The deepening crisis of the monopoly capitalist system — imperialism — has exposed the deep structural crisis lying at its very heart. The crisis has also shown that the system is incapable of resolving its deep contradictions without resorting to a massive assault on the working conditions and living standards of working people and on the gains made by working people over decades of mass class struggle.

The system itself is incapable of resolving and finding solutions to the many and growing problems facing humanity, including mass poverty, starvation, and food shortages, and the urgent need to counter global warming.

The policy being pursued is to inflict mass unemployment, greater inequality, greater concentration of wealth, more monopolisation, greater exploitation of workers and the poor, the destruction of communities, increased militarisation, and wars.

The Irish people, both north and south, are now being forced to pay a heavy price for the failed policies of both the Irish and the British government. These attacks are on a qualitatively new level, building in to budget policies a deliberate reduction in public spending, structured attacks on public services, attacks on social welfare, increases in both direct and indirect taxes on working people and the poor, and the socialisation of corporate debt while leaving wealth untouched.

The imposition by international finance capital and the European Union of a four-year budgetary strategy is designed to circumvent and undermine the democratic will of the people. Their approach is to build structural readjustment programmes in to all economic and social policies that any possible future Irish Government may wish to implement. The polici of the European Union and the European Central Bank (ECB) is to advance and protect the interests of German and French monopoly finance capital and banks.

The policies of the IMF have left a trail of destruction across the globe as they make working people pay for the policies and economic strategies that local elites, in alliance with monopoly capitalism, have inflicted on their countries.

The crisis has also exposed the damage done, both north and south, to economic and social development by over-reliance on finance, insurance, real estate, and transnational capitalism.

The European Union is taking full advantage of the crisis to push its strategic approach of establishing greater control over the national budgetary policies and the social and economic priorities of member-states. Throughout Europe, workers, small businesses, the self-employed, family farmers and those dependent on social welfare are being forced to pay a heavy price for this crisis. In the peripheral countries within the European Union these social strata are being asked to carry an even greater burden to save German, French and British finance capital — in  fact to save the euro itself. 

Resistance to these policies is growing throughout Europe. In Ireland, as elsewhere, the labour movement is central to this opposition. The promotion of a clear alternative within and by the trade union movement, based on the interests of the mass of the people — not the employers and the banks — is essential.

This means the rejection at every level of the labour movement of the flawed and now clearly failed strategy of “social partnership.” The employers are already making it clear that they have no intention of protecting jobs or restraining wage cuts. It is also clear that the trade union movement and public-sector workers were sold a pup in the Croke Park agreement.

The Government and employers no longer require “social partnership” to secure their strategic interests. The trade union leadership must make it equally clear that they too have no lingering illusions about it.

What is required now is a vigorous, sustained campaign to oppose not just the forthcoming budget but the whole Government economic strategy, which is broadly supported by the main opposition parties, and total opposition to the further privatisation of public services and the selling off of public companies.

The trade union movement in Northern Ireland showed in the recent mobilisation of thousands of working people that people will resist when clear leadership and demands are presented. This is the lesson that the labour movement throughout Ireland has to build upon. The Communist Party of Ireland calls upon workers, small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to support the mobilisation on 27 November being organised by the ICTU.

It is not too late to assert the absolute necessity for the independent mobilisation of workers. Workers need to present their own view of the economic and social development needed. A necessary first step is to reject the manufacturing of ideological consent, that we must all “share the pain.”

As the crisis has presented state monopoly capitalism with the opportunity to launch deeper and more sustained attacks on workers, the labour movement must respond with its own demands and alternative economic strategy. Working people must oppose the policies of both the European Union and the IMF.

The deep structural weakness, north and south, can be overcome only by taking a strategic all-Ireland approach to economic and social development, a strategy that is politically, economically and socially transformative. Only the development of a socially planned use of capital and resources can overcome the anarchy and chaos of capitalism.

Central to any such alternative must be
• repudiating the debt; it is their debt, not ours;
• the return of fiscal powers from Brussels to the Irish people;
• the devolution of full economic and fiscal powers to the Northern Ireland Executive;
• the establishment of a state investment bank;
• the establishment of an all-Ireland economic development agency under democratic control;
• the social control of all natural and marine resources, to be developed in a sustainable manner by the people.