Monday, November 1, 2010

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I try to be at least a little more politically active than the average person, though admittedly I am not as committed as I'd like to be. But when time and energy permits, I try to get out there and at least be a supportive body, particularly right now with Ireland's economy in the toilet and "cuts" being promised to services for the poorest people in the country. Well, there's been a timely movement here in Dublin to highlight the inequities that exist in Ireland between the very rich and, actually, everybody else. It's called The 1% Network. The name is derived from the fact that 1% of the country owns approximately 34% of the country's wealth. That's a crazy amount! And the kicker is how many of them are "tax exiles" -- in other words, they manage not to pay any taxes to Ireland, even though they have residences here.

Here's the description of the 1% Network from their facebook page: "We have all heard of the ‘golden circle’. We all know that there is one law for the rich and another law for the rest of us.

The 1% network is a coalition of socialist groups which has come together to oppose the cutback agenda of the government and to promote a socialist alternative to the current socio-economic system. The name of the coalition was chosen to highlight the fact that just 1% of the population control in excess of 34% of the wealth of the nation. Organisations within the coalition include éirígí, Irish Socialist Network, Revolutionary Anarcha-Feminist Group, Seomra Spraoi and the Workers Solidarity Movement.

We are planning a number of events including a walking tour of the houses, secret meeting places and private banks where the 1% are to be found."

So a couple weeks back I went to the first tour. It was mostly depressing, to be honest, but it was also very educational. You can view videos of the tour on the facebook page also. It was kind of like a little bit walking tour, a little bit protest. We walked in the streets and had police along, like a protest, but it was a proper walking tour. Here are some photos I took:
This guy is a great speaker. But something (the old New Englander in me) wishes dammit man, can you not shave your beard and cut your hair so you don't look like some hippie wacko? His message is on point, I just wish he looked a little less wackadoo. But then the hippie wacko in me says, who the frig cares?

View walking down the street.

with the wind in our hair...

At this point in the tour, some yah dude holding a puppy stopped to listen. He stood there for about three to five minutes. When that stop on the tour was finished and we'd all clapped, the guy yelled out, "Why don't you people get a job?" Someone said, "We do have jobs, man." And he just kept saying, "You people need to get a job!" I made me really frustrated and angry because while many of the group were working folks, a number of us, like myself, would LOVE to have a job and can't find one. To be summarily dismissed as some kind of idiot is hard to take. I'm an educated person with work experience and plenty of willingness to work. But there just hasn't been a job that's come my way. So people heckled the guy and he walked away with laughter at his back, but I felt sad over it.

Check out this crazy statue of Queen Maeve:

Like, ok, I get the warrior thing, and the crow and the bull head or whatever, but did she HAVE to be naked with huge fake looking tits? Ugh.

Anyhoo, the Irish Times did a little writeup about the event and who happened to be featured in the photo but yours truly. I'm looking very attentive, aren't I? With the huge sunglasses, I'm all incognito.

I just missed the most recent 1% event, but I look forward to attending more of them, and I think you should too. It helps give a real look at what's going on in the mess of Irish politics and rhetoric. You may be dismayed and depressed afterwards, but at least you'll be informed.

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