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What you want to say – 1st Febuary, Week 5, 2017 February 1, 2017

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

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1. Phil F - February 1, 2017

First they came for the Muslims. . . (there’s a great handmade placard in this): https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/first-they-came-for-the-muslims/

Liked by 1 person

2. Dermot O Connor - February 1, 2017
Starkadder - February 1, 2017

Thanks Dermot. I may never sleep again.

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oconnorlysaght - February 1, 2017

So, he’s doing her from behind?

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3. lcox - February 1, 2017

With apologies for the repost: an invitation to join the discussion of my paper on the water charges movement at https://www.academia.edu/s/856004805f/the-irish-water-charges-movement-theorising-the-social-movement-in-general?source=work

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GW - February 3, 2017

A fine paper – and very useful to me as someone who was not in Ireland to get involved in the what seems to have been a turning point in Irish political attitudes and culture.

I’d recommend a read to everyone – particularly for it’s setting the record straight about the importance of self-organisation and education from below, as opposed to pre-existing political structures and parties, and the alliances that formed and disolved around the issue.

I’m not sure how useful it is for those outside academia to discuss it on the academia web site.

Anyhow – having read the paper twice – my two pennyworth:

I’m particularly interested in the issue of how allies ‘in the belly of the beast’ can contribute. I’ve not doubt that they should – it’s a question of how.

On the negative side, I don’t know how a ‘movement of movements’ can play a effective trans-national political role. Blockupy’s work in organising regular trans-European actions have some impact (there’s another one coming up in June) but we haven’t found a way of amplifying particular struggles into a more general mutually amplifying process.

Here in Berlin for instance, activists / exiles from various ‘peripheral’ European countries try to replicate what they have experienced on the periphery with varying levels of success, but generally their effect is confined to a particular milieu. They seem to run out of energy when faced with the rather different political context in Germany.

The support of Syriza in 2015 was wide-spread but had no impact of the forces determined to defeat that uprising against the austerity regime. We lost big-time and the effects of that loss are still being felt.

This is a long political gestation, I guess, and we can’t expect ‘solutions’ to pop up without repeated failure, but I confess I’m at at a loss as to how to make an effective movement of movements to generalise anti-austerity action and to provide it with a concrete agenda for change with a wider emotional and intellectual resonance.

On the positive side:

An explicit – and do-able in the present political context – agenda for an anti-austerity New Deal in Europe, such as the one being developed by DiEM25 can probably be useful as a programmatic context / perspective / generalisation of movement demands, and self-education.

Also parties that are open to movement from below without an agenda of take-over and control, such as those within European Left and some of the wider GEU/NGL, can play a role as facilitators and communicators.

People in say, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, love to theorise about these issues – but I’ve yet so see anything truly workable and remarkable coming out of that work.

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lcox - February 3, 2017

Thanks GW!

Think that nails it in respect of alliances – nobody really disagrees that we should try to make these happen but the how is the challenge. I do think we should expect things to play out differently on the periphery and in the core: Germany is definitely not Greece, but Greeks need something to happen in Germany (and so on).

Positively there is a significant experience from the pre-austerity “movement of movements” worth drawing on, in that these alliances were more effectively made then and on a larger scale. Clearly not enough even then, but better than where we are now.

Incidentally Blockupy is using the mobilisation against the G20 in Hamburg to try to bring movements together more effectively across Europe. Some ppl in Die Linke are indeed playing a very responsible role there, and it is also heartening to see the conversations between DiEM25, Blockupy, AlterSummit etc. Still very much at the stage of “popular front from above” but as you say nobody really has an idea of how to get beyond that (and it isn’t clear that it can be “made” to happen from within existing movements).

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CMK - February 4, 2017

I read the paper and found it tendentious and a very partial account. It shys away, understandably enough, from some of seamier aspects of the fabled ‘grassroots’ of the water charges movement.

It sidelines, completely, the role of small Left wing parties and unaffiliated Left activists who single-handedly built the resistance from 2009 that culminated in the suspension of water charges in 2016.

It is dismissive of the CAHWT which the article claims ‘failed’, as if it were that simple. It failed because the State, which retains huge scope to attack and face down resistance, moved to cut across the substantial boycott of the houshold tax that was still standing at close to 50% by November 2012 by imposing its policy of deduction at source by the Revenue.

Also, the CAHWT while hugely imperfect did have a functioning democratic structure. Groups could put motions down to be voted upon by delegates. Yes, steering committee meetings could be tedious and all the rest of it, show me any worthwhile political endeavour that doesn’t involve tedious meetings at some point.

Contrast the CAHWT with Right 2 Water with its ‘invitation only’ meetings and its steadfast refusal to advocate the tactic that actually pushed the establishment to defeat: mass non-payment. The Right 2 Water cabal never, ever, had to face motions on any aspect of how it run its campaign in a forum where they couldn’t control who was in attendance. And yet the ‘grassroots’ were/are fully behind Right 2 Water, even though they have no input into its decision making which is controlled 100% by a small group of union officials backed up by their selected ‘activists’ and, of course, SF.

The paper doesn’t address, in any way, the presence of Right wing forces in the ‘grassroots’ of the water charges movement. Direct Democracy Ireland, for instance, dominated where I was active and brought to bear their tactics of intimidation and online campaigns of bullying. Of the dozen or so ‘water Warriors’ I got to know post the end of CAHWT I alienated most of them because I refused to let anti-choice, anti gay marriage and anti-refugee positions go unchallenged. That of course, in the schema of the article, constituted Leninist talking down and authoritarianism, but there you go.

The article also failed to address the debate against nonsensical and politically disastrous arguments in the early stages of the water charges movement about the nature of the legal system. In particular, the ‘No Contract, No Consent’ argument, which was widespread in 2014 even repeated by SF DSW bye-election candidate Cathal King in a TV debate. Members of Left wing parties argued relentlessly against these types of arguments, more Leninist authoritarianism of course, and they seemed to die a death during 2015. But if left unchallenged what impact would these have had?

The result of the Dublin South West bye-election, fought almost exclusively on the issue of the water charges and the best tactics for fighting them, is hardly addressed in the piece. Having Marxist public representatives in the Dáil who consistently argued for mass non-payment, was a major element in getting to where we are now, but again, that’s underplayed by the piece. The blogger ‘Dublin dilettante’ wrote an interesting piece about how most of the people who took part in the mass protests against these charges would probably vote for FF, FG, Labour, Right wing ‘Independents’ and that is what transpired.

My final point is that many of the ‘grassroots’ of the movement were visciously anti-socialist and anti-left wing. Grassroots activists handpicked for R2W ‘activist training’ can be seen daily engaging in relentlessly attacks on Left parties and individual members.

I don’t think ‘social movements’ without a corresponding Marxist political force organised in the party form, has much to offer in the kinds of battles we are facing. Certainly, the Right 2 Change shamble, leaving open the potential of coalition with FF, shows how not to go about things.

Sorry to be so negative, but I found the paper hugely frustrating and partial in its treatment. I accept that I may have misread it.

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lcox - February 7, 2017

Hi CMK,

Thanks for those comments, I think! Lots there but I want to clarify that this is not primarily a “grassroots good, parties bad” argument (nor am I interested in boosting R2W as you seem to suspect). What I am interested in is clarifying what happened in terms of movements, “below” (so to speak) a narrative purely focussed on parties.

I don’t dispute that parties have been active around this issue, obviously; but as we all know left parties are regularly active on all sorts of issues without any substantial mobilisation happening. What we do when we look at social movements (or if you prefer “social movements” – are you suggesting they don’t exist?) is to ask what makes those mobilisations come about some times and at other times not.

In relation to CAHWT the point is fairly simple: at the time popular mobilisation against water charges took off the organisation was moribund. This following a split between its major components precisely over the issue of how to resist household charges (non-payment or not?) in a situation where, as you say, the state had brought in legislation that made it hard to see how to move forward. When people started resisting meters in April 2014 the CAHWT website (and others) had not been updated for some time and there was no advice being offered on what to do. I think it is reasonable to conclude that direct action was not initiated by the CAHWT. I would also argue that had the CAHWT been active it would almost certainly not have been able to agree to encourage or support direct action (and indeed the issue of non-payment proved a challenge for the R2W coalition for not totally dissimilar reasons).

More broadly the point is not CAHWT good or bad, it is understanding what had changed to enable the sudden spread of large-scale direct action (and, for that matter, the rebuilding of bridges on the left which a few months before had seemed well and truly burnt – not to mention the much wider basis on which it became possible to build the R2W coalition). I don’t think this can be understood in terms of party dynamics, but rather in terms of the changing ways in which people were organising on the estates in question.

The article doesn’t actually say anything, anywhere, about “Leninist talking down and authoritarianism” – sorry to disappoint but I just went back and checked!

I do agree about the difficulties faced by “ ‘social movements’ without a corresponding Marxist political force organised in the party form”. I’m not convinced that actually existing left parties *do* correspond to current movements. Your comments seem to suggest the same, from the other side, in that you don’t seem to think there is anything valuable in current movements *outside* of parties…

In the widest sense (as I start by saying) there is plenty written about the movement as though it was basically about parties. I wanted to bend the stick in the other direction – not to celebrate everything that happens but to understand it.

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CMK - February 8, 2017

lcox, I take the points you raise above. The CAHWT collapsed in mid-2013 and would have been in no position to address the rising around water charges, which I think caught most activists completely by surprise. The defeat of the campaign against the property tax knocked the stuffing out of that campaign, and the recriminations that followed the collapse didn’t help either.

One thing Right 2 Water did achieve was to show us a glimpse of might have been possible had the trade union movement taken a harder anti-austerity stance from 2009 onwards. Had it moved beyond the comfort zone of strict adherence to bourgeois legality at a time when colossal structural attacks, that have radically restructured Irish society, were being planned against society, the trade union movement might have actually stopped some totally, parried a few and ameliorated the damage done. By accepting the bailout and the Troika as legitimate entities they undermined resistance and effectively collaborated in the degradation of life for working people here.

Ogle gets a dig in at Ruth Coppinger in his book because she commented at a R2W meeting in 2014 that it was good to finally see the trade unions getting involved. I mean it was mid-2014, the Troika were packing their bags to go home after running riot for three years and the lads in the R2W unions were clapping themselves on the back because they were – three and a half years after the Troika landed, six years after the banking collapse – finally putting together a campaign against just one aspect of the Troika agenda. Ogle the twists this into meaning Ruth Coppinger was ‘anti trade union’. The point is that the R2W unions have questions to answer as to what they were doing from November 2010 to mid-2014, because they invisible for much of that period. Efforts to get unions to support the CAHWT were politely declined.

My point is that the ‘social movement’ that emerged from late 2014 was the result of the combined efforts of the Left parties and individual activists and coherent community activist groups, rather than R2W. The latter subsequently became the rallying point but it did not catalyse the movement.

What Ogle did that will never be forgotten was to cultivate lumpen elements – including some utter reactionary oafs – as well as political non-entities like Direct Democracy Ireland and the National Citizens Movement, and elevate these above political parties like the AAA and the WP who had a genuine base and electoral representation.

Anyway, the ‘social movement’ such as it was is receding and it will be interesting to see if it rekindles should the charges come back on the agenda.

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lcox - February 8, 2017

Hi CMK,

Thanks for that! I agree that the unions played a poor role in the crisis up to 2014. It took a very deep crisis to detach most unions from loyalty to social partnership and the LP. But that is an important step and one the left needs to build on – which doesn’t of course exclude argument where it’s due. In my experience Irish unions and parties alike have a tendency to self-righteousness and defensiveness which doesn’t really help – part of the point of thinking in terms of a wider social movement is to think seriously about how what each of us does contributes to wider change and not simply to advancing our own organisation etc.

I don’t remotely dispute that the movement preceded R2W and this is part of the point of what I was saying. I’d also agree that it is currently “in abeyance” – part of the fancy footwork now going on in the Dail committee is FF in particular trying to see if they can come up with something which would demobilise or split the movement. I don’t think they’ll be successful but let’s see.

BTW not that he is an absolute authority on all matters but Marx was perfectly comfortable with the notion of a social movement, which he uses with quite a wide range of meanings but particularly this sense of the very broad struggle of working people to change the world. Then as now that movement included parties and unions but wasn’t confined to them.

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RosencrantzisDead - February 7, 2017

Quick question to all involved: does anyone know why the government did not deploy deduction-at-source for water charges? If we take it as goven that this was sufficient to defeat the property tax/household charge opposition, one would think it would have been used here.

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CMK - February 7, 2017

The reason was that the water charges were not legally a ‘tax’ but a utility charge and didn’t attract the powers of the Revenue to deduct unpaid taxes. The best they could do was to try and recoup unpaid charges through attachment orders and the prospect of going after 600,000+ non-compliant households to get these court orders was a non-runner. That’s my understanding.

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Alibaba - February 7, 2017

Icox: It should go without saying that trade union involvement in supporting a social movement against water charges was a very positive thing. Drawing up a balance sheet in your article is helpful too. It’s a while since I read the article, but as best I can remember, it omitted to deal with a few known things that some activists were unhappy with. For instance, Right2Water May 2015 conference was due to be opened up to union members, community groups and political representatives. As it transpired, it was a ‘invite only’ event and time for discussions was limited. The only reasonable way to approach this was to strive to factor in a delegate based one; it didn’t happen, and this despite the written and verbal submissions to do so.

I believe that the prospect for building a cohesive movement was damaged by procedural manoeuvres behind the scenes. For example, Brendan Ogle tells us in his latest book (which you have referenced) that in June 2015 “There was more time for talk. The unions agreed to boost the community pillar significantly by giving them 50 per cent of our seats, meaning that about half of those who discussed, and later voted on, these policy principles were community activists.” So much for the ‘three pillar approach’. That smacks of packing to me.

And more to the point, Brendan has condemned key participants and elected Dail representatives. I think he told the media he will not work with those politically inspired by Trotskyism. No wonder then that he can invoke much irritation.

Finally, I am conscious that at a body was tasked with making recommendations about how to deal with water charges. I believe it has completed a report and maybe passed it on to a parliamentary body. Can you (or anybody else) tell us what it contains and what’s going on here anyway. If so, that would be much appreciated.

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lcox - February 7, 2017

Hi Alibaba,

Yes, there was an “expert commission” on water charges which has produced a report now being considered by a Dail committee, itself currently engaged in a consultation process. As I read things, the attempt is to find something which FF can present as a success (ie will demobilise or split the movement by apparently making major concessions) and which FG can live with. Failing that – which seems a very hard circle to square – the whole process serves the more immediate goal of kicking the can down the road until one or other feels ready to go to the country (in which case FF might oppose the committee’s recommendation “on principle” or whatever).

On the wider question: there has been quite a bit of shenanigans around the movement, with criticism levelled at several of the parties involved, at the unions, at what CMK calls “the seamier side of the grassroots” and then at various individuals. I didn’t particularly want to get into that because (a) from the outside there is only so much you can tell for certain and (b) the remarkable thing is more that these various groups have been able to come together at all than that there have been arguments and accusations of sharp practice.

The article isn’t really trying to decide who is in the right so much as to point to this wider and interesting reality that for a change we have different forms of working-class representation and self-organisation (more or less) working together on quite a sustained way and with a lot of popular participation behind them. My sense is that the sharp practice (on all sides) would have been much worse if there had not been that much broader popular participation and dare one say it pressure from activists on the ground not to mess it up (and not to get them in bad odour with other activists, answering for dirty tricks from their own head office).

In some ways I think the idea of a fully coherent and unified movement was always a bit of a chimera, to say nothing of the attempt to build a New Party on the back of the movement. Neither really represents something we see very often in the real world, let alone in Irish working-class movements – but the relentless focus on organisational politics leads us constantly back to the refrain “if only the left…”

My own feeling as a Marxist is that the existence of this movement on this kind of scale is actually a huge achievement in itself. It has already shifted Irish politics substantially and as I argue in the article is likely to have longer-term impact through the politicisation of lots of previously passive people. That doesn’t make other questions irrelevant obviously but I think we should relativise what the French call “la politique politicienne” in favour of what Marx called “the social movement as a whole”.

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Alibaba - February 7, 2017

Thanks for the food for thought.

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GW - February 8, 2017

Thanks for another view CMK. My brief encounter via Blockupy with some Irish campaigners certainly had a Sovereign Independent / DDI whiff about them.

I’ve no way of judging how influential they were in the overall movement.

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oconnorlysaght - February 8, 2017

If Ogle has been cultivating lumpen elements whilst barring Trotskyists, that is surely an argument against jumping into any party that he is projecting. At the very best it could be just an Irish Syriza. At the worst, be afraid, be very afraid.

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4. Joe - February 1, 2017

Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Bríde oraibh uile.
St. Bridget’s Day blessings on you all.

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botheredbarney - February 1, 2017

She practised charity and peace, right? I like some of the Brigid’s crosses they make with rushes. I’ve often thought about so many waterlogged farm fields colonised by rushes. Have scientists considered the practicalities of using rushes as biomass?

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Joe - February 1, 2017

There are more questions than answers. She had a dispute with a king about how much land he’d give her to build her convent on. They agreed that she’d throw her cloak on the ground and however much ground it covered would be hers. She threw it on the ground and it covered the whole of county Kildare. Scientists at the time called it a miracle.

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Dr. X - February 1, 2017

That sounds more than a bit like the legend of how Dido, Queen of Carthage, got the land on which her city was built. . .

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Joe - February 1, 2017

Yep. The same folk stories are told the world over. Not just that one but loads and loads more.

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RosencrantzisDead - February 1, 2017

She was a pagan god we worshipped on the sly. They made her a saint as an intellectual cover.

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Joe - February 1, 2017

Who’s this ‘they’? We, the people, made her a saint.
I’ve a friend from Beaufort in Kerry. I asked him once do they do the wren boy thing down his way on St Stephen’s Day. He said no, the big thing down his way was ‘the Biddies’, which is apparently a wren boy type of thing except they do it around 1st Feb, St Bridget’s Day.
People often ask what life will be like under true socialism. Well, I can tell you that Wren Boy and Biddy Boy celebrations will be compulsory in a socialist Ireland inanyways.

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RosencrantzisDead - February 1, 2017

I used to confuse the Wren Boys with the Apprentice Boys for some reason.

Made for some awkward encounters over the years…

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botheredbarney - February 1, 2017

Myths have their cultural folk-binding purposes viz. ancient Greece and Rome. The myth of Brigid’s expanding cloak creating the Curragh plain (‘short grass’) is very satisfying to Kildare children, and the tales of her charity towards beggars are edifying. Creation myths around the world appeal to the pictorial imagination more happily than the big bang theory. A mythless society might be colourless and mystifying.

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GW - February 1, 2017

There’s no burning in them even when they’re dried. Better to coppice a wood like hazel that likes damp feet.

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GW - February 1, 2017

Same to you Joe. Brig was her name before the diminutive. At Bride’s church near fleet Street in London was built over a Roman temple built over a shrine to her.

Reputedly.

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Joe - February 1, 2017

Cheers GW. She’s the woman.

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5. Joe - February 1, 2017

Good story in today’s online Indo headlined: Treasurer removed from farmers’ group over right-wing political links.

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6. Starkadder - February 1, 2017
7. Starkadder - February 1, 2017
WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2017

I just don’t get the identification with Russia stuff. Is it an as simple as an identification with power? It all seems monstrously credulous of those pushing that line. As if states don’t have competing interests or as if some ‘nationalist’ or ‘white’ aspect somehow changes that. And just to be clear I’m not at all anti-Russian, though no fan of the Putin administration and those it appears to see as comrades in Europe.

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CL - February 1, 2017

‘The modern Alt-right has embraced Putin as an ally in their battle to install a “Traditionalist” worldview. ‘
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/18/1601406/-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Steve-Bannon-Breitbart-Russia

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Starkadder - February 1, 2017

“I just don’t get the identification with Russia stuff. Is it an as simple as an identification with power? ”

Possibly. But Putin has also rolled back LGBT rights and secularism in Russia,so it’s not surprising Buchanan and co. see his country as a role model. And t the anti-feminists applauded his treatment of Pussy Riot.

Also, going way back, Russia was the main source for reactionary activity.It’s no coincidence the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” originated in Russia. Also, the Tsar’s efforts to suppress revolutionary movements internationally in the 1860s earned them the nickname the “gendarme of Europe”.

Putin doesn’t seem anti-Semitic, but I can see him supporting all the right-wing movements as the modern-day “gendarme of Europe. (and “gendarme of the US”).

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WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2017

That makes a lot of sense Starkadder re the roll back of rights, secularism, etc.

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8. Starkadder - February 2, 2017

Speaking of Russia, three people there have been charged with
treason:

Two former cyber-security experts at Russia’s FSB intelligence agency and another at a software firm have been charged with treason, a lawyer says.
Ex-FSB men Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev, and an executive at the anti-virus software firm Kaspersky, Ruslan Stoyanov, are accused of working for US interests.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38831233

Also, Russia has relaxed laws against domestic violence, apparently at the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church:

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Starkadder - February 3, 2017

I noticed a number of Men’s Rights Activists have applauded the Russian law (for instance, several posters on the
Roosh V Forum applauded the move).

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WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2017

Urghhh… vile. A genuine step backward and there’s no excuse for it.

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9. CL - February 2, 2017
10. sonofstan - February 3, 2017

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/fianna-fil-to-promise-every-citizen-188-every-week-34317330.html

I have no memory of hearing about this at the time. I presume it didn’t make it into the manifesto, or as a red line issue in the negotiations with FG. Quiet burial?

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11. Alibaba - February 4, 2017

Remember what Gerry Adams said at the Ard Fheis, “Sinn Féin will not prop up either a Fine Gael or a Fianna Fáil government” in the future.

Mary Lou McDonald gave an indication that SF could take part in the next coalition government as the junior partner.

Enda Kenny dropped a clanger about coalition possibilities and later was obliged to have it clarified to say FG won’t go into coalition with SF.

Gerry Adams says “Fine Gael should stop getting into a tizzy on this issue. … There is no possibility of Sinn Féin propping up Fine Gael in government.”

Eoin O Broin tells us: ‘Co-equal’ partnership with with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil is an option for Sinn Féin.

Louise O’Reilly was goaded about O’Broin’s comment on RTE’s Politics programme last Sunday and she replied “We are ambitious …”.

To their credit Sinn Féin plays political ping-pong very well. But as sure as night follows day, Sinn Féin are currently rolling to the Right. How this pans out eventually will depend on two things. It will come down to the numbers of all won in the next general election and whether Adams remains as leader.

When I was talking to SF campaigners in 2011, some told me they would leave the organisation if it went for coalition with FF or FG. When Adams mentioned not “propping up”, I was told coalition was ok as long as SF is the dominant party. And with latest developments the line is “That’s politics for you”. Despite this, I can sense the growing disaffection, yet remain unclear where it will go, especially as the other Left offers no united, focussed and organised alternative.

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12. sonofstan - February 4, 2017

‘So-called president’ slams ‘so-called judge’. DT is probably wondering why he can’t just fire him

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13. Alibaba - February 6, 2017

‘Trump’s advisers want a new civil war – we must not let them have it’ says Paul Mason

‘Dan Adamini, a Michigan Republican party official, tweeted that a “Kent State” solution should be applied to leftwing protesters – that is, shooting them dead, as the Ohio National Guard did in 1970.’

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/06/some-of-trumps-advisers-want-a-new-civil-war-we-must-not-let-them-have-it

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CL - February 6, 2017

‘The notion that breaking windows, burning limousines, knocking over trash cans or throwing rocks at the cops has anything to do with the epochal struggle against American capitalism must be interrogated…’
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/27/the-politics-of-a-punch-richard-spencer-and-the-black-bloc/

“each time a group like the Black Bloc undermines a peaceful protest with violence, the large portion of our country that would be totally fine with cops beating the shit out of the demonstrators—even killing them—grows larger. Fox News will amplify the story, moderates will be disgusted, and little by little, the threshold of acceptable retaliation from the state will grow.”
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/02/the-violence-in-berkeley-is-a-very-very-bad-idea-f.html

“There has been a long experience with the violence of the so-called “black bloc,” anarchist and ANTIFA protesters, not only in the United States, but in Europe and around the world….
They attract demoralized and disoriented elements from the middle class, along with a sizable number of police provocateurs who hide behind hoods and masks and egg on the violence to provide an excuse for repression.”
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/04/anar-f04.html

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yourcousin - February 6, 2017

The idea that punching Nazis or taking direct action against fascists is somehow less legitimate because it makes middle class white people feel uncomfortable is fairly laughable. I would point out that that state response to the protests against the DAPL have not been peaceful nor were their response to things like Ferguson.

Caveat and disclaimer. I’m not now nor was I ever a black bloc member, though I did know some of those folks. By the time I turned 16 I was dialed into labor and organizing.

The black bloc while not my cup of coffee is no less legitimate than say, campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

But really there is no substitute for organizing on a day to day basis in our workplaces and in our communities.

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CL - February 7, 2017

” If violence against those exercising their First Amendment rights (speech, religion, etc.) can ever be condoned, why wouldn’t that also condone tearing off a woman’s hijab, or lynching someone? See how the “violence is justified” argument can work?”
http://wemeantwell.com/blog/?p=21092

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yourcousin - February 7, 2017

Fair point. Well let’s just agree to disagree. I’ll stand with the folks who are routinely targeted by the state and the fascists. You can stand with the Berners and Clinton supporters who have rediscovered the art of protest after almost a decade away.

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Ed - February 8, 2017

Don’t kid yourself that punching or not punching Richard Spencer is going to make all the difference when it comes to a violent state response to anti-Trump protests. They can be as peaceful as they like; if they cause real disruption to his policies, they will be met with violence (and the fact that they cause real disruption will be presented as ‘violent’ in itself; by the working definition of ‘violent protest’ that’s used today, MLK and his supporters would certainly be considered violent). A good chunk of the Trumpite base will be perfectly happy to see protesters beaten up or killed and will swallow whatever lies they are fed about the protesters bringing it upon themselves. The kind of ‘moderates’ who will be more disgusted by a few broken windows than by the cops killing protesters are not the sort of people you want to base your tactics on.

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14. Tomboktu - February 7, 2017

Donaeld The Unready and King Cnut the Great ‏have been having a twitter feud

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GW - February 8, 2017

You got there before me Tombuktu! Sorry for the duplication.

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GW - February 8, 2017

Cnut seems like a bit of a straight-man however.

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15. EWI - February 7, 2017

Schadenfreude:

But Commission lawyers have been pouring over the UK treasury paper issued before the Scottish independence referendum, which insisted that Scotland would be liable in full for its share of UK liabilities.

http://www.rte.ie/news/business/2017/0207/850715-buying-britain-out-the-price-of-leaving-the-eu/

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