Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

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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Ukrainians Reject “Ridiculous” Calls for Negotiations with Putin’s Ethnic-Cleansing Invaders – That should be the Common Sense Policy of the Radical Left

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The vast majority of Ukrainians oppose a policy advocated by many western leftists who call for a ceasefire. Left-wing supporters of the ceasefire policy in Ireland – for example Sabina Coyne-Higgins (wife of Irish President Michael D Higgins) and the left-wing party People Before Profit – do not publicly engage with Ukrainians living in Ireland, who have expressed strong rejection of the recent ceasefire plea published by Ms Coyne-Higgins in the Irish Times. Here is one representative example :

Michael Baskin, who has lived in Ireland for 20 years and leads the Ukrainian Crisis Centre in Ireland, said he had spent time since the letter was published trying “to understand what Sabina Higgins was trying to say”.

“Ukraine never wanted this war. I will give a simple example. Somewhere in Ireland someone came to your house, killed your family, and tried to take it from you. Will you negotiate? Like, take a half of it and let’s live like this. It’s ridiculous.

“We can’t give up our country’s future. If we don’t stop Russia now, Ukraine won’t exist in 20 years.”

Ukrainians bridle over Sabina Higgins’s ceasefire letter
Letter by President’s wife no longer visible on Áras an Uachtaráin website – Irish Times July 30 2022

The PBP publicly backed the Coyne-Higgins Statement, stating she “had done nothing wrong”.

A number of left-wing activists disagree.

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The voters of Kansas USA Favour Abortion – Landslide Victory for the Pro- Choice Movement

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The Wizard of Oz is a brilliant movie, especially when you factor in the time it was made. From top to bottom, with the script, music, performances, …

Follow Kansas

In the state of Kansas, USA, voters have decided to make abortion legal. A referendum produced a landslide pro-choice result : 59 per cent Versus 41 per cent in favour of keeping Abortion as a constitutional right.

Pro-choice activist Mandy La Combre offers this comment from Ireland :

“Go Kansas!! 👏👏👏

profuckingchoice #AbortionIsHealthcare #abortionrights

It seems Judy Garland and the Wizard 🧙‍♀️ of Oz approve.

American blogger Clay Jones celebrates

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Would a Sinn Féin Win at the Next Dublin Dáil General Election Guarantee the Formation of a Left Government?

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Some people are sure a Sinn Féin victory at the next Dáil general election – which must happen by February 2025 – will mean a shift to the left. A perspective is offered : a Left Government. There is no doubt that a left government is very badly needed, and that is the positive policy of People Before Profit.

Election of a left government is not guaranteed – especially if Sinn Féin enters a coalition with right-wing forces such as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, or the assorted Gombeen-poltroon deputies such as the Healy-Rae’s of Kerry, Michael Lowry of Tipperary, or Verona Murphy of Wexford.

Sinn Féin is keeping its options open – that is clearly shown in the attached newspaper article from five years ago.

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The Brexit Disaster – Have British Voters Rejected It?

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Traffic jams at the English port of Dover are telling us why many voters who ticked the Yes to Brexit box in the 2016 British State Referendum have changed their minds. Anti-Brexit critics, such as the brilliant left-wing comedian Mark Steel, are taking full advantage. So, why are so few British left wing organisations failing to queue up on the winning anti-Brexit side? There is one notable exception : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/nato-expands-kurds-betrayed/

It is starting to look like a no-brainer. The latest reliable data indicate that a new Brexit referendum in the British state would produce a 55 to 45 per cent rejection of a right wing exit from the European Union.

https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-a-second-eu-referendum-were-held-today-how-would-you-vote/

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The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

There is a type of left argument around the war in Ukraine which has arisen in the West. It is one that condemns Putin’s invasion, but refuses to offer practical support to the people of Ukraine in resisting that invasion. It is the position one can read in Jacobin, or in statements by Chomsky, Corbyn, and the Stop the War Coalition in the UK. In Ireland we have the same type of response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from People Before Profit and the Socialist Party of Ireland.

I will use the label Evasionist Left for this approach. It’s not clear how representative this trend is internationally, as many on the left do pro-actively support the resistance in Ukraine, e.g. parties such Razem in Poland; those associated with the Fourth International like Left Bloc and the Danish Red Green Alliance; and the main left party in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/

Stop the attack on the labour rights of Ukrainian workers!Demand President Zelinskyy veto anti-worker Laws 5161 and 5371

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Laws 5371 and 5161, were adopted on July 19. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/ has published an international petition where people can call on Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to use his power tonstop this disastrous legislation.

This petition [below] explains how the Laws would destroy Ukrainian workers’ rights and working conditions if they were allowed to come into effect.

They would legalise extremes of exploitation in Ukraine that would also endanger workers’ rights across the whole of Europe.

Since it is vital that Laws 5161 and 5371 not be ratified, this petition calls on President Zelensky to stand with Ukraine’s workers by exercising his presidential veto on both laws.

One man has the power to stop this disastrous legislation—President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He can ratify the laws or veto them.

To protect the labour rights of Ukraine’s workers, Zelensky can apply the presidential veto to Laws 5371 and 5161

They must be replaced with measures which would increase the security of workers and enable them and their families to survive the devastation of war and build a new and stronger Ukraine.

You can sign this petition by clicking the link below :

https://chng.it/4NzJvKNLWd.

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Free Maksym Butkevych, a Political Prisoner – Ukrainian Anti-Fascist and Human Rights Activist Captured by Invading Russian Troops

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Ireland has a history of fighting for the rights of political prisoners. The international workers’ movement, inspired by the work of activists such as Eleanor Marx, has a history of defending anti-imperialist fighters. An account of this proud history follows this Green Left Weekly (Australia) call for action in support of Maksym Butkevych. See also http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63291&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

There are grave fears for the safety of Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist Maksym Butkevych, following his capture by Russian troops. Butkevych’s parents and human rights campaigners are calling on the international community to ensure he is guaranteed his rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/free-maksym-butkevych-russian-troops-capture-ukrainian-anti-fascist-activist?fbclid=IwAR0FYvlN_xisnPkPTLHDEIAUliT–mcCUovnjDREIKndJheGq_qdmqg5Oqk

There are grave fears for the safety of Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist Maksym Butkevych, following his capture by Russians troops. Butkevych’s parents and human rights campaigners are calling on the international community to ensure he is guaranteed his rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

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End All Immigration Control – a Tale of Ireland and Turkey

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A correspondent, the Great Enabler, writes below about a recent Dublin government decision to stop visa-free travel to Ireland.

It is an excellent thoughtful and passionate post. I note that the main opposition party in Ireland, Sinn Féin, is “not opposed” to the Irish government decision.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has said it is not opposed to the Government move to tighten visa requirements for some refugees coming to Ireland.

“Health spokesperson David Cullinane said that the Government should have prepared better for the point when accommodation was tight.

He said the way to avoid such situations is through proper planning and by listening to organisations like the Irish Refugee Council. “. (RTÉ News)

John Meehan, July 23 2022

Immigration Control

Recently I read two news pieces in the Irish media on international travel: One was about the Irish government’s decision to stop visa-free travel to Ireland for refugees already settled in other EU states; the other one was a piece on how the Irish passport ranks very high on the list of “most powerful passports” – most powerful in terms of the freedom of movement it gives to its holders.

The plane I am travelling on is full of Irish people. Either by chit chat or eves dropping, one gathers very quickly that many have places in Turkey, summer homes. These would be very mostly homes, not luxuries villas. Others are holiday makers, excited about sea and sun. I think that’s absolutely great. People deserve holidays, people should see other countries. The powerful Irish passport is a great enabler. It takes 3-clicks and €15 to get your Turkish entry visa online. It may even be removed now.

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Ukrainian workers’ war on two fronts

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Dick Nichols, a correspondent of the Australian Green Left Weekly, tells us that enemies of workers’ rights are active within the ruling Ukraine government headed by Volodymyr Zelensky. Nichols is a supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU). https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/ukraine-anti-social-bill-no-5371-has-been-withdrawn-but-the-threat-has-not-disappeared

Source : https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/ukrainian-workers-war-two-fronts?fbclid=IwAR3i1ViCQqd0vl9oTM7Lb4LMpeN0NhkHzvtyJ3jfMZAZ-vm866TtyAfW65U

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, social conflict inside the country was not put on hold: any illusion that its defence needs might produce a truce in the class struggle soon vanished.

If anything, embattled Ukraine’s war of resistance against Putin’s “special military operation” has intensified a pre-existing domestic confrontation.

This is due to what could be called a “special politico-legal operation” against worker and trade union rights, waged by the most militant neoliberals within the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, with the apparent blessing of their chief.

It was launched in 2019 to entice foreign investors to Ukraine but stalled in 2020‒21 when the government’s initial attempt at labour market deregulation was repulsed by trade union protests.

The offensive has sped up since the invasion, but now under cover of martial law and in the name of the sacrifice needed to win the war against Russia.

According to Nataliia Lomonosova, of the Ukrainian thinktank Cedos, the talk in government circles is that the Ukrainian state “cannot afford welfare, employment benefits or protection of labour rights” because of the war.

It seems clear from this experience that, however it defeats or survives Putin, Ukraine’s neoliberal government and its friends in the European Union (EU) are determined to turn the country into a business-friendly playing field as soon as possible — starting the job while the war against Russia is yet to be won.

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