SIR – Taking a leaf out of The Skibbereen Eagle’s book, TD Paul Murphy has long been keeping an eye on something Russian, namely, Trotsky’s brand of Marxism. Trotskyism, while maligned by the establishment parties and anyone who feels like scoring a cheap shot in an unoriginal way, is well represented in an Dáil Éireann, with Murphy and its other practitioners making their voices heard, often disproportionately.
Nonetheless, he’s unsatisfied, and so his recent decision to leave the Socialist Party and start a new political group, Rise, is interesting. The Irish left’s obsession with fracturing itself is like something out of a masochist’s memoir. Rise takes the number of left-leaning parties and groups in the country to at least 15.
Diversity within the ranks is no bad thing, but it leads to infighting, diluting the core messages and policies into vague distinctions rather than distilling them into something people of that general persuasion could broadly get behind. But it seems Murphy might be aware of this, as well as the fact that the locus of power is likely to shift.
Rise explicitly state that they are ‘committed to building a broader left.’ This was a reason Murphy departed the Socialist Party; not enough engagement with other parties and movements on the left.
They want to find the common ground they have with people-parties-movements, then work in concert towards shared goals, even when they might disagree with those entities on other causes. They plan on being more engaged with Extinction Rebellion.
The noises emanating from Rise will appeal to many. Their flexibility makes sense for a society whose complexity knows no bounds, though they’ll need to watch that they don’t stretch so far as to snap. Such pluralism – simply acknowledging differences and saying we can still work together – is something which, in some quarters, is not in demand so much as in vogue.
The Greta Thunberg generation is possibly the most politicised generation to ever break through. Though predominantly a single-issue crowd, some of them – if not many, for their activism appears ingrained – will no doubt drift into the wider political space. And when they do, the banner that looks the most like their own will reap the rewards.
Is Murphy wise to keep an eye on the future composition of the Dáil? Let’s check back in 2030 and see!