Stephen Collins: Inside The War Machine

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From a comment left on the article.

Writing in Saturday’s Irish Times, Stephen Collins lauds Eamon Gilmore’s role in ensuring the ‘political stability to avoid economic catastrophe’. What he means is the Labour Party’s participation in a government whose vocation is launching a massive assault on the living standards, working conditions and expectations for the future, of the working class that the Labour Party has purported to represent.

In undertaking this course of action, the Labour Party not only demonstrated that it was not the party of labour -at least if we understand ‘labour’ as the women and men who have only their labour power to sell in order to make ends meet- but that it was willing to sacrifice the people it claimed to represent, and the principles it claimed to uphold, in order to save Irish capitalism.

For a newspaper like the Irish Times, and for Ireland’s media and establishment more broadly, such a course of action, that is, leading a legislative assault against the working class and patronisingly telling them it is for their own good, is grounds for admiration.

And the electoral response that has seen Labour cast into oblivion by a large part of their supporters can be chalked up, by Stephen Collins and other political correspondents, to fickle electorates and communications failures, not the personal and social disasters generated by government policy.

The solution Collins presents for Labour’s woes -and it is hard to see who is interested in such a solution bar insiders at the top of the Labour Party and their confrères in the corridors of power- is that Labour must go on the attack against Sinn Féin and what he calls the ‘hard left’ and thereby convince voters that neoliberal austerity, that is, the ongoing transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich and the destruction of social rights and democratic accountability, is in the best interests of those who have abandoned Labour at this election.

That is, instead of articulating a political alternative for working class people, Labour must become a totem for working class resignation, a beacon for the impossibility of anything else. And here, in this advice as in every single article he writes, Collins is clear: the interests of Capital always come first, and must govern every political decision. What this shows is that Collins and the upper echelons of the Labour Party are not ‘Inside Politics’, but inside a war machine trained on Ireland’s working class.

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