Richard Boyd Barrett is an MP (TD) for the United Left Alliance in Ireland and a member of People Before Profit and the Irish SWP. He spoke at the Marxism Festival at the beginning of the month.
Events in Egypt and Greece are coming here and it is not not a question of if, but when. We have to prepare for that urgently. We are facing a systemic, global crisis of a system that has gone cannibal. Capitalism's answer to the crisis is 'more of the same'. The crisis was caused by capital being concentrated in the hands of of a minority and their answer is more privatisation and concentrating profit in even fewer hands. Every day, their response makes the crisis worse. If you take money out of workers' pockets it will harm the economy.
This government wants to save the NHS by closing hospitals, to save education by robbing schools of the investment they need, to save jobs by sacking people.There will be resistance because people need to survive. Their solution will cause massive suffering and it just cannot work. Ireland's economic situation is even worse than Greece's.
So why are the Irish not fighting back? In 2008/9 they did fight back, there were massive demonstrations and strikes. Then the union leaders wound it down because there was a general election coming and they argued Fine Gael and Labour would reverse the situation. This demoralised people. In the election, Fine Fail were kicked out and within 24 hours Fine Gael had gone back on all its promises.
Next week [this was said on 3 July - Left Turn] the EU and IMF will arrive in Ireland demanding more cuts and austerity. As these attacks hit people they will have to resist because they cannot pay their bills. The United Left Alliance has been very successful and has propelled radical left ideas into the mainstream in Ireland. There are ten left-wingers against the cuts now in the Irish Parliament and this will help the movement outside parliament. However, speeches do not change the world, only mass resistance will.
You can hear Richard Boyd Barrett's speech here.