Hundreds of yellow vest protesters marched in Dublin yesterday; like the French gilets jaunes who inspired them, the Irish yellow vests marched for a wide variety of causes, with no unified set of demands: the 2008 banker bailout (arguably the worst in the world since the Irish government has explicitly warned the banks it wouldn't guarantee their reckless loans, but still paid them off when the bubble burst); the continuing and ghastly revelations of scandals in the Church (including the forced-labor camps that unwed mothers were condemned to, and the scandal that the of storage tanks contained secret mass graves filled with the remains of infants); the spiraling costs of housing in Ireland; and the heel-dragging by the Irish government on legalizing marijuana.
Collectively, this could be called "anti-corruption."
Occupy had a semi-serious rallying cry: "Stuff is fucked up and shit." The everybody knows feeling, that our states are held captive by oligarchs, that oligarchs see us as "surplus population," that wealth means impunity.
When Occupy fizzled, many people said that the momentum had broken. But that's not how change works. Change is a scalloped growth curve:
Each event — Occupy, the Women's March, the Ferguson uprising, the Muslim Ban, family separation — excites a massive public response, and then most of the new people who the event has incited go back to their lives, but some people remain committed activists, energized by the glimpse of a new possibility. Even the ones who went home are primed to go out again, excited by the possibilities they've glimpsed.
The stimulus that brought people out in each instance is intensifying. The bankers who got bailed out didn't retire with their fortunes: they funneled them into projects to seize even more political power, which they've exercised to make lives even worse for everyday people (Trump didn't just decide on a whim to cut food stamps right before Christmas: he is serving the interests of the rich and literally starving the poor).
The toothpaste tube is being squeezed and squeezed, and no matter how tight the lid (elections, petitions, and other "normal" ways of seeking relief) is screwed on, the toothpaste has to go somewhere, even if it means splitting the seams to escape.
Their aims include an immediate halt on all housing evictions, the resignation of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris, a cap on bedroom rent and legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
Organisers said the movement is "recognition of the desire and right of all people to live, work and thrive in a safe modern and dignified manner".
The demonstrators blocked traffic in the city centre for a brief period.
Sheila O'Byrne said she was there on behalf of the mother and baby homes survivors.
"The illegal adoption and unmarked graves, an unmarked Irish Holocaust, I'm here fighting for truth and justice," she said.
"For the weak and elderly and vulnerable where the Church and state profited on our labour.
Campaigners from Yellow Vest Ireland protesting against the government's record on a range of social issues (Brian Lawless/PA)
"We want what we're owed, the same as the industrial homes.
"The housing situation is a disgrace," she added. "People are left out on our streets when we have buildings lying empty.
Hundreds join 'yellow vest' protest march in Dublin [Aoife Moore/Press Association]
(via Naked Capitalism)