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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Interview of People Before Profit Alliance Candidate for Sligo Nigel Gallagher

Recently,I had been able to connect to Nigel Gallagher,who is an young and rising leader from Sligo,Ireland who contextually,is the People Before Profit election candidate for the same place.A graphic designer by profession,he joined PBP and has been active in the constant anti-austerity movements and dissent kept alive by the party that crosses the boundaries (drawn of and by) institutions.
It was a wonderful,wonderful experience to interview him,aided with the true warmth that you find within the Irish population (and especially within sensible humanists!),I am pretty much excited to bring to you this post.
Hope this gives you some real insight about Irish politics,the idea of dissent,nationalism in the 21st century,the notion of movements and much more!

1. What was the basic motivation behind forming the People Before Profit Alliance? Who were the founding members?

People Before Profit was founded in 2005 by a variety of political activists, workers campaign and community groups. The movement was formed to challenge the neoliberal policies that were ravaging communities in Ireland. It seeks to utilise people power and grassroots democracy to force progressive change. With a firm belief that is society can truly be transformed for the better it will come grassroots political action.

2.This sounds interesting.What is the main goal of the People Before Profit Alliance?Is it just parliamentary politics and the limited extent of leftism that can be practised under the system or does it have an even broader goal through constant social movements and dissidence?

3.What was it that got you interested in Politics and got you take it up as a career? (Or is it much,much more than a career?)

No, we emphasise the need for social movements and civil disobedience as a way to bring about change. The parliament is fundamentally a very undemocratic institution however we use it to amplify the voice and goals of the movements outside. This was exercised very well in the recent anti-water charges campaign in Ireland in which ourselves and other left members were able to bring the voice of the movement inside parliament, however it was the huge mobilsations that were rocking the establishment and forcing them to roll back on their plans.

4.What did you study at the university level?How was the experience and when did you complete your degree?

I studied Graphic Design & Digital Media and graduated in 2009. I was always into art and creativity growing up so the it was very enjoyable.
 It comes in handy for making political literature now too!

5. Art is a necessity for most humanists worldwide. And indeed does have very intimate connections with literature.Um...How far do you think the vividly coloured,secessionist and fundamental nationalism of today would get to in spreading imperialism?Is there a version still left (of nationalism) that will help us to rise against the odds?
Nigel Gallagher PBP

Well, as an internationalist I care for nationalism as such. I obliviously have sympathy for anti-colonial - anti-imperialist national liberation movements. But I feel true liberation will only come through a movement with socialist politics at heart of it. For instance, in Ireland we had a revolution that sought to break from British rule and create an Ireland of equals. But if you look at Ireland today it's extremely unequal - we just changed the people at the top. I stand in the tradition of Irish revolutionary socialist James Connolly (who was executed by British forces after the 1916 Rising) who was fighting for a 32 county socialist republic.
 Nigel Gallagher PBP

 -I don't care- for nationalism that should say. 

6. No's absolutely the same for most leftists,that is.
How does the Irish population (though the whole,without class divisions is not an easy task to comment on) perceive the politics of England? Is there a dormant dissent still alive within the masses against the tremendous oppression their ancestors once had to face?

I mean it certainly hasn't been forgotten, particularly this year as it's the centenary of the 1916 Rising against the British. But there is certainly no hostility towards ordinary British people. I think the left and ordinary working class people are talking great heart at the progressive movements that are happening around Jeremy Corbyn at the moment. And recently People Before Profit much of the left were happy to witness a Leave vote in the Brexit referendum, which contrary to most mainstream media narrative was not merely a racist vote but a expression of working class anger at devastation caused on their communities by the polices of the European Union and the British political establishment.
Policies we know to well in Ireland, so it was good to see the first substantial blow to the horrible institution that is the EU.

7.What are your perceptions about Bernie Sanders and the outcome of the elections in the US?

The Bernie Sanders movement was very exciting. It was disappointing that Bernie ended up endorsing Hillary Clinton when he could have used the momentum to try and build something outside the two parties of the 1%. However Bernie was just a political expression of the movement on the streets - and that hasn't gone away. Much of the movement has not heeded his call to row in behind Clinton and are finding new vehicles for their discontent with the system. Many have joined socialist organisations and obviously the Green Party. Jill Stein has much better politics than Bernie Sanders and the Green Party encouragingly moved to an anti-capitalist position at their recent convention, and even though she is polling quite low there seems to be an appetite to build outside the two parties because lesser evildom is a dead end. So their are positives to take from what is happening politically in the US. As long as we don't dwell on Hillary and Donald for to long.

8.What is your verdict about the Brexit issue?

People Before Profit were calling for a Leave vote. The EU is an extremely undemocratic institution, hardwired for neoliberalism. We see this from the way it treated Greece who voted to end austerity and were crushed by the troika. And of course the experience we have had in Ireland in which were saddled with 42% of Europes bank debt and had our society ravaged by EU imposed austerity for more the most of a decade. This has destroyed the social fabric of Irish society and left us with a homelessness epidemic, our hospitals and other vital services gutted and most people under the age of 25 left the country, unemployment and precarious jobs. So for us it was obvious that we had to call Brexit, however it was unfortunate that the only Leave voice that was heard in Britain was that of the far right, there was a left campaign but it was quite small. But as I said before the racist aspect of the Leave vote was overemphasised and it was for the most part a blow against the EU and British establishment by working class people who have experienced much of the same devastation we faced in Ireland and Greece.

9. Indeed.Ireland also is challenging Apple Inc. to recover its social systems.But the homeless crisis in Ireland is triggering up so high.What can be done to solve the homeless crisis of Ireland that is dangerously increasing in the recent times?

Simply put, build social housing. Recently the The EU Commission has ruled that Apple must pay back taxes of €13 billion plus interest to the Irish people. But unbelievably the Irish government are saying they don't want it and are appealing the decision - it's illuminating as to who the political establishment are really working for-. We are calling on the government to this money could be used to build 86,000 council houses. It could solve the housing crisis in a few years.

10.What do you think is making us shift further away from truth in the modern day? What is curbing our urge to fight for our rights?

I suppose it can be hard to get a alternative and progressive out there because media and politics and big business are so intertwined as Marx said “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas" But new possibilities now with the internet and your blog is evidence of that.

11. How do you feel like being the candidate of PBP for Sligo,Ireland? Is there anything that you would like to talk about to the Gen Y the first chance you get?

I think people can be so preoccupied with just surviving under the system that they have less time and energy to devote to activism, and again the powers that be use everything in their power to sow pessimism in people that things can change. That's what needs to be fought and we have hope.

The only message I have for Gen Y is - Let's get to the streets! :)
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