Our 7th Austerity budget - The wages of collusion
Labour and the trade union bureaucracy are at last able to claim a result for their search for a better, fairer way to pay the bankers' bill. After 6 years of grinding austerity the 7th austerity budget is claimed to be only a further €2.5 billion rather than €3.1 billion.
So far so bad. All that Labour/ICTU had to do in return is support savage attacks on the poor and giveaway subsidies for airlines and hotels, while yet again protecting Irish capital and European bondholders.
The centrepiece of the budget that shows the utter bankruptcy of Irish capital is a savage cut in welfare payments for youth - an open invitation to join their forebears and take the emigration boat. But the real price of collaboration is the subversion of workers' resistance. The largest demonstration, by Dublin Trades Council, numbered only 700.
Despite the anger and sincerity of the participants, the slogans provided by ICTU only served to lead activists on a walk in the park and block off organization of an alternative to the betrayals of Labour and the union bureaucracy.
Comic relief was provided in the budget; a €500 million jobs stimulus plan which turned out to be a basket of tax breaks for firms. More humour was provided by an 'alternative' budget from Sinn Fein which is also a €2.5 billion austerity budget, making nonsense of their claim to be a left alternative. The circus was finished off by noting that there had been no change to the 2-year budget of €5.1 billion agreed with the Troika—the claimed reduction in austerity is simply a book-keeping exercise.
None of this disguises reality. We have
to rebuild resistance from the ground up, insisting that workers do not
continue to pay the bankers' bills and raising yet again the banner of
the workers' republic.