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Saturday, May 30, 2015

On just saying no, always and forever

From a consideration of the Irish marriage vote- one of two contrasting articles- in Jacobin:
When the European troika — the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank — provided the Irish government with a bailout in 2010 to shore up the banking sector, the strings attached effectively transferred economic sovereignty from Dublin to its European creditors. The Irish, like the Greeks and Spaniards, have had little say over the austerity policies that have ravaged their countries. Last week’s marriage equality vote was an assertion of sovereignty, of the right of Irish people to govern their own lives, in a country where the idea has been under attack by European finance capital. 
The two social groups that came out strongest for marriage equality are the same that have been hardest hit in recent years: the young and the working class. Some of the strongest “yes” vote tallies were in the most working-class areas of Dublin and Limerick, with margins as high as 90 percent. Yes campaigner Gráinne Healy told the Irish Times that “when we were out canvassing in areas like Finglas, there was an overwhelming Yes on the doorsteps. Once we moved into Glasnevin, there would be more resistance. It seemed the houses with two cars and plenty of money were just less open to Yes.” 
The collapse of the Irish housing and lending markets in 2008, and the subsequent creation of a sovereign debt crisis, austerity policies, and widespread unemployment drove people to leave the country en masse. One of the most poignant images last week was the sight of those same young people — whose economic and political system had utterly failed them — boarding planes, trains, and boats to come home to vote. It is unclear just how many young people made the trip back, but the hashtag #hometovote caught fire across Twitter and Facebook, adding to the feeling that there was something truly special about what was happening.

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