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Analysis: Paul Murphy’s new socialist party declares war on sums

Good news, folks. After what feels like a lifetime of waiting, a new, true, fully socialist Irish movement is here. Paul Murphy has finally stepped forward, to offer the people the revolutionary leadership we have all waited so many years for:

“Speaking at the launch in Dublin today, Murphy said that after a year-long debate within the Socialist Party, he decided to part company with them and help form RISE which stands for: Radical, Internationalist, Socialist and Environmentalist.”

There will be lots of articles about what the group stands for, and whether they’ll contest elections, and all that stuff, but I thought it might be worth having a look at what their policies actually are. In fairness to them, they have a whole page on their website devoted to that, so let’s have a look:

Quality, free, accessible public services, democratically run by workers, service users and local communities. Fund them through taxing profits and wealth and by taking private services into democratic public ownership. Reverse privatisation and outsourcing. 

Well, that’s good news. It’s well known that every other party in the state opposes quality, free, public services, so this is a breath of fresh air. “Taking private services into democratic public ownership” is, of course, a nice way of saying “stealing companies from the people who own them”.

What did Murphy’s former Party disagree with him on there?

For a free Irish National Health Service – abolish healthcare for profit and incorporate it into the public system. Invest in improved pay and conditions for health workers to help end waiting lists. Massively expand mental healthcare. 

Are there people in Irish politics opposed to a free health system? Or spending more on it? The abolition of private health care means that your VHI will be useless and you will spend hours sitting in A&E hoping that they get to you before the grim reaper does, but that’s standard socialist fare, and why nobody sane votes for them in the first place – again, what does he disagree with the socialist party on, here?

All education should be free and accessible to everyone – abolish fees and ‘voluntary contributions’, nationalise private schools, colleges and school book publishers and take the education system out of Church control. Stop excluding students with disabilities, learning difficulties or ASD from our education system. No to authoritarian, neoliberal education – for holistic, participatory education with democratic decision-making by staff, students and communities. 

Free education – radical stuff here, to be sure. The confiscation of private schools is one thing, but how do you abolish “voluntary contributions”? Does Murphy intend to make it illegal to give some money to your child’s school?

A National Childcare Service to provide free childcare for all based on parents’ needs and preferences. Ensure excellent pay and conditions for childcare workers.

I like how the promise here is to ensure that the childcare workers are looked after, and not a promise that the care they provide will be excellent.

Fight climate change and inequality – invest in a rapid, just, and democratic transition to 100% publicly-owned green energy and a zero-carbon economy by 2030, creating tens of thousands of jobs and ensuring no workers or communities are left behind. 

A zero carbon economy by 2030 is, indeed, a bold pledge, and one can be absolutely certain that Murphy will not be asked how he intends to accomplish it. Bear in mind that just by halving our carbon emissions, we would have to return to the carbon levels of about 1945. To go to zero-carbon in ten years, one would have to essentially shut down all economic activity. Which might make free healthcare, childcare, education, and all those nationalisation policies more difficult to achieve.

Separate Church and State – end Church control of hospitals and schools. Ensure full compensation for abuse victims by seizing the assets of religious orders. 

Seizing people’s assets is, unfortunately for RISE, unconstitutional. It would require a referendum, which isn’t mentioned here. And of course, such a referendum would grant a right for RISE to seize not just church property, but all property. And as we can see, they are fond of stealing property in what they have proposed to date.

Progressive, consent-based, LGBTQ+-inclusive sex and relationships education at all levels. Marriage equality in the North and full rights for the trans community, North and South, including accessible trans healthcare. Free provision of PREP and PEP through the health service.

Full abortion rights, including free abortion on request, and free contraception, North and South. 

Abortion up to nine months for any reason, and then lessons in how to have a threesome starting at the age of four. I would imagine that these would be decent things to ask Murphy about at his Press Conference…. But sadly, nobody did.

End Direct Provision and unjust immigration controls – no to inhumane and discriminatory treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. A socialist world would have no borders. 

Unlimited immigration. This will, of course, make providing free healthcare, education, and childcare somewhat more expensive. The good news is that when the zero carbon policy is implemented by 2030, nobody will want to come here anyway.

A 4-day week with no loss of pay, increased annual leave and two years’ paid leave for parents.

Your local corner shop will have to hire extra staff to cover the week – so that’s good news for jobs, I suppose. On the other hand, they will have to pay those staff, so the price of everything in that shop will probably have to increase by 20 or 30%. The fact that anyone of child-bearing age might have to be given two years’ paid leave will probably lead to increased job opportunities for the over-45s, though, so that’s good.

Abolish regressive taxation on workers: no to carbon tax on working people, broadcasting tax, water charges and the property tax! 

Wait a minute. How do you get to a zero-carbon economy in 2030 with no carbon tax?

Break with Ireland’s corporate tax haven model of development – abolish corporate tax breaks, double the corporation tax rate on big business, introduce a financial transactions tax, a millionaires’ tax and higher income tax for those earning over €100,000. Abolish the USC and replace with a High Income Social Charge on incomes over €100,000.

The good news: This will indeed raise more revenue. The bad news: A socialist world will have no borders, and these companies are perfectly free to move elsewhere. As are millionaires, who are pretty good at avoiding tax.

But, and I cannot stress this enough, wait for it:

Nationalise the banking system and the core sectors of the economy currently controlled by major corporations, including construction, natural resources, the big retail chains, logistics, distribution, transport and telecommunications, and run them as part of a democratically planned economy to serve people’s needs not profit. 

So on the one hand, we are taxing companies at twice their current rate to raise money. But, on the other hand, we’re abolishing these companies altogether, and nationalising them? Aldi and Lidl become state owned supermarkets, according to the Murphy plan. Vodafone and Eir are abolished, and you get Murphy Telecoms. Once we do all that, who do we tax?

We need a new party of the working class, drawing together left, environmental, anti-austerity and community activists, trade unionists, and fighters against oppression, to take on the power of big business and the capitalist class and fight for socialism. 

“Paul Murphy says the Socialist Party has failed to fight for socialism”. A sad day.

For a secular socialist constitution that enshrines human rights and abolishes the “rights” of capitalist private property. 

Just to be clear: If you own *anything*, you are a capitalist, according to this definition. And once RISE are in power, you will not own anything, the state will own it all.

There is more. You should read it all. It is all absolute nonsense.

The enemy of socialism, as always, is basic sums. Maybe we should spend more on education, after all.

By the way: What exactly did Murphy disagree with the Socialist Party on? There’s not one ounce of this cadswallop that they don’t also support.

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