Statement: Brexit election:
The role of Irish workers
28 November 2019
In the upcoming British election
the interests of British workers are well defined. A Labour victory would,
despite the party's ambiguity, end the Brexit project in a new referendum.
It would unleash a new struggle around a manifesto promising to undo the
damage caused by decades of Thatcherism and years of unending austerity.
What of Ireland? Although Ireland will be deeply affected by the British election, the majority have no vote and the vote in the North is mostly another referendum on the border.
The central issue for Irish workers is the collapse of political structures on the island. The Good Friday settlement is long dead and Brexit would be the funeral service. The Dublin government, supported by Europe, had the strongest hand in its history in the shape of the backstop. It surrendered it in return for British assurances.
The self-evident solution to Ireland's Brexit problem - a united Ireland now - is not seriously advanced. Irish capitalism is hardening out behind an argument that even a majority confined to the North would not be enough to overturn the unionist veto. Sinn Fein are all for a united Ireland - just not right now. Their demand for a vote in 5 years is immediately rejected by Dublin. Border demonstrations by Sinn Fein, other Republican groups and the Communist Party for a referendum under the Good Friday Agreement is tied to British permission for a border poll.
For those who operate within the constraints set by Irish capitalism a United Ireland is a pipe dream. Unity can only be achieved by the mobilization of Irish workers in the fight for a workers republic
The story of Brexit tells us that ourselves alone is a path to reaction. A call for a united Socialist States of Europe offers a road to a socialist future and a way to build the solidarity we need to rebuild the workers movement today.
In the Northern elections Sinn Fein fell into line behind Dublin, held a pantomime Ard Fheis where it blustered about a united Ireland in the sweet bye and bye and struck a series of electoral deals, including one where they stood down in favour of a unionist! The only candidates who describe themselves as being on the left, People before Profit, are wrapped in a fog of opportunism, trying to walk back their support for Brexit.
In these circumstances there are no candidates who would credibly advance the interests of the workers or even offer critical support for a labour victory in Britain. We call on those who agree with our analysis to spoil their vote by writing "Worker's Republic" on the ballot.
Activists both North and South should look to establish workers discussion groups, not to unite "the left" around reform, but to unite anti-imperialists in a struggle to establish the Workers Republic.