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#Golfgate: Another one bites the dust

But is Phil Hogan falling on his sword enough?

Isn't it time to evict the government?

27 August 2020

The notorious #Golfgate, Clifden golf dinner, after forcing the resignation of agriculture minister Dara Calleary and the resignation or suspension of the whip on senators, has finally claimed the scalp of EU commissioner Philip Hogan. The question automatically arising is: Is this enough?

As commentator Fergus Findley pointed out, the dinner was not a mistake. The golfing fraternity knew very well that their own clubs were prevented by Covid regulation from holding these events. What the dinner was, was an assertion of class privilege by the Irish capitalist class, who were then joined in infamy by the silence of their junior government partners in the Green Party.

The level of arrogance is startling. The main parties had been forced out of government following scandals around housing, health and general corruption. They had got a bloody nose in the election and had taken months to cobble together a national government propped up by the Greens. From then on it has been business as usual.

But the arrogance and corruption go well beyond ceremony. Historically, over decades, golf clubs have been sites of contact between politicians and property developers, with brown envelopes passed between them in the car park. It is no surprise to find that also present at the dinner, alongside members of the judiciary, were members of "vulture" property funds.

In the background the Covid-19 truce is over. Evictions forced by masked thugs are occuring at an increasing rate. The state claims neutrality while garda ensure that there is no resistance.

It is clear that picking off corrupt individuals will do little more than warn the rest to be more discreet. What is required is the ouster of the current government. Not only is it far more unstable due to public anger, the Fianna Fail party is in crisis. There are feuds in different factions and two agriculture ministers have been forced to resign in the space of 54 days. The Taoiseach’s strategy of alliance with Fine Gael has seen the party's vote plummet and many in the West are convinced that an alliance with Sinn Fein would improve their fortunes.

But as Fergus Findley pointed out in his #Golfgate article, no one wants an election!

It is easy to understand why the capitalist class doesn't want an election. But why aren't the socialist groups calling for one?

In part this is because one of the major forces involved, the trade union leadership, have made their peace with the government and have lapsed into a total state of silent passivity. In any case there is no potential alternative government. The idea of an alternative 'left government' led by Sinn Fein can only be advanced if their activities in the Northern administration are ignored. However Sinn Fein are now positioned as the electoral alternative and might well wipe out the reformist socialist groups' hard won electoral base.

The way to square this circle is twofold: One is to accept that a concentration on the Dail and the resulting policy of electoral reformism does not offer a way out. Secondly, the future of the class struggle will be decided by our ability to fight evictions and the discipline of exorbitant rents and mortgages and to challenge the imperialist powers who actually rule the country.

It's true that this process is unlikely to lead imminently to a 'left government'. It would however, make possible a revolutionary left opposition. One that afforded every angry working class person the liberating ability to organise and mobilise in the streets, the workplaces and the college campus' and which united all three in action against this corrupt and unpopular ramshackle government that is leading the drive to evict workers from their homes.

No to golf club deals with vulture fund managers! No to evictions by private armies of capitalist thugs!

The working class must immediately set about organising its own self defence and by mobilising to evict this despicable government!

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