Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Mass Action Versus Militarism’ Category

Institutionalized Sectarianism in the North of Ireland – Ian Paisley, Prayers for Partition, Marching Feet in Derry

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Today’s Stormont Administration is controlled by the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by far-right religious rabble-rouser Ian Paisley. Despite the honeyed words of today’s peace process, the Northern state’s government is choked by institutionalized sectarianism. Paisley’s spiritual children will descend on Armagh City on October 21 reciting prayers for partition.

October 11 1988 – Ian Paisley heckles the “AntiChrist” Pope in the European Parliament

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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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Rayner Lysaght has passed away – Limerick Soviet Historian, a parent of modern Irish Trotskyism

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Rayner Lysaght; January 30 1941 – July 2 2021

Most readers of this site probably know the sad news that Rayner Lysaght passed away on Friday July 2 2021. He was born in Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales, on January 30 1941.

Here is a link to the death notice :

https://rip.ie/death-notice/rayner-daniel-o-connor-lysaght-killester-dublin/463010

People can add condolences, if they wish.

A wide range of people from the left and the workers’ movement have written generous personal tributes. A number of them are here https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2021/07/02/d-r-oconnor-lysaght/

People in Dublin may wish to join friends and comrades lining the route holding banners and tributes aloft. I will be bringing a Starry Plough and Fourth International banner. People might like to assist.

Rayner Lysaght was a long-standing supporter of the Fourth International, a founder-member of its Irish Section – the Revolutionary Marxist Group, in 1971 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Marxist_Group_(Ireland)?wprov=sfti1

The cremation ceremony starts at 2.00pm, so try to get to Glasnevin Cemetery at least 15 minutes before that time.

Anne Conway reports on Rayner’s life and death.

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Bombing will not go softly: on Andreas Malm’s ‘How to Blow Up a Pipeline’.

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[Guest post by Des Derwin]

I have written a long critical essay on Andreas Malm’s new ecosocialist book ‘How To Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire ’ (Verso, 2021).

It was written quite independently of Alan Thornett’s review on the Global Ecosocialist Network website, and before I had read it. It concurs with his review in almost every aspect, though his response is expressed more forcefully and briefly than mine. The exception is Alan’s enthusiasm for James Hansen’s fee and dividend proposal, which strikes me, at first glance, as less realistic than the ‘Just Transition’ demand. The paper is here:

https://www.academia.edu/45142728/Bombing_Will_Not_Go_Softly_On_Andreas_Malm_s_How_to_Blow_Up_a_Pipeline

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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Apologies and Recantations – The Strange Cases of two Elected Representatives from Ireland and England – Brian Stanley TD (Sinn Féin, Ireland) and Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour Party, England)

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We start with a tip, and two savage cartoons.

All political apologisers – such as the Sinn Féin Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley – forced to swallow and spit out his words of praise for IRA ambushes in 1920 and 1979 – do not believe any of the sentences they are forced to utter in humiliating public recantations!

Memorial Statue at Kilmichael Co. Cork, Commemorating an IRA 1920 Ambush of Black-and-Tan British Crown Forces

Nobody ever believes the recantation :

The same applies to apologies uttered under duress by former British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Steve Bell’s Cartoon, Banned by the British Guardian Newspaper
Steve Bell’s Cartoon, Banned by the British Guardian Newspaper?

Nobody believes the apologies. The effect is to censor debate on issues which ought to be publicly aired.

Every honest person knows Brian Stanley’s Kilmichael/Narrow Water Tweet about British soldiers successfully ambushed by the IRA in Ireland – Black-and-Tans (1920) and Parachute Regiment (1979) – is a public picture of his own personal opinion and the opinions of many members of his own party.

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Warning From History – In 1952 China Claimed the USA Spread Germs to Weaken the Chinese War Effort in Korea

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In 1952, China blamed the Yanks for spreading germs to weaken the Chinese war effort in the Korean War (a claim backed at the time by many experts, including my teacher Joseph Needham, an eminent Sinologist and friend of China who specialised in Chinese science). Here’s a poster from the period, with contemporary reference to the foul-breathed Trump, who spreads pestilence just by opening his vile mouth

Gregor Benton

Tariq Ali Offers Extra Evidence :

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Result of the Irish General Election February 2020 – A Muddy Field Is Reviewed

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Notes on a muddy field

Des Derwin

There is a traditional and defining dividing line in Southern Irish politics between principled left politics (revolutionary, radical and left social democratic) and opportunist betrayal, and that is willingness to enter coalition with (or to support) a government of either of the two capitalist parties, Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. The radical and marxist left, including PBP, have remained unshakable in this. Labour, the Greens and others have gone into coalition with FF or FG and administered with them not reform but austerity. For years now, and before and after this election, the radical left has kept up a barrage of calls upon Sinn Fein not to follow its new willingness, and apparent ambition, to enter coalition with FF or FG. That remains the position of PBP and the radical left.

There have been several quick left-denunciations of calls on the Irish left for a left government including (effectively led by) Sinn Fein. Here are some quick thoughts in response if not necessarily in reply (for a couple of excellent introductions to the Irish political terrain, see two articles in Jacobin magazine by Daniel Finn and Ronan Burtenshaw).

Not enough left leaning TDs (members of parliament) were elected to provide a majority for ‘a left government’ even if all conceivable forces were pressed into service. So then People Before Profit (PBP) called for a minority left government, which is harder to underpin logistically. Sinn Fein has now declared that the numbers are not there for a left government and moved on to seeking one involving Fianna Fail (necessary for a majority).

But Fianna Fail have unexpectedly maintained, after the election results, as hard a line against coalescing with Sinn Fein as Fine Gael and themselves had before it. Joining an apparent ‘stop Sinn Fein’ heave (aided by new media-manufactured scares) they are backing Sinn Fein and themselves into a corner, with the only door exiting to another election, a very unattractive option, not least for the electorate.

The idea of a left government is a government led by Sinn Fein with a Sinn Fein Taoiseach (prime minister). The (now hypothetical) prospect of actual cabinet membership by the radical left is unclear. A few things need to be considered before comparing the proposal to Millerand and entry into a capitalist government. 

There is a traditional and defining dividing line in Southern Irish politics between principled left politics (revolutionary, radical and left social democratic) and opportunist betrayal, and that is willingness to enter coalition with (or to support) a government of either of the two capitalist parties, Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. The radical and marxist left, including PBP, have remained unshakable in this. Labour, the Greens and others have gone into coalition with FF or FG and administered with them not reform but austerity. For years now, and before and after this election, the radical left has kept up a barrage of calls upon Sinn Fein not to follow its new willingness, and apparent ambition, to enter coalition with FF or FG. That remains the position of PBP and the radical left. 

While part of the radical left in Ireland (including the Socialist Party, who have just been reduced to one TD) have always characterized Sinn Fein as outside the left, as the Catholic nationalist side in a sectarian war, the bulk of the revolutionary left, including the PBP-SWP-SWN (IS) tradition, have always regarded Sinn Fein (like most people in the Irish body politic) as left wing, part of the left, often involved in class issues and campaigns. This has been accompanied by varying degrees of socialist criticism of Sinn Fein and Republicanism and the dead end it must lead to, and has led to in Stormont.  

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Gerry Adams and the Sons of former Portlaoise Prison Officer Brian Stack, Killed by the IRA in 1983

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Many of my friends may be surprised, but I think Gerry Adams is telling the truth about his encounters with the sons of Brian Stack, a Portlaoise Prison Officer killed by the IRA in 1983.

Austin Stack probably gave the names of alleged 1983 IRA killers of his father Brian Stack (a prison officer) to the Sinn Féin President, not the other way around. That explains the Gerry Adams email to Garda boss Nóirín O’Sullivan on this matter.

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Super Chairperson Joe Kelly – What is the Statement behind Your Question? A Frank Discussion About the Irish Peace Process With John Meehan and Killian Forde

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Thoughts of Chairperson Joe Kelly, April 8 1938 – December 7 2016.

Phrases that came immediately to mind :

How’s Your Love Life?”

What is the statement behind your question?”

Are there any loose people in the room?”

What’s your point?”

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” [borrowed from Emma Goldman]

Can we break up into small groups?per33

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Joe Kelly voted No to the deletion of Articles 2 and 3 from the Irish Constitution in a 1998 Referendum, a very unopular decision – only 5 per cent of the voters wanted to keep these Articles.

Joe was very troubled about this and discussed it often with me.  Being the man he was, he organised a broadcast radio discussion between me and a then Sinn Féin member of Dublin City Council Killian Forde.

Here is a transcript :  Read the rest of this entry »