Repudiate the debt!
Smash the Croke Park deal!
Build a new workers movement!
The time for protest is over. The time for bland slogans is over. The time for marching behind a corrupt and treacherous leadership is over.
It is time for a fight. It is time to stop pleading with our masters to show mercy. It is time for the workers to flex their muscles and assert their rights.
The trade union leadership call for an end to the cuts, while at the same time they sit on the Croke Park Implementation body deciding just where the cuts should be made. They don't call for a 100% default - the only way to prevent workers paying over and over again for the bankers and speculators. They can't make this call because, as signatories to the Croke Park agreement they have agreed to the bailout of the bankers and the programme of austerity that flows from it. It is not a matter of passively going along. They are “social partners” in the attacks on workers.
It is as well we are in the winter season - marching behind ICTU, David Begg and Jack O'Connor to end the cuts is purest pantomime, given added humour by a call on Fine Gael/Labour, the IMF and ECB to tax the rich.
We have to face reality. Capitalism is on the march. Elected governments in Greece and Italy have been overthrown. The Irish government operates under the supervision of the European bankers. Its only policy is to give them everything they want; handing millions to unsecured bondholders, fearful even of asking for a limited haircut. The outcome of the bankers rule is illustrated by Greece, where the end of the bailout process would leave them stripped of all public resources and still with a debt of 120% of GDP!
We shouldn't be demanding that the representatives of capital change their spots. We should be demanding that our own leaders in the trade union movement stop collaborating with the austerity. But we should also be realistic, they won’t pull out of the Croke Park agreement, nor repudiate the debt and organise a defence of the working class.
Socialists should be promoting the self activity and self organisation of workers instead of lamely trailing behind the proven traitors who have spent decades emptying the workers movement of any semblance of participation by workers or of demands representing the class interests of workers.
We need an independent rank and file movement, organised across the unions and drawing in unemployed workers, independent of the bureaucracy, unremittingly hostile to the bailout and willing to organise mass resistance. Instead of looking to the current leadership we should be looking across Europe for direct connections with workers in struggle.
The current policy of austerity that links the Government and unions tells us plenty about the class interests of the union bosses and their determination to save capitalism. It doesn’t for a minute represent a strategy that can protect Irish worker. Europe is in crisis. Its leaders have no solution. We gain nothing from throwing out wages, jobs and services on the bonfire.
The message from the EU/ECB/IMF Troika is that they will allow no obstacles to stand in their way including even elected bourgeois governments. They will act as the de-facto dictatorship of capital in Europe. Workers across Europe face the movement of history being thrown into reverse and their class being reduced to conditions of bygone times. The self organisation of workers can begin the task of resisting this menace; a first step is to kick the agents of capital out of our movement.