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Clare Daly loses her seat in Dublin vote

but that's because many leftists oppose her anti-war message

18 June 2024

Clare Daly.

For the socialist and anti-war movement in Ireland the major event of the European poll was the ousting of Clare Daly and Mick Wallace from the European Parliament. The two were strong voices against US and European militarism both in relation to the Gaza genocide and the constantly escalating proxy war in Ukraine.

This has generated a good deal of anger on the left, with many commentators denouncing Bríd Smith of People Before Profit for standing against Clare in Dublin and sabotaging the left vote. The Communist Party charge that this is the treachery of Trotskyism doesn't clarify things and is totally spurious given PbPs utter electoralism and reformism.

However, this accusation is too simplistic and obscures the real mechanism at play. After all, the election was a proportional vote transfer and Bríd could have stood, consolidated her vote, and then transferred to Clare, ensuring her election.

The charge is then made that a voting pact would have resolved the issue. However, if there was a coherent socialist movement and politics this would not have been needed.

What the PbP vote in Dublin tells us is that they have built up a substantial electoral base, but the transfers tell us that this vote is neither very coherent nor very socialist. A sector did vote number 2 for Clare Daly, but a large group transferred to Sinn Féin despite its clearly right-wing policies and third group transferred to the Labour party, a leading party of austerity that some years ago was trying to jail Paul Murphy following a water charges protest.  Another section of her vote did not transfer to any candidate.

This hodgepodge of an electoral current would not have followed a direction to vote for Clare, but the major element in this section is that many of them, and PbP itself, are hostile to Clare. Where Clare and Mick speak out about the proxy war in Ukraine, PbP have shifted to support for the war, for the western drive to war and inaction on the growing involvement of the Irish state in European military structures, in NATO and direct participation in supplying war material as well as the economic war on Russia.

Once we accept this, we can recognise that the response is not to complain to PbP. We need an anti-imperialist and socialist movement, recognition that Irish society, politics and the economy are totally dependent on Imperialism, then link Gaza, Ukraine and China in Biden's agenda - an agenda that is genuinely leading us rapidly to global conflict and the use of nuclear weapons.

PbP got a good vote, but an electoral hodgepodge is no substitute for a principled revolutionary programme.

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