Thursday, April 2, 2009


Every day now we turn on our television sets and hear more of the HSE prescribed medicine of doom and gloom. We are constantly informed by congennitals about the "recession"and how if we are good boys and girls we may be out of the mess by the year 2011. These people choose their words carefully by emphasising we "may be out" of recession by the year 2011 and that is only if we are very good. By this they mean accepting lower wages leading to a lower living standards which, I might add, does not affect those who are doing the telling, accepting unemployment leading to, in many cases marriage breakup, in fact accepting anything the capitalist system deems fit to throw at us in order to maintain its existence. On many news bulletins we hear cases of unemployed people saying the such as "I've been out of work sinse Christmas, I look for work every day but there's nothing" we see ordinarily hard working people grovelling for such jobs as making hamburgers. We wittness homes being repossessed on an almost daily basis and in the extreme cases suicide. The irony is that many of these unfortunate people appear to a certain degree to blame themselves and not the capitalist system. Of course they do not actually say this but some of the orations they come out with appears to point in this direction. In february a large demonstration took place in Dublin, upwards of 120,000 people took part. Some of the participants were coming out with not very well thought out statements like "we don't mind taking a pay cut providing everybody does", music to the ears of any employer one would imagine. Others who had obviously given the subject a little more thought were coming out with the more sensible approach "why should we pay for the mess" and "we didn't cause the problem why should we pay for it". It is the latter of these approaches which bears the characteristics of sensibility. Why should working class people pay for the mess the capitalist benefactors of labour power have created. It is them and their system which is to blame, a system which we are constantly informed is the finest available to man kind. Well just look around you and make your own mind up on this ridiculous philosophy.

Unfortunately we have a minority within the ranks of the working class who are falling for the ideas of the employer sympathising far right. The "Irish jobs for Irish people" brigade who peddle ethnic and racial prejudice which divides workers up and serves the interests of the employing class. Blaming the recession on "non-nationals" or a workers skin colour is about as practical as blaming domestic cattle for climate change. The issue at stake is not what colour a workers skin may be because they are still a worker and, like their caucasian counterpart, they are still exploited and will end up, again just the same, on the scrap heap. The issue in question is the private ownership of the means of production, control and exchange. All the modern technology and machinery which should make life more pleasurable for all of us are in the private hands of a few greedy capitalists. They use these commodities, as they do that other great comodity workers labour power, to amass huge profits. This done the wealth creators, the working class, are surplus to requirements. It is not "non-nationals" who have created this mess but caucasian capitalists. A recent example of workers discriminating against workers on the grounds of ethnic or national origin and/or skin colour is the Cork branch of the taxi drivers. The taxi drivers are in dispute nationally over reductions in living standards, quite rightly so, and in Cork a minority of drivers are denying "non-nationals" membership of their trade union. This is shallow narrow minded bigotry to say the least and ethnocentricm and racism would paint a more descriptive picture. These taxi drivers are playing into their tormentors hands by dividing themselves on these grounds. The "non-nationals" have applied to join the union and have been refused membership on the grounds outlined. This suits the government down to the ground. Fortunately the taxi drivers nationally have distanced themselves from these political illiterates but nevertheless these minority views, or lack of, must not go unchecked. If society repatriated all "non-nationals" tomorrow and a situation of "Irish jobs for Irish people" evolved within three months there would be Irish workers looking for work again just the same as now. The reason for this is nothing to do with "non-nationals", how could it be under this scenario they would have all gone home, it is to do with the ownership of the means of production, control and exchange. The private ownership of. If under the above scenario an employer, now employing "Irish workers", aquired a technologically advanced computerised piece of equipment which could do the work of ten people, be it in an office, factory or building site, then these workers, Irish or otherwise would be surplus to requirements. Who then would these bigots blame, people with grey hair because they are too old? or perhaps women workers?, the age old arument about womens place being in the home! Eventually they would have run out of scapegoats when, unfortunately, it is too late. Then the employers come to make the bigots and racists redundant and they cry for help and there is nobody left to answer their call. Remember a worker is a worker, the exploited are the exploited and ethnic and national origin or skin colour is of no relavence to this fact. Dont allow yourselves to be divided.

The only aspect of everyday existence which is not working is capitalism itself. Capitalism "is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous and it does not deliver the goods" (John Maynard Keynes economist). Take a look around you and evidence of these words are apparent every day. There are times when the capitalist system requires the services of working class people, until they find an advanced machine when they don't, and that is in what we are suppossed to call boom times to amass huge profits for the parasite class. When enough profits have been made the result is what we are wittnessing now on a daily basis. We have produced ourselves out of a job simply because we have been instructed by the bosses to do so. The bosses are constantly telling us about the merits of what they call "perfect competition" which there is nothing perfect about at all. This insane system has firm competing against firm and, more importantly worker against worker and, like all competitions from football onwards there has to be a loser. These losers can be seen seeking new employment daily, some blaming themselves for asking a living wage from their previous employer. Some actually feel sorry for their former exploiters and apportion a certain amount of blame to themselves for him/her going out of business. The fact that they, the former employers, are still millionaires or, in some cases, billionaires does not enter the equation. Even now we can hear the employers saying such tried, tested and failed statements as "we must become more competative again" normally through their mouthpiece IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation). Albert Einstein described insanity as trying the same failed method again and expecting a different result. Just look around you as evidence of this scientists words.

The services of working cl;ass people are once again required at that approximately five year event called election time. It is at this time when the democracy factor which partly comprises the formula called liberal democracy comes into play. Here for five minuets of one day we are allowed to partake in the political process by electing a government to run the affairs of, and for the benefit of, the capitalist class. As the former Lord Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, once said: "If voting changed anything they'd abolish it", very true. However this is not to say don't vote at all because it is your only very limited democratic right left. Liberal democracy must never be confused with the real thing, and this farce takes place in all countries which we for some reason are pleased to call "advanced", which would include democratic accountability for all those elected to positions of authority. Access to these people on a daily basis, be it at work or at a local and national level, the common ownership of the means of production, control and distribution under workers control. Production for the needs of the people as oppossed to the profits of the few. A better stable more harmonious world for all would be the order of the day. It is possible but the penny must drop first. Stop blaming straw men for the problems of capitalism, stop being appoligists for a system which from cradle to grave is geared to exploitation of the many by the few. If it has been good enough for you, foolishly, don't let it be good enough for your children and grandchildren. "THE GREAT APPEAR GREAT BECAUSE WE ARE ON OUR KNEES. LET US RISE", often quoted from Camille Desmoulins by James Connolly.

Bill Haywood

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