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Meeting Room to be shown at the Galway Film Fleadh, July 10th June 30, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, The Left.
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Just to say that Meeting Room, the documentary on Concerned Parents Against Drugs, is shown at the Galway Film Fleadh, July 10th at 4.30 pm.

Meanwhile, something to listen to this evening… June 30, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics, The Left.
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AK of the Irish Election Literature Blog and regularly this parish will be talking on the Late Debate on RTE Radio about the IELB. Well worth a listen…

The unashameable in pursuit of the unelectable… or is it the other way around? June 30, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics, The Left.
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What a load of nonsense presented to us yesterday evening in the Dáil, from the gathered ranks of FF TDs around Mattie McGrath and Christy O’Sullivan to the bizarre sight of opponents and supporters of stag hunting breaking across the two camps. Given that the measures introduced last night and to be introduced next week are really quite minimal, but are also an improvement on the status quo, the amount of shadow boxing was somewhat unreal. And while I try to keep my class war tendencies to a minimum the sight of certain groups being constrained is cause for some small pleasure.

But reading Sarah Carey’s odd article in the IT that lambastes the Green Party for doing something that the Green Party actually said it would do by arguing that ‘it is more to do with [John Gormley's even deeper compulsion to justify his party's presence in government]‘ and trotting out the notion that due to her agricultural upbringing she was taught the ‘Hobbesian reality that life is nasty, brutish and short [for beasts]‘ erm… not sure that’s such a great argument to be making. Surely there are good reasons to minimise brutality, particularly avoidable brutality, whatever about longevity.

And I say that as someone who due to extended family also had a rural background, in Meath of all places, probably in my first two decades spent a fair chunk of weekends and summers on farmland, and had even been hare coursing on the odd occasion (amazingly dull and pointless I found it, but then I’m not much of a person for spectator events).

So to dismiss genuine feeling about this matter as sanctimonious doesn’t quite cut it for me.

Still, to see Tommy Broughan lose the Labour whip for his temerity in abstaining is also quite a sight. Kudos to Arthur Morgan too for a nicely played strategic approach to yesterday. And while people will know how dubious I am about Independents voting with the government without a quid pro quo this was one occasion where I had no reservations about two of the votes cast. Credit where credit is due. To see something done about regulation of puppy farms and stag hunts, however modest that may be in the scale of things, is not a bad days work. But, hey, that’s just me.

Or to put it another way, this was not the issue to bring the government down on. And indeed it clearly wasn’t, given the disposition of forces.

And what was the issue precisely? Stephen Collins noted…

Lowry said people in rural Ireland were frustrated and angry at what he described as an attack on rural country pursuits and farming.
The Greens were baffled by the vehemence of the reaction to the two pieces of legislation and insist that there is no threat to other rural pursuits such as fishing, shooting and fox hunting.

The absurd machinations in Fianna Fáil indicate a panic which is really quite pointless. They’re completely screwed either way, it’s not like their stock is going to fall much lower, and for an issue which has about as much purchase in urban areas as Jackie Healy-Rae himself this truly speaks of a situation where they’ve lost all sense of what they are and where they should be.

Stephen Collins gets it just about totally wrong when he argues that all this demonstrates ‘unease at influence of Greens’. I doubt they give a rashers about the Green Party. I suspect it is, and even he ultimately concedes this, that they know they’re in deep deep trouble and any excuse will do. There’s something a bit unseemly about this. Because it sure as hell isn’t the implementation of a rather watery Green party inspired programme that’s done the government in. Anything but.

Sure, he’s not far wrong when he says:

Similar sentiments were expressed by Independents Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae; for them to vote against the Government is ominous. It is the first time the two TDs who have backed the Coalition all the way since 2007 have jumped ship.
While their defection was compensated for in the Dáil last night by the decision of Finian McGrath and Maureen O’Sullivan to vote for the stag hunting ban, the long-term consequences for the Coalition could be serious.
Lowry and Healy-Rae are shrewd constituency politicians and their decision to leave the comfort zone of backing the Government in the Dáil indicates that they are preparing the ground for the next election.

But come on, when in the last year or two has it been anything other than this situation? This government has always been living on borrowed time and that’s hardly more evident today than it was yesterday. Indeed realistically I’d be doubtful that either Lowry (who let us not forget has his own troubles) or Healy-Rae who I’d also agree is one of the shrewdest political operators on this island for all of his presentational issues (or perhaps because of) want an election tomorrow. Or this side of 2011. And it might also be fair to point out that Healy-Rae wasn’t too fussed about this the other side of last weekend, apparently indicating that he would vote with the government. That he was spooked into this perhaps also indicates just how this was whipped up by various interests.

And as for Collins follow-up observation…

The problem for them is that trust between the two parties has taken a hammering and with huge decisions to be made in the autumn about the budget it will become increasingly difficult to hold the Coalition together.

Get out of here. The idea that this will seriously impact upon the coalition, and in particular its economic approach which has been largely seamless hitherto is also nonsense. The heavy lifting has already been accomplished in terms of lashing the GP to the mast with FF. That was what made some of the departures in the past year from the Oireachtas so risible, there were plenty of opportunities to walk earlier and with much more credibility. That something will be the economic straw that breaks the camel’s back? Unlikely, in the extreme.

But add to that that there’s something enormously tasteless about how, finally, this exercises them when no end of issues that directly affect living breathing humans are waved through with a rhetoric of steely determination, austerity and self-ascribed ‘courage’.

As Vincent Browne might say… give me a break.

People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers’ Party – their electoral chances… June 30, 2010

Posted by guestposter in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Many thanks to AK of the Irish Election Literature Blog for the following analysis of some of the left wing parties prospects at the upcoming General Election. This is a part of a continuing series by AK. Other posts are here and here

People Before Profit Alliance
Dun Laoghaire
In the 2007 General Election Richard Boyd-Barrett got 5,233 votes and was 700 votes ahead of Ciaran Cuffe on the first count. Cuffe though pulled well ahead on transfers. The other current TDs are Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore, Sean Barrett of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil ministers Mary Hanafin and Barry Andrews.
Of course since then there have been boundary changes and the constituency lost a seat and is now a four seater.

The reduction in seat numbers wont have done Boyd-Barrett any favours but the actual boundary changes won’t have done him any harm in that it was some of the more affluent areas such as Foxrock and Carrickmines that were lost to Dublin South. This comprised 11,673 voters.

Assuming a similar turnout to 2007, in the new four seater Dun Laoghaire the Quota should be in the region of 10000 votes.

In the two LEAs People Before Profit stood in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown they polled 6,266 votes, Boyd Barrett getting 4,091 of them, and both it candidates Hugh Lewis and Richard Boyd-Barrett were elected. In the 3 LEAs that in the main now make up the constituency (Ballybrack, Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire) Fianna Fail polled 5,711 votes.

To be in with a shout Boyd-Barrett needs the 6,266 voters from the Local Elections to vote for PBP again, which is a vote of around 12% (20% is the quota). He will more than likely also need to pick up a few hundred votes elsewhere from other areas of the Constituency.
If all that happens , there should be enough transfers from Sinn Féin and elsewhere to win the seat.

However with Gilmore’s appeal and a decent running mate (one capable of getting enough votes to overtake Cuffe) its hard to see all the PBP Local Election vote staying. Cuffe may take a few of them too.
I suspect Boyd-Barrett is now more transfer friendly than he was in 2007 and Cuffe won’t get either the same first preference vote or the same amount of transfers.

So with Gilmore and one From FG (Not sure if Sean Barrett is retiring again) almost certain. We are left with Boyd-Barrett, Cuffe, Hanafin (who I suspect may decamp to Dublin South), Barry Andrews, Bailey or Regan of FG and Gilmore’s running mate fighting it out for two seats.

Were Boyd-Barrett to win then at least two of Dun Laoghaire’s current TDs would have to lose their seats. Cuffe looks a goner, at least one of the Fianna Fail seats must surely be gone (if not both). Then the complicating factor of a Fine Gael vote of 36% or so in the Local Elections and of course Gilmore’s attraction.

I can’t help feeling that even a ‘Gilmore Gale’ may not win a second seat for Labour here. Gilmore and Oisin Quinn failed to get a quota between them in 2007, but more relevant is that the Labour vote fell here in the local Elections.
Another factor is the recent formation of ‘An Fís Nua’ which if it runs a candidate could impact on RBBs vote enough to scupper his chances.

Still a likely outcome being Fine Gael 2, Labour 1, with RBB contesting with Fianna Fail for the last seat.

Dublin South Central.
5 TDs
Sean Ardagh and Michael Mulcahy of Fianna Fail, Mary Upton of Labour, Catherine Byrne of Fine Gael and Sinn Féin’s Aengus O’Snodaigh
Mary Upton is safe and Labour will take one of the Fianna Fail seats too (I can’t see them winning 3 seats). Catherine Byrne also looks safe.

So we should have Joan Collins, Ardagh/Mulcahy and O’Snodaigh fighting it out for the final seat.
In the local Elections between (Ballyfermot Drimnagh, Crumlin-Kimmage and South West Inner City) People Before Profit polled 5,463 votes, Fianna Fail (which included both Catherine and Charlie Ardagh) polled 4,418 votes ,Sinn Fein, which included the now departed Louise Minihan polled 3,909 votes.

As mentioned before in the Sinn Féin analysis I think O’Snodaigh could be in danger. All depends I think on how badly Fianna Fail do.

Fianna Fail will have two TDs and a vote split evenly enough between them. The defeat of both Catherine and Charlie Ardagh at the locals indicates that there isn’t a big personal vote for Sean Ardagh and there wouldn’t be a huge personal vote for Mulcahy either. So it’s highly unlikely that either will be in a position to buck a national trend of Fianna Fail polling badly. They will also be transfer toxic as proved by the Local Elections. (In Ballyfermot-Drimnagh, Fianna Fail ran 2 candidates. David Gaynor had upon his elimination in the 7th count less votes than the combined first preferences of himself and his running mate. It was a similar story for Catherine Ardagh in the South West Inner City Ward who also had less votes than the combined first preferences of herself and her running mate).

You also have to factor in a huge amount of local issues that have been caused by the cutbacks.
Joan Collins should be elected with O’Snodaigh possibly scraping in depending on how bad the Fianna Fáil vote is and if Labour transfer to him.

Dublin Mid West
Gino Kenny is highly unlikely to win a seat here but stranger things have happened. At Present Mary Harney, Fianna Fáil’s John Curran, Paul Gogarty of the Green Party and Labour’s Joanna Tuffy are the TDs. Harney is supposedly retiring and Fine Gael’s Derek Keating or Frances Fitzgerald should take that seat. Tuffy should be safe and as the Labour vote will need to treble for them win a second seat its unlikely they will.

Fianna Fáils John Curran should get in although that is by no means certain (The final Fianna Fáil candidate had less votes than the party first preference total in Lucan although they did slightly better in Clondalkin).
It’s Gogarty’s seat that is in the biggest danger. In 2007 Gogartys % vote dropped from its 2002 figure. In the local elections in Gogartys Lucan heartland the Green Party dropped from 14.42% in 2004 to 4.77% in 2009. In Clondalkin in dropped from 6.35% to 4.37%.

Its hard to call who can take it as there will more than likely be a group of candidates in Kenny and the Sinn Féin candidate (and possibly a Labour candidate too) and even the second Fine Gael candidate all within a few hundred votes of each other.

If it were a perfect scenario, Kenny could somehow scrape in, but highly unlikely.

Its hard to see PBP being in with a shout anywhere else.

The Workers Party
For The Workers Party there is an outside possibility of winning a seat in Waterford but its hard to see any of their candidates coming close to winning a seat.

In Cork North central Ted Tynan would need to be ahead of The Socialist Party’s Mick Barry and Sinn Féin’s Johnathan O’Brien to be in with a chance and that is highly unlikely.

In Waterford where Davy Walsh was elected to the City Council in 2009, the Workers Party also came very close to winning two other seats on Waterford City Council (within 8 votes in Waterford East and 56 votes in Waterford South Ward). They polled 1,426 votes in total (8.5% of the vote). Former WP councillor John Halligan polled 1430 votes. So on that there isn’t really a Dail seat, especially considering no candidates were run outside of the City.

There is though the possibility of increasing a candidates profile in the forthcoming by election (whenever that may be) and from that being in a better position to challenge for a Dáil seat.

The frustrating thing for The Workers Party and indeed the wider Left is that there really should be a Left seat in Waterford, given both the tradition in Waterford City and County and of course the scandal that was Waterford Glass. Wishful thinking but I can’t help wonder If there is a Left candidate in Waterford capable of uniting the various factions in City and County.

There are a few other Left groups that may put forward candidates.

Éirígí policy is not to stand in Stormont or Westminster elections. They didn’t put up any candidates in the Republics 2009 Local Elections (although this may in part be due to party policy as to electoral strategy not being fully decided at the time). They do have one councillor in the Republic, Louise Minihan who defected from Sinn Féin.

Were they to stand they would be highly unlikely to win, or even come close to winning, any seats.

New Ross based ‘Independent Left’ which includes former Sinn Féin Councillor John Dwyer (now a New Ross Town Councillor) may stand in Wexford but have little chance of winning a seat although they could pull a few thousand votes. It will be interesting to see how this group evolves (it has a relationship with People Before Profit although nothing formal as yet).

The Irish Socialist Network should increase their vote but given their base is in a three seater they are also unlikely to win a seat.

Letterkenny Residents Party – highly unlikely to stand or win a seat.

ETUC protest, September 29th June 29, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Jim Monaghan points to this report as providing the potential for a much larger protest at the events taking place around us…

Or as he says, All out on September 29th!

Political statement adopted by the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland, 26 June 2010 June 29, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
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POLITICAL STATEMENT

The recent publication of the report of the Saville Inquiry is to be welcomed. It is a repudiation of the two attempts at a cover-up by the Widgery and Whitelaw Inquiries.
The British establishment has been forced to acknowledge that all those murdered and wounded on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, were completely innocent of any crime. Nevertheless it has attempted to place the blame on the actions of individual British soldiers on the day. It is clear that the orders for the actions of the British army came from the very heart of the British government and state. Their strategy was to break the spirit and smash the mobilisation of the people that the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association had successfully achieved in its struggle for civil rights in Northern Ireland.
———
As the CPI has been pointing out since the onset of the present economic crisis, working people are paying and will continue to pay a heavy price for the policies of both the Irish and the British governments of bailing out the banks and finance houses, giving priority to the needs of finance capital at the expense of workers.
The most recent emergency budget introduced by the British government is yet another example of making workers pay. The coalition government in London has proposed cutting £128 million (€156 million). This follows the £370 million (€451 million) in cuts agreed by the Northern Ireland Assembly last September.
These savage cuts will bear heaviest on the poor, the unemployed, and those who rely on public services. They will result in significant jobs losses in the public sector and reduced public services and will lead to the further privatisation of existing public services.
It is against this backdrop that we must view the role and potential use of the draconian provisions of the Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill. It is imperative that this legislation be defeated, and it is necessary to mobilise public opinion to do so. What is needed is the enactment of a Bill of Rights, not more repressive measures.
———
Banks appear to be determined to further deepen the economic crisis and to expose Ireland to even greater debt by pursuing aggressive mortgage policies requiring an impossible increase in house prices over a number of years. Like NAMA, this is leaving Ireland in a position of extreme vulnerability, potentially threatening the solvency of the state itself.
The recent publication in the Republic of two reports on the banking crisis simply confirms what has been public knowledge. They confirm the influence and dominance of banking and speculative investment policies and to some degree the extent of the financialisation of the economy that has been a growing feature over the last two decades. These economic and social policies have dominated all other policy needs and requirements.
Unfortunately the reports, rather than being used to question the basis and direction of the economy, are being used for meaningless party political point-scoring by the egos that occupy Dáil Éireann.
The Regling-Watson Report reveals the effects and the restrictions on possible economic and fiscal policies of the Republic’s adoption of the euro. The abandoning of fiscal controls to the European Central Bank resulted in policies being determined by the major economic powers and by the European finance and banking monopolies.
What is increasingly clear to any objective observer of the policies now being perused is that the crisis can only deepen. The policies now being imposed by the EU Commission, not just in Ireland but in other EU member-states, will only lead to further savage cuts and reduced public spending and will drive millions into poverty. They will only further damage the real economy.
There are no solutions that the EU Commission will consider that would shift the impact of the crisis onto the backs of those who caused it.
The labour movement has to be won away from the belief that solutions can come from the Irish or British governments or from the European Union. The two failed economic entities are being exposed daily, and this process can only increase over the coming months and years. The lasting needs of the people, north and south, can be met only in the process of building an all-Ireland economy, with the maximum democratic contribution from and control by working people.
Mobilising the people back onto the streets is what is now needed, north and south, if working people are to defend their wages, their terms and conditions, and the services the public depend on, to stop the destruction of public services, and to prevent mass emigration. Now is the time to call for the repudiation of the national debt. This debt belongs to the bankers, not to working people.
———
The selfless and courageous actions of the Irish and other international volunteers in the Freedom Flotilla in breaking the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, in particular those who were murdered in cold blood by the Israeli army, stand in stark contrast to the policies of the European Union and the United States, which have encouraged the aggressive policies and actions being pursued by the Israeli regime.
The opportunist, sectarian and divisive actions by elements of the pseudo-left in relation to the recent mobilisation in solidarity with the freedom flotilla actively play into the hands of the forces they claim to oppose.
What is needed is full support by all democratic forces in Ireland in uniting behind the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Trade Union Friends of Palestine to build on the present momentum and push for the complete economic, academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

Climate change: Interesting documentary on tonight… June 29, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…Thanks to EWI for pointing to this on this evening on RTÉ…

That latest RedC poll – redux… June 29, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Okay, had some more time to digest the implications of the latest poll numbers. Again, I haven’t much changed my thoughts that given all the contention over the Kenny/Bruton leadership issue the actual outcome for Fine Gael is pitifully small. They get 3% extra? That’s the best they can do?

But it’s also instructive, perhaps, to those who would argue that if Bruton had succeeded in his goals that Fine Gael would now be doing better, because truth is the increased poll share seems not to be coming from a Labour party already on the up, or from a Fianna Fáil gutted down to its core vote, but from the Independents. And that makes sense. There’s few other places for those votes to come from. Sinn Féin? Hardly likely given the rhetoric over the years, although you’d wonder if some inside FG aren’t thinking back to Frank Flannery and wondering whether he wasn’t a darn sight cleverer and more strategic than they gave him credit given his musings on the suitability of SF as a potential future coalition partner. That won’t happen at the next election, but it might someday and even to air the possibility would be something that might, just might, pull the odd useful transfer FG’s way. But no, Brian Hayes style rhetoric has been the order of the day (although even he softened it slightly in recent times). The Green Party have little to give being on 2%. And erm… that’s it as the numbers stack up.

The best FG can hope for is a significant decline in the Labour vote from which to harvest increased percentages, but that party with the most popular leader in the country is hardly going to let them get away with that (by the way, entertaining to see Labour’s PR efforts last weekend before this poll was taken where they were clearly trying to reinject themselves into the media narratives for fear their star would wane… you’d think from polls like this that they don’t need to bother that much… they seem to say it best to the Irish people in this state when they say next to nothing at all).

(more…)

Left Archive: Rebel, Revolutionary Struggle, July, 1981 June 28, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Struggle.
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RS REBEL 82

Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of ‘History Ireland’, for this donation.

This publication Rebel was issued by left group Revolutionary Struggle, referenced throughout almost exclusively as ‘RS’. Revolutionary Struggle is one of the more intriguing groups active on the Irish left in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Much of the information from the wiki entry is taken from Liam O Ruairc’s piece on Saor Éire on The Blanket which can be found here. You can also find information in this DCTV documentary. It was involved in the Ripening of Time collective [see below]. A shooting at a meeting in Trinity College Dublin was the cause of some controversy. Revolutionary Struggle disbanded in the mid 1980s with former members going to various points on the political compass.

Rebel is quite distinctly different in nature to The Ripening of Time being magazine rather than pamphlet like. But then, unlike Ripening of Time, it was a specific RS production.

That said its scope is fairly wide with a range of pieces dealing with issues from the hunger strikes (this edition went to press just before Joe McDonnell died), Bob Marley through to Dioxin (which conceptually links in with another piece on plans to use Dunsink/Finglas as a ‘toxic dump). It also notes a CIE unofficial strike.There’s also mention of the Carnsore campaign, which was presumably winding down at this point, and various services, such as Limerick Family Planning clinic.

There is a fascinating central essay that considers the role of violence and also the issue of ‘revolutionary political practice’.

On the former point it argues that:

…there are two dominant approaches… the first, Republicanism, argues that it is illusory to look for – and therefore argue for – a ‘specifically’ working class standpoint. So, various variants of Labour must wait are put forward as the only answer to the problems facing the people. The most sophisticated reps of this position, be they Trotskyist, Maoist or left Social Democrats, can go no further than argue old and discredited formulas of class compromise based on Broad/United/Popular Fronts… where the workers, or more precisely their spokespeople, will work with and (hopefully) try to radicalise the dominant forms of Republicanism…

It continues:

On the opposite pole stands the second approach, anti-Republicanism. Those who like SFWP argue that the national question is, in fact, a non-issue as far as the working class is concerned. That living standards, jobs, income and rights can only be guaranteed in a divided but stable capitalist society where proletarian can only be asserted by the gradual multiplication of Sherlocks and Kemmys. That’s this is the only way to fight ideological and material divisions among the people.

This position speaks from the logic of the State – today. It is forced constantly to mystify and deny the peoples movement in reality, lives a constant lie. A lie which can never win – an illusion which is under the thumb of capital.

And…

Faced with the two dominant forces of pro- and anti- Republicanism, our politics in Revolutionary Struggle [note that this is almost the only mention of the name spelled out in full in the document as a whole - wbs] maturing through our political practice inside the people over the past 6-7 years, have taken shape. We have argued consistently that both Republicanism and anti-Republicanism are incompatible with proletarian perspectives… and this not only in the long-run but T O D A Y.

It is this contradiction we have tried to tackle time and again… mostly it must be said relatively unsuccessfully. We said no to the ultra sirens of the anti-national purists while we continue to battle it out with the prostituted pro-Republican currents.

We have set continuously parameters and guidelines for our political intervention. We started from the recognition of the national question as the primary contradiction in Irish society. We supported and sustained the anti-imperialist war, at times even participated in it gingerly faced with howling rage from both sides. We argued and tried to practice a practical insertion of communists in the general process of national liberation. We were maligned, attacked, harassed and marginalised as a result. Always in search of an honest and realistic position based on a revolutionary working class standpoint.

Later the essay considers that…

In Social Democratic jargon violence and its uses are the privileges of the Party – and of the State if the SD party has a share in its control. In a certain peculiar sense social – democrats (and Provisional Sinn Féin are no exception) see themselves as the legitimate institutionalisation of violence. I, and I think all present members of the organisation Revolutionary Struggle, are against this image of the Party so beloved by SF, SF-WP, IRSP, CP and others… even some anarchists. We believe that if the party has the monopoly of violence it implies that it sees itself as a State substitute… an anti-State, but a State no less… the ‘other’ State. Gulags and shattered knees flow abundant from such a conception.

Violence is a synthesis NOT an antithesis. It is an expression of power, against all States, all authority… it is counter-power. The only power regulating that synthesis is the power of the organisations of the class – not just A PARTY. Such class violence is uncontrollable… it attacks the outside, deepens the separation, unsettles and demoralizes the enemy, destabilises the State. Bullets and bombs are of no use there. The only final State medicine for such violence is holocaust and nuclear destruction. And, as far as Ireland is concerned, that’s not on.

Viewed like this inside a mass oppositional project, violence does not have to expose itself like an exemplary prick. And irrational as it may sound, such violence ends up being the only rational judgement of class struggle. It provides the only link between proletarian existence, resistance, destructuring and destabilising. A red filament.

One curiosity is the piece under the heading ‘Invitation’ which seeks to broaden the participation of readers of Rebel and to transform it into an ‘educating and accessible newspaper – bigger, more regular…’.

It claims that ‘there are 750 regular Rebel readers in Limerick and Shannon, many of whom have been supporting the paper regularly since the earliest issues two and a half years ago’. It would be useful to know what if any was the basis for that figure of 750.

Addendum:

Here is an excellent series of posts on the Ripening of Time at Dublin Opinion and the Irish Left Review. We have had a copy scanned in for some months now, and it will be added to the Archive over the summer – simply in order that we have a representative sample of RT, but in the meantime Conor’s posts are essential reading. Also, here’s some additional information from him and others in the comments here As more arrives I’ll attempt to integrate it into the post above so that a cohesive picture can be built up of a most interesting organisation.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week June 27, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in media.
18 comments

As all us keen Sindo readers know, the current crisis is the consequence not of any systemic problem with the capitalist system, but of poor regulation and bad decisions made at the very top of the banking, property and political sectors. Oh, hold on a minute. The problem is actually government red tape, holding back capitalism and squeezing profits through silly things like health and safety. Unsurprisingly, Batt O’Keefe thinks the same as the three – yes three – journalists who wrote this story. Sounds like a bloated enterprise to me. They must be members of one of those trade unions sending the country down the tubes because of their selfishness. You can imagine how the rest of the article reads from the opening line.

Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe is preparing a blitz against the mountains of red tape that threaten to strangle Irish businesses and swamp out struggling entrepreneurs.

Marc Coleman has an interesting piece, in which he mounts an assault on the rural gombeen politicians of both main parties, and their role leading us to where we are. This is a gambit in his ongoing campaign for a new political group, the underlying argument seemingly being that the urban bourgeoisie needs complete victory over their country cousins. We get two for the price of one in this article.

Knowing how useless Fine Gael is at opposing anything, Brian Cowen is now preparing to bring in a property tax. Not enough that we pay the highest marginal effective income tax outside Scandinavia, or that our life savings are robbed by stamp duty bills, or that we pay the highest management fees in Europe, or that protectionism and state control of the economy — not to mention the highest indirect taxes in Europe — have given us the highest cost of living in Europe.

Yes, protectionism ans state control. Clearly the defining characteristics of the southern economy over the last two decades.

And this gem too.

Fine Gael appears opposed to both but in reality, like every Labour leader before him, Eamon Gilmore will tell them what to do and they will do it. That is particularly the case now that Richard Bruton, Leo Varadkar, Lucinda Creighton, Brian Hayes and Simon Coveney will be — even if they make it back on to the frontbench — cowed.

I’d also like to nominate two whole pieces. One from Celia Larkin – who apparently has never heard of Margaret Thatcher – on how women entering politics would automatically make it a more consensual and practical business. And the other from Ruth Dudley Edwards, who has somehow talked herself into becoming a huge fan of Conrad Black’s.

And finally, not a stupid statement but a disturbing one, in a discussion of the southern economy from Róisín Burke. It puts all the discussion about stamp tax – clearly the Sindo’s economic/political theme of the week – into some perspective, and what the economy really needs.

But it’s not the key source of employment it was. The services sector, with its 1.4 million workers in everything from hairdressing to catering and financial services, has far eclipsed manufacturing’s 220,000 employment figure.

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