Category Archives: Economy and workers’ resistance

The French are revolting: public meeting on French strike wave, Dublin, January 18

Éirígí – for a New Republic: New Year Statement

Released January 1, 2020:

Today marks the dawning of not only a new year, but also a new decade.  The last ten years have been largely defined by the response of the Irish and British political establishments to the collapse of the private banking sector in 2008.

Both states chose to reward the malpractice and criminality of the private banks with unlimited political and financial support.  The cost of this support was transferred to the people at large in the form of vast public debts and the savage austerity programmes that were implemented on both sides of Britain’s border in Ireland.

Éirígí activists were heavily involved in the fight against the bank bailouts and austerity.  We take this opportunity to recognise and applaud the significant contribution that current and former party members made in these critical battles to defend the interests of the Irish people.

We also take this opportunity to thank all of those who have supported the party over the last decade,  by attending party events, through financial donations and by entrusting our election candidates with their votes.

The decision of the Dublin government to bail out the private banks in 2008 exposed the underlying ideology that has informed all important decision-making by all Dublin governments since the foundation of the state.  When faced with choosing between protecting the interests of capital or protecting the interests of the Nation, they have always chosen the former, at great cost to the latter.

Decades of blind, unquestioning, fanatical commitment to the concepts of private property, private capital and private markets has Read the rest of this entry

Frank Keane, veteran socialist-republican and former national organiser of Saor Eire, interview

Frank Keane is one of the living people I most admire and respect.  The questions for this interview were written by myself and Mick Healy, and Mick conducted the actual interview.  Mick has done more than anyone to retrieve the story of Saor Eire, which disbanded in 1973, and its significance and relevance.

 

Máirín Keegan commemoration, 1997

Commemoration in 1997, marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary fighter Máirín Keegan.  Frank Keane is the main speaker.

1916 Comdt-General Sean McLoughlin on Civil War: “How the Republicans May Win”

Anti-Treaty IRA members in Dublin

The article below first appeared in the July 29, 1922 issue of The Workers Republic, the paper of the newly-established Communist Party of Ireland.  The civil war had begun just a month earlier.  The CPI aligned with the anti-Treaty IRA and agitated for it to adopt a social programme pointing to a workers’ republic, not just a republic. 

Sean McLoughlin was actually the senior surviving commandant of the Easter Rising of 1916.  On the Friday evening, as the Rising was drawing to a close, the 21-year-old had so impressed James Connolly and other leaders that he was appointed overall military commander.  This was done due to the incapacitation of the badly-wounded Connolly, the original commandant-general of all the insurrectionary forces.  McLoughlin then led the break-out from the GPO and into Moore Street.

McLoughlin later worked closely with Roddy Connolly in founding the original, short-lived CPI and was active in workers’ struggles during the civil war, including workplace occupations and the formation of soviets.

I have broken up some of the longer original paragraphs.  Also the article referred to both the Labour Party and labour (the working class with capital ‘L’; I have put the latter in lower case to differentiate them.

On the political side, it should be noted that the true perfidy of the Irish Labour Party was not grasped yet, although they had gone along with the Treaty – something which should have given the game away.  But a section of revolutionaries still saw them as being a party which Connolly had helped found and this produced illusions.

The text I used is taken from the appendices to Charlie McGuire’s Sean McLoughlin: Ireland’s Forgotten Revolutionary (London: Merlin, 2011).

HOW THE REPUBLICANS MAY WIN

by Sean McLoughlin

The Republicans have only one object, a purely sentimental one, as far as the masses are concerned – the establishing of a Republic, separated completely from Britain.  This is supported by the Communists and the advanced labour elements, in so far as it is a revolutionary step, in helping to smash British imperialism, but the masses are not swayed by these questions of high politics.  They are moved by economic pressures, and will not respond to sentimental appeals, no matter how impassioned they may be,  And the masses are correct.

In the first place they are tired of war.  In the second, they see that, no matter who wins, they will still be slaves grinding out their lives for wages and ruled with a rod of iron by bosses and landlords, and they cannot summon up enthusiasm enough to enable them to fight on behalf of wage-slavery.

The Republicans Read the rest of this entry

James Connolly on urban landlords

Land ownership was a key political question for the Irish masses throughout the hundreds of years of British rule.  For most of these centuries ‘the land question’ was essentially a rural/peasant issue.  But with industrialisation and urbanisation, the landlord class in towns and cities became as much a problem for the new working class as the big landholders were for the rural peasant masses.  In this 1899 article, James Connolly addresses the problems faced by Dublin workers due to private ownership by landlords of their homes.  (It appeared in the Workers Republic, November 18, 1899) and is highly relevant today as, although housing conditions have improved, rents and ownership remain critical problems.)

In an early issue of the Workers’ Republic we pointed out that the Corporation of Dublin had it in its power to sensibly mitigate the sufferings of the industrial population in the City by a wise and intelligent application of its many powers as a public board. Among the various directions we enumerated as immediately practical outlets for corporate enterprise, there were two allied measures which, were they applied, might do much to at once relieve the most odious and directly pressing evils arising from the congested state of our cities. Those two measures were:–

  • Taxation of unlet houses,

and

  • Erection at public expense of Artisans’ Dwellings, to be let at a rent covering cost of construction and maintenance alone. [1]

The wisdom of the proposal to increase the funds and utilise the borrowing powers of the Corporation in this manner cannot be questioned. The housing accommodation of the Dublin workers is a disgrace to the City; high rents and vile sanitary arrangements are the rule, and no one in the Corporation seems to possess courage enough to avow the truth, or to face Read the rest of this entry

New from Éirígí

 

Éirígí For A New Republic Stands In Solidarity With Morales And Bolivia

Éirígí For a New Republic condemns the ongoing right-wing coup in Bolivia and stands in solidarity with Evo Morales and the Movement For Socialism (MAS).  The usurpation of the MAS mandate and the Bolivian democratic process by a coalition of US backed right-wing oligarchs, mercenary gangs and sections of the Bolivian security forces must be condemned by all progressives across the globe.

https://eirigi.org/latestnews/2019/11/14/irg-for-a-new-republic-stands-in-solidarity-with-morales-and-bolivia

 

UP Housing Successfully Launched In Wexford Town

The official launch of the UP Housing campaign took place in Wexford Town on Tuesday (November 12th) in the Coolcotts Community Centre. The meeting was attended by citizens from the town as well as Enniscorthy, Bunclody and elsewhere.

Following an introduction by local Éirígí member Gary O’Brien, Cathaoirleach Éirígí Brian Leeson gave a presentation explaining the key elements of Universal Public Housing.

https://eirigi.org/latestnews/2019/11/13/up-housing-successfully-launched-in-wexford-town

 

O’Devaney Gardens – When Gombeens Do What Gombeens Do

As disappointing as the vote was, it came as no surprise to anyone that understands the true nature of the Twenty-Six County state and the Gombeen political class that rule it.

The Gombeen has been a feature of Irish life for centuries. Through invasion, plantation, starvation, deportation and Read the rest of this entry

New from Éirígí

Below are outlines of some of the articles and analysis from the month gone.

This weeks budget in the 26 counties, continued the ongoing and sustained attack on the least well off. The 26 county government has used every excuse from Brexit, to the housing crisis, to the climate disaster as an opportunity to continue the flow of wealth from the poorest in the state to the richest.

Join the Fightback.

 
Concentration Of Ultra-Wealthy In Twenty-Six Counties Fifth Highest In The World
A recent report by Wealth-X entitled “World Ultra Wealth Report 2019” highlights the one-way class war that is being waged by the ultra-wealthy on the rest of the global population.  Defining the ultra-wealthy as individuals who hold a net worth of $30m or more, the report finds that 265,490 such people control $32,000,000,000,000 ($32tn) worth of wealth collectively.  This equates to an average of $121m per individual.

 

A €210,000,000,000 Debt Bomb – The True Cost Of Gombeen Capitalism

During the Celtic Tiger period the debt level of the Twenty-Six County state as relatively stable at about €43,000,000,000 (€43bn). This meant that each worker was carrying a debt of about €22,600.This all changed dramatically when the property market collapsed and the private banking sector went into freefall. On the night of September 28th, 2008 a small group of gombeen politicians from Fianna Fail and The Green Party met with senior civil servants and top bankers to develop a plan to prevent the private banks from going…..well….bankrupt.

The following morning the nation and the wider world woke to the incredible news that the government had guaranteed all of the debts of the private banks, with a potential liability of €440,000,000,000 (€440bn).

 

Teaching Of Irish Must Be Reformed And Prioritised In All Schools
Some senior civil servants have for years worked behind the scenes to marginalise Irish in the education system. Many Irish speakers believe that the issue of derogations is merely the thin end of the wedge and that the compulsory status of Irish will come under fire next. 

http://eirigi.org/latestnews/2019/10/2/teaching-of-irish-must-be-reformed-and-prioritised-in-all-schools

 

Break The Barriers To Education
Third-level education in the Twenty-Six Counties is rapidly becoming inaccessible for large amounts of our young people. Student accommodation costs across the state have risen sharply, with most college students seeing significant rent increases in recent years

Vast amounts of student accommodation have been built across the state by large multinational corporations, keen to take advantage of desperate students.  The rent of more than 90% of student accommodation units built since 2016 is over €800 per-month.

http://eirigi.org/latestnews/2019/10/2/break-the-barriers-to-education

 

On The Shoulders….Bobby Sands – The Rhythm Of Time
Much has been written about the hunger strikers over the years, and no doubt more will be written in the future. However, today we will let a piece by one of them speak for itself. As part of our On the Shoulders of Giants series, today we reproduce The Rhythm of Time, a poem by the first hunger striker to die, Bobby Sands.
http://eirigi.org/latestnews/2019/10/3/on-the-shouldersbobby-sands-the-rhythm-of-time

Get Involved In The Campaign For Universal Public Housing
UP Housing – Universal Public Housing – has the potential to permanently end the housing crisis and radically transform Irish society in the process. When other political parties politely ask for more ‘social and affordable’ housing, they are essentially begging for more of the same – for a slight tweak to the current housing system.

Join Us
Are you ready to join the fight for a New Republic?

The right-wing political, economic and social forces that dominate Ireland today are deeply-embedded, well-resourced and highly-organised.  They will not give up their power or privileges easily.  It will take great patience, discipline and organisation to build a movement that will replace the existing two failed states with one new all-Ireland Republic.
http://eirigi.org/join

In Review: Marisa McGlinchey’s ‘Unfinished Business’

Marisa McGlinchey, Unfinished Business: the politics of ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2019, 231pp; reviewed by Philip Ferguson

Marisa McGlinchey’s book should be read by all radical republicans, Marxists and anyone else genuinely interested in national liberation and socialism in Ireland.

Don’t be put off by the fact that the back cover features praise for the book from the likes of Lord Bew of the Stickies and Richard English, both of whom have carved out well-rewarded academic niches writing attacks on republicanism and producing material that can only aid British imperialism.  Their reasons for praising the book are entirely different from those of anti-imperialists.

There are two key strengths to this book.

One is that it is based on on a substantial set of interviews (90 in all) the author conducted with republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Provo leadership’s move into the service of the British state and the statelets which are the result of partition in Ireland and the Provos’ move from sort sort of vision of socialism to embracing the market and capitalist austerity.

The other strength is that she largely lets the interviewees speak for themselves, rather than trying to stitch them up.  Thus, for instance, she refrains from referring to them in the book as “dissident” republicans – the book’s sub-title was chosen, presumably, by the publisher.  Instead, she refers to them by the much more accurate term of “radical republicans” and treats them as rational political activists rather than some kind of pathology.

The interviewees, some of whom are now dead and some of whom have left the organisation they were in at the time they were interviewed, cover the gamut of radical republican groups, some of which are linked to armed organisations and some of which are not.  Thus the interviewees include independents and members of Eirigi, RNU, Saoradh, the IRSP, RSF and the 32CSM.  They range from younger activists such as Louise Minihan to veterans who go back to the 1956-62 border campaign and even earlier, such as Peig King and Billy McKee.  Some of the activists support Read the rest of this entry

“They or we must quit this island” – Fintan Lalor on the landlord class (June 1848)

From the republican newspaper The Irish Felon, June 24, 1848.  This appeared in the original as one paragraph, but I have broken it up into several paras to assist 21st century readers.

Although written 170 years ago as a condemnation of the main property-owning class in Ireland then (the landlords) it sounds very modern, like a condemnation of the main property-owning class in Ireland today (the capitalists).  It is not hard to see why Connolly – and Pearse – admired Lalor so much.  The article represents a step forward in republican political thinking from the time of Tone and Emmet, as over four decades of class development and conflict had taken place and Ireland was in the midst of the horrors of a massive famine created by the capitalist property system.

The bit about “strangers” is also apt as a description of the Dublin4 and WestBrit set of today.

by James Fintan Lalor

They or we must quit this island

They or we must quit this island.  It is a people to be saved or lost; it is the island to be kept or surrendered.  They have served us with a general writ of ejectment.  Wherefore I say, let them get a notice to quit at once; or we shall oust possession under the law of nature.

There are men who claim protection for them, and for all their tyrannous rights and powers, being “as one class of the Irish people”.  I deny the claim.  They form no class of the Irish people, or any other people.  Strangers they are in this land they call theirs – strangers here and strangers Read the rest of this entry