After leaked documents which emerged in March 2021, about the potential formation of an eco-socialist group, An Rabharta Glas – Green or ARG in short, this eco-socialist group is to launch this weekend.
According to the Irish Independent, ‘a new political party formed by outspoken former members of the Green Party will be launched this weekend. An Rabharta Glas – Green Left – or ARG for short, will be launched on Saturday after it initially planned to hold an official launch last February.
The party hopes to be ‘eco-socialist’ and its mission statement is to ‘reconstruct the political system so that it serves people and nature, not profit and extraction’. The Irish Independent elaborated further by saying that ‘currently, two elected representatives and former Green Party members are in the party: Cork city councillor Lorna Bogue, who is the secretary, and Liam Sinclair, of South Dublin County Council’.
Lorna Bogue was first elected as a Green Party councillor for the Cork City South East ward in the 2019 local elections, whilst Liam Sinclair was elected as a Green Party councillor for Tallaght Central. This was part of a so-called green wave in support for the Green Party, as climate change issues were at the forefront of debate in May 2019, which was the same month that Ireland declared a climate emergency.
Lorna Bogue resigned from the Green Party in October 2020, following disagreements with the leadership and the party on the vote on the Mother and Baby Homes, while Liam Sinclair resigned from the Green Party in January 2021 as he disagreed with their decision to go into Government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Further, the Irish Independent said that ‘the party has not been officially registered but is believed to have around 30 members. A leader has not yet been selected.' In internal documents seen by the Irish Independent in March, members were told to ‘go read Marx’ and not to mention electric cars when speaking about the party.
Minutes from the meeting also showed the attendance of other former Greens, including Saoirse McHugh, Dublin city councillor Sophie Nicoullaud, former chair of Young Greens Tara Gilsenan, and Tiernan Mason, former chair of Queer Greens’. Saoirse McHugh was a high profile candidate for the Green Party in the 2019 European elections, narrowly missing out on a seat in the Midlands North-West constituency and was lauded for successful performances in the debates.
She was also a candidate for the general election for Mayo and the Seanad elections for the Cultural and Education panel, but failed to be elected on both occasions. She resigned from the Green Party in July 2020, citing disagreement with the decision of the party of going into Government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
'Leaked internal documents show the party had already prepared merchandise which it hoped to sell for just under double the cost of manufacture. The party aims to target urban 18-40 year olds, people who live in rural Ireland in a bid to create ‘revolutionary agriculture’, members of the Travelling community, and marginalised groups such as sex workers. It will target younger Sinn Féin voters’.
In summary, the formation of ARG is likely to have little impact on the political arena. It is likely to add to the fragmentation that exists amongst parties on the left. The one thing that Irish politics does not need, is another grouping or party of the left. It already has enough parties, either on the centre-left or on the far-left. According to the Irish Independent, it ‘aimed to launch on February 1 and become an ‘eco-socialist alternative to capitalism’.
However, in short, the leaked documents that have come out in recent months, about the formation of this eco-socialist group, have made the grouping, look like a laughingstock to members of the public. It is due to launch as a group this weekend, but still does not have a leader in place.
The wider question may be, will the group have a leader in place, or will it operate under a policy of collective leadership, similar to Solidarity – People Before Profit, ironically, the party that it criticised, in leaked documents?
At the present moment, it only has 30 members, and two elected members, which are both elected councillors and does not have the support of any Green Party TD or Senator. It remains to be seen whether this grouping is successful in raising issues with capitalism and proposing eco-socialism, as an alternative to neo-liberal capitalism.
It will certainly be aiming to gain votes from frustrated Green Party voters, who voted for the party, in the February 2020 general election, in the knowledge that the party would be part of a left-led Government, as opposed to a coalition involving the establishment parties of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. It will also be looking to gain votes from People Before Profit, which are an eco-socialist party with eco-socialist policies.
While it is aiming to gain votes from younger Sinn Féin voters, the continued consolidation of the rise in support for Sinn Féin is unlikely to be impacted by such a minor party, as ARG. We will find out more details of the structure of ARG when it is due to launch on Saturday, the 5th of June. Whether it replicates the failures of Fís Nua, or is a successful grouping, it remains to be seen.
They certainly have a lot of work ahead of them, to become any sort of a relevant grouping that challenges for electoral seats in upcoming elections. The first challenge for ARG, is likely to be the 2024 local elections and European elections, if it decides to run candidates, as the current term of Dáil Éireann is likely to end in 2025.