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Signs of Hope – A continuing series June 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

Refusing to fight in World War I: Resistance to military conscription in First World War Britain and Ireland. Conference June 22, 2018

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We are familiar with how Irish people responded to the threat of conscription during the First World War , with a mass campaign of resistance which prevented it’s introduction here. This event will look in detail at how the same threat was faced in Britain, by individuals and organisations who showed great courage in resisting, while faced not just with propaganda, harassment and violence , but also the legal threat of imprisonment and even the death penalty.
Come and hear two excellent speakers, who will also talk about the ‘underground railway’ to Ireland and the Irish anti-conscription movement.

“Resistance to Military Conscription in First World War Britain: The Case of the Conscientious Objectors”
This talk by Lois S. Bibbings will give an overview of the legal regime which oversaw volunteerism and conscription. It will look at conventional ideas about objectors alongside an exploration of who these men (and women) were, what they did and why, what happened to them and how they were viewed. A complex picture emerges which takes us a long way from stereotypical images of objectors as simply, for example, despised, rejected, unmanly, lacking courage and/or devotedly religious.

‘On the run –and the matter of Ireland’
This talk by Cyril Pearce will explore a largely ignored aspect of anti military resistance.From the introduction of conscription in 1916 to the end of the war each year at least 80,000 men were reported missing as deserters or absentees from the British army’s home forces. Among them was an unquantifiable number of men who identified themselves as Conscientious Objectors. Some of their stories involved Ireland as a Conscription-free place of refuge. They also involved collaboration with Irish rebels in obtaining passage to America. Their stories of temporary or permanent escape are a part of the history of Britain’s 1914-18 war resisters which has been largely ignored.

Details of speakers –
(Lois S. Bibbings is Professor of Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol. She began research WW1 conscientious objectors in Britain nearly 30 years ago. She has delivered numerous talks as well as writing articles and a book Telling Tales about Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War (MUP, 2009) on the subject. She is one of the curators of the ‘Refusing to Kill: Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors’ exhibition (which moves to Bristol Records Office in the summer) and a member of Remembering the Real WW1 (https://network23.org/realww1/about/). She is also helping to put together a national WW1 festival in 2019, Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience, which focuses on telling lesser known and hidden stories of the war, including a focus on conscientious objection, war resistance, mutinies, strikes, military executions, women’s roles, commonwealth experiences, views from outside the UK as well as looking at commemoration, remembrance and reflecting on what has happened in the intervening 100 years (https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/ccc/).)

(Cyril Pearce is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History,University of Leeds. His current research interest is British war resisters in World War 1. His book, Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War (First published 2001, new edition, 2014) was based or the study of the anti-war movement in his home town of Huddersfield. The search for other places like Huddersfield is what has driven his last twenty years work. A central part of that work has been the compilation of the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, a database of more than 19,000 COs which is currently on-line as part of the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ project. A new book with the working title Communities of Resistance : Patterns of Dissent in Britain, 1914 – 1918, is in preparation.)

(All welcome to this FREE event , part of a weekend of collaboration between The Stoneybatter & Smithfield Peoples History Project ,East Wall History Group, and the Bristol Radical History Group)
Date: Sunday 24th June
Time: 3pm
Venue: The Generator, Smithfield Square, Dublin 7

https://www.facebook.com/events/1659999080780518/

Framing the Brexit narrative…on Aviation June 22, 2018

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Disappointing to see in the Guardian the following:

The European commission is refusing to agree to any back-channel discussions between UK and EU aviation agencies to avert a crisis in the event of a “no-deal” outcome to Brexit.
Attempts by the aerospace industry to persuade Brussels to start contingency talks to ensure Europe’s planes keep flying and the aerospace industry can function effectively have apparently been rebuffed by the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, according to industry sources.

And:

An industry source told the Times that the commission was putting politics above the interests of the people it is supposed to represent. “This is purely about a negotiating strategy,” the source was reported to have said.

But Richard North – and I know opinions are mixed on his output, but his detail seems accurate – writes:

Thus, we had from The Times the claim that “Brussels bars aviation chiefs from preparing for no-deal”, based on an unconfirmed assertion that the European Commission had intervened after the aerospace industry had contacted Barnier, specifically to prevent EASA and the CAA from holding talks.

However, had the paper take more note of what I had written in my second piece, they would perhaps have understood that – in the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement and the transition period – it is not possible for EASA to enter into talks with the CAA to secure the optimum outcome, a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA).

This, I observed, is a full-blown treaty and can only be negotiated by the EU and the UK government. And, to do that, they need to use the formal procedure set out in Article 218 of the consolidated treaties. Such negotiations are way above the pay scale of the agencies and, as with the broader post-Brexit relationship, the negotiation process can only be undertaken once the UK has left the EU and formally acquired the status of a “third country”.

There’s no point in the Times, or indeed UK aviation, attempting to pretend that bilateral talks between agencies that have no authority in this can amount to anything prior to withdrawal when the UK becomes a ‘third country’.

North thinks that at a higher level some sort of ‘deal’ is necessary, but his view is that any such deal will work in favour of the EU and…

We will be lucky if we can escape the worst consequences, but a degree of damage is inevitable – the only real question is how much.

Male, stale and middle class June 22, 2018

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One other aspect of the justly criticised MacGill panels – which seem to happily ignore half of humanity – is the dearth of working class voices. There are legions of working class women representatives, economists, activists, commentators and so on who would be ideal participants in a genuinely questioning and challenging endeavour.

The comfort zone that the summer ‘school’ provides and represents tells its own story.

The contradictions of right populism on immigration… June 22, 2018

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Alan Posener, a German blogger and columnist, writing in the Guardian had an excellent overview of the contradictions exemplified by the solo run on immigration policy by German interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

Seehofer wants to turn back any refugee who is already registered in another EU country or who has already applied for asylum in Germany and been refused. In fact, he threatened to order the federal police to implement this rule – which is consistent with German asylum law – without asking the chancellor, unless she endorsed his position by Monday.

But… for there is a but…

…as I write this, on Monday evening, Seehofer has backed down. As she so often does with the men who challenge her, Merkel gave him just enough rope to hang himself. It seems to have dawned on Seehofer that if Germany sends back refugees who are registered elsewhere, a country such as Italy with its new anti-immigrant government might stop registering them, as it did at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. Unilateral action would also anger our Austrian neighbour, who would be saddled with most of the migrants Germany turns back.

And;

Here’s the paradox: Italy and Austria both have anti-immigrant governments. Ideologically, they are on the same page as Seehofer’s CSU. But that is precisely the reason they are not going to pick up the tab if Germany tightens its border regime. Merkel has common sense on her side when she argues that there has to be a European fix. So Seehofer “graciously” gave her two more weeks, upon which Merkel stated that if her minister acted unilaterally, she would tell him where to get off.

And there is the problem for Seehofer, et al. Ideologically all are anti-immigration. But they cannot work in concert because an advantage to one is a disadvantage to the others. If Germany wants to cut off immigrants from Italy it has to be certain that Italy is acquiescing to the wider rules. But if Italy isn’t, then there’s no advantage to Germany. And of course precisely the same holds true of Italy in relation to other states (albeit inflows to Italy also come across the Mediterranean). All the talk of a populist nationalist axis cannot evade this central issue. This isn’t to say that these states couldn’t cobble together some sort of ‘fix’, no doubt draconian and very unpleasant. But the problem remains that their individual situations are sometimes subtly, sometimes starkly, different.

As always it takes a European wide approach to engage constructively with the realities of migration.

The longest day… June 21, 2018

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Is today. From here on out the evenings get shorter, the mornings less bright – though in truth sunset and sunrise remain pretty much of a muchness for the next week or two. Sunrise is 4.56 am and sunset at 21.57 pm today. By the end of July sunrise will be 5.39 am and sunset 21.22. By the end of August it’s 6.32 am and 20.17 pm. And so on.
And soon enough it will be 2019!

A spot of bother over immigration… June 21, 2018

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Anyone else surprised that immigration is the issue that seems to have – at least momentarily – derailed the Trump administration in a way nothing else, not allegations of sexual impropriety, allegations of corruption, curious to baffling to risible foreign policy, etc, etc, have to date.

Of course there is something almost uniquely cruel about the separation of families in the way that is being done in the US at this point in time, and I found it telling that BTL on this article here in the IT those trailing in supporting Trump are unable to do better than throw out flak about the Obama administration supposedly doing the same (it didn’t, but it wasn’t pretty either). Indeed it’s fascinating to see the Trump administration on the back foot.

What is most telling is that he has had to do something about it, in a way that he would very much not wish to do. That’s something of a watershed in the history of this administration. To date its victories and defeats have been curiously insubstantial. In part because so much is rhetoric and therefore solid achievement or solid failure is thin on the ground. The DPRK/US summit was a perfect example of this. It meant next to nothing, as indeed had the bellicose rhetoric of last year. But it was spun as meaning so much.

But given Trump has been pushed back on a matter like this that’s a fairly substantial blow, and it has further implications, that this administration is actually more vulnerable than it has seemed to date. That actual politics does have a drag effect upon it, that away from tax ‘reform’ that it doesn’t really care about but is more than happy to cleave to a pointedly right wing approach, or other policies, it can be constrained or at least delayed.

Politics and Society June 20, 2018

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This year was the first year of Leaving Cert exams in the “Politics and Society” subject.
I thought I would know a good bit more of it than I did, seemed like a tough exam…..

To see the papers….
https://www.examinations.ie/exammaterialarchive/

Hit the I agree Text box.
Choose Type : Exam Papars
Choose Year: 2018
Choose Examination: Leaving Cert
Choose Subject: Politics and Society

Link to papers then appear

Irish Citizens of Basque Origin June 20, 2018

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Ireland’s Basque refugees during the Spanish Civil War.

A very interesting talk on Ireland’s Basque refugees during the Spanish Civil War was given by Stewart Reddin at Ubh café in Newbridge, Co. Kildare on Saturday, June 16 as part of June Fest. The cafe was packed out for the talk, with part of the audience having to stand on the stairs.

In his talk Stewart told the extraordinary story of Ireland’s Basque refugees and one man in particular Iker Gallastegi. Who survived two dictatorships, lived in Mexico as a child refugee just months after being born, returned home at five years of age only to be forced to flee again as a ten year old following the fascist bombing of Gernika.He lived in Ireland as a refugee from 1937 to the 1950s. Iker Passed away on 12th February 2018 peacefully at his home in Algorta aged 91.

The Sun King smiles and all is well… the Sun King frowns and… June 20, 2018

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Entertaining spot in the IT this week where Michael O’Regan notes a fascinating tonal division between the way the Taoiseach treats, say, Michael Healy-Rae and the Social Democrats, who might be enticed into coalition at some point, and those who might not.

The Taoiseach’s replies to Dáil questions last week illustrated his more benign approach to them when contrasted with his responses to those certain not to support him.
Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae called for extra Garda resources in south Kerry, noting that a public meeting on this issue in Cahersiveen had been attended by more than 500 people. “The people want reassurance,’’ he added. “They want to ensure that their children will be safe.’’
The Taoiseach read from his extensive brief, reciting facts and figures. He concluded by saying he knew Mr Healy-Rae’s request had been made sincerely. “Given that this is such a serious matter, and I know the Deputy is so sincere, I will ask the Minister for Justice and Equality to relay the request to the Garda Commissioner for his consideration.’’

Nice.

Likewise with the admittedly more ambivalent Social Democrats.

Whereas Tommy Broughan who has ruled out coalition with the right gets remarkably short shrift:

Later, Independent Dublin Bay North TD Tommy Broughan suggested there was a growing breakdown of law and order, and asked what the Taoiseach was doing about it. There would be no circumstances in which Mr Broughan would support a Fine Gael-led government. Dismissing Mr Broughan’s claim, the Taoiseach said: “As is often the case, the Deputy is out of date and misinformed.”

Okay, one can make too much of this, but Varadkar would be a fool not to be easing the way towards the next coalition of which he overwhelmingly likely to be Taoiseach once more. And it makes sense for him to talk to those like MHR who were involved in negotiations the last time and were quite positively inclined towards them, and the SDs, who one suspects would want to have a shot at some influence, and of course others like Mattie McGrath etc who might provided external support, hence his cautious words about respecting religious belief, as against those who will vote agin him come what may.

But it is also telling, because it suggests that he believes some of these folk will be returned to the Dáil. I posted up thoughts on who might be so (un) lucky last week, and talking to some more people subsequently there was a sense about that 15 to 16 Independent and small party TDs was a realistic number to see returned, particularly given that there’s been no particular uptick in FG’s vote.

Of course there could be a complete winnowing of IND/Others and all this is merely insurance on Varadkar’s part. Sensible too. Because he will be keen to show that the SF option is no option at all and that he wants to break free of the FF life support option. So in truth this probably is his first preference, a coalition of all the talents.

But for those refused his blessings – is that a good or a bad thing politically and electorally?

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