23
Oct
12

Eddie Conlan’s election statement for non-aligned rep

The potential of the ULA has not been realised. Despite significant electoral gains and considerable enthusiasm an organisation with a vibrant internal and external life has not been developed.  It is now clear that the founding organisations are at best ambivalent about developing the ULA as the basis for forming a new workers party.  Whats required is the development of an active membership who prioritise the building of the ULA. The non-aligned grouping can play a significant role in ensuring there is a focus on building the ULA and developing a layer of active members who begin to give it real life  and turn it into an organisation that people can join and get active in.

The prospects for building an active opposition to austerity is growing. While relative low levels of struggle have been a barrier to the building of the ULA there is evidence of change. There is now a layer of people, particularly in the CAHWT, who want to fight austerity and are open to the idea of a new political formation.  The ULA needs to become attractive to these people and pull them into ULA activity. While it needs to be expanded, the founding program is adequate to advancing the struggle for a new workers party at this time.

Rather than waiting for the founding organisations the non-aligned should develop a programme of activity which develops the profile of the ULA and provides opportunities for members to discuss the political development of the ULA.  In practice this means building active branches, having an agreed approach to campaigns and holding regular public events which mobilise the ULA membership and/or provide opportunities to discuss political ideas and developments.  The question of a regular ULA publication should also be advanced.

Non-aligned reps on the SC should be mandated to push for these activities.

I am proposing:

  1. An extension of the Steering Committee to 4 reps per group. This would widen the leadership of the ULA, allow for broader representation (of women and from outside Dublin) and hopefully develop a wider commitment to the development of the ULA.
  2. Regular ULA public events.
  3. Immediate registration of the ULA with the aim of having a wide layer of candidates at the next local elections.
  4. Developing a united approach to campaign activity with an emphasis on agreeing this approach through the structures of the ULA.
  5. The building of active branches and more regular branch council meetings which discuss both policy issues and activity.
  6. Decision making by consensus with an emphasis on getting active agreement. Moving to one person one vote at this stage would lead to permanent competitive mobilisation by the founding organisations against each other. It would also mean domination by the biggest and best organised groups.
  7. The ULA should facilitate a discussion on left unity in the North. A successful project aligned to the ULA can only develop out of a process rooted in the six counties. I agree with the objective of the ULA being a 32 county organisation.
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