Nationalisation not Devastation

Pic: Phil Beard/CC

Socialists have always advocated that the only way to resolve the massive problems which face the working class is to take the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy into public ownership and to run the economy under democratic workers’ control.

The term ‘nationalisation’, that is the process by which the major industries and financial institutions are taken out of private hands and brought into public ownership, is becoming central to the policies of major trade unions.

The term became somewhat discredited in the past due to the undemocratic and top-down way some industries were run.

It is now becoming more evident that democratic nationalisation under workers’ control is the best way to run key industries and services.

There are two clear current examples of where public ownership is the solution to save vital industries: Tara Mines in Ireland, owned by the Swedish company Boliden, who laid off 650 workers last year; and Tata steel in Britain, who are currently threatening to close their Port Talbot pant in Wales and cut 2800 jobs.

It is ICTU policy that Tara Mines should be taken into public ownership.

This can happen if the three unions involved, SIPTU, UNITE and CONNECT launch a serious campaign involving the workers and the local communities to force the government to intervene to save some of the largest zinc deposits in Europe. There is now an urgent campaign to save the 2800 jobs in Tata steel in Port Talbot, Wales. Tata is using the excuse that they have to transition to greener production techniques.

They will never invest the necessary billions needed for a green transition. UNITE has called for a ‘workers transition’ with job guarantees. This can only succeed through the nationalisation of the steel industry.

Public ownership would direct public investment towards a green transition that protects jobs. ’Nationalisation not devastation’ should be the key slogan to save vital industries like Tara Mines and Port Talbot.

A socialist planned economy will ensure that the costs of transitioning to a more sustainable industry do not come at the prices of workers’ jobs and communities.