Labour Party – sell-outs. It’s galling that a political force established over 100 years ago by James Connolly and Jim Larkin to be the political wing of a burgeoning trade union movement is so shamelessly pursuing the butchering of working class living standards so there can be a “recovery” in profits for the super-rich.
There’s a gaping need for a working class political force – a political party precisely in the tradition of Connolly and Larkin that seeks to organise a working class movement. The ruling class, the 1%, already has a number of political parties to aid its interests. The big employers also have a state that is biased in their favour – look at the court injunctions served to locked-out Greyhound workers facing a 35% pay cut. Michael Buckley, Greyhound boss, in all his barefaced brutishness is also being entertained by the courts in his stated aim of suing the workers for loss of earnings, including taking their homes! Meanwhile RTE reports on “illegal action” (ie picketing) by the workers. With political parties, the state and the media stacked against us, we need to organise, including politically.
The role a new movement can play
A new working class political force, if it grew and if it activated the huge anti-austerity sentiment that’s there, would be able to exert pressure on the leadership of SIPTU to build for solidarity industrial action that could floor Greyhound. It could mobilise working class support for the Greyhound workers to build for bigger and more effective picketing. Fundamentally, it could unite refuse workers and working class communities to begin the fight to re-nationalise refuse collection.
A major working class party could activate the overwhelming opposition to the Water Charges, and funnel that into a powerful campaign of organised mass non-payment.
Such a new working class voice, movement and political force, could also link with the equality agenda of young people who have been marching and demonstrating for abortion and LGBTQ rights.
All its elected representatives would be voices for a working class and left position, but also organisers in an active anti-austerity struggle. The Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA), a new force that the Socialist Party aided to establish, got 14 councillors elected in Dublin, Cork and Limerick earlier this year. AAA activists and Councillors are ordinary working class people who have become active against austerity, for the most part just in the last few years. It’s the beginning of the building of a new working class movement and political force that’s the essential antidote to capitalist austerity.
Socialist ideas needed
In 1989, Joe Higgins, currently Socialist Party TD, was expelled from the Labour Party alongside other socialist activists in an attempt by the leadership to purge the Party of radical, socialist, working class politics. The shift to the right in Labour was facilitated by the exclusion of proponents of socialism. Though it’s justified to heap scorn on the individuals in Labour currently administering austerity, it’s this ideological question that’s central to their sell-out.
Without left and socialist ideas, the lure of the capitalist market, promoted and venerated at every turn in capitalist society, is inescapable. Accepting the market means accepting the “right” for corporations to make a profit, a right that is fundamentally at odds with the right of working class people to a decent living standard. The Socialist Party is deeply committed to aiding the building of a new working class political voice and movement. Within that, we will be the consistent advocates of the need for a radical socialist alternative to austerity, inequality, and the capitalist system that offers nothing but a “recovery” for the rich.