Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Fortress Europe’ Category

What’s happening? “Britain will do a Brexit Deal on Europe’s Terms” V Boris Johnson’s gunboats will put Johnny Foreigner in his place

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Britain will do a Brexit deal on Europe’s terms, Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, December 15 2020

A correspondent, Gregor Benton, asks : “War at sea? Johnson should think twice about what he pretends to wish for”.

Johnny Foreigner is not frightened.

Mr Johnson insists that the UK and the EU are “sovereign equals” but, as long as the EU maintains its unity, they are not equals in terms of power. And that is what has mattered in these negotiations. It is why Britain has made a series of painful concessions over the past four years – most notably by agreeing a separate status for Northern Ireland, which will see customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, effectively dividing the United Kingdom

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times (See Above)

A few questions : If the British Navy attacks French Fishery Vessels 🚢 in the seas of Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 what will Admiral Macron do? Turn the other cheek? Grin and Bear It? Impose punitive tariffs on Scottish Fish 🐠 intended for tummies in France 🇫🇷? 80 per cent of fish 🎣 caught in seas “owned” by the British State currently are exported to the European Union, I am informed. The fish companies will quickly have warehouses full of unprofitable food. The Brexiteer capitalists could, we guess, dump the fish after a few months into the gullets of starving Brits for free. Is this the “Oven-Ready Brexit” promised by Chef Boris?

Boris Johnson’s Brexiteers are like cornered rats – so far they are throwing shapes at the EU crafty cats, Ursula of Germany and Michel of France. If Boris is only a play-acting jingo admiral, more passengers on board the doomed tory Titanic will jump ship. Warning signs are already flashing – Brexit is rejected by large majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But what if desperate gambler Boris goes for broke, and attempts a repeat of something like his hero Margaret Thatcher’s Falkland Islands adventure? That’s unlikely, but good strategists plan for possible futures, including the improbable ones.

What should the left in Ireland and Britain say and do? It is a no-brainer :

“”I can’t imagine any Brexit deal emerging that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents, that will protect our rights and the environment. I believe Labour should have nothing to do with this Tory deal and vote against it”. British Labour MP John McDonnell.

https://mobile.twitter.com/another_europe/status/1337775362353328129?ref_url=file%3A%2F%2F%2Fvar%2Fcontainers%2Fbundle%2Fapplication%2F6309570d-0cdf-4c60-93eb-32b35d92e01e%2Fwordpress.app%2Fwordpressshared.bundle%2F&fbclid=IwAR3Vwa0KgN6NvqAON6yqsQ2d1xDX74kXEFdDDErp6UrGKD_LNm42WVu7Ehc

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Conspiracy Anti-Vaxers against Covid-19 lockdowns blend with far-right fascists – Irish and British Examples

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No to Racism Defend Our Public Health Workers – Minorities, Migrants, Homeless, Asylum Seekers, LGBTQ+Solidarity for Real Change

12 September 2020 | 1 PM
Assemble: GPO | O’Connell Street Dublin United Against Racism is organizing this rally in partnership with others and co-hosted by all organisations supporting it. For support and endorsements please email: info@united-against-racism.net…

https://www.facebook.com/events/653860718566358?active_tab=about

Congratulations to United Against Racism for calling this event. It needs to be supported by other organizations across the left, and mass membership organizations like trade unions.

Mass action is badly needed to confront and crush the racist far-right.

Professor Dolores Cahill, leader of far-right Irish Freedom Party

In Dublin, across Ireland and internationally the racist far right are using anti-mask, anti-vaccine and other fears to promote themselves and their racist agenda. In Dublin they mobilised up to 2000 at the Custom House on 22 August. In London, with the aid of Dolores Cahill (pictured above) from the Irish Freedom Party they put several thousand in Trafalgar Square.

In Berlin they mobilized up-to 30,000 and in the US they have been holding armed demonstrations. In Dublin they also rally regularly at the GPO on Saturdays. This is very dangerous; they must be exposed and opposed. At the heart of these mobilizations are individuals and organisations whose core agenda is to attack people of colour, migrants, minorities, asylum seekers, Muslims etc. but at present they are focusing on other prejudices, bigotries and COVID-19 fears and doing so in the name of an utterly perverted version of Irish nationalism that is an insult to Connolly and Pearse and all they stood for. They mounted a vile homophobic campaign against Green Party government minister Roderic O’Gorman.

DON’T ENDANGER OUR FRONT LINE WORKERS

ANTI-MASK IS ANTI – WORKER!

We can trust our healthcare workers who have risked their lives and are telling us first hand to wear a mask and follow the basic health advice. We can mind our health and criticize the government at the same time without the lies and conspiracy theories of the far-right.It is urgent that their lies are exposed and their influence is countered.The far-right have zero policies or interest in protecting civil liberties, defending workers, ending the housing crisis, improving the health system or uniting people. These are the same people that campaign against asylum seekers and refugees. They simply want to divide us and scapegoat vulnerable sections of our society which lets the government off the hook.We therefore call on all progressive organisations and individuals – trade unions and trade unionists, migrants rights organisations , anti-racists, LGBTQ+ activists, feminist activists, progressive political parties, environmental activists, housing activists – everyone who wants to defend public health and see a more just and equal country – to unite and oppose the far-right and their growth in IrelandWe in United Against Racism like to organise this rally in partnership with others and co-hosted by all organisations supporting it. For support and endorsements please email info@united-against-racism.netWe are planning to call for an organisers Zoom meeting next week 8 September 2020, 6.30PMJoin us for a peaceful, socially distant rally to give your support to our front line heroes in hospital; shops etc who are being put in danger by those who think COVID-19 is a conspiracy – not a disease.’This is will be a socially distances rally. Please wear a mask to protect yourself and others around you. Thank You!

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Mary Toomey (Valarasan) : “I would consider every child born in this country as Irish”

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On August 12 2020 the Irish Times published an interview with a citizen who came to work study and live in Ireland in 1967.  Her name is Mary Toomey; she was born in Sri  Lanka.  I asked myself : was this the same woman who  got a job teaching in Sandymount High School (SHS), and was known by her pre-marriage surname, Valarasan? I did some searching, found out my guess was correct, and established direct contact. I was one of her SHS pupils, starting in September 1967.

Dr Mary Toomey, an Ecologist

A copy of the interview is at the link below :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/28f3db3uism75fa/Mary%20Toomey%20%28Valarasan%29.pdf?dl=0

See Also https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/once-you-are-not-lily-white-or-freckle-skinned-you-are-labelled-as-non-irish-1.4316508

A good description of Sandymount High School, which

was founded in 1947 and was initially controversial because, as a non-denominational school, it wasn’t owned by a church but by the Cannon family[1], who also provided the two headmasters the school had: father and son Patrick and Conall Cannon. Patrick’s wife Eileen Cannon also served as headmistress.

The school’s student body was arguably drawn from several distinct groups: those from a local council estate called Beech Hill, the offspring of parents disenchanted with denominational/same sex schools, students on the Malahide/Howth to Bray rail corridor and the 3 & 18 bus routes, and foreign nationals who paid tuition fees.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandymount_High_School?wprov=sfti1

In those days, unlike in 2020, very few people born outside Ireland lived and worked in a country famous for exporting its people. The Irish constitution stated that everyone born in Ireland (on both sides of the border dividing Ireland into two states)  automatically was a citizen of the state.

On June 12 2004 voters amended the constitution on a day of shame – the definition of “citizen” changed.

Mary Toomey observes

I would consider every child born in this country as Irish. But the problem is, once you are not lily-white or freckle-skinned, you are still labelled as non-Irish or a non-national.”

The protection of children – regardless of nationality, race, caste, creed, physical and mental disability or socio-economic status – should be Ireland’s primary focus, she says. But, 16 years on from the referendum, Dr Toomey says racism towards children of colour in Ireland has become noticeably worse.

I was an activist in the “Vote No” campaign.

Two items arguing against the new citizenship rules are below. Read the rest of this entry »

Covid-19 Vampire screams as water burns his skin – but he hangs on and continues hissing

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Grim Tough Covid-19 Virus News lurks. Let’s start Easter Monday 2020 with a Mike Finn Limerick. Did you enjoy Good Friday Hot Cross Buns?

Holy Orders

Two holy nuns, big Sister Mary Agnes and small Sister Mary Vincent, are traveling through eastern Europe in their car, bring the word of God to Transylvania. As they were stopped at a traffic light, out of nowhere, a small vampire jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses at them through the windshield.

“Quick, quick!” shouts big Sister Mary Agnes, “What should we do?”

“Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination,” says small Sister Mary Vincent. Big Sister Mary Agnes switches on the wipers, which knock the mini-Dracula around. But, the little vampire hangs on and continues hissing at the two nuns. “What shall I do now?” shouts big Sister Mary Agnes.

“Try the windshield washer. I filled it with holy water before we left the Vatican,” replies small Sister Mary Vincent.

Sister Mary Agnes turns on the windshield washer. The vampire screams as the water burns his skin, but he hangs on and continues hissing at the nuns.

“Now what?” shouts big Sister Mary Agnes.

“Show him your cross,” says small Sister Mary Vincent.

“Now you’re talking,” says big Sister Mary Agnes. She then puts down her window and shouts, “Get the hell off our car you blood sucking fool!”

https://halloweenjokes.com/two-nuns-versus-a-vampire-joke.html

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 13, 2020 at 9:52 am

Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, our lives are more worth than their profits – Fourth International European Declaration

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The workers’ movement, and all progressive forces, have a duty to resist the Covid-19 Assault, and put forward practical proposals which will work at local, national, and international levels. The full text of a Fourth International Declaration is here : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6517 Key extracts are below.

International Viewpoint

Emergency measures

The organizations and activists of the Fourth International in Europe, together with their respective organizations, are in favour of a programme of emergency measures:

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the injection of sufficient means for the mass availability of screening kits, the multiplication of resuscitation beds and respirators. Generalization to the entire population of suitable protective masks and biologic tests is the condition for confinement lifting. Immediate support for democratically controlled production of these means and for non-commercial research for medicines and vaccines against Covid-19.

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“ Dialysis Machine Shortages Lay Bare Wider Threat From Covid-19” – Bombshell Story from the Financial Times, April 7 2020

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A bombshell story appears on the same day that most Mainstream Media Outlets Worldwide are Over-Blitzing readers about the British Prime Minister staying in hospital.

Leading London hospitals are running short of vital equipment in intensive care wards, including blood dialysis machines needed to treat patients suffering from coronavirus-related kidney failure, according to a leaked memo. The shortages, which go far beyond concerns about the lack of ventilators and protective equipment, emerged from a conference call of some 80 senior National Health Service doctors. They illustrate the way Covid-19 can damage much more than the lungs and respiratory system in patients who become seriously ill — affecting the kidneys, heart and occasionally even the brain. The 1,000-word memo, seen by the Financial Times, is written by Daniel Martin, head of intensive care for serious infectious diseases at the Royal Free Hospital. It paints a picture of doctors and nurses still scrambling to develop treatments for coronavirus as the shortages bite.

The Financial Times Uses Excellent Editorial Judgement – Covid-19 Can Trigger Multi-Organ Failure – Critical Shortage of Dialysis Machines in the British State – “Johnson remains in hospital” a minor story
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A sad day. Manolis Glezos, who tore the swastika down from the Acropolis in 1941, has died

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An Inspiration For All of Us Today

Manolis Glezos, Greek left-wing politician best known for his participation in the World War II resistance, passed away on Monday morning aged 98.

A sad day. Manolis Glezos, who tore the swastika down from the Acropolis in 1941, has died.

Manolis Glezos Salutes His Comrades

ERT has reported that the wartime icon, who had been hospitalised earlier this month with gastroenteritis and a urinary infection, died of heart failure.

https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/03/30/greek-resistance-hero-manolis-glezos-passes-away-aged-98/
Nazi Soldiers Wonder Who Tore Down the Swastika from The Acropolis in Athens in 1941

98 years in the struggle for socialism, from the anti-fascist resistance to the fight against the Troika in Greece.

 

“Why do I go on? Why I am doing this when I am so old? I could, after all, be sitting on a sofa in slippers with my feet up. So why do I do this? You think the man sitting opposite you is Manolis but you are wrong. I am not him. And I am not him because I have not forgotten that every time someone was about to be executed during the war, they said: ‘Don’t forget me. When you say good morning, think of me. When you raise a glass, say my name.’ And that is what I am doing talking to you, or doing any of this. The man you see before you is all those people. And all this is about not forgetting them.”

During a visit to Corinth to take part in a farmers’ blockade, political veteran and activist Manolis Glezos did not mince his words in criticizing the Syriza-led government and PM Alexis Tsipras. In a tone that displayed his bitter disappointment over how things have turned out under the Syriza government, Glezos apologized to the Greek people for trusting Tsipras, saying that the current PM cares only about power.

 

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Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann Offers CoronaVirus Unnecessary Deaths in Ireland – North, South, East and West

with 2 comments

Professor Gabriel Scally came to the attention of many people in Ireland because of his no-holds-barred examination of a Cervical Smear Scandal in the Irish Health Service. https://www.thejournal.ie/scally-review-outsourcing-labs-4677380-Jun2019/

Scally assesses the behaviour of Stormont Government Health Minister Robin Swann (recent leader of the Ulster Unionist Party)

Robin  Swan n Must  Go!
Robin Swann Must Go!

Professor Gabriel Scally writes :

Ridiculous assertion on BBC from N Ireland minister @RobinSwannMoH

“the RoI has worse #corvid19 position than N Ireland.”

The South has more cases. But that’s because they have 32 community based testing stations. The North has ZERO and stopped testing in communities last week https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1240923430318456832

Here is A Sharp Comment

Siubhán O’Connor@siubhanoc·Replying to @GabrielScally and @RobinSwannMoHSwann is so utterly blinded by his bias…ppl in the South with NO SYMPTOMS are getting tested where they are deemed ‘at risk’. Our maintenance man has COPD & has been referred for test. 2 day wait. NI is in serious trouble

The Irish Examiner Reports “Public health specialist Dr Gabriel Scally, Honorary Professor of Public Health in Bristol University, has described the UK’s policy on Covid-19 as “way out of line” with the rest of Europe and advice from the World Health Organisation.

Dr Gabriel Scally
Dr Gabriel Scally

“I think it’s dangerous. Their view really is let this fire burn and they will try and damp it down where they can and spread it out over a period of time. 

“But we know from elsewhere in the world that if countries and communities act fast, this can be kept under control and knocked back.”

The UK approach is similar to the old adage: “Everyone is out of step with our Johnny”, he said. 

“If the UK has got it right, then the rest of the world has got it wrong. And I don’t think that’s likely.

“I think it’s displayed by some of their appalling science that they’re talking about, using herd immunity. 

They are reliant on mathematical modelling but this is not a mathematical modelling issue.

Dr Scally said that if there was one threat to how things are being handled in the Republic of Ireland, it is the UK’s position. 

People in Northern Ireland need to be demanding better from their leaders and they themselves need to do a better job.

“They’re following along blindly this notion that somehow all of the wisdom is emanating from Number 10 Downing Street and we know that to be wrong. 

“Even the United States is taking a more proactive approach than the UK.” https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/closing-borders-would-make-things-worse-says-disease-prevention-and-control-expert-988199.html

Readers should also note from the Irish Examiner report that Public Health Experts Oppose the Closing of Borders

“Dr Agoritsa Baka said that given there is already community transmission of the virus in European countries, “we need to collaborate to make sure everyone can deal with the virus in a coordinated way.”

Closing borders would make things worse, she said and would negatively affect the function of healthcare systems, as was seen during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

Dr Baka said that if, for example, Germany closed its border “everything, like food supplies, personal protection equipment cannot move around Europe, and it would be a disaster.”

Let’s Get Real – Swann Must Go! The Stormont Health Minister has already guaranteed unnecessary death and illness in the North of Ireland – and, because so many people travel daily across the Irish Border in both directions, Swann has guaranteed unnecessary death and illness in the South East and West of Ireland.

“Never Waste A Good Crisis” – Big Economic Recession Coming Our Way – Irish Ruling Class Cuts “Meals on Wheels” – EU Leaders Pour Petrol ⛽️ on Flames 🔥

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An Irish Warning : Sam Nolan reports his HSE “meals on wheels” service has been suspended. Friends and Comrades are rallying, Sam will be supported. Des Derwin reacts, very perceptively :

“I’m speechless. Just as an expanded service is needed. Have y’all noticed how the (Fine Gael!) state is building up its repressive apparatus for the crisis. Templemore early graduation trainees given crash course in public order (read riot control). New standing public order unit. (WTF?!) Scores of hired in Garda cars to ‘help the vulnerable’. Maybe the HSE is transferring the meals on wheels service to An Garda Siochana.”

Former SYRIZA Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Analyses the European Union Response :

Those of us who know how the Eurogroup works were not holding much hope yesterday. Nevertheless, Europe’s finance ministers managed to do even less than what we feared: They failed to use the fiscal compact’s proviso for loosening up fiscal policy across the euro area. They continued with the tragic error of treating a crisis of insolvency as a crisis of liquidity. And they failed to recognise that some countries, in particular those savaged by the never-ending euro crisis, need a great deal more support than others.
In short, the Eurogroup’s bazooka is no more than a pathetic waterpistol. It is time that Europeans pushed for something better than this. It is time that we organise at a transnational, paneuropean level to replace this instrument of austerity-driven recession, the Eurogroup, with an institution that can work for a majority of Europeans everywhere.

APPENDIX: The Eurogroup’s telling reference to “automatic stabilisers”
The Eurogroup communique referred to the “full use of automatic stabilisers”. What did they mean?
Here is an example of an ‘automatic stabiliser’: When people lose their job, they go on unemployment benefit. This means a transfer of money from the better off to the worse off. As the worse off, who are now unemployed, save nothing and, therefore, more of the money of the better off enters the markets. That’s what economists refer to as an ‘automatic stabiliser’ (‘automatic’ because no government decision was needed to activate it – the loss of jobs does it automatically | and ‘stabiliser’ because the higher portion of spending relative to savings boosts GDP ).
Can you see dear reader what the Eurogroup are really saying when confessing to relying to the ‘automatic stabilisers’ in the absence of concerted fiscal expansion? They are saying: Don’t worry folks. While it is true we, the finance ministers, are doing almost nothing to avert the disaster, when the disaster comes your job losses and poverty will trigger some automatic mechanism that will break the economy’s fall. A little like consoling the victims of the plague with their thought that their death will, through shrinking the labour supply, boost future wages…

Some Proposals for Resistance :

DiEM25’s answer to: What should they have done?
At the very least, the Eurogroup should have recommended to the European Council that the European Investment Bank is given the green light to issue EIB bonds worth €600 billion with the stipulation that, as part of its ongoing and recently enhanced quantitative easing program, the European Central Bank will support the value of these bonds in the bond markets. That €600 billion should be spent directly to support national health services and also be invested in sectors of the economy badly hit by the lockdown – while also nudging our economy toward greener forms of transport, energy generation etc. Additionally, the fiscal compact should be immediately side-lined and governments should effect a tax haircut for small and medium sized firms, households etc.
The above would probably be enough not to avert but to contain the recession to something like between -1% and -2% of GDP. To avert it completely, the Eurogroup should have decided to mimic Hong Kong and have the European Central Bank mint an emergency fund from which every European household is given between €1000 and €2000.

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.