From Militant, No. 203, January 1992.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.
Proofread by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL). (July 2012)
After more than two decades of sectarian violence and failed political initiatives 1992 has opened with more of the same. The UFF who murdered 16 people in 1991 have announced that they intend to increase their activities this year. So have the IPLO whose death tally for last year was six. And the Provisional’s have made their intentions for the New Year quite plain with the huge bombs in Bedford Street and High Street in Belfast.
As always it will be workers in the main who will bear the brunt of further violence, not just in terms of deaths but also of disruption and fear. For the working class this ongoing violence is an increasingly pointless and unbearable burden.
What can it achieve? The Provisionals’ methods can never succeed. The fact that they have been forced back to a tactic – the bombing of commercial targets – which they abandoned years ago bears this out. The loyalist activity has no purpose except to exact revenge on the Catholic population.
The time has come to call a halt. Militant calls on all these groups to declare a permanent ceasefire so that the energies of the working class are no longer diverted but can be concentrated on fighting the number one enemy, the Tory government.
Not only the paramilitaries but also the Tories are offering more of the same in 1992 – more health cuts, electricity privatisation, redundancies at Shorts. Tory policy in the North adds up to a mixture of recession, poverty and repression. The working class movement here, especially the trade unions, faces two key challenges in 1992. One is to act to end the violence. The other is to help remove the Tories. Both go hand in hand.
Last year groups of workers did take action against the killings. This must be stepped up and co-ordinated in a general campaign to mobilise workers in their tens of thousands to force the paramilitaries to call off their campaigns. Alongside this the movement must offer those who want to fight all forms of injustice an alternative means of doing so. There must be mass action to resist Tory attacks and to drive them out of office.
This prospect is already in sight. At some stage this year a general election must be called and with the Tories trailing in opinion polls, and with the economy in recession, they face likely defeat. Here the working class movement must play its part by preparing now to put forward socialist Labour candidates in every constituency to challenge our local Tories and bigots.
Last updated: 8.7.2012