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REPUDIATE THE DEBT CAMPAIGN: Lunchtime protest, 12:45 to 2 p.m., on Tuesday 1 November October 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

26th October

The Repudiate the Debt Campaign will be holding a lunchtime protest, 12:45 to 2 p.m., on Tuesday 1 November outside the Department of Finance
in Upper Merrion Street to protest against the handing over of €700,000,000 of the Irish people’s money to unguaranteed and unsecured bond-holders.
We consider this a transfer of wealth from the pockets and wage packets of Irish working people, the sick, unemployed, pensioners, and children.
This demonstration will be part of a national day of protest around the country to highlight this robbery of the people’s wealth. Organise your own event: mount your own protest in the main street of your village,town, or city. Contact your local radio stations to draw attention to
this affront to democracy.
Don’t leave it up to others, or just sit back and complain. Every voice counts; every placard raised is an act of saying No to this robbery of our people.
No party-political banners or flags.

Tuesday 1 November
Department of Finance (Merrion Street, Upper)
12:45 to 2 p.m.

Eoghan O’Neill

Colye Article0001

“The Bolivia of Evo Morales and the MAS: achievements and challenges” – LASC, Bolivia Information Forum UK and Venezuela Ireland Network: Fri 4th November October 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, International Politics, The Left.
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LASC, Bolivia Information Forum UK and Venezuela Ireland Network

Present a talk by : Dr John Crabtree, Oxford University Latin America Centre.

“The Bolivia of Evo Morales and the MAS: achievements and challenges”

The election of Evo Morales and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party in Bolivia is leading to a transformation of the country. The constitution has been re-written and Bolivia re-founded as a “Plurinational State”; the government has taken control of natural resources, including gas and oil, and is spending increased income on social programmes to benefit Bolivia’s poorest groups. Indigenous people are now participating at the highest levels of office and women are playing a key role in public administration.

Morales was re-elected in 2009 with an increased majority and a mandate to push forward with reforms. However, his government is now facing a number of key questions and conflicting demands: how to develop economically while protecting the environment and indigenous ways of life? How to meet the demands of powerful social movements as they defend the interests of their members? How to diversify the Bolivian economy beyond reliance on a handful of raw materials?

Dr John Crabtree is Research Associate in Latin American politics St Antony’s College specialising in the Andean region. His recent publications include “Unresolved Tensions: Bolivia Past and Present” (2008, edited with Laurence Whitehead) and “Patterns of Protest: Politics and Social Movements in Bolivia” (2005).

Followed by Questions and Answers

with: Alex Tilley MA, Coordinator Bolivia Information Forum UK

at: The Ireland Institute, The Pearse Centre, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2
(Upstairs Room)

when: Fri 4th November

time: 7.30pm

Admission Free

Irish Anarchist History Archive… October 31, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Some new posts over at the IAHA and they’re fascinating as ever. Most recently the first issue of Workers Solidarity published in November 1984, with a great cover photo and question. Well worth a look.

Presidential Election and Dublin West didn’t turn out too bad for Fianna Fail at all. October 30, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil, Irish Politics.
Tags: ,

On the last bus I found myself sitting amidst some aging Soldiers of Destiny, they were in good form and not just from the drink…..

When what seems an age ago Micheál Martin announced that Fianna Fail would not be fielding a candidate in the Presidential election there were shall we say misgivings among certain elements of Fianna Fail about the decision. It was a bit chaotic, Offering Gay Byrne a nomination yet stopping aspiring internal candidates such as Brain Crowley and Eamon O’Cuiv and thats before we got to the prospective candidacy of Labhrás Ó Murchú in the final few days before
nominations closed. It didn’t bode well for Martins leadership or indeed Fianna Fail.
So Fianna Fail were avoiding the cost of a Presidential election and concentrating their efforts solely on Dublin West candidate
David McGuinness.
Around the same time I had a conversation with someone who had canvassed for Conor Lenihan in February’s election. Naturally the Radio documentary “Dogfight Conor and Charlie” came up in conversation, he said if anything that the documentary had understated some of the hostility towards Conor Lenihan and Fianna Fail. A few stories of close shaves and rows the candidate got into were told. Over the course of the campaign such was the abuse that many had stopped canvassing as it just wasn’t worth the hassle. Looking back at the campaign I remarked that Fianna Fail didn’t call to my door even the once and I live in what was at one stage probably Fianna Fail heartland. I live in one of the only two LEAs in Dublin when in 2009 Fianna Fail candidates were elected on the first count.
So morale in Fianna Fail was low and Martins decision to opt out of the Presidential campaign for some made it lower.

Fast forward to the aftermath of Dublin West and The Presidential election.
The Presidential Election positives for Fianna Fail…
-Martin McGuinness, as feared by many in FF (and other places too) , didn’t hover up the Fianna Fail vote, as the campaign progressed Sean Gallagher did that.
-Fine Gaels performance caused much mirth in Fianna Fail circles. Had they gone with Dev Og or another candidate it could have been them.
– Despite the loss and his ‘Independence’, Sean Gallaghers vote was massive with 28.50% of the vote, many of it from Fianna Fail voters.

-It was the links with Fianna Fail that in part led to Gallaghers late collapse. Like many viewers I uttered the word “Bertie” when on the frontline brown envelopes and cheques were mentioned. It also brought back memories of the shady fundraising done by Fianna Fail (and other parties)
-The Gallagher vote was much lower in Dublin and other urban areas than elsewhere. Given that they have no TDs in Dublin Gallaghers low vote there shows that Fianna Fail is still more toxic in Dublin than elsewhere…..

… However the result of David McGuinness in Dublin West will be a huge boost to them. Yes he didn’t win the seat and they are now seatless in Dublin but to increase the party vote from the General Election was a massive achievement (he got a bigger percentage vote and a bigger number of votes than Fianna Fail did in February). He also didn’t do too badly on transfers either.

…. As the last two Soldiers of Destiny left the bus, after their jubilant journey. Their parting shot to each other ….. “Wait til they cut the 4 Billion in December”

Having had little or nothing to be enthused about in a long time, The morale of the Fianna Fail Grassroots is up. Fianna Fail are far from dead yet.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week October 30, 2011

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

Brendan O’Connor is talking this week about the possibility of EU fiscal union and devaluation. He offers us this, now that Greek devaluation has made Ireland more central.

Fortunately, assistance will not be the much-vaunted cash handouts available to uncompetitive regions of nation states. Experience shows that, while these treat the symptoms, they make the disease more malignant.

I’ve no idea what he’s on about. I suspect he doesn’t either, apart from the fact that Ireland must lead the way by cutting costs and increasing efficiency. Haven’t we been doing that with “success” since the crisis started?

Conor McCabe has exposed, in his book and in LookLeft, the fallacy of the idea of a property-owning gene in Irish society. It seems we have a replacement, according to successful internet entrepreneur Ray Nolan.

Irish people are genetically pre-disposed to be in tech. Our small economy necessitates that we are pleasant, pragmatic, copped-on problem-solvers. It’s in our genes.

One of the most endearing/crazier things about the Sindo is its unshaking belief that it is inconoclastic. Brendan O’Connor demonstrates this stupidly perfectly.

There was a certain class, of the Dublin anti-establishment political establishment, who were furious about Gallagher. These people are the new Official Ireland. They are centred around politics and media; they worship Michael D and Michael Moore. They like the Leviathan political cabaret and the talking tents at festivals; they buy all those books about what happened at Anglo, about Bertie and the downfall of the country. This crowd was always appalled by Gallagher. They were appalled by his connections to Fianna Fail, yes, and they were appalled by certain complicated aspects of his business (show me the businessman without a complexity here and there). But mainly this crowd was appalled because Gallagher happened without its permission. It was a rural thing. They didn’t understand it, they didn’t predict it and they didn’t like it. They didn’t like this gauche culchie and his new wife.

Yep, there is a sinister cabal running the country, the real establishment, which just appears powerless, and economic, social and political power in the Republic just appears to be in the hands of speculators and bankers. I await David Icke’s new Sindo column with interest.

Carol Hunt has shown signs during the crisis of realising the faults of neo-liberalism. However, today, it seems those effects have worn off.

We don’t have a Bernie Madoff in Ireland. Some of us may point to any number of bankers, auditors, regulators, government ministers, and accuse them — perhaps rightfully in many cases — of gross dereliction of duty, but that is about it. Our crisis was not caused by criminal behaviour.

Or at least none that we have discovered so far. And we’ve found out a lot. Our crisis, in the main, was caused by incompetence.

I’d have thought lying to the government about your debts was one example of criminal behaviour, and there are many others. But we know that the crisis was not caused by incompetence, but by the nature of the system itself. Anyone who can’t see that is being wilfully blind. Then again, this is the Sindo.

That Gay Mitchell vote October 30, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fine Gael, Irish Politics, Uncategorized.
Tags: ,

Amidst Sean Gallaghers collapse and Michael Ds victory , it was a very very bad day for Fine Gael. A poor performance in Dublin West was overshadowed by a shocking performance by Gay Mitchell. Finishing by a distance in fourth place, he was even outpolled by Dana and Mary Davis in a number of constituencies.
On a regional level he was outpolled by David Norris in Dublin and the rest of Leinster. The only constituency he polled in double figures was in his native Dublin South Central where he got 12.1% of the vote.
In a dirty campaign Mitchell had few if any skeletons in his closet. Still it was plainly a woeful candidate selection, seen by many as TDs and Senators giving one in the eye to their leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
There’s the poor show and possibly more importantly there is the money. No expenses. Not a penny back on whatever Fine Gael spent on the campaign (quoted by one paper as possibly €700,000) , and it must have been a small fortune. Mitchell produced an array of leaflets , Posters, T-Shirts and so on. There were Mitchell buses , Billboards, ads in National and Local media.
I was surprised at one of the main themes of the Mitchell campaign, which was the candidates background. Its rare in election material or in campaigns that candidates will focus on hardship growing up as Mitchell did. So much so that he was lampooned on radio skits along the Monty Pythonesque lines of “We were lucky to have shoes”.
Whilst the final Televised debate pulled the rug from under Sean Gallagher, the first one spelt the end of Mitchells campaign. He appeared angry and confrontational as he attacked Martin McGuinness. In effect he carried on in a most unpresidential manner.
The strange thing is that he didn’t need to attack McGuinness, none of the other candidates really did, the media were going to do that and there were also a number of incidents during the campaign where McGuinness was confronted by his past.
I’ve been amused listening to FG friends giving out about these Parliamentary Party rebels and how they cost the party a fortune by backing Mitchell …. then finding out that these FG friends voted for Michael D. !
We are told that Presidential Elections are different and of course they are , but a Fine Gael candidate finishing on 6.4% shows that party loyalty isn’t once what it was.
I suspect even Avril Doyle never mind Pat Cox or Mairead McGuinness would have fared far better. They would have at least got some money back.

I get that some people are very critical of SF… but why make stuff up? October 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Henry McDonald in today’s Guardian on the Presidential election…

Sinn Féin appeared to acknowledge the damage that his IRA legacy had inflicted on McGuinness’s bid. He had hoped to achieve about 20% but may only get around 15% the same as the party polled in February’s general election.

Really, Henry?

When one goes to wiki one will find that Sinn Féin got 9.9 per cent of the vote and:

Sinn Féin also made significant gains. All its sitting TDs were returned with Seán Crowe regaining the seat in Dublin South–West he lost in 2007 and party president Gerry Adams retaining Arthur Morgan’s seat in Louth, topping the poll. In addition to winning targeted seats such as Dublin Central, Dublin North–West and Meath West the party gained unexpected seats in Cork East and Sligo–North Leitrim.[14] It won 14 seats, the best performance for the party’s current incarnation.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to: Angelic Upstarts October 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

A while back I mentioned the Business and their timeless classic Harry May. But that’s far from the limits of my interest in Oi. For a band which would swim closer to the shores of the interests of the CLR how about the Angelic Upstarts, formed in 1977, led by the staunchly left wing and anti-fascist Mensi. Their debut single ‘The Murder of Liddle Towers’ is a powerful statement of intent both in musical and ideological terms, and it’s this mixture that’s so fascinating about their career, a sort of eclectic mix and match of themes and sounds.

Check out 42nd Street which at 1.48 minutes goes… oddly post punk. And it’s those little bits and pieces that sort of make them intriguing and certainly significantly different to most of their peers. This album, Reason Why? was released in 1983 after they broke with EMI and in a way it’s a blend of harder edged and more melodic material, to good effect. Check out their fascinating pro-Polish Solidarity song entitled… er… Solidarity!

Then there’s the anti-Thatcher title track, whose central conceit I’ve never been entirely comfortable with. Not so much the anti-Thatcherism which is fine but the idea of a ‘women in disguise’ which doesn’t quite scan for me, though perhaps I’m reading too much into it. The aforementioned 42nd Street is brilliant and the title track is sung by guest vocalist Terry Sharpe from Starjets/Adventures and is strongly reggae inflected.

Fado fado, okay, it was quite a while back I remember their name scrawled on school bags and the odd fan of them around Kilbarrack. And then, well nothing much, despite the fact they continued to gig throughout the 80s and 1990s and still are if I recall correctly. But well worth a listen particularly as indicative of a strand of politically aware punk and post-punk [though that political awareness could take them odd places, Lonely Man of Spandau being a case in point from their second album].

And there you have it, a short sharp post to cover a short sharp band. A mate of mine was in Bristol recently and discovered they were playing the night after he left. It’ll never end. 🙂


Woman in Disguise

42nd Street

Nobody Was Saved

Reason Why/Don’t Stop


Speaking of 1980s music… October 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.

As we were last week. I found this site this week and to be honest it’s been highly entertaining. There’s something about music generated in a localised context that is always intriguing. And given the dominance of one form of music in the context of Nashville it’s fascinating to hear music that took a different – sometimes deliberately so – direction. Though given that Jason and the Scorchers are perhaps the most well known group on the lists here there is more than an hint of that dominant musical form [though then how to explain Jet Black Factory who were though nowhere near as well known a band that had a profile outside of Nashville with a musical approach rooted at least partially in New Wave, if not indeed close enough to Goth].

That said though there’s a sort of dubious pleasure to be had from looking down the list of names of groups and trying to work out what sort of music they produce. Little surprise to discover that sone are synth based, while others have a Joy Division influenced approach, others more than an hint of REM while others are fairly basic hardcore.

To be honest the standard is very variable. One or two are polished, but overly so. Others are amateurish in the extreme. No surprise there. But some are pretty good and there’s something fragile and likeable about all this and the comparisons with Dublin during the 1980s are impossible to evade. Who among these is the equivalent of The Atrix or Blue in Heaven, or indeed The Slowest Clock or perhaps as interesting a question which is their version of Something Happens? Actually that may not be that interesting a question.


Let the new President speak… October 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

…And an interview in the Mail by Jason O’Toole does precisely that. Apparently it took place earlier in the year, so it provides a reasonably recent insight into him when he was still a civilian, albeit with an eye on the Presidency. It covers a range of topics,
Same Sex Marriage and Abortion …

I have no problem whatever either with same sex-marriage. That’s my personal opinion. I also feel — you’ll find it in my poems very much — the price that was paid for this terrible intolerance in Ireland is very high. There are, for example, people for whom all of it has come too late. I go every year to England to meet people who had to leave Ireland to express their sexuality. So, that was an incredible travesty of these people’s right. I also think that if people want to live together in a marriage relationship, I say, ‘Why not?’ In relation to the life of the mother, I think the State has to face up to its responsibilities and legislate for the life of the mother, however complex it is. [Asked if he agreed with the right to abortion] I think it depends on the termination time. It depends on the case. I think the woman has the right to protect her health. I’m in favour of legislation that will not put any risk on the mother’s health.’


‘I’m a spiritual person. I attend Catholic ceremonies. I don’t think that anyone who is serious could say that they weren’t a spiritual person. I don’t think the world we live in can be reduced into a simple material for expression. If you like, the rational world can only bring us so far; there is a transcendent aspect to our existence — things that move you and so forth. I have great respect for the humanist tradition, But I’m not simply a humanist myself. I feel there is an inheritance that comes through the culture of belief systems. So, when you say to me, “Are you a practising (Catholic)?” I wouldn’t know what it was. I don’t believe in heaven and hell. What I think about it is that they don’t enter into my thinking very much. Does life end in the moment of physical death? We’ll continue to speculate on it, but I think that there is a spiritual dimension to our existence that is not turned into physically. That’s as far as I would go.’

His career to [then] date:

‘I have 25 years (as a TD). I stood for the first time in 1969. I was in the Seanad from ’73 to ’77 and from ’82 to ‘87. I was 25 years in the Dáil and nine years in the Seanad. I’ve been a frontbench spokesperson for all of my time. And I’ve also been a minister, as you know, from 1993 to 1997. I’m lodging all my papers in the National Library. They’ve already started. I think over the years I must have about 20 chapters in other people’s books, so then I would have some of the stuff from Hot Press and then I have my own books as well, and I’ve a lot of published poems. And all that stuff is going to the National Library.’

Attacks on him for abolishing Section 31 and establishing TG4- by the way kudos to him for that and interesting who led the charge against him:

… I think that I was treated unfairly about two things — the first is the abolition of the order of Section 31 (of the Broadcasting Act) [forbidding the broadcasting of Sinn Féin members’ voices]. The other thing, which is something I’ve never regretted, is my decision to establish Teilifís na Gaeilge, which is now TG4. There was one edi t ion of the Sunday Independent that had five articles attacking me on one or other of those topics. Some of the stuff was highly personalised.’

A long time wish to be President:

‘My main concern in 2004 — and I think I’ve been proved right — was the discourse that we should be having. I was aware that Ireland had changed and that we were at a very vulnerable stage. In the period between 1997 and 2004, a whole series of things were beginning to shift and you had a kind of radical individualism in the country that was beginning to change everything. So, in 2004 I wanted a campaign in which you would have a debate about what kind of Ireland you wanted. And I feel that we missed an opportunity there. Yes, it did upset me.’

And what he hopes to do in the post:

‘I think I can bring a very positive energy to it. I have very definite views about it. Remember, by training I’m a political scientist, so I know the limitations and the possibilities of the office. In addition, I’ve also been in nearly ever elected office you have. Remember I’ve been on the county council, I was a senator and a Dáil deputy and a minister. I was President of the European Council of Culture Ministers in 1996. I know the institutional grounds — the space, if you like. The President can’t be an organised force of opposition against the government of the day. The oath you take which says that you dedicate yourself to the welfare of the Irish people.

And points to the interesting decade ahead:

You are also able to look at themes that are not arising as problems now. For example, the next President will deal with some very significant dates — 1912, the founding of the Labour Party; 1913, the Lockout; 1914, the Great War; 1916 and so on. If you were to take where we are now in this recession, which has turned into a depression — and I think it is a depression — and if you were trying to say to people: “Look, i t’ s the people who really object to impunity but, that having been said, we move on from recrimination on to envisaging what you’re going to do about the future.” There is scope there and the difference between different versions of the presidency is how you use your discretion. And the discretion is where you make speeches, what topics you pick.

And a troubling political background from his early days which it is astounding didn’t come out during the campaign. OSF? PSF? Why no…:

‘I was a member of the Fianna Fáil Kevin Barry Cumann for about six months in 1966. It was before I went to America. We invited ministers down to tell us about their policies. I remember Seán Flanagan. But they didn’t feel that they were treated with sufficient respect and they reported the cumann. So, I think we would’ve been dumped. I think I was on the way out anyway if I hadn’t gone to America.’

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