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1913 – 2013  Unfinished Business?

May 2013 saw the trade union movement put forward a new slogan “1913-2013 Unfinished business.” 

So what is the unfinished business?

To anyone with knowledge of the 1913 Dublin Lockout the answer should be clear. The lockout saw the Irish working class locked in a life or death struggle with local capital supported by the might of the British Empire. The workers struggled to defend their livelihoods and to organise independently of capital. 

The parallels with today hardly need explaining. Workers are ground down by the coalition government and the occupying Troika. The unfinished business is to repudiate the debt, expel the Troika and build new and independent working class organisations. Its immediate focus is the battle to prevent Croke Park ll being imposed and prevent another sell-out.

Is that what it means? 

Not according to the Dublin Council of trade unions. 

It’s May Day literature demands a campaign against austerity based on ICTU’s pre-budget submission to the government. 

That is a submission that called for more government investment and a wealth tax “inside the narrow confines of the Troika programme,” in the words of Jack O’Connor, that accepted the €3.1 billion budget cuts and went on to negotiate Croke Park ll and a €1 billion cut in public sector pay and is currently being invited back into government talks where this year’s €300 million pay cut has already been included in the estimates. 

DCTU does not stand alone. The Irish socialist movement has increasingly capitulated to the collaboration of the union bureaucracy. 

The workers stand on one side on Croke Park. ICTU stand on another. Socialists must stand with the workers. 

That is the unfinished business today.


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