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What you want to say – 27th July 2016 July 27, 2016

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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

EU expansion July 26, 2016

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Tom McGurk writes in the SBP that Turkish accession to the EU must be a ‘generation away’ following the coup. What is odd about this is that that was pretty much the consensus well before the coup. Indeed it would be difficult to see any real prospects of Turkey joining the EU before the late 2020s at the earliest. The negotiations process is so slow, and entails so many issues that one would have to wonder if the words ‘if ever’ should be added.

As to further expansion elsewhere. Difficult to believe that Brexit hasn’t dealt that a very short sharp shock.

The future of work… July 26, 2016

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Good Planet Money podcast here on UPS and aspects of technology introduced to their delivery drivers. Let’s just say that it is – as one individual said, almost big brother-like, in terms of surveillance and the demands made. Delivery times are assessed down to the second, the way in which vehicles are driven likewise, even the positioning of pens in pockets, all are assessed and stream-lined.

It’s disturbing how pervasive and invasive this technology is. How it shapes workers so very specifically and constrains them. And how far from being a liberation it becomes a straight-jacket.

And yet, as the podcast noted, these are workers who have certain specific advantages. They are – first and foremost – in a union, all work practices are introduced or extended by agreement. Secondly the nature of their work means they cannot be outsourced abroad. Thirdly, as of yet, drones and suchlike cannot replace them.

Of course technology functions in different ways at different times. It doesn’t have to be this way, but the duality of their situation is thought-provoking.

‘Ambiguous’ July 26, 2016

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…is a good way of putting it as regards the latest from the British government on the border. But where is the surprise given that this is a Tory government or that their concern for the negative outcomes of a harder border or issues surrounding the dispensation on this island will almost certainly be of a low priority?

News as entertainment… July 26, 2016

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I’m not gone on Freakonomics, noted that before. But this intrigued me, a piece on “Why We Really Follow the News?”. Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death had an interesting analysis that it was essentially those in the middle and parts of the working class who tended to follow news and buy newspapers back in the day, rather than those who were too constrained financially or otherwise or those who were in elites who were comfortable that they were in control. I paraphrase, but there’s a certain degree of truth. What’s fascinating is that so many of those interviewed tend to believe that news consumption does keep well informed while simultaneously having a significant entertainment value. But this didn’t mean that following politics was directly equivalent to following a sport. Even if politics was entertaining it had other important components – self-interest and so on. Some argued it was down to externalities… arguing that it benefits the individual and the world by knowing the consequence of votes, as against following sports. This isn’t to say it’s wrong to follow sports (or music or whatever) simply that they are different.

There was some intriguing stuff about why people vote – a lot of it about not voting for one as distinct from positively voting for another. And I guess many of us on the left who will never have cast a preference for a party that has gone into government, that would be my experience anyhow, that wouldn’t be an unfamiliar experience. It’s almost like damage limitation.


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At Irish Republican Marxist History Project some great photographs of:

… Pat Murphy (Marsh) and Eddie Collins (Blackrock) members of the Cork Volunteer’s Pipe Band, attending the 1954 Wolfe Tone Annual Commemoration in Bodenstown, Co, Kildare. In addition Murphy and Collins were comrades of Cork Socialist Republican’s Jim Lane and Brendan O’Neill.

An analysis from a ‘remain’ position… July 25, 2016

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…deeply cynical, but perhaps not incorrect, where William Keegan writes in the Observer, in relation to the hypocrisies and contradictions that are evident in the Tory approach to the issue.

We seem to be in the absurd position where those of our leaders such as Theresa May, who were in the Remain camp, are saying “Brexit means Brexit” while the Brexit lot are trying to say, “Well, Brexit does not really mean Brexit. After all, we still want all the advantages of the club we have rejected.” And, of course, the shamelessly meretricious Nigel Farage continues to go to the European parliament to collect his dirty EU money.

And this, in particular, I think is spot on:

…what does Brexit mean?

Apparently, it means keeping all the hard-won advantages of the single market – largely a British initiative in the mid-1980s – while fooling those people whose prime concern was immigration that “something will be done”.

Seeing the Tories squirm as they try to square that circle will be entertaining. But for workers both in the UK, this island and further abroad, perhaps not quite so much.

Left Archive: Starry Plough Magazine, Number 3, Irish Republican Socialist Party, 2009 July 25, 2016

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To download the above please click on the following link. SP 3

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this document to the archive. It is a further addition to the Archive from this source.

There are a wide range of articles in the magazine including a number of articles on the ‘Occupy’ movement. Another piece asks what happened to the concept of ‘Cradle to the Grave care by the state. There is a reprint of a short essay by James Connolly on Socialism and Irish Nationalism.

Under the heading ‘Looking back at our history’ is an article entitled ‘Learning from Seamus Costello’. This notes that ‘Costello states that the IRSP are ‘a revolutionary socialist party’ whose objectives are ‘a revolutionary socialist state in Ireland’ leaving no doubt whatsoever about the party’s Marxist orientation. He is by no means an isolationist and state state that he regards the Irish Republcian Socialist Movement’s struggle for a democratic Socialist Republic ‘as part of the worldwide struggle for the emancipation of working class people’.

It notes that ‘he clearly sees engagement in liberal democracy as a means to an end, with a view to destroying ‘the confidence of the people in these institutions’ not propping them up or conferring legitimacy on them.

Interestingly the article argues that ‘Costello’s ‘broad front’ has been left open to various interpretations, to a certain extent, though we are able to see unequivocally what it is definitely not, i.e. namely not a pan-Nationalist type front. When Costello was proposing broad front politics in the 1970s the Republican Movement had already split along generally left-right lines, yet both movements ostensibly shared the same goal of a Socialist Republic’.

Other pieces of interest include an article on Máirtín Ó Cadhain, another criticising selective education and organising the unemployed and an intriguing piece on ‘Republican Unity’.

One interesting aspect of the publication are the footers which highlight ‘A world of injustice’ with accounts of inequality and exploitation.

Another report on abysmal business practices in the UK July 24, 2016

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…in the offing, as noted in the Observer business today.

…on Monday, with the publication of the investigation into the collapse of BHS, which the BIS committee has conducted jointly with Frank Field’s work and pensions gang.

It is hard to envisage this making great reading for Sir Philip Green, the former owner of BHS, or Dominic Chappell, the “Walter Mitty” who Green decided was a suitable buyer of a business safeguarding 11,000 jobs and a £571m pension deficit. Westminster gossips suggest the BHS report will be even punchier than Sports Direct.

Oh dear.

Humour and politics July 24, 2016

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Isaac Chotiner writing on Slate.com notes that Newt Gingrich’s speech at the Republican Convention was… shall we say… less than excellent.

Taking a page from his own playbook—which recommends expounding on things like Sharia, which he knows nothing about, and proposing Muslim Americans take a religious test that could potentially lead to deportation (to where?)—Gingrich brought up terrorist attack after terrorist attack with the droning consistency of Ferris Bueller’s apocryphal high-school lecturer.

Now that is interesting because those of us who like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and I am one of them, will probably be aware of the rather conservative views of director John Hughes but some will also be aware of the actor who played the high-school lecturer.

Step forward radical rightist and evolution denier…Ben Stein.

Oh yeah.

Good scene though.


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