New Year statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
As the old year fades from our memory we can approach the new year with some degree of optimism. Throughout 2012 there where numerous protests and demonstrations right across the country, from Belfast to Cork, from Galway to Dublin, with working people campaigning against hospital closures and cuts in services.
The big pre-budget demonstration in Dublin was an important beginning and showed the importance of united campaigning, of drawing the diverse concerns of the people together in a coherent way. It showed that unity of action is our strength, and must be built upon.
Today we had a spectacle of flag-waving and pompous speech-making to mark the beginning of the Irish presidency of the European Union and forty years of membership of this imperial club, with smug self-congratulation by a political establishment that is devoid of any policies to meet the needs of the Irish people. They will wallow in false praise of their European masters, to show they are such great “Europeans,” as the burden of debt is piled higher and higher on the backs not only of Irish workers but of Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian workers. Their hoisting of the EU flag over Dublin Castle shows that little has really changed and is an expression of their powerlessness.
To the people of the North we once again say there is no refuge or solution to be found in wrapping flags around us for comfort. We ask the Protestant section of our working class to think of who benefits and who loses from aggressive flag-flying. Do not be led up a cul-de-sac of flag-waving: those who claim to lead you have no answers to your problems of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and emigration.
The British government does not care how many times their flag flies as long as you are not marching about jobs or against poverty. Similarly, the gatekeepers of the Northern Executive are not worried about your social conditions: they are happy with their Grand Old Duke of York politics.
As we face into another year of austerity, with the wealthy accumulating more and more of our wealth, working people need to take sustenance, inspiration and strength from our forefathers and mothers who in 1913, in much more difficult conditions and under profound hardship, gathered the courage and rallied to defend their interests against great odds. They faced the Dublin boss class, who were backed by the British empire. They rose in a united body and wrote a glorious page in the history of the Irish working class.
We now need that spirit to be re-ignited, and we must make the demonstration of the 9th of February called by the ICTU as big and militant as possible, to be a day of action against the odious debt. The trade union movement needs to lead and express the growing unrest and militancy of working people in 2012 to rebuild a more self-confident and vibrant labour movement. We need to build a united people’s resistance against the odious debt, drawing all the many localised campaigns around the country behind a people’s rejection of the debt and the great sacrifices being imposed in order to obey this diktat from the big monopolies and finance houses of Europe—to mobilise against the external and internal troika.
Let 2013 be the year in which workers throughout the EU link arms and stand together in united struggle. Let us build a united response to defend, enrich and advance national sovereignty, national democracy, and workers’ rights. Our world is beginning to move in a different direction, away from the values of selfishness, greed and unbridled individualism encouraged by this deeply flawed and exploitative and inhuman system, towards an economic and social system based on social solidarity, justice, and peace.
Let‘s make 2013 the year of the beginning of the reconquest of Ireland by working people.
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