Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘“A Carnival of Reaction” – James Connolly’s Warning About the Partition of Ireland’ Category

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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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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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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Irish Left Archive Podcast Number 44: Vincent Doherty: Official Sinn Féin, International Marxist Group, Troops Out, People’s Democracy, H-Block Committee, Sinn Féin – reblogged from The Cedar Lounge Revolution

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I first met Vincent Doherty in the late 1970’s via People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. Since then we travelled on different political paths, while remaining on very good personal terms. In 2022 Vincent and me – along with a group of left-wing activists who come from different but complementary streams of the Irish Left – have been working actively together in the Irish Left With Ukraine organization.

The comrades who publish the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog come from a stream of the Irish Left which is different from Vincent Doherty and me. But we converge politically in 2022 on a very decisive issue – the genocidal imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On the left nothing stands still. There is a strong mistaken current dominant of the Irish Marxist left which does “what if” interpretations of historical events. This interview avoids that approach. It is much better to accept the past, warts and all. We cannot change the past, but we can with 20-20 vision learn from our history. We can apply that knowledge to the present day and the immediate future – which we can influence.

Rayner Lysaght Tribute – Irish Labour History Society Event

Rayner Lysaght RIP (January 30 1941 – July 2 2021) was a close comrade of Vincent and me for many years in People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. The Irish Labour History Society staged a commemorative tribute in honour of Rayner on May 14 2021. I delivered the speech below, which also deals with some of the events described by Vincent Doherty.

John Meehan January 2 2023

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Transgender Rights – “Scotland is now ahead of the rest of the UK – though still behind Ireland” – Michael Farrell

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Veteran human rights activist Michael Farrell has campaigned in favour of transgender people for many decades. He publicly posted this comment in support of a recent Scottish Parliament Law reform:

Congratulations to the Scottish Parliament for taking a big step to protect transgender rights and resisting a bitter campaign by anti-trans groups to prevent them from making it easier for trans persons to get legal recognition. The new law, passed by 86 votes to 39, means trans people won’t have to get a medical diagnosis and wait for two yeas to register their gender. Scotland is now ahead of the rest of the UK – though still behind Ireland. A good day for a small community of people who have been abused and discriminated against for generations.

Michael Farrell, a founding member of People’s Democracy, was a revolutionary socialist activist in the six counties of Northern Ireland during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

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Your Man Over There Thinks the Anti-Franco Republican Forces Should Not Have Sought Weapons from the Brits, Yanks and French Imperialist Hypocrites during the 1930’s Spanish Civil War – A Proxy War if Ever I saw One!

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In this respect the British writer Paul Mason is correct :

Imagine an alt-history of the Spanish Civil War where, after some initial reversals, the anti-fascist side starts winning. They drive back Franco’s armies largely because France, Britain and the USA reject “non-intervention” and send in heavy weapons, offsetting the support coming from Hitler and Mussolini. In this scenario, does anyone seriously think the global left would have pulled its support for the Republican side because of “imperialist aggression”? Would they have denounced the Spanish conflict as a “proxy war”. Would they have convened an international conference calling for the end of all arms supplies to the anti-fascists in the name of “Peace”? Would they have called for negotiations with Franco, advocating a settlement “acceptable to all”?

https://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/12/20/ukraine-which-side-are-you-on/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

The same point is made here, drawing on an example from the actions of Irish revolutionaries during World War 1 – the Easter 1916 Rebels launched an uprising against British Imperialism using weapons supplied by the German Kaiser.

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Local politicians Smile for the Camera with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the North of Ireland – Don’t mention the Elephant in the Room – Brexit

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John Hurson brought this parody real picture to our attention. He chose a very appropriate James Connolly quotation to describe the scene.

“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”
James Connolly

“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”

James Connolly

John Hurson hits the nail on the head – this gaggle of politicians cannot agree a formula to restore Stormont. The reason is Brexit, which is opposed by a large majority of people living in Ireland.

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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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