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Socialist Party (Ireland)
Ireland: People Before Profit Alliance, Anti-Austerity Alliance: 'Build an active, democratic, principled left'
April 27, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statement, for the May 1, 2015, conference organised by the trade unions affiliated the the Right 2 Water campaign, was agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists, including councillor Brendan Young.
The People Before Profit Alliance is aligned to the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland, while the Anti-Austerity Alliance is associated with the Socialist Party (CWI). Despite wariness among activists due to these organisations' past practices that contributed to the failure of the United Left Alliance, the statement has been widely welcomed.
The text is taken from that posted by the Irish Left Review.
Click for more discussion of Irish politics.
May 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ireland's left, under the impact of the mass movement against water charges that has thrown traditional politics into turmoil, is discussing how it can organise to seriously challenge for power.
On May 1, in Dublin, five trade unions involved in the Right2Water (R2W) campaign are hosting a conference to discuss a “Platform for Renewal” for the general election due within the year. There will be guest speakers from SYRIZA, Podemos and the European movement against water privatisation.
R2W includes the radical left, Sinn Féin, other left politicians and the extensive network of anti-water charges grassroots groups in towns and communities across Ireland. R2W has mobilised four massive protests in since October 1, 2013, which have rocked the establishment.
Ireland's Irish Left Review is housing a discussion on what way forward for the left, from which the contribution below first appeared.
* * *
By Rory Hearne
Click for more discussion of Irish politics.
By Duroyan Fertl
December 12, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Up to 100,000 protesters shut down Dublin city on December 10 in the latest mass demonstration against the introduction of water charges. Protesters from across the country braved media hysteria, riot police and police barricades, and the threat of a fierce storm, to descend on the centre of Dublin, placing Leinster House – home of the Dáil (the Irish parliament) – and other government buildings in “lock down”.
The protest – organised by the Right2Water campaign – was the third major protest against the charges in two months. It came after a 100,000 strong march in Dublin on October 11 and protests across Ireland on November 1 that attracted about 200,000 in dozens of towns and cities.
The introduction of new charges on water use, levied via new state-owned company Irish Water, has brought years of anger with austerity cuts and government arrogance to a head. Not only is the cost of water already covered by general taxation, it is also widely believed water charges are a first step towards privatising Irish Water and the revenue from water charges.
October 11, 2014 -- Irish Reuplican News -- Crowds not seen in several years have demonstrated against water charges on the streets of Dublin city centre on October 11 as voters delivered a stunning message of no confidence in two by-elections to the Dublin parliament.
Traffic in Dublin’s city centre came to a standstill due to the unprecedented collective anti-austerity march. The demonstration took one hour and twenty minutes to pass the Spire in O’Connell Street asmarchers made their way from Parnell Square, around the city finishing at the GPO in O’Connell Street.
While the Garda [police] press office could declined to give a figure for the numbers in attendance, one garda observing the march admitted the numbers could be as high as 100,000, a giant number by the standard of such protests.
By Henry Silke, Dublin
October 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Saturday, October 11, saw a major revolt in Ireland over the implementation of the controversial water charge. An estimated 100,000 people marched in unseasonal sunshine, while former member of the European parliament (MEP) Paul Murphy was elected in the Dublin South West by-election. Murphy stood for the Socialist Party’s (CWI) electoral front, the Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA).
"We have a multiplicity of left parties [in Ireland] of the traditional types... All have maxed out their potential in their present form. Some are still vital, while others have been in decline for some time."
Click HERE for more on Ireland.
By Helena Sheehan
June 16, 2014 -- Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Does Ireland need a new left party? Yes. Why? We are involved in a colossal class struggle and we are not winning.
We need to confront the very system that is demanding ever more drastic redistribution of wealth from below to above, accelerated accumulation by dispossession, continuing dismantling of the public sphere in favour of private property and commodified culture.
It is not enough to go issue to issue, to oppose cuts, to denounce austerity.
We need to win consent to a counter-narrative to the dominant view of the crisis. We need to break the grip of the belief that there is no alternative.
Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein.
Por Henry Silke
Sinpermiso.info -- En los últimos días se ha producido un pequeño terremoto en la política irlandesa. Sinn Fein ha hecho un gran avance, convirtiéndose en una de las fuerzas políticas principales en Irlanda del sur, casi duplicando su voto hasta el 17% a nivel nacional en las municipales (y más del 20% en las elecciones europeas). Y todo ello en paralelo a un importante avance electoral de la izquierda alternativa y los independientes.
En general, en las elecciones municipales en la Republica de Irlanda, que se celebraban al mismo tiempo que las europeas, el Sinn Fein ganó 150 concejales y los partidos de la izquierda alternativa, unos 40.
Sinn Fein's Lynn Boylan is one of the party's three MEPs in the South.
For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.
[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]
By Henry Silke, Dublin
[Stop Press, June 14: Radical independent MEP Luke "Ming" Flanagan has joined the radical left group of MEPs in the European parliament, the European United Left (GUE.)]
[Stop Press, May 28: In further counting, Sinn Fein has won a third MEP seat, meaning it is represented in each Euro electoral district in the South.]
Happier days before the Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party abandoned the ULA.
By Henry Silke, Dublin
April 29, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This brief report intends to outline the situation within the Irish left following the slow implosion of the United Left Alliance (ULA).
By Henry Silke
January 30, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 26, the Socialist Party (affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International, CWI) posted an article on its website announcing the end its membership of the United Left Alliance. This was one of the least surprising political developments on the Irish left as the Socialist Party (SP) had been steadily moving away from the alliance for more than a year.
The SP has given two reasons for leaving the alliance.
By Joe Higgins TD
July 7, 2012 -- United Left Alliance -- This week the tragedy that is mass unemployment in Ireland was intensified further with the official rate rising to 14.9%, a total of 440,600 people and the highest since 1994. This week, also, the Troika is in town to make sure that the Irish people continue to wear the suffocating straitjacket of austerity in the interests of salvaging the fortunes of the failed property gamblers from the European financial markets. Last week a further €1.2 billion was paid out to unsecured bondholders.
Against this unfolding national crisis, sections of the billionaire-owned press spent days manufacturing giant headlines and spilling buckets of ink in a frenzy of artificial outrage because three Dublin based, left wing members of the Dail (Ireland's pariament] said they used part of a travel allowance they are paid, to take up invitations to speak at mass meetings all over the country. They were invited by campaign groups mobilising against austerity and against the household and septic tank taxes in particular. This, screamed a few journalistic hacks, was an abuse of taxpayers’ funds because the fixed allowance which all Dublin TDs receive should only be used in Dublin.
By Des Derwin, Dublin
June 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On May 31, the only country to get a vote on the European Fiscal Treaty – Ireland -- voted for it by 60% to 40%, with a turnout of 50% of eligible voters. Miriam Lord, political colour-writer for the Irish Times (June 2) had a front page article with a headline almost as big as the main news story headline. It proclaimed, “The nation gives one great big sigh of relief”. Certainly, the Irish elite was giving one great big sigh of relief after a hard-fought campaign.
Andy Storey of the broad based Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty (CAAT) summarised the end result:
Mobilisation of the ENOUGH campaign against the IMF in Dublin on July 16, 2011. One of the European actions the European Anti-Capitalist Left pledged to build.
The following statement was adopted by the anti-capitalist left organisations meeting together in London on June 11-12, 2011, on the call of the SWP (Britain) and the NPA (France) as a follow-up to the previous conferences held in Paris in June 2008 , December 2009 , and May  and December  2010. Text from International Viewpoint.
By Dick Nichols, Dublin
July 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Ireland’s seven-month-old United Left Alliance is the “new kid on the block” of European anti-capitalist parties. Launched on November 27 last year, it emerged from the February Irish national elections—where its name didn’t even appear on the ballot paper—with five TDs (Teachta Dála, members of the Irish parliament, the Dail). To date the ULA has also won 20 positions in local councils and one seat in the European parliament.
Ireland: United Left Alliance pledges to be radical opposition in the Dáil, and build a mass left alternative on the ground
The United Left Alliance's Joe Higgins' first speech in the Dáil on March 9, 2011. Transcript here.
March 9, 2011 -- United Left Alliance -- At the March 8 press conference convened by the United Left Alliance in response to the program for government agreed by Fine Gael and Labour Joe Higgins, Socialist Party/United Left Alliance TD [MP] for Dublin West said:
As we predicted, despite the media palaver about Fine Gael and [the] Labour [party] being incompatible they rapidly split the minute differences in their respective manifestos and have presented the public with essentially a continuation of the Fianna Fáíl/Green Party/IMF cuts program.
Tied in the straightjacket of cuts and austerity, the policies of this government mean more unemployment, more emigration, more stealth taxes and more transferring of wealth from taxpayers to failed banks and greedy bondholders. Scarcely any demands are being asked off the wealthy to pay for the crisis they created.
Election night report of the count in Dun Laoghaire. United Left Alliance's Richard Boyd Barrett TD interviewed on RTE by Brian Dobson after being elected.
By Harry Browne, Dublin
2011 -- Something
changed in Ireland on February 25 when we cast our votes in parliamentary (Dáil)
elections to replace the government that has overseen the utter collapse of the
economy and Ireland’s debt enslavement to fund bankrupt banks and their
The traditional centre-right ruling party, Fianna Fáil, lost nearly three-quarters of its seats, and will be replaced as the main party of the next government by Fine Gael, the centre-right party that is accustomed to spending most of its time in opposition. This has its own drama, to be sure, albeit rather predictable in outcome.
But in opening up a new space for the left, putting Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams in the Dáil, along with community activists like Joan Collins and Seamus Healy, and old Trots like Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd Barrett and Clare Daly, this election has provided a new platform for a resistance movement that could extend far beyond the polite precincts of parliament.
The future of the left in Irish politics
January 20, 2011 -- RTE, Today with Pat Kenny -- A new political alliance was born in Ireland just before Christmas. It is the United Left Alliance. It’s an umbrella group of left-wing parties and individuals who have joined forces to fight the March 11, 2011, general election.
The grouping consists of three existing political parties: the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group. However the Labour Party and Sinn Fein are not members.
January 16, 2011 -- United Left Alliance -- The challenge of the United Left Alliance to the right-wing consensus in Irish politics is strengthening rapidly. As of today, a total of 17 constituencies will be contested by 18 ULA candidates in the looming general election. As well as Tipperary South and West Waterford, 11 constituencies in Dublin, two in Cork, as well as Wexford and Limerick city, candidates have been nominated for Carlow/Kilkenny and Laois/Offaly. This means that almost 50% of Dáil [parliamentary] constituencies will have a left alternative to the establishment political parties.
Joe Higgins MEP of the Socialist Party said:
It is entirely possible that this number will be extended in the coming weeks but even at the current number, it is the first time in Irish politics that there was such a wide representation of principled left candidates presented to the electorate in a general election.
Richard Boyd Barrett from the People Before Profit Alliance and Joe Higgins MEP from the Socialist Party, during the launch of the new United Left Alliance, November 29, 2010.
By Des Derwin
December 13, 2010 – Irish Left Review – Jodie Ginsberg, Reuters’ woman in Dublin, said on TV3’s Vincent Browne Tonight program on November 25, when asked for her impression of the situation in Ireland, “people are shell shocked”.
They have been for some time, but in little more than two months a series of ever more powerful shells has burst among us:
David Begg, general secretary Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and folk singer Christy Moore at the Dublin Post Office, November 27, 2010.
November 29, 2010 -- Irish Republican News and other sources -- Up to 100,000 people took part in a march and rally organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in Dublin on November 27 in protest at the government's planned program of austerity. At the main rally at the GPO in O'Connell Street, the site of the 1916 Easter Rising, speakers strongly criticised the government's four-year plan for economic recovery and the loss of sovereignty as a result of the European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout.