Bailing out the rich

17 January 2009

The National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland, at its first meeting of the new year, called on the labour movement to resist any and all attempts to place the burden of the growing economic crisis on the backs of workers, small businesses, family farmers, pensioners, the sick, and the youth. 
     There is a constant and growing stream of attacks from the Government and their hired guns, the bankrupt establishment economists who have not one single idea about the nature or the extent of the economic crisis enveloping our nation. 
     The present Government, all the establishment parties and the employers’ organisations have declared open war, ideologically and on the shop floor, on working people’s wages, working conditions, and pensions. The constant assault on health, education, transport and other public services is now a daily feature of the mass media, coupled with the employers’ organisations, such as IBEC and the Construction Industry Federation, attempting to use the crisis to take back rights won by workers over decades, including shift allowance, overtime payment, pensions, and service increments. 
     There is a growing list of company closures, including Dell and Waterford Crystal, as well as the announcement of substantial reductions in the number of workers in such companies as Google, Seagate, F. G. Wilson, and Nortel. 
     The decision by the Fianna Fáil coalition Government to nationalise Anglo-Irish Bank has exposed the Irish people to unknown millions of euros of debt. This is corporate welfare on a scale unimaginable. This bank has been overexposed to the untrammelled greed of property developers in speculative investment, not only here in Ireland but around the globe. 
     The Government is running to the rescue of its financial backers, exposing Irish workers to hundreds of millions in debt. They have virtually doubled the national debt overnight. This is socialising the debts while capital remains firmly under private ownership and control. Working people are being asked to bail out those secret visitors who were wined and dined in the Fianna Fáil tent at the Galway Races over the last decade. 
     The labour movement needs to organise now to resist these growing attacks. Pensioners, teachers, pupils and parents have shown that resistance produces results. The defence of public services is also a defence of public-service workers’ terms and conditions of employment. The political and economic forces that arrogantly told us there was no other way for the last two decades now claim to have the panacea for the growing economic collapse. 
     The state sector in the economy provides stability and is the biggest purchaser of goods and services. Its many workers put millions of euros into the economy every week. Allowing these attacks to succeed will only further damage an economy already tottering on the brink and will plunge tens of thousands of working-class families into deeper financial straits than those in which they already are. 
     Public money should not be used to bail out bankers, speculators and failed politicians but should be invested in the immediate establishment of a state development bank to begin the necessary steps to rebuilding our economy and developing our infrastructure, centred on the development of our natural resources. The strategy of reliance on transnational corporations is coming unstuck. 
     There is an urgent and growing need for an all-Ireland approach to economic and social development. The reliance on foreign capital has failed our people, north and south. We need to maximise the control of capital so as to ensure that the economic and social priorities of working people are met, not just those of corporate and political elites. 
     This Government is risking the livelihood, the homes and the future of millions of working people. It is time for a different direction. It is time those who created the crisis were made to pay for it, not working people. 
     Our country and our working people are being sacrificed to bail out the corrupt and bankrupt economic and political elite. Resistance to the attacks on workers’ wages and conditions is the only forward.