Open letter to members and supporters of Cork branch of Solidarity

On Tuesday 4 July I attended a Solidarity public meeting in Cork. At the end of the meeting I filled out a membership form, #1131, which was accepted at the desk, as was my €10 membership fee.


Subsequently I received an email timestamped 10 July 2017 at 17:45:

Hi Alan,

I understand that at our public meeting on Tuesday night, you filled in a Solidarity membership card and paid a membership fee of €10. These were accepted by a Solidarity member who was not aware that you were previously not accepted into membership.

As you know, in December 2016 your application for membership of the then Anti Austerity Alliance was rejected by a unanimous decision of our local committee. This decision was based, in part, on the fact that you had fundamental and well established disagreements with the AAA’s politics and approach. For example, at the time of the last election you explicity called for people not to vote for the AAA, stating that we would: “capitulate and participate in a “progressive” Sinn Féin-led government – haggling only over minor details in the programme for government and ministerial positions.” This is entirely consistent with your approach to the AAA/Solidarity as expressed in a number of speeches and articles since we launched in 2013. It’s hard to see how this can be squared with a genuine commitment to help build our project now.

The Anti Austerity Alliance has changed its name to Solidarity. We feel the name better reflects our political orientation, but it does not represent a new organisation or fundamental political shift on our part. Similarly, I see no evidence that anything has fundamentally changed about your own approach.

Given that nothing is altered since December, it should have been clear to you that the decision we made then still stands and you are not accepted into Solidarity membership.

We will refund your fee as last time.

Conor Payne
On behalf of Cork Branch of Solidarity

I replied (10 July 2017 at 18:56) as follows:


I am glad to see you are no longer repeating the untrue slanders about my supposed role in an anti-AAA witch-hunt in the Cobh anti-water charges/meters campaign.

As regards the issue of political difference which you say should exclude me it appears I was confused about what I had understood was now the position of Solidarity.

You accurately quote from my analysis of the last general election and what I put forward as the reason why I was unable to call for a vote to the AAA.

As the AAA explicitly and openly refused to rule out a governmental alliance with Sinn Féin there should be nothing contentious about my statement. Given the relative social weight of the organisations involved at the time of the election any possible coalition government involving Sinn Féin and AAA/PBP would necessarily have been in the context of the majority/minority I outlined.

However I had assumed that based on the type of movement/organisation Solidarity says it is trying to build, as outlined by Paul Murphy in his interview on 3 July, that this position must have been updated.

Unless of course you believe that there was a possibility that the openly pro-capitalist Sinn Féin organisation would somehow be willing to be part of a government coalition that was in line with the sentiments outlined by Paul:

“That everybody who stands for a society based on the interests of the majority as opposed to the 1% at the top should come together. Everybody who stands for a woman’s right to choose. Everybody who stands for those kind of policies based on people power movements from below. Those who believe in turning society effectively upside down, saying the wealth and resources should be in the hands of the majority instead of the minority.”

Despite whatever may be our differences about how to get to the goal of this kind of society I think it is quite clear that I fall within the boundaries of “everybody” who agrees with those goals.

On the other hand the truth is that Sinn Féin, as an organisation, quite clearly does NOT fall within those boundaries.

I therefore presumed that this would exclude any possibility of Solidarity participating in a governmental coalition with Sinn Féin and thus the previous red line issue that had stopped me from calling for a vote to the AAA no longer existed.

As you seem to be standing by the position I critiqued at the beginning of 2016 it appears I must have been wrong in this presumption.

Therefore you either think Sinn Féin, as an organisation, does believe that “the wealth and resources should be in the hands of the majority instead of the minority” or these are just meaningless words with no relationship to what kind of governmental coalition you would be prepared to join.

If either of these is the case then yes indeed I am not interested in being a member of Solidarity as this is a class-line I as a revolutionary Marxist am not prepared to cross.

Can you also confirm that this most recent decision was also the result of a vote by the Cork local committee?

Comradely regards

So I have a few questions for members and supporters of Solidarity.

  • Do you think the argument for not voting for the AAA that I outlined in my blog post in February 2016 (for the full post see https://revolutionaryprogramme.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/pandering-to-illusions-in-sinn-fein-election-2016-and-working-class-independence/) is incompatible with membership of Solidarity?
  • Do you believe that the openly pro-capitalist Sinn Féin organisation could be part of a left government that had as its aim “turning society effectively upside down, saying the wealth and resources should be in the hands of the majority instead of the minority.”
  • And if you do not believe that is possible why doesn’t Solidarity tell the working class this truth by ruling out, in advance, a government coalition with Sinn Féin – just as it does for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party?

0 Responses to “Open letter to members and supporters of Cork branch of Solidarity”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: