FUNDAMENTAL AIMS OF
THE WORKERS’ PARTY
TO CHANGE THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE OF BOTH STATES OF IRELAND TO ESTABLISH A DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR, SOCIALIST REPUBLIC; A UNITARY STATE ON THE ISLAND OF IRELAND.
AS THE PARTY IS ALSO INTERNATIONALIST, WE SEEK TO TRANSFORM A WORLD WHICH ENSLAVES TWO THIRDS OF ITS PEOPLE AND CONDEMNS THEM TO A LIFE OF POVERTY BY CAPITAL, TO A WORLD OF PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND SOCIALISM.
Workers Party Policies on the following subjects
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
The Workers Party support the Good Friday Agreement and the re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly we view this as an opportunity to create a permanent Peace and a durable political agreement which is widely acceptable to all our citizens. Compromise is essential for a successful conclusion to the present impasse. The aim must be to create a New Northern Ireland with democratic institutions of government to which all citizens can lend their allegiance. A strong Bill of Rights which will not only guarantee individual and communal rights but be the democratic guarantor of new institutions is central to a New Northern Ireland. Agreed linkages with the rest of the island of Ireland, Britain and Europe should reflect not only the political aspirations of all citizens but also the changing political world.
Agreement such vital matters as structures of governance, constitutional issues and broader political, economic and social linkages are of course central to the achievement of stability and in terms of copperfastening Peace. The Workers Party fully recognise this and therefore have consistently supported the convening of All Party Talks, including both Irish and British Governments with the aim of arriving at an acceptable political agreement. However the Workers Party are strongly of the view that such an agreement must contain within it proposals and strategies which are designed to create a new order not simply one which will copperfasten and accommodate the prejudices, hatreds and tribal divisions which have contributed so much to our problems in the past.
Specifically a new agreement must lead to:
- the dismantling of the sectarian divisions between the people of Northern Ireland
- the creation of unity amongst people and rejection of the notion of two communities
- the building of a strong human rights culture
- a comprehensive programme of social and economic reconstruction to be targeted at areas of most need
Since our early involvement in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association the building of democracy and acceptable institutions of government have been central to the Workers Party programme. Equally we have opposed all armed campaigns by para-militaries as not only sectarian in character but because they have prevented badly needed political progress and solidified the power blocs of unionism and nationalism. It is our hope that in conditions of Peace and Democracy new political allegiances can be given a chance to flourish. The struggle for jobs, against social deprivation, decent housing, adequate health care and an end to class discrimination in education, is one which transcends religious barriers.
That is why the Workers Party put forward a strong socialist programme and will campaign vigorously on all these issues.
THE WORKERS PARTY believes that the class division, and division between wealth and poverty in the Republic of Ireland are wider than ever before.
The Republic’s economy is now described as the ‘Celtic Tiger’. However control of the economy is firmly in the hands of an elite Trans National Sector. As we politically move towards greater European integration our economy is, more than ever, dominated by the US. Once again Irish capitalism has failed.
Our natural resources, which should form the basis for a viable and sustainable manufacturing and processing industry are underutilised. Whether it is lead and zinc from huge mines like Navan, Galmoy and Lisheen, or hides from our 7,000,000 national cattle herd the story is the same. Our natural resources are exported and with them the possibility of real jobs for our 250,00 unemployed and 1,000,000 forced to live on welfare.
The government has failed in all the key social areas of health, education, taxation, welfare and housing. Our housing situation shows most clearly the failure of successive Irish governments to confront the real needs of the people. The constitution sanctifies the rights of private property and so the State has totally refused to tackle the issue of the price and supply of building land. Even where the planners have attempted to put order on building, an unholy right-wing alliance has formed to protect the rezoners and builders. This alliance is nationwide and the payback is seen in all the right-wing parties.
The government has refused to tackle the need for social housing. There are massive waiting lists, thousands in need in every local authority, but only provision for a few hundred houses. Yet landlords and speculators have made massive profits from special tax exemptions and from welfare subsidies to poorer tenants in the private rented sector.
THE WORKERS PARTY believes that Partnership 2000, between the Governments, the unions and the employers has failed to deliver to workers, to the low paid, to the unemployed and to the poor in society. While we strongly agree with the concept of collective bargaining there is no mechanism to ensure that governments and employers deliver, especially on the non-pay elements of the deal. We also believe that there is a conscious effort to create a false “politics of consensus” which depoliticises unions and community groups and leads to apathy in the political system.
THE WORKERS PARTY demands the separation of Church and State. Certain advances have been made in the areas of private morality and marriage, but real battles are still to come especially in the areas of health and control of education.
THE WORKERS PARTY believes that the civil liberties of citizens are under attack. The right to bail, to trial by jury, to picket, to free assembly have all been grossly curtailed and other liberties are under attack. This erosion cannot be condoned and least of all under the guise of the state mounting a ‘serious fight against crime’.
The European Union
Although it is almost 30 years since Ireland and Britain joined what was then the European Economic Community, major vital questions still need to be resolved as to the direction, size and political nature of the European Union. At the heart of the debate is the question of what type of Europe do we want. Clearly big business and capital see Europe as solely a market place and have therefore advocated its development solely in economic terms. They have sought a deregulated single market dominated by purely economic considerations. Equally this has been to the detriment of the European Institutions which are not yet fully democratic and remain distant and aloof from the European citizens of all countries.
The Workers Party vision of Europe is from a different perspective. Whilst it is true that major benefits have accrued to Ireland and Britain by virtue of European membership this does not invalidate our criticism of the democratic deficit or of a narrow economic vision of Europe and its people.
The Workers Party support:
- the strengthening of the European Institutions to make them more democratic and accountable.
- the creation of Europe of the Regions, involving real decentralisation and bringing Europe closer to its citizens
- the development of strong social policies which address unemployment, deprivation and exclusion among European citizens.
- a shift form a Europe of big business and financial speculators to a Europe with the citizen at the centre.
- a robust defence of Ireland’s policy of neutrality and opposition to attempts to force Ireland into Common Foreign and Defence commitments.
It was for these reasons that we have opposed in the past the Single European Act (1986), the Maastricht Treaty (1992) and the Amsterdam Treaty (1998). Presently the Treaty of Nice is to be put to the people of the Republic of Ireland for approval. This Treaty will seriously erode our position of neutrality and draw Ireland deeper into a European military alliance. We are therefore calling on the people of the Republic of Ireland to vote NO to the Nice Treaty on June 7th.
A full Workers’ Party position on the Treaty of Nice is available by clicking here.
We understand internationalism to be part of our revolutionary political heritage. It has its roots in the link between the men and women of ’98 and the inspiring slogan of the French Revolution for “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”. It is thus as much a component of our ideology as our goal of a “democratic, secular, socialist unitary state in Ireland – a Republic”.
` Internationalism, then, for The Workers’ Party is not an afterthought. Naturally therefore as we built the Party into Ireland’s first modern socialist party we established friendly relations with many parties, movements, organisations and states in different parts of the world. We identified key criteria – that they shared our views on democracy, socialism, world peace and disarmament, democratic political struggle and opposition to terrorism.
Let us give some examples. We supported the Vietnamese people in their struggle against the barbarous American imperialist aggression; we provided medical aid to the MPLA Workers’ Party of Angola and we have constantly supported the African National Congress in their opposition to Apartheid and the racialist South African regime; we have had as guests at our Annual Ard Fheis representatives from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Cuba, China, Korea, the former USSR and GDR and various parties and groups of parties ranging from the Japanese Communist Party to the Left Unity Group in the European Parliament.
Not least among our international activity was the promotion of the European Committee for Peace and Security which emerged from the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. Indeed The Workers’ Party through the Irish Committee did more than any of our native governments to promote understanding among our people of the contribution which the ECSC process was making to preserving peace and understanding during the difficult years of division in Europe.
At the same time we recognised both from our own history, power relations within Ireland and the need to improve communications with democratic and social democratic organisations the importance of building links in Britain and the USA. For many years we sent speakers to the United States on lecture tours explaining the importance of anti-terrorism and the struggle for democratic politics and guaranteed civil rights in Northern Ireland. It is no exaggeration to claim that our voice was the sole opposition raised in Irish-American circles to the funding of Provisional terrorism in Ireland.
While clearly all these activities and associations placed us firmly on the side and within the “socialist camp” the Party at all times preserved its independence and integrity in dealing with all our foreign comrades. We will continue with this policy.