Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ireland: Babies deaths, the left, and Catholic Church power.

 As children of unwed mothers, the dead babies were not baptized
By John Throne

When my father would come home drunk all I ever heard from my mother was “You will put us all in the workhouse with your drinking.” The workhouse was the great terror in her life. Its name was then changed to the County Home. It was in Stranorlar. 

I am very keen to hear what demands Comrades who read this blog, or left Comrades in general are putting forward on the issue and the power of the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland. I see where a Protestant organization/church in Dublin has now also been caught with a mass grave. This makes things both easier and more urgent to clarify and raise demands. 

Comrades I have to say that over the recent years I have been surprised at the reluctance of people on the left to take on the structure of the Catholic Church in Ireland and point out its role and power. Paddy Devlin was one of the few well-known left politicians to do so for all his faults. He said that the Catholic Church blocked the development of the left at every turn and as a result every radical movement from below had nowhere to go except sectarian republicanism. 

I was recently in Derry and had to meet a man there that I knew. He was not a socialist. But he knew me and my opinions very well. He said he had to call a few places to collect something and then we would go on to our destination. I said fine and thought no more about it. After a few stops we arrived at the Catholic Church and in he went and delivered the money he had been collecting at the stops he had been dragging me----an atheist and Marxist-----around to. I was enraged that he had involved me in collecting money for that outfit. I broke off all relations with him after this. 

I raised this with a Comrade who is an atheist and former leading member and full timer of the old CWI, the socialist organization from which I was expelled. I said how about if I had taken that other man, the devout Catholic, around and collected money for the Orange Order and never told him what I was doing? Would he not be enraged? This Comrade said he would never have thought about it like this. I was and am astounded that he would not. It shows the depth of the indoctrination of the Catholic Church over its members. The difference between the Orange Order and the Catholic Church is mainly one of power.  

The Catholic Church campaigned from the pulpit for the move to the National Wage agreements in
Onward Christian soldiers
the early 1970's. The Catholic Church set up a committee at the time to set the wage for its lowest rank male full time workers that it calls priests. Donal Nevin, a top trade union official was brought on to the committee. This was to pretend that the labor movement was involved. This committee set a wage for these full time church workers which was three times that of the income of a single mother with three children. Am I not also right in thinking that when it looked like the Stalinist WP was going to take over the ITGWU the Catholic church mobilized its brainwashed members in the trade union and labor bureaucracy and merged the ITGWU and the FWUI and kept the "commies" out. We are dealing with an extremely powerful and conscious political organization of capitalism in the Catholic Church. The Protestant churches are also churches of capitalism but the Catholic Church with its 1.1 billion members, its own state and with diplomatic rights in countries it has a presence, is the main one. 

The US ambassador to the Vatican said that the moral power of the Catholic Church and the
economic power of the US would bring down Stalinism. He was not far wrong. the Catholic hierarchy held many meetings with top strategists of US imperialism as Stalinism began to crack. Google this and you will be astounded at how much information comes up. The popes of the time made trip after to trip to the Stalinist countries to whip up their supporters and make sure that Stalinism was followed by capitalism and not democratic socialism.

So back to Ireland. There will be no successful socialist revolution in Ireland that does not take on the Catholic Church just as there will not be on in the US that does not take on institutionalized racism or sexism. Look at the role such outfits played in the Russian revolution and the Spanish Civil war and the dirty wars in Latin America. The Catholic Church will use the sword by means of mobilizing its members. The left must not be intimidated in the present situation. There is a chance now to strike a serious blow at all the churches and their support for capitalism. For this some cutting edge demands must be developed. I am not in Ireland so I cannot be sure. But some I would suggest: 

No religious organizations to be allowed to control any school, place of education or hospital. 

All who see themselves as progressive and revolutionary leave any organization that is based on sectarianism. 

All organizations that discriminate on gender or LGBT basis to be shunned and all who think of themselves as progressive to leave these organizations. If they cannot leave them build opposition groups within them. 

All who think of themselves as progressive not to allow their children to be named in such organizations and not themselves to marry or be buried in these outfits. 

Tax all religious organizations. 

Open up a debate on whether organizations such as the churches and houses of all religious organizations with their criminal records should be banned from owning property. 

Readers of this blog that know me will know that I was born into a Protestant Orange Order family. My uncle who brought me up was the "Worshipful District Master" they use the fancy titles too like the churches. I broke from that background ended up in the Bogside where I was on the Bogside Citizens Defense Association. I went on to become a revolutionary socialist and remain so and also an uncompromising atheist. Revolutionaries in Ireland must consider have they fully broken from their religious indoctrination whether Protestant or Catholic. 

If what I hear is right and there is not a united front of direct action to force the issue of the mass graves of children on to the parliaments North and South and to end the control by the religious organizations over so much of society then I am worried.  

If this is the case then a great opportunity is being missed. And if as some Comrade says FF and FG are taking up this issue then of course they are. But the question is why can they? They can only do so with any impetus if the left does not take it up and takes it up in the way I suggest that is by showing how weak Irish capitalism made a deal with the Catholic church and gave it control over the workhouses, children's homes, schools and hospitals. It was in a hospital like this that the Indian doctor, Savita Happanavar died after her pleas to terminate her pregnancy due to a miscarriage were refused.  She was told, “This is a Catholic Country.”

As I pointed out in a previous blog, the Irish capitalist class were too weak to lead the struggle for independence in Ireland. (See Trotsky's Theory of the Permanent Revolution. The capitalist parties will not take on the Catholic Church and its control over Irish society.  Irish capitalism and the Catholic hierarchy are both responsible, this alliance is responsible for the mass graves just as this alliance is responsible for the Magdalene Laundries, orphanages and women who were imprisoned in them.

The issue must be taken up in this way because now the mass media is trying to blame the "Irish People." Anything to get their class and its allies the Catholic and Protestant hierarchies off the hook. 

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