People Before Profit
Pobal Roimh Bhrabús[1]
AbbreviationPBP
LeaderCollective leadership[a]
FoundedOctober 2005
Headquarters5 Henrietta Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
IdeologySocialism[2]
Anti-capitalism[3]
Irish unification[4]
Trotskyism[7]
Political positionLeft-wing[8] to far-left[9]
National affiliationPeople Before Profit/Solidarity
European affiliationEuropean Anti-Capitalist Left
Affiliated groups
Colours  Red
  White
SloganFighting For Workers & Eco-Socialism
Dáil Éireann
4 / 160
Northern Ireland Assembly
1 / 90
Local government in the Republic of Ireland
6 / 949
Local government in Northern Ireland
5 / 462
Website
www.pbp.ie Edit this at Wikidata

People Before Profit (Irish: Pobal Roimh Bhrabús, PBP) is a left-wing to far-left Trotskyist political party formed in October 2005.[10] It is active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

History

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Socialist Environmental Alliance was a party led by Goretti Horgan that operated between 2003 and 2008 before merging in People Before Profit
Socialist Environmental Alliance was a party led by Goretti Horgan that operated between 2003 and 2008 before merging in People Before Profit

PBP was established in 2005 as the People Before Profit Alliance by members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a Trotskyist organisation affiliated to the International Socialist Tendency (IST).[14] The Community & Workers Action Group (CWAG) in south Dublin joined the alliance in 2007 and brought along the party's first elected representative, Joan Collins, an anti–bin tax campaigner and former member of the Socialist Party.[15] In February 2018, the SWP renamed itself the Socialist Workers Network (SWN) to reflect "a decision to focus on building People Before Profit, and within that to win and educate as many members as possible in revolutionary socialist politics."[16]

The Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA) was a political party which operated in Northern Ireland, based largely in the city of Derry.

The SEA contested the Northern Ireland Assembly 2003 election in the East Londonderry and Foyle seats (reflecting the party's Derry base). They polled poorly in East Londonderry, with candidate Marion Baur gaining 137 first preference votes (0.4% of the total), although in Foyle Eamonn McCann gained 2,257 first preference votes (5.5% of the total).

They also contested the 2004 elections to the European Parliament, with Eamonn McCann their candidate. He won 9,172 first preference votes, or 1.6% of the total cast. McCann then stood in the 2005 general election in the Foyle constituency, winning 3.6% of the vote.

McCann again stood for the organisation in Foyle in the 2007 Assembly election. The group was dissolved in 2008 with most of it folding into the People Before Profit Alliance.

Republic of Ireland

People before Profit's 4 representatives in Dáil Eireann, the parliament of the Republic of Ireland, as of 2021.

PBP contested several constituencies in the 2007 general election, polling around 9,000 first preferences, with Richard Boyd Barrett—the candidate in the Dún Laoghaire constituency—missing a seat on the 10th and final count by 7,890 votes to 9,910.[17][18]

In May 2008, PBP launched a campaign calling for a No vote on the Lisbon Treaty when it was put to the people.[19]

In the Republic's 2009 local elections PBP ran twelve candidates, including ten in County Dublin. It secured five seats in three of Dublin's four councils. As well as ten members of the SWP, Joan Collins and Pat Dunne of the CWAG ran in Dublin,[20] and Donnie Fell (a former Waterford Crystal worker and trade union representative) in Waterford.[21]

In the Republic's 2011 general election, both Richard Boyd Barrett and Joan Collins were elected to Dáil Éireann as TDs (deputies), running under a joint People Before Profit and United Left Alliance banner.

In April 2013, Joan Collins TD and Cllr Pat Dunne left the group to form United Left, a political party with former Socialist Party TD Clare Daly.

In the May 2014 local elections, PBP won 14 seats including two seats outside Dublin on Sligo and Wexford County Councils.

Discussions were held in August 2015 with the Anti-Austerity Alliance about forming a new political grouping.[22] On 17 September 2015, the two parties announced they had formally registered as a single political party for electoral purposes.[23] The new organisation was called the Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit.

At the 2016 general election, Boyd Barrett was re-elected.[24] He was joined by fellow PBP candidates Gino Kenny and Bríd Smith.[25][26]

In 2016, Councillor Sonya Stapleton, representing Pembroke–South Dock on Dublin City Council, left the party, as did Councillor Ruth Nolan, a member of South Dublin County Council for Lucan, who joined Independents 4 Change.[citation needed]

In January 2019, Dublin City Councillor John Lyons resigned from the party due to disputes with the leadership.[27] Cllr Lyons subsequently was a leading figure in the foundation of Independent Left.[28] He criticised his former party saying:[29] "Solidarity and People Before Profit are the closest fit to us but have a hierarchical, carefully controlled internal life that is not fit for the purpose of socialist change."

The party retained its three TDs in the 2020 Irish general election.[30]

People Before Profit supported Debenhams Ireland workers in their 2020 industrial dispute.[31][non-primary source needed]

On 28 February 2021, RISE, a democratic socialist party that had previously split from Solidarity in 2019, merged with People Before Profit. Paul Murphy became the party's 4th TD in the process. It maintains its media and functions as an internal organisation.[32]

On 10 May 2021, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Councillor Hugh Lewis departed from the party following an internal disciplinary procedure.[33]

Northern Ireland

Gerry Carroll has represented PBP in the Northern Irish Assembly since 2016
Gerry Carroll has represented PBP in the Northern Irish Assembly since 2016

People Before Profit unsuccessfully ran one candidate, Sean Mitchell, in the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly election, polling 774 first preferences in the Belfast West constituency.[34] He successfully gained the right to stand in an election by threatening to take the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, to court if the legal loophole preventing him from doing so was enforced. (England, Scotland and Wales had secured the right to contest candidates under the age of 20, providing they were over 18, for constituencies for devolved government, whereas Northern Ireland had been simply excluded).[citation needed]

People Before Profit ran four candidates in the Northern Ireland Assembly election of May 2011, winning 5,438 first-preference votes between them but no seats in the new Assembly.[35] Its most successful candidate in this election was Eamonn McCann, who won 3,120 first-preference votes, or 8% of the total, in Foyle.[36]

In the June 2011 Belfast West by-election, Gerry Carroll won 1,751 votes (7.6%), coming in third place and ahead of both unionist candidates.[37]

In the 2014 Belfast City Council election, Carroll became the first PBP councillor elected in Northern Ireland, winning 3rd place in the Black Mountain DEA, with 1,691 1st Preference votes.[38]

In May 2016, Carroll topped the poll in the Belfast West constituency at the 2016 Assembly Election with 8,299 votes (22.9%), almost 4,000 first-preference votes clear of his nearest challenger, Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann (Sinn Féin was running five candidates).[39] This victory secured PBP with their first elected MLA. Eamonn McCann also took a seat in the constituency of Foyle.[40] In 2017, Carroll retained his seat but with a much reduced vote (12.2%),[41] while McCann lost his.[42]

The party gained 4 seats in the 2019 Local Elections. People Before Profit won 5 council seats, 3 in Belfast City Council and 2 in Derry.[43]

The party stood two candidates in the 2019 general election, with their best performance being by Gerry Carroll in the Belfast West seat: he came second with 16%.[44]

PBP retained their singular seat in the 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election.[45]

Ideology and policies

People Before Profit are a Trotskyist party[46] committed to political agitation through working-class mass action in capitalist societies.[13][47] However, People Before Profit do not accept this label, with their website stating that "Trotskyist is the Labour Party's bizarre code word for anyone with strong left-wing principles".[48] The party self-claims to be an eco-socialist party. It described its 2022 AGM as a "positive step forward in building a major, pluralist eco-socialist party in Ireland" and described its party programme as eco-socialist.[49]

In the Northern Ireland Assembly, the party's assembly members sign the register as "socialist" when asked if they are "unionist" or "nationalist", resulting in an official designation of "other" in the assembly.[50] However the party is not neutral on constitutional matters, and are in favour of "a 32 county socialist Ireland."[51] People Before Profit support a referendum on Irish reunification.[52] This is in contrast to their alliance partners Solidarity who oppose one.[53]

People Before Profit have supported leaving the EU[54] and campaigned for a 'Lexit' (a left-wing Brexit) in the 2016 EU referendum in Northern Ireland.[55][56] Commenting on their pro-Brexit position, Gerry Carroll stated "We made a decision to say that the EU does not operate in the interests of working people anywhere, and the strongest example of that is Greece. What we need is a Brexit that is not shaped by Theresa May, we need one that is shaped by working-class people in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. And one that is shaped by the trade union movement."[57] Members of Sinn Féin criticised this stance, saying that supporting Brexit, tactically or otherwise, aligned PBP with British parties such as the Conservatives, UKIP, the Democratic Unionist Party and Traditional Unionist Voice and regardless of PBP's intentions, this would serve the pro-Brexit agenda.[58] In response, Richard Boyd-Barrett tried to distance PBP's position from those parties, and noted that PBP opposed a hard border, and would encourage "a movement of civil disobedience to remove border posts if they are imposed by either the UK government or the EU".[59]

The party has stated its support for free public transport.[49]

People Before Profit support nationalising the "major Agri-corporations" and using them to finance a “just transition” for farmers and rural Ireland. PBP also seek to cut the national cow herd by 50% and pay farmers a green payment to offset this, provided a farmer doesn't earn more than €100,000 a year.[60] People Before Profit seek to create a state-owned building corporation that would be used to retrofit existing homes.[60]

People Before Profit support the legalisation of cannabis for medical and general use. It states that it wants to "legislate for the use of medicinal cannabis for pain management of chronic conditions" and medical cannabis be "researched and made available as an evidence-based option for health care providers and patients". It also states that it wants the "non-commercialised legalisation of cannabis to be regulated by a new state body and dispensed via designated stores".[61]

Foreign policy

People Before Profit are opposed to NATO.[62][63]

People Before Profit support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel.[64][65]

People Before Profit do not support economic sanctions against Russia as a response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[65][66] Paul Murphy stated "We stood for the people of Ukraine and stand with them in their struggle against the Russian imperialist invasion. We can’t applaud calls for more sanctions which are hurting ordinary Russians and are only bolstering the Putin regime at home." Simon Coveney and Neale Richmond of Fine Gael have suggested it is contradictory for PBP to support sanctions against Israel and not against Russia.[65] Paul Murphy responded "The situation in Israel/Palestine is that they’ve struggled for decades against the oppression of the Palestinian people. You have a call for BDS coming from ordinary Palestinians, including Palestinians who live within the state of Israel and suffer apartheid at the hands of Israel."[66]

Election results and governments

A logo used by the party
A logo used by the party

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Assembly elections

Election Assembly First
preference
votes
Vote % Seats Government
2007 3rd 774 0.1%
0 / 108
DUP–Sinn Féin–SDLP–UUP–Alliance
2011 4th 5,438 0.8%
0 / 108
DUP–Sinn Féin–UUP–SDLP–Alliance
2016 5th 13,761 2.0%
2 / 108
DUP–Sinn Féin
2017 6th 14,100 1.8%
1 / 90
DUP–Sinn Féin–SDLP–UUP–Alliance
2022 7th 9,798 1.2%
1 / 90
Subject to negotiation

Westminster elections

Election Votes Vote % Seats Government
2010 2,936 0.0%
0 / 18
Conservative Party–Liberal Democrats
2015 7,854 0.0%
0 / 18
Conservative Party
2017 5,509 0.0%
0 / 18
Conservative Party
with DUP confidence & supply
2019 7,526 0.0%
0 / 18
Conservative Party

Northern Ireland local elections

Election First
preference
votes
Vote % Seats
2011 1,721 0.3%
0 / 583
2014 1,923 0.3%
1 / 462
2019 9,478 1.4%
5 / 462

Republic of Ireland

General elections

Election Dáil First
preference
votes
Vote % Seats Government
2007 30th 9,333 0.5%
0 / 166
Fianna Fáil–Green Party–Progressive Democrats
2011 31st 21,551 1.0%
2 / 166
Fine Gael–Labour Party
2016 32nd 42,174 1.96%
3 / 158
Fine Gael–Independents
with Fianna Fáil confidence & supply
2020 33rd 40,220 1.84%
4 / 160
Fianna Fáil–Fine Gael–Green Party

Irish local elections

Election First
preference
votes
Vote % Seats
2009 15,879 0.8%
5 / 883
2014 29,051 1.7%
14 / 949
2019 21,972 1.29%
7 / 949

European elections

People Before Profit have only contested European elections in the Republic of Ireland.

Election First
preference
votes
Vote % Seats
2014 23,875 1.5%
0 / 11
2019 33,804 1.9%
0 / 13

Notes

  1. ^ Eamonn McCann is listed as the party's leader in Northern Ireland for the purposes of registration to the UK Electoral Commission. Electoral Commission registration

References

  1. ^ "An Coiste". Houses of the Oireachtas. 2016. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2011). "Ireland". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013.
  3. ^ "DUP and Sinn Féin stable as Alliance Party rises in Northern Ireland local election". Nationalia. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Election Manifesto 2020" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  5. ^ Finn, Daniel (4 August 2021). "The Tributary". New Left Review.
  6. ^ a b c Browne, Harry (13 February 2020). "Irish voters reject the Right: a new opportunity for the Left?". Retrieved 7 April 2022. a loose historically-trotskyist alliance called “Solidarity – People Before Profit” (S-PBP), some affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International’s successor International Socialist Alternative, and others to the Cliffite International Socialist Tendency
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  11. ^ Finn, Daniel (4 August 2021). "The Tributary". New Left Review.
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  13. ^ a b Harry McGee (9 October 2015). "People Before Profit and the Anti Austerity Alliance - spot the difference". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2018. For anybody who has not been intimately involved with the Socialist Workers Party or the Socialist Party, you would need to have a PhD in semantics and rhetoric to winkle out the actual ideological difference between them. They are both Trotskyist and advocate permanent revolution and political agitation through working class mass action in capitalist societies such as Ireland.
  14. ^
  15. ^ The Socialist Party, Joan Collins and the Bin Tax Battle Archived 2 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine An analysis by Dermot Connolly, ex Secretary of the Socialist Party
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  17. ^ "Archived copy". RTÉ.ie. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 28 May 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Ciaran Cuffe". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
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  29. ^ Independent Left Archived 8 April 2020 at the Wayback Machine - criticism of People Before Profit
  30. ^ "Miriam Lord: All change in Leinster House following Change Election". The Irish Times. 12 February 2020. Archived from the original on 23 October 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  31. ^ "Debenhams Workers Should Link Struggle North And South". People Before Profit. 14 August 2020. Archived from the original on 1 October 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
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  33. ^ "A Statement Of People Before Profit". 10 May 2021. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
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  37. ^ Sinn Fein's Paul Maskey wins West Belfast by-election, BBC News, 10 June 2011
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  44. ^ "Belfast West results". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
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  47. ^ Molyneux, John (2022). "What Is People Before Profit?". Irish Marxist Review. 11 (32): 27–37. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  48. ^ Linehan, Hugh (4 February 2016). "Election Lexicon: Trotskyite". Irish Times. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  49. ^ a b "PBP AGM 2022: Building an ecosocialist party of struggle". rupture.ie. Rupture. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  50. ^ Duffy, Rónán (5 February 2017). "The 32-county People Before Profit and why it's anti-austerity and pro-Brexit". TheJournal.ie. Archived from the original on 19 April 2021. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  51. ^ McKeown, Gareth (11 March 2017). "What the parties have said on a united Ireland". The Irish News. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
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  53. ^ Ryan, Órla (17 December 2016). "We asked every TD if they want a vote on a united Ireland, here's what they said". TheJournal.ie. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021.
  54. ^ "Brexit fallout has undermined the principle of consent". Irish News. 4 July 2016. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  55. ^ "Lexit: why we need a left exit from the eu". People Before Profit Alliance. Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  56. ^ Kelly, Fiach (23 June 2016). "The Real question on the Falls Road: would Brexit help bring about a united Ireland?". Irish Times. p. 4. Retrieved 2 May 2021. Gerry Carroll, the newly elected People Before Profit Assembly member for the West Belfast constituency, is also campaigning for a 'Lexit' - a leftwing exit...
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  61. ^ "Drugs Policy". pbp.ie. 6 January 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
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  63. ^ Loughlin, Elaine (6 April 2022). "People Before Profit TDs explain refusal to applaud President Zelenskyy's Dáil address". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  64. ^ "Free Palestine! Ireland Must Lead On Bds". 24 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  65. ^ a b c Burne, Louise (7 April 2022). "'Embarrassing' People Before Profit accused of glaring contradiction on Ukraine". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
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