50 Years Ago – Northern Ireland: unite for socialism!
Northern Ireland — with its street riots, its shootings, its bombings, its political prisoners — is but one of world capitalism’s trouble spots. What has been happening there is only exceptional compared with life in capitalist Britain. On a world scale it is normal. Somewhere, sometime innocent people are always being killed by the forces of Law and Order or by the terrorist activities of their self-appointed “liberators”. If it’s not Northern Ireland, it’s Cyprus. If it’s not Cyprus, it’s Algeria. If it’s not Algeria, it’s Palestine … or India or Vietnam or South Africa. The only difference is that Northern Ireland is a lot nearer home.
Violence is never far below the surface of capitalism, even in comparatively peaceful areas like Britain. The institutionalised violence of the State exists to protect the class monopoly of a minority over the means of wealth production and its agents have continually to contain the frustrations caused by the insecure and deprived existence of the working class under capitalism. But the scarcity the working class the world over have to endure is artificial. The world means of production are quite capable of producing an abundance of wealth from which everybody could freely take according to their needs. Capitalism holds back production because it operates, and has to operate, according to the rule “No profit, no production” and it restricts the consumption of the vast majority to what is needed to keep them efficient wealth — and profit — producers.(…)
Understandably, at the moment, ordinary people in Northern Ireland want peace, an end to the pointless shootings and bombings and the added insecurity they bring. We too want an immediate end to this senseless sacrifice of working-class life to no useful purpose (not even now the interests of their masters, as was once the case). But, over and above this, we want Socialism, a far more worthwhile objective than a mere return to “normal” capitalism with its boring jobs, its dole queues, its slums and its general poverty and exploitation minus only the extra violence.
We urge workers in Ireland to join with us, and their fellow workers in all other countries, in working to establish as quickly as possible Socialism, a world of peace and plenty.
(Socialist Standard, February 1973)