May Day 2024 Statement

The Communist Party of Ireland sends May Day greetings to the Irish working class, to all anti-imperialist and progressive organisations, to the international Communist movement, to all those struggling against imperialism, colonialism, and native capitalism, and to those actively struggling to build socialism. In particular, we send greetings to the people of Palestine who continue to suffer under Zionist settler colonialism, and to Cuba, a country which refuses to abandon its revolutionary path in the face of increasing economic and political pressure from US imperialism.

As the international working class celebrates May Day, the lives of billions of people are becoming increasingly precarious because of their deteriorating material economic position bought about by the impact of wars and climate change, both of which stem directly from the capitalist system. Monopoly capitalism – i.e. real existing imperialism led by the US and its allies in Britain, France, Germany, other EU states, and Japan – remains the world’s dominant economic system and its continued existence threatens the existence of humanity. However, while US imperialism remains the world’s dominant power, its relative position is declining primarily because of the increasing growth of the People’s Republic of China but also as other capitalist powers, particularily in the Global South, increasingly see the US controlled “rules based international order” as an impediment to their own capitalist development. This decline is seen in the gradual weakening of the US dollar and economic strength of US imperialism.

In recent years, China made up 35% of global manufacturing, the US, in second place, made up 12%. US sanctions in a time of relative decline in its economy have led to the strengthening of the BRICS alliance, with Chinese-sponsored global institutions providing an alternative to the Bretton Woods institutions. China’s UnionPay credit card alternative to Visa is now worth half of all credit cards in circulation. The dollars’ share in global reserves fell from 70% in 2000 to 58% in 2023, some estimate an even larger drop. The collapse of three major US banks in 2023 showed the weaknesses of US finance. In February, the EU’s Josep Borrell declared that “the era of Western dominance has indeed definitively ended.”

To maintain its position of dominance, US imperialism is increasingly preparing for war against capitalist Russia and Socialist China. Public opinion within the US, UK, and the EU is being manipulated to accept that war against Russia and the PRC is both inevitable and justified. Opinion pieces in the capitalist press and pronouncements from military and political leaders claim more money must be spent on European “defence” despite the fact that NATO is responsible for 75% of current worldwide military spending. The US congress recently passed a bill with nearly US$100 billion in military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. This clearly shows that it is US imperialism that is driving the worsening militarism and threats to peace in Europe, West and East Asia.

Communist theorist Gramsci famously wrote that “the old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born, now is the time of monsters.” He could have been writing about the world today. It is little exaggeration to say that the possibility of WW3 in this decade is increasing with each passing year. A situation that humanity cannot allow to happen.

In Gaza, the Zionist entity is continuing its genocidal assault on the Palestinian people and is intent on spreading the conflict into a regional war with Iran and its allies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. The Yemeni people have bravely intervened to help the people of Gaza, having resisted the US-British support for Saudi Arabia’s genocidal assault on the people of Yemen.

The Palestinian Resistance in Gaza, now joined by resistance forces on the West Bank, have shown to be far greater, more determined and durable than either Israel or the US believed. It has inflicted heavier losses on the occupation army ground forces than both the Zionist entity and western imperialism had thought possible. The struggle of the Palestinian people and resistance has also exposed the depth of hypocrisy of the imperialist powers as well as the shallowness of western liberalism regarding its “rules-based order” and “human rights”.

Events in the Middle East, particularly in Palestine, have been the catalyst for the mobilisation of tens of millions of people across the world, united in their opposition to this genocidal war against the Palestinian people. This mobilisation and the growing numbers of people who have seen through the smoke screen and propaganda of imperialism and zionism is unprecedented since the Việt Nam war. There is now a growing rift between what the people are demanding and what the imperial powers are prepared to do.

We salute the tens of millions of working people who have sustained their mobilisations against this war for over six months now, mobilisations that continue to grow, to spread and deepen, leading to a serious weakening of the ideological hegemony of the imperialist powers, in particular that of the US, Britain, Germany, France, and other EU countries. We express our solidarity with the mass mobilisations now taking place on college and university campuses across the US, to the students who have shown great tenacity in their opposition to this genocidal war and are now facing widespread repression.

These mobilisations are not just confined to anti-war demands but are also increasingly demanding the defence of democratic rights, rights won over many decades of protest and struggle by working people. These rights are now under sustained attack across the capitalist world as the ruling classes attempt to contain and undermine these anti-war protests from growing in influence. The imperialist states are imposing new draconian laws curtailing the right to protest, laws which will be used to further curtails working people’s ability to defend their economic and social right and demands in the future.

Due to their declining economic power the imperialist countries are increasingly resorting to war and militarism to shore up their weakening global hegemony. These wars sometimes directly involve the US/NATO states and at other times involve the use of proxies.

In Europe we are experiencing the direct impact of the US/NATO proxy war against Russia with an ever-increasing death toll among Ukrainian and Russian soldiers and civilians. Despite the claims made by the US, UK, EU, and their allies, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not “unprovoked”. The continued eastward expansion of NATO and the EU/NATO coup in 2014, which installed a pro-NATO government which included nazi elements, was seen as a threat by the Russian ruling class and also by the Russian working-class. The burning to death of Ukrainian opponents of the coup by Ukrainian nazis in Odessa, the military attacks on ethnic Russian communities in Eastern Ukraine which led to 14,000 deaths before the Russian invasion, and the discrimination against Russian speakers in Ukraine were supported by the EU and NATO. The decision to offer NATO membership to Ukraine and the possibility of basing nuclear weapons there was bound to result in a Russian reaction. The US saw this as a win-win situation. If Russia did not take action, NATO would have forward bases on Russia’s border, and if Russia invaded, the US believed that NATO armed and trained Ukrainian forces would defeat Russia.

The US/NATO decades long strategy of using fascist and reactionary forces inside Ukraine to advance its global strategy against both Russia and the People Republic of China, has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian working-class lives. It has also resulted in increases in food and energy prices, and in massive increases in the profits of mainly US but also UK and European arms companies as billions of euros, pounds and dollars has been diverted from social spending to weapons of mass destruction.

Irrespective of military aid, the US/NATO-Russia proxy war in Ukraine is beginning to tilt in Russia’s favour, with the pro-Ukraine forces uninterested in peace talks and recently we had the new Polish government declaring its willingness to host nuclear weapons aimed at Russia. France’s Macron has also made inflammatory statements about putting NATO troops into Ukraine should it look like Russia is on the verge of winning.

The only lasting solution to this war is serious peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, organised by the United Nations and free of all outside interference. Past experience of such peace negotiation has shown that the US, Britain and Germany deliberately interfered and prevented a peaceful outcome in Ukraine. An immediate ceasefire is necessary to stop the slaughter and the waste of lives. The solution will be found in security and defence agreements between Russia and Ukraine, and the establishment of a neutral Ukraine plus the withdrawal of NATO aggressive forces from Russia’s borders. The defeat of the US/NATO strategy in Ukraine is essential if we are to bring an end to this and other global conflicts.

In West Asia, the actions of the Zionists have been met with proportionate retaliation by Iran and its allies, but the onslaught against Gaza shows no signs of ending soon. It is clear the strategy of the Zionists is to provoke Iran into direct involvement and to use this as an excuse to involve the US and others directly in a regional conflict.

In East Asia, the US continues to provoke the PRC by arming Taiwan’s separatists and has encouraged the Philippines to take a more confrontational position against the PRC in the South China Sea. They have increased the funding for AUKUS and encouraged a military build-up by Japan. On the Korean Peninsula, the DPRK has destroyed its reunification arch and abandoned hope of reunification with South Korea. The US and South Korea have increased their military exercises in the region.

West Africa has seen the coming together of states such as Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad, among others, after military takeovers, in a struggle directly and openly against French, US and EU interests in a developing anti-colonial process in the region helped, in part, by Chinese and Russian assistance.

Latin America continues to see the growth of the left, notwithstanding the victory of the extreme right in Argentina, with Brazil and Colombia making very direct criticisms of Israel and leaders such as AMLO in Mexico calling the US blockade of Cuba genocidal.

We are witnessing the rise of the Global South and a new, multipolar world. This contains within it an anti-imperialist momentum, led by People’s Republic of China, that needs to be understood and recognised. However, we must learn the lessons of history that power rivalry may just well lead to all out war, indeed we are already on the brink of several regional wars across different continents. The task for the international Communist movement is to use the contradictions between the imperialist centres and the contradiction between the demands of peoples of the capitalist countries and the policies of their ruling classes to chart a path to democracy, anti-colonialism, and socialism.

We cannot divorce our country from the international arena. The struggle for Irish neutrality is a key geo-political one. Securing neutrality would be a significant defeat for the Irish political and military establishment, and a major undermining of their subservient relation to both the EU/US political and military strategies. We cannot fail to link the struggles for national sovereignty, for peace and for the environment, to the struggle for socialism.

Democratic opinion in Ireland must push forward and demand more than just words from the Irish government. While they speak eloquently about their “concerns” and “horror” about what is happening in Gaza to date they have not followed up with any concrete actions, but instead have increased cooperation with the Zionist entity and continually hide behind the false flag that the Irish state can only pursue action in conjunction with what the EU will allow.

Here in Ireland the challenge is to grow and deepen the anti-imperialist sentiment which is based upon our people’s historical experience of anti-colonial resistance. This, given the current correlation of forces, is best achieved by inserting the state’s military neutrality in the Constitution, and ending the use of Shannon and Aldagrove airports by US/NATO forces is a vital necessity.

It appears we are no longer in the so-called end of history.