Is a left wing government possible?

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Austerity, Economy, Elections, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Government, Greece, Irish Left, Labour, Sinn Féin, Syriza

The politics and economics of austerity have failed to deliver a fair recovery. However anger or apathy are not the way forward. Opposition to unjust taxes and demands for increased public spending were never enough. We need to promote our workable alternatives to fiscal waterboarding Irish style.

The social and human costs of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labours so-called recovery strategy are everywhere to be seen.

Emigration, unemployment, low paid insecure jobs, increased homelessness, crises in the health and education systems, household debt, rising poverty and increased suicide and the consequences of their decisions.

Government Ministers can talk about failing bond yields and rising GDP all they want. 60% of people are not experiencing any benefit from Government policy. For those at the bottom things are getting worse.

Fianna Fáil caused the crash but they also set out the template for a two tier recovery – a template that Fine Gael and Labour have enthusiastically followed.

The very same template was imposed on the peoples of Greece, Portugal and Spain. More recently Italy and France have been leaned on to swallow Frau Merkel’s fiscal discipline.

The result is deflation and stagnation across the EU. Where localised signs of growth do exist they are shallow and unfairly spread.

This is why people are angry. Pro-austerity parties and governments are under pressure. In the Eurozone periphery left wing parties are the principle beneficiaries. In Europe’s core the shadow of the far right is looming.

The centre can no longer hold – which way it breaks depends in large part on the level of resistance from Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels.

Those of us – political parties, trade unions, community and voluntary organisations, campaign groups and people- who want something different have to articulate a vision for a better Ireland and a better Europe.

In the upcoming election Sinn Féin won’t be found wanting in this regard.

We also have to come up with a credible strategy for taking power and more importantly for wielding power in the interests of the many and not the few.

All of the indications –elections, by-elections and opinion polls- suggest that people are hungry for change. Traditional attachments to the consensus parties have been loosened. People have clearly had enough.

A left of centre Government is a real possibility at the next general election. Left republicans, social democrats and independent socialists can lead the 32nd Dáil.

Any success by the new Greek government will give wind to the sails of those of us seeking to social and economic change in Ireland. If anti austerity parties in Spain, Britain and elsewhere advance that will add further momentum.

Irish people should not stand idly by as this EU wide battle rages. We should reject the flaccid spectatorism of the Irish government. This is as much our fight as it is the peoples of Greece, Spain, Italy or France.

2014 saw significant gains for the Irish left. Sinn Féin’s electoral strength grew as did that of others who believe that a better Ireland is possible.

More importantly across the state ordinary people and communities have been mobilised, not just in opposition to water charges, but to the failed policies of austerity.

These mobilisations need to continue, but they also need to mature into a national movement for a fair recovery for all – for investment in jobs and services, for fair tax reform, for fundamental political reform and for a new direction in the EU.

Since taking office a week ago the new Greek Taoiseach Alexis Tsipras and his Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis have been touring the capitals of Europe. They are seeking to convince their counterparts that there is a better fairer way, not just for Greece but for the European Union as a whole.

If they are the only Government in the EU arguing this case their chances of success are slim. The anti-austerity lite Governments in Paris and Rome have yet to fully commit. But if Governments were to emerge in Madrid, Dublin and elsewhere as committed to change as our friends in  Athens then then who knows what may happen.

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Comments
  1. for victory it must be only independants to the left as there a lot of independants incognito, F FAIL F GAEL AND LABOUR SUPPORTERS, BE AWARE.

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