Last month’s Socialist Voice had an article on “learning with the people.” The writer made the point about its content that “is anything being said that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? Almost certainly not.”
While that may be true, it seems that it’s often forgotten. Socialist movements are made by the working-class communities, and it won’t advance anything if we don’t start in those communities when it comes to combating capitalism and the far right. Throughout Irish history there have been a number of times that the workers have come together in solidarity. The numerous strikes, and movements such as the rent strikes of the 1970s and the Right to Water campaign, were brought about by working-class solidarity.
Most recently, the plague on working-class communities is a right-wing one. With the recent attacks on libraries around the country, we’ve seen the communities of Limerick and Leitrim band together to protect library workers. Dublin Communities Against Racism (DCAR) has been doing great work getting into their working-class communities and combating the lies pushed by the far right specifically regarding refugees.
Workers in Ireland are not inherently racist: they are being infiltrated by these far-right groups, and hate is being spread. It is only through going into our communities and working on having solidarity as workers that we begin to see why the far right pitting us against each other serves the ruling class.
The current coalition government’s housing policy is to blame for the rising costs of housing and rents, not refugees. The buying up of housing estates for private renting or Airbnbs, and land for the development of new private estates, has contributed most to the increase in homelessness. With 16,000 properties for Airbnbs seemingly being ignored by the far right, it’s easy to poke holes in their lies.
Airbnbs are so popular for private owners because they can charge more than double what they would rent it for, making huge amounts of money while leaving people without anywhere to go. The Community Action Tenants’ Union (CATU) has also been doing great work within communities, most notably in Dún Laoghaire and Swords recently.
The current government works for the landlord and capitalist class. We have the information to prove this freely available, and we can use this in our organisation within our communities.
Radical action driven by the workers of Ireland has time and again been shown to be a powerful force for change. We as activists must learn from our successes in the past.