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Left Archive: An Phoblacht, Numbers 7 and 8, Irish Revolutionary Forces, September and November-December 1966 July 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Revolutionary Forces [1960s].
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AP7 1966

To go to the Irish Left Archive please click here.

To download No. 7 please click here: An Phoblacht No.7 Sept.1966

To download No. 8 please click here: An Phoblacht No.8 Nov/Dec !966 An Phoblacht No.8 Nov-Dec. 1966

Many thanks to Jim Lane for donating two more issues of An Phoblacht – The Republic from Irish Revolutionary Forces. It is intended to have a complete set of this important document in the Archive. It is also important to note how useful this document is in tracing – from a critical perspective, changing attitudes within Republicanism and Sinn Féin and the IRA of the period.

As always it is probably most useful to quote briefly from both editions.

The Editorial in number 7, from September argues that:

It is paradoxical that Ireland should stand without the services of a virile revolutionary movement at that time when her traditional enemy is dropping on its knees. For years Republicans have beaten their heads against barriers of steel in attempts to break loose from the despoiling grip of British imperialism. Now when that barrier is rent with decay, we stand like gaping fools, devoid apparently, of the energy or the common sense to break forth and smash the rust-eaten shackles of thraldom from our wrists.

…Irish Republicans huddle to debate this or that aspect of the colonial system in Ireland, and how best to alleviate its more adverse effects. This is no time to confuse cause and effect. This is not the time to waste energy trying to REFORM or patch up the system that has been the bane of our people. REFORM BE DAMNED! What Ireland needs is Revolution.

And it continues:

In the past the labourer, the mechanic, the farmer or his sons, the intellectual, the dockworker, the shop assistant, the engineer, all went forth to fight the cause of the middle class under the banner of so-called classless nationalism. ‘Let us not disrupt the unity of the national effort by talking about class interest or class conflict,’ was the great cry of the Irish bourgeoisie. Yes, and you can still hear their lackeys in the Republican Movement rant the same garbage. Well, we are all for UNITY. But this time let it be a unity of all the workers.

Other articles include ‘An Answer to Critics’ by Eoin MacDonaill which rebuffs assertions that An Phoblacht is ‘trying to destroy the IRA’. There’s a piece on Irish Politics and the British Crisis and a glowing review of the Bodenstown Oration given by Seamus Costello that year. There’s also a scathing analysis of the Irish Democrat (of the Connolly Association, which AP suggests is a ‘pseudo-Irish section of the British Communist Party’.

Issue Number 8 from November-December 1966, has a range of articles that include reasonably warm words about Cathal Goulding’s speech at the Sean Treacy Commemoration – however the assertion by Tony Meade that ‘there is however a new element in the willingness to use force; namely that this force will be defensive’ is strongly criticised. In tandem with this is a piece by Paddy Mac arguing that Irish Republicanism Needs Its Armed Men. There’s some fascinating content to this, for example the following which in the context of proposals for the formation of IRA ‘special groups’ and the idea of a ‘dual government’ which would ‘eventually [come] into head-on conflict [with the state]:

For my part, I view any proposal to limit or restrict the future size of the IRA, as a positive step to place that organisation in a completely subordinate position to political horse-traders at best; at worst, I think it is a step to do away with the Army altogether. An IRA composed of a few ‘specialist’ groups is an IRA easily dictated to, and readily shoved around. Regardless of whether or not the majority of the IRA men agree with our political position, the maintenance of, and a primary reliance on, a Republican Army is, to us, fundamental to the success of a liberation struggle which must be fought in the future.

There’s another piece on ‘the yahoos and political con-men, who are making so bold a bid to drag organised Republicanism into the social-democratic orbit’. Finally an article examines the concept of ‘Freedom’

A quote from the editorial will suffice:

To graft revolutionary political labour to the traditional revolutionary militarism of our people, as the woodwork combined with the mechanism and the barrel to make the effective rifle, that is our aim.

Thanks to Jim for the following table of Contents of the two documents.

No.7 An Phoblacht September 1966

Editorial p. 2

An Answer to Critics p. 4

Irish politics and the British Crisis p. 6

Bodenstown Oration p. 10

The Neo-Parnellites – “Irish Democrat” Flies True
Colours p. 11

No.8 An Phoblacht Nov. / Dec. 1966

Editorial p. 2

A good Speech! But: – p. 4

Irish Republicanism Needs its Armed Men p. 5

The Yahoos and An Phoblacht p. 7

Freedom! What Does it Mean? p. 8

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week July 20, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
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The Magaluf scare story continues, and intensifies. Suffice to say it knows its audience. In the same paper, however, Eilis O’Hanlon says this about the accusations of a cover-up of paedophilia in the British establishment.

Moral panics don’t just destroy reputations. They destroy lives and families too.

She might want to tell her editor that.

But wait, who might it be on said this on Magaluf in the very same edition of the paper about reporting on Magaluf?

Either way, the scenes described by Irish Times reporter Sorcha Pollock on Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy Show the same day would surely have made many parents’ hair stand on end.

There is, she said, “something really disturbing and upsetting” about seeing young girls falling around the street at 3am in a state of undress. “These young people need to remember that safety is an issue, that there is a line they should not cross and they just have to be careful about that.”

Amid much noisy hype elsewhere, her words were refreshingly pragmatic.

Away from that, the group business editor Thomas Molloy wins hands down for his lobbying for water charges.

So what would an honest debate look like? It would probably begin with politicians on all sides of the spectrum admitting that valuable resources should in fact be rationed (step forward People Before Profit). Perhaps the most basic principle of economics – one that is hardly contested anywhere – is that anything scarce and in demand commands a price.

Of course, rationing is not the same as charging. Far from it in fact. So all in all, it’s been the Sindo of cognitive dissonance, even more so than normal.

The far right’s new interest in social welfare… July 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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reading the Guardian magazine yesterday there was a piece on fascism and fascists in Italy and in particular the skinhead subculture that is avowedly fascist (and it hardly needs to be said that skinheads are not a uniform whole and take different political positions across the spectrum). But this, this was important because it reflects a trend we’ve seen in Greece:

Fulvio explains: “I like the Social Republic period [also known as the Republic of Salò]; I like the name as well. I’m not nostalgic about civil war – I hate people who are obsessed with all that. Fascism is a source of inspiration: just like Roman culture inspired fascism, fascism inspires us today. But we know we could never go back to what it was, we have to adapt it to present times.”

And:

The current battlefield is social welfare.

It’s funny, as I read that I wondered what it meant… did they have some animosity towards those on welfare, but no, not a bit of it:

The various far-right groups gather in suburban streets abandoned by political parties; they hand out clothes to the unemployed and distribute food to the elderly and books to students. They occupy uninhabited buildings to house the homeless in the same way that the far left used to do. The SPQR skinheads have taken over an abandoned school with another group, CasaPound. “It’s a five-storey building and now we’ve got 15 or 16 families living there, who haven’t got money for rent. There was no water or power: we sorted it out.

Casapound is another expression of this, for more on which see here. But, Golden Dawn is reknowned for similar activities in Greece – and let’s not be naive – a lot of this, much of it, perhaps most, is about extending and expressing social control. But here’s the thing, however marginal and inept or successful (and GD seem to belong to the latter category, at least in terms of influence) they are engaging.

Of course one can see limitations on their ability to engage, after all, the next will repel as many as (or more than) it attracts.

The strong bonds between members are the key attraction for potential recruits, who are overwhelmingly young, white, working-class men who feel alienated from western, capitalist, multicultural society. There is an all-consuming macho cult, in which physical fitness and prowess are highly valued.

But it seems to me to be a serious and troubling development.

Shocked… shocked I tell you! July 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
4 comments

At the news here from the Examiner…

Former justice minister Michael McDowell privately appealed for “household name” IRA suspects to be granted royal pardons.

The arch-critic of Sinn Féin and the Provos – who once compared the republican movement to Nazis – was attorney general at the time.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded it.

SF ‘bullying’ Irish political parties? Really? July 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
7 comments

Stephen Collins excels himself in today’s Irish Times when he writes the following:

The Dáil adjourned for the summer recess with a publicity stunt from Sinn Féin which served as a reminder to all the other parties of just what a ruthless opponent they face.

For that implacable…

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald [attempted] to misrepresent the position adopted by Tánaiste Joan Burton on the appalling situation in Gaza. McDonald unfairly suggested that Burton was more concerned about advising Irish citizens to leave Gaza than with the death and destruction being inflicted on innocent women and children.

And…

It was followed by an intervention out of the blue from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who called on all members of the Dáil to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and the Middle East.

Now, one might think that were there any great resistance to such a call, let alone an ideological antipathy to same some out of 166 or so TDs, all elected by the citizens of this state and seasoned politicians to a woman and man, would have the gumption to resile.

But no, not a bit of it…

Fianna Fáil and the Independent TDs jumped to their feet immediately and were sheepishly followed by Government Deputies. At this stage a number of the Sinn Féin TDs held up photocopies of the Palestinian flag.

If the underlying issue wasn’t so serious then it would be almost funny. But it’s not, because fundamentally what happened in the Dáil wasn’t an issue or a problem. Was it?

But apparently this was lèse-majesté. Or worse.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett was justifiably furious at having his function usurped. He told Adams that if he ever had a similar proposal in future he should do the chair the courtesy of giving advance notice.

“I do not want to be put in that position ever again,” said Barrett.

Again, is this a particular problem? Again, were there any particular objections there was every opportunity to push back. Were there any particular objections? Collins does not mention if there were… bar ‘some TDs silently fumed at the irony of a party which supported a campaign of terror and murder against the civilian population of its own country attempting to make political capital from the suffering being inflicted on the people of Gaza’ which seems to miss the point about the issue of solidarity with those in Gaza today as distinct from a futile (at this point on this day in relation to this issue) focusing on the past.

Anyhow, there’s more…

An exchange at a private meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the final day of the session also exposed another layer of cynical political posturing but this time across party lines.

At the meeting the legal adviser to the Dáil and Seanad, Melissa English, accused some members of the committee of undermining her independence.

The TDs she mentioned were Mary Lou McDonald, Shane Ross and committee chair John McGuinness, all of whom have engaged in populist outrage over the past couple of years, usually at the expense of witnesses at PAC hearings.

In the process they have generated great publicity for themselves but at the cost of bringing the fairness of the Oireachtas committee system into disrepute.

Get out of here! A squall on a committee – perhaps tellingly no reference by Stephen to what happened when a vote as regards the banking inquiry committee composition was overturned by…erm… FG and LP and what that might imply as regards ‘bringing the fairness of the Oireachtas committee system into disrepute. And a request that people stand for a moments silence as regards Gaza?

This is the ‘ruthless opponent’?

There are those throughout recorded history who had to push back against reaction in its worst possible forms who – given the chance today – would laugh hollowly at the idea this was ‘ruthlessness’. And they’d be right to do so.

Sound trackin’ July 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
3 comments

This piece on Slate noted that composer Michael Giacchino of John Carter fame (well, probably not ‘fame’ exactly – given how many seemed to hate that movie, though I liked it quite a lot), Lost, the TV series, fame (yep, that would probably be fame) and Planet of the Apes amongst many others has a tendency to name his tracks in a curious way… like here… and here… and here…

The ruins of previous social media July 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
5 comments

Good Alright piece here on the Guardian on ‘blogging’ of which more some time soon… but I particularly like the link to the following:

http://www.theonion.com/video/internet-archaeologists-find-ruins-of-friendster-c,14389/

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Cocteau Twins, EPs from 1985 July 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
3 comments

Ah, the Cocteau’s. What a group, and how typical of the 1980s, able to construct their own defined musical and aesthetic universe, seemingly detached from all that had come before or would come after (though, that last is perhaps arguable). They seem to me to fit into a line of groups, the Jesus and Mary Chain are another, and perhaps Echo and the Bunnymen on a good day a third, who simple were, as if they came into being perfectly formed at that one point in time. Treasure was… well… a treasure. Overplayed, surely. What album purchased before the advent of CDs, and in particular digital download, wasn’t? There was less music, or at least less obtainable music, and truth is less money and you made do with what you got, be it Easterhouse EPs or BFG singles and if they weren’t much cop, well, you probably weren’t going to admit that quite as readily then as now. Indeed there’s academic papers to be written about genre loyalty, and how it existed in such a curiously defined way back then and… like… where the hell did that go?

I never heeded it that much, and nor did any whose musical tastes and opinions I knew then and respected, or now, come to think of it. Music is music and the good stuff is everywhere and the bad stuff is everywhere too.

But there’s no question that – say 1984 or 1985, the predominance of certain forms of what we now, unfortunately, call indie but then was post-punk, was remarkable. And there was album after album just simply great music appearing in a way that wasn’t matched – for my money, until the early to mid-1990s and the rise of electronica, IDM, and perhaps tangentially drum’n’bass (though hip hop was an early precursor of this overall trend).

Which is where the Cocteau’s came in. This seamless sound, opaque vocals, chiming guitars, echoes and more echoes and all of it carried off with a sort of confidence that undercut any questions of pretension. They released three EPs in 1985, each encapsulating their approach. And what I find interesting is that I like the group a lot better now than I did then. Sure, I liked them, I got that Treasure was great and did indeed overplay it, but they were always just a bit too much, whereas now at this remove they sound genuinely remarkable – perhaps recontextualised by all those who they influenced and in turn influenced others again. That said I never stopped liking the EPs perhaps because the shorter format suited them better.

Liz Fraser’s voice was indeed beautiful, but it was a beauty rooted in the anger of punk itself and is sometimes difficult to listen to, both complementary and grating – which is as it should be. Listen to the yelps and barks she emits on Quisquose from Aikea-Guinea, or on Melonella from the Echoes in A Shallow Bay EP. And then listen to Pale Clouded White with guitars that stretch behind the choral sounds and simple vocal melodies. That too, that sense of dissonance fading into melody also came from punk. This might be goth, at a stretch, but it was goth opened up, widening to the horizon, not limited by sub-Joy Division retreads. That last may be slightly unfair, but it’s not, I’d guess entirely inaccurate.

Aikea-Guinea, the title track from the EP of the same name works perfectly. Kookaburra, if overly mannered vocally, even for a group where overly mannered vocals were all, surges on. Rococo, a neat and powerful instrumental harks back to Garlands and their own Joy Division influenced phase. The Tiny Dynamine EP contains Pink Orange Red, Cocteau Twins by numbers – that reverbed strummed beginning, and then almost shouted chorus, with a lovely guitar melody underpinning it – until one remembers that this was from … There was no by the numbers for it to be compared to. Ribbed and Veined is… chunky… high pitched guitar notes cascading downwards against an almost cinematic percussion, as if it were the soundtrack to a film. Plain Tiger has a typically convoluted vocal line, that folds in on itself and then opens out again.

And I throw in Millimillenary just ‘cos it may well be my favourite of all their songs. It was released on The Pink Opaque compilation in 1985 but had been written a number of years earlier when Simon Raymonde arrived in the group.

Special word, as with Lush some years later, has to be mentioned as regards the physicality of their EP and albums, the designed materials accompanying and framing them. Vaughan Oliver’s genuinely luscious visual and typographic solutions.

Actually all that in mind in a way, I’d argue that they went on too long. There was a sense that by the late 1980s the project was flagging, the albums becoming if not predictable somehow less transcendent. And it’s impossible to apportion blame. That just happens. Fraser has essentially retired from music, Guthrie continues, but none of his solo albums have reached the heights of these compositions (though, in all fairness, I should namecheck a fantastic album he did with Harold Budd entitled Before the Day Breaks from 2007).

Aikea-Guinea (Aikea-Guinea)

Kookaburra (Aikea-Guinea)

Pink Orange Red (Tiny Dynamine)

Plain Tiger (Tiny Dynamine)

Melonella (Echoes in A Shallow Bay) – by the way check out the lyrics.

Pale Clouded White (Echoes in A Shallow Bay)

Millimillenary

Solidarity with Gaza and Palestine – Sligo, 3 PM Saturday July 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The definition of insanity… July 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…is doing the same thing again and again and hoping for a different outcome this time. And that’s what the Israeli government appears set upon.

Fred Kaplan on Slate makes the following point which I think is central to the rhetoric and substance of this conflict and the way in which criticism of the Israeli government is magically elided into charges of anti-Semitism:

In February, Secretary of State John Kerry publicly stated that a failure to negotiate with the Palestinians would “intensify” the international boycott of Israeli goods. Israeli officials and Jewish-American spokesmen accused Kerry of “anti-Semitism,” a preposterous charge. Kerry wasn’t endorsing the boycott; he was only making a factual statement, and he was right.

This is one of the most pernicious aspects of this, that criticism and critique is misrepresented time and again. And it’s not just the rhetorical aspect that is so problematic but that this then has very real political and actual consequences, in a further elision between the policies of the Israeli government then becoming synonymous (In the minds of that government) with Israel, Israelis in general and Jews.

In other words, not supporting those policies is in and of itself evidence of anti-semitism.

It’s a crock, it’s wrong and it’s utterly counterproductive. It’s appalling to see Palestine and Palestinians subject to collective punishment and what Baruch Kimmerling correctly termed ‘politicide’. It’s despairing to see Israel losing vital goodwill from actions that are utterly wrong, disproportionate and counterproductive.

And this is having very very real political effects as well. The Israeli government is currently more isolated than ever before, the United States has – albeit glacially – shifted its position to one of much greater (rhetorical) criticism. That may seem of little or no importance today but further down the line…

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