Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Manus O’Riordan has passed away

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Here is a preliminary tribute written by Des Derwin, and a report describing his funeral

Trade unionist, socialist, historian, researcher and singer Manus O’Riordan has died. A keeper of the memory of the Spanish Civil War, and of the music of the movements.

Trade unionist, socialist, historian, researcher and singer Manus O’Riordan has died. A keeper of the memory of the Spanish Civil War, and of the music of the movements.

It is only hours, according to Facebook, since Manus O’Riordan posted on his page. It is less than three months since he stood with the wide spectrum of the left at fellow historian Rayner Lysaght’s funeral. Manus shall have as great a send off. Since then I spoke to him briefly near Hart’s Corner, where he lived and where he had some memorials erected. (Manus O’Riordan is pictured carrying a banner honouring Irish anti-fascists who fought against Franco in the 1930’s Spanish Civil War – in Glasnevin Cemetery at the funeral of Rayner Lysaght https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/07/05/rayner-lysaght-has-passed-away-limerick-soviet-historian-a-parent-of-modern-irish-trotskyism/

I differed profoundly with Manus on many issues and strongly agreed with him on many others. In the ITGWU and SIPTU he always showed the greatest respect to me and to my minority views. He cooperated on labour and anti-imperialist history with all those on the left providing a historical forum.

In the past fortnight I finally completed noting my political reminiscences of my own father, who was a one-time colleague of Manus’ father.

Passing on and passing it on. RIP. Des Derwin September 27 2021

Update : the funeral of Manus O’Riordan, Glasnevin Cemetery, Friday October 1 2021

Some images from the funeral of Manus O’Riordan. Friday October 1 2021. Among the attendance was Tara, carrying the shopping bag of the occasion. It can be bought at the Bang Bang Café, Phibsborough. Also present was Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland – currently popular with nearly stream of the Irish Left after refusing to attend a religious ceremony in Armagh celebrating a “Carnival of Reaction” 100th Anniversary : the partition of Ireland in 1921. There were many displayed Trade Union and left wing banners at the funeral, honouring a dedicated historian of the Irish working class. See also https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/the-fascist-origins-of-fine-gael-in-the-1930s-manus-oriordan-one-of-his-last-posts/

Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland
Banners honouring Manus O’Riordan

Pat O’Connor 1948-2015, Limerick Socialist, Supporter of the Fourth International

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cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/12/07/left-archive-pat-oconnor-limerick-based-socialist-1948-2015-published-2015/

Recently, following prompts by Pádraig Malone, I forwarded material celebrating the life and political activities of the late Pat O’Connor to the Irish Left Archive site.

A 21 year old Pat O’Connor is holding the placard saying “PD [People’s Democracy] Opposes Racism”. 1970 demonstrations against the touring South African 
All-White Rugby Team.

Readers can find links to to that material in two PDF’s below. The pamphlet link includes the text of a speech I delivered at a 2015 memorial meeting for Pat. A second link is a copy of an obituary submitted to the Limerick Leader newspaper written by myself and Cian Prendiville.

John Meehan December 7 2020

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Conspiracy Anti-Vaxers against Covid-19 lockdowns blend with far-right fascists – Irish and British Examples

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No to Racism Defend Our Public Health Workers – Minorities, Migrants, Homeless, Asylum Seekers, LGBTQ+Solidarity for Real Change

12 September 2020 | 1 PM
Assemble: GPO | O’Connell Street Dublin United Against Racism is organizing this rally in partnership with others and co-hosted by all organisations supporting it. For support and endorsements please email: info@united-against-racism.net…

https://www.facebook.com/events/653860718566358?active_tab=about

Congratulations to United Against Racism for calling this event. It needs to be supported by other organizations across the left, and mass membership organizations like trade unions.

Mass action is badly needed to confront and crush the racist far-right.

Professor Dolores Cahill, leader of far-right Irish Freedom Party

In Dublin, across Ireland and internationally the racist far right are using anti-mask, anti-vaccine and other fears to promote themselves and their racist agenda. In Dublin they mobilised up to 2000 at the Custom House on 22 August. In London, with the aid of Dolores Cahill (pictured above) from the Irish Freedom Party they put several thousand in Trafalgar Square.

In Berlin they mobilized up-to 30,000 and in the US they have been holding armed demonstrations. In Dublin they also rally regularly at the GPO on Saturdays. This is very dangerous; they must be exposed and opposed. At the heart of these mobilizations are individuals and organisations whose core agenda is to attack people of colour, migrants, minorities, asylum seekers, Muslims etc. but at present they are focusing on other prejudices, bigotries and COVID-19 fears and doing so in the name of an utterly perverted version of Irish nationalism that is an insult to Connolly and Pearse and all they stood for. They mounted a vile homophobic campaign against Green Party government minister Roderic O’Gorman.

DON’T ENDANGER OUR FRONT LINE WORKERS

ANTI-MASK IS ANTI – WORKER!

We can trust our healthcare workers who have risked their lives and are telling us first hand to wear a mask and follow the basic health advice. We can mind our health and criticize the government at the same time without the lies and conspiracy theories of the far-right.It is urgent that their lies are exposed and their influence is countered.The far-right have zero policies or interest in protecting civil liberties, defending workers, ending the housing crisis, improving the health system or uniting people. These are the same people that campaign against asylum seekers and refugees. They simply want to divide us and scapegoat vulnerable sections of our society which lets the government off the hook.We therefore call on all progressive organisations and individuals – trade unions and trade unionists, migrants rights organisations , anti-racists, LGBTQ+ activists, feminist activists, progressive political parties, environmental activists, housing activists – everyone who wants to defend public health and see a more just and equal country – to unite and oppose the far-right and their growth in IrelandWe in United Against Racism like to organise this rally in partnership with others and co-hosted by all organisations supporting it. For support and endorsements please email info@united-against-racism.netWe are planning to call for an organisers Zoom meeting next week 8 September 2020, 6.30PMJoin us for a peaceful, socially distant rally to give your support to our front line heroes in hospital; shops etc who are being put in danger by those who think COVID-19 is a conspiracy – not a disease.’This is will be a socially distances rally. Please wear a mask to protect yourself and others around you. Thank You!

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Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The period before and since the general election has produced a renewed interest in left unity. There have been many contributions on it from across a wide sweep of the left.
There are several direct proposals for unity, or more unity.
As a small assistance to all this I have compiled links to and extracts from most of the leading interventions, since the general election, in the new round of interest in left unity. The collection is below.
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Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020. 

Links to and extracts from selected articles, posts, podcasts and interviews.

 

1. Jacobin; Michael Taft: ‘This Month’s Elections in Ireland Are a Historic Opportunity’, 2nd January 2020

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/02/ireland-elections-fine-gael-fianna-fail

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2. Rise website: ‘Why a Combined Left Challenge in the General Election is Essential’, 6th Jabuary 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/why-a-combined-left-challenge-in-the-general-election-is-essential

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3. Paul Murphy TD, speaking at the ‘Stop the Stitch Up’ rally, Dublin 7th March 2020.

“We need to build a mass political party of the left which is open to different trends, to be organised within, and to represent working class people.”

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4. RISE website: ‘After Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, what next?’ by Diana O’Dwyer, 20th February 2020

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/after-fianna-fil-and-fine-gael-what-next

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5. From: RISE website: ‘We need a socialist government’, 7th March 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/we-need-a-socialist-government

“Build a new mass left-wing party

There is a desperate need for a mass political party of the left. Because of Sinn Féin’s acceptance of the capitalist market and its hesitancy to engage with people-power movements, it will not be that party.
None of the existing radical left parties are likely to grow directly into that mass left party either. Instead, we need a left party that is anti-capitalist, anti-coalition and anti-oppression, while being open for different groups to organise within it.
RISE and our TD, Paul Murphy, wants to work with others to build such a party. While fighting for every reform in the here and now, we are a revolutionary socialist group that sees the need to end the rule of the bosses and big corporations.”
Left Unity Needed for Socialist Green New Deal

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6. RISE website: ‘No going back, but what’s ahead’ by Cian Prendiville, 1st May 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/no-going-back-but-whats-ahead

“This new era will pose new challenges and opportunities for the socialist left.
The recent general election was a brush with fate. The fractured socialist left took blows, but kept on our feet, holding onto most of our seats. This shows that a certain base of support for socialist TDs has been built. A Sinn Fein surge squeezed our vote, and we struggled to respond in a positive and principled way. In too many places the left split its vote, costing perhaps two seats and putting a third at risk. We should learn from that, and strengthen the left for the future.RISE’s proposals for a combined left challenge are a good starting point.
The truth is, this isn’t a bad place to begin. Just before the 2008 crash, Sinn Fein had 5 Dail seats, now it is the largest party in the state. Crisis changes everything.
Back then the socialist left had no seats. Now on the cusp of another major turn, we are the ones with 5 seats. We are the ones with the ideas to change the world. A desire for a radically different and better world is growing every day.
Let’s make this the decade of that revolution.”

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7. Irish Broad Left blog: ‘Uniting the Left to fight for an ecosocialist united Ireland’ by Cian McMahon, 6th June 2020.

https://irishbroadleft.com/2020/06/06/uniting-the-left-to-fight-for-an-ecosocialist-united-ireland/?fbclid=IwAR22GKSsaXbJWoISzYkC5-m2H5MOzxXqrkF6Bp-FYTF-cZrSZ-tfteQDRWQ

oooOOOooo. Read the rest of this entry »

A New Publication from the Irish Radical Left – RISE launches Rupture

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You can pre-order RUPTURE now at http://rupture.ie

The publication is launched online on Wednesday July 29 at 8.00pm Irish Time. RISE is represented in Dáil Éireann by the Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy. More here : https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/to-all-of-them-we-say-rule-out-coalition-with-fianna-fail-and-fine-gael-sinn-fein-should-seek-to-lead-an-alternative-minority-government-interview-with-paul-mu/

What is RUPTURE?

Rupture – [ruhp-cher]
noun

  1. A revolution i.e. a break with the capitalist system, as in “A conscious working-class movement is needed to organise a rupture with capitalism”
  2. A break with the past (especially with the failed methods of the old left, the reformism of social democracy and the sectarianism that has impaired the revolutionary left).
  3. Disrupting dogma, thinking again (and admitting we don’t know everything).
  4. Ireland’s new eco-socialist quarterly produced by RISE.

From all corners of the world, the working class will respond with explosive movements. Furious worldwide protests against racist police violence are a harbinger of things to come. We face an ideologically weakened, politically fractured, and debt-burdened capitalist class that will not hesitate to devour the earth and all life on it in its pursuit of profit.

How should Marxists respond? 

A new period demands new strategy, new tactics, and new forms of organisation. We must shake off the outdated schema and rid ourselves of ineffective and anachronistic methods. While working to construct a mass revolutionary party, we must strive to be more democratically organised and organically connected to all the real movements of workers and the oppressed.

So too with our theory and analysis. While developing Marxist methods, we must broaden the terrain upon which we apply them – from capitalist social relations to the metabolic rift that capitalism has forced between nature and humanity.

Rupture is a contribution to that effort from RISE. In each issue, we aim to analyse current trends in capitalist society, explore new ideas and research to expand our understanding, and attempt to answer the question facing all revolutionaries – what is to be done in the 21st century?

https://www.letusrise.ie/rupture

Electoralism: a real and present danger for the radical left everywhere – in Ireland the Dáil SPBP bloc avoids the trap : unconditional opposition to coalition with the FFFG et al right

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A publication in India, the Radical Socialist, offers a timely warning to radical socialists in every part of the globe :

Unless the lessons of the repeated political collapses in Sri Lanka are learnt, not only Sri Lankan Marxists, but those elsewhere in South Asia, who have learned also from the achievements of the Sri Lankan Marxists, may suffer politically. There is a need to examine, not merely in terms of mid 20th century history, but in terms of today’s class struggle, why the politics of electoralism, and of alliances with bourgeois parties (under the disguise that they are petty bourgeois parties, or ‘democratic’ parties, etc) can only lead to damages for the Trotskyist forces. We urge the Fourth International leadership to take it up as a burning political and educational issue, and take firm action. Collaborating with bourgeois oppositions is hardly restricted to Sri Lanka, and serious political discussions will benefit revolutionaries in India, at least. http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/statement-radical-socialist/899-radical-socialist-statement-on-sri-lankan-elections

What is the story in Ireland?

Gaining significant electoral victories is a key achievement of the radical left in Ireland since 1997, when Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won a Dublin West Dáil seat. This electoral victory significantly helped to defeat government water charges plans promoted by the then main capitalist parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which were aided by their serial coalition partners, the Labour Party.

Ups and downs in Irish radical left electoral fortunes have occurred from 1997 to 2020. This was an open question in 1997 : could the Dublin West victory of Joe Higgins be a minor Trotskyist blip on a stable bourgeois election landscape dominated by FFFG? It turned out this was not a blip. Higgins was the first TD who openly promoted a “Women’s Right to Choose” Abortion policy. He himself and members of his party actively promoted various pro-choice campaigns. The election of numerous radical left pro-choice deputies in 2011 and 2016 eventually forced the main right wing parties to allow a referendum repealing the anti-abortion 8th constitutional amendment. The result : a landslide victory for the pro-choice movement in Ireland and abroad. Here is one report written by USA activist Sarah Jaffe : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article5823

Today there is a 5 TD SPBP radical left bloc in Dáil Éireann. Three other deputies – Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle – adopted the same anti-FFFGGG governmental policy as the SPBP bloc. This scenario was historic – it had never happened before, since the foundation of two partitioned states in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Government Coalition with the Right? : Ghastly Results Revealed

The policy of the Irish radical left on coalition with right wing parties is clearly explained here by RISE Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy :

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Left Greens in Ireland Organising Internally – and Saoirse McHugh Leaves calling for “an actual eco-socialist party”

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This is a rapidly moving story. Saoirse McHugh’s departure from the Green Party in Ireland is no surprise to readers of this blog :

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/07/11/saoirse-mchugh-is-leaving-the-irish-green-party/

McHugh signed a “Just Transition Greens” (JTG) statement which did not address a key question : rejection of coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – actively opposing the current FFFGGG government. Active Opposition to the Maradkar-Ryan coalition is the accelerating direction of travel. Saoirse McHugh signed the the JTG statement, and has left the Green party. She directly calls on the JTG to break off from the Ryan-Greens and form “an actual eco-Socialist party”.

Saoirse McHugh – “Form an actual eco-socialist party”
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“Eamon Ryan’s sleep-in 💤 wasn’t a mortal sin” – Gene Kerrigan returns us to the Dublin Government’s real world – First on the agenda : gut low-paid workers

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Reviewing a week in the so-far short life of the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green/Gombeen (FFFGGG) government readers may have missed some interesting details. Twenty mini-ministers are behaving worse than piglets at a trough. RTÉ News did not notice a connection between human events at the Dáil (Leinster House and the Convention Centre) – and piglet events at a midlands farm.

The village of Moyne in Co Longford is celebrating the arrival of 20 piglets to a first-time mother. The bumper delivery is believed to be one of the highest ever recorded in the area. https://www.rte.ie/news/leinster/2020/0718/1154128-piglets-longford/

Only 16 of the Longford piglets out of 20 can feed from the mother. Special arrangements are needed for the remaining four.

In Leinster House three piglet mini-ministers out of 20 are demanding improved feeding facilities – even though they slurp from the same source as their colleagues.

One of the Government’s immediate priorities will be to rush through legislation to ensure that each of the super-juniors will be entitled to an extra €16,288 a year on top of the junior rate. This is not a joke.

– Gene Kerrigan

16 Piglets in Longford offer ecological example to Leinster House mini-ministers (especially Greens)
Green Party Leader Éamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan’s sleep-in 💤 wasn’t a mortal sin. In another life, I spent many an hour crouched on the Dáil press gallery. It can be difficult to listen to that stuff and stay awake. Ryan was one of at least two TDs seen sleeping during Thursday’s proceedings. – Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan’s complete article, July 20 2020 :

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The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born – call the midwife – Ireland needs a new left party

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cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/the-old-world-is-dying-and-the-new-world-struggles-to-be-born-call-the-midwife-ireland-needs-a-new-left-party/

This is an excellent post from the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog.

The author is a former member of the Socialist Party, who highlights the need for an organisation which is internally democratic and is not ultimately controlled by privileged components which make all the decisive decisions – in other words a significant departure from the SWN controlled PBP and the SP controlled Solidarity.

Here is the introduction :

Thanks to Shane Faherty for allowing this to be reposted. Much appreciated. Originally posted on

Modern Distortions Culture, society and history, at the beginning of the month.

 

In keeping with the spirit of our times, on Tuesday I watched an online ‘meeting’ with Paul Murphy TD of RISE (formerly of the Socialist Party/ Solidarity) and Brid Smith TD of People Before Profit. It was a virtual version of the public meeting that most of us on the left know, but may not necessarily love.

Paul Murphy TD RISE – Leaflet, General Election, February 8 2020

Campaigners supporting Paul Murphy TD, February 8 2020 General Election

I wanted to know whether the new party being mooted was a runner and what form it would take. Paul’s organisation RISE have been making overtures to members of the Green Party who may be disillusioned with their party entering government with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. He argues that they should leave the party and, along with other groups on the left, launch a new party. Similarly, People Before Profit released a statement proposing the formation of a new left party. Another small group called Independent Left, many of whom are former PBP members, released a statement welcoming the move. The elephant in the room in all of this is that Rise and People Before Profit are part of a parliamentary grouping called Solidarity – People Before Profit. Solidarity have said nothing on all of this. Solidarity and People Before Profit operate a marriage of convenience for electoral and parliamentary purposes. Until last year, they were evenly matched electorally, with 3 TDS and just under 30 councillors each, based on significant gains made at the previous local and general elections. The local elections of 2019 reduced the numbers of councillors for each party. There were gains for Sinn Fein and the Greens, and this was an indication of things to come.

This analysis hits the nail on the head Read the rest of this entry »

Bernadette Devlin retains Mid-Ulster Westminster Seat June 1970 – June 2020 campaigns because Black Lives Matter!

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50 years ago, on June 19 1970, Bernadette Devlin, an Independent socialist candidate, retained the Mid-Ulster Westminster seat she first won in a 1969 by-election. She continued to use these impressive electoral victories as platforms for building progressive mass movements. She is still a very committed political activist.

Viva Bernadette!

Bernadette McAliskey June 2020 – Black Lives Matter!

The RTÉ report below includes one significant mistake. In North Antrim the reactionary far-right rabble-rouser Ian Paisley won the North Antrim Westminster seat for the first time, unseating the sitting Unionist MP.

Protestant Unionist Paisley won the Stormont Bannside constituency in 1969, former seat of ex-Stormont Prime Minister Terence O’Neill, a right-winger not right wing enough for the Unionist Party.

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