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Speaking of the Presidential Election October 31, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’ve been wondering this last day or two about a candidate left of the Labour Party. It’s dubious that would have materially impacted upon the Casey nonsense. But perhaps it would have flown a flag that in a way was absent from the contest. For those supporting the incumbent, or indeed SF, that’s absolutely fine. I can’t blame Michael D. Higgins for the support from FF and FG either. But a more clearly radical voice positioned even further left? Could they have been nominated? That’s another question as well (and it was telling to see Independents of various stripes almost searching around in regard to someone to nominate). And if nominated would such a candidate have done any better than the others? I’m dubious, indeed if they’d breached 10% that would have been remarkable. And yet flying the flag, that’s far from unimportant. Particularly at a time when despite the far from inconsiderable weight of numbers in the Dáil – and influence, at least on the broader narratives, there’s a sense that a broader political weight may be a fair bit less than it was even a few years ago.

Perhaps the reality was that Higgins was too well positioned from the off, single term promise or not, and that there was huge support already behind him. Perhaps the means of consolidating behind a single candidate were impossible to achieve given the disposition of those who would have to line up. Perhaps a route to nomination even were the other elements to come into play simply didn’t exist.

Left Gardener’s Corner – Autumn update October 31, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

An allotment question from polly this morning that raises an interesting question and in passing notes this post hasn’t been around for a while, and it really is time for a seasonal update…

I was politely waiting for the Left Gardeners’ Corner to bloom again, in order to ask this question but got impatient. Does anyone know the allotments at Chapelizod? I am about to put down my name for one but am still dubious about whether they are too close to a busy road, and at the same time not secure from adventurous children or adventurous Phoenix Park deer. Grateful for any local knowledge.

So how’s it going for left gardener’s everywhere?

What you want to say – 31 October 2018 October 31, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

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

The post-Presidential election publicity machine grinds on… October 30, 2018

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Now RENUA are in on it!

Peter Casey must first become an elected public representative if he wishes to seek the leadership of Renua, the party has said in answer to reports that he could be offered the leadership of the party.


Renua leader, Offaly County Councillor John Leahy, said today that he had no plans to vacate the leadership, though he intends to speak to Mr Casey over the coming days to gauge his interest in joining the party.

“We’re going to make contact with him,” Mr Leahy told The Irish Times. “He’s very close to our line on tax, on law and order, on pro-life [issues]. And we’re recruiting candidates at the moment.

None of this seems to mean anything but I guess it’s giving a lot of folk space in the news media that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

What price losing a job? October 30, 2018

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Last month there was a report in the IT on this:

A restaurant has been ordered to pay €2,000 to a former employee who was sacked after a customer posted a negative review on Tripadvisor noting that “the red haired waitress was abrupt”.
The waitress took an unfair dismissal case at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) which upheld her claim after the boss at the unamed restaurant said he accepted the woman’s version of events.

There’s more there, and it’s worth reading the short report…

WRC adjudication officer Máire Mulcahy said the use of the TripAdvisor comment and 20 other alleged complaints “is not far short of mob rule in the workplace” when the waitress was not offered the opportunity to examine the truthfulness of them. The woman was dismissed on October 2nd last.

Ms Mulcahy said the the ‘vox-pop’ type comment posted on TripAdvisor about the red haired waitress being abrupt, which the restaurant used as the reason to dismiss the woman, was “very far removed” from the concept of substantial grounds as required under the Unfair Dismissal Act.


“There was no disciplinary procedure in the workplace. There was no process,” Ms Mulcahy said. “No advance notice, no examination of the alleged complaints, no opportunity to be accompanied at the meeting which resulted in her dismissal, or right of appeal was afforded to the complainant.”

Does €2,000 seem a lot for losing a job?

HR will see you now… October 30, 2018

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Was reading an article recently where BTL someone noted that…

If there is an HR department, report the egregious things, but realize that HR is there to protect the company, not you.

It’s a key point. And I’ve had dealings with HR myself over the years in different workplaces to know the truth of that. It’s not that HR is some sort of evil – or that it can be unuseful, oddly I’ve found when asked to do unreasonable things that saying I’ll run that by my union and HR is often extremely effective. But its function is not that of an union.

So many suggestions… so little substance October 30, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Is the thought that comes to mind watching Peter Casey’s continuing lap of not victory. That he came a distant second isn’t for a moment to dismiss the idea there’s a constituency for his thinking out there, but let’s keep in mind the size of that constituency. It’s hardly a surprise – I imagine, that one in five of those who voted might harbour reactionary views of one sort or another (and I’m not sure I’m convinced by the argument in this piece that it was some form of push back against austerity – do we draw the same conclusion, given the higher percentages, from those who voted against repeal of the 8th?).

What’s most telling is just how this would be leader, a Taoiseach no less in his own estimation, is buoyed up by his own rhetoric. Say what one will about Sean Gallagher but there was none of this stuff from him on a better rating on a higher turnout about a ‘new’ Fianna Fáil etc. But truth is that there’s no need for a ‘new’ party, not with those reliably right of centre formations FF and FG in the field.

So where does all this go?

A vision of the past… October 29, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I meant to post this up ages ago, a review in Slate of Daniel Ellsberg’s memoir from late last year. And very scary it is too. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in the early 1970s but prior to that he was a planner in the US nuclear deterrent. As Kaplan notes:

His new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, is his long-gestating memoir of those times and the years since, and it is one of the best books ever written on the subject—certainly the most honest and revealing account by an insider who plunged deep into the nuclear rabbit hole’s mad logic and came out the other side.

What were the plans?

But his first foray into the nuts and bolts of nuclear warfare—a study of command-and-control procedures that gave him access to top secret documents and chats with top commanders—set off a gradual unraveling of his worldview. It turned out that the nuclear war plan—and there was just one plan, with no room for flexibility—called for the rapid firing of America’s entire arsenal of nuclear weapons in response to any armed conflict, even a small conventional skirmish, with the Soviet Union. And once the orders came down, the bombs would rain down not just on the USSR but also on Communist China, even if the Chinese weren’t involved in the war. (The intelligence at the time viewed the two countries as all but unified.)

That latter is amazing, isn’t it, given what we know. Kaplan points to how de facto control was with ‘a small group of four-star generals and admirals’ so that were the President ‘incapacitated’ they could launch a strike. Good idea. In practice though authority was ‘delegated downward’ just in case that layer was wiped out. And so it came perilously close to individual autonomy in the midst of combat situations.

And here’s something uniquely dispiriting…

Ellsberg would like to see the abolition of nuclear weapons, but he’s logical, and practical, enough to realize that this isn’t in the offing, given state of global politics, national politics (in many nations), and possibly something screwy about the human species.

Great. Just great. As is Ellsberg’s calculation that US leaders have threatened the use of nuclear weapons (remember they don’t have a no-first strike policy) 25 times at least since 1945. And a point is made that the sheer number of nuclear weapons distorts our comprehension of their destructive power.

Ellsberg quotes McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy’s national security adviser, as writing years later that the explosion of 10 nuclear bombs would be a “disaster beyond human history.”

Their ubiquity – the thousands of warheads already around (4,500 in US hands alone) means that they seem both known and unknown. That has to change. Two weapons have been used in anger. They caused immense damage. Five. Ten. Fifteen? What would that be like. And where?

But looks like a great book.

Labour’s New Priorities… October 29, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought this was worth a mention, a piece on RTÉ about the LP written as noted beneath the piece by:

Dr Vittorio Bufacchi is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at UCC and member of the Labour Party. Seán Sherlock is Labour TD for Cork East and spokesperson on Justice, Children & Youth Affairs.

It offers four priorities…

First, all self-destructive temptations must be checked. The recent hullabaloo about the leadership of Brendan Howlin being challenged has not helped and it reflected badly on the party. What the Labour Party does not need, and cannot afford at the moment, is to waste time and energy, and precious time on airwaves, on speculations about its present leader.

Though it suggests that that has now been ‘settled’…

The second?

…the Labour Party desperately needs to go back to basics. With the risk of stating the obvious, the Labour Party is in opposition, and it should act as an opposition party: by holding the current government accountable whenever signs of incompetence and corruption are detected.
On housing, taxation, health care and education policy, this government has put blind trust in market forces and the myth of a trickle-down effect.


….the Labour Party needs to rebuild trust with its historical electoral base. It needs to reopen a conversation with Ireland’s working class. The Labour Party is a broad church, proud of its inclusiveness, always giving a voice to people of all walks of life. But the working class is, and must always be, its beating heart. The Labour Party must find of way of regaining the trust of trade unions, of skilled and unskilled workers, of unemployed men and women.


Finally, looking at the future, the Labour Party needs to embrace a radical transformation in its core personnel. We are not recommending a complete make-over, but what is required is more than cosmetic changes. The Labour Party must find a way to convince the Irish voters that it has left behind the mistakes made while in government during the years of austerity.


…if the Labour Party wants to reassure the next generation of voters that a vote for Labour is a vote for inclusion, participation and social justice, it must find the courage to implement some sweeping changes.

What are those sweeping changes, and wouldn’t priority three be better as priority one?

Irish Left Archive: Socialist Worker October 1988 (20th Anniversary of Derry 1968 edition) October 29, 2018

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To download the above please click on the following link. socialist-worker-1988.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This is a very interesting edition of Socialist Worker seating from October 1988 and provides an interesting contrast with the edition of the Worker from the SWM printed almost two decades earlier. The main focus is on the twentieth anniversary of the conflict in Ireland, and includes an overview of Derry in 1968.

The front page argues that:

After twenty years, people are sickened by the continuing violence in the north. Many have given up hope of a solution being found to the problem. A solution is possible. But first we need to look behind the headlines to why the violence occurs.

And after giving an outline of events concludes:

It is the violence of the Northern Ireland state and its British masters which ensure that twenty years after the Civil Rights Movement the bloodshed still continues.

There’s a strong emphasis on news articles relating to Northern Ireland, including anti-SPUC protests and negative coverage of a Workers’ Party protest against violence in the North. Other pieces examine ‘Fianna Fáil’s con-trick’ arguing that the economy in the Republic is in fact very weak. Pieces on international issues include articles on Burma and Sudan.

Unsurprisingly Eamonn McCann writes the overview of Derry in 1968 and covers a range of areas including how ‘the moderates took over’, ‘how the Trade Unions failed’ and ‘Wishful thinking on the left’. On that last he argues that:

In the run-up to the October 5th march socialist thinking in Derry wasn’t as strong as has sometimes been made out. It is true that most of those involved in the local organisation of the march were socialists of one sort or another. But the politics were very vague and there was no coherent socialist organisation.

The piece also examines the ‘Communist Party’s 2-stage theory’ and the issue of ‘the Left without a Party’.

In relation to the Communist Party there is a review of C Desmond Greaves by Kieran Allen which is by turns positive and deeply negative.

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