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Jim Lane Socialist Republican Part 3 August 2, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left, Video interview.
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Many thanks to the The Irish Republican Marxist History Project for sending this on.

Further information on Republican and Socialist Republican development in the 1950′ and 60’s. This is the story of Socialist Jim Lane who joined the IRA in 1954 he subsequently participated in Operation Harvest in 1956. He was a leading figure in the Irish Revolutionary Forces throughout the 1960s, this Cork-based group produced an influential publication called An Phoblacht. In addition the Irish Revolutionary Forces established Saor Éire (Cork) in 1968 and produced a paper called People’s Voice.

Saor Eire (Cork) Joined the Irish Communist Organisation, eleven months later they resigned. Those who left, of which Lane was one, then formed the Cork Communist Organisation, short time later they formed The Cork Workers Club who published a series of historical reprints of socialist classics.

Part One of the series

Part Two of the series

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week: DIY August 2, 2015

Posted by Garibaldy in Uncategorized.
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My broadband is bust so DIY again this week. A quick glance reveals lots of headlines about 1916. Must be plenty for people to get their teeth in to.

A moral parity between ‘Nazi invaders and the partisans who resisted them’… August 2, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is a depressing piece from Slate.com on how the Soviet backed partisans in Lithuania – many of them Jewish – have effectively had their activities during the Second World War recast in a deeply troubling way by the Lithuanian state. This is a state which appears unwilling to confront the reality of collaboration by Lithuanians with the Nazi’s.
Astoundingly:

“Not a single Lithuanian war criminal has sat one day—not one minute!—in a Lithuanian prison since independence,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi hunter, Ephraim Zuroff, told me in his office in Jerusalem.

And, even more astoundingly:

Instead, Lithuanian prosecutors were soon investigating Jewish partisans for alleged war crimes—starting with Yitzhak Arad. On April 22, 2006, Respublika, an openly anti-Semitic newspaper that is one of Lithuania’s highest-circulation dailies, published a story headlined, “The Expert With Blood on His Hands.”

All this due to an effort to provide a moral equivalence between ‘Nazi invaders and the partisans who resisted them’.

But, and this is particularly telling, it appears to be something directed most specifically against the Jewish Lithuanian partisans.

One contributor to the piece noted that:

In present-day Eastern Europe, Katz explained in his Brooklyn accent, “Holocaust denial” is being replaced by a seemingly respectable “Holocaust obfuscation.” Lithuania and other Eastern European countries are embracing a “double genocide” theory that posits that both the Nazis and Soviets committed genocide. What the hypothesis lacks in intellectual honesty, it makes up for in political expediency. By positing twin genocides, Lithuanians become victims—and “Judeo-Bolsheviks” become perpetrators—in a second, mirror-image holocaust.

And…

As Ephraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal Center summarized, “If everyone is guilty, then no one is guilty.”

Latest Sunday Independent Millward Brown Poll August 1, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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A Big drop for Fine Gael and nice to see PBP and SP included.
FG 24 (-5 in month)
Lab 7 (+1)
FF 23 nc
SF 21 nc
SP 2
PBP 1
Renua 1
Greens 1 nc
Ind/ors 20

Adrian Kavanaghs seat projections

Fianna Fail 41,
Fine Gael 44,
Sinn Fein 32,
Labour Party 4,
Independents and Others 37.

The Aerodrome from BBC TV in the 1980s August 1, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Did anyone catch this at the time, a somewhat overwrought one-off drama set in a sort of parallel history Britain ruled by fascists. It details, according to IMDB:

In the future England is ruled by a fascist government, and one day the leaders begin the construction of a heavily guarded, mysterious airport.

Based on a 1941 Rex Warner novel that sought to examine and analyse fascism,it was subsequently updated for television. A good cast including Peter Firth and Richard Briers. A bit of an acquired taste, but slots neatly into a number of other fascist Britain television programmes from the 1970s and 1980s.

We go to the gallery August 1, 2015

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I really like this which I only learned about this week. A spoof Ladybird book on Peter and Jane visiting a contemporary art gallery. Published last year it ran into some – ahem – issues in relation to copyright etc. you’ll find most of the pages online. I’ve a passing acquaintance with this world and it’s nice to see some of its pretensions neatly skewered.

Not least the following:

Another page pokes fun at the giant inflatable animals that the artist and former Wall Street commodities broker Jeff Koons is famous – or infamous – for. Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) became the most expensive artwork by a living person when it was sold at auction for $58.4m (£35m) last November.
Mummy, Peter and Jane all stare nonplussed at a huge red balloon dog that appears to have been created by a manic children’s party clown. “I want to play with the balloon!” declares Peter. “Only venture capitalists can play with this balloon,” replies Mummy.

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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… きのこ帝国 Kinoko Teikoku August 1, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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I recently did a ‘This Weekend’ on Japanese Shoegazing Bands. One band in particular have stood out for me and that is きのこ帝国 pronounced “Kinoko Teikoku” which I gather translates as Mushroom Kingdom. The bands website.
They have been around since 2007 and have released a number of albums and EPs. Well worth a listen.
Theres a piece on them here

Translates as ‘Sea and Bouquets’ Video with a translation of the song


CPI Political Statement on EU crisis. July 31, 2015

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Political statement
25 July 2015

The National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland at its meeting in July discussed the political and economic situation in the context of events now unfolding within the European Union resulting from the imposition of the new memorandum on the Greek working class. The meeting also stressed the importance of building working-class resistance within Ireland and throughout the EU.
In relation to events in recent weeks the CPI once again expressed its solidarity with the Greek working class and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), whose principled stance regarding the nature of the forces contained within the SYRIZA party and government has been vindicated, showing that SYRIZA’s strategy could only lead to the present situation. It is clear that the KKE’s steadfast opposition to the European Union and to the previous memorandums has played a central role in the resistance of the Greek people. The KKE has offered clear and unambiguous leadership to the Greek working class; it has also been vindicated in its opposition to the referendum, showing that the choice offered between Yes and No was a false choice to fool the people.
The dominant opportunist forces within SYRIZA never had the will to consistently oppose the European Union. They peddled the illusion that somehow they could talk reasonably to the “institutions” and appeal to their better nature. Most importantly, they showed no political understanding of the class nature of the European Union and the economic and political forces it was established to promote and protect. Their generating of false hopes and their inevitable abject surrender have left the Greek people even worse off than before.
The role of the Irish government at the meetings of heads of government and meetings of finance ministers exposed their slavish commitment to the European Union and showed that this state is a client state of the EU. No semblance of sovereignty or independence is left.
What lies exposed is the bankruptcy of social democracy in its various guises, both new and old. Current events lay bare the illusions of those who believe they can somehow transform or reform the actually existing EU into something else. The real economic and political driving force at the heart of the EU—monopoly capitalism, in particular finance capital—is exposed for what it is. Those not still labouring under the illusion that the EU is some benign force are beginning to question its legitimacy. This questioning of its legitimacy can only grow in the coming period; next they must question its invincibility.
The attitude of the EU are not the action of brutish individuals but real class power brought to bear against the Greek people, to send a clear message to other European workers, particularly those in the heavily indebted countries, that there is no other way, and that no way will be tolerated other than what European monopoly capitalism demands, that the debt and the euro itself are the straitjacket and disciplining mechanism for imposing political and economic control and conformity to the will of the dominant economic powers.
The recent announcement by the Irish government that it will institute tax cuts in the next budget is nothing more than a re-election ploy to placate the business and professional sectors. Its aim is to revive the illusion of permanent upward mobility for those same interest groups.
With the completion of the privatisation of Aer Lingus, the final piece of the jigsaw is the selling of the government’s share, marking the continuation of the strategy of privatising important and strategic public companies and assets.
There will be no increase in spending on the collapsing health service or on education. More than 17 per cent of all tax revenue now goes to service the national debt, now almost €8 billion a year—a debt that does not belong to the people.
Regarding the struggle against water charges, the party reaffirms its support for non-payment and for the broadly based Right2Water campaign, and welcomes the fact that nearly 60 per cent of the people have not paid. The party again reiterates its call for the intensification and reinvigoration of the grass-roots struggle, both in opposition to the installing of water meters and in the non-payment campaign, as essential for ending water charges and ensuring a constitutional amendment that will enshrine the public ownership of this valuable resource. This would be a significant defeat for the Irish establishment and the European Union.
The party also welcomes the decision by the delegates to the ICTU delegate conference to oppose water charges and to support the demand for a constitutional amendment on the public ownership of water. The purpose of the setting up of Irish Water as a separate company was to enable the ultimate privatisation of water. Only a constitutional amendment can prevent this.
The ICTU must now translate a paper resolution into concrete action and support for the R2W campaign and must support the communities that have sustained the campaign thus far. The party also calls on activists not to be distracted from the central task of defeating water charges by the electoral ambitions of different groupings or parties and opportunist individuals. The party also welcomes the adoption of a resolution opposing TTIP, which also also needs to be translated into a vigorous public campaign of opposition and the education of workers regarding the dangers posed by TTIP.
The recent budget presented by the British Conservative government and the announced £12 billion package of cuts in welfare spending will hit working people, the working poor and the unemployed hard in the North. It will have a disproportionately higher impact because of the reliance on welfare benefits. These spending cuts will be a blow against an already peripheral regional economy, with adverse effects on consumer spending and on retail industry.
The CPI draws attention to the fact that working people who are employed but live in social housing will see their rents increase to the level pertaining in the private sector, with those receiving sickness benefit having their benefits reduced to the equivalent payment made in the jobseeker’s allowance.
Another example of the peripheral and precarious nature of the dependent economy is the fact that approximately 18 per cent of households in the North receive child tax credits, compared with 13 per cent in Britain. The Northern economy has a higher proportion of young people, and the new “youth obligation” and the removal of grants for students from low-income families will have a disproportionate effect on working-class youth. These renewed attacks on social welfare are coupled with and linked to the new anti-union laws recently proposed by the British government. The party expresses its solidarity with the British working class and with trade unions in the North of Ireland, which will also be greatly affected by these anti-worker laws. The party also reiterates its long-held position of opposition to sectarianism and condemns the violence surrounding this year’s Twelfth of July marches. It again calls on all paramilitaries to cease their activities and desist in their efforts to reignite their failed military strategy.
It is clear from events both here in Ireland and throughout Europe that there is a need to build the people’s resistance, north and south. The struggle against imperialism in all its forms and its domination of our people has to be built throughout the country.
The deepening economic crisis of imperialism is beginning to expose its real nature, and more and more people are now beginning to question the system itself. This presents new challenges and demands for those forces committed to radical economic, political and social change. Working people need to develop a clear strategy for defending themselves against the onslaught on their conditions, for going over to the offensive and bringing this moribund oppressive system to a close.
Communist Party of Ireland.

The cost of not having sufficient money July 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I’ve noted before just how lack of immediate access to disposable funds can make life even more difficult for people on low and even medium incomes. There’s a range of areas where simply having disposable income to pay out ahead of time is cost effective – some subscriptions, certain payments, and so on and so forth.

But surely the grim arrest and death of Sandra Bland points up how in the US, and presumably other polities, it can have a devastating impact. Without discussing the specific incident it seems to me that there’s a sort of policing equivalent of constructive dismissal where the ultimate end goal is the arrest of an individual by upping the ante at any given moment.

Just on Bland she seemed remarkably calm, albeit understandably irritated, for quite some time during the incident.

But in terms of costs, financial and otherwise, this in Slate is sobering.

If Bland had been able to pay her bail on the spot [$500 − 10 per cent of the overall bond of $5,000], she would have been released immediately following her arraignment, which took place on Saturday, July 11, the day after she was pulled over on a traffic violation and detained for allegedly assaulting a police officer. A representative for the Waller County Sheriff’s Office told me they could have processed Bland’s bail at any time

And look how bail functions in a particularly pernicious way for some:

In practice, the bail system is particularly hard on poor people, who frequently get stuck behind bars because they can’t afford to post bond, while those with greater means pay their bail and go home. According to one study, five out of six people in jail are there because they could not afford to pay their bail.

Postcapitalism? July 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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It’s been raised by others during the last week, but this article by Paul Mason in the Guardian on post capitalism is an interesting read.

It’s fascinating stuff. An argument that the new processes of the digital led economy are posing a fundamental challenge to capitalism as we have known it. That this was envisaged to some degree by Marx and that it can essentially be regarded as us all entering a post capitalist period.

His basic contention is that the current phase of capitalism is shuddering to an end pushed by new connected information technologies.

And he posits that another crisis is on the way, a crisis that will – paradoxically for capitalism – be exacerbated by the lack of social and political power on the part of the working class and suppressed wages. None of this is particularly novel, and I think most of us would tend to the view that the current economic systems while in some respects looser and less binding than before are – oddly – losing flexibility. He certainly makes a good point in relation to how so much of business is oriented away from genuinely cutting edge technologies towards the services sector (entertainingly a recent Analysis podcast on the BBC argued that there should be an even greater focus on that sector). I’ve long noted here that there are growing calls across the political-economy spectrum for consideration of basic income due to rising levels of automation that are reaching deep into our economies to remove or weaken previous forms of work carried out by workers.

Mason isn’t completely optimistic. But he’s pretty damned optimistic:

But a different path has opened up. Collaborative production, using network technology to produce goods and services that only work when they are free, or shared, defines the route beyond the market system. It will need the state to create the framework – just as it created the framework for factory labour, sound currencies and free trade in the early 19th century. The postcapitalist sector is likely to coexist with the market sector for decades, but major change is happening.

And he argues for a ‘reconfiguration’ of the left.

The transition will involve the state, the market and collaborative production beyond the market. But to make it happen, the entire project of the left, from protest groups to the mainstream social democratic and liberal parties, will have to be reconfigured. In fact, once people understand the logic of the postcapitalist transition, such ideas will no longer be the property of the left – but of a much wider movement, for which we will need new labels.

It’s all a bit vague though. He can’t, and he’s quite honest about it, really describe the future of this process.

Capitalism was structured by something purely economic: the market. We can predict, from this, that postcapitalism – whose precondition is abundance – will not simply be a modified form of a complex market society. But we can only begin to grasp at a positive vision of what it will be like.
I don’t mean this as a way to avoid the question: the general economic parameters of a postcapitalist society by, for example, the year 2075, can be outlined. But if such a society is structured around human liberation, not economics, unpredictable things will begin to shape it.

But what would the society look like, what sort of democratic controls would exist, what sort of social structures? How can we have any sense of what a better society would be if it’s all so infuriatingly vague. He continues:

If I am right, the logical focus for supporters of postcapitalism is to build alternatives within the system; to use governmental power in a radical and disruptive way; and to direct all actions towards the transition – not the defence of random elements of the old system. We have to learn what’s urgent, and what’s important, and that sometimes they do not coincide.

Perhaps so. Indeed absolutely so. But how does one link the present-day concerns of workers with this somewhat indefinable future? How does one shape actions towards this end goal?

I tend to the view that a lot of what he is saying is absolutely correct – that there are massive structural changes taking place in capitalism. That the present system is simply not going to prevail. My concern would be that there’s no inevitability about progressive outcomes – that we could see soft or hard authoritarian socio-political and economic structures imposed where democracy, socialism and even dissent are rendered impotent where they are not sidelined entirely. It is true that the left has to engage with the changes that are taking place, that it must rework itself to function successfully in new forms. But to do so doesn’t that require that we continue to place solidarity, …

Perhaps it is unfair to engage with this in isolation, it is but one article taken from a longer work. I’m very interested in what others have to say on this.

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