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What you want to say… Open Thread, 30th January, 2012 January 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

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

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1. Starkadder - January 30, 2013

Sixty-Five years ago, Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated:


I remember Dwight MacDonald’s piece on Gandhi
after his death:

Gandhi was the last political leader in the world who was a person, not a mask or a radio voice or an institution. The last on a human scale. The last for whom I felt neither fear nor contempt nor indifference but interest and affection…he was dear to me because he had no respect for railroads, assembly-belt production, and other knick-knacks of liberalistic progress, and insisted on examining their human (as against their metaphysical) value. Also because he was clever, humorous, lively, hard-headed, and never made
speeches about Fascism Democracy, the Common
Man, or World Government.

2. Laurence Cox - January 30, 2013

Shell to Sea pub quiz / fundraiser – date for your diary

Advance notice of the following event jointly organised and hosted by the NUI Maynooth Community Education, Equality and Social Activism learning group and the Equality Studies Centre, UCD.

Pub quiz in the Global Bar of the Russell Court Hotel (Camden St, Dublin 2) in aid of Shell to Sea. Wednesday February 27th, 8 pm on.

10 euro a head (or whatever you can afford). Advanced booking is recommended (theresa.okeefe AT nuim.ie)

It promises to be a night of entertainment and merriment. We also hope it will be a good opportunity to meet people who are also socially active across a range of campaigns and movements!

3 euro drink promotions on the night. Fully accessible.

More details as soon as we have them!

3. doctorfive - January 30, 2013

Lengthy Curtis post on Somalia


and a very useful ITNP report just published states


The main finding of this report is that virtually every state’s tax system is fundamentally unfair, taking a much greater share of income from middle- and low-income families than from wealthy families. The absence of a graduated personal income tax and the over reliance on consumption taxes exacerbate this problem in many states.

• Combining all of the state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes state residents pay, the average overall effective tax rates by income group nationwide are 11.1 percent for the bottom 20 percent, 9.4 percent for the middle 20 percent and 5.6 percent for the top 1 percent.

• Ten states rank as having the most regressive overall tax systems. In these “Terrible Ten” states, the bottom 20 percent pay up to six times as much of their income in taxes as their wealthy counterparts. Washington State is the most regressive, followed by Florida, South Dakota, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Alabama

RosencrantzisDead - January 31, 2013

But behind these fears is an incredibly simplified – almost fictional – vision of the world. It possesses the minds of many western politicians, journalists and associated think tank “experts”. And at its heart is a kind of filter that wipes away anything complex about power and the struggles for power in African countries – and replaces that with a simple picture of the world as divided between goodies (us in the west) and dangerous frightening baddies who are out to destroy us.

This reminds me of someone…

Dr. X - February 1, 2013

I thank colleague Dr. 5 for a very good article.

4. CB - January 30, 2013

Latest episode of the History Show on Near FM is online. It’s a discussion with John Regan about Revisionism and Peter Hart. http://nearfm.ie/podcast/the-history-show-episode-eleven/
Previous episodes of the show are available here: http://nearfm.ie/podcast/tag/the-history-show/

5. Forbolg - January 31, 2013

Interesting that anyone takes Peter Hart seriously at this stage.

6. ejh - January 31, 2013

IMF prescribe same poison every time regardless of circumstances shock

7. doctorfive - January 31, 2013

Interview with IELB from the latest issue of Rabble is online now


8. Anonist - January 31, 2013

Will Geithner end up in Gold-in-Sacks? Contrary to rumour there has never been an official monetary relationship.

Pannitch’s piece on Geithner’s career is insightful. ‘Failure containment’ has become the standard reflex among high-ranking civil servants to the financial crisis. Unlike the theologians in the economics profession, they have a more pragmatic view of the system as inherently unstable. All and every measure may be needed (including of course the immiseration of yet more millions and the destruction of social goods) to stop it exploding.

the New York Fed effectively acted the world’s central bank as the financial crisis unfolded from August 2007 onwards. Not only were the major US banks lining up for loans at its discount window but so were Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, Calyon of France, and even the Bank of China Ltd. (The Fed’s loans to the New York branches of foreign banks were only revealed under court order in 2011, having been concealed lest they stir up domestic populist resentments as well as further market turmoil.)

However, there is no evidence that, despite the undoubted abilities of a man like Geithner, actually existing capitalism is any more stable now than it was in 2007.

Anonist - January 31, 2013

Sorry – link.

9. Anonist - January 31, 2013

I don’t know what you done did WBS, but CLR now seems to be accepting comments from Scandinavia.

WorldbyStorm - January 31, 2013

Did it ever not?

10. Julian Assandwich - February 1, 2013

“Bernadette McAliskey addressing the rally at this year’s Bloody Sunday March For Justice which had the theme ‘End Impunity’. Despite a wet, windy, wintery day around 3500 people braved the elements to march in solidarity with the victims of Bloody Sunday and other injustices. This years events gave specific focus to the miner’s strike and the Hillsborough disaster as well as the scandal that has been playing out with impunity in Rossport where the local community are under occupation by Shell and the Garda has the common wealth of the Irish people is not just given away to Shell for the taking but at the cost of the health and safety of the local people.”


Julian Assandwich - February 1, 2013

“We have got to get our act together, we have got to do a bit more than just march. We’ve got to organize, we’ve got to educate we have got to get moving or soon there will be nothing here for anybody … We have got to get a political programme together here and get the struggle for civil rights, political rights, social rights and economic rights together or we are in, comrades and colleagues, for one hell of a hiding.”

11. Joe - February 1, 2013

Big ads from ICTU on the sides of Dublin buses urging people to march on 9th February.

12. Starkadder - February 1, 2013

Have you seen this? Israeli journalist Sarah Honig claims
she heard anti-semitic remarks at a school charity collection
in Cahersiveen. The school has denied the remarks:


WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2013

I don’t know what to make of it. The article is pretty poor and very slanted. If it occured as she said in terms to the language used then that would be noxious, and I suppose it’s just about possible kids said what they’re said to have said, and yet it doesn’t entirely ring true. I’d have thought it much more likely that the word would be ‘Israeli’ rather than ‘Jew’. What do you think?

Dr. X - February 1, 2013

The journalist’s claims may well be a provocation, but they are also all too plausible as well. I’ve heard anti-semitic tropes pop up in unlikely places, and a lot of people out there may well be unable to tell the difference between “Israeli” and “Jewish”.

WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2013

Interesting, Dr. X, I’ve only ever heard one instance of what I’d consider to be clearly anti-semitic talk, and that was working in the private sector about ten years back where I met a guy, a young sales rep, who struck me as having some seriously wrong views, and it wasn’t in relation to Israel/Palestine, but Ireland. He tried to make a laugh of it when called on it…but…

Dr. X - February 1, 2013

Well, I don’t want to repeat anyone else`s personal details on the interwebs, but. . . let’s just say I’ve heard of one case of a young person getting into anti-semitic conspiracy theories recently.

And while I usually love to rail on the “metrovincial” attitudes of you Dubliners, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the remoter provinces some surprisingly old-fashioned ideas persisted (remember the mass had prayers against “perfidious jews” well into the 1950s).

I mean, I had a young neighbour back home in Mayo tell me (this is in the 1980s) that “the Japanese are the race closest to the apes”.

Ed - February 2, 2013

If it was a journalist for a credible newspaper who made this claim, I might take it seriously, but this comes from the ultra-right Jerusalem Post, where no mention of Ireland is complete without a reference to the allegedly deep-rooted, genocidal antisemitism of the Irish people. I’m quite sure that this ‘journalist’ came to Ireland determined to write a story with this angle, and knew they could make up whatever they liked and the JP would print it eagerly. Fairly sensible letter on it here:


Enlil - February 2, 2013

As was said above by wbs it is somewhat a poor article, but still it shows a fault line preoccupation with the financial system. As S.Honig herself says, these will turn out to be ‘charming decent adults’. The young just tend to make flat statements, drawing attention to/ alluding to what perturbs them, and can be liberated enough to enunciate openly and clearly the prevalent attitude or line of thinking.
If the U.N.? decreed that the Jewish/Israelites should have a ‘terrain’ of their own, I truly believe that is ok. The sad part is that they now must militarily defend this, constantly, and so the appellation of ‘the children of Israel’ is being lost. Their intrinsic focus on matters metaphysical? is a loss to the world.
Now we seem to have a western world of a macro financial system, and we have had only the guise of ‘private’ banking and even that ‘guise’ may soon be again inflicted back on us and a nation opportunity lost. Aah E. Kenny; elected…. for this.

EWI - February 3, 2013

If it was a journalist for a credible newspaper who made this claim, I might take it seriously, but this comes from the ultra-right Jerusalem Post, where no mention of Ireland is complete without a reference to the allegedly deep-rooted, genocidal antisemitism of the Irish people. I’m quite sure that this ‘journalist’ came to Ireland determined to write a story with this angle

I’m quite sure that the supposed quotes of what these kids were saying, and presuming they are verbatim quotes, came after the sort of leading questions that would produce much more colourful results if asked in, say, a bastion of the Israeli far-right like their settlements in the West Bank.

Still, at least RDE found herself a pony to ride to death for the next couple of months if not years (and a twofer to kick around, as well. Irish Catholic schoolchildren and people with sympathy for Palestinians)

EWI - February 3, 2013

I mean, I had a young neighbour back home in Mayo tell me (this is in the 1980s) that “the Japanese are the race closest to the apes”.

I hadn’t been aware that the racial characteristics of the Japanese were of such interest to Mayo schoolchildren. Did this person by any chance have an interest in or exposure to WWII Allied propaganda output?

Dr. X - February 3, 2013

I realise that you’re joshing, EWI, but that may well be where he got it from!

In my national school there was a mixum-gatherum of obsolete reading material, including a post-war American comic about NASA in which the wartime career of SS member Werner Von Braun was whitewashed, to put it mildly.

ivorthorne - February 2, 2013

If you ask a bunch of teenagers a question and expect to get a straight forward answer, you really aren’t familiar with teenagers.

The article is poor and silly. I’ve never heard any Irish person refer to Israeis as Jews except when referring to biblical times.

I can’t say I’ve ever encountered classic anti-semitic conspiracies in meatspace. It’s not that most people I’d know aren’t sympathetic to the Israelis who are victims of Palestinian violence, it’s just that their symapthy to the Palestinians is proportionate to amount of death and suffering experienced by that group.

Dr. X - February 4, 2013

Well, I have encountered those theories in meatspace, and from a relative, who first encountered them himself in Louisburgh in the 1920s.

And I’ve also heard people use `Israeli´ and `Jew´ as syonyms, and not in a nice way either.

There is of course an equally inane social type who sees unqualified support for Israel as one of several badges of haut bourgeois status (and with friends like that, who needs enemies?)

This is why the Irish can’t have nice things, or one reason among many, anyways.

Blackberry - February 4, 2013

dreadful to think that unqualified support would be dispensed to any arms bearing, militaristic, embattled (seemingly) nation, as that could be catastrophe.
The Israelis hopefully are all about defence.
That situation is almost intractable, and even global. They did hold their own there for nigh over 1,000 years? i.e. from Saul (1020 b.c.) through the Simon (135 a.d.), so surely this counts for something, (with exile Babylonian being just c.50 years?).

Blackberry - February 5, 2013

a ‘Caution’ here, (and I am Not an expert): but at 135 a.d. and the dispersal of the Jewish communities throughout the world (diaspora); these were ‘communitieS’ i.e. : plural. They were of different persuasions themselves? I’m kinda guessing here; but Simon seems to have been towards the pharisee aspect, which may have been the ‘deciding’ on of their ‘judges’ (leaders); whereas (I reckon) JC was towards a more hellenistic way? and towards a democratic putting in place of what was called ‘kings’ (again, leaders).
Both these ‘ideologies’ also seem divided about money? the pharisee being an aspect of : pay it all,?;
whereas the hellenism, was contrary to the former.??
ouch, not explaining this very well. It would be salutary to know which community were the main diaspora.
Still, in 2013, the divisions of ‘judiciary’ and ‘government’ are still at odds.
Greece. two.

Dr. X - February 5, 2013

Vodka for breakfast, eh Blackberry?

(and while it’s hard to tell what our new colleague is on about, I think we have here a case of someone who finds it difficult to tell the difference between “Jews” and “Israelis”).

13. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - February 1, 2013

The current crisis seems to have encouraged all sorts of conspiracy nuts. I see far more placards about ‘freemasons’ (Enda Kenny apparently) ‘communists’ (in RTE and government allegedly) and flouride in the water etc at demos now then I ever remember in the past. (This is at anti-austerity demos). At the big one at the FG Ard Fheis there was some loon with a placard talking about ‘Shatter’s final solution’. The Occupy camp had some right headcases. You could argue its because of the fragmented nature of the left’s response to the crisis, people are angry but there’s no one coherent alternative. And when it comes to conspiracies, the old ones are always the best.

Starkadder - February 1, 2013

A few months ago I recall, the Sovereign Independent / OneWorldChronicle
crown were handing out leaflets in Cork offering their
Alex Jones-influenced take on events. To a young person
unaware of how reactionary Jones’ views actually are, this
group could seem very enticing.

CB - February 1, 2013

It’s bizarre how much the ‘Illuminatti’ type conspiracy theories have taken hold over the past twelve months. You see an awful lot of that kind of stuff on Facebook and there does seem to be a barely concealed anti – semitic tinge to a lot of it.

doctorfive - February 1, 2013

and to top it off, the real explanations are much worse

Starkadder - February 1, 2013

Other conspiracy peddlers like Webster Tarpley and
Thierry Meyssan are also enjoying a rise in popularity.

You’d be surprised how often it turns up-as you
say, there’s a lot of it on Facebook, and a few months
ago I was surprised to hear a woman I know online
approve of Alex Jones’ take on September 11th.

CL - February 2, 2013

“He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”-Albert Camus, The Plague.

14. Ally - February 2, 2013

Is central banker Begg addressing the plebs of Saturday the 9th?

15. ivorthorne - February 2, 2013

Stephen Collins is on form again today:


Oddly for a Collins’ article, this one allows comments.

16. Michael Carley - February 3, 2013

Nick Cohen notices the SWP bust-up:


decides this is the end of `British Leninism’, and gets a dig in at Richard Seymour (I assume because Seymour doesn’t like Hitchens). Unfortunately, this will probably be the article that sets the tone for mainstream coverage.

WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2013

Urggghhh… thanks Michael for that. It’s disappointing to see how off track Cohen has been in the last decade. Fair enough, he doesn’t like ‘British Leninists’ – that’s a perspective, but it’s this sense that he dismisses from the start the work of sincere and energetic activists whatever their formation that really gets to me.

And there’s a broader point which is that all societal institutions are prey to misogynistic actions and processes, centre and left parties no less and all have to accept and be focusses of resistance to that dynamic. What’s obviously particularly dismal in this context is that a party of the furhter left that should hold itself to a higher standard and do much better from the get go failed so comprehensively. BTW, there was some excellent points made by English SP members on a Socialist Unity thread about their own self-reflection on the issue which I found extremely heartening. I’d love to think that that sort of approach was more widespread…

Michael Carley - February 3, 2013

My splittist reply has formed its own thread, but, returning to the fold, what thread was that on Socialist Unity?

WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2013

God, I’ll have to go looking. It was earlier this week. Just a few mentions about how some SPers had discussed the issue in their own branches and whether it could occur. And they were both honest and open in their responses which I thought was unlike a lot of the defensive stuff we get on the further left.

Michael Carley - February 3, 2013
WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2013

IIRC there was at least another, but it could have been on another thread.

But yes that one struck my eye. Excellent. Honest and not in any sense complacent. Serious kudos to the person who wrote it and the branch that discussed it.

Michael Carley - February 3, 2013

I suspect that has something to do with the make-up of SP membership, as compared to the SWP. We tend to be a bit older, and often from a trade union background; SWP members *tend* to have joined as students (not a criticism: I wouldn’t mind if the SP were a bit better at involving da yout’). Trade unionists are used to internal dispute procedures, at work or in the union, and we know when something is internal and when it is not. We also know that there are people who are sound trade-unionists, but not necessarily flawless human beings.

It’s actually an illustration of the argument that you have to have the right procedures if an organization is to work, and the procedures can be a better guarantee of fairness than the good will of the people involved, a bit like the difference between a properly-chaired meeting with published standing orders, and an `open democratic space where all voices are equal’.

WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2013

That makes a lot of sense. It’s a real strength.

Ed - February 3, 2013

I think it’s very clear why Cohen would hate Seymour – he and his co-thinkers have had their asses handed to them by Seymour’s blog repeatedly. It’s not that Seymour is a genius, he’s just a good writer, and the whole ‘Euston Manifesto’ crew are so dishonest and hypocritical, and for the most part so ignorant of the countries and issues they write about (this is certainly true of Cohen), that taking them apart is a simple job. I notice they’ve turned off comments for the article – I presume they’ll say this was for legal reasons, but it also has the handy side-effect of protecting Cohen from people ripping him to shreds in the comments section.

Most of what needed to be said about that lot was said by Mike Marqusee here:


Tellingly, when Cohen wrote that dreadful ‘What’s Left’ book, he quoted Marqusee – but only from an article where he had said negative things about the SWP. His critique of the Euston Manifesto was studiously ignored.

17. Michael Carley - February 3, 2013

I would call it the desperate need of the renegade to prove his sincerity to his new friends (hello, Eoghan Harris), but Cohen was never on the far left to start with. If he had left out the dig at Seymour, and gone for a `more in sorrow than in anger’ tone, that article could have been devastating. Instead, it reads like another Cohen rant against activists who are more left wing than he is. And who were right about Iraq when he was badly wrong.

WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2013


18. Tomboktu - February 3, 2013

RTÉ to cover the disunity on the Irish Left in “This Week“.

Dr. X - February 3, 2013

I’m sure they will be fair and balanced.

19. CMK - February 3, 2013

Watching TG4′s ‘Bernadette’ last night about Bernadette McAliskey there was a comic moment, for me at least. Having followed the ULA debates here and elsewhere. There was a bit in the documentary about half-way through where McAliskey, who by then was a member of the IRSP, attended a ‘Left Unity’ conference. In the five second clip shown of that conference I counted two chairs being thrown across the room and dozens of punches being delivered. I can’t imagine any similar initative today descending into violence. Maybe it was the times that were in it that violence seemed to be tolerated then, but while passions may still be as intense today I can’t imagine a intra-Left fistfight nowadays. Then again, maybe and oul fistfight would clear the air.

Joe - February 4, 2013

Not sure but I’d say there may have been sticks and irps and provos etc involved in those digs and chair throwings (or maybe it was just irps vs irps). That was “republican” left of the 70s. That’s a different kind of left “unity” to ULA etc. Very different. Indeed just throwing punches for those people in those days was the height of good manners.

CMK - February 4, 2013

Yeah, I suppose it was a different world then and, given the times and some of the people, violence was ever present. Incidentally, that clip featured Seamus Costello addressing the conference and his fate proves your point about throwing punches being the height of good manners in those circles at the time.

WorldbyStorm - February 4, 2013

There’s that Joe, the republican left could always be – well, not so friendly, though that said it wouldn’t be unheard of for left meetings to have punches delivered in those days and after and before. And IIRC, Gerry Healy’s crew were no strangers to those sort of shenanigans.

Jim Monaghan - April 10, 2013

And I wonder who killed him

King Alpha Plan - April 10, 2013

Nobody else does

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