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Elections to Ireland’s lower house, the Dáil, have seen a jump in representation for the left, while also rewarding Ireland’s Tories. The vote for Fianna Fáil, Ireland’s traditional party of government, slumped, leaving them with less than half the 77 seats they had before.
Fine Gael, now the largest party, is likely to seek a coalition with Labour, which has beaten its previous highest seat tally and seen a big jump since the last parliament. Yet it has done so largely with the votes of people opposed to austerity, which Fine Gael is committed to continuing, albeit with some cosmetic changes.
Ireland uses proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies of between three and five seats. The Single Tranferable Vote system is somewhat complex, and voting is still continuing in some constituencies, but the overall picture is now clear.
The Greens lost all six of their seats. They were widely criticised on the left for supporting spending cuts in coalition with Fianna Fáil. While they’ve continued to publicly justify their decision to go into the coalition by citing green reforms that would not otherwise have happened, there will surely be serious reflection going on in the party after these sobering results.
Left-republican Sinn Féin more than tripled its share of the vote, with Gerry Adams elected with 22 per cent of first preferences in Louth. In an amusing aside, David Cameron’s office was forced to apologise to Adams after he resigned from his Westminster seat to run in the Irish republic’s election. Technically MPs are not allowed to resign, so the traditional way of allowing them to do so is to give them the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. This is an “office of profit under the crown” which makes them ineligible to sit in the House of Commons. Cameron’s office claimed he had accepted the post, prompting Adams to reply: “I simply resigned. I was not consulted nor was I asked to accept such an office. I am an Irish republican. I have had no truck whatsoever with these antiquated and quite bizarre aspects of the British parliamentary system.”
The United Left Alliance, which was put together hurriedly at the end of last year, is mainly made up of the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party-dominated People before Profit Alliance. However, one of its five elected deputies, Séamus Healy, is the key figure in the Tipperary-based Workers and Unemployed Action Group.
Healy was elected first in the three-seat Tipperary South constituency, as was the Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins in Dublin West. Higgins made a breakthrough in the European elections in 2009 when he beat sitting Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou MacDonald to the third Dublin euro-seat. He has also been a Dáil deputy before, though not in the last parliament, and is a popular figure in Dublin for his role in the campaign against the Bin Tax.
The Socialist Workers Party’s Richard Boyd-Barrett just made it as the last of four deputies from the Dublin constituency of Dun Laoghaire. It was a run off between him and Ivana Bacik for Labour, but once she was eliminated, her votes transfered to him – though not before she had demanded a recount.
Given the nature of their breakthrough, the United Left Alliance must now consider what kind of left reorganisation it wants to pursue. Undoubtedly the ULA will become a more enduring formation, but whether it remains a simple electoral alliance or becomes something more concrete remains to be seen. In theory, its two main constituents (who are allied to parties of the same name in Britain) are fairly close politically. Yet they come from political traditions which tend to regard their own particular brand of trotskyism as sacrosanct.
Since its breakthrough in 2009, the Left Party in Germany has been copied in various places across Europe, but the model the ULA would perhaps be better looking to is the Left Bloc in Portugal, which started as an agreement between two small far-left groups and now has 10 per cent of the MPs in Portugal’s parliament.
Yet while the left has been strengthened electorally, with a Fine Gael/Labour government unlikely to upset the IMF and Europe’s neoliberal establishment (which in any case Fine Gael are part of) it will be popular mobilisation that still counts in the months to come.
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
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Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
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A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going
A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism
Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase
Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields
Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton
Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi
A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain
Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank
Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded
West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens
Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age
Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today
The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics
Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.
Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show
The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
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Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi