Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘2018 Referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution’ Category

Zero Tolerance for intimidation – Anthony McIntyre reports on a Labour Party Public Meeting in Drogheda – Unity in Action Against a Common Far-Right Racist Enemy

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Differences exist on the left-wing spectrum in Ireland – some of them concern fundamental disagreements about political principles. One clear example is opposition to entering any coalition government with right wing ruling class parties in Ireland such as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Democratic Unionist party or the Alliance party.

Other issues place a duty on parties in the broadly left-wing spectrum to put aside tactical differences, and explore methods of practical co-operation. Building effective practical opposition to the dangerous growth of far-right racism in Ireland is on the agenda today. In this spirit we re-publish an Anthony McIntyre article which reports on a well-attended Irish Labour Party rally in Drogheda which tackled the issues of racism, immigration, and Russia’s fascist and genocidal invasion of Ukraine head-on.

Anthony pulls no punches discussing his political differences with the Labour Party!

John Meehan February 3 2023


link : https://www.thepensivequill.com/2023/02/zero-tolerance-for-intimidation.html

Zero Tolerance For Intimidation

Anthony McIntyre Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It has long struck me that the Irish Labour Party more than any other has abandoned the constituency that returns it in pursuit of office. It promises a left package then delivers the Rabbitte punch to the recipients of the promise so that it may become the prop sustaining governments which view left packages much as a dog does a lamppost.

Whatever the Labour leadership sought to project onto the screen, the filtering process left the electorate feeling that it had just viewed Pensions Before People. Last time out those who had voted the party in such numbers in the previous general election followed through on Eamon Gilmore’s promise, while still with the Workers Party, to destroy the Labour Party. Since then Labour has struggled to make any impact on the Irish political scene.

None of that stopped me from turning up at a Labour Party Town Hall meeting in Drogheda’s D Hotel on Monday evening. I actually left Dublin early to make the event which was attended by around one hundred people. I had never been at any of the party’s gatherings before although any time I have approached its elected representatives or party workers, the response has been nothing less than helpful. Their members also have been to the fore in defusing the moral panic that the far right has been trying to stoke and amplify over a range of issues, most notably refugees.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Parliament Blocks Scottish Parliament Transgender Law Reform – British Labour Leader Keir Starmer Surrenders to the Union-Jack Far-Right

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Rishi Sunak’s governing Tories at Westminster have blocked a minor administrative human rights reform adopted by the Scottish Parliament which protects the rights of a very small minority, transgender people. It is an easy-peasy issue for all people on the liberal/social-democratic spectrum in Ireland – ranging from the entire left into significant sectors of the big right wing parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

In Scotland a similar liberal/social-democratic spectrum includes the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), the SNP’s government coalition partner the Greens, and the Scottish Labour Party.
The Scottish Parliament voted for this minor reform – which is less favourable to transgender people than the existing law in the 26 county bit of Ireland – by 86 votes to 39. This huge majority followed a very long drawn-out debate.

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Irish Left Archive Podcast Number 44: Vincent Doherty: Official Sinn Féin, International Marxist Group, Troops Out, People’s Democracy, H-Block Committee, Sinn Féin – reblogged from The Cedar Lounge Revolution

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I first met Vincent Doherty in the late 1970’s via People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. Since then we travelled on different political paths, while remaining on very good personal terms. In 2022 Vincent and me – along with a group of left-wing activists who come from different but complementary streams of the Irish Left – have been working actively together in the Irish Left With Ukraine organization.

The comrades who publish the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog come from a stream of the Irish Left which is different from Vincent Doherty and me. But we converge politically in 2022 on a very decisive issue – the genocidal imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On the left nothing stands still. There is a strong mistaken current dominant of the Irish Marxist left which does “what if” interpretations of historical events. This interview avoids that approach. It is much better to accept the past, warts and all. We cannot change the past, but we can with 20-20 vision learn from our history. We can apply that knowledge to the present day and the immediate future – which we can influence.

Rayner Lysaght Tribute – Irish Labour History Society Event

Rayner Lysaght RIP (January 30 1941 – July 2 2021) was a close comrade of Vincent and me for many years in People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. The Irish Labour History Society staged a commemorative tribute in honour of Rayner on May 14 2021. I delivered the speech below, which also deals with some of the events described by Vincent Doherty.

John Meehan January 2 2023

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Transgender Rights – “Scotland is now ahead of the rest of the UK – though still behind Ireland” – Michael Farrell

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Veteran human rights activist Michael Farrell has campaigned in favour of transgender people for many decades. He publicly posted this comment in support of a recent Scottish Parliament Law reform:

Congratulations to the Scottish Parliament for taking a big step to protect transgender rights and resisting a bitter campaign by anti-trans groups to prevent them from making it easier for trans persons to get legal recognition. The new law, passed by 86 votes to 39, means trans people won’t have to get a medical diagnosis and wait for two yeas to register their gender. Scotland is now ahead of the rest of the UK – though still behind Ireland. A good day for a small community of people who have been abused and discriminated against for generations.

Michael Farrell, a founding member of People’s Democracy, was a revolutionary socialist activist in the six counties of Northern Ireland during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

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“Road to Repeal: 50 years of struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion” – An outstanding PhotoBook – Interview with Co-Author Therese Caherty

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We’ve come a long way!

The fight for reproductive freedom in Ireland

Irish publisher Lilliput Press recently launched the photobook, Road to Repeal: 50 years of struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion, in Dublin’s Mansion House. Social policy analyst Pauline Conroy, photographer Derek Speirs and journalist. Therese Caherty have documented in pictures and words Ireland’s choice movement over half a century.

John Meehan interviews Therese about the project, where it came from and the future for reproductive rights in Ireland.

John Meehan – What gave you idea for the book?

Therese Caherty – Our project began in 2013 at Against the Tide, a retrospective of 1980s activism by photographer Rose Comiskey. At a closing discussion on Irish feminism, a young woman asked some of us oldies – Why did you let the 8th Amendment happen? It wasn’t a view we were familiar with. But you could see where she was coming from. She had arrived into the world of the Eighth and seen, maybe experienced, its effects. And she was angry.

In 2014 we answered her question with Women to Blame, a multimedia exhibition on the struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion. Today, thanks to Lilliput Press, we have what we always wanted – a permanent home for that exhibition. Road to Repeal commemorates in pictures and words a people– powered movement that believed in a more equal Ireland for women and pregnant people, and their unfettered right to independent decision– making about parenthood.

We see our book as part of that movement of activists and participants and a contribution to it. It’s not for profit and all royalties go to the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

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Defending the reproductive rights of Ukrainian women in Ukraine, Poland, across and beyond the European Union: a global feminist struggle – An international petition

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This petition is an appeal for action. The initiative is supported by the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine – you can add your support by activating this web link below and adding your signature :

Web link https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/defending-the-reproductive-rights-of-ukrainian-women-in-ukraine-poland-across-and-beyond-the-european-union-a-global-feminist-struggle

Since February 24th, Ukrainian women are facing increasing levels of gender based violence as a consequence of the Russian invasion: (1) Russian troops are massively using rape against women and children as a war weapon. (2) Domestic violence against women and children has significantly increased. (3) Women displaced inside Ukraine and abroad, looking for safe shelter face an acute risk of gender-based and sexual violence. Rape and consequent forced pregnancies are present in all these forms of gender-based violence.

Irish supporters include Bríd Smith TD (People Before Profit, Dublin South Central); Brendan Ogle (UNITE Trade Union); Nóirín Greene (Trade Unionist).

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“The right to resist.” A manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

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“The right to resist.” is a manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

This is a Manifesto of Ukrainian feminists. Many Ukrainian feminists have come together with a common statement about their priorities. These include armed and unarmed resistance, and a reconstruction of Ukraine centred on equitable social reproduction, labour rights, equality and democracy. It was published in Commons and other online sites on Thursday July 7 2022.

You can sign at the link below.
 
The authors ask feminists, activists, and feminist collectives around the world to add their names to the document. 
 
https://commons.com.ua/en/right-resist-feminist-manifesto/
The Right to Resist

We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation. War narratives often portray women* as victims. However, in reality, women* also play a key role in resistance movements, both at the frontline and on the home front: from Algeria to Vietnam, from Syria to Palestine, from Kurdistan to Ukraine

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Abortion is Health Care – Mobilizations Against the USA decision to overturn the 1973 Roe V Wade Judgment – American Women Are Being Pushed Back in Time

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United States Supreme Court Justices have decided, in the words of Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi that “Women today will have less rights than their mothers or their grandmothers.”

Reporting from New York, Irish-American pro-choice activist Joan McKiernan describes this step backwards in time. Joan notes that USA pro-choice activists often mention the Irish pro-choice referendum victory of 2018 for inspiration. A demonstration has been organised outside the USA Ballsbridge Embassy on Sunday June 26 (see below).

Dublin Protest

National Women’s Council of Ireland

American Women Are Being Pushed Back in Time – by Joan McKiernan

Massive protests took place in cities and towns across the United States immediately after the long expected announcement of the Supreme Court decision revoking the fifty year constitutional right to abortion. Women, activists, and politicians expressed anger and disappointment, much more so than when the decision was originally leaked. For many, it seemed to take them by surprise, though they had enough warning from the leaked decision. It was as if people did not believe it could really happen. Surely, the Supreme Court would not do this, but they really did.

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“The rape of women as a weapon of war is the most heinous of crimes….” “Women present themselves in Poland” but cannot access abortion – Gino Kenny TD speaking in Dáil Éireann

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Gino Kenny TD (People Before Profit, Dublin Mid-West) sets an example for all Irish public representatives. Step up campaigns against Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Support Polish legislators proposing abortion law reform.

Gino Kenny

Gino Kenny

Gino Kenny

Question:

100. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide an update to the Houses of the Oireachtas on any engagement he has had with the European Union or the Polish Government on the ban on abortion in Poland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33165/22]View answer.

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“Legal Abortion in Poland Now” – Dublin Demonstration Report, June 23 2022

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The political party Razem is proposing legislation in the Warsaw parliament to make abortion legal in Poland. Solidarity events events were held in various locations. In Dublin pro-choice activists protested outside the Polish Embassy at 4-8 Eden Quay. Supporters included two PBP TD’s (members of the Dáil, Irish parliament) Bríd Smith and Paul Murphy.

Link to Razem : https://partiarazem.pl/aktualnosci/2022/02/27/enough-with-the-struggle-of-superpowers-voices-from-central-and-eastern-europe

Statement issued by the Ukrainian left-wing organization Sotsialnyi Rukh :

Today our comrades from “Razem” party in Poland will be at a hearing during the parliamentary sessions concerning abortion legalization in Poland.

What is the background?

One challenge of immediate concern in Poland is the access to safe and legal abortion. Since January 2021, Poland’s new law on abortion bans all pregnancy terminations except in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk. Under this law, abortion is permissible only in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life.
As a consequence of social and political pressures, doctors often refuse to perform the procedure. This directly causes the suffering and deaths of many women.

“Razem” together with national feminist movements drafted the bill “Legal Abortion. Without compromises”. This is a citizen’s bill for which Razem gathered thousands of signatures, forcing Parliament to bring it to a vote.
So here we are and today “Razem” will fight for women right to to decide on their own bodies and life.

Important : many Ukrainian women and children fleeing the war seek refuge in neighbouring Poland where abortion is criminalised and access to contraception is ranked the worst in Europe. Taking into account that in Ukraine we have no problems with this. So it’s a shock for them not to have and access to abortion and be forced to choose between carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term in precarious circumstances or facing significant risks associated with clandestine abortions.

Regarding this Sotsialnyi Rukh underline that abortion legalization in Poland is our our common aim to reach.


We are in solidarity with Razem and women in Poland!

We stand for immediate legalization of abortion in Poland and rights for safe abortion!

legalnaaborcjabezkompromisów

Source : https://www.facebook.com/100064840535229/posts/pfbid0M3jBmZZgWUEQkHdiRL7jjjVje2394wJNS29aEMXFPPFkVjHXNujLYLu9VkmpCHyal/