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Report of Marxism 2007.

category dublin | sci-tech | news report author Monday March 12, 2007 18:25author by Red Wedge Report this post to the editors

I attended some of Marxism 2007. This is my account of proceedings.


The Socialist Workers Party organise an annual Marxism conference in Dublin. This year’s event took place in the ATGWU Hall in middle Abbey Street.

When I arrived in the Matt Merrigan hall on mid afternoon on Saturday, the second day of the gathering, a debate between Economist and Broadcaster David McWilliams and SWP leading light Kieran Allen was in full swing. The hall was packed for a re-un of the McWilliams versus the Left battle that also took place at the Social Party’s Marxism equivalent held last year. There was some agreement between the speakers, most notably on the question of the degradation of white-collar work and the persistence of inequality. Predictably, this consensus was not extended to questions of Irish foreign policy, class or immigration. McWilliams suggestion that Israel had a right to “Nuke” Iran was not well received by members of the packed audience. Equally, his suggestion that immigration would be a problem for the Left in the event of an economic downturn was greeted with hostility. To great ovation, a female speaker from the back interrupted McWilliams speech to remind him that the Left rejected divide and rule tactics.

The hall remained full for a talk on the “Rise of the New Left”. Well known activist and Dail Candidate in Dublin South East Rory Hearne took his place on the top table beside RESPECT General Secretary John Rees. Both speakers belted the message out loud and clear- broad anti war, anti-Neo liberal alliances are what we need. Included on Rory’s list of election issues included the bin-taxes, housing, bad health services, war, corruption, planning matters and environmental protection.

Rory Hearne also had sharp words for the Labour Party, Sinn Fein and the Green party. A Labour Youth speaker from the floor, agreeing with Hearne on many issues, pointed out that you could remove Labour, SF and the Greens in the morning but 80% of the voters would still be intent on supporting right wing parties in the general election. There was some debate from the floor about the role of revolutionaries in organisations such a RESPECT and the People before Profit alliance. Brid Smith, PBP Dail candidate in Dublin South Central, insisted that the move to form People before Profit had been forced on activists by the Social Movements while Richard Boyd Barret, PBP flag bearer in Dun-Laoghaire, argued that broad tactical alliances were always adapted by successful revolutionaries. He quoted the Bolshevik demand for “Peace, Bread and Land” as an example.

The hall emptied a little for the next talk “From Chavez to Morales: The Left Tide in Latin America” with academic Mike Gonzales. Gonzales tracked the progress of the Revolution in Venezuela, arguing that President Hugo Chavez was moving to the Left in response to the demands of Venezuelan grassroots movements. All the speakers from the floor were in agreement that the increased support for the Left in Latin America ought to be a source of great optimism and hope. There was some slight disagreement on Uncle Sams role in the continent. One speaker contended that the US military could not intervene at the present time because they were bogged down by the Iraqi resistance. In response, a contributor from Argentina argued that it was armies indigenous to Latin America countries who traditionally did the overthrowing of the Left and the insertion of Despots.

I returned on Sunday afternoon for a talk entitled “From Radicals to Rulers-a history of Irish Republicanism”. This talk was due to be given by Sean Mictchell, who recently polled a very respectable 774 votes as a People before Profit assembly candidate in West Belfast. However, he was detained elsewhere and so Kieran Allen and an SWP member from Belfast stepped in to fill the breach. KA identified two dominant responses to Republicanism on the Irish Left since the outbreak of the Troubles. One approach, traditionally was unremittingly hostile and condemnatory while another was uncompromisingly supportive. In the discussion that followed, there was optimism that the Left would grow in the North if it threw itself behind the campaign to stop the water charges and other issues that brought people from across the traditional divide together. It was agreed that despair in loyalist working class areas caused by decline in the North’s traditional industries, as well as increasing isolation from the British government and the British monarchy represented an opportunity for the Left.

The final discussion was on Partnership and Trade Unionism. Joanne Delaney led the charge with a talk on her experience as a MANDATE Shop Steward in Dunne’s Stores and the broad campaign which secured her re-instatement following her dismissal for wearing a Union pin. In the debate that ensued, speaker after speaker rose to profess despair at the partnership model and the trade union leadership. Prominent Left Wing trade unionist Des Derwin argued for Left unity in the Unions and his call was echoed by others. With the discussion on trade unionism done and dusted, Marxism attendees filed into the Matt Merrigan hall for the final rally, delivered by Sean Mitchell and Richard Boyd Barret. Both speakers returned to the need to build up People before Profit. They also insisted that the existence of a strong revolutionary current within these organisations was indispensable and for this reason, those present should consider signing up for the SWP.

The event concluded with a heartening, fists in the air rendition of the Left wing anthem the Internationale.

author by Kieran O'Sullivan - Personal Capacitypublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 21:20author email kieran.osullivan at ireland dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The most significant point David McWilliams made was on Israel. What he said was that Israel would either use Nuclear weapons too earily and loose international support or use them too late and be destroyed anyway. I had originally asked him how far he would go in supporting US foreign policy. I suggested a senario where Bush might want to transport a nuclear weapon through Shannon. I assumed that he would not support this. When he made his comment about Israel I was so shocked that I asked him afterwords if he really believed that Israel had the right to use Nuclear weapons. He confirmed that he did think they had the right to use them. I got into a bit of a discussion about Israel being a racist state. He didn't agree.

I can only say that I am completely shocked by this attitude. The Mutually Assured Distruction (MAD) senario during the cold war was bad enough. Here is an intelligent man suggesting that a country with nuclear weapons has the right to destroy countries without them.

If there are any legal issues over this post I am prepared to testify that this is what was said to me.

I think that this statement should be widely published because it is incredibly significant.

author by Jim O'Sullivan (no relation) Sligopublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 22:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am profoundly shocked to hear of the views of David McWilliams. How did our educational system produce people who place so little value on human life. Anything to protect the "greed is good" vulgarity that we have been sucked into. Given the context of his remarks, is McWilliams a racist and could this expalin his comments?

author by Strontium dogpublication date Mon Mar 12, 2007 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

His comments would be in keeping with his neo-conservative dogma in that the protection of assets and wealth take primacy in all decision processes.

What is truly frightening is that someone without the bent of a siege mentality could still see a justification in deploying a WMD in what would simply be an act of genocide. It fully illustrates in my view Israeli willingness to use Nuclear Weapons in a pre-emptive manner and at the behest of the United States.

Armchair analysts like McWilliams like the language of nuclear engagement, probably watched War Games as an impressionable teenager and like all chicken hawks is devoid of all conscience with regard to Human suffering due to a distinct lack of any proximity to it. The clean surgical language commonly used by modern military commentators is indicative of such sterile dislocation.

author by Fair's fairpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 01:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Approximately 20% of the population of Israel is Arabic, about 97% of those are muslims. They have full citizenship, full civil and political rights and are integrated into all aspects of Israeli life. They serve in the police, the armed forces, the civil service and the judiciary. They vote, and are represented in parliament by 13 members including Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel and Ahmad Tibi, a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. One of their number, Salim Joubran is a Supreme Court Justice.

However, not all is perfect. The Israeli state has recognised that the Arab population is still under-represented in public life. The Knesset adopted Amendment 11 to the Civil Service Law (Appointments) of 1959 on December 18, 2000. This amendment provides for fair representation for Arab citizens in the civil service and allows positive discrimination to achieve that end. It obliges the civil service commissioner and all government ministries and related agencies to take all necessary steps to enable and encourage fair representation. It also requires every government ministry and affiliated agency to submit an annual report on its implementation of the law, including data on the representation of Arab citizens. (Interestingly, about 40% of Arabs in the Israeli civil service are women - need I labour the comparative point?)

This principle was extended to appointments as Directors of state controlled companies when the Knesset passed Amendment 11 to the Government Companies Law of 1975, on May 30, 2002.

A Knesset sub-committee with an Arab Chairperson monitors the integration of the Arab population into the civil service, boards of directors of government companies, the court system, local government, and the workforce at the Knesset itself.

The Muslim population of Israel has full freedom to practise its religion. There is an abundance of mosques in Israel. How many synagogues will you find in Iran? There is a Muslim prayer room at Ben Gurion International Airport.

At a more banal level, the Miss Israel beauty pageant(!) and Big Brother type reality shows have been won by muslim contestants from the Arab community

The sporting world is fully integrated with Arabs on the Israeli national soccer team and Jews playing for Palestinian teams on the West Bank.

I could go on........but what's the point? Some folks will look at Israel and declare it to be a "racist" state - the same folks look at the mullahs in Tehran who want to wipe Israel off the map and hold a holocaust denial conference and find nothing to criticise. Now, there's racism for you.

Scratches head in puzzlement..........

author by jim O'Sullivanpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 08:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What are you saying Fairs fair? Do you agree with McWilliams that Israel, a nuclear power, could justify deploying weapons of mass destruction on a non-nuclear armed neighbour? It would be very frightening if Israel have such a policy position and as the existance of Israel is totally dependent on the west, we are entitled to know the answer to that question for we in the west are indirectly (some would say directly) responsible for the behaviour of Israel. (Their invasion of Lebanon would indicate that Israel may indeed be capable of mass murder.)
With regard to Israeli citizenship, a person of the Jewish faith will receive citizenship on application regardless of where they originate from in the World, a Palistinian whoses family may have lived in the area for generations is not so treated and indeed may never be given citizenship.

author by observerpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 09:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Obviously anyone who disagrees witht the micro left and points out simple home truths such as the fact that immigration will - indeed already is (as witnessed by SF's atrophy in the polls) - be a major problem for the left, must be a racist.

author by Mario Budapublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Brid Smith, PBP Dail candidate in Dublin South Central, insisted that the move to form People before Profit had been forced on activists by the Social Movements while Richard Boyd Barret, PBP flag bearer in Dun-Laoghaire, argued that broad tactical alliances were always adapted by successful revolutionaries. "

People before Profit is nothing other than an SWP Front. It is not a broad alliance; it has no existence independent of the SWP. Brid Smith knowsa that, RBB knows that. theyare cynically misleading people. Brid Smith and RBB are SWP candidates using the PBPA flag in the hope of conning a few extra people into voting for them.

Every member of the SWP at Marxism 2007 also know that PBPA is just another SWP Front, so they are also participating in this fraud. Its a pity that none of them had the integrity to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

By publishing the above lines uncritically, Red Wedge also sugests that s/he has contempt for the Indymedia readership; you must think we are all fools.

author by Realistpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In response to above, Iranian Jews hold one seat in that country's parliament and are allowed synagogues, schools etc. However there is persecution and some opportunistic victimisation by Islamists. That Isreal allows Arabs some civil rights is true but it is also true that they are second class citizens compared to Jews from anywhere in the world. That said there are also noticeable class and ethinc divisions among the Jewish population. Why can't the left discuss this without A) becoming apologists for the Iranian regime, which locks up trade unionists and persecutes women or B) doing a McWilliams and denoucning all opponents of Isreal as Islamic bigots. Its not either or folks, a nuanced position is possible.

author by MichaelY - iawm - per cappublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good to see an 'objective' report of the weekend - irrespective of how elusive objectivity is when you go through, and are part of, an intense political experience. A number of us,not members of the swp, who were there during both days, running stalls, listening/speaking/talking/meeting new comrades, working in the iawm or some of the other so-called 'swp fronts', have been, over the last couple of days, discussing and meeting and working out the way forward in our areas of activity.

It is not my intention here to argue against posters such as 'm buda' who, obviously from his anti-swp rant in this and the Clondalkin thread, has a crystalline objectivity virus running through his stuff.
I, instead, want to link some of the comments by David McWilliams (whom I listened to very carefully) to some of the comments made last night in RTE's Q&As by Mr 'Rip Off Ireland' and the genteel gentleman from the Un of Limerick ( a founder no less!). With the FF Donegal Minister of Agriculture, providing the context, looking and sounding more and more like Mary Harney.
A clear thread runs through:
1. Diss the Public Service, attack the Unions, for being privileged, in organisations such as the ESB, Aer Lingus, the hospitals etc and argue for galloping privatisation.
2. Highlight Ireland's 'links' with the US (what I'd call complicity) and defend the use of Shannon, the preferential treatment of multinationals and conclude that our future lies in a deeper coupling of our economy with corporate growth.
3. In foreign policy terms defend Israel, pretend Ireland is a 'balancing force between Europe and the Americans' (from McWilliams) and ride the opportunities that may present themselves. Import and exploit workers from abroad while regimenting and controlling their incomes and social existence. Pour institutional racism from the top hoping it will take roots below.
4. Finally, build more motorways (to link regional centres) and re-focus the Government's attention on nuclear power as a way of combatting climate change.

All of that from an angle that 'we never had it so good' (Coughlan) or "look at all those who're buying second homes abroad" (Mc Williiams). So what's the point of criticising? Why struggle, it's useless anyway.

This is a line of argumentation that comes from the corporate right unfettered by electoral considerations and above Party political worries. McWilliams and Hobbs appear 'radical' because they are radical right wingers.

And the only way, methinks, that people and their arguments can be opposed is by developing and being part of wide and truly radical social and popular movements. Opposing the Empite and its local lackeys.

With the swp and the sp and the lpy and the isn and the wsm and sf, if possible,or without, if necessary, in them!!

author by Mario Budapublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"It is not my intention here to argue against posters such as 'm buda' who, obviously from his anti-swp rant in this and the Clondalkin thread, has a crystalline objectivity virus running through his stuff."

Dear Michael,

How is it a rant to point out the truth? I made the following obsevations:

1The PBPA is an SWP Front.

2. The PBPA has no independent existence.

3. Brid Smith and RBB are fully aware of points 1 & 2.

4. BS & RBB are therefore, propagating a lie.

5. The rest of the SWP members at Marxism 2007 are fully aware of points 1 to 4.

6. Therefore all of the SWP members at Marxism 2007 were participating in a charade.

Now why are you so protective toewards the SWP? I cannot believe that you are naive enough to be taken in by the PBPA con job.

author by anonpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Michael, I see you're shifting towards involvement in People Before Profit. Next step as you hover in the SWP sphere of influence? You're clearly looking for a home.

I agree with your general sentiments. It is necessary for greater unity on the left. However, such a call-out is hardly new. Genuine unity remains elusive because of the sectarianism afflicting almost all far-left groups in this country. I fear that major behaviourial and attitudinal changes are needed before we see some serious togetherness.

author by anonpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ditto that about People Before Profit. It can never become a focus for left unity coz it's such a blatant front for one small party. Just like the iawm.

And it is not sectarianism to speak the truth.

author by MichaelY - iawm - per cappublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anon says,

I agree with your general sentiments. It is necessary for greater unity on the left. However, such a call-out is hardly new. Genuine unity remains elusive because of the sectarianism afflicting almost all far-left groups in this country. I fear that major behaviourial and attitudinal changes are needed before we see some serious togetherness.

Couldn't agree more. Now, on the issue of 'my home', while I agree that it could benefit from a makeover, and we recently had to spend lots of €s for a water pump that started disfunctioning, I am OK for the moment. Don't intend to invest in northern Cyprus, or Bulgaria, or Kenya.....I am fine where I am - thanks for the brotherly advice.

On the issue of protecting the swp....don't think so. One because their actions speak louder than words. Two because anybody with a minimum of political sense can see very quickly the name of the game. Three, parties are what they are....and people in workplaces and communities, and even more activists, are mature enough to see the forest from the trees. Four, with so many diligent and objective critics, the swp or any other party can hardly escape with 'charades'.....Finally, to speak of the iawm, the 9 non-swp out of the 12 SC members, hardly need to worry. It's the 3 swp members who're usualyy under the cosh - and need protection - lol.

author by Juli(E) (A)nnepublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 13:15author email juliemcnerney at hotmail dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is not related to anything specifically.

I just wanted to express how pleased I was with this event. I travelled down to Dublin from Belfast. I happened to feel really crappy that weekend, but whilst there; felt great. I had never been to a large political gathering before.
The spirit and community I felt from complete strangers was amazing. It was fantastic being along side so many people who share similar dreams to mine.

Also, the final rally was very uplifting and encouraging.

author by anon -otherpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 13:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why do various people on Indy say without any qualification or justification that unity on the left is necessary. Why is unity necessary? Superficial comments that it doesn't happen because everyone on the left is too sectarian and they should just get on with it, (that just insults our intelligence) are no explanation of why it hasn't taken place. Please enlighten us with your reasons and thoughts.....

author by Micro Leftistpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"SF's atrophy in the polls"? Which polls? The polls in the Sunday Times and the O'Reilly press?

There's one big poll coming up in the next few months, when we have the result of that you can maybe talk about SF "atrophy"... meanwhile you should maybe have a look at the party's performance in the recent six county assembly elections.

author by Snapshotpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were about 150 people there, at slow times quite a bit less. It was admittedly smaller than the heyday of the event, but about the same size as last year. Moving to the smaller venue was a good idea. It was a bit lost in Trinity these days, while the slightly cramped ATGWU hall gives it a bit of atmosphere.

There was also a slightly higher standard of speaker advertised, less party members giving a glorified branch intro and more people the outside world has heard of. Unfortunately Bernadette McAliskey cancelled which was disappointing.

The mood was very upbeat on the platforms of the bigger meetings. People Before Profit was the subject of some perhaps slightly extravagant claims. It's fairly clear that the party is committed to this project. On a final note, there didn't seem to be much presence from the rest of the left. Nobody was visible there from the Socialist Party and there were less of the experienced independent activists. There were a couple of tiny groups making interventions though, including one I'd never heard of.

author by observerpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 14:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suppose the Sunday Times and the O'Reilly Press fix the elections as well do they?

SF got 6.7% in 2002. They are currently on around 7% in the polls - which are actually accurate when you compare them to election results. They were as high as 11% in both the polls and Euro elections in 2004. That is what I mean by atrophy.

One of the reasons for this, of which I have absolutely no doubt, is SF's support for mass immigration, particularly in Dublin.

author by Fair's fairpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 14:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jim O'sullivan,

I did not say and certainly did not mean that it was ok for any nuclear state to use nuclear weapons on an non-nuclear adversary. I simply meant that the rights and wrongs of a nuclear policy should be debated without simply characterising one side or the other as "racist". To do so is to resort to crude labelling rather than reasoned argument. While Israel is certainly agressive that does not equate automatically to racist.

Realist,

Agree totally, the position is quite nuanced. I would say that there is casual anti-Arab racism in Israeli society just as there is anti-African American racism in the USA. However, there is no legal or institutionalised racism and the Israeli state has committed itself to equality in all aspects of public life. This is quite unlike Iran - yes, Jews are tolerated, Israelis are not. The Jewish reserved seat in parliament (the zoroastrians have one as well) is a historical legacy over 100 years old and does not really mean anything. More telling is that since the 1979 revolution, between 60% and 80% of Iran's Jewish population has fled the country. Not surprising really, one of the first acts of the Islamic Revolution was the arrest, trial and execution of Habib Elghanian, the honorary leader of the Jewish community. The charges were: "corruption", "contacts with Israel and Zionism", "friendship with the enemies of God" and, perhaps most heinous of all, "warring with God and his emissaries." Legalised persecution is endemic. Jews may nor serve in the army or government or judiciary. A Jew who converts to Islam will inherit all his parents property to the exclusion of other family members. The Persian Jews living in Israel may not re-enter Iran and Iranian citizens may not visit Israel. The Government press regularly publishes racist caricatures of jews including the recent holocaust cartoon competition. you get the picture....

author by Pollsterpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"They are currently on around 7% in the polls "

I really have to spell this out don't I? The polls you see "currently" are from sources who woould hate to see Sinn Féin do well in the upcoming election, so they are talking up the Greens and talking down SF. Don't fall for it.

In late 2001 there was an article in the Irish Independent quoting all sorts of polls and statistical info to say that Seán Crowe could not possibly be elected to Leinster House. The writer earnestly wrote that Sinn Féin in general and Seán Crowe in particular were doomed in the next election.

Seån Crowe TD has that article on the wall of his office in Leinster House. In the event he topped the poll. The poll that counted that is, not the one in the O'Reilly paper.

One the issue of immigration, Sinn Féin realises that there are problems associated with the changes in the employment situation in Dublin, of course.

But these problems are caused by exploitation, not immigration.

The party wants to improve the rights and entitlements of ALL workers, regardless of race or creed.

Remember, James Connolly was an immigrant.

author by Red Wedgepublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors


“By publishing the above lines uncritically, Red Wedge also sugests that s/he has contempt for the Indymedia readership; you must think we are all fools".

I merely reported what was said at the meeting. I will leave the rest up to the readers, who are obviously free to praise/criticise as they see fit.

author by Cassandrapublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Red Wedge, it is of course perfectly reasonable to confine yourself to reporting what happened rather than offering an analysis. Some of your language seems to me to put a moderately pro-SWP gloss on events - "belting out the message load and clear", "very respectable" votes, "heartening" singing, even the repeated mention of a "packed" hall without mentioning that the event had moved to a smaller venue - but you don't overwhelm the reader with spin.

For instance someone unfamiliar with SWP meetings might see the relative absence of serious disagreements in your report, outside of those between David McWilliams and his left wing audience, as an attempt to censor debate. Having attended many SWP events over the years however, I am well aware that serious debate and discussion is rarely a feature of such meetings. A line is announced from the top table to much applause. A succession of party members make much the same points from the floor, on occasion mentioning some enormously exciting event in Bolivia or Germany or wherever it is this week. On occasion some tenacious soul, probably from another political organisation, will add a note of disagreement. Such behaviour will force half a dozen SWP members to repeat the original line, perhaps with an occasional misrepresentation of the apostate's words.

I am I must admit a little baffled by your insistence on identifying SWP members by the position they hold in Respect or People Before Profit, rather than as SWP members. Rory Hearne for instance may currently be a People Before Profit election candidate but he is also a leading member of the SWP. He was one before People Before Profit existed and he will be so long after the forthcoming election. Brid Smith, Richard Boyd Barret, John Rees, Sean Mitchell and Rory Hearne all have as their primary political affiliation their membership of the SWP. There's nothing wrong with that. What causes objections is their regular practice of announcing themselves as representatives of other organisations, often wholly owned subsidiaries of the SWP. Their intent is to mislead, to bestow some broader, less obviously factional, authority on their pronouncements. We shouldn't encourage them in that, or worse still repeat the deception.

I am intrigued to see from your report that Brid Smith claimed that the formation of People Before Profit had been forced on activists by the social movements. Leaving aside for a moment her use of the term "activists" when she means "the SWP", I am left somewhat bewildered by this claim. What social movements precisely have been calling for the formation of People Before Profit?

author by micro litepublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"What social movements precisely have been calling for the formation of People Before Profit?"

Globalise Resistance for a start.

author by Cassandrapublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Possibly the Anti-Nazi League too?

author by RHpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 19:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Another Europe is Possible

author by anonpublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I reckon the IAWM insisted on the formation of PBP also.

author by Harpopublication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 21:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shell to Sea (Clondalkin)

author by ISNer (pers cap)publication date Tue Mar 13, 2007 21:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Unity is a good thing, no doubt, but honesty is better, and if unity can only be obtained by the suppression of the truth and the toleration of faslehood, then it is not worth the price we are asked to pay for it."
- James Connolly (1897)

author by observerpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 09:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The polls are an accurate reflection of how people would vote if there was an election. There is ample evidence to prove this. They are not some fkn Elders of Zion conspiracy.

Do I have to spell this out for you? Maybe you do some research before you consider lecturing me in the future.

author by Poll Starpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The polls are an accurate reflection of how people would vote if there was an election."

Yeah right.

You seem to believe that Polls are never wrong. Weird that Seán Crowe has a Leinster House office wall to put his clippings from the Independent on, since their polls said he did not have a chance of winning the seat.

author by Johnpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, observer is quite correct. In both the 2002 general election and the 2004 local elections virtually all the polls, whether in O'Reilly's newpapers or in other newspapers, fairly accurately predicted the national share of the vote for all the parties, including Sinn Fein. Its a matter of record. In 2002 the polls were spot on when it came to predicting Sinn Fein's national vote. In fact, the only party whose national vote the polls have regularly under-estimated by a few per cent is Fine Gael. Based on this, it looks like Sinn Fein will only achieve a negligible increase in their national share of the vote in the 2007 general election as compared with 2002 and quite possibly a fall in their national share of the vote as compared with the 2004 local elections. This would be a disastrous outcome for Sinn Fein and they'd no longer be able to claim that they were the fastest-growing party in Ireland, the Greens would be the ones claiming that mantle. It would also mean that Sinn Fein could easily end up as only the sixth largest party in the Dail. Of course, its quite common in Ireland for individual candidates in individual constituencies to poll much better or much worse than the national trend for their party would indicate. This happens to all parties. So, its quite possible that, despite the stagnation in their national vote, Sinn Fein (or any other party) could gain a couple of seats that were unexpected gains when viewed against their national share of the vote - but, equally, Sinn Fein (or any other party) could lose a couple of seats that were unexpected losses when viewed against their national share of the vote. The important thing to examine after the election will be the parties' national share of the vote, not whether parties have made an unexpected gain or loss here and there. If, as the polls indicate, Sinn Fein's share of the vote after the 2007 election is roughly the same as after the 2002 election, then their bubble will have burst and their claim to be the 'coming thing' in Irish politics will have collapsed. That's what they're scared off.

author by Cedarpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2006/11/20/you-may-rem...s-as/

On People Before Profit.

author by observerpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As John says, the accuracy of polls can be proven by comparing them to actual results. Local ones such as the DSW one you refer to are less reliable and there was the undobted added factor that the Indo was picking polls that were most unfavourable to SF. As John says, SF are on course to get around the same as in 2002 in which case they will be lucky to pick up any extra seats. If the northern executive gets up and running they might get a boost from that.

author by John's motherpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Son, it's only a couple of months since you were predicting that SF would lose all their seats in the next election. I think wise folk will take your predictions with a pinch of salt

author by Shanepublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am intrigued at Brid Smith's insistence that PBP was formed on the insistence of Social Movements (which ones?). Not simply because I never heard anybody making such a call but here in Kenya the cabal of crooks contesting the presidency this year all make the claim that they are only entering the race due to the insistence of the people. These modest and moral characters claim that they are loathe to contend such a position and have to accept the power and privilege that comes with the presidency of a neo-colonial country but feel they have to bow to the wishes of the people.

I applaud the Swp for their good grace to bow to the wishes of the people who called for them to create yet another front.

Also I have to say Cassandra's description of SWP meetings is so accurate I wonder if they in fact have an official strategy for shouting down critical thinkers. The next step in policy would be to shout 'They asked a question! They're a witch, burn them!'

It says a lot also that the Socialist Party are above intervening at SWP events. The SWP made quite a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful attempt at intervention at Socialism 2006. It must also be where they got the idea of inviting along McWilliams. Shudder at the thought they should have an original idea!

author by Jonahpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Arguably, one day there will be a revolution.

On that day, be assured many a Trot will turn around and cry 'See, we predicted this only last week'. My point is that if you throw enough darts at a board you're bound to hit the bullseye eventually.

Opinion polls in 2002 predicted Sinn Féin would fail to take seats in Dublin South West and Kerry North (Depending on the poll). They predicted McDonald would fail to get elected in Europe.

In 1997, they predicted Ó Caoláin MIGHT scrape in on the last seat if he was very lucky and got some FF transfers.

And as Slugger points out, the polls are still getting SF wrong:
http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/opin...ster/

author by Weekly Worker Readerpublication date Fri Mar 16, 2007 00:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is a report on this event in the Weekly Worker, a paper produced by a small left grouplet in Britain. It's surprisingly interesting and also puts the attendance at about 140.

http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/664/swp%20ireland.htm

author by anonpublication date Fri Mar 16, 2007 09:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That Weekly Worker report is interesting and raise a very good question about People Before Profit and women's rights. In the past, the hard left has always been clear that abortion rights must - in Ireland in particular - be an integral part of the platform of every left-wing group. Sinn Fein and the Labour Party have been damned by the SWP in the past for not being clearly pro-choice. However, People Before Profit is NOT pro-choice and has no view on this crucial issue as it heads into an election.

Where stands PBP on abortion rights? Staying silent because it might be electorally damaging?

author by Non-voting ANV activistpublication date Fri Mar 16, 2007 21:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some of the people behind the ANV are some of the biggest supporters of an alliance with SWP/PBP. Don't figure.

author by D_Dpublication date Mon Mar 19, 2007 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is not the former ANV activists, in allowing for the inclusion of the SWP/PBPA in an election slate or other alliance, who are inconsistent. It is the SWP who are being inconsistent in adhering to the platform of the PBPA.

‘Non-voting ANV activist’ is confused. The SWP effectively pulled out of the ANV because in their view the ANV, inter alia, had not stated “openly and clearly that all women have a right to choose”. (SWP Open Letter, 16th February 2002).

The ANV (Alliance for a No Vote) correctly fought the referendum from its five broad points in order to win the votes of the wide range of people who might be convinced to vote against the amendment.

'Anon' is also confused . All left wing 'hard left' groups call for the right to choose. Campaigns, alliances and broad socialist parties, in which revolutionaries may participate, are not revolutionary organisations and would not necessararily have a revolutionary or far-left programme.

The Campaign for an Independent Left platform, for example, does not require adherence to a right to choose position. Nor did – before the ANV! – the SWP draft of the platform of the Socialist Alliance.

author by Concernedpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An alliance with SWP/PBP.??

Crazy idea. Essentially impossible anyway. SWP dont do alliences friend, although they yak on about it an awful lot. They do infiltration and control, which always screws up in the end.

Unless you have 3 eyes , one in front and the other on the back of your head you shoudnt bother.

The resulting shit will cripple your campaign.........

Just follow the experience of just about every organised group in the country and stay away!!

THe SWP's well deserved lousy reputation tarnishes that of those that associate with them unfortunatly.

By all means associate with individual members, merely membership of the SWP is not the problem at all but an "alliance" Are you serious?

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