Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Mass Action’ Category

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 »

Stormont Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Rallies in Derry and Belfast – Dáil greenIights Special Criminal Court

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In Dublin Sinn Féin is the largest Dáil opposition party up against the new right-wing FFFGGG Coalition. In Belfast the same party is part of a coalition headed by the far-right Democratic Unionist Party at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland State is almost a world-leader for practicising racism, bigotry, and discrimination. The “Protestant State for a Protestant People” spent decades discriminating against a nationalist minority. That still happens, but has been scaled down. Rebellions helped – and mass struggle caused progressive legal change – for example the lifting of legal bans on abortion and gay rights. But, in 2020, this state discriminates vigorously against other minorities, especially immigrants.

Derry People Before Profit highlights Sinn Féin moving in the wrong direction on these issues :

Despite Sinn Féin’s claim to be a party interested in fundamental change – they are headed in the opposite direction.

In the North, Sinn Féin support the PSNI crackdown on Black Lives Matter rallies in Derry and Belfast. In the Stormont Assembly Sinn Féin MLAs voted with the DUP and others for Amendment 5 of the Health Regulations to approve the PSNI’s political policing of the Black Lives Matter rally including prosecution threats and fines. By backing Amendment 5 Sinn Féin voted to give the PSNI more enforcement powers even though no other incidents or events – including mass rallies of loyalists and racists to ‘protect statues’ – have been targeted by the PSNI.

Sinn Féin President and Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill

In the South, by abstaining on the vote Sinn Féin gave the greenlight to legislation empowering the Special Criminal Court. Throughout its history Sinn Féin has voted against and called for the non-jury Special Criminal Court to be abolished. They’ve now turned their back on this position.

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The struggle has moved far “Beyond Bernie” | International Socialism Project

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Mainstream USA politics is dominated by the Republican and Democratic parties, which are a Tweedledee-Tweedledum option.

An antidote for the radical left can be an erupting mass movement – a factor largely absent from the American continent for decades, but suddenly back in play since police officer Derek Chauvin choked gentle giant George Floyd to death in Minnesota.

The Black Lives Matter Movement has swept through the American continent, and detonated anti-racist protests across the globe, including Ireland.

First example : a wonderful mural in Tallaght, a working class district of Dublin, the constituency of RISE radical left TD Paul Murphy.

Annemarie Blake’s Mural Honouring George Floyd, Tallaght, Dublin

Second example : large Black Lives Matters demonstrations at the Ballsbridge American Embassy, a prosperous part of Ireland’s capital city.

Black Lives Matter Demonstration, USA Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Before the eruption of mass street-level struggle in the States, many sectors of the radical left made a valiant effort to break their isolation by critically supporting a left-wing candidate, Bernie Sanders, using the label of a Tweedledee party, the Democrats. 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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Prosecution Threats Against Black Lives Matter Protesters – Derry, Belfast June 6 2020

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Disgraceful events in Belfast and Derry – resistance is stepped up.

The originators of a statement supporting Black Lives Matter have condemned the Derry Journal for refusing to print a paid advert for the statement in today’s issue.

Dermie McClenaghan, Bernadette McAliskey, Eamonn McCann and Kate Nash, said that they were “deeply disappointed” at the paper’s decision.

They point out that the statement had already been published in full in a paid advert in the Derry News.

The signatories went on: “The statement condemned police action at the BLM protest in Derry on June 6 and was critical of some local interests which had called for the protest to be abandoned. We supported the decision of the BAME community in Derry to go ahead with the protest. We reiterate that support.

Censorship in the Six County State, Ireland

“There are two pandemics ravaging the world – Covid-19 and racism. The anti-racist demonstrations in Derry and in Belfast were meticulously arranged to meet public health requirements. In Derry, the PSNI operation – as if for a major riot – made the arrangements difficult to uphold.

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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 »

Tarlach Mac Niallais Radio Broadcast from 1984 – Gay Liberation Politics, the Partition of Ireland, Fighting Against a Carnival of Reaction

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Previous Readers of this blog know about the New York Death of Belfast Gay Liberation and Socialist Activist Tarlach Mac Niallais. Thanks to an old friend and comrade of Tarlach, Cathal Ó Ciorragáin, we can listen to a New York Radio Interview with Tarlach dated October 9 1984

The interview concludes with a ballad sung by Tarlach.

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/covid-19-has-taken-tarlach-mac-niallais-from-us-in-new-york-a-courageous-fighter-from-north-belfast-who-saved-sodomy-from-ulster/

Covid-19 restrictions Necessary – Irish Government’s Hesitation Showed Priority it Places in Profits over Lives

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No Border News (NBN) No Borders News is publishing a series of interviews about Covid 19 in many different parts of the world.

Jessy Ní Cheallaigh answers NBN’s questions about the Coronavirus Epidemic in Ireland.

Please provide a brief biography for yourself and any links to resources or websites you would like included in your interview.

My name is Jessy Ní Cheallaigh. I’m a 22 year old woman living in Ireland. I’m a socialist activist and a final year student studying Communications through the language of Irish in NUIG, Galway City. I’m a member of RISE (Radical, Internationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist) a democratic socialist political group. https://www.letusrise.ie/

Above from left: Dave Murphy; Jessy Ní Cheallaigh, Paul Murphy TD, Kay Keane and Nicole McCarthy

1. Briefly describe the state of the pandemic in your country or city. How many people are infected? How many have died? What do experts expect in the coming weeks in terms of how fast the contagion will spread.

At the current date (14/04/2020) the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland is 10,647. Death toll has reached 365 as 31 more deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. In Northern Ireland, 76 new cases have been registered and 6 more people have died from the coronavirus. The tally in the North now stands at 118 deaths and 1,882 confirmed cases. 12,529 confirmed cases on the island with a death toll of 483. Overall Ireland has made a decent effort to flatten the curve as the spread is not as rapid as it is in other countries. The government announced that there has been a “very high level of compliance” with restrictions on non-essential travel over the bank holiday weekend. However there is still concern amongst experts over the “clusters” of the virus present in nursing homes around the country with very little healthy/qualified staff to help prevent spread. As of Saturday 11 April, there have been 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Ireland. These figures however are definitely not 100% accurate as there have been problems with testing in the lack of testing kits available/bought as well as the huge backlog in test results that have yet to be processed. When testing was first opened up it was under the understanding that anyone who suspected they had the virus could be tested, when large numbers of test were coming back negative they changed it so that the only people who were referred for testing were those who had two or more of the most common symptoms of the virus or those who were high at risk (immuno-compromised/underlying conditions etc.) This resulted in over 40,000 people being taken off the waiting list who then had to reapply. Lots of reports state that some of these people still haven’t received results and that was just under a month ago.

2. What practical measures has your national government taken to respond to the crisis? Have they acted responsibly or were they unprepared? Briefly describe measures your government is taking now to contain the virus and treat people infected with Covid-19. Is there a state of emergency, are schools closed, etc.?

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Can Words Force Covid-19 Nursing Home Action? Right To Die With Dignity – Right To Work With Dignity

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The direct testimony below broadcasts the horrible reality of nursing homes. The political establishment sugar-coats the phenomenon. This helps the owners to financially, socially, and politically benefit from a sick system.
I saw my mother waste away for three years in a nursing home, and chose to see the reality. It is an an approach that focuses us on the need to fight for better alternatives for us all in the very near future.

We need a system where we all have the right to die with dignity. Workers in these institutions have a right to live with dignity. These two principles go hand in hand.

The source is the Facebook Page of Honor Heffernan – a nursing home worker courageously offers direct testimony – we must support and encourage others to do likewise – it is the only effective way to confront and solve this crisis. In Ireland “Right to Die With Dignity” Legislation is very long overdue – it is now an overdue emergency. – John Meehan

I got a call from the owner of a nursing home this week desperate and crying. All of her permanent staff were sick or in isolation and the agencies had no nurses available.

I arrived on Friday morning- supposed to be the 2nd nurse with 5 HCAs to support 24 residents. Instead what transpired was I was the only nurse with 3 HCAs as the other agency staff failed to show.

I had never been in this home before, so I didnt know the residents or how to navigate around the home.

The author continues :

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Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, our lives are more worth than their profits – Fourth International European Declaration

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The workers’ movement, and all progressive forces, have a duty to resist the Covid-19 Assault, and put forward practical proposals which will work at local, national, and international levels. The full text of a Fourth International Declaration is here : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6517 Key extracts are below.

International Viewpoint

Emergency measures

The organizations and activists of the Fourth International in Europe, together with their respective organizations, are in favour of a programme of emergency measures:

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the injection of sufficient means for the mass availability of screening kits, the multiplication of resuscitation beds and respirators. Generalization to the entire population of suitable protective masks and biologic tests is the condition for confinement lifting. Immediate support for democratically controlled production of these means and for non-commercial research for medicines and vaccines against Covid-19.

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