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Pat O’Connor appreciation
by D.R.O'Connor Lysaght
27 September 2015
Pat O’Connor was a revolutionary socialist. The materialist dialectic was as the air he breathed. He was dedicated to the struggle that must give state power to the working people of this country as a base from which will develop the only possible form of socialism, that is world socialism. He performed his duty not with a Kalashnikov nor a mortar, not by robbing banks, however much the cause could have done with the money, but by determined propaganda and agitation to spread the divine gospel of discontent and cause the working people of Ireland to feel the mass dissatisfaction with the system without which the most meticulously planned rebellion can only be a putsch.
His death is the greater loss in that, today, the forces of globalisation and neo-liberalism that blocked the revolutionary path for three and an half decades are seen more readily for what they are. The freedom and prosperity that they promised are being revealed as the purtenances of the already rich. Freedom is to be taken away from the democracy by the planned free trade agreement, the TTIP, by which any act of a country that a business considers hurts its profits can be punished with fines that must burden that land’s citizenry for generations. Prosperity has been ended first by the depression and then by its solution, the austerity policies drafted to rob the poor to benefit the rich.
Homelessness is higher than at the depth
of the depression and the water charge must increase it further. Undoubtedly,
the Government expects that by being homeless people will be disenfranchised
(they should beware this will not be true for all). Unemployment is down,
as are real wages. Numbers awaiting healthcare are up. Education is still
overwhelmingly in the hands of the religious, at least until third level
when it is guided by the needs for profit of the business community, national
and international. As in James Joyce’ time, ‘God and Caesar walk hand in
hand’ in Ireland.
All these issues must be raised in the opportunity that will be provided in the coming general election. There is a danger here that this will be seen by too many socialists as an opportunity for getting bums on seats (The word bum may be interpreted either way). In fact, it will be better for a small minority that understands the issues thoroughly to elect a few deputies than for a larger number of TDs to be elected by less conscious voters. The wise words of Connolly must be recalled: ‘the electoral battle is merely the shadow of the struggle.’ This was Pat O’Connor’s view and the best way to commemorate him is to act on it and campaign not just to change the government but for to change the class nature of state power in Ireland.
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