1913 Event – NCAD May 23, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.
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CPOI Statement May 23, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, Irish Politics, The Left.
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18 May 2012
At its regular meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland evaluated the present political and economic situation in the country, north and south. What is most clear is that the crisis of the system is deepening: the contradictions are deepening and spreading as the ruling elite continues to make the people pay for the crisis, and the system attempts to overcome the crisis at the expense of the people.
The Irish and British ruling class continue to use the crisis for a growing assault on working people, north and south, whether in the form of attacks on pensions and social welfare or a “bedroom tax.”
The external troika continues to determine all economic and social priorities, working in alliance with the Irish state, Irish capital, and all the establishment political parties. At the EU level the voices of monopoly capital are attempting to sow confusion while appearing to be responding to popular discontent with the effect of “austerity”—appearing to be listening and learning, to empathise with the suffering of the mass of the people, talking about the need to modify their strategy. But this in fact is just a change in language, not a change of strategy.
The Irish government in particular is attempting to turn the labour market into a hiring-fair, with tens of thousands of workers facing a life of precarious employment. The recent Supreme Court decision in relation to registered employment agreements will further erode and undermine workers’ terms and conditions and will result in renewed pressure on already low-paid workers.
The Communist Party of Ireland has pointed out and continues to argue that the policy of “austerity” is working as designed. It is essentially geared towards bringing about a massive transfer of wealth from working people to the super-rich and the monopolies. It is working as designed and is being executed with all the skill that the ruling class can draw upon, in particular using the state as the main vehicle for imposing their strategy, backed up and reinforced by their mass media.
The debt crisis is purely a means to an end, that end being the complete subservience of working people and in particular the subservience of the trade union movement. This is best reflected in the continuous bullying and coercion of workers into accepting some reheated Croke Park II agreement, despite the fact that the majority of public-sector workers have previously rejected it.
In the North the Protestant section of the working class will find no refuge in blind-alley politics in relation to the flying of flags. This will not put food on the table: it is a distraction, a political circus dressed up by a bankrupt leadership—a leadership who fully support the economic and social policies of the London government—who have no answers to the growing crisis of unemployment and deepening poverty. The flags protest is merely for blowing smoke in people’s eyes.
Not alone are the people of the South facing daily cuts in services, pay, and pensions, they are now being treated to a display of sexist and misogynist bilge from establishment politicians and the discredited hierarchy of the Catholic Church regarding the rights of women, in particular regarding a woman wishing to exercise her right to life beyond that of the foetus she is carrying, the right to safe and secure abortion. The time has long passed for a full and unequivocal recognition that women have the right to control their bodies and their fertility.
The CPI again reaffirms that we need to build the people’s resistance, to break the trade union movement away from the cul de sac down which elements of the leadership seem determined to continue dragging workers: of cuts in wages, deterioration of their terms and conditions, and savage cuts in public services.
The CPI reaffirms its call for maximum support for protests against the forthcoming meeting of the leaders of the G8—a club of the rich for the rich—in Co. Fermanagh. In particular it urges support for protests organised by the trade unions and other progressives organisation.
Building the people’s resistance and presenting an alternative direction for all our people, north and south—beginning the difficult but necessary re-conquest of Ireland for and by its people—is the task that the National Executive Committee and all the party have set themselves as we begin to prepare for our 25th National Congress in 2014. Statement ends.
Speaking of the Phoenix, SF and FF May 23, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
I’ve meant to write about a piece in the Phoenix from a few weeks back for a while now. It’s an useful overview of Fianna Fáil’s shifting profile in the last year and what that may imply for future political activity in the state. The Phoenix argues that:
FF has gradually moved to the left as a muffled debate has led to positions on the property tax, taxation and the public service that are more like Old Labour in opposition than the New Workers Party (as M. Martin pointed out at the weekend) in government.
Let’s be clear, this is obviously a cosmetic enough move.
But it notes that they have proposed a 3% USC surcharge on those earning over €100,000, supported PS workers in relation to CP2 and attacked the government over the home repossession bill.
Not only but also:
John McGuinness has been isolated on the FF front bench. The McGuinness hardline on the PS is now out the window…
It’s fair to note he’s had his own problems too in recent times.
The Phoenix suggests that FF and Martin…
…know well that they are in competition with SF for some of the lower paid PS vote and working people generally.
This is an not unimportant point. It is clear that FF lost badly in 2011 in Dublin and other urban centres. So badly that it remains without a TD in Dublin. But the only way to cajole its vote back is to somehow make itself attractive to the urban working class vote that it managed to lose so successfully. And the McGuinness proscriptions, for all their vehemence, were never going to play well with that constituency, however much they were lapped up by the media.
Still the Phoenix makes a most interesting observation:
FF and SF are not polar opposites as Martin’s excoriating rhetoric would indicate. But FF is also chains a vote that the other party cannot reach, namely, that section of the middle class that deserted the party, however temporarily, for FG at the 2011 GE. The merest whiff of a cordite coalition with SF would see these voters fleeing back to the Blueshirts or the LP like frightened sheep.
And FF is in the unenviable position of potentially seeing a significant tranche of its pre-existing vote departed permanently to SF. But it cannot, if it hopes to retain any pretensions to being a ‘national’ party ignore that former vote, and it will seek to entice as much back as it can. So it’s quite a tricky balancing act.
Moreover, the Phoenix argues that the idea of coalition with Fine Gael is in effect a non-starter with party activists unwilling to go down that route. I think that’s very important because it does make the range of possible governments post-2015/16 come into clearer focus. The thinking is that Fianna Fáil would wither on the vine in coalition with the old enemy, and I think there’s something in that. I also think that there’s far too great a tendency to underestimate the unlikelihood of such a move due to sheer pragmatic considerations.
There’s often talk about how FF and FG should merge, but even were one to believe that they were essentially the same in political and ideological terms, something I’m dubious about, even if the outcomes of their policy approaches tend to be relatively indistinguishable from one another, there are good bureaucratic reasons for them not to do so. Two organisations offers the option of two structures, with two leaders and two routes to advancement and so on. Small wonder that the Progressive Democrats developed, offering a third option (and less wonder again that some want another bite at that ‘leadership’ cherry).
All of which is to say that only in extremis, and perhaps not even then, would there be a coalescence. And that implies that it is very very unlikely that while the FF party has a heartbeat, so to speak, that it will enter into a unity government with FG. Indeed the very most that might occur would be a sort of reverse ‘Tallaght strategy’. And as demonstrated by FF in recent times they’re not above getting the digs into FG and the government even now in our supposed time of crisis.
Still, the Phoenix makes the point that for FF SF remains the ‘most logical coalition party’ even above and beyond a coalition with a rump LP and a ‘rag-bag of Independents’. Whether that day comes to pass remains to be seen.
…[the US government] cut a deal with multinationals to encourage them to bring back, or repatriate, the billions of dollars kept offshore to avoid tax.
Cook said he had no plan to bring back the $102bn built up by Apple at current tax rates, and recently opted to return money to shareholders by borrowing money instead. “I have no current plan to do so at the current tax rates.
“Unlike some technology companies, I am not proposing a zero rate,” he said. “My proposal is that we have a reasonable tax for bringing back money from overseas.
Cook said the tax rate for repatriated money should be set “in single digits” to persuade companies to bring it back. Standard tax for US profits should be, he said, in the “mid 20s”.
But wait, what’s this?
He also revealed that Apple had struck a secret deal with the Irish government in 1980 to limit its domestic taxes there to 2%.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore denied that Ireland had negotiated corporate tax arrangements with individual companies, despite the claims Apple had “quietly negotiated” an income tax rate of less than 2 per cent with the Government.
Speaking in Brussels yesterday where he chaired a meeting of the General Affairs Council, he declined to comment on the tax affairs of individual companies, but insisted Ireland did not negotiate special tax rates.
RosencrantzisDead noted here the point – on foot of Kenny’s voice being added to this chorus of denial, that it might not be a ‘special tax rate’ but more likely an issue of what was taxable income or whatever.
In terms of institutional reputation that small piece of information, whether accurate or not, is deeply problematic to the state. For it opens up the question of who else might, or might not, have benefited from such largesse were it available at all. If it is correct the recriminations from those who didn’t will be mighty, if it isn’t it won’t matter because all the assurances in the world won’t mollify suspicions. And of course it’s another
What’s telling in a way is how blunt Apple is about its position and its requirements – even if those are unlikely to be met. And yet it will add to the background noise in a context where, as noted by the Guardian, it exemplifies ‘how threats from multinational corporations are driving down taxes across the world’.
In some ways it is refreshing. There’s no pretence here of a social or economic good. Apple is all about producing products and making money and that’s that.
And yet I wonder too. When people articulate something along the lines Cook did it actually suggests that those being addressed – the US government in this instance – retains power. Nick Cohen once said, and apologies for dragging this out yet again, but it is appropriate:
…however novel the ability of companies to shift money and jobs around the world, and however restrictive the limits on the autonomy of national governments have become, corporations remain weak. When all is said and done, they are hierarchical associations for the production of profit. They can’t raise armies or levy taxes or enact legislation. Governments can do all three and turn nasty if they have the inclination…
Which is why the response should be a concerted effort by the US and other states to push it and its compatriots back. Because if nothing else this should sharpen minds in states across the world as to how to put some check on the power of the corporations.
Now the good news is, of course, that this is not going to be the status quo forever. Apple will fail and will fall, others will take its place – though not, I suspect, socially oriented operations for quite some time to come. But states have to take much of the blame for allowing a situation to develop where corporations can all but dictate policy to them. In the US in this open way, and – if one is to believe Apple – in this state in a covert and fundamentally anti-democratic fashion.
The Phoenix 30 Year edition May 22, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
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This is well worth a read. I like the format, looking back across the 30 years of the Phoenix and engaging with those years in various different ways. Highly entertaining are a number of individual pen portraits of figures like Haughey, Harney, FitzGerald (a man, who as the Phoenix says, was far from the image portrayed of him), Dessie O’Malley and so on.
What’s most striking is how the Phoenix serves as a sort of mirror to the society. Sure, it has its quiet moments but reading this there’s no question that more often than some might expect it has been spot on. There’s a great anecdote about how Goldhawk met Haughey who proceeded to berate the former about ‘the shite you print about me’ only to get the response ‘you should get down on your knees and give thanks for the stuff we don’t print’. I paraphrase, but only slightly. But that encapsulates the point that the critique of Haughey was almost overwhelmingly political from the Phoenix with little or none (bar the very occasional pointed barb) of the gossipy stuff that dominated other media.
It’s also worth considering that while its ideology has been at times only gently dissident from various orthodoxies it has been dissident, and that is not necessarily a problem given its purpose, in its business coverage it has been often far far more accurate than the most of the rest of a remarkably credulous and compliant newspapers and outlets. It is no surprise to see that a month before Anglo-Irish went to the wall it was the first and only publication to point out that the bank was technically bankrupt – but tellingly even at that stage Anglo sent solicitors around to try to prevent the piece being published.
If there’s a sense that the stakes are less high than they used to be, well there’s some truth in that. The functional end of the conflict in the North certainly softened things, and a degree of homogeneity in Irish politics (in the main) didn’t help.
Perhaps tellingly there’s been a bit more bite on inter-Coalition issues in recent times.
No2CrokePark2 – More May 21, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Progressive Film Club May 21, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, The Left, Uncategorized.
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Only a few days left but seats still available. The club needs this fundraiser to be a success, so that we can keep the wolf (pack) from our door. If you want to reserve tickets (€10 each) Please contact us at this email address or the club one at the end of the message.
As part of this fundraising drive we have a limited edition Bobby Ballagh print for sale at €400. The print, which is framed, is one of a hundred print lot and depicts James Larkin. It can be viewed in Connolly Books, 43 East Essex St, D.2.
Venue: The New Theatre , 43 East Essex Street, Dublin 2
Date: Sat 25th May 2013
2pm – Irish Premiere
Dear Mr Ken Loach (30 mins) a film by Nicola di Lecce and Rossella Lamina.
This film charts a meeting between Ken Loach and laid-off workers at the Turin Film Festival. In 2012 Ken Loach refused a Turin Film Festival career award, in solidarity with these workers, who stated that they had been exploited for years by a subcontractor involved with the festival. In December of that year he met those workers in a public meeting, which resulted in a wonderful display of mutual sharing and empowerment for many Italian workers.
We thank the directors for making this film available to us.
3.00pm Car Trouble (6 mins) by Richard Kearney and Philip Lewis
In the first short film submission following our invitation to Irish directors, we are delighted to screen “Car Trouble”. The film is a very atmospheric and finely crafted work but to say more, might give away the plot.
3.10pm The Angels’ Share (2012) directed by Ken Loach
Screenplay by Paul Laverty
We have been fortunate to acquire the rights for a single screening of The Angels’ Share by veteran British director Ken Loach. For those of you who missed this hilarious comedy on it’s short stay here, this is not a chance to be spurned. As you are aware, we do not normally charge admission fees but in this case we are going to ask for a donation of €10. We need to raise funds for the future development of the film club, particularly as we have planned a Social Justice Film Festival for November this year. Submissions for this festival have been received from film makers in Ireland and from all around the world.
Tickets are now available. We are restricted to 65 seats and ticket sales have been steady. So, if you intend to go, please email us asap and we can reserve tickets for you.
You go to our website (see link below),book and pay by using the PayPal “Donate” button. In the instructions to seller type in “The Angels’ Share”. We will then email you a confirmation.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the screenwriter Paul Laverty, Deirdre Johnston at GFD Film Library, Eimhear McMahon at Sixteen Films and Frameit Productions.
New LookLeft out now! May 21, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
Ireland’s leading magazine for progressive news, views and solutions – available in Easons stores and selected newsagents across the country – 48 pages for just €2/£1.50
In the new issue of LookLeft:
Rising tide against austerity: Working people and the Fine Gael/Labour Government are on a collision course over the property tax and attempts to cut public sector pay, reports Kevin Brannigan
The G8 comes to town: Kevin Squires looks at the impact the 39th G8 summit will have.
Learning Division: Fifteen years ago progressives recognised the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) as a positive development. However, fears that its structures would allow for communal politics to be institutionalised have been realised particularly in the provision of education, writes Justin O’Hagan.
Mobilising a generation: Young Irish people facing sharply limited opportunities at home or emigration are beginning to mobilise, reports Dara McHugh.
Precious few heroes: With his politically charged songs Dick Gaughan has inspired generations of Left activists, Kevin Brannigan caught up with the veteran Scottish folk singer during his spring tour of Ireland
No turning back from here: The Venezuelan revolution has dramatically changed not only the politics of Latin America also but the globe, reports Paul Dillon.
The tyranny of the credit rating agencies: Democratic accountability is being eroded by credit rating capitalism, writes Srinivas Raghavendra
Of live dogs and dead lions: Following the death of Hugo Chávez, Richard McAleavey assesses the Irish media’s representation of the former Venezuelan President.
Calling the bigots bluff: Do anti-choicers want follow through the with the logic of their argument and imprison women, asks Katie Garrett.
Petition to end Ministers grotesque pensions
Jim Connell weekend
UNITE wins Waterford Glass pensions battle
94% of young people do not want to emigrate
Why shop in a Fair Shop
Objection to Meath mining licence
Fight against privatisation in Sussex University
Bradley Manning on trial
Spanish Civil war volunteers remembered in Inchicore
Workers Beer Company seeks Irish recruits
Glass ceilings and Trade Unions: Union organiser Eira Gallagher discusses the obstacles still faced by women workers.
The Laundries are closed but the system remains: Lone parents have remained a favourite scapegoat for the self-satisfied Irish Right since the foundation of the Free State, reports Laura Caffrey.
Foxes and Hen houses: Conor McCabe maintains his steely gaze on the world of ‘high finance’
Reform from inside: Eric Olwin Wright outlines his vision of creating space for socialist advances within the capitalist economy.
Requiem for a Tory: Brian Hanley’s reflections on Margret Thatcher
Debate: Immigration – concern or opportunity? Stephen Nolan/Gavan Titley
Jemmy Hope on religion, Bill Cullen, Jim Dowson and Alex Ferguson
Tradition and Culture
Great minds think alike: The lives of William Thompson and Anna Doyle Wheeler recounted by Lily Murphy
Our rabble: James Redmond, Head of production of Dublin underground newspaper Rabble, told LookLeft why he believes building an alternative media is important and ponders how it can be done.
Anderson’s song: Barry Healy talks to Rag man Daniel Anderson
The downtrodden and the risen: Kevin Squires looks at some recent graphic novels portraying contemporary and historical peoples’ struggles
Review: Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism by Dave Hann
Gonna shoot you down: Sam McGrath looks at the politics behind Madchester band The Stone Roses
What foot does he kick with?: Kevin Brannigan examines the role players from the Republic had in the modern history of one of Loyalism’s footballing bastions.
CAHWT protest in Dublin Central May 20, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Well, here’s a sight you don’t see every day!
To download the above please click on the following links: An Phoblacht No.1 Sept. 1965
Many thanks to Jim Lane for providing the Archive with these documents.
These documents, An Phoblacht, Issues 1 and 2, were published by the Irish Revolutionary Forces, a Cork based republican socialist group composed in the main of former members of the IRA, in September and November of 1965 [for more information see here]. The IRF would become Saor Éire in 1968 (a copy of their publication, People’s Voice is in the Archive here).
These are detailed publications with a broad range of topics addressed of concern to those writing in them. It’s tone is questioning and in obvious opposition to the then Sinn Féin leadership which they considered was essentially deeply conservative and effectively dictatorial in its political line. Indeed they were explicit that their critique about the ‘Socialist Republic’ being foisted upon the Republican Movement in the late 1960s was a sign of its centralisation and political and military weakness.
For example in Issue 1 there is a piece on Progressives Versus Traditionalists: Where does Republicanism Stand? which in its introductory paragraph notes;
Many within that ever narrowing circle of “Sinn Féin Reliables” were noticeably shocked earlier this year when the UNITED IRISHMAN questioned the sanity of Abstentionism in its editorial columns. Frankly, we were more than a little startled ourselves, because this was the first occasion since beginning publication that the U.I. has even hinted at the fallibility of the party line.
It also criticises the IRA from the left as in the following piece:
Most of us are no longer surprised by anything the republican Movement does. however, the IRA statement on the ‘Midleton Anti-Landlord War’ sent a good few of us hardy sceptics rocking. it is not that we object to the ‘Army’ entering into politics. No indeed. We have always held that revolutionary politics and military action are indivisible. But, what sort of politics is this with its: ‘We demand that the de facto government’ do this, and ‘We demand that the de facto government’ do that?
It’s a queer sort of revolution. And to say the least, the whole statement smacks of social democrat influence. We can’t say that the IRA is improving itself by changing from a bourgeois democrat to a social democrat ticket. There’s little difference between them to any revolutionary.
The documents provide amongst the longer articles relevant quotations from a range of figures including ‘Priests on Politics’ and there are articles on Viet Nam: America’s Dirty War, Physical Force: It’s Role in the Irish Revolution and news items from around the world focusing on ‘guerrilla, as well as other forms of revolutionary political action’.
Issue 2 has a number of interesting pieces including one entitled ‘Nationalism is Not Enough’, an analysis of a speech by Cathal Goulding in Drogheda and a long article on the attack by Republicans on HMS Brave Borderer ‘as it departed Waterford’. In the piece which notes that ‘unfortunately no casualties were inflicted’ the anonymous contributor notes that ‘it is a great pity that such men [‘as those who had the courage to take up positions on the banks of Waterford Harbour’] don’t come together with likeminded parties throughout the country, and form a revolutionary party more compatible to their general sentiments. Because they can’t be sure they are never going to receive much co-operation from the crowd they are now tied to’.
One particularly interesting point is that made by Aodh MacElroy where he notes:
…it is not sufficient to make annual pilgrimage to the graves of the martyrs, to do homage and commemorate the hoe roes of yesteryear. Better by far to neglect the pilgrim journey and spend the time mastering the philosophy which motivated the actions of those whose memory we justly revere. Far too many lay their tributes at the shrine and leave as they came, empathy of understanding of what deep motives impelled these men to give their lives for a cause they counted higher than life itself. There is no respect for the dead in remembering the manner of their death, while the cause for which they died lies buried in obscurity and forgotten by those who should keep it alive. James Hope, Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, Henry Joy McCracken and James Connolly fought to free Ireland not only from the rule of an alien power but to free her also from the rule of an alien class – and it is that alien class that now rules Ireland.
The working people of Ireland must grasp the fact that the national bourgeoisie have won THEIR REVOLUTION, and are no longer a revolutionary, but a reactionary force. This ruling group are now interested only in maintaing their own privileged position and state power over the Irish people, and everything they do will be with that objective in mind.
It is important to contextualise this with other material issued by this group and others associated with it during this period and after. Jim Lane has noted elsewhere that the ‘kernel of the message that [we] sought to pass on to Republicans’ was that the struggle had encompassed bourgeoise democracy in Tone’s time and revolutionary socialism in Connolly’s time.
To give a sense of the general direction of the documents it is perhaps most useful to provide some quotations from the Editorial on the front page of Issue 1 the aims of An Phoblacht are outlined:
The object of this paper are simple: to restate, in terms of existing conditions, the political philosophy that has motivated doctrinaire Irish Republicans from the beginning; to combat all forms of revisionism parading under the banner of Irish Republicanism; and to expose and combat all other pseudo-revolutionary propaganda, especially that aimed at exploiting the deep-rooted grievances of the nation’s working class, by diverting their energies from their true interest — the realisation of the revolution — and attempting to commit them to the attainment of crypto-bourgeois objects.
We are revolutionaries who accept the principles of Irish Republicanism as understood by Wolfe Tone and all subsequent Irish revolutionary theorists. Consequently, our aims are the reconstruction of the nation along the lines compatible to the welfare, security and advancement of the common people of Ireland — that great bulwark of integrity who, throughout the centuries of national adversity, have constituted the heart, the body and the soul of Ireland.
It is scathing of ‘Saturday-night revolutionaries’ and ‘Grattan nationalists masquerading in the garb of Wolfe Tone’ or ‘those spurious individuals who hide their parliamentary leanings behind a revolutionary vocabulary’.
It suggests that:
[The Irish people] are shrewd enough to see that the self-styled nationalists who operate in Leinster House, and the republicans who exhort them to elect Sinn Féin to a 32 county Parliament, differ more in terminology than in essentials. Consequently, although the political hair-splitters of the presently functioning Republican Movement have, apparently, mesmerised themselves with their own sophistry they have fooled very few others.
It asserts that:
If we are to regain our position in the vanguard of Irish radicalism; if we are to again secure a mass support behind the banner of Irish Republicanism; then we must first return to that social, political and economic programme that is both implicit and explicit in our revolutionary tradition.
To regain the backing of our people we must return to that path first blazed by Wolfe Tone, and which was so explicitly defined by his contemporary, Jimmy Hope, who said: ‘It was my settled opinion that the condition of the labouring class was the fundamental question at issue – and there could be no liberty till measures were adopted that went to the root of the evil’.
These documents provide a clear insight into a very specific strand of Republicanism during a period of evident change.