May Day: a time to proudly re-affirm and recommit to class based values
May Day is celebrated across the globe – and rightly so. It is a day when working people can not only take pride in the contribution they make to the society they live in and celebrate their links with other working people around the world, but it is also a day when we can proclaim and re-affirm our values.
For the Workers Party in Northern Ireland that means recommitting ourselves to class politics and rejecting the narrow, divisive and deadly rhetoric of nationalism in all its local forms.
It means standing up against sectarianism, racism, homophobia and misogyny.
It means actively opposing cuts to public services, tax breaks for the rich and denial of opportunities to yet another generation of young people.
It means focusing on, and providing a class based analysis of the real issues affecting working people. It means not being sidetracked by gesture politics. smoke and mirrors and snake oil peddlers.
It means being a Workers Party for working people. There is no better day to recommit to that task than on May Day – the day of working people and their parties world wide
Our society is more divided now than it was twenty years ago
The General Election
For Northern Ireland the election on June 8th is not about leaving the European Union nor is it a re-run of the referendum.
It is an opportunity to pass judgement on the main parties at Stormont and their failure to form an Executive nearly two months after being elected.
Without doubt the major parties will seek to turn this election into another sectarian headcount. Solutions, initiatives and progress will once again be sacrificed for tribalism and division.
But sectarian head counts can only happen with the support of the electorate.
This society is more divided now than it was twenty years ago. There has been absolutely no progress towards forging a single united community of working people
There are more than 100,000 children living in poverty. Average wages are lower than ten years ago. We have the second highest level of workless households of all regions in the UK and at least 15,000 people in Northern Ireland are officially homeless.
There is a crisis in education, health and social care. There are cutbacks to social welfare. Funding to culture, the arts and youth services have been very significantly reduced.
In every aspect of social, economic, cultural and community life working class people have been subjected to public expenditure cuts, marginalisation and exclusion.
It is little wonder that the parties responsible want to divert attention by trading on tribal fears.
Working people and their families never benefit from division or nationalism of whatever colour. Working people need a Workers Party – committed to uniting workers to defend their own interests. This election is an opportunity to affirm that at the ballot box.
The Workers Party has welcomed the suspension of three SDLP councillors for their failure to support a motion condemning the harassment of women outside reproductive rights clinics in Belfast.
Not to condemn the harassment of women, in any circumstances, is unforgivable.
These three SDLP councillors have effectively signaled their support for the continued bullying and abuse of women seeking to access medical information, advice and support.
This vote now raises serious questions about the position of other members of the SDLP, its councillors and MLAs.
It is imperative that all elected representaives – including those in the SDLP – clearly and publicly state their opposition to the abuse, bullying and harrassment of women on the streets of Belfast and elsewhere and distance themselves immediately from Cllrs, Convery, Mullan and Boyle