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Praising with faint damns… April 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

…on foot of yesterday’s revealing intervention by MEP Phil Prendergast criticising Labour leader Eamon Gilmore he might have had every expectation that the response from his Cabinet colleagues would be a resounding outburst of support. So what’s that Joan Burton said?

Ms Burton described Ms Prendergast as a person “of substance” but said she supports the Tánaiste. “Eamon Gilmore is the leader of the Labour Party, he has my support in that and there is no leadership question.”


Still, it’s comical, isn’t it? Four or so weeks out from an election and they’re breaking every rule in the political book about a united front (no, not that one!), etc.

More on Scotland April 29, 2014

Posted by guestposter in Scotland, Scottish Politics, The Left.
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…from Colm B, a comment on the context in Scotland that I thought is perfect as a post…

Living and working in Glasgow, talking to neighbours and in-laws etc. and being involved in the Radical Indepedence Campaign, my impression is that a real shift is happening. This time last year, I think, most people felt that there was little prospect of a Yes victory but now theres a real feeling that its up for grabs and people have become much more engaged with the debate.

IMHO the reason for this change is two-fold: firstly the No Campaign has been abysmal, based almost entirely on establishment figures making increasingly ludicous threats about the catastrophy that will befall Scotalnd if we vote Yes. This has largely back-fired as more and more people are alienated by the negativity of that campaign and also by the way its treating the public as kids who can be scared by unveiling a procession of bogeymen.

On the Yes side while Salmonds undoubted skill as a politician, and the main Yes Campaigns largely positive message, have played a major role in the increasing support, the other factor has been the surge in ‘non-nationalist’ campaigning and arguments for a Yes vote. This surge has seen the growth of a dynamic youthful grassroots campaign spearheaded by RIC but also invlolves a multiplicity of organisations such as Women for Indepedence etc. The No campaign is about grandees making pronouncements and media campaigning but it is comprehensively out-matched on the ground in terms of canvassing, leafleting, public meetings etc. This is partly explained by reliance on Labour Party campaigners who seems to consist largely of councillors and their hangers-on: no match for the mass of enthusiastic Yes campaigners who go far beyond the pool of SNP members/supporters.

But a word of caution before you put your money on a Yes vitory: all the inidcations are that the No side is still ahead and one should not forget that we are talking about the break-up of the British state here and that state’s ruling class will not just sit back and let this happen, so the odds are still against a Yes vote winning. All Im saying is there’s a real contest on now.

BTW For most people involved in the RIC the real battle begins the day after the referendum when the shape of the new Scotland begins to emerge and hopefully we have a powerful radical left movement in place ready to play a decisive role in that process.

Well, someone is taking that weekend Euro Dublin poll seriously… April 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

This… of course…

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said next month’s European elections were the most important for 40 years when he urged voters today to take account of Fine Gael’s alignment with the most powerful voting bloc in the European Parliament.

…has nothing to do with this…

…a weekend opinion poll suggested [Fine Gael Dublin European Parliament candidate] Mr Hayes may struggle to win, Mr Kenny said he never commented on polls and would comment instead on the “outstanding” attributes of the candidate himself.

Basic Income Ireland 2014 Summer Forum April 28, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Economics, Equality, Inequality, Uncategorized.
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Basic Income Ireland invites you to our

2014 Summer Forum

A half-day conversation about Basic Income.

Date: Saturday 7 June 2014

Time: 1:00 to 5:00, with informal discussion afterwards

Venue: Carmellite Community Centre – 56 Augier Street, Dublin 2

No charge. Donations/membership subs will be accepted on the day.

Registration: Please register in advance at http://www.basicincomeireland.com/basic-income-2014-summer-forum-signup.html

A Basic Income is a payment from the state to every resident on an individual basis, without any means test or work requirement.

It would be sufficient to live a frugal but decent lifestyle without supplementary income from paid work.

The idea of Basic Income is being advanced world-wide as part of the solution to the issues facing today’s world.

Come join us to discuss the Basic Income solution and to plan activities for the coming 12 months.


1:00-1:45 Welcome and light lunch

1:45-3:10 Recent developments in Basic Income internationally

Keynote speaker: Yannick Vanderborght, one of the leading figures in the new wave of basic income activists. Professor of Political Science at Saint-Louis University, Brussels; Chair of Regional Coordination Committee of Basic Income Earth Network; co-author with Philippe Van Parijs of L’allocation universelle (2005) and co-editor of Basic income: An anthology of contemporary research (2013) and other books on basic income.

Yannick will speak on transnational cooperation in the campaign for basic income and on recent developments in the theory and politics of basic income. Followed by a participatory discussion.

3:10-3:30 Tea and coffee break

3:30-5:00 Advancing Basic Income in Ireland

Brief presentation and participatory discussion

Afterwards: social gathering in The Swan, Aungier Street.

Further information on basic income is available at basicincomeireland.com and on Facebook – Basic Income Ireland and Twitter: @basicincomeirl.

Register now: http://www.basicincomeireland.com/basic-income-2014-summer-forum-signup.html

Further information: Basic.Income@nuim.ie

Please circulate this notice to your friends and contacts.

US Senator and self-avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders… April 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in The Left, US Politics.
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…in interview with Slate.com which can be found here. He sounds like he’d fit comfortably into most left social democrat parties.

Meanwhile… in Scotland April 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Scotland.

Reading this in the Guardian at the weekend…

Daniel and Janice McIntyre, 73 and 65, sitting in their silver Seat car with the Scottish lion rampant flying from the car aerial, were emphatic that neither they nor their neighbours would ever vote yes. But Mr McIntyre, a retired engineer, felt depressed about the direction and health of the pro-UK campaign – capturing a mood that many believe is behind a surge in support for independence. “I must admit that on the television, all the debate programmes, that yes come out on top. I’m sorry to say that,” he said.

“I think the no is very weak. They’re not putting it across and even when the prime minister … or some of the cabinet comes down to Scotland, they seem to say the wrong things: they’re just saying things that annoy the Scots.”

…it struck me that while it is somewhat dodgy to anthropomorphise political processes and dynamics the responses there (and after all perhaps given that politics is about humans therefore this is small surprise) are reminiscent of nothing so much as a relationship that has failed, that point where whatever is said however reasonable or benevolent in other circumstances will simply not be interpreted as such by those who it is said to.

That, naturally, doesn’t mean anything in relation to the numbers who are disenchanted with the union, but it does suggest a significant degree of alienation amongst many – albeit in different ways.

Crisis? What crisis? April 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


On the day that Joe Higgins announces his decision not to run at the next election it is interesting to compare and contrast with Labour MEP Phil Prendergast’s cri de coeur this morning in relation to the Labour Party leadership where she ‘calls for the resignation’ of Eamon Gilmore and effectively the instatement of Joan Burton as new leader and she says something very telling.

Ms Prendergast admitted that she has yet to voice her concerns to the Tánaiste, but has spoken to him about the “tough” conditions Irish people are living through.

And she continues:

This is a crisis that’s gone on for a year and a half…

A year and a half? Surely it’s been longer than that…

…we’re not making changes in the polls, we’re not getting the benefit of the positive changes that Labour has implemented in Government,” said Ms Prendergast. “I think now is the time to realise this and that we need to take urgent action.”

Oh… that crisis!

End of one road for Joe Higgins April 28, 2014

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Irish Politics, The Left.

…who won’t contest the next general election.

When the next general election arrives in 2016 I will be 67, and I am very anxious that a new generation of Socialist Party public representatives are continuing, if you like, the work that the party and I have done for quite a lengthy period.

Questions would have arrived in the context of a byelection that if we won a seat, would Ruth Coppinger and me be standing in the next election.

Would it be possible for the Socialist Party to take two seats [in 2016]? I feel it is better to clarify the position now.

Left Archive: Irish Nationalism & British Imperialism – Robert Dorn, Revolutionary Marxist Group, 1973 April 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Revolutionary Marxist Group.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: RMG

This document published by the Revolutionary Marxist Group, and written under Raynor Lysaght’s pseudonym, Robert Dorn in 1973. 55 pages long no overview can hope to do justice to the contents, but it is possible to pick out some elements that offer a representative view of the document. In essence it is a riposte to the British & Irish Communist Organisation and in particular the ‘Two Nations’ theory.

It starts under the heading ‘Communism and the National Question’

The workers’ struggle to achieve the lass less stateless society is worldwide. It cannot be limited within the boundaries of any one state or among the people of any ethnic group. Communism, Scientific Socialism, Marxism or Bolshevik-Leninism as it is variously know, recognises this. Accordingly those who adhere to it operate to an international strategy and within an international organisation: The Fourth International.

If the nation developed from the same processes as did the working class, the two phenomena’s claims are not identical. On the one hand, the nation includes all class within itself itself, once it has been formed. On the other hand, its demands can be and often are in blatant opposition to those of the other nations, setting worker against worker.

It continues:

Nationalism, then, cannot be reconciled with internationalism and is not to be confused with it.

In general… the Communists are in support of the democratic claims of oppressed nations, whether to independence, to am more equitable drawing of boundaries, to the ending of oppression of their culture or to the abatement of any other specific abuse. Beyond that Communists cannot go: once the national claims step over the objective border surrounding the nation concerned, the oppressed nation has become itself an oppressor. Marx and Engels supported the German people’s right to a united state. But when the German capitalists added to their new empire by seizing the French territories of Alsace and Eastern Lorraine, these Communist leaders denounced those they had supported critically the previous day.

There’s a fascinating overview of various concepts of nationalism, including the Two Nations concept, ‘A “British” Nation’ and so on.

There are two Appendices; Communist on the Nation and Documents on the Left Opposition (Y.S.) and R.M.G. on the Irish National Question.

It concludes:

Take over British Factories.Strike to hold them for the workers. Fight to protect them for the workers. End sectarian laws – North and South. Work with our overseas comrades for a classless stateless society.

LMD: “Cheap Euroloans at a high cost” April 27, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Austerity, Economy, European Politics, European Union, Social Policy, Taxation Policy.
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Seeing as there is a European election under way, from the April issue of Le Monde Diplomatique‘s English language edition:

European leaders considered the introduction of new contractual agreements between the European Commission and member states at a summit in Brussels last December, as demonstrators protested outside about a free trade agreement between the EU and the US (1). If implemented, the new contracts could be the most powerful tool ever granted to the EU’s institutions for dismantling member states’ social welfare provisions.

The contractual arrangements — the Convergence and Competitiveness Instrument (CCI) — are based on a simple principle: in return for financial incentives, European states would be asked to sign up to macroeconomic reforms. These would affect social provisions, the economy and taxation, independently of powers already devolved to EU institutions. Given the Commission’s current priorities, it is easy to imagine that the “financial advantages” might well be conditional on the withdrawal of employment protection and reductions in welfare expenditure or the provision of corporate tax breaks.

The proposal has provoked strong scepticism in some member states, including some of Germany’s traditional allies, and there is strong resistance within the Council too. Even a moderate social mobilisation might find allies within the EU to stop the plan being adopted (or to remove its most problematic aspects). So the EU election campaign offers the European left — who have too often acted too late, and been repeatedly defeated since 2007 — a rare opportunity to act.

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