Hard To Swallow


Paul Murphy TD

They hate you if you’re clever.

And they despise a fool…

Are we guilty of not ‘telling the truth’ to the working class when we don’t bring a demand to leave the EU?

We always tell the truth to the working class. But we present the truth in the way which is most digestible to the working class at a particular time.”

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy quoted In internal party documents discussing Brexit and wider strategy by the Irish Times this morning.


Socialist Party to present truth in ‘most digestible’ way to working class (Irish Times)


15 thoughts on “Hard To Swallow

    1. Nigel

      Bloody hell, it’s just a way of saying ‘messaging.’ Not saying they don’t spin their messages – I’ve absolutely no idea, but the idea that this is controversial in a modern party is ludicrious. It is comical in that it’s a low-rent version of PR, media communications, social networking, etc, but singling this out because they target and tailor their messages is dumb.

  1. Ben Redmond

    The leaders of the small Socialist Party make it their business to speak clear truth to the working class. Who exactly in a globalised post-Soviet liberal democracy are ‘the working class’? And why do so many of them vote FFFG and for liquorice allsorts Independents?
    A large part of my answer is: Consciousness comrades. Your ‘scientific socialist consciousness’ is not the varied consciousness of all those who don’t vote for the Socialist Party and its ideological competitor, PBP. Secondly, your concept of the ‘working class’ is rooted in 19th sociology. Social mobility (for many but not all) has rendered a 19th century sociological analysis obsolete.

    1. KM

      So are we all bourgeois now? Did you tell the homeless folks?

      Of course their is a class issue in this country. Wherever Neoliberalism raises it’s head, Neofuedalism follows.
      The debate started by Marx and Engel is as valid and important today as it was then.
      Who would have thought that socialists would talk to each other in language other than that of the clipped, groomed, Pr friendly tongue? It’s called solidarity.

      And social mobility is eroding every day. If we look at the more advanced Neoliberal economies like the U.S and England, it has been greatly reduced.

      1. Dr_Chimp

        Anywhere socialism raises it’s head people starve and die in the name of “solidarity” and the greater good. “Neo Liberalism” and free markets have lifted billions of people out of extreme poverty and are the driving force behind technological progress. Socialism kills innovation.

        1. Nigel

          In many places socialism has raised its head, such as post-war Britain, people have gotten access to quality health care, social safety nets, education, consumer protections, environmental protections, increased participation in democratic processes and general accountability. Of course at least some of these just come under the ridiculously overbroad modern definition of ‘socialism’ which tries to link progressive liberal policies with disasters like Venezuela, but that cuts both ways. Meanwhile we’re watching neoliberalism concentrate wealth and power in fewer and fewer and less accountable hands while employees lose job security and face increasing challenges such as crumbling public infrastructure and climbing house prices and rents. Worst of all, neoliberal capitalism is failing to present any strategy for dealing with the absolute existential crisis of our time – climate change, except perhaps a vague invocation of ‘innovation’ as a talisman of faith.

          1. Rob_G

            “In many places socialism has raised its head, such as post-war Britain, people have gotten access to quality health care, social safety nets, education, consumer protections….”

            – actually here I agree with you; there have been many positive examples of state intervention throughout the world.

            “Meanwhile we’re watching neoliberalism concentrate wealth and power in fewer and fewer and less accountable hands… “

            – here I am not so much in agreement. While the rise in global trade has not been without its drawbacks (most notably, as you mention, for the environment), the number of people living in poverty worldwide dropped by 1 billion between 1990 and 2013, largely due to liberalised trade.

            So while it could be argued that blue collar workers in the western world have seen their lot improve as dramatically over the past 50 years, billions of people in the developing world have seen their lives transformed by opening up of markets.

            And this isn’t all to say that “socialism = bad, neo-liberalism = good”, but a lot of problems that you highlight are due more a function of changing demographics than the ‘rise of neoliberalism’ – the big crop of baby boomers retiring, and the small number of future workers replacing them was always going to cause problems, no matter what the ideological bent of the government of the day.

          2. Nigel

            I agree, ultimately the way the state and markets interacts is quite complex and can’t be reduced to simple good/bad dialectics, but the current political face-off is shaping up along those lines, rhetorically at any rate. As you say, changing demographics are reshaping societies, but that’s precisely the sort of shift we need both the state and markets to be able to deal with effectively, and they aren’t, both being far more interested in working together enabling corporate expansion and reaping the resulting technological social controls to impose stability and security on the population while ignoring, or simply not equipped to acknowledge, the destabilising effects of profitable conflicts and ongoing natural exploitation. Lifting all those people out of poverty is just going to be a kind of global Celtic Tiger if their homes are rendered uninhabitable or their societies unsustainable through ecological collapse fueled by the very mechanisms that lifted them.

          3. Rob_G

            Do you know, I agree with. This was a genuinely interesting exchange, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day :)

      2. Gabby

        KM The homeless are victims of a consumer democracy where government won’t intervene effectively and fund a vigorous social housing programme – Irish centrist governments want private building companies to dominate the industry, and social housing is not a preference for the industry. The homeless sleeping on the streets and in hostels come from the Socialist Party’s swear-word ‘petty bourgeoisie’ and from low-income backgrounds including rural backgrounds. They are not all working class; they are part of the workless class and have no trade union involvement. Large swathes of trades unions and union leaderships are wedded to centrist, not proletarian, social visions. 19th century sociology and class politics will never attract them. They vote FFFG. Life is unfair to the bottom dogs and all that – the comfortable voters still won’t change their voting habits.

  2. RuilleBuille

    Of course Mr Murphy’s party don’t tell the truth to the Irish electorate.

    Their constitution commits them to return us to the United Kingdom albeit dressed up as the ‘federation of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales’. Obviously not something they bang the drum about.

  3. Joe Small

    The Irish Times article reference Murphy’s exchanges with party colleagues on Lenin, the Bolsheviks and Trotsky.
    While the world needs a coherent left-wing viewpoint to counteract right-wing domination and advocate worker’s rights, no one needs ideologues stuck discussing failed political practices from 100 years ago that have been widely and comprehensively discredited. How about some modern thinking? They make Jeremy Corbyn look contemporary.

      1. Rob_G

        No he isn’t – he is talking about the tactics that the Comintern used in the 1920s. And referring to his party members as ‘comrade’ – like he was a Commissar from Vladivostok, rather than a law graduate from Cabinteely…

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