Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
DDCI calls on New Government to Strictly Regulate Vulture Fund Acquisitions Wed May 04, 2016 15:22 | Irish Left Review
Warning: Ultra-Low Spend Economy Ahead Wed May 04, 2016 11:59 | Michael Taft
May Issue of Socialist Voice Out Now Wed May 04, 2016 10:56 | Communist Party of Ireland
Time to Get Real Fri Apr 29, 2016 13:45 | Michael Taft
Turning Failure Into Hope Fri Apr 29, 2016 13:40 | Michael Taft
Irish Left Review >>
Wailings about Left Unity Sat Feb 13, 2016 01:13 | James O'Brien
The Bern Manifesto: Why I am Voting for Bernie Sanders Wed Jan 27, 2016 23:59 | Jerome Nikolai Warren
Kautsky â€“ The crisis of capitalism and the shortening of working time Mon Nov 09, 2015 22:34 | James O'Brien
How to do better things with words Fri Oct 23, 2015 07:38 | modulus
Syriza and Israel: Syrizaâ€™s response Thu Aug 20, 2015 18:10 | yeksmesh
Spirit of Contradiction >>
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005
Terry Prone: Water protesters are dumb
Conor Pope: Genuinely clueless Anthony
Conor Pope: Supporting Irish Water Anthony
Colette Browne chases Rabbitte back down his burrow Anthony
Irish media: Looking after their own Anthony
Public Inquiry >>
A bird's eye view of the vineyard
Dying to Dive. Underwater Search for Serenity with World?s Top Freedivers Wed May 04, 2016 18:20 | The Saker
A very good video about my favorite sport – freediving – which I practiced for now over 40 years, going from snorkeling off a sand beach at age 10 to
International Military Review ? Syria, May 4, 2016 Wed May 04, 2016 15:19 | The Saker
?CrossTalk? Realist vs. Hawk? Wed May 04, 2016 13:34 | The Saker
The unforgiving choice: enemies versus allies Wed May 04, 2016 05:10 | The Saker
by Ghassan Kadi On global account, and especially when it comes to Syria, thanks, a great deal of thanks must be given to Russia, her people and leadership for the
CrossTalk: Bullhorns in the Bullpen Wed May 04, 2016 05:09 | The Saker
The Saker >>
Suicide of the Socialists: The Mick Wallace Issue
Wednesday October 17, 2012 18:04 by Socialist Democracy
One can only look on in amazement as sections of the Irish Socialist movement self-destruct over its attitude to one individual, independent TD Mick Wallace. As with many other things, the appearance is not the reality. The frantic denunciation of Wallace, and the equally frantic adulation of him only a few months ago, represent very deep and systemic weaknesses that must be overcome if a working class resistance is to be built.
Wallace is a contractor who was bankrupted in the credit crunch and was elected to the Dail on a programme of opposition to the bank bailout and the austerity. He was a high-profile thorn in the side of the government and so frequently on the platform of the United Left Alliance that many people thought he was a member.
All this changed when it was revealed that Wallace had avoided the payment of the full VAT tax due for his building construction business. Wallace owned up to the fiddle and promised repayment., claiming that he was trying to save his business. The capitalist press went on a full-blooded witchunt and the socialist press quickly fell into line behind the pack.
In the household charge movement the Socialist party and Socialist Workers party moved not only expel Wallace, but to expel anyone who associated with him or invited him on a platform.
The Socialist party saw the resignation of one of their two TDs, Clare Daly, because of an association with Wallace. She said she would now concentrate on building the United Left Alliance - the only vehicle left to her that can justify a role in the Dail. The SP immediately responded by indicating that her presence in the ULA would cause "difficulties".
So what's going on? The capitalists who are pursuing Wallace are the crooks who stole the country. Ireland has a long tradition of political corruption and the perpetrators are rarely punished in the courts or at the ballot box. Why the Left's anxiety to throw itself at the head of the mob baying for blood?
A clue was provided by a Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party. His party was forced to act because of its commitment to "taxation justice". The same liberal phrase was used in the Household Charge debate. The ULA's call to make the rich pay is a central slogan.
This is moralism disguised as policy. Progressive tax policies cannot provide the mountains of money required as long as the bank bail-out continues and would not be implemented short of a socialist government which would be taking control of key resources - not taxing them
Another issue is the unremitting electoral and parliamentary focus of left strategy. The Wallace case is hardly a burning issue in the working class. It is in the columns of the right wing press that dominate the Dail.
The left parties in the Dail search for respectability and fly into a panic under press attacks. Questions about the Socialist Party's Dail expenses had led to hysteria similar to the hysteria over Mick Wallace. They hope to gradually increase the number of Dail seats, a perspective that only makes sense through the lens of a reformism that envisages the economic crisis being resolved by an improved capitalism. Behind it all is an unremitting sectarianism that stands ready at any time to sacrifice the broader movement to their own interests.
The basic fact is that the idea that Dail seats build movements is completely mistaken and leads to the sort of self-defeating opportunism we see today. Much larger movements that were disciplined parties have been torn apart by the pressures of a bourgeois parliament and a rapacious media.
The starting point for a socialist resistance is real principled unity around the needs of the working class and the tasks we urge it to undertake in its own defense. Instead we get playacting unity between small groups based on their own needs, in a frame-work work where capitalist resurgence is regarded as inevitable and workers revolution as fantasy.