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What you want to say Open Thread Christmas/New Year edition December 31, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free. And of course, a Happy New Year to everyone, thanks for participating, contributing or just passing through…

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1. ejh - December 31, 2012

Saw this this morning: Irish papers trying to charge when other people link to them. Very odd.

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2. Captain Moonlight - December 31, 2012

Brit cop sky news live from Belfast… these people are stuck in the past refusing to move on…well at least someone has ‘moved on’…from the GFA…GREAT TO SEE THE LADS BACK IN THE HEADLINES…New year greetings to all Irish Republicans around the world.

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eamonncork - December 31, 2012

Cop on and don’t be such a twit. The man had two small kids in the car with him.

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WorldbyStorm - December 31, 2012

+1 eamonncork.

I guess if one’s measure of ‘being back’ is being in the headlines, well that’s no great yardstick. No politics. Truly minimal support. What is the point?

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Garibaldy - December 31, 2012

I really do wonder why some people bother to comment here. That has to be the most inane comment we have had here all year, and that’s saying something.

It’s also the most politically bankrupt. Such views have absolutely nothing to do with any progressive politics. The attempted murder of this policeman has done nothing to forward the cause of progressive politics in Ireland, and serves only to retard their development.

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Martin Savage - December 31, 2012

How much support do you need though? 1%? 10%? How much support did the Provos have when they bombed Birmingham? When they opposed power sharing in the 70s? The various anti agreement groups are growing and taking the SF line – ‘our war was good yours is bad’ won’t stop them.

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Garibaldy - December 31, 2012

I don’t think anyone here is taking the provo line but.

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Joe - January 2, 2013

I counted to ten and screamed to high heaven before joining this debate. Martin above says: “The various anti agreement groups are growing and taking the SF line – ‘our war was good yours is bad’ won’t stop them.”
But what will stop them?
The Irish Times editorial today has a piece on the Kurdish/Turkish question that starts by saying the lesson of Northern Ireland is that to resolve any conflict you have to start by talking to your enemies.
I don’t want to talk to the likes of Captain Moonlight. But if doing so could stop the killing, I’d try it. I know the Provos have attempted to talk to the dissidents but, as far as I know, haven’t gotten very far.
So how do we stop them? Any ideas?

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3. Michael Carley - December 31, 2012

In Dublin over Christmas I saw a couple of books: Diarmuid Ferriter’s history of the seventies, and Padraig Yeates’ on Dublin 1919–1922. I’d probably get the Yeates since I’ve read his books on the lockout and on Dublin 1914–1918, but is the Ferriter worth getting?

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Dr.Nightdub - December 31, 2012

On the basis of his previous “The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000″, I’d say yes, but I’m waiting for the paperback to come out.

I got the hardback for my da for Xmas though, in a “light the blue touch paper and retire a safe distance” kind of way. I’m expecting a phone call full of righteous anger any day now.

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Michael Carley - December 31, 2012

I enjoyed The Transformation of Ireland, but I found his book on sex in twentieth century Ireland a bit too long: he seemed to have wanted to squeeze in every anecdote he came across. Since his new one is another behemoth, I’d want another view before setting myself up to read it.

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fergal - December 31, 2012

Ferriter is the official historian of the state now,constantly on the radio and the expert voice on all the changes that have happened here.There’s a very English form of “sweet reasonableness” to his history from above.Not a nationalist,strictly speaking,and not a “revisionist” he writes well and has a catch all appeal,but if you’re interested in the outsider and the forgotten he won’t give it to you.”History is written by those who survive,philosophy by the well to do;those who go under have the experience”(WR Lethaby). Stick with Yeates!

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Michael Carley - December 31, 2012

I was thinking it might be a handy supplement to Eamonn Sweeney’s book about roughly the same period. A bit of triangulation and interpolation should yield a reasonable approximation to useful truth. Anyway, there’s a photo of Frank Cluskey, so it can’t be all bad.

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Florrie O'Donoghue - January 2, 2013

I’ve not Ferriter’s recent book, but Sweeney’s pleasantly surprised me – despite its misleading title. As a crash course for the period, I don’t think there’s any better for the general reader.

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4. CL - December 31, 2012

Tomorrow marks the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
‘The cause of the slaves, the working class and the poor – North and South – were, for Marx, the same cause.’
http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/book-reviews/15689-an-unfinished-revolution-karl-marx-and-abraham-lincoln

‘From Oakes’s perspective, emancipation should never be presented as a singular turning point in the war, nor should Abraham Lincoln ever stand alone in our discussions as the Great Emancipator.’
http://housedivided.dickinson.edu/sites/emancipation/2012/12/20/insights-from-james-oakess-book-freedom-national-2012/

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5. Dr.Nightdub - December 31, 2012

Am I missing something, or does Joan Burton’s latest kite regarding pensions involve a massive sleight of hand? She’s proposing an automatic scheme from which people will have to opt out, whereby people will pay to supplement the state pension and the government will top up their contributions. Naturally, Varadkar’s using the opportunity to attack public service pensions again.

But nowhere is there any mention of employers making any contributions. There’s something fishy going on, I just haven’t figured out what exactly…

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CMK - December 31, 2012

No, you’ve picked up on something pretty profound. There’s a reason why this is being announced over the Christmas period when most people are giving politics a rest. What Burton is proposing is not only to take, compulsorily, a portion of workers wages (depressing further consumer demand and the domestic economy), but to hand that cash over to the raving obsencity that is the private pensions industry whose ‘fees and charges’ will eat up a considerable portion of the money invested with no guarantee of the kinds of returns necessary to give decent pensions to private sector workers. Incidentally, Varadker is in the Times today telling us the public sector pensions are no longer sustainable. Give that most public sector workers are paying upwards of 17% of their GROSS incomeon pension related contributions (pension+pension levy+PRSI) that’s some oversight on his par

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Dr.Nightdub - December 31, 2012

I hadn’t thought about what a boon this’ll be for the pensions industry. I was thinking more in terms of the government trying to move to a two-tier old age pension, the way they’ve done with teachers’ salaries – those already in receipt of one being left alone for fear of antagonising the grey vote, but those not yet aged 65 having to put up with a yellowpack version which they themselves will have to top up through Burton’s new scheme.

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6. fergal - December 31, 2012

Anybody else notice a money grab that is being orchestrated by the government? While austerity is happening how can you create sinecures for your friends and allies?
1 Universal Health insurance-a boon to those honest insurance firms
2 Mandatory pension schemes for private sector-manna form heaven for the insurance and pension industry
3 Talk of ending universal child benefit and concentrating on pre-school provision as indicated by Minister Fitzgerald-a boon to profit only pre-schools.
4 NAMA-enough said
5 Privatising tolls,FAS courses,and all the PPP schemes out there
6 Water!how long will it remain as a state run firm as long as the initial profitless capital investment is paid by the taxpayer
7 the ongoing scandal of rent allowance-a subsidy to the landlord class-one of them got over 600,000 last year-no limits imposed on this parasitical activity,only on the tenant

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sonofstan - December 31, 2012

Add ‘the Gathering’ to that: you’ll get pious crap about job creation and the like, and the importance of showing the country off……any jobs created will be min wage in the hotel/ catering/ retail sector but guesses who owns the hotels and golf courses and shops that all these returnees will be using?

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Dr.Nightdub - December 31, 2012

Galloping Gathering-itis is getting totally out of hand – earlier on, I saw an ad on a bus shelter for Ireland’s EU Presidency, talking about how ever many thousand visitors it’s gonna bring.

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Jack Jameson - December 31, 2012

Must be all those extra visitors Queen Elizabeth’s visit was supposed to bring but obviously held off till the rain stopped.

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Chang - December 31, 2012

@Fergal. +1 @ (7.) It is creating a new ‘subject’ breed.

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7. Michael Carley - December 31, 2012

Listening to a story about Mary Seacole being dropped from history lessons in English schools, I discover that Orlando Figes’ past offences are not being held against him, and he is an acceptable pundit on Radio 4.

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ejh - December 31, 2012

He was also on Radio Three early this month, as it happens.

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8. sonofstan - December 31, 2012
9. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 31, 2012

‘And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live-for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken.’

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10. Eugene - January 1, 2013

To the working people of Ireland
New Year statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

31 December 2012

As the old year fades from our memory we can approach the new year with some degree of optimism. Throughout 2012 there where numerous protests and demonstrations right across the country, from Belfast to Cork, from Galway to Dublin, with working people campaigning against hospital closures and cuts in services.
The big pre-budget demonstration in Dublin was an important beginning and showed the importance of united campaigning, of drawing the diverse concerns of the people together in a coherent way. It showed that unity of action is our strength, and must be built upon.
Today we had a spectacle of flag-waving and pompous speech-making to mark the beginning of the Irish presidency of the European Union and forty years of membership of this imperial club, with smug self-congratulation by a political establishment that is devoid of any policies to meet the needs of the Irish people. They will wallow in false praise of their European masters, to show they are such great “Europeans,” as the burden of debt is piled higher and higher on the backs not only of Irish workers but of Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian workers. Their hoisting of the EU flag over Dublin Castle shows that little has really changed and is an expression of their powerlessness.
To the people of the North we once again say there is no refuge or solution to be found in wrapping flags around us for comfort. We ask the Protestant section of our working class to think of who benefits and who loses from aggressive flag-flying. Do not be led up a cul-de-sac of flag-waving: those who claim to lead you have no answers to your problems of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and emigration.
The British government does not care how many times their flag flies as long as you are not marching about jobs or against poverty. Similarly, the gatekeepers of the Northern Executive are not worried about your social conditions: they are happy with their Grand Old Duke of York politics.
As we face into another year of austerity, with the wealthy accumulating more and more of our wealth, working people need to take sustenance, inspiration and strength from our forefathers and mothers who in 1913, in much more difficult conditions and under profound hardship, gathered the courage and rallied to defend their interests against great odds. They faced the Dublin boss class, who were backed by the British empire. They rose in a united body and wrote a glorious page in the history of the Irish working class.
We now need that spirit to be re-ignited, and we must make the demonstration of the 9th of February called by the ICTU as big and militant as possible, to be a day of action against the odious debt. The trade union movement needs to lead and express the growing unrest and militancy of working people in 2012 to rebuild a more self-confident and vibrant labour movement. We need to build a united people’s resistance against the odious debt, drawing all the many localised campaigns around the country behind a people’s rejection of the debt and the great sacrifices being imposed in order to obey this diktat from the big monopolies and finance houses of Europe—to mobilise against the external and internal troika.
Let 2013 be the year in which workers throughout the EU link arms and stand together in united struggle. Let us build a united response to defend, enrich and advance national sovereignty, national democracy, and workers’ rights. Our world is beginning to move in a different direction, away from the values of selfishness, greed and unbridled individualism encouraged by this deeply flawed and exploitative and inhuman system, towards an economic and social system based on social solidarity, justice, and peace.
Let‘s make 2013 the year of the beginning of the reconquest of Ireland by working people.

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BB - January 1, 2013

References to the Grand Old Duke of York and the proposed ICTU demonstration of 9th February (albeit separately mentioned) reminds me of the old nursery rhyme:

Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of
The hill and he marched
Them down again.

And when they were up they were up,
And when they were down they were down,
And when they were only half way up,
They were neither up nor down.

It can be hard sometimes to figure out the significance of political events. But this much is true. The odd day of action, proposed by ICTU, is a do-nothing strategy, for letting off a bit of steam. No more than that. Of course, I’m in favour of it and making it bigger, more militant.

But here’s the crunch: while many left groups recognise the dire limitations of trade union leadership (and some even nurture the left leaning members of them, especially if they speak on their platforms), they don’t put forward an alternative strategy that would bring them into conflict with it (picket stunts excluded).

If we want democratic and militant ‘rank and file control’ some campaigning suggestions spring to mind:

– put national action back at the heart of the trade union strategy. Single days of action, however, with long gaps between them, is not enough to win.

– organise escalation of action – one day in February, two days in March, and increase the scale of social disruption thereafter if the government’s attack is not withdrawn.

– establish union forums that meet independently of the bureaucracy. Replace unelected steering committees, with controlling agendas and who are accountable to no one.

– agitate for measures such as campaigning for average members wages for trade union officials, greater participation of ordinary members in union activities, planning Conference resolutions and follow-up.

– get left activists elected to Executives.

This isn’t going to be easy to do: but it has to be done. There is no alternative way to mobilise people anymore.

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11. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - January 1, 2013

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12. Captain Moonlight - January 1, 2013

‘Say anything you want’?!…actually I was being snide by saying’GREAT TO SEE THE LADS BACK IN THE HEADLINES’…I was surprised by some comments though…the fact that it was on the news here (London) was my point..must have slipped past the ‘D notice’…ps..on early reports it stated that it had dropped off the bottom of the car and was a danger to the wider community…by yesterday that had changed to the wife & kids (and kitchen sink) in the motor and it was found by him before he got in the car…

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13. Captain Moonlight - January 1, 2013

So it made a change from seeing some ‘knuckle dragging oranges’ shouting about ‘their rag’… cant see those ‘fine people’ getting round to reading any of these ‘fine books’ you talk about here…and
for the record I’m 50yrs old and have spent 41yrs reading reading reading…(and
watching the news!)…but still…I
LOVE THE SMELL OF NAPALM IN THE MORNING…

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14. The sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - January 1, 2013

[...] As CL noted in comments yesterday. [...]

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15. soubresauts - January 1, 2013

Something enjoyable, for WbS among others — John Cooper Clarke interviewed by Max Keiser:
https://rt.com/programs/keiser-report/episode-384-max-keiser/

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WorldbyStorm - January 1, 2013

Thanks a million soubresauts, really appreciated. By the way, hope all is well, nice to see sight of you.

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16. maddurdu - January 2, 2013

So if Irelands economic policy is primarily shaped by the wishes of ‘the markets’ does this mean we should emulate the policies of the country with the worlds best performing stock-exchange?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/dec/31/venezuela-best-stock-market-2012

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17. doctorfive - January 2, 2013

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18. doctorfive - January 2, 2013
CMK - January 2, 2013

Spot on. Pity poor Starbucks with their travails due to commodity price fluctuations forcing them, poor dears, to have to paid their workers less and cut other decent working conditions. I know a little bit about hedging and stuff, should I send in a CV to Starbucks? It looks like they could use someone who knows about buying forward and stuff. Like I could hold the fort until someone in the US emerges, probably from a cutting edge astrophysics programme in MIT or Harvard, who could do this probably. They’re so dreadfully behind in the US with these things. I mean they’ve only been trading futures on commodity prices in the US since the mid 19th century and it must be slow process learning the ins and outs of the whole business. Obviously the guys in Starbucks haven’t found out about it yet, poor things. But fair play to them getting so far without relying on futures. Who says idiots can’t succeed in business? As I said, I’ll try to buy forward for them until they get someone better qualified to do the job.

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ejh - January 3, 2013
19. doctorfive - January 3, 2013

Sean Quinn received a “very positive” response from other inmates

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20899478

“I think 100% of them felt I shouldn’t be there. I certainly felt I shouldn’t be there, after creating 7,000 jobs, after never in my life owing anybody a penny. Never in my life did I steal a penny or take a penny that didn’t belong to me,”

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WorldbyStorm - January 3, 2013

So that’s okay then!

Wow. It’s delusional stuff, isn’t it? Though I’ve noticed that line before. Wasn’t it Aitken and Black (newspaper Black) who took similar lines.

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doctorfive - January 3, 2013

It is but how delusional? With the wealth creator stuff that’s relentlessly peddled. It’s hardly unreasonable for entrepreneurs to believe they are above the law of mere mortals

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ivorthorne - January 3, 2013

YlHow many of Ireland’s supposed wealth creators are associated with corruption? Desmond, Goodman, O’Brien, Quinn, Ronan … The corruption – legal and otherwise – that is such an important feature of Irish capitalism means that most of our richest people aren’t even ‘good capitalists’, they’re just good ‘lobbyists’.

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20. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - January 3, 2013

I’m sure Quinn’s fellow-inmates felt empathy, after all he managed far more than they they could ever dream of. Just like this man offering solidarity to Sean Fitzpatrick….

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21. Joe - January 3, 2013

http://tinyurl.com/aynd73a.

Don’t know if this will work. Above is a link to an article by Brian Hanley in irishstory.com about riot in Limerick in 1935 – in which only Protestant-owned premises were attacked.
Just thought I’d mention it in light of the discussion on sectarianism on here a while back.

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22. doctorfive - January 3, 2013
WorldbyStorm - January 4, 2013

Some very interesting thoughts there. Andre Gorz had similar ideas back in the day. I find the comments section under it more than usually useful too.

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23. Pj - January 4, 2013

New issue of SPARTACIST has just come out, just €1.50 for Irish readers

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Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - January 5, 2013

Well that’s all our problems sorted then

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24. ivorthorne - January 5, 2013

The Irish Times, as ever, misses the point:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2013/0105/1224328461870.html

The real story isn’t the changes since the downturn but the clear and the dramatic inequalities that exist within Ireland at national, regional and local levels. And for all the talk of everybody “being in this together”, for some reason we still have plenty of affluent and very affluent people.

The Irish Times chose to use their own map. Here’s the actual map:

http://airomaps.nuim.ie/flexviewer/?config=AIDepIndex.xml

The frontpage headline reads “Commuter belt region worst hit by downturn”. Carl O’Brien tells us that “The outer stretches of Dublin’s commuter belt have experienced the greatest drop in affluence of anywhere in the State since the economic downturn, new figures show” yet we find out that the commuter belt includes Roscommon, Cavan and Wexford. Can anyone name a single town in Roscommon that you could call a commuter town? As for Wexford and Cavan, while people may commute to Dublin from these places, it’s hardly the main source of their identity. It’s as though Carl is interpreting the data as it applies to the country as oppossed to how it applies to Dublin.

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eamonncork - January 5, 2013

What would jump out at a person, if they weren’t obsessed with some mythical commuter belt like the Times is, is the persistence of disadvantage in the old geographical black spots, West Donegal, West Mayo, Connemara, Leitrim and also the huge disparities within the cities. Plus ca change.
Of course the Times’ focus on this will soon be transformed into a narrative of middle class struggle, something along the lines of ‘we used to think that the West of Ireland and the inner cities were suffering worst but now they’ve been replaced by the commuter belt.’
However, your dismissal of Roscommon as the home of commuter towns ignores the vast exodus which takes place every morning from Frenchpark into Boyle and Ballymoe into Castlerea.

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CL - January 5, 2013

“People living in the commuter belt are very much the squeezed middle,” says Corcoran.

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25. EamonnCork - January 6, 2013

Didn’t know where to put this but there’s a very positive review of Come Here To Me in today’s Sunday Times. Looking forward to buying the book when I’m in Dublin next week.

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Starakadder - January 6, 2013

Excellent (if upsetting) piece on the Indian rape victim and
the issue of “rape culture” worldwide:

http://prospect.org/article/purity-culture-rape-culture

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