Friday, December 4, 2015

Danish government and the EU defeated by “No” vote

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

3 December 2015

The Communist Party of Ireland congratulates the people of Denmark on their resounding victory in voting down the proposition from the Danish government on the repeal of Denmark’s opt-out on justice and home affairs. Despite numerous threats, blackmail and scaremongering from the Danish government, all the main parties, and the EU itself, the people voted No to defend democracy and sovereignty.

If the people had supported the proposition put forward by the Danish government, all the main political parties and big business they would have handed over control immediately to the EU, which would take over important sections of Danish policy and law on matters relating to justice and home affairs.

With decision-making transferred to Brussels, the twin threats to Danish democracy and sovereignty become glaringly obvious. Laws governing divorce, crime, child custody, policing and much more would in future be determined by the EU. A total of twenty-two EU regulations covering justice and home affairs would have become law in Denmark overnight.

CPI NEC Statement

CPI NEC November 2015
Political Statement.
As we approach the end of 2015 and face into 2016, the challenges facing our people grow. In 2016 our people will celebrate the centenary of the 1916 Rising, one of the seminal events of twentieth-century Irish history as well as a very important event in the worldwide anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations.
Today we face renewed domination and mechanisms of control over our people’s future, posing grave threats to the very limited political and economic sovereignty we have achieved. Our people in the North of Ireland have fared even worse, and their situation is becoming ever more precarious, having experienced decades of mass discrimination and repression, gerrymandering, poverty, economic dependence, and continued external domination and control by the British state.
The centenary celebrations should be an opportunity to re-evaluate the experience of our people over the past century, how far we have travelled and how much more of the journey needs to be taken if we are to achieve the goals and aspirations laid out in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 and the Democratic Programme of Dáil Éireann in 1919.
It is clear that the imposed partitionist settlement has failed our people, while it secured the interests of British imperialism and the Irish ruling class.
The most recent expression of external control is the “Fresh Start” agreement, which is to facilitate the implementation of various aspects of the Stormont House Agreement of December 2014. Unionism and both the British and Irish states have used the continued alleged existence of the IRA and the active paramilitarism of unionist paramilitaries to extract political concessions in the hope of neutralising continued opposition to “welfare reform” from local political and social forces.
The economy and therefore the social and material basis of people’s lives is becoming more and more precarious. With the marginalisation from the centres of decision-making that so directly affect their lives, the relationship between London, Brussels and Dublin comes into stark relief. The handing back to the British state of the devolved responsibilities over welfare is but a reflection of this marginalisation and powerlessness. Overall economic and financial instruments and power still lie with the British state.
The cuts in welfare will bear heaviest on the unemployed and the working poor, and will have a serious effect on the lives of all working people. The social damage involved will be greater than in any part of Britain, owing to the large part of the economy involved. The organised working class needs to develop an effective response.
The false belief that a reduction in corporation tax to the same level as that obtaining in the South will boost the economy is the politics of illusion. It can only further expose the people’s well-being and future to the whims of monopoly capitalism.
Both the Stormont House Agreement and “A Fresh Start” show clearly the limits of the Belfast Agreement. It is clear that we cannot go back: we cannot go back to majority Orange rule, nor should we allow our people to be dragged back into the quagmire and paralysis of militarism and violence.
There is an urgent need for an open dialogue and debate about where the people of the North of Ireland need to go. The CPI will work towards establishing a dialogue for this necessary discussion.
In the South the people will be facing a general election in early 2016. The choice facing them is clear: to support parties that are committed to the economic and political strategy of the troika and the European Union or to begin to take the difficult but necessary steps in a different direction, a direction guided by the fundamental and central demand contained in the 1916 Proclamation: the assertion of the right of the Irish people to the unfettered control of their destiny, to the fulfilment of the struggle for national political and economic sovereignty—demands and challenges long since abandoned by the Irish ruling class.
In the short term, working people need to focus on the struggle for the ownership and control of water. The election must not be allowed to distract us from the necessary struggle to win a constitutional amendment enshrining the people’s ownership of this vital human resource. The Communist Party of Ireland reaffirms its active political support for the Right2Water campaign as well as acknowledging the positive development of the Right2Change initiative, sponsored by a number of the trade unions that have been central to the vital struggle for water.
Working people should not be distracted by the noise of elections but should remain focused on the goal of defeating water charges and securing a constitutional amendment. The securing of that victory would embolden and empower working people to push further.
New allies can be won to the demand for a constitutional amendment. We need to broaden the forces in this central demand and narrow the ground for those who wish to impose water charges as a prerequisite for privatisation.
Working people enter 2016 with new forces and with more strength than when we entered 2015, but we need to build further, to build the people’s organisations of resistance in the community, trade union and electoral spheres.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Greek workers’ resistance and the EU

On Wednesday 21 October a successful public meeting was held in Swords, Co. Dublin, on the theme “Greek workers’ resistance and the EU.” The meeting was addressed by Sotirios Zarianopoulos (Communist Party of Greece), a member of the EU Parlia­ment, and Eoin McDonnell, Dublin district chair­person, CPI.

Interview with Sotirios available at

17th Inter­national Meet­ing of Com­mun­ist and Workers’ Parties

Ankara, November 2015

Eugene McCartan
General Secretary, Communist Party of Ireland

Dear comrades, 
     We are moving into a period of change as well as a period of great danger to world peace. The US-EU imperialist bloc is deepening its permanent war strategy in its continuing struggle to maintain its global domination. They cynically use the Islamic terrorist groups operating both in the Middle East and in North Africa, just as they use fascist groups in Ukraine. The atrocities committed in their own territories are regarded as “blow-back,” a price worth paying. This is coupled with the real dangers posed to the planet by the destruction of the global environment by monopoly capitalism. 
     We can see this permanent war strategy being played out today in the Middle East, with its war against Syria and its support for despotic regimes, like the Zionist settler-colonial state of Israel, now slipping into fascism, and the neo-mediaevalist Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Their brutal wars against the people of Palestine and Yemen have the full support of their patrons. 
     Russia has been provoked into intervening in the Syrian crisis, an intervention that may shift the balance of forces within that country. The Russian intervention does not fit so easily into the neat box of inter-imperialist rivalry. We need to study developments in the very real concrete conditions. It is important that ISIS and the other forces of reaction promoted by US-EU imperialism are defeated in the region. This would be a strategic defeat for the imperialist powers. 
     The United States has not abandoned the megalomaniac project of “full-spectrum dominance.” With its partners, the EU and Japan, it is now attempting to encircle Russia and China. In fact this is its main strategic objective; the interference in Ukraine and the South China Sea can only be understood in this context. 
     The drive for global domination is accompanied by a continuing assault on working people. This is now facing a growing but largely confused and disjointed resistance. The “austerity” measures have met with a large protest movement; however, the majority of protesters are not yet ready to challenge the system itself and are open to opportunist forces promising an easy solution, a return to social democracy—a solution that is not available. 
     Nevertheless, we can see throughout Europe and in many developed capitalist countries the emergence of new social forces, albeit forces that come from a petit-bourgeois background and understanding, a movement of protest against austerity, with large numbers but without a clear strategy. Without an understanding of the nature of capitalism, this movement is open to manipulation and is headed for defeat, as the recent experience of SYRIZA in Greece has shown. 

The weakening of ideological hegemony

It is clear that the ideological hegemony is weakening. Throughout the European Union more and more workers are taking the first step towards asking whose interests the EU serves. There are small shoots of questioning of the very legitimacy of the EU itself. 
     We need to continue to step up our ideological attacks against the EU and also to expose opportunism, to show that this talk of “reforming” the EU weakens and confuses workers, blunting the resistance of the workers’ movement throughout Europe. The struggle against TTIP can also be used to expose not only the nature of that treaty but also the forces behind it and the EU itself. 
     The possible emergence of political fractures gives us more scope for engaging in and intensifying the ideological struggle among this strata. While many are imbued with the bankrupt ideology of social democracy, and have been fed on decades of vicious anti-worker anti-communism, and while some of this resistance is ideologically and organisationally confused, we should distinguish between those who are genuinely confused by the crisis and those who are spreading confusion. 
     It is clear that these movements have not, and will not, spontaneously or automatically come to the same understanding as communists or the workers’ movement; our class has decades of experience in resistance to draw upon. 
     We may have come to different conclusions and solutions from that resistance, but we need to find the ways and the means, as well as the political courage and, most importantly, the confidence in our ideology, to engage with these forces. Without a good defence there is little chance of a successful counter-offensive. 

Growing resistance in Ireland

After many years of imposed austerity—cuts in wages, pensions, health and education services—we are now experiencing in Ireland the emergence of mass resistance to the introduction of water charges, under the unifying banner of Right2Water. This is one of the most positive developments since the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, which shattered unionism—British imperialism’s main ally in the north of our country. 
     Water charges, along with other charges and levies, form part of the agreed “Programme for Ireland” imposed upon the Irish people by the external troika, in alliance with the internal troika of the main Irish establishment parties. 
     The people in the northern part of our country, still under British control, also experience some of the same brutal social and economic realities and policies of the British state as well as those flowing from the EU. The current attempt to impose “welfare reform” demanded by the British state lies at the heart of the present political crisis within the institutions established under the Belfast Agreement. 
     We characterise the situation facing the people in the North of Ireland as one in which they are triply marginalised: they have little if any influence on British government policy that so directly affects their lives; they certainly have no ability to effect change in or to oppose policies imposed by the EU; and they have little influence on the Irish government. 
     What is clear is that there is no lasting solution within the existing political institutions and continued British imperialist control. 
     In the south of Ireland what has now emerged is a mass movement of resistance against the imposition of water charges, which has had a significant impact politically. What began as a small resistance in one housing estate has grown into a national movement. This movement has had a significant impact on sections of the trade union movement, a movement demoralised and greatly weakened by decades of “social partnership” and class collaboration. 
     A number of trade unions came together and formally established Right2Water. Within this movement are three pillars: trade unions, communities, and political parties. Trade unions play a central role in sustaining the unity of the movement, and in keeping political opportunism in check. It has allowed for the reconnecting of community-based struggles with trade unions, and vice versa. What lessons have Irish communists drawn from this mass struggle? Firstly, it has reaffirmed that the active involvement of working people in direct, mobilising struggles is the only real basis on which political and class consciousness can be developed. 
     Secondly, it is essential that the trade union movement is centrally engaged and involved in the wider people’s struggles. 
     Thirdly, that mass struggle can force the government to retreat far more successfully than endless parliamentary procedural debates. 
     Fourthly, during the course of this struggle those trade unions have also developed politically. Recently four of the trade unions involved in Right2Water launched a political initiative, called Right2Change. We consider this an important development, even if we have concerns about some of the formulations and positions, an over-emphasis on elections, and a lack of understanding of the central necessity for mobilising the working class independently of the controlling institutions and mechanisms of the state. The electoral campaigns of the political parties involved could take the emphasis away from the issue of water charges and privatisation. 
     Our experience has also shown us that nothing emerges from decades of class collaboration that is fully formed and class-conscious. The name of Right2Change is itself also interesting, because it presents the possibility of change; it extends the hand of hope and solidarity. This runs counter to the other, demoralised sections of the labour movement and of itself is a challenge to the dominant ideology of “There is no alternative.” 
     As part of the wider debate and engagement with the forces within Right2Change, our party issued a discussion paper entitled “Democratic Programme for the 21st Century,” in recognition of the Democratic Programme of the Irish independence struggle. We presented a radical transformative strategy, a strategy that presents a different way forward for the Irish working class and working people. It is a strategy for challenging imperialism, for challenging the European Union and its mechanisms of control, such as the euro and the many treaty obligations. 
     Our strategy is one that is radical in content and that has the potential to challenge EU-US-British imperialism’s triple-lock grip on our people. We believe it presents positions that will appear to working people to be winnable and reasonable. It is a strategy for shifting the balance of forces away from capital to labour, for building the consciousness and unity of the class in the course of the struggle. That is the lesson we have learnt: to advance demands and strategies that are not so far ahead of where the people are but advanced enough to bring them forward and allow them to grow politically and ideologically and, most importantly, to grow in confidence about where they need to go. 
     While our ultimate goal is socialism, the stage or phase of struggle that we understand where our people are at today, given the concrete material conditions and balance of forces, is one that is centred around the reassertion of the struggle for national independence under the leadership of the working class—the only class that can bring that struggle to its final victory: in other words, linking the struggle for national freedom, for political and economic sovereignty with social emancipation, led by the Irish working class. 
     We also argue for a political and economic strategy that is on an all-Ireland basis. This is the only way to break the marginalisation experienced by our people and to weaken, undermine and challenge the continued imperialist control and interference in the affairs of the Irish people. 
     What we are campaigning and mobilising for is to present a vision of an alternative social and economic system and a way forward that can inspire hope and that is rooted in the people’s own experiences, to challenge the narrow and limited version of democracy on offer and to bring forms of democracy into all spheres of life: political, economic, social, and cultural.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Greek Communist MEP meeting in Swords, Co Dublin

Greek KKE MEP visiting Ireland


Greek MEP on speaking tour of Ireland

The Communist Party of Ireland will be hosting a visit to Ireland by Kostas Papadakis of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), a member of the EU Parliament. As you are aware, Greek communists have been one of the most consistent political forces inside Greece in opposing the “memorandums” imposed by the European Union and of the harsh effects those policies have had on the lives of the Greek people.

The KKE was deeply critical of SYRIZA and accurately predicted that it would capitulate in the face of pressure from the European Union. For many years the Greek communists have been been to the fore in the struggles of the Greek people, organising numerous general strikes and other forms of social resistance.

The KKE, like the Communist Party of Ireland, does not adhere to the view that a “social European Union” has any credibility.

Mr Papadakis will be addressing meetings in, Swords (Co. Dublin), Galway, and Belfast, as well as meeting activists of the campaign against water charges.

He is visiting Ireland from the 20th to the 22nd of October.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October Socialist Voice

The refugee crisis, housing and the IMF.

Check out October's Socialist Voice