Fittingly the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx birth coincided with this year’s trade union May Day March in Belfast.
His writings defined the nature of capitalist society and continue today to provide the ideological framework for understadning and changng the society in which we live.
For working people that understanding and the need for revolutionary change has never been more pressing.
Poverty 370,000 people in Northern Ireland are living in poverty. The percentage of people in work in Northern Ireland remains well below the UK average and is the lowest of all 12 UK regions.
Around 16,000 people here are on Zero Hours contracts. Zero-hours contract workers earn significantly less than regular employees, pay less tax and National Insurance and are more reliant on tax credits.
These jobs offer no security, no career path and no personal development. Irrespective of individual anecdotes the principle of Zero Hours Contracts is wrong – but the last Assembly and former Employment Minister Stephen Farry refused to do away with them.
Greater cuts As the trade union’s ‘Better Work – Better Lives’ campaign points out, Northern Ireland has been the subject of greater cuts than the majority of the other UK regions
- We have lost 26,000 public servants (11.5%) since 2010
- Since 2013 planned to 2019, a cap of a total of 1% increase a year has been imposed on public sector workers
- Since 2010/2011, public service workers have seen their pay cut in real terms by at least 8%
‘Insecure’ Over a quarter of a million people in Northern Ireland are in part time employment – two thirds of them women. One in three jobs in Northern Ireland is considered ‘insecure’
At least 250,000 people of working age are in receipt of benefits because they are on low pay: Northern Ireland’s ‘working poor’
No accident This is neither an accident nor a natural phenomenon. This is the outworking of a system based on capital, production for profit and wealth accumulation. This is what 21st century capitalism does. It builds, enhances and protects the few at the expense of those who produce the wealth, the public services they need and the social supports they require.
Never has it been more important for a united and disciplined working class to initiate the revolutionary change required to replace capitalism with a socialist society