Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘People Before Profit’ Category

The Socialist Party leaves the United Left Alliance

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Socialist Party leaves the ULA

by Henry Silke

Last Saturday the Socialist Party (CWI) posted an article on their website announcing the end their membership of the United Left Alliance. This was one of the least surprising political events of the Irish left as the Socialist Party had been steadily moving away from the alliance for over a year.

The SP have given two reasons for leaving the alliance firstly it’s unhappiness with ex Socialist Party TD Clare Daly’s continued political relationship with Mick Wallace, a left leaning populist who became embroiled in a tax evasion scandal. Clare Daly had been closely allied to Wallace in the promotion of an abortion rights bill and most recently in the exposure of a practice where privileged members of society were being cleared of driving charges, something brought to the TDs, by whistle blowing members of the Irish police force. Clare Daly herself had resigned from the Socialist Party (and re-designated herself as a ULA TD) some months ago citing the Socialist Party’s lack of enthusiasm towards building the ULA. Read the rest of this entry »

Dolours Price buried in Belfast – “A Liberator But She Never Managed To Liberate Herself” The Irish Times – Tue, Jan 29, 2013

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Dolours Price – “a liberator but she never managed to liberate herself”

Eamonn McCann’s tribute sums up this moving newspaper report – despite having major political differences, Eamonn McCann and Dolours Price remained close friends for forty years.

Bernadette McAliskey was applauded when she told shivering mourners:

“We cannot keep pretending that 40 years of cruel war, of loss, of sacrifice, of prison, of inhumanity, has not affected each and every one of us in heart and soul and spirit.

“We cannot keep pretending that the war did not hurt. It broke our hearts and it broke our bodies, it changed our perspectives and it makes every day hard.”

Carrie Twomey wrote this account of the wake and funeral for Dolours Price

Carrie Twomey : “Rest in Peace”

Clare Daly TD questioned Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore on the imprisonment without trial of Martin Corey and Marian Price in the Dáil recently.

Video Link Here :

Clare Daly TD Questions Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore about Internment Without Trial of Martin Cory and Marian Price

Daly points out that Martin Corey has spent almost 3 years in jail without being shown any evidence justifying his incarceration – Gilmore hides behind the fact that the case is subject to an appeal in the Belfast Supreme Court next February. Read the rest of this entry »

ULA – PBPA: Quem Iuppiter vult perdere, dementat prius.

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The SWP’s stated intention to relaunch the People Before Profit Alliance is confirmed.

A PBPA public meeting will be held in Phibsborough, Dublin, on July 3rd. Speaking will be Hughie Lewis, PBPA councillor in Dun Laoghaire. Subject: the Rents Cap

Of all the areas to do this in (though it will be happening over all). By unspoken and amicable agreement of all, the PBPA branch in Dublin Central melted into the new ULA Dublin Central Branch. There have been no PBPA meetings there since. Many if not most of the old PBPA independents in Dublin Central have become nonaligned members of the ULA. There was no practical point staying in the PBPA anyway. The one definite PBPA independent in DC is PBPA Steering Committee member Eddie Conlon, who is against the relaunch and for the fullest possible development of the ULA.

Also in the ULA are Joan Collins TD, Dermot Connolly and Cllr. Pat Dunne, along with some other independents in the PBPA in Dublin 12/6W. If they know about it they will surely disapprove of this senseless reactiviation of an alliance that began to enter redundancy when the ULA was founded, reactivated as an organisiation with separate activites to the ULA in an area with an active ULA branch.

The poster for the meeting asks people to text a number to join the PBPA.

Written by tomasoflatharta

June 29, 2012 at 10:28 am

ULA Public Meeting : NO To Austerity, Build a Radical Alternative – Tuesday April 24 @8.00pm, Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square

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United Left Alliance

Dublin Central Branch

Public Meeting

NO To Austerity, Build a Radical Alternative

Tuesday April 24 @8.00pm, Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square

Speakers : Joe Higgins TD, Joan Collins TD,

Sheila Judge (DEIS campaigner)

Boycott the Household Tax

The Campaign to boycott payment of the Household Tax has won magnificent support. The anger expressed at meetings and protest shows people are prepared to face the government down.

The United Left Alliance (ULA) fully supports the Campaign. Our members, councillors and TDs support the boycott of the tax and stand with those resisting the charge.

Labour & Fine Gael Bail Out Bankers

Labour and Fine Gael promised to stand up to the EU-IMF. Labour even threatened to ‘burn the bondholders’. Now they have made a conscious decision to bailout bankers and speculators and every dirty trick in the book will be used to threaten people to force them to pay this unjust tax.

VOTE NO to Austerity Treaty on May 31

Austerity is being imposed to pay off the gambling debts of the banks. The government wants to enshrine these policies in the Constitution by signing up to a European Treaty that will restrict the ability of states to fund public investment to create jobs. The passing of this treaty will lead to ever more cuts in health and education and more misery for the majority of people. It must be opposed.

Wealth Tax Will Fund New Jobs

The ULA is opposed to all forms of austerity:

making ordinary people pay for a crisis that was not of their making. Ireland is not broke and austerity is not inevitable. The richest 5% have a combined wealth of €219 billion. A wealth tax on these resources and a refusal to pay bank debts could generate billions for a programme of job creation.

Build A Radical Political Alternative

The growing opposition to austerity must be linked. The ULA believes it is time to build a radical political alternative. The ULA stands for the creation of a new party for working people that stands for democratic public ownership of the resources of the economy that can guarantee a decent standard of living for all. It does not believe that there is a just or sustainable solution to the current crises based on the capitalist market and bowing to the power of speculators.

We believe there needs to be a wide debate, involving all those groups and individuals opposed to austerity, about the best way to build a new organisation to represent working people, the unemployed and the marginalised.

Come to the Public Meeting, join the debate and get involved in the fightback.

The ULA, formed in November 2010, is an Alliance of People Before Profit , the Socialist Party and the Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group. It has five TDs, an MEP, and councillors throughout the country. It is now building branches in all areas to provide active opposition to the austerity policies of the government.

For more information contact Donal at 087 7552559 or Colm at 087 2947100

United Left Alliance at

Debate on the United Left Alliance – Proposal for a Branch Delegate Council

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We continue the discussion on how to take forward the United Left Alliance (ULA) with this contribution from Henry Silke (Dublin Central ULA Branch)

Proposal for a Branch Delegate Council

by Henry Silke (Dublin Central ULA)


There is some frustration in the ULA on a several fronts: one has been the lack of cohesion of the organisation, with the component parts continuing to act separately; a second has been the lack of representation of members who are not aligned to the founding groups; and finally a general lack of development of branches and structure. The steering committee of the ULA has proposed a number of policies to deal with these issues. Firstly it has proposed to give non-aligned members representation (on the steering committee) which is a very welcome step forward. It does remain problematic in that it only gives non-aligned members an annual vote on representation (at conference) with no detail on how the representatives may stay in contact (if at all) with their constituency. The Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) opposes this and are instead calling for a one person one vote annual conference where a steering committee (and I presume policy and strategy) would be voted on. This too is problematic for reasons already attested by Conlon and Young (see below), the main problem being that it could lead to passive if not active divisions and an alienation of the non aligned membership. Moreover even if a simple one person one vote conference did work without leading to a fight for delegates between the SWP and the Socialist Party (SP); it remains again only an annual vote without recourse, something which does not move beyond passive concepts of democracy where members are given a voice once a year. On a more long-term structural development the steering committee has also established a sub-committee on the structural development of the alliance and it is with this in mind that I have formulated this proposal. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

March 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

‘”The ULA badly needs a ‘third force’…”

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There has been little enough feedback on the 24th January article Where to now for the ULA? by Eddie Conlon and Brendan Young. But better quality than quantity. The quality of this response from John Cane prompted Tomás to invite it up as a guest post. Tomás would not use all the terminology, like “democratic centralism” or “Leninist”, in the same way, but let’s not quibble.


It seems to me from your analysis that both the SWP and the SP have proved incapable of changing their spots – and that they are not going to anytime soon. They are both irredeemable “vanguardist” groups and thus must always put “party-building” first.

I would think this is a major problem for the “non-aligned” groups and individuals in ULA due to the combined weight of the SWP and SP in the organisation (though, of course, I understand that they rarely operate in concert). Frankly, I don’t see any chance of progressing the ULA “project” (of establishing a viable “revolutionary/reformist” grouping in Ireland, as I understand it) as long as it is being driven by the politics of either or both of these “vanguard” revolutionary groups.

The ULA badly needs a “third force” to counteract and challenge the SWP and SP. This can, surely, only come from organising the “non-aligned” groups and individuals on a separate basis within the ULA, to pursue separate goals (when necessary), by separate means (when necessary) – all within the ULA framework, of course. It’s a good step forward to see a separate meeting for the “non-aligned” at your forthcoming conference.

In my opinion, the sooner a new “third force” begins to define itself the better. It should have a name (how about Independent Left?). It should agree on why it thinks it needs to be separate (the rejection of “vanguardism”?; the rejection of “democratic centralism”? ; the rejection of “revolutionism”?). It should decide how inclusive it wants to be (surely very inclusive i.e. anyone not in “parties” or groups espousing the above).

The new grouping (“tendency”?) would, I think, only be able to challenge the SWP and SP (never mind supersede them) if it actively seeks to become a pole of attraction both to those inside the current ULA (i.e. all “non-aligned” and disillusioned SWP and SP members) and, critically, lefties of all stripes outside the current ULA (i.e. disillusioned LP members, groups like Plan B and Occupy, and local-based organisations).

One specific problem in establishing “Independent Left” is, perhaps, the existence of PBPA (especially the “Crumlin group”). It seems to me that there is no point to the PBPA as it stands now. If it is effectively controlled by the SWP then all “non-aligned” groups (including “Crumlin”) and individuals should simply leave it and join Independent Left if they wish to.

All going well (!), the great majority of currently “non-aligned” groups and individuals in ULA would see the value of setting up and working within an “Independent Left”-style “tendency” along the lines above and, this accomplished, it’s hard to see how SWP or SP would have any other option than to accept it as a “third force”. If they didn’t, they would have to fold the whole ULA “project” (and be seen to be doing so). “Independent Left” is, after all, an entirely legitimate exercise in left political plurality (in contrast to the “democratic centralism” of both SWP and SP). As such, its establishment, if conducted openly and fraternally, would be hard for even Leninists and Trotskyists to oppose.

If you could get away with all this, then, I would think you’ll be well on the way to “building” a viable “revolutionary/reformist” left ULA grouping in Ireland (though not a “new mass workers party”, I think!). Perhaps something along the lines of the old SLP and other “Two-and-a Half International” groupings, with “Independent Left” providing the essential (and hopefully, before long, dominant) broad, pluralist, non-vanguardist input.

And even if you don’t get away with it, well, would you be any worse off? There’s no future much for the ULA “project” as it stands now.

22nd February 2012

Written by tomasoflatharta

March 7, 2012 at 12:36 am

Kubla heard from far: the problem with the ULA is everbody else

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There seems be more than one occasion (Waterloo, the Peninsular War) for the claim that the Duke of Wellington said the following as he inspected a section of his troops:

“I don’t know what they’ll do to the enemy; but, by God, they frighten me.”

Below is an internal bulletin of the Socialist Workers Party dated 6th February 2012. It is instructive in many ways. It is also very frightening. How is the ULA to survive this, or if the SWP acts on this?

*SWP Bulletin  06.02.12*  Read the rest of this entry »


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