Let’s make no mistake about it: despite the merry-go-round of posturing in the Brexit negotiations, it is and always was two imperial powers locked in a phoney war of position; and the concerns of Irish citizens are of little interest to either Britain or the EU.
The interests of the British working class are also irrelevant, as both sides of the imperialist coin will always defend big-business interests, the interests of capital, in their own regions above all else.
Despite all the talk about Britain’s border—soon to be Britain’s and the EU’s border—in Ireland, neither Dublin nor Belfast will have any say in the final decision, which will be made in Brussels, despite guarantees being declared by all and sundry.
Surely at this stage the reality that the EU doesn’t have friends, only interests, must be sinking in. One need only look at the EU’s decision to force the Irish people to pay off 42 per cent of all European private banking debt, despite having less than 2 per cent of its population, or any of a number of anti-worker judgements made in the EU Court. The EU will always act in the interests of big monopoly businesses.
Arlene Foster and her constituents need to realise that Britain’s business interests come first, not a tiny colony to the west that has little to contribute any more in the form of commerce. It is purely a nostalgic trinket of the British Empire, though nevertheless still useful as a military base for NATO, guarding Britain’s “back door,” and a launch pad for their partner in the “special relationship” that is American imperialism.
The imperial mentality was on display last month when Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, referred to the North as “the colony” and insisted on the right of the colonial overlord, Theresa May, to travel anywhere in her dominion whenever she wished.
Margaret Thatcher famously once said that Belfast was as British as Finchley; but those who cling to this belief need only look at the average industrial wage in Britain, compared with the North: £26,700 in Britain, £21,800 in the North. So they should think again about whose interests the British rule in—certainly not the working class of the Six Counties.
They would do better to look south, despite all its faults under capitalism. The average industrial wage in the South is €37,000, which amounts to £32,600—substantially higher than both the North and British rates, as is the minimum wage.
Strengthening links between North and South is in the best interests of all workers in our country. It is not an easy task when the leader of unionism looks on an Irish Language Act as “like feeding a crocodile, it will always come back for more”—the old colonial mentality exposed once again. Unionism fears equality more than anything, because with it comes the loss of power, the power they have held onto and abused since partition. Unionism and democracy are incompatible.
Unionism, like the EU, does nothing for the working class. This is the time for working people to join together and fight back against the triple lock of imperialism—British, European, and the real masters, American imperialism—that have together prevented our people reaching their full potential.
The working class, from Belfast to Cork, needs to move on to struggle for and find solutions that suit our class and put our class interests first. As we know from long and bitter experience, if you separate the social (class) question from the national question, or the national question from the social (class) question, it has ended in defeat for working-class forces. Only the working class can cast off the imperial yoke and build a socialist Ireland, a workers’ republic for us all to share equally.