THE FALL OF DUBLIN

For decades Ireland was always on the highly recommended list for international tourism guide books like Lonely Planet. Now Lonely Planet is telling it like it is about Dublin – overpriced, dirty, dangerous, and especially dangerous for women, people of colour, LGBTQIA, who are all disproportionately affected by random attacks.

Wouldn’t you be mad in the head to book a holiday in Dublin? Pay through the nose and have to hire bodyguards to go out after dark?

Decade after decade of inequality & political abandonment by FFG and partners have produced a large and dangerous lumpen proletariat in Dublin. As well as the muggings and batterings in the city centre, they make up the rank-and-file of the ever-expanding heavily-armed gangs in the suburbs. They are also the main recruitment targets of the far-right and the favourite audience for internet conspiracy theorists who make much use of their general gullibility and violent tendencies.

Sadly, lumpens are the largest and most active social force in Dublin outside of the state, and along with the state & their vulture fund partners they play the major part in determining the identity of contemporary Dublin – a city of commercial price-gougers and lumpen stabbers, giving it to the rest of us from both ends.

The very rich and elements of the very downtrodden turn out to be partners in destruction of social & community life. It happens a lot, over and over, in many, perhaps most, perhaps in the end all cities.

Maybe this pincer movement from above and below is the organic destiny of all cities. Certainly cities are generators of obscene extremes in close proximity to each other, and set the stage for all kinds of social tensions, bound to intensify as time goes by and extremes increase. Maybe there are cities that don’t work like this, but I have been to a lot of cities in a lot of countries and they are always basically live crime scenes where one can continously witness the crimes of the rich and of the very poor.

The city is in itself a kind of crime against nature. Cities eat up the planet, always taking far far more from the Earth than they give back. From the planetary point of view the fall of a city is always very good news.

Earth indeed leaves us many examples of cities falling, being abandoned, vanishing under natural regrowth. None are more relevant to us today the 100 or so large cities which disappeared in and around the Mediterranean in the space of a few years at the end of The Bronze Age about 1200 years ago. That was due to climate change, warfare, and the collapse of trade and food distribution systems. Sound familiar?

I doubt the atmosphere in Dublin will get any better, it will most likely get worse. More cops, the solution of the right, will not help much. Cities saturated by police do not get safer, but merely displace the problem and aggravate tensions even further. The level of social investment required – solution of the left – and the political strength to carry through such an enormous investment in housing, health care, education, and rehabilitation would require a far-left government in power for several decades, something which only a revolution could deliver. This would however be by necessity partly a revolution against the lumpen proletariat – any revolutionary government would have to destroy the gangs that run half of Dublin. The left in general has never known what to do about the lumpen proletariat, and have spent little effort in theorising or organising it, even though it usually far outnumbers the securely housed and employed proletariat and very often outweighs them as a social force, as in Dublin today. The lack of theory and organising focus is perhaps a tacit and general admission that in fact nothing can be done.

The solution to the problem of cities is probably not to have built them in the first place. This is no consolation of course, but the world is not obliged to console us, and despite our human self-belief and optimism, cities may well be one of several fatal problems which we have created for ourselves and which it is doubtful we have the means, will, or imagination to solve.