Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Cost of Living Coalition March in Dublin, September 24 2022 – How Big Was The Crowd? The Irish Times Estimate was 3000!

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In the company of Des Derwin and many others I walked from Parnell Square to Merrion Square in the Cost of Living Coalition Dublin march on Saturday September 24 2022. Exhausting!

I helped Des and other comrades carry the Dublin Council of Trade Unions banner. An Irish Times report claimed 3000 people were with us – I was flabbergasted! 😕! It seemed like a lot more people were on the Dublin streets that day.

John Meehan, September 29 2022


Des Derwin investigates :

Physician, Heal Thyself. The back page of this morning’s ‘Irish Times’ is almost completely given over to an advertisement for Specsavers.

Finbar Geaney and Des Derwin carrying the Dublin Council of Trade Unions Banner

On page two the paper carries a report of the Cost of Living Coalition march on Saturday (24th September). Grand, and such reports are by no means guaranteed in that newspaper these days. The print report doubles down on its original online piece ‘estimating’ 3,000. The experts are wheeled in: “Use of the online crowd calculator Map-Checking gave an estimate for the crowd of about 3,000 people…” The caption to the photograph repeats the 3,000 people ‘estimate’, just in case, I presume, any reader might get the impression that the peasants were actually stirring. I think the ‘Times’ might benefit from a trip to Specsavers themselves, or at least a trip out to ‘the field’ to count the marchers passing within yards of their office, or even to view some of the videos and photographs of the event.

Maybe it wasn’t 20,000. Who came up with that anyway? Maybe it was half that. (One video based calculation on Twitter comes out at c.16,000). But 3,000?! That byline will become a byword.

Des Derwin September 29 2022


It’s a sunday and I like maths so I thought I would get an actual estimate of the Cost of Living march yesterday, and disprove figures given by the Irish Times. (the latter was actually very easy!)

Darragh’s Twitter Page https://twitter.com/Taiwo_Oifigiuil/status/1574031121792520193?t=Ve3zSg_rEgmTrvpaBqw-1g&s=19&fbclid=IwAR2BBhaDfZk8JAUWjT74eu-OiwdV4_JOMfeG8wReH8BSusspc8FQy_RU9j8

with the width of one side of O’Connell street (8.8m excluding paths), and a very conservative estimate of 2.6 people per sqm this gives 16,085 people. Adding other numbers discussed gives an absolute minimum of 16,710 The 20,000 estimated by the organisers is more than possible

Perhaps the Irish Times should add Darragh to its list of reporters?

Protests Spanning Decades – 1969 – 2018 – 2022 : Take Back the City : Cost of Living Coalition Demonstration, Saturday September 24 2022, Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin, 2.30pm

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Des Derwin Michael Taft and Mick O’Reilly squatting on O’Connell Bridge, at a protest supported by Dublin Council of Trade Unions about the Housing Crisis in Ireland – Friday September 23 2018.

Three comrades on a Dublin Bridge : Des Derwin, Michael Taft, Mick O’Reilly

On Saturday September 24 2022 the same people, the same Trade Union organisation, will be at a Dublin Cost of Living Coalition demonstration in Dublin.

From Michael Taft : “A Protest Spanning Decades” :

Des Derwin and I sat down at today’s Take Back The City protest on O’Connell Bridge on the very same spot that Mick O’Reilly sat down in January 1969 when he was participating in a sit-down protest with the Dublin Housing Action Committee. The issue then, as now, was homelessness and housing need.

And we will continue to protest – Des, Mick and myself along with thousands of others – until the Government acts on the most important social issue of the day.”

One of many media reports – this is from Hot Press, one of Ireland’s leading rock music and culture magazines

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“Thousands Expected at People-Power Protest in Dublin over the Cost of Living” – Interview with Eddie Conlon

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Des Derwin reports :

Something good, as well as Gene Kerrigan, in the ‘Sunday Independent’:

Sunday Independent interviews Eddie Conlon, Cost of Living Coalition and PBP activist

‘A ‘people power’ movement hopes to see thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Dublin next weekend, in protest over the spiralling cost of living.

The number of rallies has increased around the country in recent weeks — but next Saturday’s planned demonstration is expected to be by far the largest.

Organised by the Cost of Living Coalition, which is supported by over 30 national organisations, it is sending a clear message to the Government: people cannot afford looming energy bills, and should not be forced to pay them.

The coalition was set up in March by Eddie Conlon, TU Dublin (formerly DIT) sociology lecturer and a long-time activist for People Before Profit.

The Crumlin native was previously involved in the anti-nuclear movement.
“I’ve been politically active since the 1970s, but I’ve never seen such unity in any campaign as this one,” he said.
“It has support from so many organisations and from every generation. This is a huge issue in society. People are frightened. People are worried about the bills that are due to arrive.”

In the UK, a movement called ‘Don’t Pay’ has urged people to cancel their gas and electricity direct-debits from October 1, with over one million people already pledging support. Is the Cost of Living Coalition poised to make the same call to people living in Ireland?
“The coalition is not at this point calling on people not to pay.
“But the reality is that some people just won’t be able to pay these bills. What we need from government is a clear ban on people being cut off for not paying a bills if they cannot afford it,” he added.

The coalition is supported by People Before Profit, with TD Paul Murphy recently throwing his weight behind it.
Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats are backing the movement, as are the Union of Students Ireland (USI) and the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, among many others.

“As people prepare to turn on their heating in the coming weeks, the cost of energy is about to become more critical than ever,” said Conlon.
“This is about people power. It’s about people coming together to say ‘enough is enough’. We expect thousands of people at the demonstration next weekend.

“I think, since Covid, people have really started to see the cracks in our society and need their voices to be heard.”

The extremist far-right in Ireland have recently tried to associate themselves with the Cost of Living Coalition, making occasional appearances at rallies.

“They have nothing to do with us,” Mr Conlon said. “We have nothing to do with the far-right. We are about unity. What they do is seek to divide people.
“People want to be able to lead a decent life and have their basic needs met without having to pay through the nose for it. The premise of this coalition is to give ordinary people the opportunity to say, ‘we can’t put up with this.’”

They’ll sit in the cold themselves — but they won’t do that when they’re minding the grandkids’

Sue Shaw, CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, a member of the coalition, said she has “no doubt” that “momentum is building” around how unaffordable energy bills are becoming. She said older people are particularly worried about the cost of heating their homes in the coming months.

“Two-thirds of older people in this country are solely reliant on the pension. Over the past two years, we have already seen heating oil, coal and turf increase by 137pc.

“The Government is trying to pitch old against young during this situation. But we have decided to all come together in this coalition.

“The accommodation crisis is impacting younger generations more — students in particular, and people who can’t afford to buy their own homes because of high rents. This coalition is about bringing every generation together and being united in saying: ‘We will not put up with this.’”

Ms Shaw said her organisation has already begun to receive calls from worried older people, who have been buying warmer duvets in preparation for the winter, in the hope it will reduce the need to switch on the heat.

Others talk about plans to spend large parts of their days in the coming months in public libraries, as these facilities turn on the heating.

“The anxiety is building. Some older people who mind their grandchildren, because their own children can’t afford childcare, are worried about their bills. They’ll sit in the cold themselves — but they won’t do that when they’re minding the grandkids.”
Ms Shaw advised the Government to “start listening” to the public mood.

“The coalition is not right now advocating people should not pay their bills. But if people don’t have the money, what can they do?

“Older people might be retired — but let’s not forget how much we contribute to society. As well as childcare for their families, older people make up a huge part of our voluntary sector.

“And of course, the Government should also remember that older people are the generation who vote.”
Both Ms Shaw and Mr Conlon criticised “profiteering” by energy giants, who they say are making millions in the midst of this crisis.

“We need price controls on energy. There is major profiteering going on. The ESB are making a lot of money right now,” Mr Conlon said. “There needs to be taxes on the energy companies. The Government just need to start listening to the people. Because the people must be heard.”

The coalition’s protest is due to get underway in Parnell Square, Dublin, at 2.30 pm next Saturday.’


End of article. Note I’ve corrected the time for the march which the Sindo got slightly wrong – Des Derwin

Support Ukrainian Resistance and Disempower Fossil Capital

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Several left-wing authors co-operate here arguing for support to Ukrainian Resistance against the Russian imperialist invasion. The authors come from several different parts of Europe.

This is the source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63931

Thursday 18 August 2022, by BUDRAITSKIS Ilya, DUTCHAK Oksana, ETZBACH Harald, GEHRKE Bernd, GELINSKY Eva, HÜRTGEN Renate, KOWALEWSKI Zbigniew Marcin , LOMONOSOVA Nataliia, PEREKHODA Hanna, PILASH Denis, POPOVYCH Zakhar, SCHMID Philipp, WÄLZ Christoph, WIELGOSZ Przemysław, ZELLER Christian

Similar debates are occurring on the left in Ireland : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/08/22/a-strange-policy-is-reviewed-support-ukraines-resistance-against-an-imperialist-russian-invasion-politically-but-oppose-giving-arms-to-the-resisters-a-critique-of-iri/

On June 9, Heino Berg, Thies Gleiss, Jakob Schäfer, Matthias Schindler, Winfried Wolf published a detailed statement in Junge Welt in which they advocated an “anti-militarist defeatism” and the abandonment of Ukraine’s military resistance to the Russian war of occupation. [1] We take her article as an opportunity for a fundamental response about a necessary anti-imperialist ecosocialist perspective committed to global solidarity. We are appalled at the way they bend the reality of war in this article and ultimately argue in favor of Putin’s oligarch regime. Paternalistically, they recommend that the Ukrainian population submit to Russian occupation in order to end the war. The authors make not the slightest reference to socialist, feminist, and anarchist forces in Ukraine and Russia. They argue from a distinctly German perspective. They are not alone in this. Many statements of the old peace movement turn against the “escalation of the West” and “forget” that Russia has already escalated long ago and wants to systematically destroy Ukrainian society. The statement of the five authors ignores anti-imperialist solidarity to such an extent that we consider it appropriate to set our arguments against it.

Reversal of Responsibility

The statement of the authors reads like many contributions from the old peace movement and a one-sided sham anti-imperialist left. Of course, at the beginning of the text they condemn the invasion of Ukraine “without any reservation or relativization.” But afterwards they do exactly that: they relativize the aggression of the Putin oligarchy. Under the title “No Interest in Ceasefire,” they explain in detail why NATO is much worse than Russia and that the West, first and foremost the U.S., does not want an early ceasefire but is primarily using the Ukrainian battlefield to weaken Russia.

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“The biggest and most destructive war in Europe since the Second World War. A war waged for more than four months against Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe, by Putin’s Russia, the largest country in Europe!” – Demands that the left should put forward

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The author of this report is Stefan Bekier, a former left opposition activist in Poland against the dictatorship of the “Communist” Party and an activist of Ensemble! in France https://fourth.international/fr/europe/88.

Source : https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63883

See also : https://blogs.mediapart.fr/stefan-bekier/blog/070922/la-gauche-en-france-doit-sortir-de-son-silence-sur-la-guerre-en-ukraine

The majority of the left in France – we’ll leave aside the sectors that openly support Putin – condemns this war of aggression by Russian imperialism, demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. But at the same time, it remains paralysed and voiceless, abandoning the field of defence of Ukraine to Macron, to the bourgeoisie.

A deafening, shocking silence

Presidential and parliamentary elections are traditionally the moment when strategic priorities are debated and compared, including those concerning the international situation. But, for most of the left in France, it is clear that Putin’s Russian war against Ukraine was not part of its strategic priorities during these elections. Probably, to avoid the very important divergences on this issue between the different components of the left-wing coalition Nupes from coming to light during the election campaign and weakening the very promising new alliance. In particular, in relation to the very controversial positions of part of the left on Ukraine and Russia since the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbass in 2014. So much so that during the elections the subject practically disappeared within the left

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“Don’t exaggerate the influence of Russian propaganda” Ukrainian socialist Taras Bilous serves in the military – and right from there he fights the stereotypes of the Western left about Ukraine (and Russia). We spoke to him

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Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF) http://www.europe-solidaire.org/ has published and translated an exceptionally good interview about Ukraine :

Taras Bilous is a Ukrainian socialist, editor of the left-wing intellectual magazine Spilne and an activist in the Social Movement. Bilous has been serving in Ukraine’s territorial defence forces since early March. And in his spare time, he engages in lively polemics with Western left-wing activists, intellectuals and politicians on Twitter and in the most authoritative left-wing publications about the need for solidarity with Ukraine. “Meduza spoke with Taras Bilous about where foreign stereotypes about Russia and Ukraine come from and what can be done about them.

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63762&fbclid=IwAR3aCeR6YPuBIZBTWwUkxBZe9RMegOD1pYePv2CQ_IPm5nt4nVMF_clzobQ

See also : https://commons.com.ua/en/


In Russia there is rather little knowledge about the inner workings of Ukrainian politics, it is usually discussed only in the context of “pro-Russian – pro-Western”. Please explain what place you and Social Movement have in it.

We should start with the fact that in Ukraine, as in Russia, there are systemic and non-systemic politics.

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Britain – “The War on Woke”

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Attacks on trans people are an international phenomenon in the 2020’s. The article below examines these bizarre and dangerous politics in Britain, where they have featured in the grisly Conservative party contest to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Predicted winner Liz Truss is likely to promote a couple of transphobes to high-level Cabinet posts. These developments are likely to encourage transphobes in Ireland who recently got a boost on RTÉ Radio 1 presenter Joe Duffy’s live phone-in programme.

The source of this article is the British revolutionary socialist publication Anti-Capitalist Resistance. https://anticapitalistresistance.org/the-war-on-woke/

roland rance details the latest goings-on in the anti-trans moral panic, placing Kathleen Stock’s appalling attacks on trans people, their defenders and families, in the context of reactionary attempts to divide liberatory struggles.

When examined, the moral panic about trans people never survives surface scrutiny. To pick a recent example, when transphobic academic Kathleen Stock resigned last year from her post at Sussex University, it was widely misreported that she had been sacked for her views. This was then used to smear supporters of trans rights and opponents of bigotry as “censors”, and Stock was misleadingly compared to academics who had been fired from their jobs because of their support for Palestinian rights. Unfortunately, this sleight of hand was echoed by some on the left, who mistakenly accepted this comparison, and expressed solidarity with Stock on that basis.

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Ukraine: Under the cover of Putin’s war, Zelensky tears up workers’ rights

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The first article here comes from the Green Left Weekly (Australia) a supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU), which has also issued a statement about new anti-worker laws ratified by the Kyiv government. (see statement below). https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Sources :

1. https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/ukraine-under-cover-war-zelensky-tears-workers-rights?fbclid=IwAR04iwJ3n1A6-t8VFiq7Tz94_8dWCNn4m4jBqmoQIVqIYR-tWLBVijx-tEg

2. https://www.change.org/p/demand-president-zelenskyy-veto-anti-worker-law-5371/u/30858652

Almost a month after Ukraine’s parliament adopted two anti-worker bills, President Volodymyr Zelensky finally ratified Draft Law 5371 on August 17, thereby removing union rights for most of the country’s workers.

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Ukraine: To undermine NATO retrenchment, the left must fight to win the peace – Ali Khan writes from Berlin

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Ali Khan offers a provocation for supporting Ukraine’s military effort

Sources : https://www.theleftberlin.com/provocation-reflections-on-ukraine-and-nato/. and http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63745

Today’s radical left has long recognised only one foe, that which Ayatollah Khomeini aptly titled “The Great Satan” – namely the USA. Little attention was paid lately to about “The Lesser Satan” – or Russia. For over 30 years after the fall of the USSR, we only imagined a single imperialist actor on the world stage. But 179 days ago we were reminded of the presence of another imperialist contender with full force. For too many, memories of the World War I collaboration of Social Democratic parties and the labour movement linger. The depressing jingoism of Western Europe and the USA prevents us from assessing a moral and rational response to the situation. As useful as historical parallels are, when we face a situation with almost no convenient parallel, at least none that are readily accessible and understandable to a population at large, we face a most difficult intellectual challenge. Let us not be fazed.

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Ireland Fought for Freedom against an Empire – Now we on the Irish Left Support Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom – Leaflet Published by Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU)

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The ILWU is a new solidarity organization based on the following points of agreement :

Basic Principles :

◦ Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now

◦ Refugees Welcome Here

◦ Self-Determination for the Ukrainian People

◦ Neither Moscow nor Washington

The ILWU supports the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU) https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

This is the first public leaflet issued by the ILWU. A Ukrainian translation follows the English text.

Ireland Fought for Freedom against an Empire – Now we on the Irish Left Support Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom


We are a group of trade unionists, socialists and anarchists who want to express our full support to you and help you organise to obtain all your rights while you are in Ireland.

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