Thursday, April 16, 2009

An Alliance for change - What's that?

Eoin ó Broin, somebody I have a lot of time for, wrote the following piece in An Phoblacht recently.

It is time for a politics of hope and purpose. It is time for a politics of change.

For today people need concrete proposals for economic and social recovery; for tomorrow, they need a vision for political and economic transformation.

In his Ard Fheis speech, Gerry Adams set out Sinn Féin's stall. He said, "Our society needs core values based on social justice, fairness, equality and decency." He said, "There can be an egalitarian alternative to the politics of greed, inefficiency, waste and corruption.

"Crucially, he said, "I believe the time is right for a new alliance of all people and parties that want real and fundamental change.

"In the South, this new alliance should involve Sinn Féin, Labour, the Greens, progressive independents, the trade union movement, the community and voluntary sector and all those individuals and organisations who believe that a better Ireland is possible.

However, such an alliance will not happen unless people take the decision to make it happen and invest the resources to match. Political will and effort - from Sinn Féin and others - will determine whether Gerry's Ard Fheis words are to become reality.
The Ard Fheis speech - Alternative politics in Ireland

All very hopeful words from Gerry and from Eoin about how we can build our influence in the South, but to me the meat lies in the final paragraph, " such an alliance will not happen unless people take the decision to make it happen .

"The question we must ask ourselves is do we really wish to make it happen? Are we prepared to go out and work with others? Are we ready to move away from election politics and towards working on a daily basis for real social change?

Since the Ard Fheis I have not seen any major evidence of SF working with other groups on major issues. So, why are we not holding meetings throughout the country and inviting others to join with us in creating an alliance for change.

Is it because we don't want to give me our splendid isolation? Is it because we fear nobody else will turn up? Is it because we don't know how to do it? Is it because the leadership has not shown us how?

I believe all the above answers are correct, but fxck it let's give it a go. In our local cumman we should go out and try and build something in the local area. Invite Labour, the greens, community groups, independents and most radically of all LOCAL PEOPLE. Have the meeting around jobs, local cuts, anything. Go out with the intention of forming some form of alliance for change and let's see where it takes us.

Let's not be afraid to fail, but let's dare to succeed


  1. Sorry folks I had to delete this post and redo it because I did not remove somebodies e-mail address. So, I've republished the article adn will post the comments again.

  2. Rre your point that nothing is being done to make it happen.

    I have noted that several meetings have recently been listed as including a trade union speaker.

    Thats a start up as well I guess. I think you are right though that there could be some profibale interactions with other groups.

    Just for the record I am a supporter not a member


  3. Jer, thanks for the comment and I agree, but what i have seen so far is a few centre of Dublin things that have the mark of being organised from HQ.

    What i think we need to see is local groups taking ownership for this type of thing and really pushing for such meetings in their area.

    If this is done then we can begin to build useful alliances on the ground with other groups and individuals, and who knows where that may take us.

    With regard to you being a member, no worries. Your input is exactly what I want to see on this site. Tell me how you think Sf are doing? What do you think they should be doing? etc.

    Why not write a small piece and I will happily put it up.

  4. that might be fun.

    let me see what i can come up with. I would be interested in writing a piece on Eoin o'Broin's book (class book though I have not yet finished it. better get reading eh). I posted it elsewhere but got no reaction. (was that a statement on the piece i wrote or the site :)).

    I'll email it to your link.


  5. Hi There Starry Plough,

    I wrote a review of the o'Broin book and then tried to explore some of themese especially the notion of self-assessment.

    I am not sure if you received it or no. If you dont like the piece then fair enough but if you haven't received it then let me know.


  6. Jer, i've put the article up. Interesting points. Did you finish the book yet?

  7. Michael Taft makes some very good points on what the left needs to do to create its alternative:

    Having figured out broad outlines of our policy, having determined where we disagree with the govt.,etc we know need to be able to put forward a macro-economic vision full of detail.

    Thats the scrub. If we want to change the system we need to be able to demonstrate what the new system is in excruciating detail.

    Because as much as we need to win over the average wage worker we need to win over the business man, the lawyer and the property class.
    Winning over everyone (or at least a working majority) is required to shift the paradigm to where we want it. Otherwise, to use an old phrase, you risk counter-revolution.
    Better to move society incrementally along rather than have it oscillate between the two models.

  8. starry plough iam the anon you left the coment from the other thread to look at this one.

    yeah stuff like this is good. i've been in and out of SF over the years and i think amonst a section there is an acceptence that this has to happen for a long time but squareing it with electoral politics which is nececary and dual and the same time motivateing activists and keeping them active and makeing the best use of the time there able to give. and as well we have rivaly with like minded groups and they with us so it's a bit of a juggleing act.

    HQ can only do so much of anything, i think ballbriggan is right in taking the inishitive themselves. i wouldn't expect instant sucess but as a praticle intention to start. it's the only way forward, we need it find comonality.

    as i understand it this is essentialy party policy now. mary lou at the easter com in dublin attacked FF and the largest opposition party FG so the message is consistant. 3 years to late for some but we won't go there. but all the press releases in the world won't do any thing, it will be the activists that implement it. there should be some guidance or nurtureing from HQ on it, by reading your post i presume it's not happening. in time it will have to, or it will be something else that goes back on the shelf. probably get the elections out of the way first but good start to you in ballbriggan. i should probably start tyeing back in.

  9. Anon thank for the post. maybe you could giove yourself a name at the bottom of your post so it can be clear who I'm responding to.

    Anyway, i agree with you on all you have written, but the main thing I agree with is that you should get back involved. i seriously see SF at a major crossroads and we need to push the movement forward in a positive manner. Your point that we should have dealt with this issue 3 years ago is correct. We needed to make our position clear, namely that we are a principled left republican party that is active on issues that matter to people. A cornerstone of that must be will not go into a FF government as a junior party simply there to keep them in power.

    We must be part of offering a left wing alternative and we must stand by that. therefore we must stand with labour, the trade unions adn other groups who wish to see a real change inIrish politics.