National Executive Committe, Communist Party of Ireland
6 April 2016
At its regular meeting in early April the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland evaluated the present political situation and the tasks facing both the communist and the wider working-class movement and progressive forces.
The CPI welcomes the massive turn-out of working people around the country to celebrate the 1916 Rising. Tens of thousands attended both the official government commemoration and the hundreds of locally organised community-sponsored events.
This was a very positive development, considering the decades of sustained criticism and attempts by the political establishment, the establishment media and a large section of academia to undermine and discredit the 1916 Rising as well as the long democratic struggle of the Irish people to achieve independence. Their campaign has failed, and the centenary celebrations have awakened renewed interest in the Rising, those who led it, their motivation, the goal that inspired them, and the legacy of the 1916 Proclamation’s vision of an independent Irish republic.
The challenge facing progressive forces today is to work with the people in developing a deeper understanding of the central goals of the 1916 Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The central demand, then as now, is for national independence, sovereignty, and democracy. It is simply not possible to build a decent and socially just society in a country that has little independence, even less sovereignty, and only the limited forms of democracy that are open to us while we remain wedded to and controlled by the European Union, exacerbated by the imminent threat posed by TTIP.
The election result in February was somewhat inconclusive, and the formation of a new government is proving troublesome for the establishment. The CPI welcomes the growth in left and other anti-establishment voices in Dáil Éireann. It is clear, however, that while we will have a new government, the old policies of “austerity” and attacks on workers will continue. Budgetary policy will still be under the scrutiny and control of the European Union. It only confirms what the CPI has been saying for some time: that you can vote for whoever you like but unless we mount a challenge to the EU then no real progress can be made.
The CPI reaffirms its call on working people in the north-east of our country to vote to leave the European Union in the forthcoming referendum. This is not the time to leave the political field or to leave the political debate to be monopolised by xenophobic and racist forces. Nor should workers be fooled by those who claim that the EU is the only possible vehicle for bringing about social change or relief from the onslaught of the English Tory government. To take this approach is to ignore recent experience regarding workers’ rights. The EU is not for enhancing workers’ rights but is in fact a vehicle for attacking workers and enhancing the power and control of European monopoly capitalism. This was most clearly laid bare in the Laval and Viking cases and other such detrimental judgements delivered by the EU Court of Justice.
We need to learn from the real, concrete lived experiences of working people throughout the European Union, not the false belief that the EU can be transformed into its diametrical opposite. This is simply not possible.
This is not a time for hiding or sitting on the sidelines while such an intense struggle is taking place, in the false belief either that the EU will protect people from the Tories or that progress is possible only within the EU imperial structures. There is no place for opportunism. This is a time for building for the future, putting working people in a better place to advance, to sharpen the difficulties and contradictions within the ruling class, which has the potential to weaken its capacity to impose its economic and political strategy upon working people.