Sunday, 15 March 2015

Where Do We Go From Here?

It is estimated that 50,000 union members took part in Friday’s strike. This figure does not take into account workers outside of the Public Sector, the unwaged workers, the unemployed, students etc. who marched alongside them in our towns and cities.

The strike demonstrated our ability to come together as a group of people united against the cuts that will affect us all. A real sense of anger and frustration was to be felt on the ground, not to mention a genuine desire for c...hange.

While the unions have done a great job of bringing us together we need to establish bottom-up control of the workers’ movement. We cannot allow for any deals to be brokered between the unions and government. Be it 20,000 or 20 job losses; an injury to one is an injury to all.

This is the time to be critical about the world we live in. So many political parties stress the need for jobs and for job creation. But in the capitalist world, what does a job mean?

A job is a tool of control; it keeps us occupied for a certain amount of hours a day or a week. If we are focused on solving a problem caused by bad state management or focused on simply keeping job security so that you can afford a roof over your head and/or meals on the table, you do not have time to think about the system that created these conditions.

There are two types of work; waged and unwaged. Waged work fits the capitalist criteria of what work is. It is work that capitalism needs to ensure its survival by making profits and exploiting those who made the profits by paying them a pittance.

Unwaged work, such as housework or care work, or even a community taking it upon themselves to clean up their area of build housing - such as the establishment of Gaeltacht Bhóthar Seoighe in 1969 when 5 families came together to build a community - must be unwaged in order for capitalism to survive. It cannot afford to pay wages to all those who work, so it had to convince us that these forms of work were not work and did not deserve a wage.

We must not strike against the cuts alone, we must strike against capitalism; we have to shut it down. People are dying everyday as a result of capitalism and its pals, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism to name but a few.

This system is unjust and we must work together to shut it down, to protect ourselves and each other and to create a better world.

Let’s take control of this movement from the grassroots, from the bottom-up!

Please get in touch with us to help us organize a revolutionary way forward!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Victory to the Workers: If you think Capitalism is working try asking someone who isn’t!

More than 200 jobs will be lost when the Insurance Company, Ageas, closes its West Belfast call centre. Call centres are dehumanizing, unrewarding and unpersonal and only those of us desperate for jobs put ourselves through the daily torment of working there.
s who are dependent on Capitalism’s system of wage slavery. The company claims that the West Belfast site has become “increasingly uneconomical”. This is what happens in a neo-liberal society such as the one we live in now. 
They are a disclipinary measure for big business and therefore the government. They create tired, disempowered and apathetic worker

Companies are profit driven, and profit can only mean that someone is being exploited – usually the workers. They do not want steady, stable profits, they want rising profits. A decent wage stands in the way of rising profits, as does a strong workforce which is why most callcentres have been outsourced to countries such as India where the workers are not unionized and can be paid less.

Another place they might go is somewhere where there is a lower corporation tax, so that they can exploit the national economy of the country of their choice as well as their workforce. Companies have no consciences.

They can take away much easier than what they give. While the wages they hand out are nothing compared to the large scale profits they bring in it makes the difference for some families here between being able to heat their house or even eat a proper meal.

Ageas will just pack up and leave while workers, their families and their communities will be left to pick up the pieces, to struggle on in this time of economic hardship which is only being made worse by even more cuts about to be brought in by the Sinn Féin-DUP government.

A protest will be held outside the call centre this Tuesday at 12.30pm.
In short, if you think Capitalism is working try asking someone who isn’t!

Green, White & Orange Capitalism

With all of Sinn Féin's left-posturing, the party's actions describe a more regressive reality, and their implementation of Tory cuts up north and lack of respect for women's on both sides of the border foreshadows a government much closer to Fine Gael than a 'Socialist Republic':

-Green, White & Orange Capitalism-

There has been quite an air of arrogance about Sinn Féin lately. They are convinced that they will be in government, north and south, by 2016; that Adams will be President, that McGuinness will be the north’s First Minister and that McDonald will be the first female Taoiseach. Let’s get a few things straight here, all of these institutions are oppressive and we don’t need to be, nor do we want to be, ruled by anyone. As well as that, there is nothing revolutionary about a female Taoiseach – female participation in the same old rotten patriarchal institutions will not advance the feminist cause and will only further ensure oppression and exploitation.

It cannot be denied that Sinn Féin are a pragmatic party that wishes to be all things to all people – from the poorest in our society to the richest (not at all grasping that this is impossible and fundamentally wrong). But for now let’s focus on the three main tell-tale issues of Sinn Féin’s lack of principles and wishy-washy politics that ultimately are harmful: Abortion, Water Charges and Capitalism.

As one of their senior members told this writer “Sinn Féin is a pro-life party”, and despite developments at their Ard Fheis, where they now consider abortion permissible in the case of Fatal Foetal Abnormalities (FFA), their anti-choice stance does not change.

They only care about the welfare of some deserving women. Only those who need an abortion in the case of FFA deserve our care, attention and compassion. The other, undeserving pregnant people should be left to go through the economic hardship of traveling to England, the mental and physical trauma of being trapped in a crisis pregnancy, and should therefore be left to potentially join the list of 47,000 women globally dying as a result of unsafe abortions.

Sinn Féin’s policy is simply too little too late, with all TDs abstaining from Clare Daly’s Private Member’s Bill to allow for abortion in the cases of FFA a month ago. The excuse of a party policy on the matter not being formed yet is not good enough when the issue at hand is so important. A free vote should have been taken but it wasn’t and this only reveals the dictatorial style and discipline that Adams has instilled in the party.

If Sinn Féin manage to achieve a united Ireland – united gaelic and free that is – what exactly do they mean by free? They mean free from British rule but certainly not freedom of choice over our own bodies or, as we shall see, free from capitalist rule.

While Sinn Féin are quick to dish out their anti-water charges rhetoric down south, the mask is slipping on their deceitful stance.

Since 2007, 36,000 water meters (1,000 just in the past three months) have been installed in the north. Approximately 26,000 (or 72%) of these meters were installed during current MP Conor Murphy’s term as Minister for Regional Development (the department responsible for NI Water and therefore water metering). In fact, Murphy declined to reverse the decision to install water meters in the north when he was in office and Sinn Féin’s Mitchell McLaughlin MLA (member of the NI assembly) defended water charges in the North and criticised the SDLP for opposing them.

According to Sinn Féin, a decision has not been made on Water Charges up north. Only the naive would believe this claim. Why would £13m (€16.4m) plus an extra £43,500 (€60,323) just in the past three months be spent on installing meters - which are vital for water charges - if a decision has not been made on the matter yet?

How could Sinn Féin be trusted to stop metering down south if they are happy to allow it up north? The only purpose metering serves in the capitalist economy is water charges.

Sinn Féin claim to be left wing, according to Mary Lou they’re “a party to the left, of the left”. They also claim to be republicans, with socialism being one of the five strands of republicanism. The last time I checked, socialism and left wing politics are anti-Capitalist by nature.

Despite Sinn Féin’s rhetoric of “Burn the Bondholders” they would rather their wealthy American pals who donate thousands of pounds a year to the party were protected. Despite their condemnation that “A third of our children now live in consistent poverty. Public money – which should have been used to end the scandal of patients lying on trolleys; to house our citizens; and to create jobs – is being used to repay private bank debt” (Adams), they insist that they are “very good for business”, a well worn euphemism for commitment to the interests of the capitalist class. 'Pro-business' really means 'pro-capitalism'.

So who suffers from their pro-business politics? The Palestinians, the working class, and those who they claim they have successfully protected i.e. “people with disabilities, the long-term sick, and those on benefits”.

Where is the basis for such claims? Caterpillar Inc. has invested millions of pounds into the north, with Sinn Féin and McGuinness expressing “continued support for Caterpillar’s growth and development”. Machines built in West Belfast will be used to destroy homes, agricultural farms, greenhouses, olive groves in the West Bank. Despite this fact, McGuinness maintains that "Caterpillar is an important investor, not just in terms of jobs and wealth creation but also in the credibility that its presence lends to doing business here". Remember that this is coming from the supposed party of national liberation, of solidarity with the palestinian people.

Through the Stormont House Agreement - which Sinn Féin was the first party to ratify - 20,000 jobs will be cut in the Public Sector – women make up two thirds of the public sector and therefore will be disproportionately affected. They have also agreed to “welfare reform” which is really just a fancy term for welfare cuts. As well as that, the Disability Living Allowance will be cut as a result. What planet is Sinn Féin living on when they think that these measures successfully protect the working class, “people with disabilities, the long-term sick, and those on benefits”?

Staying true to their pro-business anti-working class politics they want to cut corporation tax in the north from 21% to 12.5%. They wish to do this while public funding is slashed and communities are feeling the devastating effects of the cuts, witnessing a rise in poverty with, for example, 25 food banks open because people cannot afford to eat. But let’s charge the big business and wealthy corporations less say Sinn Féin.

This is all done in the name of “job creation” i.e. creating more wage slaves. Job creation is a farce; there is work to be done in our communities. We need bigger and better schools and hospitals, suitable homes for all so that no one is on the streets or living in unsuitable conditions, our roads need repaired and we need more spaces for young people, to mention just some of the work that needs done. But building strong and safe communities is not profitable because taking our collective needs into our own hands does not fit the capitalist criteria of work, in fact, such a thing is dangerous to capitalism as it results in empowered and free-thinking individuals organising together and effectively fighting against capitalism. They will not provide us with the tools to improve our communities nor will they pay us if we take on the work ourselves and this is because it is not in their interest.

Sinn Féin claim that they are opposing austerity north and south. Patently this is a lie. They are implementing Tory cuts and if they do oppose them, they oppose them in empty words alone not in deed. Of course, you will hear the usual waffle from Sinn Féin, that their hands are tied, they have no choice but to do as the Tories say. If this is true, then surely Sinn Féin are not in Government and therefore they do not represent their voters, those who trust them to look after their needs and sort out their grievances.

But Sinn Féin are in government and they do have devolved powers over the north but they're not interested in opposing the Tories because it would put their cushy jobs at Stormont at risk. Real opposition would be refusing to implement the cuts and if that fails leaving the government so that there is no blood on their hands but it is clear that they are not interested in this and they have not organised a single public meeting to organise working class communities to fight back against the so-called Tory cuts, because it wouldn't be in Sinn Féin's best interests. “To glorify democracy and to silence the people is a farce; to discourse on humanism and to negate people is a lie.” (Paulo Freire).

Sinn Féin is no friend to the working class – especially working class women; from their refusal to allow a woman control over her own body in every circumstance to their contempt of sex abuse survivors of IRA predators (of course men are involved here as well).

The party jumps to tell big business what it wants to hear, no matter who will bear the brunt of their capitalist policies. But they do not jump to defend the working class and working class interests.
There is little-to-no difference between the southern establishment parties and Sinn Féin will be much the same, only with more colourful and lofty language to fool us so they can rule more efficiently.

A southern Sinn Féin government will look just like the northern government that Sinn Féin is a part of. “Austerity” politics for the working class and ample opportunities to exploit for big business. Of course there is the added bonus that these policies will be green, white and orange instead of red, white and blue.