Workers and the unemployed had no voice in the last Assembly or on local councils speaking out against cuts to jobs and services while the bankers and the super-rich continue to accumulate massive bonuses and profits. The Socialist Party is standing four candidates – East Belfast, South Belfast, West Belfast and Enniskillen – all fighting campaigners who will use their positions if elected to support mass resistance to the cuts of the sectarian parties.
Across the world, workers and the poor are taking to the streets in huge numbers in opposition to mass unemployment,poverty and state repression. The revolutionary movements in North Africa and the Middle East have shown it is possible
for ordinary people to defeat even the most repressive regimes. We need to build a movement to unite Catholic & Protestant working class people against the cuts of the main parties. That is why the Socialist Party has, together with
trade unions and others, launched the Stop the Cuts Campaign. We also need to build a socialist alternative which can put forward real solutions to the crisis of capitalism. Join us today!
Action needed to fight the cuts
The Assembly and local council elections come as we face into the most serious assault on jobs and public services in the North in decades. The £4 billion cuts threaten to destroy 40,000 jobs – in both the public and private sectors – devastating health, education and other essential services. This would drive the economy even deeper into recession,meaning a bleak future for workers and young people.
The Socialist Party and the Stop the Cuts Campaign has welcomed the protests called against the cuts and actively built for them,but it is now necessary to move beyond protests in order to defeat the cuts. Several public sector unions such as the teachers unions and Unison are carrying out ballots for industrial action. The rest of the public service unions should now join them and co-ordinate ballots for a one-day public sector general strike.
Stop ALL cuts
The cuts agenda of the Assembly parties and the Tory Lib/Dem government can be defeated if a united movement is built against
ALL cuts. Attempts will be made by rightwing Assembly politicians to divide workers over where cuts should be made by “prioritising”certain services over others and which community will be affected. Not an inch should be given to those who want to destroy public services – all trade unions must stand together against ALL cuts.
Working class needs a political voice
Despite the crisis, there has been absolutely no debate between the main parties on the key issues facing ordinary people. Instead, they have been busy slapping each other on the back for getting through a full term in government.
– a term spent cutting and privatising public services – and quibbling about the workings of the Executive. In reality, they are all signed up to making workers and young people pay for the bankers’ crisis. Ordinary people are alienated from the tweedledum-tweedledee politics of the main parties. As a result, there is no appetite for this election, particularlyin working-class communities. Some parties are trying to whip up sectarian issues to mobilise their vote, but it’s likely we will see a very low turnoutat the polls.
There is a major political vacuum which could be filled by a new party – based on the trade union movement and the youth- which would fight for the common interests of all workers and young people. The Assembly parties have attempted to hoodwink people by putting off as much as cuts as they can until after the election. It won’t work. There is major opposition to cuts. This opposition can form the basis of a new political party to represent ordinary people.
The potential for a new working-class party has been demonstrated by the success of the United Left Alliance in the South. In the context of economic crisis and brutal austerity,5 of its candidates were returned to the Dáil, including Joe Higgins and Clare Daly of the Socialist Party. The ULA will act as a voice for working people in parliament, as well as organising opposition on the streets against the brutal cuts agenda of the Fine Gael / Labour Party government.
The trade union movement – representing over 215,000 workers in the North – has acrucial role to play in the development of an independent new party of the working-class in Northern Ireland. If it used its authority to call for such a party, it could get a huge response from organised workers and the wider working-class and put the interests of working class people onto the political agenda.