The Anti Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit are seeking to establish a unified parliamentary group in order to maximise the left vote in the general election and the socialist voice in the next Dail.
PBP and the AAA have notified the Registrar of Political Parties to formally register ‘Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit’ to contest the General Election with the intention of getting enough TDs elected to be an official Dail group/party in its own right. The Registrar has accepted our proposal for a merged Dail party and it is expected to take effect in three weeks after the period of public notification, at which time we will formally hold a press conference with further details.
With the backdrop of a radicalisation in Irish society, a growing rejection of the traditional establishment parties and, in particular, the active movement against water charges, the left can make gains in the upcoming general election.
The AAA and PBP hope to have significantly enhanced speaking time and rights in the next Dail in a formally recognised group. This would give an increased platform for left-wing and socialist positions, an opportunity to bring the real concerns of working class people into the chamber of the Dail and to use it as a platform to mobilise the opposition to austerity.
The campaign against water charges has dramatically shifted the terrain in Irish society with hundreds of thousands having taken part in protests. As 57% refuse to pay the first water bill and confidence grows in defeating it, parties and individuals associated with active campaigns against water charges can make real gains. Significant numbers of people have shifted dramatically to the left. The Labour Party faces major losses for its betrayal on water charges, child benefit, lone parent cuts and acceptance of the neo-liberal agenda.
People Before Profit and the Anti-Austerity Alliance are committed to the abolition of water charges, USC for low and middle earners and all forms of unjust austerity taxation. We also believe that the debt resulting from the disastrous policy of bailing out the bankers should be repudiated, with the money instead invested in housing and public services.
Despite the best efforts of government to talk up the ‘recovery’, it is evident to the majority of workers and the unemployed that it is a ‘recovery’ based on low pay, casualisation and permanent austerity. The housing and homeless emergency engulfing communities – and unchecked by government – can only be resolved by large-scale building of social and affordable homes by the state.
Meanwhile, the obscene wealth of the 1% has grown. Their power over the political and legal system is laid bare by the imminent arrests of anti-water charge protesters in Jobstown and the utter failure to make anyone from the elite culpable for the speculation and greed which led to the troika takeover and eight years of austerity.
The outpouring of solidarity for refugees fleeing war and persecution contrasts with the minimal approach of the government. Both the Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit believe the resources currently controlled by a wealthy elite should be used to build homes and provide decent lives for all.
As demonstrated by the recent marriage equality referendum, young people and particularly women want social progress and a separation of church and state to end the legacy of oppression in Ireland. A referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment and the introduction of abortion rights will be actively campaigned for as priority issues.
Neither PBP nor the AAA will participate in any government with the parties of the capitalist establishment i.e. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and or any right-wing parties/independents. Instead we are fighting for a genuinely left government that will ensure that the economy and country’s resources are used for people needs not profits.
The AAA-PBP initiative is backed by four TDs and 28 councillors. Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd-Barrett, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy have already played an important role inside and outside the Dail as advocates for working class people and many progressive campaigns. AAA-PBP expects to field up to 40 candidates, a significant and exciting electoral challenge, and, on this basis we are hopeful of significantly increased representation in the next Dail.