Reform or Revolution?

I did not sleep much this week, as the tragic passing of my friend and comrade kept me up. So when I don’t sleep, I think and I write. Here is another musing of mine. The system that does not help young people and oversees an epidemic of suicide such as ours is unfit for purpose.



We can speak of the necessity to elect a center left or progressive government as much as we desire. We can advocate for the lessening of prohibitive trade union legislation and advocate for social, affordable or even public housing. We can make many a demand, which seek to soften the blow of the ruthless austerity imposed upon us. The question that is worth asking however is whether the limitations of our reforms are significant enough to capture the imagination of our class. Whether the pain, suffering and horrific injustices inflicted on workers are well balanced by the well articulated policy reports that the left can produce?


At what point do we agree among ourselves that the task, the essential, the primary task, is the complete eradication of the capitalist state in Ireland?  That we seek to overthrow and dismantle the Blueshirt regime, to dismember it’s tendril like structures and scatter them forever so that may never do any harm.  At what point does this reality come crashing down? More pertinently, how many more victims are going to be tolerated before we speak of this task. 


With a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, is the subject approached and looked down, with great frustration, many of our class are looking upon the Irish condition. I would be frustrated too, if I could see no end in sight. 


“We can do nothing within the confines of the system we exist in” – is a common statement repeated in housing groups, homeless groups, advocacy groups and activist groups.   The rotten Irish system carefully weaves the institutions of power to appear democratic, free, participative. The legislative, executive and judicial branches appear to be separated. The constitution appears to look after our collective welfare.  


The fact of the matter is that the working class in Ireland, is of a second category status, with second category rights and second category opportunities. The fact of the matter is that this secondary category citizens is the beast of burden for the first category citizens. That the distinction between these two categories is not depicted by the colour of their skin nor the altar at which they pray, it is defined by their orientation nor their sexual interests, neither is it defined by how they dress or what they look like. It’s defined by the very fact that the secondary citizen must sell themselves to the first citizen to earn their bread and house their children, while the first citizen exists from this hard labour.


The first citizen is the citizen who collects the rent and controls the workplace, while ensuring that the secondary citizen doesn’t step out of line. The first citizen is the one who sees the private doctor, paid for by the public revenue, while the secondary citizen waits eight hours in the emergency department. The first citizen is the one who will not have their home repossessed, while the second citizen dreams of ever owning a home. The first citizen will never even utter the word ‘food bank’, unless watching one of their mongrel political friends open one, while the second citizen will have the idea buried in their head. The first citizen is a citizen of wealth, power and privilege, carefully afforded to them by their historical or familial connections to the elite. The second citizen is a citizen of hard labour, destitution  and a decline towards poverty. 


The first category citizen is in a minority in Ireland but rules.

The second category citizen is in a majority, but obeys the rules.  


For whom are the laws written? For whom does this shambolic democracy function? For whom do our services exist and for whom do we exist?    


The Blueshirt regime inflicts an inhumane existence on the people of Ireland. Suffocating them out of existence. Forcing them into a never ending nightmare. Some choose to run abroad.  Some simply take their own life, unable to cope with the myriad of issues that confront them. 


What about those who choose to stay? How do we choose to deal with the political reality that the people find themselves in?  Is what we do enough? Huey P. Newton spoke extensively of going from A-Z when building the revolution and what he meant by this was that the Party should not jump too far ahead of the people. Lenin in fact made similar observations. The Party must march lock in step with the people but it must also have a vision for the future.


Our future in Ireland can be free from the Blueshirt regime and the many servants they have about them. It will be free from them because it is our responsibility to destroy them, in the same way they destroy us. It our responsibility to forment the most reasonable and a just response to the systemic violence of capitalism.  


If we review the society the Blueshirt regime has created and nurtured, it is a sick society. It is a depraved society. It is a lonely society. It functions for a slim minority while parasitically existing off the rest of us. What will we do?  In the opening paragraph I talk of necessary, progressive and helpful reforms, but we have lost track of the ultimate objective that we must set ourselves. Revolution.


We must speak only of our task before our fellow peers in our class. We must be honest. We want the full wealth that workers in Ireland create. We want the democratic management of the economy. We want housing, land, decent work, wages and a standard of living. We want a sense of community, and a sense of belonging. We want societal harmony and an end to the suicide epidemic gripping the country. We want change and we are ready to fight for it. We want an end to the distribution of privileges. Needs in the fields of housing, health and education are neither privileges nor commodities to be traded, bought and sold. 

We want to change Ireland forever. We want to give the many youth who left, a reason to come home. We want a revolution in the cities, fields and villages.


Don’t you?