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Socialist Party proposals for Local Election Socialist Alliance Rejected

category national | elections / politics | opinion/analysis author Thursday December 04, 2008 21:39author by Michael Murphy - Socialist Party Report this post to the editors

Proposals by the Socialist Party for a Local Election Socialist Alliance have been rejected by the Socialist Workers Party, People Before Profit Alliance and the South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group

The Socialist Party regrets that the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) and the South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group (STWUAG) have rejected the very positive proposal from us for a Local Election Socialist Alliance.

The proposal from the Socialist Party was a contribution to a series of meetings on the issue of left unity involving various left groups initiated by the Irish Socialist Network in July of this year.

The Socialist Party then initiated a separate but parallel process with the SWP, PBPA and STWUAG, as the groups with the most significant base and numbers on the left and those who would form the majority of any electoral alliance. We did this in order to allow fuller discussion to see if agreement on key issues was possible. Agreement between these groups would be essential to the viability of any electoral alliance. If agreement could be reached we could further discuss with all other groups who are interested.

The Socialist Party took several positive initiatives in writing proposals to provoke discussion and move towards agreement for the local elections. Our latest proposal incorporates our earlier proposals and can be seen below.

The SWP, PBPA and STWUAG rejected our proposals for credible candidates and our argument to, at this stage limit the alliance to an electoral platform. We proposed an approach to an electoral alliance that could result in approximately 30 candidates which in our view would represent a significant number. We argued strongly but reasonably that there must be serious commitment to important political positions by candidates but also there must be a serious basis to someone’s candidature based on their record in their community of campaigning on issues. This was designed to cut across people seeking to opportunistically use the electoral alliance.

The other groups involved were not prepared to accept this and are in reality arguing for a broader slate of candidates where record is not crucial and concessions on political agreement will be made. The Socialist Party was extremely fearful of a loose political agreement with candidates which would repeat the Respect experience in Britain where a number of Respect councillors defected to New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party clearly illustrating the very weak political position of these councillors. We want genuine left candidates who are opposed to the market and capitalism and who would argue for and are committed to building a new party of the working class that fights for socialism. Our proposals were an attempt to avoid a repeat of these mistakes.

We felt it was necessary to have full consensus between groups on the issue of candidates. This would be a democratic process with full discussion to reach agreement about candidates, where there could be an amount of give and take but we were not prepared to allow what has happened in other campaigns, where, based on a numerical majority the SWP have forced through decisions for their own interests.

The Socialist Party put a lot of time and effort into this process and is disappointed at the rejection of our proposals by the other groups. The Socialist Party is always open to working in campaigns with other groups and forces and this will continue.

We would encourage groups and individuals on the left to get involved in the European Election campaign of Joe Higgins. If you are interested in this campaign contact the Socialist Party at (01) 6772592, info@socialsitparty.net

Socialist Party proposals for Local Election Socialist Alliance

The Socialist Party has been engaged in discussions over the last few months with a number of left groups including the Socialist Workers Party/People before Profit Alliance, the South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action group and others with a view to establishing a slate of candidates for the local election due in June 2009.
Changing political situation
The economic and resulting political crisis in Ireland has had a profound impact on the lives of ordinary people. The budget cuts, in particular the attempted removal of the over 70’s medical cards and the attacks on education are seen by people, as harsh attacks on the some of the most vulnerable sections of Irish society to make them pay for an economic crisis caused by bankers, speculators and facilitated by the banks and the Flanna Fail led government.
The movement by the pensioners which forced the government into a significant retreat has inspired many workers around the country. The movement by students on third level fees and the mass demonstrations by teachers, parents and school students is the music of the future. The economic crisis will continue to worsen and it is clearly the intention of the government to continue to make workers pay. There is the strong possibility of a second budget in the spring of 2009 where more attacks on public services and workers living standards can be expected.
The local elections next year will be an important test for this government and, given the recent opinion poll figures reflecting the massive anger at the economic crisis it is likely they will take a hammering. Labour and Fine Gael, in this context, while offering no solution to these problems, are likely to make gains partly because they have a base, they have been in opposition for so long and are the most obvious force to defeat the government but also because there is no strong left alternative on a national basis. Labour has adopted a left posture on issues recently including voting against the bank bail-out in an opportunist attempt to gain electoral support.
Local Elections 2009
Left groups can potentially do well in the local elections next year and in some areas could provide a fighting socialist alternative to the establishment parties including the so called opposition.
The continued move to the right of the Labour Party and Sinn Fein has meant that there is no real left alternative on a national basis to the main right wing establishment parties. There is a gaping need and role for a new left party to represent working class people. The Socialist Party has consistently argued for such a party not just in Ireland but internationally and our sister organisations in the Committee for a Workers International have participated in a number of initiatives in countries such as Brazil, Scotland, Germany and Greece with other forces to launch such initiatives.
We believe that the involvement of a substantial number of activists in communities, workplaces and the unions is critical to the establishment of such a party. These activists in our view will emerge from the struggles of the working class that are arising and will continue to arise from the current economic crisis. However these forces don’t exist in sufficient numbers in Ireland at the present time and bringing the relatively small existing forces of the left together would not constitute a significant step forward as this stage.
Timing is a very important factor in establishing any new formation. There have been several examples of premature initiatives in Europe that have collapsed because of the absence of significant numbers of workers.
We are in favour of left co-operation on specific issues and campaigns as long as it is done on an open, genuine and democratic basis, which is why we have made this proposal for a slate of left candidates for the local elections.
In our opinion there doesn’t at this moment exist a sufficient number of strong candidates or mood to raise the prospect of a broader slate of candidates of a generally left position fighting around particular issues such as existed around the Taxation Justice Alliance in 1997 or the bin tax in 2004.
In view of this situation, we believe that a specifically “left” slate of candidates is a more appropriate prospect. It could pose a real political alternative and point a way forward for how the working class can get organised. Any slate involving the participation of the Socialist Party would have to be made up of credible candidates. We are opposed to inviting anyone and everyone on to a slate just to add as many candidates as possible. The significance of a slate will not be based on the number of candidates who stand but what it represents and the results it receives. In our view a slate would also be a testing ground of the potential for the formation of a new party or left alliance to represent working class people.
Candidates with a record and credibility
We believe if there is going to be a slate of left candidates; it is important that some political criteria apply to ensure that any left or socialist slate is made up of genuinely left forces that are committed to building a socialist alternative. The disaster of the Respect coalition in Britain is illustrative of what can happen when a politically loose arrangement is agreed. The defection of a number of Respect councillors to New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party illustrates the very weak political position of these councillors. We want genuine left candidates who are opposed to the market and capitalism and who would argue for and are committed to building a new party of the working class that fights for socialism.
We also believe that opposition to coalition at local or national level with right wing parties – including voting for Mayoral candidates from the right wing parties needs to be a pre-condition to any candidate participation.
Any slate of candidates should be opposed to double taxation service charges including water, bin, recycling and sewerage charges. There are some who may be considered to be on the left who have voted for charges in the past or are at best ambiguous on the issue and may be in favour of such charges on “environmental” grounds.
In our opinion the credibility of candidates is critical. Political agreement on issues is important but it is not sufficient for someone to simply sign up to a set of demands if their previous political history has been counter to some of those demands for example on coalition or doing deals with right wing parties at local or national level. We need to learn the lessons of experiences such as Respect and not repeat those mistakes.
The movement of pensioners recently showed how struggle by people is the critical way to win gains for working people. If people are serious about representing working class people and fighting on the issues then standing in elections should flow from being involved in campaigns and struggles alongside people. Obviously occasions arise where important issues can blow up in a matter of days or weeks, people get organised and decide to stand in an election to highlight their issues. We have seen this on some occasions with health and other campaigns. If this were to arise we would adopt a flexible approach but that is entirely different to a particular group putting forward people who have no record or history behind them to be part of slate with people who have been campaigning for years on important issues in areas. We do think that it may be possible to have a slate of up to 30 credible candidates which in our view would be a significant number. While the change in the political situation and the impact of the financial crisis can have a positive affect on the votes of left candidates in the local election campaign this is not automatic. It is still the case that the work done on the ground by candidates will be decisive.
If there is a slate it could be launched publicly in early 2009 at a press event launching the candidates. There could be then a series of local launches in areas where candidates are based with the possibility of a small number of public meetings involving some of the more “high profile” candidates or existing councillors. However the key goal is to try and make the alliance a success by ensuring as many of the candidates get elected as possible. This will involve a lot of hard work in the local areas on campaigns and issues. The success or failure of the slate will be judged on its successes in the election and that cannot be taken for granted.
Democratic Structure
We have proposed that there should be a democratic structure elected to oversee a slate. All groups should be entitled to put forward representatives to this structure; the number of reps for each can be discussed. This structure should take decisions on such matters as the political programme of the slate, who would be selected as candidates, as well as the number of candidates.
We believe that there needs to be trust on these issues but there have been problems in the past regarding alliances and election slates. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in particular has an inglorious history of playing a destructive role in campaigns and initiatives in which they have been involved. They have used their force of numbers to try push through their proposals in an undemocratic way in many campaigns and initiatives which has alienated many genuine people. Our sister organisation in Britain were left with no option but to leave the Socialist Alliance in Britain, an alliance they initiated. The SWP used their greater force of numbers to vote down proposals from us for a democratic and federal structure for the alliance. These proposals were deliberately designed to prevent the domination of the alliance of any one political group. Under the stewardship of the SWP the Socialist Alliance then disintegrated.
In 2004 there was an attempt to stand candidates as part of an anti bin tax slate for the local elections in Dublin proposed by the Socialist Party. The SWP insisted on putting a number of people on the slate who had not built a campaign in their area and had no place on a slate alongside people who had been to prison on the issue and had slogged over years building a campaign and in particular played crucial role in extending campaign during its high point in September/October 2004. The Socialist Party proposal would have resulted in a slate of people who had played an important role in that struggle and it would have amounted to a slate of about 20 candidates. The Socialist Party would not give in to the demands of the SWP and the slate did not go ahead because of the intransigence of the SWP and some of their supporters on the left.
We have also seen recently where the SWP attempted to set up a campaign against the social partnership deal. They organised a conference in Dublin supposedly to discuss the establishment of a trade union rank and file network and didn’t invite the Socialist Party, individual members of the Socialist Party or many other prominent activists who have important positions in the trade union movement. Then at the event, which was inevitably dominated by the SWP, they initiated a campaign against the social partnership deal, which was undemocratic and served to consciously exclude genuine activists. A genuine approach to discuss the agenda, speakers or even building a campaign against the partnership deal would seek to include as many left activists in the trades union movement irrespective of party affiliation.
It is for these reasons among others that the issue of trust is so important for the Socialist Party. To that end we believe a democratic structure such as this is not only necessary but critical. We believe all major decisions taken must be on the basis of serious and thorough discussion and unanimous agreement at a structure particularly by the groups representing the majority of candidates on the slate.
The Socialist Party believes the left slate should have an independent new name. Clearly Socialist Party candidates will carry our name but would carry the slate name on material and dealings with the media etc. We would be opposed to the use of any name that is linked with any particular political grouping or party. As befitting a new slate for upcoming elections, it should be launched anew and fresh. We believe at this stage something like “Local Election Socialist Alliance” could be considered.
European Elections 2009
Joe Higgins will once again be the Socialist Party candidate in the Dublin constituency for the European election in June 2009. Joe Higgins stood in 1999 and 2004 when he received a very credible 23,000 votes (5.5%). While Joe Higgins played a crucial role in the recent No campaign in the Lisbon referendum which strengthens his candidacy for the euro elections it was our intention to stand Joe Higgins irrespective of the Lisbon campaign and result. Joe Higgins is the most credible left wing candidate for the euro election and all groups on the left in Dublin have benefited from the work of Joe Higgins in the Dail.
Joe Higgins is clearly seen as a tremendous fighter for working people having spent ten years in the Dail as a workers TD for Dublin West. The SWP raised that they may stand a candidate in effect against the Socialist Party in Dublin. We think this would be a mistake and would be an opportunist move for short term gain and is not in the interest of serious representation for working people. The Dublin constituency has been reduced to three seats in a recent electoral review which means there will be fierce competition for votes on the left with Labour and Sinn Fein also competing. Rather than strengthening the radical left vote the decision of the SWP to stand would split the left vote. We think too that many people looking on this would think it rather foolish that candidates stand together on a local slate would then stand against each other in the European elections!
We would welcome the participation of groups and individuals who want to play a role in Joe Higgins election campaign and who would assist with giving out leaflets, assist with canvassing, organising meetings or fundraising. Local campaigns, for example on health issues, could also find it very helpful to have their issues highlighted through the European Election campaign of Joe Higgins.

The Socialist Party believes if a local election slate was pulled together made up of serious forces and resulted in getting a number of people elected to councils around the country it would potentially represent a step forward for left wing representation and working class people in this country particularly in light of the developing economic crisis and the impact it is having and will continue to have on workers’ consciousness. However the economic and political crisis gripping Ireland will result in massive increase in working class struggle against the attacks of the Fianna Fail/Green government and will pose the need for new political representation for working class people. The Socialist Party with others will play a key role in that process. But crucially it will be from the participation of new forces of young people and workers entering into struggle which will be critical in bringing about a new party for working class people.

author by Mark Ppublication date Thu Dec 04, 2008 22:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That didn't last long.

author by david goliathpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 01:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to the socialist grouping, you managed to get the others to fuck off without having to tell them so. Now you can forge on with the exact same results as you have always achieved. 4 cllrs at the most and a cupboard full of memories. Oh and a devotion to Joe Higgins beyond cultish belief.
As for the others.....who knows. One can only imagine that the right wing are trembling at the coming elections.

As for me, I am still working in the real world . cheerio comrades.

author by realistpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 01:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Joe Higgins hasn't got any chance of winning. May Lou McDonald does. Running against her and taking precious anti-Lisbon first preferences off her campaign means that the pro-Lisbon Right Wing candidates will be strengthened- and for what?

People who are against Lisbon, and who want to see real change, should get involved with Mary Lou's campaign.

Those who want to bicker among the micro parties know what to do...

author by Joseph - SWPpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 04:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We should have joined, simple as that, we have let retards like those above defecate on us for our indecisiveness.

author by left unitypublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 08:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

what do the swp disagree with?

author by The Insiderpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In other stunning news, it rained in Ireland yesterday.

Shocking surprise!

author by Intrigued - -publication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

3 organisations meet- SWP/PBPA, Tipperary Group and the SP. all have talked about left unity. 2 out of 3 are against what was on offer- there must be something wrong with what the one who is left offered.

I don't believe for one second that the tipperary group or pbpa/swp would have rejected a reasonable proposal on left alliance. I suspect that the SP are spinning this whole story. Why did they start this discussion on indymedia in advance of a meeting with other groups?

Are the SP faultless in this whole issue?
Why is it as SP have claimed 2 groups out of 3 have walked away?

author by Snowballpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 13:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Will the reasons the SP proposals were rejected be made public?

author by Mikepublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 13:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They all recognize the need for unity.
They all are unable to agree on the terms of that unity except under complete capitulation to the ideas of their own faction.

Look guys, that's not how it works. You will get nowhere until you manage somehow to change your thinking. You are confusing things.

A ---- "Our plan is best. If the other factions agreed on our plan and unified around that we would make more progress toward the revolution than if we unified around some other plan, a compromise plan inferior in some ways"

B ---- "If we managed to unify even under a somehwat inferior plan, we would make more progress toward the revolution than if we stayed disunited and simply squabbled against each other.

The point is that the truth of "A" (even if true) is not relevant to real politics. All the others with whom you wish to unify are just as convinced about the truth of A except it's their plan which they believe to be best.. You cannot unify that way.

The real problem is that all of you are convinced that only your own plan has any chance of success and that you will be unable to make any progress toward the revolution (against the real enemy) till you have managed to correct the erroenous thinking of your potential comrades. Of course they are just as convinced that it's your minds that need the washing out. Laughable if it weren't so sad.

author by Tom Smithpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 16:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reading the original statement and the statement above it seems that the SPs proposal was for a loose electoral alliance but for candidates to keep their original party designations on the ballot paper? So in otherwords the SWP/PBP canvass for Higgins but he keeps his SP title and any increase in his vote in 2009 Euros/locals will be as a Socialist party candidate.

Meanwhile the SWP wouldnt run any Euro candidate and the Tipp group would run under their own banner.

So the reality is the proposal by the SP was just an attempt to gain a few extra helpers for Higgins campaigns under the banner of 'socialist unity'. if they were serious about it they would either form a proper electoral alliance with a single name all candidates campaign under and would be designated under on the ballot sheet.

But seeing as the SP rejected previous calls for socialist unity when Higgins did have a Dail seat is it no surprise to see that the SPs true colours here, in that respect its all about the machinations of electoral politics.

Related Link: http://www.socialistalliance.org
author by Mark P - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors


The proposals we are talking about are included in the opening article above. Feel free to go through them and try to find anything unreasonable in them. There's nothing there that isn't straightforward and sensible.


The SWP/PBP may at some point make their reasons public. They haven't done so yet. I suspect that the whole thing is extremely embarrassing for them, given that all their talk about "left unity" and forming "a new left" has just been revealed as dishonest drivel. They don't want an alliance on any kind of firm political or organisational basis. And what's more they want to stand a candidate in the European elections against Joe Higgins. The last thing they want is for their supporters to involve themselves in debate or discussion around those decisions.

author by Mark P - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom, you are misinterpreting the above proposals, I suspect deliberately. The proposals centre around the local elections rather than the European elections and there was, unfortunately, never much prospect of the SWP/PBP putting significant resources into Joe Higgins campaign (and therefore taking resources away from their own candidates).

This alliance was proposed on what was essentially a trial basis. We would put together an agreed list of candidates and an agreed socialist platform. We would hold media launches of the alliance and a series of public meetings around the country. We would all include the details of the common organisation on our election literature, posters however. After the local elections we could assess the prospects of deepening or broadening the alliance, depending on what had gone right or what had gone wrong.

Yes, in this first step forward candidates would still use the name of their party on the ballot and would include both names on their written material. We are not yet at a stage where a common party or anything like it can be formed and rushing precipitously into doing so would probably only cause greater problems. We were talking about the first steps in cooperating across the left. The Socialist Party has been trying to convince the media to identify Joe Higgins as "Socialist Party" for more than a decade yet, rather than "socialist", "independent", "independent socialist" or half a dozen other things. It is perfectly reasonable to continue using that name until such a point as the new alliance has some life and stability to it. The issue of a common name on the ballot itself cannot be all that important to the SWP/PBP, given that most of its candidates appeared on the ballot in the general election as "non-party". Or does that mean that they weren't serious about their PBP front at that point?

These discussions would of course be more productive for all of the people reading if the SWP/PBP supporters posting were honest enough to identify themselves as such.

author by Jen - nonepublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I guess this is a continuation of the other page.

It's a shame that there isn't agreement at this point, but I suppose for many activists in the two Trotskyist parties this is a game where someone says, 'I won't agree, unless your programme incorporates my 10-point plan which hasn't been revised since 1925' and the other says, 'Nor shall I, until your bleached, unrecycled paper leaflets include our candidate who's a bit mad but spent 10 years down a pit before Thatcher closed the mines'. And this will go on for a few months until everyone forgets what the original meeting was about, the elections have been and gone, FF and Labour get cosier, and SF carries the radical mantle until the next election.

Meanwhile back at the reality ranch, the left screws up another opportunity to present themselves as rational people, capable of running a hot bath never mind your county council.

I'm sure it's a bit cheeky to poke fun when I'm not helping out in either party, but you guys have to realise that this is the way normal people (or rather, the percentage of normal people who have heard of either of ye) see you. For the record, I would gladly help fundraise or canvass for a united left campaign (SF are not, in my opinion, consistently left) but I don't have much confidence in either party to make that happen.

The Joe Higgins argument is a misnomer. He was, and will be again, a fantastic TD, but he will not get elected in the European elections. Therefore it's not the end-of-the-world if there is also an SWP candidate. That said, it would also be perfectly legitimate for Richard Boyd Barrett (assuming he would be the SWP candidate), to canvass for Joe rather than running himself. The SWP, or the SP for that matter, could easily build up their own forces by canvassing for a united socialist EP candidate without needing to run their own. Neither will get elected in the European parliament elections, this time around, so why waste time squibbling about this?

The other arguments are more important. Respect was a particularly British phenomeon. The British SWP fucked up big time in their alliance with George Galloway. Here was a profoundly populist individual, prone to authoritarian Catholic teachings, with an ego that outsized his belly. Any fool could have predicted that he would smash it all up when he didn't get his own way. Many members of the Muslim communities, living in a society where their religion and identities are under daily attack, joined Respect yet were never won to socialist ideas and subsequently found political homes elsewhere. Does that mean that you don't try again - of course not. It should mean that the left learns a few lessons ... don't join forces with Libertas or the anti-choice folks for the next Lisbon campaign, don't make an alliance subservient to someone's ego, but not to try again would be crazy.

Personally, the bin tax doesn't move me in the slightest. I know all the arguments, agree that it is a double tax and can see that it brings us a step closer to public service privatisation, but I really don't care about it. Many people in rented accommodation have been paying the bin tax for some time; we have little choice. So don't write off people who haven't joined the anti-bin tax campaign. There are many socialists and anarchists in Dublin that haven't joined the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, but that doesn't mean they support Israel. Credible candidates should agree to basic socialist principles and be involved in progressive struggle, whatever form that takes. They shouldn't be expected to recite the collected works of Lenin (I refer to a previous post mentioning an SP member who probably thinks Lenin is a singer from Liverpool), and they should be people who are capable of convincing others to join a vibrant campaign, and not just anyone mad enough to run.

author by Ralfpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 22:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why wasn't any left republican parties involved in this unity?

author by Mepublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 23:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That is unexpected, we hear about power being restored to the micro level by socialists, and yet they cannot even have a voting pact. What a joke.

author by Séamuspublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 23:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not sure why the SP decided to go it alone with just the SWP and STUWAG, but regardless I'd be more interested in finding out what has been going on with the original alliance initiative that was kicked off by the ISN and operated on a much broader basis. Anyone know much about what's happening with it at the minute?

On another note, does the SP not think it's a mistake to try to ship Joe Higgins off to Brussels when he's so obviously needed back in Leinster House?

author by greenleftredpublication date Sat Dec 06, 2008 20:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ralf asked if any left republican groups were involved. Two groups of socialist republicans, Eirigi and Working Class Action attended the initial meeting.
Eirigi called for a set of broad proposals for agreement but never attended any more meetings and Working Class Action said that the main groups involved were incapable of working together so the whole thing was doomed to failure.

The outcome of the local elections will show if the trots left can actually harness the support of the people. As the right wing economy collapses, any failure to make significant gains at this stage will be a disaster. If this happens..is it back to the colleges and the unions for the trots?

author by Celia Spublication date Sat Dec 06, 2008 21:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Eirigi called for a set of broad proposals for agreement but never attended any more meetings"

You are being unfair here. éirígí did attend a number of meetings on this issue and made, I believe, a valuable contribution. éirígí in fact only missed one meeting. The meeting scheduled for today was postponed given the education march also occurring today (which éirígí attended).

Indeed, the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland. The second part of Connolly's famous quote (to wit, " the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour") is also true is it not??


author by Ralfpublication date Sat Dec 06, 2008 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do you know if the Irish Republican Socialist Party were invited? It seems odd that they would be left out of the debate.

author by Terrypublication date Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think the IRSP were contacted thru Troy Jordon, their Dublin organiser from what I've heard.

author by Ralfpublication date Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ok thanks...

author by Conor. Mpublication date Sun Dec 07, 2008 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I left the Socialist party because of these things. I can't join any other party because their all as bad as each other. I am a very active, genuine leftist. Now I have to organise my own group. It's hard, but its happening. There will never be a Revolution, or even a majority of leftists in this country or the world because of the ideological differences.
If anyone wants to have productive conversation about what we can do, and not a critical conversation about how everyone else is wrong, e-mail me. We are a think-tank open to all perspective for a realistic organistion. It's only brand new, with around 10-15 people, but we wont force any beliefs down your throat, we want to hear everyone. ---- liberalconormurphy@ymail.com ---- We're based in Swords, Co.Dublin

author by greenleft redpublication date Sun Dec 07, 2008 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was not being critical of Eirigi but just mentioned my understanding of the meetings. Fair play if they were getting involved. I suppose they will eventually become involved in the electoral process.
As for the IRSP's, I cannot imagine why they were not invited. The Workers Party was involved and they are working for the same cause and people as the IRSP. They have a very similar history in relation to the pursuit of their given goals and would have worked for the same people over the years.

author by Reseacherpublication date Mon Dec 08, 2008 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mother of all splits looms
Lindsey German has declared ‘war’ on the SWP central committee majority, as John Rees prepares to fight back.

Read all about it......


author by MairtinmacDpublication date Mon Dec 08, 2008 22:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why was Sinn Fein not involved in these talks?. Sinn Fein is the biggest socialist party on these islands.

author by leftypublication date Mon Dec 08, 2008 23:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the swp should just give in to sp perfectly reasonable demands for real democracry. somebody should organise workshop practice to just teach all left groups how to actually practice a real living democracy in action, the swp are well meaning they just havent got a clue what democracy looks like

author by Puzzled - -publication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 00:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why are all the comments about the swp?
Did the Tipperary crew not reject the SP proposal too?

If Im to believe all thats been said above about the swp is true, then why did the Tipperary group reject the proposal?

Make me suspicious that there is more to this than sp are letting on

author by Ha Hapublication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 08:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Why was Sinn Fein not involved in these talks?. Sinn Fein is the biggest socialist party on these islands."

Are you serious???? Do me a favour. Ha, Ha

author by Jamespublication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 09:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If Marx were about he could pen a good book for the Irish Left with a something like this, ‘Left Wing Egotism – An Infertile Disorder’.

The problem, well one of the problems, there are many, with the left is that the leaderships would much rather be a ‘big fish’ in a ‘little pond’ than engage in a mass (or potentially mass) organisation where their ‘sacred tablets of stone’ may be challenged or the infallibility of their ‘mini Lenin’s’ could be exposed as meagre humans who have learned by rote (like all good Catholics) selected quotations from Lenin and Trotsky to justify any daft position they decide to espouse. Could it be that rather than the masses consciousness being at an all time low, that 1917 nostalgia is just passed its sell by date?

The SP look like they engineered their proposal to guarantee the SWP could not participate without confessing to be the greatest hindrance to socialism since Adolf Hitler took power in Germany and, in turn the SWP, look to be the ‘brains’ of the People Before Profit automaton and their frightful flight from socialism. Their current pastime is a transparent plan to surround themselves with prospective members or ‘useful fools’ that can be considered superfluous as soon as they question the direction or strategy of the surreptitious puppet masters in Henrietta Street.

Both are a bunch of asinine self-centred gobshites. They neglect the class struggle for selfish party interests and, for all their efforts are just about equal in numbers, put in perspective; both together would have the same membership as the Workers Party, who wouldn’t be considered a big organisation by any means at all.

author by former Republicanpublication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done the SWP has finally come to their senses and dumped the madcap politics of Trotskyism in favour of something that ordinary workers can finally understand and relate to. This is a long overdue step and hopefully the Socialist party will wake up and smell the coffee and stop confusing ordinary workers with their reams of mad Trotskyist dogma. Irish workers need real solutions in the real world in which they live, and not trotskyist nonsense. At least the SWP have shown a little bit of imagination and now they at least have a chance of being seriously listened to and maybe they can get a couple of councillors elected.

author by M.E.L.O.R.publication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 13:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sinn Fein is a socialist party, and obviously far bigger than all the goups under discussion here put together. The party's socialism is the reason that the big right wing parties regularly rule out sharing power in a coalition with them, and describe SF policies as "mad" and "red". It's also why the right wing mass media rarely (and never honestly) report what the party is doing or saying.

Sadly, what is being discussed here is not a real attempt to get a socialist elected, but rather the two tiny trotskysit groups want to enlist as many "useful fools" as they can in their endless battle between themselves.

The idea that they would enter into meaningful discussions with a real political party is laughable, which explains the "ha ha" comment I suppose.

author by Researcherpublication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sinn Fein are a right wing party not socialist. They are involved in a coalition government in the North that supports neo-liberalism. They have implemented privatisation, education and health cuts and are trying to implement cuts in the public sector that will see thousands lose their jobs. Even in their heartland of west Belfast 2,000 health workers are going to lose their jobs in the RVH because of the Sinn Fein/DUP government. They also asked Gordon Brown to lower corporation tax in the North to the same level as the South.
And you say these are the actions of a socialist party, I don't think so!
In the South in the last election they watered down their politics to make themselves acceptable to Fine Gael and Fianna Fail as coalition partners. Give it time and they will be in government with one or the other.
Sinn Fein where not involved in these talks because they are a right wing pro-capitalist party.

author by M.E.L.O.R.publication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 16:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah. Right.

author by Researcherpublication date Tue Dec 09, 2008 23:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah right. What type of a reply is that? Are you trying to deny that the Sinn Fein/DUP government in the North are not implementing the policies I have outlined above?
And Adams and McGuinness may not be publicly crying (although Martin has stopped chuckling!), but they are worried that their support in their heartlands is not as strong as it used to be precisely because they are attacking the services of the working class people in these communities.
M.E.L.O.R. maybe you know something that the people in Northern Ireland don't know, maybe we are all suffering from some type of mass delusion and these cuts aren't really happening. Impart your wisdom and educate us please.

author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"the SWP has finally come to their senses and dumped the madcap politics of Trotskyism"

*I have a guidebook in front of me, 'A Rebel Guide' to Trotsky by Esme Choonara. I bought it at Marxism '08....which is organised by guess who......the SWP.

Have the SP and the SWP/PBPF decided yet how many candidates they are running and in what constituencies?

Let us know asap. Thanks.

*This is not an advertisement for the SWP. I'm glad I put my name to these, saves us reading the "I wonder who's party made that comments...." of the Maxwell Smarts!!

author by Frank Carrollpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2008 20:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why were Republican Sinn Fein excluded from these talks. They are the oldest republican socialist party in Ireland and stand for democracy. I got a newsletter from their local rep. in the inner city, Malachy Steenson, called "Looking Left" and it was very socialist orientated. He should have been invited to talk about unity.

author by Séamuspublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 02:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Isn't Looking Left a Workers' Party publication? And either way, RSF members are constitutionally barred from getting involved in anything that might be considered a broad front - i.e. anything that involves working with other parties.

author by Malachy Steenson - Workers Party publication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:13author email malachysteenson at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for your comments Frank in relation to Look Left, glad you enjoyed it . It is however a Workers Party paper, and I am the Workers Party Representative in Dublin Central, and standing for them in the next local elections.

In relation to Left Unity I regulary call for this. We should co-operate on the areas we agree upon and agree to differ on the other issues. We have a good working relationship on the ground with other left wing activists. In Dublin Central SP don't seem to be active, whilst SWP are, I and other members regularly attend SWP pickets /protests as thay do ours.

We must keep our eye on the ball , which is the furtherance of left wing politics not petty sqauabbles about non issues. Left wing politics will only achieve success by working on the ground and challenging the situation which confronts us. I will work with anyone who has that as their objective.

Related Link: http://workerspartyireland.net/
author by Fats Reillypublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Weren’t you a member of RSF and Youth Defence in the past? Hardly left wing.

author by Frank Carrollpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Malachy, you're with the workers party? Don't ever put a leaflet through my door again. The sticks are the most anti-republican traitors ever and acted as british agents in Belfast against socialists and republicans. From RSF to the sticks...what politics or morals have you got?

author by Malachy Steenson - Workers Party publication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 16:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Frank shoot the messenger rather that the messenger. Interesting that you titled this Seamus Costello.

Frank, I should have been invited to the talks to represent RSF but not WP. Look Left was a good magazine if produced by RSF but not WP. for the record I started my political life with the ORM then onto the IRSP followed by a period in RSF before returning to WP. My politics have'nt changed.

Following on from my earlier post The Workers Party in my view offer the best hope and way forward towards for left wing politics.

I won't comment on this forum in relation to your claims in respect of the North, to those who know me my position is clear, to those who don't it irrelevant.

Related Link: http://workerspartyireland.net/
author by Malachy Steenson - The Workers Party publication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 16:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look Left clearly states on its banner that its "The Magazine of The Workers' Party", which also runs on the bottom of every page, it address includes the WP head office address,

If Frank's political analaysis is such that he thought that it was an RSF publication, then it speaks for itself.

perhaps an attempt at mischief making?

author by Fats Reillypublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 17:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What about your links to Youth Defence? How does that fit in with the WP's politics?

author by Eugoth Cashpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2008 00:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

People should get their fact right. I know Malachy Stealsome for years. He was on our committee in north strand and everybody still always mentions his name. He has never changed and never will.

author by Slow Costelloepublication date Mon Dec 15, 2008 16:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Malachy sure has some political history - ORM, IRSP, ROBER, RSF, YD, NUT, ACRA, PSF, WP.
must be interesting things going on here. True to "this weeks' cause

author by Godot - wsm (pers cap)publication date Tue Dec 16, 2008 14:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The PBP talker, councillor Jean Collins, said that the PBP group were the only train in town and people had better get on before its too late. This was backed up by the anarchist rep., Eddie Conlon.
Eddie Conlon is not an "anarchist rep", he is a member of People Before Profit Alliance.

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