From Socialist Voice, October 2010

CPI congress held in Dublin


Over the last weekend in September the Communist Party of Ireland held its 24th National Congress in Dublin. The congress was the culmination of work and discussion within the branches and membership of the CPI. The congress drew delegates from all four provinces, from a wide range of ages and experience.
     The main document before the congress was the political resolution, which had been discussed in the branches for more than six months. The document analyses the global economic crisis, its systemic part in the general crisis of capitalism, and the permanent features of slump and boom.
     It also pointed out that we are facing not alone a growing and deepening crisis of the system itself but also an environmental crisis created by monopoly capitalism that is endangering the very existence of life on our planet. We either defeat monopoly capitalism or it will do irreversible damage to the world and destroy the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
     In relation to Ireland, the congress analysed the effect of the crisis on the lives of working people and stressed the necessity to mobilise working people, family farmers, the self-employed and the growing ranks of the unemployed to resist the sharpening attacks being carried out by the present Government, itself willingly carrying out orders from the European Union.
     The role of both opposition parties in the Dáil and the role of important sections of the trade union leadership was heavily criticised. Many delegates pointed to the fact that all the main parties represented in the Dáil have accepted the EU budgetary strategy laid down by the EU Commission and the effect this will have on Government spending, resulting in massive cuts in spending on hospitals, schools, and social welfare.
     In relation to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, the congress reiterated the party’s conditional support for the Belfast Agreement but argued that progressive forces must push beyond its limitations and develop policies and strategies to advance important political goals. These include the development of an all-Ireland economic and social strategy, fiscal independence for the Assembly and Executive, and campaigning against sectarianism and for community reconciliation policies. Only such a strategy can break the marginalisation now experienced by the people, who have little or no influence in the corridors of power in London and none in Brussels. Together both North and South would be stronger and in a much better position to push for radical economic and social demands.
     All the political parties represented in the Dáil and in the Northern Ireland Assembly that claim to be of the left in fact want a “better capitalism” and a nicer version of the one we have now. They are not opposed to the system itself, nor do they wish to see the end of exploitation.
     In his opening remarks the general secretary stated that we are at the “national democratic” point in the struggle for socialism. Social change cannot be built so long as the main economic and social decisions are controlled and determined by the European Union.
     One of the central features of the strategy of the European Union, embodied in the treaties, is to restrict the capacity of workers to influence or change the policies that dominate their lives by national class struggles.
     If radical change is to be achieved, the central question of who governs and in whose interests has to be faced. The struggle for national control over capital and over economic and social planning is an absolute and must be linked to a profound democracy, with working people at its heart.
     There is a need to build a broad national-democratic alliance to challenge the power of European monopoly capitalism, which is embedded in and is the driving force at the heart of the European Union.
     The political resolution states that “the defeat of imperialist influence and control is an absolute necessity for economic and social advance,” and that “this necessitates working-class forces taking an all-Ireland approach. A national-democratic transformative strategy is one that unites both the national and social goals of the working class and its potential allies.”
     Other resolutions discussed and adopted were in relation to women, youth, and international solidarity. The resolution on women outlines the effect the crisis and the cuts have on women and on single-parent families, the majority of whom are headed by women. It reiterates the call for the full control by women over their fertility, including the right to abortion, north and south.
■ All the congress resolutions will be published shortly.

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