Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bad deal for workers and communities

Press Statement from the Communist Party of Ireland
Bad deal for workers and communities

Having listened to the announcement by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein regarding the “Stormont House Deal” the Communist Party of Ireland wants to place on record its opposition to what is in effect: the acceptance of the Conservative austerity programme; the signal that major public assets such as the Belfast Harbour are now “for sale” and that public sector workers do not matter in that “the Government will allow £700m of RRI capital borrowing to be used to help deliver a voluntary exit scheme” to be used for redundancies in the public sector.  It appears that despite recent noises the Con-Dem Welfare “Reforms”, (dismantlement of the welfare state) have been accepted with extra debt to offset the worst of their effects.  At the same time as this has been accepted the lowering of Corporation Tax in 2017 – offering tax cuts to corporations with shameful histories of tax avoidance has been agreed.  In short – its tax cuts for the rich, job cuts for the rest!

The money to be spent on “shared” and “integrated” education is a deceit and in moving from integrated to “shared” breaches commitments in the GFA entrenching  rather than breaking down sectarianism.  The Irish language enshrined within the Belfast Agreement has again been left on the shelf – obviously the impatience of the corporations has greater leverage.

The cynicism of giving an ultimatum of midnight December 22nd and extending that to the 23rd shows the manipulation involved. To come to a “done deal” on the eve of Christmas when people are in no position to organise a reaction only reaffirms the view that the parties involved are dishonest and self-interested.  The “deal” like their draft budget of cuts and privatisation dressed as “reform” is a threat to all of us.  The Communist Party of Ireland calls upon the trade union and labour movement, community and women’s organisations to expose this “deal” for what it is and build a movement to combat the watering down of the Belfast Agreement and the attack on our living standards.


For further information contact: National Chairperson; Lynda Walker

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A victory for global solidarity

The Communist Party of Ireland welcomes the release of the final three of the Cuban patriots held in the United States since 1998: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino. Their release has been agreed as part exchange for the American citizen Alan Gross, who was imprisoned five years ago in Cuba for espionage. Two compatriots of the prisoners to be released, René González and Fernando González, were freed earlier after completing their sentences.
Alan Gross was tried and convicted of crimes against the Cuban state after he was caught smuggling computer and telecommunications equipment into Cuba while working as a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development.
The release of the last three of the five Cuban patriots is part of the beginning of a possible improvement in US-Cuban relations. A number of positive steps have been agreed, including the re-establishing of diplomatic relations, broken off by the United States in 1961. Restrictions imposed by the US government on travel between Cuba and the United States will be eased, and Cubans living in the United States will be allowed to send money back to their families.
These positive developments are a result of the growth of the global solidarity with the Cuban Five and the campaign for their release as well as the demand for the lifting of the blockade of Cuba imposed by the United States fifty years ago.
The US government has been increasingly isolated throughout Latin America and its political grip has been severely weakened with the advance of new democracies in that continent, which no longer tolerate American dictates, in particular regarding economic and political relations with Cuba.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Socialist Voice

December Socialist Voice out now and available at:

Includes the following:

•Government forced onto the back foot [Eugene McCartan]

•Organised labour is essential for resistance [Tommy McKearney]

•Ireland’s odious debt: A wake-up call [Tomás Mac Síomóin]

•Continued success for #WorkMustPay

•The budget, water tax, and inflation [Kieran Crilly]

•Suffer the little children [Alan Hanlon]

•Aistear casta cróga [Mícheál Mac Aonghusa]

 •Corporate terrorism [Robert Navan]

•Mexicans fight dollar imperialism [Bernard Murphy]

•Colombia: Tragedies often contain elements of comedy [Seán Edwards]

•Reclaim the Vision of 1916: A Citizens’ Initiative for 2016

•In defence of the Spanish Republic [Michael Healy]

•Cannibalism, concentration camps, and commodification [Jenny Farrell]

Letter from Venezuala

Seán Edwards

16 December 2014
When I arrived in Caracas it immediately struck me how calm and secure it seemed compared with how I remember it from five years ago, let alone when I first arrived in 2003.
     There are lots of the new national police force on the streets. They speak politely to the people and appear to be trusted. This is new: one of the reasons for the high level of crime in Venezuela was, and is, the incompetence and corruption of all the local and regional police forces. You can add a political reason: some of them were led and administered by the opposition.
     Anyway, the street where I am staying is full of people enjoying themselves until late in the evening; it used to be empty by nine o’clock.
     Another obvious change is all the new housing—beautiful new blocks right in the centre of the city. The established middle-class residents complain about the fall in their property values and about the riff-raff moving in next door having nicer flats. The long-promised housing programme is going ahead at great speed throughout the country.
     President Maduro got a timely propaganda boost from the US Senate, which declared sanctions against Venezuela. This coincided with the fifteenth anniversary of the Bolivarian constitution. A few hundred thousand people marched down to the centre of town from four different starting-points to show their support for the constitution (every Chavista has a copy of the little blue book) and for the president. What he said was excellent.
     There are still terrible problems with the money and with the tricks business people get up to. The economist Manuel Sutherland describes one of their methods as follows. An importer applies to the state for dollars with which to import, say, 100 kg of meat at $100, for which he pays 600 bolivares. He then imports 50 kg for $50 and sells the remaining $50 worth on the black market. He exports some of the meat clandestinely to Colombia, where he will get a much higher price. He will end up with about 6000 bolivares.
     The government has taken some measures to counter these practices, especially to counter the smuggling in the western provinces, adjoining Colombia. Paul Dobson, a young Scotsman who lives in Merida, tells me this has been successful, and now people can find the produce in the supermarket—showing that the shortages were the result of the smuggling and the speculation; the food was being produced.
     Manuel Sutherland proposes a government monopoly on foreign trade to stop this speculation and fraud. He estimates the flight of capital at $100 billion since the election of Hugo Chávez. Chávez. suggested setting up a state import-export agency but didn’t get around to it.

Launch of the latest CPI publication

At the launch on Saturday 13 December of Debt: A Weapon Against the People, the general secre­tary of the CPI, Eugene McCartan, pointed out that credit and debt have always played a role within capital­ism, but what is differ­ent today is the huge role that debt plays in our every­day lives. Debt is now a central feature of political and social life, yet it is rarely spoken about by political parties.

Ag seoladh Debt: A Weapon Against the People Dé Sathairn 13 Nollaig dúirt ard­rúnaí an CPI, Eugene McCartan, go raibh páirt i gcónaí sa chaipitleachas ag fiacha agus creidmheas, ach is é atá difriúil inniu an pháirt ollmhór atá ag fiacha inár saol laethúil. Is gné lárnach é na fiacha den saol polaitiúil agus sóisialta, ach is annamh a labhraíonn na páirtithe polaitíochta fúthu.

Connolly Youth Movement Statement on Water Demonstration

The show of power by broad sections of society at last Wednesday's Right2Water demonstration, with a huge amount of young people, especially young women getting involved, is a clear indication that people were not fooled by the governments concessions on water charges.

It is quite clear this whole movement is politicising our youth and now is the time for those young people to join organisations like the Connolly Youth Movement, to deepen their political understanding and to become active in a vibrant youth movement.

The Right2Water campaign has once again demonstrated the power and strength in the unity of the trade unions, community and political organisations. The campaign and all those involved should be commended for all the hard and tireless work that was put in to make Wednesday 10th of December a day of peaceful protest on UN Human Rights day.

As much of a success that the demonstration was, it is quite clear that the government will not be backing down anytime soon. The trade unions, community and political groups that have taken up the mantle for the defence of communities against water charges have a real and unique opportunity to deepen the political and class consciousness of those engaged in this struggle.

Our youth really have to ask themselves, if this government was to collapse in the morning, and another take its place, without a fundamental and mass opposition to the EU and the euro, and the US as the main political entities of Capitalism there would be no change. Nothing drastic would change because the state, and its class of industrialists, financiers, oligarchs, monarchs, land owners and all their collaborators would still be organised in the old way.

Ireland's industries, agriculture and services would still be in the service of the EU, British and US Imperialist regimes. The multi-national corporations and various legal treaties would still bind us to international monopoly capitalism and its unending war on workers. We would still be bound to pay back an unjust and odious debt. The Troika would still oversee our national budgets and the ECB would still gear the euro to suit mainly Germany's needs to the detriment of the Irish economy.

All this means is that our democracy, sovereignty and independence would still be the hollowed out shells that they are. The struggle being waged now, is not a new one and it wont end with a victory over the water charges because we would still lack a mass opposition to Capitalism and Imperialism.

However, we have to work and deal with immediate aims and struggles to not only engage in a real struggle for people to be able to access water, without any discrimination, but also to deepen peoples political and class consciousness.

The most important thing right now is to have a nation united against the water charges and from there, there is huge potential to build a movement of organised, militant and class conscious citizens. The R2W as an independent umbrella campaign should continue to step up and be the unifying force in defeating this governments attempt to commodify and privatise the most basic and important source of life and the CYM will continue to support the campaign.

From there we can move on to the source of the water charges – the unjust, odious private bank debt heaped on our nation, and paid for by the impoverishment of our people and the deporting of a generation of youth.