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Correspondence: Left “debate” on Stormont cuts

12 November 2014

Dear Editor,

I read your report on the trade union reaction to the massive cuts facing the working class in the North. It made depressing reading but fits in with my own experience.

Since then things have got a lot worse. We have the response of the trade union left led by the Socialist Party from their platform in NIPSA. 

As far as I can make out this is just a call for more action without any strategy. It hit a low point recently when one activist outlined the “debate” in the trade union bureaucracy.

One side is for all out collaboration, they argue that the argument that the assembly has no real power, but we can get into partnership and direct where the cuts go to try and ensure they hurt less.

The NIPSA broad left argue that the assembly has real power and that that means that the trade unions can hold the parties to account. More protests and industrial action will make the politicians change their minds and defy Britain.

The mindless support for unionism and the status quo in this “debate” beggars belief.

In the words of the Irish saying “if I want to go there I wouldn’t start from here.”

If I wanted to fight austerity I would not start from a belief that interacting with the Stormont circus would achieve anything.  All these people claim to be utterly opposed to sectarianism yet all their strategies are around influencing an institution whose only purpose is to codify sectarian division. One of the first demands of a campaign against austerity should be to save money by scrapping what the Belfast anarchist John McGuffin the big white toilet on the hill.

The depressing conclusion is that hot only do we need a new trade unionism, we need a new left.

Hopefully the fact that workers in the 26 counties are now finding their voice over water charges will provide the kick up the arse that is needed to revive the socialist movement.



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