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The Irish Left: What is to be Done, redux? Week 2 February 6, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Last week we kicked off this thread, and the suggestion was made by SoS that perhaps it should become a weekly one. Well, perhaps, but it would be good even just to discuss across the month both the problems and possible solutions. This week let’s do the obvious and list the challenges facing the left.

Next week we can either run with them in greater detail or break them up and address them one by one or we can consider some possible solutions – perhaps short to medium term. And beyond that long term.

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1. Dr. X - February 6, 2017

Here’s a wild and crazy idea: get off your collective backside and get of your Dublin-centric comfort zone. There’s a whole country out there, and if the Shire-bound Hobbits of the Irish left would only go there and back again, they would discover that it’s not exclusively populated by orcs and balrogs.

Does the AAA-PBP have anything resembling an agricultural policy, for example? What attitude should the left take to the debate over spatial and planning strategy? Why is my girlfriend angry with me?

These are just some of the crucial questions that need answering.

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2. Paddy Healy - February 6, 2017

How About This? AAA and PBP, unlike Connolly, do not see the fight for All Ireland Sovereignty as part of the programme of the Irish Socialist Revolution. Sinn Féin is implementing cuts in British Occupied Ireland and has acquesced to the rule of the Franco German Alliance in the 26-counties by accepting the EU Fiscal Treaty.
But forces are gathering as evidenced by the attendance at the january 21 Rally organised by the 1916 Societies and other.Progress is being made towards developing an All-Ireland Campaign against Austerity. No matter how left or ultraleft a political organisation in Ireland sounds if it ignores the national demand for unity and sovereignty it is effectively social democratic.
This oration gives a flavour of what is happening
THE TIME IS NOW RIGHT TO RESTORE THE REPUBLIC’ – Oration of SEAN BRESNAHAN, 1916 Societies
Full Oration http://wp.me/pKzXa-Nj
On Saturday 7th January, the Matt Fitzpatrick Society Newtownbutler marked the 60th anniversary of esteemed Republican Martyrs Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon.
National PRO of the 1916 Societies, Sean Bresnahan, gave the main oration.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 6, 2017

Paddy – you do realise that Sean South – the ‘esteemed Republican Martyr’ you are lauding – was a member of the fascist Ailtiri na hAiseirighe and founded the Limerick branch of the far-right ultra-Catholic and anti-semitic Maria Duce.

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Paddy Healy - February 6, 2017

This is a typical diversion which shows the total dysfunction of SP and SP(NI) on the Irish Revolution. Ye have dropped Connollys demand for a UNITED socialist Ireland. Of course I am aware of Sean Souths Background- he was also a daily communicant. But his participation in a campaign to drive British Imperialist forces out of Ireland was objectively progressive. There is nothing unusual about this in countries suffering colonial occupation where the oppressed petit bourgeoisie participate in the figt for national independence Many devout and even more antediluvian moslems hav given their lives figting their colonial oppressors. The fact that you ask this question shows the deep social imperialist strain in the Sp(i) the Sp(NI) and the SP(uk). The Sp(uk) has failed for decades to call for British disengagement from Ireland in defiance of allMarxist Teaching and Tradition. (See website of SP(UK) and note the omission)You sound very left but you are objectively colluding with British Imperialism. This is a far greater crime than Sean South espousing right wing catholic ideas and activities while fighting imperialism inIreland. Some say that the extreme ignorance of the SP on the national question is due to having an English HQ. I disagree. SP is useless in England as well!

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Jolly Red Giant - February 7, 2017

Did you gat a bit of relief from that rant about the SP Paddy?

So a fascist is progressive because he decides to blow up an RUC barracks and gets shot in the process. He should be lauded for time immemorial despite the fact that he was an utter right-wing nut job who engaged in rampant anti-semitism and racist antics in Limerick.

You and I clearly have a different view of what it is to be ‘progressive’.

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Paddy Healy - February 7, 2017

We certainly do have different views onwhat is progressive.Colluding with British Imperialism to occupy Ireland by British pseudo marxists is treachery. Describing it so is not a rant. You have dumped AAA up north in order to appeal to those in the backward unionist and royalist tradition. The “labour Alternative” is just a revival of Unionist Labour in the manner of the old NILP..
The SP NI attacked Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone for correctly supporting a British withdrawal from Ireland. I will recirculate your piece on that shortly. The day is gone when British headquartered Pseudo-marxists can collude with British Imperialism in England and pretend to be marxists in Ireland. There will be no let up in the fight against that kind of treachery.

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Starkadder - February 7, 2017

I will say that any Irish left-wing movement that takes anti-Semite and erotophobe Sean South as a role model is doomed.

What the hell did SS (what appropriate initials) do to help the Irish working class anyway?

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3. dublinstreams - February 6, 2017

The lefts problem is the right isn’t it?

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botheredbarney - February 7, 2017

Maybe regarding centrist politics and campaigns as ‘the right’ is a concept problem for left activists.

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dublinstreams - February 7, 2017

the centre has been moving right recently

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4. ivorthorne - February 6, 2017

I think the left needs to learn from its success. Opposition campaigns to unjust proposals and policies with cross-organisational cooperation is the way forward. But I think it needs to expand the range of subjects it tackles to include those that go beyond their normal base – rural issues, disability issues etc.

Part of the reason the water campaign was so successful was because people could relate to it on a very practical level.

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GW - February 6, 2017

I agree about the practical level Ivor, but I beg to differ about oppositional campaigning.

One of the reasons that the left has been so unsuccessful is that it has reactionary for the last four decades, at least in Europe and the US.

What has driven the left during periods when it has advanced, either as genuine social democracy, or as a form of socialism, was a vision of a new society which people could believe in and emotionally invest in, and a half-way credible plan for getting there. And a way of connecting working class resistance and inventiveness with such a vision.

Currently the left is locked in to reacting to Trump and other right wing nationalists. While we let them set the agenda and the territory of the fight we can only loose. c.f. Brexit.

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Aengus Millen - February 6, 2017

I agree the Left needs to take automation onboard and offer a vision of the future.

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EWI - February 7, 2017

I agree the Left needs to take automation onboard and offer a vision of the future.

This. More like the French left’s proposal to tax robots, please.

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ivorthorne - February 6, 2017

I think that one of the things that worked about the water campaign was that in opposition to the charges, people realised what their rights and values were. It became very obvious that it was a part of a push towards privitisation and that they were having their status as citizens moved toward consumers. It highlighted the way that the media and politicians collaborate with our oligarchs in a way that is becoming more common in the neoliberalism world. The burden for providing public services was been shifted from the rich to the poor. When faced with this, people got angry and realised that politics is not just about picking a new manager for the team, it’s about rights, principles and ideology.

What drives people potty about the left is the way – as far as most are concerned – left leaders engage in so much infighting. This could kill the popular appeal of the left. That’s best avoided.

Opposition campaigns do not just have to be about being against new policy initiatives from the government (like the upcoming cuts to “rural” transport). They can be about opposition to the denial of rights as in the “marriage equality” campaign or in the way that citizens with disabilities are denied the rights to treatments, housing, supports etc.

We don’t need to let the right need. Most people already agree that certain aspects of the status quo are just plain wrong. There’s no energy around these things because we let the government announce and delay the introduction of measures that they have no right to delay.

Disability rights may not be as media friendly as something like gay marriage or even abortion but many people with disabilities face levels of oppression far in excess of almost any other minority group. It’s disgusting and everyone -left, right and centre -believes something needs to be done but it’s down the list on everybody’s list of priorities.

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WorldbyStorm - February 6, 2017

“Disability rights may not be as media friendly as something like gay marriage or even abortion but many people with disabilities face levels of oppression far in excess of almost any other minority group. It’s disgusting and everyone -left, right and centre -believes something needs to be done but it’s down the list on everybody’s list of priorities.”

+1

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5. Paddy Healy - February 7, 2017

There is no contradiction between having a correct marxist/Connolly political position and being practical. Workers and Unemployed Actiuon do it all the time in unions and communities. See here Seamus Healy TD:MEDICAL CARDS FOR CHILDREN WITH DOMICILIARY CARE ALLOWANCE http://wp.me/pKzXa-NI
It is the political sects that are obsessed with competing with each other for dues-payingg members. AAA-PBP is just a parliamentary convenience. They are “competing” everywhere else. And even in the Dáil, very often,the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.!!!!

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6. Paddy Healy - February 7, 2017

The Position of British Left wing Groups on British disengagement from Ireland is a key ctiterion for assessing the political position of their Irish sister bodies
From Their Websites:

Socialist Party UK (Trotskyist) (Irish Sister Bodies: SP(I) ,SP (NI), AAA (RoI), Labour Alternative (NI)
Socialism and Internationalism
• No to imperialist wars and occupations. (No of mention British Occupation of Ireland-PH)
————————————————————-
SWP UK (Trotskyist) Irish Siter Bodies SWP (I) PBP(I)
Against imperialism
Colin Barker continues his series on the ‘Where We Stand’ Socialist Workers Party statement of principles printed each week in Socialist Worker
“At many stop the war stalls British soldiers’ mothers and partners stop to sign petitions. They report what the soldiers themselves say: “We’re not there to help the Iraqis but to grab the oil.”At present Iraq is like a colony of the US, directly ruled on Washington’s orders. The US is building bases there, and trying to shape the new government. However, when direct US rule ends, imperialist control will continue.”-(No mention of British Occupation of Ireland-PH)
—————————————————————————————–
CP(UK) Irish Sister Organisation CP(I)
“The Communist Party supports the right of self-determination of the Irish people and campaigns for Britain to renounce all claims on Ireland.”
———————————————————————————————
Socialist Fight (Trotskyist) Irish Sister Organisation None
“As socialists living in Britain we take our responsibilities to support the struggle against British imperialism’s occupation of the six north-eastern counties of Ireland very seriously. For this reason we have assisted in founding the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group and we will campaign for political status these Irish prisoners of war and for a 32-county united Socialist Ireland. We reject all ‘two nations in Ireland’ theories.”

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