The Workers Party’s annual conference in Northern Ireland has heard how the power of a united working class can tackle and overcome the collapse of the Assembly, the problems faced in health and social care, education women’s rights and the environment, eradicate sectarianism and rebuild the economy.
Northern Ireland “There is no crisis too great, no crisis which cannot be tackled, by an active, organised and united working class. A working class, united and conscious of its power as a class, is necessary for change, for the revolutionary transformation of society, the abolition of capitalism and the building of a democratic, secular, socialist society in which power is firmly in the hands of the workers and where the wealth of society is used for the benefit of the many, not the profit of the few”
Reproductive Rights The Victorian era law which governs reproductive rights for women in Northern Ireland, pre-dates the light bulb. It must be brought in to the 21st Century. That needs to happen as a matter of urgency before more women are criminalised, forced to travel for procedures, or left to suffer alone,
The Economy There are a number f myths about the Northern Ireland economy, chief among these are the ideas that a freely competitive capitalist economy, left to itself generates full employment.
Secondly that there is a tendency in developed capitalist economies towards a decrease in inequality, due to the effects of modernisation, including enhanced educational opportunities. So, the idea is that capitalism generates equality. Both suggestions are myths.
Health and Social Care A universal health service is fundamental to an equal, inclusive, just and fair society and is one of the corner stones of the Welfare State. Bevin, in his book In place of Fear, said there will always be a National Health Service as long as there are people willing to fight for it. The Workers Party is willing to lead that fight!
There must be increased funding and resources for mental health services in Northern Ireland. The prevalence of mental ill-health here is higher than anywhere else in the UK while funding per capita remain the lowest.
Childcare in Northern Ireland must be a responsibility taken on by the state for the benefit of all its citizens. Centrally planned and resourced facilities, free at the point of delivery should be the norm.
Sectarianism Sectarianism is more widespread, more ingrained, more accepted now, than at any time over the past 50 years. That’s not a claim to be made lightly.
We now live with a culture in which sectarianism is formally institutionalised. A culture in which manifestations of sectarianism are no longer seen as sectarian. We live in a culture in which it is deemed acceptable to think, speak and act in a sectarian manner but without rebuke, reproach or criticism – that is the extent to which it has become embedded in our psyche and in our culture. That’s what sustains the myth of two communities that is what drives and maintains artificial divisions.
Northern Ireland Civil Rights anniversary The conference also heard from veteran civil rights activists Marion Donnelly and Eamon Melaugh on the 50th Anniversary f the first civil right s march from Coalisland to Dungannon in 1968 and plans by the Party to mark that anniversary later in the year
Environment Plans by Dalridian Gold to mine the Sperrins – an officially designated area of outstanding natural beauty – and the granting of exploration licences by the Department for the Economy were strongly criticised.
A selection of conference papers is attached: