Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time
Addendum: Winter 2007/Spring 2008 – We’ve been termed ‘crypto-Provos’, ‘Sticks’ and whatnot. Utterly contradictory charges (for those visiting afar look up the term “Sticks” and “Official Sinn Féin” to get some sense of just how contradictory). Vastly entertaining and completely incorrect. Read on to get an idea of the approach of the Cedar Lounge Revolution (and no surprise that the political situation has swerved away from our predictions below when this was first written in 2006. Someday we’ll get around to updating this, or perhaps we have in our posts).
Okay, admittedly the last thing the world needs is another blog, let alone another ‘political’ blog. So, why are we bothering with this one?
Well, we believe that there’s room for an Irish blog with a unashamedly, but undogmatically, left-wing view of the world, and that’s what we’re trying to put together with ‘The Cedar Lounge Revolution’. As a group of individuals who have met on Politics.ie, arguably the single finest Irish political resource on the web, and continue to post there on an often daily basis, we’ve come to a conclusion separately, but simultaneously…
It seems that, on the internet (we hate the word ‘blogosphere’) as in the ‘real world’, ‘right-wing’ thought is on the ascendant. Whether it’s coming from Ayn Rand-worshipping libertarians, religious fundamentalists or 19-year old university students who love wearing suits and dream of growing up and becoming Richard Perle, the right is confident and unapologetic in putting forward its ideas. By contrast, left-wing opinion seems more divided than ever (never forgetting, of course, the truism that in every generation, left-wing opinion is always ‘more divided than ever’). Whether it’s Stoppers vs. Mongers, Trots vs. Stalinists, Revolutionaries vs. Reformers, Social Democrats vs. Democratic Socialists vs. those who are finding it increasingly hard to tell the difference, the left has always saved its greatest ire for those closest to it, and tends to spend far more time fighting amongst itself than against those on the other end of the political spectrum.
But that’s not the whole story. This seems to be the end of one period of recent history and the beginning of another. George Bush has only two more years in the White House. His legacy has largely been constructed. That means that new political choices are opening up across the Atlantic. Tony Blair, the architect of contemporary politics in the UK is moving towards the end of his years in power. Here in Ireland we have the prospect of the full implementation of the GFA in the next six months, or some new structure administered by the UK and the RoI. And there are less than twelve months until the next election to Dáil Éireann. All in all it seems timely for a new engagement by leftists with the events that, for better or worse, will shape the global and national political landscape for the next decade. There’s opportunity in them thar hills…
That’s why we think that it would be useful to take a step back right now, and think about issues in a somewhat calmer, less adversarial way. We don’t think that those who support the progressive political values should have to apologise for their beliefs in the face of opposition from those who disagree. On the contrary, we think that ‘now, more than ever’ (to use the cliché) there’s a need for those who consider themselves left-wing to assert themselves in the face of an increasingly ‘centrist’ consensus. This blog is our small attempt to contribute to this (although we might throw in a little leftie-bashing for good measure – splitters!). We’re also aware of that defining issue on the Irish left, the relationship between the left and nationalism and Republicanism and that relationship will be part of the discussion.
You’re not going to find a consistent line on here, as our contributors each have their own distinct perspective, some being members of political parties, others just sympathetic and others coming from the ‘Plague on all your houses’ school of thought. You’re not going to find a Drudge or Slugger-esque news digest, with immediate links to every political story as it breaks (as some of the members have lives outside the internet, and the ones that don’t are too lazy to do it).
What you will get, hopefully, is some interesting, but not too heavy or humourless, analysis and debate of Irish and international current affairs. You’ll also get reviews and discussions on books, films and music (oh, and maybe Big Brother as well). And every once in a while we hope to throw in a bit of commentary from people who don’t necessarily share the same values as ourselves, people from the conservative or libertarian right, in order to demonstrate that not all original thinking on economics, politics and society comes from the left side of the street.
We’re trying to make this a blog for those of us who’ll look in on indymedia, but wince at some of the comments; for those who cross their fingers when singing the Red Flag, but still know the words; for those of us who roll our eyes when we hear that the Irish media has a left-wing bias, but wish it were true; for those who dislike the use of the word ‘liberal’ as an insult, but don’t much like liberals either; for those of us used to being on the losing side but are too stubborn to give up yet.
Time will tell if we succeed or not but, for now, enjoy!
The CLR is an open forum for discussion. But, it’s not Politics.ie, which is – to apply what splintered sunrise noted on another discussion on comments – ‘something of a bear pit’ and where various terms are bandied about recklessly.
The point is that the CLR is – and has to remain – a place where people can discuss and feel free to discuss but also a place where people can be heard respectfully.
To quote Andy and Louise from Socialist Unity…
We will delete racist, homophobic, sexist, and derogatory comments about people with physical disabilities or mental distress. Comments will also be deleted that are offensive and insulting about individuals. We will also delete comments by “trolls”, i.e those people whose purpose is to impede debate and who post comments with no regard to the subject matter of debate but whose sole purpose and intention is the baiting of other people
We expect comrades to behave in a comradely and fraternal way and to treat each other with respect. We will moderate comments in a way that a Chair moderates a meeting.
We’ll still keep it a light touch, and the balance will be towards retention rather than banning (short term or indefinite). But… again, this is about debate. So no trolling, no sock puppeting and no personalised criticism of others. Criticism is essential, indeed it’s what we’re all about. But fairness is crucial and respect is paramount. Call it courtesy.
One other small thing. In general cut and paste of statements is not appropriate on the site, unless accepted in advance. Please keep that to a minimum.