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Right2Change September 2, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
3 comments

I notice Right2Change have set up their own Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as some regional ones too. So Right2Change is the potential electoral vehicle of Right2Water.
From their Facebook page

You have a Right2Water, a Right2Housing, a Right2Health and a Right2Change this country. Let’s discuss the policies you want implemented, not the ones being dictated to you!
The Right2Water Trade Unions began a consultation process a number of months ago about the types of policies the people of Ireland want implemented. We facilitated two major conferences and a submission process where 10 policy principles were identified. Water, Health, Housing, Jobs & Decent Work, Education, Democratic Reform, Debt Justice, Equality, a Sustainable Environment and National Resources. Stay tuned for more…

Will they register as a party and field their own candidates or will this be a badge that can be used by candidates?
I presume at this stage PBP, AAA and Sinn Fein won’t be standing as just Right2Change candidates, but does is create a unifying banner. A banner where other sections of The Left and those that agree with the Right2Change Agreed Principles , be it Clare Daly in Dublin Fingal or an Independent in Mayo, can stand as a Right2Change candidate.
Presumably too AAA/PBP (and whatever alliance that evolves from those talks) and Sinn Fein can stand with the Right2Change banner also.
Interesting to see what direction it takes.

The Socialist Magician August 18, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
1 comment so far


A PBP/AAA Alliance? August 8, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
72 comments

Yesterday The AAA were canceled from the register of Political Parties

Now there are reports of a proposed AAA/PBP Alliance

“The withdrawal of our listing with the registrar for a few short weeks is to continue an exploration with PBP toward the formation of an alliance for the next general election and an enhancement of the left voice in the the next Dail and to go through the necessary procedures regarding the Register to give this effect,” Coppinger said.
She added that the party won’t be making any further comment on the issue unless discussions are successfully concluded. The Dublin West TD said this is “likely to be well into September”.

Would be good to see and indeed would be excellent if some other of the groups/Parties/Independents from the further Left would be included.

Workers Party Stall outside the GPO circa 1995 August 6, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
1 comment so far

Another picture I have, this time of a Workers Party Stall outside the GPO. I’m told that it would have been taken around 1995.
Click on the image to enlarge.
WP95

A picture of Water Charges protesters in Rathfarnham in the early 90’s August 5, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
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A picture of Water Charges protesters in Rathfarnham in the early 90’s. It may well have been something to do with a court case as the picture is taken yards from the old Rathfarnham Courthouse. The placards are for The National Association of Tenants Orgs (NATO), with Sean O’Cionnaith (WP) 3rd from left. There are Militant Labour Posters on the bottom right of the picture and a Workers Solidarity Movement banner on the left of the picture by the wall also.
Click to enlarge the picture.
1water

Where can The Left win seats? August 5, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics, The Left.
17 comments

Looking forward to the next General Election one of the disappointments for many on the Left who are non aligned (and I presume some in the SWP and SP too) has been the lack to date of at least an Electoral Alliance. The Right2Water conferences have been one path but come election time we are likely to see Sinn Fein, AAA, PBP, WP and ballot papers cluttered with all sorts of Anti Water charges small parties , groups and Independents. The sad fact too is that in many areas of Dublin there will probably be twice as many ‘anti establishment’ candidates as those from FF, FG, Renua, Labour, The Greens and ‘genepool’ Independents.
On the bright side it looks as if there will be Left candidates in almost all of the Country, probably giving more as in 1989 when 28 of the 43 constituencies had far left candidates. There are 13 constituencies at present that don’t have a Left candidate, I’d imagine that to be in single figures by the time the election comes along. That’s a huge advance. PBP and The AAA will probably both be targeting the 2% threshold for public funding also.
Of the Current Left TD’s Joe Higgins is retiring , Paul Murphy, Ruth Coppinger, Clare Daly, Seamus Healy, Joan Collins and Richard Boyd Barrett look to all have decent chances of reelection (although Collins may be taken out by Brid Smith and others if Sinn Fein have a good day). After all the years of Austerity what other prospects of seats do the far left have?
Other than Dublin Bay South and Dublin Rathdown there really should be some hope of a left seat in each Dublin constituency (and possibly 2 in Dublin SC).
Dublin Fingal: Clare Daly should get in. Is there room for Barry Martin of PBP or an AAA candidate to be elected here too?
Dublin Central: Cieran Perry could be in with a shout, although has lost some of his base in the redraw.
Dublin North West: Looks as if SF may be too strong here.
Dublin Bay North: John Lyons of PBP has an outside chance in what will be a crazy constituency with at least 10 candidates (including Tommy Broughan and Finian McGrath who will take some potential left vote)
Dublin Mid West: Gino Kenny a possibility here.
Dublin West: Ruth Coppinger should hold on. Will there be a second AAA candidate?
Dublin South Central: Big question is if Joan Collins and Brid Smith can both get elected
Dublin South West: Paul Murphy should hold on.
Dun Laoghaire: Richard Boyd-Barrett will have a fight on his hands to hold on, but Gilmores retirement should help him.
Outside of Dublin, it looks as if there will be a record number of AAA and PBP candidates but other than Mick Barry and outside chance Cian Prendiville are there other possibilities of Left seats? The likes of Joanne Pender and Brendan Young would have an outside chance but for Catherine Murphy also being in Kildare North.
After all the years of Austerity what other prospects of seats do the far left have?

Jim Lane Socialist Republican Part 3 August 2, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left, Video interview.
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Many thanks to the The Irish Republican Marxist History Project for sending this on.

Further information on Republican and Socialist Republican development in the 1950′ and 60’s. This is the story of Socialist Jim Lane who joined the IRA in 1954 he subsequently participated in Operation Harvest in 1956. He was a leading figure in the Irish Revolutionary Forces throughout the 1960s, this Cork-based group produced an influential publication called An Phoblacht. In addition the Irish Revolutionary Forces established Saor Éire (Cork) in 1968 and produced a paper called People’s Voice.

Saor Eire (Cork) Joined the Irish Communist Organisation, eleven months later they resigned. Those who left, of which Lane was one, then formed the Cork Communist Organisation, short time later they formed The Cork Workers Club who published a series of historical reprints of socialist classics.

Part One of the series

Part Two of the series

What shying “away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges” looks like…. July 29, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
10 comments

Yesterday The Socialist Party in an article referenced here , made an accusation that Clare ‘Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.
Here’s a few examples (aside from the many examples in the comments of the previous post) of what shying “away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges” looks like….

-Getting arrested for protesting against the Installation of Water Meters and holding a “Build A Mass Boycott” poster.
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-Giving speeches to Rallies using slogans like “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay”

Clare Daly Had a newsletter totally focused on Irish Water and advice on non payment

Joan Collins Newsletter mentioning among other things ‘Mass non-payment’ of water charges.

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

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
122 comments

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?

Between Ideology and Public Discourse July 17, 2015

Posted by guestposter in Marxism, The Left.
2 comments

A very welcome guest post from Gavin Mendel-Gleason, from Spirit of Contradiction

Our political and economic system is in crisis. There is a crisis of affordable housing, of decent jobs, of cuts to public services and cuts to social welfare provisions. There is a crisis of democracy which shows itself at every level from the impotence of local democracy through the county councils right up to the technocratic structure of the EU and the impenetrability of the ECB to any form of democratic input. There is a debt crisis of the states of Europe, precipitated by the financial crisis of 2008 which has seen enormous amounts of public funds diverted to paying private investors; investors who had gambled spectacularly found their losses covered by the public.

The water charges campaign in Ireland saw the first major evidence of a backlash to this state of affairs. People began resisting the imposition of a new charge, which was indicative of the spate of increases in taxation to the general public while public services were simultaneously being cut. However, despite the mass mobilisations and many climb-downs by politicians in direct response to this militancy, we still face momentous challenges in finding a way out of our crisis.

Power today clearly lies in the hands of multinational corporations and international finance. This view is widely held, with adherents from popular economic academics such as Piketty, to your average punter on the street. Any time someone stands up and says: “But we should tax the profits of corporations and investors so we can fund public services” we are told that this is impossible because it would render us uncompetitive. Each country is forced to provide the lowest corporate tax regime possible, all competing with each other to attract capital from one another. We find ourselves in an endless race to the bottom. The countries of the EU do not have any fiscal autonomy, and the capacity to “print money” to restart the economy is non-existent.

And while all of these facts about the invincibility of investors and the vulnerability of the public are well known, in Ireland there is no strategy to get out of our predicament which enjoys sufficiently widespread popularity that it might lead to an alternative. The articulation of egalitarian political alternatives is of course the historical role of the left broadly defined.

Public Discourse as the Alternative

Because of the weakness of the left in Ireland, many have looked abroad for inspiration. In other countries there are left wing movements which have significantly more traction and who have articulated an alternative. One of these is Podemos, a Spanish party which has come out of the social movements in Spain against austerity and which has grown meteorically. Since its foundation in 2014, it has managed to capture the imagination of between 15% and 25% of the electorate according to polling data. Because of this rapid rise, it is of particular interest to those impatient for change.

The main thrust behind Podemos is an idea that a major, perhaps even primary problem of the left is the inability to communicate effectively with the electorate. The thesis is that our difficulty is in essence a question of proper messaging. Podemos are not the only group to propose such an idea, but they exemplify the approach, and are certainly among the most successful in demonstrating it. Further, the approach taken by Podemos has been theorised, incorporating ideas from the Latin American left, from the theorists Laclau and Mouffe, and Podemos’ own Íñigo Errejón.

The messaging of Podemos, which they have theorised as a counter-hegemonic narrative, spells out in both abstract and concrete terms a means of contacting the public imagination. It echos Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about creating a discourse with the potential to communicate a new “common sense” with a new “historical subject”. The new “common sense” is meant to articulate in simple terms the broad discontent that people have with their subordination to elites, and the new “historical subject” are the people who find themselves currently powerless, but who could become the protagonist for transformative change.

Part of the concrete strategy taken by Podemos is the promotion of universal values, such as peace, equality and solidarity. The other is the promotion of democracy and a highlighting of the attenuation of democracy in various spheres. These approaches follow closely on the theories of Laclau and Mouffe. Laclau and Mouffe attempted to overcome what they judged the archaic dichotomy between working class and capitalist class. For them, for any theory to have the capacity to be “non-alienating” – ie not creating a false “other” – it would have to be based on universalisms. At its extreme this has led even to arguments of abandoning the left/right dichotomy in politics as old and outdated.

There is also a highly technical (and indeed, empirical!) component to this approach, which seeks to utilise knowledge of mass communication, of sound-bytes and imagery and of distillation of message, in such a way that it is most immediately palatable to the greatest number of people.

In addition, Podemos has an uncomfortable relationship with the idea of the party form. The widespread discontent among the public regarding the political choices that they currently have (in both Spain and Ireland), the consistent shift to the right of the previously social democratic parties, and the widespread feelings of powerlessness have given rise to a general antipathy towards political parties. People feel that political parties and politicians don’t represent them, that they are not trustworthy, and that they are, at the end of the day, worthless from the standpoint of making their voices heard. Podemos has attempted to “square the circle” by casting itself as a new type of social movement, one capable of articulating a programme and of engaging people in politics, but not in the old way. Theorists attempting to square this circle have, however, failed to articulate what sort of pragmatic techniques are necessary to improve the internal functioning of parties, or indeed, how we would know if we saw an improvement. It presents itself as a critique without putting forward a constructive solution aside from vague platitudes about participation and engagement and in not doing things the old way.

(more…)

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