Archive for the ‘Irish Left’ Category

What a difference a year makes. Early 2015 was a moment of enormous optimism for the Left in the eurozone periphery.

Syriza had swept to power in Greece on 36% of the popular vote. Sinn Féin and Podemos were riding high in the Irish and Spanish polls and looking like potential leaders of left led governments.

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Historically the Irish left has suffered from two weaknesses – a poverty of ambition and a lack of credible alternatives. These weaknesses, more than anything else, are the reason why the south of Ireland has never had a left wing government.

Last weekend’s conference organised by the five Right2Water trade unions –Unite, Mandate, CPSU, CWU, OPATSI- sought to address these weaknesses.

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In his thoughtful and timely blog –Left may have squandered opportunity– Ronan Burtenshaw wonders if the Left has failed to capitalise on the anti-establishment surge that is the Right2Water movement.

His argument is based on a cross reading of the massive mobilisations against the Government’s water charges in 2014 and early 2015 and the establishment parties standing in the opinion polls.

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Eamonn McCann’s Irish Times articles are an odd thing. His casual disregard for the facts is matched only by his willingness to join the establishment chorus against Sinn Féin.

Writing in the Irish Times on 12 March Eamonn made a number of claims which are just plain wrong.

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Speaking last November at a Sinn Féin Conference in Clondalkin Gerry Adams called for a ‘realignment of Irish politics’.

He said, ‘Let those on the left who really believe that a government without Fine Gael or Fianna Fail is possible, begin working now together towards that end.’
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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.

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2011 has been a very interesting year for the southern Irish party political left.

The general election in February brought the largest number of left wing deputies into the Oireachtas in its 90-year history. Sixty-three TDs were elected on a variety of social democratic, left republican, revolutionary socialist and independent left platforms.

The combined left vote broke the 40% barrier for the first time in general election history. Continue reading