Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

February 15, 2017

Eugene McCartan (CP of Ireland) on Great Britain and Ireland, the EU and imperialism. 26 December 2016

26 December 2016
Speech Eugene Mac Cartan, general secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, delivered at the 54 th Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain in November 2016, MIN translation for "International Solidarity PCF - Vivelepcf"

Comrades,
On behalf of the Communist Party of Ireland, I would like to extend the warmest expression of solidarity with the Communist Party of Great Britain, in particular, the delegates participating in the 54 th Congress of your party.
It is always a pleasure to attend events organized by your party, a party with whom we share a great many common interests and convergences of view, since we face the same enemy: British imperialism.
Comrades,
This is a time of challenges for the labor movement here in Britain, Ireland and the world. Our class continues to experience daily the incessant attack of monopoly capitalism against the gains of the working class won by hard and harsh struggles and by so much self-denial. The resistance of the working class has generally been slow to assert itself, but now it is progressing in intensity across Europe. In this struggle, the Communists and the Left have new lessons to be learned.
Your congress comes at an important moment when the British ruling class and the British state are still confronted by the decision, by referendum, to leave the European Union. The consequences of the "Brexit" have had and will have a profound impact on the lives of workers both in the British state and, of course, in Ireland, in the north and in the south.
And they have a profound impact on the European Union itself. The British, Irish and international media have tried to disguise the motivations of those who voted for the exit into a kind of right-wing and racist rejection of the EU. But the globally spread vision that no balanced person, liberal thinking, could support the exit of the European Union is now being questioned throughout the EU.
The "Brexit" has not been and is not just a right phenomenon. The expansion of right-wing ideology across Europe is a direct result of the left-wing abandonment of anti-imperialism, leaving the way open to right-wing populism, as expressed Trump, Le Pen and Farage.     
The decision of the people of Great Britain to leave the European Union poses great difficulties for the EU and has also caused panic among the Irish ruling class. Its submission to three centers of power at once - in London, Brussels and Washington - puts it in a state of extreme confusion.
Sinn Fein, who had previously opposed European integration, led an opportunistic campaign in Northern Ireland in the "maintenance" camp, to make it possible for him to cooperate in the strategies and mechanisms of control of the system Ireland and the European Union. The left-wing reformist "critical commitment", now claimed by Sinn Fein, is welcome to the club.
The parties of the Northern Ireland executive, far from seeking more power over the economy, prefer to refer the decision to the British state so much they fear to take responsibility for the policies dictated by the British government and that, They apply. The unpopularity of these policies, which hits the working class hard, has already altered the political support for Sinn Fein.
In the Republic of Ireland, the workers were led into a campaign of mass resistance against the introduction of the water tax which they saw as a prelude to privatization. The level of resistance of a large number of trade unions and especially of local community groups has forced the government to backtrack and refrain from collecting this unjust tax.
The campaign for the right to water has raised the demand and has launched the campaign for a referendum to inscribe the popular ownership and control of our water in the constitution of the state, a requirement that the ICP has Defended and propagated since the very beginning of the struggle. This campaign was so strong that the resolution passed to the "Dail Eireann" [Assembly of Ireland] without opposition and that the bill was passed at committee stage. A referendum on water ownership, if one stood, would constitute a major obstacle to the plans of the Irish ruling class, the EU and the TTIP.
These important struggles must serve to develop workers' consciousness, especially in this year of the centenary of the 1916 insurrection, aware that the struggle against imperialism does not belong to the past but must be placed at the heart of their daily struggles , Consciousness that, in order to achieve progress in social struggles, they can not be separated (interconnected with it) from breaking with the triple lock of imperialist control - Great Britain, the EU and the United States - on the Destiny of the Irish people.
We have just witnessed in Ireland the scandal involving the giant Apple, which has dumped its global profits on an Irish address to avoid paying taxes - this in connivance with the Irish government and with its support. These profits came from the overexploitation of underpaid workers around the world.
Looking at Apple and transnational corporations in general, we can discern the trends towards a wider interconnection that shape the economies of both the powerful imperialist states of the center and the weaker states of the periphery.
On the periphery, overexploitation of underpaid workers and capture of imperial rent are observed through financial and structural advantages and tax evasion, resulting in massive profits for large firms. In the imperialist center, there is a decline in wages, a nominal decline in the taxation of capital and in the taxation of enterprises, leading also to massive profits.
In both cases we observe a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to transnational firms and the shift of the tax burden from enterprises towards the workers' shoulders, leading to a reduction of socialized public services and their replacement by services Privatized, marketed, turned to profit.
This model of economic and social development is now subject to the growing pressure of events outside the control of the Irish ruling class: the possible impact of the Brexit, the European Commission's desire to harmonize the level of tax on Companies by 2021 and the election of Trump in the United States.
The dependent and peripheral nature of the Irish state in the structuring of power in the EU will appear more and more visibly if Britain withdraws within the next few years.
As the president of the Electricity and Engineering Union, Frank Keoghan, speaking at his union's annual conference last weekend, noted: "because it is the EU acting on The basis of qualified majority voting (Ireland has 0.6% of the votes), which will decide on the future relations of Ireland with both Great Britain and Northern Ireland and not Our government acting independently ".
The consequences of Brexit for all of our people, north and south, can be heavy. Neither the population of the six northern counties, nor the population of the so-called sovereign Republic, will have any real influence and right to speak about the events taking place.
The European integration project struck a rock, proving unable to find a viable response to the economic and social crisis. It does not follow, however, that the populist right and the social reformers present any alternative.
It is the responsibility of the Left, especially of the Communist Parties, to produce policies capable of organizing the resistance of the workers and their mobilization for a radical change, opening the way to socialism.
"The old world is dying and the new world is slow to appear."  

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