August 2013        

Unfinished business

The central theme of the Lock-out in 1913 was the workers’ desire to unionise and, with this collective power, to bring some autonomy to their daily lives. Irish workers and their families in 1913 were effectually living in conditions that left them powerless and unable to engage with the political process.
     The twentieth century saw the rise and fall of the once-prolific workers’ parties and unions, from the grinding up of the left in Thatcher’s Britain to the “everyone is middle class” façade that has been drip-fed by the increasingly homogenised media. Capitalism has pushed on, oscillating between crisis and apparent prosperity. The ebb and flow of capitalism is now reaching the precipice throughout the political, environmental and social spectra.
     Ireland, a microcosm of these global power struggles, has seen a regression in the past few years. The recession and accompanying narrative of austerity have eroded freedoms and alienated individuals from the decision-making process. The political process is so cynical that it not only props up the power structures of capitalism but continues to undermine the very idea of individual freedoms. This has been bolstered by an increasingly dilute voice of opposition, drowned out by monolithic business interests controlled by the few.
     We will challenge the right of today’s William Martin Murphys—oligarchs and organised business interests—to control our politics, economy and society.
     Unfinished Business, 1913, is a group that has evolved from the disenfranchised youth who wish to bring class politics to the forefront of Irish politics, to challenge the decision-making processes that increasingly marginalise the most vulnerable in society, and to give a voice of opposition to those locked out of politics.
     The group aims to bring class politics to a population in which more than one in four young people are unemployed, with countries such as Greece and Spain seeing youth unemployment as high as one in two. The West is becoming increasingly divided, with capital rising to the top and less and less for the bottom.
     The 1913 Lock-out was rooted in class warfare, with the working class pitted against a very small group of employers, who dictated and presided over the lives of the disenfranchised. Rather than lose an entire generation to forced emigration, we aspire to rise up and challenge the “leaders” of our society. We have come full circle, to a point where again “the great appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise!”

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