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Leadership advice… August 20, 2018

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Brendan Howlin should be allowed outline how he intends to improve Labour’s fortunes in next year’s local elections before his leadership is debated, former party leader Joan Burton has said.However, Ms Burton declined to say at this stage if she supports the Wexford TD continuing in his position, adding that she wanted to listen to the views of people across the party.

Left Archive: Congress ’86, No. 6, Spring 1989 – League of Communist Republicans August 20, 2018

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To download the above please click on the following link. AP 1970

Please click here to go the Left Archive.


Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This the sixth issue of Congress ’86, the Journal of the League of Communist Republican Prisoners, is a sixteen page document.

As noted previously:

With the end of abstention by Sinn Féin at the 1986 Ard Fhéis there was a mass resignation of about 100 IRA prisoners in Long Kesh. Of this number a smaller group combined in November 1986 as the League of Communist Republicans. Their position was interesting since they argued that the armed campaign was of limited use at that point in time (and who better to know?) and that Sinn Féin was retreating from the left.

Issued in the Spring of 1989 it has a range of then contemporary concerns. For example there are pieces such as an ex-prisoner ‘against pan-nationalism‚’, the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, ‚’Privatisation Favours the Rich‚’, a report from Burma, ‚’Socialism or Nationalism‚’ and a report on how Soviet Spokesman ‚’expresses concern about human rights in Ulster‚’. Allied to this is a welcome from ‚’Communist Prisoners‚’ to the statement from the Soviets.

As always with the League of Communist Republicans and Congress ’86 one of the most notable aspects is the unashamed identification with the USSR and Soviet Communism in the late 1980s.

As always it would be very useful to know more about the LCR, when it disbanded and where those involved went subsequently.

Eating at the desk… and workplace cultures. August 19, 2018

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Some good points in this piece about the tendency for people to eat lunch in their workplaces – and who could disagree with the idea that sitting at the desk, consuming lunch and then not moving is bad physically and mentally. From cardiac issues to adding on weight the health implications are abysmal. As bad, in a way, is the manner in which this forces people to stay put, look at screens, to in essence pull away at the very idea of a break.

But there’s a deeper problem, and this has to do, as the article notes:

One of the main reasons people stay at their desks over lunch is peer pressure and an office culture based on presenteeism. This is effectively a form of covert bullying and is completely counterproductive, as mentally tired workers with low morale do not give of their best. If your boss is grudging about breaks, take a late lunch and make the point that there is plenty of evidence to show that we are at our least productive between 2pm and 3pm.

Easier said than done in many workplaces. Of course to uphold rights like these – and by the way, open plan offices are an absolute curse in terms of diminishing workers rights and forcing unnecessary peer pressure – one needs, yep, unions.

What’s the feeling on lunches and breaks?

Sunday and the Week’s Media and other Stupid Statements August 19, 2018

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We now live in a culture of conformity so strong that an odious type of censorship is rife when it comes to all things Catholic: self-censorship. That’s why when I write an article such as this, people sometimes whisper quietly that they agree with me and quieter still tell me sometimes they light the odd candle or even enjoy heading to Mass.

Rockin’ Road Festival 2018 – Today August 19th August 19, 2018

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Weather permitting given that it was cancelled earlier in the year.

Being nerd… August 18, 2018

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I like Simon Pegg. Perhaps a bit more after reading this in the Guardian recently.

Before I met Pegg, I was warned that he wasn’t the easiest to interview. That he could be prickly – difficult, even. Maybe I have caught him on a good day, but there is no sign of this. Not only is he open about his drink problems, he also merrily riffs on all kinds of topics, from #MeToo (“It’s time for men to take a backseat and just listen”) to his trip to the White House a few years back (“I watched Michelle do this incredibly eloquent speech, all off the cuff, and just thought ‘I can’t imagine the Trumps ever being in this place’”).
He once wrote a Marxist analysis of Star Wars and can’t help peppering our chat with his pet theories on, say, the representation of masculinity in action films, or home cinema’s detrimental effect on community. Yet despite this, he maintains that his depiction as an uber-nerd is off the mark. “Star Wars had a huge influence on me, but it was never the be all and end all,” he says, a little defensively. “I get characterised as this sort of nerd and I can be nerdy … but it doesn’t define who I am.”

Do go on…

This sounds a bit rich for someone who wrote an autobiography called Nerd Do Well. “I played up to it and I fostered that in some respects,” he accepts. “But there is a side to me that likes films that have nothing to do with spaceships, too.” Besides, he says, science fiction was more substantial during his youth, containing serious adult themes beyond the sparkly effects. Nowadays, a lot of what gets called nerd culture is just “children’s entertainment. The adult population is going to see films about superheroes and spaceships – myself included – and there’s a strange kind of infantilisation that’s going on. These are the preserve of our childhood, but now we don’t have to grow up until we are 30, or even 40.”

Or 50. Actually I’m a bit dubious about the ‘grown-up’ trope in the first place – it seems unduly constraining on what people must like or do, but I do think that there is an issue where there’s no hinterland other than, say, SF or superhero films (distinct genres, I’ll have you know). Pegg notes it above – he has always liked films that have nothing to do with spaceships. Indeed sometimes I feel a bit oppressed by how hegemonic the grip of superhero films is on the culture. And, while not quite the same, in a weird way a small part of me, though I enjoyed the film, wasn’t entirely upset to see Solo do not quite as well as expected. At the least new fictions would be no harm…

Is this the least attractive new building in Dublin? August 18, 2018

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Apologies for the Dublin centric topic of this post but I cycle past this every day – Capital Dock – and it seems to me to be unbelievably drab (nice photo though). Is there going to be cladding put on the exterior?

Speaking of high rise buildings, fascinating to see that the highest are in NI and then Cork.

And speaking of development, not sure this is great…

Sean O’Casey Festival – September 2018, East Wall August 18, 2018

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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Gasper Nali August 18, 2018

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Gasper Nali plays an instrument called a babatoni which he build himself. It’s a single string with a resonator made of cow hide which is played with a stick on one hand and a bottle in the other. There’s a type of drum played with his foot also. It gives a rather electric sound. The voice is strangely good too.

Attitudes in the North to Brexit August 17, 2018

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This is interesting, and I missed it last month (being away on holiday – ironically in Donegal).

NORTHERN Ireland would vote more strongly to remain in the European Union if there was another Brexit poll, a new study has suggested.

A poll has found that 71 per cent would favour remain if there was another referendum compared to 56 per cent two years ago.

Assuming that that reflects attitudes is it not ever more extraordinary the stance the DUP takes?

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