Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Soviet Union (USSR)’ Category

Connolly Youth Movement Disaffiliates from the Communist Party of Ireland

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Rumours about sharp disagreements between the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) circulated publicly on various platforms, notably the Cedar Lounge Revolution. https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/12/02/what-you-want-to-say-2-december-2020/

The CYM has disaffiliated from the CPI – a public statement is here : https://cym.ie/2021/01/18/cym-statement-on-disaffiliation/?fbclid=IwAR2rMRnPz2RhVRn8x6Q3GPBTmysFeX26swCJKaVpsOyvWpyupMsLloOSQmk

One correspondent observes :

An interesting political development. Whilst I would not overstate it in any sense, it is true that the CYM has presented itself as a generally vibrant group and has garnered a lot of recruits particularly (though not exclusively) through leaning into a particular online aesthetic and social circles.

Their attachment to the Communist Party and, partly, its selection of recruits, has resulted in it inheriting a framework of analysis which led to a fundamentally left-sectarian approach (“anti-Trotskyism”) and self-imposed isolation from a significant section of the socialist left. It is no joke to say that some in the CYM spend almost as much (if not more) time attacking other socialist groups than they do attacking our common enemy.

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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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Fascinating Extracts from a Stalin Biography – Mao got a lucky break – he was almost selected for a part in one of the infamous 1930’s Moscow Show Trials

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Victor Osprey reports :

Interesting passage from the second volume of the Stalin biography by Kotkin.

Especially notable here: after Hitler came to power, 41 of the 68 German Communists who fled to the Soviet Union would be put to death there.

When plans were made for a public trial of “Trotskyite-fascists” in the Comintern, it appears Mao was put on this tentative list of “Trotskyites”.

Donald Trump’s Anti-China “Cold War” – Capitalist China’s Hot War against Muslim Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong – Trump’s Hot War against the “Black Lives Matter” Movement

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A lot of tit-for-tat politicking is on the international political agenda. Shooting the messenger is a big temptation. Donald Trump is a hypocrite because he condemns China’s terrible human rights assaults on the Muslim Uighurs – while organising military tear-gassing assaults on “Black Lives Matter” street protests in his own country, the USA.

A correspondent notes the big problem with “shoot the messenger” politics (promoted by nocoldwar.org) :

Oppose all imperialist wars, hot or cold, but I think we can be safe in assuming that nothing will be said at this in solidarity with the Uighurs or independence movement in Hong Kong, unless they are denounced as agents of imperialism that is.

Do not mention the Muslim Uighurs in China, or Police Brutality on the streets of Hong Kong

What is a good collective noun to describe this sort of 21st Century politics? Pierre Rousset offers “Campism” and presents a clear example :

“campism” remains present in this field, like a Pavlovian reflex: satisfied for example to condemn imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria (which it is certainly necessary to do), but without saying what Islamic State represents or calling to resist it. http://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3669

“Stalinism”is out of date – the decrepit megalomaniac dictator of the Soviet Union, Stalin, died in 1953. Stalin’s leftwing fan club loyally defended every anti-worker crime performed by the Moscow Régime – “Socialism in One Country” in action.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, and no serious person on the revolutionary left bickers today about the class character of Putin’s Russia and Xe Jinping’s China – both are capitalist world powers. The fan club listed in the attached notice is of interest to trainspotters since it includes ex-Trotskyist renegades – a name which jumps out is the British China-based academic John Ross.

Let’s work on a positive alternative. We can take inspiration in Ireland from Easter 1916 Rising Rebel Roger Casement’s exemplary 19th and early 20th century campaign against Belgian imperialist brutality in the Congo. Similarly, the 21st century radical left needs to make principled alliances in support of the oppressed Uighur Muslims and the mass pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, oppressed by capitalist China.

Roger Casement’s lesson “when the status quo is injustice, the right thing to be is a rebel.”
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Bobby Storey Was Gerry Adams’ Beria | The Broken Elbow

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Ed Moloney compares Bobby Storey, the lieutenant of Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams with Lavrentiy Beria, the number two of Russian dictator Josef Stalin from the late 1930’s till he was executed in infamy after Stalin’s death in 1953.

Beria had a grisly CV

Beria attended the Yalta Conference with Stalin, who introduced him to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as “our Himmler“. After the war, he organised the Communist takeover of the state institutions in Central Europe and Eastern Europe and political repressions in these countries. Beria’s uncompromising ruthlessness in his duties and skill at producing results culminated in his success in overseeing the Soviet atomic bomb project. Stalin gave it absolute priority, and the project was completed in under five years.After Stalin’s death in March 1953, Beria became First Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union and head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In this dual capacity, he formed a troika, alongside Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov, that briefly led the country in Stalin’s place. A coup d’état by Nikita Khrushchev, with help from Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov in June 1953, removed Beria from power. He was arrested on charges of 357 counts of rape and treason. He was sentenced to death and was executed on 23 December 1953.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavrentiy_Beria?wprov=sfti1

Bobby Storey’s CV is not pretty, especially in relation to the people “disappeared” by the IRA in the 1970’s. Another Beria? Stalin’s lieutenant was a much more sinister figure.

I also suspected then and more so later, that such was his uncritical adoration of the Big Lad that he was either naive in the extreme about Adams, what drove him and where he was going politically, or that he chose cynically to ignore the obvious.

My suspicions in this regard were rooted in  the episode I know best about Storey’s relationship with Gerry, and that was about the disappearance of Jean McConville.

In pursuit of the fiction that none of this had anything to do with him, Adams had given Storey the job of finding out what had happened to Mrs McConville, who had been involved in her disappearance and, most importantly, where her remains had been buried.

This was at a point in the peace process when clearing up the issue of the ‘disappeared’ had assumed urgency and priority, so much so that Bill Clinton had taken sides in favour of justice for the disappeared.

For Adams to ask Storey to find out what happened to Jean McConville was like Stalin asking Beria to discover who gave the order to bury an icepick in Trotsky’s skull. Gerry knew, and knows more about what happened to Jean McConville and why, and who was involved in her ‘disappearance’ and how, than anyone still living.

When Storey went to interview Dolours Price he was, according to her account to me, astonished to hear her side of the story, which was of course that Gerry had given the order to ‘the unknowns’ to send Jean McConville to her maker. Clearly Gerry had denied all knowledge and put the blame on others, especially Ivor Bell, a line the British state and their police chiefs dutifully followed in later years.
— Read on thebrokenelbow.com/2020/06/21/bobby-storey-was-gerry-adams-beria/

Many loyal Sinn Féin supporters will not care :

The RUC, who rarely made any secret of their hatred for Storey, had no doubt that he was one of the planners behind the Provos’ mass breakout from the Maze in 1983 when 38 terrorists escaped after a prison officer was killed.

Storey later described the escape as a “great achievement” for the IRA, who he said had “shafted Margaret Thatcher”.

Detectives were also convinced that Storey was the principle organiser of the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in 2004 that netted the IRA £26million.

But he was never charged in connection with it.

And although he spent a total of 20 years behind bars, Storey had an uncanny record of eluding convictions on a litany of other terrorist charges down the years.

Police claimed witnesses were too scared in some cases to testify against him. 

But Sinn Fein claimed police operated a policy of internment by remand for Storey who was a lifelong republican from a republican family.

Talking about his life in a rare interview, Storey said his family had to move when he was a child from their north Belfast home after loyalist attacks on their area.

And he claimed that it was the bombing of McGurk’s bar, where 15 people were killed in 1971 and Bloody Sunday just a few months later, that shaped his future, prompting him to join the IRA at the age of 16.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/the-hardest-of-hard-men-bobby-storey-was-feared-by-opponents-and-republicans-39303502.html

Lessons?

The leader is not always right. Leadership cults should be mocked.

Armando Iannucci relentlessly tears the Stalin cult to pieces in this film.

And, we should honour the memory of many innocent victims whose lives were wrecked by Lavrentiy Beria.

Brilliant Mockery of the Stalin Cult

Lavrentiy Beria and his loyal Stalinist killers

Who’s Who Of WP Split Emerges; Gerry Adams’ Brother-In-Law On The Outs

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Thanks to a source who must remain anonymous (for reasons readily understood by anyone who has had dealings with the WP) for the following background…

Who’s Who Of WP Split Emerges; Gerry Adams’ Brother-In-Law On The Outs


Ed Moloney offers interesting details about the material basis of the new Workers’ Party split.

The splitters, called the NI Business Committee, are 60/70 year old veterans, part of the Workers Party’s so-called ‘PLC machine’ whose careers with the WP go back to the early 1970’s. The ‘PLC Machine’ is run by a well known activist, with something of a fearsome reputation, by the name of Seamus Harrison.The ‘PLC Machine’ is a fancy way of referring to the Workers Party’s portfolio of bars and businesses, some as far away as San Francisco, that were built up over the years courtesy of scams like building site tax rackets, as well as drink licence permits discretely arranged by the Northern Ireland Office in the days when OIRA was regarded by HMG as an acceptable alternative to the Provos.

The Workers’ Party in Ireland Splits Again

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thebrokenelbow.com/2020/06/19/what-if-they-held-a-split-and-no-one-came-or-is-the-workers-party-about-to-disappear-up-its-own-orifice/

Gavin Mendel-Gleason, a supporter of the WP wing which has expelled the “northern business committee” makes a statement open to possible alarming interpretations :

While they would have been afraid to move with Sean Garland still alive, they saw their chance with his death.

A sister party in the foreign fields of North Korea is also called the Workers’ Party.

Seán Garland outside an Irish court while successfully contesting a US extradition request over alleged North Korean counterfeiting of “SupetDollars”

Was the WP northern business committee trying to avoid a fate similar to the late Kim Jong-Nam after he fell out with his brother Kim Jong-Un?  Presumably Gavin Mendel-Gleason does not have the same clout as Seán Garland or the leaders of the Kim dynastic family? Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Finn’s “Bread Not Profits” – Celebration of the 1919 Limerick Soviet – Online for 48 Hours, Starts Thursday April 9 2020 1.00pm

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Highly Recommended – Watch Out for the Reference to Leon Trotsky!
The play has won an Irish Times Award, which is Extremely Well Deserved. Bread Not Profits was a rare example of Performance Theatre 🎭 drawing in the audience very close; there was very little alienated feeling that the performers were talking down to you from the top stage. This is a big problem with the conventional theatre format, and all kinds of lectures – especially the big rally/meeting format beloved of political control-freaks! I attended the play on my last visit to Limerick. The way life has turned, I wonder will I I ever be able to visit again? Still, memories stimulate! – John Meehan

Highly Recommended

https://www.facebook.com/Breadnotprofits

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A review :

Shakespeare used his history plays to explore issues relating to the morality of power and kingship and to question when it might be right to rebel. In Gúna Nua’s production of Mike Finn’s latest history play Bread Not Profits, the question repeatedly asked of the audience is “ whose side are you on?” , by the end it’s not a very difficult one to answer.

In this promenade-style production, which traces the events surrounding the unique Limerick Soviet of 1919, it’s impossible not to cheer for the ordinary workers who had the audacity and courage to strike against the military might of the British Empire.

Set in the haunting dereliction of Limerick’s Cleeves toffee factory, one of the first factories where the workers downed tools in 1919, Finn’s Bread Not Profits walks you through a time and place all but forgotten. From the shadows of history men and women emerge like ghosts demanding to be heard.

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/stage/bread-not-profits-review-a-play-that-touches-the-soul-1.3874005

“There are no infallible party leaderships, or individual party leaders, party majorities, “Leninist” central committees” – and so on!

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We can learn from history, we cannot change it.

Russia in the 1920’s was a one-Party State. The ruling Bolshevik Party banned internal oppositional currents. Different groups emerged opposing the party leadership centred around the dictator, Joseph Stalin.

On a smaller level today in Ireland, one-Faction “broader parties” – for example People Before Profit (ultimately controlled by the Socialist Workers’ Network) or Solidarity (ultimately controlled by the Socialist Party) – are a living contradiction. They are, because internal democracy is curtailed, bureaucratically deformed radical-left parties. RISE, originating from internal differences within Solidarity/Socialist Party, represents a serious effort to break free from the bureaucratically deformed model.

“Build a new mass left-wing party

“There is a desperate need for a mass political party of the left. Because of Sinn Féin’s acceptance of the capitalist market and its hesitancy to engage with people-power movements, it will not be that party.

“None of the existing radical left parties are likely to grow directly into that mass left party either. Instead, we need a left party that is anti-capitalist, anti-coalition and anti-oppression, while being open for different groups to organise within it. https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/we-need-a-socialist-government

RISE and our TD, Paul Murphy, wants to work with others to build such a party. While fighting for every reform in the here and now, we are a revolutionary socialist group that sees the need to end the rule of the bosses and big corporations.”

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, most of the opposition currents were reluctant to put their differences in perspective, and unite against the common ruling enemy. Tragic consequences followed – the Stalin machine murdered and framed all its opponents in infamous 1930’s Moscow Show-Trials.

Victor Osprey highlights important efforts to do things differently

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