Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Mass Action’ Category

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

Ukraine and Palestine : “You don’t mean exactly peace talks. You mean capitulation, surrendering….That kind of conversation between the sword & the neck.”

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A correspondent, Mary Scully, explains an important difference.

Wonder why so many demand Ukraine negotiate surrender when it would be absolutely unthinkable to propose the same to Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya & amoral to pressure them to reach an accommodation with their oppressors over their human, democratic, & national liberation rights? As Ghassan says, he has never seen such talks between a colonialist power & a national liberation movement. Under a different leadership, when Palestinians did sit down & talk with Israel & the US, it ended up with the Oslo Accords legitimizing occupation & expropriation & justifying genocide. It turned the Palestinian leadership against their own people. That’s what Ghassan meant about a ‘conversation between the sword & the neck’.

Lastly, we wonder how those who demand Ukrainians negotiate the terms of their surrender to Russia feel about holding the exact same position as Henry Kissinger? Do they believe that the Dr. Strangelove of international mass murder actually has peace & the best interests of the Ukrainian people in mind? Will they ask him to speak at their lilliputian rallies against that NATO proxy war?

Above all in politics, listen to the voices of resistance & human liberation like Ghassan Kanafani & Maqbool Bhat & shout down the monsters of war like Kissinger.

“You don’t mean exactly peace talks”

A correspondent, writing for the Cedar Lounge Revolution (CLR) Blog, dismisses shallow blather in Ireland and abroad following the publication of a Sabina Coyne-Higgins letter calling for a negotiated end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The CLR author points out that little effort has been made to engage with what was actually said.

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The voters of Kansas USA Favour Abortion – Landslide Victory for the Pro- Choice Movement

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The Wizard of Oz is a brilliant movie, especially when you factor in the time it was made. From top to bottom, with the script, music, performances, …

Follow Kansas

In the state of Kansas, USA, voters have decided to make abortion legal. A referendum produced a landslide pro-choice result : 59 per cent Versus 41 per cent in favour of keeping Abortion as a constitutional right.

Pro-choice activist Mandy La Combre offers this comment from Ireland :

“Go Kansas!! 👏👏👏

profuckingchoice #AbortionIsHealthcare #abortionrights

It seems Judy Garland and the Wizard 🧙‍♀️ of Oz approve.

American blogger Clay Jones celebrates

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The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

There is a type of left argument around the war in Ukraine which has arisen in the West. It is one that condemns Putin’s invasion, but refuses to offer practical support to the people of Ukraine in resisting that invasion. It is the position one can read in Jacobin, or in statements by Chomsky, Corbyn, and the Stop the War Coalition in the UK. In Ireland we have the same type of response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from People Before Profit and the Socialist Party of Ireland.

I will use the label Evasionist Left for this approach. It’s not clear how representative this trend is internationally, as many on the left do pro-actively support the resistance in Ukraine, e.g. parties such Razem in Poland; those associated with the Fourth International like Left Bloc and the Danish Red Green Alliance; and the main left party in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/

“Providing Ukraine With Weapons is a Moral Act”

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Yuliya Yurchenko, a supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU), has posted a message written by her comrade Andrij Zinchenko.

My dear European and American friends, what you see at this image shows that providing Ukraine with weapons is a moral act.

If you do not date to unblur this picture, let me explain what is there. Remanats of a child dead after Russian missile attack in the center of my hometown – Vinnytsya. One of these hundreds of children killed by Russian and Belorusian armies.

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“The right to resist.” A manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

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“The right to resist.” is a manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

This is a Manifesto of Ukrainian feminists. Many Ukrainian feminists have come together with a common statement about their priorities. These include armed and unarmed resistance, and a reconstruction of Ukraine centred on equitable social reproduction, labour rights, equality and democracy. It was published in Commons and other online sites on Thursday July 7 2022.

You can sign at the link below.
 
The authors ask feminists, activists, and feminist collectives around the world to add their names to the document. 
 
https://commons.com.ua/en/right-resist-feminist-manifesto/
The Right to Resist

We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation. War narratives often portray women* as victims. However, in reality, women* also play a key role in resistance movements, both at the frontline and on the home front: from Algeria to Vietnam, from Syria to Palestine, from Kurdistan to Ukraine

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Poland : Access to Safe and Legal Abortion – Polish parliament debate, June 22 and 23 2022

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In Ireland – especially during the dark days of the anti-abortion 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution ((1983-2018) – women had to travel abroad to get an abortion. In Ukraine today many women raped by invading Russian soldiers flee to Poland where they cannot get an abortion. The left wing party Razem is proposing legislation in the parliament to end the abortion ban in Poland. We must extend solidarity and support.

Razem reports :

A great challenge of immediate concern in Poland is the access to safe and legal abortion. Women’s rights to decide about their own bodies have been extremely limited in our country. Under current laws, abortion is permissible only in case of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s health and life. Additionally, as a consequence of social and political pressures, doctors often refuse to perform the procedure. This directly causes the suffering and deaths of many women.

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For an Ireland Where Trans and Non-binary People are Equal Safe and Valued

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Both states in Ireland – formally independent in the South, controlled by Britain in the North – have a vile creepy history : child abuse, suppression of women’s rights, reactionary religious control of health and education. This “Carnival of Reaction” has deep strong foundations, built following the reactionary partition of Ireland in 1922. In recent decades, especially in the formally independent part of Ireland, popular rebellion has attacked the reactionary carnival – most notably when a constitutional abortion was repealed in a May 2018 referendum.

In days gone by a “Belt of the Crozier” firmly struck by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid was enough to kill Noël Browne’s 1950 Mother and Child Scheme. These days, after a tsunami of child abuse scandals and clerical criminal convictions, far-right causes such as transphobia are, at the popular level, rightly seen as a thin edge of the wedge. They remind us of dark periods we Irish experienced in the recent past.

A media outlet, the Joe Duffy RTÉ Liveline Show, have a mass audience. It is not directly associated with the religious far-right in Ireland. However, it has started to offer an often uncontested platform to government anti-feminist propaganda, targeting the publicly funded National Women’s Council of Ireland.

The broadcaster is not backing down : “I found it deeply disturbing after my 25 years of presenting here to be told that a debate on Liveline was ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks,” the presenter says, referring to a statement from the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, before adding that the censuring was “insulting” to his programme staff and, indeed, his listeners.” (Source Irish Times, June 17 2022).

A coalition Trans Equality Together led by TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), BeLonG To and LGBT Ireland was launched last week with the aim of creating an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued. Pictured: (L-R) Tiernan Arnup from AMACH! LGBT Galway, Jayson Pope, an LGBTQ+ youth activist and Matt Kennedy, of BelongTo. Picture: Julien Behal (Source Irish Examiner)

A number of human rights organizations have come together opposing the reactionary anti-trans offensive. In very measured language they state :

On 9th, 10th and 13th June, RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline show discussed matters of gender identity. Trans Equality Together, and our members, share a common concern about these episodes, and we support Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate its media partnership with RTÉ and its consultation with Trans Equality Together about this decision.

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‘Declare it to a doctor, and it’s over’: Ukrainian women face harsh reality of Poland’s abortion laws

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This article from the British Guardian Newspaper can be read here : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62437. The reporter, Weronika Strzyżyńska, advises :

Leftwing politicians recently suggested amendments to a recent bill passing through the Polish government on the reception of Ukrainian refugees, which would force prosecutors to issue the necessary documentation within a seven-day period. The proposal was rejected by the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament.

Solidarity with refugees includes allowing women to access an abortion, especially when a woman reports she has been raped by members of an invading army. Ukrainian women do not have access to this service in Poland. Pressure must be put on the Warsaw government to change itds restrictive anti-abortion laws. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine is raising this issue, in conjunction with the polish political party, Razem. Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Together https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Women turn to aid groups for help, with many unaware their rights to reproductive healthcare have vanished upon crossing the border

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