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The Socialist Party on Clare Daly, Joan Collins and Water Charges July 28, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
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A piece on The Socialist Party site on Independents and Others

This particular passage caught my eye….

Many of the most articulate Independents in the Dail are of a ‘populist’ character, with both left and right tinges. Populism could be described as reflecting moods that exist amongst the mass of people in society, but lacking in a clear political programme as your backbone. When this is the case, we can expect any such individual to bend to the status quo if in power.
As an example of a right-wing populist, Shane Ross TD, who has received credit for stinging rebukes of the parties of the establishment, was in fact a cheerleader for Anglo Irish Bank during the boom, and is a former stockbroker himself. Ross supports a neoliberal vision of capitalism with minimal taxes on or state regulation of business.
Clare Daly TD, who can make powerful criticisms of the Government on issues, typifies left populism. Tending to highlight the incompetency of the individual actors, rather than any overarching systemic criticism of the right-wing ideology and practice that’s at the heart of the matter. Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.

I’m pretty sure both Clare Daly and Joan Collins have advocated non payment?

Comments»

1. CL - July 28, 2015

The article goes on “Tsipras favoured a slower route to change and the institutions of capitalism blocked this.”
Sounds like the ‘impossibility of gradualism’ argument. Is this the lesson of the Syriza capitulation?

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Joe - July 28, 2015

I was talking to someone about the lesson of the Syriza capitulation. Him and me were both quite angry about it all. He said that clearly now the only solution is revolution. I said yes but what do we put in place after the revolution. He said he hadn’t thought that far ahead… he just wanted a chance to get seriously stuck into the Terror!

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sonofstan - July 28, 2015

If you’re thinking about ‘after the revolution’, you’re a reformer 🙂

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - July 28, 2015

Yep, doesn’t seem entirely fair to her. In her Spring leaflet Clare Daly has a whole page which includes a graphic of a water bill being crumpled up and thrown in a bin, which also notes that they can’t reduce water supplies. And then…

…has a whole paragraph on…

What Happens if I don’t pay… which notes that the only penalty in place is a late payment fee of €30/€60 and that ‘if they can’t get you to pay the bill they can hardly get you to pay the fee’. And that… ‘Most importantly, however, there are NO penalties until April 2016, by which time there will be a new Government.

It has another paragraph on…

Can They Deduct it from my Wages or Social Welfare?

And answers, No. It argues ‘they are trying to frighten people into signing up by threatening to set up special courts…etc, etc… but how that requires special legislation that is not in place. And also notes that in the 1990s people were defended in the courts.

It also notes that Landlords cannot take it from deposits.

One thought, that leaflet was printed in the Dáil Printing Facility where it’s impermissible to argue directly for breaking the law – which of course saying outright Don’t Pay would be. But this leaflet goes right up to the line in that response.

Here’s her contribution from a debate on the Civil Debt (Procedures) Bill 2015: Second Stage…

Deputy Clare Daly:   The heralding of the Bill as a planned progressive step to stop people being imprisoned for non-payment of debt is a sleight of hand. As other Deputies have pointed out, the reason we are here today, on a non-sitting day, is that the Government has lost the battle to convince Irish citizens they should pay water charges and buy in to the Irish Water project. What we have seen in the past year is a succession of various stages when the Government tried to change tack to deal with this popular rebellion. At every stage the Government has been caught out. No one believed the propaganda that this was a charge to bring in water conservation. Nobody trusted the Government with PPS numbers. Nobody believed the registration figures being bandied about when every postal worker in the country knew about the return to sender registration forms being stockpiled in post offices. Having not fallen for the carrot the Government put forward the people are now being treated to a little bit of a stick, or an attempt at a stick.

And in March:

While he may believe he can compare people to rats following a pied piper, his statement belies a lack of understanding of the real battle that is taking place in communities around the country. People are not following anybody but listening to their own instincts and an understanding born of direct experience that unless they make a stand on this issue, they will be faced with monstrous bills in future and the real prospect of the public water supply being privatised.

Putting all that together Daly is fairly clearly calling for non-payment and explaining why as a tactic it is both right and effective. And that’s just what I found in a five minute search.

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WorldbyStorm - July 28, 2015

And just while I’m on it, I’m 100% sure that Joan Collins has strenuously advocated non-payment in her leaflets.

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WorldbyStorm - July 28, 2015

And just to add, where is Revolutionary Programme when we need him? I’d think he’d have a few words to say on the article linked to! 😉

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Mark P - July 28, 2015

I’d have assumed that the plentiful verbiage pointing towards non-payment without a clear call was precisely what the article was getting at. However, i note that the sentence in the article has been changed to something that is itself rather more precise.

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dublinstreams - July 28, 2015

changed to “Daly, like Joan Collins TD, did not vocally or consistently raise the need for an organised boycott of the charge unlike Socialist Party and AAA TDs Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy although this has changed more recently” Lame!

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - July 28, 2015

It is difficult to understand how a leaflet that in every respect outlines why non-payment isn’t problematic whether in respect of the law, fines, wages or deposits could be interpreted as evidence that the person producing that leaflet is not calling for non-payment.

‘Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges’ changed to “Daly, like Joan Collins TD, did not vocally or consistently raise the need for an organised boycott of the charge unlike Socialist Party and AAA TDs Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy although this has changed more recently” is a substantial shift and entirely undercuts the basic thrust of the piece.

Finally, the ‘more recently’ is also incorrect. For in the account of the Dáil debate on water charges from last November available here http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1119/660744-water-charges/

19:38
Joan Collins says mass non-registration and non-payment will defeat these charges.

Same debate, Clare Daly says “People have said they will not pay a third time or have the Government charge us a fourth time in repaying the borrowings….No one can govern against the will of the people. ”

I’ve no problem with people defining political differences. Where they exist. But again, all it takes is a few minutes none too forensic searching to find all this.

Liked by 2 people

Mark P - July 28, 2015

“It is difficult to understand how a leaflet that in every respect outlines why non-payment isn’t problematic whether in respect of the law, fines, wages or deposits could be interpreted as evidence that the person producing that leaflet is not calling for non-payment.”

It shouldn’t be difficult to understand why a leaflet that does not explicitly call for non payment, although it does strongly imply support for non payment, should be described as not “clearly advocating non payment”. There is no clear call for non-payment in it. In fact though, Daly has clearly called for non-payment on some other occasions, so the original sentence was misleading for other reasons.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

I already noted that the leaflet I quoted from was printed in the Dáil and therefore couldn’t – legally – call for breaking the law, i.e. non-payment of the charge. But it did everything else including advising people why non-payment was a non-perilous course of action.

Now you’re not stupid MarkP, so you read what I wrote originally and understood it and my conclusion is that in attempting to ignore it you’re being disingenuous. I can’t imagine why you’d continue with this sort of obfuscation unless it’s a case of my party at all costs and let’s never accept we actually make mistakes. Some of us are a bit beyond that. But different folks, different strokes I guess.

There’s a much more serious point, which had the original article which is linked to above avoided making erroneous statements and focused on more clearly would have come across in a better fashion, which is that, yes, there are issues as regards independent leftists in the Dáil. Not so much in terms of populism – not a charge I’d necessarily level against Daly, and most certainly not Collins – both of whom are still clearly radical leftists, but more in regard to a lack of a cohesive programme and a shared purpose. When the leftish TDs are able to cobble together a formation, and the rightists likewise, it seems curious that so far nothing much is happening on the further left. I wonder where that will leave things in twelve months time. I guess we’ll see.

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

There’s nothing obfuscatory about my comment at all, WbS. When you say that the leaflet you quote can’t openly advocate breaking the law for legal reasons, you are explaining why, in your view, it doesn’t include a clear call for non-payment. But whether your explanation is correct or not, the fact remains that there is no such call in it. But as I said, this is a side issue because I’m quite certain that I’ve heard Clare Daly make a clear call for non payment on at least one other occasion.

My own view is that while the general characterisation of the politics of the most “left” of the “left independents” in the article is correct, it was unwise to introduce tactical disagreements in the anti-water charges as a point to illustrate that argument. The issue of the need or otherwise for non-payment has been the main dividing line in that movement. That division is very clear when it comes to the most conservative elements of the movement (SF and the union bureaucrats) who won’t call for non-payment on the one hand and strongly pro-non payment forces, most notably but not only the Anti- Austerity Alliance on the other. But the division is much more complex when it comes to other forces between those two poles.

The most notable example would be People Before Profit which always formally called for non-payment and would, for instance, mention it somewhere in the text of a leaflet, but which for many months downplayed its centrality. Partly because they really, really, love demonstrations and partly for reasons of what we might describe as diplomacy. When they eventually gave up on the idea that SF and the union bureaucrats could be cajoled into a more radical position and that real differences could be smoothed over, they eventually adopted a stance very similar to that of the AAA. This was a complex process and not something that can be adequately or fairly described in a one sentence remark. To simply say that PBP used to fail to call for non-payment would be unfair and inaccurate. But to say that their stance has always been their current one – that non-payment is the central tactical issue – would also be misleading.

If anyone feels that it’s necessary to describe the views of a couple of independents on the subject, that needs adequate space to actually detail that stance, where they’ve stood on tactical disagreements in the movement etc. I haven’t personally followed either of their approaches to the issue in any detail, and so am not in a position to comment on them. More importantly, I don’t see any real reason to comment on the views of any of the left or leftish independent TDs because the detail of what they advocate makes little difference to the movement either way – if I thought that their views had some bearing on the approaches taken by wider sections of the movement, as the views of People Before Profit or Sinn Fein or the union bureaucrats have, I’d have paid attention to them in the first place.

Getting into the issue at all is unnecessary in an article about independents in general. Trying to do so in a sentence is a mistake. If there’s an argument to be made that two of the more radical ones haven’t done the necessary on the issue of non-payment, write an article about it, giving chapter and verse. Or better still, don’t bother unless their stance becomes significant for some reason.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

This is precisely what I’ve been saying from the off, that where there are real and sincere and genuine differences between left independents and parties, and depending on issues those on either side of that divide can be more correct than those on the other, name checking water was not useful or accurate.

Might be worth pointing that out to others before this goes any further.

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WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

BTW, if you’ve any questions in your head as to the legal situation regarding materials printed in the Oireachtas print facility you could email me directly to discover what my own limited knowledge on the matter might be or you could as a TD, or people working for TDs.

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2. jamesmcbarron - July 28, 2015

what do you expect from a duck but a quack.

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3. roddy - July 28, 2015

Just like dismissing the Greek referendum and then welcoming it 5 minutes later!

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CMK - July 28, 2015

When did that happen, Roddy?

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4. roddy - July 28, 2015

Here, the SP poster dismissed the idea and then supported it 5 minutes later when he got the go ahead from Murphy.It was a good laugh at the time.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 28, 2015

I presume roddy is talking about me because I raised some issues on the dangers in the approach of Tsipras to the referendum – I would suggest that the issues I raised were valid given what has happened. It is clear from some of the most recent stuff that has emerged that both Tsipras and Varoufakis expected a Yes vote in the referendum which would give them both cover for a cave in to the troika – and that they were shocked by the No vote forcing Tsipras to capitulate completely and go over to the side of new-liberalism.

By the way roddy – are SF still declaring support for Tsipras and that he is the best thing since sliced bread.

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CMK - July 29, 2015

SF Councillor Paul Donnelly denounced the SP for not supporting SYRIZA’s capitulation to the Troika and its demands for 13 billion in austerity from a society on the edge of the abyss. The rest of SF seem chuffed at Tspiras’ ‘political maturity’ in sticking the boot in still further. At least they are consistent: austerity for the working class from Athens to Ardoyne and Athlone, after the next election.

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5. Jolly Red Giant - July 28, 2015

On the more substantive issue of this thread – from what I can see Joan Collins has been stronger in advocating a boycott than Clare Daly and also seems to be more proactive on the ground. Clare Daly seems to equivocate on the issue – without ever actively calling directly for a boycott. It is interesting that if you look at both Facebook pages there is no comment from either of them on he fact that 57% were boycotting the charges and calling for support for the boycott. Indeed you have to go back to when the govt introduced their Courts Bill to find any comment on water charges from Clare Daly on her Facebook page or her website.

I have no doubt that both TDs support the boycott of wate charges – but it also appears that both are willing to tone down their support for the boycott in order to accommodate the political initiative of the R2W Unions run by the bureaucrats.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

“I have no doubt that both TDs support the boycott of wate charges”

Great. Well, for some of us that’s enough and it’s implicit (and has been explicit) in their approaches. There’s no particular necessity for it to be rammed home at each and every opportunity, even a cursory effort to examine it beyond the pages of this site underlines it. And therefore we don’t see any reason to go criticising them on that issue subsequently, or to sort of half kind of maybe try to suggest that they’re weaker on it than they really are.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

Well as people who express the intent of representing working class people I would suggest that there is an onus on both to be explicit in their approach – and I would dispute that they (especially Clare Daly) are being explicit. I also would argue that not only is it necessary to reinforce the necessity of a boycott as the main tactic in defeating the water charges – it is also necessary to explicitly outline the necessity of this boycott to be an active boycott and to be proactive in assisting communities in organising the boycott. Again both (and particularly Clare Daly) appear lacking in both.

However, you have taken one particular paragraph out of an article that is addressing the idea that being ‘independent’ is progressive – would you suggest that socialist activists should organise in a political party with like-minded individuals and with the objective of defending working class interests or operate in a loose wider ‘independent’ ‘technical group’ that has little in common except that they are not aligned with a particular party?

It is not surprising that there is a rise in the number of people rejecting the establishment parties and this is reflected in support for a wide range of ‘independents’. The one characteristic of the independents is a populist approach and an approach designed to either protect what they have (in the case of sitting TDs) or hop on the bandwagon (in the case of those who have ambitions to be TDs). And for those that have ‘aligned’ with others – they have primarily done so to position themselves to do deals with a future potential government to get some of the spoils of office. Both Clare Daly and Joan Collins, despite being on the left, are potentially in the same boat. It was specifically interesting to see Dermot Connolly, commenting on the capitulation by Tsipras, to initially accept the cave in by Tsipras on the basis of preserving the unity of SYRIZA despite the fact that he later hardened his position, while still not explicitly calling for the left to split from the pro-austerity elements within SYRIZA.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

“Well as people who express the intent of representing working class people I would suggest that there is an onus on both to be explicit in their approach – and I would dispute that they (especially Clare Daly) are being explicit. I also would argue that not only is it necessary to reinforce the necessity of a boycott as the main tactic in defeating the water charges – it is also necessary to explicitly outline the necessity of this boycott to be an active boycott and to be proactive in assisting communities in organising the boycott. Again both (and particularly Clare Daly) appear lacking in both.”

The Dáil record, numerous meetings up and down the state, leaflets that explain why non-payment isn’t a problem etc, etc and that’s not good enough? Some of us credit the working class with a bit of sense and memory.

Of course a single party would be preferable, but… let’s not pretend that there’s no dissent, no disagreement on how such a party should be structured etc. Already we’ve seen how one broad project, the ULA foundered. There’s history there and people for various reasons may run shy of parties. That’s a pity in some ways but none of this is in a vacuum.

It’s all very well throwing around charges of populism, but if the one example used to suggest named individuals are populist is demonstrably wrong then that suggests a broader problem with the charge of populism.

Finally, as I said I’ve no problem with people arguing their corner in relation to differentiation between them and others, but it would help no end to strengthen the case (which is far from all wrong) by focusing on actual rather than incorrect or misperceived differences. There are clear differences between say the SP and independents in some areas. Just not this one.

BTW, that wasn’t me who wrote the original post at the top of the page, just to be clear.

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6. JM - July 29, 2015

Why can’t we all just get along . Just accept that the SP is right , always was right and always will be right . By right of course I mean Correct , not right wing . Everyone else is wrong . Particularly those that say that the SP and AAA are the same . That is just certifiable wrong . On a serious note – Clare Daly and Joan Collins have been 100% behind the non-payment campaign . To suggest otherwise is telling lies. Simple as …

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

I see the broken record is out again – big surprise.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

But why do you dismiss JM’s assertion that CD and JC have been 100% behind the non payment campaign? Were you at the meetings I and others were at where they clearly articulated that? Did you bother to examine the Dáil record or other publications?

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JM - July 29, 2015

Don’t be so patronising . I only come on here to address smears and lies by your party , so looks like I’m going to be busy as the SP/AAA continue trying to re-assert their position as the most radical of all .

In recent times your members have come on hear and accused those you disagree with as ‘fascists’ and as good as labeled R2Water as fellow travellers. That was a lie. Yesterday your members come on and accused two TD’s of not promoting the water charge boycott , which they clearly have being doing. That was a lie.

As soon as Right2Water came to national prominence the SP tried to orchestrate a breakaway to ensure they were the dominant ‘brand’ . This has obviously failed , as Right2Water remains the nationally recognised movement on the issue. Even the demonstrations called by the political eccentrics of the ‘says no’ campaign are attracting substantially more participants and media coverage than the SP/AAA front group.

So what will the answer from the SP be – more lies and smears that you will refuse to back up ? No big surprise there.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

And you are accusing the SP of telling porkies – jeez

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JM - July 29, 2015

I have been consistent in listing your lies . Care to point out what is untrue in my statement ?
More importantly, care to comment on your Party accusations about two TD”s that have been proven to be lies ? A political party with a national profile smearing and lying about former members and those they disagree with is more important than anything I say on this blog (sorry WBS).

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

“Care to point out what is untrue in my statement ?”

All of it

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JM - July 29, 2015

So CMK did not label people as ‘fascists’ a few weeks back ? Did your party website not claim two Dublin TD’s were not supporting the non-payment campaign ? Did your party (or one of it’s fronts) not call a separate rally to take place immediately after a major Right2Water rally last year ? Did you not establish a front group to put your party in the leadership role of the anti water tax movement because you ‘couldn’t play well with others’ in a broad and well supported campaign ? And have the events called by your front group not been very poor displays in contrast with those called by others ?

Your a liar , and your party has been peddling lies , innuendos and smears because you are not in the dominant position that you feel you deserve in this campaign / mass movement .

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CMK - July 29, 2015

JM, give it rest. I said these people were, in my opinion, which I made explicit at the time was just MY opinion, ‘certifiable fascists’.

Since then a website run by prominent members of that organisation have published an article by a notorious holocaust denier, Micheal Collins Piper: http://www.fairsociety.ie/the-british-government-planned-genocide-of-irish-in-1972/

With no demur from that organisation or anyone associated with it. Indeed, that website has subsequently published several articles by the General Secretary of that organisation.

That’s quiet apart from the same organisation’s long track record of sustained intimidation of journalists and political opponents, including threats of violence.

And there’s lots more besides.

Interestingly, they weren’t present at the second R2W conference as it probably twigged with R2W just who these people were and represent.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 30, 2015

JM – it seems you have got your knickers in a complete twist – so to help you unknot it – in answer to your questions-
1. Yes CMK called certain individuals ‘fascists’ and he may well be right – do you have a different view of these individuals.
2. No – the SP website did not claim that Collins and Daly were not supporting non-payment.
3. The We Won’t Pay Campaign held a rally at the end of the R2W rally – so what – many different groups/ parties were giving out leaflets / hosting stalls / holding meetings etc – that is what political parties do. The We Won’t Pay Campaign wasn’t telling people not to attend the R2W rally – it was facilitating a discussion with like minded people on how to build non-payment.
4. No – the SP supports R2W. It has argued that R2W should back non-payment – given that R2W has refused to do that then are you suggesting that activists shouldn’t take the initiative to build non-payment or should the building of the boycott be abandoned because the union bureaucrats and SF are refusing to back it?
5. The We Won’t Pay Campaign has organised some of the largest protests against water charges around the country – but more importantly has assisted communities all over the country in organising to build for non-payment and has worked with many others advocating non-payment through the Non-Payment Network.

And you finish by calling me a liar – not surprising given your blinkered view of the Socialist Party – and you then go on to make all kinds of accusations against the SP because it won’t toe the line with YOUR particular viewpoint – well tough sh*t. No doubt you will come back on spouting more bile – but that would be nothing new either.

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7. que - July 29, 2015

As the SP grows, whether as itself or indirectly via its AAA, then it will come more and more under scrutiny.

It will either regard this as an attempt to do down socialism or instead proof that finally some decent progress is being made and cautiously recognize its in a new phase of growth and with that more focus on it will come and thus more opportunity to grow and develop.

If I were a betting man I would assume they will choose the former course because they have a resilience of sorts but not enough yet to let water off a ducks back and just keep the cool rather than exhaustively trying to answer every point made.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

All that’s fair enough que, and I’ve quite some sympathy for the SP in any case. But… there’s a real problem if in attempting to make a political case it gets it wrong in relation to two other TDs – who as it happens have had connections to the SP in the past.

And the bigger problem is that the more one investigates the more wrong the the wrong is. For example. There’s this below from March. A Dáil motion put forward on the water issue. A motion that explicitly says the following “local anti-water charges campaigns to discuss standing candidates in the General Election opposing the charges and austerity and based on an advocacy of mass non‑payment, of actively mobilising the opposition to these charges and for a real alternative to the parties of austerity.”

Scroll down and look at who signed it.

Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy, Clare Daly, Richard Boyd Barrett, Finian McGrath.

All that was needed to torpedo the idea that Daly was soft on the water charges was to go and ask some of the SP TDs who had been the co-signatories of the Motion.

So the charge that Daly or Collins have not been explicit about non-payment just doesn’t stack up whether one argues it was back last year or ‘more recently’. Whatever the intent the overall impression is that there was a perception – a completely uncritical and unfounded perception – that somehow they were soft on the issue and so something was put out that reflected that perception rather than examining whether it was true or not in order to make a broader political point.

That’s okay if it’s some esoteric issue that has no real political weight. But when it involves named TDs, again named TDs who both had a past connection to the SP, that’s a different matter.

One last thing. And this follows on from what you say, the SP has more weight, it is more prone to examination. It’s essential that it is very clear on what it says and does because as you say it will be scrutinised in greater detail. This is good in a way, it is a function of deserved success, but it’s therefore necessary to be more careful, not to let rhetoric or perceptions run away with themselves. In a way it’s better to get stuff wrong now and here in contexts where it is reasonably contained and comradely than went four months down the line in the broader media where people might be much more likely to make a massive issue of it. Mistakes are always going to happen. How they’re dealt with is the key.

Dáil Éireann – Private Members Business (Technical Group) 
24 – 25 March 2015

“That Dáil Éireann:

notes:

— that from 1st April, one week from now, the first bills for water charges will start to be sent out to householders around the country;

— that water charges are another austerity tax arising from the bail out of major banks, bondholders, developers and the European financial markets system from their disastrous gambling in the property bubble in pursuit of super profits;

— that the imposition of water charges is the beginning of a process of the market commodification of water that would, if accepted, lead to the privatisation of water distribution and supply;

— that the Labour Party was elected on a platform of opposing the imposition of water charges;

— the massive opposition to the imposition of the water charges and to any steps toward privatisation of water supply;

— that opposition to the water charges has been graphically manifested since 11th October last year in the massive national and local demonstrations calling for the abolition of the charges and of Irish Water/Uisce Éireann;

— that this opposition was forcefully manifested in the result of the Dublin South-West bye-election when candidates opposed to the water charges won 60 per cent of the vote and the candidate advocating a mass boycott of the charges was elected to Dáil Éireann;

— that widespread protests are ongoing against the installation of unwanted water meters around the country; and

— that hundreds of local campaigns against water charges have been established the length and breadth of the country;

strongly condemns:

— the arrests following an anti-water charges protest in Tallaght in November 2014; and notes the jailing of four anti-water charges activists for peaceful protests against the installation of water meters and the widespread use of the Garda Síochána against residents opposed to water meters in their communities; and

— any move by the Government to make private landlords, local authorities or voluntary housing associations into collectors of water charges for Irish Water by obliging them to deduct the charges from tenants’ deposits or increase rents in cases where tenants are boycotting the charges;

demands:

— the immediate abolition of water charges;

— progressive taxation, including on wealth, corporate profits and financial markets’ transactions, to fund the upgrading of the water supply services including remediation of the leaking national infrastructure (for example, based on an effective corporation tax rate of 11 per cent in 2013, every 1 per cent increase would yield €388 million while the EU Commission estimates a financial transaction tax would yield in Ireland between €490 million and €730 million per year);

— the abolition of Irish Water/Uisce Éireann, with responsibility for water services to be vested in democratic local authority structures involving national coordination, and unlike previously, adequate investment in water infrastructure to meet society’s needs; and

— a major grants scheme to retrofit homes with water saving devices and technology that would save billions of litres of quality drinking water being discharged needlessly into the wastewater systems each year; and

calls for:

— mass non-payment by householders of the water charges bills when they are delivered in April and May since the Government will have proved it is not prepared to abide by the clear wish of a majority to abolish the charges;

— water charges, and the demand for water to be in public ownership, to be made central issues in the forthcoming General Election if not resolved pre-election; and

— local anti-water charges campaigns to discuss standing candidates in the General Election opposing the charges and austerity and based on an advocacy of mass non‑payment, of actively mobilising the opposition to these charges and for a real alternative to the parties of austerity.” — Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy, Clare Daly, Richard Boyd Barrett, Finian McGrath.

[20 March, 2015]

http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=28593&&CatID=62

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8. Michael Carley - July 29, 2015

Somebody relatively new to left-wing politics could read that article and never know that Joan Collins and Clare Daly are former members of the Socialist Party. Odd, that.

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Pasionario - July 29, 2015

Bukharin, Kamenev, and Trotsky himself could tell them how that feels.

Liked by 1 person

9. Gewerkschaftler - July 29, 2015

Meanwhile, outside the left ghetto, there remains an ocean of people who just couldn’t give a flying…

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dublinstreams - July 29, 2015

dunno people were very interested in Irish Water not passing the Eurostat test http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/1015035/6761701/Advise-2015-IE-Classification-of-Irish-Water-Summary.pdf/fdbd9e8f-4823-40c5-9ae8-a08e19324635 This is further amplified by the high number of households not paying
their bills.

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Gewerkschaftler - July 30, 2015

Don’t get me wrong – the water campaign is a great thing and has achieved wide-spread support.

I mean people in general don’t give a flying about what Party A may have said about Party B at some point in the past in a leaflet / newspaper that hardly anyone has read.

Only the inward-facing competitors within the left ghetto give a monkeys.

It’s somewhat depressing that this kind of thing generates more traffic on a site like this than anything substantive.

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dublinstreams - July 30, 2015

I think this is substance, its discussing how far you should go in advocating boycotts of state services charges, is it the right strategy, theres the question of whether you are putting people in deeper trouble..

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10. Ed - July 29, 2015

For all JRG’s defensiveness, he should really recognize that this is the sort of thing that does the SP itself more harm than good. When the SP are saying things that are accurate and need to be said about Sinn Féin, for example, their stock response is not to engage with the criticism, just to say ‘same old stuff, die-hard sectarians, wouldn’t matter what we did, they’d still be denouncing us’. This kind of thing, trivial as it is, just gives that argument more traction that it would otherwise have. The claim about Daly and Collins was inaccurate, it took a couple of minutes’ research to show that it was inaccurate, and it’s now been changed to something pretty tenuous; and you’d have to be a very trusting soul indeed not to suspect that the former party affiliations of Daly and Collins have something to do with all this.

BTW, although I wouldn’t necessarily take JRG’s summary of what Dermot Connolly said about Greece at face value, in the light of the above, I’m not sure if this is the most damning charge to level at someone: ‘he later hardened his position, while still not explicitly calling for the left to split from the pro-austerity elements within SYRIZA.’ I’ve been following what’s going on in Greece and the debates inside SYRIZA as best I can; the Facebook updates from Stathis Kouvelakis and Kevin Ovenden in Athens are very useful for anyone who wants to do the same. As far as I can see, there’s a serious debate going on among the Left Platform and others about whether and when they should break with the party leadership; the left-wing ministers have already left the cabinet and the left MPs have voted against the new agreement with the Troika, but they’re not sure what the best approach is going to be over the next couple of months. They have to steer a path between jumping too soon, finding themselves marginalized and leaving the field clear, or jumping too late and missing their chance altogether. It’s not an easy decision to make and I’m not sure myself what the best course of action is going to be. There’s certainly a strong argument for staying until a party conference is held at least (the Left Platform is simply upholding the party programme from the last conference and the last election, and the majority of Central Committee members opposed the deal with the Troika, so why should they simply hand over the party to the defeatist group in the leadership or the opportunists in the Greek parliament?). Anyway, I don’t think it’s a decisive litmus test for DC’s political rectitude whether or not he’s calling for a split right now; and when people give the impression that they’re always most comfortable when arguing for a split of some kind, it just weakens the force of the argument when there really does have to be a break between irreconcilable tendencies in a party or a movement.

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11. What shying “away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges” looks like…. | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - July 29, 2015

[…] The Socialist Party in an article referenced here , made an accusation that Clare ‘Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly […]

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

Clear many of the contributors here view this article as a stick to beat the Socialist Party with – nothing new there – par for the course really.

But lets get down to the basis of the argument. And I will do it in two parts

When posting this thread IEL focussed in on one sentence in the article – and in the process ignored the point the article was making, i.e. the dangers of populism of the right-wing or left-wing variety and the encessity for a clear socialist programme when developing a political organisation of working class people.

Since then we have had a small number of examples of where Clare Daly and Joan Collins have advocated a boycott of the water charges and these are being used to ‘prove’ the article is lying. Yet the article never stated that Clare Daly or Joan Collins did not support a boycott of water charges – the article argued that ” From the outset of the introduction of the water charges, Daly, like Joan Collins TD, did not vocally or consistently raise the need for an organised boycott of the charge” – note the words “vocally or consistently”. I agree with the article – As I stated above – I have no doubt both TDs support a boycott of the water charges (and the article does not dispute this) but I would also argue that they have not (and in my opinion Clare Daly more so that Joan Collins) have not “vocally and consistently raised the need for an organised boycott of the charge” (until recently). Indeed I have made it a point over the past couple of years of reviewing the contributions of left TDs on the water charges and it is noticable that with the exception of Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and RBB, there has been a lack of a vocal and consistent call for an organised boycott by the left TDs (and instead of googling the odd instance go to the websites and facebook pages of both TDs and see the lack of a ‘vocal and consistent’ call for a boycott of the water charges – and Seamus Healy hasn’t been shouting from the rooftops either – and I await Paddy’s rebuke)

I have also suggested above that one of the reasons for this may be that certain people want to avoid rocking the boat with the R2W Unions and the political initiative of the bureaucracies in these unions over the past couple of months. It is also a manifestation of a drift towards populism by the Left ‘independents’ – including the like of Halligan who has hitched his wagon to Ross and Murphy who has hitched her wagon to Donnelly. Now neither Daly or Collins have gone down this route – but from my understanding neither have reacted positively to suggestions from others on the left (not just the AAA) for a slate of candidates committed to the continued organisation a boycott of the water charges. I would be a positive development if both TDs came out and advocated support for clear and unequivocal anti-austerity candidates and not the populist candidates (all across the political spectrum) they have endorsed in the past.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

To demonstrate the point I raised the approach of Dermot Connolly to Tsipras and SYRIZA and what he was advocating after the No in the referendum. This has been questioned by Ed who has made some points based on false assumptions and outdated information.
1. The Left Platform held a mass rally in Athens on Monday night attended by between 3,000-4,000 people (from the information I have received) – a rally that was effectively the launch of the Left Platform’s election campaign. Now there are still major issues to be addressed over the approach of the Left Platform and how to involve the wider Left in Greece, but it is not accurate to say “they’re not sure what the best approach is going to be over the next couple of months.” – To start with Tsipras intends to expel the rebel MPs under threats from ND and PASOK that they will not back his government if he does not,
2. Ed says “There’s certainly a strong argument for staying until a party conference is held at least” – the problem with this is that Tsipras and his supporters have already indefinitely postponed the SYRIZA party conference.
3. Next – “the majority of Central Committee members opposed the deal with the Troika,” – to start with Tsipras is simply ignoring the CC and the latest figures on the CC are 103-98 against the deal and the more ‘moderate’ elements (particularly those around Varoufakis – who is now in serious legal trouble over the fact he gave confidential financial information to a hedge fund) are coming under massive pressure from Tsipras and the pro-austerity SYRIZA MPs to back Tsipras. The likelihood is that Tsipras will get a majority on the CC in the near future and as soon as he does Tsipras will embark on a massive purge of what remains of the opposition elements.

Now Ed says – “I don’t think it’s a decisive litmus test for DC’s political rectitude whether or not he’s calling for a split right now” – this is not actually the point I was trying to make (and maybe I wasn’t sufficiently clear on this) – the point was that Dermot Connolly was softening his position as a result of evidence of left populism. Ed says that he will not take my comments on what DC said at face value – well let the man speak for himself and others can decide. This was written by Dermot Connolly on 8 Jul (only hours after Tsipras was outlinging his willingness to accept the demands of the troika) during a debate on Greece on an internet forum.

“I am not convinced by the argument that Syriza should break off negotiations with the Troika and attempt to mobilise the working class in Greece and Europe for the introduction of socialist measures to resolve the crises….If Syriza adopted this approach now and broke off negotiations it would split the masses in Greece. It would jeopardise the tremendous unity in which the working class rallied behind Syriza’s approach in the referendum…The approach of the left throughout Europe at this point should be not to criticise Syriza but to try and organise pressure on their own governments to give Greece a break.”

Asking the Left to campaign to get right-wing governments to “give Greece a break” – in all honesty – I have yet to see something more populist from any left activists in relation to Greece.

I will finish my comments with a quote from the article which in my opinion sums up the point being made –
“The programme of the Syriza leadership was inadequate, as to break with austerity in this era means being willing to take anti-capitalist measures…It will take much more than an anti-austerity rhetoric or populism, or even an individual’s genuine desire for change, in order to achieve it: programme is key.”

The article concludes –
“The obvious limit of being an ‘Independent’ is how can one person, or a loose connection of individuals without any cohesive programme make fundamental change? …There can be no Chinese Wall between the active struggle and the theory behind challenging austerity”

This is the important part of the article – not some perceived slight against Joan Collins or Clare Daly – that the necessity of organising the tens of thousands who have been actively opposing water charges and building the boycott of the change and that part of the process of this is the necessity to discuss and debate politics – the necessity to grow the political consciousness of working class people and the necessity to raise clear socialist policies as part of the process of developing a new mass party of the working class.

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Ed - July 29, 2015

‘False assumptions and outdated information’ – no, I’ve just spoken to different people and listened to different arguments. I read a couple of reports on the Left Platform rally from people who were there, for example, so I don’t necessarily have to take the assertions of someone who was in Ireland at the time on trust. Here’s a post earlier this morning from Kevin Ovenden, who’s in Athens now (I ran into him last week), which appears to directly contradict some of the above:

“There will be a meeting of the 201-strong Central Committee of Syriza tomorrow. Yesterday’s meeting of the Political Bureau, a sub-body, was inconclusive. At it Tsipras pushed for a new conference with new delegates elected. He was not able to win this at that meeting. One argument from the left was that any snap conference should comprise the delegates from the last one as it would be a ‘standing conference’, i.e. an extension of the last extensive democratic process of discussion and election of delegates.

“Members of the Left Platform are also calling for negotiations with the Troika over the third memorandum to be broken off. Before the deal was voted through in parliament 109 CC members signed a statement opposing it. Tomorrow we will see the balance of opinion on the body. There is some speculation about a possible second referendum, on whatever the substantive agreement over the third memorandum tuns out to be. That opens the possibility of a referendum campaign on the austerity programme in which Tsipras will be joining the centre left and right in arguing: “This is not a vote on whether you like the austerity programme or not. It is a vote on whether or not to stay in the euro.” ”

So there you have it: talk of a party conference being held soon from both camps, but with different ideas of who the delegates should be; a meeting of the Central Committee due tomorrow, which will make it clearer what the division of opinion is there. A number of things still in flux. None of which changes the basic issue at stake: whether or not to go along with the latest Troika memorandum. The question for those who oppose the memorandum is when and how to break with those who support it. For example, if Tsipras plans to expel rebel MPs from SYRIZA for standing by the party’s election programme (and I’ve certainly seen several reports suggesting that), what’s the best approach to that? Should they stand their ground inside SYRIZA, continue voting against the memorandum and force him to expel them? Or should they make the break themselves pre-emptively? It’s all a question of timing and tactics and the moves that are made by other players (not entirely unlike the decision about whether and when the Militant should leave the Labour Party, I guess). Things will be much clearer in a month or two, I’m sure.

Anyway, I think that’s enough on that question. More broadly, I’m afraid JRG is just confirming my point that the SP do themselves more harm than good with this kind of thing. There are big developments in train at the moment, big risks, big opportunities, in Ireland and in Europe. You’ve got people from the liberal left up in arms about what’s been done to Greece and finally waking up to reality of what the EU is about; you’ve got people in Ireland who’d never been to a march twelve months ago taking part in a mass anti-austerity campaign. Some might wonder if the most urgent thing right now was to snipe at former comrades, especially when the sniping isn’t even accurate and has to be corrected almost immediately. But the SP can direct its energies wherever it likes, of course. If they want to give people a stick to beat them with, that’s up to them.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

Let’s cut through the rhetoric and get to the heart of matters JRG. On the SP site an article appeared which said that, and I quote.
Clare Daly TD, who can make powerful criticisms of the Government on issues, typifies left populism. Tending to highlight the incompetency of the individual actors, rather than any overarching systemic criticism of the right-wing ideology and practice that’s at the heart of the matter. Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.

When it was pointed out that this was incorrect the text was amended to:

“Daly, like Joan Collins TD, did not vocally or consistently raise the need for an organised boycott of the charge unlike Socialist Party and AAA TDs Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy although this has changed more recently”

It has been pointed out that that too is incorrect (though why it was changed if it was as Mark P sought to suggest, and as you are now attempting to suggest, essentially correct is a question for others to answer) – that Daly and Collins were at the forefront of ‘raising the need for an organised boycott’ consistently.

And what do we receive from you? Not a clarification, not an admission of some error, but risible stuff about a ‘small number of examples’. Yeah, a small number which include… oh, let’s count them… Dáil Motions, protests, holding banners calling for same, putting out leaflets and indeed participating in a wide range of activities.

But no, raising this in the Dáil, leaflets, getting arrested etc isn’t enough for you because somehow that’s not ‘vocally or consistently’.

Now most of us I think – and remember almost no one here has party axes to grind, or any animosity towards the SP, indeed often the hard work has been noted and saluted – would think that CD and JC have been both vocal and consistent by the standards of such things.

After all, what more do you want?

Well what you want or what you rather sheepishly wind up complaining about is that it’s not that CD and JC haven’t been vocal or consistent enough – because any rational analysis suggests that they have – but they haven’t been vocal or consistent enough in the way that you with your political perspective want them to be.

That’s fine, but don’t expect anyone else to take it at all seriously.

Or to see this as anything other than embarrassing excuse making.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

As to your second comment JRG, this is completely diversionary stuff and not worthy of you. What have these long paragraphs dragging yet another named activist (and one who by the by was a former member of the SP) and Syriza got to do with the substance of the above?

You say ‘This is the important part of the article – not some perceived slight against Joan Collins or Clare Daly’? Are you being entirely serious? With all due respect I think most people would have raised eyebrows about extremely serious accusations about other left TDs and would wonder why you think yourself in a position to police what is or is not important in this text.

What you are doing here though is defending a piece which was factually inaccurate, and which remains so, and which despite being shown to be inaccurate you continue to put around the substance of which, as in your second last response above that Joan Collins and Clare Daly have not ‘vocally and consistently raised the need for an organised boycott of the charge” (until recently)’.

This is inexplicable when that has been proven completely incorrect (to put it at its kindest) by simple recourse to the Dáil record both this year and last, by links to their leaflets, by photographs of their activities.

I am completely unable to see what the purpose of this exercise is.

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Ed - July 29, 2015

“Yet the article never stated that Clare Daly or Joan Collins did not support a boycott of water charges – the article argued that ” From the outset of the introduction of the water charges, Daly, like Joan Collins TD, did not vocally or consistently raise the need for an organised boycott of the charge” – note the words “vocally or consistently”.”

JRG, surely you can do better than that? The text of the article was changed. The original wording is in the post above:

“Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.”

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12. Michael Carley - July 29, 2015

I really do hope this is not the first step in a campaign to run an SP/AAA candidate against Joan or Clare.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 29, 2015

Like a good leftist, prepare for those hopes to be dashed!

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

The AAA won’t be standing in Dublin South Central. I would expect that it will stand in Dublin North, which is now a five seater and in which Clare Daly will top the poll regardless of whether or not there is another left candidate.

I also predict that some well meaning fool somewhere will moan about this, without having given the issue a moment’s consideration.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 30, 2015

I presume the SP/AAA is not going to be looking for any of Clare Daly’s transfers when they target that second seat?

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irishelectionliterature - July 29, 2015

I’d imagine that there will be an AAA candidate in Dublin Fingal. As for one in Dublin SC not sure.

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CMK - July 29, 2015

The question, surely, in Fingal is why are SF running a candidate? They haven’t run there in the last few Dàil elections and the candidate has no track record in the area.

The AAA and the SP have long track records in Dublin North, elected representatives there for well over a decade now and there would conceivably be a good chance of snagging a seat along with Clare Daly.

If an AAA candidate for Dublin North is announced there will howls of outrage here, while SF’s vanity run in Dublin North passes completely unremarked up.

Are SF going to run a candidate in Dun Laoghaire, potentially jeopardising RBB’s seat there? Of course they are, and there will be a deathly silence here about the tactical stupidity of that.

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Jack Jameson - July 29, 2015

Given the SP/AAA’s and PBPA’s disrespect for SF for not being lefty enough, why should it abandon its long-term party building and stand aside out of respect for critics’ track records or anything else in the absence of any electoral understanding?

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CMK - July 29, 2015

So a vanity SF candidate splits a Left leaning vote an allows FF in or a second FG candidate? Yeah, SF are entitled to their building efforts and don’t have to explain themselves to others. Likewise the AAA is entitled to run candidates wherever we want and in our long term interests, whether against Clare Daly ot Joan Collins or anyone else for that matter. Alas, the courtesy and respect extended to SF by nearly every commentator here won’t be extended to the AAA or PBPA.

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dublinstreams - July 29, 2015

I suppose the difference is the SF candidate didn’t use to be in the SP afaik

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

So? She left because she doesn’t advocate Socialist Party politics any more. And regardless of her views, she’s guaranteed to come first or second in a five seat constituency. Nobody suggests that her seat could be at risk in any way, regardless of whether or not there’s another left candidate. So what possible objection could anyone have to another left candidate standing?

People object to “vote splitting” because it could cost seats, not on general principle you know.

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irishelectionliterature - July 30, 2015

There is already another Left candidate in Barry Martin of PBP. I doubt there will be any moaning re an AAA candidate.

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que - July 29, 2015

I would assume because Sinn Fein are a political party.

This why don’t they give us a free run aren’t we all left stuff is pointless.

Now ignoring the point many take every opportunity to say Sinn Fein isn’t left wing and just focussing on the fact they are a political party. Well there is your answer.

Tactically how is it stupid? Sinn Fein are supposed to watch out for AAA’s and PBPA candidates. Tactically they should ensure the election of parties who at the drop of a hat will attack Sinn Fein. Telling me yiz are all on the same side doesn’t cut it when yesterday and tomorrow SP will be telling us ye aren’t on the same side. Even if ye were
then still what would it matter. Ye are different parties.

Stop farting about Dublin North. (Wo)Man up and don’t be whining about other parties not being nice to you.

Do you think Sinn Fein will be worried about howls of outrage.

Ye are a fierce sensitive lot. If ye want the seats go take them but this belly aching is shite talk.

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

CMK was precisely responding to the “belly aching” “shite talk” of people who think that the AAA shouldn’t stand somewhere, despite the AAA’s decision having no conceivable impact on anyone else on the left either way.

I do however agree with you that what Sinn Fein do should have no bearing whatsoever on what the left do. Sinn Fein, the new Fianna Fail, are opponents of the left just as the original Fianna Fail are. We are not on the same side. Sinn Fein are on the side of capital.

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CMK - July 29, 2015

I think, for the purpose of CLR debate, SF are regarded as a ‘Left’ force and that view is held by most who engage here.

The ‘howls of outrage’ refers to the CLR and the reaction here if and when an AAA candidate is announced for Dublin North. I’m looking forward to them.

I know exactly which side SF are on but that doesn’t mean many people who should know better still harbour illusions about them as a ‘Left’ force.

Interesting that you don’t, que, address the point about RBB where a SF candidate would really cut across his chances.

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irishelectionliterature - July 30, 2015

I don’t there will be howls of outrage as Barry Martin of PBP is already standing in Dublin Fingall. The AAA have a Swords based Councillor so I’d assume he’d be standing too.
I also think that both PBP and the AAA have the possibility of reaching the 2% threshold for State funding which may influence the numbers of candidates both field.

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que - July 30, 2015

If RBB loses out I will sleep okay.

Sinn Fein should run in every constituency they can and that includes DL and is independent of the profile. SF are a national party. Not running in DL because some lad for elected there last time isn’t a valid reason. Whether RBB loses out or not is his concern.

In fairness I think that’s a clear answer.

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CMK - July 30, 2015

Admirably clear, que. SF Uber Alles!

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que - July 30, 2015

Look there is the feeling sorry stuff again. Sinn Fein will run candidates where they want and the electorate will make a choice.

You are in a revolutionary vanguard party but you want freebies. Is this serious?

As for clarity call it like it is. This faux all on the left stuff is talk. Sinn Fein will want to run candidates in DL for local elections and also will want votes in presidential and EU elections there. Part of that takes profiling and building now
If they go around with the beal bocht asking for freebies then they should get the same answer.

Yeah grand however you to look at it I suppose.

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13. Kieran Dunlop - July 29, 2015

A note at the bottom explaining the change that has been made to the text.

“* In the original article that appears in July/August edition of “The Socialist” and that was published on this website we wrote “Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.”

We believe this statement to be correct but have changed it to qualify what we mean by the failure of Joan Collins and Clare Daly not to put forward a clear non-payment position.”
http://socialistparty.ie/2015/07/organised-left-force-or-disparate-independents/

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Ed - July 29, 2015

LOL.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

This is terrible stuff Kieran, it really is. Below you’re pulling out a link to October 21st 2014 as if that was the last word on the matter, as if nothing she has said or done subsequently is of any importance. Don’t you see how absurd that looks?

Edit, sorry, I’m figuring you’re pulling our legs. At least I really hope so.

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14. Kieran Dunlop - July 29, 2015

This has been posted elsewhere but the following is a link to Joan Collins TD on the “Late Debate” from October 21st 2014- ten days after the first mass anti-water charges protest of 100,000and the day Paul Murphy was elected having advocated a clear non-payment anti-water charges during that by-election.

http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9%3A20669009%3A1589%3A21%2D10%2D2014%3A

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15. Kieran Dunlop - July 29, 2015

In relation to above link go 7.50- 11.00. Whatever word you wish to use JC is clearly not putting forward a non-payment position or using the platform she has to call for non-payment of the charge

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16. Ed - July 29, 2015
17. LeftAtTheCross - July 29, 2015

Too much. Surely nobody here is expecting the admission of a mistake by one of our esteemed SP cheerleaders? Has such a thing ever happened on CLR before? I suspect not. Their analysis is always correct, by definition. To disagree or point out the flaws is futile.

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Ed - July 29, 2015

And lo and behold, I’ve already seen this being shared by SF members online to show how hopelessly sectarian the SP are; their own party really does refuse to support a campaign of non-payment, and should be challenged over that, but instead the SP has handed them a stick to beat it with. Judging by his comments above, JRG thinks everyone of us spends our time looking for opportunities to have a go at his party (perhaps because that’s his own reflex attitude to other left groups); we don’t, really we don’t, we have better things to be doing. My own attitude to the SP, and I suspect the same goes for a few people here, is a mixture of good will and exasperation. On an issue like the water charges campaign, where I agree with them most of the time in what they’ve been saying over the last few months, it’s exasperating to see this kind of thing allowing SF and others to deflect attention from what should really be at stake.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

+1. particularly this:

My own attitude to the SP, and I suspect the same goes for a few people here, is a mixture of good will and exasperation. On an issue like the water charges campaign, where I agree with them most of the time in what they’ve been saying over the last few months, it’s exasperating to see this kind of thing allowing SF and others to deflect attention from what should really be at stake.

I’d add to that it’s a mixture of affection/admiration and incredulity at the inability to just rein in rhetoric etc which is so open to undermining by simple facts.

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LeftAtTheCross - July 29, 2015

I’d agree. I’ve respect for the efforts of the SP and their public reps in particular are very good at what they do in terms of PR, very effective communicators, but the nonsense and personality disorder stuff displayed by the rank and file here on CLR really dies undermine any goodwill that’s generated by the more prominent reps. Consistently so. Anyone even mildly interested in joining the SP really should have a read of the content generated here on CLR in the comments to double check whether they’re nuts enough to join up.

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

A middle aged man who joined a semi-defunct Stalinist party in the last few years might be expected to have a little more self awareness about declaring that people who join other left organisations need to be “nuts” or suffer from “personality disorders”.

Actually no. I suppose that’s unfair. Almost by definition, such an individual can’t be expected to have that kind of self-awareness.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

And so we get to the direct insults.

It’s like a checklist, isn’t it? Futile mistake made – check. Immediate denial – check. Tiny changes made – check. Changes insufficient because it’s still wrong – check. Increasingly incredible denials made – check. Rhetorical evasions – check. Broad insults – check. Direct personal insults – check.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

Really WbS – you shouldn’t talk about LATC like that – I am sure he didn’t mean the insult about people having to be nuts to join the SP

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

He at least had the good sense to refrain from a direct personalised insult.

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LeftAtTheCross - July 29, 2015

I’m loving the “middle aged man” part of the insult. Bizarre. Par for the course.

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

Left at the Cross introduced the insults into the discussion. And as per usual, a good rule of thumb is that if you are going to dish out insults, particularly ones which bring to mind adages about glass houses and stones, you should expect to take one or two back.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 29, 2015

Middle age would qualify you as the youth wing of Cedar Lounge, I imagine.

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Mark P - July 29, 2015

It should certainly qualify you as old enough to know better than to join a Stalinist party.

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LeftAtTheCross - July 29, 2015

Yawn yawn.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

Left at the Cross introduced the insults into the discussion.

Actually he didn’t, you did – or at least dismissive comments – way back when when you suggested a reasonable and level-headed critique of the original piece was ‘plentiful verbiage’. But in relation to LATC of course you couldn’t resist upping the ante and shifting from a more general to a more specific one – eh?

Though I guess it serves a diversionary purpose in getting away from the central issue while JRG continues his long lonely journey of trying to explain away the inexplicable.

I’ve said it elsewhere. I despair. I really do. Does anyone think this sort of stuff convinces the unconvinced, attracts the neutral or those of goodwill? Like feck it does.

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Garibaldy - July 29, 2015

Now in fairness, one of them did once say that the Militant argument that apartheid could not be ended under capitalism had proven incorrect. Although another one did deny that that was so when it was brought up on another forum.

(names have been withheld to protect the innocent)

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

Back to the old SA chesnut Garibaldy (and someone above says that no one has an axe to grind) – of course the entire issue raised in the article surely goes over the head of a member of a party that backed a Charlie Haughey government.

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Garibaldy - July 29, 2015

As opposed to a Fine Gael one as members of the Labour Party while telling people NOT to vote for a more left-wing alternative you mean? Etc etc etc. We’ve done all this before.

The point I was making was that one SP member has been known to admit to a mistake here on CLR. No more, no less.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

What is the mistake – pointing out the fact that populism does not offer a solution to the crisis facing working class people.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

Making entirely inaccurate (and again I’m being kind) claims about named politicians is the mistake.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 29, 2015

You claim they are inaccurate – in my opinion they are not – and again, it is interesting that everyone is intent on avoiding debating the actually issues raised in the article.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2015

All this stuff about people ‘intent on avoiding debating the actual issues raised in the article’ sounds so evasive, so blind to the reality of what the original and even amended text clearly states and the implications of same.

And the only people on here who think those claims are not inaccurate are SP members. And I suspect not all SP members at that, common sense not being in short supply in that quarter any more than any where else. How in all conscience could you not see that they are totally inaccurate?

This is just desperate stuff from you JRG. I’ve said it before, you’re much better than this.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 30, 2015

WbS – I am going to state this for the last time – the article is about the dangers of populism and the use of populism by ‘independents’ at the moment. It argues for the need to politicise the anti-austerity movement with clear socialist policies.

Now – do you agree with these points raised in the article?

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WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

JRG, you are wilfully missing the wood for the trees. The article goes out of its way to heap inaccuracy on inaccuracy even when amended in regard to named TDs. It’s not what the article is ‘about’, it’s what is a part of it that is being critiqued here.

It’s not whether I agree with the points in it about populism – or not (and by the way some I do, some I don’t), it’s that in doing so it mentions those named TDs in the inaccurate way which is what is exercising people.

That’s the core of the problem here.

As well you ask do I think it’s well designed in the version printed in the SP paper. It’s irrelevant whether it’s well designed or not.

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18. The Caretaker - July 29, 2015

Kieran, not so much a smoking gun as a damp squib.

Not exactly Alistair Campbell are you?

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19. JM - July 29, 2015

” it is interesting that everyone is intent on avoiding debating the actually issues raised in the article”. Good point – the issues raised by the SP regarding two TD’s have been proven to be lies. Debate .

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20. Liberius - July 29, 2015

Joan Collins has just posted a couple of paragraphs on Facebook on this topic.

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Jolly Red Giant - July 30, 2015

1. It should be pointed out that Joan is wrong in claiming that the SP said she was ‘vague’ on calling for non-payment – that is not what the SP article said. I also note that she (or Dermot) couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the SP in relation to R2W.
2. It should be pointed out that Joan Collins was a member of the SP during the anti-bin tax campaign and Clare Daly was a member of the SP during both the anti-bin tax and the anti-household charge campaign (up until the time that the CAHWT disassociated itself from Wallace).

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21. eilisryan - July 29, 2015

Sometimes I feel compelled to point out the complete absence of any women in these sorts of conversations. A propos nothing in particular, and not directed at anyone in particular, but I think its worth highlighting once in a while.

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dublinstreams - July 29, 2015

the SP article you are discussing was written by an activist who as woman, about two politicians who are women, among others, do you have any to say about it or not? Here’s your chance.

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que - July 30, 2015

How do you know the gender of any of the posters here?

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Liberius - July 30, 2015

Doesn’t that argument implicitly suggest that many of the commenters are secret misogynists? Whatever about the substance of the issues being discussed I can’t see any evidential reasoning for suggesting that of the commenters. Sure we’d all like to see a greater quantity of female commenters, but I don’t see how the absence of them should invalidate the opinions being expressed here.

Liked by 1 person

22. eilisryan - July 29, 2015

Again, not suggesting its anyone’s fault, CLR’s in particular, but maybe the blog might be interested in doing a gender analysis of its posts and commenters? Constructive self criticism is the best kind 🙂

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dublinstreams - July 29, 2015

why don’t you just join in the conversation and speak on topic.

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que - July 30, 2015

How can they do an analysis without having everyone report their actual gender?

What phase is the moon in people?

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WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

From our perspective there are insufficient numbers of women openly commenting here (albeit it can be difficult to discern identities through usernames and accompanying emails). Worse again, despite our making many efforts to expand our contributor/poster base to include women that has for the most part been unsuccessful too. But, I do want to stress, that we’ve had both open invitations online for people to contribute and individual invitations to people to join. It’s not something we’ve not been proactive on.

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23. scabbyrabbit - July 30, 2015

Unfortunately, the thrust of the article has been obscured by a somewhat hysterical controversy around one sentence. The controversy seemingly being, is it accurate?

The criticism raised by the Socialist Party is that neither Clare Daly or Joan Collins are using their positions to advocate a consistent and principled Left alternative instead acting as an echo chamber of sorts for the popular mood. In this instance, the example used is their failure to use their positions to build and organise mass non-payment at a crucial juncture in the anti-water charges struggle when bills were dropping.

I appreciate that some here believe that implicit support for non-payment is as good as explicit, but that’s getting away from the point being made. It’s reducing the tactic of non-payment to an individual act. Clare Daly saying “Can’t pay, won’t pay” – and that’s it – on stage is one individual making a stand, whereas building non-payment is about convincing others not to pay.

While the Government and the billionaire-owned media were on the offensive, it was imperative that every scare story and every lie had an answer. It’s not that people aren’t smart, it’s that we are exposed to the establishment’s line of argument every way we turn. People paid on hearing the rumours around Revenue getting involved. More paid when the news about attachment orders broke. I believe active campaigns on the ground stemmed that, but unquestionably the public representatives who used their platforms to answer the Government’s spin had a large part in arming us with the arguments to win people round. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the boycott would have been stronger again had Sinn Féin and the Right2Water leadership used their platforms to come out and actively advocate the boycott.

Answering the Government’s lies, challenging the media’s spin, and making the case as to why people should refuse to pay – that was the task of public representatives that advocate non-payment in my view. The interview that Kieran Dunlop posted above is illustrative of the formulations that I have heard from Joan Collins – “I’m not paying, but I wouldn’t tell anyone else what to do”. The recent leaflet posted elsewhere on this site marks a welcome shift in emphasis – and don’t get me wrong I welcome that – but it does mark a shift. Perhaps there are older leaflets that demonstrate that I am incorrect and this has been her position all along?

It’s not been argued that Joan Collins and Clare Daly are not opposed to water charges or do not support non-payment. The paragraph in the article emphasises how Clare has used her position to criticise issues but tends “to highlight the incompetency of the individual actors”. This approach is reflected in their hitherto now “I’m not paying” rhetoric which falls short of using the platform in parliament to arm and build the active resistance in the form of organised mass non-payment.

The article is a critique of ‘independents’ and argues in favour of a programme and approach that is orientated to building working class organisation and confidence. As part of that, it raises pretty mild criticisms of both Clare and Joan and I think those criticisms are valid.

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24. WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

Answering the Government’s lies, challenging the media’s spin, and making the case as to why people should refuse to pay – that was the task of public representatives that advocate non-payment in my view. The interview that Kieran Dunlop posted above is illustrative of the formulations that I have heard from Joan Collins – “I’m not paying, but I wouldn’t tell anyone else what to do”. The recent leaflet posted elsewhere on this site marks a welcome shift in emphasis – and don’t get me wrong I welcome that – but it does mark a shift. Perhaps there are older leaflets that demonstrate that I am incorrect and this has been her position all along?

Deeply dishonest stuff to be honest on your part – in particular the bit in bold -that you could only write if you hadn’t bothered to read the thread above and in particular this:

the ‘more recently’ is also incorrect. For in the account of the Dáil debate on water charges from last November available here http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1119/660744-water-charges/

19:38
Joan Collins says mass non-registration and non-payment will defeat these charges.

Same debate, Clare Daly says “People have said they will not pay a third time or have the Government charge us a fourth time in repaying the borrowings….No one can govern against the will of the people. ”

So this shift in emphasis stretches all the way back to last November. Or further back. Or… are you just smearing now?

Liked by 1 person

Jolly Red Giant - July 30, 2015

This really is getting tedious but actually demonstrates the point being made by SP members.

1. In the piece you quoted Clare Daly does not call on working class people to build non-payment – she says, as she usually does, that people will not pay.
2. Yes – on the 19 Nov Joan Collins did actually go further than your quote and stated in the Dail that she would ‘work to convince people that mass non-registration and mass non-payment would defeat these charges’. This is to be welcomed – the problem was that a few minutes later when Joan was challenged by Pascal Donoghue about telling people not to pay the charges, Joan Collins stated ‘I will not tell people what to do’

This is the inconsistency and lack of clarity that the article is pointing to.

Now I will repeat again what I said yesterday – the Socialist Party wrote an important article about the dangers of populism and used Ross (as a example of right-wig populism) and Daly ad Collins to point out the limitations of populism. The same – or actually more – criticism could be made of other left-wing TDs but I suspect that Daly and Collins were used, not because they were ex-SP, but because they have a high profile in the anti-water charges campaign.

Clare Daly and Joan Collins are very good left-wing activists – and I have a lot of respect for both of them. I expect both to be among an increased number of left TDs elected to the Dail. But neither are shy about criticising the SP, and neither are immune from criticism either.

Remember, the article was not an article criticising both – but outlining the problems of populism and the necessity to concretely pose socialist policies in any programme for a developing left-wing movement. The SP is looki at the wider picture – most of the commentary on here is of s narrow sectarian nature.

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Pól - July 30, 2015

The problem here is that you keep indulging in semantic sophistry and parsing the statements of Collins and Daly in ways that justify the article’s contention but fail to be tenable to reality.

In your own example Collins is clearly (if implicitly! [Oh no!]) making a distinction between ‘telling people what to do’ and ‘convincing them of what to do’.

I would have thought such an avidly Jesuitical wordsmith as yourself would appreciate the distinction.

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CMK - July 30, 2015

This whole thread is based on one sentence in a article of several paragraphs. To be complaining that SP members are engaging in parsing and sophistry is ridiculous given that the whole ‘debate’ revolves around the interpretation of one sentence, one sentence!, for which there is supporting evidence for the proposition advanced in it. And, as we’ve seen, some evidence that pushes back on that proposition.

I’m sure CLR contributors will be parsing every article written by every other Left party and grouping for ambiguities and perceived contradictions and we can look forward to regular 100 comment threads on this or that point.

And if you want to see what a genuine attack on a political opponent looks like, check out the FB pages of some of SFs more unstable elected representatives.

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Pól - July 30, 2015

The problem is that the supporting evidence is dubious, and thus that the TD having once been party comrades with their critics here leaves a particularly sour taste.

However, yes; one sentence. I’d agree that this particular equine corpse has been well-flayed.

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Ed - July 30, 2015

1) It’s perfectly true that SF members (including some fairly senior people who should know better) come out with the most childish insults on Facebook and elsewhere. I’ve seen them at it myself. Of course it’s laughable for people who come out with that sort of nonsense to be accusing the SP of nasty sectarianism. So why give them a stick to beat the SP with? As I said above, I’ve already seen SF people citing this as proof that the SP are hopelessly sectarian and it wouldn’t matter what we do, they’d still be finding an excuse to attack us, etc. Why give that argument more traction than it deserves?

2) Come on, ‘ambiguities and perceived contradictions’? It was just wrong, in a claim that it made about two fairly prominent left TDs, about an issue of quite some importance for the left and the water charges movement. And if this has turned into a long thread, much of that is accounted for by willfully obtuse arguments in defence of the article’s original claim. I’ll say it again, I don’t spend my time looking for opportunities to attack the SP, and I doubt most people here do either. I’d rather be talking about something more important. As for other Left parties, well, there aren’t many supporters of the SWP or PBPA who seem to post here regularly so it takes two to tango for a 100+ comments thread to break out; they certainly got plenty of stick over things like running BS against PM last year. There used to be a lot of ‘what about North Korea’ threads concerning the WP but that seems to have died down a bit lately.

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dublinstreams - July 30, 2015

that sentence was so wrong they changed it themselves

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WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

What Pól, Ed and dublinstreams said sums up my position on this and I think that of many many more beyond this site. I’ve no more to add to this discussion.

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25. Pól - July 30, 2015

It shouldn’t be disputed neither that the Socialist Party does good, important work in organizing and agitating around particular issues, and proferring a broader anti-capitalist critique in this polity, nor that ultimately some form of coherent, unified-but-democratic formation is indispensable to achieving radical social change, in a way that charismatic & popular,-but-atomised individual leftists can’t.

But this long, long thread has been powered by SP contributors insistence on playing a game of semantic Twister, quibbling about their own private understandings of ‘vague’, ‘consistently’, ‘vocally’, ‘explicit’ & ‘implicit’ being somehow superior to those generally accepted; all in the name of defending a couple of sentences that should simply have been jettisoned when first challenged.

A staggeringly futile and counter-productive attempt to save face, that appears to an outsider as confirmation of the SP’s cult-like reputation being deserved. That reputation is, or should be, recognised as a lazy caricature thrown about by the SPs opponents as an inadequate substitute for substantial criticism; yet here, SP members are witness for their own libel prosecution.

Clare Daly and Joan Collins would be more effective as part of a larger political movement; but, whatever about their own particular reasons for leaving, the original article and this thread only demonstrate the inadequacy of the Socialist Party in serving as that vehicle for their talents (or those of the Irish working class).

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Pól - July 30, 2015

By the by, the example of Syiza proves the importance of critiquing relentlessly the limitations of left populism, but the above description of Daly and Collins as being akin to ‘an echo chamber of sorts for the popular mood’ was crass and miserably unfair.

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26. roddy - July 30, 2015

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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27. dublinstreams - July 30, 2015

See the article in context in The Socialist http://issuu.com/socialistpartyireland/docs/ts_south_july_-_august_2015 with added picture of Clare Daly next to Wallace, the laughing Ross photo with Creighton and C Murphy etc is from the press call for the second stage of Ross’s bill to stop political appointments of judges.

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