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Thread: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

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    Default Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Voters in Meath-West will be offered a socialist alternative to the failed right-wing agenda of the mainstream political parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

    The Workers' Party candidate in the 2011 General Election for the constituency of Meath-West is Séamus McDonagh, a life-long member of the Workers' Party and currently a member of the Ard Comhairle / Central Executive Committee.

    Meath is a county with a long socialist tradition, having twice elected Michael Davitt, founder of the Land League, to parliament in London, and being the birthplace of Jim Connell, author of the socialist standard "The Red Flag", the memory of whom is celebrated every year by a May Day festival in his honour in Crossakeil.

    The Workers' Party last stood a general election candidate in Meath in 1987. However, the collapse of the global financial system, and the inability of right-wing and social democratic governments worldwide to implement policies which can resolve the structural contradictions of capitalism which led to this collapse, presents anew the opportunity for socialists to put forward a credible alternative vision of society and the economy, a vision which places the interests of ordinary people, the working class, in centre place.

    The Workers' Party is placing economic issues at the heart of its general election campaign.

    Workers' Party Ten Point Programme:

    1. A complete change in the political system which has allowed corruption, cronyism and economic ruin to flourish.

    2. A commitment to revisit the IMF / EU deal which has no democratic mandate.

    3. A commitment to bring back into the public exchequer the billions which bankers and developers immorally accumulated.

    4. A commitment to hold a referendum on the banks.

    5. A taxation system which ensures that billionaire tax exiles pay up and that those who can afford the most pay the most.

    6. A commitment to introduce a stimulus package which grows the economy, creates jobs and badly needed public infrastructure and generates tax revenues.

    7. The development of our vast oil and gas resources in the national interest and not private profit.

    8. The revamping of our state and semi-state companies under democratic control and accountability, as the engine of economic growth and recovery.

    9. A commitment to reverse the cuts introduced in Budget 2010 to protect those on social welfare, the minimum wage, the working poor, the elderly and those on pensions.

    10. The introduction of a wealth tax, a levy on banks and use of the National Pension Reserve Fund to fund a National Economic Recovery Programme.

    http://www.workerspartyireland.net/id561.html

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Thanks LATC. In the event of a WP being elected to the Dail (chances are slim, I personally think), what's the word on who they would support? Would they be prepared to form a group with other TDs?

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Griska View Post
    Thanks LATC. In the event of a WP being elected to the Dail (chances are slim, I personally think), what's the word on who they would support? Would they be prepared to form a group with other TDs?
    Hi Griska, do you mean the ULA? I don't know to be honest. There's enough overlap on the ULA minimim programme to make that a possibility I would imagine. If there's a will there's a way. Not specific on the ULA question, but generally, the history in the 80s with the FF minority gov't shows that the WP has the political maturity to support a gov't arrangement, conditional on whatever programme is agreed. I don't think the WP is an oppositionist party in that respect. On your other comment, this election isn't about winning seats necessarily, the WP has a lot of ground to catch up compared to its heyday (you'd know more about that than me probably?), so it's more about building the party and offering the alternative to those who are prepared to listen.

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftAtTheCross View Post
    Hi Griska, do you mean the ULA? I don't know to be honest. There's enough overlap on the ULA minimim programme to make that a possibility I would imagine. If there's a will there's a way. Not specific on the ULA question, but generally, the history in the 80s with the FF minority gov't shows that the WP has the political maturity to support a gov't arrangement, conditional on whatever programme is agreed. I don't think the WP is an oppositionist party in that respect. On your other comment, this election isn't about winning seats necessarily, the WP has a lot of ground to catch up compared to its heyday (you'd know more about that than me probably?), so it's more about building the party and offering the alternative to those who are prepared to listen.
    You're absolutely right. This is a time for all parties of the left to assert themselves. When I was a member, we were lucky enough to have TDs in place, so had a platform to work from. Unfortunately, the type that came through were the ones that undid all the work (I never liked the term "Student Princes" as I felt it displayed a distrust of those who were lucky enough to get educated).

    I am curious though, was there, to your knowledge any approach regarding alliance with ULA?

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Griska View Post
    You're absolutely right. This is a time for all parties of the left to assert themselves. When I was a member, we were lucky enough to have TDs in place, so had a platform to work from. Unfortunately, the type that came through were the ones that undid all the work (I never liked the term "Student Princes" as I felt it displayed a distrust of those who were lucky enough to get educated).
    I'm also not fond of the "Student Princes" term, it is unduly workerist and dismissive of those within the broader working class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Griska View Post
    I am curious though, was there, to your knowledge any approach regarding alliance with ULA?
    That's not clear. I get the impression that if any contact was made it would have been after the initial agreement had been reached by the SP & SWP/PBPA, and at that stage it would have been a bit late in the day with the election looming to have any serious discussions. Which I think is fair enough. Obviously there would be some "synergies" at local level in combining efforts if such arrangements could be worked out, but being presented with a fait accompli and being asked to climb onboard is a different situation to engaging in discussion from the start. As it turns out, it looks like the WP and ULA will be running separate candidates in more than one constituency, which is not really what the Left needs to be doing at this stage. Still, early days, the revolution won't be won on March 11, long march ahead for all of us.

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Very true.

    Good luck with the campaign.

    Remember your hat and gloves!

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Best of luck to the WP in Meath. I don't think you'll win a seat there but it's good to have a party of the left putting it up to the IMF/ECB consensus parties up there.
    Нооруз пиээ пурылыа выиттыа


    'Our goal is to conquer state power for the Irish working class'
    Pat Rabitte, 1987

    "Can I ask whether this is what the men of 1916 died for: a bailout from the German chancellor with a few shillings of sympathy from the British chancellor on the side?"
    Michael Noonan, November 2010

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Thanks both for the best wishes.

    If you have any comrades in the Royal county that would be able to support the campaign at all please do drop me a line, we'd be glad of all the support we can get. We have one local ULA/SWP guy who'll be chipping in, in the spirit of broad Left unity and all of that.

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftAtTheCross View Post
    but generally, the history in the 80s with the FF minority gov't shows that the WP has the political maturity to support a gov't arrangement, conditional on whatever programme is agreed. I don't think the WP is an oppositionist party in that respect.
    In all honesty the decision by SFWP to back Haughey's government was not a sign of 'political maturity' - it was a sign of (to be blunt) political stupidity.

    And maybe given this attitude it is better for the WP not to be involved in the ULA if they would be prepared to back another right-wing pro-cuts government. The ULA certainly won't be willing to compromise on that one just to get the WP onboard.

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    In all honesty the decision by SFWP to back Haughey's government was not a sign of 'political maturity' - it was a sign of (to be blunt) political stupidity.

    And maybe given this attitude it is better for the WP not to be involved in the ULA if they would be prepared to back another right-wing pro-cuts government. The ULA certainly won't be willing to compromise on that one just to get the WP onboard.
    JRG comrade, please can we defer until after the election to resume the Left-sectarian in-fighting?

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftAtTheCross View Post
    JRG comrade, please can we defer until after the election to resume the Left-sectarian in-fighting?
    With all due respect - this has absolutely nothing to do with 'left-sectarian in-fighting' and everything to do with the principled basis on which the left should stand candidates for elected positions. Serious debate is vital at this time, more than at any time since the early 1980's precisely because of the implications of adopting the wrong approach to addressing the programme of austerity from the government.

    The ULA has stated the following -
    Those elected as part of the alliance will not do any deals or support any coalition with any of the right wing parties particularly Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. We are committed to building a mass left alternative to unite working people, whether public or private sector, Irish or migrant, with the unemployed, welfare recipients, pensioners and students in the struggle to change society.

    Your claim that in 1982 the SFWP support a minority Haughey (the 'we are living beyond our means Haughey) was a sign of 'political maturity' and demonstrated that SFWP then (and the WP now) are not an 'oppositionist party'.

    The only extrapolation that can be drawn from this statement is that because the ULA will not enter any coalition or support arrangement for right-wing parties that the ULA is politically immature and oppositionist. This is an assessment that I catagorically reject.

    I would argue that the decision of SFWP to support Haughey was a fundemental mistaken approach, driven more by a desire not to have to fight a third election in a year more than any real political motivation. I am speaking from some experience here as my first involvement with any political activity occurred during this period when I was close to the SFWP in Galway.

    Both Haughey and Fitzgerald were intent on imposing austerity on working class people yet the justification by SFWP for supporting Haughey was on the basis that another general election 'would not be in the interests of the working class'. This was then and still is today, abject nonsense. What was not in the interests of the working class was allowing a gangster like Haughey back into government on the backs of left-wing support. It was laughable to see the three SFWP TD's having arrived late for the vote for Taoiseach, being locked out of the Dail Chamber and having to clamber over the seats from the public gallery down into the Dail chamber to make sure they could vote for Haughey.

    There are a number of other things that are of interest from this period -

    1. Kemmy and Gregory proposed forming a 'left-bloc' in the Dail. SFWP rejected this proposal and set about attacking both Gregory (for the Gregory deal) and Kemmy (for being a two-nationist) despite the fact that they too were supporting Haughey.

    2. SFWP opposed Solidarity in Poland - claiming that any movement supported by Reagan and Thatcher must be counter-revolutionary and that it was comprised of 'Social Democrat, Fascist, Anarchist and Trotskyist' elements. The Ard Fheis supported the introduction of martial law in Poland with Garland declaring that it was necessary to stop Poland sliding into the 'hands of imperialism'. This should be contrasted with the position on the Iran-Iraq war where SFWP declared support for the 'radical and socialist Iraq'.

    3. During the Dublin West by-election in May 1982, SFWP adopted the approach of pushing their 'democratic and liberal' policies in case the party would be seen as too 'workerist'. Yet when a campaign was set up to oppose the so-called 'pro-life' referendum SFWP refused to get involved in case it would impact on their electoral prospects (despite the fact that a leading member of SFWP chaired the anti-amendment group). John McManus (WP candidate in Wicklow before his wife was elected) declared that SFWP 'should steer clear of the rights and wrongs of abortion'.

    4. Another fundemental issue for left organisations is the attitude to elected representatives. Despite arguments from the rank-and-file of the party for the elected TD's to contribute to the financial upkeep of the party, the leadership decided that the TD's could keep their entire salary and expenses.

    As I have said - it is of absolute vital importance that activists on the left can have an open and frank debate about party positions and party policy without it being branded as 'sectarian'. There are going to be many more very frank and sharp debates over the coming period and left activists better get used to it. It is only by debating policy and political positions that the best strategy and tactics will be developed. The position adopted by SFWP in 1982 from their initial decision to back Haughey, through to their support for PRSI increases introduced in the budget for that year, to the watering down of public policy in the by-election, to refusing to actively support the anti-amendment campaign, to the failure to ensure that elected representatives did not make financial gain from their elected positions - all indicate not 'political maturity', but crass opportunism. This was my assessment in 1982 and it is still my assessment today.

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    In all honesty the decision by SFWP to back Haughey's government was not a sign of 'political maturity' - it was a sign of (to be blunt) political stupidity.

    And maybe given this attitude it is better for the WP not to be involved in the ULA if they would be prepared to back another right-wing pro-cuts government. The ULA certainly won't be willing to compromise on that one just to get the WP onboard.
    I certainly wouldnt be a member of the wp in that scenario. I think that was a different wp. You had gilmore, rabbitte etc all leading the charge there. ill disagree with LATC here. I think it was a very poor call-but that is history. This party is about the future and I believe it has far more potential than just supporting a minority centre govt. However on certain issues of legislation-ie abortion, finance bill amendments to bring the minimum wage back up and reversal of social austerity-it is important we do not oppose everything just on the basis of opposition. But I agree-these mistakes must not happen again if the party is lucky enough. Moreover I think a lot of number crunching must be done more consistently by all of us on the left. I see people in the communist party may not even stand. The ULA and ourselves have admirable policies but we need to communicate how we wish to implement them, if in 5-10 years or whenever, be it sooner than that or not, if we do have a chance to enter a left coalition. Personally I would start by getting marxist economists on board to draw out financial policies-but theres a lot more to policies than just the economy. This is just the main aspect as of now because of how things are.

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    it is of absolute vital importance that activists on the left can have an open and frank debate about party positions and party policy...
    JRG, leaving aside the history lesson, have you any comments on the compatability (or otherwise) or the WP's headline ten point programme with the one being proposed by the ULA?

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    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    I certainly wouldnt be a member of the wp in that scenario.
    Well LatC is using the support by SFWP for Haughey to claim that the current WP are 'politically mature' and would support a right-wing government in certain circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    I think that was a different wp. You had gilmore, rabbitte etc all leading the charge there.
    Not the case actually - the leadership in 1982 was MacGiolla, Goulding, Garland, Sherlock etc. The only one of the bunch that jumped to the LP in the leadership at the time was DeRossa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    I think it was a very poor call-but that is history. This party is about the future and I believe it has far more potential than just supporting a minority centre govt.
    History has an awful habit of repeating itself - especially if you do not learn from the mistakes of history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    However on certain issues of legislation-ie abortion, finance bill amendments to bring the minimum wage back up and reversal of social austerity-it is important we do not oppose everything just on the basis of opposition.
    No one said anything about not supporting reforms - every issue should be taken on its merit. Supporting a right-wing pro-austerity government is a completely different issue - that is what SFWP did in 1982 and LatC declares that it is an example of 'political maturity' - I disagree - in my opinion it is an example of political stupidity and crass opportunism - something that is destined to be repeated if the attitude of the WP is similar to that of LatC.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftAtTheCross View Post
    JRG, leaving aside the history lesson, have you any comments on the compatability (or otherwise) or the WP's headline ten point programme with the one being proposed by the ULA?
    1. As I said above - learning the lessons of history is vital so that the mistakes of history are not repeated.
    2. I have no problem with the WP's 10 point plan - it is just a more watered down version of the ULA programme. It does however miss one crucial point that is contained in the ULA programme - namely:
    Those elected as part of the alliance will not do any deals or support any coalition with any of the right wing parties particularly Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

    So the question I would pose to you is as follows -
    Are the WP committed to not doing any deals with any right-wing parties and committed to not supporting coalition with any right-wing parties if they happen to get any representatives elected?

    The WP should join the ULA and participate in the elections as part of the ULA. Clearly the WP are p*ssed at not being included in the initial negotiations and justify not joining as part of the ULA by stating that it is too close to an election to begin negotiations about joining. To be honest this would place far more weight on the importance of the WP in relation to the left than their strength and political influence warrants. Saying that I have a lot of respect for many in the WP and have worked closely with WP members in various campaigns over the years. I hope that WP candidates win significant votes where they are standing irrespective of the apparent current ambiguous position of supporting a right-wing government.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Workers' Party offers Meath-West voters a socialist alternative

    Serious issues will emerge following this election, and in the years to come, if the revolutionary left (SP, SWP, WP are revolutionary, right?) do not develop an analysis of the electoral process and have clear objectives.

    I have watched Joan Collins and Boyd Barrett recently on the frontline and on TV3 and they were absolutely terrible. And that is unfortunate to say that, for I helped Joan during the anti-bin tax campaign and I know what a good grassroots activist she is. But they are clearly out of their depth and the policies they are mouthing are transparently hollow.

    Now either 1) the ULA are being disingenuous and purposefully spoofing to the electorate with hot air policies and attempting to present itself as an alternative policy wise - or 2) Those running as candidates are fooling themselves in a web of nonsensical and unworkable ideas.

    Substantially increasing corporation tax, for example, will drive corporations from Ireland. Taxing the higher levels of wealth will not generate the revenue to solve Irelands economic woes. Maintaining the same wage rates will damage Irelands international competitiveness and SMEs. Maintaining the same levels of social welfare is not sustainable. "Democratically" (whatever that means) electing Bankers, or putting "workers in control of the banks" would neither prevent an economic crisis nor does it make a whole lot of sense. Etc Etc.

    One can argue with that all they like - but there are substantial elements of truth to them. When FF, FG, LP et al argue as such - it is not because they are greedy capitalists, or whatever - it is because they are working within a particular economic reality - that is, that the market is a dictatorship and the economic sliders can only be adjusted within certain limits before the whole thing becomes unsustainable and erratic.

    And in this sense, FG, FF and Labour DO offer a realistic alternative. Sure, it is more of the same and with some adjustments to the economic sliders.

    But the problem is that the ULA present themselves as an alternative with "other" ways to adjust those capitalist economic sliders - except it is complete nonsense and unworkable.

    And with this, let me say firstly, that they should stop presenting themselves - either through self delusion or by spoofing to the electorate - as having some sort of capitalist economic alternative (which it essentially is). Instead, and if the ULA are made up of revolutionaries and not spoofers trying to hudwink people for votes - outline the intentions - "we will use this platform to spread revolutionary politics - ie overthrow the state and the entire capitalist economic and social system - including the means of exchange - and that we genuinely dont have a workable capitalist alternative".

    Secondly - if this line of thought is not heeded - those TDs elected will become frustrated with their positions in not being able to do something meaningful. De Rossa, Gilmore etc broke away from the WP because Marxism/Revolutionary politics conflicted with being in a position to be able to do something constructive within the economic realities of capitalism.

    Spoofing through politics, particularly when one knows they are being untrutheful to themselves and the electorate, can only go so far before one says **** it - ill go my own way, break off and do what I can.

    I feel the ULA candidates, in my view, have been embarrassing - to themselves and me, as a revolutionary socialist.

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