Belfast 2006:

Socialist Party May Day leaflet

A Socialist world is necessary!

May Day is a day of international working class solidarity. This May Day we can celebrate the fact that the fightback by the working class against the right-wing neo-liberal agenda is underway in earnest worldwide.

We have just witnessed a magnicant movement of workers and youth in France that defeated the CPE contract. Greek workers have organised a general strike. In India there has been a massive general strike against privatisation and, also in Asia, the 18 day general strike in Nepal created many features of a classic revolutionary situation in that country.

In Latin America, Evo Morales was elected President of Bolivia on the back of the mass uprisings against privatisation of water and gas and, under the pressure of this movement, has just announced the nationalisation of the gas resourses.

In the citadel of capitalism itself, the US, May Day was marked by the movement of millions of Latino workers protesting against the clamp down on immigration and on the rights of immigrant workers.

Closer to home we have seen more than one million workers strike against Blair's attack on local government pensions. Last week saw civil servants in the Department of Work and Pensions strike for two days against job losses and privatisation. In the south we saw more than 100,000 take to the streets last December supporting Irish Ferries workers and opposing the attempts by employers to create a "race to the bottom".

Time for an independent political voice

The thing that is missing through these struggles is a political alternative to the neo liberal agenda and to those parties that enforce it. Over the last two decades the old parties that workers looked to, like the Labour Party in Britain, have moved decisively to the right and are now openly capitalist parties with nothing to offer working class people.

Yet most trade unions are still linked to these parties and their leaders defend this link. It is time to change this situation. The link with parties such as New Labour should be broken and trade unionists and socialists should begin the task of creating new parties that can provide a socialist political expression to the industrial and social struggles that are now convulsing the world.

Fight for a socialist future

This is the task facing the trade union movement in Northern Ireland as well. The parties that are about to take their seats in the Assembly have all backed the bosses agenda of privatisation and cuts. All the main parties agreed to the introduction of water charges when they were in power.

Nor is there any point looking to these parties to overcome the sectarian division. Their role has always been and will always be to keep working class people divided - other wise they would be put out of business.

Trade unionists, genuine community activists and socialists should come together to begin to create a new party to represent working class people. The Socialist Party believes that such a party should put forward socialist policies and should stand independent of all other political forces in fighting for a socialist solution here. These are the ideas we would argue for within it.

Join the Socialist Party and strengthen the fight for socialist ideas and a socialist alternative.

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