Sean Matthews regards Sinn Fein opposition to Tory welfare cuts as tokenism. Sean Matthews is an anarchist activist.
As our bankrupt local political class squabble over the crumbs from Westminster’s table, the class war continues with the re-packaged ‘Welfare Reform’ bill - a further erosion in the standard of living of the vast majority while transferring wealth to the small minority.
Don’t be fooled by token opposition from mainly nationalist political parties to oppose the bill, particularly from Sinn Féin, that they are ‘defending the most vulnerable in our society’ because they are part of the problem rather than the solution proving that the parliamentary route ends in disempowerment, corruption and betrayal. Rather than ‘defending the most vulnerable’, let’s remember their record in power from consistently rolling out the red carpet to representatives of Imperialism at home and abroad, to their rolling out of the red carpet to the Queen and Commander in Chief of the Parachute Regiment Prince Charles, to their support for tax cuts for the rich, cuts to education and healthcare, opposition to women’s right to choose, to the criminalisation of republican prisoners over the last decade.
Stormont is a business with competing sectarian interests and its first interest is with the rich and powerful in society. This is why we never hear about any proposals in the budget to tax the richest in our society or raising the minimum wage to a living wage. The battle lines have clearly been marked with our local political class willing enforces of a brutal austerity agenda which defines the capitalist system we live under.
There are no easy short-cuts and we need to begin the task of building a mass movement: built in every street, workplace and community because we are the only solution to the rotten status quo.
If we want to turn the tables and start defeat this continues vicious cycle of cuts imposed by our ruling class, we need to recognise that being right isn’t enough.
Unfortunately, our society is not a debating chamber where everyone is given an equal voice, and the decisions that affect our lives are not taken on moral grounds but by a small minority in the interests of profit.
Mass unemployment, poverty, homelessness, erosion of workers' rights and high rates of suicide among young people is a symptom of a system that institutionalises violence and domination, scarring every aspect of our lives. But it does not have to be this way, because we are the majority and have the power to transform society to fulfil our needs and desires.
Our rulers don’t care about doing right by us. What they care about is power and wealth, and supporting the interests they represent. Unless we want more of the same and want to build a better society for ourselves and future generations, we will have to empower ourselves through direct action, by fostering a culture of resistance and solidarity in every aspect of our daily lives.