Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/562/6760
The Socialist 14 January 2009 |
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Debate and meeting in Dublin
Last week on a bitterly cold winter's evening 150 people packed into the ballroom of Wynn's Hotel in central Dublin for the Socialist Party public meeting: " Capitalism in crisis - The Socialist Alternative".
Cillian Gillespie and Joe Higgins, Dublin
Chaired by Joe Higgins, the speakers were Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party in England and Wales, Clare Daly, Socialist Party councillor and shop steward at Aer Lingus and BATU striker and Socialist Party member Susan Fitzgerald.
The relevance of the topic was shown that very day by the announcement that 1,900 workers in the Dell factory in Limerick city are to be sacked. Clare Daly graphically showed that while ordinary people had not created the crisis, we are the ones who are being made pay. She explained that the layoffs at Dell will have a devastating effect and would be the equivalent of 40,000 workers being made redundant In Dublin.
The rotten role of the trade union leadership was clear from the speech of Susan Fitzgerald. Six staff and organisers have been on strike for nine months against the union that employs them.
Peter Taaffe explained that contrary to what capitalist commentators said a few months ago this crisis is devastating "the real economy", not simply finance. Peter illustrated the seriousness of this "mother of all" crises by pointing to the job losses in the car industry in Britain and the US. Peter's explanation of how organised struggle and socialist policies are the only way forward, as well as a few jokes, got a very warm response.
Eight people indicated they want to find out more or join the Socialist Party and over €500 was raised for our campaign fund.
On the evening before, Peter Taaffe was the principal guest speaker in a debate in Trinity College, hosted by the college Historical Society. In the past speakers such as Theobald Wolfe Tone and Oscar Wilde have addressed the society. Joe Higgins, former Socialist Party Member of the Dáil (Irish Parliament) also spoke in the debate on: 'This house would abolish private property'.
Although both Peter and Joe were well received, the response from the 70 or so students who attended reflected the relatively privileged strata of society from which many of them came. However, Peter explained how the massive crisis of international capitalism is only at its beginning and as it develops, it will be disastrous for the future prospects of young people, including university students.
He referred to the widespread radicalisation of young people in Greece and predicted that young people in Ireland and Britain would be similarly challenged in the coming years. Growing numbers would come to support the ideas of socialism.