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Party membership on the Irish left… redux April 23, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Some will recall the document recently that gave as membership for the SP (though not Solidarity) figures of around 100 in the Republic of Ireland. I’m always fascinated by that area – and not least when one compares and contrasts. For example, take this, membership figures for Democratic Left from January 1999. Those were – on paper, close to 800, though a curiosity, given the party organised both North and South there’s no breakdown for the North and a heading for ‘International’ of 8.

The party had two council seats, both originally fought and won under the WP.

A lot to think about there, not least where membership seemed to be most prevalent, mostly obviously in areas where there were TDs.

I’d be curious if there’s a comparison with the figures from March 1992 when it came into being. The fall off would perhaps be educative.

Comments»

1. Joe - April 23, 2019

Parties have different membership requirements. For some, you just sign up and you’re in, pretty much. For others, there are, I think, some ‘educational’ requirements.
I think you could just sign up and join DL without any other formalities – maybe someone could confirm that?
Whereas, when I joined WP in the mid eighties you were supposed to go to new members’ classes before you were admitted to full membership. Though that was less of a requirement in some areas of WP as time went on.
So the likes of SP and SWN probably still have relatively stringent requirements. CPI and WP maybe too?
People can be surprised to find out that they are ‘members’ too. A friend of mine was once quite active in SIPTU. He was told about an important meeting he needed to attend and when he got there he was surprised to find (as he raised his hand as directed) that he was at a Labour party local election convention, voting for a certain SIPTU activist to be put on the slate.

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WorldbyStorm - April 23, 2019

Haha that’s brilliant re the LP (kind of) guy – what did he do? Quietly skunk away never to return?

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Joe - April 23, 2019

Dunno. Don’t think he ever joined, formally.

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2. Jolly Red Giant - April 23, 2019

WbS – you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet – especially when it comes to the membership of left groups.

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WorldbyStorm - April 23, 2019

Well keep in mind I do say in the OP ‘that gave as’. I’m not suggesting it as gospel though the provenance of the document does appear to be – and I’ve yet to hear anyone deny it, though it is possible I missed that – from the international to which the party is attached. And clearly if I’m sceptical or at least questioning of DL figures I’m not taking anything as read.

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Jolly Red Giant - April 23, 2019

I assure you that the number of 100 members is false – my SP branch alone has 23 members – and it is not the biggest branch in Ireland.

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WorldbyStorm - April 24, 2019

So then logically you are stating that those documents issuing from the CWI mentioning such figures are false?

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WorldbyStorm - April 24, 2019

Actually apologies – there could indeed be 23 in the local SP (tho what about sol?) and 77 or a scatter more state wide.

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alanmyler - April 24, 2019

I think the CWI document might have said that there were less than 100 members paying party subscriptions, rather than there being only 100 members?

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WorldbyStorm - April 24, 2019

That’s very possible, still it was the CWI that made the distinction itself suggesting that it thought it important to make. And it’s a fair point. Of course parties have people floating around them in a halo but in the end if someone isn’t willing to pay a sub then they’re unlikely to be anywhere near as committed as someone who does.

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3. Michael MacGregor - April 24, 2019

Is it relevant to point out that in material published by the Weekly Worker on the CWI split, membership numbers and cash seem to be part of the wrangle. In the material you can see an interest in the disbursements of the Socialist Party’s wee number o’ TD’s. For that amount o’ salaries supports over 20 staff paying a juicy tithe to the SP. ‘International Faction’ ‘ Non – Faction Faction’ and possibly ‘Get yer haun’s on the cash faction.’ ‘Full Timers Unite Faction.’

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Joe - April 24, 2019

Great post, Michael. We had some discussions on here about Ulster Scots years back. I say there’s Ulster Scots in your post – you’re probably going to disagree with me but there you go. Hauns off Ullans, sez I.
Anyway, to get back to SP business, I heard that the ‘Get yer hauns on the cash faction’ have actually issued an anthem, a rallying call for CWIers around the world. Here it is:

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4. Jolly Red Giant - April 24, 2019

To clarify – once again – my Socialist Party branch has 23 members who pay regular weekly/monthly subs. The actual branch membership is over 30 (some of whom pay an irregular sub). And to reiterate – again – my SP branch is not the biggest branch of the SP in Ireland. In my constituency the SP members are a minority of the Solidarity membership.

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