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What you want to say – 29 April 2020 April 29, 2020

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. ar scáth a chéile - April 29, 2020
2. EWI - April 29, 2020

I’m certain that I recently saw some folks on here reminiscing about their Gaeltacht experiences:

Irish Speakers and Schooling in the Gaeltacht, 1900 to the Present

Authors: O’Donoghue, Tom, O’Doherty, Teresa
Free Preview

Offers the first comprehensive study of schooling in Irish-speaking districts, the Gaeltacht, throughout the twentieth century

Argues that the lack of equal opportunity in education served to keep Irish speakers from these communities in a marginalized position in Irish society

Explores the lived experiences of pupils and teachers who attended Gaeltacht schools

https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030260200

On sale (for today) for €10

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Joe - April 29, 2020

Thanks EWI. Sounds very interesting.

I met a woman from Derry a few years back. She told me that, like most of us, she had spent a couple of school summers in the Donegal Gaeltacht learning Irish. Then 30 years later she returned to find the house she had stayed in. As she looked at the house and reminisced, a man about her own age came out. They got talking. She told him she’d stayed in the house as a schoolgirl. He said he grew up in the house. He said he knew very little English as a boy. And he finished with: “But a lot of good the Irish was to me because at fifteen years of age I walked out that door to go to Luton to work in the car factory. Irish was no use to me there.”

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EWI - April 29, 2020

And he finished with: “But a lot of good the Irish was to me because at fifteen years of age I walked out that door to go to Luton to work in the car factory. Irish was no use to me there.”

Nothing to do with the language, but a lot to do with the later economic policies of FF and FG (I was one of the last consorts of children brought up in full expectation of emigration).

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EWI - April 29, 2020

*in one of the last cohorts

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sonofstan - April 29, 2020

Thanks EWI – purchased. I’m finally getting used to e-Books

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ar scáth a chéile - April 29, 2020

Beidh samhradh bog éasca ag na mná tì imbliana faraor.

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CL - April 29, 2020

As it cost money to go to the Gaeltacht to learn Irish the children who went were mostly middle class. Knowing Irish was an advantage in the educational system and in the civil service; one of the reasons the Irish working class was never too enthusiastic about reviving Irish.

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benmadigan - April 29, 2020

not entirely true as far as regards the north. here’s some info on the 1st gaeltacht at shaw’s road in belfast

https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/saturday-night-film-the-belfast-gaeltacht/

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WorldbyStorm - April 29, 2020

I’ve no doubt there was a tilt towards the middle classes but as Ben says it’s not the whole story. A good number of people from working class backgrounds did go the Gaeltacht. In Kilbarrack there were strong links to Chamuis due to one of our teachers teaching there so a lot of kids from there went to that Gaeltacht. But then I know a lot of people from Kilbarrack who also went to other Gaeltachts up in Donegal.

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Bartholomew - April 29, 2020

‘A good number of people from working class backgrounds did go to the Gaeltacht’.
When I went (1971, yikes!) there were grants and it could be effectively free. It was mostly middle class, but there was plenty of working class as well.

Plus, the Irish-language primary schools in Dublin now are disproportionately in working class areas – Ballymun, Tallaght, Ballybrack, Clondalkin.

But as Joe says below, the truth is that no class is particularly enthusiastic.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

I’d agree with Wbs on the phenomenon of working class kids from Dublin going to the Irish colleges back in the eighties. There were a lot of them when I went to Colaiste Connacht in the eighties (on a VEC scholarship) and I remember playing a school volleyball team against deadly rivals Lurgan with a guy from Kilbarrack.
(I have many more such enthralling anecdotes which make it incomprehensible that the authors of this book didn’t seek me out.)
I think there were teachers involved with the colleges who’d bring a lot of people from their particular school and don’t remember the milieu being a particularly privileged one.
My own kids went to the local Gaelscoil here which actually tended to be looked down on a bit as the parents were a pretty diverse group of people who in many instances had chosen it because it was the only one without a cleric on the board. So you heard the C word (Crusties) a lot.
The school with the middle class cachet was the Church of Ireland school, not with the actual C of I children (largely farmers kids) but with parents who felt they were moving up a grade by sending children there. The equivalent of playing rugby instead of GAA perhaps.
My own mother is from the Gaeltacht, still lives there and does think there’s been a decline in the amount of Irish being spoken by young people in particular locally. Maybe that’s being compensated for by a pickup elsewhere.
She also remembers being at the Ceartai Sibialta na Gaeltachta marches where they got a fairly rough time from the cops. It did to a certain extent ameliorate the situation whereby for all the lip service paid to the language by official Ireland the people who actually spoke it lived in the worst economic blackspots of the country. Two of her brothers went to England as teenagers to work when they hardly had a word of English. But things did pick up a bit, largely due to the civil rights movement I think.
Something like TG4, like R Na G, is a target for people who seem blithely unconcerned about all kinds of money being wasted on white elephant projects elsewhere. Yet both stations are miracles of what can be done on slender resources and I think keeping them alive is the definition of public service broadcasting, a civilised gesture in a crassly commercial age.
Hope you’re all keeping safe.

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ar scáth a chéile - April 29, 2020

Gaelscoil Bharra in Cabra and Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch in Ballymun would have a strong working class base.

I suspect there are a few working class Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht with an enthusiasm fo language as well.

Donal MacAmhlaigh’s Dialann Deoraí is great evocation of the working class Irish speaking experience ( thall i Sasana for the most part mind you). Its full observations on the Irish class dynamics,

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ar scáth a chéile - April 29, 2020

Typos, Damnú orthu,

Dónall Mac Amhlaigh

“enthusiasm for the language”
“full of observations”

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Joe - April 29, 2020

“one of the reasons the Irish working class was never too enthusiastic about reviving Irish.”
Indeed. And the Irish middle class and the Irish ruling class were never too enthusiastic neither.
Never too enthusiastic but sometimes and some elements of each class, and it waxes and wanes, were and are quite enthusiatic.

It’s a hugely complex and complicated thing – the story of the attempted revival of Irish as a spoken language and the whys and wherefores of its actual decline rather than revival.

And there’s always hope. Seeing and hearing young children speaking Irish still makes me well up. I don’t do twitter but his was sent to me recently on whatsapp and I’ll now faithfully type the address on here. A young boy in West Kerry giving a golf lesson as Gaelainn. Árdaíonn sé mo chroí in áirde sna Flaitheas é seo d’fheiscint agus do chlos.
https://mobile.twitter.com/buailtin/status/1248641368324481026

Triaifimid aríst é 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Joe - April 29, 2020

Gabh mo leithscéal.

Triailfimid é i gceart.

Friends, that is the best thing you’ll see on the internet. Ever. I remember yourcousin asking me for my thoughts on the situation re the Irish language here. And I said to him that this generation in the Gaeltacht is probably the last generation of real native Irish speakers. Or something like that. But, this video shows that while Irish might be dying, she ain’t dead yet.

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WorldbyStorm - April 29, 2020

“Seeing and hearing young children speaking Irish still makes me well up. ”

+1

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CL - April 29, 2020

Irish has been dying for 200 years; 200 years from now it will still be dying.

““The status of Irish in the education system and state institutions, burdened the language with an ideological slant that had implications for the working-class and the people of the Gaeltacht. Language policy was perceived as discriminatory among the poorly educated who saw Irish in terms of reward or sanction for social mobility”
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/12/the-irish-language-and-marxist-materialism/

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/02/irelands-gaeltacht-regions-transitioning-into-oblivion/

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Bartholomew - April 29, 2020

The first two sentences of that book are odd:

‘There was a time when Irish was the language most commonly used throughout all of Ireland. That, however, was over 1200 years ago.’

They must mean the only language used, and that ‘1200 years ago’ refers to the foundation of Norse towns like Waterford and Wexford. But Irish was the language most commonly used throughout Ireland until at least 1600 and was the language of over half the population still in 1800.

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Bartholomew - April 29, 2020

And people will be glad to learn that a footnote reference on p.7 is to a Sunday Independent article by Eoghan Harris from 2018.

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Gearóid Clár - April 29, 2020

I’m out.

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

Whatever the merits of the book overall, so far it has been worth it solely for the discovery that there once existed in Ireland an Association for Discountenancing Vice.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Its members apparently staged a show of strength on Liveline today (or so I am informed by members of the younger generation.) Normal People is the new The Spike.

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EWI - April 30, 2020

You’d be surprised by what was around. According to Thom’s of a century ago there existed many Protestant evangelical societies in Dublin, including a CoI one to (of all things) ‘convert the Jews’.

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Bartholomew - May 1, 2020

Isn’t it a hoot? Full title – The Association for Discountenancing Vice and Promoting the Knowledge and Practice of the Christian Religion. Founded 1792 to counter Tom Paine and other republican and radical influences. If you go to the Church Café in Mary St in Dublin there should still be a plaque there to its founder, William Watson, a Dublin printer.

I think the Association for Discountenancing Vice later became the SPCK, which still had a shop on Dawson St in the 60s and 70s. It was one of the better bookshops in Dublin at the time.

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GearóidGaillimh - May 1, 2020

There was a lay Catholic group in the early twentieth-century called the ‘Cork Angelic Warfare Association’.

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3. Paddy Healy - April 29, 2020

Betrayal Of Limerick Soviet By ITGWU and other Union Leaders
“After considerable delay, ILP &TUC leaders finally turned up in Limerick to reveal a plan that had been agreed with the nationalist activists, namely the evacuation of the population of Limerick. Understandably the Limerick workers were dismayed by this absurd proposition.”–Conor Kostic
Local republicans had called the Trade union leaders who proposed this “nincompoops”
But they were not stupid. A vastly experienced trade union leader such as William O’Brien, must have known that this outrageous proposal would undermine the limerick strike against British emergency powers and the soviet backing the strike
The Limerick soviet, which had soared to unprecedented heights of working class activity, deflated with a whimper, with considerable damage to the position of the working class within the fight for Irish independence.

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Jolly Red Giant - April 29, 2020

Paddy – once again you are presenting a false narrative of the revolutionary period in Ireland by claiming “The Limerick soviet, which had soared to unprecedented heights of working class activity, deflated with a whimper, with considerable damage to the position of the working class within the fight for Irish independence.”

This is not what happened – indeed the General Strike in 1920 was significantly more important given the establishment of workers soviets all over the country and ITGWU activists effectively controlling all movement in the country during the strike. There is a reason why the military authorities released the prisoners so quickly and MacCready demanded that William O’Brien be released from Wormwood Scrubs and brought immediately to Dublin.

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4. ar scáth a chéile - April 29, 2020

Go h-Iontach ar fad , Joe.
It even mellows my antipathy to the game of golf. Molaímis an óige

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Joe - April 29, 2020

Tá sé go hiontach cinnte. Ní galfóir mé fhéin ach oireadh ach do thriailfinn é cinnte tar éis na ceachta ón ngarsún seo.

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Bartholomew - April 29, 2020

Go raibh maith agat, a Joe, tá an video sin go diail ar fad.
‘Céard atá ag dul timpeall?’
‘Tá an coróinvíreas ag dul timpeall!’

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5. roddy - April 29, 2020

I used to enjoy Donall McAmhlaigh’s pieces in “Irelands own”.They had a great feel for the working class Irish emigrant experience in England. ( I know “Irelands own” is very uncool but at one stage it was part of the furniture in a vast swathe of Irish homes!)

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

I was very fond of the Kitty The Hare stories myself as a youngster. She was what we had instead of Jane Austen.
McAmhlaigh’s Dialann Deorai is a fantastic book about the experience of Irish emigrants in England, a subject which is very short of literature considering how common the experience is, in the west particularly where it unites a couple of generations, those who went in the fifties and those who went in the eighties. Most of us, I suspect, know London a lot better than we do Dublin. Nothing breaks the ice in a pub conversation like naming the pubs on the way up the Holloway Road.

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Joe - April 30, 2020

The brother (from Dublin) went to London in the eighties and has lived there since. I remember visiting and he brought me to a pub on the Holloway Road (the Angel?). There were two cigarrette machines. One had a selection of the usual international brands. The other was packed with just Major.

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WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2020

We got Ireland’s Own regularly in our house. two pieces in particular have stuck with me. One was a folk tale of a woman who had a fit of anger, rush of blood to the head and died. I can still remember the illustration. It freaked me out that that could happen. The other was a series they had on UFO’s – sort of comic strip (perhaps reformatted from US papers) which I liked a lot.

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EWI - April 30, 2020

The other was a series they had on UFO’s – sort of comic strip (perhaps reformatted from US papers) which I liked a lot.

There was a character on Dynasty who was abducted, right? Or am I misremembering the Eighties?

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Tomboktu - April 30, 2020

Did you see the cover with Paddy Cole?

I saw some comments on the groovy graphic design announcing the page count.

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makedoanmend - April 30, 2020

There’s almost nothing written about the Irish experience in the United States, especially the big influx in the 1980s. The New York City experience would be particularly revealing in that social dimension amongst the Irish during the initial influx was far more cohesive than anything I ever experienced in the UK during the same period – probably because the Irish community was so self-identifying and self-dependent. Being Irish tended to be a positive in the larger New York context where the cultural differences of the Irish were celebrated for their own sake. The attitudes experienced by Irish in NYC between 1850 as opposed to that of 1980 were quite different.

Many a person received much needed monies during an emergency from hastily arranged do’s held in Irish pubs. You could eat in Irish cafes, restuarants, visit Irish shops, and get any local county paper you wanted. A local Irish pub acted as a labor exchange and a way to connect with home via people on the move and gossip. You could study Irish and Irish dancing as social activities organised by small organisations. You got to meet people from every county in Ireland in a relatively short period. And I was surprised how many people I’ve met back home who spent quite a bit of time back in the USA.

One time at a do for a Down man, a fella pointed out to me that half the Down Minor Hurling team was in the room, all having moved to NYC within a few months of each other.

Mind you, I did see on a couple of occassions were ‘bad blood’ back home manifested itself, but that was the exception rather than the rule.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

My uncle and my brother spent a while in Boston where they used to drink in a pub where most of the customers were Connemara people who spoke in Irish.
The side of emigrant experience you talk about is almost entirely ignored. The most popular newspaper article is about Fiachra and Ciara who work in tech or in an art gallery and have the maturity and good sense to keep away from their fellow countrymen. It also usually contains a somewhat insulting observation about the fact that we’ve moved far beyond the days when Irish people worked on buildings or in bars.
I found the Irish experience in London in the eighties to be not that different from how you describe it in New York. The pubs, the local papers, the GAA clubs etc.

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

“I found the Irish experience in London in the eighties to be not that different from how you describe it in New York. The pubs, the local papers, the GAA clubs etc.”

I know second -generation Irish people in UK cities who are much more ‘Irish’ than me in terms of their devotion and dedication to the GAA, Irish music and dance, and even the language (and I’m pretty OK on that score!)

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

And tangential to that, there a great RTE doc on one about the Sean nós singer Darach Ó Cathain and his life in Leeds.
https://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/2009/0528/645999-dudley_kane/

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Agreed. I was amazed when The Sunday Game started being shown in the pubs in 1991 how a lot of guys disclosed previously unsuspected Irish ancestry and even county allegiances.
I also met some fantastic Irish musicians and dancers with broad London accents. There’s another almost invisible culture there of people who’d regard themselves as English yet would also be aware and proud of the RC school, going home to Ireland for the holidays which made them a bit different.
I’m a rootless cosmopolitan at heart myself yet found myself knocking around with other Irish people more often than not simply for the reasons that friendships are easier to strike up when there’s something basic in common.
For that reason I always get a warm feeling when I see a couple of Poles or Lithuanians locally gabbing away in the language of home. It remains me of what a boon some of those chance meetings could be when you were struggling to find your feet.
I also suspect that this immigrant experience informs the relative lack of paranoia about various sleepy towns almost overnight developing large overseas communities.
It’s not all rosy but I think the reaction has been way better than we’d have suspected growing up in a more or less monocultural country.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Thanks for the O Cathain link. His album is an absolute masterpiece and funnily enough one my mother is using to lessen the tedium of isolation.

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

“I also suspect that this immigrant experience informs the relative lack of paranoia about various sleepy towns almost overnight developing large overseas communities”

Yes, I think so.
I’ve been reading a fair bit recently about the war years in Ireland and after and Clair Wills makes a point that the experience of the Irish working-classes/ small farmers was often more ‘cosmopolitan’ than that of their ‘betters’ simply through the fact of either having lived abroad, or being in close contact with people who did. Whereas the middle-class boy who went to university and ended up underemployed in the bank somewhere was far less likely to have had such experience -and was less likely to have a broader perspective on how things might be otherwise.

“There’s another almost invisible culture there of people who’d regard themselves as English yet would also be aware and proud of the RC school”

That’s something else: the instinctive – and often justified – anti- catholicism (or at least anti -clericism) that many Irish people of my generation and younger have is almost completely absent in 2nd gen Irish here – they probably don’t practice their religion anymore than we do, but the legacy is entirely different; generally, as you say, a gratitude for an education that was felt to be better than their peers and that respected and validated their composite identity.

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makedoanmend - April 30, 2020

I found it different. It is a matter of degree rather than absolutes. There were, of course, similarities but the differences were signficant but hard to describe. I’d cite two major divergences.

Probably because people were thousands of miles from home and many arrived with only tenuous connections in New York, many of us were kind of forced to coalesce much more than someone who could fly home in a few hours. The support systems were radically different. You really tended to rely on each other much more – the community was itself a support mehanism. This was wholely apparent during slow economic periods.

Secondly, you could play up the Irish aspect (accents and all) when dealing with native US people, especially in work places. Most Americans are pretty gracious (even in NYC) and their reception of the Irish arrivals tended to be positive. Basic Irish education and the quirky Irish social manners were viewed as positives and as assets. Irish education was particularly valued I found. You can work the modern USA stereotypes of the Irish in an advantage manner, if so inclined.

The USA wasn’t all positives but on the long term Irish social side was a definitely enlightening.

Moving out of the traditional modes of movement certainly opened new ways of looking at the world. It was ‘unconstricting’ and sort of empowering. It was also sort of cool when some South Americans and Koreans would integrate into Irish pubs in Queens. Nothing like a Korean with their english accent giving it the old FFS during a conversation.

My biggest regret wasn’t taking up the opportunity to reside in Paris when the opportunity arose.

I also admired the Aussies back then who did the “walk about” on paper thin budgets, but never considered such a venture myself.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

I’d agree with you on the first point.
But as regards the second point on a personal basis I found living in London an enormously enlightening experience. At a time, 1988, when rural Ireland at least was depressingly monocultural and staid to encounter people of different colours, nationalities, sexual preferences etc was an eye opener for me. Even, when home was such a moralising environment, the sexual freedom of the people you worked with was something entirely different as was the fact that you met many people who were divorced or bringing up blended families and had done so without the fabric of civilisation collapsing.
‘Irish pubs’ weren’t exclusively Irish as much as managed by Irish people and there was a mix of West Indian and Irish clientele in a lot of the ones in the part of South East London where I fetched up.
London probably wasn’t as cool as New York (where I spent a few months) or France (another few in the South) but it was like a different planet to me and the years I was there were probably the formative ones of my life. They were what I had instead of university.

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makedoanmend - April 30, 2020

Not really what I was getting at for my second point. But we all have very individual responses.

I too come from a rural, somewhat conservative environment – but the degree of tolerance between individuals in that environment might surprise the more pristine views we have about ourselves today as an entire society. There was definitely a greater sense of community back in that environment. (Leaving aside the political situation.)

It was what it was.

Yeah, the first time I went to the UK, it was an eye opener and I liked it quite much – alot. But when I went to NYC, I also got to peel away the whole UK maisma thing, to open new vistas yet again over a decade. I always thought it strange that I relied on the Irish community much more in NYC but spent much more social time with my first and second generation caribbean Londoner workmates when I resided in Streatham for a year. I spend a lot of time in Brixton and Camberwell. Good times.

I suppose it might have something to do with being Irish from the six counties that created a bridge and connection between us.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Actually you’re right. That wasn’t your second point at all. More like your third. Apologies.
Anyway these things are all subjective. Camberwell and Brixton were where I largely hung around myself as it happens. Good times.
Like you I wish I’d done a few more stints elsewhere as well. I loved Prague and the people there and wish I’d made the jump there.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Re your actual second point there’s no arguing against the fact hat the Americans had much more affection for Irishness in general.
Though oddly enough Brexit seems to have sparked a bit of a love affair between Leave voters and Ireland, epitomised by an admiration of our lovely Taoiseach which far exceeds anything his actual subjects would feel.

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WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2020

Coldharbour Lane. Winter/Spring 1991. I remember walking back to Denmark Hill along it after being in an Irish pub in Brixton (which I went a few times). It was incredibly cold.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

You should have called in Wbs.

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WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2020

I should have!!!

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

Never really went south of the river much until the noughties when I lived in Bermondsey for a bit. Still cheap-ish then: went back for a stroll around a few years back and the White Cube gallery and hipster coffee shop blitz has happened.

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Pasionario - April 30, 2020

What’s changed is that the number of people emigrating to the US has dropped substantially. There are no Morrison visas anymore. And so there are few, if any, remaining clusters of recent Irish immigrants within US cities. There’s always a big gulf between Irish-Americans and the Irish. A figure like Brett Kavanaugh (whose infamous calendars included refererences to him playing GAA, by the way) is incomprehensible to most Irish people yet representative of a right-wing Irish-American upper crust that has little real knowledge or experience of contemporary Ireland.

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Pasionario - April 30, 2020

“Also a big gulf” — that should have read.

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WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2020

Completely agree Pasionario. I’ve known a few people in that category. Some were Reagan Democrats, or their parents were. And that shift was significant. Of course there are pockets of progressives there. What though is the distribution I wonder of support for Republicans and Democrats more broadly (even accounting for the Democrats not being exactly radical).

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Australia seems to be the new America for youngsters.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

The whole ‘I don’t know what the blacks are complaining about, I’m Irish and we had it worse and just got on with things’ has been an extremely popular trope in right wing American circles.

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WorldbyStorm - May 1, 2020

A friend of mine in NY hates Hannity for precisely that reason.

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6. John Dorney - April 29, 2020

New podcast here, latest from the Irish History Show, with Kieran Glennon on the ‘Belfast Pogrom’ of 1920-1922. Kieran’s grandfather Tom was an IRA member of that era in Belfast and later an officer in the FS army in Donegal in the Civil War. http://irishhistoryshow.ie/52-belfast-from-pogrom-to-civil-war/

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7. Paddy Healy - April 29, 2020

End of the Limerick Soviet
From The Forgotten Revolution by Liam Cahill
The Workers Defeated
“They(the national trade union and Labour Party Leaders) had to look for an alternative that would save face all round. At some stage over the three days of meetings with the Dáil representatives, Tom Johnson and William MacPartlin came up with the idea of a peaceful evacuation of the entire city.”
“The struggle would have dragged on for some time longer had not his Lordship, Most Rev Dr Hallinan, and the Mayor, as representing the spiritual and temporal interests of the citizens sent a joint letter to the Trades Council on Thursday requesting the immediate end of the strike….” – “The Munster News”, Editorial entitled “The Strike-And After”.

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8. EWI - April 30, 2020

‘Army captain promoted by the Queen’, according to supposed Irish national broadcaster:

https://www.rte.ie/news/uk/2020/0430/1135741-tom-moore/

Joins good news about our PM’s latest child?

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

I’d say in fairness they’re picking up agency copy there (and like you I normally dislike references to The Queen rather than the Queen of England etc.) The situation being what it is, people aren’t going to be that fussy about what fills the pages.
Though I suppose they could have done a small rewrite.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - April 30, 2020

As to Son of Boris. My heart bleeds for him with a prospect of nearly twenty years being dragged up by the Ego and his Own.

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

Marina Hyde’s classic line about Boris being ‘the kind of guy who’d don Spider-Man pyjamas and scale a building in order to see less of his kids. Sorry, fewer’ can never be repeated often enough.

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rockroots - April 30, 2020

“I normally dislike references to The Queen rather than the Queen of England etc.”

I’d add RTE’s references to ‘the church’ rather than the Roman Catholic Church, but maybe that’s just my gripe.

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9. tomasoflatharta - April 30, 2020

Airline companies collect money from passengers who book a flight, often months in advance. Like all other merchants, operators like Aer Lingus and Ryanair are supposed to refund customers when they cannot supply the service. That is the law.
Paul Murphy TD asks : “ It seems Ryanair may be using dirty tricks to delay refunds. This person was unable to get their refund as the computer said the CAPTCHA was wrong. It looks right to me though, what do you think? Are there others who have had trouble getting a refund from Ryanair?” https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/unelected-irish-government-signs-letter-to-european-commission-advocating-legalized-crime-airlines-robbing-money-cancelled-flights-no-refunds/

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

It’s not just companies who are being rapacious. I’m aware of several youngsters having a desperate time trying to get refunds for accommodation they booked before Longitude was postponed. 50% take it or leave it is the attitude. Jackals.

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10. Paddy Healy - April 30, 2020

On My blog
The Biggest General Strike Which Ever Took Place in Ireland involved The National Question
12,13 April, 1920 General Strike in Support of Republican Hunger Strikers Demands
Town “Soviets” in many towns: In Bagenalstown County Carlow, they even declared, ‘a Provisional Soviet Government’ .At Kilmallock, County Limerick, ‘red flaggers stopped traffic’ and referred to themselves as a ‘Soviet regime
The Limerick Soviet took place before The Great General Strike of 1920 in support of hunger strikers demand for political status. The mobilisation around the Limerick soviet was “unprecedented” at the time of the Limerick Soviet.
The town soviets during the 1920 strike were a higher form of revolt than factory soviets. The town soviets challenge state power not just private property rights.
I believe that the depth and forms of organisation of workers evident in the 1920 strike, not only led to the freeing of the prisoners, but made the British think of a deal with the Irish Rich to defeat the popular rebellion
See the views of General Montgomery on my blog

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Jolly Red Giant - May 1, 2020

Take 2 –

It really needs to be stated that declaring the 1920 general strike as a strike in support of republican prisoners is a false narrative and one that has been built up by republicanism over a century – half the prisoners on hunger strike at the time were trade union members, including some leading activists like Jack Hedley.

It also needs to be noted that during the mass demonstrations that took place in support of the general strike, former British soldiers who were regularly threatened, intimidated and attacked by republicans, played an active part in the protests in many towns and were openly welcomed by the striking workers.

The general strike took place outside the official structures of the ITGWU and the ILPTUC – the leaderships had no control over it. Your blog talks about William O’Brien leading the ITGWU into the strike – he didn’t – O’Brien had been in prison in Britain for more than a month, having been arrested on 2 March and was on hunger strike in Wormwood Scrubs at the time.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - May 3, 2020

The giant is absolutely right about O’Brien, who was locked up in England at the time of the Strike. However, he is in error about a lot else.
The strike was called by the leaders of Congress at liberty at the time, in particular Tom Johnson and Thomas MacPartlin. It could be argued that it was a pre-emptive move lest their members’ restlessness led to them moving independently. nonetheless, it was their decision.
Again, the said restlessness was an underlying cause for the strike. nonetheless the hunger strike was the occasion and its excuse. had there been no hunger strike, the stoppage would have been less complete.
As for the former British soldiers, a number of them were in the Ira, by this time; their expertise was much valued.

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Jolly Red Giant - May 3, 2020

Take 2

Sorry D.R. – suggesting that it ‘could be argued’ is stretching it – the strike would absolutely have taken on an independent character if Johnson and MacPartlin hadn’t acted in panic in causing the strike to attempt to maintain some semblance of control. The reality is that in most of the country the strike was run outside the official union structures and organised by ITGWU activists. The fact that Johnson and MacPartlin issues a notification is pretty much irrelevant to the strike actually taking place (indeed in most areas it had already been planned prior to the notification being issued. In reality the only place that the ILPTUC bureaucrats exercised any kind of influence was in Dublin – everywhere else it operated outside of any influence or control from the bureaucracy.

Of course the hunger strike prompted the strike – general strikes do not happen in a vacuum – and again it must be noted that half of those on hunger strike were trade union members, including leading activists like Jack Hedley and bureaucrats like O’Brien and Cathal O’Shannon. In the preceding four months the trade union movement had faced severe repression with the Voice of Labour being shut down, trade union offices raided and union activists and officials arrested.

And yes, a small number of former British soldiers were involved in the IRA, but republicans objected to the hundreds (indeed possibly thousands) of former soldiers that participated in the demonstrations (200 in Sligo for example) and the strike committees told the republicans to take a hike

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EWI - May 4, 2020

It really needs to be stated that declaring the 1920 general strike as a strike in support of republican prisoners is a false narrative and one that has been built up by republicanism over a century – half the prisoners on hunger strike at the time were trade union members, including some leading activists like Jack Hedley.

There was and had been considerable overlap between republicanism and trade unionism for decades.

Whether one was the dog and the other the tail, or whether there was any dog at all, is a matter of reasonable debate but that the two were so heavily intertwined had been a reality since the late nineteenth century at least.

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Jolly Red Giant - May 4, 2020

Take 2 –

There was open hostility within the SF/IRA leadership to the labour movement during the revolutionary period. The nationalist movement by its nature, was a cross class alliance (just like SF today) – and as such was constantly riven with class divisions (something that the nationalist leadership openly recognised). The nationalist leadership constantly attempted (and failed) to split the trade union movement along national lines and the one small union they did manage to establish became notorious for being a scab union during this period (a union controlled by unelected SF appointees).

The aspiration for national liberation what a natural and class-based aspiration for the Irish working class – and as such they gave tacit support to the IRA and the nationalist movement – but a thread running right through the revolutionary period is the class conflict (both political and economic) between the working class and the aspiring nationalist bourgeoisie.

While a small number of trade union activists were also active in the nationalist struggle – there was very little, if any, cross-over in the other direction. Unfortunately, one of the main elements who were willing to bend the knee to the nationalist leadership with the acolyte bureaucrats around William O’Brien (who himself constantly deferred to deValera and Griffiths on all matters).

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Alibaba - May 5, 2020

Whenever I come across conflicting interpretations of episodes of struggle, I ask myself: what were the demands of protesters? Nobody disputes that several thousand republicans were imprisoned during the war for Irish independence. Some of them went on hunger strike and demanded to be released. Tens of thousands demonstrated in support of this demand. In 1920 a two day national general strike obtained the release of several thousand republican prisoners. Facts. To counterpoint that ‘declaring the 1920 general strike as a strike in support of republican prisoners is a false narrative’ is simply untrue. Pot. Kettle. Kettle. Pot.

As mentioned by EWI there was a ‘considerable overlap’ between republicanism and the labour movement and the conscription crisis bears testimony to that. And as put by Conor Kostick: ‘A radicalised Irish population had defeated the threat of conscription at the end of 1918, had voted overwhelmingly for Sinn Féin in the elections of December that year (a party that was determined to bring Ireland out of the empire), and were engaged in a mass popular undermining of all the systems of British rule, through strikes, boycotts and support for the guerrilla campaign of the Irish Republican Army.’

https://independentleft.ie/irelands-biggest-general-strike/

Moreover noteworthy numbers of militant workers were drawn into campaigns and movements by republican leaderships since 1916. Some socialists related to revolutionary nationalists under the banner of ‘republican nationalism’. The Republican Congress of 1934 was one such initiative. Later others supported ‘republican socialism’ efforts. That is not to give full political support to such developments. It is rather to outline more facts which shouldn’t be forgotten because of the light it can shine on debate within the left. 

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rockroots - May 5, 2020

I’m not informed enough to have an opinion on this particular part of history, but coincidentally this pops up on my newsfeed right in the middle of this debate – a 1922 general strike against (anti-treaty) republicanism…

https://ifiplayer.ie/all-ireland-strike/?fbclid=IwAR1Hwk5MFVFUZcQE3rYB5Km6rmPGBfcYq-iFvKEBqtrjv7v9FUzGmNQfWRE

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EWI - May 4, 2020

There was open hostility within the SF/IRA leadership to the labour movement during the revolutionary period.

If we’re talking of the common thread through the period (which had roots back to the late 1880s), then we’re referring to the IRB, which was a significant and continued presence in trade unionism all along.

The question of the dog and the tail refers to whether or not you believe that this trade union activity by IRB men was artificial, or an inevitable confluence between the interests of principled radical activists who were genuinely trying to make the world a better place (you can guess which view I take).

I will refer you on to the work done by the likes of Martin Maguire and Padraig Yeates, and note that both de Valera and Griffith were marginal to the planning towards the 1916 Rising (Griffith had been at the late 1914 conference which agreed to move ahead – but he was kept in the dark after that – and Dev was brought in only shortly before).

Finally, the conscription crisis demonstrated once and for all the fallacy of any fairy-tale belief that imperial concerns would trump solidarity for their Irish ‘brethren’ among the British trade union leadership. We know that the British unions were agitating for conscription to be imposed, and some of their number had been touring Ireland at recruitment rallies throughout the war. This treachery continued with the NUR’s actions during the WoI.

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EWI - May 4, 2020

*solidarity would trump imperial concerns, obviously

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - May 5, 2020

Ali is correct in saying that we should bring to attention these facts. However, we should distinguish between our real differences and our common ground
I think all participants in this discussion, that is Paddy, JGJ, EWI, Ali and myself would agree on certain basics; that is that the independence struggle of a century ago, provided, in its three way division of state power, a major opportunity for Ireland’s working people to establish their own republic and that this opportunity was opposed successfully not only by the colonial regime and their republican opponents, but, more subtly by those whom the workers trusted to lead them after 1916.
This being said, I find it difficult, simply for reasons of lack of evidence to assert too definitely that Labour’s leaders at large called the strike to pre-empt a more effective one to be staged by the grassroots later. From any account I have seen. it would appear that their decision was part of their overall strategy to keep at arms length from the national struggle save at moments when they felt they would not isolate themselves by placing their red flag under the green.
That they succeeded in this was due to two facts. One is that there was no revolutionary party to bypass them and lead the workers to state power. An attempt had been made by Hedley (O’Hagan) and others to build one in Belfast in 1919, but it was crushed, leaving its leaders among the political prisoners in jail. The main hope was in the Socialist party of Ireland where the revolutionary wing, headed by Carpenter was struggling to turn this propaganda group into the Irish section of the Comintern, but they would not win until the following year. The matter was complicated by the continuing force of anti=-political syndicalism particularly among some of the best militants like O’Hagan’s friend, Sean Dowling.
Even more important was the fact that too many, including too many revolutionaries accepted some form of the strategy laid out by Johnson at the 1916 Congress meeting: to avoid getting too close to the national issue but to build Labour’s organisation so that it would be able to challenge for state power when Sinn Fein had won. this shown in the way that after the 1920 general strike, most workers returned to their jobs as if nothing had happened, including most of the Transport Union militants mentioned by JRG How it would challenge was never publicised. However. the strategy seemed to have worked in June 1922 when, in the pact election in the new Saorstat, Labour got the second largest number of votes for the only time before 2011. Then in the Civil War, the party’s support for the new state of which the forces were supporting the bosses offensive against the gains made by the class it claimed to represent caused too many of that class to look to those who had been shooting at those forces. The result was Fianna Fail.
One last point the 1922 general strike was not against the militaristic excesses only of the Anti-treatyites but against those of the treatyites as well. Since it was effectively a symbolic gesture, the ‘Staters were able to commandeer it to their narrative.

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11. roddy - April 30, 2020

I remember one very obnoxious young FGer in the “questions and answers” audience one time bemoaning the fact that young “well educated professionals” were being “lost” to emigration and that it was not “the beer swilling navvies of old”. You see emigration is only a problem when it effects “the right type of people”.

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makedoanmend - April 30, 2020

bingo +1

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WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2020

So true. Perhaps also forgotten is an Irish Times article from the late 1980s saying that there was no alternative to emigration (this from a right wing economic commentator) and we might as well suck it up. Of course then there weren’t quite so many middle class folk leaving on the boat or jet plane. So that was alright.

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EWI - April 30, 2020

Of course then there weren’t quite so many middle class folk leaving on the boat or jet plane. So that was alright.

There’s a certain type of RTÉ (and even IT/Indo) journalist who flitted over to the UK and into a good Beeb or Sky job, has no time for pacifism or anti-imperialism, writes pieces about ‘the queen’ and ‘the PM’ to this day, and somehow experienced none of the anti-Irish racism that everyone below their privileged position had to put up with.

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

A by-product of this is the way in which official Ireland loves to play up Irish-American success stories, however tenuous, but tends to ignore second- and third -generation Irish success here in Britain. Because beer-swilling navvies.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Plus 1.

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12. Starkadder - April 30, 2020

#MeToo founder Tarana Burke waffles on whether people should believe the Tara Reade accusation against Joe Biden, saying Biden can be ” Be Both Accountable And Electable’

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/me-too-tarana-burke-biden-allegations_n_5ea8a4c1c5b61f8313363010

You do not have to have ANY support for Brett Kavanaugh or Donald Trump to think this smacks of hypocrisy. Whatever happened to “Believe All Women!” “I Believe Her”, “We Believe Survivors!” etc. ?

I supported Christine Blasey Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings, but I also believed her claims against Kavanaugh should be investigated and that Kavanaugh should have withdrawn from the nomination until any such investigations were completed. If the opponents of Kavanaugh had all supported a similar position, they wouldn’t be in this mess now.

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EWI - April 30, 2020

You do not have to have ANY support for Brett Kavanaugh or Donald Trump to think this smacks of hypocrisy. Whatever happened to “Believe All Women!” “I Believe Her”, “We Believe Survivors!” etc. ?

Biden has been very free with his over-friendly embraces of young women over the years – and on camera, too. Unless corona virus (or another unforeseen agent) gets Trump, I feel like this easily could be another drubbing for the Dems with a mediocre centrist candidate.

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sonofstan - April 30, 2020

Given two candidates in their seventies and a pandemic, I can’t help wondering what happens if one of them – or both! -desn’t live to see November.

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Ned Corcaigh - April 30, 2020

Democrats despairing of Biden might be well advised to make a big effort to get someone a bit more radical as VP nominee. This might sound ghoulish but it might matter a bit more than it did when choosing a running mate for Obama or Gore.

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Tomboktu - May 2, 2020

Hilary is available, and apparently waiting if needed.

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13. ar scáth a chéile - April 30, 2020

Pablo Iglesias puts manners on Vox in the Spanish Parliament:

“Ustedes ni siquiera son fascistas, son simplemente parásitos”

https://www.huffingtonpost.es/entry/pablo-iglesias-vox-congreso_es_5ea961e4c5b6123a17651a44

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WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2020

I like the way he speaks – very soft spoken but emphatic.

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ar scáth a chéile - April 30, 2020

Yeah, from my limited Spanish he seems an excellent orator. He fairly lashed them out of it. Face on your one from Vox is priceless. If they ever got to power theyd be itching to do a Karl Liebknecht job on him.

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Tomboktu - May 2, 2020

On the founding of Vox, come again:
“The initial funding, totalling nearly 972,000 euros, came from individual money transfers by supporters of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).”

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EWI - May 4, 2020

Notably, MEK have funded a number of high-profile conservatives in the US as well. Whether this is ultimately actually a CIA front is left up to the reader.

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14. GearóidGaillimh - April 30, 2020
Jolly Red Giant - May 4, 2020

They sold the paper at a stall outside a public sector workplace in East London, provoking Sarwotka to write to them demanding they stop – it led to a series of letters provoking a row that the Taaffeites reproduced in full on the centre pages of their latest paper – shown in the link above. It should be noted that it was central office SPEW full-timers, including new general secretary, Hannah Sell, that ran the stall. The Taaffeite leadership just don’t get the whole ‘social distancing’ bit.

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15. tomasoflatharta - April 30, 2020

Saoirse McHugh, a Green Party Candidate in the February 8 2020 Irish General Election, recommends this Carl Kinsella article opposing Green Party participation in a Fianna Fáil / Fine Gael Coalition Government. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/a-simple-warning-for-the-green-party-dont-screw-us-on-this/

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16. Starkadder - May 1, 2020

Fredrik deBoer has a new essay out:

I am asking for a world where the audience at the Oscars spends less time politely clapping when diversity is brought up on stage and instead using their immense wealth and influence to ensure that fledgling filmmakers of color have all the opportunities they need. I am asking for a left that recognizes that there is no such thing as moral progress through language, that the world is made of up matter and ideas can’t change it on their own.

https://fredrikdeboer.com/2020/04/27/the-left-is-powerless-before-all-things/

I suspect the bit about all the endless times US liberals discuss slavery rather than try and do anything to improve black American’s lives is a reference to the New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project.

Liked by 1 person

GearóidGaillimh - May 1, 2020

I thought he’d retired from writing: https://fredrikdeboer.com/2018/10/02/statement/

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17. CL - May 1, 2020

“It wasn’t looking good for South Korea in mid-February. The nation had the world’s second highest number of coronavirus cases after China, owing to a cluster of infections that arose from the Shincheonji Church in the city of Daegu, some 150 miles south of the capital Seoul.

But thanks to early preparations, and a robust public health response based around extensive testing and tech-powered contact tracing, the nation’s tally of infections has been kept to just 10,765, about half directly related to Shincheonji. More impressive still, no major lockdown or restrictions on movement have been imposed, save a few scattered curfews….

‘instead of physical lockdown, we fought the virus through an epidemiological approach such as wide diagnostic testing and isolation of contacts, while encouraging people’s voluntary cooperation for social distancing. We believed this was more effective than forcible measures and indeed it paid off….

We will continue to adjust the level of social distancing in consideration of further progress, and we are ready to implement a “social distancing in normal life,” under which our normal life and virus containment can both be achieved in balance with each other’.”
yahoo.com/news/never-considered-full-lockdown-south-033705264.html

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WorldbyStorm - May 1, 2020

I guess in the context of very wide testing like Korea then a looser regime would definitely be feasible. Korea actually has had a variety of restrictions, albeit more locally focused than national and fewer apparently on the economic side. But their testing regime has been amazing and the numbers of deaths and indeed infection markedly low:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/29/world/germany-south-korea-preparation-coronavirus/#.XqySUC0ZMtk

“Following that outbreak “MERS”, which killed 36 people and sickened around 200, South Korea rewrote its infectious disease law to allow health authorities quick access to a broad range of personal information to fight infectious diseases.

Amid criticism from privacy advocates, authorities have fully exercised such powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, aggressively tracing virus carriers’ contacts with tools such as smartphone GPS tracking, credit card records and surveillance video. People’s movements before they were diagnosed are published on websites and relayed via smartphone alerts to inform others whether they have crossed paths with a carrier.

The government is also using smartphone tracking apps to monitor the tens of thousands of people placed under self-quarantine at home and plans to use electronic wristbands on people who defy quarantine orders.”

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CL - May 2, 2020

https://www.ft.com/content/de3114a2-8b97-4d95-a55c-0a9d72dfa1eaS.

Korea mobilized its biotech firms to rapidly develop and produce massive amounts of tests. Not so Ireland home to almost all the world’s biotech companies.

“We can take inspiration from South Korea, where the transmission rate has been kept flat. And we need to face facts: research shows that 50-80 per cent of symptomatic Covid-19 infections originate from asymptomatic carriers, and that about 60 per cent of people infected are asymptomatic and contagious. We are testing a fraction of reported symptomatic cases and not testing asymptomatic carriers. We don’t know how many people in Ireland have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but it could be more than 100,000….
This is not merely a case of scaling up testing capacity – we need to search, identify and isolate all potential cases and contacts. Individuals with symptoms (primary cases), and their families or housemates, would be quarantined and tested. Rigorous contact tracing would identify, isolate and test all contacts (secondary cases) and tertiary and quaternary contacts. Individuals would be inconvenienced for a matter of days if they test negative, or weeks if they don’t. But the population would continue as normal.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/we-need-mass-testing-for-coronavirus-this-is-how-to-do-it-1.4229748

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Alibaba - May 2, 2020

‘South Korea is one of the few countries that has succeeded in flattening the coronavirus curve. Its policy of testing, tracing and treating without lockdowns has been widely lauded. Some attribute this to South Korea’s experience of having dealt with previous epidemics such as Sars and Mers. …

What is often overlooked, though, is that at the roots of South Korea’s success against Covid-19 are a well-funded and efficient system of delivering public services. Without this baseline infrastructure, the policy of test, trace and treat could not have been sustained or expanded to the degree that it has.’

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/11/south-korea-beating-coronavirus-citizens-state-testing

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makedoanmend - May 2, 2020

As an adjunct to Alibaba’s observation, we have to wonder what social norms are dominant in S Korea. Is there a greater sense of community and hence a sense of individual responsibility to the entire community? Do people automatically accept the need to be quarantined if they come into contact with an infected person? Do their employers recognise that they still have a responsbility to pay quarantined workers?

It would be interesting to find out. Also, if a certain area is unduly affected, how does the infrastructure (including employers) deal with such a situation?

Also, it greatly helps that S Korea has a fully functioning currency with which to expand fiscal policy. The Koreans can simply issue debt and create capital to deal with short term emergencies. They are not cash constrained. They are not fiscally constrained by either neo-capitalist orthodox ideology or artificial fiscal constraints like we are with the Euro.

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WorldbyStorm - May 2, 2020

With a group of progressive governments and even not progressive but stunned away from Neo-liberalism however briefly like Macron it really is time for Eurozone govts to start pressuring for a break with the status quo either reform or replacement of the current euro. I saw the economist Fitzgerald, no red revolutionary he, giving out yards about the Eurozone approach to corona bonds but as you always say it goes so much deeper than the present crisis. Not fit for purpose.

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Alibaba - May 2, 2020

Good points makedoanmend, but I’m sorry to say you’ve drawn a blank with me as I don’t have any answers to those questions.

Still, here are some useful thoughts on lessons to be learned not only from Asia but from Africa too. I’m always mindful of ‘the importance of community involvement in control policies’ and glad to see it mentioned in this column:

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/world-view-west-failed-to-learn-from-asia-and-africa-on-coronavirus-1.4242866

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makedoanmend - May 3, 2020

Thx for the link Alibaba. (Must be over a year since I glimpsed IT.)

I suspect no Westernised govts now review the purely social aspects of these situtations since the market (and the political appointee puppeteers) take care of literally everything – deus ex machina style. However, I still suspect that there must be different tendencies in some places, such as S Korea.

Sure, the East may have had to deal with previous SARS type outbreaks before and this has alerted them to the dangers which the West had avoided until now. Still, I suspect social and community norms play a large part. The social distancing in my area has now totally broken down in shops. The staff member attitudes also seemed changed. I suppose Consumers don’t do social. They do Consume. I heard one opine that the 2 meter restriction was an infringement on their experience (paraphrased). They demanded “normal”. Their inoculator (face to face) agreed.

As an aside, I thought the snide swipe at the WHO was typical for an IT writer. Underfund the organisation, make sure they’re short on resources, and then criticise them for being less than 100% efficient. Where have I heard this story before? They never stop.

Still and all, it was a very helpful story – on many levels.

Liked by 1 person

18. tomasoflatharta - May 2, 2020

Often at Irish funeral wakes some people say “Never speak ill of the Dead”. They do not mean a word of it. Mourners relax, dump the fake insincere bland and pious words, and talk about the real person they knew, the Good, Bad, and Ugly sides.

One period in the life of Henri Weber is celebrated in this obituary, a life of revolutionary activism shaped by the May 1968 uprising in France. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/it-is-the-henri-weber-who-sang-the-internationale-with-higelin-that-we-mourn-not-the-one-at-the-service-of-the-political-apparatus-of-the-ps-international-viewpoint-online-socialist-magazine/

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19. EWI - May 2, 2020

Dan O’Brien is a monstrous sociopath, made worse by his chosen academic ‘field’.

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20. Paddy Healy - May 2, 2020

Brilliant Article by Konor Kostic!!!
The Biggest General Strike in Irish History Conor Kostic January 9, 2020 Posted on IndependentLeft.ie Blog
Kostic’s Conclusion-Full Article on paddyhealyWordpress
What can be learned from the great general strike of 1920?
Unfortunately for the radical workers of 1920, their own organisations and leaders were far from eager to lead the movement towards a socialist Ireland. James Connolly was dead and Jim Larkin was in Sing Sing jail, leaving a generation of Labour and trade union leaders in charge whose values were closer to those of the modern Labour Party and ICTU than their socialist, former colleagues.

This event which took place 100 years ago on April 12 must be fully understood in order to find a way forward to the Workers Republic today!

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21. Paddy Healy - May 2, 2020

Was the initial demand of the prisoners for “prisoner of war” Status?
Hunger Strike and Ireland, 1920
By Dr William Murphy, Associate Professor,History and Geography, DCU paddyhealywordpress

That April 1920 hunger strike was, without doubt, a success. Led by Peadar Clancy, a senior officer in the Dublin Brigade, 65 prisoners (some on remand, some convicted) began the protest, demanding that ‘prisoner-of-war’ treatment be extended to all. In the days that followed, the number on strike climbed, the press coverage grew, the crowds at the gates gathered in ever greater numbers, the Catholic hierarchy demanded ‘fairplay’, and the Trades Union Congress called a general strike, stating ‘To-day, though many are at the point of death, their titled jailers venomously shriek: “Let them die.” We workers, dare not allow this tragedy to come to pass.’

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Paddy Healy - May 2, 2020

John Dorney in blog  THEIRISHSTORY says:  “Their (1920 hunger strikers’) demands were for political status, but more concretely: better food, separation from ordinary criminal prisoners, no compulsory prison work, books, a weekly bath, the right to smoke and five hours exercise per day. “(Reference Charles Townsend, the Republic, The Struggle for Irish Independence, p.143)

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22. CL - May 2, 2020

” It appears there was an undeniable delay in recognising the extent of the spread of infection in nursing homes. Why was there not action taken earlier?

Why are we not testing more people?
the criteria for testing is…too narrow, many infected people and their contacts are being missed and asymptomatic people who can infect others are not being tracked. There could be more hidden clusters.

Why are just 54 of the 73,000 health workers who answered the ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ drive working at this point?

Are we being given reliable information?

Why are so many private hospitals, temporarily taken over by the State, lying idle while the taxpayer pays them €115m a month.”

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/coronavirus/not-the-time-for-spin-key-questions-about-response-to-pandemic-that-must-be-answered-39175034.html

“Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD …welcomed the announcement of a plan to ease public health restrictions,,,
..
“There are a couple of things we need to get right if we are going to safely exit current restrictions, and chief among them is testing and tracing. Scaling up capacity is welcome, but we need much more than that – we need widespread community testing and efficient tracing. This is critical to ensuring that we don’t have a second round of restrictive measures.

“We need absolute clarity and transparency about all of this and we need to see an end to measures being announced and re-announced but not being delivered on the ground.”
https://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/56684

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23. rockroots - May 2, 2020

Sorry to hear of the death last night of Drogheda native, singer-songwriter and one-time Workers Revolutionary Jonathan Kelly, after a long illness. The CLR was kind enough to let me write a guest post about Jonathan a few years ago. I don’t think he got the recognition he deserved.

https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/jonathan-kelly-irish-folk-singer/

Liked by 2 people

Joe - May 2, 2020

Sorry to hear that. Hadn’t heard of him before that guest post on here. Fascinating life. Rest in peace.

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sonofstan - May 2, 2020

RIP.
Sorry to hear that – he was a singular figure in Irish rock/ folk history, and underrated because of not quite fitting anyone’s idea of what an an Irish ssw was meant to do.

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24. roddy - May 2, 2020

Red C FG34 SF27 FF14 LAB3

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Paddy Healy - May 2, 2020

Any written source? This could greatly strengthen opposition to Martin in Fianna Fáil

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25. roddy - May 2, 2020

Seen poll on Danny Morrisons twitter feed.

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Paddy Healy - May 2, 2020

Thanks Roddy Could FF explode in Martins Face?

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26. roddy - May 2, 2020

I think a heave at this stage would cause more damage.

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27. Paddy Healy - May 2, 2020

This is Morissons full figures
Red C Poll May %
FG 35 SF 27 FF 14 Lab 3 Green 7 Ind 8 SD 3 Sol-Pbp 2 Aontú 1 Renua 1

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28. sonofstan - May 2, 2020

You have to think people are switching from FF to FG – which itself spells the end of the old politics. Although the bad news is that it puts the old firm back on close to 50%

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6to5against - May 3, 2020

Back on close to 50%, but they were never far from there to begin with, were they?

From another way of looking at it, the FfFg vote has hardly changed. And nor has the broad left vote. And that’s after 6 weeks of generally positive press for a (caretaker) govt, and in a situation where leaders cross Europe have generally gained support.

I think a left/right divide has genuinely arrived in Irish politics, and even if it’s not the right left for many of us, it still puts ideas on the table that have never been there before.

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sonofstan - May 3, 2020

44% at the election – prob some Green votes coming back to FG in there.

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29. Starkadder - May 3, 2020

Anti-vaccine, anti-5G protesters have been hugging outside Scotland Yard today.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/coronavirus-lockdown-protesters-defy-rules-21962622

Silly people.

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30. sonofstan - May 3, 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/02/fearful-britons-oppose-lifting-lockdown-schools-pubs-restaurants-opinium-poll

Brits very much in favour of maintaining lockdown. Much like Boris, ‘fuck business’ seems to be their watchword.

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31. roddy - May 3, 2020

Red c tend to cut SF a bit so I would be happy enough at 27 in this poll.

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32. Ned Corcaigh - May 3, 2020

Only thing that will save FF at this stage is an FG-SF coalition.

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sonofstan - May 3, 2020

Now might be a good time for SF to start making eyes at ‘the republican party’.

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33. tomasoflatharta - May 3, 2020

“There are two versions of Bernie Sanders – There is the old Bernie Sanders who mounted a quixotic campaign for the Democratic Presidential Nomination as a Democratic Socialist who refused corporate cash and excoriated Democrats. And there is the new Bernie Sanders who dutifully plays by the party’s rules, courts billionaires, refused to speak out in support of the lawsuit brought against the DNC for rigging the primaries against him and endorses democratic candidates who espouse the economic and political positions he once denounced.
https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/the-two-bernie-sanders/

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CL - May 3, 2020

” If Trump is reelected, it’s a indescribable disaster…..

Suppose Biden is elected. I would anticipate it would be essentially a continuation of Obama — nothing very great, but at least not totally destructive, and opportunities for an organized public to change what is being done, to impose pressures.

It’s common to say now that the Sanders campaign failed. I think that’s a mistake. I think it was an extraordinary success, completely shifted the arena of debate and discussion. Issues that were unthinkable a couple years ago are now right in the middle of attention.”-Chomsky
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/04/13/chomsky_sanders_campaign_an_extraordinary_success_that_completely_shifted_the_arena_of_debate_and_discussion.html

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WorldbyStorm - May 4, 2020

And as YourCousin is always saying, a chance for movements and groups to build below the level of leaderships (and I agree with him the focus on them is destructive and diversionary), at local, community, state levels. It’s the difference between being completely on the back foot unable to influence or have space even to organise because the right and reactionaries are pushing back so hard across so many fronts and being somewhat on the back foot, having of course to try (usually unsuccessfully but in some small ways to succeed) to push the centrists leftwards and having the right also on the back foot. These things make a difference. But key is organisation as Chomsky says.

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makedoanmend - May 4, 2020

As I get older in conjunction with a renewed and deepening interest in all things scientific, I’ve kind of developed an Ocam razor type of guideline to dealing with political figures – to simplify things a little bit:

> Would I rather have them in my camp or vice versa, or would I cross the street if they approached?<

Simple, childish and naive. To be sure. Very. But also clarifying sometimes.

Re: Sanders. Is he some messiah who could have delivered a better world. Nah. He's just one person who was rowing against a tsunami of systems and events. But, as he so often says, his run for president was not about him but us. He has brought certain conversations to the fore of US politics that capitalists and their anti-englightenment philosophical backers would rather have stayed buried. Sanders is playing the game by their rules because that is the only game. He lost. Bound to. So did many poor working USA people unfortunately.

On the whole, I'd rather be in his tent in the USA than anybody else's.

I note with a wryness on another foxy Irish site that one commentor was particularly scathing about Sanders. Something about him being too set in his ways, but I suspect they hated the fact that their female candidate (Warren) was beaten and they blame Sanders.

It seems there are so many ways to dislike things and only a few that point us to things we do like.

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WorldbyStorm - May 4, 2020

I know the thread your’e talking about and I’d fundamentally disagree with the idea he shouldn’t have run for the nomination. After 2016 he is a figure of substance and has every right to do so (and I’d be more Warren inclined myself for a variety of reasons, but if Sanders had won good on him) and without question he has as Chomsky noted pulled that dial leftwards. No small achievement.

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34. EWI - May 4, 2020

How Coronavirus Propped Up Ireland’s Establishment

February’s election rocked Irish politics, with Sinn Féin breaking decades of right-wing duopoly to win the largest share of the vote. But in Ireland, as across the world, coronavirus has stalled the momentum of political opposition.

https://tribunemag.co.uk/2020/05/how-coronavirus-propped-up-irelands-establishment

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CL - May 4, 2020

“And so, as was the case throughout the Brexit debacle, Fine Gael’s ideological malevolence and intellectual mediocrity is made to appear innocuous by comparison to the buffoonery of the Tories. This has fed into a more general liberal smugness pervading the Irish commentariat about how well the pandemic is being handled here, particularly when compared to Britain.”

Ireland looks good in comparison to Britain, but

” the relative death rate in the Irish state is…far higher than in many other countries from Finland and Greece to Japan and New Zealand…..
what passes for political analysis involves regular references to Varadkar’s ‘sure-footed leadership’ in contrast to that of Boris Johnson. A low bar if ever there was one, but the discursive and structural function of such discourse is to exalt Fine Gael as the exemplar of ‘sensible’ politics. They win plaudits for merely having kept enough distance from the herd immunity eugenicist brigades.”

This Tribune article by John Reynolds penetrates the ‘cordon sanitaire’ around the Irish ruling class’s response to the pandemic maintained by the MSM.

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35. sonofstan - May 4, 2020

Minor pandemic observations.
I realised today that it was about 8 weeks since I’d handled cash and that was in Dublin. I’d been heading that way anyway, and there are shops here that won’t take it even in normal times, but I usually had a few bob in my pocket.
Second thing: can’t buy a A4 notebook or any usable substitute anywhere. Supermarket stationery shelves are stripped of everything except some fancy art supplies.

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WorldbyStorm - May 4, 2020

Weird re paper notebooks, why is that?

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sonofstan - May 4, 2020

Two theories:
one, loads of people are finally getting around to writing that novel (quite likely around here)
two: toilet paper shortage of a few weeks back.

I suspect it would be like the degenerated v deformed workers’ state analysis of the CCCP – we’ll never solve it

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Michael Carley - May 5, 2020

If you’re not at work you don’t have “access” to your normal supplies of stationery.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - May 5, 2020

🙂

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Michael Carley - May 5, 2020

And home schooling, of course.

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Fergal - May 5, 2020

Online schooling Michael… home schooling involves community gardening, meeting craftspeople, visiting friends, going to museums, walking in forests, reading books for hours on end, making music for hours on end, shopping, cooking… etc etc…

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Joe - May 5, 2020

“If you’re not at work you don’t have “access” to your normal supplies of stationery.”

Nice one, Michael. Very good 🙂 🙂 🙂

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36. Paddy Healy - May 4, 2020

Irish Times-Donegal FF councillors have writte to Micheál Martin expressing their opposition to any coalition with Fine Gael and the Green Party and calling for a national government as the best thing for the country and the party.
The chairman of the party’s Donegal councillors Patrick McGowan and the group’s whip Ciarán Brogan wrote to Mr Martin on behalf of their colleagues, warning that the party would be “destroyed” in the next local elections if it enters government with Fine Gael now.
“We have formed the deeply held view,” they say, “which we hope you will acknowledge and appreciate, that if Fianna Fáil now proceed to form a government with Fine Gael, we will:
1. Lose all credibility;
2. Completely undermine our republican, historical and established principles which have served Fianna Fáil well since our formation;
3. Allow Sinn Féin to staunchly establish themselves as the main opposition party and alternative political or establishment force in waiting; and,
4. Cause our party to be destroyed in forthcoming electoral outings, losing many seats, presumably at the 2024 local elections.”

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37. tomasoflatharta - May 5, 2020

How refreshing! Howie Hawkins, an eco-Socialist candidate in the November 2020 USA Presidential General Election, recalls a funny, sarcastic and moving Country Joe McDonald song which went worldwide in 1969 after a stunning live performance at the Woodstock Rock Music Festival. The biting realism spoke to hundreds of millions, motivating them to act in thousands of ways against the Washington War Machine.

I can’t remember when, exactly, I first heard McDonald’s brilliantly sung call to action – probably before attending my first USA Embassy Demonstration in Ballsbridge Dublin against the Vietnam War.

I was shocked, and pleasantly impressed, to meet some some fellow school students at this venue – one of those “what are you doing here? moments” – and was even more stunned to see my teacher of Italian, Sydney-Bernard Smyth, reciting his own poems from the platform. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/vietnam-45-years-after-the-war-finally-ended-howie-hawkins-for-president/

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38. tomasoflatharta - May 5, 2020

The IMG was the International Marxist Group, the British Section of the Fourth International in the 1970’s. This is an interesting Phi Hearse article for anoraks (!) who study the history of radical-left political currents. It analyses the Fourth International “Turn to Industry” Policy of 1979 and following years. This policy, in my opinion, contributed to a political decline of People’s Democracy in Ireland in the 1980’s – although that was not the only factor. We live and learn. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/on-the-turn-to-industry-the-american-swp-and-other-questions-of-img-history/

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39. Jolly Red Giant - May 5, 2020

Today is the ten anniversary of the death of Peter Hadden. To commemorate this anniversary the Socialist Party is this evening launching through an online meeting, a new edition of one of the key writings ‘Divide and Rule’.

The meeting will be addressed by Amy Ferguson, a key organiser of hospitality workers in the North, L. Eljeer Hawkins, a health worker and activist in Socialist Alternative in the USA, André Ferrari a leading activist with Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução (LSR)‎ in Brazil and Stephen Boyd, a member of leadership of International Socialist Alternative.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - May 5, 2020

Ten years, I can’t believe it JRG. That’s a very good way to mark that anniversary and very positive too.

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40. Paddy Healy - May 5, 2020

I am delighted that a serious discussion is taking place on CLR on the workers movement in the period from the 1920 general strike to the 1922 general strike. I believe that a correct understanding of these events is central to developing a a genuine revolutionary programme for Irish workers to-day. At what point can we say that the leadership of the Irish workers movement, political and industrial , DEFINITIVELY went over to the side of capitalism ?
Great to see Rayner participating in the discussion. It is true of course that the ILP&TUC represented the 1922 strike as being against “militarism” on all sides. But experienced people like O’Brien and Tom Johnson must have known that it would, in the context of contemporaneous events, become in practice a strike against the anti-treaty republican forces and in favour of the Treaty.

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41. Daniel Rayner O'Connor - May 6, 2020

That was an objective summary of the ’22 general strike . The subjective reasons were more complicated. Johnson and his colleagues were struggling to maintain their independence of both post=treaty sides, still following a strategy that northern pogroms and Treaty split had rendered pear shaped. (Probably only a move to assert the Workers’ Republic by force of arms could have done this, but the situation was less propitious than it had been in 1919, and, anyway, Johnson was opposed in principle.) Actually, the stoppage seems to havehad some positive effects. It probably stimulated the major round of workplace occupations in May and June and, Helped labour get the second largest number of votes in the June general election.
What did for the party was Johnson’s constitutionalism, his readiness to sit in DE with only protests against the Treatyites’ regressive social and economic policies, while Anti-Treatyites were opposing them in arms. The Irony is that the latter would have carried out exactly sim liar policies, but to the ordinary worker, whose living standards were being cut this was not apparent.

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42. Cedar Lounge Revolution:Discussion on 1920 General Strike and Labour Movement | Paddy Healy's Blog - May 7, 2020

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