12 February 2014
At its first meeting of 2014 the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland analysed the economic and political situation in the country and its effect on the people, north and south.
The Irish people, north and south, will face another year of cuts and austerity from the Irish and British governments. Austerity, their weapon of choice, will continue to take back concessions won by the working class over nearly a century of struggle and will further institute new inequality.
Globally there has been very little growth in world output since 2009. With slow or stagnant growth in profits, monopoly capitalism and the Irish capitalist class will continue their offensive, to squeeze workers further and to reduce the share of wealth going to the working class.
A growth in profits will be achieved by more intense exploitation of workers. There is also growing uncertainty among the elite about a possible way out of the crisis. Despite the Irish establishment talking of an economic recovery, with the state leaving the “bail-out programme” and the claim that we are in economic recovery mode and the only way is up, this is clearly a ruse to fool the people.
Austerity will not end, as it is now structurally built in to the system itself with the myriad of EU treaties and laws and their continued attacks on our living standards. The continuing and deepening economic crisis will inflict further pain on our people, north and south. The ranks of the unemployed now number almost half a million, north and south. Most economic forecasts are predicting little if any growth and general economic activity very sluggish.
The Irish Government is basing its hopes on recovery on both the American economy and the European Union. They are also hoping that the “emerging markets” will grow, providing export opportunities. The British government is relying on a similar strategy.
The Northern Executive will have to find nearly £100 million in further cuts in 2014 alone. The Irish Government continues to massage the unemployment figures by claiming a drop in the numbers unemployed, which is due in the main to the continued emigration of tens of thousands of young people, many of whom have completed third-level education, with a similar process in the North.
Our people are experiencing the emptying of our towns, villages and homes of the sound and activity of our youth. The Government can only offer young people the choice of emigration or Job Bridge “internships.” They are offering only low wages, no wages, or emigration.
At the same time there have been small but important shoots of resistance, with the victory of the ESB workers in defence of their pensions and the pay increases won by Mandate for low-paid shop workers. The CPI calls on members of the TEEU to support their union’s call for a national stoppage in February to oppose the efforts by employers to smash the registered wage rates and institute wholesale cuts in wages.
The efforts of Haass in the task he was given, of overcoming the deadlock and bringing forward solutions, failed to bridge the gap and overcome the impasse on the issues of flags, parades, and historical truth. What is becoming clearer is that the DUP is pursuing a strategy of squeezing the other unionist parties, including the Alliance Party, using Orangeism as the tool for strengthening their hegemony in the rebuilding of one united unionist bloc.
There is no future for the Protestant section of the working class in Orangeism. It is a supremacist ideology, tied to the interests of imperialism. It will be defeated only when challenged by open, democratic politics.
This year the Irish establishments, both unionist and nationalist, will offer the people north and south a diet of circuses regarding their “shared sacrifice” to commemorate the Inter-Imperialist War of 1914–18. They will beat their drums and parade their flags, not in homage to the dead but to continued imperialist adventure. We need to make 2014 a year of building the people’s resistance, building the people’s consciousness of what is happening. This is the only real and meaningful way to honour both the heroes of 1913 and those who opposed the imperial slaughter that began in September 1914. We must turn commemoration into resistance.