Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘History of Ireland’ Category

“Well, 4 of us protested against the far right this afternoon – It’s now got around 85 thousand views and rising” – A FÓRSA trade union official, Andy Pike, was in Parnell Square, Saturday 4.2.2023

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Well, 4 of us protested against the far right this afternoon Lots of abuse from some but more support from passers by. We at least made a point. @forsa_union_ie @apike1.

4 FÓRSA trade unionists counter-protest against the racist far-right – 85,000 plus internet likes – Parnell Square, Dublin, 4.02.2023

It’s now got around 85 thousand views and rising. Over 200 abusive comments as well. Going to keep those comments open just to allow them to disgrace themselves even more. Keep it coming, you only show yourselves up for what you are #IrelandForAll

It’s now got around 85 thousand views and rising. Over 200 abusive comments as well. Going to keep those comments open just to allow them to disgrace themselves even more. Keep it coming, you only show yourselves up for what you are #IrelandForAll

Surprised a picture of 4 folk with a tatty banner and home made placards has 50k views. Its attracted so much abuse we are more convinced than ever of the need to support Refugees. That’s why we will be supporting @LeCheileDND 1.30 at the GPO tomorrow so do come along if you can twitter.com/apike1/status/…


The Irish Times published this Una Mullally report on Monday February 6 2023 :

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“The State’s obligation to provide accommodation for tens of thousands of newcomers from abroad is a logistical dilemma but it is exacerbated by a housing crisis that governments have presided over for the past decade” – Justine McCarthy talks sense about Ireland’s political problems today

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Justine McCarthy’s article appeared in the Irish Times, February 2 2023. She talks a lot of sense.

A member of Streetlink Homeless Support helping homeless people remove some of their belongings from a migrant camp in Ashtown, Dublin. The camp was the target of an alleged attack by a group of Irish men last weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Justine McCarthy's face

Justine McCarthy

Any John Wayne movie worth its cast of cowboys has a scene where the baddie sets light to the dynamite taper. As the flame sizzles towards the point of detonation, the audience prays to God and all the saints above in heaven to send someone, quick, to stamp it out before the whole damned town of Tombstone goes up in smoke. That is how it has felt this week watching the lit taper of Irish xenophobia pick up speed in its burn towards cataclysm. Heightening the fear is the absence of any star-billed hero dashing to the rescue.

As gardaí investigate the suspected arson of a 19th century former schoolhouse in Dublin, which had been wrongly identified on social media as a location being prepared to house people from abroad seeking refuge here, the response of Ministers has run the full gamut from tut to tutting. As a group of Irish-born men equipped with a German shepherd, a pit bull terrier and a baseball bat yelled “pack up and get out now” to men who were not born in this country at an encampment in another part of Dublin last weekend, Ireland’s most admired leader, President Higgins, was nearly 3,000 miles away in Africa.

Amid this paralysis of State leadership, two sides have gone to war. On one side are some residents of mainly non-privileged areas who are furious that the Government is trying to look after people fleeing their native lands while many of those born here struggle to pay their bills and to secure homes. Malign keyboard warriors are deliberately stirring this resentment with lies and innuendo for their own bigoted agenda, but there are also many kind-hearted residents who have justifiable reasons for feeling discriminated against. The disproportionate number of communities with inadequate public services that have been chosen to accommodate people from abroad is as provocative as the racist rhetoric.

On the other side are many residents in these communities who are sickened by the hatred being spewed at people coming from abroad to live among them and who, in numerous cases, have suffered unimaginable vicissitudes before arriving here. The prejudice pricks a folk memory of times past when desperate Irish immigrants were as unwelcome as dogs in other countries. Besides, it belies Ireland’s self-image as the compassionate land of the céad míle fáilte.

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Zero Tolerance for intimidation – Anthony McIntyre reports on a Labour Party Public Meeting in Drogheda – Unity in Action Against a Common Far-Right Racist Enemy

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Differences exist on the left-wing spectrum in Ireland – some of them concern fundamental disagreements about political principles. One clear example is opposition to entering any coalition government with right wing ruling class parties in Ireland such as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Democratic Unionist party or the Alliance party.

Other issues place a duty on parties in the broadly left-wing spectrum to put aside tactical differences, and explore methods of practical co-operation. Building effective practical opposition to the dangerous growth of far-right racism in Ireland is on the agenda today. In this spirit we re-publish an Anthony McIntyre article which reports on a well-attended Irish Labour Party rally in Drogheda which tackled the issues of racism, immigration, and Russia’s fascist and genocidal invasion of Ukraine head-on.

Anthony pulls no punches discussing his political differences with the Labour Party!

John Meehan February 3 2023


link : https://www.thepensivequill.com/2023/02/zero-tolerance-for-intimidation.html

Zero Tolerance For Intimidation

Anthony McIntyre Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It has long struck me that the Irish Labour Party more than any other has abandoned the constituency that returns it in pursuit of office. It promises a left package then delivers the Rabbitte punch to the recipients of the promise so that it may become the prop sustaining governments which view left packages much as a dog does a lamppost.

Whatever the Labour leadership sought to project onto the screen, the filtering process left the electorate feeling that it had just viewed Pensions Before People. Last time out those who had voted the party in such numbers in the previous general election followed through on Eamon Gilmore’s promise, while still with the Workers Party, to destroy the Labour Party. Since then Labour has struggled to make any impact on the Irish political scene.

None of that stopped me from turning up at a Labour Party Town Hall meeting in Drogheda’s D Hotel on Monday evening. I actually left Dublin early to make the event which was attended by around one hundred people. I had never been at any of the party’s gatherings before although any time I have approached its elected representatives or party workers, the response has been nothing less than helpful. Their members also have been to the fore in defusing the moral panic that the far right has been trying to stoke and amplify over a range of issues, most notably refugees.

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Stand Against Racism – Solidarity With Refugees – Dublin, GPO, Monday February 6, 1.30pm – Called by Le Chëile – Diversity Not Division

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Stand Against Racism – Solidarity With Refugees

We call on all our comrades to come out in a show of peaceful and determined solidarity, to stand with our refugee and migrant communities with love and compassion on Monday 6th February at 1.30pm at the Spire to oppose the latest iteration of anti-refugee hate.

Demonstrations have been called claiming to represent communities in Ireland under various slogans such as “Ireland is full” or “Ireland says no”. We know that Ireland is not full. The population is millions less than pre-famine times. There are many thousands of housing units and buildings laying empty across the country. Successive neoliberal governments have failed the Irish people, and particularly its homeless population, for years. In doing so, they have also failed refugees and migrants who have come to our shores. The Direct Provision system is a crime and many migrants are homeless.

It is undeniable that many of those involved in these demonstrations are using the language of the far right, of virulent racism, of hateful xenophobia. Violence is threatened against refugees and migrants simply due to the colour of their skin and their countries of origin. A migrant camp was violently attacked. Direct provision centres are targeted. Social media is awash with hate and vitriol, all based on ignorance and prejudice. Misleading and fact-free slogans and tropes are circulated and accepted as fact when they are simply a tissue of lies. We cannot sit back and hope that this awful period in our history passes. Many of us are working in our communities trying to counteract this misinformed narrative but whilst that slow and painstaking work continues, our refugee and migrant communities are in danger now – and they do not see that work being done in communities. They see crowds gathered outside hotels and refugee centres screaming “get them out”. That is not expressing reasonable concern. That is blatant intimidation. Anger at the government should be directed at the door of the government, where it rightfully belongs, and not at the door of those who have had no part to play in the immiseration of communities across the country.

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‘REFUGEES WELCOME’ THE OTHER SIDE OF PROTESTS – When far-right protests against asylum seekers housed in the former ESB building started in Dublin’s East Wall, Molly Hennessy wanted to do something. So she went down on her own with a cardboard sign that said, “Refugees Welcome”.

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This report was published in the January 28 2023 edition of the Irish Times. The author is Patrick Freyne

‘REFUGEES WELCOME’ THE OTHER SIDE OF PROTESTS

This report was published in the January 28 2023 edition of the Irish Times. The author is Patrick Freyne

Community groups are stepping up their opposition to those demonstrating about asylum seekers being housed in their areas

When far-right protests against asylum seekers housed in the former ESB building started in Dublin’s East Wall, Molly Hennessy wanted to do something. So she went down on her own with a cardboard sign that said, “Refugees Welcome”.

She says some of the protesters there on November 21st, 2022, were chanting “Refugees out” and “Ireland is full”. A man started shouting at her, she says. “He said he was going to follow me and burn my house down. And I was like, ‘okay, that’s mad, seeing as you’re here saying, “protect our women and children”.’ He was up in my face. I’m not even going to say some of the things he was saying about the people …I was crying walking away.”

It turned out a lot of local people were as upset by the protests as Hennessy and were contacting with one another. Soon East Wall Here for All was born. It’s one of a number of groups springing up across the city – Ballymun for All, Clondalkin for All, Tallaght for All, Drimnagh for All – that seek to show solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees. The groundwork was partly laid in the local Starbucks, where I meet some volunteers. “This place is to us what Liberty Hall was to James Connolly,” laughs Roxanna Nic Liam. “My family all live here and I work in a cafe in here. I saw the protests and I was mortified. I texted people in the area I knew and a few of us met up here in these very seats.”

“I was really shocked,” says her neighbour Paddy O’Dea. “I thought, ‘is this where I live now?’ I’ve a two-year-old and seeing parents at the protests with kids, I was like, ‘are these the views that are going to be passed on to my little man’?”

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Did Lenin Сreate Ukraine? On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and Marxism

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Why do Marxists defend the right of nations to self-determination? What does the struggle for national liberation have to do with the workers’ struggle? Social researcher Grusha Gilaeva analyzes the positions of Marx and Lenin on the national question and explains why the left movement must support the anti-colonial struggle of Ukraine

Did Lenin Сreate Ukraine? On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and Marxism

Grusha Gilaveva’s fascinating article comes from the Russian left-wing publication Posle. Gilaveva argues, in a very convincing manner, that Marx and Engels started out in the 1840’s opposing the rights of small nations to self-determination – inspired by a blanket opposition to all nationalism – but changed their policy after 1867. Marx and Engels were heavily influenced by Ireland’s struggle for liberation from the British Empire, and the Phoenix like rise and fall of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the Fenians. Policy divisions on the question of self-determination for small nations continued within the Marxist second and third internationals in the twentieth century. Bolshevik leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin championed a policy favouring the rights of small nations and nationalities – and was opposed by revolutionary comrades such as Karl Radek and Rosa Luxemburg. Once again Ireland featured strongly in the debate among revolutionary Marxists. The Easter 1916 Rising in Dublin, although it was militarily crushed by British artillery, inspired socialists all over the globe who were fighting against the barbaric World War 1. The impact was brilliantly described by the famous North American feminist revolutionary Louise Bryant in “The Masses”, published in July 1916. “The Masses” can be accessed here : https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/masses/index.htm

Louise Bryant Describes the Global Impact of the 1916 Rising in Ireland

An alliance between the descendants of the IRB (the Irish Volunteers led by Pádraig Pearse) and a brand-new working class actor fighting for Irish Freedom, James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army (ICA), inflicted devastating wounds on the most powerful empire the world had ever seen in those early years of the 20th century.

The 1917 Russian Bolshevik Revolution began to go badly wrong in the 1920’s. An early sign that all was not well was Great Russian chauvinist suppression of smaller nations such as Ukraine. We live with and suffer from terrible consequences today. We cannot change history, but we can learn from it.

John Meehan January 25 2023

Grusha Gilayeva

Did Lenin Сreate Ukraine? On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and Marxism

Source : Posle https://posle.media/language/en/was-ukraine-created-by-lenin-once-again-about-marxism-and-the-right-of-nations-to-self-determination%ef%bf%bc/

Why do Marxists defend the right of nations to self-determination? What does the struggle for national liberation have to do with the workers’ struggle? Social researcher Grusha Gilaeva analyzes the positions of Marx and Lenin on the national question and explains why the left movement must support the anti-colonial struggle of Ukraine

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The British Royal Family is “unequal, outdated, and should be consigned to the dustbin of history” – Agree or Disagree?

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Read the news items below and decide for yourself if the statement above – written by West Belfast Stormont Assembly member Gerry Carroll (People Before Profit) – should be supported by everyone on the anti-imperialist left in Ireland.

I think the answer is Yes – and this should not be a controversial opinion, especially in Ireland. Unfortunately, some prominent public figures disagree. Lies about the British Royal Family resemble a mountain of dead dogs, and fresh stinking corpses are added daily.

Reliable news reports tell us that the English Prince Andrew, brother of British King Charles, is getting support from a convicted child abuse criminal.

A courageous woman, Virginia Giuffre, successfully won substantial damages in a USA court from the British Prince, who was a close associate of the convicted child abuse criminals Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

“Maxwell, who paid out millions to Giuffre herself in a separate lawsuit in 2017, was jailed for child sex trafficking in connection with Epstein.

But she claimed in an interview with CBS that Ms Giuffre’s claims are unfounded, and that she did not introduce her “dear friend” Prince Andrew to the teenager as had been claimed.

Ms Giuffre said: “My goal has been to show the rich and powerful are not above the law and should be held accountable.” Source : https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/prince-andrew-overturn-claim-by-sex-accuser-virginia-giuffre/

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Readers might assume that no self-respecting Irish political leader would risk getting close to the sinister Buckingham House royal parasites.

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Outrage as UK Tories attack Trans Rights and Scottish Devolution

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Unpopular British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – whose Brexit Tory party is around 20 per cent behind the opposition Labour Party in most credible opinion polls – has picked a fight with the Scottish Parliament over a minor administrative reform which improves the human rights of transgender people.

Across the British state, writes Mike Picken, there is a growing opposition to the Conservative UK government’s unprecedented blocking of a Scottish Parliament legislative Bill on transgender rights passed last month – the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

After weeks of misleading propaganda about what the Bill says and its implications for UK wide legislation, on 17 January the Tory government at Westminster announced they were going for the so-called ‘nuclear’ option of blocking the Bill using a ‘section 35 order’.

The ‘section 35’ mechanism is part of the 1998 legislation that created the Scottish Parliament and was only ever intended to be used as a last resort, if there was a grave threat of the Scottish Parliament trampling over other rights across the UK. During the passage of the 1998 legislation it was dubbed the ‘Governor-General’ clause, a reference to the British Empire’s colonial controllers, as it gives total discretion to a government minister to overrule democratic decisions. It has never been used before now and the legal basis presented by the UK government has been widely described as completely flimsy.

‘Section 35’ is being used to overturn the Scottish Bill as a political move by a reactionary government against progressive legislation, not because of an infringement of rights.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Parliament Blocks Scottish Parliament Transgender Law Reform – British Labour Leader Keir Starmer Surrenders to the Union-Jack Far-Right

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Rishi Sunak’s governing Tories at Westminster have blocked a minor administrative human rights reform adopted by the Scottish Parliament which protects the rights of a very small minority, transgender people. It is an easy-peasy issue for all people on the liberal/social-democratic spectrum in Ireland – ranging from the entire left into significant sectors of the big right wing parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

In Scotland a similar liberal/social-democratic spectrum includes the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), the SNP’s government coalition partner the Greens, and the Scottish Labour Party.
The Scottish Parliament voted for this minor reform – which is less favourable to transgender people than the existing law in the 26 county bit of Ireland – by 86 votes to 39. This huge majority followed a very long drawn-out debate.

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Oh Ah, Up the Ra “One Song Two Reactions – Why is it different when the rugby boys sing Celtic Symphony?” – Joe Brolly, Derry All-Ireland Winner, Gaelic Athletic Association

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This story assesses three sporting activities in Ireland – Gaelic Games, Soccer, and Rugby. It shines a light on a misogynous (woman-hating) West-British media culture.

Thanks to the Dublin Council of Trade Unions for bringing this story to our attention.

See Also : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/10/12/double-standards-applied-to-irish-womens-soccer-team-song-author-derek-warfield-declares-dont-tell-that-you-cant-sing-celtic-symphony-but-you-can-sing-god-save-the-king/

Joe Brolly in the Sunday Independent, January 8 2023 :

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