Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘RISE’ Category

Saoirse McHugh is leaving the Irish Green Party

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The Irish Times reports (July 11 2020) :

Meanwhile unsuccessful Green Party European Parliament candidate Saoirse McHugh has said she will vote in this month’s leadership election but she will quit afterwards, regardless of the outcome.Many of the 76 per cent who voted in favour of the “waffle fest” for government deal were pressurized into accepting by the fear of an unclear alternative.

Predicting the Greens’ membership will fall, McHugh said she does not believe people who share her views are now particularly welcome in the party.

Saoirse McHugh leaving Irish Green Party – Left Wing Opponent of FFFGGG Coalition

See also : https://tomasoflatharta.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/

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/most-fffggg-ministers-are-male-would-extra-green-party-females-at-the-top-table-improve-things/

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/open-letter-to-left-greens-what-next/

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 »

Border Poll: It’s Just Democracy – People Before Profit

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New Fianna Fáil taoiseach Mícheál Martin rejects a border poll about the partition of Ireland – People Before Profit has issued a good political statement on the issue.

The welcome statement highlights a number of issues the radical left needs to address, urgently. The looming threat of Brexit – a right-wing British Exit from the European Union – should be a wake-up call.

He has only been a week in office but already Micheál Martin has ruled out a border poll, saying that it would be ‘divisive’.

Under the provisions of the Belfast Agreement, the British government has the power to call a border poll. But with the Irish government saying they do not want one, they have got cover to refuse.

This is a disgraceful rejection of democracy.

People have every right to aspire to a United Ireland and they should be able to put their case before the people of the North – and the South. Read the rest of this entry »

Strange resurrection in Tallaght – Sinn Féin‘s Martial Arts Fighter Paddy Holohan returns to the stage after a 5 month suspension – political gobshitism in action

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Many people were startled by this news report :

Paddy Holohan suspended by Sinn Féin for remarks about women and underage girls during #ge2020 tonight nominated for Mayor of South Dublin by Sinn Féin councillors.

“Paddy Holohan

@PaddyHolohanMMA

County Council Annual General Meeting.

Honoured to be nominated in the running for Mayor of South Dublin by my sinn_fein comrades, Congratulations to the incoming mayor and a job welldone to the outgoing Mayor… https://instagram.com/p/CB5_3LFFiU3/?igshid=uy8eg795a10b

Mr Holohan made a number of racist and woman-hating statements, prompting his party leader Mary Lou McDonald to take swift disciplinary action in January 2020 :

Speaking in Bray, Co Wicklow, described the comments about women as “beyond offensive” and “very upsetting”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Open letter to left Greens: What next?

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Open letter to left Greens: What next?
— Read on www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/open-letter-what-next

Greens on FFFGGG

Yes 1435 No 457

for political suicide 76%

against political suicide 24%

Saoirse McHugh Green Party Opponent of FFFGGG

Dear left activists in the Green Party,

Over the last week, Green Party members who opposed the Programme for Government waged an impressive fight against entering a right-wing coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Unfortunately, with the assistance of an immense campaign by the media, and enormous pressure from the pro-coalition TDs, the Yes side has won. Tomorrow, Green TDs will become Ministers and begin to implement a neoliberal Programme for Government.

We appreciate that as we are not members of the Green Party, we don’t have the detailed understanding of the internal dynamics that you have. However, the decisions you make in the coming days can have a significant impact on the development of the left that we need. We therefore offer some ideas here, which hopefully you will find helpful while you discuss your next steps. Read the rest of this entry »

Abolish The Special Criminal Court – it will die if an Irish Government is not formed on June 30 – but Sinn Féin and the Labour Party are riding to rescue it!

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A deadline of June 30 2020 approaches – if a government is not formed by then, the non-jury Special Criminal Court, will die.

Paul Murphy TD has a clear policy :

Abolish the Special Criminal Court

This no-jury court has been responsible for numerous false convictions, it has no place in a democratic society. It has allowed the state to abuse its power to frame innocent people for crimes they have not committed.

It is an affront to the right to a fair trial. It is an affront to the right to be tried by a jury of your peers. It is an affront to the idea of equality before the law. It is an affront to basic civil liberties. It is an affront to human rights as a whole. There are many ways to deal with potential jury intimidation which don’t require a subversion of our fundamental democratic rights.

But, hold on – cavalry are charging to the rescue!

An update from a Cedar Lounge Revolution correspondent : “A watershed moment in Irish politics today: Sinn Fein for the first time in its history did not vote against the Offences Against the State Act and the attendant emergency powers, including the non jury Special Criminal Court. It is hard to imagine them sending a stronger signal that their house training has been completed and the state does not have to fear their involvement in government.

“With the Greens also abandoning their traditional civil liberties opposition to the OASA, the only voices against were Solidarity – People Before Profit and the SocDems. Strong speeches as you would expect from Paul Murphy (Rise) and Brid Smith (PBP). Fair play to Catherine Murphy (Soc Dems) for being the only liberal speaker to show some backbone when it comes to civil liberties.” https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/06/24/what-you-want-to-say-24-june-2020/#comment-771420

Members of the Irish Senate are on manoeuvres to the right of Leo Varadkar’s lame duck Fine Gael government.

The linked article below clarifies that if the Michael McDowell led legal challenge succeeds, the grossly undemocratic non-jury Special Criminal Court will not die on June 30 next.

It makes sense that the right-wing McDowell, a former government minister belonging to the extinguished Progressive Democrat party, takes legal action to extend the life-span and powers of the lame duck Varadkar régime. McDowell is joined by legal colleague Ivana Bacik of the Labour Party and assorted gombeens from Seanad Éireann!

Is this part of the final political epitaph of the Irish Labour Party and Sinn Féin – we saved the Special Criminal Court with Michael McDowell?

During the 1978 Sallins Train Robbery Special Criminal Court Frame Up Trial of 4 IRSP Members one of the 3 Judges constantly fell asleep. Defence counsel protests were dismissed. Then the judge died. Justice still sleeps in the Special Criminal Court in 2020.
Read the rest of this entry »

President Higgins ‘will not allow’ Dáil to disband if programme for government fails – A SFFFSDLP Government lurches across the Phoenix Park horizon in Dublin

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Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael is doing well in current opinion polls, and is threatening a fresh Irish General Election if Green Party members reject coalition with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and several right-wing gombeens.

The President Michael D Higgins is entering stage left, and is refusing to play Varadkar’s game.

President Higgins says to lame-duck Taoiseach “Good riddance Leo, at last you’re sacked”

This means Fianna Fáil, which is doing badly in opinion polls, may act in its own interest and form a coalition with Sinn Féin, trying to also attract the Social Democrats, Labour and the Greens.

We can call this the SDLP option.

FF might need to replace its leader Mícheál Martin to complete this manoeuvre.

The opinion poll data is very persuasive in a situation like this :

Paddy Healy notes :

“Irish Mail on Sunday Poll June 21
FF At Less Than Half Sinn Féin Vote!!!
FG34 SF27 FF13 GRN8 LAB4 SD3 SOL/PBP2 IND10
In Comparison with poll in Irish Mail on Sunday in May
Independents up 4%, GP up 2%, no change for SF and FG and FF slightly down. All others as it was.
In Comparison with General Election 2020
FG +13, SF +2, FF -9, Gn +1 Lab NC, SD NC, Sol/PBP-1, Ind -2” Read the rest of this entry »

American Biden-Democrat “Hostility” to Trump – Not the same as “Opposition” – A Highly Recommended Article

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At times readers of online political commentary despair going through useless drudge that can be found on the internet. But if you keep at it, watch for sources you know are usually solid and reliable, you find excellent material. This article came to the attention of the Tomás Ó Flatharta blog via an FB friend Suzi Weissman.

https://www.kpfk.org/on-air/suzi-weissman/

It is a devastating, withering, attack on the Biden-Democrat “hostility” to the Trump administration – which is not the same as opposition. A stunning catastrophe looms now in the USA as the Trump Government “opens up” this land to the Covid-19 Monster at the Door of New York. Now, more than ever, the USA radical left must look towards the November 2020 General Election, and attempt to offer a credible alternative to the Evil Biden-Trump Tweedledee Monster. Shame on Bernie Sanders. The article concludes :

Bernie’s consistent criticism falls flat these days as he loyally signs on to the party consensus while trying to push additions and improvements. AOC is a lone voice in the wilderness daring to cast the occasional no vote.

What’s left are endangered and desperate people daring to walk off the job and appealing to their peers for support. We the people are on our own and must find our own way forward without waiting for leadership that doesn’t exist. By shedding illusions to the contrary, we open up new possibilities.

Hostility Is Not Enough – Resistance is Not Futile

An internal government document circulating in the United States projects a surge in coronavirus cases and a sharp rise in daily deaths by June 1, the New York Times reported, even as President Donald Trump urged states to lift restrictions in place to quell the pandemic.

The document, based on modelling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, projects that COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, will kill 3,000 Americans a day by the end of May, the Times said on Monday, up from a current daily toll about 2,000. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/model-projects-fold-increase-coronavirus-cases-200504185028572.html

Hostility Is Not the Same As Opposition – Resistance is Needed

There is hostility, which is not the same thing.

Opposition implies a critical analysis and an alternative program, that is, an examination of what is being done wrong, why this is so, and what should change. On all three points, the loudest non-Trump voices offer confusion, distraction, and hypocrisy, not leadership around which a movement could cohere.

What is wrong? Read the rest of this entry »

Left Politics after Sanders: Think Internationally, Historically and Dialectically – New Politics

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Peter Drucker’s useful article examines radical left electoral initiatives in various parts of the world. It includes descriptions of the Left Bloc in Portugal and the Red-Green Alliance in Denmark. These are examples which should be compared with the experiences of radical left candidates in Ireland.

Drunker concludes with a plan of action leading up to the November 2020 USA General Election. He highlights the campaign of Green Eco-Socialist Candidate Howie Hawkins, rejecting lesser-evilists like Bernie Sanders, who lined up behind Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.

Howie Hawkins Campaign, USA Presidential Election November 2020

And what about the national election this November? Leftists are understandably preoccupied with stopping Trump. But Biden is a terribly weak reed to lean on in the fight against the racist far right.

Particularly in the forty-odd states where either Trump doesn’t stand a chance (California, New York, Massachusetts) or Biden doesn’t stand a chance, a vote by leftists for Biden – up to his knees in the shit of the Iraq war, the destruction of welfare, the growth of mass incarceration, the power plays of Big Pharma and more – is a wasted vote if ever there was one. Especially when there is a clear alternative – presumptive Green candidate Howie Hawkins – who is himself a long-time stalwart of the socialist left.

Given the groundswell on the left toward a critical vote for Biden, independent-minded socialists may be tempted to soft-pedal this debate. I think that would be a mistake. Of course, we shouldn’t push the debate to the point of alienating our allies in the movements. But neither should we imagine that what people do for a couple of minutes in the privacy of a polling booth is harmless.

In times of polarization like these, people and especially activists usually don’t keep their voting plans secret. Their declarations that of course they’ll vote for Biden to stop Trump help keep broad social milieus in the Democratic Party’s orbit. Even more serious, movement organizations’ success in delivering votes to Biden will be the currency for years of their quid pro quos with the Democrats: some crumbs for my base, some jobs for my staff, in return for lasting political allegiance.

For all their imperfections – notably their shallow roots in social movements – the Greens, who explicitly declared themselves anti-capitalist in 2016, offer the clearest possible rebuke to this kind of lesser-evilism. A vote for them is a small but meaningful step in the direction of the future new socialist party. So let’s take and advocate that step.
— Read on newpol.org/left-politics-after-sanders-think-internationally-historically-and-dialectically/

Extend Health and Safety Authority powers on social distancing in Irish Workplaces – The Bad Example of Keeling’s Company

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Paul Murphy TD :

If you walk more than 2km from home you face a jail sentence.

Yet companies forcing workers to work shoulder to shoulder without PPE face no inspections, no enforcement, no fines.

The Health and Safety Authority must start investigating complaints of companies breaking the Covid-19 guidelines. They should start with Keelings.

The Irish Examiner Reports :

TDs have called for extended powers for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in order to ensure social distancing in work places.

There is currently no state agency which has the statutory authority to carry out workplace inspections to ensure that appropriate physical distancing measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19 are in place.

Confusion has arisen over who would monitor sites after Rise-People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy says he was “passed from Billy to Jack” while trying to ensure that fruit producer, Keeling’s workers in Co Wexford, who have been flown in to Ireland from other states in the EU for seasonal work, could adhere to guidelines for their own safety.

The HSA has said that currently it has no powers in overseeing the Covid-19 guidelines, despite Business Minister Heather Humphreys stating in the Dáil last week that she was “talking to her officials about it”.

Previously, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the HSE would oversee such guidelines.

However, the HSE Environmental Unit has reportedly stated to Mr Murphy that it is not their role either.

Mr Murphy written to Minister Humphreys to urge the Government to reconsider the issue as a matter of urgency, as a number of worksites, including 35 “essential” public housing construction sites, have restarted work with government permission, while others expect restrictions on other construction and other workplaces will be loosened when the current run of guidelines runs out on May 5.

— Read on www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/call-for-extended-hsa-powers-on-social-distancing-996293.html

Some people may be surprised that a government headed by Fine Gael Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is unwilling to take action against the Keeling’s Company – an explanation can be found in this image :

Taoiseach Varadkar Campaigning With Owners of Keeling’s Fruit Picker Company in 2015

The Fine Gael Government was lobbied in February 2018 by Keeling’s Boss, the Chief Executive Caroline Keeling, who wants tax laws changed so that her family’s personal profits can be dramatically increased. Read the rest of this entry »