As the prolonged period of economic boom came to a close, it might have been anticipated that there would be an opening up of public discourse in Ireland, that space would become available for new ideas and fresh thinking. In reality, of course, the opposite has proved to be the case. The Irish political establishment continues to peddle those ideas and to pursue those policies that plunged us into crisis in the first place. This poverty of word and deed is more often than not echoed in the compliance of the corporate media. Increasingly, the intellectual and political poverty of what passes for the public realm in Ireland has assumed the guise of the ever more mindless incantation of certain cherished myths. We have all heard them so many times already that they have almost ceased to register: the country is broke, we need to draw a line and move on, there is no alternative, we're all in this together...
These myths have become so commonplace that they threaten to smother real political debate and to disable any attempts to think and talk our way out of the crisis. The discursive paralysis that grips contemporary Ireland inevitably acts to preserve a political order that has been thoroughly discredited by the current recession. It serves to ensure that the authors of the crisis will remain in positions of influence, that the threadbare neoliberal ideas that got us into this mess in the first place will continue to hold sway, and that those who claim to act in our name persist in casting our wealth down the bottomless hole of insatiable and corrupt financial institutions.
CrisisJam emerges out of a sense of frustration at the intellectual poverty and political distortions that dominate public discourse in Ireland. It is our intention to expose and challenge the myths, the half-truths and the occasional outright lies disseminated by a largely uncritical and frequently complicit media. We hope to provide a space for new alternative and radical ways of talking and thinking about the crisis, as well as a forum for original research and reporting.
Please read our weekly digest, out every Friday afternoon here on Politico. Comment, link and tweet. Most importantly, however, please get involved. We are not looking for political or ideological unity. We are simply looking to broaden the terms of political debate; to offer a vision of the social world that extends beyond the straitened and discredited vocabulary of free market economics. We refuse to speak about ourselves as human capital, consumers, stakeholders or target audiences. If that sounds roughly like your own disposition towards the world, we probably already share enough common ground to work together.
Email us, and get involved. In a country where politicians claim to secure the future just as they do their damndest to abolish it, here might be just as good a place as any to make a start.