It is being said that the Irish economy is performing excellently. We are informed of considerable economic growth and the unemployment has been falling.
However this improved economic performance is a result of international conditons rather than simple domestic conditons. The international economy is experiencing an upturn led by the US which was first to experience it.
These prosperous conditions are domestically based on a reduced and flexible waged economy. It has also been the product of the massive multiplier effect generated by the large doses of revneue poured into this country by the EU.
The buoyancy experienced at the fiscal level is a result of the reduced interest rates. Indeed it is an exercise in criminality that the government has not reduced income tax substantially in view of this development.
It is a sad reflection on the conditon of the labour movement that it has failed to force the government's hand in this regard.
This failure is due to the changing character of the composition of the working class or as it is fashionably called the recomposition of the working class. The core of the working class movement has atrophied which means that the tradtional source of labour militnace and resistance has been seriously weakened in this respect. Then there is a substantial fall off in union membership as new forms of enterprise open up that exclude the existence of unions.
On tip of that there is the growing indebtedness of the working class which makes it less nethusiastic about stirking work. There is also the sustained implementation of the corportatist strategy which entails the surrender of militnant action in return for corporatist agreements over wages and working conditons. In this way the militancy of the working class is bought off against concessions of one sort or another.
As wekll as this there the working class in Irealnd have suffered significant defeats of one sort or another: the Aer Lingus workers and some others. However it is true that there have been no major defeats. Perhaps the nearest thing to a major defeat was the failure of the anti-income tax marches.
The restructuring of working conditons and the recompositon of the working class have been major factors in the increased passivity of the working class.
It is not insignificant that in all the talk about the oppression of this or that oppressed group and the need for greater political correctness there is hardly andy discussion of the increasingly harsh workign conditions under which workers work.