LEXIT: the socialist case for voting ‘Leave’

Lexit Vote Leave

Lexit: The socialist case for voting Leave

The European Union is undemocratic and irreformable. On June 23 the Workers Party will be calling for a vote to Leave.

However, our position is not the same as the narrow right wing approach of the mainstream Brexit camapign. Ours is a principled socialist case for leaving the European Union. Our campaign is a  Left Vote to Leave – Lexit.

The European Union at present has 30 million unemployed and a similar number of under-employed. More than 127 million people are condemned to a life of poverty.

Two further examples demonstrate the EU’s reactionary and anti-working class agenda.

The EU and its institutions imposed the harshest discipline on those  members  states that sought debt relief in the wake of the 2008 capitalist crisis forcing an unrelenting austerity agenda on the working people and poor of Europe.

Recently we  witnessed closed borders and the inhumane treatment of thousands of refugees fleeing the effects of foreign intervention in their countries. Any pretence of a caring European Union has been exposed.

In the forthcoming  referendum, the US government, NATO, the multinational corporations, the banks and financial institutions, the IMF and World Bank, the rich and the powerful and the European bureaucracy are urging us to remain within the European Union. They do so because that is in their interests.

The Workers Party urges workers to vote in the interests of their class. For a principled, socialist Lexit – Vote Leave on 23 June

Public Meeting: The Workers Party will be holding a public meeting in support of the Lexit Campaign in the coming weeks. Details to follow

Read the Workers Party statement in full: 

LEXIT – the socialist case for voting Leave

Opposition must now oppose

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The potential to normalise politics

The Workers Party has welcomed the formation of an initial opposition by the Ulster Unionist and the SDLP but has warned that it must urgently pursue a radical agenda to differentiate it from the DUP / Sinn Fein Coalition.

The formation of an opposition at Stormont has the potential to normalise politics in Northern Ireland.

However,  it will be meaningless unless it challenges the DUP and Sinn Fein’s position on the major democratic, social, economic and political issues which are holding back progress in Northern Ireland and which are consigning us to be an 19th century society.

At a minimum the new opposition should immediately demonstrate its intentions by setting out a programme of legislation designed to address

The introduction of a Bill of Rights                             

An integrated, secular education system

Legislation to secure a woman’s right to choose

A programme for universal childcare               

A public housing programme

Civil Marriage Equality

The reinstatement of the Civic Forum

An end to fracking

The removal of the Blood Ban on gay men

Lowering the voting age to 16

 

‘No to murder, attempted murder and maiming’

Rally

‘There will never be justification for gun law, criminality and murder’ – Gemma Weir

The Workers Party in Belfast has  organised a public protest meeting against recent murders and maimings  in the city.

The meeting was prompted by the  murder of Dan Murray just several hundred yards away from the site of the meeting, but also reflected the  growing public anger and resilience in the face of eleven serious armed attacks across Belfast in the past six months in which four people were murdered and several others, including a seventeen year old boy, seriously wounded.

Chairing the  protest Conor Campbell said, “It is important that the community publicly displays its resilience in the face of these attacks and demonstrates its refusal to accept the rule of armed gangs across the city’

Party representatives Gemma Weir and Joanne Lowry also addressed the meeting

Gemma Weir (North Belfast) said , ‘ I am here tonight to tell you – there is no justification whatsoever for murder on our streets. There was no justification in the past, there is no justification now. There will never be justification for gun law, criminality and murder.

This cannot go on. We cannot allow it to continue. Right across Belfast we have to respond as a community. We all have to stand up and say No to murder, No to attempted Murder and No to maiming’.

Joanne Lowry ( West Belfast) challenged those responsible and those who support them to explain themselves.

‘We can’t bring back the people they have murdered. We can’t un-shoot the people they have shot. Be we sure as hell can stand up to them and make sure that that they have murdered their last victim and crippled their last teenager’, she said.

West Belfast was blighted by these type of attacks for almost thirty years. Yet eighteen years after the Good Friday Agreement we not only have murder on our streets but we have the remains of a culture which supports and justifies it.’, Joanne added

‘It’s not just the gunmen and the thugs that we need to confront. There are also people who support them. They have to be held to account too. I am challenging them to explain themselves and their actions to this is community’,  Joanne concluded

The meeting was also addressed by SDLP and Sinn Fein MLAs

Anyone with information about the murder of Dan Murray, or any of the other recent shootings, get in touch with the PSNI directly at Grosvenor Road PSNI Station or by using the Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111

 

‘Change to sentencing guidelines in cases of animal cruelty’

NISNTAC Rally

Protesters outside the Royal Courts of Justice  in Belfast yesterday

Party members have attended the demonstration organised by the ‘Northern Ireland Says No to Animal Cruelty‘ group demanding that sentencing guidelines be changed so that tougher penalties are imposed on those convicted of animal cruelty offences.

The Workers Party opposes the cruelty and suffering of animals bred in so called puppy and kitten farms and is calling for an end to this outrageous practice.

We also support tighter regulation and registration of breeding establishments, rigorous enforcement procedures and tougher sentences for those who abuse and neglect animals.

We also condemn the barbaric practices of “badger baiting” and hunting with dogs, the commercial mass production of animals in a manner which causes suffering and the abuse of animals by large commercial companies which put profits before animal welfare.

The Party supports the promotion of the “Five Freedoms” adopted by the World Organisation for Animal Health and national societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

Your vote can and will make a difference

Candidatescropped

This election is about the failure and the refusal of the Executive Parties, in particular, to bring forward and implement the political, social and economic legislation to allow progress, stability and an improved quality of life for all.

This election is an opportunity to pass judgement on the record of those parties which have been running the Assembly and the Executive for the past five years.

It is an opportunity to confront and condemn their joint programme of reductions in public services, continuing austerity measures and cuts to social welfare under the guise of welfare reform.

The election will also be an opportunity to vote against the introduction of water charges, the run-down of health and social care services, tax breaks for big businesses, the sell-off of public assets, the planned rise in university tuition fees, continued discrimination  against women, the refusal to legislate for same sex marriage, the ongoing damage to the environment and the continuance of the  Executive’s self-serving agenda – all of which are certain to be features of the new Assembly if the same old parties are returned to power.

On May 5th The Workers Party will be offering  an alternative to austerity, cuts, regressive social policy and inequality.

Your vote can and will make a difference.

Message of support from Greek Communist Party (KKE)

The Communist Party of Greece has sent a strong message of support to the Workers Party, expressing its solidarity with and full support to the Workers Party of Ireland (WPI) regarding the assembly elections in Northern Ireland …” The KKE noted that the Workers Party was exposing the plans of those political forces serving the interests of big business and stated that the Workers Party was the force standing against the anti-people political line supported by the parties of bourgeois management, the DUP, UUP, Sinn Fein, the SDLP etc. 

 The KKE stated that the coalition government in Northern Ireland has faithfully implemented the anti-people political line of the British government and the EU which attacks the rights and the income of workers and which promotes privatization. The KKE noted particularly that Sinn Fein, a party like SYRIZA, i.e. new style social-democracy, has also demonstrated its form as regards the implementation of these policies which are against the interests of the people.

 The KKE highlighted the Workers Party’s opposition to this political direction and to the strategy of capital, exposing the true character of the EU which is destroying labour and social security rights, keeping salaries and pensions at low levels and which transforms healthcare into a commodity. It emphasizes the WP’s resistance to attempts to divide the working class and to expose the real enemy, capitalism, the monopolies and their power.

 The full statement of the KKE can be read on the main Workers Party  website.  http://workersparty.ie/

Large Party turn out for May Day Parade

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Standing Against Austerity on May Day

West Belfast Assembly candidate Conor Campbell headed up a large Workers Party contingent at this year’s May Day parade.

“It is heartening to see this kind of turn out and also the level of opposition to austerity and the failure of the last Assembly, which was quite evident here today”, Conor said .

“It will be important that people now register that opposition  by voting for Workers Party candidates and, after that,any other  parties who are genuinely opposed to the Sinn Fein/ DUP coalition and their austerity agenda”, he added

“It will be just as important after polling day to continue to focus on the austerity agenda, the parties who promote it and the vicious consequences it has for working people, their families and the most vulnerable in our society. The Workers Party will not be found wanting” Conor concluded.

 

 

 

 

Smaller parties ‘disenfranchised’ by BBC

Election Gag

Anti- Democratic decision by the BBC

 

Smaller political parties in Northern Ireland have been disenfranchised by a BBC Trust decision to change the criteria for access to election broadcasts, the Workers Party has claimed.

Parties must now stand a minimum of 12 candidates across six constituencies in order to qualify for a television or radio election broadcast.

In a joint statement issued by the Party’s four Assembly candidates the Party said

‘The BBC’s decision to change the criteria clearly disadvantages, and effectively disenfranchises, smaller parties in Northern Ireland’.

‘The big parties in the Assembly already hold a significant media advantage and their press officers are also supported from public funds. The BBC’s decision consolidates their position at the expense of smaller parties, it restricts the political discourse and it reduces the information available to the electorate’.

‘As Northern Ireland’s public service broadcaster the BBC has duty to provide a platform for the entire political spectrum – not just the larger parties. Voters here have been let down and the political process has been devalued as a result of this anti-democratic decision’, the statement concluded.

 

‘Standing Against Austerity’

Manifesto Launch

Standing Against Austerity: The Workers Party launches its manifesto at                    Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Workers Party has launched its Assembly Election manifesto at Parliament Buildings Stormont.

The Party’s four candidates. Conor Campbell (Belfast West) Lily Kerr (Belfast South), Hugh Scullion (Mid Ulster) and Gemma Weir ( Belfast North) were joined by party supporters as they spelt out the Party’s opposition to austerity and presented the socialist alternative in  the ‘Standing Against Austerity’ document.

The manifesto highlights the Stormont austerity agenda as the main political issue in this campaign and criticises the refusal and the failure of the last Executive to implement outstanding areas of the Good Friday Agreement and table legislation to bring Northern Ireland into the 21st century.

The Party is challengimg the new Assembly to introduce 10 key pieces of legislation in its first one hundred days to signal its intent to build a modern vibrant and inclusive Northern Ireland. Included in the 100 day challenge are demands for a Bill of Rights, integrated, secular education, a woman’s right to choose, civil marriage equality and an end to fracking.

See the manifesto in full: Workers Party Assembly Manifesto 2016

BBC Website coverage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2016-northern-ireland-36113735

UTV website coverage:

http://www.u.tv/News/2016/04/22/Workers-Party-launches-its-manifesto-57875

 

 

Kerr kicks off socialist campaign

Paddy & Lily

Lily Kerr is congratulated on her speech by local Party chairperson Paddy Lynn

Lily Kerr, the Workers Party’s candidate in South Belfast, held her official launch rally yesterday with an affirmation that she was proud to be a socialist and proud to place the Party’s socialist agenda  before the local electorate.

During a barn storming speech Lily fired several salvos at the outgoing Executive and Assembly but saved her most pointed comments for the economy, public services, a woman’s right to choose and the growing dependency on food banks in the constituency.

“We are told repeatedly about the jobs which the Assembly has attracted or helped to create over the last five years”, Lily said. “But where are they and what are they worth?”, she added.

Low wage economy                                                                                           “If we have the secure well paid employment that the Assembly boasts of then why is south Belfast the highest user of food banks in Northern Ireland’?, she asked. ‘I’ll tell you’, she said, ‘ because the jobs are not secure and are not well paid. They are mostly low skill and zero hours contracts based. The Assembly markets Northern Ireland as a low wage economy – and this is the result’ she said.

Health service in crisis                                                                                  Turning her attention to the health service Lily said’…health and social care services are in crisis. Be in no doubt about that. We need to reshape and rebuild and to do that we must involve users, staff, trade unions and the general public. We are where we are because of the influence of the clinicians and the endless number of  finance driven reviews. We have to break that cycle’, Lily said

Trust women                                                                                                       Lily’s final comments were reserved for those candidates and those parties who do not trust women to make decisions about their own bodies and their own fertility. Her message was unambiguous. ‘If you don’t trust women then I don’t trust you.’

If you would like to help out with Lily’s campaign in South Belfast or want more information please email: southbelfastwp@gmail.com

 

 

 

Party welcomes ‘UNISON Manifesto’

UNISON

Lily Kerr criticised those Assembly parties which gave tax breaks to big business while children queued at foodbanks

The Workers Party has congratulated the trade union UNISON on the production of its Assembly Manifesto, calling it a ‘socialist assessment of life and politics in Northern Ireland’ .

UNISON launched its manifesto at a hustings event for its members earlier today. On a panel comprised of all the main Northern Ireland parties, the Workers Party was represented by its South Belfast candidate, Lily Kerr .

During the hustings debate Lily set out the case against the privatisation of the health service and other public services, criticised the Assembly’s refusal to abolish Zero Hours Contracts and  warned of the pending crisis which will follow in the wake of the full effects of ‘welfare reform’ – today’s figures on the increasing number of people being forced to use food banks being just one indicator of that.

‘I am calling on trade unionists, in particular, to give their vote only to candidates and parties which support the UNISON manifesto, are publicly opposed to the privatisation of public services, which trust women to make their own decisions and which stand against austerity and lowering corporation tax for big business while children and families go hungry’, Lily said

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