The starkest perhaps is that the local election area covering the north inner city of Dublin had, up to May 22, become the place of residence for 1,156 Ukrainian arrivals.
Presumably a lot of that has to do with the location of the supposedly emergency short-term accommodation that has to be provided, given that the pledges made by individuals to take people in have mostly amounted to a bottle of smoke. Very few Ukrainians are going to be staying for any length of time in Irish households.
That idea was, in any event, a completely impractical measure fuelled on the one hand by a well-meaning desire to help people in need; and on the other by a state – fulsomely cheered by most of the media – which made all sorts of unrealistic promises with regard to how the 200,000 people initially supposed to come to Ireland might actually be looked after.
The fact that so many Ukrainians are now resident in the north inner city of Dublin demonstrates that, as with so many other issues, the government seems to think the easier option is to place people in an area that already has some of the worst social problems in the entire country. Unemployment, crime, poor housing, drug abuse, and other indicators of social anomie and malaise are all way higher in this part of Dublin than in almost every other part of Ireland.
Many of those problems are endemic. There are families who have been social welfare dependent for generations, just as there are families who have been involved in crime, petty and otherwise, over long periods. It is a vicious circle and one that is difficult to break, and that is not helped by the further collapse of family and community. It does not help matters in areas like the north inner city in Dublin that a high proportion of the immigrants who live there are mostly dependent on state provisions. It hardly takes a genius then to come to the conclusion that adding to all of that is unlikely to have a good outcome.
There may well be logistical reasons why the relatively affluent Local Election District of Clontarf which largely adjoins the north inner city had taken in just 129 Ukrainian refugees; or why the corresponding numbers for Killiney and Rathfarnham and Templeogue are even less at 25 and 42, but the impression is that well-organised and politically well-represented parts of Dublin are quite efficient at not bringing any inconvenience upon themselves
Which is of course their prerogative. Then again, the Dublin middle-class enthusiasm for diversity and multiculturalism seldom extends to having their own schools, housing lists and Garda stations having to deal with the downside of it all. The same applies of course to towns and cities around the country where existing problems similar to those of parts of Dublin like the north inner city are only going to be exacerbated by another imbalanced policy.
We have been given no indication of how many more Ukrainians are expected to come to Ireland. The original estimate was 200,000 and there have been references to a further 150,000 but of course nobody actually knows. Nor is there any strategy, it would seem, to take into account the simultaneous marked increase in the number of other people coming from other countries to claim asylum here. As we have pointed out, most of those applicants, according to the statistics, are from countries not considered to be unsafe.
Indeed, just two weeks ago, Ukrainian refugees had to be moved out of the Address hotel in the north inner city to make room for some of those claiming asylum.
The official number released by the CSO for Ukrainians who were refugees here on May 22 was based on the issuing of 33,151 new PPS numbers by the Department of Social Protection to those from Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. That provides some indication of the scale of the numbers, as the total of new PPSNs issues in 2021 was 174,525.
That means that if the projected numbers do arrive here that more PPS numbers will be issued to Ukrainians alone this year than the total number of PPS numbers in one year since 2008. That is a huge added cost demand on public provisions. It is further put into perspective by the fact that there were just 70,822 new PPS numbers issued to people of Irish nationality born in Ireland in 2021.
In just one year in the past ten years (2012) has the number of PPSNs issued to Irish people being greater than the number issued to non-nationals. We do of course live in a world where we cannot live in splendid isolation. However, it is perhaps time to take a long cold look at where all of this is going, especially given that balancing all of the demands is not going to be possible even in the short term.
Firstly, all refugees no matter where their origins should be made welcome in Ireland or, for that matter, any other country considering itself civilised. Secondly, and very importantly, the more I look at this and, as Matt said, " to place people in an area which already has some of the worst social problems" is possibly behind the crocodile tears purposely manufactured to create a reaction, which judging the mood growing on the streets could well happen. I wrote in TPQ some weeks ago that a negative reaction led by the fascist right will gather momentum. I hope to fuck I am wrong.ReplyDelete
Another party political broadcast on behalf of the Irish Freedom Party from Mr Treacy.ReplyDelete
Matt, do you believe that refugees are welcome in Ireland or not?ReplyDelete
It appears to me Matt Treacy is pretending to be concerned about inner city deprevation while, not very subtlely casting an accusing glance at refugees. As usual the right wing blame or imply blame on the innocent parties, in this case refugees, creating straw men while never casting the same eye of blame at the capitalist economic system of haves and the vast majority have nots.ReplyDelete
Caoimhin, when I read the piece it struck me as not accusing the refugees but accusing the government. The right is opposed to refugees but unfortunately for the Left (and I think you have previously warned on the dangers of this) the right are asking the class themed questions which really the Left should be raising. It is not one about the presence of refugees but the state strategy for accommodating them and ensuring that they get the full rights of citizenry in this society. The Left tirelessly and properly point out how the citizens already in many deprived communities are being seriously under-serviced. And the government strategy for dealing with refugees adds to that problem. A Gript writer once asked why there is no direct provision centre in Dalkey - it is a wholly legitimate question even if we might suspect the motive. The right answer of course is to get rid of the refugees and have no direct provision centres. The Left answer is to abolish direct provision centres without impinging on the care afforded to refugees but if they are to remain for now, then create more in places like Dalkey which has the resources to better assist refugees. To me it is a fundamental class question, something you seem to have been ahead of the posse on.Delete
That is correct Anthony, fundamentally it is a class question. For example if, sake of argument, an Irainian Billionaire refugee landed here, or anywhere else in the so-called west they would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. If, on the other hand, a poor person on the brink of severe hunger arrived, that person would probably be rejected by the same gang championing the arrival of the billionaire.ReplyDelete
It is true the centre to far right are trying to steal the lefts clothing and, due to well meant but naive stratergies, may succeed. Did Hitler not do that in Germany? The party styling itsef the NSDAP ( National Socialist German Workers Party) claimed to be the champions of the workers a party backed by big business like Krupps etc. Then this dame misleadingly termed "German Workers Party" banned trade unions, outlawed strikes or any other form of industrial action.
What Matt Treacy, I suspect, is trying to steal the lefts clothing. Barry asked a simple question, " Matt, do you believe refugees are welcome in Ireland or not?" No answer to this simple question has been received to my knowledge. Maybe he is pointing out the deprevation in the North Inner City which is grand, but aim the finger of blame for that deprevation in the right direction and not, either purposely or, and I hope otherwise, at innocent refugees who, through no fault of their own, are in limbo. By refugees I do not mean only Ukrainian dispossesed people.
I did point out earlier the 26 county administration have not costed or staffed either what passes for a health service or any other amenities needed to look after people. On a final note, cara, I noted today some Ukrainians are returning home, how much truth in that is anybodys guess. If it is triue, I hope they have not been intimidated by far right elements.
I think the same question needs to be asked if 1000 Irish people with passports suddenly decide to return to Ireland - can the infrastructure in a certain community support them and what is the government going to do to make infrastructure fit for purpose? As a class issue determined by capital's allocation of resources, it has to be indifferent to the nationality of the people arriving in the host community.ReplyDelete
Capitalism is, and always has been, divisive. It needs divisions to maintain its own greedy survival. The last thing it wants or indeed could cope with, is a unified working class. It may pretend to be multiculturarl and non racist but dont you believe it. The system needs these divisions in their pocket in order to maintain capitalist rule. In times of crisis, and this is a long complex subject, capitalism will turn to fascism to continue its existence and counter communism. As a Marxist myself I am accutely aware that the two ideoligies cannot co-exist indefinately. Thatcher recognised that, from the other side, which why she, and her private fascist ideology, brought down pluralism, part of the post war political consensus, as the model form of industrial relations in Britain. Create a system, clandestinely sometimes, overtly at others, which divides people on the grounds of race and, perhaps less obviously, ethnicity. Alas, for the time being, it works. But not for ever. Even elements in the trade union movement leadership go along with this, I site NACODS in 1984. The leadership went against the memberships democratic wishes and called off the balloted decision to strike. This created a division in the coal industry and ultimately gave Thatcher what she wanted. Hitherto she was craping herself but divide and rule worked, with a little help from white livered TUC leaders.ReplyDelete
Governments in a modern capitalist system are not interested in making "infrastructure fit for purpose" if they were, certainly in Ireland, we would have a health service worthy of the name. In Britain various governments have been winding down the NHS for years, since the sixties to be precise, and the people are allowing it to happen before their very eyes. After all, if all else fails, the people, or many of them, will blame immigrants and refugees, and governments know it. People, alas for now, will not blame the capitalist system, they will blame the innocents.
I think all systems in government rely on dividing the opposition to stay in place. I have to echo Marx's own words when he said "I am not a Marxist." One of his many beneficial insights. I find it difficult to see the world through anything other than a Marxian lens that focuses on political economy. It seems to describe our world better than the rest. Yet its prescriptive ability seems seriously flawed. Once the Czarist Leninists took the helm and inverted Marx's prescription with their All Power to the Cronies project, the socialist seeds were never going to blossom into the promise.Delete
Capital does require an infrastructure fit for purpose - the question is what or whose purpose? It has managed quite successfully in the West to legitimise itself where the populace shows little inclination to endorse anything other than managing the current system. Bad as it is, it appears preferable to the camp ideologies. Although as you point out the camp ideology of the right is always poised to move if the system faces collapse.
The Soviet model was certainly a bastardisation of socialism, and that may be an understatement, Anthony. Can capitalism be fit for purpose for all? Can it provide goods and services for the population while, at the same time, the top five per cent creams off most of the welth? The private ownership of the means of production, would the capitalists relinquish control because a majority of people, through plebicite, want them to? Like hell they would. Is nationalisation the same as workers ownership and control? No, it is not, though better than private ownership, providing pensions and sick scemes etc, without workers control and planning it does not come up to the mark!ReplyDelete
It is true, Marx never described himself as a "Marxist", he couldn't, he wrote the programme. It was/is for others to make a description.
no system is fit for purpose for all. If it were there would be little need for politics. A major strategic question for the Left is how to protect the revolution from the revolutionaries. Orwell nailed them - nine times out of ten they are social climbers with bombs. Capital will not relinquish its power but why would the revolutionaries relinquish theirs? To think that they would is to ignore the materialism of Marxism and substitute it with some sort of idealism.Delete
That was not the reason Marx declined to describe himself as a Marxist - it was much more pointed than that.
I was simplifying it Anthony, as the subject would become another article in length. A simple, crude, but not inacurate definition of politics is a means of deciding "who gets what, how and when", Coxall and Robbins, Contemporary British Politics, and the description is applicable in all countries. Under capitalism, apart from those who support it, we all know the answer to who the major benefactors are. How? Via exploitation of working-class "labour power". When? On a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. The employers are the who, profits created by "labour power" and the what part of this definition is the lions share of wealth created by others.ReplyDelete
"No system is fit for purpose for all" it is not suppossed to be. Socialism is the only system fit for the working-class needs, not those of capitalism and again it is not suppossed to be. The capitalist economic and political system is designed by, and for, the minority class, the exploiters. It relies greatly on divide and rule of the proletariat.ReplyDelete
The main issues are, how to bring about socialism and a fully democratised society, especially in the workplace. How to install a command economy, and take over the means of production? Are any suppossed revolutionary parties fit for this purpose? I'll let others draw their own conclusions on that one.
There are those who still believe parliamentary elections can bring about such change, they won't or more apptly can't, which is a pitty. Harold Wilson tried back in sixty four and soon discovered he was only the Prime Minister of Britain! Todays Labour Party do not even go through the pretence of parliamentay socialsm. In Ireland Sinn Feins policy on health is encouraging, but will they deliver? Don't hold your breath but no other party even goes through these motions. Time will tell.
According to the socialists but the working class seem not to endorse that sentiment. Socialism is not some number plate to be stuck on the back of something called the working class. Some of the Marxist debates and contributions from Nicos Poulantzas, Erik Olin Wright, Ellen Meiskens Wood indicate the difficulty tying down the concept of class. Then a project like socialism is not self evidently suitable for the working class. It has to be be fought for to enhance its suitability. The USSR has a lot to answer for in discrediting the concept in the West.ReplyDelete