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Flying columns and Battalion’s… February 14, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

That was some statement from the Anti Eviction Flying Column who ‘joined the Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group, and Wicklow Says No’ protesting outside the home of Simon Harris the other day.

“Simon Harris and the rest of the Free State Administration are waging a class war against the Irish people and are facilitating the attacks on working-class families and our homes by Imperialist Vultures.
“For too long the Free State has been allowed to get away with such actions unchallenged, but no more.
“Today was the start of a campaign to bring it to the doors of all those waging a war against the Irish working-class – Free State Politicians, Landlords, Bankers, Sherrifs, and anyone else who lines up against our class.
“So long as you come to our doors- we can come to yours.
“The working class is getting organised – the people are ready to fight back. The Free State’s days are numbered.”

The issue of effectiveness looms large here. Whether it is a good look to protest outside the house when his partner and three week old baby are inside and that this protest generates condemnation from nurses unions etc is open to question. I’d have thought the last thing that was needed was something that might – however slightly – increase sympathy for the beleaguered Minister.


Yesterday’s protest was strongly condemned by politicians and campaign groups, with Fine Gael TDs’ concern mirrored across the political divide.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said what happened “is completely and utterly unacceptable” as “everyone is entitled to peace and security with their family in their own home”, Sinn Féin health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly said “family is off limits”, while Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said targeting someone’s home is unjustified and undermines legitimate protests.


Any policy they like as long as it’s anti-abortion… February 14, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

My apologies for returning yet again to Aontú, or as some might term it the political wing of Breda O’Brien, but I do find the effort to carve out a space for a slightly leftish, if not leftist, anti-abortion party quite fascinating. So far it seems to have been propelled by the sheer energy of Tóibín and this report in the IT seems to hint at the public response dimming a little.

Harry McGee notes how well Tóibín’s attacks on political and media ‘groupthink’ are playing with the audiences he engages with.

But there’s a point made by Harry McGee in the piece that seems incontestable – and it dovetails with a point made on this site a few weeks ago that for all the talk of groupthink and parties forcing representatives to a line, Aontú itself has a line and those that deviate from it will not be entertained. It’s that contradiction that is so puzzling. Does Tóibín genuinely not recognise it? Perhaps, perhaps not.

You sense a bit of a paradox at the heart of the project. Tóibín says no seats will be won on the abortion issue alone but, in many senses, it is the abortion issue alone that is the raison d’etre of the party.

Netflix Miami Band Massacre Documentary February 14, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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To be shown this coming month – thanks to YourCousin for the heads up:

Netflix’s ReMastered series has explored seminal events in the lives of artists including Bob Marley, Johnny Cash and Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay.
The Miami Showband episode focuses on survivor and band bassist Stephen Travers and investigates claims of security force collusion in the killings. It will land on the streaming service in March 2019.

Clare Daly TD endorses Cllr Éilis Ryan (WP) for European elections in Dublin in May February 13, 2019

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

As noted in comments…

Cllr Éilis Ryan this morning (Wednesday) launched her Dublin MEP bid on behalf of the Workers’ Party, at a launch which was addressed by Clare Daly (Independent Socialist TD) and prominent anti-war campaigner Edward Horgan.

Full statement here on the WP website.

Different to Dublin, but also different to Finchley February 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Have to say Bertie Ahern’s testimony in front of the House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee on the Good Friday Agreement was pretty solid. And he neatly skewered a deeply disingenuous trope that some Brexiteers are putting about in the following:

“The reality is when I changed the constitutional position of Articles 2 and 3, what that did was I said there was a difference between Dublin and Belfast. that’s what I said, but I also said that there was a difference between Belfast and Finchley .

Mr Ahern, who was one of the architects of the 1998 Belfast Agreement said the argument that Northern Ireland was “precisely the same as Finchley” was “constitutionally incorrect as per the Good Friday Agreement and I think people need to understand that”.

By the way, the SNP are remarkably impressive, aren’t they?

Another eclectic mix of Brexiteers… February 13, 2019

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

On foot of this…

Open Letter from Anthony Coughlan to RTE’s Marian Finucane re Brexit,
the Irish backstop, the EU etc. … Forwarded for your information

Please feel free to circulate this e-mail for the information of
others if you care to.

The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
Crawford Avenue
Dublin 9
Tel.: 01-8305792

Ms Marian Finucane
Dublin 4

Sunday 10 February 2019

Dear Marian,
My wife and I were listening to your Sunday morning programme today
when your panel was discussing Brexit, the EU and the Irish backstop.

We were struck by the fact that all your panel participants were
wholly at one with one another on these topics, and there was no one
who was even mildly critical or dissenting.

RTE, as you know, is supposed to ensure balance and consideration of
different viewpoints when it comes to programme coverage of issues of
public controversy and debate.

Might it not be a good idea to invite someone like Dr Ray Bassett,
Bruce Arnold, Eoghan Harris, Professor Ray Kinsella, Frank Keoghan of
the People’s Movement or even my good self, on to your programme
sometime when you are considering these EU-related matters?

That would surely help make for more interesting listening and be more
informative for your listeners.

At present supporters of Irish Government policy contend that
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s stand on the Northern backstop protects the
Good Friday Agreement. Yet David Trimble – who got the Nobel Prize
for his role in negotiating it – John Taylor (Lord Kilclooney), Lord
Bew, Ray Bassett and others contend that Irish Government policy puts
the Good Friday Agreement in peril.

But one would get no inkling of that from listening to your programme today.

On the same programme former Irish diplomat Bobby McDonagh was
scathing about those in Britain who have compared the EU to the former
Soviet Union.

That comparison is certainly over the top. At the same time I wonder
did it ever occur to Mr McDonagh that when the USSR existed it never
insisted that its client States in Eastern Europe’s COMECON should
adopt the rouble as their currency, whereas all Member States joining
the EU are legally required to abolish their national currencies and
adopt the euro, thereby giving up any control of either interest
rates or the exchange rate?

The only exceptions to this are the UK and Denmark, which negotiated
legal opt-outs from this EU obligation at the time of the 1992
Maastricht Treaty

May I suggest that your always interesting programme might be even
better if listeners got a chance to hear points like this made when
issues like Brexit, the Northern backstop or the EU generally come up.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Coughlan
(Associate Professor Emeritus in Social Policy, TCD)

PS. I trust you will not mind too much if I copy this letter to
various other people at RTE and in the Irish media generally, as the
issue of lack of critical balance when it comes to treating the topic
of Brexit and the backstop is at present a fairly widespread one.

It’s not academic… February 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Troubling to read this… that:

Leading academics have been accused of undermining a protest about workers’ rights in London in order to give a talk about a historian famous for his support of workers’ rights.
Sir Richard Evans was due to discuss his book on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm at the University of London on Thursday evening, breaking a boycott supported by hundreds advocating better employment conditions for cleaners and other outsourced staff at the university.
Martin Jacques, the former editor of Marxism Today, and Prof Donald Sassoon, who completed his PhD under Hobsbawm’s supervision, were also scheduled to talk.


“It is disappointing that these respected academics chose to ignore the boycott in order to talk about a Marxist historian that we are sure would be on our side in this struggle,” said Maritza Castillo Calle, University of London branch chairwoman of the IWGB union, which has organised the boycott.

And this seems particularly wishy washy:

Evans, regius professor emeritus of history at Cambridge University, said he supported the cause of the protesters and would “bring it to the attention of the meeting”. The other scheduled speakers did not respond to the Guardian’s requests for comment.

I’ve written before about the disconnect one sometimes find between academia and workers within academic institutions. One of the worst I can recall is how separate buses to the venues where Degrees were to be awarded were organised for academic and non-academic workers, at one institution I had direct experience of.

But it functions in other ways. Far too often those who often worked the longest hours in the places were marginalised from the life of these places. Cleaners and support staff didn’t mingle in the staff room, etc, etc.

That this is class (and in parts gender) differentiation is unspoken. Perhaps it has improved in the last few years. But this particular anecdote suggests the underlying dynamics persist.

Scolding, they say? February 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This piece on anti-vaccination sentiment on Slate.com raises a fair few questions. It examines research that suggests that the psychology of “vaccine hesitancy” is key to understanding why some won’t vaccinate and argues that this psychology means that:

Rational appeals are peppered with scolding charges of “irrationality,” “science denial,” and “madness.” Appeals to reason and evidence seem logical, but the appeals themselves are also unreasonable in their own way: They deny what these continuing episodes should make clear to us—that reason and evidence alone are not what this is all about.

I’m not entirely convinced. It continues:

But what the Amin/Omer research shows us is that vaccine hesitancy is deeply connected to our emotions. Feelings shape the decisions we make, which suggests that more information alone isn’t going to change many hearts. It also tells us more than we ever knew about what vaccine-hesitant parents really care about, and those insights offer hope. We will never entirely eliminate fear of vaccines, which has been with us as long as vaccines themselves.

And yet we know that in this state when there was a concerted effort by politicians and health professions members to push back against anti-vaccine sentiment there was a noticeable impact – a positive impact – on vaccine take up rates. And I think there’s a real danger is attempting to psychologise this – of course the dynamics behind sentiment are important, but as important is to keep hold of the facts.

There aren’t two sides to this issue – there’s only one. The anti-vaccination side is illogical, incoherent and dangerous.

And the article itself in the conclusion notes that:

It’s true that some resistance is so entrenched that only higher hurdles for opting children out of vaccinating as a requirement for public school enrollment will do any good.

Brexit: A man goes into a bar… February 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…and is overheard divulging the, presumably, confidential May Brexit negotiating strategy within earshot of an ITV reporter.

Theresa May’s high-stakes Brexit strategy may have been accidentally revealed after her chief negotiator Olly Robbins was overheard in a Brussels bar saying MPs will be given a last-minute choice between her deal and a lengthy delay.

But Robbins, the most senior civil servant involved in the Brexit process, was overheard by a reporter from ITV, holding a late-night conversation in which he appeared to suggest she would wait until March – and then give MPs the choice between backing her, or accepting a long extension to article 50.

According to the broadcaster, Robbins said the government had “got to make them believe that the week beginning end of March … extension is possible, but if they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one.”

What you want to say – 13 February 2019 February 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

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

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