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What you want to say… Open Thread, 23rd January, 2012 January 23, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

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


1. lcox - January 23, 2013

“Radical communications and social justice: an evening of discussion with Firoze Manji (founder of Pambazuka News) and Margaret Gillan (coordinator for Community Media Network)”. Next Monday 28th, 6 pm, O’Connell St.

Organised by Dublin Multicultural Resource Centre,
Association of African Students in Ireland and the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism. Full details at http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.ie/2013/01/radical-communications-and-social.html.


2. Ciarán - January 23, 2013

Inez McCormack passed away on Monday and will be buried in Derry today.


3. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - January 23, 2013

Interesting article by John Palmer on the crisis in the British SWP



4. irishelectionliterature - January 23, 2013

“A collection of the wankiest slogans and text on ad/marketing agency websites. ”


5. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - January 23, 2013

Owen Jones, author of ‘Chavs’ on the lessons of the SWP’s problems. (I’m posting these partly because they are of interest to most people on the left and partly because members of the Irish SWP might actually get to read them and discuss them, though I believe silence is golden on this issue from the Irish party at the moment).



CL - January 23, 2013

Owen Jones-“That doesn’t mean yet another Leninist sect, lacking any semblance of internal democracy, obsessed with replicating a revolution that took place in a semi-feudal country nearly a century ago.”-Ouch!


FergusD - January 24, 2013

Yeah, but his alternative is rather vague, a network of like minded organisations, campaigning groups etc. But how is that going to emerge?


6. Richard - January 23, 2013

Those of yous like me who infest the internet may be interested in this piece I translated on how networks can serve to advance a new political culture:

‘The practices of social movements still function too much with that idea of totality: the assembly perceives itself as a centre of self-organisation, the activist feels in charge of everything, etc. They are very potent practices, but you pay the price of simplification because it only works under conditions of homogeneity. And where there is no complexity there is no life, that’s what science teaches. Internet is educating us in another experience, where there is neither a centre nor a whole, neither vanguard nor rearguard.’



7. Laim Smullen - January 24, 2013

Laim Smullen

The new grants system seems worse than the previous one
in which studnets are still waiting for grant dispite having applied for
them in August 2012, so it seems the you need a lot money for third
level eduction if you want it.

Student Grant Scheme Delays

134. Deputy Martin Heydon


Student Grant Scheme Delays

123. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien


Most grants due in weeks, claims Quinn


Delay in student grant process

Sir, – Last August I applied for a student grant from Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi). I am now in my second term as a first-year student in UCD and have heard nothing from Susi. It is not easy for my parents, with three college students now at home and two younger ones to support.

Fed up of waiting, last week I sent an email inquiring about the status of my application. On January 21st 2013, I finally received a letter from Susi requesting supporting documents for my application. This letter was dated August 15th, 2012. To have a letter waiting nearly six months to be sent – is this a record? – Yours, etc,


Silchester Park, Glenageary,

Co Dublin.



Wendy Lyon - January 24, 2013

I’m one of those still waiting. I applied in July.


WorldbyStorm - January 24, 2013

It’s appalling and is it me or is it amazingly under reported?


Wendy Lyon - January 24, 2013

There’s been a fair amount of media attention on it, though most of it has focused on people whose grants were approved but are still awaiting payment. What’s gone largely unnoticed is the number of people still waiting on a decision.


8. Starkadder - January 24, 2013

Slighty long rant coming up…

The poisionous Mary Ellen Synon takes a leaf out of the
David Irving school with this garbage about Spielberg’s
“Lincoln” film:

“The truth is, the war was about tariffs and not about slavery.”


No Mary. The war was about the South
breaking away because Lincoln was opposed to the
advancement of slavery. South Carolina’s secession
declaration in December 1860 stated their reason for leaving the
Union was:

“”the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery”

Quoted in E.B. Long, “The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac, 1861–1865”.1971. (p12-13).

No tariffs there.

Synon approvingly quotes the Neo-Confederate historians
Dr Clyde Wilson and Thomas DiLorenzo in her screed.

Synon has long carried a torch for the Dunning School /
Neo-Confederate gang: in an article for the
Sunday Independent 15th January 1995, she actually
defended the Ku Klux Klan:

“…Yankees lie about the purpose and activities of the Klan,just as they lie about all the finest Southern things.The lie stretches across the Atlantic…

The Klan fought against the oppression of innocence and when Nathan Bedford Forrest determined that the end of Negro and Yankee brutality had been accomplished, he disbanded the Klan”

Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose thugs slaughtered black
POWs at For Pillow? Forrest, who set up the KKK to
protect white supremacy?


LeftAtTheCross - January 24, 2013

There were a couple of articles in the previous edition of Jacobin magazine about the American civil war:



It’s not a subject I’m familiar with myself.


Starkadder - January 24, 2013

You could try “Battle Cry of Freedom” by
James M. McPherson as a good intro. For a leftist
take try “A People’s History of the Civil War” by
David Williams, which among other strengths reveals
the anti-slavery stances and military desertions of
many white Southerners. One sample: Pages 372-3 of Williams’ book mentions that the 20th U.S. Colored Troops
were greeted with “waving hankerchiefs, flowers [and]
acclaimation” by whites as they marched through
New York in 1864- even though the Draft Riots
had occured there a few months earlier, and
the high regard many white soliders had for
the bravery of black soldiers in the Union army.

Which, of course,also torpedoes Synon’s claim about there being a moral equivalency between the Union and Confederate’s armies treatment of blacks.


RosencrantzisDead - January 24, 2013

It is funny how the ‘neo confederate’ thing has been leapt upon by reactionary columnists.

It should not be forgotten that states’ rights, free markets, and other bits about the US Civil War are really a cover -an abstraction- of something else:


Republican strategist Lee Atwater lays it out very clearly in the above piece. (NSFW language)


Michael Carley - January 24, 2013

Right up there with her views on `games for cripples’ and Travellers not being quite human.


Dr. X - January 24, 2013

Then there’s Uncle Charlie’s writings on the Slaveholder’s Treasonous Rebellion, e.g.:

“For months the leading weekly and daily papers of the London press have been reiterating the same litany on the American Civil War. While they insult the free states of the North, they anxiously defend themselves against the suspicion of sympathising with the slave states of the South. In fact, they continually write two articles: one article, in which they attack the North, and another article, in which they excuse their attacks on the North.

In essence the extenuating arguments read: The war between the North and South is a tariff war. The war is, further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery and in fact turns on Northern lust for sovereignty. Finally, even if justice is on the side of the North , does it not remain a vain endeavour to want to subjugate eight million Anglo-Saxons by force! Would not separation of the South release the North from all connection with Negro slavery and ensure for it, with its twenty million inhabitants and its vast territory, a higher, hitherto scarcely dreamt-of, development? Accordingly, must not the North welcome secession as a happy event, instead of wanting to overrule it by a bloody and futile civil war?”


More of the same at:


Never let it be forgotten that even when the Synon creature had her arse kicked for her assertion that the lives of disabled people were “of less value” (actual quote), there were people in Ireland prepared to defend her.

Point by point we will probe the plea of the English press.


Dr. X - January 24, 2013

Is there any way at all we could have an “edit posts” function on this bloody wordpress site?


smiffy - January 24, 2013

She does have one brilliant bit:

“If you were one of the 900 people who did pay out €160 a head last night for last night’s gala, you might be wondering why I didn’t tell you the truth about Lincoln before you dug into your money to see the movie.

Reason: because the film was being screened in aid of the Wicklow Hospice building fund, and I have hesitated to write one word that might discourage anyone from giving money to that cause.”

Phew! I can just imagine what might have happened had she not taken such a principled stand. No doubt the Savoy would have been empty, with the numbers of people who take their cues on what to attend from Mary Ellen Synon.

She’s a legend.


CL - January 25, 2013

Eric Foner’s ‘The Fiery Trial’ is a good account of Lincoln and slavery. Foner is a nephew of Phillip Foner, historian of the American labor movement. His father Jack D. Foner, also a historian, was blacklisted because he was a radical. And Uncle Moe ran a union.
Foner has criticized some inaccuracies in the movie:

“Never before had so large a number of slaves been declared free,” Foner concludes. “By making the army an agent of emancipation and wedding the goals of Union and abolition, it ensured that Northern victory would produce a social transformation in the South and a redefinition of the place of blacks in American life.” All that is missing from Spielberg’s film.
Another good book on the abolition of slavery is James Oakes just published “Freedom National’, which has a somewhat different take than Foner’s.


9. Starkadder - January 24, 2013

Dolours Price has died:

Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price has been found dead, it has emerged today.

The 62-year-old mother-of-two was found at her home in Malahide, north Dublin, last night, sources said.

Price, the former wife of actor Stephen Rea, was a convicted Provisional IRA car bomber for the 1973 attack on London’s Old Bailey courts in which one man died and more than 200 people were injured.



Florrie O'Donoghue - January 25, 2013

Ar dheis dé go raibh a h-anam.


10. Joe - January 24, 2013

Anyone else notice a few interesting liberal leftish pieces in the Irish Times recently – one on that mapping exercise of areas of wealth/poverty in Ireland, the series on prisons and the piece today on how the state, through its direct provision scheme, keeps asylum seekers permanently below the poverty line.
Wishful thinking on my part or is this a recent improvement in IT editorial direction?


CMK - January 24, 2013

A newspaper losing readers at a rate of knots needs to cover all its bases. Ten years of John Waters, Mark Steyn, Charles Krauthammer, Breda O’Brien, Dan O’Brien and so on will have turned tens of thousands of left-liberals off and many might have stopped buying it. Someone of the ‘business’ side of the house must have prevailed upon ‘editorial’ that those liberals represent a revenue stream worth protecting now that there is not much property advertising (the IT’s real passion) nowadays.


Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - January 25, 2013

Breda O’Brien’s views on economics (when she writes about them) are to the left of the Irish Times usual position.


CMK - January 25, 2013

But she’s not really known for her stance on economics.


Starkadder - January 26, 2013

Desmond Fennell has a rant in the most recent



smiffy - January 24, 2013

I wouldn’t read too much into it. There definitely has been a change in the editorial approach since Kennedy left, but it’s not hugely significant. The paper has stopped giving space to many of the out and out right-wing buffoons that CMK mentions (under Kennedy, even Tony Allwright got a look in, which says everything you need to know about quality control during that era). So there’s been some rebalancing in terms of space, but I don’t sense that the general editorial line has changed significantly. There’s always been room in the paper for ‘social issues’ (for want of a better term) like deprivation, asylum, institutional abuse (the kind of subject Mary Raftery covered very well, and Kitty Holland does too, but they’re not the only ones).

However, the problem with the paper is that it never makes the link between the kind of economic policies it advocates in the business section and the kind of problems it covers in its ‘special reports’.


CMK - January 24, 2013

Yes, there’s no point in over-analysing it. The IT’s editorial position on questions of political economy remains resolutely entrenched in the orthodoxy and. I’d be considerably less charitable in my interpretation of why they don’t appear to make the link between their ‘social’ issues and economic policies: they’re deliberately and consciously deciding to ignore the link. They’re all educated, highly educated people, many of whom were probably exposed to cogent theories that directly undermine the tenets of neo-classical and neo-liberal economics. But they’ve decided, it seems to me, to consciously disavow the questions their education should lead them to pose. Put it another way someone with an advanced degree in astrophysics who believed that the sun orbited the earth would, at the least, raise eyebrows. Yet, despite the advances in sociological theories over the past 150 years, we’re regularly treated to views, from people who boast advance degrees in politics etc., that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1840’s Manchester newspaper. The Tories, who are clear influences on FG, have recently re-marketed the ‘deserving vs. undeserving’ poor, a staple of Victorian social policy, as the ‘strivers vs. shirkers’ dyad.


CL - January 25, 2013

In the U.S the phrase is ‘makers and takers’.


doctorfive - January 25, 2013

However, the problem with the paper is that it never makes the link between the kind of economic policies it advocates in the business section and the kind of problems it covers in its ‘special reports’.


Columnists often mask the true stance of the paper innit.


The ‘In the Eye of the Times’ piece in Village last year set out how they handle news really well.


11. Ivorthorne - January 24, 2013

Interesting article on currency and token economies



12. ivorthorne - January 25, 2013

Joe Higgins is impressing on Vincent Browne. It’s a good panel – the kind you’d never see anywhere else.


13. Emerald - January 26, 2013

There are to be 27,000? water meters being installed this year, and a great many more in subsequent years.
Is this entire ‘water meter’ really daft?
East coast rainfall : 750-1000mm per year.
West coast rainfall: 1000-1400m per year.
Mountainous districts rainfall: c.2000mm per year.
It rains on the East Coast: 150 days per annum.
It rains on the West Coast: 225 days per annum.

(rainfall in Manor Street)

(rainfall in Ballybough).

And yet, now we are expected to pay for this.


LeftAtTheCross - January 26, 2013

It’s not about water, it’s about profit.


CL - January 26, 2013

Just because its raining outside doesn’t mean you have water in your house suitable for drinking or taking a shower. Labor power has to be expended so that when you turn on the tap water is available. There is a real, economic cost involved. The question then becomes how is this cost distributed. And the answer is supplied by those with the power to do so.
Here are some views of the oldest bridge in NYC built by Irish immigrant workers in the 1840s to bring water to Manhattan.


Emerald - January 26, 2013

Let’s have published the National accounts per annum for the last 20 years. The macro overall costs allocated and the micro (area) costs. The area costs would probably be from central funding through to the local authority budget; for the smaller? reservoirs, purification and underground pipe maintenance.
If people could know the exact previous cost, in their own area for each of the last 20 years, it might give at least a per capita cost and so would be some gauge as to how much they should pay in the future. What the businesses used, the local authority must have some idea of that and those figures could be published alongside the civic use.


Emerald - January 26, 2013

@latc: “it’s not about water”.
That’s kinda what I mean. It is not about water.
It is about: what reservoirs there are and how many;
the maintenance and upkeep per annum of the reservoirs;
the purification processes and the costs;
the maintenance and upkeep of the underground pipes;
the engineering and manual, labour costs, per annum.

Could ‘those’ costs, and only those, not be retrospectively paid each year on a per capita basis? The purification chemicals might be the only real ratio increase that pertain to each person/household; but that probably is quite negligible; compared to the actual maintenance of the infrastructure.


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