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Left Archive: Left Archive: Public Housing on Public Land! Irish Section of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), October 2019 December 9, 2019

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. scan0002-3.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature for forwarding this to the Archive.

This document is of particular use since it can be used to open a new section of the Archive for future documents from the Irish Section of the CWI which is another group that has emerged from the Socialist Party this year, like RISE (who are already in the Archive).

The leaflet notes the current housing crisis and argues that this is ‘the fault of Ireland’s capitalist class and their political lackeys in the Dáil’. It notes the council house building programme of the 1970s and calls for a renewed programme like that. It strongly attacks racism and argues that ‘We need a revolution to overthrow the current corrupt system’. And it also invites readers to join the Irish Section of the CWI.

For an outline of the events that led to this point from the perspective of the Irish Section here is the statement from them this Autumn.

STATEMENT ON THE REFOUNDING OF THE IRISH SECTION OF THE COMMITTEE FOR A WORKERS INTERNATIONAL (CWI).

Drogheda,

20 October 2019

By

Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) IRELAND

BACKGROUND

The Irish section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) was refounded at a conference on Sunday 20th October.

In refounding the Irish section of the CWI we base ourselves on the principles embodied in the first four congresses of the Communist International, the world conferences of the fourth International and the documents, programme and methods of the CWI since it was established in 1974.

At a time when capitalism has self-evidently exhausted its productive capacity on a global scale, cannot meet the needs of the majority of humanity and threatens the total rupture of humanity’s interrelationship with nature, we reaffirm the CWI’s Trotskyist orientation towards the working class as the agent of revolutionary change.

MILITANT SOCIALISM

Those who participated in the refounding conference have either been expelled from, or left, the Socialist Party in recent weeks.

We have refounded the CWI in Ireland because of our opposition to the break by the current Socialist Party leadership from the policies, programme and democratic methods that have been a hallmark of the CWI for five decades.

Underlining this departure was the decision of the leadership to support the breakaway grouping from the CWI in August of this year. We refused to join this new international grouping, known as World Socialist Alternative (WSA), and remain committed members of the Committee for a Workers’ International.

At a Special Conference of the Socialist Party on 21/22 September a motion was passed, aimed at us, which said: “Membership of another international other than the CWI [WSA] is in contradiction to membership of the SP [Socialist Party]” This ultimatum means that unless we joined the WSA and left the CWI we could not remain members of the Socialist Party.

ORIGINS OF THE SPLIT

The conference followed a year-long debate inside the Socialist Party and the CWI that exposed a growing chasm of irreconcilable political differences.

The use of undemocratic methods of a serious nature against internal opponents by the Socialist Party leadership triggered a profound crisis within Ireland and the CWI internationally. These actions represented a fundamental breach with democratic centralist practice.

September’s special conference, and the run-up to it, was a travesty of democratic procedure and debate. We regret that the undemocratic methods that triggered this crisis were decisively endorsed by a majority of the delegates at that conference.

We note that Paul Murphy TD and a number of other long standing comrades have since decided to leave the Socialist Party to form a new organisation. Unfortunately, this new organisation, Rise, also represents an opportunist break from a consistent Marxist policy and programme and does not offer a way forward for the working class and young people.

SOCIALIST PROGRAMME

In our view the key division is rooted in the party leadership no longer being prepared to argue consistently for a socialist programme.

Increasingly there has been a tendency to advocate only piecemeal reforms to the capitalist system. There was a failure to explain the need for the working class and a socialist government to publicly own and control the main industries and banks and run them democratically as part of a socialist plan.

In the 2018 Repeal referendum – during which we enthusiastically campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote – the main leaflets produced by the leadership failed to link the fight for abortion rights to the need for free and universal healthcare, state-provided free childcare and a living wage for working class women.

This tendency to reflect back existing views in society and not use elections and campaigns to raise the need for decisive socialist change was challenged by us throughout the debate.

Wider disagreements which became apparent during the debate included the leadership’s failure to take a clear socialist stance in opposition to the neo-liberal European Union, the threat of a hard border in Ireland, and their increasingly imbalanced position in regard to the National Question.

IDENTITY POLITICS

The Socialist Party leadership has also adapted to ‘Identity Politics’, which recklessly promotes differences and enhances ‘separatism’ within the working class and middle layers. In essence, this meant giving up on our long-standing policy that all forms of oppression should be confronted through the unity of the working class and all oppressed groups fighting together to end capitalism.

The recent 2019 European election campaign for Dublin saw the party put forward in its main poster the slogan of a “Socialist Feminist Voice for Europe”. The effect of this was to limit the appeal of the campaign and this contributed to a collapse in the vote compared to previous Euro elections.

Solidarity also, unfortunately, lost a majority of its council seats in the last local elections. This was, in large part, the reflection of a loss of confidence in the Socialist Party by working class communities.

It is our position that the leadership of the Socialist Party, over a number of years, turned from the working class and ceased to affirm its centrality as the only force in society capable of defeating capitalism. This represents a decisive and dangerous break from Trotskyism and Marxism.

TRADE UNIONS

The turn from the working class was most clearly demonstrated by the absence of consistent work by the Party in the South in the trade unions over a number of years.

Again, this was in complete contrast to the practice and policy of our Party and the CWI over previous decades. We have always defended the idea that the organised working class are the agents of history through which socialist change will be achieved. To us, it is self-evident that socialists must be active in the mass organisations of the working class, fighting for them to become fully democratic, combative unions.

And yet this principle was abandoned by the party leadership and their supporters. A large number of trade union activists who are members of the Socialist Party also made clear their opposition to the leadership during the debate and have since left the party. This includes the majority of Socialist Party members who hold elected positions within the workers’ movement.

The conclusions we drew, with regret, were that the Socialist Party leadership in Ireland has broken from the methods and policy upon which our movement was built. They have moved in an opportunist and rightward direction away from Marxism. They are moving towards ideas that offer no way forward for the working class and young people who seek a way out of the destructive future offered by capitalism.

We remain committed to building a serious Marxist organisation, orientated towards youth and the working class, in Ireland and internationally. In so doing, we recognise the need to work with others, in a principled manner, including our former comrades.

We will continue campaigning on that proud heritage – begun in earnest in Derry during the civil rights struggle, fifty years ago – for working class unity and socialism, North and South. We will be affiliated to the Committee for a Workers’ International, as we have been since its formation in 1974, and will continue that work going forward.

We appeal to those interested in discussing with us to contact us at:

cwi.ireland@yahoo.com

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