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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Putin kicks Obama's ass

Freedom Rider: Putin Trumps Obama at the U.N.

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Obama can no longer expect to carry out his international dirty work without effective opposition.”

If the peevish expression on Barack Obama’s face was any indication, Vladimir Putin is a force in the world who cannot be ignored. Ever since Russia annexed Crimea in response to the United States- and NATO-backed coup in Ukraine, Obama and the corporate media have falsely declared that Putin is isolated from the rest of the world. They claim he is a monster, a despot and an irrelevance on the world stage.

While the G8 member nations turned themselves into the G7 in order to snub Russia, president Putin was making friends elsewhere. He may have been isolated from the United States and its clique, but not from China and the other BRICS nations or Syria or Iran or Iraq. While western nations use the Islamic State (ISIS) as a ruse to exact regime change in Syria, Putin has formed an alliance to carry out the task of eradicating that danger which was created by western intervention.

Presidents Obama [3] and Putin [4] both made their respective cases before the United Nations General Assembly at its annual meeting. Obama’s speech was an apologia for imperialism and American aggressions. He repeated the lies which no one except uninformed Americans believe. If he calls a leader a tyrant he claims the right to destroy a nation and kill and displace its people. Despite the living hell that the United States made out of Libya, Obama continues to defend his crime. He blandly adds that “our coalition could have and should have done more to fill a vacuum left behind.” Apparently he hopes that no one is paying attention to the horrors inflicted on Libya or the ripple effect which created numerous other humanitarian crises.

If Obama calls a leader a tyrant he claims the right to destroy a nation and kill and displace its people.”

Not content to defend the indefensible, the president made it clear that the Obama doctrine of regime change and terror is alive and well. “I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.”

In contrast, the man labeled a dictator acknowledged the importance of respecting every nation’s sovereignty. “Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and life itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.” Making good use of his time in the spotlight, he made clear that he wasn’t fooled or cowed by the United States. “I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.”
Obviously Putin has self-interest in supporting his allies in Syria and for fighting ISIS. He acknowledged that his country is at risk from some of its own citizens who have sworn an allegiance to that group. Nonetheless, it is important that at least one nation in the world is capable of standing up to American state sponsored destruction and is willing to take action in that effort. Before the United Nations proceedings took place, Russia announced that it would share intelligence with Iran, Iraq and Syria in order to combat ISIS. If the United States were true to its word, that alliance would be welcomed instead of scorned.

It is important that at least one nation in the world is capable of standing up to American state sponsored destruction.”

Not since the late Hugo Chavez declared that George W. Bush left a “smell of sulfur” has an American president been so openly confronted at the United Nations. Putin’s presence makes it clear that Obama can no longer expect to carry out his international dirty work without effective opposition.

While the corporate media noted the tense photo opportunity between the two presidents they neglected to mention the real issues behind the bad feelings. At a press conference after his address Putin was asked about French president Hollande’s insistence that Assad leave [5] the Syrian presidency. "I relate to my colleagues the American and French presidents with great respect but they aren't citizens of Syria and so should not be involved in choosing the leadership of another country.”

That simple statement explains the totality of American enmity towards Russia. The NATO nations claim a right to choose leaders, create and support their own terrorist groups and destroy anyone who doesn’t do what they want. Putin is making a case for non-interference and that makes him persona non grata in the eyes of the supposedly more democratic West.

The world ought to fear pax Americana, not a Russian military presence in Syria. There cannot be true peace and stability unless nations and peoples are left to their own devices. The helping hand of United States democracy is anything but. It is a recipe for disaster and requires forceful opposition. If Russia can be a reliable counterforce the whole world will benefit, even if Barack Obama frowns before the cameras.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at [6] Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

Trade Union School on TTIP this Saturday

An establishment figure speaks about inequality

Last months television programme on the state-controlled RTE dealing with inequality in Ireland, presented by David McWilliams, was of interest by virtue of the fact that an establishment figure spoke about inequality. 
     Any regular reader of Socialist Voice, the monthly paper of the CPI, would have been well aware of the nature of the economic crisis and the strategy of past and present governments: of making working people pay for the crisis of the system. 
     We would like to remind people that the CPI was alone of all political parties and “alliances,” represented in the Dáil or otherwise, to argue the following: 
     1. That austerity is working. It was imposed to transfer wealth from working people to the rich. It was for the transfer of wealth upwards to the rich and outwards to the coffers of the international finance houses. 
     2. That the debt was the weapon of choice for attacking workers’ rights, terms and conditions and their living standards; that austerity would be permanent for working people. 
     3. That the Irish ruling class and Irish governments are gatekeepers for the interests of the EU, transnational corporations, and the rich and powerful. 
     4. That NAMA was for socialising toxic assets, and that the people would pay the debt while the rich and powerful would get away scot-free. 
     5. That NAMA was for re-establishing the Golden Circle. 
     6. That the strategy of both the government and the EU was to socialise debt and risk, while profits would remain firmly in private or corporate hands. 
     7. That the majority of economic and social policies are skewed in favour of transnational companies. 
     8. That repudiation of the debt was necessary to make those who created the debt pay for it, and not the people. 
     9. That membership of the EU, and in particular of the euro zone, is a political straitjacket, the means of imposing external political and fiscal controls, to make austerity permanent. 
     10. That water charges were primarily for establishing the means of privatising this resource. 
     11. That precarious employment would become the norm throughout large sections of the economy. 
     To quote James Connolly, “governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.” 
     We could go on. 
     The battle of ideas is a central part of the intense class struggle that is going on in our country. This ideological struggle is for shaping how people understand the world around them. 
     The role of the elite’s mass media is to weave the illusion that we all partied so we all must share the burden. Their role is to protect the system, not to present objective news or to enhance your understanding.

Communist Party of Ireland

October issue of SV out now

October's Socialist Voice out now and available online.

This issues looks at precarious work, the irish language, right2change and the homeless crisis amongst other issues of concern to the working class.

Check it out and share it amongst your family and friends.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hope for a Left Revival?

Full post available here:

To any sober observer, capitalism is in the throes of a deep, profound, multi-faceted crisis. The celebration of fifteen years ago was a hollow and unwarranted declaration of the unstoppable success of capitalism. War, deprivation, and uncertainty are the legacy of those hailing that moment. Few alive today know a time when the future looked so unsure.

Read on at

Sunday, September 6, 2015




Everyday, buses with emigrants are leaving the Syrian capital Damascus. A ticket can be got from any travel agency. Depending on the destination the cost will be between $300 and $400. The cheaper option is to travel across the border to the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, from there one can connect with a ferry to the western Turkish Izmir. Pay a little more and one can also take a flight from Beirut Airport to Istanbul.

From Turkey, the route continues across the sea to Greece, some refugees make two, three or four attempts to reach a Greek island by boat. The refugees perform this task themselves. The boat is skippered by one of their number, who in return does not have to pay for the dangerous voyage.

For such a journey it can cost up to €10,000. The money for this voyage the refugees get either from their families or by selling property. It is mainly the middle class who can afford it. The new refugee policy of Germany attracts mainly teachers, pharmacists, engineers and physicians from Syria.  Magically nationwide courses in German are all the rage. In the past few years many have tried unsuccessfully to get a visa from the German embassy in Beirut. Now they are embarking on the dangerous and expensive escape route.

There is a rumour circulating in Instabul and even in Baghdad that the German government is planning to send ships to the coast of Turkey to accommodate the refugees and bring them to Germany, in order to avoid any more tragic images of dead children on the Mediterranean coast.

The misery being endured by the Syrian poor and Palestinian refugees from Syria remains very much in the background of the media coverage. More than 150,000 Syrian Palestinians now share their cramped living quarters with relatives and friends in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Living conditions are catastrophic in the mafia controlled Zaatari camp in northern Jordan and even more so in the Jordanian cities.  The situation is so disastrous that more than 120,000 people have returned from there to Syria. In July alone, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) registered more than 1,300 Syrian returnees. The people return to Syria due to the lack of security and the complete hopelessness of finding work in Jordan. In addition, back in Syria the children are able to return to school.

Meanwhile, the fighting continues on many fronts in Syria. Neither side has made any breakthroughs. The Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen reported this week that two villages in the northern Syrian province of Idlib have literally been colonised by Turkish Uyghur units, who are defending them. Back in 2013 it was reported that Chinese Uyghur came to Syria via Turkey and joined the Jihadi Al-Nusra Front and later the "Islamic State" (IS). Through this colonisation policy, Turkey is obviously trying to bring parts of northern Syria under its influence. Earlier this year the Idlib province was attacked by the "Army of Conquest" militia, which is financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

On Thursday allegations were made that IS-combat forces had repeatedly used poison gas again in northern Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said reports from various sources had been received and the UN Security Council would have to take “appropriate action” to deal with this danger.

Meanwhile in Damascus, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and reaffirmed his country’s political, economic and military support for its war-torn neighbour. In particular, they would cooperate in the fight against terrorism. Syria is a sovereign state and has the right to decide "its own future". At a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad Abdollahian stressed that both Iran and Russia were united in their view the Syrian president must play a central role in any political resolution of the conflict. An Iranian peace plan was being discussed with Damascus. Tehran is seeking the United Nations involvement in making the following proposals a reality: ceasefire, national unity government, constitutional changes, parliamentary elections  In Beirut Abdollahian had already spoken with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and the Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Large CPI gathering at r2w demo

Éilíonn na mílte ceart ar uisce

Ghlac na mílte ceard­chumannai, baill d’eagraíochtaí pobail agus daoine eile páirt i léirsiú oll­mhór i mBaile Átha Cliath Dé Sathairn 29 Lúnasa le cur in aghaidh bheartas an rialtais táillí uisce a thabhart isteach mar réamh­ullmhúchán do phríobháidiú na hacmhainne poiblí seo.

Thousands demand the right to water

Tens of thousands of trade unionists, members of community organi­sations and others took part in a massive demon­stration in Dublin on Saturday 29 August to oppose the govern­ment’s plan to intro­duce charges for water as a prelimi­nary to the privati­sation of this public resource.

Forward # 19 out now

Issue 19 of the CYM's Forward Magazine out now and available online at:

Forward is brought to you by the Connolly Youth Movement, an Ireland based youth organisation committed to fighting for democracy, freedom and unity in this country. The CYM takes part in the struggle to build socialism in Ireland and everywhere around the globe.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What is happening in Puerto Rico?

Communist Party of Puerto Rico

June 30, 2015
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Press Release

We are workers and honest men and women suffering the tyranny of capital on our backs more and more, and the moment of truth has arrived.The crack in the colonial apparatus is now a fact. It’s one that’s been warned about and denied - even now, but one that is recognized by the colonial bureaucracy that governs us. There’s no doubt that the people, the working and dispossessed masses of our country, can expect difficult times ahead.

We communists of Puerto Rico have to denounce and condemn the dishonest behavior of those in charge of managing the country. There’s not been even the slightest show of leadership of the country toward dealing with chaos. They waste our money hiring public relations people who rely on the official press of finance capitalism to tell us what the whole country already knows. In cowardly and irresponsible fashion, they “inform” us from a distance and are not available to be questioned by the press. What we see is the moral and ideological bankruptcy of the bourgeois parties along with their agents, actual pillars of the colonial system.

That clique of bankers, true puppets in the service of Wall Street, has fallen into criminal behavior over the past decades. They’ve cruelly delivered “austerity” prescriptions to our country on behalf of international financial organizations. They preach at us to meekly accept environmental destruction, wholesale imposition of taxes, anti-worker laws, plunder of public employees’ retirement plans, and privatization of public property. It’s always been about “saving the country from the abyss,” “stimulation of economic progress,” and other big lies.

If the administration of García Padilla has shown anything, it’s that all the “bitter medicines” they’ve handed out or approved in headlong fashion, like the coming sales tax increase to 11.5 percent, are not really intended to solve anything.
To the contrary: they are aimed at using the colonial system to recycle debt continually at higher and higher interest rates and through privatization to channel to Wall Street ever greater portions of social surplus that working masses in Puerto Rico have produced. Intermediaries and local “bookies,” some disguised as government officials, made off with their cut of bond transactions. The social and environmental cost of this colonial model of super-exploitation represents one of the biggest expropriations in all our history - in other words, systematic robbery.

AGP (Alejandro Garcia Padilla,governor of Puerto Rico), the legislature, and his “economic team” regard the increased sales tax as a valid solution to Puerto Rico’s deep problems caused by colonial capitalism. Such is their great cynicism in the midst of this whole situation.
Nevertheless, before putting forth his “plan,” AGP argues with considerable arrogance that “this is no question of politics, it’s about mathematics.” In fact, that’s precisely what it is - a question of politics. The exploitative relations that capitalism has imposed on us are power relationships, and therefore politics.

But AGP’s “plan” is that of continuing to apply the politics of austerity: in other words the same failed strategy of layoffs, privatizations destructive of the environment, plunder of public property, and all of it is disguised as “production incentives.” How will he ever convince that parasitic bourgeoisie that all it succeeds in doing is merely hoarding money in New York banks and fiscal paradises when that money actually could be invested in productive activities with no government subsidy? Is he pretending to develop his “plan” within systems of the colonial apparatus? Or will decisions be made affecting the whole of society through his version of CAREF (Advisory Council on Economic and Fiscal Reconstruction), which is a non-elected agency, without worker or social participation?

We must point out that there is a balancing act at the heart of empire in the form of rivalries playing out in the corridors of power in the United States. While their national bourgeoisie, associated with production and commercial sectors, chiefly agricultural, is fighting to preserve colonization in Puerto Rico, the financial oligarchy and its entire army of “government functionaries” are working to lift the remaining obstacles to free circulation of capital, obstacles that the colonial regime sustains, at least some of them.
On one side, that national bourgeoisie, represented in part by the Tea Party, wants to retain Puerto Rico as a captive market for its agricultural products and for merchandise produced by the working class of China. On the other, the financial sectors, who own money, want to broaden the scope of exploitation of the working masses of Puerto Rico by means of public debt and the building of unnecessary infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is considering the imposition of a receivership on the colonial government. For this to occur, the U. S. government, paladin of democracy in the world, would be removing from the ELA its facade of “a democratic regime” and would be displaying the colonial regime in all its crudity before our eyes and the world. (1)

Nevertheless, this critical situation presents great opportunities for change, and they have revolutionary potential. But we must set ourselves on the road toward construction of a more just society, one without colonial attachments and one that would allow for full development of the human being. And that is socialism. But on the other hand, populism and fascism are lying in wait also, especially if capital wants to inflict them on us as an essential mechanism for attaining its goals.

The prospect of collapse of the colony turns organization of the working class into an imperative. That means organization of all social sectors into a mass front in order to move toward a conglomeration of political forces fit for stopping the capitalist offensive. We must also mobilize ourselves to force their puppets in the empire to reach a solution to the colonial problem. We must mobilize as a society to demand the resignation and criminal prosecution of all colonial functionaries who have taken part in plundering our public property.

We must mobilize to demand that all anti-people measures they have applied be ended, in particular the increased sales tax and privatization of AEE (Puerto RicoElectric Power Authority, by its Spanish initials). We must organize ourselves to force colonial bureaucrats to not pay the debt.

Workers, men and women, people of Puerto Rico, if there has ever been a time to struggle for our future, that time is now.

Revolution or submission!
Communism or barbarism!

From the Political Commission of the Communist Party of Puerto Rico

1.  ELA are Spanish language initials for the "Associated Free State of Puerto Rico,” the colony’s official name, as per its 1952 Constitution)
Source:  (web site of Communist Party of Puerto Rico)
Also at:

Translated by W. T. Whitney Jr.

Evaluating the Sanders Candidacy

By Wayne Nealis

Taken from

Sanders' anti-One Percent message is welcome. Nonetheless, "political independence inside the Democratic Party" is a dead end. Progressives should take independent political action, break dependency on the Democratic Party and defeat the right wing.

The yearning among millions of Americans for a change in politics as usual is evident in the enthusiasm for Senator Bernie Sanders anti-One Percent campaign. In late June, on ABC's This Week, Sanders said he would win because Americans are "...sick and tired of working longer hours for low wages while at the same time 99 percent of all new income generated is going to the top 1 percent and the top one-tenth-of-one-percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent." [1]

Those are fight'n words that have found traction among millions of voters. His message echoes Occupy Wall Street's scrappy call to fight back against the greed and usury of the 1 percent. Those who see the need to build a political movement to challenge the two major parties should closely follow voters' response to his campaign program, as it is a barometer of independent electoral opportunities.

In recent campaign appearances Sanders called for doubling the minimum wage, providing free college education, breaking up the largest banks, creating a universal health care system and expanding union rights. Hillary Clinton and the Democrat's center-right leadership would not support any of these initiatives.

On foreign policy Sanders stands to the left of the Democratic Party's imperialist center, but he is inconsistent. Sanders voted to authorize the invasion of Afghanistan, though he vigorously opposed the Iraq War. In 1999 he voted to authorize President Clinton's use of military force and bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The first of many of U.S initiated illegal regime change adventures to come. Like most of his senate colleagues he refers to Israel as a key ally and friend. He publicly supported Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

He typically goes along with economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., for example, on Iran, Russia, Libya and Iraq before the 2003 war. Knowing sanctions are precursors to military aggression, his support is misguided. During the U.S. and NATO bombing of Libya in 2011, Sanders noted an interview his constituents were upset there was no debate in congress before Obama acted. Yet, when asked if he would support a resolution to authorize the war under the War Powers Act, he said, "We'll see." [2]

In 2013, when Obama proposed bombing Syria, Sanders did not come out against the action, even after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly voted to authorize the campaign. Sanders said constituents calling his offices were nearly unanimous in their opposition, but he was going to continue to listen to the president's arguments. [3] While Sanders does not have a war-hawk record like Clinton, neither is he an anti-war candidate.

What is curious about his otherwise radical sounding campaign is he seldom discusses foreign policy on the stump, in interviews or campaign statements. [4] The campaign website does not mention foreign policy, a critique of drone warfare or ongoing wars. Yet, it is quite clear from polling data that a majority of Americans are as tired of war as they are tried of Wall Street greed.

Could Sanders' silence on foreign policy be to protect Vermont from losing military-related jobs? An air force base near Burlington, under review to be closed or downsized, was recently given a reprieve, when it was chosen to be the home base of the new, $400 billion F-35 fighter plane.  Sanders defended the plane and lobbied for it being located in Vermont. Vermont firms also depend on defense department engineering and manufacturing contracts. Sanders knows the political/military establishment is not above threaten critics with loss of contracts.

Perhaps his reticence to discuss U.S. imperialist aggression and interference in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine or closer to home, Venezuela or Honduras, is that it would mean Hillary Clinton would have to defend her hawkish record to a public tired of war. A reasonable question to ask is if his inattention to foreign policy is designed to avoid such a confrontation that could damage Clinton's general election campaign. Or, does he agree with her, as his record in part shows? Many of Sanders' supporters likely disagree with Hillary's record. If so, they should begin asking their candidate some tough questions.

The appeal of Sanders' domestic program
No doubt on domestic issues Sanders program for a political revolution resonates with a sizable percentage of the electorate, perhaps approaching 30 to 50 percent depending on the issue. So what are his chances of his winning the nomination? As much as his domestic agenda appeals to the disenchanted among democrats and unaffiliated voters the odds are stacked against him for the nomination as discussed in more detail below.

National polling shows Sanders with a respectable 15 percent of the vote among potential voters considering he has no national organization in place to sustain a general election bid. Among Democrats in early primary and caucus states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, polls shows he may garner support from 30 percent or more. Crowds at campaign rallies continue to grow with an estimated 10,000 in Madison, WI, July 1 and that number again recently in Phoenix, AZ.

These results show there is a constituency around Sanders' social equity domestic agenda on which to challenge to the two major parties. Politically, 2016 is ripe for an independent run for president on a program like Sanders'. Discontent runs high and 50 percent of voters want more choices than the two major parties. The wild card played by social media provides an inexpensive means to reach the public, especially among young voters. Might the response to Sanders been greater if he had to chosen run an independent campaign?

But running for president on a domestic program like Sanders', without a host of like-minded congressional candidates, is strategically flawed. Voters are less likely to take it as a serious effort, see it as a spoiler or symbolic, a flash-in-the-pan campaign. A slate of congressional candidates running on the same program would mark a serious effort at a political revolution. This would attract more local media coverage and extend the organizational capacity of the congressional and presidential candidates without adding additional resources. So, far it appears Sanders has not recruited any sitting or prospective congressional candidates to take up his domestic program. This adds to skepticism about the intent of his campaign.

It appears from outside Sanders and his supporters had insufficient discussion with left, progressive, peace, labor, women's and civil rights groups, immigrant rights and other forces before launching the campaign. Such a discussion even for a symbolic campaign to raise issues is incumbent on someone challenging the center-right, pro-war, corporate forces that control the Democratic Party.

These discussions might have concluded a more effective strategy would be to run as an independent left of center candidate. Even if this were not the outcome, discussions might have generated initiatives to run, left, independent or progressive democrats for House or Senate seats in 2016 and beyond. Sanders would also likely also have been confronted with demands he take a firm stand against the militarist foreign policy of interventions and war.

Why no critique of Democratic Party?
Sanders entry into the Democratic primary with little or no critique of the party raises concerns as well. Millions of U.S. workers see the Democratic Party as part of the problem, not the solution – a party solidly in the hands of big business and servants of Wall Street not the working class. The recent fight over Fast Track Trade authority reinforced this sensibility, especially among union workers. Front-runner, Clinton stonewalled aggressive AFL-CIO union leaders demands for her to speak out against Fast Track. Not surprisingly, she refused.

Sanders, on the other hand, vigorously opposed it. He deserves working people's thanks. Still, he has not questioned Hillary on her rebuff of labor or her position on Fast Track. This is after all an issue for what Sanders calls the middle class. Since Sanders is running in the party that gave us NAFTA and is now trying to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems incumbent on him to challenge Hillary.

Aligning a domestic reform agenda like Sanders' within the Democratic Party is to dance with corporate and political figures that categorically oppose that agenda. Furthermore many Democratic elected officials and their corporate backers supported policies that contributed to creating the health care crisis, wage inequality, declining union membership and rising tuition and student debt. The very problems Sanders' program is designed to correct.

I concede the Sanders campaign for the nomination may move public consciousness left and it does resonate with the discontent with politics as usual. As such, it could open future opportunities for independent political action. No doubt, as Sanders concluded, it would be more difficult to reach an audience running outside the Democratic Party. However, it could have been more effective.

The deck is stacked and the game rigged
It is a bit naïve to think a candidate who opposes powerful interests within the Democratic Party [5] on major domestic issues can win the nomination. It assumes the entire the party apparatus, that is essentially owned and funded by wealthy donors, will be handed over to a challenger, in this case to a self-describe democratic socialist, whose platform would end private health insurers, raises taxes on the wealthy, support labor law reform and cut profits of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. [6]

The last time a non-establishment candidate threatened the Democratic Party, was when George McGovern's anti-Vietnam War insurgency captured the nomination. What happened? Party organizations at many levels sat out the election. Some party benefactors and even officials formed and funded Democrats for Nixon and by covert and overt means subverted the McGovern campaign. After they defeated McGovern, they set about changing party rules so such a challenger could not again upset the proverbial apple cart. These rules have only grown more restrictive and under Bill Clinton and his partners the party rules tightened.

With this in mind, consider the following. The Democratic Party under Obama's leadership kept the idea of single payer health care off public hearing agendas for fear the public might see it as a viable alternative to the president's ACA legislation. In some cases officials had single-payer activists escorted out of hearing rooms or even arrested for attempting to participate. Why? Top party leaders are in alliance with the firms and financiers profiting from health care. These firms, ranging from General Electric, to Medtronic to United Health Care, are not about to support Sanders even if he were to win the nomination. Rest assured they are working behind the scenes to derail Sanders' campaign with their ally Hillary Clinton and other party operatives.

In light of these factors one might wonder whether building an independent electoral organization to run in 2016 might have been a more fruitful and no less difficult. And more importantly, demonstrate a way forward i.e. a working class exit from the confines of the Democratic Party.

Too late in the game, why? If Sanders had signaled his intent even a year earlier, creating an independent campaign network would have been realistic, but in any case a better prepared primary run. Yet, in a Playboy interview, late in 2013, he said he was 99 percent sure he would not run. [8] This timing indicates Sanders late spring debate about running independently or as a democrat might not have been genuine.

His hesitation to break with the Democrats may simply be a practical one. Inside the party makes logistic sense for a politician who has no national organization to mobilize, as for example the Green Party does even though small in numbers. But then the question remains, given the prospect of winning: What is the reason to run? Especially, in the Democratic Party?

Is Sanders intent to influence Hillary's position on the issues? This is as unlikely as changing Hillary or Obama's thinking on TPP. The Democratic Party leadership and financiers? After eight years of experience with Bill Clinton and now Obama's administration and the party's congressional leaders the lesson should be quite clear. Influence the Democrats convention platform? It's likely already agreed upon, and nominees routinely ignore any troublesome plank. Hillary's commitments if elected president? Recall how fast labor unions' signature legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act, disappeared from Obama's agenda. Or, the no NAFTA pledge of candidate, Bill Clinton, after his inauguration.

Yes, again, this last question assumes Sanders has no chance of gaining the nomination. He knows this, regardless of his fight'n bravado on This Week. Even if he had a majority of elected delegates at the Democratic convention he would not be nominated. The center-right party leadership constitutes about 20 percent of the delegate slots more or less ensuring only a pro-business candidate who supports an imperialist foreign policy can be nominated.

A revolution in politics without congressional campaigns? So, what's the purpose of Sanders' campaign? I find it difficult to believe a politician with Sanders decades of experience, is not aware his program has not a chance of succeeding without a congressional re-alignment. This would require building an electoral movement to oust dozens of incumbents, Democrats and Republican's, but he is not advocating or encouraging such organizing for 2016 or in the future.

At the very least, to pass any part of his program would require electing 50 to100 new House members. House Democrats' sponsorship of single payer health care legislation has not exceeded in gaining more than 60 to 80 firm commitments in a decade – nearly 200 votes to few. As for free college tuition, a 180-degree change in power relationships is required.

Sanders often mentions Scandinavian nations' plethora of social benefits compared to Americans, yet workers in these nations won them by organizing unions and political parties that elected majorities in national governments to win their demands for free education, health care and paid parental leave. As well, the threat of workers opting for socialism applied pressure on big business and the wealthy to compromise.

Not to say such a sea change is not possible in the U.S., it is, but the Democratic Party will not be leading it. Given the discontent in the country if labor unions, civil rights and environmental groups and others united behind a domestic program like Sanders',  it is possible to alter power relations or at least threaten to do so in as few as two or three presidential cycles, but not in 18 months, and not in the Democratic Party. Sanders could contribute to this even now, but so far he is not expanding his campaign to encourage independent action or candidates even to challenge GOP incumbents. Again, one has to ask why?

The good news is that the enthusiasm for Sanders domestic program shows the demands fit the times. Polling analysis indicates perhaps 30 percent of the electorate now supports such a broad economic justice agenda. This is enough support on which to begin building an independent electoral and political movement to garner the power to make it happen. Sanders could give this strategy a push by telling his supporters they will need to build a movement outside the Democratic Party to win his program of radical change.

Those who own the Democratic Party, and it is not unions, civil rights or women's groups, will not tolerate using the party to advance Sanders' "new deal" for the working class and poor. Corporate and political operatives spent decades ensuring the party cannot stray from the neo-liberal agenda of free trade, complaint unions, financial deregulation, privatization and an imperialist foreign policy. They are not about to change course.

Breaking with the two-party horse race for president
Some will still say that despite these arguments Sanders' run will create excitement about the election and rally voters. To do what? Vote for Hillary? Or, to vote for the Green Party? The Green's candidate Dr. Jill Stein is running on a domestic program similar to Sanders, but calls for a 50 percent cut in the military budget, an end to support for Israeli occupation and a radical change in foreign policy. Which one will Sanders choose to support?

Objectively, it appears Sanders' run inside the party, intentional or not, is a means to rally the progressive, left, civil rights and others to support Hillary as the lessor bad of the two major party candidates. So what's a peace activist, or black lives matter or climate change activist to do? One might consider not spending time and money supporting Sanders and instead, challenge the two parties by taking independent political actions.

First, it is necessary to escape thinking about the two-party horse for president. In 2017 we will have an imperialist, pro-corporate, Wall Street president. Yes, there are serious differences on social issues between the GOP and Democrats, but these can be weathered and deterred, even if the GOP were to win the presidency and a majority in both the house and senate. The left and other forces for social change must jettison the fear of a bogeyman of right wing legislative coups or another Iraq war venture like that of G.W. Bush. This fear effectively makes independent politics and a challenge to the two-party monopoly impossible.

Recall that under Reagan and both Bush administrations, even when the Democrats control one or both houses of congress, anti-working class legislation and war measures passed. And for those worried about an actual right wing take over, whatever that might mean, it could take place with a democrat as president or any combination of majorities in power. It is a small handful of people who would make that choice and all but a few of the real democrats would fall in line. The left must convince other peace and justice groups and individual activists at all political levels it is time to break with the Democratic party. Not in 2018, but now. Even if just to take small steps.

Until the break is made, we cannot know how many people a domestic program like Sanders' might inspire. Only a clear alternative political program will be seen as worth people's time, energy and passion. Such a strategy is not a spoiler role if the goal is to build political force to challenge the two parties. At some point, the risk must be taken, in federal, state and local elections.
And, on the question of war and peace, the past few decades show the only risk is not having an honest, even if small, alternative to demonstrate a way out of the two-party monopoly. Candidates opposing U.S. imperialist foreign policy and backing a Sanders-like domestic program, even if they were to cause a defeat of a Democrat, are not playing a spoiler role. They are giving voters an honest alternative to politics as usual. Workers and youth, in particular, yearn for such a choice.

Making 2016 a referendum on war and peace
In 2016 what must be challenged is the endless march to war. If Bernie Sanders would, he might be worth investing time and resources, but so far he has shown no inclination to do so. This is the greatest threat to humanity, more so than global warming. Even unchecked global warming allows years for humanity to adjust, but an accidental or intentional nuclear war? Even a nuclear skirmish? No more needs to be said.

For this reason and this alone, the 2016 election must become a referendum on war and peace. All other issues balance on this task. Capitalism's global imperial project is economically driven, but has ideological roots in white supremacy, disregard for the earth's resources and environment, for human health, women's rights and even joy in living. All these are manifest domestically.
Two fronts are needed, not just Sanders' domestic front. The two parties of U.S. capitalism are not about to abandon their creator and benefactor. If the goal is to pass Sanders' domestic plan of economic renewal and expand social benefits both of these institutions stand in the way. No doubt strong allies exist among Democrat elected officials at all levels, especially in minority and progressive caucuses, but they will need to defy the center and right forces to do what's right.

Despair is not an option. Inaction is not an option. Instead of pouring resources and time into the presidential race, the more practical and effective strategy would be to focus on congressional races and challenging candidates and incumbents on the question of war and peace, global warming and racial justice. No candidate should be able to hold a fundraiser, rally or news conference without confronting a visible presence of those agitating for peace, equality and justice.

Nearly a year remains before filing deadlines to run independent, left or progressive democratic candidates to challenge pro-war, anti-labor or law-and- order incumbents. Imagine if 25 independent candidates in 25 House districts, including Green candidates, left and progressives, were run on Sanders' domestic program for hope and change. This work would contribute more to a revolution in politics than Sanders' run.

When he loses his bid for the nomination, will Bernie help lead such an independent movement for his "revolution in politics"? Would Sanders, his staff and progressive backers support such organizing? So far, Sanders has not encouraged such an initiative, yet it is clear a sea change in Congress is required to pass his program. Perhaps, when Sanders loses, he and his staff will support Hillary and the status quo?
That would be a dead end, no matter the strength of convictions, passions or noble ideas riding the Sanders's wave.
[1] Benjamin Bell, 2015. "Sen. Bernie Sanders Predicts He'll Win White House," June 28, 2015 via This Week. URL:
[2] Fox News 2011, Trish Turner. "Sanders Questions "War" in Libya." March 28, 2011. URL:
[3] John Nichols, 2013 "Bernie Sanders: Billions for 'Another War,' but No Money for Needs at Home." The Nation, September 6, 2013. URL: .
[4] I reviewed several dozen such items since he announced and I found scant evidence of foreign policy. These included an extensive Nation interview by John Nichols, on July 6, 2015, where not one question was related to foreign policy and war. Foreign policy is also missing from his stump speeches in Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
[5] Consider a few industries that would stand to lose enormous profits by Sanders's program: pharmaceutical, medical device makers, Wall Street firms and health insurers. Individual firms and their management are major players both parties.
[6] Add it up: free post-secondary education, single payer health care, expanding Social Security, etc.
[7] Source: