At its December meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland discussed the political and economic situation in the country, north and south.
The party’s evaluation is that at both the national and the international level the system is experiencing new and deeper difficulties.
Growth is very small or non-existent, and we may well be in for a long period of stagnation among the major capitalist economies. What is also clear is that the leaders of the European Union are having increasing difficulties in coming forward with a lasting solution to the crisis of state monopoly capitalism and the euro, with each solution causing difficulties in other areas.
The party believes that state monopoly capitalism may have reached a point where measures meant to fix one aspect of the crisis are aggravating other areas, leading to a deepening of the crisis generally. If that is the case, capitalism is in deep trouble, because it has used the state as a crucial means for adapting and manoeuvring and for stabilising itself during most of the twentieth century.
The push by the EU for greater fiscal and monetary control should be viewed and understood in this context. Increasingly, democracy is an obstacle and is too slow a method for responding to the constant crises.
The Irish and British governments continue to respond to the crisis in a similar way, with similar policies: attacks on workers’ terms and conditions, and cuts in wages, pensions, and other benefits. They are stealing the people’s wealth to hand it over to the finance house in the hope of sustaining finance capital and the system as a whole.
The recent Loyalist flag riots did nothing for the protestant working class, though they reflect the sense of isolation and abandonment felt by a section . The involvement of criminal and fascist elements is significant and very dangerous. The rioting is also a a distraction from the very real crisis facing all working people of the north. Unionism is in crisis as it struggles to find what its role is in relation to global monopoly interests.
The rioting is more a reflection of powerlessness than strength. What we need now it to build unity among our people north and south, catholic and protestant, to meet the onslaught now underway from the British government and the EU and their gatekeepers in the Northern Executive and the Irish government.
The recent budget in the South marked a new and intensified attack on working people, with a range of new taxes, cuts in the health and education budgets, and attacks on the elderly and those who look after them as well as those suffering various disabilities. The party pointed out that these attacks will continue, and people’s living standards will be driven down as far as the establishment feel they can get away with. They wish to create a subsistence economy for the majority of working people.
The party welcomes the growing awareness among the people of the massive debt burden placed on our people by the EU and the Irish establishment. The recent demonstrations in Belfast and Dublin led by the trade union movement were a welcome sign that some elements of the movement see the importance of mobilising and of open, active campaigning in the interests not only of their members but also of the wider community.
The party called for maximum support for the proposed ICTU day of action on 9 February in opposition to the repayment of €3.1 billion to bond-holders on 31 March. This proposed action is a small but important step forward, but it is not sufficient, and the trade union movement needs to go much further, to build towards a national industrial stoppage in the near future, not only against the payment of the promissory notes but to demand the repudiation of the debt. There is no “good debt” and “bad debt.” We need to make a clear link between austerity and the paying of the odious debt.
The CPI also calls for the broadest mobilisation of the people in opposition to the G8 gathering - the international executive committee of imperialism - planned to take place in Co Fermanagh in 2013. We need the maximum unity of trade unions, community, peace, human rights, youth and environmentalist groups and campaigns to demonstrate opposition to this institution of global imperialist domination.
Not alone is the Irish establishment incapable of developing policies for creating jobs and public services but they are incapable of creating a decent society based on equality and justice. The appalling death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway University Hospital because she was denied the right to a termination to save her own life, when there was clearly no possibility of any other outcome, exposes the real and continuing danger to women’s lives in a health system dominated by an ethos that has long been shown to be out of date, to be anti-women and anti-democratic. We once again call for the full legal right for women to secure safe abortions, north and south.