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Post Election challenges for the Left

category national | elections / politics | opinion/analysis author Monday June 09, 2014 10:41author by Pat Waine Report this post to the editors

Sf shift to the right

Huge gains for the Anti Austerity Left - Where now and what will Sinn Fein do with this power.

Post elections Challenges for the Left

Now that the elections are over it is a correct time to review where the left are in general and what the left should do with the positions they have achieved. The first thing that has to be said about these European and Local elections is that they have seen an huge shift reflecting an anger among working people in general at the representative of Austerity in Ireland. Sinn Fein and the left have made huge gains and have dealt a huge blow to the Government Parties in particular the Labour Party. The Left have all but ended the political career of The Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore and have been given yet another opportunity to lead a way out of the Neoliberal mess Irish society has been mired in the last few years. The huge gains won my Sinn Fein added to the gains made by People Before Profit , The Anti Austerity Alliance and left Independents has brought with it a huge responsibility to lead. The Gaining of a European seat in Dublin by Sinn Fein and in particular the manner in which it was won is a huge indication of the shift in thinking by the people of Dublin. The situation for the left could I believe been better if the hard left had united around the then sitting MEP Paul Murphy and this could have been another body blow to the neoliberals in Ireland. This was an opportunity missed by the left.
The election now is a challenge to Sinn Fein – can they unite the left forces into a cohesive group that can really map out a new course in Irish politics or will they throw away an opportunity to lead a class revolt in the major cities in the county. Early indications are poor in this regard. Sinn Fein look like they are searching around to try and prove that they are a safe pair of hands. SF are looking for a compromise with the right and appear to be looking at the next general election than dealing with great opportunity they now have. The working class people who gave their vote to Sinn Fein clearly did not do so to save the parties of Austerity . The elections were clearly a vote against these parties and their policy of Austerity. However Sinn Fein appear to be in a bind now stuck between the choices of:-
(a) leading a left attack on Austerity and the Government parties
(b) Compromising and doing a deal with the right with a view to arranging a coalition with those parties after the next general election.
The hard left represented by AAA PBP and United Left appear to be opposing the SF shift to the right. This I believe is the only honest position for them to take. They should now try to get as much unity as possible among those that really oppose austerity. Unfortunately some of the softer independent lefts have followed SF into a compromise with the right. The months and years ahead will show I believe that compromises of this nature have their price.

author by Tpublication date Mon Jun 09, 2014 22:22Report this post to the editors

Sinn Fein have certainly done well and much of it has to do with their hard working activists on the ground and their Left wing rhertoric. It remains to be seen in the long run how strongly they stick to it, but if we use their presence in government in the North as a metric, where they have had to dish out austerity then it doesn't bode well. With a bit of luck though, the grassroots of the party seem Left leaning and they may restrain any of the higher level forces that would pull the party to the right.

I definitely think they will do well in the next general election and have a really good chance of getting into power possibly with Fianna Fail. Whoever or however they end up in government though, since the international financial elite -aka big Capital will be mandating austerity for many years to come as the rollback of the social gains of the last century continued unabated, then Sinn Fein will end up like Labour -where a stint in power will then see them subsequently decimated in any subsequent election.

author by Simpsonpublication date Mon Jun 09, 2014 23:49Report this post to the editors

I think Sinn Fein after the next election could change the Dail parliamentary game that has stalled the emergence of radical right/left politics in Ireland. Sinn Fein and the left parties could refuse to entertain going into government with FG or FF. This would force FG and FF to negotiate a coalition between their two mainstream parties, which share the same economic values anyway despite their civil war origins. For too long Irish voters have been under the mistaken impression that voting FG or FF was making a choice between opposites. FG and FF are not opposites; they are similar economic and social policies.

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