Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

“It is the Henri Weber who sang the Internationale with Higelin that we mourn, not the one at the service of the political apparatus of the PS” – Life of a French Activist who shifted from Anti-Capitalist Revolution to Pro-Capitalist Submission

leave a comment »

Often at Irish funeral wakes some people say “Never speak ill of the Dead”. They do not mean a word of it. Mourners relax, dump the fake insincere bland and pious words, and talk about the real person they knew, the Good, Bad, and Ugly sides.

One period in the life of Henri Weber is celebrated in this obituary, a life of revolutionary activism shaped by the May 1968 uprising in France.

Henri Weber, a Revolutionary in the 1960’s

In the 1980’s a second period began in the political service of social liberalism, which is not celebrated. Henri Weber died from the CoronaVirus as the Great Depression of the 2020’s started to cause global havoc. We will continue to lose people who are dying before their time.

Henri Weber was born in Leninabad (now Khujand), Tajikistan, Soviet Union on 23 June 1944. His Polish-Jewish parents had left Poland at the time of the German-Soviet pact but, refusing to become Soviet citizens, were sent to labour camp where he was born. They returned to Poland after the war but four years later left because of prevailing anti-semitism and moved to France. As a student in Paris Weber was recruited by Alain Krivine and became a leading member of the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR) and of the Ligue Communiste (subsequently Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire LCR), French section of the Fourth International. In the early 1980s he ceased political activity and in 1986 joined the Socialist Party. A member of the leadership of the Socialist Party, he held elected positions as a senator (1995-2004) and then as a member of the European Parliament (2004-2014). He died in Avignon on 26 April 2020 from coronavirus. [IVP]

I knew Henri as a JCR activist in the years 1965-67. In the period after May 68, we were fairly close, since I was a student at the university of Vincennes where he was an assistant lecturer in the philosophy department. It was at this time that I had to coordinate the student sector of what was to become the Ligue Communiste. At the end of the Mannheim congress, I became a member of the central committee of the League (1969-70) following a proposal which he initiated. But in the framework of the activities of the defence service of the League, for which I was for a time responsible along with my brother Alain, Michel Récanatti and Romain Goupil, we worked a lot on projects of demonstrations and political events which made the League well known, and it is for this double reason that I saw a lot of Henri.

Henri was one of the leading figures of the JCR, along with Daniel Bensaïd, Janette Habel, Alain Krivine, Pierre Rousset, and in a less public way Gérard de Verbizier. They were the embodiment of this organization which came from the fight against Stalinism, solidarity with the colonial revolution and systematic anti-capitalist and anti-fascist activities, which stood out by its sense of political initiative, its dynamism and its fighting spirit, without sectarianism. Henri and his comrades had anticipated, already in 1967, the role of “sensitive plate” that the student movements could play. They perceived the embers which were heating up under the leaden shell of Gaullism and the inertia of the union leaderships and the PCF. In the demonstrations, they pushed for the radicalization of struggles and supported strikes which escaped the shackles of the union bureaucracies. May 9, 1968, when the JCR opened up its meeting to the movement and where Bensaïd, Weber and Cohn-Bendit rubbed shoulders, illustrated this absence of sectarianism. Unlike the “maos” who two days later invited the students to put themselves at the “service of the people” rather than building barricades, the Lambertists of the OCI, who in their logic of pressure group on the trade union apparatuses counterposed the “general strike” to the battles of “petit-bourgeois students ”and the activists of Voix Ouvrière (ancestor of LO) who learnedly explained that the battles in the Latin Quarter were only a “straw fire” with regard to the struggle of the proletariat, they understood that the straw fire was in fact “the spark that would set the plain on fire”! And when 1968 exploded, Henri and his comrades were ready, they were the ones who could be found on the barricades and in confrontations with the cops (alongside the anarchists). They knew that going to the barricades was in fact the way to the general strike. Henri was one of those who had the political intuition to understand that the events of 1968 opened a historic moment.
— Read on www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php

In the service of “those who led to the catastrophe that we know”.

The loss of his convictions led to a withdrawal from militant political activity and a gradual bifurcation towards the paths of social respectability, then to an increasingly close proximity with social liberalism, from Fabius to Hollande. Even though he maintained friendly personal relations with his former comrades, he put his talent and his rhetoric, which had become an empty shell, at the service of the political apparatus of the Socialist Party , which had long since taken on board the standards proper to the Bonapartist state. Once he had changed course, he went far down this route. The saddest thing was to see him sometimes summon the ghosts of revolutionary strategy to justify submission to those who led to the catastrophe that we know.

Today we will leave the eulogy of his renouncement to the chorus of defenders of these modern times. It is the Henri of the fight for emancipation that we mourn, the comrade, Tisserand and Samuel, the one with whom we trod the streets, La Jeune Garde in his shoulder bag, the one who sang the Internationale with Jacques Higelin, the one who was part of the youth that Liebknecht said was the flame of the revolution.

Keeling’s Fruit Pickers’ Company Places 579 Workers in CoVid-19 Danger – Irish State Authorities Dawdle While Disease Gallops Out of Control

leave a comment »

  • Paul Murphy TD (RISE) “Passed From Billy to Jack” Over Keeling’s Fruit Pickers’ Company’s Failure to Protect its Workers
  • Keelings: Minister Humphreys must give HSA powers to protect workers’ health
  • Advice from two Ministers: go to HSE, yet HSE says it “has no statutory role”

“I have been passed from Billy to Jack in trying to get someone to inspect Keelings to ensure their workers are safe. The HSA has said that they have no powers in overseeing the Covid-19 guidelines, although Minister Humphreys said in a reply to me that she’s talking to her officials about it. The Minister for Finance explicitly said that it is the HSE which oversees them. However, now the HSE has said it is not their role. I have written to Minister Humphreys to urge the government to to urgently address this by extending the powers of the HSA, so Keelings workers and others can be protected.”

Video of engagement with Minister Donohoe in Dáil on 16 April:

https://www.facebook.com/paulmurphytd/videos/277643093252182/.

Keeling’s, Ryanair, Put Workers in Danger

Copy below of letter sent to Minister Heather Humphreys this morning:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

leave a comment »

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 »

State Services Versus Insulting Charity

leave a comment »

“What Use Is it to Teach People About the Evil of Overcrowding When Their Wages Will Not Permit Them A Decent House?” – James Connolly in 1915

leave a comment »

James Connolly in 1915 ridicules “Medical Authorities” advice on combating a TB Epidemic – 105 Years Later, in 2020, Irish “Medical Authorities” Follow the Same Script. It is the same in most other countries.

The Chief Medical Officer has said the National Public Health Emergency Team has entered the weekend with a growing sense of concern about compliance with the strict travel restrictions and social distancing measures that been in place since 27 March.

Dr Tony Holohan said compliance with the restrictions over the next ten days was critical to the control of the coronavirus.

He said the sense of concern among his team has been growing over the last week as evidence of some slackening of adherence social restrictions materialised.

He said the situation remained that he would not currently recommend the restrictions be relaxed given the behaviour of the disease.

https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0425/1134732-holohan-coronavirus-restrictions-compliance/

Notes on Misery and Mortality :

Read the rest of this entry »

Private hospital deal will cost the Irish State €115 million per month – CoronaVirus: Confidential deal to take over private hospitals “expected to cost State €115m per month” – Irish Times Report

leave a comment »

It looks like the Irish Government is paying far more money to private hospitals compared to the British Government.

Irish Government Uses CoronaVirus Crisis to Pay Private Hospitals

Many of these hospitals are owned by Denis O’Brien & Larry Goodman who made their fortunes from sweetheart deals. In fact, some of these deals have ended up the subject of costly tribunals. But now we are told to just take them at their word that this is a not-for-profit deal? If it is, why does it seem to be so much more expensive than the deal struck by the NHS with private hospitals in the UK?

The government should publish today the full details of this deal, including a break down of the costs. The private hospitals should open their books, so we can see the real costs, rather than just pay them whatever they say.

Rather than lining the pockets of Denis O’Brien & Larry Goodman, what we really need is to bring these private hospitals permanently into the public system, to build a unified, single-tier National Health Service.

Open the books. – Source LetUsRise.ie

Paul Murphy TD has raised this matter in Dáil Éireann, and has followed up with a letter addressed to Acting Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

I wrote to the Minister of Finance on Monday requesting more information about the deal with the private hospitals. I still haven’t heard back. So far at least €90 million has been handed over. We need a break down of those costs published.

Read the rest of this entry »

Can Words Force Covid-19 Nursing Home Action? Right To Die With Dignity – Right To Work With Dignity

leave a comment »

The direct testimony below broadcasts the horrible reality of nursing homes. The political establishment sugar-coats the phenomenon. This helps the owners to financially, socially, and politically benefit from a sick system.
I saw my mother waste away for three years in a nursing home, and chose to see the reality. It is an an approach that focuses us on the need to fight for better alternatives for us all in the very near future.

We need a system where we all have the right to die with dignity. Workers in these institutions have a right to live with dignity. These two principles go hand in hand.

The source is the Facebook Page of Honor Heffernan – a nursing home worker courageously offers direct testimony – we must support and encourage others to do likewise – it is the only effective way to confront and solve this crisis. In Ireland “Right to Die With Dignity” Legislation is very long overdue – it is now an overdue emergency. – John Meehan

I got a call from the owner of a nursing home this week desperate and crying. All of her permanent staff were sick or in isolation and the agencies had no nurses available.

I arrived on Friday morning- supposed to be the 2nd nurse with 5 HCAs to support 24 residents. Instead what transpired was I was the only nurse with 3 HCAs as the other agency staff failed to show.

I had never been in this home before, so I didnt know the residents or how to navigate around the home.

The author continues :

Read the rest of this entry »

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

leave a comment »

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:

-

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

leave a comment »

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
Read the rest of this entry »

CoVid-19 Has Taken Tarlach Mac Niallais From Us in New York – A Courageous Fighter from North Belfast who “Saved Sodomy from Ulster”

with one comment

We are starting to lose comrades and friends dying before their time. I met Tarlach a few times in the 1980’s, a courageous member of People’s Democracy, a brilliant up-front fighter for Gay Liberation Politics – and the then-partner of Fergus O’Hare. Huge condolences to Fergus who has suffered an awful sudden and unforeseen loss. Many tributes will be written about Tarlach. – John Meehan

Ian Paisley’s DUP Tried and Failed to “Save Ulster from Sodomy”. Tarlach Mac Niallais led the Counter-Charge – a Man who Saved Sodomy from Ulster.

The article below, from the Irish News, is great humane journalism. It brings us up close to the very harsh reality of a CoVid-19 Death.

I picked it up via a Facebook link supplied by Fergus, who offers these thoughts :

Comhbhrón ó chroí lena theaghlach agus lena chairde uilig faoi bhás Tarlach. Tá an saol níos boichte agus níos dorcha gan é. Ag caoineadh an chailliúint mhór seo.

Fergus O’Hare
Read the rest of this entry »