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Left TDs and Councillors call for vote for Seamus McDonagh in Meath-East By-Election March 20, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Press Release: Wednesday, 20th March

Several prominent Left TDs and councillors will hold a joint press conference in Ashbourne, county Meath, tomorrow (Thursday the 21st March) to call on people to vote for the Workers’ Party candidate Seamus McDonagh in the upcoming Meath East by-election.

The press conference is in the Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne, county Meath, at 11.00 a..m. and will be chaired by Workers Party President Michael Finnegan.

Among the Left TDs in attendance will be John Halligan, Thomas Pringle and Richard Boyd Barrett.

Councillors in attendance will include Waterford City Councillor Davy Walsh and Wicklow County Councillor Pat Kavanagh.

Seamus McDonagh said: “The Government must listen to the call from Irish workers and their families for the introduction of policies that serve their interests and not those of big business.”

“I am very happy that leading Leftwing politicians have decided to stand united behind my election campaign as a opportunity for working people to show they will no longer stand for the betrayal of their interests by politicians representing Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and, as their actions in the North indicate, Sinn Féin.”

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1. JP - March 20, 2013

Sticks say ‘Don’t vote for the Shinners due to actions in the north.’ Plus ca change.

WorldbyStorm - March 21, 2013

In fairness, though I tend to a different view on the matter, it is a reasonable political criticism from where they and much of the further left are positioned. My problem would be that it doesn’t really encompass the reality of the political context there and the constraints of the structures, or the dangers of people stepping outside those structures at this point in time. That said, as I’ve long said it would be useful to know what SF’s bottom line on this is.

Ramzi Nohra - March 21, 2013

i think its a fair line for the WP to take (accepting your caveat World). In fact, they’d have to be politically incompetent not to mention it!
Its probably more reasonable than SOME of their previous critiques of SF in the North.

eamonncork - March 21, 2013

An extremely silly post from JP. There’s every difference in the world between the criticism then and the criticism now.

2. KuffDam - March 21, 2013

They’ve been wrecking workers lives up their one way or the other for a long time now. Do you agree with SF’s neo-liberal northern economic policy JP?

3. eamonncork - March 21, 2013

I’m impressed by the fact that the other public representatives are backing Seamus McDonagh. It’s like a united left alliance.

irishelectionliterature - March 21, 2013

With Pat Kavanagh of Fis Nua… surely a “United Green Left Alliance”

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

Might be, might just be…

4. revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013
LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

It’s a by-election in Meath-East, not Athens. Horses for courses.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

So you think Ireland is only deserving of a social-democratic programme?

Or you think the job of socialists is to tail the consciousness of the working class rather than telling the truth about the need for socialist transformation of society and presenting a programme to get there?

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

The road to socialism begins on the terrain of social democracy.

It doesn’t end there, but that’s the point of departure which resonates with people, it connects to their lived realities.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

I don’t dispute that general truth but the problem is that McDonagh’s programme both begins AND ends within the framework of social democracy.

The aim of revolutionary socialism on the other hand is to begin with those connections to people’s lived realities and then present a programme that coherently leads to the end point of the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism.

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

But it’s not a programme that’s being proposed there, it’s a press release.

There’s a more detailed statement of political stance here:

http://seamusmcdonagh.wordpress.com/category/political-manifesto/

Yes, it’s ‘reformist’. But it’s the starting point. Do you want to debate the exact path to the end point, a journey of probably decades, when that journey hasn’t even started?

I have no evidence to lead me to believe that the audience for that press release (the Meath-East electorate) have any interest in discussing the detailed nature of the programme to get from where we are now to that point. None. I wish the state of class consciousness was different, but it’s not.

So step one along the path is to halt the acceleration Rightwards. Very basic stuff. Walking before running.

You’re welcome of course to stand for election yourself on your own programme. Nothing stopping you.

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

Sorry RP, you are already referencing the manifesto, not the press release. My mistake. However, the rest of my comment stands.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

I really don’t understand this logic.

You are claiming to present an answer to the problems of working people. That the system needs to be changed.

But you are telling a lie in terms of that answer – that capitalism can be reformed to work in the interests of working people.

The way to start to develop working class consciousness is through campaigns that defend our interests as a class and begin to see our class taking collective action as a class.

But that is quite a different thing from going to the working class in an election and telling them lies about how society can be changed to work in their interests.

Of course if you believe that this programme can actually work and will really meet the needs of working people, i.e. you are a conscious reformist, then we will have a different kind of conversation.

But your response has not been to argue that I am wrong in a historical sense of what is necessary to establish socialism but rather that it is wrong to tell these truths now because of the low level of class consciousness at the current time.

The reformist programme being presented in McDonagh’s manifesto is not a step along a path towards a revolutionary programme. The programmes of reform and revolution represent distinct political paths.

Of course it is not as popular to tell the truth about the revolutionary change required to create a socialist society as it is to tell reformist fairy-tales. But is it the job of revolutionary socialists to be popular or is it to tell the truth?

(And just to be clear I am using “truth” here to mean current understanding of what is required.)

Jim Monaghan - March 21, 2013

RP Trotsky called for the American CL later SWP to support the CPUSA candidate in I think the 1932 elections. You derive from this tradition.
For me the bottom line is no to the Troika and non to coalition with any of the Troika parties and any other grouplet of a similar nature. In the absence of anyone better than the WPI, what do we say.
SF are unfortunately open to coalition (they left the door open).
The far left have made a hames of organising themselves.
Every vote for the WPI will be seen as an act of resistance to the Troika and the sell out policies of the ICTU.
We have to act within the reality we face.
I don’t like the WPI for a lot of reasons. But with my hand holding my nose I feel a vote for them represents a fightback.
If this election was in Mayo where there is no left (as far as I know) I would say say at home but in Meath the WPI have offered an alternative.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

JM – Yes the US Trotskyists did give critical support to the CP in the 1932 elections. Reading the source material (PDFs linked from http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/themilitant/1932/) I think that they make a good case for this.

Giving electoral support is a tactical question (obviously within principled frameworks like no vote to bourgeois parties) and a call to vote for a workers organisation like the WP is such a tactical question.

As those Militant articles from 1932 make clear the main point is how best to put forward the revolutionary programme and draw the line between the two poles of reform and revolution.

The CP’s programme apparently included references to the need for a “revolutionary government” and so on. The Trotskyists of course critiqued the programme for not really being able to deliver this but it would seem that the programme being put forward was one around which a discussion over how to achieve workers power could be had. And it allowed drawing a line between the politics of reform and revolution. It strikes me as quite different from the context and content of the manifesto WP are putting forward in this by-election.

The discussion on this thread has only tended to reinforce my position to oppose a vote for the WP in this by-election. The defence of the WP election manifesto have largely been made in terms that a reformist programme is all that can/should be raised at this time.

Having a central focus of using the election, and any critical support within that, to raise the politics of revolution seems incompatible with including a call for a vote to the WP candidate. I could be mistaken and it is in fact possible to have that focus and work calling for a vote to the WP in as part of that but I just can’t see how it could be done.

Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - March 21, 2013

‘tail’? I suspect McDonagh’s policies are far to the left of of a lot of working class people in Meath.

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

Well we’ll have an actual measure of that next week when we see how the likes of Sinn Fein and Direct Democracy Ireland have polled. I’m not equating the two of those, simply pointing out that their appeals to the working class vote are coming from positions on the political spectrum which are substantially to the Right of the Workers’ Party.

Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - March 21, 2013

I’d be more worried about how many working class votes Fianna Fail will get.

irishelectionliterature - March 21, 2013

LATC …Are Direct Democracy or SF being mentioned at the doors much?

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

Branno, yes of course you’re right there.

IEL, I haven’t been out canvassing yet myself! Reports from the frontline do indicate that DDI have the sort of support one might expect in these times for their simplistic populist anti-political stance. On SF I’ve only heard that there was much local displeasure within the organisation following the selection of O’Rourke, so we’ll see if that feeds into a less enthusiastic canvass and ultimately a drop in their vote.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

In terms of presenting a revoltuionary programme for the overthrow of capitalism this is indeed tailing current consciousness in terms of trying to be radical – but not too radical

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

“In terms of presenting a revoltuionary (sic) programme for the overthrow of capitalism…”

Yes RP, but those are your terms, not the WPs terms.

Apples and oranges.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

So you are conscious reformists who believe that socialism can be achieved by introducing the basic framework outlined in McDonagh’s manifesto?

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

No, we don’t believe that it can happen just like that with a snap of the fingers and winning some seats in the Dáil. Neither do we believe that a revolutionary situation exists or is likely to exist anytime soon. So in the meantime we propose a reformist set of policies in order to build awareness of an alternative to the current neoliberal orthodoxy. It’s not a static position. As class consciousness develops and gains are won then the balance of power changes and the immediate demands will change also.

You know this of course and the debate will go around in circles as people talk past each other.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

Of course the immediate demands are in constant flux and become more radical as the class struggle develops but that is not what I am criticising the WP for.

What I am criticising you for is presenting an overall programme that is reformist. For telling the working class lies about how the system can be changed to one that works in their interests.

The real question is whether you believe that a socialist society that puts the interests of working people first can be created by doing what is outlined in McDonagh’s manifesto?

If you do then, as I said, we have a different conversation.

If not and you believe some other kind of change is necessary to bring about that society we want (as I think you are implying) then why do you think it is right to lie to the working class about that?

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

No, a manifesto such as being proposed now in 2013 in Meath-East will not bring about a socialist society and economy.

It’s not a question of lying to anyone. What is on the cards right now is simply reform of capitalism in the direction of social democracy and restoration of the gains made by workers before the neoliberal onslaught dismantled them. That’s not the totality of the project but it’s as much of a bite sized chunk that makes sense to try to get popularly digested as a first course in the current circumstances.

WorldbyStorm - March 21, 2013

I don’t think it’s dishonest either. Anyone who examines the WP’s approach will know that their aim is the revolutionary transformation of this society. It’s not exactly hidden.

Which makes the argument more one of tactics and strategy than of aims. And in that people can differ entirely reasonably without it being opportunistic.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

LATC & WbS – except that is not what is being presented. This manifesto says it is about fixing the system so that it will no longer benefit the elites and will instead benefit working people.

It doesn’t say this is only a partial solution about limiting the excesses of the capitalist system – it projects this as THE solution for working people.

There is no indication that anything else will be required.

How is that an honest representation of their politics if in fact WP believe that some kind of revolutonary overthrow of capitalism will actually be required to achieve those aims?

Are you seriously suggesting that it is just “tactics” to tell the working class some limited version of your programme because you don’t think they are ready to hear what you actually believe is necessary?

As far as I can tell from examining all the election material produced by the WP for this election campaign there is nothing that goes any further than the reformism of the manifesto. If indeed the WP are revolutionary then they really are keeping it very well hidden in this election campaign.

The only way to possibly argue this is to say that left social democratic reformism is just a stage on the same path as revolutionary politics. And that is an old, old idea that was first comprehensively debunked by Rosa Luxemburg in her “Reform or Revolution”.

WorldbyStorm - March 21, 2013

I’m not sure I agree RP. Firstly if this was an era where there was no internet and no proliferation of information I think some of your criticism would be reasonable, if one took the view that the election literature was too bland and that there was no easy means of accessing the WP’s own information on a range of policies (and by the way, I’m no partisan for the WP in any of this whatsoever). But it’s 2013, if one reads a leaflet one can easily go to the links for the WP and discover where they stand. So we have to accept that the working class has agency in all this and an ability to interact and not merely be the passive recipient of information provided by others.

But all that aside, reading SMcD’s website I’m unsure as to your problem. In the very first paragraph he writes:

What it is about is making it clear that the existing system is failing people.

It is a system that is run in the interests of the golden circle, big business and the international financial markets. It is not a system where the interests of ordinary people are well served.

Séamus McDonagh stands in opposition to this political system as a socialist and community activist.

He’s said it there and then, he’s a socialist, he’s in opposition to the political system.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

WbS – that is actually exactly my point.

That introduction lays out that the manifesto is about changing society and socialism and yet the concrete programme presented does not do that instead it only offers a left-reformist ameiloration of capitalism as the way this supposed socialist transformation will occur.

WorldbyStorm - March 21, 2013

We obviously have significantly different interpretations of the WP platform RP. These are to my reading obvious and necessary transitional demands. Never more so than today. If those were implemented they’d not merely push leftwards and by an huge degree but they’d also in and of themselves make the path further left near enough inevitable.

At no point does he suggest that they’re all that is required to arrive at a position of socialism and again you have to credit the working class with agency in terms of understanding that.

I can’t quite grasp how you believe one can say in the one breath that one stands in opposition to the political system and then decide that the policies laid out are the be all and end all. It’s not logical in the context of the WP’s stated aims across decades – even if one disagreed with them entirely.

He says it himself, it’s not the detail (in terms of policy) but the intent (socialism).

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

WbS – we do indeed seem to be approaching this from quite different view points.

I would agree that the demands raised could indeed by transitional (in the sense of the method of the Transitional Programme as codified by Trotsky) but only if they were part of an overall programme that included not only these demands but also other ones that laid out the question of the working class taking power.

Many on the left see demands as “transitional” in of themselves but this is not how they are seen in the method of the TP as developed by Trotsky.

The issue is what are the demands transitional to?

In the way they are presented in the WP manifesto they are only transitional to a reform of capitalism. But at the same time the introduction frames the manifesto in terms of the overall transformation of the system. It may not explicitly say “this is all that is necessary” but the introduction certainly strongly implies that to say the least.

It leaves out any demands to do with reorganising the economic basis of society, or to do with the need for self-organisation of the working class, or do with opposition to the repressive apparatus of the capitalist state, or to do with establishing workers’ power. All the key questions of revolutionary change.

As LATC has made clear in this thread – this is by conscious design. The WP recognise that it is a reformist document – they think that is the smart tactic in the current situation and to openly argue for a revolutionary transformation of society would be wrong. I therefore am not sure why you are saying that this is really a platform for the revolutionary socialist transformation of society.

The real question here is why the WP are prepared to present a programme to the working class, which as you point out introduces itself as being about changing the system, which they themselves apparently don’t believe can achieve that aim?

WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2013

But I’m not sure thats exactly what LATC is saying, or what the WP is saying is that that is all that is necessary. You yourself admit that it doesn’t implicitly say ‘this is it’ and how could it, that’s not what they believe. LATCs point is that these are clear demands that push left wards. My understanding of reformism is that it is only willing to go so far, LATC has explicitly said that’s not the case with the WP and in light of he available docs I’d tend to agree.

D_D - March 22, 2013

“It [the WP manifesto] leaves out any demands to do with reorganising the economic basis of society, or to do with the need for self-organisation of the working class, or do with opposition to the repressive apparatus of the capitalist state, or to do with establishing workers’ power. All the key questions of revolutionary change.”

What RP means is that the WP manifesto going into Meath East houses for this election should include, among other things, the following (taken from the draft revolutionary programme here http://revolutionaryprogramme.wordpress.com/for-a-revolutionary-socialist-programme-2/ ):

“It is necessary to break up the existing state apparatus and replace it with a new state power, based on the fundamentally different forms of workers’ democracy, which is committed to serving and protecting the interests of working people and the oppressed…

“To defend ourselves we need to form mass-based organs of self-defence which can resist the repression of the capitalist state as we fight back against the attacks and lay the basis for its overthrow. We need to take over workplaces and join together to take the economy into common ownership. This will necessarily carry over into a fight for working class rule, based on democratic organisations at all levels from workplace councils to a workers’ government.”

LeftAtTheCross - March 22, 2013

I’ve been out tonight driving McDonagh up to the TV3 studios for his 90 sec slot on VB’s show so I’ve missed the conversation. But +1 to WBS in my absence. And also +1 to D_D for pointing out the gap between the actually existing class consciousness and the ideologically pure transitional demands of Trotsky’s programme. Nothing more to be said here I think. Goodnight.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

WbS – “So in the meantime we propose a reformist set of policies in order to build awareness of an alternative to the current neoliberal orthodoxy” – I think that is pretty clear from how LATC describes what their manifesto in this by-election is about.

There is an implicit stagism here – at some time in the future when they deem the general class consciousness to have risen enough then they will reveal more of the truth about what is really required to achieve the aims outlined in the introduction to their manifesto.

This is either craven electoral opportunism or patronising and elitist with the political gurus deciding when the simple working class are ready to hear the whole truth. Actually it is probably some combination of the two. But whatever it is a rotten political method in my mind.

When bourgeois politicians hold back elements of their real programme until they deem the time is right we are rightly outraged. So why do we think it is ok for the left to do the same?

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

D_D & LATC – I do think that the ideas (I am not hung up about the particular words and phrases) in the sections of one of my leaflets that D_D quoted is indeed necessary to achieve the socialist change to the system that the WP introduction to their manifesto refers to.

The real question is whether the WP, and its defenders on this thread, think something along those lines will indeed be necessary to bring about socialist change to the system?

If not then fair enough, you are conscious reformists and we know where we stand.

But if you do then we are left with the issue of why you think the WP are right to keep those elements out of their manifesto which states it is about meeting those aims.

Why am I wrong to conclude that this is some combination of craven electoral opportunism or a patronising and elitist approach with the all-wise political gurus deciding when the working class simpletons are ready to hear the whole truth?

Ed - March 22, 2013

“Why am I wrong to conclude that this is some combination of craven electoral opportunism or a patronising and elitist approach with the all-wise political gurus deciding when the working class simpletons are ready to hear the whole truth?”

RP, if you want people to pay attention to what you’re saying, you’re really going to have to learn to put aside this frankly insulting rhetoric, where everyone who does not accept your precise definition of what the radical left should be saying at this juncture is guilty of ‘craven electoral opportunism’ and of seeing the working class as ‘simpletons’. This is just trash talk, there’s no other word for it.

We had a debate on this very question some time ago on CLR; as I said then, you appear to make a formal concession that Europe today is not the same as it was in the 1920s, when violent revolution and violent counter-revolution were part of the everyday currency of European politics, when bourgeois democracy was extremely fragile and under challenge at every turn from left and right; but having made this formal concession, you immediately retract it when it comes to anything practical and insist that anyone putting forward anything less than the programme and rhetoric of the early Comintern is guilty of the most sordid and weak-kneed opportunism.

You may believe that the electoral programmes of the Workers’ Party, ULA, SP etc. should contain an explicit call for the Irish working class to form a red guard and prepare for a ruthless civil war against the bourgeoisie*. You are entitled to make that argument. But lay off on the rhetoric about ‘opportunism’ and ‘elitism’ and all the rest of that if you expect to get a fair hearing.

* Incidentally, why stop there? Why not spell out exactly what this entails: if there is going to be a civil war, presumably the death penalty will have to be imposed—should this be part of the programme too? If it’s not part of the programme, is that a case of ‘lying to workers’?

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

Ed – I accept that I have pushed the polemical boat out here but I am getting a bit frustrated by the continuing refusal to answer my polite questions about what the WP, and their defenders in this thread, consider to be necessary to bring about the socialist change their manifesto refers to in its introduction and why they are apparently in favour of keeping some elements of their real programme for achieving that change secret/hidden from the working class at this time. So I have posed, in a very sharp way, what I think could be the possible reasons for that in the hope it might elicit a response where my more polite questions on the issue have been ignored.

I apologise if I have gone too far in this one comment but you can perhaps understand the frustration which led me to write it.

I do find it interesting that my opponents in this discussion all find it necessary to respond to my comments and questions about what will really be necessary to bring about socialist change by posing what I am for in the most extreme use of terminnology – as you do here. I am more than happy to have a discussion about the exact words and phrases that could better get across the ideas/concepts outlined in the sections of my leaflet quoted by D_D.

But of course this is not really a discussion about how best to get those ideas across but rather an opposition to trying at all to getting those ideas across at all.

In terms of the difference between the 1920s and now I think that is primarily an issue of agitational slogans and directness/concreteness with which these ideas are got across. Of course now, when their direct application seems so far removed from everyday life, they have to be presented in a more abstract/propagandistic way but to the extent one actually is a revolutionary socialist I think there is a responsbility to do your best to get these ideas across as if you do not all you are left with is the reformism of the WP by-election manifesto.

Ed - March 22, 2013

“To defend ourselves we need to form mass-based organs of self-defence which can resist the repression of the capitalist state as we fight back against the attacks and lay the basis for its overthrow.”

What I said about red guards and civil war was only a very slight exaggeration of this point. I’m sure you wouldn’t insist on using the term ‘red guard’ or red anything. But you can only fiddle around with the wording so much; it appears that you’re insisting that any election manifesto must include something about the necessity of armed insurrection against the capitalist state, so there’s a limit to what you can do with terminology. And I wasn’t being flippant when I asked why we shouldn’t say something about the need for the death penalty to be imposed under conditions of civil war – if we need to spell out everything, why not say that? Why not talk about the danger of foreign invasion, for that matter?

My point is that talk of armed insurrection has no currency in well-established bourgeois democracies where there has been no prospect of violent revolution or violent counter-revolution for decades. It’s not likely to have currency until people start to believe that the electoral road to political change is blocked. I don’t think it’s the same in southern Europe, because the experience of military dictatorship in those countries is much more recent; people have a much better sense of the fragility of bourgeois democracy.

I think it would be completely useless for the Irish radical left to start talking about the need for armed insurrection, workers’ militias etc. at this point. What we do need to be doing is finding ways to highlight the class nature of the state and put a spotlight on the repressive apparatus. I wouldn’t claim to know exactly how it should be done, but I do think it’s essential. The main example of the Irish state behaving in a nakedly repressive manner against its citizens on behalf of capital comes from Rossport, but that hasn’t really gotten through to most people outside Mayo; the violence against student protesters in Dublin a couple of years ago would be another example. It’s a bit clearer in Britain, because you’ve had recent cases like the ones involving Ian Tomlinson and Alfie Meadows where the cops have killed people on demos or done their very best to kill them.

I think the basic, immediate campaigning programme of the left should say something about the class bias and the repressive nature of the police and the courts. I don’t have a very firm idea of what that should be, how it should be worded etc. But this would not be the same as calling for armed insurrection in an election manifesto.

Ed - March 22, 2013

I meant the main RECENT example of course there – all kinds of things you could highlight since the 1920s.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

Ed – I agree completely on using current examples which highlight the nature of the state. Here are a couple I’ve used in other leaflets:

“Of course as soon as the fight for our demands begin to pose a serious threat to the wealth and power of the capitalists, they will use every means at their disposal to stop us – the courts, the Gardaí, the army, all the forces of the capitalist state apparatus. The capitalist state exists to defend the privilege and wealth of our capitalist rulers – just ask the Shell to Sea activists, or the student demonstrators in Dublin last November, or the Thomas Cook workers whose workplace occupation was broken in 2009.”

“The Waterford workers faced a squad of mercenaries hired by the boss. Such private ‘security’ forces, along with the Gardai, are the first resort of capitalists seeking to restore ‘order’ – in other words, market-generated anarchy. In response to this, workers need to organise effective self-defence bodies that are capable of resisting the violent attacks of fascists or thugs hired by employers.”

But this is to miss the main point – is what I am saying true or not?

Will we need to organise to defend ourselves against the capitalist state if we start to pose a real threat? Will it be necessary to neutralise/overthrow the capitalist state to bring socialism into being?

If indeed an election manifesto was just an “immediate campaigning programme” then I can see a case for what you are saying about not raising the overthrow of the capitalist state.

But election manifesto’s tend to be about more than just immediate campaigning – they pose the question of the running of the whole of society (as the WP one does in this by-election).

All I am saying that in response to that question people should tell the working class the truth about what they believe will be necessary – irrespective of how popular that may be.

The WP claim to believe that something more than what they outline in their by-election manifesto is necessary to answer that question about changing the system. Why do they, and their defenders on this thread, think it is ok to keep that a secret from, in effect to lie to, the working class they are politically engaging with?

And, as I believe my personal experience shows, this does not necessarily inhibit the potential for those with openly revolutionary views to participate fully in the immediate campaigns of our class.

LeftAtTheCross - March 22, 2013

Ed, we made a decision at the planning meeting for the Meath-East by-election which was held in late January in Kells, that we would make the central theme of the by-election campaign the divergence in political and economic interests of the ruling class and the masses. In other words to put the development of class consciousness at centre stage. One might quibble about that choice of approach, and the success or otherwise in framing the by-election material in those terms, but that was the conscious decision and everything has flowed from that through the material and press releases etc. We’re starting from a very low base and in a constituency that personifies two very reactionary trends, a traditional rural conservatism on one hand and a post-modern individualism of the self-describing ‘squeezed middle’ in the commuter town post-2000 housing estates on the other hand. There are existing pockets of traditional radical support in the established town populations and amongst some elements of the rural population of course, but the decision was made to attempt to address the concerns of the wider population from the perspective of class politics, rather than sitting in the comfort zone and accepting a couple of hundred votes as being our lot. Certainly the support for the No Home Tax campaign has helped create an amtosphere of resistance to mainstream pro-Troika politics, but single-issue resistance could equally spill over into support for both Sinn Fein or DIrect Democracy Ireland, both of whom are playing the anti-ideological populist card. We’ll see next week how successful or otherwise the campaign has been.

eamonncork - March 22, 2013

Ed, I’d be inclined to agree you on this but it’s hardly correct to say that Irish people have no recent experience of armed insurrection against the state. There did seem to be something along those lines to the north of Louth and Monaghan not very long ago. And I would reckon this also gave people a sense of the fragile nature of bourgeois democracy.

King Alpha Plan - March 22, 2013

Is this what you’re referring to Ed stating? : “My point is that talk of armed insurrection has no currency in well-established bourgeois democracies where there has been no prospect of violent revolution or violent counter-revolution for decades.”

That statement stands just as correct for Ireland as other western European states. Get the Provo goggles off, please.

Ed - March 22, 2013

Eamonn, that’s true of course, but most of the energy behind the northern conflict came from nationalism, not class conflict (although some of the left-republican elements would have liked it to be a class struggle). So of all the people who considered the northern state to be illegitimate and repressive, I’d say the vast majority saw it primarily as a British state, not as a capitalist one. Not quite the same thing, but in Britain, the largest concentration of people who see the state and the police as repressive bodies would definitely be among black and Asian people (in France, among young blacks and Arabs); but if you asked them, they’d probably say the state was repressive because it was white-dominated and racist, not because it was capitalist.

And looking back on it, it’s remarkable in a way how little of an impact the northern war had on the South: of course there was some impact, but the basic political alignments remained the same, southern issues remained the main focus of politics, apart from a few exceptional moments at the time of Bloody Sunday, the hunger strikes etc. As the Provos belatedly realised, the lie of the land in southern politics was very different because most people saw the state as legitimate; they might not be very fond of the parties in government, but they didn’t think it was ok to try and overthrow the state by force, whereas a large minority of nationalists in the North did. The whole republican thing of the Free State being a Vichy-style puppet administration just didn’t have much popular resonance.

So all in all, even though there was a long-running insurgency in the North, with thousands of people killed, in the end how much did it contribute to people seeing capitalist democracy on the island in the way that Marxists would see it – as a form of government that serves the interests of the dominant class, not the majority; that can be very repressive in itself; and that can easily be replaced by openly authoritarian rule if the chips are down? I’d say probably less than the experience of the miners’ strike did in Britain; and certainly less than the experience of the last 2-3 years in Greece.

LATC, I wasn’t having a go at the WP in saying that by the way – like I said, I honestly don’t know exactly how we should be phrasing this, certainly not in a fairly short campaigning manifesto (I’d have a good idea of how we might put together a pamphlet about the record of the Guards, the judges etc. to show up the class bias of the state, but that would be more specialised). But we do need to start thinking about how to get these ideas across without sounding completely out of touch with reality.

WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2013

RP I think you’re to an extent having your cake and eating it a bit in this discussion. You resile from the term ‘malign’ but you’re happy to suggest the WP is ‘dishonest’, ‘rotten’, ‘craven’, ‘patronising’ and ‘elitist’.

You suggest the WP is being dishonest, but yet simultaneously you accept that the situation is not that which was extant in 1917.

If the latter is correct, if what you admit yourself is the case, then it is just about feasible that there won’t be a need for self-defence, at least along the lines you suggest in these presumably rhetorical questions?

“Will we need to organise to defend ourselves against the capitalist state if we start to pose a real threat? Will it be necessary to neutralise/overthrow the capitalist state to bring socialism into being?”
It may be necessary, it may not – the class forces are different, the challenges would be different. It’s far too early to tell. But given there’s some degree of uncertainty about it it seems unusual to push it front and centre in a by-election campaign as if it is a racing certainty.

Indeed making a statement like that the litmus test of genuine leftism in this context seems strange. It’s a focus on one potential aspect.

That’s not being dishonest, that’s being sensible. We cannot know the nature of the tactics that will be necessary to adopt in advance. Anything else is simply hypothesising. Fair enough as far as it goes but of no real benefit one way or another.

But, and I don’t want to insult LATC, I think his initial interpretation was incorrect that it was a purely reformist set of policies.

And again, the WP has a different view as to the nature of the challenges that need to be overcome before socialism is achieved. Not better than your view, not worse, just different. For example to me (as distinct from the WP) the problem isn’t those measures they articulate as part of their programme, but that if they saw them as an end in and of itself, but they clearly don’t, as you yourself admit – but I think that’s a bit beside the point in this discussion because again your critique is one that seeks to suggest that the WP is being in some way dishonest in obscuring its aims.

But anyone with a moments consideration of their approach will see that they’re anything but, that they position themselves as a Marxist party seeking a revolutionary transformation of society. The same can be said of the SP and so on and so forth.

I don’t disagree at all that there are parties and formations which do obscure their aims, which present themselves as left reformist when at their core they consider themselves to be revolutionary socialists. But that’s simply not the case here.

And more over I don’t think the WP is holding back its programme here. It is making a case for – as they see it – a series of policies that will shift the balance leftwards and which are only a sampling of their overall policy position which they’ve already outline the intent – i.e. socialism. It invites people to look at the totality of their programme.

I don’t think there’s any case for outrage at all. Nor is it similar to the right – where, as with the EU eurozone ministers the actuality is indeed clouded in rhetoric and the end point is not articulated.

Again though implicit to your argument is the idea that the working class is unable to suss all this out. I’ll bet you that most working class people who encounter the WP and care a damn either way know full well that it seeks something a lot more rigorous than a reformist approach in this society. And again the same is true of the SP or other formations. Though not all. Not all.

I mean it’s not as if the far left gets enormous numbers of votes, and one reason that we keep hearing about that is that it is supposedly not credible. Now that’s not due to the individuals as such, because Joe Higgins is a credible figure, as are numerous others I could name. It is though due to a perception that these parties are ‘far left’, ‘marginal’, ‘radical’, ‘unrealistic’ and so on.

In other words it seems to me that perhaps you’re looking at this from the wrong end of the telescope. It’s not that the far lefts aims are somehow – at least in general – hidden, it’s that they’re regarded as unfeasible because they’re too utopian.

There’s the other problem that it seems to me that perhaps you’re putting far too much store in texts as if somehow they in and of themselves will convince others. I don’t think there’s any proof whatsoever historically that this is true – and certainly none at all in regards to advanced capitalist democracies. You have a formulation of words, and I’ve no huge quibble about it, but it seems to me to be terribly abstract when set against the concrete problems facing workers today and for the foreseeable future. I’d be much more worried about political parties which don’t articulate at least something that can be used to ameliorate those worries and to shift everything leftwards.

“Where exactly do you think I am advocating “workers’ revolution now”? That would just be silly.
But I do think it is important to be raising the ideas of workers self-organisation, including self-defence bodies, and the need for our own alternative forms of power including taking over the running of the whole system.
Sure most people at this moment think that is a bit extreme or crazy and it is not a case of pushing it down people’s throats. But I believe this to be true and I think I have a right, indeed a responsbility, to say so.
I haven’t found that having these extreme views has stopped me from being able to work in campaigns alongside others who currently hold less radical views on social change.”

It’s not a question of being extreme or crazy in your view, though I’m interested that you would have that perception of the perception of your views, and might think about how that would impact upon the reception of those views. But more that you think that at this point in time when you consider ‘workers revolution’ now to be silly that you think it is the best time to be so strenuously critiquing those who while advocating arrival at the same destination have an analysis which seeks to take a somewhat different route to your own.

LeftAtTheCross - March 22, 2013

“purely reformist”

If I used that adjective I withdraw it for the sake of clarity.

Certainly the demands are not ‘revolutionary’ in any immediate literal sense. In that black and white context they therefore become ‘reformist’, if one must be restricted to a bipolar choice between one or the other.

However, as you have articulated very well above, the underlying point is that there are more points on the Left political spectrum than just these two choices, and they are not fixed static choices. There are also spatial and temporal aspects to this. As RP notes, there is a ‘stagist’ element in the mix. Unfortunately all of these terms are extremely loaded with historical context stretching back almost a century. Not that many of the people of Meath-East would care in the least about such context.

Anyway +1 to your analysis above.

WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2013

BTW, KAP few would describe EC has having Provo goggles.

5. eamonncork - March 21, 2013

The entry of Boyd Barrett, Halligan and Pringle into the campaign is praiseworthy but it also makes the stakes higher for Seamus McDonagh’s candidacy. Should he trail in last, as the bookies odds suggest, it can be portrayed as a humiliating defeat for the Left. Should DDI avoid last place that will probably be portrayed as some kind of moral victory for them. With respect RP, at the current juncture even Social Democracy verges on the revolutionary in this country. And there’s as much chance of a revolution overthrowing capitalism in Ireland as there is of the population of Texas being raptured into the clouds. That’s not to scoff at those who like yourself sincerely support and work for revolutionary socialism but what would be the point of a candidate winning 171 votes in the Meath East by-election on a revolutionary socialist platform? Whose consciousness would it raise? David Vipond’s by electoral adventures back in the day hardly advanced the cause of socialism.

LeftAtTheCross - March 21, 2013

We have our sights aimed higher than coming in last. There’s a lot to play for. We would expect to come in ahead of DDI and the Green Party, but on a good day it’s conceivable that the LP vote could crumble and benefit both the WP and of course SF.

The support of the Left TDs is important in terms of providing credibility to the candidate in the eyes of the public. Of course it won’t get into the national print media or the RTE news but it will be reported in the local press in due course and adds some momentum to the campaign. People gain confidence in a candidate through association with known faces. We don’t have ‘Bertie’s man in Meath’ and all of that popular recognition, so it is very useful to see the Left TDs and Councillors step up and support the campaign.

eamonncork - March 21, 2013

Best of luck LATC. Hope it goes well for you and greatly heartened to hear you sounding so optimistic.

WorldbyStorm - March 21, 2013

+1

revolutionaryprogramme - March 21, 2013

I am not arguing that there is any immediate prospect of revolution.

What I am arguing is that to create a society that is based on the interests of working people a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism will be required.

The issue for me is that what might be perceived as achievable in terms of electoral support is pretty much irrelevant in terms of what programme anyone who believes in such a revolutionary perspective should say to the working class.

Any argument that the programme for how to achieve a society based on the interests of working people is something that changes (on the level of the reformist vs revolutionary spectrum) based on perceived immediate electoral gain (as appears to be being argued in this thread) is just plain opportunism in my opinion.

The question of standing in elections to the institutions of bourgeois democracy is an interesting one for revolutionary socialists. In my mind it is primarily a question of testing the level of support for those ideas and using the heightened interest in politics generated around elections to propagandise for those ideas. That needs to be weighed up against the cost in terms of time and resources required to run in an election that would otherwise be used in more direct elements of the class struggle.

WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2013

I know and appreciate your own approaches in these matters, but this is one instance where I think the formation is – whatever its flaws and virtues – doing much as one would hope it would do. I think there are multiple paths forward and while I wouldn’t expect you or anyone to stand and applaud the WP for various reasons I can’t see anything malign in what they’re doing here.

Now, if they were being malign I’d be the first to agree with you.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

“Malign”? Not sure I’d quite use that term but to the extent they believe that more than what they have put forward is necessary to achieve the socialist change to the system the introduction to their manifesto outlines as their aim then I do think they are being dishonest.

I do think they are doing this with the best of intentions – but the road to hell is paved with good intentions as the saying goes…

yourcousin - March 22, 2013

In all the years of signing people up into the One Big Union I remember that only once have I had a worker in a shop actually bring up going from capitalism to worker’s democracy and telling us that our preamble (abolish the wage system) was just not precise enough. But she was South Korean, so she cut her teeth on a different kind of political activism than most Americans. Almost every other real worker (not political activist joining on their own) had to be talked off back off that ledge when it was brought to their attention. And even I am not supportive of the WP I find it is at least heartening that there is enough common sense not to have “worker’s revolution now” as a campaign slogan.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

I am not sure what your point is.

Where exactly do you think I am advocating “workers’ revolution now”? That would just be silly.

But I do think it is important to be raising the ideas of workers self-organisation, including self-defence bodies, and the need for our own alternative forms of power including taking over the running of the whole system.

Sure most people at this moment think that is a bit extreme or crazy and it is not a case of pushing it down people’s throats. But I believe this to be true and I think I have a right, indeed a responsbility, to say so.

I haven’t found that having these extreme views has stopped me from being able to work in campaigns alongside others who currently hold less radical views on social change.

yourcousin - March 23, 2013

My point was that in well over a decade of organizing within the frame work of an explicitly anti-capitalist organization I’ve only had one (normal) person bring up the advanced goal of abolishing the wage system and wanting to be more precise about how we get from point A to point Z. Most people want you to help deal with shift problems, not getting paid, a shitty boss, or a lack consistency in terms of workplace rules and regulations and how they are enforced. Obviously none of those issues is earth shattering, but they are all very real and a necessary step for us to take.

I understand your point about being able to seize control of the means of production but I believe this is best prepared for by keeping your current house in good order. A tight ship is a tight ship and good practices are good practices regardless of context.. Part of what makes radical unionism radical is the democratization of the workplace. For us to do that and not get vulnerable people fucked in the process we start small and show people what they can do with knowledge and solidarity.

To insist on articulating the end goal up front every time, would be like insisting on how many kids you want on a first date, counter productive and just plain weird. You also bring up your ability to work with others in campaigns, but what about your neighbors or your co-workers? Are you in sync with them so that they look to you on issues or do they purposefully avoid the topic?. It doesn’t matter what you say unless people are willing and ready to listen.

Having a plethora of rights or a shit load of responsibilities does not change the fact that spouting off shit to people is far more likely to alienate more than it converts, unless of course like an evangelical preacher you’re looking for the elect to start with.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 23, 2013

Where do you get the idea that I think it is necessary to “insist on articulating the end goal up front every time”?

I am talking about a particular situation of a general election manifesto that has an introduction outlining the aim as socialist change of the system.

I have recently taken on the role of union rep at my workplace. It would be ridiculous for me to be raising the full revolutionary programme in every situation that required my input.

Just as in campaigns I don’t get up at every meeting and outline the full revolutionary programme.

Though of course the tactics and strategy I put forward in those contexts will be influenced by my wider programme and I do produce material from time to time which does outline my wider political programme and make that available to those people I work with around those more immediate issues.

The message should always be fit for purpose. If you are standing in a general election, and therefore presenting a programme for how to run the whole of society, I stand by my position that any socialist worthy of the name should be honest about what they tell the working class will be necessary to achieve socialist change. EVen at the expense of immediate popularity.

WorldbyStorm - March 23, 2013

But it’s not a general election in Meath, it’s a byelection.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 24, 2013

The same issues of running the whole of society are posed by a by-election as they are by a general election. It is still for election to the Dail which is about running the whole country and socio-economic system.

It is of course possible to stand in a such an election on a programme with a more limited remit, as with a single-issue candidate using the election process to highlight that issue. But when that is done it is necessary for that to be made explicitly clear.

The WP campaign does not so such thing and in fact the manifesto itself directly implies that it is indeed about the running of the whole of society.

WorldbyStorm - March 25, 2013

Absolutely, and very welcome it is too.

I’d love to say in response to your question that I had an answer as to what the new forms will be, but I don’t. Indeed I’m deeply concerned by what seems to me to be a broad retreat across decades now from even mild social democracy, let alone anything further left than that, in terms of general support.

Nor am I certain that new forms will arise, or that older forms will be applicable. I think it entirely possible that plutocracies generated by wealth and access to technology may find it possible to kick the ladder out from under them and the means to combat that could be difficult to formulate.

Of course one has to be active and that as you say necessitates participation in a wide range of activities. Some will work, some won’t. Some will be cul-de-sacs.

WRT to your points re strategic approaches, there’s a lot in what you say. But, I do wonder how easy it will be to map organisational and other approaches that were pertinent to very specific historical contexts onto contemporary or future events

revolutionaryprogramme - March 25, 2013

I think that there are general lessons, both positive and negative, that can be learnt from looking at the past century or so of the class struggle. While there are of course things that are new about the current situation I would also argue that it is not so new as to invalidate those general lessons.

We should all be open to having our understanding of those general lessons challenged and changed if necessary but there should be good evidence for doing so.

I would dearly like to be convinced that some alternative to revolution could usher in a socialist society but if I look around the world I see no evidence that the bourgeoisie in 2013 are any less insanely vicious in their desire to maintain their grip on wealth and power than they have been in the past.

If we start posing a threat to them they will use all the power of their state against us. I make no apology for trying to highlight that truth.

So the contradiction between the WP’s professed belief in revolution while limiting their concrete programme completely within the existing socio-economic framework has allowed me to emphasise that point. And after some preliminary polemical jousting/excesses to have some more substantive discussion on that issue.

For all my sharp criticism of the WP on this thread it is in the context of a fraternal desire for political clarity and development. I have always found that it is only by arguing sincerely for what I currently understand that it is possible to have the holes in my understanding exposed and my ideas refined. At the very least I look forward to discussing this thread with my closest ally in the Cobh CAHWT campaign – who is a longtime WP member.

Garibaldy - March 26, 2013

RP,

There is more than one form of revolution of course, so you might want to be clear what you mean by that. It sounds as if you mean something like storming the Winter Palace is inevitable but perhaps I have misunderstood.

The WP does not have a concrete programme mapped out for how any transition to socialism in Ireland would take place because it would be a pointless effort to try and predict that. What it does have is a view of what is necessary to build class-consciousness in order to bring the transition to socialism and the revolutionising of society closer. In concrete terms, it believes, for example, that expanding the role of the state in the economy is a step towards that for various reasons such as accustoming people to the idea of the state as the most important economic actor, generating income to be spent on reforms useful to the working class in the here and now, and creating jobs, something important both in people’s every day life and for the possibilities of growing class consciousness.

As LATC said right at the start of this, and I think you agreed, social democracy is a step along the road to socialism. In Ireland, we are very far even from social democracy, so our programme of immediate policies reflects that, but does so within the context of the overall vision for the revolutionary transformation of society.

I suppose what this boils down to is that all you see are the limitations of the programme, where we see how the changes suggested by it can be a dynamic element for further change – a spark if you will.

I doubt anyone is going to change anyone’s mind on these fundamental approaches through this thread, at least not for the people who are already committed in a party political way.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 26, 2013

Garibaldy, I guess words only have the content we give them but what you describe here seems quite different from how I understand “revolution” to be usually used in the Marxist tradition.

I understand it to mean the overthrowing/smashing (or at least somehow replacing) the existing capitalist state apparatus, both repressive and governmental, with a new working class state power based on the general principles of participatory/workers democracy. This new “workers’ state” would then reorganise the economic and social basis of society to meet the interests of human need rather than profit. I think this would necessarily entail the direct expropriation of the private property of the main sections of the capitalist class and implementing changes to encourage phasing out of the private property of the smaller bourgeoisie.

I have no doubt that this will mean that is some countries there will be events more or less equivalent to the storming of the winter palace, while in other countries it will be either more bloody or less bloody depending on the exact concrete circumstances but the general approach of needing to replace the capitalist state with a new one will be applicable in all these cases. The concept that the state is not a neutral body – it serves the interests of the ruling class in maintaining their social order and cannot be simply taken over by the working class – is fairly basic Marxism in my understanding.

Interestingly the quotes from speeches by WP leaders that you provided would seem to fairly explictily agree with that general understanding of what a revolution means.

I think this new working class control of society will be based on the general workers council type model that has tended to come to the fore when the working class has posed the question of power over the past hundred years or so. The exact form that will take in Ireland is of course not yet known as WbS outlines and the working class may well surprise us in the exact forms it develops but still it seems clear from a revolutionary Marxist point of view that these will be different from and in conflict with the existing structures of the capitalist state. I also think it is the responsibility of anyone who considers themself to be a revoltuionary socialist to put forward proposals in the current context that point towards, even if only in embryo, the revolutionary alternative.

I therefore do not see this is as just an abstract question for the future, or only for election manifestos and the like, as it affects the forms of struggle promoted in and around immediate campaigns. For instance this has been manifest in the CAHWT where I, and others, have emphasised the need for building functioning campaign groups in local working class communities which would be the building blocks for the struggle against the taxes and charges as against the SP & SWP who have tended towards a more centralised constituency based model. Now with the focus on the Property Tax the difference is becoming manifest in the emphasis being given to electoral tactics (“Axe the tax or watch your vote collapse” and standing candidates) as against militant direct action and the need for industrial action by the working class.

I do not agree that “social democracy is a step along the road to socialism”. Social democracy is actually a road block to socialism that diverts the struggle of the working class down the deadend path of the existing political structures of bourgeois democracy. This reality is of course contradictory in that many, if not most, working class activists will be social democrats, or at least organised, and led, by social democrats, as they begin to become active in the class struggle. But that does not mean that social democracy and revolutionary socialism are just different steps on the same path – they are two different paths and it requires a political break with the politics of social democracy for workers to move to the path of revolution. It is when they do so in significant numbers that the socialist transformation of society becomes a possibility.

There is nothing automatic about this development of revolutionary consciousness and there is an ongoing political struggle between the proponents of reform and revolution. Currently in Ireland the reformists predominate and the disourse on the left is primarily in terms of their disagreements over the details of that reformist path. So my intervention into discussions on the Irish left is most often perceived as strange and alien as I do not accept that overall reformist paradigm and instead start with a very different strategic perspective.

I agree that it is not possible to have a complete concrete programme mapped out now for the transition to socialism but political groups and individuals still all present programmes to the working class in terms of how they see the short to medium term struggle and, even if only implicitly, how that relates to the overall socialist aim. I believe it is possible, indeed necessary, to judge these programmes in terms of how they relate to the two divergent strategic paths of reform and revolution. So I engage in this ideological struggle outlining how I see that revolutionary path, with all the necessary caveats about not knowing a lot of the detail etc, hoping to find others who share that revolutionary perspective and we can move the discussion onto the level of the details of that revolutionary path.

Taking all the above into consideration the concrete programme the WP presents to the working class is unfortunately, and in contradiction to their own abstract ideological speeches, limited to the reformist path and contains NOTHING that points, even in embryo, towards the revolutionary alternative. Instead to the extent it poses, even if only implicitly, ideas for how to achieve socialist change in society they are ALL within the framework of changes to the existing capitalist structures – which is almost a crystal pure definition of reformism.

Whether or not this discussion will change the perspective of any of the participants, or watching lurkers, is of course unknown but I would hope that I have at least helped clarify a few issues for people.

WorldbyStorm - March 23, 2013

BTW one thing I want to stress is that I’m not disputing your approach RP. That’s grand, though the thought strikes me that socialism is so constrained as a governing concept that it might make sense given the history of the last century or so to be able to offer evidence that smaller scale intermediary/transitional approaches can be achieved and implemented by socialists before going for the big one but never pretending that the big one is the aim. My problem is never if someone is a left social democrat, or a socialist, or revolutionary socialist of whatever stripe, it is as you say when people pretend to be something other than they are. But again that’s not what we’re seeing here.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 24, 2013

If indeed what we are seeing here is the WP not pretending to be something other than they are then that means the WP are conscious reformist socialists who believe that socialism can be created through the existing structures of bourgeois democracy including its repressive state apparatus and without the need to expropriate the capitalist class.

In fact that “socialism” is just a capitalism with the excesses of the ruling elite controlled and the system being made to operate in the interests of the working class.

Because that is exactly what their manifesto says.

LeftAtTheCross - March 24, 2013

No RP, the manifesto makes no such statement or claim. It simply addresses issues of immediate concern as a set of demands which if implemented by teh bourgeois state apparatus would have the effect of beginning the disempowerment of the ruling capitalist elite. It is a manifesto about the very beginning of that process, not its totality. It doesn’t attempt to address the steps beyond that.

WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2013

It seems to me at core RP there are three aspects which undermine your critique.

Firstly the WP is explicit that the points made in its manifesto are only part of a broader whole while simultaneously stating that they are in opposition to the political system and for socialism. Clear enough for most of us. We might or might not like in part or whole the type of society they seek but Is clear they seek something which would involve a revolutionary transformation of this one.

Secondly I believe you invest far far too much in single texts or documents and the presence or absence of elements you think important when we now live in a period where, unlike 1917, information and more crucially the ability to use and engage with it is much much greater, in other words and again this comes back to agency on the part if the working class they know that the WP is a revolutionary party, after all it’s not like thy dropped fully formed out if the sky yesterday, or if they dont a simple reading of the first few lines of the manifesto would indicate same and they can then go straight to the rest of the WP materials online.

They may not like or may be indifferent to that but one cannot just assume the working class is ignorant of such matters or unable to work it out for themselves (or as importantly that simply because a programme is presented to them they will accept it).

Thirdly that their – the WPs – conception of this is clearly different to yours which means that per definition given that they don’t hide their goal of socialism they cant be called opportunistic or hypocritical – since theyre not pretending they dont want socialism – but simply different in their approach when compared to yours.

The charge of hypocrisy or opportunism only holds if the WP seeks what you seek in every detail and yet acts otherwise. It doesn’t so it isn’t.

And that’s brings in a broader point. You can accuse them of taking the wrong path, no problem. But you can’t accuse them of being opportunistic or hypocritical, unless you believe they believe precisely what you believe but are acting differently. Idon’t want to speak for you, obviously I cant, but I genuinely doubt you believe that.

Which brings us to a sort of conclusion. That requires a move away from what you admitted earlier was something of a polemical critique into something else. One which eschews charges of hypocrisy or opportunism and instead rests upon different approaches and in particular why you believe, and what evidence you have, for why yours is superior to theirs.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 24, 2013

LATC – Well it is far from clear to me that it would be read that way but I’ll concede the point for the purposes of this discussion.

You say:

“It simply addresses issues of immediate concern as a set of demands which if implemented by teh bourgeois state apparatus would have the effect of beginning the disempowerment of the ruling capitalist elite.”

So do you honestly believe that it is in fact possible for the bourgeois state apparatus to carry out this programme of demands and begin the disempowerment of the ruling capitalist elite?

I would have thought that socialists realise that the bourgeois state apparatus exists to empower the ruling capitalist elite in its ongoing enrichment through the theft of workers labour.

Or do you think that this programme of demands are in fact unrealisable as the bourgeois state will not start acting in the interests of the working? But you think that this is the only way to get working people into political action at the current time. And at a future date when they come to realise themselves in greater numbers that in fact the disempowerment of the ruling capitalist elite is only possible by the empowerment of our class in opposition to the bourgeois state apparatus that you will then reveal the more radical elements of your programme?

revolutionaryprogramme - March 24, 2013

WbS – so I went to the Workers Party main web site to find this evidence of their support for socialism (beyond mere aspirational use of the term).

I looked at their Policies link and tried the “Budget 2011 – A Socialist Alternative” – and the content of that document is just a reform of capitalism so that it apparently can be made to work in the interests of the working class.

And their “Building a Decent Society – A Policy Document on Public Services” – more of the same.

I had a look on the publications page for major announcements of overall policy.

I did find the following in the 2013 New Year message:

“It is only the Workers’ Party that offers a Socialist Alternative.

“Our economic programme is one which controls the economy in the interests of society and not private profit. It is a programme which places the State and democratic control of the central organs of the economy at the service of the people. It is a programme which not only regulates the private sector and the banks and financial institutions but places them under democratic control. It enables the state and the public sector to be the engine of economic recovery and growth, to create jobs, first class public services and control of our huge natural resources.”

But then later in that statement the key details of that Socialist Alternative are given as:

“Specifically we propose the following concrete measures as a means of addressing the economic crisis facing the working class,

· Repudiate the Debt
· Change the Tax system to make those individuals and corporations who avoid paying tax to do so.
· Develop our natural resources in the National Interest.
· Use the successful state and semi state companies as the engine of economic growth and job creation.
· Develop a mass campaign of opposition to the austerity measures, focussing on the maximum co-operation of all left and progressive forces.”

Perhaps now we get to a difference over what words mean. Is the above programme “socialist” or not?

If “socialism” means the wholesale reform of the existing socio-economic system without expropriating the capitalist class or overthrowing its existing state apparatus, indeed using that existing state apparatus to bring about that change, then yes the WP programme is socialist.

But it would seem fairly clear to me that this is a reformist form of socialism – and as a revolutionary socialist I would argue is a fantasy that rejects basic Marxist understandings of the state and the economic basis of the exploitation of the working class.

But still if indeed we are using the term “socialist” in this social democratic/non-Marxist way then I do have to concede that the WP programme is “socialist”.

Garibaldy - March 24, 2013

Here’s a quote from the Easter oration of 2012 on the Party website (it’s also available on CLR, as is the Bodenstown speech, as are those from the last few years)

“Let us be clear about one thing. The opposition to capitalism can only come from socialism…from an aware and class conscious working class who realise how they as a class are being robbed and who want to fight for what is rightfully theirs. In this struggle we ally ourselves as Connolly did with workers internationally. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Greek workers as they set an example to workers across Europe and fight the crippling measures imposed on them by a rapacious imperialist Europe. These measures under the pretext of dealing with public debt in Greece, have in reality the goal of strengthening capitalism in Greece. Just like Ireland’s tax exiled but green shirted heroes of capitalism, the Greek capitalists are equally lacking in a sense of civic duty and patriotism. 600 billion euros, almost double Greece’s public debt can be found deposited by Greek capitalists in Switzerland’s banks alone.

We stand with the Greek Communist Party as they expose the arguments for class “collaboration” and “social cohesion” as farcical in light of the impoverishment of a people. Their struggle is at one with ours that of achieving “the ultimate goal… the abolition of capitalist power and the construction of socialism”.”

http://workerspartyireland.net/id724.html

Here’s an excerpt from the contribution to a meeting of European Communist and Workers’ Parties last October.

“We must assert without equivocation that the interests of the capitalist class and the working class are mutually antagonistic and irreconcilable. It is the task of workers in the class struggle to bring about the transition from capitalism to socialism and in order to do this the working class must take power into its hands.

Political struggle is impossible without an ideological struggle. Building a socialist society means abolishing private ownership of the means of production and the exploiter class. A socialist society is built on workers’ power and the construction of a socialist society necessarily involves a revolutionary transformation in which there is a transition of state power from the bourgeoisie to the workers.

In the present circumstances we must be alert to the dangers from reformism and opportunism. The ambition of the social democrats, even those more radical elements which have emerged in several countries in response to the crisis, is at best to stabilise and to manage the crisis.

It is clear both from historical experience of the social democrats in power and their words and actions that they are unprepared to take any step which threatens to change the economic system under which we live and are, indeed, wholly committed to the preservation of capitalist society. No social democratic party is prepared to take a single step to abolish the dominant position of monopoly capital. They have long abandoned any pretence at nationalisation and are easily persuaded along the route of the privatisation of the public sector. Promises to improve, regulate and better manage capitalism, while entirely baseless, must be exposed and a clear alternative characterisation of the crisis provided which highlights the systemic nature of the crisis and the relationship between the power of the monopolies and the state.

Now is the time, against a background of the deepening crisis of capitalism and the increasing intensification of contradictions in capitalist society and where the working class has a vested interest in destroying the old economic order, to mount a counterattack and to advance the arguments for the economic, social, cultural and political advantages of an alternative social system and to reassert the dynamic of socialism as a viable alternative world vision in which the working class possesses absolute power and where the goal is the construction of a society where the “free development of each is the condition of the free development of all”.

There can be no revolutionary change without a revolutionary ideology. This requires the existence of a disciplined and effective Marxist-Leninist party capable of generating revolutionary class consciousness, confronting and exposing opportunism and reformism and demonstrating that there is only one answer to the crisis and that socialism is the answer.”

http://workerspartyireland.net/ecmbrus.html

Here’s some paragraphs of the contribution to the 14th Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in November

“The ideological struggle has sharpened and current developments bring yet new conditions for building class consciousness and preparing workers for struggle. In these circumstances it is the task of the Communist and Workers’ parties to strengthen the struggles against imperialism, the workers’ and peoples’ struggles for social, economic rights and the struggle for socialism.

Across the world governments have adopted and implemented stringent austerity measures. These policies which impact on virtually every area of life – employment; social protection; health; education; and the provision of public services have dealt a vicious blow to working people. But the world has witnessed mobilisation and resistance in the form of strikes, occupations, mass rallies and protests, often in the face of state violence and repression. The heroic resistance of workers in Greece, the struggles in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France and the mobilisation of workers in Britain and Ireland demonstrate that resistance and a fight-back is possible.

Internationally, the peace movements, with the assistance of the World Peace Council, continue to make the case against imperialist war and intervention and have developed a strong anti-imperialist content. The struggle against the development and use of weapons of mass destruction remains a vital demand in the struggle for world peace.

Strengthening these struggles means building and strengthening the militant revolutionary party, ensuring it is equipped with a strong and coherent ideology enabling it to define the concrete tasks and methods of struggle in accordance with the objective conditions in each country, raising class consciousness among workers, defending the real experiences of building socialism, sharing experiences and co-ordinating activities between our parties, actively participating in the people’s struggles and turning the principle of socialist internationalism into concrete acts of solidarity and articulating the case for socialism and workers’ power as the only rational and humane alternative to the barbaric system of capitalism.”.

http://workerspartyireland.net/14imcwp.html

In other words, at a time for setpiece ideological statements of the WP’s programmatic vision such as Bodenstown and Easter, or at meetings to discuss ideological questions, that’s what you get. In short press releases designed to tackle specific issues or events, you get more focused statements informed by that vision but not repeating it ad nauseum.

I will of course put the Easter oration up next week.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 24, 2013

Thanks for those Garibaldy – obviously I didn’t dig far enough down into the WP web site :-)

Certainly these statements outline the need for the revolutionary transformation of society in terms I would completely agree with:

“the abolition of capitalist power and the construction of socialism”

“It is the task of workers in the class struggle to bring about the transition from capitalism to socialism and in order to do this the working class must take power into its hands”

“articulating the case for socialism and workers’ power as the only rational and humane alternative to the barbaric system of capitalism”

That does however leave me rather confused as to why in all the more concrete programmatic statements I have been able to find (and maybe there are ones I’ve missed) the actual path for the transformation of society is presented in completely reformist terms.

Anyone able to point me to WP programmatic documents including these revolutionary elements?

WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2013

But it would seem fairly clear to me that this is a reformist form of socialism – and as a revolutionary socialist I would argue is a fantasy that rejects basic Marxist understandings of the state and the economic basis of the exploitation of the working class.

But still if indeed we are using the term “socialist” in this social democratic/non-Marxist way then I do have to concede that the WP programme is “socialist”.

Not sure I’d agree with you, but that’s a different discussion from your initial criticism that the WP was either opportunist/dishonest. Absolutely, from your perspective as described you could level those criticisms. No problem with that :)

That does however leave me rather confused as to why in all the more concrete programmatic statements I have been able to find (and maybe there are ones I’ve missed) the actual path for the transformation of society is presented in completely reformist terms.

Anyone able to point me to WP programmatic documents including these revolutionary elements?

Again, that’s a different criticism. However… that brings us to different views of how to achieve socialism. For you, entirely reasonably, it is through a certain programmatic path. Others may – again entirely reasonably – regard that path as unfeasible. I tend to the view that you’re both as wrong as you’re right and that new forms will emerge more or less spontaneously in response to context :)

revolutionaryprogramme - March 25, 2013

WbS, I actually think this new evidence of the WP’s explicit claim to stand for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism reinforces my original criticism. This disjuncture between this stated aim and the limited reformist programme they present in, what appears to be, all their concrete programmatic proposals is quite stark in my opinion. But it seems we will have to agree to disagree about that.

I do have a couple of points about your final comment however.

I have no doubt that new forms of resistance and struggle will arise and I hope that I will be able to recognise their importance and be able to play a positive role in their development and therefore incorporate them into my programmatic statements. To the extent you have some idea about what these might entail I’d be interested to hear what you think they are/might be.

But in terms of what to advocate now, while those new forms remain only future potentials, how does that help me as an active participant in the class struggle. Surely my participation in that struggle can only be on the basis of my current understanding, even if I accept that will change and develop in the future to a greater or lesser degree in response to the concrete development of the class struggle.

The general strategic approach of those who see the medium term future in terms of radical reforms of capitalism (either conscious reformists or those self-describing revolutionaries who think this is all that should/can be raised now) will see them make, or support, proposals in immediate campaigns that point in that general direction in terms of channeling struggle into those pathways (as we are seeing with the SP and the CAHWT campaign). While on the other hand those who, like me, see the importance of maximising developments towards a revolutionary conclusion will favour proposals that point towards channeling struggle into organisational forms that encourage working class self-organisation.

And another important part of my participation in the class struggle includes ideological struggle over the general programmatic direction of the workers’ movement. Certainly the reformists, and confused self-describing revolutionaries, are completely conscious of this and there is all manner of propaganda produced by them to back this up. Revolutonaries have a responsibility to engage in that ideological struggle as well – indeed a large part of my participation on this blog forum is as part of that.

CL - March 26, 2013

RP-”I have no doubt that this will mean that is some countries there will be events more or less equivalent to the storming of the winter palace, while in other countries it will be either more bloody or less bloody depending on the exact concrete circumstances but the general approach of needing to replace the capitalist state with a new one will be applicable in all these cases.”-
How confident are you that this revolutionary transformation will take place in Ireland in, say, the next 25 years?

revolutionaryprogramme - March 26, 2013

CL – Sorry I can’t really give an answer to that as I don’t approach this question from the point of view of probabilities and likely time scales.

I recognise the class struggle as a social reality inherent to capitalism and while I remain convinced of the possibility of a socialist transformation of society then I will do what I can to maximise the possibility of that transformation occuring. Both in terms of my concrete involvement in the immediate struggles and also in the wider ideological struggle around the general programmatic/strategic direction required by our class, and thereby humanity as a whole, to finally free itself from the shackles of capitalist exploitation.

CL - March 26, 2013

RP, excellent answer. There is, alas, no logic of history moving ineluctably towards human emancipation.

Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - March 22, 2013

Re the point about the North; Eamonn McCann suggested last year that the experience of violence in the North has actually made people in the south LESS likely to engage in violent, confrontational street politics. I don’t know how true that is, but its a theory at least.
Certainly the people who thought the North would ‘spill over’ and revolutionise the South were wrong. It terrified the South.

Ed - March 22, 2013

He might be right about that – it certainly gives the southern state a handy excuse for repression with a bit of green-baiting. A lot of that went on with Rossport – McDowell comes out with some coat-trailing about ‘Provo tactics’, next thing you know the Guards are f**king old men into ditches and tapping people’s telephones.

WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2013

Branno, that certainly sounds right to me. There’s an aversion to political violence that runs deep now, though I’d never thought to contextualise that with the current very low level of confrontrational protest (as distinct from higher level of general protest), but it makes sense.

And I’d think that’s spot on Ed re the way the state has used (and shaped) that.

eamonncork - March 22, 2013

I’d agree with the three of you to a certain extent. I suppose the reason people saw it as frightening is because it was frightening. The NICRA people for example had to deal with a violent reaction from the forces of the state which wasn’t really forthcoming towards similar demonstrations in England. And the way things blew up afterwards was pretty unparalleled in Western Europe as whole. Even the Anni Di Piombi in Italy didn’t have anything like the same amount of casualties, and you’re talking about a much bigger country. By comparison with the IRA campaign the Baader Meinhofs were minisucle in terms of damage caused.
The point I was making Ed was that you can’t quite say that there’s no tradition of revolutionary violence here. The McCann point is relevant, however you portray what happened in the North it does have an affect on politics here. They may seem hugely stable now but back around 1970 there was certainly a fear that the state here would be destabilised.
And yet if what happened in the North gave people down here a distaste for confrontation, how does that square with the fact that industrial militancy was at its height when violence in the North was at its height? There was picket line confrontation here, notably during the long post office workers strike. I’d be more inclined to go for the boring old explanation of the high unemployment in the eighties and first half of the nineties, the decline of trade union power and then the prosperity of the Tiger years.
Agree re McDowell but it’s interesting that at the height of the Troubles the Provo card was rarely used against other campaigns even at a time when there was an overlap between left wing groups and republicanism on certain causes and when Phil Flynn, for example, was a senior trade union figure. It’s like the Provo card is something which is only being played now that there aren’t any real Provos.

Joe - March 23, 2013

It’s an interesting point – McCann’s about people in the South being averse to street violence cos of the Troubles. Over the last number of years I have been reduced to pretty inarticulate rage about the political situation down here. I’ve gone on the odd march and thought that we should be throwing stones and breaking windows at least. What has stopped me is the realization that if I was engaged in that type of stuff, the great majority of my fellow stone throwers would be various shades of riras and ciras and eirigis and irps. So no thanks.
Of course the other thing that stopped me is that I’m a chickenshit.

Jim Monaghan - March 24, 2013

“the Provo card was rarely used against other campaigns even at a time when there was an overlap between left wing groups and republicanism on certain causes and when Phil Flynn, for example, was a senior trade union figure. ”
It is my memory that the then government made a big deal of Phil’s membership of the Provos at the time.

eamonncork - March 25, 2013

I stand corrected Jim. I’m sure you’re right. It’s before my time and I was basing my observation on researching the newspapers, magazines and speeches of the time when Phil Flynn’s political connections seemed to be brought up less often than for example Andrew Barr’s membership of the Communist Party.

Ghandi - March 25, 2013

But it did’nt take long for him to be brought into the camp.

Joe - March 25, 2013

On the Phil Flynn thing. My memory is that the then governments dealt fully with Phil Flynn in his capacity as Gen Sec of the Local Govt and Public Services Union and subsequently Joint Gen Sec of IMPACT. They had little or no problem with him being a Provo. The memberships of those unions had little or no problem with Phil being a Provo either. He was very good at his job (in a union bureaucrat, look after the members’ fundamental interests i.e. remuneration, kind of way).
An FG/Lab govt did huff and puff at one stage that they might not deal with him if he was elected to a senior position within ICTU. He was duly elected and the govt forgot about it and dealt with him.
He only finally fell out of favour when that three mill sterling was found in some wheelie bins down Cork way after the Ulster Bank robbery. And someone pointed the finger at him.

Jim Monaghan - March 25, 2013

The reality is that the establishment feared the Provos. In fact they saw Republicanism of all varieties as the real threat. They did not like it at all when Phil; became Vice President of the ICTU. Quinn made a song and dance about it. Middle class families saw membership of left sects of their children as a college fling. Coming home with an Easter Lily caused heart attacks.

King Alpha Plan - March 25, 2013

I think any family would be upset if their child could be manipulated by people to kill so others could win seats at Stormont, just as sickening as a child came home with recruitment papers for a Brit regiment. Jim why didn’t you join the Provos and kill on their behalf?

WorldbyStorm - March 25, 2013

KAP, any more of this trolling and insulting other people and I’m banning your IP address.

Joe - March 25, 2013

“The reality is that the establishment feared the Provos.”
The reality, in my view, was a lot more complicated than that.
Take the Phil Flynn case. The establishment feared the Provos so much that when a very senior Provo (Flynn had been Vice President of Sinn Féin for a number of years) became Vice President of ICTU, the establishment continued to deal with him in the same way they had always dealt with people in that position. So a little verbal song and dance and then carry on as normal.
Again, take Phil Flynn. General Secretary of a very large public sector clerical grade / managers’ trade union for a long number of years. At the same time he was Vice President of provisional Sinn Féin and at the same time the provisional IRA campaign was in full swing. The members of that union were pretty much all middle class – they were people with Leaving Cert at minimum, equivalent of white collar civil servants, bank officials etc. Yet they had no problem being represented by this very senior member of Provisional Sinn Féin. He negotiated with (and also represented! – it’s a funny old game) senior management in the local government and health sectors. Again, no problem to pretty much everyone involved.

CL - March 25, 2013

“Coming home with an Easter Lily caused heart attacks”-JM
Easter lilies were banned at one time right?

Ghandi - March 26, 2013

@jm “The reality is that the establishment feared the Provos”.

i don’t think thats true, its clear that provisionalism was controlled by both the Brit security services and the Southern States. They controlled the agenda and reeled them in when it suited. If anything they feared the creation of a Socialist Republican movement as was developing in the late 60′s. The establishment as all now know was corrupt and clearly sought to protect itself.

As long as violence was contained within working class communities it would be let go on, The war also as McCann pointed out created a climate of fear of violence and what street protests could lead to.

Joe - March 26, 2013

CL: “Easter lilies were banned at one time right?”

Don’t think so. But you could be harrassed by the cops while selling them and prosecuted if you hadn’t got a permit. Met a fellah in a pub in Tralee once who told me he’d served a week in the slammer for selling without a permit.

CL - March 26, 2013

Joe, thanks for that on the Easter Lilies. I have an older friend from Cork who recalls intense street battles between Easter lily sellers and cops. That would have been in the 1960s.

CL - March 27, 2013

Sinn Fein has come a long way,-from street battles to battles about easter lilies in the Dail. :Sinn Fein deputy Brian Stanley couldn’t see how anyone could find “green white and gold objectionable.” Of course the colours of the Irish flag, which the easter lily replicates, are green, white and orange,-the colour that dare not speak its name in Dail Eireann.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/flower-power-takes-centre-stage-with-lilies-of-the-d%C3%A1il-1.1339818

6. Dr.Nightdub - March 22, 2013

RP, which is more important, message or audience? It’s an either/or question.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 22, 2013

I don’t see how they can be separated. The audience is the working class, the message should be the truth about what you understand to be necessary.

While what seems to be being argued on this thread is something like – the audience is the working class, the message is what you think is the most radical thing they are prepared to listen to at this moment.

Dr.Nightdub - March 22, 2013

No, the POTENTIAL audience is the entire working class, the ACTUAL audience is that part of it which is prepared to stop and listen. The more radical the message, the smaller the actual audience. Eventually you reach a point where you’re putting out a very pure message but no-one is listening.

I’ll give a concrete example. One day in the 60s, my da stood up at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park and gave a speech about the negative role played by Winston Churchill in Irish affairs. He could’ve pandered to the audience by at least mentioning Churchill in WW2, the spirit of the Blitz and all that. Instead he focussed entirely on Churchill’s role in the Home Rule crisis, the War of Independence, the Treaty negotiations, right up to WW2 and Irish neutrality. Empiracally, he was absolutely correct in that he cited plenty of irrefutable historical facts to prove his argument. Would you say he (a) won a lot of people over to a standpoint of principled anti-imperialism, or (b) was nearly beaten up? Bear in mind he made the speech the day of Churchill’s funeral.

eamonncork - March 23, 2013

Yet history records that the Tory Party lost three of the next four general elections. Coincidence? I think not Dr. N.

revolutionaryprogramme - March 23, 2013

Well the word “audience” can mean various things I guess. I would describe what you are referring to as better being the difference between the receptive audience and the non-receptive audience.

Or perhaps the wider audience and the target audience.

But that is not to deny that in the current political climate a revolutionary message is going to have a smaller target/receptive audience than that of a reformist message.

The logic of your position would seem to be that the most important thing is the size of the target/receptive audience and that the message should be tailored to fit.

Now of course there is some degree of truth to that in terms of the examples used to highlight points and the graphicness of the language used concerning the more radical points but my issue is over the central thrust of the message.

I stand by my position that any socialist worthy of the name should have the honesty to present to the working class what they believe is necessary.

If you are presenting a message about socialist change to the system then I think that means going beyond a programme of mere amelioration of the capitalist system – as the WP by-election manifesto limits itself to. I fail to see why people don’t see this as politically dishonest – unless of course the WP truely believe that socialist change can indeed be brought about by the programme outlined in their manifesto.

7. Shay Guevara - March 22, 2013

No TD’s or councillors from the SP joining this call. Were they asked?

On a related point, last night on Prime Time Ruth Coppinger was introduced, captioned and referred to as “Socialist Party and United Left Alliance”. Strange that she didn’t correct them.

8. LeftAtTheCross - March 22, 2013

Finian McGrath has also added his endorsement to the by-election campaign of Seamus McDonagh.

9. King Alpha Plan - March 22, 2013

Finian McGrath endorses anything

eamonncork - March 22, 2013

Nothing you say is of any interest. I’d say you even bore yourself you poor hapless bastard.

10. King Alpha Plan - March 22, 2013

Will you ever get yer Provo goggles off.

WorldbyStorm - March 22, 2013

KAP, cut it out.

eamonncork - March 22, 2013

He’s alright Wbs. I’m hoping to entice him into making a two sentence contribution. I have great faith that he can manage it.

11. fda hcg - July 24, 2013

Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


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