If at first you don’t succeed…
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac an Mhaistír analyses the potential re-run of the Lisbon Treaty referendum to circumvent its rejection at the ballot box on June 12.
It seems that NO never really means NO when it comes to the exercise of ‘democracy’ in bourgeois societies. From Marx to Connolly and beyond, critics of this limited form of democracy have cited the fact that, ultimately, “the modern state is but a committee of rich men administering public affairs in the interest of the upper class”; those decisions arrived at through the ballot box which do not serve the interests of the ruling class are seen as impediments to progress and something to be overcome by those who ‘know better’.
If further proof were ever needed as to this fact, then it should now be apparent to all given everything that has happened following the Lisbon Treaty Referendum of June 12, 2008. In this regard, and beginning immediately following the rejection by the people of the Twenty-Six Counties of the provisions contained within that treaty, the establishment in Leinster house and across Europe has been looking to find ways to invalidate the democratic determination of the people.
Over recent times their efforts have been increasing, with evermore frequent visits to the Ireland by EU figures trying to cajole, bully and frighten people into changing their minds. Instead of articulating and defending the decision of the electorate, Cowen & Co. clearly demonstrated who their real masters were in the immediate aftermath of the treaties rejection. Their acute discomfort and embarrassment when faced with the people having the neck to say ‘no’ was palpable and something they were always going to try and reverse.
Very quickly the narrative became that of trying to identify the grounds upon which the people were ‘confused’ about the issues. The idea being that once the fears of the people were identified and allayed, the space would open up wherein, just as Nice 2 became a fait accompli, the people would be made to vote ‘right’ (in both the literal and figurative senses of the term).
The duplicitous nature of post-Lisbon 26-County government commissioned research found that issues such as conscription were reasons why people voted no, despite the issue never featuring in any pre-referendum polling.
The increasing belief that there will be a re-run of the Lisbon Treaty referendum further confirms the fallacy that the people are sovereign and, in exercising their democratic rights and voting on a given issue, that their determination on a given issue will be accepted as final. The clearest evidence yet that a re-run of Lisbon is in the offing is contained in a report produced by the Leinster House Subcommittee on Ireland’s Future in the EU for the joint Committee on European Affairs. The substance of this report indicates its (the subcommittee’s) belief that there is no legal obstacle to presenting the Lisbon Treaty to the electorate again in a second referendum.
It was always éirígí’s contention, the actual substance of the Lisbon proposals notwithstanding, that the 1st referendum was an exercise in denying democracy. The fact that the people of the Twenty-Six Counties alone were afforded the ‘right’ to vote on the Treaty was evidence enough for us that the notion of democracy in any real and meaningful sense in Europe generally and Ireland specifically was dead; the fact that this one state alone out of 27 afforded its people a voice on the issues was itself an indictment of the idea that the European Union is a democratic entity.
There is no need to quote again the words of Valery Giscard d’Estaing et al. with regard to the deception that was Lisbon 1. The fact that the very people who had a right to vote on Lisbon did so in a manner that contradicted the designs of a ‘Euroclass’ of bureaucrats and politicians meant that the people themselves would come to be seen as an impediment to democracy. This is further vindication of all that the progressive opposition to Lisbon has been articulating with regard to the anti-democratic political construct that the European Union increasingly represents.
The provisions of the Lisbon Treaty were and remain contrary to the interests of the working people of Ireland and Europe. éirígí’s campaign against the Lisbon Treaty was based upon the belief that it, in summary:
There is nothing to suggest that any of these fundamental concerns will be addressed in an increasingly likely Lisbon 2. What we will have, at best, is what are being referred to as ‘binding declarations’. The idea emanating from government sources close to the 26-County cabinet subcommittee tasked with picking up the pieces of Lisbon (i.e. finding ways to have it ratified) is that ‘binding declarations’ on a number of areas will be sought (as reported by Deaglán de Bréadún in the Irish Times, Friday 28, November).
Anyone who knows anything about European treaties will know that declarations (whether ‘binding’ or not) have no real legislative weight. The only real mechanism to exclude the 26-County area from being bound by provisions contained in Lisbon would be through what are known as protocols; the fact that imaginative semantics are being played (with the introduction of the idea of ‘bindings declarations’), is once more indication of the nature of the process that the powerful and wealthy of Europe are engaged in. There is not the slightest possibility that the provisions of Lisbon will be altered to suit the real concerns of the 26-County electorate.
In the final analysis, those who voted no are seen as an impediment to the implementation of the neo-liberal super-State agenda underpinning Lisbon. To believe that the real reasons that people voted no on June 12, will be addressed is fanciful at best.
Saying NO, and no again to Lisbon 2 (and Lisbon 3, 4 & 5 if needs be) is to the only way to say yes to the possibility of a democratic Europe, to the possible realisation of James Connolly's notion that a just European order “cannot be realised through the subjugation of the smaller by the larger political unit” (James Connolly, Forward, 1911).
Don’t allow your voice to be subjugated and your democratic rights to be denied:
SAY NO TO A UNITED STATES OF EUROPE – SAY NO TO A RE-RUN OF LISBON. NO MEANS NO