THE BRICK THAT LAUNCHED A BARRAGE OF ABUSE AGAINST WORKING CLASS PROTESTERS.
But lets get the facts straight, one idiot threw a brick at a Garda vehicle hours after Joan Burton had left Jobstown. I condemn it. I condemn the single isolated incident of brick throwing, it's easy to condemn. I don't condemn the rest of the protest and I certainly don't condemn the residents of Jobstown for protesting against a social system typified by high unemployment, personal daily struggles for survival and a generations old indifference by government to the plight of residents in one of the most economically and socially deprived areas of Dublin. If anything, I commend residents for not protesting on a daily basis against the austerity specifically targeted at poorer communities like Jobstown.
There is a battle for hearts and minds in working class areas across the country. Paul Murphy's victory for the Anti Austerity Alliance in the recent by-election has rocked the four main political parties to their core. No seat is safe anymore. Faced with at least another two generations of emigration, hardship and mindless austerity, voters are looking for a left of center alternative. That ground was traditionally occupied by Labour but not anymore. As people stepped left Labour jumped right, forgot its roots and became as right wing as Fine Gael has always been. Jobstown is the ideal stomping ground for every left wing want-to-be.
Goodwill is not what possessed Joan Burton to wake up and think- "What community have I most failed and lied to ...... Jobstown! I'll go there". Joan has zero interest in graduates from Jobstown who have overcome every obstacle, every mean minded cut to social supports and indeed overcome the very prejudice voiced by Joan in her bigoted 'expensive phones' slur at protesters. It was a photo-op, nothing more. Joan thought she'd sneak in and get some cred for being 'down' with the poor. So Joan Burton went to Jobstown in her chauffeur driven car with an entourage in tow.
Did Joan Burton not figure that she'd be as welcome in Jobstown as a Hoodie is in Dalkey? Did she not figure that in an area where 10% more children are 'imprisoned' in poverty because of her economic policies that she would not be welcome? Of course she did, but she is in general election mode and stealing a media friendly snap from beneath the nose of the AAA in their own backyard was too good a f**k you to pass up.
Paul Murphy got wind of Joan's plans and he was damned if he was going to let anybody steal his thunder.
"But Joan was hit by a water balloon, maybe even an egg, that's violent protest" we are lectured. Food as protest tool has a long history, the first recorded food protest took place in 63 A.D. 18th-century texts recorded an act of egg-throwing to persecute Methodists on the Isle of Man.
On the campaign trail for governor of California, in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was hit with an egg. (He brushed it off like a boss.) In 2011, Afghan demonstrators threw eggs at the Iranian consulate to protest a blockade of fuel tanks that caused prices to skyrocket. Dutch King Willem-Alexander was on the receiving end of some very angry tomatoes in Moscow. A New York Times article from 1883 discusses John Ritchie, an actor who was “demoralized by tomatoes” after an underwhelming performance. In August 2013 French farmers took to the streets, breaking 100,000 oeufs a day to protest low prices set in place by the European Union. The throwing of food (even water balloons) is a time honoured act of non-violent protest. It's objective is the same as circus performers throwing custard pies, to make one look foolish like a clown.
If you find yourself thinking "Your protest offends me more than your children going to school hungry does" or if you're more outraged at a protest than structural violence inflicted by austerity, maybe you should lay down the MSM newspaper that's flogging these lies to you.
In a week of high hypocrisy take a moment to remember why protesters are angry about #irishwater. Watch the bravery of a man who didn't have 13,000 Gardai at his disposal to protect him. Understand what real fear feels like. Take back your sense of perspective.