Since it’s public launch at the end of November, the United Left Alliance has been very warmly received and it’s potential to have a major impact in the coming general election has been clearly indicated.
More than 350 attended the launch rally in Dublin on 29 November, with 180 of those signing up to become activists of the ULA. On 10 January, 100 of those attended a follow up organising meeting in Dublin.
On Wednesday 12 January, more than 200 people packed into the Metropole Hotel for the launch of the ULA in Cork. The meeting was excellent and the mood was strong. 108 new activists were signed up on the night and the ULA has clearly strengthened the left in Cork.
Between now and the middle of February, nearly another twenty local launch meetings for the ULA will take place. A number will take place in the different constituencies in Dublin but the ULA will also be launched throughout the country, including Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Clonmel, Limerick.
Hopefully new areas will be added to this list as the ULA is the only force that is offering a real left alternative to the capitalist establishment and the Labour and Sinn Féin.
The United Left Alliance is in discussions with left activists in Waterford, Galway and Sligo, amongst others. These are key areas that any new force that takes itself seriously would want to get organised in as soon as possible. We would encourage all to sign up to the principled position contained in the ULA’s programme and pledge.
The ULA rejects the capitalist market and the policy of austerity cuts at national and local authority level. The ULA stands for the democratic public ownership of the wealth and resources so that the economy can be planned for the interests of working people not profit. The ULA stands against the political and economic corruption and profiteering that caused the crisis.
If more credible groups and candidates commit themselves to the principled stand of the ULA, the bigger the impact that the ULA can have. In turn each individual group and candidate will be given increased significance by their association with the United Left Alliance’s challenge.
Just before Christmas the Socialist Party was contacted by a large group of Labour members from the Laois constituency who had become disgusted by the undemocratic manoeuvrings of the party leadership regarding candidate selection.
After serious discussions, this group have now adopted a position far to the left of Labour and have now resigned from the party and endorsed the ULA’s programme and pledge and will now stand as part of the ULA in the general election.
If the ULA can mount credible challenges in more than half of the Dail constituencies, it can be seen as a serious response to the IMF/EU austerity and as a real opportunity for ordinary people to use the election to build a new left and ultimately a new party that represents them, something that is sorely needed.
To have successful local launches, which help develop the name profile and momentum of the ULA and strengthen the chances of our candidates, is a top priority. On top of the members of the Socialist Party, PBPA and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group (South Tipperary), the ULA should also target to sign up 1,000 new activists by its Convention in Dublin on 19 February.
At this point the ULA is primarily an electoral alliance, but all volunteers must be encouraged to be fully active and have their say. At its meetings, including the Convention, the ULA must encourage fraternal debate on issues and politics. Within the ULA, the Socialist Party will advocate that the ULA should adopt a socialist outlook as the only way of defeating capitalist oppression.
Every new activist should be encouraged to recruit their friends, family and workmates so the ULA can grow quickly and maximise its chances. Getting a number of TDs elected, who could act as a focal point for a left and socialist opposition to the capitalist crisis and the likely government of Labour and Fine Gael and for struggle against the austerity attacks, would be a major victory.