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Interview about the Irish Left Review at Indymedia… March 26, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Pressure of work means I can only refer to this briefly, but there is a good interview at Indymedia about the Irish Left Review conducted by Chekov with the editor of the ILR, Donagh Brennan (also of Dublin Opinion). As you may know there is a contribution from the Cedar Lounge on the ILR which is only recently established.

I think the ILR is a great opportunity to build up a discussion in a perhaps more considered way than general blogging about what it means to be on the Irish Left. This latest iteration of it has an interesting essay by Michael Taft on strategies for the Left coming up to the Local Elections, previously there has been what I’d consider an important article by Alex Klemm on how the left must engage with immigrants during this period too (and interestingly I know for a fact that Fianna Fáil are already producing Polish language electoral leaflets). Stephanie discussed women and their representation and participation in the Irish political system. Conor McCabe wasn’t afraid to talk about class (something far too many people on the social democratic and democratic socialist left appear to be unwilling to do). You get a cinema column written by Seanachie (from France – somewhere cinema still means something) and I even had a piece… So it’s all good.

But Donagh (accompanied by a photograph from the Sunday Tribune – lucky man) made a number of points in the interview that really resonate.

He noted that he started blogging:

…mainly to stop fuming quietly while reading stuff online and to order my thoughts and give them some focus. I also started up a group blog and although it was only mainly me at the beginning, the aim was to have a place where me and some of my mates could sharpen our ideas, and do so in a more elegant and sartorial style than we were capable of down the pub. One friend I hoped to rope in is living in France and a blog seemed like the perfect way to get us all doing something together again.

This sense of powerlessness and the necessity to analyse in a critical fashion is central to these projects. If I recall correctly it was Neil Postman who in Amusing Ourselves to Death (still a good read today although it’s a tad dated being first printed in 1985) suggested that one of the reasons that the middle classes (and for that read a much broader spread than that definition suggests) are such voracious consumers of news media is because although they only rarely have direct links into the process of government or politics believe that by being aware of current events, political and otherwise, it gives them psychological comfort and a sense of control -which is, he points out, entirely illusory. Well, perhaps we’re all part of that shared delusion too, but I think that true or not, one of the defining aspects of this short period of blogging has been the way in which while allowing preposterous claims to be made it has also acted as a means of finessing opinions and beliefs. If nothing else that is of value.

And what is a useful process on the individual level is clearly essential on the level of political formations and structures, particularly those on the left in a context where consumerism, commercialism and individualism of one stripe or another dominate our public discourse.
This is even more true in a society where the left has never, not once, been the leading component in any government. And that means that the left has to work together… a tall order but one worth pursuing. Or as Donagh says:

 The consensual point of view was that Left wing parties (basically Labour, Sinn Fein and the Greens, being the largest Left wing or ‘progressive’ parliamentary parties) should act together and work towards a situation where they are no longer the poor relations of Irish politics, expected only to be the support act in a right-wing lead coalition. The suggestion being that they can work together to become a significant political block in their own right.

That’s something that chimes not merely with the broad approach of the Cedar Lounge but other blogs as well. So the logic, a collective logic, is to work together.

Still, one point that I hadn’t considered was the idea that there are really very very few left wing blogs in Ireland (north and south). That, though, is something for another day’s consideration.

Comments»

1. Donagh - March 26, 2008

Cheers for mentioning this WorldbyStorm. Most of the favourable comments I’ve got so far about the ILR is the design of the site, which is exactly the same as the mock-ups you sent me.

An additional point though and its something I mentioned in the interview. If any of the commenters on here, whether bloggers or not, are interested in writing something for Irish Left Review let me know.

You can mail me about it at dublinopinionATgmailDOTcom. Or just add a comment here about what it is you’d like to write about or think that the ILR should cover.

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2. WorldbyStorm - March 26, 2008

That’s a great idea. Incidentally, it was John Blackbourne who did all the hard work actually putting it together… although I do like the design sort of… not so keen though on the image of Ireland and the UK (which I selected)… that might have to be changed.

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3. Starkadder - October 31, 2008

On the subject of Indymedia, I heard Chekov Feeney has resigned from
Indymedia.ie. Is this true?

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4. WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2008

I hadn’t heard that… was your source good?

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5. Starkadder - October 31, 2008

It was someone on Politics.ie. I’m not sure what Chekov is
doing since Village magazine gave up the ghost.

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6. WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2008

I’m sorry to hear that… he’s a good sort…

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7. crocodile - October 31, 2008

Hallowe’en spookiness – I’ve just read the last 4 comments, dated October 31 – and it’s still October 30!

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8. WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2008

That is odd… but appropriate…

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9. Starkadder - November 4, 2008

Chekov seems to have his own Facebook page now:

http://www.facebook.com/people/Chekov_Feeney/819345821

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10. WorldbyStorm - November 4, 2008

My God, you’re a data miner..! Good to see he’s still about…

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