Discussion – Defend the NHS

Articles 1 and 2, “Health of a Nation” (June and August) violate democratic centralism. Both are public attacks on CPI policy. I wrote a 2,500-word article criticising the inadequacy of article 1; article 2 is no better. Between congresses and coming up to congress it is protocol that we discuss policy internally not on a public platform.

At our last congress the political resolution called for “A National Health Service for the whole of Ireland. This means a restructuring of the health service in the South and a defence of the NHS in the North” and “All the more important that we work to unite our people in Northern Ireland and beyond on the basis of a programme against austerity, against the destruction of the NHS.”

The author uses contradictory facts and statistics showing “the failed socio-economic development as a result of British Rule” and states that many on the left fail to deal with the problem.

Unity, the weekly paper of the Communist Party of Ireland records struggles of the left, trade unionists the women’s movement and others who have attacked and won fights for civil rights, public housing, and women’s rights, against higher unemployment rates, lower wages, the EU, British Army, internment, and sectarianism. Past Unity’s are in the National Library, Dublin; Linen Hall Library, Belfast; Marx Memorial Library, London.

These collective struggles involve revolutionaries who want a transformative change in the social order, as well as reformists who just want a better capitalism. Some don’t distinguish between the former and the latter, and today they might call Connolly “reformist” when he demanded school meals and the Old Age Pension Act.