Recently there has been a spike in racist and anti-immigrant sentiment in Ireland. The current housing crisis and other factors have given rise to a misguided perception that those not born in Ireland are taking up homes and jobs that would otherwise be available to people born in Ireland. These ideas have been promoted and taken up by the racism/fascism-for-dummies groups like the National Party and Yellow Vest Ireland.
Here is a fact to begin with. Even if everyone not born in Ireland was to leave the country tomorrow, there would still be homelessness. This is not because there wouldn’t, or couldn’t, be enough houses, it is because the housing market is dominated by private ownership, in which individuals and corporations profit from the sale of homes. If everyone was given a home, these individuals and corporations could not make a profit. The state in Ireland will never undermine the people of money, the wealthy elites, who really run this country, by undermining their abiltiy to make their profit. The same issue exists, and is increasingly coming to exist, in healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc. The state has more than enough at its disposal to house everyone, to feed everyone, to take care of everyone and to educate everyone, and could easily cater for everyone in Ireland and a great deal more. But if they provide all of that free, or at least affordably, their chums with the big money would be out of pocket- so it will not happen. This is capitalism. So rather than pick on a vulnerable family which has had to go through the untold horror of leaving their home place, their loved ones, and everything they know, why not lay the blame at the feet of those responsible-the state and the wealthy elites-and challenge them?
Next: many of you are only alive to write scathing posts about immigrants because your ancestors were kept alive by foreign aid in times of crisis, most notably during the Great Hunger. That foreign aid was provided by countries which had their own poor, starving and homeless people to deal with. Indeed during discussions in the US senate regarding the sending of aid to Ireland, Senator John Niles of Connecticuit opposed such aid on the basis that: “charity begins at home… why do we send money to assist foreign peoples, when some of our own citizens could use it”. Had those who supported your predecessors taken the same attitude as you and John Niles, many of you wouldn’t even be here to promote misguided propaganda against defenseless immigrants and refugees. Indeed it was ‘foreigners’ who cared for us when the Irish people were dying as our ‘fellow’ wealthy Irish, complicit with the English occupiers, profited from crop sales and land and property ownership.
So if you wish to ‘take care of’ those born in Ireland first, it would only be fair that you should allow for other countries to do the same and let the Irish in every nation to which they have flocked, be returned, or left unemployed or without a home because these other nations ‘take care of their own first’. We would be no better off. In fact our rural communities would be decimated. If other countries applied this to even their second generation Irish the whole country would be levelled. People wouldn’t have room to give out about all the ‘foreigners’ in the dole ques, on the housing lists, in the A & E rooms, or classrooms: but they would be worse off again but with Micheáls, Seamuses, Saoirses and Aoifes. The people of the US, Australia, Canada, England and so forth would no longer have to worry about Irish immigrants taking up their jobs and houses. Your English counterparts who recently abused a teacher from Ireland living in England telling him they “couldn’t wait for Boris and Brexit Party to make Brexit happen and send [him] and [his] lot back to f***ing Ireland,” would be greatly pleased.
There are also those who are not ‘misguided’. Rather they are determined to exploit the housing crisis and other issues to further their racist and fascist ideas. They should be given no quarter. Our proud tradition is one of exporting our best to defeat the ideas of fascism and hate in other quarters of the world. We can never allow for it to grow at home. Those promoting these ideas- the National Party and Yellow Vests Ireland among others are sniping vermin who want to harangue and encourage further misery to be heaped on some of the weakest in our society. For people so filled with concern for any foreign presence in Ireland, they have been remarkably silent on the presence of foreign interference in the six counties. Of course that would involve actually challenging people who might fight back, and not helpless families in dire straits. It would also mean upsetting their right-wing allies in Britain, who offer active support to the British army which murdered civilians throughout this country. Compare these gutter snipe halfwits with the heroes who died fighting the very ideas which they stand for: Dinny Coady of Dublin, James Stranney of Belfast- two Labourers, working people among many others, who gave their lives fighting Franco’s fascism which the aforementioned dirt want to promote here in Ireland. Fascists have only ever set fine example when being hoisted by their feet by Partisans: their ideas will not take root here.
Look around the world today at the progressive movements who are tackling poverty and deprivation at its root: in Ecuador, in Venezuela, in Cuba, in Chile, in Mexico and throughout the world. These are not fascist movements. They are struggling to build societies reflective of the Republic envisaged by James Connolly (a Scottish immigrant), a Republic which in his words “…should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth promise of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their efforts on its behalf”.
There are many people who are genuinely, yet inexcusably, misguided in their belief that ‘foreigners’ are taking up resources, you would do well to become conscious of your resenment and direct it accordingly at the source of the problem. Directing anger over the current problems we face at immigrants simply allows the real culprits to go unchallenged. This is a class issue: there is one class of oppressors which owns and controls our wealth, resources, politics and laws: the capitalists, and there is the class of the oppressed, those who must work for them and/or live in poverty and deprivation. The more we, the oppressed, divide ourselves based on religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and so forth, the less chance we have of challenging those who keep us in chains.
Saoradh’s position is clear: we stand for the Socialist Republic envisaged by Connolly, on the side of the oppressed, and we stand firmly against the fascism and racism which would foster division amongst us.