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Neoliberal crisis, neoliberal solutions

Once held up as a 'poster child' for untrammeled capitalist globalisation, the Irish Republic has more recently come to represent a cautionary tale for those tempted to tread the same neoliberal path. The crash in the world economy had especially grave repercussions for Ireland, and a series of austerity measures has seen the country endure the most substantial 'adjustment' ever experienced in a developed society during peacetime. This book delineates the reactionary course that Ireland has followed since the ignominious demise of the Celtic Tiger. It argues that the forces of neoliberalism have employed the economic crisis they caused to advance policies that are in their own narrow interests, and that the host of regressive measures imposed since the onset of global recession has fundamentally restructured Irish society. The book discusses the mechanisms by which finance in Ireland sustains and reproduces itself, in particular how it was able to protect itself during the 2008 crisis. Property was at the centre of the second phase of the Celtic Tiger boom after US investment in manufacturing began to decline, leading to the Irish economic crash. The years since the onset of the recession in Ireland in 2008 have been characterised not by passivity and quietism but by extreme violence. In December 2009 as part of the first wave of austerity, the Community Development Project was informed that the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs proposed not to continue funding the project beyond the end of 2009.

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The Portuguese left approach to the crisis
Cláudia Toriz Ramos

Introduction Portugal was seriously affected by the financial, economic and sovereign debt crisis. The crisis pushed the debate on European integration, notably on the European Monetary Union, into the public space. The bailout of the Portuguese state by the European institutions and the IMF in 2011 made austerity measures unavoidable and showed the other face of European integration – keywords in the public discourse switched from ‘modernisation’ and ‘funding’ to ‘austerity’ and ‘poverty’. Political

in The European left and the financial crisis
Karlis Bukovskis and Ilvija Bruge

left. As a result, a country that was among the most heavily hit in the world by the 2008 economic crisis did not see a social democratic (or socialist) resurrection on the political scene or emergence of intellectual alternatives to the ruling neoliberal economic ideology. This chapter provides a short explanation of the fall of the Latvian left from historical prominence to modern infamy, followed by an analysis of the surprising lack of resurrection of the left in spite of harsh austerity measures imposed in the country, and the impact of the

in The European left and the financial crisis
Social commentary of 1980s Britain in Clive Barker’s Weaveworld
Edward Timothy Wallington

evocative reflection on the times in which it was written. These were the 1980s, and the decade was marked by a number of dramatic and unprecedented events: Margaret Thatcher was at the helm of the British government with her monetarist fiscal policies, austerity measures, and the call for a return to core values; sexual equality had gained considerable ground from the tentative gains made in the

in Clive Barker
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Death by a thousand cuts?
Ashley Lavelle

bank bail-out, provoking once again uproar and mass protests in the streets. It is social democracy’s bipartisan support for neo-liberalism in the wake of the crash that has opened up opportunities for other political combatants: Ryner points to successes for Trotskyites in France and for the Left Party in Germany, but also to gains for the far right. Ross in his chapter also points to the spawning of revolts on the left and reaction on the right to the austerity measures that were enacted in response to the economic meltdown and in which social democrats have so

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
The Irish left and the crisis
Michael Holmes

Introduction The Republic of Ireland was one of the countries worst hit by the global financial crisis and the ensuing Eurozone crisis. It was the first EU country to go into recession and the first to require a bailout, it was effectively under the control of the troika and endured austerity measures for several years. Even though the country officially emerged from bailout conditions at the end of 2013, and recorded the highest rate of growth among EU member states in subsequent years, the social costs still weighed

in The European left and the financial crisis
Gary Murphy

Chapter six focuses on the Fianna Fáil led government’s attempts to fix the economy and stave off political collapse. The property crash and the failure of the banking system brought with a savage economic crisis. Most of the government’s plans were based around implementing austerity measures to ease Ireland’s colossal debt crisis which magnified significantly once the private debt of the banks became the public debt of the state. They all failed. The economic mayhem in Ireland caused by the greed and recklessness of bankers and property developers alike ended up decimating but not killing off Fianna Fáil. The shambolic nature in which the Fianna Fáil Green coalition collapsed is discussed in this chapter as is the election result itself which saw the Irish people revert back to the traditional and comfortable alternative of Fine Gael and Labour.

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987
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Going under
Thomas Prosser

Spain is a periphery Eurozone country and its labour movement is one which is unevenly developed. After the launch of EMU, Spanish unit labour costs (ULCs) escalated; this led to a loss of competitiveness within EMU (Johnston, 2016). Owing to the existence of inter-sectoral agreements in which unions attempt to establish competitiveness, the case of Spain raises the question of the extent to which efforts to achieve moderation are feasible in a periphery country. The failure of this strategy not only points to further constraints on the ability of actors to plan competitiveness, but also demonstrates the importance of structural influences; in this case, inefficiencies associated with lower-level bargaining institutions were crucial. Following the outbreak of crisis, the question was raised of the ability of periphery labour movements to marshal pan-European opposition. Though Spanish unions were at the vanguard of attempts to organize European protests and general strikes were held in Spain on European days of action, the mobilization capacity of unions was constrained by their under-Europeanized profile. The earlier implementation of austerity measures by a Socialist Government also restricted the extent of social-democratic opposition, both domestically and at European-level.

in European labour movements in crisis
The demise of PASOK and the rise of SYRIZA
Nikolaos Nikolakakis

won a landslide triumph under George Papandreou 2 (Ministry Interior, 2009 ). But the government's decision to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 3 with the EC-ECB-IMF troika in 2010 initiated huge socio-economic-political turmoil. The MoU was meant to tackle the grave financial issues that were affecting the country and consisted of a series of draconian austerity measures, such as a significant reduction of public sector pensions and salaries, an additional

in The European left and the financial crisis
One step forward, two steps back
Yiannos Katsourides

the social democrats (EDEK – United Democratic Union of the Centre) and the minor Green party. This has historically enabled AKEL to define what is ‘left’, side-lining other leftist voices. Moreover, AKEL governed Cyprus from 2008–2013, with EDEK a junior coalition partner for the first two years. In this period, because of the severity of the economic crisis, European integration and especially EMU were increasingly politicised. The left government initiated a string of light austerity measures from 2011 1

in The European left and the financial crisis