In recent times we are being brought news reports about 1,000 plus children under 8 years old and their families are homeless and the numbers of homeless are rising in the southern Irish state, about overcrowding in hospitals with hundreds regularly waiting hours on trolleys. About more building cranes visible on the Dublin skyline but they are building offices rather than homes because offices are more profitable. The minister’s solution to the housing crisis is to allow for the building of smaller ‘shoebox’ apartments, which will increase even more the profit of the builders and speculators. Meanwhile the level of wealth of the super-rich elite in the state keeps rising as large sections of society sink into greater poverty and desperation. (An equivalent narrative could be written for the northern Irish state).
Faced with this brutal reality deliberately brought about by the austerity policies of parties peddling a right wing neoliberal agenda it is incredible that many people appear to be convinced that there is no alternative. The level of indoctrination of the population by the media, the education system and the churches is astounding and depressing. It prevents the majority of the population from believing that society can be organised in a fairer and more equal manner. It promotes the belief that increasing private profit should be the main driving force behind how we organise society. It makes people blind to the fact that we should (and could) organise society so that there is sufficient affordable good quality housing available for all who need it, where an effective and efficient health service free at the point of access could be created, where education is free to all who wish to avail of it up to third level and where proper welfare services exist for those who need them. Such a civilised society can be created by economic policies based on progressive taxation, creating jobs the local economy which pay proper wages, where the essential services are under public ownership and not run for private profit and where we end our dependency on low wage ‘fly by night’ foreign investment.
As polls suggest that support for Fine Gael is rising it is essential that those who consider themselves progressive come together to organise a genuine alternative. The Right2Change initiative offers an opportunity to bring about such an alternative. Everyone may not agree with every sentence in the Right2Change document or with every word that has been spoken during the campaign. Some may think that the initiative does not go far enough. Some people will not be happy with the program of other parties involved – that’s the nature of such initiatives – if everyone agreed they would be in the same grouping. But with an election coming early in 2016 the opportunity must not be lost to end this cruel regime of austerity. Putting the needs of the majority of the Irish people ahead of party posturing and coming together to create a government which will end austerity and create a more fair and equal society is essential now. Right2Change. Is Féidir Linn