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(en) Ireland, WSM* Workers Solidarity #91 - Pat Rabbitte and Immigration Turning on workers?

Date Sat, 08 Apr 2006 10:54:38 +0300

Labour leader pat Rabbitte showed
his opportunism when he called for a
look at work visas for EU nationals.
He raised the spectre of 40 million
poles chasing "Irish Jobs". It was
a thoroughly disappointing turn by
Labour but hardly surprising.
Coming after the massive show of
strength by the unions during the Irish
Ferries dispute, this call
succeeded in moving the debate away from
workers rights and onto the basest populist
nonsense. It pits worker against worker not
worker against boss.
The strategy of the progressive wing of
the labour movement is to recruit the new
EU workers into the unions and keep the
standards of employment up. "Workers
of the world unite" was an old slogan
that Pat Rabbitte should remember from
his Workers Party days. But when power
is the objective principle is an expensive
There was a deafening silence from the
ranks of the Labour Party. Apart from a
few letters in the Irish Times there was no
outcry. The truth is that the Labour Party
is all about acquiring power, why else the
pact with the anti worker Fine Gael party?
The senior ranks are filled with power
hungry careerists. The biggest problem
with Rabbites pronouncement is that it
plays into the hands of the anti/immigrant
forces, the racists and the capitalists who
seek to keep the working class divided and
But the interests of the working class are
far from Pat Rabbittes mind. He reckons
that by playing this populist card he can
outflank Sinn Fein by playing on peoples
worries about jobs and instead of pointing
the finger at the bosses he is in effect
blaming immigrants. Much as in the US
successive waves of immigrants, including
the Irish, have been scapegoated. Whilst
there is displacement and a race to
the bottom this can only be tackled by
unionising and workers struggles. The
state will only serve the interests of capital
and any efforts to control immigration will
simply feed the black economy, divide
workers and give employers the threat
of deportation to hang over immigrant

"Workers of the world Feck off"
Pat Rabbite, Leader

Pat Rabbitte was
once a member of the Workers Party
which preached international socialism
of a kind. Electoralism and reformist
politics has lead him and many others to
this point. Don't hold your breath for any
favours from Labour should they acquire
power. As always the best defence lies in
the self organisation of the working class
and direct action to achieve change.

From Workers Solidarity 91, March/April 2006
PDF file online at http://www.struggle.ws/pdfs/ws/
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