On 20th October 2012 the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions organised thousands of trade union and community demonstrators in a march in Belfast for an alternative to the Westminster government's austerity policies. Speaker after speaker lambasted the policies of austerity.

News that Enda Kenny has been chosen as “European of the year” by a group of German Magazine Publishers makes sense only in the context that recently the European Union itself recently won the Nobel peace prize. We would have to ask the question “European what of the year?”

The decision of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group to withdraw from the United Left Alliance is an unwelcome symptom of the growing impasse within the ULA, previously reflected in the controversy over Mick Wallace and the departure of Clare Daly from the Socialist Party. The WUAG has a long standing base in South Tipperary and its departure will have an influence on the development of the ULA at a national level.

Across Europe it is the sick the old and especially the young that are being forced to pay for the economic crisis. In Spain and Greece youth unemployment stands at over 50%. In Ireland although that figure is somewhat lower at 17.9% but this still means nearly 1 in 5 youth are workless and the statistic covers up the distressing reality that we face; in particular, ongoing attacks to education and the lack of work in Ireland that have led to many young people turning to migration. If people emigrate they don't show up on the figures.

Many politically active workers and young people in Ireland and beyond will be scratching their heads over this weekend’s spat between the leadership of the Socialist Party and former Socialist Party TD Clare Daly. A series of statements and counter statements have done little to clarify what are the real political differences between the SP and Daly who is widely acknowledged as a hard working and respected TD. Unfortunately, the issues aren’t going away easily, the right wing press will make sure of that.

James Connolly and Jim Larkin founded the Irish Labour Party in 1912, based on the trade union movement as a means to express the political and social aspirations of the Irish working class. Connolly understood that the working class needed to organize to combat British Imperialism and the rack renting landlords and the slave drivers of Belfast and the sweated trades owners of Dublin.  Connolly went to his death in 1916 as a workers leader who had fought his whole life in the interests of working people.

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