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Another November…  November 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A terrible piece of political history was aired on Ken Rudin’s US political podcast, noting the coincidence of dates of events this month with the murder/suicide of 900  of Jim Jones People’s Temple cult (a weird mixture of Christianity and a sort of gloss of Marxism) members – the figure is almost inconceivable – in Guyana at Jonestown which took place in November 1978 on foot of the murder of California Democrat Congressman Leo Ryan by other cult members following a fact finding mission.

The link above is well worth a read, as regards the background to the People’s Temple, and its political and other interactions in west coast politics in the early to mid-1970s. And then there’s the instruction from Jones that PT funds should be donated to the CPSU. In a strange way it’s not that difficult to see how left wing thought, of a profoundly distorted kind – indeed near enough polar opposite to the intent of the original philosophy, might manifest in such an hostile environment as the US for its more orthodox forms.

Attendance at Mass November 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

If accurate doesn’t this speak of a massive change? A piece on Baptism…

The priest, valiantly, explains how the sacrament of baptism is the most basic of all and the very basis for the Christian way of life.
“It’s like a day out at the movies,” says one less-than-impressed member of the congregation. “You’d wonder if some of the families have ever been in a church before.”
They’re sentiments Fr Gerry O’Connor is familiar with.

He’s a priest in Cherry Orchard parish, a working class area where regular mass attendance is as low as 2 per cent of the Catholic population.

2 per cent. That’s an incredible change across three or four decades. Kilbarrack in the 1980s certainly saw much much higher attendances than that.

Whatever you say (LP TDs), say nothing November 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Labour TDs clearly getting antsy about the election… This from late last week…

At the meeting [on the election and electoral strategy] on Wednesday night, Labour chairman Jack Wall urged members to “think before they speak” and warned against privately briefing the media about the party’s electoral chances.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Wall said: “People say things in the spur of the moment, maybe with the best intentions in the world, but you should think before you speak”.

“We have a lot of young candidates – both already elected and new, and it is important the senior members of the party think before they speak and make sure what we are saying is the reality of the situation,” he said.

Mr Wall said Labour was “as well prepared” as any other party and would give the election “one hell of a shot”.

Of course this ‘speaking’ would have had nothing to do with this. Would it?

Still, can’t see silence as a credible strategy between now and Election 2016.

Left Archive: Books for Anarchists, WSM Bookservice, Summer/Winter 1998, Workers’ Solidarity Movement November 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized, Workers Solidarity Movement.
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To download the above please click on the following link. WSM BOOK

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This four page document is produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement as part of their WSM book service, listing volumes that they can supply. The materials are grouped under headings, The Anarchist Idea, Ireland, Other Countries and Other Titles. As such it provides an interesting insight into the range and scope of publications provided by the WSM book service and its sense of the foundational texts and others of contemporary anarchist thought and practice.

What a difference a week makes. Labour polls… from ‘unaware’ to ‘deplorable’… November 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

How interesting. Last week:

Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton has said she is not aware of any internal party analysis which shows the party could lose over 20 seats at the next general election, as the most recent opinion poll showed the party on just 7 per cent support.

This evening:

Tánaiste Joan Burton has deplored the leak of internal Labour party analysis which claimed the party could lose up to 20 seats.

And provided this sort of explanation as to how the two statements could tally…

Speaking today, Ms Burton insisted she has not seen the contents of the internal party analysis.
She said: “All of the time every TD in their own constituency is constantly assessing their own position, they are looking at how the opposition are doing.
“The parties as a whole are doing that continuously but that is entirely different to suggestions that there was some kind of survey which had those outcomes. That is not so.”

Visa woes… November 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Can this be correct that Tim Pat Coogan, of all people, was denied a US visa some years back? I missed the story at the time, but from Irish Central 2013:

Tim Pat Coogan is an iconic figure in Irish journalism and a well known historian. He has had a long absence from this side of the Atlantic, but made a welcome appearance around New York last week.

Chances are you have read his definitive works on Eamon de Valera or Michael Collins, but his new book on the Great Hunger entitled ‘The Famine Plot’ may be his best yet, laying out in scalding terms the British government’s responsibility for Europe’s greatest tragedy before the Holocaust.

Incredibly, earlier this year he had been denied a visa to promote his new book by an American Embassy factotum, whose knowledge of Irish history and current affairs must have matched that of a toddler.

After intervention by powerful friends such as Senator Charles Schumer in New York, justice was done and Coogan made his long awaited trip across the Atlantic.

What on earth would be the cause of that?

Marion Steenson RIP November 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week: We Got Nothing Edition November 29, 2015

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

Virtually nothing of interest in the Sindo this week, though when one of the columnists can get away with turning this in, that’s no wonder.

Books on Music for Christmas… November 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As I get older I’m a real sucker for books on music. Not those somewhat off the shelf, cut and paste news articles about individual groups, though i’ve one of those on the JAMC, and another on Goth and you’re not getting near them for I love their tacky little hearts to bits.

Of course it’s all ephemeral, indeed reading them is a bit like reading histories of say Vichy France (this by the way is a fantastic account of one part of that particular subject)- all gone now, gone and in some ways forgotten. For nothing dates faster than popular culture – it is almost the definition of popular culture.

Who in ten years time will give a toss about Hey Elastica? Who much worries about the denizens of the Bat Cave these days? Sometimes I think it’s only myself and IEL who really love Into Paradise and Blue in Heaven.

And even much larger names once well loved are falling off the cultural radar. Not all though – there was a real oddness cycling past the O2 Arena this week with U2 playing and seeing some time between 5 and 6 gaggles of fans waiting at the gate that the group and its road crew would arrive at. There were Gardai there to hold them and the traffic back. They still mobilise that sort of emotion all these years later? Apparently so.

But books there are about this. The last couple of years saw some great publications. Tracey Thorn’s account of her life and career is close to the best I’ve read dealing with that area. Viv Albertine’s book was more wrenching in some ways, but perhaps a little less loveable. Bob Stanley’s Yeah, Yeah, Yeah was commanding in its sweep, but the sort of book where you almost want a sharper focus.

I’ve already mentioned Mark Ellen’s genuinely brilliant (albeit I say that with a couple of caveats) autobiography. And so I ask, what books published this year do people recommend? One comes to my mind, one from Jon Savage on 1966 – I was born October of the previous year, so I feel a certain closeness to it (another book I’m keen to read though it’s from last year is Dave Stubbs volume on krautrock – anyone read it?). Any others in any genre or area in music?

Critiques of products in consumer society. November 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought this in the Guardian was worth considering, an essay on just how difficult it is now to review computer games. I always used a Mac so games were fairly thin on the ground back in the day. Things have, obviously, changed since then, but what has long struck me is how over-hyped most games are. Clunky user interfaces, not great gameplay, weird glitches and so on abound. And yet look at the reviews and often it’s 9/10s, or whatever the equivalent is in the rating systems used. Which has to make one wonder both about the reviews and those who read them.

A very pertinent point in the following:

Why do people get so angry about game reviews? Partly it’s because they are passionate fans and fandom becomes part of identity. In this context, critical reviews can be read as attacks on people’s preferences and passions. No one wants to hear that they’ve invested time and money in something that wasn’t worthwhile. We see this in all areas of specialist writing and reportage, from film journalism to football match reports – in a consumer society, people can be savage when their tastes are questioned. We also have the skewing nature of comments sections, subreddits and forums, which only ever represent the most vocal, and often the most caustic, minorities. But essentially there’s this whole friction between games as products or hobbies and games as an artform that deserves to be explored and exposed for its failures and foibles.

Last year, and continuing into this year, there was the Gamergate stuff which ostensibly according to some of its proponents was about ethics in gaming journalism. That struck me as entertaining given that mainstream reviews of games seemed to exist in a fantasy land of product launches, uncritical boosterism and what have you.

Nor, by the way is this restricted to games. I’ve long listened to tech podcasts and bought Mac magazines (at least until the latter went out of business – sign of the times and all that). But a computer I bought a couple of years ago had what I’d call a pretty serious flaw in how it worked – an integration between the OS and the specific hardware. Was this mentioned in said tech podcasts, or even online? It was not. Yet this was a global problem which affected numerous users in very specific areas – as it happened it related to the audio.

The rather credulous attitude to all this on the part of some, reflected in attitudes to games, is puzzling. These are businesses, in business to make profit. They’re not charities. And that means that those who engage with them as consumers have to exercise due scepticism.

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