Tuesday, December 5, 2017

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People Before Profit: Setting The United Ireland Record Straight

Finnian O Domhnaill with a piece on People Before Profit.

Whoop it up for liberty! After
Ireland is free, says the patriot who won't touch socialism, we will protect
all classes, and if you won't pay your rent you will be evicted same as now.
But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms
and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside
will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn't that worth
fighting for?

Kieran Allen

Last weekend in Griffith College saw the arrival of socialists, republicans and politically interested people to the annual Marxism conference. The event was to highlight the issues of socialism and Marxism and for people to share their thoughts and ideas. The convention covered issues broadening from Brexit to repealing the 8th amendment. One conference held by People Before Profit was titled ‘What kind of United Ireland do we want?’. The speakers of the event were Sinn Fein MEP, Matt Carthy and PBP National Secretary, Kieran Allen.

As Allen approached the podium, many in the audience were fully aware of the position People Before Profit have on a United Ireland. Some were unbeknownst where PBP stand (myself included) but it all became very apparent when Kieran began his talk. His opening line was ‘People Before Profit are for a United Ireland’. In that sense, case closed, However, the National Secretary went on to explain that not only does the party wish to see a United Ireland but that the socialist party, PBP, want to see a socialist Ireland.

Of course, this was not the very first statement made by People Before Profit on the party supporting a united socialist Ireland. On march of this year, the Belfast Telegragh asked all parties in the North , what their stand was on a united Ireland. PBP’s reply was "People Before Profit stand for a 32 county socialist Ireland. We are for the right of the people of the North, and Ireland as a whole, to hold referenda on whether or not the border should remain. This is simply a matter of basic democracy. If the people of Britain had a right to vote on membership of the EU, then by the same logic people in Scotland and the North have an equal right to determine where their future lies.’’

When Sinn Fein held their ‘Agreed Ireland’ conference this year in the Waterfront, Belfast, Kieran Allen Opened, once again, his speech by saying ‘People Before Profit is a 32 county organisation. As socialists we oppose the partition of Ireland.’ Allen went on to say ‘Why? Because it was imposed on Ireland by British imperialism in order to stunt and crush a revolutionary movement that engulfed Ireland between 1916-1923.’ Eamonn Mc Cann has always expressed that People before profit is neither green nor orange but socialist. This came to such a shock to many in the Sinn Fein/DUP camps. How could they be neither? they must of pondered. So confused was writer, Jude Collins, that he wrote about PBP on the party’s stand with his titled piece ‘People Before Profit is neither Orange nor Green - hooray!!....But hey, wait a minute...’. Sinn Fein seemed so outraged by this non sectarian outlook that they have been lambasting PBP for the very line Sinn Fein take! SF’s newspaper ‘An Phoblacht’ came out with an article, titled ‘ The Hollow Populism Of AAA/PBP. It seems there can only be one all island party that supports a united Ireland and that’s Sinn Fein. However, People Before Profit ain’t bowing down.
The red flag of socialism with Connolly looking on

This Socialist Ireland that people before profit believe in that was envisioned by James Connolly, is to tear down the walls of sectarian division brought about by partition and by British Imperialism. It is an Ireland were all creeds, colors and classes will live equally and give no special position to anyone or group in society but instead, give everyone, catholic, protestant, loyalist or republican a level playing field in the betterment of their lives without prejudice or side taking. People Before Profit do not take sides and wish to do away with the centuries old pitting of green and orange. The party will certainly continue to call out the DUP’s bigotry and sectarianism with their refusal of an Irish language act, abortion rights for women along with their cosying up with the Tories. PBP will also continue to call out Sinn Fein’s republican/socialist ideology or rather the lack of.

PBP is a party for the working class and wishes to unite the country on the basis of culture, religion and equality. It does not want to see the mere amalgamation of the ‘2 rotten states’, as they see it, both north and south. This will only see the combination of the two joining together as one, to further oppress and divide communities with the ruling capitalist elites running the show in the whole island. The party would not wish to sign up to a so called ‘united Ireland’ of that kind and would oppose any such glossed up sugar version of it. PBP wish to see an Ireland with free healthcare and free education to everyone, Higher taxes on the very rich, abolish water charges, abortion rights for women, to do away with the bankers getting richer while the poor get poorer, set up a real housing initiative for those in need and many more policies for the working class people of Ireland. No wonder People before Profit has protestant members! 

Ruth Coppinger

The main reason of PBP stance on their ideology of a real united socialist Ireland perhaps made one to believe that they are opposed to a united Ireland. Another confusing element of this was PBP’s teaming up of Solidarity Party in the Dail in order to obtain more speaking rights. Solidarity’s position on a border poll is that they are opposed to one. TD’s, Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Mick Barry sent a statement to the Journal.ie when asked if they would support a united Ireland. Solidarity’s vision of a federal union of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales is quite arguably, what Matt Carthy stated at the Marxism conference at Griffith College, ‘bat shit crazy’. 

So to finally put the record straight, People Before Profit are not just for a united Ireland but a socialist united Ireland that does away with the old sectarian divide of green and orange while focusing on the issues for the people of Ireland. you can find out more on PBP’s policies on the links below.

Finnian O Domhnaill is a political writer from Donegal, currently living in Derry. He is the creator of the political page No Bones About It.


Dave Joyce said...

What rubbish, been "for" a united Ireland while participating in both houses that uphold partition. When Gerry Carroll poled well in the last general election I asked if he had been successful would he have taken his seat in Westminster. Nothing on the PBP page for a few days so I asked why the hesitancy to answer a simple question and 2 days later the answer I received was, "Where would there be a problem with that?"

So, PBP are prepared to sit in the house of not only the facilitators of partition but the actual oppressors as well

But they are "for" a united Ireland........ What tripe!!!

Msspikemilligan said...

Dave Joyce , I’m taking it you are of the opinion that abstentionism is the way forward? Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t that been a policy of quite a few over the years and doesn’t seem to have served them well. Maybe you could elaborate!

James Quigley said...

PBP had their noses in the the R2W trough supposedly advocating power to the people but never once exposing or even remotely criticising the anti democratic leadership made up of themselves, Sinn Fein, trade unions and hand picked community reps. One could say they supped with the devil just so they could entice unwitting supporters. It is ironical that such a body masquerading as 'socialist' should be responsible for demobilising what was once a promising movement for change. Boyd Barrett normally opinionated to the point of tediousness, never once criticised the united fallacy right to the bitter nor saw fit to answer grass root critcisms. R2W with PBP as part of the parliamentary system took part in the Establishment's mechanisms designed to undermine and demobilise what, up to then, could be described as very successful boycott campaign. The boycott campaign was the reason Eurostat stopped Irish Water from going off Government books and becomming an economic viable company. This was the 'Victory' in mid 2015 and it was down to 70% of the Irish households who did not pay. After this the Establishment parties had to devise another strategy to somehow salvage what they had legislated for and sunk billions into the project. To their rescue came Sinn Fein and the revisionary trade unions leadership. I suppose it has be said that SF had an inordinate amount of sway in R2W by being the largest affiliated political party.

Boyd Barrett and PBP leadership supported Sinn Fein and the questionable trade unionist leadership even though they continually undermined the anti water movement with their political maneuverings, the treatment of activists and their stance on the 'Boycott'campaign and retention of Irish Water, the company. In particular PBP remained silent about Sinn Fein's/Union's involvement in and even facilitation of a European Citizen's Initiative in 2015 where incredibly Sinn Fein's Lynn Boylan advocated a pricing policy for excessive use. This was to be the get out clause for the Irish establishment and a way back to eventual water commodification and metering.