October 2015        

Right2Change: Another step forward

Eugene McCartan

The trade unions that, together with the communities resisting the imposing of water charges, have been the mainstay of the Right2Water campaign have taken a bold initiative in launching the Right2Change consultative process.
     They are sponsoring what will be a whole series of public forums around the 26 Counties. The first series of meetings took place in late September, with more being planned for October and November.
     These forums will provide an opportunity for the trade unions and the communities to come together, to share experience and learn from each other. The unions have developed a policy platform on which they wish to engage the communities in the period coming up to the general election. They have developed policy positions on a number of important areas, including the following:
     • Right2Water
     • Right2Democratic Reform
     • Right2Jobs and Decent Work
     • Right2Health
     • Right2Housing
     • Right2Education
     • Right2Debt Justice
     • Right2Equality
     • Right2National Resources
     • Right2Sustainable Environment
     In their statement they outline a series of political principles that should underpin a future progressive government. These were first presented in draft form to a May Day conference organised by the Right2Water unions, which was followed by a consultation process that culminated in a conference in June that amended and adopted those principles. The document emerging from that process addresses a range of areas, including housing, health, education, and water.
     The Right2Change campaign is seeking to win public and political support for what its spokesperson, Brendan Ogle, termed “a fundamental change in the way we view our economy and our society.
     “These policy principles are merely a starting point,” he said. “That is why, in the coming weeks, we will be organising meetings throughout the country to continue the process of consultation started on May Day.”
     The unions have published a fiscal framework that could allow a progressive government to increase spending by more than €9 billion over the next four years, allowing a future government to tackle some of the biggest crises in the state.
     Right2Water and Right2Change are encouraging everybody to come along to these meetings as we all endeavour to make Ireland a better, fairer country. Everyone concerned about the future of our country should actively engage with these forums.
     The CPI will be attending, presenting its ideas and demands in relation to the debt, membership of the EU, and the euro, as well as arguing for a much more radical transformative strategy, one that is aimed at weakening and breaking the power of capital and strengthening the power and capacity of the working class to defend and advance its own economic and political goals.
     This is a battle for a new way forward, to lay before the people the central challenges they face and the fact that there is no simple or easy way forward, that they should not allow their anger and their independent demands to be drawn into mere electoralism, buried in parliamentary procedures and rules.

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