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Assembly Election

March 7, 2017,  1 year Ago

New Fake Left Website from SWP/People Before Profit-“Rebel”(Would you believe?) No mention of British withdrawal, Irish Unity, Independence and sovereignty. Without this, in the Irish context, all the “socialist” talk is mere social democracy. The undertaking by SWP/PBP (and Socialist Party-“Labour Alternative”)  candidates to take 6-County seats at Westminster has done serious damage to the cause of socialism in Ireland.

 SWP Says”We are socialist, anti-racist, feminist and anti-capitalist. We aim to include the opinion of a wide range of views of those in social movements and on the left, as part of a wider discussion about how we move beyond the failures of capitalism”

Sure you could be in London !!.

SWP and SP in the UK are failing to discharge their revolutionary duty to demand that Britain withdraw from Ireland . Even the British Communist Party formally does this!


Assembly Election Leaflets from People Before Profit Alliance, Cross-Community Labour Alternative Made NO MENTION OF NATIONAL QUESTION OR BREXIT AS LEFT VOTE SLUMPS

(Westminster Election Later in 2017:Electoral Debacle for SWP(PBP) in Derry and West Belfast. SWP(PBP) Promised to Take Seats at Westminister requiring an Oath of Allegiance To Queen as Head of British State on behalf of Irish People whom they Hoped to Represent)

Silence from the Left on outcome of Assembly Election
No News or Comment As Yet on Socialist Party Website SPNI.net, or on Cross Community Labour Alternative Website labouralternative.org, or on PBP website! How about an explanation of the debacle?

The political body behind PBP is the Socialist Workers Party. The political body behind Cross-Community Labour Alternative is the Socialist Party.

Not alone is there no reference to Brexit in these leaflets there is no pointing of workers in the direction of Irish Unity, Independence and socialism as in the the revolutionary Connolly position. Any reference to Brexit would have raised these issues. The 3 leaflets are entirely reformist and social democratic in content. You could be in Germany!! In colonially affected Ireland Social Democratic politics has been at best useless and at worst treacherous . William Walker, Tom Johnson, William O’Brien,Conor Cruise O’Brien, Joan Burton etc
The most striking omission from the literature is the absence of any suggestion that Irish workers north and south should unite in action to defend themselves. There is no mention of the complete absence of any sovereignty of the Irish people north or south. I recall very similar leaflets being issued by the pro-union North Of Ireland Labour Party in the sixties.
It is not surprising that the SWP(UK) and SP(UK) have departed from revolutionary principle in failing to call for a complete British disengagement from Ireland.
The failure to recognise the key role of the national question in the workers struggle marginalised the Irish Labor Party after 1916.SP and SWP will suffer a similar fate in our time.

As any pretense of sovereignty in the 26-counties has been removed under the EU Fiscal Treaty, the national question is now becoming to be perceived as a key issue. For example, money cannot be borrowed to build social housing.   Money cannot be invested in large scale indigenous industry leaving the country extraordinarily dependent on foreign investment which can be switched off by foreign powers.

Unless the left returns to the Connolly position, it will be marginalised in the 26-counties as it has in the six counties.

Discussion on Cedar Lounge Revolution Between SP contributors and Paddy Healy       THREAD    Brexit, The Left and The Assembly Elections.

SP Contributor 1

I canvassed a little in the assembly election campaign. Of the couple of dozen people I spoke to, not one mentioned Brexit. The dominant sentiment was one of apathy and indifference. Met a couple of people who were incandescent with rage at the decline in the health service, particularly mental health services. The kind of anger I’ve never encountered on the doorsteps in the south which can be explained by the fact that the health service here has always been rubbish but the North’s was actually quite decent and people are starting to notice its rapid decline.

RHI was a huge issue, obviously, but detachment from any sense that Stormont has any positive role to play was clear. Not a scientific sample but a useful insight into things. I got no sense from post canvass discussion that Brexit was a huge issue on the doorsteps. Canvassed one village just over the border with two memorials to IRA members, the classic place that will suffer from a hard Brexit, and no-one mentioned Brexit.

If the last 10 years had been a golden age for Northern Ireland where membership of the EU had a demonstrable impact on improving living standards then maybe Brexit might have been more of an issue. Instead EU membership had no impact on the Tories austerity agenda, faithfully implemented by Stormont with a few face saving tweaks here and there. The EU wasn’t a barrier to Tory austerity so trying to big it up as some kind of protector is stretching things.

Life in a Brexit United Kingdom of permanent austerity versus life in a EU United Ireland of permanent austerity is not much of a choice. I can see how NI Chambers of Commerce, the trade unions and parts of the political system are exercised by Brexit. But I think all are overplaying their hand as all have either been silent as austerity undermined the living standards of people in the North (the trade unions) or have actively enouraged and implemented austerity. Brexit, for many people in the North, is a rather abstract concern at this stage and there is probably a feeling of ‘how bad can it be?’ after the depradations of the last seven years particularly.

Paddy Healy’s analysis might play well within the narrow milieux of headbanger republicans but it, to paraphrase Morrissey, says nothing to most Northern nationalists about their lives. I think the leaflets reflect a strong sentiment on the ground among the working class that Brexit is a non-issue, for now. 10 years of SF/DUP political dominance has managed to make life worse for many and trying to play up abstract fears, at this stage, about Brexit strikes many, I’m sure, as besides the point. People struggling to get through each day are hardly going to be worried, right now, about something that possibly might have an impact in the future depending on who you talk to. No doubt that view would not be popular along the Malone Road, Bangor or the environs of Queens but that doesn’t detract from the point. Worries about your Bulgarian property portfolio post Brexit or ERASMUS are minority concerns for people whose GP is going out of business.

I would say that SF leaflets have loads to say about Brexit but far, far less to say about GP fees, closing GP practices in rural areas, their support for RHI, cuts to corporation tax and all the rest of it. Could we see a few SF leaflets to check if that is the case?

The current election in the North is nothing more than a tribal sectarian headcount. Despite Paddy’s claim the drop in the PBP vote had nothing to do with the lack of a ‘united struggle’ (and I do have major issues with the approach of the PBP in the North) and everything to do with a vicious smear campaign by SF (and they are pass-masters at such smears), making sure that they weren’t utterly complacent like they were in 2016 and the ramping up of tribalism in West Belfast.

The increased vote for SF in the North is almost exclusively based on the claim by SF for Catholic voters to come out because they smelt blood and thought that the DUP would be hammered because of ash for cash and SF could become the largest party in the North and claim the First Ministers job (as if that would result in any change to the austerity being imposed by the Executive). All the election has demonstrated is that the electoral process in the North has become more entrenched in the sectarian extremes of SF and the DUP. This was amply demonstrated by the hysterical screaming match between Martina Anderson and Donaldson on the media a couple of hours ago

SP Contributor    1   More!

Well, Paddy, what do you propose to do with those 1 million workers in the North East who want to remain British? When I see you engage with that reality I’ll stop the snarky replies.

SP Contributor 2

With all due respect Paddy – we have attempted to have a serious discussion with you before. But, to paraphrase Joe Higgins, ‘its like playing handball off a haystack’.

You views on the national question are stuck in the concrete of the last century and you attempt to argue a rigid ‘Marxist’ position that is utterly out of date, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the method of Marxism.

Paddy Healy – March 2, 2017

You can’t seriously believe that I along with many socialist and repulicans have not discussed this issue? It has been discussed for well over a hundred years. Have you read the Connolly-walker Controversy?
You may be too young to have read my writings on the matter in the 70’s and eighties. I must dig them out. Suffice it to say for now that this is not just an Irish issue. French, British, Dutch colonialism have left minority loyalist populations in many countries. I advise you to read marxist literature on the issue and not to confine yourself to the narrow literature of social imperialists masquerading as marxists and
Cross-Community Alternative(Socialist Party NI)
2017 East Belfast Courtney Robinson CCLA 442 1.0%
2016 East Belfast Courtney Robinson CCLA 517 1.4%

2017 Suth Belfast Sean Burns CCLA 531 1.2%
2016 Suth Belfast Sean Burns CCLA 871 2.7%

2017 East Antrim Conor Sheridan CCLA 393 1.1%
2016 East Antrim Conor Sheridan CCLA 551 1.7%

2017 Fermanagh South Tyrone Dónal Ó Cofaigh 643 1.2%
2016 no candidate
In the 3 constituencies contested by CCLA in 2016 it got 1939 Votes

In the same 3 constituencies in 2017 it got 1366 votes in a higher poll

It contested an extra seat in Fermanagh South Tyrone in 2017 where you got 643 votes

People Before Profit Alliance
Assembly Election Results for PBP

West Belfast
West Belfast 2016 PBP Gerry Carroll 22.9% 8229
West Belfast 2017 PBP (Two Candidates) 15.6% 5999
Gerry Carroll gained the fifth seat for PBP, having headed the poll with 1.4 Quotas in 2016
Foyle (Derry)
2017Eamonn McCann (PBP) 4760 10.7%
2016 Eamonn McCann (PBP) 4116 10.5%
Eamonn McCann lost the seat. On the basis of above it may be concluded that Eamonn lost the seat because of the reduction seats from 6 to 5. This would not be correct. In 2016 Dr Anne McCloskey was proposed by a number of republican councillors who were critical of Sinn Fein support for cuts and collaoration with UK government. Dr McCloskey came seventh in 2016 having polled 3,400 votes on first.. Dr McCloskey did not stand on this occasion. Clearly those who had voted for her voted for Sinn Féin rather than for Eamonn.

Brian Feeney, Belfast Irish News on Assembly Result

“The voting in critical nationalist constituencies like West Belfast and Foyle showed that Sinn Féin got it exactly right, not just in terms of their astonishingly successful vote management, but in sensing the mood of frustration, despondency and apathy that was developing among nationalists over recent years.

Perhaps the best illustration of the accuracy of Sinn Féin’s diagnosis of discontent was the west Belfast result where the Sinn Féin vote was up 7.3 per cent and the Trotskyite People Before Profit was down 8 per cent. In short, the people who last year voted PBP as a protest against what proved to be Sinn Féin’s continued pointless dalliance with the DUP came back to Sinn Féin. The increased Sinn Féin vote also gave the lie to the nonsense PBP spouted about their cross-community support when a simple analysis of their transfers last May showed they got about 30 unionist votes.”

In 2016, Unionist (DUP+UUP) candidates received 80 of Gerry Carrols second preferences out of 8229 -less than 1%
I have now checked the West Belfast Second Count 2016-distribution of Gerry Carrols surplus of 3047 votes on Wikipedia.
Unionist candidates were therefore allocated a total of 1% of the surplus of 3047 or 30 votes. That is where Journalist Brian Feeney got the thirty votes to which he referred in Belfast Irish News
It is clear that Gerry Carroll got a tiny vote-less than 1% from unionist sources
About 2000 of Gerry Carrols Surplus or 64% went to SF+SDLP. A surprising 760 of these went to the SDLP. The rest or 35% went to WP, Green, Alliance or were non-transferable because they contained no second preference
As I said above the two unionists candidates received less than 1%

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 9, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I’m in close agreement with your positions here. It is very frustrating to encounter the pro-imperialist positions of the majority of the Trotskyist groups – the ‘pro-imperialist left’. And with Libya 2011 it got considerably worse. The Workers Power group in Ireland, the Irish Workers Group had good positions, Andy Johnson and Jim Larragy (before he found [or rediscovered] Jesus) but they are now dreadful on Libya and Syria.

    PS. Can’t you get someone to fix those headlines?

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