Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘People Before Profit’ Category

Irish Far-Right Threatens Dublin Mid-West TD Gino Kenny (People Before Profit)

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This story was published in the Irish Examiner newspaper.

Gino Kenny says he 'will not be intimidated' by far-right threats to his home
Gino Kenny TD; Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Gino Kenny says he ‘will not be intimidated’ by far-right threats to his home

PAUL HOSFORD, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, Irish Examiner, January 17 2023

The Dublin Mid-West TD says he has received threats after he joined a counter-demonstration at a temporary centre for asylum seekers in Clondalkin.

The far-right has been targeting me and my family,’ says People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny says he “will not be intimidated” by members of Ireland’s far-right who have threatened to come to his home.

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Irish Left Archive Podcast Number 44: Vincent Doherty: Official Sinn Féin, International Marxist Group, Troops Out, People’s Democracy, H-Block Committee, Sinn Féin – reblogged from The Cedar Lounge Revolution

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I first met Vincent Doherty in the late 1970’s via People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. Since then we travelled on different political paths, while remaining on very good personal terms. In 2022 Vincent and me – along with a group of left-wing activists who come from different but complementary streams of the Irish Left – have been working actively together in the Irish Left With Ukraine organization.

The comrades who publish the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog come from a stream of the Irish Left which is different from Vincent Doherty and me. But we converge politically in 2022 on a very decisive issue – the genocidal imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On the left nothing stands still. There is a strong mistaken current dominant of the Irish Marxist left which does “what if” interpretations of historical events. This interview avoids that approach. It is much better to accept the past, warts and all. We cannot change the past, but we can with 20-20 vision learn from our history. We can apply that knowledge to the present day and the immediate future – which we can influence.

Rayner Lysaght Tribute – Irish Labour History Society Event

Rayner Lysaght RIP (January 30 1941 – July 2 2021) was a close comrade of Vincent and me for many years in People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. The Irish Labour History Society staged a commemorative tribute in honour of Rayner on May 14 2021. I delivered the speech below, which also deals with some of the events described by Vincent Doherty.

John Meehan January 2 2023

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Einde O’Callaghan’s Tribute to John Molyneux; Helena Sheehan Describes a Funeral in Dublin

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Einde O’Callaghan, who is one of the administrators of the Marxists International Archive has already created a rudimentary archive for John Molyneux’s writings, which will be added to regularly over the coming weeks and months.

Source : https://www.theleftberlin.com/john-molyneux-1948-2022/

I was shocked and dismayed to hear last Sunday morning that my friend and comrade, the socialist activist and Marxist theoretician John Molyneux, had died of a heart attack the previous afternoon. It was all the more poignant because on that Saturday I had had an email exchange with John, something that we had increasingly done over recent years.

John was one of that generation of socialist activists that had been aroused by the events of 1968 in London and Paris, In an interview for a recently published book called “We Fought the Law” John graphically described how he had been both shocked and radicalised by the confrontation with the police in Grosvenor Square outside the American Embassy during the massive demonstration against the Vietnam War in March 1968. Another formative event was a visit to France during May 1968. Shortly afterwards he became a revolutionary socialist and joined the International Socialists, a commitment that he maintained until his death last weekend.

Within the IS and its successor the Socialist Workers Party, John quickly established himself as a significant theoretician. His first major work was Marxism and the Party, a study of the Marxist tradition of revolutionary organisation from Marx and Engels through Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and Gramsci. The book emphasised the necessity of a democratically organised activist interventionist party rooted in the working class to prepare for the overthrow of capitalism and lay the basis for socialism.

John not only produced major theoretical works such as What Is the Real Marxist Tradition? and Is Marxism Deterministic? but also a huge amount of material aimed at providing a basic introduction to Marxist ideas in the form of regular newspaper columns in British and later Irish Socialist Worker. These articles also appeared in a number of papers associated with the International Socialist Tendency. Many of them were reproduced as popular pamphlets such as The Future Socialist Society, Arguments for Revolutionary Socialism and “Is Human Nature a Barrier to Socialism?”.

However, John wasn’t just a populariser of a Marxist orthodoxy, he was also prepared to raise awkward questions that sometimes brought him into conflict with many members of his own organisation. A case in point was his second major theoretical work, “Leon Trotsky’s Theory of Revolution”. John was a great admirer of Trotsky, but in this work he raised serious questions about some of Trotsky’s weaknesses, such as his tendency to make sweeping predictions about future developments – some of these resulted in powerful and valuable analyses such as his treatment of the rise of fascism and the fate of the Spanish Revolution, but after his death his predictions about the outcome of World War II led to serious disorientation of many of his followers in the post-war period.

Other bones of contention were his orientation during a major debate in the SWP about women’s oppression and the nature of democracy in a revolutionary organisation. But despite such differences John remained a committed and loyal member of his organisation.

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Solidarity With Palestine, Solidarity With Ukraine – Sotsialniy Rukh (Ukraine) Compared With People Before Profit (Ireland)

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist

Sotsialniy Rukh Statement on Palestine and Ukraine (in English and Ukrainian)

📣 November 29 since 1978 has been celebrated as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. For 44 years, the world officially talks about the Palestinian tragedy that has no end.

This day reminds us of Palestine’s ongoing struggle for life and freedom. Despite condemnation of Israel’s policy, which leading human rights organizations say fits the crime of apartheid under the Roman Statute, the de facto Palestinians and Palestinians still have neither protection nor independence. Their homes are being taken, cities bombed, and their lives are totally in vain.

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The War in Ukraine – How Should Socialists Respond?

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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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Imperialism Today : Victory to Ukraine, Defeat for Russia – Responses to Paul Murphy TD

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In an article of 19 September 2022, Paul Murphy, an Irish TD and member of RISE, offered an analysis that attempted to bridge the position between those supporting Ukraine’s right to resist the invasion and those in the west who see NATO, not Putin, as the main enemy here. See https://rupture.ie/articles/imperialism-today?fbclid=IwAR0w3tMJhsTnHFO-FHlJ3j-RC7H-pkG3NaTno2w92aT0ThTNckw1jYIyagg.

There are several problems with this analysis, which places itself within a camp accurately described by Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU) activist Conor Kostick as “Left Evasionist” See https://independentleft.ie/ukraine-evasions/

We offer two immediate responses. The first is from Conor Kostick :

Both Anti-Imperialist and Inter-Imperialist?

Paul Murphy’s conclusion was :

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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

“Monarchy is steeped in the crimes of British colonialism and imperialism” – Statement Issued by PBP Belfast Councillor Matt Collins

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Vincent Doherty reports :

Hear,hear comrades. I remember being at the front of a banned march in Derry in 1977 to mark the Queens visit. Some of those who organised and took part in the march are the same people in Stormont now fawing over the late monarch. Shame on them, shame, shame, shame!

Vincent Doherty

PBP COUNCILLORS STATEMENT ON MONARCHY CORONATION

Today, Belfast City Council will meet for a special meeting to pay tribute to the Queen and welcome the coronation of a new King.

People Before Profit will not participate in these tributes. As a socialist organisation, we view celebration of the monarchy as an inherently political act.

There is no lack of sympathy on our part for any individual who dies, and we are not without respect for those who wish to mourn at this time.

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A Strange Policy is Reviewed – Support Ukraine’s Resistance Against an Imperialist Russian Invasion “Politically” – But Oppose Giving Arms to the Resisters – A Critique of Irish Left Evasionism

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International solidarity between socialists and anarchists in Ukraine and Ireland is growing. We are united in a desire to see Russia defeated, which will be a blow to the right everywhere. We are equally united in our opposition to Western imperialism and the global capitalists circling Ukraine ready to exploit the country after the war.

One of the disappointing developments of the war is that so many socialists in the West have failed to offer such solidarity. The group we are most familiar with is People Before Profit, and analysing the think piece published in August 2022 by John Molyneux explains why. We offer this critique of John’s article in the hope that there are members of People Before Profit who can save it from its current convergence with the ‘campists’. We hope this can happen in time to make a difference to the growth of practical solidarity between Irish and Ukrainian socialists.

 

Molyneux’s essay begins with an attempt to categorise the debates among the left into three positions:

1. the ‘campists’ in favour of a Russian victory, 

2. those who are for a Ukrainian victory without reservations about NATO and western imperialism, and

3. those who are neither for a Russian victory nor for one for Western imperialism (‘neutrality’)

 

This schema has been derived by working backwards from John’s understandable desire to portray People Before Profit as fundamentally different to the campists, while doubling down on their criticisms of the Ukrainian resistance. For a supposed Marxist analysis it has a deep and irreperable flaw: it has sprung from the head of its author and not from the reality of the situation. Frankly, the left doesn’t have time to ignore reality in this way any more.

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