At a press conference in Buswell’s Hotel today, the Anti-Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) declared that the weekend’s opinion polls showed that the potential exists in this election to replace the Labour Party with a real left which will not betray the trust of the people they represent.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said “The decline in support for the establishment parties seen in opinion polls is a sign of the huge political disillusionment that people feel with these parties and a seismic shift in the political landscape of this country. The opportunity exists now for a historic move beyond civil-war politics. This is seen most in the drop in support for the Labour Party which is now in wipe-out territory. This is an ongoing process and stems from the implementation of brutal austerity policies which have sacrificed workers and public services to bail out bankers and speculators.
“What we saw over the weekend was a spectacular demonstration of people power against, not just water charges, but the failed policies of this government; the betrayal, the corruption, the cronyism and the broken promises. It is clear that people have risen from the battering of austerity and are now fighting back against Fine Gael and EU enforced policies which have been shamefully supported by the Labour Party.”
“Workers, young people and oppressed groups are now looking for a political alternative that is opposed to austerity and puts forward radical proposals for the re-shaping of society like the ideas of sharing wealth and corporations to build homes, to fund our health system and our education system. The opportunity exists to build a real left force to replace the Labour Party, and avoids the mistakes of political betrayal and coalition with right-wing parties which has finished Labour as a force for working class people.”
Paul Murphy TD said: “Saturday’s massive Right2Water demonstration was the funeral procession for the Labour Party and simultaneously the basis for the building of a real left. That is confirmed by the opinion polls which show two clear trends – the decline of the Labour Party and a momentum behind the Anti-Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit. For the first time ever, the socialist Left has over taken the Labour Party in an opinion poll [B&A]. In the Sunday Independent poll, both parties are neck and neck.
“There are big parallels between this election and the Spanish election. In that election, once the campaign started the anti-austerity mood which was in society re-asserted itself and was reflected in the rise of Podemos. In Ireland, this is partly reflected in the emergence of the AAA-PBP. We are gaining momentum as people deserting the Labour Party look for a principled left-wing alternative. “
Ruth Coppinger TD said: “This week, the Labour Party’s betrayal of every promise they made to people will catch up with them and they will face punishment at the ballot box. We believe that they should be replaced by a radical, left-wing party, which doesn’t sell people out and which stands in the tradition of Connolly and Larkin.
“The new party needs to be an activist based party linked to the social movements which are taking place in society. On Saturday, we saw the re-emergence on the streets of the anti-water charges movement which, along with the movement for marriage-equality, has driven a politicisation and radicalisation of working class people. We were the main organisers of the boycott campaign which is the bedrock of the water charges movement. We want to build a party which can be the party of these activists and become a force for real change in society.”
Brid Smith said: “The opinion polls show the opportunity people have in the election to establish for the first time a genuine left grouping TDs to the Dail. We believe that it is very much achievable and would be a massive step forward for workers, young people and the unemployed in trying to transform society. It would be a step forward in building a new left party which could be a voice for working people in the Dail, using it as a platform to mobilise for change outside the Dail.
“We are calling on people to take the momentum from the last few weeks, and the protest on Saturday and use it to deliver a final blow to Labour in the General Election and to vote for the AAA-PBP to put a voice for workers, our elderly and young people in the Dail.”