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Zombie Lesbian Vampires from Hell March 31, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Culture, History.
1 comment so far

And other photos from various protests, demos and rallies that took place in Dublin city centre between 1988-1994.

Quite the collection.

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WP Easter Oration 2013 March 31, 2013

Posted by Garibaldy in Workers' Party.
13 comments

Comrades and Friends,

In 1913 an open act of class warfare known as the Dublin Lockout was perpetrated upon the working people of this country. Yet 100 years later we stand here refusing to be defeated, coming here to commemorate the Easter Rising and reaffirming our commitment to the establishment of a democratic, secular, socialist state on the island of Ireland – a Republic. We are here today in another period of intense class conflict. Once again the capitalists are waging class war on the workers. And once again the re-conquest of Ireland “must mean the social as well as the political independence from servitude of every man, woman and child in Ireland.” We must end oppression. Socialism – the assumption of political, social and economic power by the working class – is the only means to establish real freedom and genuine equality. We must identify who the oppressors are in today’s world; the means they use to exploit us; and the methods by which we can overcome them. This is the task that revolutionaries have set themselves since the days of the French Revolution and the United Irishmen; it is the task that the men and women of 1916 set themselves; and it is the task that we in the Workers’ Party have set ourselves. That, comrades, is why we are here today.

***

William Martin Murphy’s name echoes in infamy 100 years after the Lockout. But his was not a lone voice. His cohorts constituted the Dublin employers’ federation who had the open support of nationalist and unionist politicians, of clerics of all denominations, and a compliant media. Crucially they were backed by a government based in London that unleashed the forces of the state against the workers. In 100 years, who will be remembered as the oppressors of today? Future generations will recall the native bourgeoisie backed by governments based in Dublin and Belfast as well as in London, by nationalist and unionist politicians, by multitudinous clerics, by a compliant media, and by the forces of international capitalism as represented by the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank – the Troika.

***

What are the means which they have used to oppress? Since the recent crisis of capitalism began this vast array of forces has used austerity and sectarianism, neo-liberalism, and religion to save capitalism from its own contradictions, and to protect the profits of speculators. We have been told that cuts and privatisation are a collective act of ‘tightening our belt’. But what does the interest of Warren Buffet in the privatisation of our natural resources say about whether this is a good or a bad deal for the Irish working class? David Cameron, George Osborne and their LibDem lapdogs insist that the way to establish economic recovery in the UK is through more cuts. Meanwhile, the folks on the hill in the Stormont Executive think the only answer to the massive economic problems faced by the people of Northern Ireland is to cut corporation tax, to become more like the Republic or Cyprus.

But austerity isn’t working. The result of austerity has been huge unemployment, a return to mass emigration, and the destruction of living standards through inflation, attacks on public services, and cuts to wages and conditions for those still in work. Never content with such levels of oppression, capitalism continues to exploit the situation with further privatisation. It is not working in the Republic, in the UK, in Greece, in Portugal, in Spain, in Italy; it is not working anywhere. Austerity is a complete failure.

Or is it? We need to ask ourselves the question, what is austerity for?

Austerity is not natural. It is the cold and calculated response of the bourgeoisie to the collapse of the neo-liberal model first elaborated by Friedman, Pinochet, Regan and Thatcher. Capitalism’s ideologues in economics faculties, departments of finance, and media outlets explain this away, and try to convince us that this is the natural way for the economy to work. It is not.

Austerity means class war: class war waged by the rich against the poor. Austerity’s job is to protect the interests of international financial capital, and it has been working a treat. While the overwhelming majority of the population has been hit by falling incomes, the world’s richest have been getting richer. And they’ve been splashing the cash, with record sales for super-yachts in 2012. There have been plenty of bailouts, but it is not the people that have been bailed out. It is the speculators, the global golden circle, ably assisted by their hirelings in various governments. And when the governments have not done exactly as desired, the international bourgeoisie have, in true Brechtian style, disbanded the government and appointed a new one.

We have stated on many occasions that the right wing forces have managed to imbed their ideology amongst the people. While many see and recognise that they and their communities are suffering badly they do not see a viable alternative. They have been infected by the Thatcherite disease of ‘there is no alternative’.

The practical manifestation of that reality can be seen in the outcome of last Wednesday’s Meath East bye-election. The two traditional right-wing parties received over 71% of the vote. Add in Direct Democracy Ireland to the equation and the right-wing received almost 78% of the vote. It is appropriate that we congratulate comrade Seamus McDonagh and the Party locally and regionally for the campaign which they conducted. Seamus is from the county and lives in the constituency; he is an activist in many campaigns and particularly so in the CAHWT; within our resources an excellent campaign was mounted; uniquely there has been the very welcome sight of socialist and progressive TDs endorsing Seamus’s campaign in Meath East. As always we must analyse our own performance and result, but the over-riding questions for anybody seeking changes are: why did 62% of the registered electorate not vote? and how do we end the FF /FG duopoly?

In 1848 Marx and Engels identified that the modern state under capitalism acts as the executive committee of the bourgeoisie. This is still obvious today. What difference to the tweedledum and tweedledee politics visible since the inception of the Irish state has the supposed watering down by coalition partners made? Next to none. In his own day, James Connolly mocked the bourgeois nationalists and economists who claimed that the decline of the Irish economy in the 1800s was a consequence of the act of union, of moving parliamentary power from Dublin to London. He pointed out that this was to fail to understand how economics shaped reality. Similarly, any idea that merely by ending partition the economic circumstances of the working class will miraculously change is a fantasy. As long as the major parties of the Dáil and the Assembly are infected with the neo-liberal consensus, the same exploitation and oppression will still exist, and the class power of the bourgeoisie will remain untouched. There is no reason to suppose that any coalition with Mary Lou McDonald as Tánaiste will be any more of an alternative than that with Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.

If the neo-liberal policies of austerity have been one means of harassing the Irish working class, then sectarianism has been another. This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfe Tone, the founder of the revolutionary tradition in which we stand. And we are still fighting the same struggle for the unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter that he did. This single fact is the greatest indictment of how both unionism and nationalism have failed, and continue to fail. Both are reliant on continuing sectarian division. Both are obstacles on the road to socialism that must be overcome.

Unionism and nationalism have wasted the great potential of the Belfast Agreement. A strong bill of rights and the civic forum would have contributed greatly to creating the culture of active citizenship necessary to overcoming our divisions and developing an awareness of what we have in common. The Assembly parties acted quickly to kill off the civic forum, and the bill of rights is as far away as it ever was. The so-called Cohesion, Sharing and Integration strategy offered by the big two at Stormont is a sick joke. The state must use its power to encourage integration in our society – in education and housing in particular – not use its resources to keep our people divided on a “separate but equal” basis.

At Stormont, the nationalist and unionist parties work hand in glove. However, to maintain their position they need to keep sectarianism simmering, and to give the impression that they are standing up to the other side. Hence at a local level, we see anything and everything turned into sectarian squabbles: flags, playgrounds, even children packing shopping bags for charity. We have seen recently how dangerous this encouraging of low-level sectarianism is. The situation is made all the more dangerous by the on-going campaigns of dissidents who arrogantly and undemocratically assert their right to kill in the name of the people of Ireland when they know all too well that the people of Ireland reject and despise them.

While all this continues, attacks are made by the Stormont Executive on public services and on the living standards of the working class. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive – one of the major successes of the campaign for civil rights and an example of how effective state action can be – is being abolished without a peep from the parties that claim to be interested in human rights. The Housing Executive is not without its problems, but if there is one thing the current crisis has taught us it is that leaving housing provision in the hands of the private sector is a recipe for disaster.

The bedroom tax will be administered by Stormont. Two-thirds of Housing Executive tenants and 62% of working-age housing benefit recipients will be hit. Doubtless there will be some hand-ringing for public consumption, but the effects are potentially devastating. Who at Stormont is speaking for the working class in all this? No-one. We in the Workers’ Party must do so.

“The worker is the slave of capitalist society, the female worker is the slave of that slave.” With these words, Connolly got to the core of the oppression of women in the Ireland of his day. The publication of the report into the Magdalene Laundries reminds us of how shamefully working class women have been treated in Ireland. The place of women in Ireland was brutally illustrated by the tragic and shameful death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway. The time has come to put an end once and for all to the tragedy of Ireland’s refusal, north and south, to legislate for choice. We reaffirm our commitment to a woman’s right to choose, alongside a commitment to end the continued discrimination against women in employment, whether through lower pay or the social conditions and attitudes that make women more likely to end up in part-time and low-paid employment.

***

Comrades, the oppressors are known to us and so are the means they use to exploit. But what are the methods to defeat them?

The alternative to neo-liberalism is democracy. As austerity continues over the years ahead, and as things get worse for ordinary workers, those genuinely left people within the major Dáil and Stormont parties, in other parties, in trade unions, in the community sector, and voluntary groups will be faced with a question. Where do you stand? The balance of forces both north and south means that Left cooperation is essential. There have been many positive examples of this in recent times both north and south, most recently as already noted, with Left and progressive TDs endorsing Seamus McDonagh’s campaign in Meath East.

LookLeft is playing a vital role not only in getting our Party’s message across to larger numbers of people, but in also fostering cooperation within the left. It is vital that every party member and supporter does what he or she can to help develop the profile and impact of LookLeft. We have put our money where our mouth is, and the Workers’ Party will continue to work for greater cooperation on the left, north and south.

The alternative to both sectarianism and sexism is secularism. We welcome the establishment of the Marie Stopes Clinic in Belfast and recognise that the struggle against sexism in all its forms must remain a fundamental part of the struggle to build class consciousness and the conditions for the revolutionary transformation of Irish society. Intimately linked with the struggle for women’s liberation is the campaign for a secular Ireland, north and south. Much of what stands in the way of equality and social progress stems from religious beliefs being enshrined in law. Secularism is crucial to transforming our society in both the short- and the long-term.

When the failings of neo-liberalism can no longer be hidden,

When the political bankruptcy of the political elites north and south is stripped bare for all to see,

When the oppression of the working class by capitalism is intensifying,

Socialism is the alternative.

We honour the men and women of 1916 and our own deceased comrades not just in these moments of commemoration, but through creating a viable alternative to the oppressive, stultifying, exploiting politics of neo-liberalism – through the creation of a real future for ourselves and the future generations.

Connolly summed up his policy in a simple sentence. “Educate that you may be free”. We have set ourselves no small task – achieving full freedom for the working class. We know the method – educate, agitate, organise. We must take this to our communities, our workplaces, our schools, our colleges, our trade unions – everywhere. Only then can we bring about the revolutionary transformation of our society. This is the road to a democratic, secular, and socialist Republic.

Sunday, 31st March 2013

Not-the-Sindo for Easter Sunday March 31, 2013

Posted by Garibaldy in History.
1 comment so far

It being Easter Sunday in the year of the centenary of the Lockout, I’m not subjecting myself to the Sindo today. Instead, this from the Irish Worker of August 1914.

Birrells Bloody Bullies Irish Worker

Let’s not talk about sex… at least not in the way Backroom in the SBP is… March 31, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
1 comment so far

There’s an entertaining statement in the SBP Backroom column last week that due to the various events of this week wasn’t got to earlier (and speaking of which, what of one L. Varadkar’s comments which this analysis here addresses?).

And on what proves to be a very strange Backroom piece more in a moment. But the statement mentioned above goes like this:

Now Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin and Eamon Gilmore have worked themselves into varying states of enthusiasm about issues [abortion, gay marriage] it is hard to believe they care very much about. Kenny is acutely uncomfortable being locked by Labour into introducing some kind of abortion legislation. As the Red C poll in this newspaper showed, deserting the pro-life lobby coincided with the biggest single hit to Fine Gael’s poll numbers. To what extent that contributed to Fianna Fáil’s rise one can only wonder.

Is that point about the RedC poll correct?

Not exactly. Or actually not at all – though one can understand why Backroom might wish to promulgate that particular misinterpretation.

No, hold on a second. Actually I can’t imagine why s/he would do so.

But anyway, back in fact land, while it is true that between October and December of last year the FG figure fell by 6% from 34% to 28% it was neither the biggest fall since the General Election in 2011 (that being the drop between May and September of that year from 41% to 33%) and nor can it be pinned at the door of the abortion issue exclusively since there was also the small matter of a Budget during the same period. Perhaps Backroom believes the latter is unimportant but many of us would beg to differ.

Indeed even if one did argue that it was abortion that was causing the hit it is not entirely clear as to whether this was due to it ’deserting the pro-life lobby’. As easy to argue that socially liberal inclined FG voters felt the government’s handling, and FG in particular, of the issue as reprehensible and therefore if there was a direct effect on the FG poll rating it was one which came from many sources.

Though it’s not entirely wrong of Backroom to argue that FG does have problems on the issue, and handling of the issue of abortion provision in the context of X is only a part of it. There is a wing of the party, tellingly more vociferous a few months back than now, that is all too keen to burnish its ‘pro-life’ credentials. Though it’s a little hard to believe as Backroom does that the integrity (in terms of the party holding together) of FG might be threatened by the issue.

Nor is it wrong of Backroom to argue that one M. Martin of FF is tilting strongly in support of same-sex marriage as a means of covering the absolute anathema of support for X legislation.

Nor again is it wrong of Backroom to argue that the ‘fundamentalists’ are ‘being used’ as a sort of political dog whistle in order to shore up a broader electorate. And yet, and yet, it’s not quite that simple. And by the way nor is the prurient tone to Backroom this week, a sort of ‘clever-clever’ approach which seems excessively juvenile, as if writing about sex somehow can only be done by references to ‘political cross-dressing’ or ‘in this paper we don’t speculate about the mating habits of our readers’ and so on. For what are deeply serious issues it doesn’t work.

Indeed the piece, becomes increasingly choleric:

Liberalism is no substitute for lucre and anyway Gilmore, bereft of any other hand to play, is becoming stridently illiberal. Closing the Irish embassy to the Vatican and publicly snubbing the all-male Savannah Hibernians has more to do with the politics of prescription than permissiveness. It is a caricature of a politics that passed from sectarianism to secularism without pausing at pluralism.

And almost inevitably check out a certain reference in the following:

If you genuinely believed in ‘live and let live’, you would be more relaxed about men in frocks and men who have a yen for having their dinner together. The Backroom thinks the Tánaiste doth protest too much.
Boring dinners are part of the job at Foreign Affairs, and talking to unspeakable people is essential to it. There is the sense of Savonarola about Gilmore’s secularism. Looking at him glowing in the White House on Tuesday, the Backroom was reminded that it’s a long way from Pyongyang to Pennsylvania Avenue.

It doesn’t end there. No, it doesn’t:

The morality of the Irish people is a blend of self-interest and indifference. Kenny and Martin are humanists of the old school, with a tolerance for most vices that don’t get out of hand. They understand that there are no principles, only interests.
The Labour Party seems locked into a position of principle on issues that bring little reward, while being incapable of delivering for the interests that elected them.

And:

A litmus test of politics is the familial comfort of voters with politicians they do not know. People feel they know Kenny and feel warm towards him. They may be warming up to Micheál Martin, too.
Eamon Gilmore’s stridency leaves them cold. He has hopelessly entangled the nation’s knicker elastic with its purse strings. In pulling them both tight together, he has created an excruciatingly unpleasant sensation. Something will snap.

It’s odd, but in all this I actually suspect that issues sexual will have relatively little impact positive or negative on the fate of the Labour Party in the next three years given the trouble they’re already in (and which have little or nothing to do with those issues). And I suspect people know this. But whatever about the flaws or virtues of that party – their approach on this matter deserve better than the above – and it’s worth reflecting that when the article can get a matter of fact, as in the point about ‘the biggest single hit to FG’s poll numbers’, so badly wrong one would, tone apart, be well advised to treat the rest of it with a considerable degree of caution.

Irish Pub in Cyberspace March 31, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Culture, Internet.
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RTÉ 1995

Long before Friendster, Myspace and the current behemoths Ireland was home to one of the earliest forays into social media. Certainly an example of Irish innovation on cusp of something ground-breaking but alas, blinded by the blarney as so often is the case. Indeed, far from a tempting 12.5%, a pixelated pint of plain was your only man.

Thirty million people were on the internet according to John Gormley. That’s barely a bad day’s traffic on Cedar Lounge Revolution in this day & age though most of us are still waiting on this fibre optic business he mentions.

Dispatched from the London Independent Giles Coren writes

I have never felt so gauche in a public house, never been so aware of the established locals turning in their stools to scowl at the foreigner new at the door. I felt the darts match stop, the village bruiser pause in his pool shot.

A graphic reeled itself on to the screen of a moustachioed barman pouring a pint of stout. Nothing happened for a while, but then it seldom does, I have never had great bar presence. Then some words appeared under the barman. “Hello stranger,” he said. “Have I seen you here before? No matter. For the trouble of coming have a pint, and then choose a table by clicking on it.”

No pint materialised, but half a dozen pub tables appeared on the screen under headings like “literature”, “music”, “pub chat”. I clicked one and was offered various venues for conversation: the Beer Garden, the Upstairs Bar, the Lovers’ Table. I opted for the main lounge. I sat down and clicked up the conversation in progress. Two characters called Pinky and Perky were quipping about faeces. Dirk from Munchen was asking: “Any English ladies to talk with?” Ian announced: “I’m pissed, stoned, and in Australia.” There was a group of Chilean students asking for penpals, and someone called Neil Robinson, who stunned the assembly with, “Hello, anybody out there?”

It was, in short, full of the sort of people you try to avoid in the pub, and I was about to head for the Lovers’ Table when someone asked: “Is Neil Robinson a whoossie?” Then somebody said they thought bombing Muroroa was a great idea, and suddenly the pub was full of Australians. Seeing a chance to stir the fibre-optic soup, I addressed Perky. “Why are there so many Australians here?” I asked. “You’d think it was a pub in Earls Court, not cyberspace.” Perky loved it, and soon Pinky and his crones were spewing foul verbal venom at the Australians. The Aussies got tough. The Brits, from the safety of 10,000 miles, threatened to break beer glasses in their faces. Neil said: “I’m leaving.” And everyone said “Whoossie!” But instead of a fight there was only the impotent rage of a dozen virtual fists.

This is a pub with no booze, no women, no fruit machines, no smell of beer-stained carpet. It is a pathetic illusion of human interaction for the socially challenged. But then again, it is a pub with no fights, no filthy lavatory, and no closing time.

And best of all, as long as these idiots are leading their sim-lives down the Virtual, it keeps them out of my local.

Not quite the unfettered commentary that currently occupies the mind of legislators either. Doesn’t sound like much like an  Irish pub to me.

Labour at 7% , Ind and Others 25% “The Gilroy Gale?” March 30, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
18 comments

Sunday Times Behaviour & Attitudes poll tomorow, more bad news for Labour.
Fine Gael 27% (+1);
Fianna Fail 23% (-1);
Labour 7% (-4);
Sinn Fein 15% (-4);
Ind and Others 25% (+7)
Greens 2 (-1)

Two striking things here, Labour being down at 7% and Independents and Others up 7% to 25 %.
The poll was taken before The Meath East By-Election.

Naturally I’ve been reading a lot of Labours recent material and it struck me that a lot of it was self congratulatory in tone.
In my own house and homes around the country ballots are going back on Croke Park II, most of them voting ‘No’.
Public Servants are working more hours for less pay and in most cases there is little or no chance for promotion due to various embargos. They see Croke Park II as very disruptive to family life and childcare which only adds to the disgruntlement with the agreement.
Many in the public sector now feel utterly betrayed by Labour and now the Property Tax bills are coming through the door too.
One of the things I’ve seen when discussing the Property TAx is its not just the tax but the valuation scheme reminds so many people that their house is worth way less than the mortgage and that causes further resentment.

As it was before Meath East the jump in Ind/Others support is hardly a “Gilroy Gale” but you never know.
As an aside I wonder how long the polling organisations will take to include our friends DDI as an option?

more on the poll later on in the week.

Bits and Pieces March 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.
5 comments

I can’t recall if I mentioned the new David Bowie album, released only a short enough while back. I have to admit I like it. Some four or so genuinely memorable songs, while the rest are more textural but none the worse for it. This elegiac Bowie is curiously pleasing – perhaps because he’s bloody older than I am and still making music! And in a way it’s been a good year so far for returns, MBV, Bowie, another album from John Foxx and next month the greats, OMD.

Meanwhile, the V&A in London has an exhibition of Bowie lasting until mid-August. I’m planning to get along. Last exhibition of that sort I saw was the Vivienne Westwood Westwood show which was pretty good, and before that an excellent Joy Division/New Order one in the Design Museum on the Thames.

Anyhow, here is Tilda Swinton’s speech at the opening of the V&A exhibition.

Meanwhile back in the DPRK, away from the latest rattling of sabres

What to make of this story of state intervention in personal lives… now, caveat, it’s according to ‘a news website run by Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV network’.

It appears that :

…the North Korean government has recommended a relatively generous range of 28 hairstyles for its citizens, claiming that they are “the most comfortable” styles

There’s a gender divide…

The list of 18 acceptable female hairstyles show North Korean women are given more choice in their coiffeur after they wed. Approved styles for single women are simple but married women are permitted to indulge in a few extra stylistic flourishes. This also has the useful effect of establishing whether a woman is married or not at a glance.

And can this be true that they actually believe this?

Men are somewhat more restricted, with only ten styles to choose from and a longer list of rules to follow. The hair of the country’s young men should be less than 5 cm long and they should have a haircut once every 15 days as longer hair apparently takes away nutrition from their brains. Older men, whose brains are presumably in decline anyway, are allowed to rock out with hair as long as 7 cm.

This does not sound good.

The news that BBC’s the Hour has been cancelled surprised me. I’d have thought that if ever a programme was ready made for the contemporary era, with its evocation of the 1950s, this was the one. And the first series had a lot to like in it from Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw’s characters to the exploration of aspects of class in that period. Nor did it seem to be too much in love with itself, a real problem in a lot of TV drama. Anyhow, Season Two made and shown and they announce it is over. Not sure how much of an outcry there has been, though although only half way through Season Two there were one or two instances where a far too modern sensibility seemed to be applied to political and social aspects. And yet, Season One was so good that I think it kind of stands on its own two feet even if they never do get to a Season Three.

For obscurantists everywhere, here’s supposedly the best 50 albums you’ve never heard… says who? Flavorwire. Mileage may vary on this one.

Finally, consider this, John Scalzi, mentioned here before in relation to his take on Objectivism, has taken an interesting approach to a particularly disgusting example of trolling on his blog. Details here. Good on him.

This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Ian Crause March 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, The Left, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
1 comment so far

Salvador Allende. Ian Crause. Disco Inferno. Post-rock. Salvador Allende?

Ah, that Ian Crause. For it can only be Ian Crause, formerly of influential 1990s post-rock outfit Disco Inferno who would be referencing Salvador Allende. Or class dynamics. Or structures of power. Or myth. And putting these in the context of melodic but challenging music.

In the early 2000s he had two solo releases, also brilliant in an understated way, leaning more towards a pop-inflected approach. Two releases, five songs in total and that was that for a decade.

Perhaps buoyed up by the reception a range of DI re-releases received over the past year or so when their sheer brilliance was recognised more widely than it ever was when they were actually extant.

The new material tilts sharply back to the latter days of Disco Inferno and it is not released as a cohesive whole or album but instead as individual tracks on Bandcamp here. There is a three party “The Song of Phaeton” which has cow or goat bells on it, that’s surely a first.

“More Earthly Concerns” kind of throws everything into the mix, and by everything I mean everything. Almost eight minutes long and yet not one is wasted with a swirl of samples, treated half-sung, half muttered vocals. Keyboards and treated sounds shimmer and burst. Bass and guitar arrive, depart, return. It builds to crescendo, then fades back and then builds again ending in a… well… see for yourself.

And the lyrics? In the accompanying notes he writes:

It´s a satire on the spiritual dogma which says that free-capitalism is the economic expression of divine liberty. The affluent choose to buy into this politico-religious idea as it gives a moral imperative for their comfortable lives, even a sense of higher purpose, just as the ancient Romans coopted Xtianity into their imperial worldview to justify their own earthly concerns.

And:

While the part of the second verse which is set in a London sports bar might sound formless, if you listen you might be able to make out a revving Ferrari carrying the melody line to the track in the distance. I worked in the City of London for years and there was often some tit revving a supercar within earshot. It appears to be what they are for.

Been there, heard that and glad someone has managed to work it into music.

“Suns May Rise” continues this approach of choppy vocal samples, is that a sample of George Bush? Does Crause reference ‘the surge’. It doesn’t matter. It is political, angry, melodic, as if four or five groups were playing simultaneously but somehow instead of this being chaotic reinforce each other. And underneath it is a twisty little melody.

“The Vertical Axis”:

The song is a song of circles, arcs and spirals.
It looks at the current class war capitalism we have and whether its supposed basis in the vertical axis of individual success or failure is true or whether it´s a fallacy.

His thoughts conclude:

The last words belong to Chile´s ex President Salvador Allende in the radio message he gave to his nation shortly before shooting himself as the fascists used fighter jets to bomb his palace during the September 11th coup: ‘History is ours’.

“Black Light” takes a serious and timely pop against liberal condescension towards the working class.

I like the explanations as to how some of the sounds are constructed:

Also, just before the first chorus I have used one sound for 3 purposes. What begins as the rope creaking on the wrecked boat becomes the dots in the text between the lines ‘Listened on….’ and ‘Until…’ before ending up as the kick drum for the first chorus. I like this so I am explaining it because I feel it adds to the, erm, ‘fun’.

Perhaps appropriately there’s only one video on YouTube for these tracks – that being “More Earthly Concerns”.

In a way this is the logical extension of Disco Inferno’s relentless experimentation, in a career that in and of itself encapsulated post-punk and after, from the early strongly Joy Division styled offerings of their first album and EPs to the more New Order/Wire like material of their middle phase and on to the post-rock of their final phase. What’s genuinely remarkable is how much more of this territory he demonstrates there is to explore. But I think that the fact it is so strongly politicised is what gives it a greater power still and subtly moves it on from being interesting genre workouts.

There’s a comment on Youtube or Bandcamp that some bands don’t have as many ideas that he (and DI) pour into an individual song in a career. Not far wrong. This music sparkles. Literally.

More Earthly Concerns

Elemental (2000)

Head over Heels (2002)

Starbound All Burnt Out and Nowhere to Go (Disco Inferno)

I’m Still in Love (Disco Inferno)

Meanwhile…here’s… March 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
1 comment so far

The Fucking Titanic by Dave Lordan…

Footage from ‘A Night To Remember’ (1958)
‘The Fucking Titanic’ by Dave Lordan
Edit: Eamonn Crudden
Soundtrack: Sunn O))) / Nurse with Wound – ‘Ra at Dawn’
More about Dave Lordan: davelordanwriter.com
Order ‘First Book of Frags’ at wurmimapfel.net/wurmpress

After Meath East March 29, 2013

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

Byelections in this Dáil are different to those which came before – with the government parties actually managing to do better than might otherwise be expected. That said there’s an element of a divided opposition gifting such results to the government. But there’ll be more, and let’s also be clear that by-elections are simply not mappable onto general elections, at least not with sufficient precision to call it for next time. Though this result tracks the broad lessons from national polling data (which is not the same as mapping the results onto a general election).

Paddy Healy makes some useful points here, not least that the turnout was abysmal, and weather and other factors no doubt played their part on the day.

Independent votes still strong. FF and FG in contention. The LP in deep trouble. Deep deep trouble. The further left marginalised. SF doing okay, not brilliantly but still seeing an uptick from 2011. Considerable volatility still extant. A lot to play for, particularly in urban constituencies.

But, what of specific lessons, firstly, the fall of the LP doesn’t mean the rise of the left – and following on from that there’s no certainty that the LP votes in 2011 represented anything other than a ‘change’ vote as distinct from a ‘left’ vote, however soft left it might be. Pat Rabbitte may think the LP vote stayed at home, and yes, a lot of votes did stay at home, but such a vertiginous collapse when mapped against the rise of FF tells it’s own story. He/they might do well to ponder the grim story of the Green Party in the period 2007 to 2011.

Secondly the FF rise while impressive is not necessarily remarkably impressive. The solidity, relative admittedly, but still solid, of the FG vote is worth thinking about. They will weather the storm, outside urban areas, perhaps better than expected. Though more to come in terms of political trouble. But, time has obviously detoxified the FF brand – or the lack of an alternative has allowed it to contest.

Thirdly SF while doing well didn’t do stratospherically and will have its work cut out across a range of constituencies – though that SF vote still suggests they’ll do well come the next election in places that hitherto were resistant to their charms. They’re tilting into genuinely replacing the Labour Party as the third party in the state.

Fourthly we can look at the Independent bloc as holding promise, but it also holds threats, such as DDI which while in the greater scheme of things have limited influence, and probably limited impact, can act as blockers of more progressive alternatives. It seems to me that DDI, while worth keeping an eye on, aren’t yet a significant threat. And in all honesty they should have done well here if anywhere given that they’ve two offices in Meath. Indeed by-elections have always provided arena’s for fourth and no party candidates to do better than usual. And I’d suspect that their beating the LP into fifth place is more significant – in that it demonstrates how toxic the LP now is, than they themselves as a formation are. But. Well worth keeping an eye on.

Fifth… Fine Gael abides, as noted above. Specific circumstances here, and that’s true. FF might have won if not for those circumstances, and that’s perhaps true too. But FG did win. And that may be no harm in so far as the forward progress of FF, it’s return to political credibility – ahem – is stymied very slightly. The actual balance of power doesn’t change, albeit the tensions inside the Coalition will increase, perhaps severely.

Sixth… The challenge by the WP/CAHWT didn’t exactly catch light despite trojan work on the ground and a genuinely heartening degree of public support from others on the left. This is problematic. It’s not just that the constituency is conservative, though that is true a varying degree(and let’s be careful about not writing off ‘rural’ constituencies as if there’s some immutable law that they cannot vote left). But it’s certainly typical of many other constituencies across the state. And if the left isn’t even in shape to mount an effective challenge here in that category of constituencies then it’s far far from making much of an impact, let alone winning state power. Okay, we knew that yesterday, but worth reflecting upon today. The divided nature of the vote suggests that even in urban constituencies where competition on the left is so much broader there’s no sure fire guarantee that formations will come through in any numbers. There’s no reason to be absolutely downhearted by that. But as raised in comments here there’s problems, serious problems.

But one final thought for the moment. If the economy is driving politics in this state how precisely is that manifested in Meath East and what does it say about the tenor of the electorate there? Pro-status quo, anti-status quo or… and this might be a real issue, much more indifferent to these matters even after half a decade near enough of austerity than might be expected? I can’t quite decide but a lot to think about after all this.

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