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Quotes from Raymond Crotty's "A Radical's Response."

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Raymond Crotty was the only professional economist in Ireland to seriously study the land question. An ex-farmer himself, he came to understand that private property in land is de facto slavery:

 

 

 

Raymond Crotty from his book, A Radical's Response:

 

Crotty:

The essence of my thought was that the land of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland, equally to the entire people of Ireland. Property in Irish land has been a disaster for the nation ever since its creation by the confiscation of the clans' lands under the Tudor monarchs; and continues to be so. Unless the Conquest could be undone by causing Irish land to used efficiently and once more for the benefit of all the people, the Irish economy could not prosper.

 

 

Crotty:

The state in every former capitalist colony traces its lineaments directly to the administration established there for the purpose of exploiting the colony for metropolitan profit. In Ireland the state functions from the mile square surrounding Dublin Castle, the original centre of English rule in Ireland.

 

Capitalist colonial administrations operated on the basis of privilege with its corresponding disability (the disability of the great majority to have a decent life), The function of the state in all former capitalist colonies has been to maintain that privilege and associated disability. Privilege is defined as rights exercised without commensurate responsibility to the society within which the rights are exercised. They are pre-eminently rights enjoyed by a garrison class in return for services rendered to a capitalist colonial power. The epitome of capitalist colonial privilege is landed property, or the exclusive title by some to the land on which all depend for their existence. Landed property owes its origin in every former capitalist colony to the colonial regime. It is by far the most important form of property in all former capitalist colonies (think of Nama). It is the principal part of the capitalist colonial heritage.

 

 

 

Crotty:

Capitalist colonial administrations established, preserved and expanded privilege, and corresponding disability, in the interest of the metropolitan powers. Decolonisation in all cases has been a process of indigenizing privilege. Local interests, in the course of capitalist evolution, participated in privilege and eventually appropriated it from the metropolitan interest which originated and originally monopolized it. Thus Irish Catholic grazier farmers acquired from Anglo-Irish Protestant landlords that land which, at the original conquest, was confiscated from the clans. Similarly, Irish Catholics secured from Anglo-Irish Protestant bankers control of the money supply which, in a market economy, gave effective control of the stock of capital.

 

 

Crotty:

Independence has, in every former capitalist colony, been sought and secured by the privileged indigenous groups which emerged as part of the process of capitalist evolution. The chief concern of the indigenous privileged groups who secured independence has in every case been to enhance and to consolidate privilege. This has been done in part by recognising and paying deference to local, nationalist feelings, by such gestures as painting red letter-boxes green, or commencing and ending official communications in the national language, and by playing a national instead of a metropolitan anthem. More substantively, metropolitan originating privilege\disability has been preserved and enhansed by a sufficient local extension of privilege to ensure sufficient political support for its retention in the post colonial era. The post capitalist-colonial state has in every case been the agency for achieving this.

 

 

 

Crotty:

The independent state in every former capitalist colony preserves and enhanses indigenous privilege at the cost of national underdevelopment. It does so by using, in the same manner, the same institutions and technologies as were employed by its forerunner, the metropolitan administration, for the same purposes.

 

The state in former capitalist colonies makes land free for the privileged who possess it (it is not taxed) Because land is free, it is used inefficently by its possessors and the nation languishes. Because the nation languishes, the disinherited, who could use land efficiently, are impoverished and cannot acquire land from the privileged. Thus Irish land, which relative to GNP is the most highly priced in the world, is used even more inefficiently than in most former capitalist colonies, where universally land is badly used and people are hungary.

 

 

Crotty:

The state in former capitalist colonies makes saving available free to politicians and free, or almost free, to the privileged. It does so by expanding the money supply and by public sector borrowing. The Irish state has secured control over, and used in these ways, far more savings relative to GNP than the state in any other former capitalist colony.

 

These resources are the savings of the public, secured more or less voluntarily through state loans and involuntarily through inflation. They have been used in the first instance to maintain in power politicians whose primary concern has been to secure re-election, and control of the state.

 

After their use to sustain in office a corrupt, inequitable and inefficient political establishment, the voluntary and forced savings of the citizens have been made available free, or virtually free, to the privileged. The privileged have used the citizens' savings for three anti-social purposes. They have used them first to buy out competing firms, so as to make Irish business extremely and exceptionally monopolistic and uncompetitive. The privileged have used the citizens' savings secondly to acquire labour-replacing plant. The third use that the privileged make of the citizens' savings is to invest them abroad. (Irish farmers were the biggest buyers of farmland in England in 2006 - all bought with money given to them in hand out from the landless workers.)

 

 

Crotty:

It is understandable, in these circumstances, that half the supply of Irish labour has never been used at all. The disability corresponding to the privileged access by some to free land and to free or virtually free capital is that half of the nation are denied an opportunity to use their labour, because its cost has been raised so high by the state. That the Irish state operates in this manner stems from the fact that it owes its origin to a colonial administration which was established to exploit the nation. It is a state which continues to exploit the vast, deprived bulk of the members of the nation. It is a state which, as is the case with all the states in all the former capitalist colonies, is the enemy of the people and the nation.

 

Raymone Crotty. A Radical's Response.

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Here is an extract from another interesting quote from a text from Crotty from the 1970s, which deals with the link between sectarianism and private land ownership:

 

It is impossible to begin to understand the causes of the massive decline in the number of people getting a livelihood in Ireland that has proceeded now for 140 years without understanding aspects of the conquest by Britain of Ireland and the implications of that conquest for the social role of Irish land. Land, according to the indigenous, tribal, gaelic concept was a social asset, available for use by all members of society. It was, in practice, an economically inefficient and unproductive form of land use, but a socially integrative one. The concept of the role of land held by the Tudor, Stuart and Cromwellian capitalist conquerors of Ireland was of land as a source of profit for the individuals who succeeded in appropriating it. That concept has since been implemented in Ireland to a degree without parallel anywhere else in the world. Social interests have been subordinated to private profit from land more thoroughly, more consistently, more disastrously and for a longer time in Ireland than anywhere else.

 

The implications in Ireland of using land for profit were most clearly perceived and expressed by Sir William Petty, the greatest economic philosopher prior to Adam Smith and himself a successful appropriator of extensive tracts of Irish land. Petty proposed that, in order to maximise profit from Irish land, the people should be cleared from it and replaced by cattle, to be reared and duly sold to England.[3] Petty's proposals had in fact been implemented under the early Stuarts, but the resulting flood of cattle into England cut straight across the political and economic interests of England's ascendant landed oligarchy, so that one of the first Acts of the Restoration Parliament was to ban the entry to England of all Irish pastoral products.[4] With direct access to the English market barred, for Irish land to yield a profit its produce, in the form of beef, butter and bacon, had to be diverted via the triangular trade to the West Indies, where it was used to maintain the slaves on the plantations and was exchanged for the, tropical produce of the slaves' labour, which was acceptable in England.[5] The triangular trade required much more labour than raising and shipping cattle to Britain, so it was necessary to suffer the survival of the defeated but rebellious Irish, rather than their extinction as proposed by Petty. If the Irish were to be retained to work land profitably for its English appropriators. it was necessary to disarm them and to garrison the island with .an armed Protestant ascendancy, most of whom were settled in Ulster.

 

http://www.cooperativeindividualism....-question.html

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From the same text:

 

 

The century following the Restoration of Charles II was a period of steady growth in Ireland. It was a period of growth and development such as has occurred also in most other colonies - in the Caribbean, in Latin America, in Asia and in Africa -- following their initial capitalist colonisation and prior to the onset in them of the more recent phenomenon of economic under- development. Matters changed in Ireland with the onset of the industrial revolution, which transformed Britain from a grain exporter to a grain importer and caused it to repeal the Cattle Acts and to welcome the Irish pastoral products that had been excluded by them. The effect was to create in Ireland conditions in which profit from land was maximised by its cultivation by capital-less, coolie, Irish labourers, who subsisted on some of the potatoes they grew on land worked with their spades and fattened pigs for export with the surplus. They grew cereals, also using spades, on the land improved by the potato crop, and sold the grain for export and the straw for the winter keep of cows that produced butter for export.[6] A unique combination of farm production conditions, land tenure conditions, and market conditions in which beef prices were low and grain and butter prices were high, obtained in Ireland through the reign of George III, from 1760 to 1820. That combination brought into existence and expanded into the largest class in the land an agricultural proletariat such as has not existed elsewhere above 30 degrees latitude. The market conditions that made profitable and brought into existence this agricultural proletariat lasted only for the duration of George Ill's reign. Beef prices since then have risen threefold relative to the price of butter and fivefold relative to the price of grain.[7] The price change made it profitable to replace people growing grain and potatoes with cattle and sheep, and cattle exports, which had not changed from 1660 to 1820, increased tenfold within fifty years.[8] The agricultural proletariat, brought into existence during the course of George Ill's reign, was obliterated by starvation, enforced celibacy and emigration during the succeeding reign of Queen Victoria.

 

http://www.cooperativeindividualism....-question.html

 

 

Farmers outside Ulster, during George III's reign, were under the dual pressure of competition for land from capital-less young people (the emerging Irish coolie class) and the inability to compel their own children to operate the family holding when these could achieve a modicum of social independence by acquiring their own potato patch. Farmers outside Ulster were forced by these pressures to abandon linen production, or to carry the enterprise no farther than the production and sale of linen yarn. The coolie labourers on their potato patches were forced by extreme poverty to use their resources to produce pigs, grain and straw products that came to market vital months earlier than linen yarn.[12]

 

The initial divergence between Ulster and the rest of Ireland, based firmly on the different terms of access to land secured by armed and disarmed peasants, widened with time. As the agricultural proletariat of the south was being wiped out by the changed market conditions of Victoria's reign, the cottage linen industry of the north became concentrated into the linen factories of Belfast, which were duly served by Belfast' s new, specialised linen engineering industry. Belfast's newly acquired factory discipline and engineering skills provided the technical base for a shipbuilding industry that was highly innovative at a time of radical change from the craft building of small timber ships to the factory scale building of large iron and steel ships. Three factors in particular contributed to the innovativeness that was the key to the success of the Belfast shipyards: first, there was no traditional, craft shipbuilding industry in the city, which itself came into existence with the late eighteenth century growth of the linen industry; second, the residual Catholic population of Northern Ireland was available as a helot class of unskilled, casual labour to undertake the least pleasant, least secure, worst paid chores and to bear the main brunt of innovative adjustment; and third, Protestant management and Protestant workers in Belfast's shipyards were united, in a way that occurred nowhere else in the British Isles, by the common threat of being overwhelmed by the Catholic Irish masses, whose hostility intensified with their debasement and with their displacement to make way for more profitable cattle and sheep during the nineteenth century.

 

http://www.cooperativeindividualism....-question.html

 

 

Two nations existed in Ireland at the end of Queen Victoria's reign. The proletariat had been wiped out in the south, and there was left there a society dichotomised into an Irish, Catholic, grazier class with urban affiliates, and a handful of Anglo-Irish Protestant landlords. Northern society consisted of a more stable, predominantly Protestant, peasantry that had escaped the worst of the holocaust that had swept the south; a large manufacturing centre in Belfast, which was again predominantly Protestant; and a Catholic minority the successors of the dispossessed original occupiers of the land, who eked out a usually hazardous existence as the helots of the Protestant garrison.

 

The destruction of the agricultural proletariat in the south and the emergence of a bourgeois grazier class transformed political relationships. Though a proletariat might be created and destroyed with impunity for the profit of landlords, the graziers who, within fifty years from the death of George III, had increased annual cattle exports from 70,000 to 700,000, and of sheep from nothing to 800,000, did not for long accept the appropriation of the economic surplus of this large, lucrative and expanding trade by a tiny group of alien, Protestant landowners. The United Kingdom government was forced, under the threat of Irish secession from the Union, to expropriate the expropriators and, despite the urgings of individuals like Michael Davitt and Henry George[13] that the surplus be appropriated through a land tax for common purposes, re-allocated the nation's land to another, somewhat larger, but still small, privileged minority. Following "land reform", one per cent of the Irish people now own half the land and over 90 per cent own no land.

 

http://www.cooperativeindividualism....-question.html

 

 

The threat of secession from the United Kingdom was sufficient in the 1880's to secure for the bourgeois graziers of southern Ireland effective ownership of the land they operated. A continuing, widening divergence between the interests of the overwhelming bourgeois, Catholic southern Irish, concerned above all to protect and to enhance the value of their newly acquired property, and the rest of an increasingly radical United Kingdom underlay more romantic and ephemeral nationalist movements at the turn of the century. This divergence surfaced when Britain attempted in 1917 to conscript the sons of the bourgeoisie, the remnant of the proletariat having been previously driven by hunger to Flanders and the remnant of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy having been induced there by noblesse oblige. An independent state was established in southern Ireland where, following the destruction of the proletariat, the bourgeoisie were more firmly in control than anywhere else in the world.

 

The character of a state is to be judged not by any founding declaration; nor by its constitution; nor by the statements of its politicians. The character of a state, like that of a person, is to be judged by what it does. The achievements of the Irish state in its sixty years' existence make perfectly clear its bourgeois character. The value of the property that Irish law and order protect has increased, since the state's foundation, by 150 times at current prices. More realistically in an age of inflation, the value of property in Ireland, which in 1922 was worth less than twice current Gross National Product, is now worth five times current GNP.[15] The value of property in relation to GNP is more than twice as great in Ireland as in any other country.[16]

 

 

http://www.cooperativeindividualism....-question.html

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