A discussion at the West Belfast Festival / Féile an Phobail has asked ‘Can the Left solve Ireland’s problems?
The Workers Party was represented by CEC member Gerry Grainger
It is clear that just because a group or party is described (or describes itself) as “Left” does not mean that that is the case”, Gerry told an audience of almost 200 people
“Working people are confronted with rising unemployment, precarious work, a dramatic decrease in real income, increasing prices for food and the essentials of life, decreasing expenditure on health, education, housing, welfare and social services, raised retirement ages, attacks on pensions, increased levels of poverty, homelessness, hunger and emigration”, he said.
“So what can we do about that”? , Gerry asked. “We must address the immediate problems confronting the working class but we must offer permanent, sustainable solution”, he said.
Outlining what that entails Gerry said, “It means putting forward a programme of progressive demands – demands which include permanent and stable work for all, with full social insurance, working and wage protection, full occupational, health and safety measures and full trade union rights; social protection for the sick, disabled, pensioners and the unemployed; obligatory public, universal social protection; the satisfaction of health, education, welfare and housing needs, including a quality public, universal and free system of health and medical care; free, compulsory public, secular education; a reduction in the retirement age (while abolishing a default retirement age), the payment of adequate pensions; democratic rights and trade union freedoms; an end to privatisation of public assets; the maintenance of strategic sectors of the economy by the state including energy, communications, education, transportation and environmental protection”.
This is an informative, progressive and socialist alternative comrades. It is a body of serious demands for the defence of working people and I am in favour of every policy put forward in that article.
Fair play and solidarity from a socialist and Labour Party supporter and member of Irish Association of Professional Historians. I believe and campaign in favour of an Irish Workers’ Republic, but I also want to talk and agitate with fellow activists from across these islands here and everywhere.
All the above is said in the spirit of co-operation, solidarity and fair play. I am proud we live in an Ireland where workers campaign together in favour of socialist, democratic and secular change.