Workers and left confront Labour Party in Dublin

Yesterday (October 3) there was a big protest in Dublin over the housing crisis in the south of Ireland.

The Labour Party tried to take part, but there is a sizeable layer of working class activists who are totally hostile to Labour being allowed to be part of working class and left campaigns.  The Irish Labour Party is hated in many working class communities and by many left activists for its role in imposing vicious austerity against the working class when it was in coalition with Fine Gael (2011-2016).  Not only did they cut benefits and pensions, they also tried to railroad anti-austerity protesters to prison.

At the rally yesterday it was announced that a private member’s bill is being introduced to the Dublin parliament to start to tackle the housing crisis.  A list was read out of supporters of this bill, and this is what happened when Labour was mentioned (this is also the kind of attitude the left in this country needs to create in relation to Labour here):


  1. Accepting that Labour is a treacherous party, I ask where would the exclusions end. Some mad ultras feel that PbP and Solidarity should be cast out. Rival coalitions of the Left compete in trying to control occupations. I am wary of exclusions. Though not of robust challenges to sell outs.

    • I think the dividing line is clear Jim. I might not like Solidarity and I have mixed feelings about SWN/PBPA, but they are normally on the side of the oppressed and exploited, especially PBPA (Solidarity is reactionary on the national question, the cops, the screws). However, Labour is in a *qualitatively* different position. It is a party absolutely dedicated to the maintenance of capitalism and it *participates in vicious anti-working class governments*. Indeed, it took to imposing austerity like ducks to water in its most recent bout in government. I would say that should automatically exclude it from being welcome in coalitions based on any sort of working class politics and defence of workers’ interests.

      That doesn’t mean I think every single *individual* member of the Irish Labour Party should be excluded, although they certainly should be challenged over their membership of such a party.

      I don’t see how it is possible to draw class lines in politics without excluding anti-working class political forces. The test should be, “Have they been in a capitalist government? Have they been involved in attacking the working class?” The Labour Party thus excludes itself – by dint of being an enemy of the working class. These people atop the Labour Party are just scumbags. They’re not wayward members of our team. They are part and parcel of the array of forces pitted against the oppressed and exploited by the ruling class. They aren’t “sellouts”; they represent the interests of capital and they do so efficiently, effectively – and cruelly. (Although their minuscule size and their isolation post the last election, now means the capitalists may dispense with their services.)

      Labour *as a party* should be no more welcome than Fine Gael *as a party* or Fianna Fail *as a party*. Otherwise, frankly, what is the point of bothering with class politics and class dividing lines at all? And, after all, we’re anti-capitalists, not liberal single-issue campaigners with an all-in approach.

      There is real hostility to Labour within swathes of the southern working class. It should be encouraged not moderated.

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