By Luke Ming Flanagan
I was in Frankfurt yesterday to add my support to Blockupy, a demonstration against the austerity policies being forced on the people of many European nations by the various EU institutions, most notably the ECB.
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO
The date and the location were fitting, given that yesterday was the day the ECB officially opened its new HQ; it was also kind of ironic, given that the construction ran three years behind time and at an obscene €1.3bn, was around €400m over budget. A bit rich, don’t ye think, from the institution that is mercilessly punishing the likes of Ireland and Greece for what they see as our lack of budgetary control but anyway, one law for them…
THE VIOLENCE OF SILENCE
There was trouble of course, and I say ‘of course’ because when the institutions of the EU and of the various EU states continuously ignore the reasonable arguments and objections raised by reasonable people in a reasonable way – as the European Commission/European Council/ECB, along with the various national governments, have done for the last six or seven years – then you’re going to have to deal with the frustrations that arise from that, reasonable and otherwise.
Of course also I was asked to comment on the ‘violence’ and by the measure of our own media and its hysterical reaction to the blocking in of the Tánaiste’s car for a couple of hours, not to mention the brick that was thrown AFTER that water-charge protest had actually ended, yesterday morning in Frankfurt was tantamount to the start of World War Three, what with a few cars being burned and a few score of injured on both sides.
Amazing isn’t it, how the media can fixate on that violence, of a brick thrown, or a car blocked in (Joan herself of course was free to leave at any stage), or a few vans burned and windows smashed, and practically demand that people like myself condemn it. Yet when the far more real and far more destructive violence of an unelected career institutionalist intervening in the internal workings of a national parliament with couched threats, as happened also yesterday when the European Commission’s Declan Costello sent a letter to the Greek government ‘advising’ them against adopting anti-poverty legislation, that same media have no comment to make (the Greek government didn’t take that ‘advice’, by the way). Where is THEIR condemnation of that institutional violence, of the growing violence of so many other official state and EU agencies?
Of COURSE I would criticise the mindless violence of a few who go on a rampage of destruction but I criticise even more the very mindful and deliberate violence of those who are now imposing their grand scheme across the globe, with its accompanying austerity programme of social spending cuts, additional taxes and levies, and the stripping away of all the hard-won labour-rights laws.