The horrors being inflicted upon workers, young people, the unemployed, the poor, pensioners and ordinary people the world over by the economic crisis is a complete indictment of capitalism. Mass unemployment and the destruction of living standards are its central tenets. This capitalist system, based on production for profit – on greed rather than need – means in this era; austerity. It means bankers and speculators, the ‘vampire squids’, wreaking havoc over our lives. The Socialist Party stands for the socialist alternative to the dictatorship of the markets – namely real democracy whereby ordinary people take centre stage in running society, with democratic public ownership of banks, of key sectors of the economy and industry, and a democratic plan of the economy to provide for the needs of people. Recent events in Egypt, in Turkey, in Greece and in Brazil illustrate that mass movements and even revolution are on the agenda in the 21st century.
The Socialist Party, alongside the international socialist organisation that we are affiliated to, the CWI (socialistworld.net), supports and wherever possible, assists, the building of struggle and movements of the working class and all oppressed people across the globe to oppose austerity, to rage against the rule of the 1%, to fight for democratic and other crucial rights, such as abortion and gay marriage rights. In South Africa, CWI members have played a central role in launching a new left wing and socialist party (WASP) made up of workers and poor, as a political force to channel the outrage of the betrayed working class of South Africa in the aftermath of the massacre of striking miners by the ANC government. While developing the struggle against austerity and aiding the building of left-wing and working class political organisation, movements and parties, the Socialist Party and the CWI are the socialist element of such movements and organisations.
In recent years, Socialist Party activists have played a central role in developing opposition to and struggle against unjust, neoliberal and austerity taxes such as the household and property taxes, and the Anti Austerity Alliance. Our activists have also been vocal and active in campaigning for a woman’s right to choose. Women in the Socialist Party have also established ROSA (for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity) as a group particularly for women from a left-wing perspective to become active on and discuss vital issues of inequality and sexism from abortion rights, to cuts to women’s services, to rape culture and sexism in the mass media and popular culture.
The Socialist Party has a proud and long record of campaigning and fighting for the rights of working class people. We were instigators and leaders of the successful campaign which defeated the water charges in the 1990s. During the struggle against the Bin Tax a decade ago, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins spent a month in Mountjoy Prison alongside many other working class activists because of the leading role he played in the campaign.
Joe Higgins TD and the Socialist Party played a crucial role in the victory of the GAMA workers struggle which resulted in them being repaid tens of millions in “stolen” wages. We have supported and assisted countless workers struggles and strikes over the last forty years. Our members are organising throughout the trade union movement to build an alternative to the right-wing trade unions leaders who for decades have been in social partnership deals with governments and the employers that have resulted in a huge shift in wealth away from the working class, to the profits of big business and the super-rich. We believe there is a need for workers to reclaim the trade unions to transform them into democratic fighting trade unions who put the interests of working class people first.
In Northern Ireland the Socialist Party we have campaigned for nearly 40 years for unity of the working class, Protestant and Catholic as the only solution to the conflict. We have been the only political party of the left which has consistently refused to bend to the pressures of religious sectarianism. We based ourselves on the broad labour movement and on young people. Arguing that the labour movement had the potential power to cut across the sectarian division and show a way forward, we challenged the refusal of the trade union leadership to intervene. It was our members who organised the first strikes against sectarian intimidation. We answered paramilitary threats against Catholic workers in the civil service with walkouts by Catholics and Protestants. When similar threats were made by republicans against Protestants we did the same. It was the movement that emerged from these initiatives that began the peace process.
Whereas the trade union leaders have refused to get involved in politics we have argued that the only way to cut across the influence of sectarian and right wing parties is to challenge them by building a mass party of the working class, based on socialist policies. We support the continuation of a peace process rather than a return to a sectarian conflict which would set back the working class movement. However, as recent events have highlighted, the current process is based on uniting sectarian politicians and keeping the working class divided. It institutionalises sectarianism and will not bring a lasting settlement. A real peace process must be built from the bottom up; through people in the working class communities coming together to tackle the problem of sectarian attacks, of injustice and of poverty. It will not be handed down from the ruling classes of Britain, the South of Ireland or the US. It is the working class who have suffered from the troubles and it is the working class who can bring a solution.
The national problem is intractable and insoluble on the basis of capitalism. We are for a socialist solution – working class unity to bring about a socialist Ireland as a free and voluntary part of a socialist federation of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and, on a wider scale, of a socialist European federation.
The Socialist Party believes that the economic, social and environmental problems of society are caused by capitalism. On an international basis it is possible to provide every human with a decent standard of living that affords them a good education, quality health care, a home, a healthy diet and a safe and clean environment. Poverty and inequality is caused by the capitalist system which puts profit before the needs of people. In a socialist society production would be planned to meet the needs of the majority and on a global scale socialism would be capable of eradicating poverty, end the causes of war and conflict and collectively use the resources of humanity to deal with global warming. The crisis-ridden and unjust nature of capitalism is being exposed as the Great Recession rumbles on. Increasingly people are questioning capitalism and are looking for an alternative to austerity, unemployment and backward and craven politicians, and right-wing political parties and political system. The Socialist Party is committed to building an alternative that can unite the majority of people in a struggle for socialism.
We want you to join the Socialist Party – every new member can play a huge role. Join us today and do your part to end austerity, inequality, injustice, oppression and the enriching of a tiny billionaire global elite, while the hopes, dreams and rights of the majority of humanity are trampled on by capitalism.