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Left Archive: Gralton, An Irish Socialist Review, No. 3, Aug/Sept 1982 April 20, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Gralton Magazine (1980s), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above please click on the following link. GRALTON3GO

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

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

Many thanks to Jim Lane for donating this and other copies of Gralton to the Left Archive. It is intended to reproduce these every month or so for the next year and a half.

As noted previously Gralton was a very well produced left wing news and current events magazine that ran for some ten issues in the early 1980s.

This edition has a striking cover with a photograph of Traveller children. This references an article inside on the topic of Travellers entitled ‘Bigotry, tokenism and fighting back’ written by ‘a Dublin social worker who has worked with travellers for a number of years’. It provides a very useful and important insight into the changing environment for Travellers during that period as ‘in the last fifteen years, large numbers of travellers have moved to the urban areas especially Dublin, just as the settled population has’. It notes ‘attempt(s) by a group of residents to force the travellers out of Tallaght that has provided the impetus for a new defensive organisation among travellers’ and it notes a growing activism by travellers during this time and support amongst the broader community.

The scope of the articles is considerable including one on Eurocommunism, another on the end of the Socialist Labour Party (referenced here before in the Archive). One argues that ‘socialists should not support university students’ due to it ‘being in effect an enormous subsidy for the middle class’. There’s another on Neutrality and one entitled Gays Fight Back. This is a piece written by Melissa Murray and Charles kerrigan of the then nwely-formed Dublin Gay Collective arguing that ‘gay men and lesbian women need a more militant organisation to promote their cause’.

There’s also a continuing focus on the abortion amendment. A major feature of this issue is a four page pull out section on Women in the Unions. This engages with that issue under a number of headings, ‘Hidden From History’, ‘Some Are More Equal Than Others’, ‘Positive Action at the Top?’, ‘Some Ideas on Organisation’ and so on. A lot of the disparities noted are egregious, for example, ITGWU ‘organises more woman than any other trade union in Ireland. A third of its members are women. Yet in 1979, only 3 out of 125 officials were women, only 15% of branch committee members and only 19% of shop stewards’.

The list of ‘issues to be fighting on’ encompasses a broad range of areas – Meetings, Creches, Discrimination, Right to Work and Equal Pay.

And it notes that inequality operates in many different ways ‘the timing of union meetings is very important for women’s participation in the unions. Sunday mornings, for example, virtually exclude women with ids to mind and dinners to cook. As long as most women still perform the dual role of worker and housewife, then on the job meetings in work are a must. But in the long run it’s that dual role that must be broken – and the unions must play their part’.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week April 19, 2015

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
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Brendan O’Connor standing up for the part of Irish society the media likes to denigrate.

WE all reckon we know how liberal, young, modern, urban Ireland will vote in the marriage equality referendum. The worry now seems to be what people in the media often sneeringly refer to as Middle Ireland.

Just, what?

Apparently, it is not the job of the Referendum Commission to explain facts about the referendum.

He said: “The only effect [of the same-sex marriage amendment] is that the entitlement to marriage will be broadened from a man and a woman to include same-sex relationships. It will have no impact on existing marriages.” These assertions could be described as matters of opinion, matters to be discussed and debated, matters to be decided by the electorate. They are not, however, matters for the Chairperson of the Independent Referendum Commission to pronounce upon.

So says John Waters, newly-minted postmodernist for whom facts are merely opinions.

Eoghan Harris never ceases to amaze. The ability to keep utterly contradictory positions without blinking an eyelid is impressive. Better to read the whole column than try and pick anything out, but a clear winner this week in his praise for an aggressive and violent foreign policy when you are a great power and attack on the 1916 Rising because some children were killed during it (no mention of the shelling of the city by an army more than capable of crushing the rising without it though).

Bad Mac… April 19, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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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

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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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.

An analysis of British politics… April 18, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.

…here on the LRB, James Meek visits Grimsby, once a Labour redoubt, held by Austin Mitchell for decades, now? Well, who knows… It’s an interesting mix of politics with some very contemporary resonances.

Just one thought that puzzles me, a lot of talk about how Britain should have stayed out of the EEC and how they could have retained a 200 mile fishing limit, but how would that work in relation to this state given the width of the Irish Sea alone is as little as a 100km?

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Peter Mulvey April 18, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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It was 15 or so years ago when I first saw Peter Mulvey, he was supporting Chris Smither in Whelans and staying for a few days on a friends floor. He was I think touring his album “The Trouble With Poets” and also had a live CD “Glencree” for sale at the gig too. They are both decent albums and have received plenty of play in my house over the years.
He had quite a distinctive style of guitar playing and a lovely husky voice…. like many artists he fell off my radar until I read that his latest album had been produced by Chuck Prophet (who had a spell in one of my favourite bands ‘Green on Red’). I had a listen and really liked it.

Student politics… April 17, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

Pat Rabbitte in the SBP has some thoughts on the upcoming referendums. He’s utterly dismissive of the one proposing the age of eligibility for contesting Presidential elections should be reduced to 21. I’m not that fussed either way about it, but I’m not sure Pat arguing from his own rather limited experience is the best argument agin:

It is a daft proposal. What kind of 21-year-old would want to become President? Apparently the answer is an exceptional and mature one. This is especially alarming because if there is anyone less suited for the Presidency than a 21-year-old, it is a 21-year-old who is going on 50.

I was a president once at 21. Fortunately the only citizens under my rule were students. They and I considered our main purpose to be to make as much mayhem as we could for the government of the day on issues like equality of opportunity in education and the price of coffee and strong drink on the campus. To have sent any of us to the venerable old house in the park would have been simply unthinkable. We would probably have made Paul Durcan Poet Laureate and encouraged him to engage in pursuits inside Áras an Uachtarán similar to those that preoccupied him with the judge’s daughter outside the gates.

I don’t know. I too was involved in elected student politics for a number of years in a not dissimilar role – I was a couple of years older than Rabbitte had been when he was involved but what struck me was that for the most part people involved took elected roles fairly seriously. Sure, it wasn’t navigating the Titanic away from the iceberg like stuff, there was no real danger involved, though – that said, I was involved in campaigns that drew extremely antagonistic responses from socially conservative quarters. But nor was it nothing.

And it’s curious in the extreme for Rabbitte who – arguably – gained a fair bit of political capital both within and outside organisations that he was a member of through his involvement in USI appear to throw all that under the bus.

Indeed being a generation younger than Rabbitte and also a member of the WP at the time I remember being both entertained in the mid to late 1980s to read as an SU member the typed reports from USI of the period when OSF/SFWP were at their height in that organisation, and also being a little bit envious given that I was the only person in SU politics, or at least in SU politics linked to USI, who was flying that flag during that later period. It was clear from those reports that there was no end of open conflict between various factions vying for supremacy. I’ll bet he took it pretty damn seriously then. Others did.

And while I’m as sceptical and/or cynical of student politics as most of us – it is too limited, too self-referential, for the most part too transitory a population of people, and found the focus of my political activity to be in the constituency/community then and after, it is pointless to argue that it had no scope for opportunity in communicating our (various) messages. My own belief is a party has to have roots outside academia, otherwise it will be too…well…limited… self-referential…etc, but that it is useful to have some roots everywhere.


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