From Socialist Voice, September 2009

Once again deliver a strong No!

The challenges facing our people at this time are immense. We have a declining economy and soaring unemployment, and the Government is intent on bailing out the bankers and property speculators. It continues to pour scarce valuable resources into failing banks, while workers are facing renewed calls for increases in taxes of all sorts. Under the guise of the McCarthy Report the Government is preparing to make savage cuts in public spending, on top of the stringent cuts that have already taken place this year alone.
     Yet on the 2nd of October working people will be asked to pass judgement for the second time on the Lisbon Treaty. The Yes side have resorted to bullying and blackmail. They appear like demented preachers walking the street with their sandwich boards proclaiming that “the end of the world is nigh” if we vote No. The Yes advocates have steadfastly refused to engage in any serious debate in relation to the treaty and its contents but instead have attempted to engineer it into an argument for or against membership of the European Union. The cities and towns are littered with posters proclaiming that the recovery begins if we vote Yes, that we should “vote Yes for jobs.”
     The EU Commission has been promoting its own interests through its many front organisations, such as “Ireland for Europe,” headed by the former MEP and now corporate lobbyist Pat Cox, “We Belong,” “Generation Yes,” and the “Charter Group,” made up of certain senior trade unionists—all well funded and with unhindered access to the mass media. As there are in fact no strategy or policies in relation to job creation in the treaty, they point to the “Charter of Fundamental Rights”; but in this there is only the right to “seek” work.
     This treaty was framed by the European Round Table of Industrialists, to ensure that big business has maximum rights and minimum controls.
     If workers vote for this treaty we will be limiting our ability to bring about change here at home. This treaty is, in effect, a guarantee to retain the status quo, to copperfasten inequality, to reduce and our ability to bring about change. The bar will be set far beyond reach.
     There is nothing in this treaty for workers, for fishing communities, for medium or small farmers, for women, or for youth. This treaty would be the final capstone on an imperialist bloc, one that will become more and more militarised, more and more anti-democratic and authoritarian. It will speak with only one voice, and that will be the voice of monopoly capitalism, the big banks and finance houses.
     Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party have finally abandoned the façade of having any alternative vision for Ireland, other than that of being subservient to the needs and at the service of imperialism. Sadly, it has been joined by a large section of the trade union movement, and in particular by SIPTU, which this year celebrates the centenary of its formation, led by Jim Larkin and James Connolly, a union born and built under the conditions of the struggle for national freedom, to establish an Irish democracy free of British imperialist control, only to mark that centenary by supporting a treaty that will effectually sign away Irish democracy.
     SIPTU is dominated by the utopian belief that at some future date, in some parallel universe, the Labour Party will get into Government and right all the wrongs that are inflicted on our society, while in reality that party is preparing once again to enter coalition after the next election—whenever that may be—with Fine Gael.
     Irish workers face a stark choice. Do we stand and fight for a better Ireland, shaped by our own needs and traditions, or do we once again surrender to bullying, the craven surrender epitomised by the deadbeats of the establishment and the middle class, so ashamed of our history and our struggle for freedom? There is only one choice for workers, for small and medium farmers, for women, for youth: Vote No.The challenges facing our people at this time are immense. We have a declining economy and soaring unemployment, and the Government is intent on bailing out the bankers and property speculators. They continue to pour scarce valuable resources into failing banks, while workers are facing renewed calls for increases in taxes of all sorts. Under the guise of the McCarthy Report the Government is preparing to make savage cuts in public spending, on top of the stringent cuts that have already taken place this year alone.
     Yet on the 2nd of October working people will be asked to pass judgement for the second time on the Lisbon Treaty. The Yes side have resorted to bullying and blackmail. They appear like demented preachers walking the street with their sandwich boards proclaiming that “the end of the world is nigh” if we vote No. The Yes advocates have steadfastly refused to engage in any serious debate in relation to the treaty and its contents but instead have attempted to engineer it into an argument for or against membership of the European Union. The cities and towns are littered with posters proclaiming that the recovery begins if we vote Yes, that we should “vote Yes for jobs.”
     The EU Commission has been promoting its own interests through its many front organisations, such as “Ireland for Europe,” headed by the former MEP and now corporate lobbyist Pat Cox, “We Belong,” “Generation Yes,” and the “Charter Group,” made up of certain senior trade unionists—all well funded and with unhindered access to the mass media. As there are in fact no strategy or policies in relation to job creation in the treaty, they point to the “Charter of Fundamental Rights”; but in this there is only the right to “seek” work.
     This treaty was framed by the European Round Table of Industrialists, to ensure that big business has maximum rights and minimum controls.
     If workers vote for this treaty we will be limiting our ability to bring about change here at home. This treaty is, in effect, a guarantee to retain the status quo, to copperfasten inequality, to reduce and our ability to bring about change. The bar will be set far beyond reach.
     There is nothing in this treaty for workers, for fishing communities, for medium or small farmers, for women, or for youth. This treaty would be the final capstone on an imperialist bloc, one that will become more and more militarised, more and more anti-democratic and authoritarian. It will speak with only one voice, and that will be the voice of monopoly capitalism, the big banks and finance houses.
     Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party have finally abandoned the façade of having any alternative vision for Ireland, other than that of being subservient to the needs and at the service of imperialism. Sadly, it has been joined by a large section of the trade union movement, and in particular by SIPTU, which this year celebrates the centenary of its formation, led by Jim Larkin and James Connolly, a union born and built under the conditions of the struggle for national freedom, to establish an Irish democracy free of British imperialist control, only to mark that centenary by supporting a treaty that will effectually sign away Irish democracy.
     SIPTU is dominated by the utopian belief that at some future date, in some parallel universe, the Labour Party will get into Government and right all the wrongs that are inflicted on our society, while in reality that party is preparing once again to enter coalition after the next election—whenever that may be—with Fine Gael.
     Irish workers face a stark choice. Do we stand and fight for a better Ireland, shaped by our own needs and traditions, or do we once again surrender to bullying, the craven surrender epitomised by the deadbeats of the establishment and the middle class, so ashamed of our history and our struggle for freedom? There is only one choice for workers, for small and medium farmers, for women, for youth: Vote No.

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