Tens of thousands of people marched in Dublin in opposition to racist, anti-refugee sentiment and the far-right. The demonstration was in response to the recent growth of the far right who have been trying to build their movement through promoting racism and scapegoating refugees for the economic crisis faced by the working class.
This demonstration was an important step in building a combative movement against the far right. It is essential that they are consistently met with opposition and there must be a strong, anti-racist movement that can provide a clear opposition and a real solution to the misery of capitalism.
The far-right claims that our resources are being stretched by refugees, but the truth is our resources have been at breaking point long before this. The fault lies with the capitalist system that has been attacking and privatising our services for years. The reason we are in a massive housing crisis is because of a refusal to build public housing and end landlord profiteering. The reason we have years-long waiting lists and overflowing A&E’s is decades of privatisation and underfunding. The resources exist within society to ensure a decent standard of living for all. An organised movement of all sections of the working class, including refugees, young people, the trade unions, and all oppressed minorities poses a powerful opposition to the ruling class and the status quo.
The key role of young people
Young people will be an essential component in this movement, and we have already seen the potential power that they have in revolutionary and anti-establishment movements and protests internationally. In Iran, for example it is young people who are leading the movement against repression of women and against the dictatorship, with the average age of the arrested protesters being 15.
Even in Ireland we have seen the powerful impact young people can have in struggle. The marriage equality and abortion referenda in the South both saw huge amounts of young people getting active and involved in politics for the first time in many cases. Young people have also been to the fore of campaigns for trans rights and against climate change.
In 2020, we saw the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in the US. This movement was an international phenomenon with protests in many different countries. Thousands of people, mostly young, took to the streets in solidarity with the movement in the US but also against racism and police brutality here in Ireland too.
Not long after we saw the murder of a 27-year-old black man called George Nkencho by the Gardai in Clonee. There was a huge amount of disinformation circulating following this that was orchestrated by the far right. Protests took place in many parts of the country in response to the murder and the lies being spread that were organised by young black people. The mood was energetic, angry, determined, and unafraid.
Now as organisers in different communities come together to build an opposition to far right ideas, it is essential that the key role of young people is recognised. We need to build a united mass movement made up of the working class, communities, the trade unions, and young people. These campaigns should not be treading softly, limiting themselves to the more reformist elements within them. These campaigns must take on an energetic and combative character with enthusiastic young people to the fore and given the space to be active. We will not defeat the far right by taking a conservative approach. We must be confident in putting forward ideas and building a movement that fights for jobs, homes, and resources for all.
Join the struggle – Join the Young Socialists:
The Young Socialists is the youth section of Militant Left, a socialist organisation in the North and South of Ireland. We are part of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) which is an international organisation that fights for socialist ideas and organises against the far right around the world. We are fighting for a future worth having for young people, a socialist alternative to capitalism. We want to build a movement of like-minded young people that can fight back against the establishment for decent jobs, housing, healthcare and an end to the oppression and exploitation that is perpetuated by capitalism.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues, and the scarcity in resources gets worse young people will be left with no alternative but to fight for a socialist society, if we want any chance at a decent future. The far right is attempting to divide the working class and they must be met with opposition and a real alternative. The time is now to get actively involved in building an anti-racist movement and fighting for a better life for everyone.