The death of the “Iron Lady” seems to be the topic of the day with much, predictable though nonetheless sickening, genuflecting from the Irish main stream media who are seeking to depict her as a pragmatic protagonist in Anglo-Irish relations and as a modernising reformer in the UK.
Irish Republicans need no reminding of the callous role she played in the recent history of our country. However, immature posturing and celebration of the death of an 87 year old woman is not what the Irish working class and the Irish struggle for a 32 County Socialist Republic needs right now. We need to evaluate and recognize her legacy. The success of her Neoliberal project and the effects it is having on the people of Ireland and the wider working class of the world today. In this part of the world we have seen in her wake, Neoliberal policies successfully confronting trade union power, attacking all forms of social solidarity, dismantling and rolling back the commitments of the welfare state, the privatisation of public enterprises, and reducing taxes on the rich while the living standards of workers and the poor are simultaneously eroded.
Thatcher once famously declared ”there is no such thing as society, only individual men and women”. That ideological standpoint is today everywhere evident around us as Ireland’s leaders blindly follow the Neoliberal economic path, no matter what devastating social cost it comes at.
The Tyrant, from a Tyrannical regime, has indeed passed away, yet the monster she created lives on. Our energies today need to focus on how we can successfully confront the tyranny of market fundamentalism, on rebuilding those social solidarities so ravaged by Thatcher and her ilk, and on leading the fight towards revolutionary social change in Ireland and worldwide.
It is with particular poignancy today that I quote one of the brave ten hunger strikers of 1981, INLA Volunteer Party O’Hara:
“After we are gone, what will you say you were doing? Will you say you were with us in our struggle or were you conforming to the very system that drove us to our deaths?”
Patsy’s example and his words ring true for us all today who strive to oppose the ravages of modern day imperialism and capitalism. Do we conform to the system or do we oppose it through struggle?
As Patsy said.. ”Let the fight go on…”