Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Migration in Europe’ Category

CoronaVirus 2020 – Great Hunger (Famine) 1840’s – Irish Connections, Evils of Laissez-Faire Capitalism

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Joe Harrington Compares the CoronaVirus Crisis of 2020 with the Great Hunger (Famine) of Ireland in the 1840’s. Items needed by human beings for survival suddenly were unavailable, prices rocketed, and only the mega-rich could afford them. The Great Hunger killed millions of starving Irish people, millions of others emigrated. There is a connection – Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Resistance is Necessary.

When the potato failed during the mid to late 1840s there were other foodstuffs available. These were slightly out of reach of the hundreds of thousands of starving people but any chance of securing them went when the price of them increased by up to a factor of six. Only the extremely rich could afford the prices and hundreds of thousands died. We are all appalled today when we read of this but look at what is happening today with the less important sanitiser! The connection? Laissez-faire Capitalism – described as “an economic system in which transactions between private parties are absent of any form of government intervention such as regulation, privileges, imperialism, tariffs and subsidies”. Any regulations that exist have failed utterly to stop banks, vulture funds and financiers, billionaire developers and their cronies destroying lives, livelihoods, the health service and the homeless.

It is worth pointing out this, but it is also important to build community co-operation to beat the virus. We cannot depend on the 1% or their political representatives who have their eye and their interests elsewhere. If ordinary people are to build the movements that are needed to confront the rule of the super-rich we need to overcome the divisions the capitalist political and economic system has caused within our ranks. Our state does not promote co-operation as the way forward for society. Instead it promotes a dog-eat-dog culture and an everyone for themselves attitude. Even so, the thousands of people who are involved on a volunteer in their communities shown that co-operation is the default position of the human being.

This Virus problem provides with an opportunity to promote co-operation to a new level. Vicky Phelan spoke about this on the Clare Byrne Show the other night. While keeping them under pressure to put people before profit in dealing with this threat let us also go beyond the response of the state. We need to take community-based initiatives to keep the virus away from those in most danger from it. If we co-operate and look out each other in this crisis we will better realise the strengths we have when dealing with the capitalists attacks now and down the road.

Apart from this we need to keep in mind two conflicting ideas. We need to act as if we have the virus and don’t want to pass it on and at the same time we need to act as if we haven’t the virus and don’t want to get it. Not easy to do.

Rebecca Long Bailey Would Let Luciana Berger *and* Alistair Campbell back into the British Labour Party: RLB Supporters in Melt-Down.

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British Labour Party Leadership Candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey lurches to the right – and she is supposed to be a left-winger! It is a dark day for the workers’ movement and all progressive forces in the British State.

Out of the Ashes…….

Thanks to Andrew Coates for the Information.

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Jeremy Corbyn the British Labour Party Leader with Leadership Candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey in Happier Times

Chris Williamson says RLB is “Bending over backwards to facilitate right-wing saboteurs, while simultaneously doubling down against anti-racist socialists, who’ve been smeared by those selfsame saboteurs, suggests Labour isn’t a home for socialists nor a vehicle to deliver a modest socialist programme.”

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COVID-19 is a class issue

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This useful article argues that the Irish Government needs to call off the March 17 St Patricks’s Festival in Ireland, where hundreds of thousands of people will gather together, and spread the CoronaVirus, which will bring down many people with CoVid-19 Illness.

The failure to take any of these measures could be disastrous. Not only would it leave our entire society vulnerable to the spread of infection due to working people having no choice but to work, but it would leave the most vulnerable in our society hanging out to dry whilst depriving us of an absolutely essential resource for fighting this crisis – healthy frontline medical staff. The price of putting profit above people is simply too high.

Change the system

It is a price that would, firstly, be a product of government inaction in order to protect the interests of the capitalist establishment it represents, but the ultimate cause would be the severe neglect and abuse of our health service, already stretched thin. In South Korea, where they have 12 beds per 1000 people, they are running short on beds due to the spread of the virus. Ireland has 3 beds per 1000 people – the numbers speak for themselves.

Now is the time to start taking the necessary action of establishing a single-tier universal healthcare service: where the most vulnerable in our society are taken care of, that is properly staffed and properly funded, with enough beds and free to access. In that process we need to take the private hospitals into public ownership.

The public health crisis is impacting the entire planet, and already we are seeing significant economic impacts starting in China and rippling outwards, potentially leading to a global economic crisis. The Eurozone, of which Ireland is a part, is already projected to enter into a very deep recession. It has been reported that upwards of 30-50% of the Irish population is likely to get sick (Sunday Business Post, 8 March 2020) and 40 to 70% of the global population within a year, which would be akin to a huge global general strike. Profits would massively fall, causing panic in the markets and likely capital flight. 

In this case, we must stand utterly opposed to any and all job losses, pay cuts, or attacks on conditions which the establishment will attempt to impose on us in the aftermath of the crisis. If businesses claim that these are necessary measures, we must absolutely reject that logic. They must open the books, and if they are unable to continue operating then they should be taken into democratic public ownership.

The crisis created by COVID-19 is a symptom of a fundamentally sick capitalist system. If we want to head off the worst effects of the crisis and protect ourselves into the future, the system must go.
— Read on www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/covid-19-is-a-class-issue

Coronavirus has sparked a perfect storm of nationalism and financial speculation – Yanis Varoufakis, Former SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece – THE GUARDIAN

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Here is a fresh warning about the toxic combination of two different phenomenons – the CoVid-19 Health Crisis and a Financial Money Markets Storm, similar to the 2008 Crash.

The author is Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister sacked from a SYRIZA Government before it surrendered to the Austerians.

See also https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/03/06/coronavirus-is-not-responsible-for-the-fall-of-stock-prices-international-viewpoint-online-socialist-magazine/.

When the air is replete with inflammable materials, any given spark can cause a financial explosion, at any time.

Éric Toussaint of CADTM examines a worldwide stock market collapse.

Eric Toussaint is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the international spokesperson of the CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt) , and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. 
He is the author of Debt System (2019), Bankocracy (2015); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago; “Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers”, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2010. He has published extensively in this field. He is a member of the Fourth International leadership.

Yanis Varoufakis, Former SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece

Nationalism and speculation have seldom had a better opportunity to combine forces as the one riding today on the coattails of Covid-19, known as the coronavirus. When Covid-19 leapfrogged from China to Italy, even ardent Europeanists normally appreciative of open borders joined the deafening calls to end freedom of movement across Europe’s national borders – a longstanding demand of nationalists. Meanwhile, the money men speculating on government debt are performing a classic flight from Italian to German government bonds, seeking the financial safety that only the continent’s hegemon can offer during any crisis. As if in a bid to remind us of the great contradiction of our times, Covid-19 is illuminating gloriously the freedom of money to transcend a borderless financial universe while humans remain as fenced in as ever.

Coronavirus has sparked a perfect storm of nationalism and financial speculation – THE GUARDIAN

https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2020/03/09/coronavirus-has-sparked-a-perfect-storm-of-nationalism-and-financial-speculation-the-guardian/
— Read on www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2020/03/09/coronavirus-has-sparked-a-perfect-storm-of-nationalism-and-financial-speculation-the-guardian/

Open the Borders! Let Refugees Enter Europe! Shameful Scenes at Greece-Turkey Border – Huge Anti-Racist Demonstrations in Athens

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Brendan Young :

Great to see this demonstration in solidarity with Syrian and other refugees seeking escape from the terrible conditions of the camps in Turkey and Northern Syria. The Irish government should publicly distance itself from the despicable and shameful stance of the president of the European Commission who has praised the current right wing government of Greece as the ‘shield’ of Europe – by physically driving refugees from the border and killing some in the process. Urusla von der Leyen may speak in the name of the ruling bureaucracy of the EU and the governing parties of EU member states and be cheered by racists and neo-nazis, but she evidently does not speak for the ordinary people of Greece and many others across Europe. Open the borders: let refugees into Europe. Provide money to move people out of the overcrowded camps on the Greek Islands – not to further militarise the borders. End the struggle between the poor and the very poor for scarce resources caused by the the austerity which the EU imposed to pay for the bank bailouts, a struggle that is fueling racism and the far right, by lifting the EU restrictions on public spending so as to fund the housing, health and social services needed by both the existing population and migrants.

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