June 2017        

Political statement

National Executive Committee, Communist Party of Ireland
27 May 2017


     1. The National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland, meeting on the last weekend of May, discussed the political and economic situation facing workers and working people across the country.
     2. It is the assessment of the party that public-sector workers are going to face renewed attacks on their wages, terms and conditions by the Fine Gael-dominated coalition Government, propped up by Fianna Fáil. The party pointed out that if the trade union leadership accepts the premises as laid down by the Government, flowing from the report produced by the establishment’s hand-picked “Public Service Pay Commission,” that pay restoration was predicated on the Governments budgetary position, they have willingly walked into the carefully laid trap, accepting the false and artificial division between private and public-sector workers.
     3. This can only lead to renewed attacks on public-sector workers. The whole ideological assault on the working class is for affirming low wages in the private sector by attacking what the establishment call overpaid civil servants with permanent, pensionable jobs. Workers need to clearly understand what is happening. This is the old tactic of divide and rule, splitting and pitting one set of workers against another group of workers.
     4. Experience has shown that when sections of workers make advances, other workers follow, gaining confidence and strength to push forward. On the other hand, when the wages and conditions of one section of workers are lowered, this affects all workers. If the trade union leadership has accepted the logic of the Public Service Pay Commission they are condemning hundreds of thousands of workers in both the public and the private sector to low wages and to a permanent low-wage economy.
     5. Returning to previous failed strategies is not the way forward. Rather, the recent transport disputes, in particular in Dublin Bus, showed that advance can be won. It also shows that there is sufficient support and sympathy within the wider working-class movement and communities.
     6. Counterposing public-sector pay increases against the provision of public services is to place the emphasis and the responsibly in the wrong place. The party stated that it is not the role of workers to provide public services: that is the role of government.
     7. The party once again reiterated its call on the state not to sell its share in AIB but instead AIB should be used as a state strategic investment, to target investment in public social infrastructure, job creation, and developing local businesses.
     8. It is also clear that whichever candidate wins the Fine Gael leadership contest it will not make any difference to government policies; but the rhetoric of the two candidates presages an intensified assault on working people, continued cuts to public services, and a curtailment of democratic rights.
     9. The party again called upon all those activists in the water struggle to step up the struggle to secure a constitutional amendment on the people’s ownership of water. The back-room and parliamentary manoeuvring of the establishment of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and reactionary independent TDs is about blocking and undermining this democratic demand. Workers need to shed the illusion that the Dáil and other institutions of the state are vehicles for achieving their needs and aspirations.
     10. The party also had a full discussion on “Brexit,” following the triggering of article 50 by the British government. Working people cannot sit back and allow the European Union and the British and Irish governments a free hand. They will only look after the interests of big business and global financial institutions.
     11. Some forces are using Brexit to weaken opposition to the European Union and to further move away from a position of defending and advancing Irish national sovereignty and democracy. Their strategy is sowing further illusions and eroding opposition to the EU throughout the whole of the country.
     12. The party reaffirmed its call for the opening up of a serious debate regarding the Republic’s continued membership of the EU itself and as a first step to withdrawal from the euro zone. The debate over a “hard” or “soft” border once again exposes the many contradictions flowing from the imperialist partition of our country and the divisions that it sowed among our people.
     13. There are no lasting solutions to be found to the concerns and demands of working people either within the British state or the European Union.
     14. The party expressed its solidarity with the working class in Britain, both in the struggle to have a “Brexit” that is in the interests of the working class and to maximise the electoral and political opposition to the current reactionary Conservative government.
     15. The party expressed its solidarity with the Communist Party of Britain in its struggle to secure Britain’s complete withdrawal from the EU, including the single market and customs union, and for the defence of workers’ social, economic and political rights. There is a clear need to challenge the widespread illusion that the EU is somehow the guarantor of workers’ rights.
     16. In the forthcoming elections in the North of Ireland to the Westminster parliament the CPI called upon working people to vote for candidates who stand up for working people, who resist austerity, to vote for candidates who actively challenge sectarianism, who are for the advancement of the struggle for democracy and sovereignty.

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