No To Borders- Yes To 32 County Socialism

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At its heart, People Before Profit is a 32 county socialist organisation. We oppose borders that prevent working people from coming together – particularly the border on the island of Ireland. Like James Connolly, we see the Irish border as the source of sectarian divisions leading to a carnival of reaction. Historically, the border has divided working people on this island, holding back their economic development and helping to bolster a conservative unionism in the north and a conservative Catholicism in the south. For these reasons we have never recognised the border in our political activity. People Before Profit are a proud 32 county organisation with political representation and vibrant grassroots networks north and south. 

No Hard Border

Since 2016, Brexit has become a messy divorce between two warring imperial blocks. Neither London nor Brussels has any real interest in the Irish people, so they use the Irish border as political leverage in their battle with each other. Both sides say they are against any hardening of the border – but neither will rule it out categorically. Meanwhile, the Irish establishment have spent nearly three years promising us there won’t be a border without guaranteeing that they won’t enforce one.

In the event of a hardening of the border by the EU the Irish government will have a choice to make – do they support European market rules or do they support the democratic wishes of people on the island and thereby reduce the conditions for sectarian violence. Fine Gael will likely put money and markets above peace and democracy, but for People Before Profit the choice is clear. No one on this island wants a hardening of the border so we won’t accept one imposed from abroad or by FG.

If Leo Varadkar’s government attempt to impose a border on this island we will:

  • Establish a campaign of civil disobedience alongside trade unionists, grassroots activists and others to stop a border in its tracks. People power can stop a border imposed from abroad.
  • Campaign for a border poll to give people north and south the chance to unite the island.
  • Argue that the governments Rainy Day Fund be deployed to keep workers and poorer people protected from the effects of Brexit.

Time for a Border Poll

Mainstream politicians have had nearly three years to resolve the issue of a hard border without getting anywhere. Instead they have turned the border into a political football and ramped up project fear around potential shortages in food and medical supplies. No one here wants a hard border – so the best way to respect the democratic wishes of the people is to give them a vote on uniting the island.

This means holding a vote in the north to respect the wishes of those who want to avoid a border and in the south with a view to setting up a constituent assembly for a new 32 county Ireland.

In any border poll we will campaign for a yes vote to end the sectarian carnival of reaction. But to win a border poll it will take more than the sectarian headcount proposed by Sinn Fein and the various other nationalist groupings.

Northern Protestants are rightly sceptical of a southern state that has denied its citizens basic rights and thrown its lot in with the Catholic Hierarchy. They see a failed health care system a housing crisis and an education system dominated by the church and ask themselves – why would we want to unite with the south.

To win a border poll we will need to build working class solidarity across the island on the basis of a new vision for a new society.

As socialists we want to root out rotten political structures on both sides of the border through people power movements. Recent cross border solidarity on the Belfast Rape Trial, abortion rights and housing shows the potential for cross border people power movements that can challenge the status quo on all parts of this island. It is to further a socialist society that we want a border poll to end the rule of the 1% and give people the kind of society that allows them to flourish.