The media is doing all in its power to back up the claim of the government that There Is No Alternative to their plan to slash €4 billion in cuts in December’s Budget.
T.I.N.A was the battle cry of the hated Margaret Thatcher as she waged war on the rights of working class people in Britain and now the Irish government and the bosses are doing the same here.
There cannot be any ifs or buts. Working class people and the trade unions must fight, otherwise Ireland will be thrown back to the black days of the 1950s and beyond.
Even the support of the media can’t hid the rotten truth behind the policies of this government. They want to slash public services just to keep tax rates low for their big business friends.
The hole in government finances was not caused by too much being spent on the wages of ordinary public servants or on public services. The problem developed when the economy and tax revenues collapsed due to profiteering.
It is nonsense to suggest as Brian Lenihan has, that these cuts will create the basis for a new boom. These cuts are like the Fine Gael and Labour cuts of the early 1980s, which served to devastate the economy for years and resulted in unemployment, emigration and the national debt hitting chronic levels.
Cutting €4 billion from the economy, when already over 400,000 are unemployed, will devastate countless lives, condemning tens of thousands to new poverty conditions.
The Irish economy, based on market principles, is smashed and cannot be fixed, we need fundamental change. The billions being spent on banks is dead money. Instead why can’t they bail out the those who are dependent on public services.
The government hopes of floods of new investment from the markets and bosses are delusional. There is no real investment going on. And as long as profit remains the basis of the economy, domestic and multi-national companies will invest elsewhere where they can make bigger profits. There is no prospect of significant economic development in this country based on the capitalist market.
The trade union leaders bear major responsibility for the crisis that now confronts working class people. They propped up the government for years in social partnership deals and accepted the policies of the establishment and forgot how to fight on behalf of working class people. Now they must take whatever action is necessary to block and defeat the government and their policies.
The strike of public sector needs to be followed up with stronger action, involving all workers both private and public sectors united together.
The illusions that some trade union leaders have that a fairer and better way can be negotiated with this government must be discarded. Any such deal will be a disaster for working class people. If they get away with these cuts this year, they have already said they will come back for more next year and the year after and the year after that.
Public sector and private sector workers must unite against the real enemy, the government and the bosses who caused the crisis in the first place and who now are intent on destroying the lives of millions to save their system and their privileges.
The Socialist Party is part of the struggle to transform the unions into democratic and fighting organisations. We also stand for the establishment of a new party to fight for a left/socialist government that would end the dictatorship of the capitalist market and instead plan the economy for the needs of people not the profits of the few.