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Pandemic pause March 8, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Anyone had the experience of finding certain friendships changing during the pandemic? The term pandemic pause was unfamiliar to me until recently and it seems to cover a lot of ground – or to put it a different way, mean a lot of different things depending on how it is being applied. In some instances the term seems to mean the gap between events pre-pandemic and their return after a delay during the pandemic. In other cases the term describes relationships that have been put on ice due to the pandemic, for one reason or another. This from last year describes some of that – those initial Zoom meetings, quizzes, drinking sessions, whatever you’re having yourself, which then tended to fade out as the length of the disruption became clear. What I noticed was that group meetings shifted to smaller meetings which makes sense since Zoom and other online platforms are unforgiving in terms of allowing for genuine interactivity with larger numbers. In fact only a few weeks back I was on a social meeting that had ten or more different people attending. It was great to see those there, but after twenty minutes the exercise moved from entertaining to unwieldy.

Here in the Mirror Jason O’Toole outlines another definition of the term, how a couple of friendships have been altered due to disagreement over this. Partly this was online – well, that’s natural, so much is online, or on social media platforms. Not quite had that happen, or not exactly, but I do know how in a case or two I’ve retreated due to the soft denialism of some. So far, thankfully, not had to face outright denialism (though some people I’d meet out and about would come close to that too). But as O’Toole notes, there’s a line or a balance here because this literally is a matter of life and death. So where to draw it?

Flag history… March 8, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Curious. RTÉ had a report on the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, FF Senator Mark Daly…

Chair of the Seanad Senator Mark Daly has expressed concern that the national flag is being used by people “for their own ends” which often “contradicts” the very meaning which it represents. In a statement on the 173rd anniversary of when Thomas Meagher first flew the Irish tricolour, Senator Daly said it is “essential – now more than ever” that the true meaning of the national flag is known. 

But it’s not the content that strikes one so much as the caption on the photograph of the tricolour and the paragraph that follows the one above and says:

The tricolour was first flown from 33 The Mall in Waterford City on 7 March 1948. 

And the caption reads:

The tricolour was first flown from The Mall in Waterford City on 7 March 1948

1948 – eh?

What’s more than strange is that the article has a tweet from the President that gets the date right!

Socialist Voice: March 2021 March 8, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

The March Socialist Voice is now available on at:https://socialistvoice.ie/category/article/latest/

International Working Women’s Day

  by National Women’s Committee, CPIThe 8th of March each year has continued to grow in popularity around the world as a day on which to recognise and celebrate women in general. But this increase in popularity stems from a growing disconnection from the radical socialist roots of what was once widely known as International […]

Marx, Gamestop, and finance capitalism

  by David HarteryAs retail investors launched a short squeeze on large hedge funds, forcing large stock-market movements and frenzied recapitalisation, many commentators heralded it as a victory for “the little guy” against Wall Street. However, the truth is far from that simple. “The biggest owners of Gamestop: Fidelity (14%), Cohen’s RC Ventures […]

Workers of the world, unite!

  by Jimmy DoranBus drivers in London went on strike last month against pay cuts that a number of “private bus operators” tried to impose. However, all is not as it seems. The British government has privatised much of the public transport system as they push ahead with their neoliberal agenda. They followed […]

Irish as spectacle

  by Dónall Ó BriainManchán Magan, Thirty-Two Words for Field (Dublin: Gill Books, 2020). This acclaimed book ostensibly celebrates the Irish-speaking community in Co. Kerry, where the author spent his holidays as a young man. He explores the rich vocabulary of traditional Irish-speakers and their words for natural phenomena: the weather, the sea, plants, […]

38.04 an hour?

  by Eoin MacDermottThe upper limit of a transformative wage demand A transformative strategy is “a means by which to expose the antagonistic contradictions between capitalism and the working class and, in so doing, to undermine capitalism and present the potential for a socialist alternative.”¹ While an increase in the minimum wage from […]

A social order worthy of the human race”

  by Jenny FarrellThe 150th birthday of Rosa Luxemburg On 5 March 2021 we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg’s birth. No-one who wishes to get a sense of Rosa Luxemburg as a person, both political and private, will regret watching Margarethe von Trotta’s meticulously researched film of the same name, made […]

Another phoney celebration

  by Dónall Ó BriainJust as it did with St Patrick’s Day, the state has decided to take over the 1st of February—the beginning of spring, traditionally known as St Brigid’s Day—and convert it into another cheap stunt for promoting tourism and “selling Ireland.” (The only wonder is that there’s anything left to sell.) […]

The future of agriculture in Ireland

  by Joe HurleyThe news that Britain has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a big blow to Irish farmers and rural agri-business workers. The CPTPP is different from the EU, in that it has no customs union or single market. It is a free-trade organisation, […]

The militarisation of the EU grows apace

  by Dorian Ó SeanáinPart 1 The Lisbon Treaty is working perfectly. Just as opponents of the EU in Ireland warned after the bloc’s leaders signed the treaty in December 2007, the last vestiges of the Irish state’s neutrality have disappeared over the last decade. The importance of the Lisbon Treaty to the incontrovertible […]

Memorial to a forgotten revolution

  by Laura DugganSuomenlinna is a beautiful little island off the coast of Helsinki. A regular boat service (part of the public transport system) ferries residents, navy cadets and tourists alike to the island in about fifteen minutes. On the trip across, depending on the time of year, you can be met by […]

Work, mental health, and the disease of neoliberalism

  by Barry MurrayPart 2 ■ Part 1 of this article was published in the February issue. What model of human does neoliberalism encourage? Neoliberalism sees Darwinian competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling. It maintains that […]

The last acceptable form of racism

  by Jimmy CorcoranPart 1 In March 2017 the Government recognised Irish Travellers as an ethnic minority. This was the culmination of a long campaign by Traveller activists, and while it was a vast improvement on the attitude behind the Report of the Commission on Itinerancy (1963),[1] which saw them as “deviant, destitute […]

Israel judged an apartheid regime

  by Declan McKennaThe Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, has judged Israel to be an apartheid state, bent on perpetuating the supremacy of Jews over Palestinians. “Israel is not a democracy that has a temporary occupation attached to it,” said the body’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad. “It […]

Understanding the past to unlock the future

  by Sajeev KumarDialectics says that everything is changing and everything is evolving. Capitalism is no exception—so can tactics for abolishing capitalism be the same? Capitalism was nascent during Marx’s time; and by the time Lenin arrived it had evolved into imperialism, which he said is the highest stage of capitalism. Marx’s assessment […]

Opinion – In defence of China

  by Alan FarrellThis article seeks to explore the apparent contradictions inherent in China today and to examine the evidence relating to criticisms made of the Chinese state by some figures and organisations on the left. Broadly speaking, critiques of China from the left fall under three categories: that the rapid growth and […]

Left Archive: International Women’s Day – Unity Against Oppression and Imperialism, People’s Democracy, 1980s March 8, 2021

Posted by leftarchivist in Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link.

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This timely document was issued on International Women’s Day in the early 1980s by People’s Democracy. It notes that:

International Women’s Day represents the significance of women in struggle both for their rights as women and against politics, social and economic injustice. And we as women in Ireland both North and South, have many examples of women in struggle. March 8th is also a day of celebration of the women’s Movement Internationally.

It argues that:

It is honest to say that the movement as a whole is in decline. And that within it, the feminist layer, outside the small numbers of women organised in particular campaigns are unorganised demoralised and without direction. This is most true for the women’s movement in the South, especially in Dublin.

It proposes that women work together on a programme. And that the following areas be discussed.

National Unity within the women’s movement.

Austerity policies North and South and how they affect women.

The need for Seperation of Churches and States.

Democratic Rights: Divorce, Contraception, Abortion

Equality in the workforce – the right to work, equal pay. Unemployment and women.

Map fans March 7, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is quite good from seeing it in action this last week – a quiz app that “helps familiarize you with countries, capital cities, flags, rivers, lakes, and notable geological features.” Of course as we know too well maps are fraught with dangers in relation to political events as this outlines here from the BBC.

Fireball March 7, 2021

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Earlier this week those who looked at the skies on Sunday night/Monday morning would have seen this…

Thousands of people across the country reported that they had seen a slow-moving meteor fireball on Sunday evening. The meteor colliding with Earth’s atmosphere created light and heat, as well as a loud boom or rumbling noise that was heard as far away as Ireland and the Netherlands.

I hadn’t realised that the sound of it reverberated so far. Quite something.

The meteor that fell into the Earth’s atmosphere likely began as an asteroid, out between Mars and Jupiter, but pieces of it could now be found in Cheltenham, according to researchers.


The public has been advised to be careful around any pieces of asteroid that are discovered.

“If you do find a meteorite on the ground, ideally photograph it in place, note the location using your phone GPS, don’t touch it with a magnet, and, if you can, avoid touching it with your hands,” said Katherine Joy from the University of Manchester. “Pick it up in a clean bag or clean aluminium foil if possible!”

The UK Fireball Alliance, or UKFAll, asked people not to breach coronavirus lockdowns to search for pieces.

The UK Fireball Alliance have a very interesting site here.

Sunday and other Media Stupid Statements from this week… March 7, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

In the IT during the week Mark FitzGerald, former trustee of FG and chair of Sherry FitzGerald wrote:

Access to politicians is one of the great tenets of our democracy. It is something that we should cherish and protect. It keeps the politician connected with the real world and the citizen connected with democracy. The issue we face, with the coarseness of online and often anonymous commentary, together with a culture of attrition in our parliament, is not unique to Ireland, but it is a deeply unpleasant trend. The problem is two-fold – the erosion of civility in public life and the unleashing of vitriol on social media.

A culture of attrition in our parliament? To his credit he recalls how his own father charged Charles Haughey with a ‘flawed pedigree’, but the idea that the parliamentary discourse is worse today than it was ten, fifteen years ago seems a stretch.

Finn Redmond in the IT offers the following while musing critically about the ‘woke’ and ‘cancel culture’ from a weekly column in a national newspaper:

Faced with great pressure, governments are behaving in unexpected ways. Right-wing parties are expanding the state; and in liberal democracies police are granted greater power than ever before. Maybe this is due to unique circumstance, and we should expect a reversal as the pandemic draws to a close. Or maybe we are looking at longer-term societal shifts that will persist far beyond the demise of Covid-19. Hopefully the emphasis on community over the individual will be here to stay too.

Just maybe this is due to ‘unique circumstances’?

While a former Minister for Justice and current Senator likes the phrase FF mudguard to SF they use it twice in a column in the IT:

 But on these figures FF would be the minority mudguard in any SF-led government.


If, as seems to be the case, every alternative leader is open to Sinn Féin coalition, the real problem will lie in convincing the electorate that FF is not a mere political mudguard-in-waiting for a coalition led by Mary Lou McDonald.

And continues with these observations:

While we know that Solidarity-People Before Profit is in substance a Leninist Trotskyist Marxist party which, while curiously condemning Sinn Féin as a “pro-capitalist, sectarian” party, seeks to hide its true complexion from voters, it isn’t clear whether there is a whisker of difference between Labour and the Social Democrats, or between Labour, the Social Democrats and the Greens in terms of broad ideological outlook.

All other contributions welcome!

Talk talk… March 6, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I imagine few who visit this site are big fans of Roblox, but for those unaware of it this from wiki is useful:

Roblox is an online gameplatform and game creation system developed by Roblox Corporation. It allows users to program games and play games created by other users. Founded by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004 and released in 2006, the platform hosts user-created games of multiple genres coded in the programming languageLua. For most of Roblox‘s history, it was relatively small, both as a platform and a company, due to both co-founder Baszucki’s lack of interest in press coverage and it being “lost among the crowd” in a large number of platforms released around the same time. Roblox began to grow rapidly in the second half of the 2010s, and this growth has been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic.[7][8]

Those who use it? Well, I’ve seen one stat that suggests 56% of its users are under 13. I’d think that’s possibly an underestimate.

Latest news? The user base is riven by news that chat, as in audio chat, is a feature to be added in the very near future. At present users interact by typing in messages that appear onscreen. It appears that many fans (is that even the right word) are perfectly happy with it remaining a text based chat environment. Let’s just say that the Roblox user I’m most adjacent too is no fan of the actual audio chat idea.

I wonder is this a broader generational thing for the age demographic involved? Certainly – on the one hand, the fact that they’re aware of the potential for problems is admirable. But talking to some teachers I’ve heard that in online contexts a lot of those in their teens are reticent about having cameras on, or even engaging to any great extent.

A terrible error! March 6, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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It’s odd, when I read this last weekend about the stage at CPAC looking like a Nazi rune I was a little sceptical. And then I saw the photos of the stage and got to say even if unintentional – of course it was – it was remarkably similar. Entertaining to see the negative response about ‘conspiracy theories’ from the organisers of an event which gave an – ahem – platform – to a range of people offering precisely that…

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Stockholm Monsters March 6, 2021

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I was surprised recently going through the list of groups that have been covered under This Weekend to find Stockholm Monsters hadn’t been featured. A band on Factory, released just one album in 1984 – the very interesting Alma Mater. Without question indebted to other groups on that label, and two in particular, one with the initials JD and the other with the initials NO (it certainly helps if your album producer is one P. Hook). On paper they would have been identikit Factory – mostly male vocals sounding older than their years (and they were young), urgent basslines and staccato guitars, but in practice… well, that’s another story entirely.

Allmusic makes a case that they were a missing link between A Certain Ratio and Happy Mondays. And compared to label mates like ACR or Section 25 I have always found them to be a more compelling listen. Now granted this was likely due to early exposure. I found the album second hand in Free Bird Records in early 1985 which wasn’t bad given it was released in September of the former year. I knew nothing about them, but they were on Factory and the calligraphy on the album sleeve was, and remains, fantastic. They had been around for a few years by that stage, had a single produced by Martin Hannett (natch!), released a track dissing Factory’s distributor ‘How Corrupt is Rough Trade?’, managed to keep going as a functioning outfit after the album for a few years and released the valedictory ‘Partyline’ single in 1987.

But what did they sound like? Well I’ve mentioned the vocals – deep, yep, but melodic. The basslines similar. They liked their strummed guitars, and plinky plonk keyboards (some sounds very familiar indeed to those of us who knew Casio’s) as well as a none-more-early 1980s use of trumpet which was quite un-New Order like – check out Terror and Where I Belong. Then again, they weren’t averse to slower, more melancholy, tracks like Decalogue which set a kids sampled voice against a descending keyboard line that would have neatly graced Closer or Movement. But I can’t help but feel that they were more expansive than their influences, with a willingness to mess around with stop start, speed up and slow down melodies (To Look At Her starts with a sample of marching feet and goes on from there building and building). There’s the female vocals too interleaved into the songs. The lyrics are oddly personal, whereas the titles are all quite martial – always wondered what that was about. But oddly there’s another quite different area of post-punk that bits of it remind me of – that being the Dunedin sound bands and New Zealand groups like the Clean. The latter’s garagey and keyboard driven songs are curiously reminiscent of SM, or vice versa. There’s a shambolic, sometimes out of tune, aspect to them both. A sense of enthusiasm overcoming musical limitations. Again, as with so much music these are examples of convergent evolutions. It’s not a precise mapping, but there’s just enough in there to see the commonalities, and of course all these groups and the SM’s were part of post-punk.

Entertainingly John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats has said this is the best album ever. High praise indeed, but there’s something about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. The melodies, the keyboard phrases, the basslines, have worked their way into my head. Over the years I’ll find myself humming them for no reason at all. If I were to pick an album of the early to mid-1980s that summed up post-punk and what would/could come after, I think maybe this is the one. 

Good piece below on them here…


Your Uniform


Life’s Two Faces

To Look At Her

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