jump to navigation

Independent Left: Socialism in Ireland, Everything you ever wanted to know August 31, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This from Independent Left is useful, a sort of run-through of Irish socialism from its beginnings to the contemporary period, almost a primer for those recent to the area, but it is always important to consider and reconsider the overall area.

ILA Podcast, 5: Alan Kinsella: Collecting Political Ephemera, “The Others”, and Politics During a Pandemic August 31, 2020

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive.

Alan Kinsella: Collecting Political Ephemera, "The Others", and Politics During a Pandemic Irish Left Archive Podcast

In this episode we talk to Alan Kinsella about his Irish Election Literature  collection, how it has developed, and the advantages of a wide online network that has spread internationally; how political activity has changed during the Covid19 pandemic; his podcast “The Others” and the histories that that explores; and also the state of the contemporary party system since the last election and the current coalition was formed.

Alan will likely be known to any followers of Irish politics as the man behind the Irish Election Literature collection. He digitises a lot of documents on his website and on social media, as well as having exhibited materials several times, including in the National Print Museum (in an exhibition that also included a small selection from the Irish Left Archive), and at party Ard Fheiseanna. He regularly appears in the media as the de facto expert on election material and Irish political ephemera, and has recently started a podcast called “The Others – the Alan Kinsella podcast”  in which he tells the stories of some of the smaller groups and parties to have stood in elections over the years.

Alan has also been very generous in donating material to the Irish Left Archive over the years.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe. If you use a podcast app, it should come up in most of them if you search for “Irish Left Archive Podcast”, or use one of the links below.

Left Archive: Workers Life, Vol 5, No 3, July 1984, The Workers Party August 31, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
add a comment

To download the above please click on the following link. workers-life-1984-go.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

This edition of Workers Life covers a wide area of topics. Henry Patterson writes about ‘challenging some popular notions of Loyalism’, there’s a report on European Elections and another on the Reagan visit, there’s a piece on struggles to organise New York subway workers in the 1930s and another again on the Polisario Front. There’s also a piece on Kissinger and Central America.

The editorial engages with neutrality.

Irish neutrality has rarely been so popular and yet so threatened – right, left and centre – supports neutrality by which they mean not signing a military pact with either the US or the Soviet Union.

It argues that the Treaty of Rome and EEC membership constitutes the greatest threat. Intriguingly it argues:

…for most members states it is logical to put most stress on military unity; if only to loosen the bonds with the aggressive American nuclear missile policy forced on its NATO allies like Holland, Italy, Greece and Denmark.

It continues:

Since independence, most Irish politicians have viewed neutrality a a bargaining chip in a high stakes diplomatic game with Britain to secure unity with Northern Ireland. Even that prominent advocate of neutrality, Sean MacBride, was willing to consider NATO membership in return for British withdrawal from the North. That was thirty years ago, but it is only three years since Fianna Fail’s leader, Charles Haughey took the first tentative steps towards ending the country’s neutrality in the euphoria following his ‘Georgian teapot negotiations’ with Margaret Thatcher. The totality of relationships within and between these islands certainly included a military aspect, and he was tempted to shift policy on neutrality at the party’s Ard Fheis before a clamour of protest forced its abandonment. Only Thatcher’s expectation of total Irish support for the Falklands and a belated concern within Fianna Fail for the lives of Argentinian sailors prevented a military alliance with some NATO countries.

And it concludes:

A further step forward would require the development of a policy of positive neutrality. This would involve reaching beyond our shores, and joining with other neutral and non-aligned countries in actively working for world peace and disarmament. In today’s world, neutrality means a lot more than simply standing aloof from conflict; it means preventing it.

There are some other particular interesting snippets:

THE WORKERS’ PARTY last month sent the following
message of condolence to the Central Committee of the Italian Communist Party on the death of Enrico Berlinguer, General Secretary P.C.I. ‘The Workers’ Party have just learned of the death of
Comrade Enrico Berlinguer, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Italy. We send our deepest and comradely sympathy to all Italian Communists on this tragic happening. Comrade Berlinguer’s death is a blow, not alone to the Communist Party of Italy, but to pro­gressive forces throughout the world.
His outstanding contribution to the development and building of the Italian Communist Party as the major progressive force in Western Europe will be his enduring memorial.

And notable are a number of deeply critical pieces on Sinn Féin.

Otherwise, as usual with publications from this source very well produced in a magazine style format.

Please note: If files have been posted for or to other online archives previously we would appreciate if we could be informed of that. We always wish to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.

Dealing with a ‘left’ Government in the future in Ireland: what is the role of the radical left? August 30, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This came up in the course of conversation here and ColmB noted that it would be a good topic for further discussion. ColmB suggests that:

…a “left” gov, which of course would be dominated by SF and include Lab and SDs, would be better than a gov dominated by right parties.

However it would be disastrous for radical left to enter such a gov. as opposed to keep pressure on them from the outside. You can’t simultaneously administer a capitalist state and dismantle capitalism. The reality is that the being in gov is not the same as being in power – the job of radical left parties is to bring about a transformation of society based on the establishment of democratic control of workplace’s and communities and you can’t do that from above. It’s also very unlikely that you can do it unless there is a major political/ economic crisis. Revolutionary or radical socialist who enter coalition govs automatically become social democrats, not because they are sell-outs etc. but because they have to govern in a capitalist society – the gov has changed but not the ruling class. They therefore become responsible for all the inequities of capitalist society by virtue of their gov positions.

The job of the radical left IMO is to:
Prepare for that crisis situation by building popular capacity so that the mass of people can create organs of participatory democratic control from below.
Keep pressure in any ‘left’ gov’ to force them to deliver immediate reforms – this will largely arise from popular pressure at ground level.

That is indeed a changed environment and how to engage with it?

Tech question August 30, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Anyone installed a Windows partition on their Mac? I’m working through the idea of using Bootcamp and having a partition for Windows to run various apps including games. What’s the minimum size of such a partition and conversely what would be optimal for such a partition?

Statements in the media… good, bad and indifferent August 30, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

A business columnist in the IT bemoans the fact that:

Through regulations and de facto-obligatory “guidelines”, Government and wider society now decides where we can travel; where we eat and drink; whether we even drink at all; how many people visit our homes; how long we should spend in company; who we meet; where we work; how we watch sport; how many people with whom we go for a meal; how far apart we stand; what we wear on our faces; how many people can come to see us get married; how many can come to see us get buried; how we comfort each other; when it is appropriate to sing; and the form of transport we use.

Has this not always – in most of those examples – been the case to some degree?

Most reasonable citizens accept that the danger posed by the virus and our responsibility to keep each other safe justifies a lot of the rules, much of the time. But that doesn’t change the fact that everyday life in a free society was never meant to be regulated to this degree of granularity. It is not normal and it explains why so many people are so stressed and the public mood is so volatile.

‘Everyday life’ in a global pandemic is different to everyday life when there’s no global pandemic. It is indeed not normal. Because there’s a global pandemic. Presumably said business columnist understand that in a time of crisis certain constraints and regulations will likely be increased. Or perhaps not given the questionable expertise that underpins this statement from the same piece…

The Government must come up with a more sustainable, long-term set of rules for foreign travel than the fear-driven regime we are enduring now. It may mean we have to accept a few things that are scientifically sub-optimal.

But socially and economically, it would be worth the risk and manageable.

Meanwhile a famed epidemiological expert writes:

“I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to [save live music &] fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up,”

Thanks Van but think it best to stay out of venues for the moment.

Speaking of music…

Pop duo Jedward have slammed Jim Corr over his attendance of an anti-lockdown rally in Dublin on Saturday.

The exchange on Twitter sparked a back and forth between the The Corrs band member and the pop duo, during which they traded put-downs.

The pair commented using one of The Corrs’ song titles: “G’wan leave the whole country “breathless” from Covid because of your idiotic behaviour.”

Speaking of idiotic, how about the following, a piece by Conor Pope in the IT which is headlined ‘What science got wrong on Covid-19: Masks, warning signs and transmission without symptoms’. But read the article and it argues something quite different: “Our understanding and response to the disease has been evolving almost as fast as it has been spreading with the certainties of winter turning into the canards of spring as the entirely novel virus shifted and shaped our world like nothing before it”.

Meanwhile during an apologia for a certain Commissioner and ‘lynch mobs’ who hounded him out of office there’s the following:

The first issue facing the Government is whether the current Covid restrictions can be continued without destroying a whole swathe of the economy – and after that it will have to face up to serious choices in how to scale back the enormous extra borrowing necessitated by the emergency.

This is actually a good overview of economic and business issues in the face of the pandemic. But… Will Goodbody perhaps draws is net a little tightly in the following:

Many business owners got no break, working through the summer months simply to try to keep their firms afloat.

Others couldn’t afford to take a staycation, because their incomes had plummeted so much over the previous months or disappeared altogether.

There seems to be a trope abroad in the Irish media that everyone had staycations and in some quarters that’s seen an almost heinous step down from international holidays. But many many people were unable to take any sort of a holiday, particularly those who have lost jobs or are in precarious employment. Worth keeping in mind.

Then there’s this:

Protesters [in Paris], some waving placards stating “Stop the lies”, were quickly surrounded by police who handed out €135 fines to those not wearing masks.

“There is no scientific proof of the usefulness of wearing a mask outside,” said Anais, a Paris sociology student. “Covid-19 is not so dangerous, it mainly kills people over the age of 60.”

Gregory Porter August 29, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Interview in the Mirror with Gregory Porter by Jason O’Toole. Whether one is a big fan of his music or not there’s a point that really resonated with me for some reason.

As if it wasn’t hard enough growing up without a father, Gregory found himself being subjected to the type of racism you wouldn’t ever dream to find happening in a so-called civilized state like California – such as being woken up in the middle of the night to find a KKK-style burning cross in his family’s front garden.

“I was vexed by that, in that the most intriguing thing about it was that it was so well constructed, which I couldn’t understand. It looked like people had really taken their time to do this, ” he recalled.

And he continues:

“The wood joinery was still intact after it had burnt and you could see where the wood was joined together –not tied together, not hammered together. It was pieces of wood grooved out and materials soaked in gasoline wrapped around it, and wire.

“And I was like, ‘You guys took so long to do this, to build this instrument of visual hatred. And you came at three in the morning, you dug a hole and you put it in the ground and you tapped the dirt down around the cross, you lit it on fire –and in the danger of being seen or arrested’. It’s a lot of work.

“So, that made me say, ‘Wow! People are really… serious about doing something hurtful and painful’. So, yeah, it was really something.”

There’s a real strangeness to that attention to detail he so vividly describes, something almost inhuman in the almost obsessive focus on those symbols and the complete lack of fellow human feeling with those they are directed at.

One other point, that dovetails with the post earlier about when is so much music too much, following his mother’s death Porter outlines his depression and how:

…he couldn’t find it in his heart to sing for about a year after his mother’s death.

“The depression that I had, I was like, ‘When is this going to get better?’ Music snatched me by the collar and pulled me up out of the depression. There’s no question about that.

“Also, listening to music. I was going around collecting vinyl at charity shops, and I thought I had collected all the Nat King Cole’s music and I still found more to lift me up.”

When is this much music too much music? August 29, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Here’s a question for some of you, those who like music. At what point does an interest in music, and I guess the ‘collection’ of music, become too much? Talking to someone recently they noted another person they knew had hundreds, possibly thousands, of albums from bandcamp. And this in addition to many many more collected across decades previous to that. It’s not simply about where one finds the time to listen to all these, plus the ones one had previously, but at what point does this become more than an interest and perhaps something closer to a psychological problem. I’ve followed music since my mid-teens. By the time vinyl was in its last days I had hundreds of LPs – mostly second hand from BaseX/Comet, Freebird, Macs and so on, and a lot of cassette tapes. Then there were CDs. A couple of hundred. Easily. Then there was digital. I climbed aboard eMusic early on and am still hanging on (barely given its much reduced state). Now there’s bandcamp. Cue many hundreds more…actually thousands. At this point, I just checked, I’ve over 5,000 albums on iTunes – that would be albums ripped from CDs (but not all of them, not by a long way), long deleted ones I have on vinyl that were ripped by others, eMusic/iTunes acquired ones, and so on. I guess I could be appalled by the expense but so much of it, well over 80% was acquired either second hand or discounted that I’m not. It’s been worth it. Back in the day I’d sooner spend my money on an album than that fifth pint. Still would.

In total it’s 131.8 days. If I devoted eight hours a day to listening to the lot it would take about 395 days, or just over a year. But of course I wouldn’t. And I’m still adding to that pile.

Why? Is there a lost chord out there, an unknown chord progression, a tricky and unique key change I’ve never heard before, some sound that is entirely novel? And I think there is and there isn’t. I’m still hearing a lot of new music that makes me – for want of a better term – happy. And of course listening to a lot of old music that has much the same effect on me. What I find myself amazed at is how little music I find I completely played out back in the day. There are some albums that I can’t listen to with fresh ears or new appreciation, but they tend to be in a distinct minority. And there are new albums that have an effect on me near enough the same as albums that really impacted on me back whenever.

Which still raises the question why? And at what point does one stop aquiring new music.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Winters Reign August 29, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Saw a clip of these recently and it bought back some awful memories. Winter’s Reign were an Irish AOR band that released two albums “The Mini Album” and “The Beginning”. I gather Louis Walsh was involved with them, they were managed by former Mamas Boys manager Joe Wynne. Despite a good bit of record company backing, they never quite made it.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening To… Justin Townes Earle, an addendum in remembrance August 29, 2020

Posted by yourcousin in Uncategorized.

When Son of Stan posted that Justin Townes Earle had passed it kicked me in the gut. More so than say Kenny Rogers or maybe even John Prine, because it was so unexpected. I was never a huge fan of Steve Earle (JTE’s father) although Elijah’s Church gets a very honorable mention. But I really enjoyed JTE’s music and I’ve been listening all week since I heard the news. A talented musician gone well before his time.


%d bloggers like this: