Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘People Before Profit’ Category

Socialists and Coalition with Sinn Féin – Colm Breathnach, Independent Left

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Colm Breatnach makes an important contribution here

SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

Sinn Féin Oireachtas and Stormont Members on the steps of Leinster House, Kildare Street

Is a Sinn Féin controlled left government in the 26 County bit of Ireland possible or likely? Right now, a general election electing the next Dáil can be delayed until February 2025. The current FFFGGG coalition (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens and Gombeens) has a comfortable majority and will not voluntarily cut and run – unless it is forced to change course. Reliable opinion surveys show that, if a general election was held soon Sinn Féin is likely to increase its number of Dáil seats – but the current government would retain a majority. There is more detail on this important “technicality” in a note at the end of this article. John Meehan May 11 2022


SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

The experience of Syriza, Greece warns against coalition with Sinn Féin

As the likelihood of a Sinn Féin led government grows, the prospect that the government might include radical left parties as coalition partners looms. But should socialists take up roles in government in coalition with Sinn Féin? Are there circumstances where this might prove to be necessary? Obligatory even? Now is the time to debate this issue, rather than being rushed into hastily made post-election decisions that could have a disastrous effect for the left in Ireland.

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Evasions on the Left Over Ukraine – Conor Kostick, Independent Left (Ireland)

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This is a strongly recommended article. The author is an experienced anti-war activist, an Irish historian and writer living in Dublin. He is the author of many works of history and fiction.. For more information read the information at this link : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conor_Kostick?wprov=sfti1. https://www.leftarchive.ie/people/2778/ Some of Conor’s political writings are here : https://www.leftarchive.ie/people/2778/

Wars are not light topics that can be dispensed of with simple formulas. I, for one, cannot imagine how the success of Russia would further the cause of democracy and socialism around the world. If you do, then say so, openly, so it can be debated in public. But don’t falsify tradition and history and hide behind pathetic slogans. To paraphrase Marx, we Marxists disdain to conceal our views and aims.

John Ganz, Ben Burgis’s Bad History: Jacobin’s anti-Jacobins

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.

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Fighting for Self-Determination – Yuliya Yurchenko explains “For Ukrainians it’s an existential fight. Our country’s identity, territorial boundaries, and our very existence is under attack right now”

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Introduction

Ukraine is fighting a war of liberation against a Russian Ethnic Cleanser state led by a violent far-right imperialist Vladimir Putin. All related issues are discussed in the interview below.

Spectre‘s Ashley Smith talked to Yuliya Yurchenko, author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict (Pluto, 2018). She is a Lecturer in International Business and Researcher at the Public Services International Research Unit, the Centre for Business Network Analysis, and the Political Research Centre at the University of Greenwich.

Material like this is urgently required reading for anti-war activists in Ireland and elsewhere who are in love with the word BUT. “Ukrainians have the right to wage armed struggle” BUT “Oppose Sending NATO Arms to the Ukrainian Resistance – and its right-wing government”. History Lessons are easily unlearned – leading up to the Irish Easter 1916 Rising James Connolly’s left-wing Irish Citizens’ Army proudly promoted a banner : “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”. Many of the guns used in the 1916 Rising were supplied by German Imperialism.

The Butistas talk as much as possible about right-wing characteristics of the Zelensky Government, throwing in wild exaggerations – and say next to nothing about the far more powerful far-right government of Vladimir Putin : promoter of sinister politicians like French Presidential contender Marine Le Pen.

In Dáil Éireann recently Sinn Féin and Labour Leaders Mary-Lou McDonald and Ivana Bacik called for the expulsion from Ireland of Russian Ambassador Yuri Filatov. The right-wing NATO friendly Dublin government vigorously opposed this call. Radical socialist TD’s made no public comment on this proposal, which is gaining some left wing trade union support. John Meehan April 22 2022

What are conditions like for people in Ukraine now amidst this war? What is the state of the military and civilian resistance to Russia’s invasion?

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We Are All Ukrainians Today – Everywhere on this Earth : Left Wing Parties, Progressive Social Movements, Labour Movement Activists Oppose the Barbaric Russian Invasion of Ukraine

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A new mass international anti-war movement is emerging in 2022. There is one test :

Demand : Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now!

Remain up-to-date by visiting this site :

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/

Michael Taaffe, SIPTU Trade Union Researcher, Dublin : “At times, the debate over the Russian invasion of Ukraine reaches the bottom of the rhetorical barrel. Some commentators portray an informed and intelligent discussion as an apology for one side or the other. If you criticise NATO policy over the last two decades, you are a tool of Putin. If you criticise Putin, you accept the many US-led abuses. It is reminiscent of Albert Camus’ observation: when I criticise Franco, I’m called a communist; when I criticise the invasion of Hungary, I’m called a stooge of Western powers”. https://notesonthefront.typepad.com/politicaleconomy/

In this spirit we continue to reproduce and report on solidarity actions and statements. The first comes from Die Linke (The Left) in Germany, which is represented in that country’s parliament the Bundestag with 39 seats. .https://www.bundestag.de/en/parliament/plenary/distributionofseats This war is producing seismic changes on the international left. Some, like Die Linke, have origins in the old pre-1990 communist parties of Eastern Europe – but have shifted to to the left, confronted with the criminal 2022 Russian imperialist assault on Ukraine.

Die Linke Statement :

DIE LINKE strongly condemns attack on Ukraine, Russia must immediately cease hostilities!

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Paul Murphy TD Message : Immediate Withdrawal of Russian Troops from Ukraine; Anti-War Protest, Dáil Éireann, February 24, 5.30pm

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Paul Murphy TD Tweeted Message https://twitter.com/paulmurphy_TD/status/1496770211176804352

Solidarity with the people in Ukraine. Join the @IrishAntiWarMvt protest at 5.30pm today.

Demand an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops.

Oppose any NATO escalation in response which will just threaten an even bloodier conflict.

New Message from former leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn :

Russia’s shocking invasion of Ukraine will inevitably lead to more fear, misery and death. It is a frightening escalation of the ongoing crisis.

Russia must withdraw its troops and return to diplomacy. If it does not, dark days are ahead for Ukraine, Russia and all of Europe.

The next Irish Anti-War Protest needs to take place outside the Russian Embassy

John Meehan February 24 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine : Richard Boyd-Barrett TD (People Before Profit) 1. Mick Wallace MEP 0. Dissolve NATO – Russian Troops out of Ukraine

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Left wing anti-war activists and public representatives need to actively oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the eastern military expansion of NATO. Credible news reports indicate that Richard Boyd-Barrett TD (Dún Laoghaire) passes this test. Two Irish members of the European Parliament fail the same test : Mick Wallace (Ireland South) and Clare Daly (Dublin), who is associated with Independents for Change. The Irish Times (February 23) reports :


In a social media post after Russian president Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine on Monday, Mr Wallace claimed that “only a full scale war between Russia and Ukraine would satisfy Nato”.

“The people of Europe must campaign for the abolition of Nato – it has nothing good to offer anyone that prefers peace to war,” wrote Mr Wallace, who voted against a European Parliament motion to offer €1.2 billion in loans to Ukraine.

Irish Tines, Wednesday February 23 2022

The same report quotes Richard Boyd-Barrett

Inflame
Condemning Russian “incursions”, he said they should not “be used as an excuse for Ireland to line itself up with Nato or to give succour to the idea that military action by the West” can help.
Russia needs “to be condemned and condemned roundly”, Mr Boyd Barrett said, but “we need not to be one-sided in this and recognise that the expansion of Nato into eastern Europe has also helped inflame this extremely dangerous situation.
Ireland has said nothing about Nato’s “game-playing of expanding into eastern Europe and potentially inflaming this extremely dangerous conflict”, he added.

Hopefully the Irish Independents for Change network will clarify it’s position, and clearly distance itself from the statements issued by Mick Wallace and Clare Daly.

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Russian Imperialist Dictator Vladimir Putin Denounces “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Ukraine” – Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now!

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Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was the first leader of the Bolshevik Russian Soviet Federation created by the 1917 October Revolution. A different Vladimir, the billionaire oligarch gangster Putin, is determined to wipe Ukraine off the map and ”show what real decommunisation means for Ukraine”. Anti-War movements across the globe need to support the demand “Russian Troops Our of Ukraine Now” while also opposing the eastern expansion across the European continent of the USA’s NATO war-machine.

Key Extracts from Vladimir Putin’s Speech Denouncing “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Ukraine”

“Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia. This process began immediately after the revolution of 1917…

“As a result of Bolshevik policy, Soviet Ukraine arose, which even today can with good reason be called ‘Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Ukraine’. He is its author and architect. This is fully confirmed by archive documents … And now grateful descendants have demolished monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. This is what they call decommunisation. Do you want decommunisation? Well, that suits us just fine. But it is unnecessary, as they say, to stop halfway. We are ready to show you what real decommunisation means for Ukraine.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/extracts-putins-speech-ukraine-2022-02-21/

Statement of ‘Sotsialnyi Ruh’: Recognition of LDPR by Russia is criminal play of Russian Imperialism

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Derry’s Bloody Sunday March January 30 2022 – Most Establishment Media Failed to Report It Accurately

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Derry’s Bloody Sunday March, January 30 2022 – the 50th Anniversary : Diarmuid Breatnach offers this very perceptive analysis :

YESTERDAY WAS THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BLOODY SUNDAY MASSACRE IN DERRY BY BRITISH TROOPS. WHAT DID THE MEDIA COVER?
In the morning, a couple of hundred gathered for politicians including the Taoiseach (Prime Minister of the Irish State) to attend a memorial at the massacre Monument in Derry.
In mid-afternoon, an estimated 20,000 marched in rain and wind, along the original route of the anti-internment march upon which the British Paratroopers had opened fire in 1972, fatally wounding 14 and injuring many others. Speakers at the rally at the end of the march included two of the original organisers and speakers in 1972: Eamon McCann and Bernadette Devlin (now McAlliskey).
Later, a maximum of 400 attended an event in the Derry Guildhall which figured among others artists of various media.
A trawl of the on-line mass media coverage found only two of those events even mentioned. Which one was excluded? The one attended by 20,000 people following the original route in the wind and rain, being addressed by two of the original organisers 50 years ago.
Isn’t it fortunate that we have a free press, unlike in some countries because, as we are often reminded, you can’t have democracy without a free press.

Diarmuid Breatnach

Here is the visual evidence – a huge march occurred in Derry, established media outlets failed to report it :

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Thousands took to the streets to march on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday – DerryNow Report

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The feedback I got all week was that the 2022 Bloody Sunday March in Derry today would be huge. This turned out to be true. An initial report is below.

Here is the intriguing bit. The mass media (e.g. RTÉ Radio Bulletin this morning at 8.00am) reported lots of other stuff – for example, Dublin government taoiseach Mícheál Martin laying a wreath – and said nothing about the march this afternoon at 2.30pm in Derry featuring speeches by Bernadette McAliskey, Éamonn McCann, and others. RTÉ is a public service broadcaster in Ireland largely funded by a license fee. It comes under pressure from the “great and the good” to toe the line and exclude radical voices. And sometimes it gets things spectacularly wrong – today was an example.

What is the key political message today : Prosecute the Generals!

We will keep fighting – and, eventually, we might win. If we don’t fight, we definitely lose.

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“There Were Plans in Train for Something Terrible to Happen” Robert Ballagh on Derry’s Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972

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“The Thirtieth of January” is a new Robert Ballagh Painting about Derry’s Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972. In a brief interview with the Museum of Free Derry, The artist describes his motivation and his actions at the time in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. https://youtu.be/9ZZZNhwnpG0

He notes that the British state’s Saville Inquiry found that the people killed by the Paratroop Regiment were innocent – but there is a “nagging question” – “nobody has been proven guilty of anything”. Robert included a reference to this “nagging doubt” in the painting. It is a “shoot to kill” order written by the British Army’s Major General Robert Ford some time before January 30 1972. Ford suggested that several of the Derry “young hooligans” – as the Major-General called them – should be shot.

I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders among the Derry Young Hooligans

Major-General Robert Ford of the British Army

The artist reproduces these words on an elegantly designed document in the painting. The source for the words is an Éamonn McCann booklet about Britain’s Parachute Regiment.

Bernadette McAliskey and Éamonn McCann Marching in Derry, January 2019