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The Irish Left: What is to be Done? A Monthly thread… October 2017 October 31, 2017

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SoS suggested some time back that we should do this thread regularly. And it is worth considering matters in the light of changing circumstances.

But what has changed, what is in the offing and how has the return of the Dáil this last month or so functioned for the left, if at all?

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Urban “regeneration” and middle class integration October 31, 2017

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Meant to post this up a while back, but there was a piece in the Observer a month or so ago on the issue of regeneration (or gentrification if one prefers – though its a vile term) of urban areas. And it was actually pretty good with one very strong question raised…

It is also true of gentrification generally that it depends how you do it. For Rushanara Ali (MP for Bethnal Green and Bow) it requires an effort by incomers to integrate – ‘I’m really tired of black and Asian people being told to integrate and not the white middle class’.

Living in an area not dissimilar albeit class rather than class and race being the main determinants I’ve seen the dynamic Ali describes. She hopes that “middle-class arrivals send their children there, contribute their networks and knowledge and help make them more socially and racially mixed’. But all too often the opposite is the case, particularly in regard to education where some children are sent elsewhere.

Coming from an education background on the northside of Dublin one of the key features was the fact in the late 70s and early 80s the schools I was in were positioned in working class areas and had relatively good social mixes. It was productive for everyone involved.

Dog whistle? October 31, 2017

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…Trump chief of staff John Kelly locking into a curious analysis of the US Civil War in his defence of Trump and the Mueller investigation…

John Kelly, Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has been widely condemned for hailing Confederate hero Robert E Lee as an “honourable” man and claiming “the lack of ability to compromise caused the Civil War”.

As The Telegraph notes…

Mr Kelly echoed language used by Mr Trump in the aftermath of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville to stress that the war was made up of “men and women of good faith on both sides”.

It’s very difficult to hear these repeated references to that conflict and its centrality to the alt-right and not feel that they are quite deliberate whether as a means of shoring up part of the Trump base or whatever.

But it’s also telling that if that is the case they are open to such ridicule as the Telegraph puts it. And as someone notes, Kelly was meant to be one of the ‘adults’ in the administration.

Peace news! October 31, 2017

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The Trump administration is working on a nuclear weapons policy that is intended to mark a decisive end to the era of post-cold war disarmament, by bolstering the US arsenal and loosening the conditions under which it would be used.

Uh-oh.

East Wall History Festival 2017 begins this Wednesday evening (1st November) October 30, 2017

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Thanks to JM for this…

http://eastwallforall.ie/?p=3826

All events are at the Sean O’Casey Theatre , St Marys Road

Wednesday 1st November @ 8pm : “Our Friend Tommy”

The official launch of the Festival will include a short remembrance of people who passed away this year who were connected with the work of the group. The main part of the evening will be a very special tribute to our friend Tommy Seery, who will be sadly missed.

Tommy was so much part of our community , being involved with football clubs , the mens shed , the P.E.G. Drama & Variety Group and so much more. He also took part in numerous other acting and television projects.

Down through the years he participated in so many of our history projects , adding some drama or a song to enhance an event .Tommy will be remembered in a presentation which will include drama, spoken word, song and video.

Friday 3rd November @ 7.30pm : “The Dubs in the Rare Ould Times ”

In 1974 legendary manager Kevin Heffernan restored pride in the capital by leading Dublin to their first All-Ireland in 11 years. This 90 minute documentary charts the success of that famous team of ‘the rare ould times’, a team that was to dominate Gaelic football history. They became the first team to contest 6 All Irelands in a row, winning 3 of them.

Dublin actor Colm Meaney (The Snapper, The Van and Star Trek) stars in and asks the questions of that famous Dublin team of the 1970s.

Featuring interviews with some of the greatest stars and including amazing archive footage of some the greatest games of all time – particularly the classic 1977 All-Ireland semi-final clash between Heffo’s Heroes and the men from the Kingdom.

Documentary director Brian O’Flaherty will be in attendance . We are also delighted to announce that Alan Larkin , part of that legendary team will be present , and we are hoping to confirm other special guests during the week.

Monday 6th Novembr @ 8pm : The Life and Times of Alfie Byrne

Alfie Byrne was the most popular Dublin-born politician of the 20th Century and the most historic Lord Mayor in the history of the City. Come along and hear the remarkable story of his life and career , as told by Trevor White , author of the recent critically acclaimed biography .

Elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin a record ten times, Alfie Byrne was called the “Shaking hand of Dublin” and “Alfred the Great” by the press, but Dubliners knew him simply as “Alfie.” Even today, nearly 60 years after his death, many Dubliners remember this short, dapper figure with affection.

Born on St Patricks Day (the son of a docker) he was reared in Seville Place , and he would eventually own a pub on Talbot Street . Politically he was involved with every issue of the day , always with a strong attachment to the Docklands community.

A great talk on the life and times of the only man in history who served as an MP, a TD, a Senator, a Councillor and Lord Mayor.

(Trevor White was born in Dublin in 1972. He founded the Dubliner magazine and the Little Museum of Dublin. “Alfie: The Life and Times of Alfie Byrne” is his third book)

Friday 10th November @ 8pm : “On the Wing”

A celebration of the East Wall & District Racing Pigeon Club. Evening will feature launch of “On the wing”, a new history of the club by Mary Murphy .This book traces the story of the club from it’s foundation in the 1950’s (as the North Road Invitation Flying Club) to the present day. Followed by annual presentations by the club to members.

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All welcome to these free events

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And later in the month we have two additional talks which will be well worth attending :

“After the Easter Rising – 1917 and Dublins North Inner City Rebels” – Thursday 16th November @ 7.30pm, Sean O’Casey Theatre. Talk by author Derek Molyneux .

“Dublin Port, World War One and Submarine attacks on Merchant ships” – Thursday 30th November, @ 7.30 pm, Sean O’Casey Theatre. Talk and exhibition, featuring relatives of local seamen who lost their lives in torpedo attacks a century ago.

A strategy of tension? October 30, 2017

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I’d never heard of this even though I’ve some interest in Stay Behind networks – those being the covert guerrilla groups that supposedly were established to fend off a Soviet invasion but appear to have had a more then-contemporary function of organising anti-communist and other forces utilising far-right factions and arming same. Consequently there is some evidence of links with efforts to generate a strategy of tension by the far right during the 1970s and after in various European states, perhaps most obviously Italy. Daniele Ganser has conducted some interesting but far from uncontested research in this area which is well worth a read (you can get his books through the Central Library).

A former policeman in Belgium confessed on his deathbed to involvement in this particularly unpleasant series of murders…

The “Crazy Brabant Killers” – a gang that killed 28 people and left a further 40 injured in a string of robberies in the early 1980s.

During a three-year spree, the Brabant Killers staged more than a dozen raids on supermarkets, hostels and a gunsmiths, during which they shot customers, staff and even children. They suddenly ceased their activities and disappeared in 1985.

Tellingly:

The killers’ proficiency in handling weapons raised suspicions at the time that there was a link with the gendarmerie, a former paramilitary police force of Belgium. Theories circulated that the group was part of an attempt by the far left or right to undermine the state, something that the Belgian government confirmed on Tuesday remained “a possibility”.

And note the following in relation to language.

The Brabant gang, who were French speaking, and would taunt and roar at their victims, terrorised Belgian society. They have retained a hold on the public imagination since their sudden unexplained disappearance.

In a state like Belgium which is always prey to issues in relation to language, culture and political representation one can imagine the effect of such grim events.

There’s more on the wiki page here. Again the potential Stay Behind aspect is discussed.

Whatever the motivation an almost incredible number of crimes carried out in a very short space of time relatively speaking.

Left Archive: Irish Socialist Review – Communist Party of Ireland, No. 1 1970 October 30, 2017

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To download the above please click on the following link. IRISHSOCREV1970

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This is a fascinating document, the very first issue of Socialist Review from the Communist Party of Ireland. It promotes itself as the Lenin Centenary Edition but the editorial eschews mention of him and instead focusing on the recent unity resolution of the Irish Workers Party and the Communist Party of Northern Ireland to come together as the CPI. It argues that:

At a time when among the Left forces there is far too much in-fighting, division and quarrelling about questions not immediately essential, the Irish Communists have shown the leadership and political duty of the day by endorsing a united policy in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

Oddly there is no mention of the conflict in the North.

The rest of the publication contains pieces on Lenin: His Life and Achievement, On the National Question by Sam Nolan, Lenin on Ireland, How Imperialism Rules Now by A Raftery, Lenin on the rule of the People and Lenin’s Kind of Party. There’s also a piece by a Soviet Historian on Connolly. All told a very polished publication.

The Guy from Jeff’s Gym and other TV show intros… October 29, 2017

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I’ve always loved Community as a tv show, but the above minute and a half from Season Six kind of sums up its humour perfectly – a mixture of sympathy, something much darker and a sometimes parodic but always humorous take on the world. This was one of the short snippets at the end of many of the episodes of that season, an innovation I really liked. And it is, of course a parody of all those 1980s and 1990s action shows that had that voice over… Ryan Ridley, a writer on Community is perfect in the part of the put upon guy who happened to be saved by Jeff Winger and now finds himself indebted to him and waiting for the day when he’ll be free of his demands. The montage of what he does is great – but I love the one where a luminous eyed figure looms up behind him as he breaks open a safe in a darkened office. Now that’s a show I’d like to see.

But what of those shows it parodied… The Pretender from the late 90s – almost brilliantly bad as a show – comes to mind though it’s not a first person voice over:

This is another third person voiceover…

And this…

This though is getting closer… Nowhere Man, a series from the 1990s.

The Equalizer though… no voiceover, some dismally gendered scense and yet the closing shot is identical to the Guy fro Jeff’s Gym (music by Stewart Copeland no less).

Any other examples?

Sunday and the Week’s Media Stupid Statements… October 29, 2017

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This early in the day thin pickings from the Sunday media… at least so far, but all contributions gratefully accepted..

The state and violence? October 29, 2017

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A review here in the Guardian of October by Eisenstein. and most interesting it is too. I’ve never seen it but intend to rectify that as soon as possible.
Still, Peter Bradshaw writes;

Lenin himself said the “proletarian state” is a “system of organised violence”. Eisenstein’s film could be said in its own way to have systematised it.

I’m not much of a Leninist – if at all, whatever about being a Marxist, but according to Wiki what Lenin actually wrote was the following, in reference to all states.

Lenin’s direct and simple definition of the State is that “the State is a special organisation of force: it is an organisation of violence for the suppression of some class.”

Which is a rather different thing, is it not?

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