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Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

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Public Inquiry
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The Saker
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THE STRIKE WAVE BEGINS

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Monday May 13, 2013 01:36author by Frank Hayes Report this post to the editors

And so, today, a group of Irish workers stand firm in front of a vicious right wing government’s bullying, harassment from the state media lie machine, the scandalous complicity of some reactionary Trade Union ‘leaders’ whose only vision is to compromise and collaborate.

Forced to defend their class interests from conscious ruling class attacks, they are the first to step forward on their own terms, in their own time, with their class dignity and power.

In 2013, this is not a defeated rabble!

But their strike action is also a thing in itself, which starkly changes the very balance of class forces in this crippled capitalist state. It is, objectively, a political action, because the Austerity Politics and anti-public service Friedmanite ethos which it confronts, is itself, a conscious politically co-ordinated strategy on the part of the ruling class.

While some TU leaders, to their great credit, are well aware of this, understand, and are up for the fight, there are also those who cannot remove the self-imposed blinkers which allowed them capitulate to the whole Bertie agenda of partnership for poverty. Some of these ladies and gentlemen have discarded the core working class values built out of generations of class struggle.

And some have even ‘professionalised’ the role of ‘the TU Official’ directly in line with ruling class needs, now operating as policemen for their capitalist masters. This is, of course, an act of class betrayal.

It is now clear that the Quisling Labour/FG Coalition follow the instructions of the Troika on a day to day basis.
And the Troika have embarked on a global class war.

So workers class leaders must accurately anticipate the ruling class plans and strategies as their systemic global crisis deepens. First and foremost, this requires elaborating the most correct possible understanding of the motion of the global money crisis driving the whole process.
It is of the greatest importance that, while spontaneous trade union consciousness is respected for what it is, the political consciousness of worker’s political leadership is not restricted just to that level. Political leadership, grasping the unresolvable contradiction of the systemic crisis, must now act to bring a living consciousness of this reality into its class.

This places a sharp responsibility on activists, particularly those in the trade union groups of all working class political parties and tendencies, as they prepare responses to the coming strike wave, no less than to the Austerity agenda and the sharpening money/banking crisis driving it.

Repudiating the systemic debt of the private profiteers marks a beginning of a defensive process. Workers have overwhelmingly rejected Croke Park 2.

They now sense that it’s just one more step along a road which leads to the complete smashing of their rights and conditions, the already planned ruthless destruction of their social landscape. And they have said no to this anti-social vision emphatically.

Facing this conflict, workers will need leaders who are, not just up to the fight, but are determined to follow its logic, whatever it takes to stop the erosion of a civilised life – and to take back the comforts which the bankster gangsters, the corporate capitalists have already stolen.

That means removing the compromisers and cowards who have chosen to grovel before the Troika and its local hit-men. It means replacing them with a class conscious and unyielding leadership which will go the political distance necessary to create a society fit for all, and not just the moneyed few.

Those willing for this task are now stepping forward. The careerist professional class of collaborators and betrayers must now change their ways, or step out of the way. And if they won’t budge, they should be thrown out by their members.

No war has ever been won where the generals are in the pay of for the other side. And the class war, long declared, and now being fought by the corporate ruling class, is no different from any other conflict in this regard.

The only sustainable solution to the global crash and its consequences, is the political fight to end the mayhem of the crippled capitalist system. And Mother History has shown us how this democratic work must be done.

The formation of Peoples Assemblies, or Citizens Forums, call them what you prefer, will enable the emergence of a real democracy through which we can explore how to replace the destructive profit motive with a co-operative planned approach which put people and their needs first. And how to defend our jobs, transport system, health service – all the needs capitalism cannot deliver.

As capitalism crumbles, it’s time for fresh thinking, and a little working class moral courage.

author by Blake - Bus Eireann Strikespublication date Mon May 13, 2013 14:44Report this post to the editors

The private sector are already on their knees. Today and yesterday, business in the cafes, pubs, shops was badly effected and the reality is that many in the private sector are holding on to their business by their finger tips.

Is it fair that the public sector - and the privileges they have of long-term employment should cause people already on the brink to suffer more.

The Gathering 2013 : If transport people strike consistently going forward: what does this do to our tourist trade? Ireland will lose out to its bread and butter source of income.

author by Richard McAleaveypublication date Mon May 13, 2013 19:45Report this post to the editors

It’s illuminating to see the old Irish anti-union repertoire given a good dusting down, as if the social and political context for the Bus Eireann strike were identical to that 10, 15, 25 or 40 years ago. Practically no-one in Ireland, aside from the libertarians whose Twitter avatar is a photo of themselves in a pinstripe suit that may or may not be their confirmation uniform, will express an opposition to unions as such. Not even William Martin Murphy was opposed to unions. No, no-one is opposed to unions; but lots of voluble people of a right-wing persuasion –but then again, in Ireland practically no-one admits to being right-wing- are opposed to each and every instance in which members of a union take actions to protect their livelihood and their rights.

So the Bus Eireann action is characterised above as an ‘insult to the workers of 1913’, for example. Even John Bruton, the Mr Potato Head of international finance, a blueshirt lumpenbourgeois who calls for more austerity and less regulation for financial institutions that suffocate public finances across Europe, all the while drawing at least one succulent public pension, is in favour of honouring the workers of 1913. He said so in a piece in the Irish Times last year. According to this reading of the Lockout, the workers were not engaged in a fight for basic survival and dignity, but so that their great-grandchildren would get the chance to take part in JobBridge before emigrating.

A lot has happened since 1913. In case anyone hadn’t noticed –and to be fair, there are a few people here who are a bit slow on the uptake- we’re living at a time when right across Europe the democratic achievements won in large part by the labour movement –welfare state provision, public health, education and transport systems, workers’ rights- are being rolled right back. And no, the ruling powers have no intention of restoring them, because the total destruction of any kind of collective solidarity sets their pulses racing with excitement. But some people are so serf-like in their identification with the holders of power and wealth that they would rather give up their own rights and dignity so that ‘the markets’ would bestow a sweet smile on them once again, and would rather attack working class people for defending their rights, than voice even the tiniest opposition to the ongoing rampage against the social, economic and labour rights of the vast majority of people living in this country and across Europe. But of course, they’re not opposed to unions in principle. No sir. Sure if Big Jim Larkin was around today he’d agree with them. Right, Jim?'

 
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