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Local Elections: Left And Environmental Councillors Call For Vote For Those Offering A Real Alternat

category national | elections / politics | news report author Wednesday May 20, 2009 20:33author by PBPA - People Before Profit Allianceauthor email info at peoplebeforeprofit dot ieauthor phone 087 6775468 Report this post to the editors

Councillors call for jobs, high quality public services, environmental protection and real democracy, not bail-outs for bankers and developers.

At a press conference today a group of left, environmental and independent councillors and activists called on the public to vote for candidates in the local elections who offer a genuine alternative to the failed policies of the establishment parties.

They are confident of winning a number of seats around the country and are committed to working together to lay the basis for a new political force to emerge.

The Councillors, which include Chris O Leary (Former Green party, Cork), Catherine Connolly (Former Labour Party, Galway), Declan Bree (Former Labour Party, Sligo), Seamus Healy (on behalf of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group, South Tipperary) and Joan Collins (People Before Profit, Dublin City Council)

said that the purely profit driven policies promoted by Fianna Fail and supported by the Greens have wrecked the economy. The alternative offered by Fine Gael and Labour would be no better. Fine Gael intends even more savage cut-backs in public services and they refuse point blank to call for taxes on wealth. There is no future for the left in doing deals with parties beholden to big business and failed economic doctrines.

The only way to address the current crisis and eliminate the gross inequalities in our society, is to take the wealth -the banks, natural resources, building land - into public ownership and impose a tax regime that closes the gap between rich and poor. Jobs, public services, socially useful industry, and the needs of ordinary people must be the priority not the wealth and profits of a minority. Environmental protection can only be guaranteed by a publicly accountable planning system, which halts unregulated and purely profit driven development.

The Councillors said that the current political situation demands radical change in Ireland.

“We are not interested in doing deals with the political parties which have failed time and time again to address the issues that affect working people, the unemployed and the poor. We will work to support all those who want to organise for real change rather than engaging in back room deals with City and County managers.

The anger of Irish society must find positive outlets. We urge people to vote for left, and environmental candidates who seek to genuinely challenge the political establishment and send a message that a new wind of change is blowing through this country. We are committed to working together to give political expression to those who want real change.”

The Councillors said they will support the following:

• Nationalisation of the banking system. The credit system should be used to eliminate financial speculation and to support job creation.
• A fair tax system. We want a levy on the wealthy and the abolition of all tax
loopholes. Introduce a higher tax rate for top earners
• Investment in public services such as health, education and public transport. Give free access to health and education as a right and reverse the cuts.
• Halt privatisation – Improve local services. End inefficient and expensive outsourcing of key Council services. Expand direct Labour to provide efficient services and boost employment.
• Action on unemployment. Use the skills of unemployed workers to build the houses, schools and hospitals and community projects we badly need. Unemployed workers should be guaranteed retraining and access to education.
• Action on housing. Use empty homes held by developers and speculators for social housing and community facilities. No evictions and a freeze on mortgages repayments for those who have lost their jobs.
• Action on energy. A radical programme to develop green energy and a national scheme of housing insulation to allow for energy saving. The Corrib gas field should be taken into public ownership.
• All decisions affecting local communities should be taken by elected councillors. Directly elected Mayors or Council Chairpersons should replace Council managers and regular public forums should be held to hold Councillors accountable. The salaries of City and County managers should be capped.
• Opposition to local charges. Local service should be funded by a fair central tax system.
• The needs of communities must come before the needs of developers. Community facilities, regeneration and social and affordable housing should be provided as a right and not through deals with developers.

For more information contact: Eddie Conlon 087 6775468

Note:
The Workers and Unemployed Action Group currently holds 3 seats on Clonmel Corporation and 2 on South Tipperary County Council, They are running 6 candidates for 9 seats on Clonmel Corporation (contesting 5 seats), South Tipperary County Council (contest 3 seats) and Carrick On Suir Urban District Council (contesting 1seat)

The People Before Profit Alliance is running 14 candidates for seats on the following councils Dublin City (6), South Dublin (2), Dun Laoghaire Rathdown (2), Waterford City (1), Tralee Town Council (1), Dundalk Town Council (1) and Roscommon County Council (1).

Related Link: http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie
author by PBPA - People Before Profit Alliancepublication date Wed May 20, 2009 20:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Times Article:
An alliance of left wing councillors has called for "anyone who is angry to vote."

The alliance said voters in the upcoming elections should vote principally for left-wing community candidates, and to transfer their preferences "to anyone but Fianna Fail and Fine Gael".

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0520/...9.htm

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0520/breaking39.htm
author by sam simpson - sinn Féin, Bantry, West Cork.publication date Wed May 20, 2009 21:29author address author phone 0862234199Report this post to the editors

I not only sympathise with the sentiments expressed by this group, but actively support the goals listed. For the information of readers, I would just like to say in case it may have escaped their attention that there is a Dáil Party with those same goals and a proven track record in working towards them. That part is Sinn Féin.
They offer the best chance we have in getting social and environmental justice for Ireland, so join up and vote up!

author by Judge Day - ordinary decent worker.publication date Wed May 20, 2009 21:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And Vote The Said Parasites Out To Grass ......

The ''Peoples Court '' Will Be Heard On 5th June 09 .......

The Parasites Have Submitted Their '' Remedy Of Ruination '' , and it is NOT up to our Standards Of Acceptance ...............

The Right Wing Gangsters have had their day ...............

Let The People Decide on 5th June 09...

author by 2 Left Feet. - Left society .publication date Thu May 21, 2009 00:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Go out and vote with Your 2 Left Feet . But Dont Vote For Any Right Wing Party . Enough is Enough .

author by Stabillo Bosspublication date Thu May 21, 2009 11:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sinn Féin may support the policies listed above, or similar policies, but they are not implementing such policies where they have power - in the North - and they have indicated often enough that they are 'ready for government' and might go into coalition with Fianna Fáil. Until the latter is ruled out Sinn Féin has to be ruled out of any real left alternative.

It is unfortunate that the Socialist Party refused to take part in the press conference, greatly reducing the conference's impact in presenting a united alternative option.

author by get realpublication date Thu May 21, 2009 11:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a bit rich to be lashing the Provos for hypothetical coalitions with Fianna Fail; one of the councillors listed here, Catherine Connolly, has supported a pact with Fine Gael on Galway City Council since 2004. She was elected (then Labour) Mayor of Galway with the votes of Fine Gael in 2004 and voted for Padraig Conneely (FG) to become Mayor of Galway for 2008/9. Plus she hadn't a word to say against Pat Rabbitte's accord with Fine Gael in 2007. She only left the Labour Party because she got in catfight with Michael D about who should be the candidate. This is pure opportunism. And how typical of the SWP/PBP to indulge her.

author by Voterpublication date Thu May 21, 2009 14:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Councillor Catherine Connolly voted for cuts in Galway City Councils' budget 2009 last December.

This is an extract from the minutes:

Minutes of Statutory Annual Budget Meeting of Galway City Council held on Monday, 8th December, 2008, at 4.00 p.m. in City Hall, College Road, Galway.

Presiding: Cllr. P. Conneely, Mayor of the City of Galway.

Present: Councillors: Brolcháin N.Ó; D. Callanan; B. Cameron; Catherine Connolly; Colette Connolly; J. Connolly; T. Costello; M. Leahy; D. Lyons; D. McDonnell; J. Mulholland; T. O’Flaherty and B. Walsh.

Refering to the budget vote the minutes say:
This was seconded by Cllr. D. Callanan and agreed unanimously.

This budget was voted for by Councillor Catherine Connolly. The budget contained €1.8 million in cuts in areas such as social housing, roads, street cleaning, recreation and amenities and environmental services.

Why are PBPA, the SWP, Joan Collins etc calling on people to vote for a candidate who voted for cutbacks in this years budget in Galway City, cutbacks that are hurting working class people?

author by me - nonepublication date Thu May 21, 2009 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The pop at the SP above that they somehow reduced the impact of the conference in showing a united front is quite pathetic. Especially so since it has now been revealed that the SWP stand united with candidates who have voted in favour of cuts. The opportunism of the SWP truly is staggering.

Does anyone remember the SWP attacking the SP as being electoralist for standing for bourgeois parliament? They attacked the SP for standing for bourgeois parliaments, but quietly ditched this position after they crashed with the reality that Joe Higgins used the position very effectively in speaking up for workers rights and putting forward a socialist alternative. Another example of the SWP opportunistically trying to use tactics which they condemned others for using. And not one word of explanation, not even to their own members!

author by Brendanpublication date Thu May 21, 2009 17:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can someone explain to me what exactly this press release / press conference is announcing? I gather that some left or left-leaning Councillors have signed up to the list of policies at the end, but is there any other content to the announcement?

The Irish Times report, which is even vaguer than this press release, describes the Councillors concerned as an "alliance", but that word isn't mentioned in the piece above except in the name of the "People Before Profit Alliance". No name is put forward to describe any new alliance and there is no mention of any structure to coordinate these candidates or for interested supporters to join and get involved in. Am I correct in thinking that there is no formal organisation including all of these groups and individuals currently in existence, but that there is a stated intention to work together towards founding some new body, perhaps with others, at some point in the future? That's what I get from the part about working together to lay the basis for a new political force to emerge, but it isn't very clear.

Could somebody involved with the People Before Profit Alliance, the Workers and Unemployed Action Group or the campaigns of Councillors Bree, Connolly or O'Leary please clarify this for me? I presume that the press release / report wasn't intended to be confusing.

author by Michaelpublication date Thu May 21, 2009 20:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must say I find it difficult to accept that the SWP and the other people involved in PBPA would endorse candidates who have voted together with right-wing parties and implemented cuts.

Would it be possible to get some response from PBPA or the SWP on these accusations?

Is it true that the SWP attacked the Socialist Party for standing in elections?

author by Third Campistpublication date Thu May 21, 2009 22:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a thought - could members of the Socialist Party use their own name / a regular pseudonym and give their party affiliation when they post comments? Your criticisms of the SWP or the PBPA or Bree or Connolly may be valid, or they might not be. But they would come across a lot better if they weren't presented as coming from random unaffiliated individuals who just happen to take the exact same view on everything as the Socialist Party.

author by Voterpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 01:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Michael,
You ask if the statements regarding Connolly, Bree and O'Leary are true and did the SWP criticise the SP for standing in elections.

Read the minutes of the Galway City Council's 2009 Budget meeting and you will see for yourself that she did vote for the cutbacks.
You can read the minutes at this link

www.galwaycity.ie/AllServices/YourCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Minutes/2008/December/File,5244,en.doc

Chris O'Leary wrote recently about the Green Party joining Fianna Fail in government "When the Party entered Government I was happy to support them and our programme for government in a positive way". He resigned from the Green Party only 6 months ago.

I cannot answer for the points raised about Declan Bree maybe the poster of the earlier points can provide references.

In a 1997 SWP Conference document it said "The newly named Socialist Party, formerly Militant Labour, have virtually reduced to their whole perspective to getting Joe Higgins elected to the Dail. It is a disastrous approach that will rebound on them as the pull of electoralism removed the last pretences to revolutionary socialism."

The bad grammer is in the original. This was written on the eve of Joe Higgins' election to the Dail which as we all know was followed by 10 years of Joe Higgins being the "real opposition" to the government and gaining the justifiable reputation as a principled working class leader who was incorruptible and who never deviated from his revolutionary socialist ideas.

This quote is just one of many.

Ask anyone on the left who has been around for a few years who is not in the SP what the attitude of the SWP was towards elections before Joe Higgins got elected and you will be told that the SWP were scathing of the SP for standing in elections and they condemned them from on high as reformists.

Scandalously in another SWP conference document in 1996 entitled "Electoralism versus revolutionary politics," the SWP predicted that Joe Higgins, if elected, would succumb to "electoralism," in other words to reformist parliamentary pressures! The document also said "Despite sometimes verbal nods in the direction of revolutionary socialism, there is a tendency to spread illusions in what parliament can achieve. Here, the Higgins campaign was a case in point. The election was called the ‘best chance’ to beat the water charges. After promising for months that a strategy of disrupting the courts would be adopted after ‘all legal avenues failed’ mass action was deemed to have a secondary role to getting someone elected to the Dail."

History has proven the SWP wrong on all of its criticisms and predictions about Joe Higgins, his time in the Dail and the direction of the Socialist Party.

It is the height of irony therefore that we can now witness the SWP fulfilling all of its own predictions, subordinating everything including its political ideas to the goal of getting people elected. PBPA is their new god, the SWP are standing 10 candidates but not in their own name or with their own programme and you only have to look East to their British comrades to see how far they were prepared to lower themselves politically to achieve electoral success with the Respect debacle.

Michael what has been said is most definitely true. Indymedia readers should ask members of the SWP and their candidates what do they think of Catherine Connolly voting for the cutbacks and are they going to publicly disassociate themselves from her.

author by Third Campistpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 10:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I could have guessed that my suggestion would be totally ignored. Ok, it's absolutely clear that "voter" is a member of the Socialist Party - this is 100% certain, I would bet my life on it. "Get real" insists that he or she is not but I doubt it. If you have so much confidence in your arguments, why not just state your affiliation and use a regular pseudonym? If I was a member of the SWP or the PBPA, I wouldn't bother responding to any of the criticisms in the posts above because it would be a one-way conversation: "voter", "get real" etc. aren't willing to state their own affiliations, so it's impossible to ask any questions about their record.

Why do people have such difficulty with a very basic idea - if you're going to criticise other people, you have to give them the possibility of criticising you, if you're going to demand answers from other people, you have to give them the possibility of asking YOU questions.

author by get realpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 11:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Since 'Third Campist' is so interested, I would descibe myself as a socialist libertarian who will not be voting in these elections. I won't vote for Labour because of their coalitionism, nor the Greens because of theirs. But the crass opportunism that is People Before Profit/The SWP will not be getting my vote either. And I live in the ward where Catherine Connolly is a Councillor.

Now perhaps someone from the SWP could answer the questions that have been put as to why the SWP in Galway are acting as cheerleaders for a Councillor who, when it suits her, aligns herself with Fine Gael.

author by Third Campistpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 11:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Now that wasn't so hard was it? Now that you've put your cards on the table, you're perfectly entitled to ask what the SWP or the PBPA would say in response to your arguments. I'd be interested to hear it myself. But I wouldn't expect them to rush to answer questions from anonymous interrogators - it's far too easy to pose hard questions to other people without leaving yourself open to any criticism. "Voter", are you paying attention?

author by sp memberpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 12:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Third campist whatever that means I think it is pretty clear you are trying to muddy the waters here. Legitimate questions and criticisms have been levelled on this thread by different people. You are trying to divert attention away from that. Engage with the matter at hand which is the political record of the three aforementioned councillors who the PBPA are calling on working class people to support.

author by Third Campistpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Third what!" - it was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that I'm not a member of the SP or the SWP. I'm not trying to muddy any waters - I'm pointing out something that has long been apparent to readers of Indymedia, that some members of the Socialist Party will post harshly critical comments about the SWP (and others) without stating clearly their affiliation. It's perfectly obvious to anyone that "voter" above is a member of the SP - why doesn't he or she say so? Do they really think anyone is going to read that name and think "oh, he must be an unaffiliated person who happens to agree with everything the Socialist Party say about the SWP"? It's just daft behaviour.

If you are going to demand answers from the SWP, PBPA or any other organisation, you have to come clean about your own affiliations and give them the opportunity to ask you questions and criticise your record if they see fit. Why on earth do you think anyone would sit down and write a detailed response to "voter" when "voter" won't come clean about his or her loyalties and allow a two-way dialogue to take place? I predict with absolute certainty that there will be no response to "voter" (or any other pseudonym) from supporters of the SWP or PBPA on this thread, or any other. On the other hand, if the person asking the questions used their own name or a regular pseudonym, and stated their political affiliation, they might get a response - and if not, they could reasonably ask why they weren't getting a response. The questions about Catherine Connolly are perfectly valid in themselves, but nobody has any right to expect an answer until they put their own cards on the table and allow a two-way conversation.

As things stand, this is just the cyber-equivalent of somebody shouting out questions from a dark alleyway while putting on a funny voice so nobody knows who they are - would you call that a serious political debate?

author by get realpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 13:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The effect of Third Campist's contribution are, whether he/she intends it or not, to act as a smokescreen which helps the SWP/PBP avoid answering entirely legitimate questions.

author by Pat Fpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bree is currently engaged in a Mayoral pact with Fianna Fail on both Sligo Borough and Slgo County Councils

author by Third Campistpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The effect of Third Campist's contribution are, whether he/she intends it or not, to act as a smokescreen which helps the SWP/PBP avoid answering entirely legitimate questions."

This is just ridiculous - it's the behaviour that I'm talking about that "helps the SWP/PBPA avoid answering entirely legitimate questions". If somebody posted under a regular pseudonym and said they were a member of the SP, and asked those questions, there would be no reason at all for members of the SWP or the PBPA not to respond - unless they were avoiding debate, that is. I'd be interested to hear what they have to say in response - I have an open mind about this question myself and I'd like to hear both sides of the argument. But when somebody posts under a handle like "voter", there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that they will get a response. If people from the SWP don't want to engage in debate, they have a perfect excuse; if they do want to engage in debate, they are hardly likely to do so with people who expect to conduct a one-way interrogation not a two-way dialogue.

The only reason we know anything about your own political leanings is because I asked you - otherwise we would only know that you were somebody who has chosen to post on this thread under the name "get real". Why do you think anyone would want to engage in debate with "get real" or "voter" or whoever else? This is hardly the first time we've seen this sort of carry-on, and I find it exasperating, because it gets in the way of any kind of useful discussion - the PBPA have launched a political initiative that has received coverage in the national media and perhaps has the potential to make some impact, there are fair questions to be asked about the record of some of the people involved in that initiative, and I'd like to hear what members of the PBPA or the SWP would have to say in response to those questions. But as I said, I am absolutely 100% certain that they will not respond to the sort of posts that we've got on this thread, which are coming from people who seem to be more interested in making statements disguised as questions and couldn't really care less if they got an answer or not.

I should only have had to write a single post on this thread but I've had to write several, because some people are obstinately refusing to acknowledge the bleedin' obvious and go on about "smokescreens" and "muddying the waters" and whatever else. Why is it so difficult to understand that people will only be likely to debate with you if they can see where you're coming from and ask you a few questions themselves? This is not a difficult idea to get your head around.

author by Marcas - SP (Personal Capacity)publication date Fri May 22, 2009 15:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Before I was a SP member I was for a year in the Socialist Workers Student Society in UCD. It was indeed the line that the SP (Still Militant (circa 95/96) were reformist because they had illusions in getting elected in bourgeois parliaments. I bought the line for a while until I came into contact with a SP'er who explained the reasons for standing in elections. In fact the SWP at least with me used this as a dishonest method of reqruitment (as I was explicit about wanting to join a revolutionary organisation). I wasn't even told that Militant claimed to be revolutionary. They were just a left wing version of Labour. Reformist to the core.

Later during the incarceration of Joe Higgins and Clare Daily, the SWP had gone full circle. Not only were they now standing in elections, they were also trying to grab a free ride on the back of the SP's notoriety (due to the jailings). At the demo outside mountjoy on the Monday after the jailings they were handing out leaflets with pictures of JH and CD behind bars with the slogan "FREE THE SOCIALISTS". Nothing wrong with that in itself but underneath they had their recruitment form with the slogan "JOIN THE SOCIALISTS".

author by Expatpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 15:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Would anybody from the SP like to comment on why their sister party in Britain is engaged in an electoral alliance with a micro right-wing group called the Liberal Party? The SP members participating in this shooting gallery are totally inconsistent in their approach.The PB4A demands above are reformist and their links to slightly left-of-centre councillors is certainly questionable, but at least they don't call for protectionism, government control over the movement of "labour" or a repeal of "EU rules promoting social dumping" (i.e. immigration) like the SP and No2EU do in Britain. The No2EU initiative doesn't include even a semblance of anticapitalism or socialism in its programme.

author by the shadow - nonepublication date Fri May 22, 2009 17:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Might be an idea to look at the press release and see if people thnk the points made by these groups make sense.
But no !! We are back to the purity test again - the "More socialist less sectarian than thou!". "he did this wrong she spoke to that person who is not of the blood" Grow up.
There are few enough of us fighting from a left perspective as it is without this constant bickering about who controls who and why my small group is better than your small group.
The situation in our country is grave. We know where the blame lies. We know the attacks been made on the vulnerable.
The time for political preening is over. Get over yourselves and realise who our real opponents are.

author by Mark P - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Fri May 22, 2009 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Expat:

I will, just this once, ignore "Third Campist"'s argument about engaging with anonymous questions. I'm not going to help people derail this discussion however, so you will have to be content with this one response.

The Socialist Party in England is not in an electoral alliance with the rump Liberal Party. One Liberal Party member is on one regional list of No2EU, way down the list and with no input on the organisation's politics. The Socialist Party opposed him being on the list at all, but other forces within the coalition insisted and, to be blunt, as long as he has no hope of being elected and no say on the politics the contradiction is his rather than ours. More generally, the No2EU development is significant not because of the flotsam and jetsam of supporters who can be attracted to it, but because it is a challenge by a national trade union to the establishment parties.

It's politics are roughly analogous to those of the Campaign Against the EU Constitution in Ireland, which the Socialist Party along with the rest of the left has long been affiliated to - left wing opposition to the neo-liberal policies of the European Union. That is, in our view, a much narrower basis for an electoral platform than we would like, but once again, the support of our sister party in England and Wales for No2EU is not based on its platform (which they openly say is inadequate) and is not based on the small left groups and individuals involved, but is based on its significance as a step by an important part of the organised workers movement into the electoral field.

To be clear: If a national trade union here was proposing standing in elections, against the main right wing parties, with a progressive but limited platform we would support it on that basis, even if it wanted to include amongst its candidates people who we wouldn't recommend. One step forward of the actual class movement being of more use than even a thousand pompous self-declarations by small groups that they are the alternative. Such an overriding consideration does not, unfortunately, exist in Ireland at the moment. Instead what we have is one small socialist group, pretending to be a leftish community group and latching onto just about anybody it can find as "allies", regardless of the actual records of the people involved. The Socialist Party, quite understandably, wants nothing to do with that.

author by Mark P - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Fri May 22, 2009 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I actually agree with Third Campist that people should try to stick to consistent pseudonyms and should identify their own organisational affiliations when so doing. I note however that s/he actually does neither!

Such hypocrisy aside, it is damaging to the quality of discussion on this site when people use throwaway pseudonyms to make important points, precisely because the discussion can then so easily be shifted on to allegations of anonymous mischief making and because people feel no need to defend their views or behaviour against anonymous questioners. Members of my own organisation and others really should adopt a specific name (or use their real one if they prefer) and say what affiliations they have. I've seen people from all organisations trying to be clever by hiding their identity when they ask difficult questions of political opponents (or in some cases just have a go at them). It rarely works because the particular viewpoints and interests of the different organisations on the Irish left are actually pretty easy to identify in threads here and the net effect of such behaviour isn't to hide your organisational affiliations but to make your organisation look a bit shifty.

Equally crass are the kind of anonymous comments typified by "the shadow" above (and I think we can probably guess what group he or she supports), which represent real political disagreements as nit-picking and seek to avoid subjecting the actual records of individual and groups to examination. Unfortunately real political disagreements have real consequences, and it is much better to work towards clarifying agreements and disagreements on ideas, methods and principles than it is to sweep them under the carpet. "Unity at all costs" sounds superficially attractive but typically results in a car crash of a result when the issues that have been swept under the carpet come to the fore. The disaster that was the RESPECT coalition in England - the model for People Before Profit I might add - bears ample witness to that. Trying to limit political discussion by phillistine and self-serving appeals to unity is, ironically enough, a hallmark of some of the worst and most sectarians operators on the left.

All of that said, the central focus of this discussion is about the apparent arrangement that has been reached by the People Before Profit Alliance and SWP and three councillors who used to belong to the not particularly left wing Labour and the Greens. A lot of very reasonable questions have been asked here and a number of interesting claims have been made and no honest attempt has been made to answer any of them, although a couple of people have tried to divert the discussion. "Third Campist" seems to think that the reason these questions haven't been answered, or the claims responded to is that they have been asked by anonymous people. I suspect that's a bit charitable, as various people have identified their affiliations since, both Socialist Party and independent, and no attempt has been made to respond.

Still, just to make sure that nobody can use anonymity as an excuse, I will repeat the various questions raised on this thread myself below. If supporters of the SWP, PBPA or the councillors concerned find it too unpleasant to deal with questions from anonymous sources, lets see how they respond to the same questions from a named source. I want to make clear at the start that I don't actually know the answer to some of these questions, so I genuinely would be interested in hearing an actual attempt to deal with them.

1) Catherine Connolly

Is it true that Connolly has been in a pact with Fine Gael to share out the top jobs on Galway City Council since 2004?

If she has in fact been in such a pact, does her association with this press conference mean that she is now repudiating it and arguing that it was wrong?

Is it true that she left the Labour Party after failing to gain a nomination against Michael D. Higgins?

2) Chris O'Leary

Is it true that O'Leary said that he was happy to support the GP/FF government and its programme for government not very long ago? Does he now oppose coalition in principle as opposed to just being disappointed with this particular coalition?

My recollection is that O'Leary opposed the way in which Cork City Council brought in the bin tax and many of their actions in that period but that he supported the bin tax in principle. Is this correct, and if so does he now argue that the bin tax and other service charges are wrong in principle?

3) Declan Bree

Is it true, as some in this thread have said, that Bree voted for the tax amnesty when he was a TD?

Is it true that he voted for Reynolds and Bruton to be Taoiseach as part of coalitions with FF and FG?

If so, does he now argue that doing so was wrong?

Is it true that he's currently in a pact with FF on the Council? And if not, was it ever true and does he now argue that such deals are wrong in principle?

4) Socialist Workers Party

I don't actually need to repeat the questions about the SWP and elections as I'm already aware of the answer. The SWP never had a formal position that it was in principle unacceptable to stand in elections. They did however have a long standing tactical opposition to standing in elections, which was so long standing that it was at times argued as if it was a principle. They certainly printed a number of articles referring to the inevitable slide towards electoralism and reformism that the Socialist Party's participation in elections would lead towards. It is somewhat amusing in retrospect to see that their own decision to stand in elections has led to a watering down of the politics they put forward (now reduced to a sort of vaguely leftish community activism).

5) People Before Profit and broader alliances

Someone asked above if there was now some formal organisation containing the PBPA, the Workers and Unemployed Action Group and these three councillors?

It isn't at all clear from the original press release, which doesn't mention any new organisation by name or refer to any structure but just an intention to work together. Is there actually a new organisation here, or is this two distinct organisations and three individuals holding press conferences together?

So there are all of the questions from this thread asked by someone whosw affiliations are clear. Presumably none of "Third Campist"'s excuses for not dealing with these questions now apply. Can someone, preferably a named individual, from the SWP or PBPA or someone associated with the three councillors concerned, please answer them? I'm not, by the way, putting forward the idea that because someone did something unprincipled once that they should forever be treated as pariahs, but I do think that it is very reasonable to ask questions about the record of people putting themselves forward for election and, if claims have been made that they have previously behaved in ways that aren't in keeping with the platform they are currently putting forward that these supposed inconsistencies should be examined.

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mark answered the point - and far more politely that I would have -

author by Mark P - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Fri May 22, 2009 19:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I forgot to include one of the other questions raised in this discussion:

Did Catherine Connolly in December 2008 vote for cuts in Galway Council's provision of social housing, roads, street cleaning, recreation and amenities and environmental services?

author by Third Campistpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 23:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I actually agree with Third Campist that people should try to stick to consistent pseudonyms and should identify their own organisational affiliations when so doing. I note however that s/he actually does neither! Such hypocrisy aside ..."

I think you need to check the meaning of "hypocrisy", Mark. I am not criticising the political ideas or behaviour of any organisation - I am merely suggesting that people who want to do so should make it clear where they are coming from. If I was going to criticise the SWP or the SP or any other group, I would do so myself. I have my own views of the SP and the SWP, but I'm not interested in setting them out here. I posted as someone who is interested to hear both sides of the argument about what the PBPA are trying to do with this electoral alliance and would like to see a bit of actual discussion taking place. It's kind of funny that I've been barked at repeatedly for pointing out something that should be a truism. The "hypocrisy" is entirely a product of your own imagination I'm afraid!

author by t g macamhloaibhpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 23:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whoever your favourite left-wing candidate is - just fecking vote for him or her. Vote anybody but the establishment parties. Give preferences to other non-establishment parties, if any exist in your area.

Is it really that hard?

Does the same old bickering, nit-picking shite have to occur within the left-wing brethern during every election? during every debate?

The right-wing will win big in these locals and they will win the next Dáil. The perpetrators of the mythical self-regulating markets will be in power for years to come. They will do their utmost to punish the poor, the voiceless, the afflicted in order to funnel enough capital into middle class hands so that they can maintain the illusion of wealth creation. Capitalism is intent on re-introducing a rigid class system back into society.

When it seems Capitalism is at its strongest, it will be at its most vulnerable. In the face of the economic damage Capitalists have reeked upon society, they still have the arrogance to blame everyone but themselves. They despise Socialism but they love to socialise their costly mistakes. Their arrogrance grows by the day.

We need as many left-wing candidates elected as possible in order to gain knowledge and experience for the future.

We socialists of varying hues must either have to find common ground, and vialble economic policies, or just shut the feck up. Arguing the toss among ourselves is just utter bullshit.

author by MARGARETpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 10:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After our People ,IRELANDS biggest asset, our oil/gas off our west coast is being taken from us .The divide and conquer strategy is working well,but we as a united people could change all that ,the real struggle is to stand united against SHELL and the other oil companies, Take ownership of our National Natural Resources.
Vote ONLY for those who support that aim.Vote against" ECONOMIC TREASON".

author by the shadow - nonepublication date Sat May 23, 2009 11:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am not a member, nor a camp follower of any political grouping. Never have been.

Of course it is more important to score political points over your opponents on the left than to try to maximise the influence of the left.
What was i thinking ? Sorry folks. Ye can go back to playing with your crayons now.

author by Silas Marner - Self Preservation Society publication date Sat May 23, 2009 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Typical ,as usual when the other alternative parties get an opportunity to avail of political catch up .we have comments which are intended to confuse
the electorate even more , Its known as shooting ones self in the foot . So lets be clear here, if the right wing parties regain ground we will have no
others to blame only ourselves .Get together folks and stop this inner fighting ,you are merely playing into their hands .

I am sick of reading how he done this she done that etc ,concentrate on getting those fucks out of office ,end your exile and enter your principles ,
you are dealing with an educated electorate who can read behind inner fighting comments a mile away .

Fianna Fail are handing these local elections to the electorate on a plate ,avail of the opportunity .

author by Canvasser - N/Apublication date Sat May 23, 2009 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Catherine Connolly is one of our few genuinley left socialist candidates in Galway, she is not the easiest person to deal with and she wont ever back down on a principal - i have watched her in meetings countless times making the unpopular arguments rather than playing to the gallery. In my time in Galway she has been anti lisbon , anti war, anti water charges. She- with other members of the council from all parties has campaigned hard againt the autocracy of the city manager and has managed to reach workable arrangements with all the other councillors with the benefit of the community in mind. If we don't vote for her or the other candidates that agree with our principals we will have more of the others in. We have other similar councillors in each party actually but by voting them in we will get the same ould party lines and limits on what we can expect from our councillors -I'm canvassing for her for that reason and it seems pretty straightforward to me...

author by False Teeth. - Dental assoc. of Ireland .publication date Sat May 23, 2009 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As things stand the right wing parties Are 3 Laps Behind In a 4 Lap Race ,keep it like so ,unite and fight for policies which should benefit
people who are sick and tired of traitors who would sell their granny to a pole dancing club .....

Now theres a thought ,Granny where fore art thou ?

author by the shadow - NONEpublication date Sat May 23, 2009 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is absolutely pointless arguing with Get Real. No matter what those of us not belonging to his own one true faith say we will be fellow travellers of the SWP or PBP in his/her mind.
What joy it must be to see the world purely through a prism of black and white. How easy life must seem.
F.F.S .vote for a left candidate if you are lucky enough to have one in your area.
Get real would obviously prefer to see anyone but his/her current political opponents in the left get elected. How sad, juvenile and pathetic !!! I'm away from this thread before I lose the will to live.

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