People Before Profit activist and socialist Anna Doyle reports on the battle against Irish Water
People Before Profit conference important step forward
People Before Profit Stage Successful Conference. One hundred activists from the People Before Profit Alliance met at a recent national conference to develop strategy.The national meeting was a follow up from a series of re-launch meetings that have been occurring around the country which have been well attended.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD kicked off the discussion with an overview on the fight against austerity.
‘When the economy collapsed, people were traumatised. They thought that they could take some pain but that life would eventually return to normal. Now even the IMF are acknowledging that their economic policies are showing no sign of success.
‘Their answer is to deepen the attack on the workers – but we have to prepare for really big battles.
‘Our main target must be to mobilise for 24 November. This is the day of action being set by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and the Campaign against Household Charges. We should argue to unite the struggles – so we want everyone who has been hit by cutbacks mobilises for that day.
Gerry Carroll followed this up with a discussion on the fight against austerity in the North
‘Under the new Welfare Reform Bill, young people will be deprived of housing benefit. The DUP say it is necessary while Sinn Fein say they are opposed to it. But they will not issue a ‘petition of concern’ that could not it passing.
‘People before Profit will be one of then main organisations opposing it. That is because we really fight austerity on both sides of the border.
The meeting then heard reports of where People Before Profit activists were gaining a reception for their arguments.,
Francis O’ Reilly reported on how they had organised meetings in support of the home helps in East Wall in Dublin where scores of people are turning up.
Conor Mc Kinney from Sligo described how they had helped to stage protests against the cuts in home help hours and now SIPTU are being forced to move on the issue.
‘SIPTU talks but they are controlled by the Labour Party– they were doing very little until we started mobilising’
The meeting broke up into a number of policy groups and plans were drawn up for new statements on health, an alternative economic agenda and housing.
A special seminar on fracking and energy policy was also proposed and a new interim steering committee was elected, with delegates from different parts of the country.
Cork South Central branch of the People before Profit Alliance held a successful launch meeting on 25 May. Richard Boyd Barrett TD, the People Before Profit TD for Dun Laoghaire, and Liz Madden, a community activist from Togher addressed a packed meeting in the Ballyphehane Community centre.
Those attending included representatives from the local Anti-household Tax campaign, Home help workers, unemployed, pensioners and students, and was also covered by the local Radio and Newspapers.
The meeting agreed to do the following....
• Have a local meeting to organise opposition to cuts in Home Help and Community services on 9 Oct in Ballyphehane Community Centre.
• Support and build for the local anti-household Tax fundraiser on 29 Oct
• Build for The Dublin Council of Trade Unions pre budget demonstration 24 November in Dublin
• Send people from Cork to attend an open National People Before Profit gathering on 14 Oct
People Before Profit: A New direction in left politics.
The People Before Profit Alliance is part of the United Left Alliance but it offers a different model of how to organise in the present situation.
It does not start with the purity of its programme but urges activists to focus on campaigning that can draw in new forces to the left.
It takes a radical anti-capitalist stance but it also seeks to open itself out to new people who are starting to fight over specific issues.
It is a grassroots organisation where no one section can exercise a veto. Votes are taken and members are encouraged to accept that it is an alliance where they may not necessarily agree on every single statement but still remain committed to working together.
This way of organising is the key to breaking an internalised mindset where set piece disagreements between different blacks are regularly rehearsed.
The People Before Profit model provides a different way of doing politics which can help to re-capture the early dynamism that the United Left Alliance displayed.
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