Below are a couple of comments on the political developments in Northern Ireland. Feel free to share your views on this if you have any.
Break Through In Left Alliance In Northern Ireland. From Harry Hutchinson
Sunday last saw what many socialist activist in the North of Ireland as a breakthrough in the formation of the left. Under the umbrella organization of People Before Profit Alliance (PB4PA), 40 members,supporters and observers registered in the small village of Toome,centrally located in the province,to discuss merging the branches.
PB4PA branches exist in 3 main areas, Derry Belfast and Mid-Ulster, along with individual members/supporters spread out in the province. The bulk of the meeting came form these main areas, who have been working under an uneasy alliance. The working relationship between Derry and Belfast branches have been particularly strained, as a majority split away in the SWP in Belfast left two separate groups of PB4PA working under one banner; in addition this created tensions with members in the Derry branch; however as one speaker pointed out 'the SWP are a minority group in the Alliance and events will proceed despite there differences.'
This division and the lack of awareness to build a left formation in this period of austerity was been missed. Speakers from the floor spoke of the need to overcome factional differences and work in an open manner to build trust for left unity.
Veteran socialists from the 60's like Bernadette McAlisky expressed caution with groups working together, based on her past experiences with the civil rights movement; however came to give support. Left republican observers also attended interested in how the formation develops and interest has also come from left Loyalist groups.
The meeting elected Eamon McCann,the veteran socialist/journalist as leader, despite some opposition from the Belfast Branch. Eamon is poised to make a serious challenge for an MLA seat for Derry in the NI parliament.A steering committee of 9 members were also elected, again despite opposition from Belfast, to organise Party structures and concentrate on next years local and National elections.
From John Throne.
Comrade Harry thank you very much for this inspiring report on the development of a left grouping in the North. I would like to make a few comments if this is acceptable. I would like to also say that they come from somebody, myself, who has been involved in revolutionary politics for around forty years, and most of those I have been guilty of carrying out left sectarian and even ultra left tactics. But better late than never.
What I mean by what I write above is that I have put forward demands and spoken in a language which made it all but impossible to reach the broader layers of workers, even the more advanced and thinking workers. I also participated in a group (the Committee For a Workers International - the CWI) the local affiliate is still around in the form of the Socialist Party. Like the rest of them it too had an internal life which was left sectarian, that is far too centralized and top down and did not in any genuine way allow opposition opinions to organize. It based itself on the worst traditions of what it thought was bolshevism, but which was in fact the method of Bolshevism when Bolshevism had been already been destroyed by the civil war and Stalinism.
There was no internal atmosphere which welcomed discussion, no publication of difference for workers, members and non members alike to see and discuss and help us with, no right of factions to exist and so on. The leaders thought they were the teachers of the members. Incredible. The CWI was a bureaucratic centralist organization.
As you know I was expelled from the CWI. It had and has its good points. Mainly it has maintained a sustained orientation to the working class. However there is one thing of which I am absolutely sure. Neither it, nor any other group, can become a mass organization or semi mass organization, unless it allows, in the most genuine way, internal discussion and groupings. The larger any group grows the closer to internal debate and struggles and unless there is room for this, and genuine room for this, not some sneaky maneuverings, then such an organization will not succeed. It will blow apart. Look at the left organizations in the late 1960's even. The Stickies developed a large base initially of the best of the catholic and even some protestant youth. But they could not develop. not only because of their policies of concessions to the system, not only because of their two stages nonsense and their nationalism, but also because they had an internal life that was based on crushing all opposition. The worst of all worlds.
Since I have been working here in the past years I have been thinking of a few things. Why is there not a more serious movement against the offensive of capitalism. Yes the union and labor leaders are the main culprits. I believe we must never fail to point this out and to do so in a concrete way. By this I mean concretely building opposition caucuses in the unions, the workplaces, the neighborhoods, the mass political organizations where they exist, to organize against these policies of the leaders which hold the workers movement down. I am writing my second book at the moment. As some background I read the biography Paisley. In the mid sixties he had a little runt of a church.
At that same time the union leaders had tens upon tens of thousands of members in the North, I think over a million in Ireland over all. And organized in workplaces, union locals, trades councils and with a full time apparatus. Paisley went on the offensive, basing himself on fear and the most backward of emotions, organizing bunches of people motivated by such feelings he took to the streets, he demanded that his followers shell out the cash, and where did he end up, first minister?
I am sitting over here in Chicago, and I had to go outside there for a minute to spit on the ground as I think about the staggering cowardliness and betrayal of these union and labor leaders. There were many tens of thousands of workers Protestant and Catholic who would have taken a stand and opposed sectarianism at that time. Many tried to, some even went on to the streets to try and stop the sectarian violence and some tried to stop it also in the workplaces initially. If the union leaders had coordinated and led this through the unions, the union locals, the trades councils, the then existing and influential Northern Ireland Labor Party (NILP) branches and Young Socialists, linking it to the things workers Protestant and Catholic, had in common, wages jobs, conditions etc, this could have been developed into the most powerful and vibrant force in the North. The catastrophe of the last thirty plus years of war could have been avoided.
But not only did they do nothing to take on sectarianism. The union and labor leaders themselves to one extent or another promoted it in their own sneaky and not so sneaky way. Counting heads and seeing how many votes were here and how many votes were there, and how many dues payers were here and how many were there and then making their own dirty sectarian calculations. I remember the secretary of the NILP coming to Strabane where I had helped to build a Labor Party branch. Up to a hundred turned up to hear him speak. Nobody knew what he said. Including myself who had the misfortune to bring him there. He asked me outside afterwards and all became clear. He asked me to be the west of the Bann organizer for the NILP but on one condition. I would have to openly oppose Bernadette Devlin. It was another case of having to find someplace to spit. I was in the company of something that was unclean. He and the NILP had decided to go for the Protestant vote. So they had to be seen to shaft the principled socialist Bernadette Devlin. Where are they now these criminal f....s, these union and NILP leaders who at the very least went along with and in many cases promoted sectarianism? These people have blood on their hands. I bet they are sitting in comfortable suburbs with comfortable pensions, their golf clubs in the exercise room and tut tutting about how people could have been so backward as to take part in all that sectarian violence over the years, or how they could vote for the DUP or SF. Feeling so superior.
Anyway back to the present. Comrade Harry, Forty people is a good number to start with. In light of this I wonder could I raise this. While always raising the role of the union leaders and the need to build opposition caucuses in the unions and workplaces I am increasingly aware that my over emphasis on this has in the past tended to let the left off the hook to too much a degree. In a few debates with the CWI on Irish indymedia.ie I raised that in the Irish cities there were many people on the left, many in left groups, many not in left groups, many formerly in left groups, many who would join left groups if they saw ones that were non sectarian, but also many who would join combative United Fight to Win Front (UFTW) direct action groups. I still very strongly feel this. I think we have to pose this and point out that there is an opportunity here that it is the responsibility of the left to take. When we do so we need some answers. How do we suggest we get these forces to come together?
I think the two steps to achieve this are are in separately linked. They are the program and the form of organization. I think the left in the past put forward far too developed demands. Or should I say ultra left demands. That is demands which did not connect with the existing consciousness of the working class. I think the demands should be more basic. I do not know what they should be over there in the North. I imagine against the cuts but I think it would be good to concretize these more. As an example here is my approach over here. In the US the minimum wage is very central to working peoples' consciousness. So here I argue that we should try and build the UFWF on a few basic demands. For example: A minimum wage of $15.00 an hour or a $5.00, an hour wage increase for all whichever is the greater and equal pay for women. (the minimum wage is at present around $8.00 an hour.) No foreclosures an affordable home for all. Free health care and Free education for all at the point of use. A program of public workers to repair the infrastructure, build hospitals and schools and create jobs at union wages and benefits and conditions. End all wars and bring the troops home. This to be funded by increasing the tax on the rich, and reducing military spending. I am not sure about the demand to end all wars and bring the troops home. Is it too far ahead of the consciousness at this stage. Would it be more inclined to prevent the development of a mass movement of help it get off the ground. If it is the latter then I am in favor of leaving it out. I think it is not but this should be the subject for discussion and interaction with the working class we can reach and have a dialogue with. I would like to get more of a feed back from more people on this. i am inclined to feel it should be one of the demands at this stage. And as well as these demands and very very important: the method of struggle: Mass direct action to achieve these demands. Through mass direct action victories can be won. This latter point, the winning of victories is I feel is very important.
Our tiny group has achieved victories over here. In one case 800 people were losing their housing subsidy. We identified the people who were making this decision. We went to their neighborhoods, their places of business and work, their churches. We let everybody around them know what decisions these people were making and how these decisions were destroying people lives. The 800 people got their housing subsidy back. We explain this as building a fighting to win mass direct action united front. I am wondering if this not what we should advocate In Ireland in the North and also the South. Build for strike action yes but identify and go after the decision makers and draw in the broader layers with the good old fashioned boycott. No service for these people at the supermarket or the gas station, no service from the electricity or gas companies, no service of any kind. Close them down.
In the process of working along these lines over here we have had to defend the UFTW front from both the opportunist wing of the union leaders and their friends, some in the Democrats and some not, but we have also had to defend the UFTWF from the ultra left. The former tend to intervene in the movement even with all sorts of left militant sounding rhetoric initially but when push comes to shove they want to cut a deal. For example when we advocate going after the people making the decisions to make people homeless etc, we build support to cut these people off, the good old boycott. No service in the grocery store, no service at the gas station, by the phone or gas company and so on and so on. Draw in the working class to a mass struggle. But the opportunist wing when things get a little heated call on the movement to be reasonable, they have a contact at the bank, the company, city hall, and they can get the cuts reduced by half. F... that. we want to win. This is a central point of the struggle. we want to win. We want victories. What about the half who loss their home etc? But it is not only that. It is a few victories like this that are essential to begin to change the mood. When a few people see that victories can be won the working class can lift its head and look the enemy in the eye, scratch the ground with its front feet and move into action. We have to defend the movement against this opportunist wing. It is not so difficult to be clear on this with the youth and the most militant layers. But there is another side to the question.
We have to defend the movement against ultra leftism also. What I mean by this is the ultra left who want to drag in every possible issue and demand to the newly emerging united front fight to win movement. This can sometimes be hard for other socialists to resist. They agree with the demands and cannot see how to resist them. But In this regard I would refer back to Engels. He was arguing against some ultra left people who were condemning the program of a fresh movement of the working class here in the US back in the 1880's. Everything they were saying about the inadequacies of the program for the socialist revolution was correct. But this was totally beside the point. The point was that if their demands were insisted upon it would be impossible to connect with the existing mass consciousness and rather than take the movement forward these demands would take it back. Rather than build the movement into a real mass movement they would undermine it before it got off the ground. Engels said a real step forward by the working class is worth a thousand correct programs. This is our answer to the ultra left. Will your program if adapted take the movement forward and have the best chance of building it into a real mass working class movement. It is through such a real mass movement that then other issues can be raised and through such a movement that capitalism along with the correct intervention by us, will help the working class learn the real lessons. Some times a demand or an issue is perfectly correct in and off itself but if it is brought into a developing movement prematurely it can introduce division and splits into that movement when if the movement was given time to develop and mature the very same issue could then turn into its opposite and be something that could take the movement forward. Revolutionary politics is an art form as well as a science and a skill.
I see that there were some left groups or individuals at your meeting meeting in the North from a loyalist background. This sounds very good. I am very excited about this. Bridging the divide in the working class to build a fighting to win united front working class movement is so important. I would feel that the most basic of demands which all workers could see as in their most basic interest would be most useful in this regard at this time, at this early stage of building the movement. Working together to improve everyone's conditions would give time for people to build trust in each other. It would be good if there were not these tensions and at this early stage in particular. It is in this regard that I would like to raise another issue that I have had driven into my thick skull the hard way. That is left sectarianism.
By this I mean putting the (actually imaginary) interests of ones own group above that of the movement. This is a very serious failing of most left groups and does damage to the workers movement. What do we do about this? the old CWI had a "simple answer." All the other groups were "sects" we were the only true revolutionary group, soon, (it was five to ten years when I was being expelled fifteen years or so ago, sorry comrades,) so we just scorned the other left groups, condemned them, vilified them, because when we took power in five to ten years the working class would all come to us and so the problem would be solved. This was madness. Even when the Bolsheviks did take power all the workers did not join them, the social democracy remained as mass organizations alongside of the mass third international. But it is clear that this approach is complete nonsense for the CWI and all the left groups today. What was the CWI is now at least three different, in fact more than this, different groups. This position of the CWI that the other groups are all just sects and that is all we have to say is nonsensical. It is being proven to be so now as after decades of refusing the CWI in Ireland is now joining to work with other left groups. The position of the other left groups that they are the only ones that count is equally nonsensical. The left groups are going to be around and it is the responsibility of all of them to see to it that the left sectarianism that they all, and I also, have engaged in is brought to an end. It is very damaging to the workers movement. There has to be some way to stop the left sectarianism that is being carried out between them. We cannot be passive in front of events.
So what do we do? Here is what I try to do. When faced with this problem as you are in the north at the moment here is my approach. I first openly identify left sectarianism. I bring it up at meetings by name. I ask for it to be put on agendas of meetings. I raise it on indymedias and email lists. I explain what I mean by this. That is groups putting their own interests (actually imaginary interests) before that of the movement. I then go on to explain that I worked in this way for most of my political life. I did damage to the workers movement by this approach. For I this apologize to the movement openly. I also say that I am now working to put this false method behind me. I hope this mistaken period of work is over now for me. I am going to try and help repair some of this damage.
I am not going to take up any particular group. All are guilty of this to a greater or lesser degree. I am going to take up the false method of left sectarianism. Whether this left sectarianism is reflected in my approach still, perhaps there are remnants of this that I have still not fully recognized and rooted out, I would ask for help from Comrades in pointing this out if they think this is so. I am looking for a united front within the united front, this one a united front against left sectarianism wherever it exists. Then wherever it comes up identify it in a diplomatic but nevertheless very clear and direct manner. Explain it openly, Comrade I think think this is putting the interests of one group above the interests of the movement, Comrade i would ask all to consider and give their opinions on this, Comrades I would ask us to respond to this as members of the united fight to win front and not line up as members of a particular group with an agreed rigid single line. It is in the interests of the movement that we approach it in this way.
Here in the US when we were expelled we had an opposition paper and caucus in the biggest public sector union. This was of CWI and non CWI union members. We wanted to enlarge the editorial board of this and bring on some good workers, non CWI members, who were active in it. The majority of the CWI, we were still members then, refused and voted against this. They said we might lose control. We refused to go along. We refused to accept their version of so called democratic centralism because it was just a left sectarian smash and grab raid to cling onto the opposition paper. We were expelled. Did the CWI keep the paper. Not a chance. The non CWI people saw the left sectarianism and said: F... the lot of you and that was the last the CWI ever saw of them. This was the result of left sectarianism. We were expelled for amongst other things not going along with the CWI on this vote. We refused to sell out the interests of the workers in the interests of what the CWI thought was their interests. I am very very proud we did this. It was also the correct thing to do in the interests of the workers movement.
I think therefore when we are at meetings such as you describe Harry and there are these type of divisions and tensions that we have to take the opportunity to stand up and take on our own groups if they are acting in a left sectarian way, just as we would take on the other groups if they act in a left sectarian way. The main thing to me is to conduct the struggle against the evil of left sectarianism openly, the false method of left sectarianism openly and also make clear we are not against any group, we are against the false method of left sectarianism. I feel if we do this we will get the support of the best people in all groups. This is what we want. A beginnings of a change in the way the revolutionary left work. The development of anti left sectarian opinion in all left groups.
I have been thinking of a few more things recently. There are more people who consider themselves revolutionary socialists outside left groups than who are in left groups. It is an open and shut case. Think about it. If there are more people who think they are revolutionary socialists outside the left groups than inside them then there is something wrong with the left groups. it is an open and shut case. There is something wrong with the f...... left groups. I feel i do not have to make any more points. But knowing me I will.
I feel that what is wrong is mainly this left sectarianism, this over centralization which demands unity on all things and no sharing with non comrades of any differences and discussions, no internal right to factions or opposition groups. This has to be ended or these groups will never develop. The revolutionary left was severely damaged by Stalinism and then by its isolation from the mass workers organizations. These are some of the factors which gave rise to these damaged weapons which in turn have done so much damage to the workers movement.
Damage is also done by the ultra leftism of these left groups. When activists or would be activists see groups put forward demands which have no chance whatsoever of connecting with the consciousness of the working class then they are not attracted to these groups to put it mildly. And then occasionally these groups repelled by their own ultra leftism can some times take a leap in the direction of opportunism this is no help either.
Here in the US a recent poll showed that 36% of Americans looked favorably on socialism. Incredible when there is no mass force campaigning for socialism. But an even more serious question is why is the left not able to tap into this consciousness. i feel again that we have a major problem of left sectarianism and ultra leftism.
Comrades I would be very interested in any feed back on the points I raised yesterday on the breakthrough in the North. In saying this I would like to ask the Comrades indulgence as I forgot two points. I think that in any United Fight to Win F (UFWF) that there should be a distinct current which would champion the ideas of the front above all else and this specifically would involve the struggle against left sectarianism and ultra leftism and opportunism. Hopefully this distinct current would be made up of forces from different groups and none. Hopefully this current would be united to take up openly with people and groups who would put the building of the UFWF secondary to the interests of their own group if they had one or if not possibly their own egos. Yes groups must be able to publish and circulate their own material but if they see the UFWF just as a place where they come and gave out their material and recruit and do not see the importance of actually building the UFWF itself then this current would hopefully take up this issue and discuss it openly in the meetings of the UFWF and with the groups and individuals involved and explain how it was left sectarianism and how it was damaging to the UFWF and the workers struggles and movement. All involved must be struggled with to see the importance and nature of the UFWF.
However having said this I also believe that the general ideas of the method of Marxism are crucial to be laid down in the workers movement. For this purpose I believe that it would be important to have a revolutionary socialist voice present in the UFWF and also as a distinct identity. I know that access to the method of marxism was crucial to my own development and ability to maintain my views over the decades. I feel that this revolutionary socialist voice should have a clear name, that is some sort of identity and be entirely open about its existence. I think it would be important that such an identity would take into account the consciousness of the activists and the working class. I mean by this amongst other things that it would not have a rrrrevolutionary name and image sure to put most workers off. Because we are talking about the North here with the history it has nor should such a socialist voice be named after workers leaders which would immediately pose the most contentious issues for the hopefully to unite in struggle movement. After all any leader of maturity and commitment maturity and with the right priorities would never make it important for his or her name to be used if this would complicate the workers struggle for socialism. Maybe just socialist voice or scientific socialist voice. Maybe Collective for a Socialist World, maybe the Autonomous Democratic Socialist Collective or Collectives. this last one is a long one but we have been thinking about it here recently.It does not create the image of a group with ideas set in stone to which people are asked to just sign up, rather a collective in which ideas can be developed and decisions made collectively.
Whatever about the name the method is what is important to me, and this means the existence of a revolutionary socialist voice to lay down the method of marxism, not to win the UFWF itself to Marxism, but to exist as an alternative to which workers and youth within this would have access and could move towards when they, as was my experience in my youth, came to conclude that I needed a better understanding of how things work. I remember the first time I heard the ideas of the transitional program put forward. This was by Eamon McCann at a young socialists meeting in Strabane. It was a revelation. We need the ideas of the classics to be available but not to be shoved down peoples throats and also not to be seen to be the objective of the UFWF. One is a united front the other is a revolutionary socialist grouping or collective.
Good luck to this new development.
Comradely, John throne.
UNITED LEFT ALLIANCE - OUR PROGRAMME
The economic crisis is resulting in an unprecedented onslaught on living standards, spiralling mass unemployment and a dramatic rise in poverty. Meanwhile billions is being taken from working people and given to bankers, builders and international speculators.
The newly formed United Left Alliance (ULA) is opposed to the governments’ bailouts and the slash and burn policies which are only making the crisis worse. In the general election we aim to provide a real alternative to the establishment parties as well as Labour and Sinn Fein, who also accept the capitalist market and refuse to rule out coalition with right wing parties. The approach of a Fine Gael / Labour government in power would not be fundamentally different than this government.
The ULA will be standing candidates throughout the country and we are inviting all people, campaigns and groups that want to fight for real change and who agree with our demands to become part of the Alliance.
1. Rejects so-called solutions to the economic crises based on slashing public expenditure, welfare payments and workers’ pay. There can be no just or sustainable solution to the crisis based on the capitalist market. Instead we favour democratic and public control over resources so that social need is prioritised over profit.
2. Those elected as part of the alliance will not do any deals or support any coalition with any of the right wing parties particularly Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. We are committed to building a mass left alternative to unite working people, whether public or private sector, Irish or migrant, with the unemployed, welfare recipients, pensioners and students in the struggle to change society.
The ULA has agreed the following key demands:
1. End the bailout of banks and developers.
The ULA says scrap NAMA and end the bailout of the banks and developers. Take the banks, finance houses, major construction companies and development land into democratic public ownership and use them for the benefit of people, not the profit of the few. Democratic public ownership of the banks would guarantee the savings of ordinary bank account holders but would give no commitment to pay the bondholders and financial speculators who helped cause the global crisis.
We want to use resources, including the huge numbers of vacant properties, to provide facilities and social and affordable homes for all, to buy or rent.
Reduce total mortgages and repayments to affordable levels to reflect the real cost of the property and outlaw repossessions/evictions of families from their homes on the basis of inability to pay.
2. Tax the greedy not the needy
Ireland is not a poor country. Massive amounts of wealth were generated during the boom. The problem is that such wealth is in the hands of a tiny superrich minority. We completely reject the notion that all this wealth has suddenly disappeared. It is also the case that many companies, especially multinationals, remain profitable.
The ULA stands for a progressive taxation system where corporation tax on the massive profits made in Ireland would be significantly increased, which together with a steeply progressive income tax would shift the tax burden from working people to big business and the rich.
We also demand a wealth tax on the assets of the rich, increases in capital gains tax and an end to all tax loopholes for the rich.
We oppose all stealth and double taxes including bin charges and plans to introduce water charges, a property tax, or a “household tax”. We oppose the inclusion of the low paid in the tax net.
3. End the jobs crisis
The ULA condemns the complete failure of the government and the private sector to preserve or create jobs. Their policies are deflationary and are making the jobs crisis worse.
We call for a real social development programme that could create hundreds of thousands of jobs building necessary infrastructure like public transport, green energy projects, broadband, child care, schools, hospitals, health centres and other community facilities.
We oppose plans to sell off state companies. Instead these companies should be used as the vehicle for job creation.
End the reliance on the private sector, use democratic public ownership of wealth and natural resources and the banks to provide jobs by the launching a state programme of industrial development and innovation to build the productive capacity of the economy. Take the Corrib Gas Field into public ownership.
Reduce the working week without loss of pay and create tens of thousands of jobs by sharing out the work.
No to compulsory work for dole schemes or fake jobs. We demand real jobs and a reversal of all the cuts in social welfare and benefit payments.
4. Reverse the cuts – Defend public services
The ULA says end the profiteering in health care. We stand for a properly funded and resourced public health system, free at the point of access and paid for through a progressive tax system. No privatisation of health services and end all subsidies to private care. No co-location of private hospitals on public hospital lands.
We demand proper state funding for a democratically run and secular education system, free for all from early childhood to university. For more teachers to reduce class sizes and special needs and language support so the needs of all children are met. End all subsidies for private schools. No re-introduction of third level fees, pay students a living grant instead.
No to the cuts in social welfare payments or pensions and no to the cutting, taxing or means testing of child benefit.
For a mass campaign by the trade union movement and the communities to reverse the cuts in public services.
We want real reform of our public services. Its time to stop copying failed private sector practices. We want an end to inflated salaries, bonuses and expenses for top public servants and politicians. We want a cap on salaries and full public scrutiny of public spending. Public services should be run democratically with the full involvement of the workers, the service users and the wider community.
5. Equality for all
The ULA supports equality for all and the elimination of all forms of discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age.
We support a campaign by the trade unions to unionise all workers and for the legal right to trade union recognition.
End all anti-asylum seeker and anti-immigrant laws and bias by the state.Give asylum seekers the right to work and give both asylum seekers and
migrant workers the same rights as all other workers, to help fight “the race to the bottom” in pay and conditions.
We support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including the right to marry for same sex couples.
6. Protect the environment
Despite the rhetoric, environmental destruction is continuing apace. We call for major state investment in developing renewable energy. Through public ownership and democratic planning, the economy can be redirected onto a sustainable path.
We need real reform of our planning system, so that people’s needs and environmental protection come before the profits of developers. We call for major investment in community facilities, waste management, recycling facilities and public transport.
We are opposed to incinerators as a solution to the waste problem because they pose serious health risks. We call for a proper integrated waste management plan, including a drastic reduction of packaging combined with a serious approach to recycling and composting.
7. Build a real left alternative in Ireland and Europe
The formation of the ULA is part of a process across Europe and internationally of the development of movements and organisations to fight the attacks on workers, the unemployed and the poor and to fight for a new vision for society.
We are opposed to the dictates of the EU and its neo liberal policies of curbing public spending and promoting austerity. The policy of driving down public spending to meet EU imposed targets will destroy jobs and lead to misery for workers, the unemployed and the poor. Workers did not create the debt and should not have to pay for it.
We are committed to building solidarity with workers across Europe to forge a new direction which puts the needs of workers and the unemployed before the greed of speculators and profiteers.
An important part of this is the urgent need to reclaim and rebuild the trade unions and to mobilise the power of workers though mass action. The approach of Social Partnership has left workers defenceless and has led to a massive transfer of wealth from workers to employers and must be scrapped.
Our elected TDs will give full support to those unions and workers who oppose the Croke Park deal and will use the Dail to raise the real issues that affect ordinary working people.
Candidates are also required to sign our candidate pledge.