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United Left Alliance formed

category national | elections / politics | news report author Wednesday October 27, 2010 21:06author by Lefty leak - PBPA Report this post to the editors

At a meeting held in Dublin last Sunday, 24th October, involving the People Before Profit Alliance, the Socialist Party, the Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Grou, and Cllr Declan Bree and his local group in Sligo, a historic decision was taken to establish a left alliance to contest the next general election and to take the first steps towards a new, left, anti capitalist formation to represent working people.

It is to be called the United Left Alliance. A strong, left wing, anti capitalist and anti coalition with right wing parties, programme has been agreed. This will be circulated as soon as a few small agreed amendments are made. The alliance will be open to anyone who accepts its basic programme and aims, but the aim is to attract as many workers and young people as possible.

A leaflet from the alliance will be circulated at the Claiming our Future event next Saturday. It will be officially launched at a major rally to be held in Dublin on the Friday evening of November 26th, preceded by press activity during that week. Rallies around the country and in the Dublin Constituencies will be held in the new year.

It will initially have a register of supporters, a steering committee, a website, a media group, and will hold open monthly meetings in all the constituencies where it is fielding candidates for the general election. At this stage 12/13 candidates are agreed, covering Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Wexford, Tipperary South and Sligo, with a number of other areas and candidates to be considered.

The aim is to get people elected to the next Dail, which is entirely possible in a number of areas. It is hoped that a group of left TDs, working together, and being the real opposition, probably to a FineGael/Labour coalition, will be the focus for a campaigning alliance and lay the basis over time for a move to a more formal structure, in reality, a new party for working people, union, community, feminist and environmental activists, students and anyone who wants to affect real change. In the situation now facing the country, such a party could grow rapidly, supplanting Labour and Sinn Fein, and providing a real alternative to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael

author by Not Remotely Shockedpublication date Wed Oct 27, 2010 23:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is nothing remotely undemocratic about a number of organisations and individuals getting together, discussing an alliance between themselves and accepting in advance that those organisations and individuals intend to stand in particular constituencies. They don't share a political party and so don't have common candidate hustings, and indeed can't realistically have that sort of system for choosing candidates.

It's an alliance of preexisting parties and individuals, not a party. That alliance would almost certainly like to hear from other people who intend standing, to explore if there is enough common ground for those people to stand as alliance candidates. If there isn't enough common ground, then nothing is stopping that individual from standing off their own bat.

author by E. Pluribuspublication date Wed Oct 27, 2010 23:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Divisions over whether the Soviet Union was a deformed workers' state, a form of state socialism, or a workers' paradise don't seem so important anymore. A united left opposition is vitally needed to resist the attacks on workers' levels of living. Hang together or hang separately.

author by Leftypublication date Thu Oct 28, 2010 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah, It ain't perfect but anything is better than FF/FG/Labour or all it's permutations which will leave us in servitude to banks. Trouble is the 30 billion will already be gone forever by the time this is sorted. I hope SF are included too

author by lefty - not yetpublication date Thu Oct 28, 2010 17:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

one of the major complaints of the Irish left has been its inability to unite in any serious manner. This is a very good step forward. Obviously the SP isn't going to risk all its hard won reputation straight away, nor should they. But at least they are taking part. The first commenter is naive in thinking that anyone who wants should be allowed stand and be endorsed without question. That is how insincere people in the past have made wonderful careers out of the political process, quickly dropping party and or election workers when it suits them. The dissolusioned pfbp member is also naive, did you think pfbp was anything but an electoral front? The SWP was the party, if you wanted to be in 'the know' you should have joined it. For me the fact that we will have a number of parties and groups involved leaves much more room for debate and democracy than has existed before. The potential is there, of course to fulfill the potential left independents will also have to get involved and argue for more accountability and democracy within the formation. Writing it off in advance is lazy at best.

author by John McCabepublication date Thu Oct 28, 2010 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firstly i'd like to congratulate all sides for finally getting their act together and forming this alliance. It's a huge step forward for the left. The next task is for them all to cooperate.

Its important to recognise the huge difficulties that were worked through to get to this stage. I think that it was inevitable that such an alliance would at least initially have to be broad and the groups within it will probably operate loosely together. It makes sense that left wing activists who do not have a candidate from their own organisation running in their local area would work to canvass for the left wing candidates who are running even though they are not a member of the same organisation. For instance SWP members from Blanchardstown area should canvass for Joe Higgins and SP members in Dun Laoghaire should canvass for Richard Boyd Barrett. The pooling of resources in this way makes sense.

Furthermore those who criticise the new alliance are pretty unrealistic if they think that the left in its current divided form will ever appeal to people, even working class people. You can't really blame working class people for turning their backs on left wing politics when they see the innumerable divisions and small left wing groups. A united left is the way forward. And although not perfect in its current form it has potential.

As for getting people elected i think that in fairness to all groups involved none of them emphasise that socialsm comes from the top down but by the mass movement of workers. But elections are nevertheless important. They put left wing activists on the streets talking top people. They provide a means by which the left can engage with people. And the prescence of radical left wingers in the Dail provide a stage from which to agitate the ruling class in public arena. Its not the means of change but it helps the movement as a whole to have a number of TDs to the left of Labour showing them up when they start laying into workers once they take power.

author by Norapublication date Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I really hope the alliance will succeed , if all parties can get to together to abide by a set of rules and a create a functioning democratic system otherwise I would predict drama and walk-outs , people shouting each other down and futile ego clashes. It would be great if all parties in the alliance would engage in a group meditation for the release of both individual and group ego.

author by Leftypublication date Fri Oct 29, 2010 18:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Susan / Jean it's clear that the Irish people aren't ready for a grass roots revolution so meanwhile whats wrong with having a few left wing votes in the dail so FF/FG/LABOUR/GP and other right wing politicians don't have everything their own way. Joe higgins was great in the Dail and was consistently a thorn in Ahearns side. I hope he at least is in there again. I hope the ULA succeeds but they should consider working together with SF too

author by eh man - nonepublication date Fri Oct 29, 2010 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I hope with all my heart that this electoral alliance is a success, but I know in my bones that it will go the way of all the other attempts at Left Unity in Ireland and will end up consigning itself to the dustbin of history.
The problem, in my humble opinion, is a complete lack of humility within the ranks of the leadership of all the splinter groups that make up The Left in this country.
The crisis in the finances of the country should have been an opportunity for all the left groups to apply their philosophies in a direct meaningful way and give some of the leadership they preach about.
What did we get? A retreat into the comfort zone of their ideological certainty. Not one sign of where they went wrong, not an enquiry to be seen about why they have become utterly irrelevant to the working class they aspire to lead. They have taken a number of initiatives, all of which have been spectacular failures – except when they latch themselves onto something organised by ICTU (also exposed for being collaborators against the class they claim to represent)
Is this alliance going to address the lack of credibility and leadership in the existing left groups or is it going to be a continuation of their failed policies of the last 40 or 50 years?
I reckon it’s just another retreat into the fundamentalist Marxist cul-de-sac that the left has become. The class deserves better than this.
I accept that an intervention is needed in the next election and I sincerely hope, despite what I have written here, that leftists do get elected to the Dáil and expose the corruption and deceit inherent in the Oireachtas. I will even help out if one of them stands in my constituency.
But I despair of the future if the groups that demand change from everyone else refuse to even contemplate change from themselves.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Fri Oct 29, 2010 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is an interesting development, but I think people should hold their opinions until we get more information and the bigger picture is clearer. Is this being officially circulated on other sites like Politico.ie and Facebook etc?

author by Kimberly Jacobpublication date Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The argument for a left alliance is clear and difficult to disagree with. The left putting itself forward under its individual tiny banners doesn't convince anyone. Standing as SP or PBPA or whatever wins the odd seat here and there, only to lose it again. The basic question "Why don't you lot all get together?" can't be answered in a way that any intellligent person outside the ranks of these groups will take seriously. So the left stands as a united alliance, right?

Wrong! The left stands under its own splinter names as always - SP/PBPA/etc - with a little United Left Alliance logo somewhere down the leaflet. These organisations decide where and who they will stand long before the rest of us are allowed into the room.

How about a different way of doing things? We set up a left alliance committed to standing a good range of decent candidates in the next election. Importantly, this alliance would also commit itself to fighting together on a range of other issues apart from the election altogether. But the alliance would fight as an alliance, every candidate would stand as a ULA candidate rather than candidates of their own individual organisations.

You can't convince people this alliance is real and meanigful if you refuse to do this. How can, for example, Joe Higgins tell the workers of Dun Laoghaire to trust Richard Boyd-Barrett with their votes when he doesn't trust him enough to be in the same organisation with him? Talk of minor historic differences between microgroups won't wash on the doorsteps.

If the alliance was a real alliance, not just an electoral marriage of convenience, there would be room in it for everyone to hold their own opinions and argue for them. If FF or FG can accommodate a spectrum of opinion, why can't we? If the left has finally accepted the logic of unity, why won't it go all the way with it? Are the interests, profile and votes of their own organisations more important than building a coherent working class fightback?

What would happen if a person were to go along to the ULA launch meeting, or one of the local constituency meetings, and argue for this - that the ULA should stand its own candidates, rather than individual groups merely using it as an umbrella to cover up their own lack of credibility? Presumably members of those organisations would be mandated by their central committees to vote them down on the spot. Or would they be listened to? Would the alliance offer the chance of developing a new way forward beyond the fragments? The answer to that question will tell us whether this is all going somewhere, or if it will join all the other attempots that failed.

author by redpublication date Sat Oct 30, 2010 20:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you seem (along with others) to have written the alliance off before it started. if you did go down to the meeting and what you suggest happened fair enough. But you haven't and sound like you don't intend too. Its a bit rich people complaining about a lack of unity while at the same time denouncing the first small step in decades, And at the same time saying what 'would have happened', before you even try. A little more effort please.

author by Frankpublication date Sat Oct 30, 2010 20:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not sure how this will turn out but if it is to have any chance of forward momentum it has to avoid the scourge of the left; the interminable wrangling over abstract ideological irrelevancies. If it can avoid that and speak in a language that's not replete with dated socialist cliches it might make it to puberty.

author by Leftypublication date Sat Oct 30, 2010 23:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kimberley, you misunderstand the word "alliance"
what you want is the formation of a new left political party.

( That's the last thing we need. We just need the current left parties to work together efficiently on their large areas of common ground and stop bickering over their small list of differences )

an alliance is where people work together on a matter or matters of mutual concern / benefit but still retain their own identity / identities.

This is the United Left ALLIANCE ok?

And I don't understand how a new political party that gets Joe / Richard elected is really any different than an alliance that gets Joe / Richard elected except that important concepts of socialism are lost along the way as parties are diluted.into a nice new safer more neutered political party full of the compromises and mistakes of the past and ultimately less of a threat to the capitalist status quo.

I applaud Joe and co for working together on the electoral front whilst retaining their socialist ideals as a party. Ultimately we need that solid socialist thinking base. Not everything should be dumbed down to suit the x factor celebrity tv generation's level of thinking. Someone has to have vision and intelligence and it is stupid to throw out hundreds of years of socialist analysis to suit the whims of a dumbed down electorate.

Best of luck to the alliance and I hope it helps to get more socialist left wing thinking into government to help counter the servants of corporate and financial greed that would impoverish and enslave us all and take us for everything we have.Lets give them the support they need to actually have a voice.

While you are at it, I say bring sinn fein into the alliance too. They seem to support a lot of left ideas. If the object is to shift the balance in government then it seems like a pragmatic step to bring in SF.

author by Daraghpublication date Sat Oct 30, 2010 23:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lefty makes the right point in saying that it is a Left Alliance, not a new party. Alliances can respect the local turf of specific groups while giving them national focus and support. A party would subsume groups and dampen local initiatives. The last thing we need at present is a new party and the factions that would emerge.

author by davepublication date Sun Oct 31, 2010 01:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having been in town earlier on today and meeting 2 of the parties having stalls I think that the idea of this was that they would try get some of the left groups together in an electoral alliance that would offer an opposition to the consensus politics in the Dail at present, but would also give this left opposition a national character away from the main cities of the country. It would also allow a bigger impact if a number of people were elected.

I also got the feeling that some of the opinions expressed so far in this tread are not in tune with what they want to happen. From what I understand other groups can affiliate to the group or individual activists and that the allaince will act as a focus for the left to rally to for the elections, then if there are a number of TDs elected they could use these positions to promote action against the cuts etc. I don't think that it is finalised that the alliance only consists of these groups and everyone else is to be left on the outside. I think they said there will be some sort of lauch meeting or event.

My own personal opinion is that while getting ppl elected aint going to do much, the creation of an alliance could get new layers of activists involved who would not necessarily become involved in an sp/swp other revolutionary left campaign. They might find this as a more comfortable sphere to be active in.

While sinn fein support left positions, when you look at them in action in the north it is a stretch to consider them to be an anti capitalist party.

I think people should wait to hear more about this alliance, not just base their opinion on a leak, before they start moaning....

author by Garvey - Socialist Partypublication date Sun Oct 31, 2010 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just wondering where the Workers Party fits in here. I thought I saw a while ago that the PBPA and WP had made an election pact.Would anybody know about the Worker's Party?

author by Leftypublication date Sun Oct 31, 2010 17:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's interesting in discussions on forums like this how people set such exacting standards for the left while in practice they are mostly happy to vote in right wing parties who have no standards at all and shame facedly rob society and destroy our public utilities.

Makes me think many of these comments are probably from followers of right wing parties deliberately fomenting discord in response to a perceived threat. I guess in a way that is a good sign.

The fact is nothing could be worse for the people of Ireland than what we had in government for the last 20 years. Despite having more funds than any previous government ever, they have completely run down then privatised our health service, introduced stealth privatisation for other utilities. Many of our schools are in pre-fabs rented from private companies and special needs teachers are non existent. They have enslaved us and our children to foreign bankers and bondholders (etc etc etc). Short of burning the whole country to the ground and killing everybody, I don't see how any left configuration could possibly be worse.

All that is going on here is deliberate divisive nit picking. You can tell by the hostile attitude of many of the comments.

So Kimberley, tell me, who did you vote for last election? How was it better than UL:A?

author by KImberly Jacobpublication date Mon Nov 01, 2010 09:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In answer to Lefty's direct question to me, I gave my No. 1 to the local PBPA candidate at the last election. Was that any better than voting for the alliance being proposed here? No, it was just the same. My point is that instead of a united socialist candidate representing a united socialist movement, people will be faced with the same choice as before, a PBPA candidate representing only the PBPA (with a ULA logo somewhere on their leaflet). The number of people who find that an attractive choice is limited. That's why we need to go all the way with unity, instead of this halfway house.

I have never voted for a right wing party in my life, Lefty, and there are thousands like me. There are also thousands who don't see the 'far left' as a credible alternative. If you just dismiss everyone who raises this question as a closet right winger, then we'll always stay that way.

author by Non-Sectarianpublication date Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd like to know if anyone has the information If the IRSP will join the Alliance and why/why not especially after last year it was reported in both the Irish Times and the Guardian that they were joining the PBP but that turned out to be untrue

author by martinepublication date Mon Nov 01, 2010 16:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is just an electoral alliance not the really broad left alliance that is really needed otherwise groups like the wsm and eirigi would join it

author by xpublication date Mon Nov 01, 2010 17:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The WSM wouldnt join it if the grouping was aimed at getting power through elections.

author by Ned the Redpublication date Wed Nov 03, 2010 00:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This Alliance is obviously to be welcomed by all true Socialists.It's important that the Irish Working Class are represented in the next Dail,Labour are a disgrace they sold out their principles a long time ago,a core value of the Alliance is under no circumstances will they support right wing parties to form a Government.I believe the election of Joe Higgins,Richard Boyd Barrett,Joan Collins,Clare Daly etc will mean the Alliance will be the voice of the Workers and effectively the only opposition to the right wing consensus of the pro Capitalist Parties.

author by Enlightenment Lefitepublication date Wed Nov 03, 2010 00:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's an interesting development and I'd wish it every success.

Sadly I've a feeling it'll wind up like the Socialist Labour Party in the late 70's.

At the moment they're in the running for perhaps 5 seats give or take.

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Thu Nov 11, 2010 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The newly established United Left Alliance, which will be publicly launched at a rally in the Ashling Hotel , Dublin on Friday 26 November, involves the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance, the South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group and the Independent Socialist group of Declan Bree in Sligo.

The ULA is a joint slate or alliance of candidates that will put forward a real left alternative in the general election and challenge the austerity and capitalist consensus amongst all the parties in the Dail, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Greens but also clearly including Labour and Sinn Fein.

The ULA flows from a process of discussions initiated some time ago by the Socialist Party. It is a necessary and principled attempt at serious co-operation between left groups and while we will have to see how it goes over the next months, the Socialist Party hopes that the ULA will be an important first step in the formation of a new mass party for working class people, based on socialist policies.

The ULA could possibly stand up to 20 candidates in the general election. This will include many who will seriously challenge to win TD positions, most obviously Seamus Healy in South Tipperary, Cllr Joan Collins in Dublin South Central, Richard Boyd Barrett in Dun Laoghaire, and clearly the Socialist Party will be going all out to try to get Joe Higgins MEP and Councillors Clare Daly and Mick Barry elected in Dublin North and Cork North Central respectively.

As of now ULA candidates will stand in five cities, with Declan Bree also standing in Sligo, Seamus O’Brien (PBPA/SWP) standing in Wexford and Cian Prendiville of the Socialist Party standing in Limerick.

In pushing for the establishment for a slate/alliance, the Socialist Party argued that it was very important to try to get a fraction of genuinely left TDs elected at the next opportunity. Given that this crisis will continue to wreck devastation for the foreseeable future and the likelihood that Labour will be in power putting the boot into working class people while ICTU sit idly by, three or four left TDs could become a very important focal point for organising struggle against austerity and for the launching of a new party of the working class to fill the political vacuum.

The outstanding role that Joe Higgins played in national politics when it was difficult for the left during the boom years is on the one hand a model, but on the other also shows the massive potential that will exist in this unprecedented crisis to use the Dail as platform.

The ULA was primarily established on the basis of agreement on a political programme, agreement on specific candidates that were credible as well as how other potential candidates could be agreed. There was an agreement on a democratic and consensual approach to decision making and establishing structures of the ULA.

In the initial discussions which only involved the Socialist Party and the PBPA, there was debate and disagreement between us, particularly with the SWP, on the issue of whether an alliance should explicitly advocate socialist policies and socialism as the solution to the crisis. The Socialist Party did not agree with the SWP’s view that socialist policies would put people off from voting for candidates or from getting involved in a left alliance.

We felt it was very unfortunate that this argument was being put forward at precisely the time when there is emerging, a new interest and need for socialist policies because this is a crisis of the capitalist system itself. We demonstrated that Joe Higgins got more than 50,000 votes while being one of the most identifiable socialists in the country with radical and socialist policies. Socialism was advocated in his leaflets that went into every home in Dublin.

This debate should continue on the left in a fraternal atmosphere as it is of crucial importance. We are partly in favour of building a new left party because the likes of Labour have sold-out. But why have parties like Labour sold-out?

The diminishing and ultimate collapse of any socialist outlook and perspective meant that Labour just succumbed to the pressure of the establishment. If a new left movement isn’t rooted in a socialist outlook that wants to break definitively with capitalism, it too will ultimately fail, regardless of whether it has TDs or councillors.

If the left believes that policies like taking over the wealth of society and using it in a planned and productive way are necessary to create jobs, then it makes sense to advocate them and try to win people to these ideas rather than obscure the solution.

We agree that the left must present its ideas skilfully but we also have a duty to tell people the truth and advocate socialist policies, regardless of the criticism from the establishment. This is because objectively they are the only policies that address and can overcome the reasons for the crisis. The fact that the majority of people don’t yet agree with that doesn’t mean we should obscure this necessity, quite the opposite. It shows the need to skilfully advocate why socialist policies are necessary. We hope that through fraternal discussion that the ULA becomes very confident that working class people and the young people now growing up in this crisis will see through spin and grasp the necessity to advocate an explicitly socialist alternative to the capitalist parties.

Even though there wasn’t agreement on the need for an explicitly socialist programme, the Socialist Party felt we should continue to try to establish an alliance as that would be a step forward for working class people. We fully support the programme that the ULA has agreed and it can be read on the Socialist Party’s website. But the Socialist Party, while advocating the ULA programme will also exercise its right to also put forward our own socialist programme in our own election material etc.

The Socialist Party also pushed that the ULA should be something that isn’t just geared towards existing groups. If it is to become something more, it needs to be open for any individual to get involved in it and to have a say. People can register to become a supporter and activist in the ULA, and hopefully the supporters register may be a step towards a membership if there is an interest in the challenge that the ULA is mounting in the months ahead. We would encourage anyone who wants to get involved to get in touch, or better still to come along to the ULA Launch Rally in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin on 26 November!

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net/elections/537-united-left-alliance-to-challenge-at-general-election
author by Peggy in Red - ex parish councilpublication date Fri Nov 12, 2010 00:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It has only attactracted 24 comments.......
Some of us are our for more than elections. We need real radicals......
On the other hand we see how many comments the real fight against corruption has attracted on sites like Rate your solicitor where the "small town Joe's" are being wiped out with the facts of real injustice.
The ULA needs to get real.

author by Daraghpublication date Fri Nov 12, 2010 03:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I feel the need to repeat that it is a left alliance of mutually respecting equals, not an attempt to found a new party. The Socialist Labour Party of the 'seventies, with luminaries like Matt Merrigan and Noel Browne, was a left party that institutionalized Fractions in its constitution. The tiny fractions bogged down the nascent party in ideological nitpicking and abstruse policy development that failed to relate to themes that were actually on the minds of the working and other disadvantaged classes. If the ULA stays on focused realizable objectives it will achieve modest worthwhile success. The French writer Albert Camus criticised radicals for lacking the modesty that tempers accurate judgment.

author by Micknedpublication date Fri Nov 12, 2010 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors



"The Socialist Party did not agree with the SWP’s view that socialist policies would put people off from voting for candidates or from getting involved in a left alliance."



This is interesting and revealing.

It shows the SWP leadership have priorities.

THe first priority is getting elected, power adulation,money privilege .

The second priority is spreading the ideas for which the party was set up for in the first place, those aims which are earnestly believed by the hardworking people who put up the posters etc.

The leadership have of course conned the membership into thinking that the two are the same thing. But look at the priorites here

We think Socialism will not get us power ------- Bugger socialism.

1 If it is elected therefore it will be on a fraudulent basis. People will think they are not a Marxist Leninist Party , but a liberal party. This is currently SWP policy, It's front organisation People Before Profit Alliance never talks about socialism. Socialism is swept under the carpet. The PBPA is a deception, It is led and said by the SWP with a couple of pretty powerless followers, the voters are never told this, Certainly not in affluent Dun Laoighre. Theres an appeal to liberalism, be nice to the thick lads, the poor people.

Hence if elected, the individuals of this party will find it extremely easy to jetison their socialism, just like Pat Rabbite and Eamonn Gilmore did, and the other long long list of "socialists" who jettison socialism as soon as they are elected.

OR

They could really be socialists, and attempt to bring in genuine Socialist policies. Then of course Socialism will be rammed down the throat of people whether they want it or not.

Reminds me a bit of the system we are already in, capitalism is shoved down our throats whether we want it or not.

Either way the new TDs will be able to do whatever they like. They own that seat in the Dail not the party

All hierarchical organisations start in order to further the aims of the group, but sooner or later over time they evolve into being merely a mechanism by which the ruling group can achieve its wishes , whatever those wishes are.

The appeal to goodness whether it is "christianity" "Socialism" "Conservatism" "capitalism" is the means by which they confidence trick people into helping them achieve that power.

author by Leftypublication date Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

so what you are saying mickned is that they are no worse than the current lot but that there is actually a chance that they might be better for a while until such a time as the elites manage to turn them!! Sounds like the best alternative we have at present though, so they will get my vote. Thanks for your helpful analysis

just a tinge of sarcasm here!

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party / CWIpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2010 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Building a Real Political Alternative

The economic crisis is resulting in an unprecedented onslaught on living standards, spiralling mass unemployment and a dramatic rise in poverty. Meanwhile billions is being taken from working people and given to bankers, builders and international speculators.

The newly formed United Left Alliance (ULA) is opposed to the governments’ bailouts and the slash and burn policies which are only making the crisis worse. In the general election we aim to provide a real alternative to the establishment parties as well as Labour and Sinn Fein, who also accept the capitalist market and refuse to rule out coalition with right wing parties. The approach of a Fine Gael / Labour government in power would not be fundamentally different than this government.

The ULA will be standing candidates throughout the country and we are inviting all people, campaigns and groups that want to fight for real change and who agree with our demands to become part of the Alliance.

The ULA

1. Rejects so-called solutions to the economic crises based on slashing public expenditure, welfare payments and workers' pay. There can be no just or sustainable solution to the crisis based on the capitalist market. Instead we favour democratic and public control over resources so that social need is prioritised over profit.

2. Those elected as part of the alliance will not do any deals or support any coalition with any of the right wing parties particularly Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. We are committed to building a mass left alternative to unite working people, whether public or private sector, Irish or migrant, with the unemployed, welfare recipients, pensioners and students in the struggle to change society.

The ULA has agreed the following key demands:

1. End the bailout of banks and developers.
The ULA says scrap NAMA and end the bailout of the banks and developers. Take the banks, finance houses, major construction companies and development land into democratic public ownership and use them for the benefit of people, not the profit of the few. Democratic public ownership of the banks would guarantee the savings of ordinary bank account holders but would give no commitment to pay the bondholders and financial speculators who helped cause the global crisis.

We want to use resources, including the huge numbers of vacant properties, to provide facilities and social and affordable homes for all, to buy or rent.

Reduce total mortgages and repayments to affordable levels to reflect the real cost of the property and outlaw repossessions/evictions of families from their homes on the basis of inability to pay.

2. Tax the greedy not the needy

Ireland is not a poor country. Massive amounts of wealth were generated during the boom. The problem is that such wealth is in the hands of a tiny superrich minority. We completely reject the notion that all this wealth has suddenly disappeared. It is also the case that many companies, especially multinationals, remain profitable.

The ULA stands for a progressive taxation system where corporation tax on the massive profits made in Ireland would be significantly increased, which together with a steeply progressive income tax would shift the tax burden from working people to big business and the rich.

We also demand a wealth tax on the assets of the rich, increases in capital gains tax and an end to all tax loopholes for the rich.

We oppose all stealth and double taxes including bin charges and plans to introduce water charges, a property tax, or a “household tax”. We oppose the inclusion of the low paid in the tax net.

3. End the jobs crisis

The ULA condemns the complete failure of the government and the private sector to preserve or create jobs. Their policies are deflationary and are making the jobs crisis worse.

We call for a real social development programme that could create hundreds of thousands of jobs building necessary infrastructure like public transport, green energy projects, broadband, child care, schools, hospitals, health centres and other community facilities.

We oppose plans to sell off state companies. Instead these companies should be used as the vehicle for job creation.

End the reliance on the private sector, use democratic public ownership of wealth and natural resources and the banks to provide jobs by the launching a state programme of industrial development and innovation to build the productive capacity of the economy. Take the Corrib Gas Field into public ownership.

Reduce the working week without loss of pay and create tens of thousands of jobs by sharing out the work.

No to compulsory work for dole schemes or fake jobs. We demand real jobs and a reversal of all the cuts in social welfare and benefit payments.

4. Reverse the cuts - Defend public services

The ULA says end the profiteering in health care. We stand for a properly funded and resourced public health system, free at the point of access and paid for through a progressive tax system.

No privatisation of health services and end all subsidies to private care.

No co-location of private hospitals on public hospital lands. We demand proper state funding for a democratically run and secular education system, free for all from early childhood to university.

For more teachers to reduce class sizes and special needs and language support so the needs of all children are met.

End all subsidies for private schools.

No re-introduction of third level fees, pay students a living grant instead.

No to the cuts in social welfare payments or pensions and no to the cutting, taxing or means testing of child benefit.

For a mass campaign by the trade union movement and the communities to reverse the cuts in public services.

We want real reform of our public services. Its time to stop copying failed private sector practices.

We want an end to inflated salaries, bonuses and expenses for top public servants and politicians.

We want a cap on salaries and full public scrutiny of public spending.

Public services should be run democratically with the full involvement of the workers, the service users and the wider community.

5. Equality for all

The ULA supports equality for all and the elimination of all forms of discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age.

We support a campaign by the trade unions to unionise all workers and for the legal right to trade union recognition.

End all anti-asylum seeker and anti-immigrant laws and bias by the state. Give asylum seekers the right to work and give both asylum seekers and migrant workers the same rights as all other workers, to help fight "the race to the bottom" in pay and conditions.

We support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including the right to marry for same sex couples.

6. Protect the environment

Despite the rhetoric, environmental destruction is continuing apace. We call for major state investment in developing renewable energy. Through public ownership and democratic planning, the economy can be redirected onto a sustainable path.

We need real reform of our planning system, so that people's needs and environmental protection come before the profits of developers.

We call for major investment in community facilities, waste management, recycling facilities and public transport.

We are opposed to incinerators as a solution to the waste problem because they pose serious health risks.

We call for a proper integrated waste management plan, including a drastic reduction of packaging combined with a serious approach to recycling and composting.

7. Build a real left alternative in Ireland and Europe

The formation of the ULA is part of a process across Europe and internationally of the development of movements and organisations to fight the attacks on workers, the unemployed and the poor and to fight for a new vision for society.

We are opposed to the dictates of the EU and its neo liberal policies of curbing public spending and promoting austerity. The policy of driving down public spending to meet EU imposed targets will destroy jobs and lead to misery for workers, the unemployed and the poor. Workers did not create the debt and should not have to pay for it.

We are committed to building solidarity with workers across Europe to forge a new direction which puts the needs of workers and the unemployed before the greed of speculators and profiteers.

An important part of this is the urgent need to reclaim and rebuild the trade unions and to mobilise the power of workers though mass action. The approach of Social Partnership has left workers defenceless and has led to a massive transfer of wealth from workers to employers and must be scrapped.

Our elected TDs will give full support to those unions and workers who oppose the Croke Park deal and will use the Dail to raise the real issues that affect ordinary working people.

http://www.joehiggins.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/ULA...t.pdf

author by Leftypublication date Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well you have lots of good stuff in there and you got my vote.

However if you guys get in and implement even a fraction of this stuff, especially the corporation tax, the US bloodsuckers will fly to a cheaper tax dodging location.

But then again we should never have become so dependent on these corporate tax dodgers in the first place (FF again!!) so ultimately this is a good thing in the long run, but it will hurt us like getting off any drug. In the long run we need to concentrate on self sufficiency in our own economy and supplying our own demands and not being sucked in by globalisation.

What are your policies on big supermarkets?. These monsters are dismantling our food production and holding it to ransom to keep ridiculous profit levels. In canada they have a lot of co-ops which keep it in the community and run on a non profit basis. We need a proper long term food and supermarket strategy. How about public owned supermarkets where the profits are ploughed back into keeping staple food item prices low and giving a fair price to indigenous smaller producers. The amount of money these chains like tesco etc syphon out of the economy every week is huge. These profits could serve a better purpose in our community

I really think you need to bring sinn fein in all this though. They support many of these policies. It will bring in more votes to the alliance and give it more weight.
They have little control of the budget in the north as they just get to distribute an allocation from westminister so it's not fair to judge them on that as some commenters have.

author by Canteen Kieran -ucd headpublication date Wed Nov 17, 2010 13:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The ULA will be standing candidates throughout the country and we are inviting all people, campaigns and groups that want to fight for real change and who agree with our demands to become part of the Alliance."

This is getting exciting . I know it's early days , but it would be good to get some more detail on that asap. I know Declan Bree's group in Sligo is involved , but has there been any reach out to independents like Thomas Pringle in Donegal?

Also ,is there any chance of getting a link to the PB4P seafront ballad people are talking about .

author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:44author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The founding policy statement of the ULA is a powerful document, but I am dumbfounded by what I've just read above it : "The Socialist Party did not agree with the SWP’s view that socialist policies would put people off from voting for candidates or from getting involved in a left alliance."

On what basis do the SWP think people will be 'put off' voting for socialism? How many have they asked? Is this the feedback RBB is picking up in the affluent parts of Dun'Laoire? Obviously everybody is not going to vote socialist, but how many people base that on their real knowledge of genuine socialism and not on what they may have 'heard' or 'spin' that they read somewhere. Don't the SWP realise that the Irish people have had enough of half truths and lies? I would sooner spend three hours standing at one door and convincing someone on the merits of genuine Socialism and what it is, than fly-leafleting a whole estate in the hope that someone might read it and vote for me.

People all over this country are looking for a real alternative. They are looking for honesty, commitment and leadership. If the SWP can't be up front and honest with people, they don't deserve their time or respect, let alone their vote.

I have looked and can't find the website for the ULA, I was told there is one?

author by D_D - PBPA - individualpublication date Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to JH for this. At least there is some source of information. Launch postponed (apparantly) to Monday in The Gresham:

Election in January? Don't wait - sack this government now!

From Joe Higgins MEP
Monday, 22 November 2010 13:16

The cynical posturing of the Green Party in calling for a January General Election for ´the good of the country´ will not save it from annihilation when the Irish people go to vote.

In three and a half years in government, the Greens have shown themselves to be no more than a clutch of arch opportunists who were quite happy to assist Fianna Fail make working class people pay for the consequences of the economic and political crimes of that party who carry full responsibility for the disaster which has been viswited on society.

The announcement by the Greens that they are committed to passing a brutal budget and agreeing the strings that will come attached with the ECB/IMF bailout then pulling the plug on the government in January does not bestow them with an ounce of credibility. Rather it will be seen as a desperate and cynical measure to ensure that working people and the unemployed continue to pay a heavy price for this crisis of Irish capitalism.

The Fianna Fáil/Green Party government can do a lot of damage between now and the end of January when they will be booted out. It is vital that a mass active opposition to their budget and the strings that will come attached with the ECB/IMF loan. This begins but doesn't end with next Saturday's National Protest. But this needs to be followed up by a 24 hour general strike and a mass protest at the Dáil on budget night.

"The overall result of the election is almost a forgone conclusion. We will likely get a Fine Gael/Labour government whose sole virtue is that they are not Fianna Fáil but who are nonetheless wedded to the cutback agenda. However their ability to continue this agenda will be greatly curbed if the current government is removed on the back of a movement of mass protests and strike action.

The United Left Alliance, of which the Socialist Party is part along with other forces on the left, will be launched in the media later this week and publicly launched at a rally in the Gresham Hotel next Monday. It will contest seats in all the key urban centres of the country and will credibly be in the running for up to seven seats. The United Left Alliance will be the real opposition in the next Dáíl and will go on to become a major factor in Irish politics in the coming year.

author by MGpublication date Tue Nov 23, 2010 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lefty. With genuine socialists, everything anti capitalist should be -and I assume- will be on the agenda . But to make those changes, we need to get enough genuine socialists into places of power who have the interests of the vast majority of people at heart and won't sell out on the principals they were elected on.

I feel the United Left Alliance could be the start of that and hope that other organisations get involed. Their will be hiccups of course, but if the momentum is kept up, all I can see is mostly positive along the way. We are a small country. It won't be easy, but it's not impossible.

http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/united-left...rmed/

author by NCpublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great idea. The Sligo Workers Alliance which has been campaigning against the cutbacks in recent months are throwing their weight behind this alliance

author by Curiouspublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was led to believe that a public launch of the ULA was taking place in the Ashling Hotel tomorrow. Yet, according to Joe Higgins on RTE this morning there is a formal launch today and a public launch on Monday. What's the story?

author by PBPA - PBPApublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Launch Meeting
'United Left Alliance'

Speakers include Joe Higgins (MEP) Socialist Party, Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit Alliance), Cllr Seamus Healy (South Tipp Workers & Unemployed Action Group)

Monday 29th November
7.30pm Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St, Dublin

Related Link: http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie/node/448
author by liamypublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What is the ULA position on the six counties? Will they oppose the continued occupation or support it?

Why were the Workers Party and IRSP invited to be part of this?

author by D_D - PBPA - individualpublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 13:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Now online!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- but still under construction:

http://www.unitedleftalliance.org/

author by C Kpublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the links Des. The ULA website says much the same as we have already read here on indymedia ireland , but it's good to see something a bit more official posted at last.

In this week’s Weekly Worker Anne MacShane from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) makes some criticisms of the nationalistic policies of the ULA , while arguing that overall the formation of the new left alliance represents an important step towards uniting the left .

After taking a swipe at the “spirit of injured patriotism” evinced by papers like the Irish Examiner, who say that the proposed loan from the British government “ has added to the humiliation” of Ireland , Anne argues that the Irish left is not untouched by the same spirit of narrow nationalism . In this regard Anne particularly takes the Communist Party of Ireland to task for its “openly nationalistic” response to the present crisis . Her analysis also challenges some of the policies of groups involved with the ULA calling the Socialist Party’s demand for nationalization of the banks “ simply nonsensical” and the SWP’s “schemes for socialism” an impediment to the creation of links with workers across Europe - and in particular in Britain.

http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004185

author by Brandopublication date Thu Nov 25, 2010 20:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think you are wrong NC. To the best of my knowledge the Sligo workers alliance grouping are not affiliated to the new Alliance and are unlikely to be as they have a wide range of political membership organisations and parties (and none) beyond the few orgs that comprise the ULA. Perhaps I am wrong but maybe you could let us know where that info comes from?

author by CKpublication date Fri Nov 26, 2010 15:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A reasonable report in today's Irish Times on the ULA press conference held yesterday . It answers some of the questions raised here in regard to Sinn Fein . Joe Higgins told the press that the alliance would have fundamental differences with SF because of its willingness to enter coalition with right wing parties.

"SOCIALIST PARTY MEP Joe Higgins will contest the next general election under a new umbrella group, United Left Alliance, along with People Before Profit councillor Richard Boyd Barrett and former TD Seamus Healy.
Mr Higgins, who will attempt to reclaim the Dublin West seat he held in the last Dáil, said the grouping expected to run about 20 candidates, but stressed it was not a new political party.
The Socialist Party, People Before Profit and the Tipperary-based Workers Unemployed Action Group had come together to provide a “left alternative to the establishment parties”, Mr Higgins said. Clare Daly, a Socialist Party councillor on Fingal County Council and Joan Collins, a People Before Profit councillor on Dublin City Council, are also involved.
“The outcome of the forthcoming election is almost a foregone conclusion, insofar as Fianna Fáil and the Greens will be annihilated. Fine Gael and Labour’s sole virtue is that they are not Fianna Fáil, yet they are wedded to the same cutback agenda for the next four years,” Mr Higgins said.
He said the alliance would have a “fundamental difference” with Sinn Féin – which he said were prepared to support “a party such as Fianna Fáil” in coalition.
He predicted the Government’s four-year budgetary plan, published on Wednesday, would be an “absolute disaster” in economic terms. “The presence of a number of genuine left TDs in the Dáil offering a visible political alternative will be a massive pole of attraction to workers, unemployed and young people, and can become a real factor in the unfolding crisis.”
Mr Healy, who was an Independent deputy for Tipperary South in the 29th Dáil, said the alliance had already secured about 15 candidates, and hoped to have in excess of 20 contesting the general election. He said the existing political parties “have all bought into these austerity measures”, adding: “We will not rest until the interests of Irish workers, employed and unemployed, are the first priority in this country.”
Mr Boyd-Barrett, a councillor for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, said the Government should be driven out of office, and appealed to people looking for an alternative to join the alliance. The grouping was open to other “people of principle”, as long as they pledged to give no support to any government containing “conservative parties including Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael”. He said the alliance was based on “simple principles of solidarity and people power” and was not “talking about extremism”.
A document distributed during the alliance’s press event in Dublin yesterday said the grouping would not support budgetary cuts, and was particularly opposed to cuts in social welfare payments and pensions. It wanted to “end the bailout of banks and developers” and to “tax the greedy not the needy”. It also called for a 24-hour strike."

author by Simonpublication date Sat Nov 27, 2010 01:54author address http://themeninthehighcastle.blogspot.comauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I've never seen anything like this before. The left are often criticized for being disorganized and in to many uncooperative factions, this is a good move for them.

I think it's just that the different left groups have some strong fundamental differences that center groups don't have. It's also true about feminism, I often read that feminists always contradict each other and that there are too many factions and types of feminism and feminists.

That's a bullshit comment, it just means that healthy debate is alive! But for many people it's a sign of weakness that people who are supposed to share the same core beliefs won't come together under the same ideological banner. It's also fuel for the media to portray it this way.

That's why it's good that they created this new United Left Alliance. The different groups still exist independently but they are campaigning together. It's a step in the right direction. It's the appearance of cohesion and solidarity, which is all protesting and marching is anyway.

author by New Left - ULApublication date Sun Nov 28, 2010 13:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Check out ridiculous article by Cllr Richard Humphreys Labour Party- an attack on ULA- they are scared.
http://richardhumphreys.blogspot.com/2010/11/united-lef....html

Related Link: http://richardhumphreys.blogspot.com/2010/11/united-left-alliance-would-wreck.html
author by D_D - PBPA - individualpublication date Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Come clean Cllr Humphries, Leo Veradkar wrote this for you!

This rant should finally silence those who say the ULA and PBPA policies are soft and reformist.

What do other Labour Party members think of this from RH?:

"“Any political grouping that rejects the market – the only economic system which works – deserves to be dismissed out of hand as economic illiterates."

author by Slavonicpublication date Thu Dec 02, 2010 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suggest Richard Humphreys should read 'What is to be Done' by Lenin before he ever claims to speak for the Left again.
Mr Humphreys you are of the same ilk as McDowell and all the other right wing fascists. Lenin wouldnt have any time for
your platform. He wouldnt class you a Menshivik, Social Democrat, or any other shade of Red on the Lefts spectrum.
The Blueshirts might embrace you with open arms though. The Gulag is too good for you!!
Good Luck to the ULA. Take as many seats as you can, we need to start somewhere.

author by Stephen Cunninghampublication date Fri Dec 03, 2010 09:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you've read the excellent "Lost Revolution" then you'll know that the Labour Party saw the WP as a huge threat to their vote, especially in Dublin. They did their best to discredit the WP at every turn. I dont doubt that this time around will be any different. The ULA should do their best to keep their own course, focus on the issues, and stay away from personal attacks. Politics can benefit from it.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Dec 03, 2010 18:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for a less ideological scope on political salamandaring around the same period get a copy of Brinsley MacNamara's ' The Clanking of Chains '.
A look back on the preceding decade or so from 1920 perspective. Rings true to me.

author by emmett farrell - socialist partypublication date Sun Dec 05, 2010 18:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Launch of United Left Alliance Gresham Hotel Dublin 29th November 2010

Chair Ailbhe Smith, PBPA

350 ... Ballroom ... all seats taken and people standing at rear and on either wall.

Great turn out given the weather ... ULA significant ... Agreed Program ... NB No Coalition with FF/FG or Centre Left...Reject Four Year Plan ...Total Disgrace ... Time for revolt ... Roll back the tide.

Platform:
Richard Boyd Barrett PBPA Candidate for Dun Laoghaire
Joe Higgins MEP and SP candidate for Dublin West
Seamus Healy Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Group and Candidate for Tipperary South
Cian Prendiville, SP (21 years) and Candidate for Limerick City
Joan Collins DN CC Cllr and Candidate for Dublin Central (At DN CC Estimates meeting and due to arrive later)

RBB spoke first

8.15 ...Gave background to the crisis ...’ Coillte is threatened by privatisation ... Bertie Ahern is advising an offshore Swiss based bank ... though Coillte owns 7% of land mass of the state, it is only valued at 1.7 billion Euro . ... Labour no different ... Pat Rabbitte asked this am ‘will you reverse the IMF cuts’ ...No! We need to say ‘Bondholders take a hike’ ... we need to take the financial system back into the ownership of society .. take back the oil and gas given away by a corrupt Minister ...We for public sector reform... for us it means slashing the salaries of the tops ...

8.33 Seamus Healy spoke next.

...a great turnout in this weather ... significant meeting ... most important development since I became active in 1960s after reading James Connolly’s Labour in Irish History as a 16 year old... have been active since in local government union LGPSU now Impact ... some very good people in Impact but unfortunately controlled now by same type of bureaucracy which controls all unions ... previously President of Clonmel Trades Council and in Dail with Joe 2000 to 2007. ... huge wealth in Ireland 5% control 40||% of wealth and have control over 250 million euros despite the collapse ... now these people are being bailed out by poor and middle income people . Brian Lenihan continually says ‘everyone must pay their share’ but the wealthy pay nothing ...Fact of the matter is, that all the opposition parties have accepted the cuts including the Labour Party.. they have accepted the Four Year Plan and will not reverse any cuts ... We are here tonight to start a process ... in 1985, we set up the South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Group and now have 5 of 12 councillors on Clonmel UDC ... we built on support for ordinary working people in all their struggles ... 20,000 on demo in fight for local hospital ... We will build and we call on people all around the country to join us ... Thank you all and we will play our part.

8.43 Cian Prendiville SP and candidate in Limerick City

Interruption by bearded man from audience who wants to speak. Chair advises that he should wait until speakers finished ... demands to speak and keeps shouting ... appears that he wants to inform us that he is standing in Wicklow.

CP resumes ...

Thanks for applause ... all downhill after this ...Notes LP Councillor Richard Humphries attack on ULA and Leo Varadker description of ULa as ‘looney left alliance’ ... ‘they feel threatened’ ...
Born 1989 ... told for 20 years that there is no alternative to capitalism ... this generation promised jobs ... but will be worse off than their parents ... Humphries praises the market - capitalism - as the only system that works and states that any political group that rejects the market deserves to be dismissed out of hand as economic illiterates ... but 37,000 applied for 13,000 PLC places, 2/3 of young men in Limerick are on the dole ... due to greed of Dell and the other multinationals ...in Limerick city centre every second shop is closed ... the government have cut the dole and will cut it again ... their policy is to show us the door ... emigrate ! ...they would like that ... well I’m not going (applause) ...in US earlier this year ... 44% of 16-24 year old reacted positively in poll to ‘socialism’ ... young people will not accept being forced into poverty by this system ... one small Limerick college where no SU previously 300 of 1000 students marched ... reports from secondary schools that students on their own initiative are organising to walk out on Budget day ... we have to break with the dictatorship of the market.

8.57 Joan Collins.

Have just come from City Council estimates meeting and unfortunately the estimates with cuts were passed again this year by a Labour and Fine Gael majority ... deflated leaving that meeting but lifted by the huge crowd and atmosphere here ... People are angry and fearful ... shocked that their lives can be changed so abruptly ... great march on Saturday and very significant that Jack O’Connor and David Begg booed by big sections of the crowd... ULA is a huge development ... of people who have argued against the unbridled market for 10 years ... people were told they had no power ... DN CC decided to close swimming pools ... Labour councillors accepted this without challenge but we did not ... we got together with people fighting the closure of Crumlin, Sean McDermott street and Coolock ... we fought and won .. We have to build ... peoples expectations have been crushed ... leading to suicide... sickening to hear Lenihan telling us we lost the run of ourselves and the party is over ... we were never part of the party ... we lived on our wages ... not like Johnny whathisname and his Pink Elephant and other clubs ...they can go bankrupt and owe money to lots of people but can start up a new club ... see that Pat Kenny was at the opening ... this is the man that is running the Frontline programme ... Dublin City Council had a budget of 105 million in 2008 but have to operate next year on 79 million euro ...Labour and Fine Gael voted in this estimate ... We have to build the ULA.

9.07 Joe Higgins

Introduction as Gaelige ...

Message to youth of Ireland in yesterday’s Sunday Independent interview with Denis Brosnan CEO of Kerry Foods .. advice to young graduates .. post-graduate study if your parents or somebody can sponsor you otherwise get out of the Ireland .. there will be no jobs for you in this country for next four or five years ... indictment of Irish capitalist class ... IMF bail-out ,,,they have handed over to IMF dictatorial powers ...10 billion of workers pension funds to be sunk into black hole of Irish banks ... minimum wage cut by 40 euros a week ... Registered Employment Agreements which barely keep workers above the minimum wage are to be decimated ... public assets to be privatised ...ULA must fill the gaping vacuum ... all Labour and Social Democratic parties have moved inexorably to the right ... Greece, Portugal, Spain ...so-called ‘Socialist’ governments are driving the cuts and implementing a massive sell-out ... tonight and the ULA must be the beginning ... critical to rebuilding parties of the working class ... the key lesson of the past period is that when social democratic parties cease to stand for an alternative that they become ideological prisoners of the market ...and then hedge funds and the like dictate what labour and social democratic parties implement ... as the crisis intensifies it becomes more difficult to hide ... Joan Burton says that FF deal with IMF means the next government will be in a strait-jacket but you are only in a strait-jacket if you accept the rules of the IMF... the IMF economists are the shock troops for Western multinational companies ... Africa, Asia and Latin America...
The ULA does not capitulate to the dictatorship of the market ... we resist it... that is why we say ‘not one cent to the bondholders, bankers and gamblers’ ...private deals were made for private profit and they collapsed ...now the bill is being presented to the working class and it is an indictment of the media who do not explain what is happening. ... we need to build support in our workplaces and communities for general strike to stop the dictatorship ...the plea from the platform on Saturday to call John Gormley’s phone number is misplaced ... I would send John Gormley for the milk ... but if your house is on fire !!...Tom O’Connor has estimated private wealth of 123 billion ... this and our natural resources and an end to the private ownership of the financial sector is what is needed and a European and international perspective ... workers in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland need to work together ... those who dismiss us should be laughed at in the face ... they brought us to this pass ... in the coming general election FF and the Greens will be justifiably eviscerated and it is most likely that we will have a FG/Labour government ... it is critical that we pose this perspective and ask who should be the main opposition ... it is crucial that a viable left/critical alternative will exist ... this coming together is very positive ... and will be seen as the road to a new mass party of the left ... the kind that Connolly and Larkin wanted ... Yes we have had and have differences .. so what ... let us continue to debate the issues on which we differ while focusing on the agreed programme ... let us rise above the petty cynicism of the media who will say that the first thing on the agenda of a new left grouping is a split ... that will not happen ... many of us have given decades .. our adult lives in fact ... to the movement for a civilised and humane society and we seek structures to bring this about .. we have three former TDs and 16 councillors ... as a pointer to what is possible, the Socialist Party with myself as candidate supported by the entire left defeated Fianna Fail in Dublin in the European election, got 51 000 first preference votes and finished up with 82,000 ... we can come back after the general election with serious forces ... Thank you very much.

9.25 Standing ovation

Questions from the floor ... Dominick Comerford Tallaght

‘Can’t understand where the money has gone ... the money was ok a few years ago and now it is not ok ... who are the people who have the money...

Ann Conway TUI and Socialist Democracy

Before coming to meeting tonight I looked in at FG meeting in Donnycarney and they had 16 people ... this meeting is entirely different and inspiring... the booing of TU leaders on Saturday is an indication that people are looking for a lead ... we need workplace action committees .... fight the IMF cuts ...we will not be re-colonised

Brendan Young

This is a beginning ... a historic moment and a historic opportunity ... must take the work of building the ULa seriously ...people want to join and have ownership ... the massive transfer of wealth which is happening reveals also the class nature of the Irish state ... the role of Department of Finance and Department of Justice ...

Brid Smith DN CC Councillor PBPA

On Friday the security staff of Group Four received a letter informing them that their pay would be cut by one euro an hour in line with the cut in the minimum wage ...ULA hugely welcome development ... if no left opposition leaves road open to development of far right party.

Rita Harrold made a financial appeal ... tonight had cost 2,000 euro to organised ...buckets passed around.

Ciaran ... Major propaganda offensive ... need to send people onto Frontline and Joe Duffy programme...

Sean Creagh ... Business Studies student DLR ... question re Corporation Tax will cutting it not drive out the multinationals ... not hostile just want to know what is position...

Vanessa O Sullivan Clondalkin

Not the Joe Duffy show but door to door ... would be huge mistake not to mobilise for Budget Day protest ..; Right to Work campaign ..

(Name not audible )

Why are WP, IRSP and Eirigi not invited into ULA ..?

Mick Murphy SP Councillor South Dublin Council

Re Corporation Tax ... Ruari Quinn reduced Corporation Tax from 40% to 38% to 12.5 % ... the effective rate of tax on workers is 28% ... If 1997 rate applied from 2000 to 2010 the BOI and AIB would have paid an extra 6 billion euro..

Eddie Conlon TUI and PBPA

Involved in the movement since 1978 ... involved in the committee which agreed the ULA programme ...can;t overstress the importance of tonight's meeting ...we have to continue to debate ... this is an open project ... we have debated and agreed a program ... if you agree you are invited ... the programme is left, anti-coalition ...principled opposition ... we must build this ULA as a real project ...Need to develop structures ..;. sustainable long term .. focus on what we agree on and debate that which we disagree on ...

JH asked by Chair to respond.

Re agreement ... can’t have unanimity on everything ... would not be healthy ..re corporation tax ... we point to how society is organised .. 2008 Multinational Profits were 58 billion and six billion was paid in corporation tax ... even at 20% this would mean an extra six billion ,,, not to mention that CT is 25% in Austria, 30% in Germany and 33% in France ... will the multinationals leave if CT is increased ... even ( Not clear if JH referring to 2009 ) year, profits where 34 billion and 3 billion was paid in CT ... would they leave if it was increased ... why would they ?
Re ULA and other groups ... currently ULA comprises PBPA, SP and STWUG who have discussed and debated and agreed the ULA programme over the past year... any group or organisation which accepts this program and code of conduct is welcome ... important to say that we do not want people who speak out of both sides of their mouth ... left and anti-coalition in words but then rush in to participate in an unprincipled coalition when the opportunity arises ...
Currently the constituent groups are very active in areas ..;. early in January we will convene a general meeting of ULA ... NB ...Dec 7th turnout against the budget ...

We are living in a time of seismic change ... attitudes will be challenged as never before ..;. we should not give way to fatalism ... we can resist ... we can fight back ... there is an alternative ... we have known record of refusing to capitulate ... we do what we say and this record will give faith to workers that they will not be betrayed again ... that is new ... we must build support so that after the general election there will be a bloc of TDs in the Dail showing a way forward and linking opposition in the Dail to the social movement outside and in particular to the trade unions ... the ULA is the new force which will facilitate mobilisation ..

Meeting ended at 10.10

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