We are so used to taking the operations of bankers and speculators for granted, we are so used to taking markets and their needs as a matter of fact, that we are in danger of not grasping the startling nature of what is happening in Ireland.
The people of "independent Ireland" are now in the hands of gangsters who are as merciless as they are greedy and unscrupulous - financial and political gangsters.
"Independent Ireland" is discovering that, though it is politically independent of Britain, its old overlord, in economic affairs it is not at all independent. It is entirely in the hands of international financiers.
It has had to formally surrender control of its economic affairs for the next three years to the European Union. To stave off the bankruptcy of the state, the Irish government had to borrow an enormous sum, £72 billion. To get the money, the government has had to agree to tremendous cuts and tax rises, which will siphon an additional £3900 a year out of the average Irish family's income.
Those measures will be an additional dead weight on economic activity, pushing the country further into recession. Already 14% of Irish workers are unemployed - twice the rate of Britain. As a result of the EU-enforced cuts, unemployment is expected to rise a lot further.
That will undercut the possibility of the government being able to raise enough revenue from the economy to pay back its debts on schedule. Experts now say it is only a matter of when - not if - the Irish state will default on its debts.
That prospect leads the international money-lending speculators to demand a very high interest rate for money they lend to the Irish state - money on which it must depend to help it through the crisis. It is a vicious circle.
But the international bankers must have their pounds, and tons, of the Irish people's flesh. Merciless gangsters! And, probably, stupid gangsters, who are disabling the Irish economy by their haste and greed.
It isn't just the international bankers and the EU governments that act as their instruments. It is Irish bankers and Irish politicians.
Just as, long ago, the Anglo-Normans invaded Ireland at the invitation of a provincial king, Dermot McMurragh, so Ireland now has been put in the hands of the international financial gangsters by Irish financial gangsters, and the Irish political gangsters who serve them.
It was Irish banks that created Ireland's financial crisis, in the first place the Anglo-Irish Bank, whose greed for profit turned them into wildly irresponsible lenders of money to Irish property developers and borrowers of money on the international markets.
It was Irish politicians, of the Fianna Fail/ Green coalition government, who tied the fate of the whole economy to that of their friends, the banking profiteers. In September 2008, to save the Anglo-Irish Banks from bankruptcy and the other Irish banks from possibly being pulled down with it, the Dublin government took the unprecedented step - something done by no other government - of guaranteeing all the banks' depositors and debtors.
It put the state's power of money-raising at the service of the banks. It took on a commitment which, it is increasingly clear, the state can't honour. The threatened collapse of a bank, or some banks, is now accompanied by the threatened, and increasingly probable, financial collapse of the Irish state.
The Dublin government is a coalition whose majority in Parliament was, until this week, three, two of them independent TDs. This government, within the next fortnight, has to push through the budget on which the EU bail-out loan depends.
No savagely severe EU-dictated budget, no bailout money!
Instead of callling a general election before such a tremendous set of financial decisions is taken, the government has promised an election in January - after the budget. This piece of political gangsterism against the people of Ireland is necessary, they know, to get the budget through.
Except that they may not be able to get it through anyway.
The opposition parties will not support the Fianna Fail budget. Fianna Fail, the constitutional nationalist party, has just lost a by-election in one of its old strongholds, Donegal. They faced a meltdown of votes.
They may meet the same fate in a general election. Fianna Fail's poll support is down to 17%, the lowest in its near-80 year history.
No less significant than Fianna Fail's loss is who beat them - Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein. Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, is standing in County Louth in the upcoming general election. Sinn Fein is taking a hard economic-nationalist line that is nine-tenths mere demagogy.
But Sinn Fein looks like it will be the immediate gainer from the tremendous anger in Ireland on the part of a people being bled and fleeced by a conglomerate of Irish and international financiers and politicians.
The Labour Party, loosely linked to the unions, will stand in the general election as the junior partner in a projected coalition headed by the second main bourgeois party, Fine Gael.