Why the Irish Labour Party Fails
Date:January 1993
Organisation:Socialist Workers' Movement
Author:Conor Kostick
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Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: Labour Party

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

29th July 2019

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this document to the Archive.

This pamphlet published in 1993 by the SWM and written by Conor Costick offers a critique of the Irish Labour Party. Under various headings it engages with issues such as ‘Managing the Economy’, ‘How Other Labour Parties Fail’, ‘The State’, ‘Could Labour Be Changed?’ And ‘The Foundations of the Irish Labour Party’. Written as it was after the 1992 General Election which saw a then historic number of Labour TDs returned it notes that:

The size of the vote for the LP… was an exciting development in Irish politics. For it indicated that thousands of people are fed up with he main right wing parties, and are looking for an alternative.

However, it continues:

Their commitment to running the system tells us in advance they will not challenge the capitalist class. Instead they will seek to participate in running the country at a time when to restore profit levels requires savage cuts in jobs and welfare.

There’s an interesting analysis that in a short period following the 1987 General Election ‘the left made the running in the Labour Party’ and it argues that ‘Mervyn Taylor, the candidate backed by the left defeated Ruairi Quinn for the position of Chair of the party. Even more significantly, Emmet Stagg captured the Vice-Chair in opposition to Niamh Breathnach… however the left was pulling its punches. Instead of openly attacking the right wing of the party, instead of fighting for socialist ideas, they concentrated on the constitutional issue.

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