Category Archives: Elections
An interesting article, although I think the comrades might be somewhat optimistic about the level of class struggle they think will follow the pandemic.
by Socialist Democracy
When the Dublin government announced financial measures in response to the Covid 19 pandemic a local satirical e-zine, Waterford Whisper News, had a field day. The right wing Fine Gael government had gone communist. The country was now a Soviet. Ireland should be done with it and imprint a hammer and sickle within the tricolour.
There was reason for the satire. Many of the major issues of Irish society, claimed by the government to be insoluble because of the lack of a money tree, disappeared overnight. An army of homeless were ushered into empty hotels. For the first time in its history the Irish state conjured up a national health service by renting the large private sector. Individual payments to workers were ushered in and then increased when they proved insufficient. In the background a State that constantly misses all environmental targets and has no serious plan to deal with climate change suddenly saw the skies clear above the entire island.
Of course the Irish Soviet is a figment of the satirical imagination. Most government expenditure is directed towards the bosses. Payments to workers are in part an attempt to maintain the structures of production to speed eventual recovery. With this said, there are substantial funds assigned to ensure social peace, especially as the recent elections had demonstrated just how unpopular the leading capitalist parties are.
This is a rump government, the struggle to establish a new one is ongoing, and the issues that brought it down are the issues that it is now trying to temporarily resolve: a massive housing crisis, a health service in a shambles and large sections of the population under wage and pension pressures. The problem with their resolution is twofold. Firstly, how do you row back on the temporary concessions made today? Secondly, how do you present the bill for the extra expenditure to a working class still paying for the 2008 banking bailout?
The rump government has shaken off the shock of the. . . continue reading article on the SD site
This article gives an overview and the Éirígí perspective on the recent General Election in the 26 counties; it appeared in last week’s issue of the French left-wing publication Informations Ouvrières. The author is cathaoirleach Éirígí.
by Brian Leeson
On February 7th voters in southern Ireland went to the polls to elect a new government for the first time since 2016. When the exit poll was released at 10pm that night it became clear that the electorate had delivered a major blow to the two dominant centre and centre-right political parties.
When counting concluded four days later the outgoing party of government, Fine Gael, had just 20.9% of the popular vote. Fianna Fail came in with the second largest share at 22.2%. And in a shock result, Sinn Féin won the largest share of first-preference votes at 24.5%.
The importance of this result can only be fully appreciated when it is placed in its historical context. In the century since the foundation of the state in 1922, no party has ever secured more Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Imperialism (generally), Irish politics today, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Public sector/cuts, Toadyism, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
This is an interview that Mick did recently with Kevin Keating, a veteran activist in Dublin. Kevin’s many years of activism go from the IRA to the fused People’s Democracy (merger of the original northern-based PD and the southern-based Movement for a Socialist Republic), which became Socialist Democracy in the later 1990s.
Kevin has very serious health problems these days. Happily, this was one of his better days.
See also the interview with John McAnulty of SD. John was a leading figure in People’s Democracy in Belfast over decades. Mick spoke to him last October about the experience of 50 years of struggle. See here.
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, Partition, Peter Graham, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, Trade unions, Workers rights
I wrote an article on the elections just after I saw the exit polls, then updated it earlier this morning (NZ time; Sunday night, Irish time).
by Philip Ferguson
With almost all the votes now counted, Sinn Fein looks like being the big winner in Saturday’s election in the south of Ireland.
Exit polls showed a three-way virtual tie between the main parties in the south of Ireland. Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were all on just over 22% of first preferences: FG on 22.4, SF on 22.3, FF on 22.2. These polls indicated that almost 32% of 18-24 year-olds voted Sinn Fein.
But now, with 96% of the votes cast, SF is sitting on 24.1% of first preferences and both FF and FG are on 22.1%. For the first time
SF didn’t expect to do so well, especially after suffering substantial losses in the Euro and local government elections last year, so ran a limited number of candidates – it looks like it will get less seats than it could have gotten if it had’ve aimed for two seats in more constituencies. At the same time, its surpluses have transferred significantly to two Trotskyist parties, helping them keep their seats. . .
See full article at: Sinn Fein takes the lead
The poem below was read by its writer, Valerie Bryce, at the open mic night at The Cottage Bar in Letterkenny, on January 28.
‘There but for the grace of God’, they say
‘Did you see on the news the aul woman in Dublin
Eating left over chips from a windowsill
And her living rough on the street and worse still
God love her ‘tis awful, isn’t it?’.
‘It’s a national scandal’, they say
‘Having hundreds of patients waiting on trolleys
Sometimes for days
Pyjamas and drips all on public display
‘We’ve a right to the truth’ they’ll protest
When billions of public funds remain unaccounted for
And there’s no arrests
When facts about institutional abuse are withheld
To keep us in the dark and that tongues cannot tell
Of the manner in which Church and State are complicit
In protecting abusers
Making victims lives hell.
It’s a sure sign of madness, I say
To repeat the same thing again and again
Expecting a Read the rest of this entry →
Today marks the dawning of not only a new year, but also a new decade. The last ten years have been largely defined by the response of the Irish and British political establishments to the collapse of the private banking sector in 2008.
Both states chose to reward the malpractice and criminality of the private banks with unlimited political and financial support. The cost of this support was transferred to the people at large in the form of vast public debts and the savage austerity programmes that were implemented on both sides of Britain’s border in Ireland.
Éirígí activists were heavily involved in the fight against the bank bailouts and austerity. We take this opportunity to recognise and applaud the significant contribution that current and former party members made in these critical battles to defend the interests of the Irish people.
We also take this opportunity to thank all of those who have supported the party over the last decade, by attending party events, through financial donations and by entrusting our election candidates with their votes.
The decision of the Dublin government to bail out the private banks in 2008 exposed the underlying ideology that has informed all important decision-making by all Dublin governments since the foundation of the state. When faced with choosing between protecting the interests of capital or protecting the interests of the Nation, they have always chosen the former, at great cost to the latter.
Decades of blind, unquestioning, fanatical commitment to the concepts of private property, private capital and private markets has Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Corruption, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Housing, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish politics today, Natural resources, Partition, Political education and theory, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
Marisa McGlinchey’s book should be read by all radical republicans, Marxists and anyone else genuinely interested in national liberation and socialism in Ireland.
Don’t be put off by the fact that the back cover features praise for the book from the likes of Lord Bew of the Stickies and Richard English, both of whom have carved out well-rewarded academic niches writing attacks on republicanism and producing material that can only aid British imperialism. Their reasons for praising the book are entirely different from those of anti-imperialists.
There are two key strengths to this book.
One is that it is based on on a substantial set of interviews (90 in all) the author conducted with republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Provo leadership’s move into the service of the British state and the statelets which are the result of partition in Ireland and the Provos’ move from sort sort of vision of socialism to embracing the market and capitalist austerity.
The other strength is that she largely lets the interviewees speak for themselves, rather than trying to stitch them up. Thus, for instance, she refrains from referring to them in the book as “dissident” republicans – the book’s sub-title was chosen, presumably, by the publisher. Instead, she refers to them by the much more accurate term of “radical republicans” and treats them as rational political activists rather than some kind of pathology.
The interviewees, some of whom are now dead and some of whom have left the organisation they were in at the time they were interviewed, cover the gamut of radical republican groups, some of which are linked to armed organisations and some of which are not. Thus the interviewees include independents and members of Eirigi, RNU, Saoradh, the IRSP, RSF and the 32CSM. They range from younger activists such as Louise Minihan to veterans who go back to the 1956-62 border campaign and even earlier, such as Peig King and Billy McKee. Some of the activists support Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, 32-County Sovereignty Movement, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Censorship, Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, IRSP, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - current, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity
“If we have learned anything from recent progressive changes in Irish society with the Repeal movement and the Water Charges campaigns is that it is through struggle, constructive participation and direct action that change really happens.”
– Joanne Pender, February 2019.
During the people’s resistance against injustice in the North of Ireland, it was said that ordinary people did extraordinary things. This could be said of socialist Joanne Pender, originally from the Curragh Camp but now living in Kildare Town with her husband and two children.
In February 2012, hundreds of people packed into the Hotel Keadeen in Newbridge for a meeting organised by the Anti-Household Charge Campaign. The attendance included Joanne, who had never before considered Read the rest of this entry →
Éirígí launches election campaign for Brian Leeson, Saturday, 17 November, 7pm, Mill Theatre, Dundrum
Clare Daly TD and MIck Wallace TD will be in attendance as special guests. Food, music and drinks in The Eagle after the launch for those that want them.
A political activist since 1989, this is Brian’s first time running for public office. Probably no other candidate in the Dundrum Local Electoral Area has been involved in so many progressive political campaigns over such a long period of time.
From supporting the then-isolated nationalist community in the Six Counties in the early 1990s to fighting for housing justice today, Brian has Read the rest of this entry →
Seamus Costello in very first issue of ‘Starry Plough’ on differences between IRSP and the Officials
The following appeared in the very first issue of the Irish Republican Socialist Party’s paper, The Starry Plough. in April 1975. The IRSP was founded on December 10, 1974. A military organisation, the Irish National Liberation Army, was founded at the same time.
Q. What caused the present feud between the IRSP and the Officials?
As far as we can see, it is the fact that the IRSP is undermining the Officials organizationally, particularly in Belfast where the feud is most intense. During the past 3 or 4 months, since the party was launched on the 12th of December, the IRSP has taken some 200 members from the Officials in the Belfast area. This has led to a situation where, at the moment, the Officials in Belfast have only half the numerical strength of the IRSP. As a result of this, a request was made by the (Official) Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle to the Official IRA to prevent the organization of further IRSP branches in the Belfast area. Immediately after this request, starting on Dec. 12th, a number of our members were kidnapped in the Belfast area. From then until the murder of Hugh Ferguson, we have had dozens of people kidnapped, people beaten up, people wounded through shooting, houses petrol bombed, cars burned and so on. Undoubtedly the immediate cause of the feud is the fact that the Officials are losing members.
Q. What are the main ideological differences between the IRSP and the Officials?
The principal ideological differences would be their attitude towards the National Question as against our attitude. Basically, the position of the leadership of the Officials is that there is no hope of achieving National Liberation until such time as the Protestant and Catholic working class in the North are united and therefore there is nothing which can be done in political terms or in any other terms about this particular issue. Our attitude, on the other hand, is that the British presence in Ireland is the basic cause of the divisions between the Protestant and Catholic working class in the North. It follows from that, in our view, that the primary emphasis should be on the mobilization of the mass of the Irish people in the struggle for National Liberation. We believe, also, that the left in Irish politics should play a leading role in this struggle. Up until recent years, many of us felt that the Official Movement was capable of and willing to do this. Indeed the rank and file of the Official Movement had expressed their views on this at the 1972 and 1973 Ard Fheiseanna, where they rejected the position of the national leadership on the national question and put forward a policy which would have led to a more militant approach on this question.
However, the leadership disagreed with this policy and deliberately frustrated its implementation. The result of this was that the Official Republicans, who, at that time, were the largest single body of organized left-wing opinion in Ireland, deliberately divorced the working class struggle from the national struggle and gradually degenerated, taking a reformist position on a number of very important issues.
Q. What issues in particular?
The principal issues that come to mind immediately are the Civil Rights struggle, the Assembly Elections, the question of taking seats and the question of the rent and rates strike. In all these issues, the leadership of the Officials hesitated to take a stand. They have, for instance, regarded the Civil Rights struggle since 1969, as the only struggle worth taking part in. They ignored the presence of 15,000 troops on the streets. They ignored the torture and terror perpetrated by the British Army on the Nationalist population and they acted as though there was no change in the situation since 1969. In other words, they failed to realize the change in the nature of the struggle in Ireland, particularly in Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Civil rights movement, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Irish politics today, IRSP, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Seamus Costello, six counties, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism