This year marks one hundred years since the 1916 rebellion. That generation fought to remove the boot heel of an Empire and create a more equal society.
For James Connolly and the Irish Citizen’s Army that society was a socialist society- where workers North and South would democratically control the wealth of society in the interests of all.
This year we can take a massive stride forward in the march towards a decent society- where everyone is housed, where healthcare is free and where we put people before profit.
In the last two years amazing movements of resistance have grown in communities and on the streets- to stop the water charges in the South and strikes against austerity in the North.
The water movement has raised the confidence of the working class to fight back. The movement’s real power lay in the mass mobilisations where tens of thousands came out on the streets.
The Government’s fear of the movement saw them lower the water charge but also arrest leading water activists in an attempt to demonise the movement.
They understood what many in the movement were beginning to realise- that this mass movement could threaten the parties of the Golden Circle and change this country.
That’s why we need to get back out on the streets. Our power has always been our ability to strike and protest. It’s the mass protests that give people the confidence to imagine a radical alternative.
That’s why we are calling on everyone to join the Right2Water protests on January 23rd and make those local protests a stepping stone to a massive national protest the Saturday before the general election.
This fight is also a fight that takes place on both sides of the border- the working class of Belfast or Derry are protesting against austerity and in need of a radical left alternative.
Sinn Féin have signed up to a Tory austerity agreement that will see 20,000 public sector jobs cut, continuing cuts to schools and hospitals and a lowering of tax on the wealthy corporations.
In the South they are willing to go into coalition with the Labour Party and will even consider coalition (‘as majority partners’) with the rotten party of the rich- Fianna Fáil.
We will continue to march alongside rank and file Sinn Féin members in the mass movement but we call on those members to question the strategy and orientation of the leading circles in their party.
The fight against austerity requires a genuine radical left. People Before Profit and the Anti Austerity Alliance have been at the heart of building the water movement nationally and the boycott locally.
The radical left will use any seats we win to build the mass movement on the streets rather than doing deals with the austerity parties.
Fine Gael’s rise in the polls represents a polarisation of the country- the landlords, wealthy farmers and all those who have done well from the so called ‘recovery’ will vote for them.
But the working class is moving left. This massive shift to the left is a once in a lifetime opportunity for substantial change. Let’s not waste it.