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Independent socialists and electoralism as a strategy

category national | politics / elections | feature author Tuesday May 29, 2007 01:48author by ronan - WSM - (pers capacity!) Report this post to the editors

Croutons, ninjas and posterboys, an anarchist's election '07

featured image
A Good Day For The Lamp-posts Of Ranelagh

As the dust recedes from the ballot box and the parties alternately lick their wounds and rest on their laurels it’s worth having a think about its consequences for the left in general and the radical left in particular...Sinking a lot of work into achieving an especially high soapbox isn’t that much use when people aren’t listening. If we want our arguments to be heard we need to make them from the furnace where our politics have been forged, the heart of the struggles of the people.

The small parties generally got a drubbing this time around, and of course, the left wing parties are all very much on the small side. The only winners are the centre right civil war parties of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, if one is to judge political mood by elections then the left wing is in a sorry state all around. Despite anarchists talking up electoral non-participation this was one of the biggest turn outs in years, people turned up and turned right.

Related Links: Drop in Green First Preferences | Post Election '07 Eirig and Dublin PSF | Indymedia Election Blog | Adams Takes A Dive To The Right | Remember the vote to give away our gas? | Captain Moonlight Discusses Voting Irish Anarchists Launch Campaign To Encourage Democracy | Has Bertie's Begging Bowl Exposed The Emptiness Of The Opposition?

Which is not of course to say they should have voted left, Labour the biggest party on the ‘left’ showed how much its left wing credentials matter to it by entering into a pre-election pact with Fine Gael, the law and order party, as in more laws, more orders. Even so, a high vote for Labour or Sinn Fein might have indicated some degree of dissatisfaction with the current state of things, not so.

What was probably most disappointing for lefties however was the failure of Joe Higgins to be returned to his seat in Dublin West and the non-election of a number of other ideological socialists such as Clare Daly, or Joan Collins (thankfully we’ve been spared the embarrassment of a SWPie in Dáil Eireann and the prospect of dealing with SWP activists with even more inflated sense of self worth). We all enjoyed and appreciated Joe’s never-ending one man stand against injustice and tyranny in Dail Eireann, the sole defender of honesty amid a cauldron of deceit, a crouton of decency in a thick soup of lies. It’s very possible that electoral district re-jigging is to blame for this defeat, but it throws into relief the difficulties of electoralism as a political strategy for groups who (theoretically) see parliament as at odds with the prospect of social change.

There are some purely practical problems that make socialist adventures in electoralism a slow starter, a lack of big corporate donations is probably the most obvious, but there’s also an unsympathetic media to deal with and an electorate seemingly bent on re-enacting the Civil War every four years. Low funding means no billboards, and few glossy posters or leaflets, it means no imported American consultants and no press handlers. But behind these practical reasons there’s a more basic reason why socialists are only rarely going to get anything but ulcers from the electoral process in this country. If you’ll let them, members of socialist organisations that promote electoralism argue for it principally as a tactic, they’re not deceived, real change comes from below, they’re using the Dail as a platform to destroy itself and so on. While such an argument might seem convincing the chance of getting your candidate in always has to be balanced against the vast amount of time and money spent in campaigning for him or her, especially when a constituency re-jig might toss them out again come next time round.

The crucial point however, is that in asking someone to vote for an anti-capitalist candidate you’re asking them to do so principally on an ideological level if the gesture is to have any meaning at all. But most people don’t want a purely ideological representative in parliament, any socialists who don’t combine their ideology with a lot of hard work for their constituents are unlikely to get the time of day next time around. So already there’s a trade off involved, a lot of work to get elected, a lot of work to stay elected and then you can have a platform to speak from. One’s tempted to ask how effective this trade off is: if the candidate is voted for not because the electorate identify with his/her politics but because s/he does a lot of constituency work this might imply that spreading socialism from above probably isn’t so effective. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps there is a sizeable cadre of Marxist-Leninist ninjas in Dublin West sharpening their knives and preparing to attack in a flurry of paper selling and shuriken throwing. Probably not though.

To be honest, I think that these socialists have got electoralism the wrong way round, in the ideological supermarket most people aren’t going to pick up socialism simply because it’s not very practical. Once most people have left college they’re not particularly interested in ideology, they’re interested in getting on with life and fitting as much fun as possible into the cracks between working life and sleep. Socialist (or anarchist for that matter) consciousness isn’t particularly relevant for the most part, it only becomes relevant during certain periods of struggle and conflict, in the workplace, in the community or even on a national level. Sinking a lot of work into achieving an especially high soapbox isn’t that much use when people aren’t listening, if we want our arguments to be heard we need to make them from the furnace where our politics have been forged, the heart of the struggles of the people.

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie/election07
author by Joe - WSM - - personal capacitypublication date Mon May 28, 2007 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nice to see the first attempt at a serious post election analysis coming from a fellow anarchist. A couple of comments

1. The SWP / PBP election results probably mean the rest of the left is going to have to treat them a little more seriously then before and then you do above. Barret gave people a surprise in coming close to scrapping in and Brid Smiths performance was respectable in particular in the context of John O'Neills or Ciaran Perry's. And its not simply explained either by association with the bin tax struggle or soft pedeling (ok not mentioning) the 'S' word as Ciaran also followed a similar strategy and would have the same association. The result demonstrates the SWP are having some success with their new strategy.

In fact one of the difficulties for the trotskyist left coming out of the election is that. at least in terms of electoral support, there is no longer a reason to take the SP much more seriously than the SWP and when you throw in the relative performance in the north they are neck and neck. There outstanding political differences of what to call a regime that hasn't existed for 18 years and how to relate to a war that ended a decade ago seem like a rather poor argument for two separate organisations. I simplify of course but in particular as both have taken a major turn towards electoralism and now both have proved themselves competent at getting votes a lot of people have to be wondering if they would do better as one rather than two organisations.

2. The result has shown up the dangers of associating struggles with general elections. That is those who argued that we should make x an election issue (where X was the war, Tara or Rossport) have seen that strategy backfire as the reduced vote of the left can and is being used to argue that those struggles have no popular mandate. It was quite obvious that no conceivable election outcome could have a positive impact on these struggles (that is there was no chance of a government being returned that would reverse them). But now with the pendulum having swung to the centre right the election results are being thrown in activists faces, including those who thought that such a strategy was daft in the first place. Those who argue for electoralism can often only see the positives, this is a rather clear illustration there are some large negatives as well.

3. At least the PD's got wiped out. In that context the election clearly wasn't a simple swing to the right as a vote for a low risk more of the same. We are probably not far off one or more crashes, starting with the property one and in that context the result in a bit like the literal cliff hanger at the end of the Italian job where its hoped that somehow by standing very still disaster can be averted.

author by Chekov - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Mon May 28, 2007 13:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A few of the assumptions in the article and the general media coverage are worth looking at a bit more closely.

First of all, it should be borne in mind that this election was quite different than the previous one in that the result was not known in advance. Recall that the only issue in the last election was whether FF would have an overall majority or not - the PDs "single party government - no thanks" slogan was unveiled in the last week or so when it looked like FF were going to get an overall majority.

The increase in turnout of a few percentage points was probably down to the pruning of the electoral register and due to the fact that the election result was in doubt until the end (and still is with no clear government yet formed).

Also, the left wing vote did not really decline at all. The candidates to the left of the labour party got a greater share of votes than before, but lost seats (Healy, Higgins) on a few tight calls. SF and the Greens actually increased their share of the vote although they didn't live up to their headier expectations.

The real swing saw votes going from the PDs and independents to FG and to a lesser extent from the Labour party. That doesn't mean that there was any particular swing in opinion to the right either - just that people who were pissed off knew that the only possible alternative government was one led by FG (thanks to Labour's disasterous strategy of propping them up after their hammering in the last election).

So there were two clear choices, a government led by FG and one led by FF. In such a situation, only the ideological are going to vote for somebody else - there's a point in registering a protest vote when the election result is a foregone conclusion, if it's up in the air, anybody who can identify any difference at all between the two main parties is going to normally choose one of them, even just as the lesser of two evils.

In this case, anyway, much of the voting was clearly negative - anti-FF and anti-Kenny depending on the vote. The gombeen capitalism of FF is always going to be less negative than the perceived west-brit snobby capitalism of FG among more people and FF played this card very effectively - portraying themselves as anti-establishment as represented by the Irish Times (we even had an incredibly bizzare attempt to play this line on indymedia by the truly weird IPRG).

So, all in all, I don't think this election tells us much about the population's opinions on anything other than the fact that the "west-brit" faction of the ruling class are even less popular than the gombeen faction. Certainly it was a complete and utter farcical version of democracy, but we knew it was going to be that. Those who invested high hopes in it were just living in a land of wishful thinking that is completely unconnected to reality.

author by Malcolm X - church of Marxpublication date Mon May 28, 2007 14:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I find it hard to take arnachists seriously on political class struggle. after all they intend to come from the middle class

the bullshit of Rabbitte that people were afraid of change has to be exposed
who won this election. it was they the new middle class in the last ten years who again voted in this government
poverty, political, social alienation. still exist which is a reality of many people lives.
quite clear this new middle class vote does want the political class system in existance

Higgins of the Socialist party was the sole voice who believed in political class analysis who confronted this obnoxious right wing in the Dail. pointing the finger at Harney for supporting encouraging the exploitation of people in the work-place. have we forgot about the way people from Gama construction were treated. with Harney in arm and arm with their bosses.

there is alot of anger in working class communities about established politicians in the Dail.
alot of these people didn't come out to vote. because the political class analysis was not been put to the front by political candidates which they could identify with.

where do the left go from here. the left has to be on the ground. not been afraid to stand up to liberal politics. putting class economic political agenda to the front. belief in working class people. exposing this bull shit that the celtic tiger has lifted all sinking boats.

Mc Dowell has gone. Pds smashed good riddance. they have done alot for their ring wing allies. neo liberal political agenda. Denis o Brien, Tony Reilly's which will take years to undo

there has to be a strong confident political class conscious movement to confront the right wing agend in Ireland. if people are not confident in doing this then we should be told now.

author by tom eilepublication date Mon May 28, 2007 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Left parties usually draw their support from working class communities . If you want to understand what happened to the left in these elections you have to take into account the changing face of the working class in Ireland over the past five years. The people who would have voted for Higgins , Crowe etc have moved up the economic ladder . In their place we have immigrant workers who do not have a vote. They have a similar situation in America where the bulk of the hard ,badly paid work is done by so-called illegals from Latin America .
Immigrant workers and their families should have voting rights as a matter of princilple ,but globalization is making national elections increasingly irrelevant - reflected in the bland almost identical policies put forward by the main parties .The left parties -revolutionaries in collars and ties -attempted to adapt and be as bland as possible so as to make themselves appear responsible to the middle class electorate who ,perhaps wrongly, didn't trust them.

author by Joepublication date Mon May 28, 2007 16:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But strangely I remember Fianna Fail as the ones in power for most of that time and their leader taxing workers to the hilt while he flew off to Paris to buy himself 14,000 pound shirts with our tax money. I'd say gombeen is an accurate enough term

author by irish socialist network pizza companypublication date Mon May 28, 2007 17:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

obviously the pizza gimmick want a big seller for the ISN. They polled less than rory hearne did they not?? who was essentially a parachute candidate

author by FF Voterpublication date Mon May 28, 2007 19:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So your solution to our woes is tax us to the hilt all over again?

Abolish all private property? Nationalise all industry and businesses?
Nationalise the banks?

I don't want to wait in a queue for bread, heating oil or razor blades like the good old days of 1980's Russia.

author by Joepublication date Mon May 28, 2007 20:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Err FF voter if you reread that you'll find my point was that when your great leader needed some snazzy new shirts Fianna Fail were running the tax the workers to the hilt regime - not some bunch of leninists. I can see why you keep voting for them though, you obviously have no memory.

author by TPT - Naddapublication date Tue May 29, 2007 03:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

2 things that happened in this election that really made me happy.
McDowell losing his seat and Higgins losing his too.
Democracy rocks!!

author by SP member - SP(PC)publication date Tue May 29, 2007 10:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought the WSM analysis was well thought out and well written in many ways and was far more accurate than say John Throne's. Thats not to say I agree with their conclusions of course.
Joe's two terms in the Dail has made the Socialist Party a houshold name and so gives a platform for our ideas. You hear of people from as far afield as West Cork and Belfast decrying the fact that the the workers' TD lost his seat. That in itself is a good thing. The struggle against the bin tax, Gama, Irish Ferries, all benefitted from Joe's dail position. Having a TD gave us a certain legitimacy as a party in the eyes of the man on the street.
On the reasons why there is still an SP and SWP instead of one party, there are many reasons. There is our attitude towards the the Iraq war and Islamic fundamentalists and right wing clerics, there is the SWP's turn to the right and their shying away from the "S" word and there are organisational differences.

author by Mr Hiphiphurrahpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 10:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

John O Neill got just over 500 votes, Rory Hearne just under 600. John ran on a socialist platform, with a revolutionary socialist program. Rory didn't - the SWP front didn't mention the S word, or anything to the left of Declan Bree. Jackass.

author by John Bowman (not)publication date Tue May 29, 2007 11:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(I know that's an unforgivable pun, but anyway...)

Socialist Party - Higgins would have got elected if Dublin W had the 4 seats it's entitled to. His vote was 15% I think, still way out in front of anyone else. Daly was close, very close, but her failure is still a shock. The SP has got used to its Dail presence for 10 years now, and may have a bit of adjusting to do. While they're still ahead in terms of councillors, they won't get away as easily with dismissing everyone else on the left. Expect them to try, though.

Socialist Workers Party - Boyd-Barrett did well. None of their other candidates did. (Smith's vote was smaller than expected.) Is this a specifically Dun Laoghaire thing? His fight to save the seafront was good stuff, but it has a general all-class appeal - as does calling yourself People Before Profit instead of socialists. Expect a lot of boasting from the SWP.

Campaign for an Independent Left - Healy losing his seat is a crushing blow. Their electoral profile is now down to councillors in Clonmel and 1 in Dublin. Collins did quite badly in Dublin SC - her campaign fully expected to be in the running for a seat, but the 1st count shattered that. Smith's transfers to her were weak enough - about a third, what you'd expect to happen anyway - so whether the transfer pact between them was really pushed is doubtful. Anyway, expect a weakened CIL to link up with the SWP/PBP in time for the next local elections.

Irish Socialist Network and others - O'Neill's 500 votes is dismal. His campaign went out of its way to promise nothing: if you elect me, I won't do a thing for you, you'll have to do it yourself, etc. Probably went a bit far in avoiding the clientilist approach which has done well for the SP. Perry the independent can't say the same, though, and his vote was weak as well. Expect him to try again, and the ISN to move away from electoral campaigns.

McDowell - He lost. Sometimes life can be so nice.

author by irish socialist networkerpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 11:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Re. John O'Neill: "His campaign went out of its way to promise nothing: if you elect me, I won't do a thing for you, you'll have to do it yourself, etc."

In all fairness, what John's literature said was that elected socialist public reps couldn't act as substitutes for action by working people themselves. It was an argument against electoral politics as disempowerment and for workers' self-activity and mobilisation. Campaigns rather than clientalism.

A more interesting issue for socialists: is clientalism the way forward? I mean, in this country, it does work in terms of winning seats and holding them, but is this an acceptable way of building a movement for substantive social change? I know my answer to that question - what's yours? Is it all about pragmatism?

author by Old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Facts
This election was obviouly conducted within the context of a squeeze to the right at the expense of smaller parties. However it is worth looking at some of the predictions and outcomes of the individual election contests on the left

Socialist Party
The socialist party have long predicted that they would come out of this election with incresed votes and 2 TDs. They have come out with none. There seems to have been a miscalculation within sp ranks. Recources were poured into clare dalys campaign, in an effort to secure a second TD, while Joe H was seen as 'safe'. Whilst it must be said that its nothing short of a constitutional disgrace that there arent more seats in Joes constituency the sp new of the sitution before hand, There were no soundings from them that joe's seat was in trouble, they thought he was a shoe in and were wrong. In saying that their votes were still very strong.

People before profit.
The people before profit candidates, 4 of whom are swp and one ex labour party were giving little chance in this election. With this in mind they polled very well. Brid smith polled better than expected with 2000 votes and richard boyd barrett polled an excellent 5000 votes. Others candidates failed to lift off. Richard came within a hair's inch of getting elected. Most of the press didnt give him a chance andneven less of indymedia contributors gave him a chance. There was an element of , "ignore rbb campaign and it will go away".

ISN
The isn candiate polled dismally. It is no secret that the isn thought that they would hold gtheir vote, mayb improve. Their vote has crashed to 500 votes.

Independents.
A bad night for indepedents all round. Joan collins in particualr was touted here as a near "cert". She was far off the mark

Politics
One of the accousation that has been levelled on this thread an beyond is the dropping of the "s" word and claims of who had the more radical platform. The first thing that must be said is that some seem to be using their own supposed radical platform as an excuse for their poor showing in the election. So the question begs to be answered. Are the public moving away from socialism , is this a new downturn for the left. There is no evidence to suggest this]
First off ;

THE MYTH OF RADICALISM IN THIS ELeCTION

"John ran on a socialist platform, with a revolutionary socialist program"
There seems to be a common assumption in the isn that they have a revoltuionary program whislt tricky dicky and co stood on a non socialist platform. Is this the case??

lets look at John o Neills newsletter
http://irishsocialist.net/campaigns_election_2007_pizza...r.pdf

From quick glance you will of course see that this manifesto has no mention of a revoltutionary program, in fact there is no mention of revoltuion at all. There is no explantion of socialism, or what it is.
Basically the demands are as follows.

stop subsidsing developers- save our sea front any one

No troops in shannon, IAWM anyonw

healthgcare, education and public service. These are all run of the mill labourite policies, nothing revoltuionary. And of course the ISN will reply that they
mention socialist. Well so does the socialist party in france but it doesnt make them anymore radical

U will see that the pbp mention the word socialist in their material
but certainlly not socialism
http://www.richardboydbarrett.org/resources/LEAFLETS/Ne...7.pdf

Richard boyd barrett stood on a very simliar platform to the isn, No give away of private land, no bin tax, no use of shannon etc.
Therefore the big difference was that the ISN got 500, richard got 5000

THe sp
Without a shadow of a doubt it was the sp who stood on the most radical platform. They explicity mentioned socialism and explained it in their terms.
http://socialistparty.net/election07/ideas.html

However claims that the sp are the more radical socialist section is a bit rich. It was they who in fact stood in the northern election without an explicit mention of socialism or politics at all for that matter.

Conclusion
This
socialist party have held for the past number of years that they were the serious left in ireland. This election has changed things. Whilst still the major force on the elft they arent the only ones. THhe swp have stepped up a gear.
As Joe wsm puts it

"The SWP / PBP election results probably mean the rest of the left is going to have to treat them a little more seriously then before and then you do above. Barret gave people a surprise in coming close to scrapping in and Brid Smiths performance was respectable in particular in the context of John O'Neills or Ciaran Perry's"

Simply ignoring richards campaign wont do any body any favours.

Another conclusiion to draw is that vote packs dont work. Although joan failed to poll as well as was needed, brid did not transfer anywere near enough votes to joan. The left needs one candidate, and by these elections , it should be joan. Good news is that both would seem like to win council seats.

I will let others draw their own conclusions in the coming debate form the little snippets i have laid out

author by Oispublication date Tue May 29, 2007 13:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd share ronan's analysis so its good you think its well thought out. Just want to say that its not the WSM analysis of the election. If you look the author put in 'ronan - WSM - (pers capacity!)' I suspect that exclamation mark is there to make it clear that its a personal analysis not a WSM analysis.

author by TPTpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 13:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.michaelmcdowell.ie/
Why don't we all congratulate our former minister of injustice on his fine election results.

author by textual analystpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

4 out of 5 People Before Profit candidates were SWP members.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SWP/PBPA very carefully steered clear of socialism in theuir election literature which went through the doors. This is borne out by the way Brid Smiths votes transferred when she was eliminated. Brid ran on a bland progressive programme. But Joan Collins ran openly as a socialist.

Brid Smiths transfers gave only 139 votes to Joan collins, thats out of a total of 2,300 votes. Something wrong there? (Brid Smith claimed she was asking for number twos for Joan. Hmm...)

To me it suggests that the Smith PBPA/SWP voters were not voting for socialism.

The SWP/PBPA disnt just steer away from the S word. The A word scared them as well. The SWP/PBPA refused to raise a womans right to abortion.

The SP were happy to stand openly as socialists and to support a womans right to abortion in Ireland.

author by textual analystpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"here comes the nastiness, shame we couldnt have a debate"

Listen, RBB got almost no media coverage prior to this colour story coming out, then he was all over the papers, especially the Indo papers. You're kidding yourself if you think this didn't bump up his vote. Not the only reason he got a good vote but it sure as hell helped (a lot).

author by epublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brid and Richard both issued statements in support of a woman's right to choose. Brid's statement below, available on bridsmith.org

PRESS RELEASE
01 May 2007
For Immediate Release
Brid Smith, Dublin South Central candidate for People Before Profit Alliance in Dublin South Central calls on the Health Services Executive to immediately allow the young woman at the centre of the High Court Case to travel to Britain to obtain an abortion. This woman is clearly distressed at carrying a foetus which has no hope of survival after being born. How inhuman is that?

Brid Smith said: “Once again another vulnerable young woman is being criminalised and dragged through the legal system in order to obtain an abortion. Is this how the HSE and Mary Harney think Irish women should be treated – criminalised and prevented from leaving their own country?

“In the last 15 years we have had a Miss X, a Miss C, and now, a Miss D. How many more women will be subjected to this kind of humiliating and intrusive treatment ? It is time that politicians abandon their hypocrisy and cowardice and legislate for abortion in Ireland.”
ENDS 1st May 2007

author by old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Il ignore the rest of the nonsense. However, this i think is a point worth debating/

"RBB did well in Dunleary by pursuing safe liberal localist politics"

As i pointed out there isnt much difference between RBB's "liberal" program and say the "revolutionary" program of the ISN

Richard stood for

A free NHS for all
Fund scools,- proper failities
Public housing and aminities. save our sea front
Local democracy, no to private developers/
No to bin charges and water taxes
Oppose clamping(??? im not sure what this one is)
No to the use of shannon
No to gloabl warming. For public transport
No to Nucleur Power, nationalisation of natural recources.

Now no mention of socialism, but a broadly labourite program

As i siad the ISn program is quite simliar,
no bin taxes
social housing
no to private developers
public services etc etc

The socialist party had a very similar program, but explicity mentioned and explained socialism as well as pointing to their wider ideas.

So why did some candidates do better than others. It seems to me, as an sp member put on another thread that votes seemed to be highest were big local campaings were rooted. This would be the case with daly higgins and barrett. I think this was so important because there is know national left alternative. Neither the sp, swp, or isn can offer a national alternative to bertie. If they try and to claim they are just look very weak. So the left seemed to be poll strongest, were it was strongest, on local campaigns.

This is up for discussion

author by old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Brid Smiths transfers gave only 139 votes to Joan collins, thats out of a total of 2,300 votes. Something wrong there? (Brid Smith claimed she was asking for number twos for Joan. Hmm"

Thats a very small number of tranfers and a very important point. Dorothy do you have a link to were i can find the break down for tranfers etc in that constituency and other candidates

author by Dave.H - N/apublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

FF voter, you have given a good idea in your post, -Nationalise the Banks-, that way Beverly Cooper Flynns would not be able to sit people down for a nice chat about tax evasion.... wait i better not say that or a libel action may be taken against me. If I lost the case i would be thrown in jail for failure to pay costs, if she loses the action...........

Anyway i for one am happy to see the demise of the PD party, particularly with Mary forcing Bertie to give Senate jobs to PD clowns, however would like to point out that while everyone is dancing on the grave on the ex minister for 'injustice' , it looks like he was the Government stool pigeon for tackling (unsuccessfully albeit) the dirty work of reducing Garda and Prison Officer overtime. They got their own back and FF come out squeaky clean...... "ok guys it is sunday, back to bashing a few activists......need the cash to change the car again........ahhhhh treble time.....",

author by hs - sp pcpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the wsm analysis is very interesting, it must be acknowledged the swp have managed to attract a decent amount of support. Reasons for being seperate parties have as much to do with methodology as views of the soviet union. I think we all know if there is to be a new broader party (although after this election I don't see much call for it anytime soon) the swp will be in it.

Joe's seat was never seen as safe we were worried since october, though thats not to say it isn't a blow, personally i thought clare was surer. To loose both is certainly a severe blow.

On the idea of taking part in elections, it is difficult, it is time consuming but the gama strike showed how the platform can be of practical use, as well as for making general ideological points of view. I can imagine now with Joe gone, very little dissident point of view will make it onto the airways.

Its no subsitute for class struggle, but it can help. and in the absence of much struggle Joe's voice will be missed.
Anarchisim offers class struggle only ; which is fine, but I don't think the argument for either or has been convincingly argued. There is no reaon not to run a political campaign at the same time as class campaigns. The danger of political sell out is there, but so is the danger of a sell out on the streets. In a period of mass struggle there may be an argument for staying out of politics, but only if something better is there to replace it... ie a more democratic system.

But in a time of low struggle, not much in the way of alternative political assemblies, local or national and when the entire hard left makes up a handful of activists, to not take part in the official political process is a serious mistake, win loose or draw.

author by Abie Philbin Bowman (not)publication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"John Bowman" and "old leftie" both obviously have a lot of confidence in their own judgements, and are happy to serve up snide criticisms of various left groups with a smug, knowing tone. Given this obvious self-assurance, surely they can have no hesitation in discarding the pseudonyms and telling us who they are, what they stand for, what (if any) group they are aligned with and what constructive work they've done themselves. I'll wait with baited breath for that...

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yesterdays IT had a supplement which gave all of the counts.

I suspect its at: http://www.ireland.com/focus/election2007/constituencies/

But I can't view this properly due to browser probs. I'll check elsewhere for online results.

author by old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 14:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I think we all know if there is to be a new broader party (although after this election I don't see much call for it anytime soon) the swp will be in it"

I suppose this is correct. However the sp have spent the last few years denying the possibility of a new alliance.
And while the swp have spent the last few years arguing for one and have worked with small numbers of individuals, they have shown no willingness to work with other organised forces in one party.

Surely the moxt constructive and also likely scenario would be a left slate/alliance around the coucil elections. That way parties could offer there local policies but also have a bit of a national element. Thelft would be likely to pick up at least an extra few council seats

author by seedotpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RTE have a fairly complex version of the count up at the link below.

Actually Collins got 700 transfers (the 139 figure is for McDermott, GP). This is about 30% and is only slightly less than was transferred to O'Snodaigh as Brid was running a Smith 1 O'Snodaigh 2 message in Ballyfermot. Some fo the transfers to Collins may also have originated with Roisin Healy but either way the strategy of running Smith to get Ballyfermot votes which would then transfer to Collins was a bit of a waste. (although I think this was more of a justification post facto than an actual strategy).

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/Dublin-South-Central.html
author by old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thanks dorothy, but my brower wont support the page either.
Any one else got tranfer breakdowns?

author by ISNerpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The isn candiate polled dismally. It is no secret that the isn thought that they would hold gtheir vote, mayb improve. Their vote has crashed to 500 votes."

Hmmm, it may be "no secret" to our anonymous chum but it was more of a secret to the membership of the ISN. We were hoping to hold the local election vote from 2004, and maybe improve it slightly - but hoping and expecting are two different things. We knew it was going to be difficult, and the week before the election our best guess was in the region of 500-600 first prefernences for John. Presenting the results as a disaster which leaves the ISN in a demoralised state is imaginative, but a little wide of the mark I'm afraid.

"Old leftie" has other criticisms of the ISN, which I'm sure we'd be happy to respond to if he was prepared to declare his own political loyalties (and which particular axe he may have to grind).

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apologies for that. I either misread the result in the IT (most likely) or there was a printing error. 700 is a lot better. But its still only a 30% transfer. Interesting that Smith was calling for 2nds for SF when she had a transfer pact with Joan Collins.

author by old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We were hoping to hold the local election vote from 2004, and maybe improve it slightly"
which is basically what i said.
the socialist party now have an article about the elction on their website

www.socialistparty.net
which should be of interest

author by seedotpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah the times was easy to mistake as McDermot was right above Collins.

From tallies the transfers were much more solid the other way although the order of eliminations ruled out getting this for definite.

tbh, I think the association with Smith hurt Collins a lot - rumours were being spread that Brid would ge the council seat which was a definite harm. The SWP 1 SF 2 call I heard from Shinners as well as other sources and was an attempt to eat into some of the SF vote in Ballyfermot.

author by John O'Neill - a personal viewpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have not had a chance to evaluate all the implications of the election results and the ISN hasn't met to discuss them yet, so here are my initial thoughts. Firstly, I am disheartened and saddened that by far the most capable and articulate TD in the last Dail wasn't elected, Joe Higgins. This is a blow for all the left and progressives in Ireland. Joe was my only representative even though I never had the pleasure of casting a vote for him. Claire Daly would have been a Class (in every sense of the word) TD and her not getting elected is yet another blow to the left. The SF result I am a little more indifferent to as their opportunism during the election was cringing. That said, on his personal hard work alone, I believe that Dessi Ellis deserved a better vote.

The SF strategy, like the Labour Party's was to 'Get in'. I believe the electorate had a choice of FF or FF lite (SF) or FG or FG lite (LP) they opted for the 'real thing'. The media decided (and people believed) these were the only two options for Government. So I think people voted for a government rather than a party?

As for the ISN vote in DNW, contrary to popular belief (particularly on Indymedia) , we were under no allusion that we were going to hold on to our vote from the general election for a number of reasons. We hadn't done enough campaigning work in the area. I had no profile or work record in Ballymun. The constiuency had been redrawn and a chunk of Beaumount was added, again we had no profile or work record in this part of the consituency. Our consensus before the election was that we would get around 700 votes although I had hoped to do better. But it was no shock as we didn't have the anger over the bin charges that we had in the local elections.

The ISN reason for deciding to run at all (and boy did we spend a lot of time on that decision) was threefold. 1 to increase the profile of the organisation and hopefully attract more members / supporters / contacts, also increase the profile of the candidate. 2. to gauge the level of support to influence our future strategy. 3 identify the core issues that people are concerned about through the canvass to influence future campaigns

Looking at the overall picture, the left result was poor with the exception of the PBP candidates. I accept there may be specific reasons for the vote in Dunlaoghaire but I believe that both Brid Smith and the guy in Clondalkin did exceptionally well. People can say that this was because they ommitted the 's' word but then Cieran Perry did as well and so did Seamus Healy. Healy was embroiled in a rearguard action against opportunists within his organisation that must have impacted on his organisational ability to run an effective campaign. Cieran Perry possibly had the hardest battle of all, with many high profile candidates on the ballot that were bound to take some of his vote. Joan Collins ran as an independent socialist which, in my opinion was a good thing and a step forward by the group she is active in.

Just to let WSM members know that there were about 300+ 'spoilt votes' and I saw them all. Most were FF supporters (90%) who had put a tick on both FF candidates, two had written "No republican on this ballot" and three had written "Too many ni**ers in Ireland." After that there were about four that had deliberately spoiled their vote either writing "none of the above" or putting a big X through the ballot paper, so not a lot of potential for growth in DNW for the Anarchist alternative I'm afraid.

So overall the election was a setback for the left. However, the incoming Government is going to have to 'manage' the property market 'big bang'. I see much of potential for the left to strengthen in the coming years.

As the saying goes, Don't mourn, organise.

author by opublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well done to john for an exceptionally honest and thought provoking contribution

author by textual analystpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wouldn't get carried away re. the PBP vote outside of Dunleary if I were you. Gino Kenny in Dublin Mid-West got only about 100 votes more than Ciaran Perry. Brid Smith was expecting a much larger vote though her total was respectable in the end and should give her a good shot at a council seat.

Overall though, PBP (see Hearne and McKenna) hardly made anything even approaching a 'breakthrough'.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Brid and Richard both issued statements in support of a woman's right to choose"

Actually they didnt. They only mention the current D case as well as X & C. They delayed before they even issued those statements, only supporting Miss D when when it was obvious that she had mass public support.

At Marxism 2007, Marnie Holborow made it clear that PBPA did not support a Womans Right To Choose:

In a session on women and politics, comrade Holborrow complained about the fact that “abortion rights have dropped right off the agenda”. No political party was prepared to mention the issue in the election despite the “continuing crisis for women”. With abortion illegal, more than 6,000 women travel from the south of Ireland to Britain each year to get help. But, when I asked what PBPA had to say on the subject, she fudged the issue. PBPA was “a broader campaign and it might not be right for support for abortion to be a condition to people joining”. So it does not have a policy? When I pursued the subject after the meeting, she agreed that this was the case, but said it might change.

There was nothing in the PBPA election literature about supporting even limited abortion, let alone a womans right to choose.

Related Link: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/664/swp%20ireland.htm
author by Wind-Epublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy Gale
Gale seems very eager to cause a row...and nothing else.

Gale misquoted the transfer from Smith to Collins, and secondly jumps at the chance to reiterate a rumour over calls by smith for votes for sf.

Gale also suggests that pbp/swp steered clear from abortion, which is incorrect.
www.bridsmith.org:
Press Release: "Miss D should be allowed to travel"

http://blog.myspace.com/roryhearne:
Press Release: "People Before Profit Candidate Dublin South East supports Miss D's right to travel"

John's thoughts above re pbp and healy and perry are interesting- have to agree with them.

author by R. Isible - Not WSM And Not Born Yesterday Eitherpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to let WSM members know that there were about 300+ 'spoilt votes' and I saw them all [...] so not a lot of potential for growth in DNW for the Anarchist alternative I'm afraid.
It sounds John as though you believe that the WSM was running a campaign to ask people to spoil their ballots but my impression has been that instead they've been using the elections as an opportunity to argue that the electoral strategy is a farce and sees the diversion of left-wing activism into getting elected and obfuscating important socialist arguments.
Do you have a link to piece of WSM literature run during this current campaign where they call for a massive spoilt vote?

author by Floating voterpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

>> In this case, anyway, much of the voting was clearly negative - anti-FF and anti-Kenny depending on the vote.

I would like to take issue with this comment and which goes to the heart of the anarchist "don't vote" debate.

There is no evidence that the voting was negative. Absolutely none.

People, such as me, voted for what we thought would be the best choice out of Bertie and FF and Enda and FG. I would not have major objections to Enda, but Bertie seemed a better choice. He is a once in a lifetime politician, a true statesman who will go down in history, etc, etc.
(Not my central point - but as a sidebar - the collapse of the PD vote was not political it was because Michael McDowell showed his distrust of Bertie during the campaign, this showed a lack of leadership and character which was punished by the ending of his career. If he had handled one or two press conferences differently he'd still have a job.)

But to get back to my main point. FF got 41% and FG got 27%, totalling 68%. Adding Labour (10%) and PD (2%) you get 80%. Thus 80% of the electorate are represented by these parties. Voters are not stupid. If these parties did not represent what they wanted they would vote for someone else. Voters are not lazy, many of them work long and hard campaigning for FF, and FG. Voters give their own hard earned money to these political parties. If the parties did not represent what they wanted they would not fund them, and would not work for them, and would set up a new party who would represent what they wanted.

The fact of the matter, is that FF and FG DO represent what people want. They are firmly rooted in the wishes, hopes and dreams of the people of Ireland. That's why the huge majority of the electorate vote for them and support them.

So this election was a highly successful exercise in democracy. FG gained 20 seats and are back in contention as an alternative government in waiting. FF were rewarded for the excellent work they have done for the last 10 years and more. Nothing negative about it.

author by textual analystpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think John was making with some humour!

author by Colm Breathnach - ISN-pcpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An interesting debate. I think it will probably take a bit more time and analysis before we can come to any definitive conclusions about the implications of this election for the left.
As usual with armchair critics, Old Leftie hides behind his/her anonimity so that it is impossible to judge his/her record against those he criticises. I have no intention of debating jelly-spines on indymedia. Many of his points about the ISN are patently untrue but since he/she does not have the guts to use their real name its not worth responding.

author by R. Isible - Laughing Up My Sleevepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps, but one of the premises of the joke was that an apparently non-existent campaign to spoil your vote had been mounted. I'm interested to know whether I misunderstood the WSM pieces that I read and in fact they'd been campaigning to use the elections as a referendum.

author by textual analystpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think anybody is suggesting that the WSM called for spoiled votes - btw, not all references to anarchists are references to the WSM. But to take John's little joke seriously for a second, I think his insight into the nature of spoiled votes is useful because it is not unheard of for people on the libertarian left to claim that non-voting and spoiled votes are a conscious kick against the system. Obviously, people spoil their votes accidentally and for a wide range of reasons (from good to idiotic).

author by SPer - SPpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:50author email info at socialistparty dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The socialist party have long predicted that they would come out of this election with incresed votes and 2 TDs. They have come out with none. There seems to have been a miscalculation within sp ranks. Recources were poured into clare dalys campaign, in an effort to secure a second TD, while Joe H was seen as 'safe'. Whilst it must be said that its nothing short of a constitutional disgrace that there arent more seats in Joes constituency the sp new of the sitution before hand, There were no soundings from them that joe's seat was in trouble, they thought he was a shoe in and were wrong. In saying that their votes were still very strong."

Interestingly there was a sort of attitde within the party that Clare was safer than Joe as Joe was fighting with two 'opposition' candidates for a third seat where as clare was fighting with 2 unknown FFers, so we thought that FF would go down, particularly as they were oth new candidates.

The prospect of Joe losingihis seat was known and discussed since October. We even used it on some election material as we felt it was vital to make people aware we weren't a shoe-in.

I'd advise everyone to read the new areticle on our site.

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net/pub/news/aftermathelection29-05-07.html
author by chekov - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The WSM took a decision a good while ago not to campaign for spoilt votes and indeed not even to campaign against voting in this election. We attempted to use the election to point out just how little democracy there is in elections and to put forward alternative ways in which people could have a more meaningful democratic input. We also didn't put much effort into campaigning and produced no specific leaflets or other material, just a few articles in Workers Solidarity. Our thinking was that, since we viewed the election as a bit of a charade and a parody of democracy, there was no real point in emphasising participation in it, even negative participation. Instead, we are putting on a meeting to promote alternatives: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82677

I doubt whether any of us even spoiled our votes. I didn't anyway.

author by old leftiepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"HA, old leftie, unfortunately quite wrong"

I stand corrected

author by R.Isble - On The Floor Gasping Nowpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But I'm afraid that your credentials as a textual analyst may be a little overblown. You write: "btw, not all references to anarchists are references to the WSM"
and in fact John wrote specifically about the WSM:"Just to let WSM members know that there were about 300+ 'spoilt votes' . So while your statement is strictly accurate, it's also completely irrelevant to what John wrote or my question.

It would appear that you are unaware of any such campaign, and it remains unclear as to whether John does, so unless you know his own mind better than he does it'd be nice if you analysed something else. Thanks.

author by John O'Neill - a personal viewpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My comment was a half hearted attempt at a joke but I think some of the WSM can be a little smug when it comes to elections. It would be interesting to see, if the WSM did actually have a campaign calling for people to spoil their vote, how much of a response it would get.

At least the rest of us could then see if the anarchism is making any impact on the masses.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 17:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What are you on about? I admitted that I got it wrong about the transfers. But it was only a 30% transfer still. And Brid Smith broke her transfer pact with Joan Collins by calling for 2nd preferences for SF. How very honest and principled Brid Smith was!

The PBPA did not campaign as socialists , they did not support a womans right to choose. They didnt even mention abortion in their election lierature which was put through letter boxes.

Marnie Holborow clearly stated at Marxism 2007 that the "PBPA" did not have a position on abortion. Did the "PBPA" subsequently hold a conference/meeting to agree its position on abortion? If so, I would be obliged if you would supply information on this, such as: the date of the meeting; how many attended; were differing perspectives put forward and if so by who; what position did the SWP take; the present position on abortion held by the "PBPA".

author by Libertarian Infusionpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 17:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a well written article, and I sincerely enjoyed reading it.... however.....

"If we want our arguments to be heard we need to make them from the furnace where our politics have been forged, the heart of the struggles of the people".....

In fairness, and I don’t mean this to be patronising but where and what struggles are you referring to and what people? And I don’t mean looking back into antiquity but recently, in Ireland, in the past 10 years.

Bin Tax, Water charges, Shell to Sea etc I hear you say etc, granted, but what next, what happens during and after these 'struggles' ... Equally, how can you sustain this activity to the extent that it will be utilised for a collective activity outside local or state elections? ...

In short, what mass collective alternative can you offer people other than to organise through the state in the foreseeable future?

And if you can, what 'struggle' can you see on the horizon in the next 50 years that would produce a situation where a mass collective political libertarian alternative to the state is possible?

I don’t think there is one so I don’t see anything wrong with using electoral politics as one strategy amongst many, particularly when 90% of people in Ireland would not for a moment perceive life without the state as either possible or desirable.

In 2007, The state is not the ultimate enemy, in fact, the state if anything can be used to protect some of the few vital public services left for working class people. A public or private health care system is something worth fighting for in the next 10 years and the only way to achieve a public health care system for working class people in this timeframe is to use the state. To call these unworthy reforms (which i am sot saying you are but often referred to as such) is 'anarcho-ivory tower talk'.

Equally, whether we like it or not, the 'people' see electoral politics as a genuine and sufficient democratic expression of their will.

Thus, it’s not just about getting our arguments 'heard' but winning the argument and providing a real alternative and in reality most people just won’t buy into the argument that mass politics can be organised outside the state.

And until that happens you will not and cannot escape electoral politics. It is a political strategy that can produce something akin to a shared goal in the short term. And it is also a good mechanism to advocate the libertarian agenda.

However, this is certainly not to say one should have any faith in parliamentary democracy or that it should be either

A) The priority or

B) The end goal

But it is one means in the struggle for real progressive social change that should not be left to either the authoritarian right or left.

author by Wind Epublication date Tue May 29, 2007 17:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brid Smith broke her transfer pact with Joan Collins by calling for 2nd preferences for SF.
Date, time, place, please Ms Gale?
If you make an accusation back it up, please.

author by Apublication date Tue May 29, 2007 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Smith did not call for a note 2 for O'Snodaigh. She called for second preferences for Joan Collins.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Tue May 29, 2007 17:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"transfers
by seedot Tue May 29, 2007 15:00
Actually Collins got 700 transfers (the 139 figure is for McDermott, GP). This is about 30% and is only slightly less than was transferred to O'Snodaigh as Brid was running a Smith 1 O'Snodaigh 2 message in Ballyfermot. Some fo the transfers to Collins may also have originated with Roisin Healy"

See above. I choose to believe seedot. He was an indymedia editor and I think he still is. His word would carry a fair birt of weight around here.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 19:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Equally, whether we like it or not, the 'people' see electoral politics as a genuine and sufficient democratic expression of their will. "

A lot of people don't even think about whether it is sufficient. But anyone who does knows that it is not . Most are too bogged down in day to day commitments, or feel too powerless and/or intimidated to do much about it so they just go along with it. Others don't care.

For those who do care and who propose something different, there is actually a major opportunity in the offing: climate change. I don't mean climate change is something to be welcomed, rather that it is likely to bring home, as nothing else ever has been able to until now, the harsh realities of all the platitudinous democratic 'principles' that have been used to opiate 'the people' - far more successfully than religion ever did - in western societies in particular - over the last few centuries.

The problem is that the people ranged against alternative outlooks are heavily armed and violent. George Bush was surely not joking when he said that we were entering a 'century of war'. The so-called anti terrorist laws are not aimed at 'terrorists' per se - they are aimed at us - at ordinary civilians who are increasingly likely to resent and protest the war-mongering. They have fully anticipated all of this and already the law is in place to deal with those who begin to make an impact. Any/ all objectors to the new imperialism will be dealt with under those laws.

Libertarian socialism needs a peaceful space in which to evolve and to prove that the stereotypical fears about 'anarchism' don't actually apply. The big question is how to make that space in the current climate.

author by ronanpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi, i think I know who you are from obscure philosophising on the Johny Potsmoker thread, but I'm not sure..

"If we want our arguments to be heard we need to make them from the furnace where our politics have been forged, the heart of the struggles of the people".....

In fairness, and I don’t mean this to be patronising but where and what struggles are you referring to and what people? And I don’t mean looking back into antiquity but recently, in Ireland, in the past 10 years.

In short, what mass collective alternative can you offer people other than to organise through the state in the foreseeable future?


ha, that line was part joke part serious, it's good you took me up on the serious part rather than the overly theatrical quixotic revolutionary bit. well i think it's a bit ridiculous to suggest that i have a crystal ball that enables me to see into the hazy world of 2012 class struggle. that said WSM (and other anarchists) have been involved in many of the (admittedly few) struggles that have emerged in the past few years. we're not perfect but i think we do a good job.

that last line's a strange one, you seem to totally disavow class struggle and direct action in one line, the state is the only possible arena for political struggle? i think you're wrong, very wrong. in fact the examples you yourself disprove this, they show that political organisation is possible outside the state. this form of organisation is far more empowering and revolutionary than ANYTHING done through the state.

marx has a nice line about the state, he suggests that when politics are constituted as separate from everyday human action through parliamentary democracy human beings are separated from an essential part of themselves. for anarchists politics is about reasserting human potential and community, politics doesn't occcur in the electoral shopping market it occurs when human beings act together to retake control over their destinies.

author by Shane O'Neillpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 19:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apart from the usual gobshites this is a very interesting thread. It’s very important that all lefties/progressives analyse these results because no matter how it is spun, it is a definite setback. Joe Higgins is a particular loss.
A couple of my own comments. John O’Neill has already explained the reasons for the loss of his votes, the local work simply wasn’t done. If you contest an election without a particular issue (bin charges, water charges, sea fronts etc..) you have to put in the local work first. Perry’s drop in vote can be simply explained by the crazy decision to run against Gregory on an almost identical platform. I believe this decision was made partly because of Gregory’s support for the utterly useless Mick Rafferty in the last local elections instead of Joe Mooney. Smith almost doubled her vote and Kenny held his, so that was a good result for both. The poor Collins vote was a surprise and I assume that the squeeze from the two big parties was the reason for it, much the same as Higgins and Healy. The pact with Smith obviously didn’t work. I think the RBB campaign was partly due to the different nature of the Dun Laoghaire constituency.
I’ve always considered the anarchist viewpoint of contesting elections as a cop-out. It’s a way of not having to put your ideas or policies before a skeptical working class audience. Even the most naive anarchist doesn’t believe that Joe Higgins hasn’t done more for socialism that a 100 anarchist picnics. Maybe one of the problems is that the anarchist constituency is no longer the working class but the alternative lifestyle/commune types. I’m not convinced that the electoral path is necessarily the right approach but at least it is a good litmus test for a person/groups policies in front of a skeptical audience.

author by Oispublication date Tue May 29, 2007 20:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thus, it’s not just about getting our arguments 'heard' but winning the argument and providing a real alternative and in reality most people just won’t buy into the argument that mass politics can be organised outside the state.

But politics is organised outside the state, and outside of arguments. Politics is organised in the stock market, in the workplace, in the home, in the hospital, the prison, the school, college and day care centre, in the the foreign exchange market, in the labour market, in immigration flows, in settlement patterns, in the development of urban areas, in the degredation of the enviroment. Politics happen in our everyday lives, in what we do and how we react to what we do.

Politics is not a series of clever arguments and ideas that are won or lost. Politics is the question of power, who has it and how do they use it.

As an anarchist the idea I believe in is that together we can wield power collectively, destroy our isolation from one another, improve our lives and create community through which we can have the generalised self managed of society. This can only be done outside the state.

And until that happens you will not and cannot escape electoral politics.

Yes we can. We don't participate. BANG! We've escaped. That simple. We can't escape State power, but participating in the state's legislature wouldn't help us do that either.

It is a political strategy that can produce something akin to a shared goal in the short term. And it is also a good mechanism to advocate the libertarian agenda.

The libertarian agenda being the abolition of the state and capital and the empowering of human community, I don't see how it can be further using the state.

author by Communardpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 21:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Maybe one of the problems is that the anarchist constituency is no longer the working class but the alternative lifestyle/commune types"

LOL! Find me some "alternative lifestyle/commune types" involved in the anarchist movement in Ireland...hell find me a commune in Ireland....just cause some of those people under 50 may have funny hairstyles doesn't mean they live in a commune.....and if they did would they cease to be working class?
Moreover if the routes of anarchist anti-electoralism are to be found in this move from a working class constituency to "alternative lifestyle/commune types" how do you account for anarchist anti-electoralism *prior* to the move.

author by Factcheckerpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 22:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So you have no evidence for your slanderous insinuation that Smith broke her pact with Collins. You just thought it might spread some sh*t. This is what comes from taking the word of a PD supporter and trying to palm it off as established fact..
Look at the elction literature, that doesn't lie. Smith 1 Collins 2. The pact held. Gale is all wind.

author by seedotpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 23:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I posted that, in Ballyfermot, the Brid Smith team had asked people to vote Smith 1 O'Snodaigh2. I based this on 3 things:
1. Being told this by a Ballyfermot resident who was told Aengus was safe when they stated they were a SF supporter and they should vote SWP 1 then SF 2.
2. Having this confirmed to me by a local SF councillor that they were aware of this message being put out on the doors.

Both of these happened before the election.

And then, in the RDS on 26th, the Ballyfermot boxes for Smith contained a significant number of no. 2's for O'Snodaigh.

Now if the pact held - how come Smith transferred 600 to O'Snodaigh and only 700 to Collins.

(btw, who is the PD supporter you mention).

author by eamonpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 23:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Isn't it possible if the PBP canvasser was advised on the door that yer man intended to vote SF and that then the PBP canvasser would have suggested that instead of voting 1 SF to vote 1 Brid Smith and 2 SF? This senario would not, in my view, be a breach of the pact between PBP and Joan Collins. After all the general view was that the SF seat was safe and the vote would have returned to SF when Brid was eliminated? I think we should give PBP the benifit of the doubt.

author by A borepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 00:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Joan Collins [Ind] - 701
Aengus Ó Snodaigh [SF] - 609
Mary Upton [Lab] - 286
Catherine Byrne [FG] - 163
Tony McDermott [GP] - 139
Eric Bryne [Lab] - 156
Ann-Marie Martin [FG] - 117

author by Factcheckerpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 01:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You have confirmed that both you and gale have not a shred of evidence for your claim that Smith had broken the pact. Instead it is a treansparent attempt to stir sh*t.
You claim to have heard a Sinn Fein supporter say he was asked to put Smith above his natural choice. This is not evidence of the Smith team breaking the pact and campaigning for for Smith 1 and SF 2. First of all it is hearsay. Second it is unbelievable that a SF supporter would put their candidate No 3. Thirdly given your sympathies it would be stupid to accord your anecdotes the status of established fact.
Hearsay you say you heard from the SF team also fail to give you the right to make such bold statements of fact.
The transfer pact was published in the election leaflets but giving the fact that Smith is better known than Collins in that part of the constituency and also SF support in the area, it is not suprising that all Smiths votes did not transfer in the way she urged. Again not evidence to substantiate your bald claim that Smith broke the pact.
Why would a candidate put one thing on their election leaflets and say another on the doorstep. The idea is inherently implausible.
Both you and Gale gave no qualification to your assertion that implied Smith showed bad faith, a claim without substance. You are obviously trying to create another urban myth on indymedia and so damage relations between the Collins and Smith camps and the cause of left co-operation more generally.
Michael McDowell was booted out in Dublin South East. Get over it.

author by A Real Borepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 07:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At last some sense on this thread. Well said factchecker- this is an attempt just to stirt shit.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 10:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As I already pointed out, seedot is an Indy editor. His word carries weight in this Forum. Snide attacks by SWP anonymistas carry zero weight.

The fact that only 30% of Smiths vote went to Joan Collins suggests that something went wrong with the transfer pact. That could be explained by seedots posts above - on the doorstep in Ballyfermot the SWP/PBPA were seeking transfers to and from SF.

All you have given us is bluster. How about a named member of the SWP openly writing here?

author by Sean Mallory - WSM (pers cap)publication date Wed May 30, 2007 10:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"unheard of for people on the libertarian left to claim that non-voting and spoiled votes are a conscious kick against the system. Obviously, people spoil their votes accidentally and for a wide range of reasons (from good to idiotic)."
I have rarely heard people trot out that argument, the point most anarchists make is that a spoilt vote is etither a mistake or is disaffection with the system.
Just for the record Anarchism is not about spoliing votes, that is a tactic sometimes used. What it is about is self organisation which elections get in the way of. This idea that abstention is a core to anarchist ideology is untrue, it is a tactic sometimes used.

author by Confusedpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 10:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"As an anarchist the idea I believe in is that together we can wield power collectively, destroy our isolation from one another, improve our lives and create community through which we can have the generalised self managed of society. This can only be done outside the state."

Isn't the constitution the basis of the state in our republic? Why do anarchists engage in constitutional referenda?

author by Joepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 10:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anarchists engage in (most) referenda because despite their flaws they are the people taking a direct decision on the question.

Elections on the other hand require the people to indicate that they trust candidate A rather than B to best represent their position after an election.

These are actually two very opposed ideas of democracy. In fact you can crudely boil down the anarchist position to be for direct democracy (of which referenda are one method) and being against representative democracy (like general and local elections).

Anarchists are not against the election of delegates to make decisions but unlike TD's we insist such delegates are mandatable (actually illegal under our system) and recallable by their electorate if they don't implement that mandate. It is no coincidence that the particular form of democracy the ruling class choose to grant in response to popular struggles is one that allows, indeed encourages corruption.

It's worth reading 'Parliament or Democracy' for a full understanding of the anarchist position. You'll find that at http://struggle.ws/once/pd_intro.html

author by Chekovpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 10:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Referenda allow the population to vote directly on policy. The core problem that anarchists have with elections in representative democracy is that the population get to vote for people who are thereafter free to follow whatever policies they like - "interpreting their mandate" and "looking into their hearts" to view the will of the people. Or in other words, we elect people and then they go off and ignore us and do whatever they want with their position.

Of course referenda are far from the type of participatory direct democracy that anarchist advocate - only the government can, in effect, launch them and they choose the wording. However, on balance they do allow a modicum of democratic input into decisions so anarchists not only vote in them, but normally campaign in them too. For example, we campaigned in all the recent elections on divorce, abortion, citizenship and bail laws.

author by socialistpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well, let's tease this out a little bit. I agree that representative democracy is problematic for the reasons you outline, but, leaving aside what happens once the rep is ensconsed, what about the act of voting itself? Everybody over 18 has a vote and is presented with a range of political parties and 'independents'. Can't a vote in a multi-party system of universal suffrage be seen as a referendum on support or otherwise for the parties that present themselves?

What happens after the vote (in terms of the subsequent corruption of democracy through the representative system) doesn't change the fact that a referendum has effectively occurred - a measuring of support for the parties that put forward their various manifestos and programme.

Discuss.

author by Chekovpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 11:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Can't a vote in a multi-party system of universal suffrage be seen as a referendum on support or otherwise for the parties that present themselves?"

Yes, it can. It often serves as a fairly interesting and unusually accurate opinion poll as to where people's loyalties lie. However it also serves to allocate power to people - which distorts the opinion poll (as it did in this case, people largely voted for one of the two options that was likely to form the government). Anarchists are against giving people unaccountable power in general and although we are interested in the results of such opinion polls, the handing over of popular power is a greater consideration.

That's the core problem. There are also a large number of practical problems - the fact that money is a determining factor; the fact that the debate is framed by the large corporations who control the media; the fact that candidates who do not promise a clientelist solution will not do so well; the fact that the system inherently favours the promotion of personalities over politics. All of these factors contribute to such elections being inherently rigged against our politics and would mean that it would be almost impossible to get across our message and that the better we got across our message, the worse we'd probably do.

author by socialistpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with all the reservations that you outline, but many of them also apply to a more straightforward referendum on, say, abortion, e.g. "the fact that money is a determining factor". The political parties, with all their resources (including networks across the country, which are often more important than the deployment of lots of dosh) generally play a crucial role in referenda.

My point being that it is wrong to counterpose referenda to elections, as if one is intrinsically 'more democratic'. How people vote is influenced by many things. Ultimately, however, as Chekov accepts, elections do act as proxy referenda, as barameters for measuring the temper of the 'nation' (wot that?). They can't be dismissed as irrelevant and there are good arguments for engaging with them.

author by John Bowman (not)publication date Wed May 30, 2007 12:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whatever Smith did or didn't say on the doorsteps of Dublin SC, the actual transfers tell us a lot. Given 2 candidates with such similar platforms, you would expect a large transfer to take place spontaneously - about a third of the vote, say. The fact that no more than a third of Smith's votes transferred to Collins suggests that she wasn't pushing the transfer pact. Putting "Vote No 2 for someone else" on your leaflet is not a proper transfer arrangement. You need to go out and actively look for your supporters to transfer. By the looks of it, that didn't happen here. Putting 2 socialists against each other didin't work. 4000 votes for one candidate would have made more impact than 2000 each for 2.

But judging by some of the comments here, Collins's supporters seem happy enough. Even though they originally asked Smith to stand aside for Collins, they are putting a positive spin on the split vote. This confirms my prediction (you heard it here first, folks!) that the CIL (minus its semi-detached Tipperary wing) will ally with SWP/PBPA/whatever by the next local elections. I don't hear any denials, do you?

Old Leftie is on first name terms with "Richard", obviously. But his/her comments on the ISN candidate are unfair. As I recall, his leaflets did talk about a new type of society where working class people control their workplaces and communities, and explicitly called himself a socialist. But the ISN just didn't put in a proper campaign, as they're admitting here.

Did anyone else hear that Residents against Racism were leafletting the day after the count with "Good riddance to Michael McDowell" leaflets? Classic!

author by Jonahpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 12:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bríd Smith was not calling for her people to transfer to Sinn Féin with their second preferences. People voting Smith number one were told to transfer to Collins. What she did argue with people who told her on doors that they were backing Aengus, was that he was safe so they should give her a number one and when she was eliminated her vote would go back to Aengus. It's a standard atctic used by canvassers to pump up your first preference vote.

Part of the reason Smith's transfer to Aengus was as high as it was is that Smith and Aengus are both based in Ballyfermot, where Joan Collins wouldn't be known at all.

To be honest, as one of Aengus' canvassers, I'm far more outraged at the lies Smith and Collins were both pushing on the doorsteps.

These include:
Sinn Féin's Dublin City councillors voted in favour of the Bin Charges last December.
Sinn Féin's Dublin City councillors have always voted in favour of the Bin Charges.
Sinn Féin's Dublin City councillors were 'hiding in the toilet' when the vote was called on the last Estimates.

In all cases, voters told us they were told this by Collins' people in Crumlin/Drimnagh and by Smith's people in Ballyfermot. In all cases they were simply deliberate lies.

It says something about the two of them, and their teams, that Fianna Fáil fought a cleaner campaign than they did.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 13:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Sinn Féin's Dublin City councillors voted in favour of the Bin Charges last December.
Sinn Féin's Dublin City councillors have always voted in favour of the Bin Charges.
Sinn Féin's Dublin City councillors were 'hiding in the toilet' when the vote was called on the last Estimates."

I agree with you that the above statements are untrue. They misrepresent SFs position. I'm not suprised that Brid Smith and the SWP would tell such lies but I am suprised that Joan Collins would go along with such crookery.

Can you identify any of Joans supporters who spread such untruths?

author by Factcheckerpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 13:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy Gale, or whoever you really are, facts and opinions are not freely interchangeable! You are in no position to assert anything. Your inability to read a table of figures without getting it wrong (this is a charitable interpretation) led you to assert as fact the lie that “Brid Smiths transfers gave only 139 votes to Joan Collins”. On this basis you implied that Smith’s team broke the transfer pact. In fact as anyone who can read a website without being blinded by their own prejudices can see the real number was over 600.
You then tried to cover for your lie by saying your browser wasn’t working properly!
Seedot came to your rescue with more spin and hearsay. You repeated your allegation of bad faith in the Smith camp, this time citing the mighty seedot as an irreproachable authority because he/she might once had been or might still be an Indymedia editor. Even if you have managed to get one fact right (if your claim about seedot is correct) his posts consist solely of hearsay and spun interpretation. And I think few are prepared to grant his musings the status of divine revelation.
I do not speak for the SWP, they can speak for themselves if they want. My point is that you and seedot have simply created a smear about the Smith camp without a shred of evidence. The purpose of this smear is transparent to those with eyes to see.
Furthermore on your supposed “interpretation” of the transfer pattern. Anyone who knows the first thing about the constituency knows that Collins and Smith were based in different parts of the constituency and were each much less known outside their own area where they each had considerable support. Given this undeniable fact and the strength of SF in the constituency, the transfer pattern indicates that Smith had loyally kept to the pact and managed to convince a significant number of voters to support Collins in their preferences who might not otherwise have done so.
If you must use the methods of Michael McDowell to attack your opponents, at least try to employ a bit more care.
Jonah: Yes SF are quite bitter that they failed to advance despite the pre-election hype and your sour allegations are perfectly understandable but complete fantasy.

author by Roger Cole - Peace & Neutrality Alliancepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 13:31author email pana at eircom dot netauthor address 17 Castle Street, Dalkeyauthor phone Report this post to the editors

This is a good debate. Power resides with the people and they have given their verdict. By and large the people were happy with the existing Government, and those that were not voted for FG.
The Labour Party vote remained static, the PD Party did badly as did most of the other smaller parties on the left even if their overall vote increased marginally.
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance sought to make the war in Iraq an election issue by commissioning Lansdowne Market Research to ask the people their view on the use of Shannon Airport and while we were pleased that 58% of the people opposed its use by Bush's Army in his war in Iraq and 19% supported it, it would be fair to say that PANA failed in its efforts to make it an issue in the election. If it had been a major issue, then the parties that reflected the views of the 58% of the people would have done much better.
The question now is, what next for the left? Clearly the next contest is the local and EU elections in a few years time. In that context it would be best if all the groups opposed to the Imperialist war in Iraq and the militarisation of the EU worked together. While in the local elections, local issues will dominate and it would be useful to ensure the correct number of candidates were chose to maximize the number of candidates elected, PANA has a particular interest in the elections to the EU Parliament. Since it is clear that a downturn in the economy is on the way, and that promises of the incoming FF dominated Government of cutting taxes and improving services will not be fulfiled then people will be voting for an alternative. FG will put itself forward as that altenative. Since however FG is enthuasticially in favour of the destruction of Irish Neutrality and the militarisation of the EU, PANA would like to see the emergence of an alternative that reflects the views of the 58% of the people on process of the militarisation of the EU and the integration of Ireland into the US/EU military structures. It will be more difficult, but not imposible, for the corporate media to ignore the isssue of war and the EU Battle Groups in the EU elections in two years time.
In short , let us now seek to start building towards maximising cooperation between all groups opposed to Ireland's participation in these Imperialist wars, so the we rather than FG are seen as being the alternative.

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by Dubpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think it's just sh*t stirring to say Collins/Smith pact broke down by looking at transfers. There are other factors at play such as location and that many would be 3s and 4s of lesser candidates. Smith and O'Snodaigh would be based in Ballyfermot. We should not overstate the level of knowledge of people about Joan Collins and Brid Smith. Early in the election I talked to one person active in DSC and they didn't know who Joan Collins was! Smith and Collins are not building bases of support outside their council constituencies. I also heard from another source that Brid Smith was campaigning in Collins' designated area for #1s. That's more an indication of a break-down in the pact than looking at transfers.

The anarchists are wrong on elections. Their argument makes the case that exploitation of the working class is by giving power to capitalists in elections. What of capitalist state with no elections?! Do you really belive that workers will win liberty by opting out of the captialist system. Capitalist exploitation is due to ownership of means of production. You will not get rid of this by abstaining and opting out. The anarchist argument puts burden of exploitation on Individual workers and not the capitalist class.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" Your inability to read a table of figures without getting it wrong (this is a charitable interpretation) led you to assert as fact the lie that “Brid Smiths transfers gave only 139 votes to Joan Collins”. "

I made a mistake. Another poster said it was an easy mistake to make. I openlly admitted my error as soon as it was pointed out.

"On this basis you implied that Smith’s team broke the transfer pact. In fact as anyone who can read a website without being blinded by their own prejudices can see the real number was over 600."

It was 700 votes actually. But thats still only 30 %. Thats enough to make anyone wonder.

"You then tried to cover for your lie by saying your browser wasn’t working properly!"

That had nothing to do with my error. There was a problem with the IT elections page. Others had the same problems.

"Seedot came to your rescue with more spin and hearsay. You repeated your allegation of bad faith in the Smith camp, this time citing the mighty seedot as an irreproachable authority because he/she might once had been or might still be an Indymedia editor. Even if you have managed to get one fact right (if your claim about seedot is correct) his posts consist solely of hearsay and spun interpretation."

Yes because seedot is a reliable person. If you knew anything about Indymedia you would be aware of that. I believe what he says.

"And I think few are prepared to grant his musings the status of divine revelation."

Not divine but certainly more reliable then an anonymista who has no track record on Indymedia.

"I do not speak for the SWP, they can speak for themselves if they want. "

Why are you so anxious to defend them against the slightest criticism then? Sorry but based on your posts its not plausible that you are independent.

"My point is that you and seedot have simply created a smear about the Smith camp without a shred of evidence."

Thats not true. Seedot has cited his evidence. You have not disproved it. The fact that only 30% of Smiths transfers went to Joan Collins speaks for itself.

". Anyone who knows the first thing about the constituency knows that Collins and Smith were based in different parts of the constituency and were each much less known outside their own area where they each had considerable support. Given this undeniable fact and the strength of SF in the constituency, the transfer pattern indicates that Smith had loyally kept to the pact and managed to convince a significant number of voters to support Collins in their preferences who might not otherwise have done so."

Thats your interppetation. It differs from seedots interpetation \and it differs from mine.

"If you must use the methods of Michael McDowell to attack your opponents, at least try to employ a bit more care."

There you go again. For the third time you have suggested that anyone who questions the SWP must be in the PDs or must use PD tactics. Do you really want me to go into all of the campaigns destroyed by SWP Tactics? How about the recent attempt by the SWP to split the Shell 2 Sea campaign? How they turned the IAWM into an election plastform for RBB. Etc Etc.

author by Dubpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 13:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Roger makes interesting points. He should also note that he is in the Labour Party and would probably support a Labour candidate over a left-wing candidate running for Euro Parliament in 2009. Personally, I think that Joe Higgins would be an obvious candidate for the left in the 2009 Euro election. He's got high profile, national & international experience, and is very well respected by thousands of voters across the Dublin area. Joe got 5.5% last time on a shoe-string campaign. PANA should consider approaching him and asking him to run when the time comes. I hope Roger's Labour membership would not get in the way.

author by Jonahpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 14:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy, I can't name individual activists because they didn't say it to Sinn Féin members but to voters who then raised the issue with our people when we canvassed them. They normally said something like : "Joan Collins said youse did X', or 'Joan Collins' people said youse did Y'. The former btw doesn't mean Joan Collins said anything, I don't know where she did or not, but voters tend to think of the candidate and not the chap knocking at the door.

Factchecker: As anyone in the South Central constituency knows the night before the election Sinn Féin did an extensive leaflet drop of sample ballot papers and also leaflets outlining our position on the bin charges because of the very misrepresentations I am talking about. You don't drop several thousand leaflets in a constituency the night before election on a whim. It came up on doors I canvassed from ordinary voters I spoke to.

Yes, I'm bitterly disappointed at the result for Sinn Féin, but the responsibility and the mistakes made were ours. I'm not blaming a pair of Trots in a single Dublin constituency for our poor performance.

author by Reminderpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 14:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Joe got 5.5% last time on a shoe-string campaign. PANA should consider approaching him and asking him to run when the time comes. I hope Roger's Labour membership would not get in the way."

FFS, do you know anything about the SP.
Joe runs for the SP. He is a member of the SP. The SP will decide if Joe runs. Joe should not be approached as he is a member of the SP. The electorate of Dublin can decide whether to support the SP through our candidacy Joe. The name/image/voice/wit/rhetoric of Joe Higgins is the copyright of the SP. And don't forget them objective condition.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 15:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ultimately, however, as Chekov accepts, elections do act as proxy referenda, as barameters for measuring the temper of the 'nation' (wot that?). They can't be dismissed as irrelevant and there are good arguments for engaging with them.

That debases the distinction between a referendum and an election so as to make them virtually interchangeable. The big differences are: 1)it's very unclear as to what the questions are in an election and hence what the result means (look forward to meters of newspaper columns "explaining" it from different angles and hours of droning from pundits; 2)after a clearly worded referendum you don't have to hope/wish that your opinion is enacted by someone (even if that person is for "advocacy, accountability and action").

I wouldn't dismiss elections as irrelevant. I think they're a very important means by which people are kept distracted from meaningful activity and serve to stabilise the society very nicely. Although I'm very disappointed that the will of the majority (58% according to the poll posted previously) has been ignored as regards Shannon, I'm very happy for my property investments which I hope to sell off before the housing crash which will follow EU corporate tax harmonisation.

author by Chekovpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dub says "The anarchists are wrong on elections. Their argument makes the case that exploitation of the working class is by giving power to capitalists in elections."

Only if you completely ignore everything that anarchists say and substitute whatever you dream up. No anarchist that I'm aware of thinks anything even vaguely similar to the above. One of anarchists' critiques is, in fact, that real power doesn't reside in parliaments but in financial markets, boardrooms, the WTO, EU commission, G8, IMF, World Bank and all of the other similar unaccountable institutions of global power. But, sure why bother to actually listen to anything we say, much easier to just come up with a ludicrously simplistic caricature to dismiss.

author by allyatespublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One of the things about alienation is that you dont know you are alienated, how could you know how cut off from the world you are from your SUV, how could you know just how limited your knowledge of the world is when division of labour and your own greed has caused you to be frightend that you would be lost if anything went wrong.
Thus (from my area) the PD slogan "Dont Throw It All Away". The tone of the election in a nutshell, the politics of fear.

Thats why people wont vote for anyone else (though the people rejected the PD outright). Because they are limited and scared.
The 'left' does not help their perception by being internationalist and reactionary in the way the present themselves.

Socialist and communists and others needs to remember that their first role is to liberate the world through knowledge. Marx afterall was just a philosopher. The otherside is to turn the ideas into reality. Right now I see the 'left' reacting to the ideas being put forward by the political right, less regualtion, more private money in public affairs etc.
The left has no answers because it ran its own affairs badly for years, when the many of the sates capital assets were run in nationalised bodies.
Thus for now the right is still having its honeymoon, because it runs things much better.
That said, when we go too far right, we get a worse life than far left, centreism then is a good way ahead for now, as long as it keeps listening.

author by MichaelY - iawm/ipscpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy Gale,

There's nothing worse than an activist/ a militant/ a progressive person 'summarising' a position about things/events/facts he or she knows zilch about. It reflects badly on all of us and besmirches quite a number of very intelligent and thoughtful analyses offered in this thread.

I will not respond to any of the comments you keep making about Dublin South Central, about Joan and Brid and SF....the more you pontificate the more I gather you know very little and understand even less of what went on in this constituency where I live and voted.
I will only try to respond to that incredibly ignorant comment you made about the SWP turning the iawm into an electoral machine for Richard.

(1) I know for a fact iawm activists/members/sympathisers worked with a number of candidates nationally....we worked with Catherine Connolly in Galway, with SF and Greens around Tralee and Cork, with Patricia McKenna and Tony in the Inner City, with Rory in and around Ringsend, a couple with Finian McGrath and many of us with Joan and Brid. While a few, no more that two or three, worked with Richard...... that's where they live you see. The watchword for us was to be active and support anti-war activists in the area where we live.
(2) Those who bothered to follow events and were active in the whole process to have prospective candidates sign the anti-war pledge, proposed in common with PANA, worked with many candidates and succeeded in having 72 (yes seventy two) to sign it. From those 5 have been elected and we're continuing to work with them....watch this space.
(3) As far as the issue of the WAR is concerned, the two trips of activists to Shannon, our participation and lafletting of the College of Surgeons meeting with Scott Ritter, the very successful iawm Press Conference on Tuesday 22nd in Buswell's and the large Public Meeting in Dun Laoghaire the same evening, Cindys' and Ruhel's partcipation in the Vincent Browne show.....they are a few examples of our work over the last week before the election.

What were you involved in Dorothy?

So.....rather than blowing hot air about things you obviously know very little about ( I am being friendly and 'sensitive' here and don't want to accuse you of being a straight liar) why don't you tell us what you and your friends/comrades did/how and where you succeeded and where you intend to go from here.

In case you ask, a whole set of iawm people are working with our IPSC comrades right now preparing for the events of next week - just in case you forgot, from June 2nd - 9th there will be a whole set of events re: the 40 -year occupation of the Palestinian people culminating in a demonstration in Dublin's City Centre on Saturday 9th 2 pm.. And I'm positive you have you have overlooked the fact that there will be a whole set of people, including a number of Lebanese families, travelling to Derry for the Raytheon 9 Court appearance on June 5th You know Qana and all that....

Just for the record.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So now IPSC is also after your name. Do you speak for them as well? If not then it is appropriate etiquette to put personal capacity afrer your name. I'll bring it to the IPSCs attention. Yes, I know them.

As usual you are long on verbiage but short on facts. The IAWM organised an election rally for RBB in his constituency. They brought Cindy Sheehan and George Galloway along to it. What logic was there in holding a major public meeting in Dun Laoire rather than in Dublin City Centre? None! The sole purpose of the meeting was to boost RBBs chances.

You are in no position to demand answers from anyone. Dont ask too many questions or you might be asked some in response.

author by e - i'm backpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually check your facts, George Galloway didn't make it over to the Dun Laoghaire meeting. Looks like you weren't there too

author by Wind Epublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More factual inaccuracies from Gale- making accusations about rbb and iawm without proper facts. I think it is important what Michael above asked- what exactly have you done Gale? Able to dish it out not able to take it except to peddle what have been shown to be half truths, rumour and hearsay.

author by Dorothy Gallowaypublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No. I wasnt there. But the fact that Galloway didnt attend is irrelevant. He was scheduled to speak at it. The IAWM organised an election rally for RBB in Dun Laoire.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fact 1. The IAWM organised a meeting in Dun Laoire (RBBs constituency) with International Anti War speakers.

Fact 2. George Galloway was scheduled to speak at the Dun laoire meeting.

Fact 3. Cindy Sheehan spoke at the Dun Laoire meeting.

Fact 4. Apart from a press conference no international event was held in the constituency of anyother anti war candidate.

You are the one who is distorting the truth. At this stage I am wondering why no SWP member is openly posting here. Maybe its because they are too windee to reveal their identities.

author by MichaelY - iawm/ipscpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 17:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy

There is no point asking you any questions, or even worse 'demanding' any questions from you, because you have none. Richard happens, just happens, to be the Chairperson of the iawm. For the life of me I cannot see the problem of an organisation, like the iawm, organising a Public Meeting with international speakers, you forgot Guantanamo prisoner Ruhel Ahmed btw, in its chairperson's constituency. I forget, of course, you weren't there, you were busy elsewhere. The iawm has organised many meetings all over the place over the last couple of years - should we have asked your permission Gale to have one in Dunlaoighaire? Incidentally, you saw the results in Richard's first preferences and transfers. Cindy and Ruhel also went to Shannon and were welcomed warmly by local anti-war activists....pls check with Conor and Ed and Rachel and the Iraqi families that travelled from Dublin that issue as well.....

On the IPSC issue - no, I just happen to be a member and work very closely with that organisation.....you say you 'know' them....whoever them is...good for you....why don't you come and give us hand....the Dublin IPSC meeting is tomorrow evening in the usual place - come along......outlining a few events coming up, the same as TD from Galway, Sean from Limerick or David in Dublin does not make me a 'spokesperson'......

What's missing from your answer, of course, apart from your vitriol, is what you and your mates were doing....that question will remain until you answer it.....Nothing or Lots would do for the moment!

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 17:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are posting long enough on Indymedia to know that I am entitled to keep my identity private. Just as the several pro SWP posters on this thread choose to do. No one knows what they really do either.

But please stop squirming. No matter how you try to dress it up, the IAWM organised an Election Rally for RBB. Asking questions and pointing out the truth is not vitriol or envy.

author by Roger Cole - Peace & Neutrality Alliancepublication date Wed May 30, 2007 18:48author address 17 Castle Street, Dalkey. Co. Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I am glad DUB knows I am a member of the Labour Party. Dub therefore should also know that the Labour Party played a key role in opposing the war, in particular Michael D. Higgins, the Party President. Dub should also know that by May 2003 the public opinion polls showed that 23% of the people said they supported the LP and only 22% said they supported FG,so for the first time as a campaigning party, the LP became the 2nd largest in terms of popular support in the state. As a long standing member of the Labour Party I had always thought that replacing FG as the main opposition Party to FF was one of the objectives of the party. Unfourtunately, it was not the view of the Party Leader, who appeared to believe it was the function of the Labour Party to help FG. He would not be the first to do so. One of Labour's previous leaders carried that attitude to it's logical conclusion and joined FG. As a consequence the Labour Party Leader in effect transformed himself into the de facto Deputy Leader of FG. and the Labour Party ended up not with 23% of the vote, but with a little over 10%,
and he publically supported the war and the use of Shannon Airport in that war in the course of the election
Nevertheless the 3 Labour Party Deputies, including Michael D. Higgins that signed the pledge (out of a total of 9) got elected and opposition to the war is still very strong in the Party
so the division in the party on the war will continue. I remain confident that as the war drags on and on, especially as the EU Battle Groups which include Irish soldiers are sent off to take part in the war then the war faction on the LP led by Rabbitte will be defeated. The war will last another 5-10 years at least, so we have plenty of work on our hands.

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by allyatespublication date Wed May 30, 2007 23:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I fear the US army will collapse long before 5-10 years. The Brits are nearly out, and thats the next biggest contingent.
All thats left is the 100,000 mercenaries (who will run when the US does) and of course the so called 'Iraqi Army', who are so bad that the US fears for the fate of Iraq in their hands.

Expect a new Saddam and new sanctions in place (killing more 000's babies) in 5-10 years.

author by Kieran O'Sullivan - Personal Capacitypublication date Thu May 31, 2007 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have been reading indymedia for a number of years now and I have yet to understand why the SWP gets so much anger directed against them. The start of this article contains the following "(thankfully we’ve been spared the embarrassment of a SWPie in Dáil Eireann and the prospect of dealing with SWP activists with even more inflated sense of self worth)". What is this all about surely it would be better have one socialist than none in the Dail.

My personal opinion on all the revolutionary socialist groupings is that their political assessment is reductionist and simplistic. I have asked people who I know from both the SP and SWP what they would do if they got 84 seats in the Dail. I have never gotten a straight answer to this.

All I get told is that "we can't have a blueprint for what would happen after the revolution". This is simply a way for revolutionary socialism to get out of the fact that they don't really know what they want. That is not to take away from the very good work that Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett have done in their communities. I have no problem working with anyone on issues with which I agree The Anti War Movement being a case in point. After all anyone who has to sell their labor will work with people with whom they do not agree. Most of the people I work with are not socialist certainly not revolutionary socialists.

I have never joined any of the socialist parties because of this point they do not have a blueprint/plan for the type of society they want. That does not stop me working on specific issues with them.

Anyone who has organized anything will know that you have to have a blueprint of what you want to happen event the SP/SWP/etc know this. Also change is USUALLY an evolutionary process, look at how the churches power has waned in this country. This didn't happen because if a revolution it happened because of many complex changes within Irish society.

Yes there have been revolutions which changed things but they rarely bring about the kind of fundamental change that happened in this state with regard to the church. You could argue that the Russian revolution brought about significant social change as apposed to political change - they simply replaced Nicholas with Stalin - but a great deal of social change did happen.

The politics of Revolutionary Socialism is like basing your personal finances on the chance that you will win the euro millions. It could happen but it is not bloody likely.

My blueprint for change is as follows:

1. Any candidate who gives a commitment to carry out a particular policy should be legally obliged to keep their word. If they want to change their mind than they must resign and go for re-election putting foreword the new policy. There are other ways of doing this e.g. local referendum.

2. Elections should be held every two years.

3. All elected representatives should have to hold monthly public meetings where they report back to their constituatnts and take instructions from their constituents on what way they should vote on particular bills.

Note: I think these meetings should be held on Saturdays and as well as having internet access to them to insure the most participation possible people who attend the physical meeting should be able to avail of some kind of grocery shopping service so while they are at the meeting they submit their grocery list and when the meeting is over their shopping is delivered to them. This would ensure a higher participation and thus a more representative meeting.

4. In elections all candidates should receive equal funding and equal media coverage. I know that this means that some cranks would be funded by the state but it is still preferable to the current funding and coverage given to candidates.

5. There would have to be a constitution guaranteeing the rights of all citizens which could only be changed by a national referendum. A constitution is essential to ensure that local meetings do not over step their power for example residents in pike farm in cork organized a picket of a house simply because it was being used by mentally ill people.

6. People should have some kind of mechanism where they can propose changes to the national constitution and these change are voted on by the nation.

There are a lot of other points which could be added to this list but I would have to thank about them more before I submit them. The point of this exercise is to try and find a constructive use for this thread rather than just arguing about the SWP. My point is also that nothing I have outlined above requires a revolution to achieve it. Furthermore it is not even that radical most people would agree with most of what has been outlined above.

author by Marcas MacCaoimhín - SP (PC)publication date Thu May 31, 2007 12:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are wrong that change is usually an evolutionary process. Or at least in your understanding of the term evolution. Even in the natural world, evolution has been progressed through revolutions or punctuated equilibria. In evolution, small changes over a long period of time build up a head of steam before major changes take place over a short space of time.
As in nature, so in society. The major changes in society have come about through either catastrophic collapse in the previous society or in the case of the ascent of capitalism, through a series of revolutions - English, French, American followed by revolutions accross Europe. It is because people generally don't like lots of change - we're hard wired for conformity - that major change happens in short bursts when people just can't take it no more. Look at how the execution of the leaders of 1916 served as a catalyst for the rise of the independance movement. This obviously was not the only reason Irish people wanted their own state but it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

On your other point, we clearly do lay out what kind of society we want in our printed and electronic material.

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Thu May 31, 2007 13:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Marcas !

Two questions , if you don't mind -

" Look at how the execution of the leaders of 1916 served as a catalyst for the rise of the independance movement. This obviously was not the only reason Irish people wanted their own state but it was the straw that broke the camel's back. "

Do you agree that the word 'continuation' would suit better than 'rise' , as used above ?

Am I correct in presuming that your use of the word 'state' is not to imply a belief on your part that the men and women of 1916 were fighting for a 26-County entity ?

Thanks ,

Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by Libertarian Infusionpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ois and Ronan

I think both of you have slightly mis interpreted my post.

I agree entirely that politics is more than voting in state elections. Politics occurs in every social relationship and politics is ultimately about regulating and using power as a means to pursue objective ends.

Political activity takes place in every arena of social activity be it the family, workplace, community, social centre etc

However, my point was how we use the collective sum of political activity to pursue shared common goals across the state, i.e. a public health care system, a public transport system, an education system, housing, policies relating to disability, gender equality, equity in every social institution be they private, public or voluntary etc.

These are things that can only be provided through the state in the short term. Ideally a radical democratic social movement would be evolving to bring these things about and ultimately we would have a confederated self governing community based structure.

However, for the moment, this is simply a question of theory and political ideals because it isn’t going to happen in the near future and yes, the priority should be to build this 'movement' but personally I think it is political suicide to ignore the colossal apparatus of the state in bringing this change about, particularly when the state is the only option available in bringing about a public healthcare, transport system etc in the next 20 years.

Thus, until a coherent libertarian strategic plan on how these things can be achieved in the short, medium and long term by libertarian democrats is put before the 'people' as a realistic and attainable alternative then the state will always be with us.

And whilst the state will always be with us, using it as one means alongside community activity, workplace struggle etc is a worthwhile exercise, particularly in bringing about social change in collective state wide concerns such as health, housing and transport .

Ideologically you may be against the state but we live in a world where the ultimate arbiter in decision making takes place in corporate boardrooms and shareholders etc, thus, there are times when ideology can do to the mind and political strategy what a ball & chain does to the body: hold it back and restrict a 'movement'.

Libertarians because of their emphasis on democracy and democratic decision making, that is, on how they organise should not fear the dangers of local and state elections but view them as a means amongst so many others to pursue their objective end goals.

And this end goal should be democratic self governance.

author by Fintan Lane - Irish Socialist Network and AWI (pers cap)publication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was listening to the RTE News at One and it seems that Finian McGrath (TD for Dublin North East) has raised the issue of Shannon and, having signed the IAWM/PANA pledge prior to the election, he is now saying that an ending of the US military stopover will be a priority for him when negotiating with Fianna Fail.

Let us hope he remains serious about this, though I personally believe that FF are rather unlikely to give way, but, if McGrath holds steady, it should be interesting...Worth watching, anyway.

author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party/CWIpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you are displaying a lot more optimism about the actions of Finian McGrath than I have. I hope McGrath justifies your optimism in him.

author by E swp - SWPpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fintan,
Dont get your hopes up. he actually said that Shannon ,the war etc where not "Holy Grails" for him! Sounds to me like he is more than willing to do a deal and jettison any principals. Hope I am wrong.

author by Dubpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I disagree with Fintan Lane. I have not illusions whatsoever in McGrath or Gregory. They will see us out. Gregory's mouth is watering over getting the Ceann Comhairle job or even a ministry, McGrath is wetting his pants thinking of doing a deal. FF/PD will give a meaningless pledge about inspections of planes. This will keep McGrath happy and will keep the USA happy. I am somewhat disturbed by your sneaking admiration for Finan McGrath's coalitionism. I didn't think it was ISN policy. McGrath and Gregory will not act as a left opposition as Joe Higgins has done in the past 10 years. That's not what they are interested in. They are happy to keep their asses in Leinster House and get 100k a year in their back pockets while they are there.

author by Dubpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In reply to Roger Cole I have to take him up on Labour's anti-war credentials. Firstly, Labour did not support protests in Shannon. Instead they went into the National media and deliberately undermined the planned protests because of stupid media hype over "dangerous anarachists". Secondly, Labour (& Michael D. Higgins) were pledged to put FG into power. And indeed, they may well put FF into power after 'blank canvass' arises after 14 June. Thirdly, Labour are affiliated to the British Labour Party which started the Iraq war! Roger, if you were in Britain you would be voting for Labour over anti-war independents/smaller parties. Labour are also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party. If you were serious you would move to expel them or leave that international formation.

Roger Cole did not answer my point about PANA backing a genuine anti-war candidate in Euro 09 election. Of course Joe Higgins would be a SP candidate, nonetheless I think he would deserve support (canvassers, posterers, leafleters, finances) from the anti-war organisations if he decided to run for MEP. I think he'd be an excellant anti-war MEP. Problem is, Roger Cole will work against that within PANA and broader anti-war movement due to his Labour membership. (that would be real sectarianism)

author by Fintan Lane - ISNpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 14:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We are a grumpy lot today, aren't we?

For the record (do I really have to do this?):

1. I DON'T support anybody propping up a right-wing government.

2. I DON'T expect McGrath to 'persuade' FF to do anything on Shannon and believe it more likely that a deal will be done and Shannon forgotten.

However, it has to be a good and useful thing that McGrath has raised the issue and it is now up to him to follow through on his pledge. Will he or won't he?

Finally, my apologies for not being glum enough for this thread...now I'm off to do some work.

La lutte continue.

author by Serious Sampublication date Thu May 31, 2007 15:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can I ask Michael how many IAWM members worked for Ciaran Perry, John O'Neill, Joe Higgins or Claire Daly? If the answer is none then why? Are there no IAWM members in these constituencies? When was it decided who the membership of IAWM would or wouldn't canvass for, at an all Dublin members meeting? By some executive?

Looking forward to your reply

Sam

author by Marcas MacCaoimhínpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 16:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think rise is the correct term because there was little support for republicanism as opposed to home rule prior to this event.

On your second point I wasn't implying any particular size of state or number of counties.

Related Link: http://gripofhysteria.wordpress.com/
author by No 11 - SPpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

TBF, the left very nearly gained three seats in the 30th Dail. There were only a few hundred transfers in it and had it come to pass the far left would have held the balance of power in a hung Dail. We very nearly came close to a historic result, I see no reason to be downhearted. On the contrary I see a bright future ahead, especially after the economy hits the inevitable rocks and voting for the steady ship isn't an option any more.

author by pat cpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 17:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually in the case of RBB it was more than a few hundred votes. At the last count, Ciaran Cuffe was over 2,000 votes ahead of RBB.

I was sad to see a genuine Socialists like Joe & clare defeated.

author by Roger Cole - Peace & Neutrality Alliancepublication date Thu May 31, 2007 18:09author email pana at eircom dot netauthor address 17 Castle Street, Dalkeyauthor phone Report this post to the editors

In response to Dub, I would like to make the following points.
PANA was established in 1996 to oppose the process by which the political/media elite was integrating Ireland into the EU/US military structures in order to ensure Ireland's full and active participation in the resource wars of the 21st century, and it is open to all groups and individuals that accept its objectives. It has also agreed to work with those groups such as IAWM. the NGOPA and AWI that largely agree with our analysis. PANA held it's first demonstration at Shannon Airport in May 2002 and has held many demonstrations against the war in conjunction with other groups since then. Many of these demonstrations included Labour Party members such as Jan O'Sullivan, Michael D. Higgins. However as Chair of PANA, I am responsible to PANA. On several occassions, such as PANA's opposition to the militarisation of the EU via the Nice Treaty and in particular PANA's opposition to the EU Battle Groups, I supported PANA's position on these issues in clear opposition to that of the leadership of the Labour Party.
However the key issue is what is to happen in the future. In my last comment I said the war will go on and on, for at least 5-10 years and another contributor disagreed. Low and behold, Bush has just compared Iraq to Korea, so that as far as he is concerned the war will last for 50 years! The reality is the process by which Ireland is being drawn deeper and deeper into supporting this Imperialist war for oil will contine for some time to come. The war has the total support of the political/corporate media elite who simply ignored the LMR survey which showed 58% of the people did not agree with the use of Shannon Airport. In the future as Irish soldiers come back in body bags from Afghanistan having served in the Battle Groups of the EU, then and only then will the people stop supporting the FF/FG/PD parties that now dominate Irish politics. Those of us that oppose this Imperialist war, whatever our differences on other issues need to work more closely together and to focus on the future elections whether they be the local or EU elections in two years time.

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by Jolly Red Giant - Socialist Party/CWIpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 18:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Marcas said

" Look at how the execution of the leaders of 1916 served as a catalyst for the rise of the independance movement. This obviously was not the only reason Irish people wanted their own state but it was the straw that broke the camel's back. "

and Sharon asked

"Do you agree that the word 'continuation' would suit better than 'rise' , as used above ?"

Actually I would disagree that 'continuation' is a better word in this situation. Prior to the Rising,and in particular prior to the start of WW1, there was relatively little support for Irish independence, but widespread support for Home Rule. Among those supporting Home Rule were Griffith, Pearse and others who later adopted a position of demanding independence. Indeed the only forces warning of the limitations of Home Rule during this period were the SPI. The split in the Volunteers in 1914 facilitated the rise of elements of more militant nationalism, however, even by 1916 these forces still accounted for a small minority within the country as a whole. Begining with the aftermath of the Rising (rather than the Rising itself), through the initial successes of nationalist candidates in parliamentary by-elections, leading to the defeat of conscription by the ILPTUC and coupled with ill-conceived British tactics (from their perspective), support for independence grew rapidly after 1916. In this context the word 'rise' rather than 'continuation' would, in my opinion, be far more appropriate.

author by Deirdre Clancypublication date Thu May 31, 2007 19:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What has failed to be mentioned so far on this thread, by both those who hail the electoral process as fair and truly democratic and those who see flaws in it (which I do) is the pathetic number of women elected to the Dail. In European terms, our record on this is truly dismal. The question is whether this is because the powers that be in the main political parties are reluctant to nominate and promote enough high-calibre female candidates or whether it's because the electorate instinctively trust male politicians more because of some sort of deep-rooted cultural sense that women don't make good leaders or spokespersons and should be thwarting their abilities in order to stand by their men, sort of like the otherwise smart Michelle Obama giving up her job for the 'greater good' of the possibility of an African-American President. The INO consistently having male spokespeople is the most obviously ridiculous example of this imbalance in terms of female representation in public life in Ireland.

There was a documentary on RTE radio last night that was quite revealing on the issue. It followed three female candidates on the campaign trail. Mary Fitzgerald of FF was constantly struggling to get Bertie to recognise and endorse her, but he clearly favoured the anodyne Cyprian Brady. It was embarrasing to listen to the descriptions of her struggling to share platforms with Bertie and constantly being upstaged by Brady at Bertie's instigation. She was regarded as a bit too uppity for having done a leaflet drop in part of Dublin Central asking voters to give her their number 1. The response from the Party was to retaliate by sending out letters asking for 1. Bertie 2. Cyprian and 3. Mary F. By the end of the documentary, Mary F. was clearly very upset and fuming, and making no secret of it. No doubt she'll be regarded as a bit shrill for the Party from hereonin. You could say that's what you get for running for FF, and I have no particular interest in this woman's politics personally, but it did give an insight into how the political machinery works against egalitarianism on various levels -- and there are probably plenty of levels I don't know about too, never having been a member of FF.

I have no doubt that she did probably break some agreed Party honour code, but the response to her leaflet drop was pretty severe and damaging. A private slap on the wrist would have sufficed.This is electoral politics in our country. What woman would wish to partake of it and have her character assassinated on the national airwaves by the incredibly (and inexplicably) popular Taoiseach's handlers just for trying to maximise her chances of getting elected?

There is a lot of tokenism around when it comes to gender in electoral politics, the main example being the last Presidential election; the Irish Presidency being a ceremonial office without any real power attached to it. The spirit of Pee Flynnstone is alive and well in Irish mainstream politics - it's just become a bit more subtle than it was 15 years ago.

author by Sharon. - Individual .publication date Thu May 31, 2007 20:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...... thank you both for taking the time to reply !

It was the use of the word 'state' , coupled with the term 'rise' , which led me to think that perhaps an attempt was being made to , as they say in Leinster House , 'be economical with the truth' !

The reply from Marcas - " On your second point I wasn't implying any particular size of state or number of counties" - puts my mind at ease on that particular point . However , in relation to the term 'rise' , I wonder if the use of same could (unintentionally) obscure what had happened before 1916 ie 1798 and 1803 , whereas the word 'continuation' (in that context) would be more fitting ?

Thanks again !

Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by Fintan Lane - ISN and AWI (pers cap)publication date Thu May 31, 2007 22:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well, the suspense is over re. Finian McGrath.

Speaking in Berlin tonight, Bertie Ahern emphatically stated (in response to the McGrath kite) that he will continue to facilitate the US war machine at Shannon.

Finian McGrath was subsequently contacted by RTE and admitted that he was simply expressing his concern and that the use of Shannon to brutally murder and maim tens of thousands of men, women and children will NOT be a 'deal breaker'.

Oh well.

author by Deirdre Clancy - AWI (personal capacity)publication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 09:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Finian McGrath was the only TD to write to the Pitstop Ploughshares in Limerick Prison expressing unequivocal support; I always thought he had integrity on a range of issues. It's a pity that he's willing to compromise on Shannon. It's pretty understandable that he'd wish to use his position to bring about various changes, but the demotion of the use of Shannon in the priorities of the several politicians who came out against it initially is very disappointing and a travesty. Although we don't know the outcome yet, I can't see FF budging on this one. It will be 'mentioned' as an issue by the Greens and McGrath in an attempt to keep the grassroots activists happy and then it'll be business as usual again.

It was Mary Fitzpatrick, not Fitzgerald, I was referring to in my previous posting. Slip of the keyboard, but it's bad to be going on about gender inequities and not get the woman's name correct!

author by Miriam Cotton - MediaBitepublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

{Puhleeze, I beg of those involved above, could the subject of the SWP's perceived faults be left to one side just this once? I swear, I am going to cry if I see one more thread diverted into this topic. Perhaps we could have a 'here's where you go to discuss the SWP thread, and all future spats could be resectioned there?]

The issue of women in politics is a good example of how many social issues fare under our electoral system. Comparable prejudices and power struggles stifle meaningful progress in each case. In saying what I say below, I believe much of it could be applied to many social and economic disadvantages and curtailments of freedom.

Good post Deirdre - and couldn't agree more with what you say. Tokenism, disproportionate responses to and villification of women who complain of discrimination, subtle forms of gender discrimination - it's all there. There is a monumental consciousness raising exercise needed where sexism and Irish politics are concerned. Mary Fitzgerald will be taught to know her place, in due course, no doubt.

Party politics is a waste of time for women, imho - whether of the left or right. It's fundamentally sexist in its conception and functioning. The typical party or political grouping is usually a classic male power structure - designed by and for men. We are a reluctantly acknowledged after-thought and must prove that we 'fit in'. The women who 'succeed' (Harney, Hanafin) only make matters worse for other women because they must be subservient to the inherent sexism in the system. They have to outdo the men in their 'toughness' and eagerness to disassociate themselves from feminism. They see no sexism anywhere, naturally. Hanafin is busy proving her credentials as a potential future Taoiseach at the moment by singling out children with special needs for exceptionally mean and neglectful treatment. As with Thatcher, the men of her political tribe love her of course. Harney ditto with the health service and any other unfortunate public service that her terrifying gaze alights on. (Will she get health again if in government? Surely not.)

Would either of these women complain assertively about how few other women there are? Would they hell! To complain of sexism is the fastest route to political siberia for any woman. "No doubt she'll be regarded as a bit shrill for the Party from hereonin" is exactly right. And as you say, on the numbers alone, most parties are demonstrating some disinclination or another. The same thing happens to people who complain of racism, homophobia, class discrimination etc - it's not politically expedient to mention them.

As a recent convert, Libertarian Socialism is an alternative philosophy that holds enormous potential for tackling subtle forms of sexism - and discrimination of all kinds. In particular the idea of designating the minimum possible amount of authority to any person or group - and only when it is deemed absolutely vital to do so - would ultimately free us to explore and promote our own norms and conventions on a par with those of men. Everything around us at the moment where politics and property is concerned was by and for men originally. It's like living inside someone else's mind.

The degree to which people have ceded their personal authority over their own lives and the extent to which that authority has been ceded to men is reaping its own inevitable and disastrous consequences - for men and women alike. To vote in an election, far from being an exercise in giving permission - is actually to give away one's authority. It's contrary to our basic human nature and it certainly only serves the interests of very few people. Figting discrimination in this context is like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. As women we probably don't even know ourselves the full extent to which we have been indoctrinated by the sexism we experience - we are scarcely allowed even to define our own experiences in any meaningful way. If we are not allowed to say what sexism is ourselves, what hope do men have of understaning it? To really 'think outside the box' you have to actually be outside it.

For all these reasons I agree with Ronan when he says this:

"Sinking a lot of work into achieving an especially high soapbox isn’t that much use when people aren’t listening, if we want our arguments to be heard we need to make them from the furnace where our politics have been forged, the heart of the struggles of the people."

That's as close as we can get to thinking outside the box for the moment and by creating and using spaces such as this (Indymedia) we are certainly a more powerful force for change than as constituents dependent on a few bound and gagged elected representatives to resolve our difficulties.

The capitalist/democratic party political system will implode sooner or later. It's not serving people well and a number of ill effects are coming home to roost - environmental catastrophe, capitalist war mongering, widening divisions between rich and poor - none of these things can go on indefinately. The wars we are seeing now are a result of great fear by capitalism's most ferocious exponents that the end of their system is nigh. Marx anticipated all of that of course and it's a pity he can't be here to say 'I told you so'. If we want, literally, only to be able to breathe, then the truth about democratic capitalism will have to be confronted. Environmental issues are radicalising communities like nothing ever has done before - there is no dogma or coercion involved. People are simply deducing the truth from the harsh facts of lived experiences. Politics and politicians are becoming so detached from people's concerns that electoralism is now only serving to remind many people how inadequate it is.

Grassroots movements and campaigns around specific issues only seem irrelevant if you are on the inside looking out. The view is restricted from there. These actions are an invaluable form of public co-operation and participation - and they have far more impact than is officially acknowledged anyway. We had all better get off our backsides and get involved because we are going to have to anyway sooner or later. There is a huge groundswell of similar thought at the moment - it's not yet evident in mainstream discourse, of course, but it is happening. At the same time that we are anticipating global catastrophe from several potential sources, a means of responding to it is already evolving. It's important not to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed or to despair. Maybe Libertarian Socialism or some such philosophy will emerge as a naturally occurring/dominant consensus on how to rebuild our societies when it is most needed? Self-sufficiency on basic issues will have to be re-learned - food, medicine - a lot artisan skills that have been lost in the recent past will be needed.

In the longer term view, electoralism is irrelevant.

FWIW, I voted for the most conscientious, hard-working and reliable candidate in our constituency - in the knowledge that these qualities guaranteed he would not be elected. And he wasn't. It's a sort of anarchy. On the other hand, had great fun on politics.ie with pre-election electoralism and general pot stirring over there. The most fun was when I weighed in ferociously in favour of Enda Kenny as the winner of 'the debate'. What larks!

author by wageslavepublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps we could have a 'here's where you go to discuss the SWP thread, and all future spats could be resectioned there?

I second that.

author by Joepublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So when Finian signed the pledge that
"I give a firm commitment that if elected I will not participate in any government that allows Shannon or other irish facilities to be used by the United States to conduct war in Iraq or any other imperialist war"
he was in fact lying to his electorate.

What can his electorate do about this? Wait five years and then vote for someone else telling them whatever they reckon will get their vote?

author by Realistpublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Miriam Cotton wrote: "To vote in an election........It's contrary to our basic human nature"

I have read some ridiculous comments on this site, but this surely has to rank as one of the worst....

Any chance you could thrash this comment out and give us a definition of human nature and how voting is contrary to this.

Are you talking about the act of voting which almost every poltical group does at some stage including anarchists or voting in parliamentary democracy every 5 years?

author by John McAnulty - Socialist Democracypublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is a small window of opportunity for the left to think again following the elections. It is very unlikely that this will happen If they think that anyone stood in the Dail elections on a socialist programme, that Sinn Fein are part of the left, that revolutionaries stand in elections to get the maximum vote without reference to policy or that the defeat of the Northern struggle and the Nurses industrial action have nothing to do with the case.

Another 2 cents in the other press section

Related Link: http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/
author by John Mc Nutter - Socialist Autocracypublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Let me guess..we all got it wrong...the real issue was the privatisation of the public car park on the seaside at Bundoran. Pity only JMcA notices what the real issues are. Why even the working class themselves are so thick they dont know what the real issues are. Good thing they have JMcA to put them right.

He's like Old Faithful: predicatble and full of steam. Thankfully it blows away in the wind without the slightest impact on anything.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 15:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You're right - the way those sentences are juxtaposed doesnt fully express my meaning.

What I meant was that the heirarchical, top-down nature of capitalist democracy is contrary to human nature. Voting under the present system is not an exercise in authority or control over one's own affairs - it's an assignment of authority to another person when you will have no idea or say in what they are going to do with it. That's contrary to human nature - counter-intuitive. And when so many people assign so much unquantifiable authority to so few, it's a sort of collective madness. The individual you vote for is him or herself constrained by party dictat, so it's not even as if their personal qualities are a factor. An then consider misues of power such as McDowell's when he gave authority over Irish people to the US - did anyone in this country vote for him to do that? Nobody even knew it was a possibility. Capitalist democracy has been the longest standing political joke in history - at the expense of ordinary citizens in every country labouring under its yoke.

Dear old Finian McGrath - by all accounts he has dumped his written undertaking to make opposition to Shannon stop-overs a non-negotiable. That's curtains for him among his own voters. And he is one of the 'nice guys'. What can the people in Dublin who voted for him be feeling like now?

author by labour memberpublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bitch about labour all ye like lads but the fact is that Labour IN GOVERNMENT has achieved more than any micro-left party ever has. Labour IN GOVERNMENT decriminilised homosexuality, outlawed discrimination against travellers and other minorities and brought the right to Divorce to ireland. Labour established the first anti-poverty task-force and abolished third level fees, among many other things. And it only did it by recognising the reality that in ireland you have to compromise with other parties, in order to get into government so you can achieve something, even if you dont achieve everything.

And I know people are going to come up with a list here of what labour didnt do or what they should have done or whatever, but I challenge anybody on the far left to list more solid achievements in ireland by micro-left groups, than labour did during the 5 years they were in government in the 1990s.

author by Non labour memberpublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 17:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ah, the stock phrase for these occasions: "micro-left". Forgive me if I don't bow down to the wonderful record of the Labour Party. Labour has had opportunities that no far-left group has ever had, resources at its disposal that the Socialist Party or the SWP or other groups could only dream of, and what has it done? Time and time again, march into coalition with right-wing parties, abandon all its policies, take a pounding at the next election and then do it all again. After the 2002 elections, Labour could have assembled a left-wing bloc with SF, the Greens and independents that was already bigger than Fine Gael and declared its intention to become the main opposition to Fine Gael. Instead, your wonderful leader decided to lift Fine Gael out of the hole, and we can see the results five years later - a triumphant FG and a weakened left.

So spare us the triumphalism please. Despite its much smaller reserves of political capital, you can bet the hard left will do far more to challenge US imperialism, social partnership, health care inequality and all the other rotten features of the status quo than Labour will do, in government or opposition.

author by Left wing govtpublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 18:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Labour took a swing to the right in 1991 yet had the effrontery to keep the (tiny "s") "socialist" label. In 2002 we had the best chance yet to rid ourselves of the FF/FG farce of 2 right wing parties of the rich dominating Irish politics. But what did Labour do? Rescue the blueshirts from their potentially fatal decline and reap the reward of electoral irrelevancy. Rabbittes mob should do us all a favour and go merge with their centre right buddies as many Labour members and one ex-leader have already done in the previously.

author by Dubpublication date Fri Jun 01, 2007 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Labour always brag about how they brought in great reforms when propping up Albert Reynolds and John Bruton. Lets just look at it. On 3rd level fees: I think years of campaigning by the student movement had more to do with it then Niamh Breatneach who kept the Churches in power in education. On legalising homosexuality: Again years of campaigning by people over their rights had far more to do with it then Labour getting into bed with Reynolds. On divorce: yet again, campaigns existed in favour of divorce rights without any Labour involvement. I could go on debunking the myths over Labour's involvement in deals with FF and FG. Labour were also responsible for pro-rich budgets from Ruarai Quinn, Nurses dispute under Brendan Howlin, Tax amnesties for tax dodgers under Ruarai Quinn, Water charges under Howlin, .... the list goes on.

author by yer manpublication date Tue Jun 05, 2007 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Contrary to some of the posts above at least some members of the WSM did organise a 'don't vote' campaign. Cork WSMers stuck up posters that read 'DON'T VOTE!' and they are clearly labelled at the bottom as WSM posters.

author by I can read - Can you?publication date Tue Jun 05, 2007 15:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Don't vote" is not the same as "Spoil your ballot". And "spoil your ballot if you can be arsed" is not the same as "mass campaign to spoil ballots to prove that anarchists are in a majority". There are a lot of complicated think-things in the previous sentence, so please don't rush to respond.

author by Justinpublication date Tue Jun 05, 2007 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The PDs may have got a well deserved kicking at the polls but their influence lives on in the manadarins of Dublin City Council who have been threatening remaining bin tax protestors with fines and prison again.

No coincidence that these privatisation-lovers waitied until after the voting for their latest shameful manouevre..

Related Link: http://www.dublinpeople.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2637&Itemid=49
author by josephpublication date Mon Jun 11, 2007 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Finally we can say once and for all say the people have rejected looney far left parties and about time to. I often wondered was it a case of they are entirely self deluded about the world or are the desperate to cling to some meaning in their life or do they take the public as gullible. I'm sure some are well meaning but that dosent negate the fact their policies would do more harm than good for the average citizen. Thats not important anyway.

As the article quotes;
"Socialist (or anarchist for that matter) consciousness isn’t particularly relevant for the most part, it only becomes relevant during certain periods of struggle and conflict, in the workplace, in the community or even on a national level." -

This hits the nail square on the head, there is no struggle or conflict anymore, people are more than content with their personal situation and will likely be so well into the future. Therefore the loony far left will become ever more fringe henceforth, until they go the way of the dodo.

P.S. I have to agree with realist about that mirriam cotton, what a belly laugh though....

"Voting under the present system is not an exercise in authority or control over one's own affairs - it's an assignment of authority to another person when you will have no idea or say in what they are going to do with it. That's contrary to human nature - counter-intuitive. And when so many people assign so much unquantifiable authority to so few, it's a sort of collective madness"

The melodramtic content is worthy of the soaps. Do you propose every minute decision an authority makes that the people be consulted, what sort of a moron are you. The political institutions we have now are by far the best we have now, try proposing an alternative...

author by Pedantpublication date Mon Jun 11, 2007 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The political institutions we have now are by far the best we have now"

You're a real genius aren't you joseph? The leg I have now is also the best I have now. I wouldn't say it's the best possible leg, maybe Wayne Rooney's is better. Maybe you should a) be a little more humble or b) not write such utterly daft meaningless sentences

author by mirasmapublication date Mon Jun 11, 2007 20:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The people who reject "electoralism" as a strategy for the revolutionary left to attain power are perfectly correct. The blunt fact is that they have finally worked it out that more than 90% of the electorate in free elections vote for centrist parties and candidates who suport the social-democratic settlement within the context of a regulated freeish-market economy.

This being so - and there is no evidence whatsoever that suggests these brutal electoral mathematics will ever change - the only way to power for the revolutionary left is .........REVOLUTION! (logical, isn't it?)

Having clarified the argument with a bit of logic, the revolutionary left now needs to accumulate lots of guns and bombs so that it can kill all the people who would misguidedly stand in its way to power.

Once they have seized power history tells us that we can depend on the sort of people who have wrested power by murder and violence to rule wisely and compassionately over a society where all wealth is shared equally among the hard-working, the lazy, the violent rulers and the people they rule.

Get a grip and grow up.

The far-left doesn't get elected because people don't like it and don't trust it and won't vote for it. End of story.

author by Pedantpublication date Mon Jun 11, 2007 21:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd hazard a guess that "mirasma" is the same person who posted as "joseph" earlier, embarassed by their mistake and wanting to change the subject with a childish rant. Oh well, can't blame the fella for being embarassed, you did come across as being a little dim for someone who throws words like "moron" around so casually

author by Roger Cole - Peace & Neutrality Alliancepublication date Mon Jun 11, 2007 21:53author email pana at eircom dot netauthor address 17 Castle Street, Dalkey. Co. Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Mirasma believes the defeat of candidates that opposed Ireland's participation in Bush's Imperial war for oil, and to consolidate Israeli military domination and the victory for the FF and FG that support Ireland's participation in Bush's war is final. It is"the end of the story". He is not alone. Plenty of people even those who have a long track record of opposing this imperialist war in Iraq are changing sides, supporting the leading warmonger in Ireland, Mr Ahern and seem to have no problems now helping the Crusader Armies of occupation.
Of course, the story does not "end". The war will go on and on for many years to come. It will spead to Iran and Pakistan. Thousands more men women and children will die. If Sargent enters the Ahern Government, I hope he ensures the windmills are painted red so as to ensure the blood does not stand out that much. However I just cannot believe he will.
As the war drags on and on however it will destroy the capitalist system so beloved by Mirasma.
The US budget trade deficit is now 800 billion dollars and the war in Iraq so far has cost the US 434 billion dollars. Basically, with a population base of only 3-4% of the world's population Bush's Empire cannot rule the world and it's efforts to do so will destroy it along with it's vassal states like little old Ireland.
So, in a way, Mirasma, those of us who oppose the war and Ireland's participation in the war, are defending the democratic state we now have. It is Ahern and Kenny and their supporters that in reality seek to destroy it. And as the war drags on and on, as the Irish soldiers sent to Afghanistan in the EU Battle Groups come back from the Crusade in bodybags in the years to come, I hope and believe that the Irish people will stop supporting Ahern,Kenny and the gang. The story is not over yet my friend.

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"... Do you propose every minute decision an authority makes that the people be consulted, what sort of a moron are you. "

I support a system that involves people in making decisions about their everyday lives and within which authority is only assigned under strictly limited terms and by common consent - a society opposed to all forms of violence. I support freedom of expression and the equitable sharing of world's resources to the benefit of all. Such systems have existed successfully before although during the last century many have been violently wiped out with US military and monetary 'aid'.

We produce enough food worldwide to feed the planet's entire population more than three times over. Yet billions of people are living in extreme poverty and many are starving. We see the US engaged in murderous wars to secure vital and limited resources for a tiny but obscenely wealthy elite. The moronic system that you support is directly responsible for this entirely unnecessary state of affairs. So dispense with the smug complacency for a while - the fact that your obviously limited powers of reasoning or inquiry prevent you from seeing beyond the end of your nose does not mean there is nothing better out there to be aware of.

The outcome of this election comes down to this: The PDs are still calling the shots. One way or another Harney and the most despised politcal grouping in the country, because they have the backing of IBEC - will determine the economic, social and cultural direction the country takes. What ever government is formed, Harney will be there with a big ministry - finance probably. Ahern almost certainlly has no choice in this. His backers will demand nothing less and we know how craven he is before vested interests. He has already said that one of the first things he is going to do is to meet with IBEC to determine how to respond to imminent economic decline. He can say that without the least trace of irony about the billions just given away as an election bribe - SSIAs. Taxpayers money that should have been spent on hospitals, schools, roads etc but which has been diverted into nose-jobs and foreign holidays. He talks about 'preserving prosperity'. What he means is that he intends to preserve the wealth of the wealthy at the expense of ordinary people - including most of the people who voted for him. Again, he will use our taxes to do this. The repossessions have begun, the jobs are falling away, the cost of living is rising beyond the means of the lowest paid. Infrastructure is worsening. As for soap operas and melodrama, there again Ahern's personal finances are providing the nation with one of the biggest belly laughs they have had for some time.

author by mirasmapublication date Tue Jun 12, 2007 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pity more than 95% of the electorate are too stupid to grasp the truth that is so obvious to so many Indymedia contributors: That all the problems in the world are the fault of the Americans and the Jews.

Pity that the vast majority looks for betterment for themselves and that of their children within the evolutionary framework of social democracy and market-economics rather than revolutionary utopian visions.

Pity that those who try to sell utopian visions (of both extremes) have been so let down by the history their ideologies use to support their theories. Pity that people are so wary of the utopian narratives of modernism that have produced the agents of megadeath. Mao Stalin and Hitler (in bodycount order) make ordinary people wary. Their bargain-basement successors, Mugabe and Kim Il Jong bring the lesson bang up-to-date.

That the people who make up the tiny squabbling alphabet-soup of the extreme left and right are and were prominent among the apologists for the Soviet, Nazi, and Maoist fascism of the left and right in past years might also tend to make ordinary people reluctant to waste their votes on fringe candidates.

So, if people hate you and won't vote for you "electoralism" must be a bad thing. Right? Its only logic.

By the way, the PDs are not the most hated party out there. They still have 3 TDs. By the same measure where does that leave the SWP and SP and all the other extremists? Yup! you got it..............

author by Pedantpublication date Tue Jun 12, 2007 19:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"They still have 3 TDs"

Wrong again I'm afraid! There's no point engaging with your hysterical rants (aye, you'll find lots of socialists who believe all the problems of the world are caused by the Jews - now who's living in a fantasy land?). Much more fun to point out the fact that you are incapable of writing anything without committing the most elementary mistakes of fact. Why on earth does the left have to take directions or learn anything from a bitter eejit who can't even count?

Actually, I think I understand - you're still in denial about the fact that Michael McDole lost his seat, so you honestly, genuinely believe that the PDs have three seats. Sorry mate, if Mickey shows up at the first sitting of the new Dail, there won't be any room at the inn for your hero. Hard luck, try again next time maybe!

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Tue Jun 12, 2007 22:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mirasma - your last post is really embarrassing. You are mixing up movements and ideologies in an alphabet soup of your own ignorance and prejudices. As for hating Jews - I'm at a loss to know where you got that nutty idea from - nobody who posts on Indymedia is anti-semitic. If they are, they get their posts deleted. If you are accusing me personally I should perhaps point out that I have Jewish background myself.

Criticising the state of Israel is a different matter entirely.

I have never seen a post on this site that defended the atrocities of any dictatorship of the left or right which was not hidden. As to defending the atrocities of dictators, it's interesting to note your wilful blindness about George W Bush: this is a man who cheated his way to power -almost certainly twice. He has so far invaded two countries under false pretexts and is responsible for the mindless deaths of over 1 million people. Both countries are in ruin and he is now planning to invade at least one more - possibly as many as three or four more - again on trumped up charges of nuclear proliferation for which there is no evidence. The crimes of some of the people you mention, atrocious though they are, will begin to pale in comparison to your hero's. And again, it is a different matter to criticise the current US administration - the majority of American people do not support his violence and no doubt will eventually play a big part in reigning him in.

People may cherish the ideal of democracy but the reality is that they have never actually had it. To paraphrase Chomsky, the only difference between our electoral system and a dictatorship is that in the latter case people are subdued by violence. In our case we are subdued by corporate backed propaganda. Chomsky quotes Frank Darling, an exponent of progressive democratic elitist political science who said that it's better if you don't have to use violence because then you kill the chickens. If you can control their behaviour with carefully orchestrated propaganda, you get to keep their eggs. It was exactly that policy which lay behind US support for Saddam's Iraqi dictatorship, for its backing of violent dictatorships in South America, East Timor and other places. As with Marxism, the US shares an obsession with elitist control of the means of production - primarily for the benefit of those same elites.

I realise it hurts your pride to begin to think that the philosophy you subscribe to was designed to make a big fool of you. Doesn't alter the fact that it has, though. Face it, the system you follow as eagerly and uncritically as a member of the Hitler youth is destroying the planet. You may think that you are safe, tucked up here in little old Ireland, but you are not. The economic, social and environmental impacts of American liberalism will hurt us as badly as anyone. Time to join the grown ups before the shit hits the fan.

author by mirasmapublication date Wed Jun 13, 2007 21:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh dear me too. I made a typo!

Now where does that leave us? The PDs are in the Dail. They are in government. Their low-tax, pro-enterprize policies are now orthodoxy for the vast majority of the newly elected deputies of the people, left-centre, centre-centre, and right-centre..

According to my calculation (correct me again if I get it wrong) the SWP, SP, Immigration Reform Platform, and all the rag-bag of weirdos commies and trots on the fringe left and right have exactly the representation which reflects the mandate given them by the people. Nil! They have nil TDs, nil influence, nil ideas, nil future prospects.

No wonder Pedant grasps at a typo for consolation!

By the way, it is at least honest of you to admit that the left fringe is infested with anti-semitism. Your pal, Ms. Cotton, seems in denial on that point. She also believes that George Bush is about to bring civilization to an end. My guess is that civilization and the present PD-inspired economic-prosperity will survive even poor ol' Georgy.

If Ms. C really wants to see what the end of civilization might look like she should go to the socialist paradises of Mugabe Land and North Korea. If she wants to see a milder version, she could take a time-trip back to the seventies where socialist welfare-ism, an economy dominated by semi-state companies, and conficatory tax-levels were the orthodoxy. Exactly what the people with nil representation and influence are advocating. Mass emmigration and mass unemployment, were the consequence. No wonder they are the 'people's rejects'.

author by Pedantpublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 06:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"it is at least honest of you to admit that the left fringe is infested with anti-semitism."

Now you really are frothing at the mouth my friend. Earlier you made some childishly obvious mistakes, now you are merely lying. I "admitted" nothing of the sort - the left is "infested with anti-semitism" in much the same way that the Fianna Fail party is "infested with Marxist-Leninism".

As Miriam Cotton pointed out, you cannot tell your arse from your elbow when it comes to ideology, you mix up distinctions between left and right and centre that would be obvious to a child of average intelligence. It's truly comical that you feel entitled to throw around labels like "moron" to describe those who disagree with you. It would be very easy to deal with the substantve points you make, but why bother? It's been obvious from the start that you have no interest in a serious discussion, you're far too intolerant and dishonest for that, so much more fun to ridicule your childish mistakes.

author by mirasmapublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, Padant/Cotton, I never called anyone a "Moron" or any other pejoritive term. You seem to be referring to some other commentator on this discussion thread. My opinion of your IQ will sadly have to remain a secret. Neither do I call people "liars" and the like. I had understood that personal abuse was forbidden by the editors. Sadly, in my experience, abuse is used as a substitute or crutch by persons who cannot articulate a coherent argument. Nothing you have said changes my mind on that point.

As for confusion between the extremes on either end of the political spectrum: For the vast majority of people the distinction is completely acedemic. Both extremes assume that their lack of electoral success is due to ordinary people being too stupid to know what is good for them. Tweedlemarxism and Tweedlefascism. The common anti-democracy ideology which underpins all extremists is much more significant than the varying policy-positions each extreme holds on socio-economic issues.

author by Pedantpublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"what sort of a moron are you" - that comes from Joseph's point earlier.

I've been assuming that "Mirasma" and "Joseph" were the same person, since they both made exactly the same points in exactly the same manner. If I am wrong and there are two people with the same intolerant, confused outlook, my apologies. BTW I have never met Miriam Cotton in my life, never mind inhabited her body

But I'm afraid "liar" is going to have to stick - you can call it personal abuse if you like, but I think it usually refers to people who don't tell the truth. Not only do you claim that the left is "riddled with anti-semitism", you even have the audacity to tell me that I have admitted the same ...

Anyway, I'm quite sure that, for example, immigrants living in Ireland, Britain or France can tell the difference between the radical-left activists who organise solidarity campaigns, confront racism and try to organise exploited foreign workers into unions on the one hand, and the far-right activists who organise hate mobs to burn people out of their homes. The difference may be academic to you, but that no doubt reflects your skin colour and class position.

author by mirasmapublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 15:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well then, what do you intend to convey when you write " aye, you'll find lots of socialists who believe all the problems of the world are caused by Jews..."? Perhaps you didn't mean what you wrote, or were trying to convey something different. Perhaps it's just a typo. Perhaps you were trying to be ironic? Still, much better to call people who have different opinions and a better grammatical grasp, "liars".

Immigrants flock to countries like France, the UK, the US and Ireland because liberal capitalist democracies provide them with opportunity. You don't see them trying to smuggle themselves into (or return to) such socialist/fascist paradises as Zimbabwe, Burma, and North Korea. Yup! (as you say) immigrants can tell the difference!

BTW: Skin colour, pink. Occupation, OAP.

author by Pedantpublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 15:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There's no point engaging with your hysterical rants (aye, you'll find lots of socialists who believe all the problems of the world are caused by the Jews - now who's living in a fantasy land?)."

It's merely necessary for me to cut and paste the full sentence to show that there was no possibility whatsoever of anyone taking it as a "confession" that the Left is riddled with anti-semitism. Your status as a liar is amply confirmed, unless you suffered an accident as a child and are unable to detect sarcasm when it is as blatant as a sledgehammer crashing down on somebody's thumb. You really are thrashing around desperately at this point - you've obviously no answer to my point about the very practical, concrete, non-academic difference between the radical left and the far right so far as immigrants are concerned. All you can do is attempt to change the subject with more empty waffle about North Korea and Mugabe. I'm afraid you're going to have to find somebody who admires either regime to argue with...

Actually, can I play at this game? I'm just going to assume, without any proof, that you admire Hitler! You Nazi! What about Auschwitz?

See, just as clever, profound and relevant as your own juvenile comments. If you're an OAP, you really should have acquired a little more wisdom by this stage of your life.

Incidentally, the majority of illegal immigrants in the USA come from Mexico, which should be a paradise of liberal capitalism by your logic. What's up with that dude? Why hasn't NAFTA brought joy and wonder to the Mexicans?

author by mirasmapublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 23:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh Dear,

We do seem to have touched a raw nerve.

Incoherant rage does not an argument make.

Not only does Pedant hate Jews, it seems he also has a problem with disabled people.

When he has finished his Junior Cert he should take time out to reflect and perhaps seek help.

Bye now.

author by Pedantpublication date Thu Jun 14, 2007 23:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ah good! Our little chum has admitted he has nothing to say, he is reduced to frothing at the mouth and accusing me of hating Jews. His departure from this site is a welcome development, any hope of him bringing anything grown up to the discussion is long dead and buried.

author by Aragonpublication date Sun Jun 17, 2007 09:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sold. Converted. The sun has come out and there appears to be real hope after all. If anyone else out there is feeling depressed by the idiotic electoral charade we have just witnessed, and they haven't thought of anarchism, then it is to be recommended. If you have wasted your time and energy on trying to persuade politicians to do the right thing, to stand by even a single principle, then find out why you need never, ever again be bothered with that AND find more effective ways to help bring about real social change.

Anarchy turns out to be the opposite of what the word means - a high degree of cooperation and organisation. Also, it's infintely more democratic than our so called democracy. It doesn't advocate chaos at all and involves far greater accountability than we have at present. Changing attitudes does not require political representation - it requires only effective communication with other people. This realisation has been so liberating. Fucking eurika! Even under own electoral system, and although history does not record it, social change has always been achieved, not by the wisdom of 'great leaders' doing good deeds, but by unrecorded mass movements that 'great leaders' are forced to respond to. Forgive me for preaching to the already long-converted but in case there is anyone reading this who is sceptical on the basis of superficial investigations, I urge you to give libertarian socialism serious consideration.

I now feel embarrassed by the time I have wasted on politicians - at best it did nothing but inflate their egos while making them resentful towards the issue I represented to them because they hated to be reminded of what they ought to be doing but were never going to do anyway. Fool, fool, fool.

The terminology is a wee bit offputting - 'workers', 'bosses' 'scabs' e.g. They're a bit awkward - e.g. as in the Shell to Sea situation where the community is engaged in something that doesn't fit the industrial frame of reference. Why not 'people' and 'exploiters' ? The term 'bosses' implies acceptance of their authority - something anarchists would surely not want to suggest.

Having spent the last few months sampling libertarian socialist philosophy - Chomsky in particular - and combined with the discussion on this thread, things began to finally crystallise. But, to the Green Party, my heartfelt thanks. What a fantastic example unfolding right under our eyes of everything libertarian socialism tells us about the uselessness of electoral and party politics. Punched the point right home.

author by eamonpublication date Tue Jun 19, 2007 23:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Reputable historians agree that the military and civilian casualties suffered by the USSR in its war with the Nazis was somewhere between 5 and 8 million."

You are going to have to quote these so called reputable sources. I suspect they're nazi apoligists or whatever. Wiki quote the following deaths in the USSR for the war years:

Soviet Military; 10,700,000

Civilians: 11,900,000

Soviet Victims of the Holocaust: 1,000,000

Total over 13% of the population

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

This is considered very conservative

Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses (WWII) by Colonel General Krivosheev

States military losses alone at 29,629,000!

http://www.magweb.com/sample/sgmbn/sgm80soj.htm

"The number of Soviet deaths in the Great Patriotic War was one of those crucial historical numbers that were grossly distorted in Soviet historical writing prior to glasnost'. In the Stalin period the official figure was 7 million, a figure stated by Stalin in March 1946.(1) This extreme understatement was presumably intended both to hide the country's postwar weakness from potential new enemies and also to protect the image of Stalin's 'wise leadership'. Under Khrushchev the figure was raised to 20 million.(2) Gorbachev's campaign to fill in the blank spots of Soviet history led to the establishment in March 1989 of a committee attached to Goskomstat USSR, which included officials of Goskomstat itself, the Ministry of Defence, the archives, some research institutes and Moscow State University. This committee arrived at a new figure for Soviet war losses of 26.6 million, which was included in Gorbachev's speech on the 45th anniversary of the end of the war.(3) The explanation by the leading demographers on this committee as to how they arrived at this figure was set out a few months later in a short article in Vestnik statistiki.(4) Its authors explained that 26.6 was an approximate point estimate and that allowing for its approximate nature, it was more accurate to give a figure of 26-27 million war deaths.(5)"

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3955/is_n4_v46/a...54726

Do your homework you lazy right wing student! I could forgive a million or two underestimate but 20 million!

Could you be quoting STALIN as your reputable source?

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