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Socialist Party (Ireland)

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Template:Infobox Irish Political Party

The Socialist Party (in Irish Páirtí Sóisialach) is a political party active in Ireland. It is currently Ireland's most prominent socialist and Marxist organisation. It is affiliated to the Trotskyist Committee for a Workers' International.

Formerly known as Militant Labour, then Militant Tendency, it adopted the name The Socialist Party in 1996. Like their comrades in the Socialist Party of England and Wales, from their foundation and up until the 1980s members of the organisation practiced entryism in the Irish Labour Party. In the early 1990s many of its members were expelled from Labour, and it was at this point they took an 'open turn' and adopted the name Militant Labour. The Socialist Party now put forward the theoretical analysis that the Labour Party has become bourgeoisified and is no longer a mass workers' party.

The party is organised in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They produce a monthly newspaper called The Socialist (formerly Socialist Voice, The Voice, and Militant) and an irregular theoretical journal called Socialist View (formerly Socialism 2000). There is also an irregular e-zine called International Socialist Voice.

Contents

Electoral history

Through campaigning work it has built some electoral support, with Joe Higgins being elected to Dáil Eireann - the Irish parliament - and four other members elected to local councils in working class areas of Dublin and Cork. It has found it harder to gain an electoral foothold in Northern Ireland, but it has an important presence in the trade union movement there.

In the 1997 election, they returned one TD to Dáil Éireann - Joe Higgins (Dublin West) who became prominent during the Anti-Water Charges Campaign. In the 2002 election Joe Higgins retained his seat, and in the Dublin North constituency Councillor Clare Daly narrowly missed out on a second socialist seat.

In the 2004 local elections they gained two County Council seats, one in Dublin (Mick Murphy in the Tallaght ward) and another in Cork (Mick Barry in the Cork North Central ward). They also retained their two previous seats in Dublin's Fingal areas of Mulhuddart (Ruth Coppinger) and Swords (Clare Daly). In the European Elections held on the same day, Joe Higgins received 23,200 (5.5%) votes in the Dublin constituency, double his 1999 result, but missed out on a seat.

Trade union, campaigning and other extra-parliamentary activities

The Socialist Party is active in the trade union movement, arguing for more militant action in defence of workers’ interests. Members of the Socialist Party have been elected to several high ranking positions in the unions, most notably the CPSU and NIPSA where they hold the presidencies. It also holds influence in the Northern Irish branch of the FBU where its members played a role in instigating the FBU's split from the British Labour Party in 2004.

The Socialist Party is also involved in many community campaigns, leading a victorious struggle against a water tax in Dublin in the mid-1990s. More recently, it has played a significant role in campaigns against a refuse collection tax, commonly known as the 'bin tax', in the South of Ireland and a water tax in the North. It has been deeply involved in the movement against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the occupation of Palestine and continues to be active in campaigns against fascism, racism, low pay exploitation and religious sectarianism. They are also environmental advocates and supporters of rights for workers, women, ethinic minorities and homosexuals.

In Autumn 2003 the Socialist Party were all over the Irish media, as both Joe Higgins and Clare Daly had been sent to Mountjoy Prison for a month for refusing to abide by an Irish High Court injunction relating to the blockading of bin lorries. This was part of the Anti-Bin Tax Campiagn. Other members (along with people from other parties, and non-aligned activists) also went to prison for varying amounts of time for similar reasons.

Socialist Youth is the youth wing of the Socialist Party, with branches in most of the cities and towns where the Socialist Party is organised. One of its members was also imprisoned as a result of the events around the anti-bin tax campaign.

Both Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party itself have as key policies the taking of economic power out of the hands of the bankers, speculators and wealthy industrialists. Instead they want to transfer that power to working class people. The Socialist Party stands for public ownership and democratic socialist planning of the key areas of economic activity.

Not to be confused with the Irish Republican Socialist Party or the Socialist Workers Party.

External links

Articles

  • All that's left? (http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqid=4082-qqqx=1.asp) By Alison O'Connor. The Sunday Business Post Online. 17 April 2005. Retrieved April 17, 2005.

Websites

Template:Political parties in Ireland

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