Return to Recent Articles menu

Dublin socialists must fight for a return of democracy to the city!

4 May 2019

Just how does a vote for People Before Profit change anything? The question can equally be posed to the Socialist Party, "Solidarity". Both organisations we must assume have some sort of arrangement" in regard to who is standing where but no common platform exists outside of the Dail.

First off the city council does not have any power. Owen Keegan and his numerous assistants run the show and are free to ignore the councillors. None of the candidates are running on a campaign for the cities and towns to be under democratic control of elected councils rather than unelected managers. 50 years after the civil rights movement for democratic rights the left are happy to participate in a charade in which the electorates' vote changes nothing and the candidates are happy to play pretend games in an undemocratic fraud.

Dublin city is festooned with posters that generally say nothing whatsoever other than 'I'm the one to look after your interests', and a smiley portrait with the rare exception of the Eirigi candidate in Dundrum who is campaigning against vulture funds. It's not as if nothing vital and important is happening to the working classes and youth of the cities. Dublin is being asset stripped as is the rest of the country. The water and sewage infrastructure was stolen literally from under our feet and put under the control of an unaccountable quango "Irish Water " and we are told we've won that one!

The land banks and housing assets are handed over to vulture funds. Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann are put under the control of another privatisation quango Transport for Ireland without any outcry from our "candidates" even though almost 23% of Dublin routes have been privatised. Then to top it all off the nurses after a hugely popular dispute are being worn down by their union leaders into accepting a deal which answered nothing of their demands for a properly functioning health system. To add insult to injury a private company, the VHI has been able to to trash any concept of medical or patient care ethics by introducing a system of penalties for patients who are not subscribers to their insurance plans.

It's not as if there are not huge issues facing the working class, it's just that they are ignored in favour of apolitical clientelist windbagging about who is a hard working local councillor that differs not a jot from the main capitalist parties.  There is a basic bottom line for uniting the working class in our towns and cities and that is on the question of democracy. A democratically elected council must be recognised as such and have power over the cities functioning. Electorialism has completely taken hold over the left, so much so that the actual class struggle, the Troika's arrangement to asset strip the accumulated wealth of generations, is ignored in favour of trivial local issues.

But the question of why should electing another " left councillor" to a city council with no power over how the city is run be an issue worth crossing the road for is unanswered. Going down the electoralist rabbit hole when huge challenges and vicious attacks are everyday realities for the working class is to open up space for other right wing forces whose reactionary narrative of scapegoating immigrants can seize the initiative from reformist socialist political organisations that are so hypnotised by their electoralist strategy that they seem unaware they are participating in an undemocratic pantomime.

Socialists should be demanding that the vote be democratic, that the elected council have control over the city management rather than the other way round and the election itself be a demand for
democratic control by and for the citizens.

Return to top of page