Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Don't be fooled by words (1971)

From the November 1971 issue of the Socialist Standard

“All I want to see, is my country free, happiness peace and prosperity." A theme, with variations, that has headed the top ten of the political hit parade with unceasing regularity during the last century.

The chorus master on this occasion is Joe Cahill who has been described as “the militant leader of the Belfast wing of the provisional IRA" after his release from detention in Dublin. At this point we will stop the satire; the part played over the decades by political “leaders" with their message of national independence has proved too tragic and disastrous to joke about.

The working class of Ireland, that is to say of Eire and Northern Ireland, as indeed workers wherever they may reside, should think seriously about such phrases as “Freedom", “My country", “Prosperity" and “Peace". Let’s see what they really mean.

Freedom: In capitalist society means the right of the vast majority to be propertyless wage workers producing wealth to be sold on a market with a view to profit.

My country : The countries of the world are owned by a privileged minority. The working class has problems and interests that are produced by capitalism and not by the existence of national barriers. 

Prosperity: All workers are poor, some are destitute. A prosperous working class is a contradiction in terms. Capitalism is as incapable of producing a working class that is prosperous as it is of producing a government that is popular.

Peace: Even if the shooting stopped the class war would remain, that is the struggle which goes on all the time over the ownership of the wealth of society, whether it be in a so called “United" Ireland, the “United" States, the “United" Kingdom, the “United” Arab Republic. Russia, Africa, in fact wherever capitalism is the predominating form of society.
S. L. L.

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