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The icing on the cake - ICTU demand ‘Bring back Stormont’!

John McAnulty

15th July 2003

Just in case any critics may have felt that they had been too stern in their denunciation of ICTU’s industrial policy, the bureaucracy put the cherry on the icing when they unveiled their political programme.

An emergency motion, proposed by the Fire Brigades Union, demanded the return of Stormont in the North!

The motion, passed unanimously, suggested that every delegate in the room had been stricken with amnesia, having forgotten the words if their founder, James Connolly, about the ‘carnival of reaction’ that would follow a separate parliament in the North; forgotten the 70 years of the Stormont carnival itself and forgotten the undemocratic sectarian bearpit that has graced the North under the Good Friday Agreement.

One could argue that ICTU were simply showing the stupidity and reaction already shown by Sinn Fein, but a reading of the justification for the motion shows that ICTU far surpass Sinn Fein.

The ICTU argument is that direct rule from London is undemocratic.  What a puerile argument!  If the British occupation of the North is justified then it is perfectly reasonable for the majority government of 52 million to administer the affairs of the 1.5 million population of the North.  If the occupation is unjustified then the minimum requirements for a democratic solution is a 32 county constituent assembly. Neither scenario justifies unionist rule in the North.

The resolution then went on to argue that a local parliament and local politicians were best placed to defend the working class in the North against New Labour’s offensives on water charges and public service cuts.  Think about it! A sectarian colonial government led by David Trimble – leader of a party founded on the need to ensure the sectarian division of the working class – leading the defence of that class!

The dreadful thing about this resolution was that it was seen in the conference as the triumph of the left; following on from manoeuvres in September last year involving members of the FBU executive, Peter Bunting (Northern secretary of ICTU) members of the loyalist ‘Progressive’ Unionist Party (voice of the UVF) and members of the Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party.  The idea then was for a ‘left’ slate in the Stormont elections – an idea halted by cowardice and now stymied by the collapse of the sectarian talking shop and made ridiculous when the PUP ‘progressives’, on top of their support for sectarian hatred in the North, came out firmly in support of imperialist agression against Iraq.

The policy is identical to the long-standing policy of the Socialist Party – that we should unite with ‘progressive’ loyalists to bring back Stormont and make it socialist!

The one gleam of light to emerge from the conference was the realisation that the working class were very much a minority amongst the delegates.  It was a conference of the bureaucracy, reflecting their interests, their timidity and their conservatism.  They kow-towed to the bourgeoisie and the tiny left kow-towed to them.  The return of the working class in the coming struggles will sort out the bureaucracy.  Building a revolutionary party that takes the methods of Marxism seriously will sort out the left.



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