Irish Referendum Commission Occupied as Ireland Votes on EU Austerity Treaty

Ahead of today‘s referendum vote on whether Ireland should adopt harsh austerity measures demanded by the bankers and European financial elite, activists briefly occupied the Referendum Commission in Dublin yesterday. Here is an official statement from Occupy Dame Street:

#Occupy Dame Street is now occupying the #Referendum Commission office on 18 Lower Leeson Street in opposition to its misleading representation of the #Fiscal Treaty. The literature is meant to be unbiased, however, firstly presenting it as a ‘stability’ treaty is manipulative. The leaflet from this ‘neutral’ commission was delivered late so that people wouldn’t have a chance to read, research and understand it. The literature is also full of threats on what will happen if we #vote no. It’s good to remember that this commission allowed a second referendum for the #Lisbon #Treaty when the government didn’t like the first result. In short, we can’t trust them. For this and other reasons, #Occupy Dame Street asks for a NO vote.

For background on the referendum, read this open letter to the people of Ireland from social movements in Greece (via Occupy Dublin):

Appeal to the Irish people from Greece

By representatives of the movement of the “Enraged”
many Social Movements
and local assemblies across Greece
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear brothers and sisters

We, Greek women and men who have participated in Syntagma and in the mass mobilizations against the memorandum, the loan agreements and the stability pact, in popular assemblies around Attica (Nea Smyrni, Aegaleo, Nikaia-Rentis, Glyfada, Kaisariani, Voula, Chalandri, Cholargos, Aghios Dimitrios, Pireaus, Aegina, Neos Kosmos, Academia Platonos, Neo Herakleio, Ilion, Amaroussio, Exarcheia), in social spaces (Antilogos – free social space in Helioupolis, Citizens’ movement “Messopotamia”), among “Citizens against unjust taxation (charatsia)” and “Lawyers against unjust taxation (charatsia)” – all of us contact you in the intimacy of our common struggles against the dominant classes in the European Union and in each member state. We share a deep belief that peoples of Europe, the world of work and of those “from below”, have the power to overthrow policies that keep impoverishing our societies and boding an even more sinister future.

Governments and opaque institutions of the EU in alliance with economic oligarchies, banks and markets, as well as with the IMF, in order to impose on all countries and primarily on the so-called PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) deadly “therapies”, which destroy employment, dismantle productive sectors of the economy and dissolve the welfare state. All what working people have gradually constructed through bloody struggles is being torn down at a breathtaking speed. Through dramatic cuts of our wages and salaries, huge unemployment rates, insecure and precarious work, minimal pensions and exclusion from public health and education, we are called to pay for the debts incurred by the most wealthy, who manage to stop the falling rates of their profits by absorbing public resources and displacing their activities in tax paradises.

Development through private productive investment sounds like an unattainable yet comforting rhetoric, following the relevant data of the past decade, in a world in which capital is transformed and makes short-term moves through fiscal bubbles and high risk ventures, leading banks to bankruptcy and forcing societies to fund them through popular resources.

The tunnel in which European peoples have been pushed has no way out to light. This is why neoliberal policies are rejected through mass mobilisations in every country. Greek people, who took in thousands to the squares and streets, organised many strikes and denied payments, have dismissed memorandums and loan pacts by an absolute majority in the recent elections of the 6th of May. The “guinea pig” of Europe, mutilated by severe cuts, has nonetheless escaped from the neoliberal market castle and is demanding decent work, justice and democracy in order to live a life of decency and dignity.

Comrades and friends, brothers and sisters in our common struggle,

We call upon you to take over the torch from Greek hands, changing the route of Ireland and re-defining the route of Europe. In the name of the European and world multitude of “indignados” and struggling peoples, we appeal to you to use the referendum as an opportunity to change direction in contemporary European history.

The argument towards Irish people to “vote Yes for stability” is also in Greece the only proposal by systemic forces. The vast majority of people, however, already live in instability, so that the dominant oligarchies can enjoy stability of profits and wealth. “Yes to the fiscal pact” means that working men and women will continue to pay, at the cost of employment loss and actual death, because development will not take off by simple moralizing pleas.

Dear comrades,

From resisting and hopeful Greece we appeal to the Irish people to continue, together with the citizens of Europe, on the way of anger, indignation, resistance and solidarity. We urge you to vote “No” in the referendum of the 31st of May for the Stability Pact, in order to overthrow the dominant European policies and win back our lives.

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