Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Bernadette McAliskey Says Vote for People Before Profit in the May 5 Stormont Assembly Election

with 4 comments

Well Done Bernadette! :

The former Mid-Ulster MP is also supporting Patricia Campbell And other independent left candidates :

A left unity strategy is happening in the six counties, as well as the twenty-six (let us hope the United Left Alliance continues to develop in a positive way after the February 25 result, when  five ULA TD’s won seats in the current Dáil).

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm

4 Responses

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  1. “A left unity strategy is happening in the six counties, as well as the twenty-six…”

    Unfortunately Tomás that is not the case. That the constituents of the ULA in the South are not ready to ally in the North is saddening, maddening, but a situation we might hope to see rectified in time, just as it took time for the ULA to come about in the South. Though at least one ULA party is firmly against extending the ULA beyond the border.

    But things are currently much worse than this. While it is only recently that the left groups in the South, or the chief ones, finally presented themselves as a single face, and reaped the benefits accordingly, it is mercifully quite a while since they actually stood against one another in the same constituencies. (I know there was a bit of this in the February election, but among the ULA groups it was, wisely or no, by agreement. I am also overlooking the determination of the Workers Party to stand regardless.) As I’ve said before radical socialist groups standing separately in elections – which are forums for broad and general ideas and alternatives – doesn’t make sense. To stand AGAINST each other is a scandal in the sense of giving scandal to the working people they are purporting to represent and scandalising the ideas and principles they are standing for.

    In the North apparently we are still stuck in this antediluvian madness. We don’t have a ULA north of Ravensdale, fair enough, but in the Assembly elections the People Before Profit Alliance and the Socialist Party are standing candidates against each other in South Belfast, and in West Belfast the PBPA, the Socialist Party and Socialist Democracy (all components of the ULA!)are standing candidates against each other.

    This is so immature, introspective and irresponsible that any level-headed worker in these constituencies is entitled to ask whether any of these candidates are deserving of a vote at all! While the left in the South is showing its seriousness in responding to the urgent need for a real alternative, it seems that the same left in parts of the North are imprisoned in childish games and bitter small group rivalries that result in the confusion of the electorate and the splitting of an already small left vote.

    Des Derwin

    Apr 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm

  2. Des,

    Firstly, there is an important difference between a process of left unity in the North and the extention of the ULA, something which arose from Southern conditions, to the North. The left in the North consists of different people and groups, with a different balance of forces amongst them, facing a different situation.

    Secondly, there is rather more which politically divides the left in the North than there is at present in the South. The national question, and its various epiphenomenon, is not a prominent issue in the South in the present period (although it will have to be addressed). It is always knocking around in the background in the North.

    The groups you list as standing against each other do not agree with each other on the national question. They do not agree with each other on whether a socialist or a left reformist alternative should be posed. They don’t agree with each other on quite a lot. Further, the left nationalists are more of a factor in the North, as are the Workers Party, at least on the small scale of the Northern left.

    Dreaming happy thoughts about motherhood and apple pie will not make these issues go away and neither will some apolitical demand for left unity regardless of context. Things are more complex than that.

    Mark P

    Apr 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  3. My point was not about the extention of left unity or the ULA to the North, though I think both should be so extended. It was about the absurdity and disgrace of radical left groups standing AGAINST each other in a general (Assembly) election anywhere and my dismay that the left in the North had not got beyond this. Especially while the same groups – the same groups – are in the ULA in the South.

    Hearing a defence of this situation – standing AGAINST each other – from within the ULA just adds to my dismay.

    Des Derwin

    Apr 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm

  4. […] 10. Bellum Omnia Contra Omnes (the left in the Northern elections), blog comment, Des Derwin, 25th April. 2011:… […]

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