The ‘Anti Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit’ is now an official entity on the Register of Political Parties. All candidates of both groups will have this as their official party designation on the ballot papers in the General Election. It’s expected that over 30 AAA-PBP candidates will contest the election in 27 constituencies. Currently 4 TDs, Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd Barrett, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy, as well as 27 Councillors are backing the initiative for a Left electoral bloc and Left parliamentary group.
This means there is now a clear alternative to the left of Labour, who have desperately betrayed ordinary people in the last four and a half years. It is one which clearly rules out deals with pro-austerity parties such as Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and other establishment politicians. AAA-PBP stands for a genuine left government that will tackle the domination of the 1% in this society and demand a real recovery for the 99%.
Now, even if a snap election is called after the Budget, a left bloc with a unified banner will offer a political reflection of the mass movement against water charges and austerity – involving two of the most active forces within that grassroots movement.
We are calling on all water charges activists to ensure that this unprecedented popular revolt is activated into the election by building mass non-payment and making the abolition of the charge and Irish Water a central theme of the election campaign.
We are also appealing to all those active against the water charges and unjust austerity to get involved and help ensure that as many representatives of the AAA-PBP are elected as TDs as possible to further advance that struggle. We intend to use the the Dail as a platform to help organise on all the issues but also to build a new mass political force of the left.
An Official Parliamentary Group
Under Dail Standing Orders a party registered to contest a Dáil election must have at least 7 deputies elected to constitute an official ‘parliamentary group’. The AAA-PBP aims to achieve group recognition in order to have significantly enhanced speaking time and rights in the next Dail. For example, this would mean a daily opportunity for a principled Left TD to question and challenge the Taoiseach in Leaders’ Questions. This would give an increased platform for left-wing and socialist positions and be an opportunity to bring the real concerns of working people, the unemployed, young people and pensioners into the chamber of the Dail and use it as a platform to mobilise opposition to austerity.
AAA-PBP aims to expose the much vaunted ‘recovery’ as a sham for most people. While the obscene wealth of the 1% has grown dramatically over recent years, this has been at the expense of lower pay, slashed services and diminished rights for the majority.
We also believe that the debt which results from the disastrous policy of bailing out the bankers should be repudiated and the money instead invested in housing, public services and strategic infrastructure.
The power of the 1% is laid bare by the serious charges levelled against anti-water charge protesters for a sit down protest in Jobstown and the repression of communities opposing water meters being installed against their will. At the same time there is no serious attempt to make anyone from the elite culpable for the speculation and greed which led to the troika takeover and seven years of austerity.
AAA-PBP will be an alternative to the socially backward parties of the establishment, including Labour who have failed to deal with the reality of abortion and other issues. In the election campaign, we will pose the need for a referendum to get rid of the 8th amendment and, while respecting people’s rights to religious beliefs and none, the urgent need for the separation of church and state in this country.
Trade unions break link with labour Party
The newly established AAA-PBP calls on the members of SIPTU and the members of all the unions affiliated to Labour to break the link with the party that has sold-out and broken its promises in such an ignominious manner.
For AAA-PBP, housing is a key issue. We daily experience the suffering caused by the chronic homelessness crisis and the criminal failure of successive governments to build social and affordable homes. We are demanding that a National Housing Emergency is declared and a programme of major building embarked on by the State itself to meet the needs of the 130,000 families and individuals on the local authority waiting lists.
There has been a mood of real solidarity among very many people for refugees fleeing war and persecution. The Anti-Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit believe the resources currently controlled by a super-wealthy and corporate elite should be used to build homes and provide decent lives for all.
We have come together to maximise the potential for the Left in the election and will co-operate and adopt an agreed approach to try to maximise transfers among our candidates to ensure as many AAA-PBP TDs are elected as possible. The AAA-PBP is a left electoral bloc and a unified parliamentary group. Within the parliamentary group, there will be full political autonomy for both People Before Profit and the Anti-Austerity Alliance. However, there will also be a commitment to the maximum possible co-operation both inside and outside the Dail.
We will attempt to grow an active political movement in the months and years ahead outside as well as inside the Dail to mobilise to effect real change in the interests of the majority in society. We will do all in our power to develop a new mass party to represent working people, the unemployed, youth and pensioners, including working together with other forces on the left.
Such a mass force could open up the prospect of the election of a fighting Left government – learning all the lessons from the recent experiences in Europe- committed to achieving a fundamental transformation of society.
The Anti Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit initiative is a significant development which can result in a greatly enhanced role for the genuine left in the next Dail and in society, more generally.
AAA-PBP will be campaigning for:
- Abolish water charges and home taxes – scrap the USC for low and middle income workers
- An emergency programme of council housing construction & rent control
- Reverse the cuts & increase investment in Health, Education & Public Transport – No to privatisation
- Decent work & a Living wage
- Reverse all Social protection cuts affecting lone parents, Job Seekers, Child Benefit, Pensioners & the disabled – Eliminate poverty.
- Real Tax Justice – Make the super-wealthy & Corporations pay their fair share of tax
- Stop paying the odious debts of bankers & speculators
- Repeal the 8th amendment – for a woman’s right to choose
- Solidarity with Refugees – No to racism & fortress Europe
- End the use of Shannon by the US Military – No to war and militarism