This is a story about a disease that has been allowed to spread unabated like some parasitic pestilence through specific areas of our society.It is as though plague such as the Black Death had visited only specific areas and left other areas alone.Is this down to class-politics?
Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as”class”, as in the divisions that society supposedly puts on people as neat little labels to divide them into easily malleable groupings, so that advertisers or television programmers can better identify a “target audience” and sell them something aimed specifically at their perceived needs.I’ve wondered ,is this idea of class all concerned with and about “money” ,or is it simply connected to some unidenifiable accident and place of birth. Being born to rich parents might immediately place you in a higher “class” than being low-born in poverty, for example.From that starting point , your life might proceed in a particular direction and to an unchanging conclusion. There’s the idea that you can possibly climb into a higher strata of society, by education , maybe assisted by accruing money, but then what class would that same person be in should he be so unfortunate as to suddenly lose everything in a financial gamble and suddenly become poorer than the poorest slum-dweller. Would he suddenly become of a “lower class” due to lack of funding or would he be simply “poor ,or destitute ,upper -class”?At one time, not so very long ago people feared “Thr Poorhouse” as the very bottom rung of the social ladder. That was beyond “class”.That destination no longer exists but there are other classes now talked about .One such rung is known as “the Criminal Class”.
Like I said…. people enjoy playing this little game of “class” difference. I prefer to think of “people differences” rather than class -differencess .That way you can differentiate between people who might be intelligent but poor and interesting and those who might be thick and very rich. For all of that esotericism, I do believe that there is also in existence what could only be referred to as a “Parasite Class” ; a grouping of individuals whose purpose seems to be to cling onto the backs of a community while they suck the life -blood from their neighbours.They will use a variety of social- techniques to do this without perhaps even realising that it is what they are actually doing .It is their natural state in the evolutionary process of a community. They are born, by their very natures, to be parasites.
In Norneverland, Ireland, we know of this class or grouping very well. They appear to operate with familiarity both within the life-blood of specific close communities here ,but also outside of any reference to a class-structure, or even the normal civil and civic laws that everyone else feels obliged to follow. They seem to operate outside of normal society. For reasons known only to the police and the law-makers, they have been allowed or possibly ,enabled, to flourish on a diet of religious or political conspiracy, bigotry, violence,alcohol, street drugs, racketeering, theft, extortion and organised crime.They obviously live in the community and are of the communities where they operate and it seems that as long as they contain their operations on those closed and limited terms ,they will forever be allowed to operate without any real sanction. It’s abit like being a member of the Wild West’s Hole in the Wall Gang where Butch Cassidy’s Wild bunch ,at one -time ,resided.That particular “Wall gang” was actually a coalition of many different gangs, each operating independently but within an infrastructure not unlike our own home-grown desperadoes.
In geographic terms , the hideout had all the advantages needed for a gang attempting to evade the authorities. It was easily defended and impossible for lawmen to access without detection by the outlaws concealed there. Each gang supplied its own food and transport and anyone operating from the area adhered to certain rules of the camp.There was kind of “Sharia” law to deal in handling disputes with other gang members, and other gangs possessions were supposedly sacrosanct.There was no leader with each gang adhering to its own chain of command. How does something like that compare to our own paramilitary, lawless gangs which operate within communities her? .
There is a vague pretence that there is a political background, either unionist or republican connected to the criminal activities but it is a very tenuous one and doesn’t actually stand up to any close scrutiny. If the surface is even slightly scratched it becomes apparent that the people running these operations are variously sociopaths and gangsters rather than politically coherent leaders, who find some kind of grubby glamour in their activities and actually continue to operate as crime -families ,not unlike the gangsters of the Hollywood mythos of the 1930’s or the Cosa Nostra. The tentacles have stretched and entwined thoughout the times of the Irish Troubles, aided in part by some politicians who thought their violence , muscle-power and ease at acquiring money by any means, might be useful at times…as it surely was, but now some twenty years after those troubling “Troubles” events have ended , while a fledgling form of new politics is gradually being learnt, these groups still persist within society as leeching parasites which neither community nor police appear to be able to dislodge. Some even pretend to be “community workers” while never having worked an hour in their lives.
The only time the public beyond these closed communities know of their existence is when one of their number is casually murdered by a rival and the gruesome death is splashed across the media. Other than that there would be little knowledge of them at all and that appears to be how the authorities want it to be . There is an argument and possibly a residual resentment ,in the fact that while many republican /nationalist gangs which evolved throughout the Troubles ,were able to make hay from the outworkings of the new “peace process” their loyalist/unionist counterparts, simply could not or didn’t want to leave that lifeThis allowed republican /nationalist gangs to mostly cease “ordinary ” criminality such as robbery,while unionists/loyalists had not been able to apply themselves with the same ease . This has left some of the parasite class still stuck in that same old rut in their community with no apparent way to replace their earning power.Now that we are on the cusp of leaving the EU which has supplied much of the peace process funding for the community projects which were to replace violence, the future looks even more unsure. it is apparent that nationalist have filtered much of that money into cultural projects whereas Loyalist/ unionist gangs have pocketed the money for themselves.
It so very difficult to help a group any further or by any other means, who have spent so long helping themselves to the life-blood of their neighbours ,but that is what they seemingly expect everyone else to do.