Ireland a tiny country on the edge of the Atlantic. Its people proud of their history and culture,not to mention the struggle against British Rule. If you ask of the 1916 rising it is said every Irish person had a relative in the General Post Office, the centre of the rising against Briton In fact we know it was a few Irishmen and women who were brave enough to take a stand. Unlike today a majority of Irish workers wish to fight their own Irish ruling class against their impoverishment on the orders of the I.M.F. At least in 1916 they had a general staff like them or not,unlike the situation in Ireland today.
Ireland today is into its fifth austerity budget which has driven working people into dire poverty, those who can emigrate have and continue to do so in droves. The social welfare department send out letters offering jobs, the said jobs however being in New Zealand,Canada, anywhere but Ireland. At a rough estimate thirty people apply for each job advertised. While the government go on the attack against workers who have been thrown onto the dole cutting payments of those under 25 by 40 euros weekly in the most recent budget. At the same time attacking pensioner’s benefits including taking away medical cards which give people access to free doctor care and cheaper prescriptions.Ireland is I believe one of the only countries in Europe where you have to pay before you can see a doctor. Maternity allowance’s have been cut who cares about the vulnerable mothers who have little means,what then happens to these babies born into a society without any safety net. A society which cannot defend and protect its old and youth is democratically bankrupt. Probably the cruelest cut is the bereavement allowance which helps in a small way for people to bury their dead. This cut will increase those who will be buried in a paupers grave. Welcome to Ireland of the 21’st century.
Labour Party/Trade Union Bureaucracy
Now that the banks are making money again those who remain on this wind swept island who have a job, work more hours on less pay. The immense damage done by the bankers and the political parties to the social fabric of society will create poverty for decades to come. Alas this is all happening in the commemorative year of the great lock out of 1913,the most formative battle ever undertaken by the emerging Irish Transport and General workers Union. In the past year all and sundry have spoken of this great struggle by the workers of Dublin and why we should remember this titanic class battle. This coming from all wings of the political establishment who are at present consolidating the impoverishment of working people. Their friends in the trade unions have worked hand and glove to prevent workers striking to defend gains of the past, and to extend these. The lesson of 1913 lock out is only a fighting workers organization can defend workers rights and in turn the poorest in this society . Instead the trade union bureaucrats have consciously worked with the party of the blue-shirts (Fine Gae)l alongside the social democratic labour party to foster the belief that we are all in this together. The only way workers can defend their rights is through strike action. In the present climate workers are not only not on strike they are back on their knees with no crumbs coming from the table. The bureaucrats prevented strike action and continue to do so as it makes it easier for them to control things, once workers strike,setting up strike committees, the bureaucrats begin to lose control as workers create their own leadership. This they fear,in particular the Labour Party alongside the bureaucrats in the Trade unions, as they become redundant to capitalism. What has been created in Ireland in this present capitalist crisis is a cheap labour force for world capitalism not unlike any third world country who also export their people overseas.
Connolly/Larkin would turn in their graves at this only working class struggle can defend what our forebears won for us. Only the overthrow of this rotten decaying system can give hope and a future for those discarded by capitalism. Despite the few demonstrations which have taken place and the obvious wish of workers in the Trade unions to fight,but not alone, if ever the realization of the slogan “all for one and one for all” could be achieved it is now.The leadership of the Irish Trade Union Congress seeing this, stand in fear and dread at this prospect, leaving each section of the trade union movement to be ravaged by union busting agreements forcing longer hours and less pay with only token resistance. Having dealt with those who are organised, the bankers puppets now seek to continue their onslaught on the poorest of the poor the old, the young, the unemployed made unemployed by this decrepit system, now portrayed as layabouts.
The Left Parties
What of the left parties at the beginning of the bankers crisis the (Irish socialist workers party) SWP and the ( Irish socialist party) SP formed an alliance called the United left Alliance getting a number of people elected to parliament on the back of this,in the process bringing a lot of people into the orbit”of left politics” . This was their high point at present the ULA is more or less defunct. It shows the sheer bankruptcy of these parties, in the mist of the biggest capitalist crisis since the 1930’s neither can mobilize even a small advanced section of the working class to their banner. It is just as well when you see their some of their policies. In Egypt the SWP called for a vote to the Muslim Brotherhood,no friend of women or workers. While the SP believe the Gardai should be organized into the Trade Unions so they can get better pay and conditions while they beat up strikers. Forgive me if I am wrong I always considered the army/police as the armed fist of capital.
Sinn Fein the political wing of the IRA, poses as a friend of the working man/woman. It is no more then the reincarnation of Fianna Fail for the 21st century. In the northern part of Ireland Sinn Fein have shown their fighting spirit by bending the knee to the British crown. While at the same time carrying out orders from London implementing the conservatives policies through attacks on working people, denouncing republicans who have the temerity to fight against them, indeed overseeing a new form of interment, those held without charge indefinitely. Sinn Fein in the south seek to reform the system not overthrow it. After all their friends in the White House would disapprove, not to mention straining relations with their new friends in the house of Windsor.
Their is a desperate need for a workers party which will fight for the downtrodden of society willing to overthrow this venal corrupt government, employees of Merkel and company. It could start by fighting for the rights of all workers employed- unemployed alongside the poorest sections,not allowing capitalism to drive a wedge between them. This is not new Trotsky made this point better then I.
The right to employment is the only serious right left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is being shorn from him at every step. Against unemployment, “structural” as well as “conjunctural,” the time is ripe to advance, along with the slogan of public works, the slogan of a sliding scale of working hours. Trade unions and other mass organizations should bind the workers and the unemployed together in the solidarity of mutual responsibility. On this basis all the work on hand would then be divided among all existing workers in accordance with how the extent of the working week is defined. The average wage of every worker remains the same as it was under the old working week. Wages, with a strictly guaranteed minimum, would follow the movement of prices. It is impossible to accept any other program for the present catastrophic period.
Property owners and their lawyers will prove the “unrealizability” of these demands. Smaller, especially ruined capitalists in addition will refer to their account ledgers. The workers categorically denounce such conclusions and references. The question is not one of a “normal” collision between opposing material interests. The question is one of guarding the proletariat from decay, demoralization, and ruin. The question is one of life or death of the only creative and progressive class, and by that token of the future of mankind. If capitalism is incapable of satisfying the demands inevitably arising from the calamities generated by itself, then let it perish. “Realizability” or “unrealizability” is in the given instance a question of the relationship of forces, which can be decided only by the struggle. By means of this struggle, no matter what its immediate practical successes may be, the workers will best come to understand the necessity of liquidating capitalist slavery.
Not one of the left parties have fought these demands in any serious way. A leading member of the SWP informed me that these demands could not be argued for at this point. If these demands are not relevant now they never will.
If such demands were fought for who knows maybe the workers of Briton who also suffer under the whip of the puppets of capital be they conservative or labour may also take up such demands, uniting the workers of these isles in joint struggle. This will not be just a trade union struggle it must transcend this other wise we will return to the same old crap again and again, under even worse conditions. Without a fighting workers party willing to strike when the moment is right we remain slaves to capital. The “State” of Ireland today is nothing to what it will become without such a struggle. We have nothing to lose, but a world to gain, I shall be in the the front ranks.