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A Manifesto for Ireland: making the case for sovereignty
Sovereign Economics: building a resilient national economy
I posted the two articles above on my Irish facebook wall and got quite a bit of response, all but one positive, with ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and comments. I followed up on all those, and invited all those people to be friends. Quite a few of them accepted. Every new friend is connected to lots of friends, and whatever they share goes on all their friends’ newsfeeds. I’m beginning to understand about twitter dynamics. Exponential possibilities. The articles are also going out on Irish websites, as you can see from the URLs.
Whenever I can come up with a posting that inspires sharing, the facebook network grows a bit, selectively, like roots toward nourishment: those who have ears to hear. Meanwhile, I respond to people’s comments, and there are now several ongoing comment-conversations. It’s all much more dynamic than what we can do here, though with a much smaller number of people involved. People’s concerns lead to new ways of expressing evolving ideas, and to new postings. Like the one below. You folks are of course familiar with that idea development cycle.
We are on a campaign to mobilize Ireland, my friends from Cork and I. We want to get a conversation going around Ireland, and we’re hosting an activist forum, hoping to gather effective support for the campaign. My facebook work is part of our outreach effort, to identify people to invite to the forum. At the same time I’m attempting to get the same conversation started online that we’re hoping to have at the forum and later more widely. Facebook is providing a market test of our overall concept, leading to pre-market-release product refinements 🙂
When we get a quorum of potential participants, we’ll begin a more focused conversation on an unmoderated email list I’ve set up. The forum then becomes part of a conversation, a face-to-face intensive, amidst an ongoing email dialog. The forum will be facilitated by an experienced Art of Hosting practitioner, and we are hoping to emerge with a shared vision and a commitment to collaborative action.
In the article below I express my sentiments, and my reasoning, as to why I feel the Irish people are ready for such a conversation. The conditions are ripe, as they say, for a radical movement of the right kind. One never knows how these things will turn out. The forum could be a flop for many reasons. Or maybe people just can’t be mobilized, or not in this way. But so far everything that’s happening ‘feels right’. Things seem to be coming together when they need to.
If Ireland were to disentangle itself from Europe, the Euro, and the debts, and make a go of it economically, it is easy to imagine how the Greeks and Spanish might respond to that, and so on around the globe. Goodbye New Word Order.
a happy thought for the day,
Can we the people save Ireland?
We need real change and we all know it. Everyone in Ireland, the 99% that is, is being hurt by the financial crisis. Everyone knows the government is useless in solving it, and everyone considers it wrong that we’re facing an endless austerity future, in order to refund the gambling losses of wealthy bondholders. Everyone yearns in their heart for some kind of restart, some way to leave this mess behind us, and get Ireland going in a sensible direction.
In crisis there is opportunity. The opportunity is there for the whole Irish population to unite around this crisis, to come together with a common cause, as an all-inclusive grassroots movement. There is a people’s version of Naomi Klein’s ‘Shock Doctrine’: in a time of crisis we the people can accomplish what we could not accomplish in ordinary times.
Ireland should not be in the mess it’s in. It made no sense to guarantee bondholder losses, even if we could afford the guarantees. But we never could afford the guarantees, and now we’re stuck in a spiral of ever-increasing, never-repayable debt. Rather than a sovereign people, we are now tenants, living in an estate that is in hock to the bondholders. The IMF loans us, at interest, just enough to subsist on, while the bondholders are proceeding to liquidate our national assets and take home the proceeds.
Many nations have found themselves in this same situation, where there was simply no way to escape from the quagmire of debt. There is only one sensible course of action any nation can take when stuck deep in the quagmire, and that is to default on the debts and rebuild the economy with a clean slate. Argentina did it, Russia did it, and others have done it. They are now back on their feet economically, and that’s the only way they could have achieved that.
There is another reason why defaulting on the debts makes sense for Ireland. Since these debts were never really ours to begin with, they come under the category of ‘odious debts’. We the people of Ireland are not responsible for debt obligations incurred by politicians who were not acting in our best interests – and who got nothing in return for the obligations! It was the USA that first defined the principle of odious debts, when it took Cuba away from Spain. Washington declared that Cuba’s debts to Spain were not legitimate, were ‘odious’, and defaulted on them. Precedent, as well as justice, is on our side. And from a contracts point of view, a contract where one party gets no benefit is generally considered unenforceable.
The political cabal in Dublin, the Fianna-Fáil-Gael-Labor power-broker club, is absolutely-and-forever committed to tying our economic boat to the floundering Eurozone Titanic. And they are determined to be the ‘good boys’ of Europe, by being the quickest to bow down to the dictates of their Brussels and IMF masters – at our expense. They will never, ever consider doing what needs to be done to save Ireland. Only we the people, united in our determination to preserve our nation for future generations, can save Ireland.
If we can be clear about what we want for Ireland’s future, and if we can speak with one voice as a people’s movement, we can elect our own grassroots slate of candidates to the Dáil, and get on with the business of building that future. We can get rid of the cabal in Dublin, but only after we’ve come together as a movement, as a people, and figured out what kind of future we want.
We came together as a people in order to win our sovereignty from British rule, and we can come together again to take our sovereignty back from Brussels and the bondholders. In both cases we have been tenants in our own land, governed from abroad. Under British occupation, we were forced to employ military means; this time around a peaceful movement is all we need. We owe this to the heroes who won our independence. The baton of history has been passed from them to us; let us grasp it and run, and do them proud.
With a clean debt slate, a sovereign Ireland would be in a very good position economically. We can easily feed our population, with enough excess production to support a strong food export sector. That, plus whatever else we can produce for export, can provide us with the foreign credit we need for essential imports. We can be largely self-sufficient, with our low population, our mineral resources, and our unusually favorable conditions for renewable energy production. Our winds and our tides can go a long ways to providing our energy needs, and some of our land could be used to produce biofuels, to minimize the need for petrol imports. We do not need to go over the cliff with the rest of the global economy. We are not a land of lemmings.
From that brief economic sketch, it is clear that the fundamentals are favorable for Ireland, if it pursues the path of sovereignty. It won’t always be easy going, but nothing could be worse than being debt-slave tenants in a land hocked to foreign bond holders. My economic sketch was very brief however, a feasibility review. Before we vote the cabal out of power, we need to have a more detailed understanding of how we want to reconfigure our economy, and how we’ll get through the first few years without too much pain. We need to chart our course, before we take over the helm. There be shoals in these here waters.
We are a land of skilled and creative people. We are architects, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, farmers, mechanics, builders, technicians, and much more. No one knows better than us how to employ our resources and talents to create a resilient, buzzing economy. We can chart a sound course, if we work together and put our minds to it.
And such a project, a grassroots-based conversation about how we can build a resilient national economy, can be exactly the thing that could bring us together as a people. It could bring us all onto the same page, and enable us to speak and act with one voice – the voice of the people. We could then pick from among us those who best understand our vision for Ireland, and send them off to the Dáil. Dublin would be working with us for a change, instead of against us, as together we steer the helm of state toward a promising future.
Richard K. Moore
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