Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘International Viewpoint’ Category

Ernie Tate’s “Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s”

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Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s, Volume One, Canada 1955-1965By Ernie Tate268 pages. Resistance Books. $15.00 Revolutionary Activism in …

Ernie Tate’s “Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s”

Ernest (Ernie) Tate was born in 1934 in the Shankill Road, heart of Protestant Belfast. In 1955 at the age of 21 he migrated to Canada and within a year had become a member of the Canadian Trotskyist organisation, the Socialist Educational League.

Louis Proyect writes a wonderful tribute to Tate, one of the founders of the British International Marxist Group and the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in the 1960s, who has died from cancer at the age of 86 at his home in Toronto. He played a vital role in a campaign that would re-shape the British far left.

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For a European shutdown in solidarity from below against the pandemic – For a ZeroCoVid Policy in Ireland

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Irish Action – German Action – European Action – ZeroCoVid is the way forward.

Promote the Call

The CoVid-19 virus does not recognise borders. Sign Circulate and Promote this Zero CoVid Call :

The appeal says: “We need a common strategy in Europe immediately to fight the pandemic effectively. Vaccinations alone will not win the race against the mutated viral variant – even more so if the pandemic fight continues to consist of actionist restrictions on free time without a shutdown of the economy.” Similar initiatives emerged a few weeks ago in other countries, notably the UK and Ireland, see for example Zero Covid The Campaign to Beat the Pandemic or the article “Covid is a Class Issue”.

https://zero-covid.org/language/en/

Paul Murphy is a RISE TD for Dublin South-West, part of the Solidarity – People Before Profit grouping in the Dáil. See below, one of many articles written and circulated by Paul Murphy promoting a Zero CoVid policy for Ireland and further afield.

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Free Julian Assange – Political Prisoner – International Human Rights Day in Dublin, December 10 2020

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TD’s from Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, RISE, Solidarity and left independents, including Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly, gathered outside the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting on December 10 2020 – International Human Rights Day. They made a public call on the British Government not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA.

‘We condemn the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We further condemn the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. It is our view that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press. It further notes that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.

The TD’s, joined by Senate colleagues including David Norris, were supporting a call made by the National Union of Journalists in Britain that Boris Johnson’s government should refuse to extradite Assange to the USA on false charges of espionage. If sent to America, Assange would face a sentence of 175 years for doing the job of a journalist, where he published the lies told by the US government about the invasion of Iraq. The following statement has been signed by 24 members of the Oireachtas. It is fitting that on International Human Rights Day solidarity with the plight of Julian Assange is expressed. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has endorsed this statement.

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“Anti-Capitalist Resistance” – Planned launch 🚀 of new anti-capitalist organisation in England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 and Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

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Some convergence on the radical left is occurring in England and Wales. https://www.timetomutiny.org/. https://socialistresistance.org/

Anti-Capitalist Resistance

INITIAL STATEMENT, INVITATION, & PROGRAMME

Anti-Capitalist Resistance

A Weekend School:
Saturday/Sunday 12/13 September 2020

The radical left faces major challenges following the defeat of Corbynism and the consolidation of a new Labour leadership under Starmer. We also face a resurgent far right following Brexit, an unprecedented economic crisis, and the existential threat of climate chaos. Many left organisations and activists, inside and outside the Labour Party, are uncertain of the way forward. This is a moment of reflection and potential realignment. We must learn the lessons of the past and apply them in creating new socialist organisation fit for purpose in the 21st century.

The aim of this weekend school is to analyse the political situation we face and to consider launching a new, united, anti-capitalist organisation in England and Wales. (The political situation in Scotland is very different, though we wish to work closely with Scottish anti-capitalist organisations.)

What we stand for

We seek revolutionary transformation to meet the compound crisis of ecological disaster, economic collapse, social decay, grotesque inequality, mass impoverishment, growing militarisation, and creeping authoritarianism.

• We are internationalists, ecosocialists, and anti-capitalist revolutionaries. We oppose imperialism, nationalism, militarism, racism, misogyny, and homophobia. We stand in solidarity with all the oppressed at home and abroad, and we support all struggles from below against the system.

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Donald Trump’s Anti-China “Cold War” – Capitalist China’s Hot War against Muslim Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong – Trump’s Hot War against the “Black Lives Matter” Movement

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A lot of tit-for-tat politicking is on the international political agenda. Shooting the messenger is a big temptation. Donald Trump is a hypocrite because he condemns China’s terrible human rights assaults on the Muslim Uighurs – while organising military tear-gassing assaults on “Black Lives Matter” street protests in his own country, the USA.

A correspondent notes the big problem with “shoot the messenger” politics (promoted by nocoldwar.org) :

Oppose all imperialist wars, hot or cold, but I think we can be safe in assuming that nothing will be said at this in solidarity with the Uighurs or independence movement in Hong Kong, unless they are denounced as agents of imperialism that is.

Do not mention the Muslim Uighurs in China, or Police Brutality on the streets of Hong Kong

What is a good collective noun to describe this sort of 21st Century politics? Pierre Rousset offers “Campism” and presents a clear example :

“campism” remains present in this field, like a Pavlovian reflex: satisfied for example to condemn imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria (which it is certainly necessary to do), but without saying what Islamic State represents or calling to resist it. http://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3669

“Stalinism”is out of date – the decrepit megalomaniac dictator of the Soviet Union, Stalin, died in 1953. Stalin’s leftwing fan club loyally defended every anti-worker crime performed by the Moscow Régime – “Socialism in One Country” in action.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, and no serious person on the revolutionary left bickers today about the class character of Putin’s Russia and Xe Jinping’s China – both are capitalist world powers. The fan club listed in the attached notice is of interest to trainspotters since it includes ex-Trotskyist renegades – a name which jumps out is the British China-based academic John Ross.

Let’s work on a positive alternative. We can take inspiration in Ireland from Easter 1916 Rising Rebel Roger Casement’s exemplary 19th and early 20th century campaign against Belgian imperialist brutality in the Congo. Similarly, the 21st century radical left needs to make principled alliances in support of the oppressed Uighur Muslims and the mass pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, oppressed by capitalist China.

Roger Casement’s lesson “when the status quo is injustice, the right thing to be is a rebel.”
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Electoralism: a real and present danger for the radical left everywhere – in Ireland the Dáil SPBP bloc avoids the trap : unconditional opposition to coalition with the FFFG et al right

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A publication in India, the Radical Socialist, offers a timely warning to radical socialists in every part of the globe :

Unless the lessons of the repeated political collapses in Sri Lanka are learnt, not only Sri Lankan Marxists, but those elsewhere in South Asia, who have learned also from the achievements of the Sri Lankan Marxists, may suffer politically. There is a need to examine, not merely in terms of mid 20th century history, but in terms of today’s class struggle, why the politics of electoralism, and of alliances with bourgeois parties (under the disguise that they are petty bourgeois parties, or ‘democratic’ parties, etc) can only lead to damages for the Trotskyist forces. We urge the Fourth International leadership to take it up as a burning political and educational issue, and take firm action. Collaborating with bourgeois oppositions is hardly restricted to Sri Lanka, and serious political discussions will benefit revolutionaries in India, at least. http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/statement-radical-socialist/899-radical-socialist-statement-on-sri-lankan-elections

What is the story in Ireland?

Gaining significant electoral victories is a key achievement of the radical left in Ireland since 1997, when Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won a Dublin West Dáil seat. This electoral victory significantly helped to defeat government water charges plans promoted by the then main capitalist parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which were aided by their serial coalition partners, the Labour Party.

Ups and downs in Irish radical left electoral fortunes have occurred from 1997 to 2020. This was an open question in 1997 : could the Dublin West victory of Joe Higgins be a minor Trotskyist blip on a stable bourgeois election landscape dominated by FFFG? It turned out this was not a blip. Higgins was the first TD who openly promoted a “Women’s Right to Choose” Abortion policy. He himself and members of his party actively promoted various pro-choice campaigns. The election of numerous radical left pro-choice deputies in 2011 and 2016 eventually forced the main right wing parties to allow a referendum repealing the anti-abortion 8th constitutional amendment. The result : a landslide victory for the pro-choice movement in Ireland and abroad. Here is one report written by USA activist Sarah Jaffe : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article5823

Today there is a 5 TD SPBP radical left bloc in Dáil Éireann. Three other deputies – Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle – adopted the same anti-FFFGGG governmental policy as the SPBP bloc. This scenario was historic – it had never happened before, since the foundation of two partitioned states in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Government Coalition with the Right? : Ghastly Results Revealed

The policy of the Irish radical left on coalition with right wing parties is clearly explained here by RISE Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy :

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Covid-19 restrictions Necessary – Irish Government’s Hesitation Showed Priority it Places in Profits over Lives

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No Border News (NBN) No Borders News is publishing a series of interviews about Covid 19 in many different parts of the world.

Jessy Ní Cheallaigh answers NBN’s questions about the Coronavirus Epidemic in Ireland.

Please provide a brief biography for yourself and any links to resources or websites you would like included in your interview.

My name is Jessy Ní Cheallaigh. I’m a 22 year old woman living in Ireland. I’m a socialist activist and a final year student studying Communications through the language of Irish in NUIG, Galway City. I’m a member of RISE (Radical, Internationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist) a democratic socialist political group. https://www.letusrise.ie/

Above from left: Dave Murphy; Jessy Ní Cheallaigh, Paul Murphy TD, Kay Keane and Nicole McCarthy

1. Briefly describe the state of the pandemic in your country or city. How many people are infected? How many have died? What do experts expect in the coming weeks in terms of how fast the contagion will spread.

At the current date (14/04/2020) the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland is 10,647. Death toll has reached 365 as 31 more deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. In Northern Ireland, 76 new cases have been registered and 6 more people have died from the coronavirus. The tally in the North now stands at 118 deaths and 1,882 confirmed cases. 12,529 confirmed cases on the island with a death toll of 483. Overall Ireland has made a decent effort to flatten the curve as the spread is not as rapid as it is in other countries. The government announced that there has been a “very high level of compliance” with restrictions on non-essential travel over the bank holiday weekend. However there is still concern amongst experts over the “clusters” of the virus present in nursing homes around the country with very little healthy/qualified staff to help prevent spread. As of Saturday 11 April, there have been 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Ireland. These figures however are definitely not 100% accurate as there have been problems with testing in the lack of testing kits available/bought as well as the huge backlog in test results that have yet to be processed. When testing was first opened up it was under the understanding that anyone who suspected they had the virus could be tested, when large numbers of test were coming back negative they changed it so that the only people who were referred for testing were those who had two or more of the most common symptoms of the virus or those who were high at risk (immuno-compromised/underlying conditions etc.) This resulted in over 40,000 people being taken off the waiting list who then had to reapply. Lots of reports state that some of these people still haven’t received results and that was just under a month ago.

2. What practical measures has your national government taken to respond to the crisis? Have they acted responsibly or were they unprepared? Briefly describe measures your government is taking now to contain the virus and treat people infected with Covid-19. Is there a state of emergency, are schools closed, etc.?

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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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Coronavirus In Ireland: A Doctor’s Grim Warning – 277 Intensive Care Beds in Ireland – 60,000 Will Be Needed – Stay Home!

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A Very Scary Message to All in Ireland, Passed On by Ed Moloney.

I received this message in an email from a friend in Dublin, earlier today. It came originally from a doctor practicing in Ireland who wishes it to …

Coronavirus In Ireland: A Doctor’s Grim Warning


Scary Numbers from a Doctor Working in Ireland

The Government has said between 25% and 75% of the population will get the virus. If 25% of the Irish population get it, which based on the numbers above is a very low estimate, that’s 1.2 million people.
5% needing intensive care means 60,000 people will need intensive care beds to stay alive.
We currently have 277 intensive care beds in Ireland.
I’m going to say that again:
At least 60,000 Irish people will need an ICU bed to stay alive.
We only have 277 ICU beds in Ireland.

Let’s place the Irish Crisis in an International Political Context; Daniel Tanuro writes :

6. The major danger of the epidemic is the possible saturation of hospital systems. This would inevitably lead to a worsening of the price paid by the poorest and the weakest, in particular among the elderly, as well as a further shift of care tasks into the domestic sphere, that is to say generally onto women. The saturation threshold obviously depends on the countries, the health systems and the austerity policies that have been imposed there. It will be reached all the more quickly insofar as the governments are running behind the epidemic instead of preventing it. The fight against the epidemic therefore requires a break with austerity policies, a redistribution of wealth, refinancing and de-liberalization of the health sector, the suppression of patents in the medical field, North-South justice and a clear priority given to social needs. This implies in particular: banning dismissals of infected workers, the maintenance of wages in the event of partial unemployment, stopping checks, “activation” and sanctions against social security recipients, etc. It is mainly on these questions that we must intervene to counter irrational responses and their potential for racist-authoritarian slippage.

7. There are many commonalities between the Covid-19 crisis and the climate crisis. In both cases, the capitalist system’s logic of accumulation for profit makes it incapable of preventing a danger of which it is nevertheless aware. In both cases, governments oscillate between denial and the inadequacy of policies designed primarily according to the needs of capital, not the needs of populations. In both cases, the poorest, racialized and weakest, especially in the countries of the global south, are in sights, while the rich say that they will always get by. In both cases, governments are using the threat to advance toward a strong state while far-right forces are trying to take advantage of fear to out forward foul Malthusian and racist responses. In both cases, finally, the social law of capitalist value comes into direct contradiction with laws of nature with exponential dynamics (the multiplication of viral infections in one case, warming and its positive feedbacks in the other).

http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6452

Daniel Tanuro, a certified agriculturalist and eco-socialist environmentalist, writes for “La gauche”, (the monthly of the LCR-SAP, Belgian section of the Fourth International).

Daniel Tanuro is the author of The Impossibility of Green Capitallism, (Resistance Books, Merlin and IIRE) and Le moment Trump (Demopolis, 2018).

“To all of them we say – Rule out coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael! – Sinn Féin should seek to lead an alternative minority government” – Interview with Paul Murphy TD, RISE

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“To all of them we say – Rule out coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael! – Sinn Féin should seek to lead an alternative minority government”

The Irish General Election to the 33rd Dáil, February 8 2020

Interview with Paul Murphy TD, RISE, Dublin South-West.

Paul Murphy is a member of RISE

RISE – Radical Internationalist Socialist Environmentalist

RISE was part of the Solidarity-People Before Profit (SPBP) Electoral Coalition.

Full Statewide results are here

Irish General Election February 8 2020 – Results

The Dublin South-West Result is here :

Result of the 2020 Irish General Election, Dublin South-West

The interview took place in Dáil Éireann on February 19 2020.

John Meehan asked the questions.

Dan Finn’s excellent analysis of the Irish General Election Results is here : Ireland’s Left Turn

Finn summarised the main features of the result :

“At a time when left parties in Europe have been losing ground to their rivals on the Right and Centre, the Irish election bucked the trend. Whatever Sinn Féin does next, this was clearly a left-wing vote. The exit poll showed that health and housing were by far the most important issues for voters. [1] Two-thirds wanted investment in public services to be prioritized over tax cuts. 31 percent agreed with the statement that Ireland “needs a radical change in direction”. It’s possible that this opportunity for change will be squandered. But right now, the momentum in Irish politics is with the Left, and the traditional conservative parties are on the back foot. An election that was supposed to call time on the political turbulence of the last decade has had the opposite effect.” Read the rest of this entry »