Political blindness feeds the great corporation tax scam
Recent tax reports show that 20% of Ireland's tax income come from corporation tax paid by transnationals. The majority of this was paid by just 10 companies.
Good news? Even the right-wingers in Fianna Fail are sounding the alarm on the grounds of instability and unsustainability.
But there is much more to be said. How would the government react to demands from any of the top ten companies? Do you remember the ongoing conspiracy with Apple to steal €13 billion in tax from Europe?
Many economists argue that when a country becomes established as a tax haven it is destroyed as a democracy. The need to service the demands of the bankers and speculators corrupts local laws and institutions. This theory is reflected by the rampant and open collusion that we see at every level of Irish society.
The relative weakness of local gombeen capitalism makes this much worse. Countries like Norway, in the early days of oil exploration, established mirror structures inside the transnationals that allowed them to build a state industry. Oil companies here got their foothold with a small bribe for the then premier Sean Lemass and thereafter were able to rewrite health and safety regulations and use all the weapons of the state to suppress dissent.
The local elite have one big weapon. The idea that we are all together as an oppressed nationality. A glance at the wealth league tables shows the falsity of this idea. Rather than acting as defenders of Irish workers our leaders are agents for imperialism, making sure that every last cent is taken from our pockets and taking a cut for themselves as they rob us.
The story is that “we” lost the way of ourselves, “we” must pay back, “we” must all share the pain. Meanwhile Irish services and resources are sold off in a firesale and the share of Irish wealth not sold off to speculators becomes more and more concentrated in the hands the local kleptocracy.
The idea of imperialist exploitation and local quislings is not a new one in Irish history. Why then is it rarely referenced? The answer is that political currents in Sinn Fein and in the trade union leaderships now argue, with little in the way of evidence, that imperialism plays a progressive role. That it will guarantee rights in the North and that an economy boosted by imperialist investment will eventually “trickle down” to assure prosperity for workers.
This blindness handicaps us all. A mass resistance in Ireland must stand firmly upon an understanding of imperialist domination and a determination to achieve our emancipation.