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Left Timeline: Fasten Your Anorak, We’re Going to Need a Bigger Graph September 29, 2014

Posted by AonRud in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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As posted here previously, there’s a timeline of Irish Left organisations taking shape on the Irish Left Archive site. Thanks to everyone who commented with additions and corrections, and in particular to John Goodwillie, on whose work in Gralton the initial timeline was based, and who also provided a number of corrections.

Since it was posted there have been a couple of dozen additions, and numerous corrections, so the feedback has been very helpful. It should already be a lot more accurate and comprehensive than where it started.

It’s also getting inevitably larger, so I’ve added a search feature that should make it easier to find an organisation from among the mass of links, and also to spot any that are missing. There remain some groups which have been hard to pin down, including some already represented in the archive, which hopefully some readers will be able to assist with, and no doubt others that I haven’t come across.

You’ll notice there are different markers for the end of organisations where I’ve had to estimate the year. Short of an official dissolution, end dates can be hard to set for organisations, and often they may limp on long after any real activity, but if anyone has a more accurate guess for these, do let us know in the comments.

As with the archive itself, the intention is for the timeline to be quite broadly inclusive. So, short of including lots of single issue campaigns, which I expect would make it unmanageable, any suggestions are very welcome.

View the Timeline of the Irish Left here.

Let’s hope the good Lord he’s right… September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Labour Party, British Politics.
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I’m not much of a fan of the BLP, though there are good people in it, and many years ago I was a member of it for a couple of years. But when it comes to the Tories I’m happy to read the following:

Labour is heading for a “comfortable majority” at the UK general election as the Conservatives have lost a third of their support and are only attracting a small number of new voters, polling by former Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft has suggested.

DCTU Pre-Budget Rally – 10.10.2014 September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Dublin Council of Trade Unions Flyer 10-10-2014

“Against the Grain: The British Far Left from 1956″ Book Competition September 29, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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The wonderful Hatful of History Blog is running a Competition for a copy of “Against the Grain: The British Far Left from 1956″ which may be of interest.

The questions and competition details are here

Left Archive: An Phoblacht, Numbers 11 and 12, Irish Revolutionary Forces, May-June 1967 and August 1967. September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Revolutionary Forces [1960s].
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AP12CVER

To download Issue 11 please click here:
An Phoblacht No.11 May-Jun. 1967

To download Issue 12 please click here:
An Phoblacht No.12 Aug. 1967

To go direct to the Left Archive please click on this link.

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 during the late 1960s. That it was positioned critically in relation to Sinn Féin and the IRA is of particular importance offering a distinctively different view into the changes in those organisations.

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

Issue 11 has a reproduction of the text by John O’Leary of a piece on Self-Sacrifice, first published in the Irish People on December 19th, 1863.

The Editorial in number 11, is focussed on the idea that ‘Organized Republicanism has always asserted with justification that it has never succumbed to external influences when it came to the management of its own affairs’. It continues:

This is as it should be, and as it must be if Irish Republicanism is to retain that independence elf action essential to is success as a revolutionary movement. When organised Republicanism becomes the lackey of any external influence, it ceases right there and then to be IRISH, and it cannot justifiably claim the capability to serve the Irish People. No movement can serve two masters; it is as simple as that.

It notes:

Over the past few years, we have continually laboured to bring home to all Irish Republicans the hard fact that a foreign directed clique has worked its way into leadership circles, for the express purposes of directing the efforts of the Republican Movement along lines advantageous to the interests of a foreign power.

It continues:

The subversives are, as we have repeated pointed out, drawn primarily from the ranks of the British Communist Party and its Irish sections, which are in turn directed from Moscow.

It suggests that ‘these foreign agents initially entered the movement through the influence of an IRA Headquarters officer’ and argues that while they thought initially he was sincere they now believe they have proof he was ‘recruited into that network which covers Britain and Ireland, and which is managed by the British Communist Party’. It also mentions ‘four-eyes’ Johnson of whom it argues it was no accident that ‘he should so easily enter the leadership circles of the Republican Movement’. And it continues that ‘Johnson, Coughlan and the rest of their clan were on the other side in ’56, but at least they were, for them, being reasonably honest then’.

It argues that in contrast to the ‘self-styled Progressives’ in the Republican Movement ‘we are most assuredly committed to ‘trouble-making’ for all enemies of our traditional Republican aspirations and for all parasites and milk-and-water patriots who embrace Republicanism for the sole purpose of draining it of its fighting blood’.

And it concludes by saying… ‘Unfettered freedom never came to a people gift-wrapped in a ballot box. It is only for those strong enough to take it, and determined enough to hold on to it. Our claim to Freedom and national sovereignty rests squarely on our ability to pursue them by the only means they ever have been won; BY ARMs’.

Other articles in this edition include one taken from the Irish People of October 1, 1864 entitled Doubters and Shams. Another argues under the heading ‘A Source of Weakness’ that ‘It is a sad fact that over the past 50 years the weakest link in the Republican front has been Sinn Féin’. There is a piece on ‘Views on the Present Situation’ which argues that those dissatisfied with the direction of the then Republican Movement should not leave it. And it concludes by asserting that ‘If you desire victory, Arm, Organize, Educate’.

Issue 12 has a striking cover, an illustration of a soldier rising from the flames in which are inscribed dates such as 1798, 1803, 1848, 1916, 1939 and 1956 beside the headline ‘WE WILL RISE AGAIN!’.

The editorial focuses on ‘The issue of the Free State’s entry into the European ‘Common Market’ [which] dominates the activities of the Republican Movement these days. It argues that ‘Many complicated, and at times contradictory arguments are being presented by the ‘Progressives’ to show why the Free States should not enter’. And it continues, ‘We notice that when the ‘Progressives’ deal with the Free State in this question, they talk of it as IRELAND! We notice they talk in terms of ‘our ministers’, and on the ‘relinquishing of national control’ which implies that we presently possess such control’.

It argues that ‘We are not suggesting that entry into the ‘Common Market’ would be in the beset interests of the people. However, the real question for Irish revolutionaries is not the effects of such an alliance but its root cause. And this is a matter which gets little space in the laments penned by the scribes of the Wolfe Tone Society’.

It suggests that:

As a neo-colonial state subordinate to British Imperialism, the Free State has no option but to do what its economic masters dictate. It cannot enter, even if it desired, if Britain does not; and it must enter the ‘Common Market’ regardless of whether it wants to or not, if Britain does. To confuse and cloud this basic issue with talk about loss of sovereignty, is to play the games of the neo-colonialists; because it gives recognition to their claims of an independent politico-economic status, which they never possessed to begin with, and which Irish revolutionaries have never recognised, and rightly so.

It makes the point that:

One only has to read the social, political and economic programmes of present-day Sinn Féin to see this clearly; to see that what they present is not a real alternative politico-economic system, but merely an alternative Free State party to manage the existing system, and which proposes to change that system only insofar as the fundamental interests of its ruling class allow. And it is for precisely this reason that the people in general reject them. The national colour may be green; but the people are not so green that they cannot appreciate that if we are to be stuck with the system represented by the Free State, it is far better to vote for the devil you know than the one you do not know.

The editorial argues that only if State Power is contested and won will there be a possibility to ‘fundamentally alter… the adverse effects of neo-colonialism’.

This edition also contains a piece on ‘Revolution and Force’, another on the issue of how on IRA Sweep Tickets an illustration of a volunteer ‘trampling defiantly on the British Imperialist Union Jack’ has been altered so that the flag ‘blends nicely into the background, and in fact disappears altogether’. There is a long piece on ‘The Road to Free-Statism’ which strongly criticises the Connolly Association, their paper the Irish Democrat and Desmond Greaves. There’s also an article which draws largely on the text of ‘Guerrilla Warfare: A Method’ by Ernesto Che Guevera.

There’s also some wry observations on the then recent Local Elections which argues that ‘The results of the Local Elections amply demonstrate what we have said all along: the road to compromise offers no solution to the problems facing Irish Republicanism’.

No. 11 An Phoblacht May-June 1967

Editorial p. 2

Doubters and Shams p. 4

A Source of Weakness p. 6

Views of the Present Situation p. 8

No.12 An Phoblacht August 1967

Editorial p. 1

Revolution and Force p. 3

The Last Soldier p. 5

The Reason Why p.5

The Road to Free-Statism p. 6

Guerrilla Warfare : A Method p. 8

Is that a fact! Compromise Fails p.11

After Scotland, some implications for this island. September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
5 comments

A very readable edition of the Phoenix this week, including an analysis of the left of Sinn Féin TDs currently in situ disguised as a profile of Paul Murphy of the SP – of which more later in the week. But one thing that caught my eye was a piece on Unionism in the North in the wake of the Scottish referendum. It may have offered a No in Scotland, but the Phoenix makes one very pertinent point in relation to Northern Ireland.

By linking changes for the rest of the UK to the Scottish timetable Cameron seems determined to legislate to take away voting powers from non-English MPS before next May’s general election.

It continues by noting that should that take effect then a Labour government despite having an overall majority in the UK would then be likely unable to implement policy for England unless they get a majority of MPs there. Tough for Labour, but as the Phoenix notes, there are ramifications for Unionism.

It’s worse for the DUP: their hopes of holding the balance of power were dashed last Friday. Cameron had been assiduously courting them so that their eight MPs would enable him to continue to govern as a minority government if there is a hung parliament next May. Not any more. The DUP will be surplus to requirements.

And that means they have much less leverage at Westminster. Will this come to pass? Well, I’d think we’ve a way to go yet. But Cameron will most certainly be in a hurry to do all he can to stymie Labour and it may well be that a sort of functional part/near federalisation of the UK would be precisely what he wanted.

Of course it raises difficult issues and contradictions more broadly if Scotland and Wales (and England too!) are gaining increased powers just at the point NI is trying to hand them back and refuse any further ones.

Just in the context of debates about Home Rule still circulating in the RoI, the Phoenix makes an excellent point:

Unionists do not want anything which might increase their separation from Westminster. In effect they are still opposing Home Rule.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week September 28, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
55 comments

Ruth Dudley Edwards has an interesting piece in which she compares some of Alex Salmond’s statements c.2008 with recent remarks from the referendum. Let’s just say his left credentials seem somewhat less clear after reading it. She also, however, offers the following stupid comment on 16 and 17 year-olds voting.

What about the fact that only 48pc of 18-24 year olds voted ‘yes’, having got to an age when the hormones have calmed down and you can think about serious questions like what currency would Scotland have?

Too hormonal to vote. I’m pretty sure that people used to say something similar about women.

Brendan O’Connor is leading the fight back against the hegemony since 2009.

And so it has begun. The right is fighting back. Well, the centre-right is fighting back. Well, maybe the centre actually. Yes. The centre is fighting back. For five long years now, centrist parties in this country have been under attack from every worthy lefty going.

We are lucky to have him.

Finally, Eoghan Harris seems to have developed some timidity late in life.

I have no time for nationalism, at home or abroad. So I am glad Scotland said no. But I stayed silent on the issue until now because my voice would have been drowned out in the deafening Irish media consensus in favour of Scotland booting the Brits out.

Deeply strange thing for him to say.

Terrible news for the Tories… September 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
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David Cameron suffered a devastating double blow on the eve of the Tory party conference as his minister for civil society resigned over a sex scandal and a second Conservative MP defected to Ukip.

For…

The first blow came when Mark Reckless, the MP for Rochester and Strood, delivered the news that he was defecting to Ukip, at the anti-EU party’s conference in Doncaster.

So that’s two UKIP byelections to be fought by the Tories. One which looks more certain to be a loss for them, Reckless’s seat, not so much. How this buttresses the UKIP vote further down the line is a fascinating question. I figure we could see a couple, but probably no more, of them take seats after the next election.

But not only but also!

…it emerged that Brooks Newmark, a father of five and campaigner to increase the role and number of women in politics, had resigned from the government after being caught sending explicit pictures of himself over the internet to women, in a tabloid newspaper sting operation.

Do these people have the attention span of gnats? Has he not heard of Anthony Weiner? Does he think that online communications are somehow inviolable? I’m never able to understand just how insulated politicians seem to think they are from the base reality around them. The addition of a tabloid adds another unpleasant aspect to the story – their efforts to drag themselves to some sort of moral high-ground, while unable to appreciate the swamp they are in and of, are as noxious as they are predictable. And there’s a question as to whether this is a matter of public as distinct from private concern too. It’s not clear is there any element of public hypocrisy (whatever about his private behaviours).

Meanwhile despite the news from the Observer that Labour has taken a hit in the latest poll, the poll of polls on UK Polling Report shows them actually increasing support over the last week or so with their majority increasing from 16 to their more usual 40+.

Those Observer/Opinium polls are peculiar, seeming to diverge fairly distinctly from other polling results at times, though in fairness that could be due to natural variation.

Speaking of which… sharp elbows! September 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
7 comments

…this is a revealing insight into the attitude of some…

Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has apologised for his actions during an altercation with protesters who approached the Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s car during a visit to Roscommon on Friday.

And:

He said that assessing “the situation when he arrived, I formed the opinion that the Taoiseach was going to be confronted in an aggressive and physical manner.

“In hindsight, I misread the situation and overreacted in a tense situation.

“As a Fine Gael TD and a member of the Government, the public expects the highest standards.”

In the video, Mr Feighan can be seen elbowing a protester out of the way

And who, pray, were protesting? Presumably it could only have been the most dangerous hardened activists, only waiting to get the digs in to the hapless FG contingent?

Erm…

The Roscommon Hospital Action Committee candidate in the forthcoming Roscommon/South Leitrim by-election, John McDermott, has said he has lodged a formal complaint with the gardai concerning the incident.

The trials of FG… September 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
2 comments

Reading Stephen Collins in the IT this weekend in relation to the McNulty/IMMA story I was struck, in between his sympathy for our ‘working every available hour and surviving on as little sleep as possible’ Taoiseach, by the following:

The spectacle of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin taking the high moral ground over a minor political stroke is laughable but that doesn’t mitigate the damage suffered by Fine Gael, particularly in the light of the promise it made that things would be done differently.

To me that sums up in a nutshell, unintentionally of course, so much that is wrong in relation to such matters.

The time for comparing and contrasting with what others might or might not do – or whether they would do worse again – is long gone. It’s the acts themselves and the processes that are important – and in that context this isn’t ‘minor’ because it exemplifies an attitude to appointments to public institutions for individual party political gain. One could go further and argue that this in some ways also exemplifies a delusion held jointly by FG and some of the LP that they are in some sense more moral than others…

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