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Fake online comments… July 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
2 comments

…great NPR On the Media which looks at the arrival of state-sponsored commentors online. Those of us familiar with sites like Politics.ie, or newspaper comments, will have seen numerous examples of same from people who would by any reasonable analysis appear to be operating on behalf of states various

I commented a while back on how the Guardian some commentors engaging in debate over the Ukraine/Russia situation were particularly inept, but of course it’s not just them. As the NPR programme notes the US has been at this too as well as – very obviously, other states.

Political jokes and humour… July 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.
7 comments

Reading this excellent proposal, noted in comments a while back, for a 4 day week due to the positive health, social and societal benefits of same, there was a comment below it which went as follows:

It’s that joke about the banker, the worker and the unemployed man in a cafe. The banker takes 9 of 10 biscuits on the table and nudges the worker “You want to watch out, that unemployed man has his eye on your biscuit.”

And the thought struck me, anyone know any good political jokes, actual real jokes you can tell people? All contributions gratefully accepted.

What you want to say – 23rd July 2014 July 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
17 comments

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Unpaid overtime… July 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
15 comments

Interesting survey from the Guardian earlier in the month on managers and unpaid overtime. But managers tend to be in a somewhat more favourable position than most workers.

One comment really struck home:

In my previous job (fairly basic admin), I was called into see my line manager. She expressed concern about my commitment to the job because I was “coming in on time, leaving on time and taking my full lunch-break”. I was contracted and paid (not a brilliant salary) for a 37 hour week, yet was expected to put in extra hours for free. I resisted, for many reasons, including the fact that I was already working another part-time job (as my main job’s salary didn’t pay me enough to live on). I was then bullied by the line manager and the resulting stress caused me to resign. Since returning to employment six years ago, I’ve witnessed a gradual erosion of breaks and holidays – disappearance of short morning/afternoon breaks, pressure to work over lunch break, pressure to come in early/leave late, pressure not to take annual leave entitlement and pressure to work outside of work hours. All this for no corresponding increase in salary. It’s really hard to resist this pressure, but I think it’s vital to do so wherever possible, for the sake of your health, sanity and well-being.

I’ve seen similar trends across the last twenty four years of working the private sector and on contract in the public sector. It’s all cobblers really. In most contexts overtime is a function of poor organisation, management and logistic – and in areas where time contingency is an issue then leave in lieu (and paid overtime) should be the norm.

Have people seen similar?

City States July 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
7 comments

This piece on Slate from earlier in the Summer answered a question I’d long had as to why city states didn’t really survive into the modern era. It’s a curious one because in numbers they persisted into the 18th century (and perhaps arguably a little bit longer if one considers fairly unique cases like Danzig). And Singapore is sort of in that category.

But consider this:

Autonomous cities took off in Europe at a time in history when rule of law and political authority were weak. Wealthy merchants in a city would band together both to fund their common security and to enforce property rights when larger governments couldn’t.

And:

what went wrong? Often, these cities evolved political systems that gave wealthy merchants direct control over governance, and they used that power to make life miserable for the competition. 
“The big drawback is that once a group of people are running their own affairs, they’re also looking out for their own interests,” he says. “So they start setting up barriers to outsiders coming in and all these restrictions on others engaging in commerce within the city limits.”

It’s a sort of riposte to all that right libertarian stuff about removing the state and all will be well. Truth is that state like structures with the same vices, or worse – much worse, manifest themselves.

And…

As oligarchies closed to outside commerce, the European cities began to slowly decline. Their closest successors today might be autonomous Asian cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, which share their economic dynamism as well as some of their troubling cronyism.

Actually, remember a couple of years back when Singapore was held up by some as an example of the sort of state Ireland could ‘reform’ itself into.

Some Workers’ Party and Democratic Left Archive Material July 21, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
3 comments

Many thanks to the person who forwarded these links on. They contain a variety of documents from The Workers’ Party / Sinn Fein from 1992 back to 1971 and also some material from the Democratic Left.
The Workers’ Party
Democratic Left

Sports Special – what you want to say… July 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
21 comments

Here’s our weekly thread for people to talk, sound off, discuss, give out, or whatever they want about sport… and by the way, if anyone has posts they think would be appropriate for the site on sport send them in…

Left Archive: An Phoblacht, Numbers 7 and 8, Irish Revolutionary Forces, September and November-December 1966 July 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Revolutionary Forces [1960s].
1 comment so far

AP7 1966

To go to the Irish Left Archive please click here.

To download No. 7 please click here: An Phoblacht No.7 Sept.1966

To download No. 8 please click here: An Phoblacht No.8 Nov/Dec !966 An Phoblacht No.8 Nov-Dec. 1966

Many thanks to Jim Lane for donating two more issues of An Phoblacht – The Republic from Irish Revolutionary Forces. It is intended to have a complete set of this important document in the Archive. It is also important to note how useful this document is in tracing – from a critical perspective, changing attitudes within Republicanism and Sinn Féin and the IRA of the period.

As always it is probably most useful to quote briefly from both editions.

The Editorial in number 7, from September argues that:

It is paradoxical that Ireland should stand without the services of a virile revolutionary movement at that time when her traditional enemy is dropping on its knees. For years Republicans have beaten their heads against barriers of steel in attempts to break loose from the despoiling grip of British imperialism. Now when that barrier is rent with decay, we stand like gaping fools, devoid apparently, of the energy or the common sense to break forth and smash the rust-eaten shackles of thraldom from our wrists.

…Irish Republicans huddle to debate this or that aspect of the colonial system in Ireland, and how best to alleviate its more adverse effects. This is no time to confuse cause and effect. This is not the time to waste energy trying to REFORM or patch up the system that has been the bane of our people. REFORM BE DAMNED! What Ireland needs is Revolution.

And it continues:

In the past the labourer, the mechanic, the farmer or his sons, the intellectual, the dockworker, the shop assistant, the engineer, all went forth to fight the cause of the middle class under the banner of so-called classless nationalism. ‘Let us not disrupt the unity of the national effort by talking about class interest or class conflict,’ was the great cry of the Irish bourgeoisie. Yes, and you can still hear their lackeys in the Republican Movement rant the same garbage. Well, we are all for UNITY. But this time let it be a unity of all the workers.

Other articles include ‘An Answer to Critics’ by Eoin MacDonaill which rebuffs assertions that An Phoblacht is ‘trying to destroy the IRA’. There’s a piece on Irish Politics and the British Crisis and a glowing review of the Bodenstown Oration given by Seamus Costello that year. There’s also a scathing analysis of the Irish Democrat (of the Connolly Association, which AP suggests is a ‘pseudo-Irish section of the British Communist Party’.

Issue Number 8 from November-December 1966, has a range of articles that include reasonably warm words about Cathal Goulding’s speech at the Sean Treacy Commemoration – however the assertion by Tony Meade that ‘there is however a new element in the willingness to use force; namely that this force will be defensive’ is strongly criticised. In tandem with this is a piece by Paddy Mac arguing that Irish Republicanism Needs Its Armed Men. There’s some fascinating content to this, for example the following which in the context of proposals for the formation of IRA ‘special groups’ and the idea of a ‘dual government’ which would ‘eventually [come] into head-on conflict [with the state]:

For my part, I view any proposal to limit or restrict the future size of the IRA, as a positive step to place that organisation in a completely subordinate position to political horse-traders at best; at worst, I think it is a step to do away with the Army altogether. An IRA composed of a few ‘specialist’ groups is an IRA easily dictated to, and readily shoved around. Regardless of whether or not the majority of the IRA men agree with our political position, the maintenance of, and a primary reliance on, a Republican Army is, to us, fundamental to the success of a liberation struggle which must be fought in the future.

There’s another piece on ‘the yahoos and political con-men, who are making so bold a bid to drag organised Republicanism into the social-democratic orbit’. Finally an article examines the concept of ‘Freedom’

A quote from the editorial will suffice:

To graft revolutionary political labour to the traditional revolutionary militarism of our people, as the woodwork combined with the mechanism and the barrel to make the effective rifle, that is our aim.

Thanks to Jim for the following table of Contents of the two documents.

No.7 An Phoblacht September 1966

Editorial p. 2

An Answer to Critics p. 4

Irish politics and the British Crisis p. 6

Bodenstown Oration p. 10

The Neo-Parnellites – “Irish Democrat” Flies True
Colours p. 11

No.8 An Phoblacht Nov. / Dec. 1966

Editorial p. 2

A good Speech! But: – p. 4

Irish Republicanism Needs its Armed Men p. 5

The Yahoos and An Phoblacht p. 7

Freedom! What Does it Mean? p. 8

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week July 20, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
2 comments

The Magaluf scare story continues, and intensifies. Suffice to say it knows its audience. In the same paper, however, Eilis O’Hanlon says this about the accusations of a cover-up of paedophilia in the British establishment.

Moral panics don’t just destroy reputations. They destroy lives and families too.

She might want to tell her editor that.

But wait, who might it be on said this on Magaluf in the very same edition of the paper about reporting on Magaluf?

Either way, the scenes described by Irish Times reporter Sorcha Pollock on Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy Show the same day would surely have made many parents’ hair stand on end.

There is, she said, “something really disturbing and upsetting” about seeing young girls falling around the street at 3am in a state of undress. “These young people need to remember that safety is an issue, that there is a line they should not cross and they just have to be careful about that.”

Amid much noisy hype elsewhere, her words were refreshingly pragmatic.

Away from that, the group business editor Thomas Molloy wins hands down for his lobbying for water charges.

So what would an honest debate look like? It would probably begin with politicians on all sides of the spectrum admitting that valuable resources should in fact be rationed (step forward People Before Profit). Perhaps the most basic principle of economics – one that is hardly contested anywhere – is that anything scarce and in demand commands a price.

Of course, rationing is not the same as charging. Far from it in fact. So all in all, it’s been the Sindo of cognitive dissonance, even more so than normal.

The far right’s new interest in social welfare… July 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
13 comments

reading the Guardian magazine yesterday there was a piece on fascism and fascists in Italy and in particular the skinhead subculture that is avowedly fascist (and it hardly needs to be said that skinheads are not a uniform whole and take different political positions across the spectrum). But this, this was important because it reflects a trend we’ve seen in Greece:

Fulvio explains: “I like the Social Republic period [also known as the Republic of Salò]; I like the name as well. I’m not nostalgic about civil war – I hate people who are obsessed with all that. Fascism is a source of inspiration: just like Roman culture inspired fascism, fascism inspires us today. But we know we could never go back to what it was, we have to adapt it to present times.”

And:

The current battlefield is social welfare.

It’s funny, as I read that I wondered what it meant… did they have some animosity towards those on welfare, but no, not a bit of it:

The various far-right groups gather in suburban streets abandoned by political parties; they hand out clothes to the unemployed and distribute food to the elderly and books to students. They occupy uninhabited buildings to house the homeless in the same way that the far left used to do. The SPQR skinheads have taken over an abandoned school with another group, CasaPound. “It’s a five-storey building and now we’ve got 15 or 16 families living there, who haven’t got money for rent. There was no water or power: we sorted it out.

Casapound is another expression of this, for more on which see here. But, Golden Dawn is reknowned for similar activities in Greece – and let’s not be naive – a lot of this, much of it, perhaps most, is about extending and expressing social control. But here’s the thing, however marginal and inept or successful (and GD seem to belong to the latter category, at least in terms of influence) they are engaging.

Of course one can see limitations on their ability to engage, after all, the next will repel as many as (or more than) it attracts.

The strong bonds between members are the key attraction for potential recruits, who are overwhelmingly young, white, working-class men who feel alienated from western, capitalist, multicultural society. There is an all-consuming macho cult, in which physical fitness and prowess are highly valued.

But it seems to me to be a serious and troubling development.

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