The centenary approaches, Fine Gael opened the celebrations in the GPO with this inspirational video where Cameron is given more time that the men and women of the rising or the ideals they died for. Idealistic fools that they were, standing tall and striking out with pride shure where’s the profit in all that carry on. Got a bit of a whiff of notions about it. Bad for business all that nationalistic unpleasantness, we all know as good Europeans that nationalism is bad. In the Europe which does everything in its power to encourage nationalism. Sometimes the hi-jacking of history needs idealistic fools.
Yup, see dat video? we call dat House Irish. It was also the night when I suddenly and unexpectedly realised that I had snuck into the GPO, spent 45 minutes not being clocked by security in my tatty kicks in a crowd of west Brits, Fine Gael heads and army officers in full dress. Just without the high minded ideals or a plan. With all that adrenaline and a glass of gulped wine wasn’t at my most eloquent, payload delivered though. Child ya need security, coz ya sold out your own, and the people are at war with your government. Oh yeah an yer a fuckin’ muppet. So that whole liberal middle class narrative, yeah fuck it, this one is for single mothers and people on the struggle everywhere. And I had wet socks.
The last piece on Noonan was pretty long an maybe a little bit hard to follow, so thank you to my peeps for reminding me not to get too academic-y, they got plenty of voices, workin’ class culture doesn’t have many. It does prove one point I was trying to make: these ideas, discussing our society and what type of society we would like to live in and be a part of. Analyzing our surroundings and understanding how economic, social and political power works is something we all have a right and a responsibility to do as citizens. Sorry to be the one to break it to the Fintan O’Toole and the ‘dignity of labour’ brigade but it is in no way restricted to the chattering class, that’s kinda the point of democracy.
Since I’ve started writing, I’ve been told many times that the blog is aimed at a middle class audience as the ideas are too complicated for workin’ class people. The last piece was the first one where readers who I’m glad to say are as blunt as the blog got back to me. It included members of both the working class and Pavee communities. Up until the last piece, no one had trouble with the ideas and that was my fault, threw too many ideas into the pot at once which had been knocking round my head for years. Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey, a Glasgow based hip hop artist and journalist is a huge influence on me and wrote about concepts not intended for a working class audience, but he’s workin’ class, it made sense. It made me feel smart when it helped me join some dots myself. I didn’t need to learn a whole new academic language to look at an try to understand the social, political and psychological forces at work in our day to day lives. It made me push myself and I was lucky enough to be in communication with him as the Scottish IndyRef bubbled in the background. The same things happening in Glasgow as happened here, citizens were born, what it meant to be an autonomous nation was back of the bus talk. The writing on the wall was a backdrop to debates on a million smartphones and laptops.
If I was to put money on it I’d say people in the countries where austerity has cut deepest, and within communities and individuals there is a near instinctive understanding of how this type of power works and people are becoming educated at speeds which if the political class could see would have them signing us up to go kill and be killed in some former French colony. Mali, say. People at the sharp edge of austerity are citizens out of pure necessity, with a new appreciation for the concept of being a member of society with both rights and responsibilities. We know first hand what happens when we take our eye off the ball. We have been educating ourselves, articulating and educating each other. There is no fight to be had between workin’ class and middle class culture. We’ve just gotten tired of waiting have a much greater sense of urgency and we’re snatching that legitimacy for ourselves. The legitimacy of having our voices heard and taken seriously. When myself and most other workin’ class voices without the g, speak about the workin’ class we are using a cultural definition. One with its own set of formative experiences, music, dialect, fashion and even life expectancy.
The people who think these ideas are beyond the grasp of the working class and the government advisers who happily accept our place as a ‘one-star hotel’ may have a lot in common. Colonial mentality, not even post-colonial, we are still a colony. And colonies rule themselves, with a little bit of kind, parental care a broken people make sure that nobody forgets their place. We were colonised by both the best powers in the business, the English who exported what they learned around the globe and the Catholic empire, who used a shame and magical thinking based model of social control. This runs deep in the Irish psyche so deep we’re afraid to talk about it, another typical colonial reaction. Don’t talk about the bad thing in case it gets worse. Well silence is hiding violence in this case in the same way it is hidden behind economic policy. Now we’re colonised by multinationals looking for a ‘competitive’ i.e lots of corporate welfare in the form of free labour and ‘tax efficient’, if ya wanna efficiently avoid paying taxes, c’mon along. Paddy will be your plaything for 12.5% or even 0%, more than likely 0% and we get some low paid temp call center jobs. Seriously lads, call centers aren’t an industrial revolution, or they were the industrial revolution of the late 20th century. Black soul instead of black lung. But the value of that asset has depreciated and we better get competitive about standing up for ourselves. Our political class is away with the austerity fairies where the solution to a homelessness crises is an excuse to discipline the middle class. No more kind, paternalistic, patronizing state, the sharp edge is becoming visible to more and more of the population.
We know our place, we have to we’re a dependent economy Ireland has always depended on a larger external power. Even when things got very, very weird we were still the durty peasants of the Catholic empire. We know it but some of us don’t care, the station hopping seagulls, Ireland might finally have a ‘poor is cool’ phase because there are some strong workin’ class voices coming through. Ders notions in the air. Strong enough to be heard over the insidious propaganda depicting us as something to be feared, a baying mob, something to fear becoming. But we is coming, to quote G.I of Workin’ Class records, ‘like who was we supposed to ask?’ maybe if you are a member of that chattering class who thought these ideas were the preserve of the few. Maybe ask yourself why there has been so much time and money spent on re-branding the working class as under class and maybe take a look at how your own lifestyle and expectations have changed over the past 6 years. Den chill its cultural, except for the lack of rights and no safety nets, that is in no way abstract and it effects us all. To a degree where its time to put away the fear and work together, no post codes, no borders.
An egalitarian society should be something we are striving towards, not a concession and its a small price to pay considering the middle class blind eye to the church using the working class as slave labour, child labour and livestock. The coins in coffers sung an the souls to heaven sprung. To be an example to the world, properly independent, proud, equal we can do all of these things. We can be the country articulating an alternative to austerity and leading the way. Autonomy can be a costly business but all we have left to lose in the year of the centenary is our pride. Its time to stand tall.
Nobody likes being dependent on an external power, your fate and life decided by forces beyond our control. It causes anxiety, the governments favorite word is stability for a reason. Nice and stable. So stable we’re back to turning a blind eye to slums and hungry children. Lets change the tune.
‘Strikin’ vicious like a shark attack, I’m unexpected like a heart attack. I’m hard to catch, viewing from the harshest habitats like abandoned flats,observing I watch the stars elapse. Get ur head out the sand…take a look around look what hell built, we expect to expand, we got celestial plans. Been scriptin’ all night I shud be restin’ my palms.’