11 April 2011
At its regular meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland assessed the political situation in the country following the general election and the election of a new Government in the Republic and the forthcoming elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. In addition it considered the continuing crisis within the European Union, particularly concerning the euro.
In relation to the elections in the Republic the CPI welcomed the election of a number of progressive independent TDs, the increased number of Sinn Féin TDs, and those TDs under the umbrella of the United Left Alliance.
The new coalition Government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party has shown itself within a very short period to be as bankrupt as the outgoing coalition of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. They are content, if not even more enthusiastic, to carry out the policies being imposed on the country primarily by the European Union and European Central Bank, with the International Monetary Fund playing a supporting role.
They have no policies other than those dictated by the European Union. They have continued to pour vast sums of public money into the bankrupt Irish banking system, money that will inevitably find its way back into the coffers of German, French and British banks.
The party once again criticised this socialisation of corporate debt and making the people pay for the crisis. This new coalition will have no alternative to, and in fact is an enthusiastic believer in, slashing public spending, abolishing thousands of public-sector jobs, and attacking the poor, the unemployed, and pensioners.
The Labour Party has long since abandoned whatever little social-democratic ideology it ever had to fully embrace the policies and strategy of monopoly capitalism at the national, European and global levels. The leader of the Labour Party has even endorsed the “humanitarian” bombing of Libya.
The party expressed its strong disagreement with those elements in the wider trade union movement who have come out in support of the “Programme for Government,” even with slight reservations. By endorsing the Government’s programme they are in fact endorsing the “Programme for Ireland” being imposed by the European Union, supported by the IMF.
It is clear that this Government will push ahead as quickly as possible with the privatisation of public companies, services and assets as the pressure grows to service this unpayable debt. We need a united front of all forces—trade unions, the left, people’s organisations, and the workers in the companies and services targeted for privatisation—to stop this sale of the people’s assets. Now is the time to begin to convince, to win and mobilise the public and public-sector workers against the privatisation.
Coupled with the deepening “sovereign debt” crisis is the crisis of personal debt in relation to the growing number of home repossessions, with more and more families being unable to pay their mortgage. Based on our experience of the founding of and active participation in the Dublin housing action struggles, we urge all those families who are struggling to pay their mortgages not to leave their homes. They may evict ones and twos but they cannot evict thousands.
The CPI welcomes the development of the Repudiate the Debt Campaign as a necessary and progressive step. It will do whatever is necessary to broaden the active participation of all those forces on which this crippling debt is taking a heavy toll. We wish to see this campaign develop in an inclusive, democratic, non-sectarian, non-manipulative way, with the participation of the broadest forces.
European monopoly capitalism
The crisis of the euro is but a reflection of a deeper crisis within the European Union. The banking system in both Germany and France is in deep crisis and is even more affected by the systemic crisis of capitalism itself.
The banks are heavily affected by losses in the derivatives market and from other speculative financial products. The central economies within the EU have been stagnant for some time; most importantly, profits have been stagnant, which has forced finance capital to engage in reckless activity and to create unstable speculative bubbles. It suited British, French and German finance capital to build up a speculative bubble in peripheral countries, with disastrous results for Ireland. The resulting crash has left them with the original problems, and more.
The centre is attempting to make the peripheral countries pay for the crisis at the heart of the euro, while at the same time the driving forces, both Christian-democratic and social-democratic, are attempting to use the crisis to further strengthen the powers of the centre and in particular of the European Commission.
Over the coming period workers throughout the European Union will see their rights as workers and their terms and conditions further eroded and restricted by the Competitiveness Pact waiting in the wings to be adopted at the first opportunity.
The CPI expressed its solidarity with the working people, the unemployed, small businesspeople and family farmers in Portugal, Greece, and Spain, who are in the front line of attack, like similar social groups here in Ireland.
The election campaign for the Northern Ireland Assembly provides the people with an opportunity to express their opposition to the savage cuts in public spending imposed by the outgoing Executive and at the same time provides an opportunity for people to show their continued opposition to the activities of paramilitaries, such as the recent killing of a member of the PSNI in Omagh and several failed bomb attempts over the past six weeks.
The activities of these groups are a threat to the peace process and are an obstruction to the building of a united working class that will fight for class interests.
The CPI welcomes the initiative of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in organising demonstrations against both the attack on workers’ lives and the attack on workers’ living standards.
Progressive and democratic forces should not allow themselves to be pushed aside by the actions of small and unrepresentative groups from their strategy of building the people’s resistance to the growing attacks on their living standards.
The recent mobilisation of students, teachers and parents against the cuts in education budgets is to be welcomed. We call on working people to vote for candidates and parties
—that actively oppose the cuts,
—that oppose the imposition of water charges and other service charges,
—that are engaged in politics of community reconciliation,
—that actively oppose sectarianism and the use of sectarianism for political ends,
—that support the demand for the transfer of full fiscal powers (through negotiations, and guaranteed for an agreed period), and
—that support the enhancing and deepening of economic and political co-operation throughout the whole of Ireland.
In addition, we warn that the lowering of corporation tax to 12½ per cent in the North of Ireland would represent a race to the bottom. It would serve only the interests of private business and the British Government, who would reduce the annual block grant by £300 million. Support for this measure gives no guarantees for investment in job creation.
The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with the valiant peoples of the Middle East. We welcome the toppling of close allies of imperialism in Tunisia and Egypt. Western imperialist powers continue to interfere and are attempting to subvert the democratic aspirations of the people of these countries. We offer our continuing support for the people of Bahrain, now suffering a double occupation by the external forces led by Saudi Arabia and the continuing presence of the US 6th Fleet.
The people of Yemen, despite a massive onslaught and the death of hundreds of protesters at the hands of the regime, remain unbowed and unbroken.
The CPI also calls for an end to the NATO bombing and interference in Libya. The dictatorial regime of Gaddafi has clearly lost the support of a significant section of the Libyan people, and its repression of the original peaceful demonstrations can have no justification.
The original democratic opposition to Gaddafi has been taken over by a coalition of Western agents, former members of Gaddafi’s government, and Islamic fundamentalists linked to al-Qa‘ida. These forces are equally guilty of crimes against the civilian population, especially against immigrant workers. They have nothing to offer to the Libyan people except complete surrender to imperialism.
We support the calls from progressive and anti-imperialist forces in the region for an end to the violence in both Libya and Syria and for a peaceful, negotiated solution in countries whose people have played a progressive role over many decades in opposing the US aggression and presence in the region and have also opposed the policies of the Zionist-apartheid state of Israel.