and there is no need to give them any more importance than that. They do, however, bear witness to the "value" that the European political establishment places on the simplest of democratic rights: "if the people do not vote for what we want, then we just ignore them (at best) or punish them (at worst)".

One thing about which there can be no doubt whatsoever is that European and Irish politicans will have neither the moral stature to accept the result nor the humility to respect the choice that has been made, nor even the intelligence to understand its significance: that the process to build a Europe of Capital which has been accelerating since the days of the Maastricht Treaty, lacks all legitimacy. Anyone who doubts this can just wait to see if they will have the nerve to hold a referendum on this in the other countries of the Union...

From instinct to an alternative

The voice of the people of Ireland should provide a rallying point for European social movements to think again about the sort of Europe we want, whether it be a Europe artificially imposed from above, from Brussels, or one that is born organically from every corner of Europe, with real participation at all levels. If we want a Europe at the service of a few big capitalists or if we want a Europe that builds its economy in a sustainable way, at the service of its people, whose economic ties with the rest of the world must also be based on solidarity.

We know that this "incident" will not stop the architects of the Europe of Capital: there are too many interests at stake. We know that the opinion of a few hundred thousand people on a remote island in the North Atlantic will not change the opinions of Barroso, or Mandelson or the powerful business lobby, the ERT. If Shell can do it, we can be sure the EU will, too. In fact, there is already talk of a new referendum, which shows the extent to which they scorn our opinion. But it should be clear that it is not in Ireland where a referendum is needed - it is in the rest of Europe that a referendum needs to be held, in every country of the EU. But this is something they will not want to do, preferring instead to push ahead with their project. And of course they will be able to do this, though it will no longer be in our name. And this became abundantly clear on 12th June in the peaceful little country of Ireland.

Thanking about the sort of Europe we want has become an urgent necessity: with or without Lisbon, the EU is anti-democratic. It is at the beck and call of the capitalist elites and is creating an imperial project that is expressed in a series of free-trade agreements with the third world, such as the Latin American Association Agreement, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean - something else we are never consulted on, of course. Thinking about this project, thinking about alternatives, is vitally important if we do not want to go on simply having to react to the manoeuvres of the European elite. If we do not take this step, today's small victories will become tomorrow's disastrous defeats, at the hands of an enemy who never drops his guard.

José Antonio Gutiérrez D.

16 June 2008

Translation by Nestor McNab

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Lisbon treaty refrendum     Michael,    Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:11 


This page has not been translated into Română yet.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Front page

(Bielorrusia) ¡Libertad inmediata a nuestro compañero Mikola Dziadok!

DAF’ın Referandum Üzerine Birinci Bildirisi:

Cajamarca, Tolima: consulta popular y disputa por el territorio

Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry

Aodhan Ó Ríordáin: Playing The Big Man in America

Nós anarquistas saudamos o 8 de março: dia internacional de luta e resistência das mulheres!

Özgürlüğümüz Mücadelemizdedir

IWD 2017: Celebrating a new revolution

Solidarité avec Théo et toutes les victimes des violences policières ! Non à la loi « Sécurité Publique » !

Solidaridad y Defensa de las Comunidades Frente al Avance del Paramilitarismo en el Cauca

A Conservative Threat Offers New Opportunities for Working Class Feminism

De las colectivizaciones al 15M: 80 años de lucha por la autogestión en España

False hope, broken promises: Obama’s belligerent legacy

Primer encuentro feminista Solidaridad – Federación Comunista Libertaria

Devrimci Anarşist Tutsak Umut Fırat Süvarioğulları Açlık Grevinin 39 Gününde

The Fall of Aleppo

Italia - Ricostruire opposizione sociale organizzata dal basso. Costruire un progetto collettivo per l’alternativa libertaria.

Recordando a César Roa, luchador de la caña

Prison Sentence to Managing Editor of Anarchist Meydan Newspaper in Turkey

Liberación de la Uma Kiwe, autonomía y territorio: una mirada libertaria para la comprensión de la lucha nasa

Misunderstanding syndicalism

American Anarchist and Wobbly killed by Turkey while fighting ISIS in Rojava

Devlet Tecavüzdür

Attaque fasciste sur la Croix Rousse et contre la librairie libertaire la Plume Noire

Ireland / Britain | Miscellaneous | en

Wed 26 Apr, 13:54

browse text browse image

iar5frontcover.jpg imageIrish Anarchist Review 5 - Summer 2012 16:46 Fri 15 Jun by Workers Solidarity Movement 0 comments

Welcome to Irish Anarchist Review issue 5, produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement. In this magazine we look to explore theories, thoughts and ideas about political struggle. We set out to analyse where we are aiming for as a revolutionary movement and explore how we might get there. The purpose of ‘Irish Anarchist Review’ is to act as forum for a sharing of ideas about revolutionary struggle. Building a successful revolution demands genuine discussion, debate and sharing of ideas. We hope that the articles in here will help to stimulate discussion and provoke debate and perhaps even motivate some of our readers to respond with articles of your own.

interviewedriot.jpg imageEyewitness to the London riots - it's all about class 16:52 Mon 15 Aug by Alex 0 comments

Workers Solidarity interviewed Hackney local and education worker, Alex Carver, about the roots of the London riots. Alex is a long standing activist in the IWW union, housing struggles in the East End, and the big left events since the start of the recession, most recently the M26 Militant Workers Block and the J30 Strike project. He was a direct witness to the rioting on Monday. Here he tells Workers Solidarity why he thinks that the riots are best understood by loooking at class rather than race.

third_118481s.jpg imageReport from the frontlines of the Ardoyne anti-Orange Order riot 19:19 Fri 15 Jul by Jack White 0 comments

Rioting erupted in ‘nationalist areas’ across the North on Tuesday after the annual Orange Order parades. The worst of the trouble was in Ardoyne in North Belfast which left 16 police officers injured and with over 60 lethal plastic bullets fired leaving many people injured. WSM member 'John Creagh' reports from the Ardoyne on the disturbances and what they tell us.

textWSM twitter live during Ardoyne Orange Order July 12th parade 08:57 Tue 12 Jul by Jack White 0 comments

It is this time of year again when the spectre of sectarianism and division comes to the fore in the north of Ireland. It is a time when communities, kerbstones and poles are marked and carved into territory. There are those who will be living in fear and silenced from speaking out while the rest of us are told to turn the other check in the interests of peace and stability. It is unfortunate, if perhaps somewhat inevitable, that the now annual battles around the ‘marching season’ fall along religious lines. The Orange parades are being used to test the supposed 'neutrality' of the northern regime and the PSNI in particular. The losing side in this dangerous game however is likely to be the working class, as the confrontations and the sectarian attacks that occur around the Orange marches drive people further into ‘their own’ communities.

textN. Ireland: Politicians continue to ‘sponge’ off the system 21:54 Thu 23 Apr by Sean Matthews 0 comments

If truth be told, should we be surprised by revelations in recent weeks concerning the expenses of ‘our’ politicians? imagevideoPutting People First – Militantly 20:06 Wed 15 Apr by David O'Connell 1 comments

By Keith Hallack, published on April 4th, 2009

At our national conference L&S decided to endorse the Militant Workers Block on the basis of its callout (see appendix). We were happy that the loose group of London libertarians the callout came from, and that some of us are part of, hand met our request to make the language broad enough to include all people in favour of workers’ direct action against the crisis – specifically the IWW. Once the rest of our union had also endorsed the event we set about making sure we had the best possible impact on the day itself.

ws106covernortherntn.jpg imageThat's Capitalism! 21:52 Tue 02 Dec by WS 0 comments

The toys of the rich, Beacon Hospitals group, King Mawati III, Michael Fingleton, confidence in public health, Bank benefits

1.jpg imageSolidarity from Ireland with the popular and indigenous struggle in Colombia!!! 05:58 Wed 22 Oct by Grupo Raíces 0 comments

Around 30 people met last Thursday 16th of October at the very heart of Dublin, the GPO, to stage a demo in solidarity with the Colombian popular and indigenous organisations in struggle for various demands, who have been met with full force by the repressive and dictatorial regime of Álvaro Uribe Vélez.

textLaunch of Campaign for a Decent Public Health Service 22:58 Thu 14 Feb by Alan M. 0 comments

Roughly 300 people turned up to the launch of the 'Campaign for a Decent Public Health Service' on the evening of the 11th February in Liberty Hall. The public meeting was organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and the campaign hopes to bring together health workers and their trade unions, patient groups, hospital campaigners, the trade union movement in general and the general public to demand a civilised health service.

textKilkenny Woman Sentenced to Death 22:44 Mon 03 Dec by Workers Solidarity 0 comments

In Ireland we like to think that we’ve long ago abolished the death penalty; that we’ve progressed beyond such primitive practices, that we’re too civilized for that. But Irish people are still being sentenced to death, and not even for crimes they have committed but for the crimes of our murderous health system.

more >>

imageStormont, Petitions of Concern and Marriage Equality Nov 04 by Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird 0 comments

The issue of Marriage Equality is to be debated for the fifth time in Stormont today (Nov 2nd). Yet again, however, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) has launched a Petition of Concern to ensure that should the motion be successful its legal passing will be blocked.

imageEven if you wrapped the DUP in a Rainbow Flag they would still be the most hateful people to exist Nov 04 by Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird 0 comments

For the first time in the history of the Northern Irish state a majority of MLAs (members of the Parliament in the North of Ireland) have voted in favour of Marriage Equality. The motion, however, has fallen due to the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) launching a Petition of Concern which blocks any passing of the motion to law.

imageThe most successful G8 in Northern Ireland ever? Jun 21 by Sean Matthews 0 comments

At the post G8 press conference, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggot claimed the G8 summit in Enniskillen was the "most peaceful and stable" in its history. The G8 gangsters may have left dazzled and wined by our local political class but beneath the media spin and smokescreen lies the ugly reality of a new Northern Ireland of one rule for the rich and powerful while the rest of us must accept our place in the ladder, or face the consequences. We only need to look no further than the selective internment of Marion Price and others.

imageOppose the G8: Dealers of Austerity May 28 by Sean Matthews 0 comments

The media charm offensive has began as our local corrupt political class roll out the the red carpet to the notorious gang of eight, dealers of austerity, state terror and imperialism. The beautiful, tranquil lakes of Fermanagh will be turned into a "ring of steel" with security fencing extending for miles, protected by an army of professional thugs and watchtowers to keep the rest of us plebs at bay.

textBelfast flag riots: Class Unity not Sectarian Diversions Dec 22 by WSM 1 comments

nce again violence has flared across Belfast and other parts of the north as protests continue around the flags issue. The latest disturbances come as Stormont Assembly leaders, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness meet to discuss another wave of street protests, and their concerns about the damaging effect it is having on the economy leading up to the busiest shopping period of the calendar. But as each issued a separate statement calling for protests to come to an end, loyalist gangs flexed their muscles, blocking off streets and hijacking cars.

more >>
Sorry, no press releases matched your search, maybe try again with different settings.
© 2005-2017 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]