Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Spacers’ Category

Needles And Trust

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When it’s my turn to take the vaccine for the coronavirus, I’m taking it. Granted, I probably won’t be able to until next summer when it’s available …

Needles And Trust

In the USA : Distrust of State advice comes from two different (opposed) directions : rationally from the left, irrationally from the right.

Polls show 71% of Americans are willing to take the vaccine. Black Americans willing to take it currently stands at 62% which is an increase from three months ago when it was at 50%. Politically, 86% of Democrats are willing to take the vaccine and Republicans…only 56% of them are willing to take the vaccine. Why?

Why do Republicans (white people) mistrust the vaccine more than black Americans? Why do some black Americans mistrust the vaccine at all? Black Americans have a good reason. White Republicans (I know. Redundant), do not.

From 1932 to 1973, the U.S. government, along with Tuskegee University, conducted a study of the effects of syphilis in black men. They told the men they were receiving free health care. That was a lie. The government was studying the effect of syphilis being untreated in black men with some of them only receiving a free lunch. Oh, look. All your shit just fell off. Here, have a sandwich.

Stupid American

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This is a savage witty attack on USA President Donald Trump.

Europeans, like North Americans, are resisting buffoonish and stupid racist leaders – Viktor Orban of Hungary, Boris Johnson of Britain – and outright leader of the pack, Arlene Foster from the north of Ireland.

“Europeans often look down on Americans and make fun of us. That in itself may be more of a stereotype and a joke than it is real…or at least it was before Donald Trump became president.
The idea of Donald Trump being president was a joke. The Simpsons had it as a joke in one episode because it was so ridiculous. Lisa Simpson was president, who is a cartoon and not a real person, and that’s less ridiculous than a Trump presidency. Though in that episode, Lisa had to rebuild the nation after a Trump presidency.
But yeah, Donald Trump is a joke. But Europe, like American liberals and the few Republicans who put their nation before a cult, recognize he’s more than a joke. He’s dangerous. However, as dangerous as he is, gatherings of world leaders are still caught on hot mics mocking the guy who claims he’s restored international respect to our nation.
Europe has done a much better job with the coronavirus than our nation. While we have 4 percent of the world’s population, we have 25% of coronavirus cases. The virus is spiking in the deep south and our more liberal states in the northeast are enacting quarantines for visitors from those states. Europe may take it one step further.
Europe looks at us and they see our president, the ultimate ugly, stupid, arrogant American. And what do they see now? They see an ugly American denying a virus isn’t as bad as it is. They see a stupid American telling people to drink bleach and take a medication that can kill them (Hey, if Europe is afraid of a drug, you don’t wanna go near it). They see an arrogant American mock people for wearing facemasks. They see an incredibly ugly, stupid, arrogant American president (sic) say we have fewer cases of coronavirus when we have fewer tests. They see an idiot who believes tests create cases.
And now, the entire continent is considering banning each of us from entering. What’s next? Stiffed by Canada? Will Mexico build a wall and make us pay for it (probably)?
Europe may not like us very much but they love our money and for us to come over and eat their snails. But when they see our leader (sic) exhibit the very worst of us, Europe is all like, “Nope!” They don’t want dirty Americans to re-contaminate their nations where people actually believe in science.
I don’t blame them.”

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On the Turn to Industry, the American SWP and other questions of IMG history

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The IMG was the International Marxist Group, the British Section of the Fourth International (FI) in the 1970’s. This is an interesting Phi Hearse article for anoraks (!) who study the history of radical-left political currents. It analyses the Fourth International “Turn to Industry” Policy of 1979 and following years. This policy, in my opinion, contributed to a political decline of People’s Democracy (PD) in Ireland in the 1980’s – although that was not the only factor. We live and learn.

Others may make a different political judgement, and that’s OK. One of the FI people I worked closely with in the 1980’s was Gerry Foley, an early target of the American Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP), which drove the FI “Turn to Industry” Policy at that time. However, for most of the 1970’s, Foley and me were on different sides in FI debates, and did not agree about the history of that period. Some of Foley’s co-thinkers were known for endlessly going on about “the ultra-left turn” of the 1969 FI World Congress, and guerillaism. That all happened before I joined the FI in 1974, when that debate was on the way towards a reasonably amicable conclusion. Even more bizarre, rival groups went on and on about “Pabloism” – a debate belonging to the 1950’s! These days you still come across comrades endlessly droning on about the 1969 World Congress – some of these people, like me, were not directly involved in those discussions at all! So, I do not endlessly drone on about the 1979 “Turn to Industry”. – John Meehan

An update, two observations from an online discussion :

Liam Mac Uaid :

A couple of observations to supplement what Phil has written.

The turn made very little sense in Ireland at the time. It was a period of mass emigration from a country with a very small industrial base. This was accentuated in the north by the fact that most of the skilled industrial jobs were not open to Catholics.

I remember informing the branch that I’d got the job in the sewers. My mother had said to me something along the line’s of “Tommy’s niece’s husband is looking for men to work in tunnels”. I’d been reading a lot about Vietnam at the time and it seemed a useful revolutionary field of knowledge.

There were a couple of American SWP members at the meeting on the revolutionary tourist circuit and they were very impressed by this application of the line.

The American SWP’s influence was ultimately quite pernicious internationally. The Barnes leadership were imitating the Mormons and sending people all over the place. Along with the Ross group they were encouraging people in Ireland to liquidate into Sinn Fein. A complete political liquidation would have been the only way to enter an organisation controlled by the Army Council. Those who followed their advice and are still politically active became part of the Provie grantocracy. Though the political degeneration was pretty rapid.

My first few months in England were no fun. I got a job in a chemical factory where the least lumpen worker was in the National Front. It was simply what the job centre had given me. This would have been the SWP US dream, but it was grinding and futile. As Phil says, comrades who got jobs in unionised, strategic jobs were able to do useful things.

This Jim Monaghan observation adds another interesting jig saw piece to the picture we paint : “My partner, Jackie, had an argument in New York with SWPers, when they refused to accept that large sectors of industrial employment was barred for nationalists in the 6 counties.”

John Meehan :

I remember an interesting turning point at one meeting. I am unsure about the exact date. I will try to find it. I had been warning for a few years against the “turners” and the dangers of the American SWP policy. I was making little progress inside PD. Then Malik Miah and another SWP turner – I think his name was McBride – were over for a PD Conference. A group of PD comrades met these two Americans privately. This meeting was set up by two firm supporters of the American apparatus. The idea was to draw in extra supporters. The baptism and brainwash manoeuvre backfired. Quickly afterwards one particular comrade made his way to me in a very determined fashion. This was a revelation moment. This comrade, who rejected the road to political and personal doom was Trutz Haase, a German Born guy who had settled in Dublin. Trutz said to me – I did not believe what you were saying about the American SWP and the Turn up till now – but you are right! I think the Americans were advocating that comrades get jobs in “heavy industry” which a) did not exist in Ireland at that time and b) we were going through one of those regular bouts of hideous mass unemployment. Trutz became a very supportive comrade to me, but also a very close and supportive friend – that friendship endured long after he dropped out of PD.

The following was written by Phil Hearse, in April 2020, in response to comments on the Socialist Resistance discussion list. We are grateful to Phil…

On the Turn to Industry, the American SWP and other questions of IMG history

An Evil King Rules an Afflicted Land: Coronavirus and the Depression in America – New Politicsm

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American Author and Activist Dan La Botz writes a grim assessment of the CoronaVirus Epidemic in America, and the related economic depression.

We in America live in what resembles some medieval fairy tale. An evil and maniacal king rules the plague stricken land. The wicked lords in the corrupt parliament rob the public coffers to enrich their cronies. The tribunes of the people, mostly venal and foolish, are alternately deceived or suborned by the King and the lords. Meanwhile many people are sick and many dying. The bodies pile up. The soothsayers blame it on the foreigners and plan pogroms. The mills have stopped; the inns and taverns have closed. Peasants rebel here and there but the plague prevents a general rebellion. Word has it the situation is the same in neighboring kingdoms all around.

That’s a fairy tale of course. What’s the reality? The United States now has nearly one million coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths, more of both than any country in the world. We have an unemployment rate of 20 percent, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The two together represent what is perhaps the greatest crisis in American history, an absolutely unprecedented event: a catastrophe. And it may only have just begun.

As the coronavirus has swept across the country bringing illness to hundreds of thousands and killing tens of thousands, Americans have been shocked by the failure of government, business, and the health system. As the number of sick mounted, there were not enough hospitals, not enough hospital beds, not enough ICUs, not enough ventilators. Hospital personnel have lacked gowns, masks, and respirators. As hospital workers fall sick or die there are not enough health workers to replace them. Some seven thousand elderly died in private nursing homes. The disease is now rampant in prisons. It is rife in meat packing plants, with 725 cases at the Smithfield plant in South Dakota. Twenty-six U.S. Navy ships have crews with coronavirus, including 850 sick on the huge 5,000-crewmember U.S.S. Roosevelt. Everywhere essential workers—bus drivers, garbage collectors, grocery cashiers, delivery workers—became sick and many have died, and neither business nor the governments that regulate these companies acted quickly to save them.
— Read on newpol.org/an-evil-king-rules-an-afflicted-land-coronavirus-and-the-depression-in-america/

The most depressing part of this analysis comes at the end, where the activities and analysis of the largest organisation on the American Activist Left, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is described. Read the rest of this entry »

The SWP (USA) and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

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Spacers, many of them religious groups in the USA, have placed themselves in grave danger by defying Covid-19 social distancing advice. One group of spacers, studied here by Louis Proyect, is politically motivated.

COUNTERPUNCH, APRIL 10, 2020 In the photo below, dated March 15, 2020, you will see a group of mostly senior citizens defying the call for social …

The SWP and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

A doctor commented

It will be very sad, if somewhat ironic, were some these SWPers to end up having memorial meetings of their own because of their attending this one. As for closing meetings prior to the governmental instructions, I was instrumental in cancelling all social meetings for the support group that I help run for people with a neurological illness, a couple of weeks prior to the British government’s lock-down, on the basis that meeting in cafés was not a good idea, particularly for people with underlying health problems. As the SWP’s membership makes even me look somewhat young, and seeing how the Corona virus is especially dangerous to older folk, I would have thought that cancelling public meetings before having to by way of government fiat, would have been a good idea for the SWP to have implemented.

Another politically motivated individual who ignored physical distancing Covid-19 Advice was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Keep Your Distance!

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm

USA Conservative Political Action Conference attendee tested positive for coronavirus – CNNPolitics – President Donald Trump Was There!

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A correspondent suggests :

Could President Trump get coronavirus from having shaken hands or made selfies or inappropriately groped someone at CPAC?

The White House said earlier Saturday in a statement that it was aware of an individual testing positive for coronavirus after attending the CPAC conference.
“At this time there is no indication that either President Trump or Vice President Pence met with or were in close proximity to the attendee. The President’s physician and United States Secret Service have been working closely with White House Staff and various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First Family and the entire White House Complex safe and healthy,” according to the White House.
The ACU noted that it has been in contact with the state of Maryland’s health department and would follow guidance from health experts.
“The exposure occurred previous to the conference. A New Jersey hospital tested the person, and CDC confirmed the positive result,” the ACU said in a statement. “The individual is under the care of medical professionals in the state of New Jersey, and has been quarantined.”
“Our children, spouses, extended family, and friends attended CPAC. During this time, we need to remain calm, listen to our health care professionals, and support each other. We send this message in that spirit,” the group said.
— Read on edition.cnn.com/2020/03/07/politics/cpac-coronavirus-tested-positive/index.html

Written by tomasoflatharta

Mar 8, 2020 at 10:55 am

Which State Has Invaded Nine out of Ten Countries on Earth?

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Or what quality does this select band of states share?

Andorra, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Paraguay, Sao Tome and Principe, Sweden, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vatican City?

Here is a link to the unsurprising answer :

British have invaded nine out of ten countries so look out Luxembourg

And Union Jack wavers wonder why they provoke ridicule :

Germans Laugh at British Absurdity

Not seen much on British TV because this

piece was deemed a potentially anti-monarchy satire and so was not promoted too much in the UK.

Update :

The Journal.ie writer did not mention regarding  the brilliant sketch “Dinner  For One”: Freddy Frinton was an anti-fascist who blocked the screening  of his sketch in Germany for 30 years.

Dinner For One

And finally, Hitler comments on the Union Jack fluttering in Belfast :

Hitler reacts to the flag coming down from Belfast City Hall and gives the orders for a full scale riot!

Juan Posadas: Flying saucers … and the socialist future of mankind (26 June 1968) – A Spacer

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The Trotskyist Movement has attracted few spacers more weird than Juan Posadas! Have a holiday laugh!

Posadas the Spacer

Written by tomasoflatharta

Dec 28, 2012 at 9:53 am