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May Day Press Statement

29. April 2001

Irish Republican Socialist Party

29 April 2001

The Irish Republican Socialist Party`s May Day message has condemned the use of Temporary Employment Agencies and urged workers to resist this slave trade by reclaiming May Day`s hidden past.

Speaking on behalf of the IRSP, Ard Comhairle representative John Hogan said, “Since the Chicago tragedy of May 1st 1886, which became known thereafter as international workers day, many workers died while demonstrating for an 8-hour working day. Many years of working class struggle and resistance have followed and we proudly celebrate them on this date.

“This year, so too must we remember with equal pride the sacrifice given by ten brave young working class men who also gave their lives in 1981, in a principled stand against Britain`s criminalisation policy of political prisoners of war. We remember the vast movement that grew out of their five demands as their lives painfully slipped away on hunger strike.

“Unfortunately for our class, we still have to use this occasion to reiterate that we are no closer to a better future than we were over one hundred years ago. That is why today, as republican socialists, we do not just celebrate class resistance but also acknowledge that little has been done by those in officialdom to combat the harsh reality workers continue to face.

“In Ireland, May Day has been shuffled to the nearest Monday, almost forgotten just as the Labour movement itself, sidelined, sold out and reformed. Swallowed up by bureaucracy and anti-worker laws in favour of capitalism.

“Trade unions, here as elsewhere, are ideologically tied to the system and have a stake in its preservation. Issues are seen in purely national terms and have in effect only paid lip service to the internationalism of our class.

“No mention of empowering workers, of having workers organise along industrial lines, of taking control of their workplace and actively changing society. Only to bring economic benefit to impoverished working class areas by flirting with native and global capital in its quest of adding and abetting privatisation.

“Likewise, multinational investment in Ireland must also be condemned not encourage in its desire for cheap labour, and for a small segment of society reap the rewards of a cheap and productive labour. Today`s unions are failing to fight back effectively for our class. They are only all too aware of the `workers slave trade` yet well paid Full-time union officials more times than enough choose to side with the bosses.

“Often they play apart in creating deals with national and multinational employers. Assisting privatisation through globalisation while ignoring the plight of Temporary Employment Agency workers.

“This leaves most workers afraid to take action or made to feel as if they can`t win. What hope does this give to those of us who they are supposed to represent?

“The IRSP have attempted to articulate the plight of those dispossessed as there are values in this world that transcend the selfishness, greed and corruption that is endemic in capitalism. Values such as solidarity, co-operation, comradeship, and defence of ones own class. These are basic ideals for our class if we are to rise above middle class values of today`s modern Ireland.

“We need to stop paying lip service to working class unity in saying that the our class, north and south, have more in common, and have shared destinies, more than they share anything with the two governments that divide them. A strategy that empowers workers will appeal to wider and wider sections of the working class.”

Concluding, Mr Hogan said, “For republican socialists, there is an alternative, and it is neither guns nor government, but the ever widening of our class politics! It is vital that our class are organised and active in their place of work and outside of it. Today`s labour movement lies in the hands of its rank and file membership. We must begin to reclaim May Day`s hidden past in an effort of creating a true fighting alternative. Whether you are working, studying, looking after the kids or on the dole, May Day is OUR day!”


Republican Socialist Publicity Bureau
IRSP Press Office
392 Falls Road, Belfast, Ireland.