Category Archives: Public sector/cuts
An interesting article, although I think the comrades might be somewhat optimistic about the level of class struggle they think will follow the pandemic.
by Socialist Democracy
When the Dublin government announced financial measures in response to the Covid 19 pandemic a local satirical e-zine, Waterford Whisper News, had a field day. The right wing Fine Gael government had gone communist. The country was now a Soviet. Ireland should be done with it and imprint a hammer and sickle within the tricolour.
There was reason for the satire. Many of the major issues of Irish society, claimed by the government to be insoluble because of the lack of a money tree, disappeared overnight. An army of homeless were ushered into empty hotels. For the first time in its history the Irish state conjured up a national health service by renting the large private sector. Individual payments to workers were ushered in and then increased when they proved insufficient. In the background a State that constantly misses all environmental targets and has no serious plan to deal with climate change suddenly saw the skies clear above the entire island.
Of course the Irish Soviet is a figment of the satirical imagination. Most government expenditure is directed towards the bosses. Payments to workers are in part an attempt to maintain the structures of production to speed eventual recovery. With this said, there are substantial funds assigned to ensure social peace, especially as the recent elections had demonstrated just how unpopular the leading capitalist parties are.
This is a rump government, the struggle to establish a new one is ongoing, and the issues that brought it down are the issues that it is now trying to temporarily resolve: a massive housing crisis, a health service in a shambles and large sections of the population under wage and pension pressures. The problem with their resolution is twofold. Firstly, how do you row back on the temporary concessions made today? Secondly, how do you present the bill for the extra expenditure to a working class still paying for the 2008 banking bailout?
The rump government has shaken off the shock of the. . . continue reading article on the SD site
This article gives an overview and the Éirígí perspective on the recent General Election in the 26 counties; it appeared in last week’s issue of the French left-wing publication Informations Ouvrières. The author is cathaoirleach Éirígí.
by Brian Leeson
On February 7th voters in southern Ireland went to the polls to elect a new government for the first time since 2016. When the exit poll was released at 10pm that night it became clear that the electorate had delivered a major blow to the two dominant centre and centre-right political parties.
When counting concluded four days later the outgoing party of government, Fine Gael, had just 20.9% of the popular vote. Fianna Fail came in with the second largest share at 22.2%. And in a shock result, Sinn Féin won the largest share of first-preference votes at 24.5%.
The importance of this result can only be fully appreciated when it is placed in its historical context. In the century since the foundation of the state in 1922, no party has ever secured more Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Imperialism (generally), Irish politics today, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Public sector/cuts, Toadyism, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
This is an interview that Mick did recently with Kevin Keating, a veteran activist in Dublin. Kevin’s many years of activism go from the IRA to the fused People’s Democracy (merger of the original northern-based PD and the southern-based Movement for a Socialist Republic), which became Socialist Democracy in the later 1990s.
Kevin has very serious health problems these days. Happily, this was one of his better days.
See also the interview with John McAnulty of SD. John was a leading figure in People’s Democracy in Belfast over decades. Mick spoke to him last October about the experience of 50 years of struggle. See here.
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, Partition, Peter Graham, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, Trade unions, Workers rights
I wrote an article on the elections just after I saw the exit polls, then updated it earlier this morning (NZ time; Sunday night, Irish time).
by Philip Ferguson
With almost all the votes now counted, Sinn Fein looks like being the big winner in Saturday’s election in the south of Ireland.
Exit polls showed a three-way virtual tie between the main parties in the south of Ireland. Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were all on just over 22% of first preferences: FG on 22.4, SF on 22.3, FF on 22.2. These polls indicated that almost 32% of 18-24 year-olds voted Sinn Fein.
But now, with 96% of the votes cast, SF is sitting on 24.1% of first preferences and both FF and FG are on 22.1%. For the first time
SF didn’t expect to do so well, especially after suffering substantial losses in the Euro and local government elections last year, so ran a limited number of candidates – it looks like it will get less seats than it could have gotten if it had’ve aimed for two seats in more constituencies. At the same time, its surpluses have transferred significantly to two Trotskyist parties, helping them keep their seats. . .
See full article at: Sinn Fein takes the lead
The poem below was read by its writer, Valerie Bryce, at the open mic night at The Cottage Bar in Letterkenny, on January 28.
‘There but for the grace of God’, they say
‘Did you see on the news the aul woman in Dublin
Eating left over chips from a windowsill
And her living rough on the street and worse still
God love her ‘tis awful, isn’t it?’.
‘It’s a national scandal’, they say
‘Having hundreds of patients waiting on trolleys
Sometimes for days
Pyjamas and drips all on public display
‘We’ve a right to the truth’ they’ll protest
When billions of public funds remain unaccounted for
And there’s no arrests
When facts about institutional abuse are withheld
To keep us in the dark and that tongues cannot tell
Of the manner in which Church and State are complicit
In protecting abusers
Making victims lives hell.
It’s a sure sign of madness, I say
To repeat the same thing again and again
Expecting a Read the rest of this entry →
Posted on | Image
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,
- Erection at public expense of Artisans’ Dwellings, to be let at a rent covering cost of construction and maintenance alone. 
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 →
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, Corruption, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Housing, Imperialism (generally), Irish politics today, Prisoners - past, Public sector/cuts, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, twenty-six counties
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 →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, 32-County Sovereignty Movement, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Censorship, Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, IRSP, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - current, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity
The author of this article, Vincent Doherty, was a member of People’s Democracy in the 1970s and early 1980s and, later, Sinn Fein. In recent years he has been an independent marxist and anti-imperialist.
Now that the dust has settled on last week’s elections, it is possible to appreciate the magnitude of Sinn Fein’s electoral collapse. For the usually well-oiled Sinn Fein electoral machine, results in both the local council and European elections across the 26 counties were nothing short of catastrophic. At the Dublin counts in the RDS, seasoned Sinn Fein cadre looked punch drunk, as one after another their council seats vanished from a local authority where they had been the majority party over the past 5 years. Across the 26 counties as a whole, they lost half their council seats. Even more dramatically, two of their three European seats in the 26 counties have been lost (confirmed on Wednesday after the recount was completed, that the SF seat in South Constituency was lost to the Greens).
In Dublin, where they topped the poll in the last Euro elections, their vote this time fell from just under 25% to less than 10%, despite a popular, effective and well-liked candidate in Lynn Boylan. The party also lost control of Dublin City Council, where they lost half of their seats. This decline was repeated in the other urban areas like Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Right across the 26 counties the story was the same, even in their hinterland constituencies along the border. The party’s vote was decimated, as they were effectively abandoned by an electorate clearly tired of Sinn Fein’s zigzagging on major issues. From the Dublin European election count, it was clear that people looking for a fighting left candidate abandoned Sinn Fein in favour of socialist campaigner Clare Daly, whilst the soft left element of the Sinn Fein vote was hoovered up by the Greens. The fact that climate change has been front and centre in the news of late obviously contributed to the “Green wave”, this despite the fact that the Irish Greens are well to the right of many of their European sister parties.
Coalition: a poisoned chalice
Perhaps most damaging of all for Sinn Fein, was the leadership-inspired decision at the last Ard Fheis (Annual Delegate Conference), to support. . .
continue reading here.