Karl Marx once observed that by means of Bourgeois Democracy the ruling class establishes an executive committee drawn from its own ranks that ruled in the interest of private property. During “normal” times the flotsam and jetsam of politics passes by without provoking much interest, but from time to time; particularly in times of acute economic and political crisis, the class nature of society is made absolutely clear. The next few weeks in the Oireachtas will reflect the crisis and the bourgeois response to it.

The resignation of two Fianna Fáil TDs from the party whip and the trickle of resignations of Sinn Féin councillors over the past period are both indications of the underlying issues and factors in Irish politics at the present time. Although the two parties face very different scenarios the uniting factor is the deep crisis in the Irish economy and the political situation that flows from it. The mass organisations of the working class, the trade unions and the Labour Party are also under strain, workers are looking for a way out of the current impasse

The view that the North had escaped the troubles and that there was a future based on a booming economy has been fast turned into its opposite over the last few months. Riots in nationalist areas following the Real/Continuity IRA attacks on the police and British army as well as increased violence surrounding this year’s orange marches have displayed an increase in social and political tensions. These events were not created in a vacuum and mirror the crisis in the economy. It was revealed this week that unemployment reached 51 000 in July. (Belfast Telegraph 12/8/09)

The Thomas Cook workers who occupied their shop for four days have now been released by the High Court having “purged their contempt”. But it’s going to take more than that to purge the contempt that many workers will feel for bosses who were prepared to use the law courts and, 80 heavy handed gards who turned up at 5am – when they thought there wouldn’t be an audience, to manhandle the 27 workers down to the courts. If ever anyone needed convincing of the way that the state apparatus acts in the interests of the bosses then this is a perfect example.

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