Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘1921 Treaty Partitioning Ireland’ Category

Solidarity With Palestine, Solidarity With Ukraine – Sotsialniy Rukh (Ukraine) Compared With People Before Profit (Ireland)

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist

Sotsialniy Rukh Statement on Palestine and Ukraine (in English and Ukrainian)

📣 November 29 since 1978 has been celebrated as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. For 44 years, the world officially talks about the Palestinian tragedy that has no end.

This day reminds us of Palestine’s ongoing struggle for life and freedom. Despite condemnation of Israel’s policy, which leading human rights organizations say fits the crime of apartheid under the Roman Statute, the de facto Palestinians and Palestinians still have neither protection nor independence. Their homes are being taken, cities bombed, and their lives are totally in vain.

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A 1936 Obituary : The first known Irish Supporter of Trotsky’s Left Opposition – TJ O’Flaherty (Tomás Ó Flatharta) – passed away on Inis Mór ( one of the Aran Islands)

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Gort na gCapall, Inishmore, Aran. Home of the Ó Flaithearta family.

Des Derwin drew our attention to this fascinating obituary.

Source : https://revolutionsnewsstand.com/2022/11/23/t-j-oflaherty-dead-from-new-militant-vol-2-no-22-june-6-1936/?fbclid=IwAR08oP2REQBBFNs2tWByO1-U3tWdwtjv7-OXax_0Ljm3ycJkB2IrK67FO-g

‘T.J. O’Flaherty Dead’ from New Militant. Vol. 2 No. 22. June 6, 1936.

The New Militant learns with great sorrow of the sudden death in Ireland of comrade T.J. O’Flaherty, an adherent of “Trotskyism” from the first days of the formation of the Left Opposition in the United States and a firm supporter to his dying day of the movement for the Fourth International. On his deathbed all his thoughts and interests were with his comrades in the United States and to the last he had hopes to recover his health and to return to the States to function actively in the movement. He gave full support to the Workers Party of America upon its formation and viewed it as the first step in the process of unification of the genuine revolutionary elements who based themselves on the teachings of Lenin and Trotsky.

His sister, Anna Johnson, in a letter to comrade Martin Abern, writes from the Aran Isles, Ireland:

Letter from His Sister

“You will be surprised to hear that Tom has passed away. He died on May 19 from heart trouble. He came back here on January 15 after 18 months between Dublin and England. He was ill when he got back and got worse every day. You know he always suffered from heart trouble.

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“Road to Repeal: 50 years of struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion” – An outstanding PhotoBook – Interview with Co-Author Therese Caherty

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We’ve come a long way!

The fight for reproductive freedom in Ireland

Irish publisher Lilliput Press recently launched the photobook, Road to Repeal: 50 years of struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion, in Dublin’s Mansion House. Social policy analyst Pauline Conroy, photographer Derek Speirs and journalist. Therese Caherty have documented in pictures and words Ireland’s choice movement over half a century.

John Meehan interviews Therese about the project, where it came from and the future for reproductive rights in Ireland.

John Meehan – What gave you idea for the book?

Therese Caherty – Our project began in 2013 at Against the Tide, a retrospective of 1980s activism by photographer Rose Comiskey. At a closing discussion on Irish feminism, a young woman asked some of us oldies – Why did you let the 8th Amendment happen? It wasn’t a view we were familiar with. But you could see where she was coming from. She had arrived into the world of the Eighth and seen, maybe experienced, its effects. And she was angry.

In 2014 we answered her question with Women to Blame, a multimedia exhibition on the struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion. Today, thanks to Lilliput Press, we have what we always wanted – a permanent home for that exhibition. Road to Repeal commemorates in pictures and words a people– powered movement that believed in a more equal Ireland for women and pregnant people, and their unfettered right to independent decision– making about parenthood.

We see our book as part of that movement of activists and participants and a contribution to it. It’s not for profit and all royalties go to the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

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The Politics of Apologising – Sinn Féin to Regret the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and expel members who sing “Come Out You Black and Tans” – Could this be true?

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Before readers leap to their keyboards, rest assured folks – the claim is a brilliant joke. The full story is below – Source is the journal.ie.

Moving to a serious point – Irish public figures are regularly swamped with ignorant demands to “apologise” for any Irish ballads which belong to a rich culture of resistance to British Imperialism. The latest example is the Irish international women’s soccer team which recently secured World Cup qualification for the first time.

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‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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This blog is named after Tomás Ó Flatharta, the first known Irish supporter of the 1920’s Left Opposition which opposed the policies pursued by the Russian Bolshevik government headed by Josef Stalin. Ó Flatharta was a prolific writer, and wrote this fascinating article previewing the partition of Ireland in December 2021. Ó Flatharta looks at “official” Irish-American support for Ireland’s cause, and points out its limitations and hypocrisies. He endorses the policies pursued by the revolutionary marxist James Connolly, a leader of Ireland’s Easter 1916 Rising who was executed by the British imperialists.

Here is a flavour of Ó Flatharta’s analysis, which has a lot of contemporary relevance.

When Connolly led the revolt in Dublin in 1916 some of his comrades in other countries did not understand why he lined up with the Nationalist elements. They claimed that Connolly. lost his original Marxian purity. These elements could not see in the revolutionary opportunism of Connolly the tactic that is today the guiding star of every revolutionary party in the world. Connolly’s idea was to mobilize all the available discontent in Ireland and hurl it at the enemy. Out of the inevitable sacrifice which the Easter Week Revolution entailed would spring a new movement inspired by the example of the martyrs of Easter Week. Connolly knew quite well that national independence alone would never give Ireland independence until the Empire was overthrown, therefore every move made to overthrow the Empire tended to bring about the inevitable revolution. The Citizen Army composed of members of the Trade Unions was pledged not alone to strike for Irish freedom but for the Workers’ Republic. The Nationalist Volunteers had a certain contempt for the men of the citizen army. The former were carried away with their hostility to England into a feeling of sympathy with Germany. The citizen army, however, was just as much opposed to the Kaiser as to King Gorge and hung over its headquarters the banner with the inscription “We serve neither King nor Kaiser.”


When Eoin MacNaill, the leader of the Nationalist Volunteers, issued the countermanding order which kept the full force of the members of that body from participating in the Easter Week revolution, Connolly called out his citizen army. The army of the workers was the backbone of the rising and according to Seamus MacManus in his “Story of the Irish Race,” it was Connolly’s insistence on making a fight that ultimately carried the motion for the insurrection. But since Easter Week Irish labor has been relegated to obscurity and the Irish middle class have been given credit on American platforms and in the Irish journals for the great struggle that has been carried on against British tyranny.

Revolution’s Newsstand

‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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Ukraine and Palestine : “You don’t mean exactly peace talks. You mean capitulation, surrendering….That kind of conversation between the sword & the neck.”

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A correspondent, Mary Scully, explains an important difference.

Wonder why so many demand Ukraine negotiate surrender when it would be absolutely unthinkable to propose the same to Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya & amoral to pressure them to reach an accommodation with their oppressors over their human, democratic, & national liberation rights? As Ghassan says, he has never seen such talks between a colonialist power & a national liberation movement. Under a different leadership, when Palestinians did sit down & talk with Israel & the US, it ended up with the Oslo Accords legitimizing occupation & expropriation & justifying genocide. It turned the Palestinian leadership against their own people. That’s what Ghassan meant about a ‘conversation between the sword & the neck’.

Lastly, we wonder how those who demand Ukrainians negotiate the terms of their surrender to Russia feel about holding the exact same position as Henry Kissinger? Do they believe that the Dr. Strangelove of international mass murder actually has peace & the best interests of the Ukrainian people in mind? Will they ask him to speak at their lilliputian rallies against that NATO proxy war?

Above all in politics, listen to the voices of resistance & human liberation like Ghassan Kanafani & Maqbool Bhat & shout down the monsters of war like Kissinger.

“You don’t mean exactly peace talks”

A correspondent, writing for the Cedar Lounge Revolution (CLR) Blog, dismisses shallow blather in Ireland and abroad following the publication of a Sabina Coyne-Higgins letter calling for a negotiated end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The CLR author points out that little effort has been made to engage with what was actually said.

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For an Ireland Where Trans and Non-binary People are Equal Safe and Valued

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Both states in Ireland – formally independent in the South, controlled by Britain in the North – have a vile creepy history : child abuse, suppression of women’s rights, reactionary religious control of health and education. This “Carnival of Reaction” has deep strong foundations, built following the reactionary partition of Ireland in 1922. In recent decades, especially in the formally independent part of Ireland, popular rebellion has attacked the reactionary carnival – most notably when a constitutional abortion was repealed in a May 2018 referendum.

In days gone by a “Belt of the Crozier” firmly struck by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid was enough to kill Noël Browne’s 1950 Mother and Child Scheme. These days, after a tsunami of child abuse scandals and clerical criminal convictions, far-right causes such as transphobia are, at the popular level, rightly seen as a thin edge of the wedge. They remind us of dark periods we Irish experienced in the recent past.

A media outlet, the Joe Duffy RTÉ Liveline Show, have a mass audience. It is not directly associated with the religious far-right in Ireland. However, it has started to offer an often uncontested platform to government anti-feminist propaganda, targeting the publicly funded National Women’s Council of Ireland.

The broadcaster is not backing down : “I found it deeply disturbing after my 25 years of presenting here to be told that a debate on Liveline was ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks,” the presenter says, referring to a statement from the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, before adding that the censuring was “insulting” to his programme staff and, indeed, his listeners.” (Source Irish Times, June 17 2022).

A coalition Trans Equality Together led by TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), BeLonG To and LGBT Ireland was launched last week with the aim of creating an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued. Pictured: (L-R) Tiernan Arnup from AMACH! LGBT Galway, Jayson Pope, an LGBTQ+ youth activist and Matt Kennedy, of BelongTo. Picture: Julien Behal (Source Irish Examiner)

A number of human rights organizations have come together opposing the reactionary anti-trans offensive. In very measured language they state :

On 9th, 10th and 13th June, RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline show discussed matters of gender identity. Trans Equality Together, and our members, share a common concern about these episodes, and we support Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate its media partnership with RTÉ and its consultation with Trans Equality Together about this decision.

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BBC limits TV Coverage of 2022 Orange Order July 12 Marches in Northern Ireland – welcome move does not go far enough

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The left-wing Irish organization Éirígí has issued a very clear statement about the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) decision to limit live coverage of 2022 Orange Order marches in the north of Ireland. The BBC decision has provoked a furious unionist reaction, which might force the broadcaster to back down. https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/twelfth-july-unionists-slam-bbc-24191452?utm_source=belfast_live_newsletter&utm_campaign=breaking_daily_newsletter2&utm_medium=email.

These events occur after a video emerged in the public arena celebrating the murder of Michaela MacAreavy (daughter of the high-profile Gaelic Athletic Association [GAA] Manager Mickey Harte of Tyrone). The Irish Times reported that footage of the ‘vile chant’ was “understood to have been filmed” at an “Orange hall in Dundonald, Co Down”. (June 3 edition). In fact, there is no doubt that the “vile chant” was performed during Orange Order celebrations. Damage limitation continues, as the Orange Order, numerous Unionist politicians, and weasel-word forelock-tuggers pretend


Éirigí Statement :

It has emerged today that the BBC will no longer broadcast live daytime coverage of the main Orange Order ‘parade’ in the Six Counties on 12th July. #OrangeOrder

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Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital – Questions over “murky” new company’s role

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Doctor Peter Boylan – a former master of the National Maternity Hospital – and Róisín Shortall TD – co-leader of the Social Democrats party – are leading voices in a chorus of criticism directed against a proposed new Irish National Maternity Hospital. Their detailed policies on this issue are below. The source is the Irish Examiner newspaper, May 2 and 3 2022 issues. https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40864076.html

These two relentless campaigners have focussed on “murky” Vatican plans to control women’s healthcare in Ireland. A number of Dáil political parties positioned on the left have aligned themselves with Shortall and Boylan’s critical campaign – Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, plus others such as Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly. A political firestorm erupted this week, which has frightened the Green Party, a junior partner in the ruling FFFGGG coalition headed by Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin. A government plan to finalise Holy See control of the new Maternity Hospital is currently “paused” for two weeks after Green Party TD’s such as Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central) responded to growing public opposition.

John Meehan May 5 2022

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Learn to Think About Aiding the Ukrainian Resistance in 2022 – Russian Troops Out Now

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Revolutionary Socialists in Ukraine (Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) Ukraine) are thinking for themselves – making proposals which comrades in Ireland and elsewhere should examine very sympathetically.

Confiscate the property of Russian AND Ukrainian oligarchs, for the benefit of the people of Ukraine!

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, many European parties and organizations, including many people on the left, have demanded the confiscation of Russian oligarchs’ property abroad. Indeed, the yachts and real estate of Russian rich people have already been confiscated in Great Britain and France.

Nevertheless, this and all the other sanctions are half-measures against the economy of the Russian Federation, its dictatorship and the parasites that constantly enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary Russians.

In the context of this all-out war against the aggressor, we, Social Movement (Ukraine) insist that Ukraine needs the funds obtained rom the confiscation and sale of Russian capitalists’ property abroad. Only this would be genuine aid, since, at the moment, the proceeds from confiscation of assets of Putin’s henchmen does not benefit the common people of Ukraine.

In this context, it should be noted that our comrades from the Razem party (Poland) made a correct proposal: “Confiscate the property of Russian oligarchs: yachts, apartments in London, cottages in the Alps and villas on the Cote d’Azur. Profit from this will be given to Ukraine so that it can defend itself from the aggressor”

As Social Movement (Ukraine), we also believes that the realisation of Ukraine’s strategic interests and increasing economic stability is impossible without the nationalization of the Ukrainian oligarchs and the prohibition of any offshore operations by Ukrainian businesspeople. The implementation of such measures becomes more likely after the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament passed Bill 7122, which created a legal basis for the forcible seizure of Russian property in Ukraine on grounds of public necessity.

Turn the capital of Russian oligarchs against their state! Let’s restore justice!

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61445

Let’s learn a little history, and learn to think a bit more :

April 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

Arms are supplied to the rebels by German Imperialism. James Connolly’s Irish Citizens’ Army Slogan “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”

February 1917 Russian Revolution begins in St. Petersburg

Women march demanding Bread and Peace – Cossacks mutiny. Russians start to desert the Czar’s World War 1 army. Exiled Bolsheviks in Zürich including VI Lenin strike a deal with German Imperialists, who provide a “sealed train” that travels through German occupied Eastern Europe to St. Petersburg’s Finland Station. October 1917 – Soviets, Workers’ Councils, establish a new revolutionary state in Russia.

Reviewing these events later – with the benefit of a historians’s 20-20 vision – British imperialist Winston Churchill observed that the Bolsheviks’s sealed train injected a “bacillus plague” into the heart ❤️ of the global capitalist system. A leader of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky, addressed similar problems in 1938 :

“Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democraticimperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascistimperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.”

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/05/think.htm

Leon Trotsky, ‘Learn To Think’ (1938).