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New documentary depicting the story of The Limerick Soviet. April 20, 2015

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Thanks to the person who forwarded this:

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Colleagues,

As you may be aware, Limerick Council of Trade Unions, in collaboration with Frameworks Films Cork have been working over the last year on the production of a new documentary depicting the story of The Limerick Soviet.
We are glad to announce that this production is now complete and it will have its first public viewing on Mayday the 1st May 2015,

This documentary will be dedicated to the memory of our late colleague Bro Frank Prendergast who was involved in the making of this documentary, sadly, Frank passed away before we completed the work and I am sure it is a fitting tribute to a great friend and mentor that we remember him in this way.

Finally, I have attached a link to the Lime Tree Theatre website for anyone who wishes to obtain more information and for booking details. Tickets are priced at a very modest €5.00 with proceeds going towards the cost of the production.

Please circulate this email as widely as possible among your friends and on all possible media outlets.

Friday the 1st of May 2015 is also the start of the Riverfest weekend in Limerick and it promises to be a great fun filled weekend with lots to do for all age groups, why not come and explore the wonderful City & County of Limerick.

With best wishes and kind regards,

BD
Link to the Lime Tree Theatre Box office below.
https://limetreetheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873532384/events?show_id=873532384

Places without a strong left April 20, 2015

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Funny, I was reading a report about the situation in Finland following their latest general election…

Based on 99.8% of votes, state broadcaster YLE forecast Mr Sipila’s party won 49 seats in the 200-member parliament, while the Finns won 38 seats.

Stubb’s centre-right National Coalition scored 37 seats and centre left Social Democrats 34 seats.

…and I was thinking how beaten back the left is there. Three large centre right to far right political formations (plus another couple smaller ones). An SD party and a Left Alliance that dropped two seats to 12. And yet not so different to here in some respects – at least in respect to the status quo ante the economic crisis.

Bad Mac… April 19, 2015

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This list here of the 10 worst Macintosh computers ever is kind of amusing. Or at least it was until I realised I had part owned two of those listed on it (or perhaps three now I think about it). I never owned a computer outright until the late 1990s or early 2000s, which is perhaps as it should be.

There was the original LC. Sadly so hobbled a machine that it makes the 10 worst Macs Ever Built list with ease. The second was a second hand LCII with a colour monitor. It wasn’t awful, and many a happy hour was spent playing Civilization I (and II?) on it. But it was seriously underpowered.

Then there was the Performa 6200. This was an absolute turkey. Much much worse in its own way than the LCII. I ask you to envisage Quark on it moving at glacial speeds. Mind you Civilization II moved fast so not all bad I guess. And Myst IIRC. And various other games including Close Combat, FA-18 (the Iraq one, not North Korea), Star Trek: A Final Unity and Marathon 2… heheh… I used to dream about that and Civ.

After that… things got better. Though the games… sometimes I think they got worse.

Yesterday’s march April 19, 2015

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I thought it was an impressive turnout – as did someone else who was able to make it who noted that in some respects it was ‘basically an AAA/SP’ event. Perhaps a little broader than that, but not hugely. Whether and how this has political effect is a different matter, thought the media coverage was fairly positive too… from the above:

The rally incorporated the usual mix of colourful banners and marching chants that have come to be the focal point of the nationwide campaign. Its momentum does not appear to have faltered and organisers on the political left now hope general feelings of opposition will translate into a more determined refusal to pay.

What might trouble the government is that this was a march outside the R2W banner, so to speak, and still able to pull good numbers out. What should trouble them even more is that that was an event that didn’t seem to be hugely publicised…

While we’re talking about the galaxy… April 18, 2015

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…this is sort of cool. Murals depicting the galaxy that you can get for your room…

Joss Whedon… April 18, 2015

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is someone who appears to be a nice person and never more so than here where in the midst of making entirely salient points about genuine disagreements with Adam Baldwin in regards to Gamergate, anti-vax, et al he has some kind words to say about someone who he clearly likes a lot even if they have fundamental disagreements. I think he’s also right about the way social media operates in a reductionist way much of the time in how arguments are shaped by it. In passing he mentions the Hugo’s controversy, again, I’m getting a post on that together. Interesting comments BTL too in the piece.

From the centre of our galaxy April 18, 2015

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I find this piece by the ever excellent Phil Plait in Slate on what is thought to be a star that has successfully swung around the black hole at the centre of the galaxy to be remarkable. Remarkable not simply for the story but because we can see photographs of the centre of the galaxy. Isn’t that something?

Plait notes…

This image is amazing; it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. No joke: We are so good at what we do that we have built telescopes and detectors that can directly detect the motions of objects trillions of kilometers away! We can watch as another bizarre object is caught in the clutches of a black hole and forced into a tight orbit that takes it so close that it moves through space at a fraction of the speed of light itself.

This is what we do, we evolved apes. So many people poopoo science for so many reasons, sometimes claiming other or higher sovereignty. But when I think on things like this, what we see and what we do, I can only shake my head and smile ruefully.

He’s absolutely right. That this is possible is an achievement of incredible proportions.

More on the UK Election April 17, 2015

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I’m really enjoying the UK General Election campaign – in a detached sort of a way – and it will be well worth focusing on those portions of it held on this island too. The atavistic anti-Tory in me trumps most considerations as regards the position of the Labour Party or whoever else. The Tories are the enemy. Everyone else? Differing levels of error. Speaking of those whose error is entirely egregious, consider the Liberal Democrats. For what strikes me is how it is offering us a forensic look at the nature of British politics, and both previous and contemporary contradictions. Because, for example, reading UK Polling Report’s latest piece, which considers polls held in the southwest

ComRes have published a new poll of voting intentions in LD-Con seats in the South West for ITV. Full details are here. The topline figures are CON 44%, LAB 13%, LDEM 26%, UKIP 10%. Given these are all seats that the Liberal Democrats won in 2010 this is a huge turnaround – in 2010 the Lib Dems had an overall lead of 8.5% over the Tories in these seats, now they are 18 points behind, a whopping great swing of 13 points. If there was a uniform swing of this scale across these seats the Lib Dems would lose the lot.

And:

Depressing for the Lib Dems, but wholly at odds with previous polling evidence in these seats. Lord Ashcroft has polled Lib Dem held seats pretty comprehensively, so we actually have constituency polls in 12 of the 14 seats included in this sample, and they paint a very different picture. Compared to the 13 point LD>Con swing in the ComRes poll Lord Ashcroft found an average LD>Con swing of about 4 points.
The difference between these two sets of polling is much larger than can explained by margin of error – they paint a genuinely contradictory picture. If ComRes are right the Lib Dems have collapsed in their heartland and face wipeout, if Ashcroft are right they are holding up against the tide and should retain around half those seats.

Look at the usage of the term ‘heartland’. I recall that it wasn’t that long ago that in some ways the LD’s functioned as a proxy local/regional party. Their ‘heartlands’ were parts of Scotland, the south west of England and then a scatter of seats here and there. It may be unwise to read too much into this, after all they had less than half their current crop of seats – in 1983 the SDP-Liberal Alliance got 23 seats, in 1997 the LDs got 46 seats. In 2005 they won 62 seats and at the last election for all that Cleggmania existed as a media frenzy they fell back to a 57. But look at their previous history as the Liberal party and they oscillated between 12 seats in 1945 and as low as 6 seats at numerous elections in the 1950s and at 1970. This from 158 in 1923, their last genuinely good result.

Wiki notes that in the 1960s…

The new middle-class suburban generation began to find the Liberals’ policies attractive again. Under Grimond (who retired in 1967) and his successor, Jeremy Thorpe, the Liberals regained the status of a serious third force in British politics, polling up to 20% of the vote but unable to break the duopoly of Labour and Conservative and win more than fourteen seats in the Commons. An additional problem was competition in the Liberal heartlands in Scotland and Wales from the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru who both grew as electoral forces from the 1960s onwards. Although Emlyn Hooson held on to the seat of Montgomeryshire, upon Clement Davies death in 1962, the party lost five Welsh seats between 1950 and 1966. In September 1966 the Welsh Liberal Party formed their own state party, moving the Liberal Party into a fully federal structure.[27]

Was it a case that in places where the Labour Party was strong they offered a sort of half-way house to conservatism?

Current polling indicates no good news for them. I listened to an interview on the Guardian podcast last week with Clegg and he struck me as a man supremely detached from the realities of his position and that of his party and unmoored from what most of us would regards as political ideology, let alone principles. Some will think they entirely deserve their fate.

Demonstrate in Solidarity with Venezuela. Sunday 19th April 2015 April 16, 2015

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Demonstrate in Solidarity with Venezuela. Sunday 19th April 2015

In 1985 President Ronald Reagan declared Nicaragua to be “a threat to the United States”, and proceeded to finance and arm the “contras” in order to overthrow the democratically elected Sandinista government. When, thirty years later the current president of the U.S. declares Venezuela to be “a threat to the United States”, it can only mean one thing – the U.S. is seeking to overthrow the government of Venezuela.
Since the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 transformed the political situation in Venezuela and Latin America, the U.S. has striven to restore its dominion over the continent. It has supported and encouraged the Venezuelan ultra-right, during the coup d’état in 2002 and since, in all its efforts to destabilise and undermine the Bolivarian Government.
Last year the ultra-right organised street violence resulting in the deaths of 43 people. This year in February, Venezuelan security services uncovered a plot for another coup d’état. You would not know this from the Irish media who take their news from the Washington Post and the New York Times. They would have us believe that the deaths last year were the result of state repression of peaceful demonstrations and that there was no plot, that persons convicted of violent crimes or awaiting trial are political prisoners.
These false reports have been endorsed by the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament. It is on this basis that the Senate orders sanctions and the President issues his executive order.
The threats against Venezuela have been repudiated by UNASUR and by ALBA, representing a majority of Latin American States, who no longer accept the hegemony of the United States. The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in the United Nations has stated that they also reject the latest decision of the Government of the United States to expand it’s coercive measures against Venezuela.

The Venezuela Ireland Network is holding a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Dublin from 2pm til 4pm on Sunday 19thApril, to call for the rescinding of the order declaring Venezuela to be a threat to the United States, for the ending of sanctions against officials who were only acting according to the constitution and laws of Venezuela, and for an end to all U.S. interference in Venezuelan affairs.

Robert Navan,
Venezuela Ireland Network

Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist & Irish Socialist Republican April 16, 2015

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Thanks to the person who forwarded this…

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21 April, Connolly Books
6pm

This new biography explores the history of Irish communism and socialist republicanism between 1916 and 1962 through the life of Seán Murray. Murray left a significant imprint on leftist politics through his work as an activist, prolific writer, propagandist and theorist.
This book uses newly-discovered archives relating to the Irish socialist and left republican movements, including letters from International Brigaders during the Spanish Civil War.

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