Friday, September 4, 2009

NAMA or Nationalisation

For the working class the debate over whether to nationalize Irish banks or support NAMA is a false debate. It is a debate that has been whipped up by the bourgeois media and a substantial component of the bourgeois political establishment together with sections of the radical left. Neither NAMA nor nationalisation can serve the class interests of the working class. Either policy is essentially bourgeois in character. Consequently the debate is really a debate within the bourgeoisie as to what option best suits its class interests. Much of the Irish Left support nationalization. Some with the qualification of nationalization under workers' control. But such qualifications make little difference to the essential nature of the policy of nationalization as a bourgeois policy. Under capitalism the workers can never control the banks. It is a contradiction to suggest that banks can be controlled by the working class. By definition workers can never nationalise the banks under workers' control. They can only annihilate them by destroying capitalism without which banks cannot exist.

The planned march for the month of September against NAMA is an attempt to organize the working class around the wrong issues --an issue from which the working class have nothing ultimately to gain. It is similar to organising a march against the Fianna Fail party and for the Fine Gael party. The left that promotes this march are playing the working class right into the hands of capitalism by rallying the workers around an issue that is about the class interests of the bourgeoisie and thereby against the class interests of workers. There is a strategy afoot by People before Profits and the Socialist Party to misdirect the working class into a struggle against itself. The prospective NAMA march is just this. Mass marches should have been held months ago against the income levy --admittedly there was the odd isolated protest in the absence of the general active support from the trade union leadership as a whole. The ICTU and other elements within the labour movement successfully obstructed attempts to organise a mass strike and demonstration. This was a decisive piece of treachery. It has seriously weakened the working class struggle. There need to be rallies and other forms of mass activity against the cut back in the living standards of the working class. A gigantic rally is needed to express popular opposition to the forthcoming slash and burn budget. Protests, rallies and strikes need to be linked into each other to create a continuum of struggle culminating in mass opposition to the forthcoming budget. Slogans expressing the class interests of the working class are needed.

If old age pensioners can "successfully" organize against the abolition of the free medical cards for OAPs swiftly then the labour organizations can surely organize at least as swiftly against the income levy and many other class issues. So far the Irish state and its bourgeoisie have had an easy run. There has been minimal resistance to the crassly anti-working class policies of Fianna Fail and the Greens. If anything the bourgeois left have been at most fertilising the conditions for alternate capitalist parties gaining power -Fine Gael and Labour et al.

Paddy Hackett