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“Tús Nua -New Beginnings” June 30, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Seems there has been a split in Sinn Fein in Kildare with Sinn Feins 2011 Kildare South candidate Jason Turner leaving the party to found “Tús Nua -New Beginnings”.Turner claims “eight of his local Cumman left” with him.
Theres a small bit about it here on the Leinster Leader site.

Not sure if it is an ideological split or not, although in another interview in the Kildare Nationalist Turner states …

“When I was in Sinn Fein a lot of the work we were doing was being sent down from head office in Dublin.”

The article also notes that Turner “had wanted to take part in demonstartions and other activities.” Interestingly enough when asked about the new groups political aims it emerges that they

“support those opposed to the household charge”

You’d wonder was a command sent from on high to not get involved in the campaign Against The Household and Water Charges?… and was it that which prompted the split?

Their Facebook Page

“Shock, austerity, Sinn Féin and the United Left Alliance” – A view from Ireland… June 30, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
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…thanks to Jim Monaghan for sending the link to this post in the International Journal of Socialist Renewal Links, based as far as I can see in Australia. Written by Des Derwin there’s a lot of food for thought in it, particularly a very useful analysis of the ULA.

Here’s a quote to give a sense of it, and also a sense of the potential of the ULA as a centripetal force on the Irish left able to attract those from a wide variety of backgrounds…

The potential of the ULA was shown by a public meeting of the Dublin Central branch on April 24, days before the conference. Among those who joined that day were two activists of the highest calibre, one a long-time trade union activist in the construction industry and with the Workers Party, the last left party (leaving Sinn Féin aside) with a base of support comparable to the aspirations of the ULA. The other was a leading activist in one of the teachers’ unions and in the recent, partially successful DEIS campaign against cuts in disadvantaged schools. But the ULA’s problem is maintaining the involvement of such activists through a vibrant organisation and relevant activity.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening To… Gay Songs of my Coming Out June 30, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Culture, LGBT Rights, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Like last week’s contribution from irishelectionliterature to the TWIMBLT… series, today’s is a selection from various artists that have particular memories for the contributor rather than a selection from a single artist. And, in fact, the title is a lie: I’ll be so busy with the Dublin Pride parade during the day and the Pride party tonight that I won’t have time to listen to these songs, and I would be very surprised if they got an airing on any of the floats in the parade, at the Pride in the Park in its new, larger home at Merrion Square, or at the Kaleidoscope Pride Night. [And it is Dublin Pride parade , despite the temptation of some to call it simply "the Pride parade". Pride events are held in other places too: Cork, Belfast, Galway, Limerick, Drogheda, Derry, Waterford, Manorhamilton, Artane, and Easky to name a few.]

The common link with all but one of these is that I listened to or heard them when I was coming out not quite a quarter century ago. But these are not simply the sound track that places events at a time in my own personal history: they helped, hindered and shaped my coming out and … well, it is a phrase that can sound pompous… they helped, hindered and shaped my identity as it changed over that period. It is more a Desert Island Discs than a TWMIBLT… .

The other reason the title is a lie is that the songs are a hook on which I am hanging some ruminations on coming out.

These songs weren’t the only external source of influence I had when I was coming out. I had the luck of access to the Internet before the Web was invented, and the discussion group soc.motss (I would love to know if it continues outside the google connection/version) was the most important source of information and ideas that influenced me. Before I had access to soc.motss, I had come across information: ocassional articles in the mainstream newspapers and in USI magazines. A photo of Lance Pettit and others in the Irish Independent when UCD’s Gaysoc got recognition is one memory, although I cannot date it. And the fact that I read an article in a USI magazine by somebody from Northern Ireland about coming out also sticks in my memory from the period before I myself made any moves. To be clear: the fact that I read the article (and that the magazine was an A4, professionally printed affair) is what sticks, not the content of the article. And another source in the lead-in period was the sleeve notes to Bronski Beat’s The Age of Consent. Of the songs, Why was the one that affected me most. Looking back, that seems bizzare: it amounts to a warning that coming out would be a dangerous step. Even having the album was risky: when I realised the insert in the sleeve listed the ages of consent across European countries and was clearly pro-gay, I hid it in the bottom of the wardrobe in my bedroom to prevent my mother from seeing it.

I find it hard to say if any of that “input” helped or not. On balance, I think not. It was sparodic, and all one way, and impersonal: I didn’t know Lance Pettit or the USI writer. When I finished my degree, I moved to another city to do a masters. And it was there that I got access to soc.motss. I was going through the discussion groups the college had access to. They ranged widely: rec.humour, talk.politics, sci.physics and wading through the list I stumbled on the weirdly named soc.motss. The content was clearly gay, but I could not figure out why it had that name or what that name meant. But a daily dose of ongoing discussion of gay issues was mind-blowing. Initally the discussion of, say, “FGTATWSC” didn’t make much more sense when I discovered that it meant Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. But a few months later when the movie arrived in Ireland, light dawned. Actually, FGTATWSC was released after I had come out, but it was the kind of topic that was in the mix. Other topics were less opaque: Mormonism and homosexuality, berdaches [I didn't know -- if you don't look it up], new HIV treatments, HIV politics, gay politicians, gay politicians at state level, gay politicians at city level, lesbian invisibility, queer bashing, Elton John, and on and on and on. Two things strike me now as important: it was daily and although there were posts and replies about coming out, all that other stuff changed the question from one of coming out from secrecy to coming out into a gay community. The fact that soc.motss was mainly USA and UK based was a bit of problem, but at least I did have access to something about those of us attracted to member of the same sex (from which motss comes).

Two documents that came up in discussion were hugely enegergising: The Heterosexual Questionnaire [among others: What do you think caused your heterosexuality? Do your parents know you are straight?] and Queers Read This. It is a paradox that Queers Read This should be energising: it presented an even more distressful scenario than Bronski Beat had. It still shocks most of the younger gay people I meet these days when I direct them to it. But for me, it was polticial and demanded action.

And somewhere in that mix I came across Tom Robinson’s anthem for the gay community Sing If You’re Glad to be Gay. An irony today (specifically today, 30 June 2012) in Dublin is that the first line of the song refers to the British police, in a very different relation to gay men than we will see on the streets of Dublin this afternoon: some of the British lgbt police will be marching in the Dublin Pride Parade, and in their uniforms, alongside colleagues from police services in Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and 10 or so other countries, a privilege denied the lesbian, bisexual and gay members of An Garda Síochána.

My coming out became more of a political action than a personal one. I devoted more energy to lgb activism than I did to hunting romance. And so, after I did come out, anything that hit a note, provided it wasn’t dire, got added to the playlist. Among that category was Chumbawamba’s Homophobia.

The other key anthem of the time was Gloria Gaynor’s I am what I am — key because when I used to visit the gay disco at The Other Place in Cork, it was always the song used to close the night. I didn’t realise for years that the original came from the musical La Cage Aux Folles. The angry activist in me loves the transgression in that movie: a gay man pretends to be a woman and wife of his partner for the sake of their child — a gay couple with a child! — who has become engaged to the daughter of a snob. It was a nice piece of timing for my post that at the European Gay Police Association’s conference in Dublin yesterday, the Equality Authority’s Director of Legal Services, Brian Merriman, reminded the delegates — police officers, remember — that we celebrate pride at this time because when police in New York on 28 June 1969 raided the Stonewall bar, it was the drag queens and transvestites and cross-dressers — not the polite gay activists who set the strategies designed to achieve more tolerance — but the trannies, whom everybody held in contempt, who turned and fought New York’s finest and put them under siege and needing the Tactical Unit to come and rescue them.

There is no doubt that coming out has changed since the late 1980s and early 1990s when I was preparing for it, and making that move. Nobody in my classes at school or at college were out at those times. All in those groups who has come out moved from home before doing so, and all came out in their early 20s. I acknowledge that that was not a universal experience, and I have met lesbian and gay people over the years who are the same age as me who did come out while still at home and still at school. But I met a colleague of a friend on the bus home a few months ago, and the conversation turned to gay issues. (He is straight.) He told me that when he did his Leaving Certificate eight or nine years ago, the pattern in his year, and the years before and after, was that on the night the results were published, somebody would come out in the pub when they were celebrating, and safely away from school. Last year, the younger brother of one of his classmates reported that two had come out in transition year, still in school. And a youth worker with BeLonG To told the European Gay Police Conference yesterday that BeLonG To now faces a challenge because it gets calls from people between 10 and 13, all below the service’s lower age limit, who are coing out and want to join.

My musings have focused on when I first came out. I have in fact had to do it again a few times since then. The most recent was last year when I was elected to the branch committee in my union, and came to attend meetings with people from other parts of my employer’s organisation I had not met or worked with before. A participant in the Rainbow Service’s research on the experiences of lgbt people in the workplace eloquently expressed my feelings on that experience

I find it infuriating that whenever I change my job, I have to come out yet again to my new work colleagues, simply because it is assumed I am straight

That type of coming out presents a challenge I have not seen or heard discussed much. It did come up at the European Gay Police Conference, in a workshop on Thursday, when a Swiss officer said that a the homophobia he now sees is not the traditionally understood direct bullying or prejudice by older managers. Those senior and older officers, he said, have changed, have accepted that the old ways were wrong. It is the younger, middle managers, a little older than him who are the source of problems. Their reasoning is that since discrmination in the workplace is now illegal and since civil partnership or same-sex marriage are available, and since bullying has (nearly) been eliminated, there is no need for gay officers to bring up their homosexuality in work.

I wonder will it ever be possible to end the concept of coming out — will asking somebody if they’ve told their parents they are gay will make as much nonesense as asking them if they’ve told their parents they are straight.

—  *  —  * —

The gay music I come across when I was coming out wasn’t all political. One humorous song I came across and liked was written by Elton John but performed by Tom Robinson: Never Gonna Fall in Love (Again)

—  *  —  * —

A while ago, I discovered an Irish contribution to the catalogue. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t belong in a post about the songs of my coming out because I did not hear or know about it then, although it was released as a single at the time I moved away from home to do that postgrad and discover soc.motss. And I like it because it brings out that pain of being gay in adifferent era without the overt, in-your-face politics of Tom Robinson or Chumbawamba. Here is The Radiators from Space with Under Clery’s Clock

What you want to say… League Of Ireland Open Thread 29th June June 29, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Just in case one or two regulars have reasons to gloat :(

Luckily my wife had arranged to meet a friend back from Australia so I missed a certain match in Dalymount tonight.
Its incredible how Stephen Kenny has managed to destroy a league winning squad in such a short time.

An Phoblacht, July 2012 out now June 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, The Left, Uncategorized.
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Available from all usual stockists and in an online edition.

From the editorial:

The decision [to meet the Queen] reflects a confident, dynamic, forwardlooking Sinn Féin demonstrating our genuine desire to embrace our unionist neighbours. It reflects the equality and parity of esteem arrangements that are now in place and that development has been broadly welcomed right across Ireland.

Martin McGuinness is deputy First Minister for all the people in the North, unionists as well as nationalists and republicans. This is a commitment he takes very seriously.

Sinn Féin acknowledges the attachment that many unionists feel towards the Queen of England.
We see this engagement very much in the context of nation building, of overcoming the historic fracture
between ‘Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter’. We want to see the coming together of Orange and Green in harmony.

WHAT’S INSIDE

Irish republicans will be judged by our actions as well as our beliefs – Gerry Adams

Danny Morrison on the Martin McGuinness meeting

Dialogue: Protestant churches urge unionists to respond ‘constructively’

Olympic medal hope boxer Paddy Barnes goes head to head with Alex Maskey

Fine Gael and Labour TDs block Sinn Féin bid to axe Household Charge

1972: Relatives for Justice uncover ‘Secret’ British Government files revealing immunity for soldiers and working with UDA

Níl aon dul as ach Mainneachtain!

Belfast’s youngest-ever Mayor, Sinn Féin’s Niall Ó Donnghaile, steps down

Sinn Féin’s new council ‘Mayors & Chairs’ around the country

South Armagh Volunteers Day

Fears for Offaly fire cover

Gerrymandered boundaries to nation building – Tom Hartley looks at the history

Marriage equality: A civil right, not a religious act

Euro 2012: Roy Keane . . . Right or wrong?

The Girdwood housing row

From a prisoner in the Cages of Long Kesh and H-Blocks escapee to Mayor of Limavady – Seán McGlinchey, a remarkable journey

An Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge –– Ag treisiú le tógáil na Gaeilge

Between graveyards and goalposts – By Ciarán Kearney

Nuclear winter – Sellafield, Trident and the power game

Basque victims launch ‘Glencree’ initiative

ACTA’s counterfeit arguments – GUE/NGL MEPs

‘Organise or Die’ – Trade union leader Terry O’Sullivan, head of the half-million-strong Labourers’ International Union of North America

Remembering the Past: Cathal Brugha

Fine Gael and Labour lead attacks on Irish

Fograí Bháis: Joe O’Boyle and ‘Wee Rosie’ Carlin

And speaking of orthodoxy… June 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Uncategorized.
10 comments

Here’s a fascinating report from Gerry Moriarty of the Irish Times which perhaps once more is demonstrative of how orthodoxies work.

In it he discusses the handshake between the Queen and McGuinness. And it’s all much as expected until we get to:

What keeps coming to mind is that Martin McGuinness was the leader of an organisation that killed Queen Elizabeth’s cousin and Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten in Mullaghmore in 1979 – at the same time murdering two teenage boys and an elderly woman.

Well, yes. But not one word about – for example – how those from McGuinnesses native Derry were murdered by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday seven years earlier and that the Queen was nominal head of that organisation. I’m not reaching for equivalence, or not exactly, between the two events. Both were in their own ways appalling, and there are differences. But it’s a remarkable reworking of the history of the past forty or fifty years to be able to mention one and not even slightly allude to the fact that the dynamic has worked in both directions. That’s not whataboutery. If one were to mention the meeting without any reference to the pain Republicans had inflicted and only contextualise it in light of the actions of British forces (let alone all others including Loyalism which yet further complicates the situation) the picture would be also skewed.

An orthodoxy going mad… June 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, Irish Politics.
14 comments

The Irish Times editorial yesterday waxes not so lyrical about the current economic situation:

SOMETHING HAS to give in relation to promises made by Fine Gael and the Labour Party in their joint programme for government. Commitments made to public servants under the Croke Park agreement, to voters on taxation and social welfare and to the troika on fiscal retrenchment were based on economic growth rates that have not materialised. Because of the resulting revenue shortfall, unpalatable Cabinet decisions lie ahead.

The problem with that analysis is that the growth rates were meant to flow endogenously, as the term has it, from the measures taken – expenditure cuts reified over tax increases, cuts in wages in the public sector (and pension contribution increases) and so on and so forth. That’s how ‘austerity’ is meant to work. Otherwise what’s the point? And sure I get the line ‘there’s no money’, but it’s sort of unconvincing given the weighting of cuts to tax increases.

And if there are no growth rates now then it seems perverse to think that they will appear from the mists as it were.

It continues:

Closing the gap between revenue and spending was predicated on strong economic activity and higher revenues. That hope has faded as the EU lurches towards recession and the currency crisis remains. The outlook may change, depending on decisions by EU leaders to boost economic growth or to share losses by the banking system between creditors and debtors.

But as any fule kno, closing the gap between revenue and expenditure in a recessionary economy is a mugs game. Austerity writ large across the European economies has delivered negative growth. This is a clue. Whether the divergent reports emanating from Europe this morning mean any change remains to be seen. I suspect that unless there’s a sense at ground level that changes actually impact upon the bite of austerity it will simply be seen – if it has any effect at all, as meaningless.

This Week At The Irish Election Literature Blog June 29, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Election Literature Blog.
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Starting off with something in the news again… some evoting leaflets and an electronic voting is easy pamphlet

A leaflet for Erskine Childers from the 1973 Presidential Election

From one President to another and a 1979 European Elections Leaflet for Michael D Higgins

From those same 1979 European Election and some relatives of Irish historical heavyweights in Ruairi Brugha, Sile De Valera, Joe Fox and (son of WB Yeats) Michael Yeats

and finally another old Anti Property Tax leaflet this time from former PD Councillor and now Fine Gael senator Cáit Keane running in the 1997 General Election

Obamacare… June 28, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in The Left, US Politics.
12 comments

I’m actually pleased that the Affordable Care Act has passed – or at least mostly. Why? Well certainly not because it’s socialised medical care or whatever – because it’s nowhere near that. But simply because it pushes back the US right and there is no other feasible alternative anywhere near to gathering any political support. So, not exactly a victory then. But something.

Beyond the handshake… June 28, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
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This caught my eye amongst all the coverage of the handshake.

But the monarch made another move which in the long term might even overshadow the significance of her much-publicised encounter with Sinn Fein’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness this morning.
This was when she crossed the street to St Michael’s, the first time, in her 20 royal visits to Northern Ireland, that she has visited a Catholic church.
There she met a wide array of representatives of community, charitable and sporting organisations including local GAA figures.

The first time in 20 royal visits to Northern Ireland, 20 visits across decades? Isn’t that remarkable, and not in a good way?

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