Friday, May 22, 2015

Passing of Comrade Tom Redmond

The Communist Party of Ireland announces the death of our esteemed comrade Tom Redmond.

Tom’s contribution to the cause of the Irish working class spanned nearly six decades. He has left our ranks, but his contribution to the struggles of our party and to the Irish and international working-class movement are immeasurable.

We salute the memory of Tom Redmond: worker, militant communist, trade unionist, working-class intellectual, teacher, artist, writer.  Several generations of young communists and working-class activists benefited from his knowledge and experience. He gave unselfishly, in particular to young activists, passing on his wide experience and his profound knowledge of Irish history and particularly the history of our working class.

We express our deepest sympathy to his four sons Simon, Eoin, Niall, Karl and all his extended family.

The Communist Party of Ireland dips its banners in honour of his passing.

"A person’s dearest posses­sion is life. It is given to them but once, and they must live it so as to feel no tortur­ing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying, they might say: All my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world: the fight for the liberation of humanity.          —Nikolai Ostrovski

Thursday, May 21, 2015

16th International Meeting

Contributions from Communist Parties from around the world delivered at the 16th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties are now available online at

Or on the Solidnet website at

“The role of Communist and Workers’ Parties  in the struggle against imperialism and capitalist exploitation – which causes crises and wars and gives rise to fascist and reactionary forces. For workers’ and peoples’ rights and for national and social emancipation; for socialism!”

“Spring statement” = winter of austerity

By the CPI General Secretary, Eugene McCarten

The much-hyped “spring statement” jointly presented by the minister for finance, Michael Noonan, and minister for public expenditure, Brendan Howlin, promised much and delivered little. Though it generated reams of newsprint and hours of mind-numbing radio and television coverage, people will be none the wiser, and no better off.

     The government are attempting to dress up further austerity in a new set of clothes. They announced that they will have between €1.2 and €1.5 billion available for tax cuts and spending increases, and this will be done on a fifty-fifty basis. They produced nothing of substance except a number of tables that show budgetary projections up to 2020, which are meaningless. What they are attempting is to predict government income and expenditure as if there will be no change in government policy over that period.

     So essentially, no change, and permanent austerity. The tax cuts will no doubt benefit the professional middle class. A few more low-paid workers will be taken out of the USC, but any reduction in the USC will disproportionately benefit the rich.

     Yes, the economy has “grown.” Exports are up. Jobs are being created—but in areas of low wages and precarious terms and conditions, many from foreign direct investment.

     Emigration is still affecting thousands of families. Profits for the big foreign monopolies are growing, and revenue is buoyant because of the practice of global corporations declaring their global profits here in Ireland and washing them through the Irish corporation tax system.

     House prices will continue to rise, and rents for private rental accommodation will continue to skyrocket. More and more people will become homeless, and the waiting list for public housing will continue to grow. And they will continue to prattle on about the “market” solving people’s housing needs.

     We also had both ministers making the ludicrous claim that they had overcome the boom-and-bust cycle of capitalism. The same boast was loudly proclaimed by the former minister for finance Brian Cowan just before the crash. All wishful thinking.

     The cycle of boom and bust is inherent in the system, and no amount of tinkering with capitalism can change that fact.

     No, this was not a signal that the crisis is over and that we are on our way back with the “Celtic Tiger” mark 2: it’s just another indication that it’s business as usual, that the well-off will be looked after, and NAMA will continue to reconnect the Golden Circle.

     The “spring statement” was nothing more that the starting-gun for the the general election.

Constitutional amendment on marriage equality - VOTE YES

The Communist Party of Ireland calls on working people to come out and vote Yes to the constitutional amendment on marriage equality.  This is a matter of democracy and of equal rights. Rights denied to one are rights denied to us all.

        For democratic reasons it is important that all forms of discrimination are challenged, whether they are based on a person’s faith, race, colour, nationality, or sexual orientation. You cannot have inequality in rights.   Establishing the right to marry would complete the legal equality of people with a different sexual orientation, and strike a blow at the continuing social prejudice and discrimination they face.  The defeat of the amendment would constitute a serious setback and negate much of the progress made in recent years.

        We know that the liberal elite, while lecturing people about equality, perpetrate and promote through their policies gross inequality. They continue to wage wars under this false flag. The system itself cannot exist without inequalities and exploitation.

        The establishment, by its economic and social policies, promotes a two-tier health system, two-tier education, and inequality in services. The right to work, the right to housing, the right to a free health service, the right to a pension, the right to security, the right to proper food, the right to join and be represented by a trade union, are all central and important rights to working people, and all are denied us.   Now they want to take away the right to water.

        They will not willingly agree to a referendum on these fundamental human rights. The liberal establishment does not consider these important human rights. Instead it has built a toll-bridge society: if you have the money to pay you pass through, if not, wait in line. Their pyramid of rights is based on giving all rights to capital and business, giving them the maximum opportunity to defend and protect their rights and interests, which means huge restrictions on workers’ rights and our ability to defend ourselves.

        Once again we ask working people — despite our reservations about sections of the Yes campaign — to vote Yes. But to we need to go further and challenge the narrow understanding of rights allowed us. Workers need to push forward for deeper economic, political and social changes.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

3 new pamphlets from the Communist Party of Ireland

Debt: A weapon against the people
The bloody trail of imperialism: The Origins of the First World War
The Marxism of James Connolly

All available from Connolly Bookshop, Temple Bar.

Austerity: The challenges of organising

Paper presented by a representative of the CPI to a meeting with republican activists in Dublin, Saturday 14 March 

Comrades and friends, 
     It is quite clear that we find ourselves at a real pivotal point in the history of this small nation. Just as in previous times, whole generations of men and women find themselves in a struggle for a place in our society, a place where one should not live in fear of ever-increasing poverty, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, precarious work, violence, and the spectre of war on our very doorstep. Sadly, these truths have shaped the men and women who went before us and will continue to shape us as we press forward into this century. 
     Ireland in 2015, both north and south, has seen the continuation of austerity policies by both governments, policies that have without question benefited those at the top of our society—policies of regressive taxation, social welfare for the wealthy and multinational corporations, protection by the state from the prosecution of those individuals who all but bankrupt this country. It cannot be a design flaw, that it just so happens that those most adversely effected by austerity are the poorest in society, while those that benefit most are the wealthiest in society; and this is true right across Europe. That is why the CPI maintains the position that austerity is working as it was designed to do: to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor and working masses. 
     We can only conclude that austerity and the current strategy by global monopoly capital is to drive workers back to “ground zero” as regards their rights, social provision, public pensions, public health, and public education. 
     But to challenge austerity there needs to be a deep understanding of the source of austerity, that is, the unjust, odious private bank debt heaped on our nation and paid for by the impoverishment of our people and the deporting of our children. 
     Debt has been the weapon for attacking the working people. It disciplines them into servitude; it lays the biggest stress on families; and it helps remove the militant spirit that lies at the heart of every worker. Again, for certain there is a generalised attack on workers across Europe, on their rights, working conditions, and wages. Precarious employment is the new model for businesses to follow, along with this relatively new “internship” culture that has swept right across the employment sector. 
     So, as a group—as a class—how do we challenge the status quo? 
     I think one place we can look for a direct example is Greece and the developments of the new SYRIZA government. It matters little whether one thought that SYRIZA would inevitably have surrendered to the demands of the European Union or had hoped they would stand up and challenge it and defend the Greek people and blaze an alternative direction from within the EU and oppose the IMF. Those who are anxious to advance the people’s interests need to reflect more seriously about what these past few months have demonstrated. 
     One of the lessons must be that the treaties governing the European Union have in effect not only outlawed a radical people-centred solution but have effectually outlawed even tame Keynesian policies, and that the controlling forces are determined to solve the crisis of capitalism at the expense of the working people. 
     A second thing is clear: that people can vote at the national level for whoever they like, but this is not decisive, as the European Union will impose TINA (“There is no alternative”) and the economic and political straitjacket of what is in the interests of capitalism. 
     The debt is still the weapon of choice to be used against the people; democracy has been trumped by the overriding needs of the European monopolies and the big finance houses and banks. 
     Those in Ireland who still labour under the illusion that the European Union can be transformed into something that it is not need to look long and hard at the events of the last few weeks. The blocking minority that is built in to the EU decision-making process means that the big powers—those with real economic power and therefore real political power—can block anything that is not in the interests of the monopolies and finance houses. 
     The Irish government, once again demonstrating its abject servility towards the imperialist powers, did nothing to support the Greek people apart from expressing a vacuous sympathy, and voted to defend the interests of the ruling class. 
     Those who continue to peddle the illusion, whether here in Ireland, in Greece or in Spain, that they can solve the people’s problems within the confines of the European Union and controlling mechanisms such as the euro are only leading our people down a blind alley. There are simply no solutions to be found to debt or austerity within the European Union. 
     The struggles of the Greek people have exposed the true class nature of the European Union and its institutions. But they have also shown that it can be resisted—a lesson that needs to be learnt by working people throughout Europe. 
     The title of this talk is “Austerity: The challenges of organising.” What we really need to begin to question and seriously think about is who or what do we challenge. We need to know our enemy, or enemies. Once established, then a more meaningful and lasting process of organising against austerity can be sustained and built upon. 
     If any serious political discussion is to be had then it needs to deal with three central issues: 
     Class: politics and economics are about class, as class divisions maintain wealth divisions. 
     The state: The class nature of state power for creating, enforcing and reproducing the dominant mode of production, materially and ideologically. 
     Imperialism: The triple imperialist domination of the Irish people: by Britain in the north, the EU through all the treaties and currency, and the United States with our political and economic relationships and the dominant role of transnational capital based here in Ireland, the majority being from the USA. 
     This is the state of play in Ireland today. Sovereignty and democracy as we know them have been replaced by a tripartite imperialist system, where Ireland lies subservient to international capitalism and the laws of the market. This is quite a unique position and all the more challenging. 
     So what we really need to ask ourselves, based on what I’ve just said, is that 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, Britain and the US, as the main political entities of capitalism, there would be no change. Greece is the perfect example of this. 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 multinational corporations, partition 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 that our democracy, sovereignty and independence would still be the hollowed-out shells that they are. If we are to take seriously the task of organising against austerity, then our only hope is to challenge the very system of capitalism that creates and reproduces crisis after crisis, and its imperialist centres that condemn us. The challenge of organising against austerity is linked to the task of building a class-conscious revolutionary party of working people that will challenge and take on the imperialists and their collaborators here at home—a party that will not capitulate to the threats of EU, US and British capitalist demands, as so many have done to date, and a party guided by the principles of Marx, Engels and the greatest Irish Marxist and revolutionary leader, James Connolly. 
     We are constantly told and led to believe in the ideology that there is no alternative. We say there is an alternative, that there has been and can be a planned economic and social system developed by the conscious efforts of working people that benefits the majority of the population in all areas of human life and development. For us, as communists, that alternative is socialism.

70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi fascism

Statement by 47 communist and workers‘ parties 

The liberation of Berlin by Soviet troops in May 1945 marked the victory of the peoples in World War II and the defeat of Nazi fascism—the most violent form of class domination generated by capitalism and the direct cause of the war and of the death of tens of millions of human beings.
     The decisive role in the victory of 9 May 1945 was played by the Soviet Union, its people and Red Army, under the leadership of its Communist Party. It was on the Eastern Front that the major battles that determined the outcome of World War II were fought.
     To mark the 70th anniversary of the victory is to recall and celebrate the heroism, the courage and determination of millions of Soviet men and women who, at enormous sacrifice and the cost of more than 27 million dead, resisted and fought, making a decisive contribution to the defeat of the Nazi-fascist barbarity. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory is to remember and praise the heroism, courage and determination of millions of other resistance fighters and anti-fascist strugglers from all over the world who dedicated and committed their lives to the struggle for victory.
     Nazi fascism was a brutal instrument of big capital for imposing its rule when confronted with the profound crisis of capitalism that followed World War I, in particular after the big crisis of 1929 and the repercussions of the October Revolution. Anti-communism was always a defining trait of Nazi fascism. Everywhere the working-class and popular movements, and especially the communists, were its first victims. Everywhere, the communists were in the front ranks of the resistance to fascism and were in the vanguard of the mass and armed resistance that led to the liberation.
     Today the resurgence of the fascist threat and the danger of a new war of great proportions are real and growing. Again, in the context of an ever-deeper crisis of capitalism—which results from its irreconcilable contradictions—big capital is attempting to emerge from the crisis by force, imposing brutal levels of exploitation and attacking the peoples’ sovereignty and the independence of states on all continents. The big imperialist powers attempt to impose their worldwide hegemony by military means, multiplying their wars of aggression.
     Ukraine is living the consequences of fascist action, with the active support of the USA and the European Union and of their military wing, NATO. In the name of “the struggle against communism,” revisionism and historical forgery, with the shameless equation between fascism and communism, are leading to a rehabilitation of fascism.
     It is therefore of crucial importance to recall the lessons of history, to remember the crimes of Nazi fascism, its class nature, and the complicities that gave rise to its ascent. The tragedy of World War II must not be forgotten, so that another catastrophe may be prevented.
     The undersigned communist and workers’ parties call upon the workers and the peoples of the whole world to develop their liberating struggle, to make the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi fascism into a powerful assertion of unity and struggle for peace, and against the threat of fascism and war, which is rooted in capitalism and which represents a danger to humanity, and for democracy, social progress and socialism.

Communist Party of Albania
Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism
Communist Party of Argentina
Communist Party of Australia
Workers’ Party of Belgium
Communist Party of Brazil
Communist Party of Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Canada
Communists of Catalunya
Communist Party of Chile
Socialist Workers’ Party of Croatia
Progressive Party of the Working People
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia [Czech Republic]
Communist Party in Denmark
Communist Party of Denmark
German Communist Party
Communist Party of Greece
Hungarian Workers’ Party
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Tudeh Party of Iran
Iraqi Communist Party
Communist Party of Ireland
Party of talian Communists
Lebanese Communist Party
Communist Party of Luxembourg
Communist Party of Malta
Communist Party of Mexico
New Communist Party of the Netherlands
Peruvian Communist Party
Portuguese Communist Party
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communists of Serbia
Communist Party of Slovakia
South African Communist Party
Communist Party of Spain
Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
Communist Party of Swaziland
Syrian Communist Party
Syrian Communist Party (Unified)
Communist Party, Turkey
Communist Party of Ukraine
Communist Party of Uruguay
Communist Party of Venezuela
Communist Party of Viet Nam
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia