AAA – this Marxist not welcome

Earlier this evening, just under two hours ago, I was rung by a member of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (and Socialist Party) telling me that the Cork AAA branch committee had discussed my membership application.

They have declined my application – two grounds being given.

  • That they do not believe I really agree with the politics of the AAA – particularly citing my position on the 2016 election where I opposed voting for the AAA.
  • They believe I was involved in a “witch-hunt” against an AAA member who had been involved in the anti-water charges/meters movement in Cobh.

On the first point I would simply note that they seem to think it is not possible for people to change their minds. Clearly having opposed a vote for the AAA in the recent election would have meant I would have had a lot of work to do to convince my potential comrades of the sincerity of my motivations for joining but I am confident I could have done so as my commitment to the goal of a socialist transformation of society is as real as that as any other member of the AAA.

While I think this opinion is actually primarily motivated by political cowardice on the part of the Socialist Party who politically and organisationally dominate the AAA and do not want any critical socialist voice to their left to exist within the AAA they clearly do have the right to make this assessment and decline my membership application on that basis.

However I completely reject the second allegation as a valid basis for rejecting my membership.

After the successful defeat of attempts to install water meters in Cobh in the second half of 2014 the Cobh Says No community organisation collapsed in the middle of 2015 as the result of a series of increasingly antagonistic non-political disputes that had led to a large number of activists dropping out over the preceding months.

One individual had been at the centre of all these disputes. Following an AAA public meeting in Cork city on 5 March, along with two other prominent members of Cobh Says No, she joined the AAA.

At a Cobh Says No activist meeting in April the three were attacked for having joined the AAA and not having immediately reported this within Cobh Says No. At that meeting I defended their right to have joined the AAA and argued there was no requirement on them to have announced this. The meeting descended into chaos with much shouting and walkouts.

I used what political authority I had in the campaign to try to keep Cobh Says No together despite the increasing levels of personal animosity as well as growing hostility and sectarianism towards the AAA/SP. As part of this I made a major mistake in proposing a motion to expel the disruptive individual after her behaviour at what was to prove to be the second last meeting of Cobh Says No on 2 June 2015.

In the period leading up to the next scheduled meeting on 18 June I realised that contrary to my best intentions such a motion could only be seen as an anti-AAA move and so I withdrew my support for the motion and voted against it at the meeting.

This blog post from the time explains my public recognition of the mistake – https://revolutionaryprogramme.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/correcting-a-mistake-on-divisions-in-cobh-says-no-to-austerity/

At the next meeting on 30 June Cobh Says No was formally disbanded with the bulk of the remaining activists forming a new organisation, Cobh CommUNITY 4 Change, which aligned itself with Right2Water and bureaucratically excluded people on the basis of their membership of the AAA/SP.

I did not join the new group.

It is clearly true that I made mistakes in trying to keep Cobh Says No together as a group of all those opposed to water charges and meters whatever their wider political affiliations however my actions were in no way part of any witch-hunt against the AAA. In fact I was motivated by almost exactly the opposite considerations as I think my blog post from the time makes absolutely clear.


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