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PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT WRITE TO SINN FÉIN SEEKING DISCUSSIONS AROUND A LEFT FRONT

On the back of the recent election results in France, where the French left united around radical demands and came out on top, People Before Profit have written to Sinn Féin to seek discussions around a Left Front going into the next General Election.

See below for full text of letter:

Dear Mary Lou,

We would like to invite you to meet with our representatives urgently to explore the prospect of a left front that fights both in elections and on the streets for truly progressive change in Irish society. In the French elections, where the left came together on the basis of a far-reaching programme, it was able to defeat both the neo-liberals of Macron and the far-right of Le Pen. For us, the lesson from France is that a Left Front, united around radical demands, could win at the next general election in Ireland. We write to you as a party that has often found itself on similar sides in battles for progressive change and against the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil political establishment.

We note that following the recent local and European elections, sections of the media and leading FF and FG politicians can barely conceal their glee at the prospect of your defeat in a coming general election. Indeed, they may very well rush that election forward for that very purpose.

A year ago, the political establishment and sections of the elite were terrified at the prospect of a Sinn Féin-led government. No matter how much Sinn Féin sought to reassure them that you were not advocating a radical left programme, they still feared an end to FF and FG dominance of Irish politics.

Now, after the recent elections, they are more confident that the status quo and their position feel secure because they expect the next government to be FF-FG backed up by right-wing independents. We expect the decline in the polls of Sinn Féin’s vote share – from an estimated 35% in recent polls to just under 12% in the last local and European elections, will lead to significant discussion within your party. It is not our intention to exacerbate any internal conflicts but we do want to make a number of critical points.

We believe we should both acknowledge that Irish politics has become far more polarised. The emergence of a far-right movement has been used to shift the political dial in this country to the right. Across the world, the political establishment and sections of the wealthy elite have tilted towards fermenting racism as a divide-and-rule tactic to maintain their position.

They use the scapegoating of immigrants and refugees to divert anger from their own failure to address crises in housing, health, public services and deep economic inequality. We think Sinn Féin’s reluctance to clearly oppose the government’s scapegoating of asylum seekers was a mistake.

There is now a clear left-right divide in Irish politics. It is surely obvious that no left wing party could enter a government with FF or FG. One has only to look at the fate of the Green Party and the Labour Party when they made this mistake.

Some of your members argued in the past that it would be different if Sinn Féin were the majority partner in such a coalition. We disagreed because even if they were a minority FF or FG would exercise a veto on any radical change. However, current polling figures suggest that the prospect that Sinn Féin can be a majority partner in such a coalition has diminished. We therefore appeal to you to rule out joining a FF or FG in coalition and to embrace a left wing united electoral pact with a clear ‘vote left-transfer left’ slogan.

Such a pact should be formed in opposition to both the conventional right, who have presided over massive inequality, and the far right who seek to stir up racism in order to do the dirty work of the establishment. It is time to take on those who masquerade as ‘patriots’ yet associate with hard-line loyalists and the British far right. We know that a shift left will strike fear into the hearts of the establishment and the very privileged elite. They will use every means at their disposal to stop the advance of a united left. Our best defence against them is mass mobilisation from below on the real issues and injustices faced by ordinary working people.

The growth of the far right is directly linked to the housing crisis, the crises in other vital public services and the neglect of many working class communities. Scapegoating of migrants under the guise of ‘looking after our own first’ feeds off these crises when people see no way out.

We think this can be reversed if the left unites and embarks on a policy of grass-roots campaigning and people power mobilisations, just as we did with the water charges. Such mobilisation, we think, can have a positive impact. When large numbers of people move beyond despair and despondency and into activism on the issues that will actually make a difference, they are more likely to raise their aspirations for real change. In this situation, all parties of the left can gain.

We look forward to hearing from you about our request for a meeting and hearing your views.

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