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Joe McCann 1972 and the HET January 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.

From An Phoblacht… many thanks to the person who forwarded this.


Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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Prof Jim Smyth of the University of Notre Dame will give a lecture in the Long Room Hub on Wed 30th
January at 12.30pm.

The title of his lecture is:

Since the signing of the Good Friday accords in 1998, and the winding down of the conflict in Northern Ireland, ‘The Troubles’ have been conducted through other means. The politics of remembrance prevail: victims groups, the police service Historical Enquiry Teams, judicial inquiries – and demands for more – including the longest, most expensive inquiry in history, which produced the Saville Report on Bloody Sunday; memoirs, memorials, murals, marches, plaques, anniversaries and television documentaries, all focused intensely on the recent, turbulent and traumatic past, have proliferated, proliferate and seem set to continue. The many different versions of the recent past Loyalist,Republican, ‘Official’, are competing and contested.

At one level Irish scholarly engagement with historical memory is no more exceptional than that of, say, Australian or American historians. At other levels, however, social memory, remembrance, commemoration and forgetting are here charged with an urgency and topicality rarely found elsewhere.
First, how ‘The Troubles’, a recent, protracted, conflict, are interpreted and presented, and by who, is a politically raw issue in a still deeply‐divided society. And second, we are just now at the outset of the socalled decade of centenaries, beginning with the signing of the Ulster Covenant, 1912/2012 and concluding with the end of the civil war 1923/2023.

Jim Smyth, Professor of History, holds a B.A. from Trinity College, Dublin, and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Before coming to Notre Dame, he taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He has written extensively on seventeenth‐ and eighteenth‐century Ireland and is the author of The Men of No Property: Irish Radicals and Popular Politics in the Late Eighteenth Century (1992, 1998). He is editor of a collection of essays, Revolution, Counter‐Revolution and Union, Ireland in the 1790s (2000), and author of The Making of the United Kingdom, 1660‐1800: Religion, Identity and State in Britain and Ireland (2001). He was Mellon Visiting Fellow, Folger Institute, Washington, DC in 2002‐2003.

That end of January RedC Poll. January 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Seeing as we’re thinking about polls, there’s something interesting happening at the moment and in a way it’s hard to explain. What we appear to be moving towards is a situation where all the broad groups, including Independents and Others, but notably excluding the Labour Party, inhabit zones of support between 15 and 25 per cent. Look at the graph and one can see that since September 2011 after an initial spike in the ratings for Fine Gael – and one delivered overwhelmingly by Independents and Others voters, the general trend has been towards the 15 to 25 area for Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and Independents. There have been set-backs. For much of last year those three groups were in the sub-20 position. Sinn Féin has risen above 20 per cent only once in the RedC polls, that in May of last year. But overall, and very oddly, their fortunes seem to be linked.

Interestingly a Sunday Times poll appears to corroborate much of the general trends, with FG at 26 per cent, the LP at 11 per cent, FF at 24 per cent (worth thinking about that) and SF at 19 per cent. That leaves 20 per cent for Others/Independents.

Fine Gael by contrast while never regaining the dizzy heights above 40 per cent seen in May 2011 had managed to make the 30 to 35 per cent band its own until late last year and early this. Now it’s dipped sub-30 two polls in a row – and more tellingly across other polls (including the Sunday Times poll).

Labour continues its slow decline, reaching down towards the 10 per cent level that was its lot for much of the past three decades.
Obviously all others do well when FG and LP decline, but note that it is all others. Sinn Féin, Independents and Others and Fianna Fáil. There’s still a fairly strong correlation between Fine Gael and Independents and Others, generally when one is up the other is down, look at March and October 2012. This is interesting because it suggests a core of former FG supporters who cannot bring themselves to vote for either SF or Fianna Fáil and will therefore tilt towards Inds/Others. Room there for a right of Fine Gael party? Could be.

Labour’s vote, by contrast, is being cannibalised by both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, though more the latter than the former. That’s interesting too. One would wonder will we see a somewhat more left inflected rhetoric from SF in light of that? But if we are reaching the core LP vote then that would suggest some limits on SF’s rise, for can it hope to gain more support from more dyed-in-the-wool LP supporters. But that also suggests limits on FFs support too. For FG has reached its traditional poll ratings of the pre-2011 period. Perhaps FF can pull votes from there. But perhaps not.

More likely all parties will consider the Independents and Others and wonder how they can prise away support from what now constitutes 1 in 5 voters. And that’s an odd bloc to put it mildly. Is it the fact there are so many Independents now that they have a much higher profile before and even if in opposition seem to be a credible part of the system – whatever they actually are happening to do? Or is it that this is a reservoir of the undecideds, or those merely waiting the moment to trip back to FF? Hard to know, but one would have thought that at this stage that vote would be a lot softer than it appears to be currently.

Granted it’s not quite as simple as an LP to SF and FF transfer of support. Votes will come from (almost) everywhere and go (almost) everywhere in different numbers. But it’s not unreasonable to suggest that this is probably the major dynamic at work because LP votes are going somewhere.

Why now? Pat Leahy suggests in the SBP that the effects of the Budget have come into sharp focus this month and consequently people are exercising their ire at the Labour Party. He also asks where can the upward rise of Fianna Fáil stop.

You’ve got to think that the legacy of the bust and the bailout means that huge swathes of voters are lost to Fianna Fáil for ever. But where’s the ceiling? 25 per cent? 30 per cent?

And he notes that the growth of SF while ‘more uneven’ is ‘still a clear trend in the long term’. It’s difficult not to think that SF is now occupying the ground that the LP did – however briefly from late 2008 onwards where the latter party was achieving on occasion ratings in the mid-20s and sometimes even higher again. All part of the volatility that now makes up normal political life in the Republic, but still remarkable.

Richard Colwell from RedC in the same paper makes the point that in Dublin Labour has been overtaken by Sinn Féin. That’s a problem too for the LP.

Leahy believes this year is ‘make or break’ for the coalition. On the face of it, given these poll ratings, hard to disagree. Where next?

Meanwhile, Adrian Kavanagh on Political Reform suggests the following outcome were an election held with these ratings.

Fine Gael 56, Labour 15, Fianna Fail 38, Sinn Fein 25, Independents, Green Party, United Left Alliance and Others 24.

He thinks that both the RedC and Sunday Times poll results point to only an FG and FF coalition having sufficient seats to govern without the need of third parties or Independents. That would certainly make for a most interesting period ahead. And for those of us on the left a worrying one.
By the by, Paddy Healy on Political Reform asks a most interesting question, whether Patrick Nulty et al will run as LP candidates at the next election?

Finally I’ve noted before that for FG hitting sub-30 was problematic and it now appears to have lapsed to that level. But there’s another milestone, or is it a rubicon ahead. When and if FG is overtaken by Fianna Fáil, difficult but by no means an impossibility if Leahy’s thoughts about a potential ceiling on FF’s vote being 30 per cent or so are correct then that will provide problems not just for that party as a party but for the leadership of Enda Kenny.

And what shape the Irish political landscape then? Consider a situation where FF was on 30 per cent or so, FG in the mid-20s or so, Sinn Féin on 20 per cent and the LP on 10 per cent. That would leave but 14 per cent for Independents.

Interesting times? Too interesting.

More on this here…

Destroy All Rational Thought January 29, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Culture.
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featuring one of the last interviews with William Burroughs and previously unseen vintage footage of him during the 50s and early 60s. – The great Beat Generation experiments took place in Tangier, the Moroccan city where William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and the Moroccan painter Hamri taught Jack Kerouac, Timothy Leary, and Allen Ginsberg how to live outside the law. This DVD features one of the last interviews with Burroughs and previously unseen vintage footage of him in his prime during the 50s and early 60s. Also featured are The Master Musicians of Joujouka collaborating with avant garde Dublin musicians, veterans of the Tangier Beat Scene, and cutting edge writers. In addition, there is music from Bill Laswell, The Baby Snakes, plus contributions from Ira Cohen, Hakim Bey, Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy) and many more.

Solidarity Books hosts a talk by Dr Conor McCabe – ‘Who Benefits from Austerity?’ January 29, 2013

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


From Solidarity Books

Solidarity Books hosts a talk by Dr Conor McCabe – ‘Who Benefits from Austerity?’ – as part of the Cork launch of the Irish Left Review Journal – on Thursday 7th February 7:30pm

Issued: Tuesday 28th January

On Thursday, 7th February at 7:30pm Solidarity Books will host the Cork launch of the Irish Left Review Journal.

The event will include a talk from Dr. Conor McCabe, the author of the acclaimed book, ‘Sins of the Father’, which analyses the development of the Irish economy throughout the 20th Century right up to the current crisis, without resorting to just pointing fingers at ‘a few morally bankrupt individuals’ in an otherwise sound system.

Conor McCabe, who currently teaches at the UCD School of Social Justice, and is a regular contributor to Irish Left Review, will pose the question of ‘Who Benefits from Austerity?’ While popular disgust with TD’s, bankers and other elites’ privileges is rampant, austerity programmes are still justified on the basis that we all must pay for a crisis that we apparently all helped to create. What do we make of this state of affairs?

This will be Conor McCabe’s third visit to Solidarity Books in the last two years since the release of his book, and like the previous events, this promises to be an evening of animated discussion.

Related links:

Eamonn Gilmore ‘refuses to be spooked by the results of any individual opinion poll’. Well good for him.. January 29, 2013

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

…what, however, of the results of successive polls over the past year?


Across last year the LP has seen it’s levels vary in RedC/SBP polls between 14 per cent (Jan), 16 (March 1), 14 (March 2), 14 (April), 13 (May 1), 15 (May 2), 15 (June), 14 (Sept), 13 (Oct), 14 (December). And as can be seen across the year, with a short respite in early March (and perhaps one in December though so minimal as to be hardly worth noting). Now it’s at 11.

A look at the handy graph provided above will leave most with the not unreasonable conclusion that overall the trend has been a downward one. Particularly when measured against the high of Election 2011.

Job? Bridge January 29, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Uncategorized.

Interesting report obtained by the The Irish Times which recomends

 extending the scheme to participants with no previous social welfare entitlement.

As a result, these interns would not receive any payment from the State.

But the report states that “consideration should be given to paying the €50 weekly JobBridge allowance to the small number of participants without basic welfare payments.”

and goes on to say

This study found that some schemes ran the risk of making people dependent on social assistance.


Letters page and UCG debate from the 1995 Divorce Referendum Campaign January 28, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Found these recently and thought they might be of interest.
First off a link to The Letters Page From the Galway Advertiser, days before the 1995 Divorce Referendum.

And then the below report of a Divorce debate in UCG is from this page



Left Archive: An Phoblacht published by Irish Revolutionary Forces (Cork 1966). January 28, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Revolutionary Forces.

IRF 1966

To download the above file please click on the following link: Road-Revolution-Ireland

Many thanks to Jim Lane for the following document. He has appended a postscript, please see below.

This document first appeared in serial form in 1966 AP and was reprinted as a booklet/pamphlet in the early 1980. The Irish Revolutionary Forces was a group of former IRA members and activists in the Cork area who sought a more leftward and activist approach by the IRA. Some of the activities of the IRF are detailed on this wiki page.

The IRF later became Saor Éire (the Cork based group, not the Dublin based one) and were responsible for People’s Voice (see here in the Left Archive).

This document, the Road to Revolution in Ireland, outlines in some detail the approach of the IRF to the issues facing the left and Republicans in the Ireland of the 1960s. This is dealt with sections under specific headings including: Revolution, Revolutionary Programme, Revolutionary Policy, Power Policy, Reconstruction Policy and Revolutionary Action. Each sections outlines aspects of the problems being faced.

For example, in the first section on Revolution, it is noted that:

…it is obvious that the Irish Revolution must be a two-phased effort. The first, must be aimed primarily at the overthrow of the Partitionist regime, and the seizure of state power by the revolutionary movement. The second, must represent a co-ordinated national effort during which the national community, under the leadership of the revolutionary movement, will undertake the reconstruction of the nation on completely new lines.

And it emphasises that the revolution cannot halt at the completion of the first phase.

In relation to the Revolutionary Programme it argues that:

A truly revolutionary programme for Ireland must, of necessity, be diametrically opposed to the existing order of things, this is only logical; and since Ireland now functions according to the dictates of capitalism, then, it is but common sense to suggest that an Irish
revolutionary movement must found it’s programme on the principles of Revolutionary Socialism. There exists no other known alternative.

The section on Revolutionary Policy suggests that:

…[such programmes] illustrate a great weakness among contemporary Irish Revolutionaries; that is, the tendency to confuse policies for a programme, and therefore to confuse principles with strategic and tactical expediencies. An Irish revolutionary programme must be based on the destruction of the neo-colonial system, and the construction of a new socialist order.

Interestingly the document argues that ‘the use of force’ and participation in ‘the arena of parliamentary politics’ are ‘purely a matter of policy’.

When discussing Power Policy, the point is made that:

Of necessity, a revolutionary movement, must, from the outset regulate it’s policies on the premise that force will have to be used in the struggle for power. Both precedent and ordinary common sense points to the realism of this stand.

On Reconstruction Policy it asserts that:

Policies governing the country’s reconstruction, along lines compatible to the principles of Socialism, are of tremendous importance. Indeed, there are many cases where the revolutionary forces experienced success on the battle fired, only to lose their way when it came to the implementation of the social, political and economic changes that justified their existence in the first place.

And it continues:

The great need is to demonstrate over and over, that this business of revolution cannot be reduced to such relatively simple terms, a learning how to use a gun, and then taking off to take a shot at a target e.g., U.D.R., or the likes; Revolution represents political action under the most demanding of conditions; it is a haven neither for fools, rogues or adventurers.

Finally in a consideration of Revolutionary Action it points to the 1956 campaign as an example of one in which there ‘existed no programme that we know of… consequently it is difficult to determine what the I.R.A. was actually fighting to establish as an alternative to what it was trying to destroy’. And by contrast it argues that ‘the I.R.A. leadership of 1933 issued one of the very few revolutionary programmes that has ever emanated from an Irish revolutionary movement’.

All told a very useful document from an organisation of great interest.

When offering us this document for insertion in the Archive, Jim Lane stated:

“I would be delighted if the contents of this document, were to be read and studied, by those who today are generally refereed to as ‘dissidents’. It presents them with a check-list document , to help them to evaluate where they stand when compared to the positions required by the The Road to Revolution in Ireland today. As I see the situation today, they will inevitably be drawn to the conclusion that those who took time out, in the early 60’s to analyse where they were going, had done the correct thing. For them the obvious advise in this document, calls out to the ‘dissidents’ to call a halt to their military campaign. I am and always have been aware, that many republicans always confuse mention of politics with parliamentry politics and usually believe that that is where they are being led, when urged to put down the bomb and gun. There are many other ways to advance their cause outside of parliament, if that happens to be their main objection. Many ways to highlight what they want for today’s Ireland. Hopefully, they will take some advise from the Irish Revolutionary Forces of the 1960’s and Read and Study”

From Spain: January 27 January 28, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, From Spain.

As ejh says:

More cant of competitiveness this week.

Plight unseen. Why aren’t six million Spanish unemployed reason for a change of course?

And at the heart of the post he asks another question tied to that one.

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