Yeah but.. Yeah but... No!
The reformist left and the return of Stormont
15 January 2020
The statements of the reformist left groups on the return of the local executive need careful study, not because they are profound, but because of their total incoherence.
There is a general tone of satisfaction at the return, allied to confusion when it is accepted that the programme of the Assembly is a full scale attack on workers’ rights.
People Before Profit produce a gem:
"Where positive proposals have been made, People Before Profit will work to hold the big parties to their promises. Where obvious flaws exist, we will work to highlight these, and hold the new Executive to account."There is no denying it. This is the classic reformist claim of the neutrality of the state, expanded to cover the colonial set-up at Stormont. In the rest of their statement they search desperately for examples of positive proposals but come up short.
The statement accepts that the new government programme will further entrench sectarianism but appear to think that this is an oversight. If PBP don't realise that sectarianism isn't an oversight but an essential feature of the northern state then they have a limited role to play in the defence of workers.
The Socialist party is a great deal more coherent. They ignore the Assembly itself and focus in on the programme, which they correctly identify as:
"essentially a rerun of the previously inglorious Fresh Start agreement".However sectarianism is again seen as an oversight bug, rather than a feature of the Stormont system.
Their claim is that the health strikes were victorious in forcing health into the agenda but this ignores the reactionary role of the trade union bureaucracy in tying the campaign to demands for the return of the Assembly and the fact that no settlement has been made so far.
Their spokesperson goes on to argue that:
"Fresh Start 2 is more of the same but there is an opportunity for the organised working class to consolidate real victories through militant struggle".So the new offensive against the workers is to be welcomed because it offers the opportunity for class struggle!
These groups responded to the Good Friday Agreement by opposing it. Now they veer between support and neutrality.
At least the SP have the clear sight to admit that workers are largely indifferent to the new Assembly and have no expectation that it will act in their interests. All the more reason to oppose this pile of manure by facing up to the trade union bureaucrats that present it as a solution and to call for workers to unite and mobilise against it.