Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Irish General Election February 8 2020’ Category

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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Socialists and Coalition with Sinn Féin – Colm Breathnach, Independent Left

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Colm Breatnach makes an important contribution here

SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

Sinn Féin Oireachtas and Stormont Members on the steps of Leinster House, Kildare Street

Is a Sinn Féin controlled left government in the 26 County bit of Ireland possible or likely? Right now, a general election electing the next Dáil can be delayed until February 2025. The current FFFGGG coalition (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens and Gombeens) has a comfortable majority and will not voluntarily cut and run – unless it is forced to change course. Reliable opinion surveys show that, if a general election was held soon Sinn Féin is likely to increase its number of Dáil seats – but the current government would retain a majority. There is more detail on this important “technicality” in a note at the end of this article. John Meehan May 11 2022


SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

The experience of Syriza, Greece warns against coalition with Sinn Féin

As the likelihood of a Sinn Féin led government grows, the prospect that the government might include radical left parties as coalition partners looms. But should socialists take up roles in government in coalition with Sinn Féin? Are there circumstances where this might prove to be necessary? Obligatory even? Now is the time to debate this issue, rather than being rushed into hastily made post-election decisions that could have a disastrous effect for the left in Ireland.

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Fighting for Self-Determination – Yuliya Yurchenko explains “For Ukrainians it’s an existential fight. Our country’s identity, territorial boundaries, and our very existence is under attack right now”

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Introduction

Ukraine is fighting a war of liberation against a Russian Ethnic Cleanser state led by a violent far-right imperialist Vladimir Putin. All related issues are discussed in the interview below.

Spectre‘s Ashley Smith talked to Yuliya Yurchenko, author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict (Pluto, 2018). She is a Lecturer in International Business and Researcher at the Public Services International Research Unit, the Centre for Business Network Analysis, and the Political Research Centre at the University of Greenwich.

Material like this is urgently required reading for anti-war activists in Ireland and elsewhere who are in love with the word BUT. “Ukrainians have the right to wage armed struggle” BUT “Oppose Sending NATO Arms to the Ukrainian Resistance – and its right-wing government”. History Lessons are easily unlearned – leading up to the Irish Easter 1916 Rising James Connolly’s left-wing Irish Citizens’ Army proudly promoted a banner : “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”. Many of the guns used in the 1916 Rising were supplied by German Imperialism.

The Butistas talk as much as possible about right-wing characteristics of the Zelensky Government, throwing in wild exaggerations – and say next to nothing about the far more powerful far-right government of Vladimir Putin : promoter of sinister politicians like French Presidential contender Marine Le Pen.

In Dáil Éireann recently Sinn Féin and Labour Leaders Mary-Lou McDonald and Ivana Bacik called for the expulsion from Ireland of Russian Ambassador Yuri Filatov. The right-wing NATO friendly Dublin government vigorously opposed this call. Radical socialist TD’s made no public comment on this proposal, which is gaining some left wing trade union support. John Meehan April 22 2022

What are conditions like for people in Ukraine now amidst this war? What is the state of the military and civilian resistance to Russia’s invasion?

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With apartheid an irrefutable reality, Israel’s democracy has always rested on blind faith – Amnesty International “Accuses Israel of Subjecting Palestinians to Apartheid”

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Amnesty International became the latest human rights group to label Israel an apartheid state. In a damning report titled “Israel’s Apartheid against…

With apartheid an irrefutable reality, Israel’s democracy has always rested on blind faith

We are reblogging an important Middle East Monitor Analysis of Amnesty International’s Report stating that Israel is subjecting Palestinians to Apartheid. (See Above). Betty Purcell elaborates in an Irish Times letter, published February 2 2022.

Amnesty report on Israel

Sir, – I was not surprised but am deeply grateful to the esteemed human rights organisation Amnesty International for their devastating report “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity” (“Amnesty accuses Israel of subjecting Palestinians to ‘apartheid’”, World, February 1st).

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Mandatory vaccination: much ado, red herring, or getting it wrong?

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Guest post by Des Derwin

If mandatory vaccination is a delicate issue then why is it being raised by the left (statements yesterday by Sinn Féin and loud blasts from People Before Profit)? Statements yesterday from the left assert that the government wants to bring this in, and the statements oppose it vehemently. The source of the idea seems to be a public health one, with apparently mixed and tentative views emanating from NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team). The government, or at least the head of the government, the Taoiseach, has said straight out that he is opposed to mandatory vaccination. The genesis of this issue could well be the main front page story in the ‘Irish Times’ (January 10 2021) and its typical and infuriating mode of creating stories out of unattributed sources to push a line or float a try-on (though in this case there are – suitably leaked – NPHET minutes as substance). If anything the same story indicates that the government might be considering the lifting of restrictions – mandates – on pub and restaurant times and cutting down isolation days for close contacts (to reboot the labour force).

It is said that mandatory vaccination would push a minority of the working class into the arms of the fascists. On the contrary, and quite apart from the existence of vaccination compulsions already and of a minority already in the mental clutches of the far right, supporting the ‘right’ of the unvaccinated and of anti-vaxxers to free access to wherever they want is encouraging them into the arms of the fascists by legitimising their position. And giving oxygen to the position of the fascists who have made this, and other anti-public health measures, their main and most successful appeal to a new audience. Socialists need to be clear and firm, to explain why vaccination (taken up by 94%) is safe and socially essential, and how the far right are misleading and deluding people through well orchestrated and well resourced disinformation campaigns.

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Rupture magazine: Issue 6, Winter 2022

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Special feature: Home sweet home Green gaffs for all, by Nicole McCarthy & Des Hennelly Mica & the fight for 100% redress, by Kiran Emrich The …

Rupture magazine: Issue 6, Winter 2022

Special feature: Home sweet home

  • Green gaffs for all, by Nicole McCarthy & Des Hennelly
  • Mica & the fight for 100% redress, by Kiran Emrich
  • The North’s housing crisis, by Amy Merron
  • Expropriate the big landlords, by Nelli Tügel

Features:

  • Fascism & the algorithm, by Méabh French
  • “Learn from each others’ struggles: Interview with Laurence Cox, by Brian O’Cathail
  • Tax haven Ireland – the inside story, by Brian O’Boyle
  • Feeding an insatiable monster: Data centres in Ireland, by Diarmuid Flood

What is to be done?

  • The feminist challenge to traditional political organising, by Penny Duggan
  • Keep it in the ground, by Sarah Frazer
  • Permanent revolution: Myths, reality & relevance, by Sami El-Sayed
  • Lighting the way: Transitional demands & the struggle for socialism, by August Thalheimer

Rupture Regulars

  • The Tipping Point by Jess Spear
  • Lesser-spotted comrades: Walter Rodney, by Emma Finnamore
  • Gaslighters, Ghouls, and Gobshites, by Des Hennelly

RUPTURE is produced by RISE, a network within People Before Profit. Paul Murphy TD, Dublin South-West is a member. https://rupture.ie/. See also : https://www.letusrise.ie/

Workers’ Solidarity Movement (Ireland) has come to an end

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I developed a lot of political respect for comrades of the WSM, who worked well with political rivals on political campaigns where common objectives were sought.

I think particularly of referendum campaigns opposing various pro-austerity European Union treaties, and referendums on the Irish abortion ban which was finally removed from the state constitution in 2017. Also, many WSM comrades worked in a collaborative way with other revolutionary left activists in trade union activities and the mass boycotts of water charges and the property tax. The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections. Once the Irish revolutionary Left made a small but significant electoral breakthrough – moving from margins to better connection with mass struggles – the political writing was on the wall for electoral boycott anarchism. In my opinion that trend began – we are still living through it – when Joe Higgins scored an extraordinary by election success in Dublin West in 1996, running as an anti Water Tax candidate, and as a member of the Socialist Party. Higgins lost that contest by a very small margin, but comfortably won a Dáil seat in the following 1997 General Election, unseating then Labour TD and coalition minister Joan Burton.

The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections.

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Ireland’s Culture and History Wars – Che Guevara and the nation’s “stamp of the year” – Michael D Higgins Rejects Men of God Partition Pray-In at Armagh Cathedral

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Dateline October 9 2017.

Fine Gael politician Neale Richmond launched an ill-judged ambush on the Irish Post Office’s Ché Guevara stamp. Richmond’s sniping helped make this stamp one of the most successful products ever sold by An Post.

Four years on, Neale Richmond has moved up the ladder from the Seanad to Dáil Éireann – he is now a TD in Dublin-Rathdown. This Fine Gael bulldog may be set loose on President Michael D Higgins – currently much more popular than the FFFGGG coalition after rejecting Ireland’s “Carnival of Reaction” – partition.

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Michael D Higgins 6 Partition 0 – Two Opinion Polls Show Landslide Support for the President’s Anti-Partition Actions – Irish Times Dampens Impact

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Casual Irish Times readers may not have noticed an important story. A news item is presented in a tiny corner on the front of the October 8 2021 edition of the newspaper :

Poll: A majority approves of the decision by the President to refuse to attend a religious event in Armagh : page 2

Turning to page 2 alert readers might notice a headline on the bottom of the page :

Poll reveals support for Higgins’s decision to decline invitation to partition event

The stubborn facts :


A large majority of voters approves of the decision by President Michael D Higgins to refuse the invitation to attend a religious event in Armagh to mark the centenary of partition and creation of Northern Ireland, today’s latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll finds.

More than two-thirds of respondents (68 per cent) agreed that the President was “right to decline the invitation”.

This is a statistical landslide, proving that mass sentiment is against the political establishment on this issue

Support for the President’s decision is highest among older age groups, with 74 per cent of those over 50 agreeing with him, against just 54 per cent of those aged 18-24.

A higher proportion of Fianna Fáil voters (74 per cent) than Sinn Féin voters (72 per cent) backed the President’s position, though supporters of the Green Party (81 per cent) were most likely to say he was right to decline the p

Supporters of Fine Gael (19 per cent) and Labour (20 per cent) were most likely to say he should have attended the event.

A different media outlet, the Irish News, published details of another opinion poll with very similar numbers, and decided this headline worked

“Huge backing for President Michael D Higgins” – Irish News Headline

Practical Conclusions?

Boycott the October 21 Armagh Cathedral Celebration of Partition

The men of God have no right to summon the President of Ireland to anything – certainly not a Partitionist Pray-in.

John Meehan October 8 2021

President Michael D Higgins Rejects Religious Invitation Issued by Men of God in Armagh – The Right Decision – The 1921 Partition of Ireland Created a Carnival of Reaction

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Eejit is a great word living within the English language spoken in Ireland. Author Mike Finn reveals the meaning in a sentence of nine words : “Those advocating Brexit are an awful shower of eejits”. Likewise, those who advocate “marking” the partition of Ireland are an awful shower of eejits. President Michael D Higgins is no eejit.

Michael D has become a spokesperson for the vast majority of people living in Ireland who hate partition. He will not attend a religious event in Armagh commemorating the 1921 creation of the Northern Ireland Orange State. An opinion poll on the issue shocked numerous pro-Unionist forelock-tuggers in Ireland – 81 per cent of people in the 26 County bit of Ireland agree with the President’s decision.

“Huge backing for President Michael D Higgins” – Irish News Headline

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