There is now an urgent need for the radical left to come together to form a coherent alliance.
In recent months the fight against water charges has been one of the most successful protest movements. The sheer size of the mobilisation forced the government to make some retreats but the fight to abolish the charges continues.
After 21 March a key strategic focus will be the need to promote an organised boycott of the charges.
However, alongside this there is a growing realisation among many activists that there is a need for a parallel political challenge to the current ruling elite.
Such a challenge should promote clear anti-austerity policies, offer a positive vision of a different Ireland and outline a different way of doing politics so that it is connected with a desire for people power.
We support united action on specific campaign issues such as water charges between Sinn Fein and others on the left. However, while Sinn Fein is currently presented as the main anti-austerity voice, it suffers from a number of limitations.
· While attacking austerity in the South, it is implementing similar policies in the North.
· It has not ruled out the coalition with establishment parties such as Fianna Fail in a future government.
· It does not place a strong emphasis on ‘people power’ as a strategy for change and is opposed to an organised boycott of water charges.
We believe there needs to be a genuine left alternative that offers a different pole of attraction.
Such an alternative should push for the abolition of water charges, the property tax and the USC for those on average or below average incomes.
It should favour unilateral action to cancel Irish debt caused by bankers’ gambling.
It should campaign for a national health service that treats all according to medical need and not the size of their wallets.
It should fight for an emergency programme to build social houses and demand immediate rent control.
It should rule out participation in a future coalition with any establishment party.
It should favour a 32 county wide movement against austerity. It should raise taxes on corporations to fund the reduction of USC on PAYE workers
It should stand openly for a woman’s right to choose and the Repeal of the 8th Amendment.
It should demand the closure of direct provision centres for asylum seekers.
It should support a call for a boycott of water charges and encourage workers to turn their unions into organisations of struggle.
This is by no means a definitive or exhaustive list and no doubt there may be some differences of emphasis between the radical left in Ireland. However, it is our firm conviction that there is also substantial agreement on these policies among People Before Profit, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and many independent socialists and community and trade union activists.
The nature of such an alliance cannot be determined in advance as it must be subject to agreement by those composing the alliance. Nevertheless, the first step is to establish clearly who is in favour and to start urgent discussions to bring it about.
We ask you, therefore, to express your support for the formation of such a radical left alliance and, based on the response, we would urge that meetings be organised to bring it about.
Lend your support for a radical left alliance here.