On behalf of the Workers’ Party, the Ard Chomhairle and Party President Michael McCorry would like to wish a prosperous 2024 to all workers and their families.
2023 has proven to be another tough year for working people. Crises around housing, healthcare and the cost-of-living have continued north and south, as has come to be expected thanks to the politicians in both jurisdictions.
Over ten thousand people, including thousands of children, will enter 2024 in homelessness. Many more struggle to afford their rent and to buy. Our healthcare systems, just as they were at the beginning of the year, remain understaffed, underfunded and lacking in capacity. Bills remain a constant worry for working people and their families, with as many as 3,000 people queuing for food vouchers at Christmas in Dublin alone.
In the south, the economy remains almost entirely reliant on the corporation tax of a handful of American multinationals using Ireland as a tax haven. It should come as no surprise, then, that working people are in dire straits as the Irish capitalist class and politicians are happy to skim what little they can from their profits to keep this shambolic economy and state afloat. Our relationship to the United States jeopardises our sovereignty as has become clear with the push to move closer to NATO. Only through the development of a strong, domestic economy in which the state takes the lead can this be changed.
In the north, our politicians still refuse to form an Executive, meaning even less is being done to tackle the aforementioned crises and issues encountered by working people in our day-to-day lives. As ever, the north of Ireland is an afterthought to those in Westminster. No worker, be they Catholic, Protestant, nationalist, unionist, republican, loyalist or otherwise, should be under any illusion about this. The short-term message to our politicians is clear: get back to work and tackle the issues facing working people.
State-ownership of key industries, such as energy, housing and healthcare, are crucial to the wellbeing of the Irish people. These are not playthings to be left at the mercy of the private market, which can not and will not provide for working people. The refusal of the government to entertain the idea of nationalisation shows not only how strong their ideological commitment to the failing private market doctrine of neo-liberalism is, but exposes to all who the real ruling elite are – the developers, the landlords, the multinational corporations. No matter if workers suffer – the capitalists must profit.
The Workers’ Party continues to build links and work with like minded organisations abroad in the common cause of socialism, democracy, sovereignty and peace. In 2024, the international workers’ movement must double its efforts as the aggression of the United States, through NATO and its proxy states, is likely to further increase. Their ideology of death and destruction in the name of profit and hegemony across the world cannot go unopposed. At home, we must continue to campaign in protection of Irish neutrality. The announcement by the government that the Triple Lock will be scrapped is clearly another step towards NATO, something clearly opposed by the vast majority of the Irish people.
At a fundamental level, the issues facing workers in the north, south, east and west of this country cannot be solved without the establishment of a 32-county socialist republic. This is not mere rhetoric; it is reality.
On occasion, it is asked “why the Workers’ Party? Why not some other left-wing organisation?” The answer to this is that we believe that the conflict between workers and the capitalist class is the defining feature of society, and that the power of the working class lies in its ability to organise and to build its own party. While some parties attempt to balance the interests of both classes, and others neglect or downplay class altogether, the Workers’ Party believes that only a party of the working class can challenge the manner in which society fundamentally operates.
We must continue efforts to rebuild our party in order to achieve that which benefits our class. This means engaging with working people wherever we have the capacity to organise. In some parts of the country we have been somewhat successful in this task relative to years gone by, campaigning on the issues that matter to people in working communities. In all areas where we have members or supporters, we must recommit ourselves to this task, and where we are already organised, we must increase our efforts in order to rebuild a Workers’ Party in fact as well as name once again.
There can be no shortcuts to becoming relevant once again in the eyes of the working class. Only through hard work in working communities will we find ourselves to be a party capable of achieving a socialist and united Ireland.