April 2014        

CPI political statement

22 March 2014

At its recent meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland discussed the political and economic situation throughout the country.
      While welcoming the release of the 79-year-old peace campaigner Margaretta D’Arcy, the party condemns her incarceration for nearly ten weeks as an attack on her democratic right, and that of everyone, to protest. The campaign to close the US military hub at Shannon Airport must be continued. The US-led invasion of Iraq eleven years ago has resulted in the death of more than 1½ million people—20,000 killed in the last seven months alone—and tens of thousands of victims of cancers, stillbirths and birth deformities from the callous and indiscriminate use of depleted uranium, many of such munitions being transported through Shannon Airport.
      The adventurous destabilisation strategies of the European Union and the United States, with their attempt to economically colonise Ukraine as well as bullying it into joining NATO, pose great dangers. The alliance of EU, US and fascist forces now gaining strength poses great dangers to peace, both in Europe and around the world. The continued use of Shannon Airport will make Ireland a complicit and active participant in present and future wars of aggression.
      The active collaboration of the Irish government in sanctions against Russia is another low point, confirming what the CPI has warned of since Ireland joined the EEC in 1973: that what little independent foreign policy and military neutrality the state possessed would be quickly extinguished as the Irish ruling class become open and willing collaborators with imperialism, both European and American.
      On the economic situation the party warned that unless resistance is built to both the socialised corporate debt and austerity, the Irish working class face generations of permanent austerity, large-scale unemployment, and a low-wage or no-wage future. These policies, coupled with a constant haemorrhage of tens of thousands of talented youth and of whole families through emigration, will lay waste a whole generation.
      The British government’s recent budget will continue to hit hard the people of the North of Ireland and shows that there will be no let-up in the politics of austerity. Working people throughout the North of Ireland will experience increased and more intense austerity. The cap on the Welfare Bill will have a disproportionate effect because of the greater proportion of benefit claimants in its population. The continued freeze on public-sector pay to 2018 or 2019 will also cause a downward spiral in the domestic economy.
      We also acknowledge that working-class women throughout the country, north and south, are experiencing some of the worst effects of these economic attacks on the working class from the Irish and British governments. The mobilisation of women to celebrate International Women’s Day, in particular the large rally and events in Belfast, are very positive and need to be emulated in the South and built upon throughout the whole country.
      These factors, combined with an inevitable rise in interest rates and cuts in public expenditure, will leave the Northern economy in a very perilous condition. It reflects the reality that Northern economic interests or the concerns of the working people of the North find little if any echo in the corridors of power in Westminster, the City of London, or Brussels, where real power lies.
      The Irish government, its spin-doctors and the economic soothsayers are lauding a growth in property prices and rents as a sign of economic recovery, which is nothing more than a continuance of a failed strategy in creating a new speculative bubble, the consequences of which when it bursts will be of a greater magnitude than the recent property collapse.
      Families barely able to service their mortgage can only wait in trepidation as the cycle of growth in interest rates pushes tens of thousands more over the edge, driving further thousands into homelessness. The growth in speculative rents is adding further pressure on young people and low-income families.
      This is not a recovery but a descent into a greater immiseration of already struggling working people. The system continues to pursue a solution to its deepening structural economic crisis at the expense of working people by increasing exploitation. No amount of economic tinkering or the refining of capitalism will bring about a humane or civilised society.
      The recent court judgement and interlocutory injunction against the trade unions that represent workers in Aer Lingus is a further example of the muzzling and legal shackling of Irish workers. The lacklustre response of the ICTU exposes once again its bankrupt leadership and its continued craven approach to the government at the behest of the Labour Party.
      The talk of the Irish state regaining its sovereignty and having some independent economic policy is as fictional as the claim of an independent foreign policy and has been further exposed as nothing more than a ruse and spin. The European Stability Mechanism is no solution to the debt crisis but marks a further strengthening of controls, part of the continued and sustained attack on democracy at the national level. It is a further handing over of powers to unelected bodies, leaving decisions affecting the lives of tens of millions of working people in the hands of bankers and financiers.
      The CPI believes that what is needed is a renewed and reinvigorated trade union movement. The party commits itself to doing whatever is necessary to help bring together those committed to building strong, militant, class-oriented trade unions as an absolutely necessary and primary step in the difficult task of building the people’s resistance. The party calls on all militant trade union activists to support and build the Trade Union Left Forum.
      The CPI again reiterates its call for the establishment of the Civic Forum in the North of Ireland, as was agreed under the Belfast Agreement. This could be an important vehicle for allowing the voices of the people to be heard, as against the policies and economic strategies imposed by the British state, with the willing and active collaboration of local political parties, particularly by all shades of unionism.

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