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CPIR Statement: Crocodile Tears for the Magdelene Survivors

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When we see a free state premier crying and asking for forgiveness, there is only one thing we can be sure of - after decades of denial, the Irish comprador class has found itself with no hiding place and has been forced to own up to yet another horrendous crime against humanity.


For some time now, the facts of slave labour camps know as the "Magdelene Laundries" have been making their way into the public consciousness, via books, films and documentaries, and through the noble efforts of the survivors themselves to tell the world that they will not be buried in silence.


Despite the appointing of Catholic traditionalist, Martin McAleese, to write a report into the functioning of these slave labour camps, since 1922, we know that the comprador free state and the Catholic church directly colluded to force women, and girls as young as twelve, into a system of mental and physical abuse and the extraction of slave labour. Many of the women were to spend the rest of their lives in these cloisters of terror, which, incredibly, were still plying their trade until 1996. All the survivors carry the terrible scars, as a life sentence.


Enda Kenny and the bourgeois media have been careful to downplay the class nature of this crime. In truth, the Magdelene Laundries were part of a system of violent control of the Working Class. It was, more particularly, the violent control of the wombs of Working Class women - the comprador class would decide on the production of children, according to their own labour needs. But, like all good capitalists, the Irish comprador class knew how to turn any situation to its advantage. The slave labour of these women subsidized the profits of many of Ireland's biggest hotel chains, who got their laundry done cheaply and with military efficiency. Indeed, the free state army enjoyed clean sheets and shirts, thanks to the detergent raw skin of young female hands.


Women daring to escape from these hell holes were hunted down by the Gardaí, as runaway slaves, and returned by force to their captors. Those who were pregnant - not all by any means - had their children stolen from them, to be trafficked onto the baby markets of the United States.


Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the free state has admitted to its crime. But, what a strange criminal it is. Instead of having a judge hand down it's punishment, instead of hearing the compensation it must pay to its victims, the condemned free state tells its victims that it is setting up a fund, and invites them to apply to that fund to see what they might get. Is this the new paradigm for crime and punishment? Criminals will decide what compensation, if any, they will award their victims? If they apply.


If justice is not involved in this theatre, and certainly it isn't, then what was the point of Enda Kenny's tears? None other than to create the illusion of a moral contract between the rulers and the ruled. "We let you down." In other words, you could have expected justice from us, but we failed you. Now we have realised our error, and the contract between rulers and ruled is safe, once more.


In fact, there was never any contract between the free state and the Irish people. The state the Irish people created was overthrown, by coup d'état, in 1922, and replaced by two British imposed partitionist statelets. The southern statelet is the instrument of native Irish comprador wealth and privilege. No wonder that it found a willing ally in that other instrument of imperialist power, the Holy Roman Church. The Irish Working Class, the great majority, can expect nothing from these foreign impositions, but slavery, abuse and exile. And, indeed, they have gotten those in abundance.


No, the Magdelene survivors will get nothing from the free state but more use and abuse. In their youth, their labour was extracted without mercy. Their living entombment was a whispered terror to keep all Working Class women underfoot. Now, they will be used to paper over the unbridgeable gap between rulers and ruled in Ireland, just as the survivors of the so called Industrial Schools have been used. They will be used to create the image of a solidarity and a morality that the free state was imposed precisely to destroy in Ireland. We know this to be so, since just as Kenny's tears fall, so too does the guillotine fall on the most vulnerable in Irish society - to pay the gambling debts of those who Kenny and his ilk really answer to.


Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachta

Communist Party of the Irish Republic

25iú Feabhra 2013

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