The February issue of Socialist Voice is now available online.
- No recovery for working people [TMK]
- Pete Seeger: His songs go marching on [TR]
- A Greek Obama [NL]
- It’s about more than losing that “Bonny Bunch of Roses” [TMK]
- Lessons of history: The 1966 seamen’s strike [NOM]
- The euro and the balance of payments [KC]
- Whose revolution? [DOC]
- A “must read” book with a disappointing conclusion [FK]
- Opinion: Creating a shared future [RMC]
- Union news
- Who’s afraid of Liam O’Flaherty?
- Films: 15th Latin American Film Festival
- Is it just me, or has the world gone mad? [EON]
No recovery for working people
Has the time arrived for unrestrained rejoicing? Have those mighty men and women of the coalition rescued us from economic and social calamity? Can we trust indicators that are supposedly pointing to recovery?
The Taoiseach gravely tells us we have exited the bail-out; hip hip hooray! Michael Noonan welcomes a report that the Republic’s government is no longer suffering under the lash of the Moody Blues, as our bond status has been upgraded from junk to investment level by the influential credit rating agency; more hip hooraying.
Nor do the celebrations end there. Frank Daly, chairperson of NAMA, has boasted that the Irish property crash has ended; so hats in the air as well as hip hip hooraying.
However, before we decide to put gilded images of Enda and Eamon on top of the Dublin Spire, let us enter a few words of caution. Eye-catching headlines about recovery are often misleading. A slight decline in the total rate of unemployment is heralded as proof of upturn but overlooks the reduction in the real value of incomes. The finding of the Irish League of Credit Unions that monthly disposable income increased by €50 in December 2013 masks its other discovery, that 1.6 million people had €100 or less left at the end of the month once all bills were paid, while half a million have nothing at all left after meeting their commitments…………….
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The Communist Party of Ireland condemns in the strongest possible terms the arrest of the Galway peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy, who was arrested today and brought to Limerick Prison to serve a three-month sentence. Ms D’Arcy suffers from Parkinson’s disease and is also being treated for cancer.
She refused to sign an undertaking that she would keep away from unauthorised zones at Shannon Airport, as a result of which her three-month suspended sentence has been activated.
Margaretta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell were sentenced in Ennis District Court in December 2013. Each received a three-month prison sentence, suspended on condition that they enter into a bond to uphold the law for two years and stay out of unauthorised zones at Shannon Airport.
Shannon Airport is a major hub for US warplanes on their way to sow death and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. It is also a transit point for aircraft carrying US military drones, also victims of “extraordinary rendition” were transported through the airport.
The Communist Party of Ireland demands her immediate release. It also calls on peace and democratic forces around the world to write to the Irish Government demanding her release.
Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice:
Send messages of support to Galway Alliance Against War :
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The January issue of Socialist Voice is out now. Read it as a PDF or online.
Articles in this issue:
1. New year, same struggles [EMC]
2. Insurance: the white man’s burden [RCN]
3. A politics beyond anti-sectarianism [TR]
4. Dealing with the past [TMK]
5. Central Bank boss predicts a three-way banking split [MA]
6. Mandela’s debt to socialist Cuba [TMS]
7. An anti-monopoly or anti-imperialist strategy? [NL]
b. A front for youth’s struggle
9. Building class-consciousness in 2014
10. Latvia joins the euro [BG]
11. O’Flaherty Summer School
New year, same struggles
The beginning of a new year is the traditional time for most people to take stock of the past year and what they hope they can achieve in a new one. They make resolutions to do this, that, and the other, all done in good faith.
From a workers’ viewpoint, 2013 finished on a reasonably high note, with the victory of the ESB workers in securing their defined-benefit pension scheme, which may well have repercussions throughout the state-sponsored sector.
The establishment throughout the European Union are hoping that the deal done on the “outright monetary transaction” scheme and the European stability mechanism will continue to stabilise the euro. They have agreed that the debt must be paid off in full—not by inflation, default, or writing it off. All just wishful thinking.
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Statement from the Communist Party of Ireland
Today (15th December) the Irish establishment loudly proclaims that this state, and by extension the Irish people, has regained its sovereignty. This is as far from the truth as one can get. The Irish establishment has long since abandoned the little sovereignty this state ever had.
The Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon Treaties copperfastened the straitjacket on the democracy and independence of Ireland, and the current talks on banking union are for tightening the straps even further.
The EU-ECB-IMF troika and the “markets” are controlled by the same forces, the same financial speculators and the same transnational corporations. The direct and open control by identifiable global financial institutions and individuals is no longer considered desirable or necessary, but the same class and the same forces remain in charge – with the complete and abject acquiescence of the internal political troika Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour, and the Irish business interests they represent.
The indebtedness of this state to the amount of 125 per cent of GDP by the socialisation of the odious corporate debt imposed upon our people, is simply unpayable. The programme of privatisation of state owned companies and public service will continue. The people’s wealth will be sold off at bargain basement prices. The so-called “markets” will have first call on the wealth created by Irish workers in the form of debt servicing.
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The December issue of Socialist Voice is out now.
Read it online or download it here.[pdf]
Articles in this issue include:
- “Reform or revolution?” [NL]
- A stealth treaty to further erode national rights [TMK]
- Health worsens as mandarins thrive [MA]
- Is charity the enemy of justice? [RCN]
- Transatlantic trade and investment: Governments to be legally subordinate to corporations [PD]
- Bagenalstown Credit Union and its problems [MA]
- Guidelines for common or convergent action (15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, Lisbon)
- Venezuela in the firing line [TMS]
- Venezuelan students to receive laptop computers and free wifi
- Pensions and pay reduction [JM]
- A moral choice: choose war or peace
- Time to fight back against monopoly [PD]
- Frank Conroy commemoration
- Dublin Community TV: the latest victim of cultural cut-backs
“Reform or revolution?”
This is the question presented by elements of the left, as if that’s it: that’s the sum total of what the so-called left can offer working people. We can either reform elements of capitalism but maintain its essential features, and this will solve the unemployment crisis, inequality, and a variety of other systemic but undesirable features of the system, or we can “call for” a revolution, and the workers, once freed from their union-bureaucrat oppressors, will down tools and seize state power—usually without questioning the role of the European Union. With a ten-point plan to accompany it, we’re all set to save humanity.
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Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland, 5 December 2013
The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its great sadness at the death of one of the great anti-colonial leaders of the late twentieth century, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela was a towering and inspirational figure, a leader of the oppressed of South Africa and beyond. Together with other liberation leaders he was convicted in the Rivonia Trial, concerning two charges of sabotage, one under the Suppression of Communism Act and one under the General Law Amendment Act. Their arrest and trial provoked worldwide solidarity, with money being collected in Ireland and around the world in the early 1960s to be sent to the International Defence and Aid Fund to assist Mandela and the other liberation prisoners in their legal defence.
At this moment it is important to acknowledge the major contribution made by working people around the world to Mandela’s liberation.
Despite spending decades incarcerated in apartheid prisons, he remained unbowed and unbroken. His walk to freedom, with his wife, Winnie Mandela, beside him, was a defining image of the late twentieth century. The white apartheid regime, which for decades nestled snugly under the protective wing of western governments, did not and could not break him or the people’s resistance.
In one of his first speeches Mandela paid tribute to the unbreakable and unselfish solidarity given to the oppressed masses of South Africa by the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc, as against the inaction and active collaboration of almost all western government with the apartheid regime that incarcerated him for twenty-seven years. Mandela also paid tribute to the heroic Cuban internationalists who defeated the invading South African army on the battlefields of Angola, which marked the beginning of the end of apartheid South Africa. No doubt those same western governments will now heap false praise on this champion of human liberation, though they did nothing to help during his long incarceration.
With his passing we also remember the thousands of ordinary citizens, both inside and outside South Africa, who campaigned for his release and for the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime but whose demands fell on deaf ears for many decades.
With the death of Nelson Mandela humanity has lost a deeply humane and committed liberation leader. We salute him and all the great leaders and fighters who struggled, and those who are still struggling, for freedom and social liberation. The long walk to freedom still has many miles to go.
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Statement from the Communist Party of Ireland
The Communist Party of Ireland today warned Irish workers not to fall for the latest ruse by the bankrupt political establishment with its announcement that this failed state will leave the “bail-out programme” — which is in fact a restructuring programme — by 15 December with or without a “precautionary credit line.”
This will not mean an end to any of the current or planned cuts in health, education, or social welfare, nor end the drive for privatisation. Nor will it prevent the need for continuous cuts in the future. The servicing of the debt is costing the Irish people nearly €9 billion per year — similar to the annual education budget. Austerity will be a permanent feature of the lives of working families far into the future.
Debt has become the principal political means for strengthening external mechanisms of control by the EU Commission – dominated by Germany – not just of this state but all member states and in particular over the other heavily indebted peripheral states. The capacity of the peoples across the European Union to democratically affect political and economic changes is being rapidly diminished. Democracy is being hollowed out.
It is simply not in the interests of the Irish political and economic establishment to assert independent actions, their interest lies in ensuring that the current process continues and deepens.
Ireland continues to be at the mercy of “the markets” – those who control the markets are those who control the troika.
Debt is also being used to push through the long-term strategic imperative of economic restructuring that is intended to restore lost inequalities and to impose new ones, not only in Ireland.
The announcement today has more to do with appearances than with reality. Just as we were the poster boy for economic development during the “Celtic Tiger” period, we are now being touted as the poster boy of good behaviour for accepting austerity without a whimper.
The European Union has to show to the people of Greece, Spain, Portugal and other EU member-states that if they take the austerity medicine without resistance, it works.
The system itself is in a deep and deepening structural crisis with debt and stagnation just the latest manifestations.
The emperor has no clothes.
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The November issue of Socialist Voice is out now. Download it here, or view it online. Also available to read below.
- Will we or won’t we? [EMC]
- Departments I, II and III and economic crisis [NL]
- Pension benefits wiped (part 2) [Brendan Ogle]
- Printing money to support the debt bubble [NL]
- James Connolly and 1916 [NOM]
- There is an alternative (part 2) [EON]
- Time for more independent leadership [NOM]
- Rail and bus transport: Why nationalisation was the obvious answer [RNC]
- Political statement
- International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, Lisbon: Speech by Eugene McCartan, general secretary, CPI
- The unseemly rise of Qatar [BG]
- A serious defeat for workers and their union [TMK]
- Willie Walsh floats again [MA]
- Letter: Ionad Buail Isteach
Will we or won’t we?
It is now clear that the Irish state will leave the “bail-out” or restructuring programme some time in December. The Government is spinning the argument that when we eventually get the EU-ECB-IMF supervision off our backs we will “regain our sovereignty” and independent action.
The question has to be asked, When have we ever had full sovereignty and independence?
They are claiming that Government policies have worked to such a degree that they may not need any “precautionary credit line” from the European Stability Mechanism, the euro-zone rescue fund. For this state to get access to such funds would require parliamentary approval from a number of countries, including Germany.
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he October issue of Socialist Voice is out now. It can also be viewed online at :
- Debt is a means of attacking your rights and wages [EMC]
- Ireland’s housing crisis worsens [MA]
- How austerity is working [PD]
- Haass unlikely to succeed [TMK]
- Norn Ireland as seen from Britland [NW]
- Capitalist growth and environmental crisis [NL]
- A true son of the Vietnamese people
- There is an alternative (Part 1)[EON]
- US meddling led to Westgate massacre [TMS]
- A century of working-class life [TR]
- A day in the life of a bookshop [PD]
- Guantánamo poems [LC, JF]
- Who would be a whistle-blower? [RNC]
Debt is a means of attacking your rights and wages
The system is determined to overcome its crisis by continuing to reduce workers’ wages and living standards, to undo the welfare provisions won by workers over a century of hard, bitter struggles. The establishment—both the EU and the main Irish establishment parties—continue to argue that we are living beyond our means and that we need to pay the debt and bring government spending under control.
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Peadar O’Donnell Socialist – Republican Forum
Launch of Pamphlet
“Undoing the Conquest: Renewing the Struggle”
Main speaker: Bernadette McAliskey
Chairperson: Mick O’Reilly
2.00pm, Saturday 28 September 2013
The New Theatre, 43 East Essex Street, Dublin 2
The pamphlet contains the papers presented to the seminars organised in Dublin in 2012.
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The May issue of Socialist Voice is out now. It can also be view online (pdf) or below.
- Irish austerity: Change of words but not of policy [EMC]
- Medical cards under savage attack [MA]
- Water and woods to be flogged off [MA]
- Reform or transform? The confusion of growth economics—Part 1 [NL]
- Croke Park II rejected [Anne Casey]
- The capitalist crisis and the demolition of workers’ rights [NC]
- Can we learn from Cuba?—A response [EON]
- Venezuela: Electoral challenge a coup attempt [RCN]
- Colombians call for solidarity [SE]
- The Progressive Film Club: an inspiration and an education [PD]
- Ireland’s neutrality demonstrated again
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Margaret Thatcher has left a deep legacy not only for the people of the neighbouring island but also for the Irish people and for the oppressed and suffering peoples of the world.
Thatcher epitomised the arrogance of the long imperialist traditions of the British ruling class. Her policy in regard to the H-block hunger strikes exposed her deep contempt and hatred for those who opposed British imperialist interests. Under her rule the British army gained greater freedom to develop and perpetrate its dirty war in the North of Ireland, when selective assassinations and the management of loyalist paramilitaries became more central to the British war machine.
Thatcher was one in a long line of British rulers who had a deep hatred of working people, such as her great hero, Churchill, another person who carried as a badge of honour his hatred of Ireland and the Irish people’s struggle for independence as well as for the British working class. Thatcher saw workers as mere cannon-fodder in imperialist wars, whether in Ireland or the Malvinas, or simply strategic pawns in her anti-communist crusades, as with “Solidarity” in Poland.
Her name has become a byword for aggression, selfishness, and rampant individualism. She has left a legacy of destroyed lives, shattered communities, rampant militarism and chauvinism and the destruction of what was left of British manufacturing and raised the adoration of the “market” beyond all previous levels.
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April addition of Socialist Voice is now out. It can be viewed online here
- Time for a radical departure [EMC]
- Cypriots paying the price [EMC]
- Growing threat of NATO membership
- The state of bourgeois political economy [NL]
- William Thompson: political economy and co-operative communism [NL]
- The new pope [MA]
- The question remains: when are we going to talk about class? [PD]
- Can we learn from Cuba? (or where to go from here?) [TMS]
- Financialisation, the euro, and the crisis [NC]
- A modest exposure
- The family, private property, and the state [SOD]
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The March issue of Socialist Voice is out now.
Can be viewed as a PDF here or view it online.
Table of contents:
- Workers continue to pay the price [EMC]
- The passing of a hero
- Austerity hits local services [MA]
- Theft by stealth—the solution of the rich [MA, JA]
- The super-rich dine at our expense [NL]
- Women written out of history [PD]
- Launch of the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum
- Democracy and the crisis—Part 2 [FC]
- Spain swings to the left [TMS]
- Western commentators shocked by their own darling [BG]
- New abusive measure against one of the Cuban Five
- The hunt for truth [RCN]
- Belfast’s working-class troubadour [RH]
- A fantastic sixty minutes of drama [PD]
From the lead article: Workers continue to pay the price
We need to constantly keep to the fore the following question: What is austerity designed to do?
It is for shifting the burden of crisis onto workers and away from capital, through pay cuts, redundancies, and the socialisation of corporate debt where necessary. Austerity is capitalism’s response to the crisis: to recover growth through increased exploitation and provide state-led guarantees to private investment.
Croke Park I and II are an extension of “social partnership.” Mentally, the ICTU still sees things in terms of giving away rights to placate the interests of the bosses.
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