Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Labour Party’ Category

Left Wing Excuses for Avoiding Solidarity with Ukraine

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In many parts of the world, including Ireland, a number of left wing activists and organisations favour a “plague on both houses” approach to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 2022. These currents desperately seek any excuse to blacken the Ukraine government, peddling false information which justifies an irresponsible refusal to express solidarity with heroic Ukrainian resistance. This plays into the hands of the far-right Moscow ethnic-cleansing aggressor.

One current excuse, which has duped naïve leftists in Ireland, is the claim that Ukrainian President Zelensky “banned virtually all remaining opposition parties at the outbreak of war”. The articles below, which the Swedish comrade Jan Czajkowski has written, demonstrate these claims are false and misleading.

This is the source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63598

A related excuse popped up in Ireland when Sabina Coyne-Higgins wrote a public letter to the Irish Times – also published on the website of the Irish President Michael D Higgins. People Before Profit jumped to the defence of the Coyne-Higgins letter. The deployed excuse was that politicians from right-wing parties such as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in Ireland criticised the author.

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Would a Sinn Féin Win at the Next Dublin Dáil General Election Guarantee the Formation of a Left Government?

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Some people are sure a Sinn Féin victory at the next Dáil general election – which must happen by February 2025 – will mean a shift to the left. A perspective is offered : a Left Government. There is no doubt that a left government is very badly needed, and that is the positive policy of People Before Profit.

Election of a left government is not guaranteed – especially if Sinn Féin enters a coalition with right-wing forces such as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, or the assorted Gombeen-poltroon deputies such as the Healy-Rae’s of Kerry, Michael Lowry of Tipperary, or Verona Murphy of Wexford.

Sinn Féin is keeping its options open – that is clearly shown in the attached newspaper article from five years ago.

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‘Declare it to a doctor, and it’s over’: Ukrainian women face harsh reality of Poland’s abortion laws

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This article from the British Guardian Newspaper can be read here : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62437. The reporter, Weronika Strzyżyńska, advises :

Leftwing politicians recently suggested amendments to a recent bill passing through the Polish government on the reception of Ukrainian refugees, which would force prosecutors to issue the necessary documentation within a seven-day period. The proposal was rejected by the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament.

Solidarity with refugees includes allowing women to access an abortion, especially when a woman reports she has been raped by members of an invading army. Ukrainian women do not have access to this service in Poland. Pressure must be put on the Warsaw government to change itds restrictive anti-abortion laws. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine is raising this issue, in conjunction with the polish political party, Razem. Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Together https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Women turn to aid groups for help, with many unaware their rights to reproductive healthcare have vanished upon crossing the border

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Socialists and Coalition with Sinn Féin – Colm Breathnach, Independent Left

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Colm Breatnach makes an important contribution here

SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

Sinn Féin Oireachtas and Stormont Members on the steps of Leinster House, Kildare Street

Is a Sinn Féin controlled left government in the 26 County bit of Ireland possible or likely? Right now, a general election electing the next Dáil can be delayed until February 2025. The current FFFGGG coalition (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens and Gombeens) has a comfortable majority and will not voluntarily cut and run – unless it is forced to change course. Reliable opinion surveys show that, if a general election was held soon Sinn Féin is likely to increase its number of Dáil seats – but the current government would retain a majority. There is more detail on this important “technicality” in a note at the end of this article. John Meehan May 11 2022


SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

The experience of Syriza, Greece warns against coalition with Sinn Féin

As the likelihood of a Sinn Féin led government grows, the prospect that the government might include radical left parties as coalition partners looms. But should socialists take up roles in government in coalition with Sinn Féin? Are there circumstances where this might prove to be necessary? Obligatory even? Now is the time to debate this issue, rather than being rushed into hastily made post-election decisions that could have a disastrous effect for the left in Ireland.

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Workers’ Solidarity Movement (Ireland) has come to an end

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I developed a lot of political respect for comrades of the WSM, who worked well with political rivals on political campaigns where common objectives were sought.

I think particularly of referendum campaigns opposing various pro-austerity European Union treaties, and referendums on the Irish abortion ban which was finally removed from the state constitution in 2017. Also, many WSM comrades worked in a collaborative way with other revolutionary left activists in trade union activities and the mass boycotts of water charges and the property tax. The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections. Once the Irish revolutionary Left made a small but significant electoral breakthrough – moving from margins to better connection with mass struggles – the political writing was on the wall for electoral boycott anarchism. In my opinion that trend began – we are still living through it – when Joe Higgins scored an extraordinary by election success in Dublin West in 1996, running as an anti Water Tax candidate, and as a member of the Socialist Party. Higgins lost that contest by a very small margin, but comfortably won a Dáil seat in the following 1997 General Election, unseating then Labour TD and coalition minister Joan Burton.

The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections.

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The final tally, and Results Dublin Bay South By-Election, July 9 2021 – Easy Win for Ivana Bacik (Labour Party)

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Tallies showed Ivana Bacik (Labour Party) was very likely to win the Dublin Bay South By-Election.

Updates here :

https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2021/0709/1234013-Dubliner-bay-south-by-election-live-updates/ Ongoing coverage continues.

A first count came in confirming predictions that Bacik would win the by-election.

Here is a brilliantly presented table of all the data :

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YiEnNrYEFWirEiW7mmgxxnpM-MVxGrxqfkIjPx71I_Y/htmlview?pru=AAABeq5c0Lo*b9QSwf-x3ITRC9LswcJRDw

The counts came in :

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/elections/dublin-bay-south-byelection

Initial comments :

1. The Irish Times opinion poll was largely accurate.

2. This is a big defeat for Fine Gael.

3. Bacik is likely to keep the seat in a General Election, removing Green Party leader and government minister Éamon Ryan from the Dáil.

I think all activists should carefully look at the content of Ivana Bacik’s campaign, which was very successful.
Attacking party policies is fine – attacking an individual should not be a left-wing calling card – especially in the case of somebody like Ivana Bacik. Read the rest of this entry »

“Eamon Ryan’s sleep-in 💤 wasn’t a mortal sin” – Gene Kerrigan returns us to the Dublin Government’s real world – First on the agenda : gut low-paid workers

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Reviewing a week in the so-far short life of the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green/Gombeen (FFFGGG) government readers may have missed some interesting details. Twenty mini-ministers are behaving worse than piglets at a trough. RTÉ News did not notice a connection between human events at the Dáil (Leinster House and the Convention Centre) – and piglet events at a midlands farm.

The village of Moyne in Co Longford is celebrating the arrival of 20 piglets to a first-time mother. The bumper delivery is believed to be one of the highest ever recorded in the area. https://www.rte.ie/news/leinster/2020/0718/1154128-piglets-longford/

Only 16 of the Longford piglets out of 20 can feed from the mother. Special arrangements are needed for the remaining four.

In Leinster House three piglet mini-ministers out of 20 are demanding improved feeding facilities – even though they slurp from the same source as their colleagues.

One of the Government’s immediate priorities will be to rush through legislation to ensure that each of the super-juniors will be entitled to an extra €16,288 a year on top of the junior rate. This is not a joke.

– Gene Kerrigan

16 Piglets in Longford offer ecological example to Leinster House mini-ministers (especially Greens)
Green Party Leader Éamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan’s sleep-in 💤 wasn’t a mortal sin. In another life, I spent many an hour crouched on the Dáil press gallery. It can be difficult to listen to that stuff and stay awake. Ryan was one of at least two TDs seen sleeping during Thursday’s proceedings. – Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan’s complete article, July 20 2020 :

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Sanders-Corbyn: a consolatory daydream of a small begining rather than a not-so-big end.

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Corbyn and Sanders vow to crack down on fossil fuel firms ...

The Corbyn-Sanders phenomena has reached its conclusion. The road to socialism is not a short cut through the softer alternative ruling party firmly in the grip of well-connected politicians and apparatchiks.

But, you might say, what is the difference between these adventures outside the revolutionary stockade and Syriza’s in Greece, which I supported? This: the battle between those who wanted real change and those who didn’t was not decided in Syriza until Tsipras consolidated his capitulation to Brussels; the defeat of Corbyn in the blood-soaked and knighted British Labour Party and of Sanders in the blood-and-money-soaked Democratic Party was a forgone and foreseeable conclusion.

Corbyn and Sanders (good men and true) could begin in the autumn of their lives their great new historical contribution of founding and nursing new and groundbreaking independent socialist political parties. Could.

Des Derwin

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 8, 2020 at 8:20 pm

Words on Des Bonass (died 26th September 2019), commemorative evening, Teachers Club, 29th February 2020.

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Words on Des Bonass (died 26th September 2019), commemorative evening, Teachers Club, 29th February 2020.

Delivered by Des Derwin, on behalf of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions.

Des Bonass May 2019

Des Bonass, a constant campaigner in a long life of activity in the most stirring and also the most unproductive political times, is missing, just missing, the extraordinary outcome of this month’s general election. The upending of a century of duopoly by Tweedle Fail and Tweedle Gael, a surge for change at the ballot box, the development of a left-right configuration, however confused, and a crisis in mainstream, establishment politics. ‘Who would have thunk it’? An overflow crowd outside a political meeting in Liberty Hall [25th February 2020] addressed in the biting wind by one the speakers who has come out to speak to them too. In the 21st century.

Well, such is the lot of many a life-long political activist. Things happen just after you are gone. But that is not the way we think and its not the way Des would have thought. Because he worked and acted in the here and now; he did what could be done at the time. And because he helped set the present in motion, and a lot of other big steps too in the past. And because we are this evening giving Des his rightful place in whatever is happening now, because of his contribution, and because he would have been no less a part of the big things, and the small less-noticed things, than he ever was. And finally, what is happening this month is – if indeed it keeps up and develops – only a small proportion of the eventual historical events that will be needed, and that will follow, and will probably be missed by most of us here too, to bring about the really momentous social change that Des Bonass stood for, and worked for and carried a clear vision of in his head, throughout his long trade union, republican and socialist life. Read the rest of this entry »

Independent Left’s Useful Analysis of the February 2020 Irish General Election

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The author is Conor Kostick

independentleft.ie/dublin-bay-north-election-results/

In Dublin Bay North, as elsewhere, at first it seemed as though the socialist voice of the working class was going to also be swept away by the growth of the Sinn Féin vote. The Green vote too, might have been a challenge for socialists (although it was more of a challenge for Labour and other middle-ground and middle class parties). But as the counts went on, the transfers from Sinn Féin were strongly to the left, much more so than had been anticipated, although there were some losses to the presence of radical socialists in the Dáil and as activists with the advantages that being a TD brings to helping organise campaigns. We were sorry to see Ruth Coppinger and Séamus Healy lose their seats but delighted that after a difficult looking start, on the whole, the socialist left held their ground. In fact, we should have gained a seat in Dublin Bay North and at the expense of Seán Haughey of Fianna Fáil, who before the election had been a twenty-to-one favourite.