Some people will tell you the Labour party is not left-wing enough. These same people will usually bemoan the fact that there’s not a real left-wing party in Ireland, and what Ireland needs is a genuine left-wing party. This is not true. We have in fact quite a number of left wing parties.
Some of these groups fought the last general election under the United Left Alliance umbrella group. Splitters be splitting and there has been various falling outs and recriminations within the group.
The Socialist Workers Party/People before profit have selected Councillor Brid Smith to contest next year’s European Parliament elections for the party in the Dublin constituency. By splitting the far left vote they will ensure fellow lefty and Socialist Party MEP, Paul Murphy will almost certainly lose his seat. He is expected to lose his seat anyway, but Brid Smith running and splitting the far left vote just seals the deal.
This would have been Paul Murphy’s first outing as an election candidate. He was not elected as an MEP, but was selected to succeed Joe Higgins as an MEP, after Higgins won a Dáil seat. Before that, he was Joe’s assistant. Alas it looks like his campaign is over before it has got off the ground.
The Socialist Party’s current elected public representatives are one TD, one MEP, and six local councillors, all in the Republic of Ireland. The Socialist Party’s origins are as a result of a split from the Labour Party. Their de facto leader is Joe Higgins after Clare Daly resigned from the party amid bitter recriminations because of her working relationship with Mick Wallace.
The SWP/People Before Profit has five elected representatives. They have one TD and four councillors. Richard Boyd Parrot TD for Dun Laoghaire is their figure-head.
The only thing these left-wing, socialist parties hate more than our traditional two and half party system of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour – is each other. The Labour party has had more splits than all the other parties put together.
More recent splits in the far left have centred around Mick Wallace’s involvement with the movement. The United Left alliance has been falling apart because of the furore over Mick Wallace’s tax affairs. Clare Daly resigned from the Socialist Party and became an Independent TD. Seamus Healy’s Workers’ and Unemployed Action Group has withdrawn from the ULA over Mick Wallace. Former Workers Party member, now Independent TD for Waterford John Halligan has been vehemently objected to Wallace, the Dáil technical group almost coming to blows on occasions.
Only in Irish politics can a TD claim to be left-wing after defrauding the state of €1.4 million in taxes and owing the banks over 20 million. They say the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. No wonder Wallace thinks he’s a socialist.
The latest spat between these far left parties appears to be centred around the campaign against household and water charges. Opinions appear to differ on strategy. I’m more inclined to think it is a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians and ego’s are the main obstacle to an actual united left alliance.
The famous German socialist Karl Liebknecht once said “capitalism is war; socialism is peace.” Our Irish socialists have been