Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Trade Unions’ Category

French Trade Unions Call Demonstration at the Russian Embassy in Paris – December 10 2022 – RUSSIAN TROOPS OUT OF ALL OF UKRAINE

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French Trade Unions take action

Solidaires, the FSU, and the CGT have signed the call for a demonstration on 10 December to be held at the Russian Embassy, with the slogan: RUSSIAN TROOPS OUT OF ALL OF UKRAINE (joint call below).

Some reasons the French trade unions have acted :

  • Let’s make it known, let’s make it a reality
  • Let’s make this demonstration the turning point that will save the honour of the French workers’ movement!
  • Let’s show solidarity with the political prisoner Maksym Butkevych whose life must be saved!
  • The fight for peace is nothing else than the fight for the Russian troops out of the whole Ukraine!

Source : https://aplutsoc.org/2022/11/28/la-majorite-du-syndicalisme-francais-appelle-a-la-manifestation-du-10-decembre-vers-lambassade-russe/

Here is a copy of a leaflet supporting the demonstration :

The Joint Call :

Après Solidaires et la FSU, la CGT vient de signer l’appel à manifester le 10 décembre prochain en direction de l’ambassade russe, sur le mot-d’ordre : TROUPES RUSSES HORS DE TOUTE L’UKRAINE (appel commun ci-dessous).

Il faut le faire savoir, le faire passer dans la réalité. Faisons de cette manifestation le tournant qui sauvera l’honneur du mouvement ouvrier français ! Affichons la cause de Maksym Butkevych qu’il faut sauver ! Interpellons les organisations syndicales, à commencer par FO, qui en son temps a défendu Pliouchtch et Solidarnosc : où serez-vous le 10 décembre ? Le combat pour la paix ce n’est rien d’autre que le combat pour les troupes russes hors de toute l’Ukraine !

Par milliers vers l’ambassade, stop à la guerre impérialiste, Poutine-salaud-les-peuples-auront-ta-peau, dehors les troupes russes !

“Learning at the Teachers” – Anthony McIntyre Reports on a Meeting about Ukraine in Dublin

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Anthony McIntyre 🏴‍☠️ I was just about to leave a premises on North Strand Road last Monday night to make my way to a public discussion in the Teachers’ Club when I heard news that dismayed me. 

Immediately, I felt the words of Bertold Brecht throb in my head.

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.

A friend told me that just a few hundred yards from where we sat, a rally was taking place on East Wall against migrants. It later prompted the satirical headline from Waterford Whispers,Woman Proud That First Time She’s Ever Protested Was Against Refugees

According to the Sunday Times the protest was “seized upon by some of Ireland’s most vocal right-wing activists.” They are as opposed to helping people in need of accommodation as the people I was going to listen to are in favour of welcoming them. The event in the Teachers’ Club was organised by Irish Left With Ukraine – “a campaign of anarchists, socialists and trade unionists united in support of the left in Ukraine.” During the course of the evening I would gladly hear calls for people to maintain an open door policy towards refugees. 

I arrived slightly late, having stopped along the way to assist a foreign woman attending to an inebriated Irish man who had collapsed on his bottles of beer and was bleeding from a head wound. The meeting was already under way, chaired by Nóirín Greene, former executive member of the ICTU. On the panel of speakers were David Joyce, ICTU International Officer; Seamus Dooley from the NUJ and guest speaker Yulia Yurchenko, a left wing Ukrainian activist.

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UNITE Trade Union says many construction workers cannot afford homes they build – Supports Rally for Housing, Saturday November 26, Parnell Square, 1.00pm

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UNITE is one of the trade unions backing a Dublin Rally for Housing on November 26.

Source : http://unitetheunionireland.org/2022/11/24/saturdays-raise-the-roof-rally-must-signal-turning-point-on-housing/

Support the Anti-Racist Bloc: https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/11/23/racism-in-dublins-east-wall-area-demanding-garda-vetting-for-asylum-seekers-and-refugees-and-using-this-as-an-excuse-to-surround-asylum-seekers-and-chant-get-them-out/

Unite says many construction workers cannot afford homes they build

November 24th: Unite, which represents workers throughout the economy, has called for a large turnout at the Raise the Roof housing rally due to take place this coming Saturday (26 November). 

Commenting, the union’s Regional Coordinating Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:

“A generation has been locked out of secure and genuinely affordable housing.  House prices rose by 77% between 2012 and 2020, while incomes increased by just 23% over the same period.  At the same time, average rents now consume over half the average wage.

“The housing emergency did not arise overnight.  Home building by local authorities collapsed as a direct result of public policy, with new housing builds by local authorities across the country amounting to just under 2,300 units in 2019 – a derisory figure given the level of housing need.  Instead of building homes, funding has been channelled into tax breaks for large investors, lucrative leasing deals for developers and large subsidies for private landlords.  It’s clear that we need a new deal for housing”, Mr Fitzgerald said.

James McCabe is Unite Regional Officer for Construction and added:

“Younger construction workers cannot afford to buy or rent the homes they build, while their older colleagues see their children unable to access secure and affordable accommodation.

“We need a new state-led housing programme focused on building public housing on public land, and on providing high-quality accommodation as well as high-quality jobs for those working in the sector”.

Concluding, Tom Fitzgerald said:

“The housing emergency is not a simple matter of policy failure:  it is a consequence of the policy choices pursued by successive governments.  Whether directly or indirectly, the housing emergency affects all workers, and on Saturday we need to turn out in huge numbers to demand that housing be treated as a human right and public good”, Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Road to Repeal: 50 years of struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion” – An outstanding PhotoBook – Interview with Co-Author Therese Caherty

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We’ve come a long way!

The fight for reproductive freedom in Ireland

Irish publisher Lilliput Press recently launched the photobook, Road to Repeal: 50 years of struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion, in Dublin’s Mansion House. Social policy analyst Pauline Conroy, photographer Derek Speirs and journalist. Therese Caherty have documented in pictures and words Ireland’s choice movement over half a century.

John Meehan interviews Therese about the project, where it came from and the future for reproductive rights in Ireland.

John Meehan – What gave you idea for the book?

Therese Caherty – Our project began in 2013 at Against the Tide, a retrospective of 1980s activism by photographer Rose Comiskey. At a closing discussion on Irish feminism, a young woman asked some of us oldies – Why did you let the 8th Amendment happen? It wasn’t a view we were familiar with. But you could see where she was coming from. She had arrived into the world of the Eighth and seen, maybe experienced, its effects. And she was angry.

In 2014 we answered her question with Women to Blame, a multimedia exhibition on the struggle in Ireland for contraception and abortion. Today, thanks to Lilliput Press, we have what we always wanted – a permanent home for that exhibition. Road to Repeal commemorates in pictures and words a people– powered movement that believed in a more equal Ireland for women and pregnant people, and their unfettered right to independent decision– making about parenthood.

We see our book as part of that movement of activists and participants and a contribution to it. It’s not for profit and all royalties go to the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

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PANEL: UKRAINIAN AND RUSSIAN ACADEMICS DISCUSS THE WAR – Broadcast by the Real News Network

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Debates over the proper approach to the Russo-Ukrainian War have dominated much of the year. Yet discussions within the western left have not always featured the perspectives of Ukrainians and Russians themselves. The Real News Network board member Bill Fletcher, in partnership with Haymarket Books, hosts a panel with Ukrainian and Russian academics.

Link : https://therealnews.com/panel-ukrainian-and-russian-academics-discuss-the-war?fbclid=IwAR2rLkZ0rerziSQgyPsEf4mb7_F-yrHa0TQCHpQPtA8gtNjuq-U2hOKByjs

Bill Fletcher, a long-time trade union and human rights activist from the USA hosts a discussion with Yuliya Yurchenko, Ilya Budraitskis and Alona Liasheva
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Sinn Féin 2022 Árd Fheis Policy on the Russian invasion of Ukraine – “Immediate Withdrawal of all Russian armed forces”

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Credit where credit is due – the Sinn Féin 2022 Árd Fheis has adopted a very good policy statement. This policy compares very well against the policy of People Before Profit and the Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy – who need to think again.

The Sinn Féin policy statement is also a welcome contrast with Kremlin-inspired wild conspiracy stories issued by various parts of the traditional Irish anti-war movement – for example, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA).

The SF Árd Fheis resolution is silent on some key issues. It does not directly refer to the right of the Ukrainian masses and their government to defend themselves and their sovereign territory by any means necessary. It also does not refer to the Ukrainian government’s recent anti-Labour neo liberal law, which has been heavily criticised by genuine Ukraine Solidarity organisations (see in particular a statement issued by Central European Trade Union Federations). Link here https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/ukraine-resolution-of-the-central-european-trade-unions

Street Art in Lyon, France. Thanks to Judit Kinszki and Katalin Jánosi (Budapest, Hungary) for circulating the photo.

Here is the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Resolution on Russia’s far-right invasion of Ukraine :

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‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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This blog is named after Tomás Ó Flatharta, the first known Irish supporter of the 1920’s Left Opposition which opposed the policies pursued by the Russian Bolshevik government headed by Josef Stalin. Ó Flatharta was a prolific writer, and wrote this fascinating article previewing the partition of Ireland in December 2021. Ó Flatharta looks at “official” Irish-American support for Ireland’s cause, and points out its limitations and hypocrisies. He endorses the policies pursued by the revolutionary marxist James Connolly, a leader of Ireland’s Easter 1916 Rising who was executed by the British imperialists.

Here is a flavour of Ó Flatharta’s analysis, which has a lot of contemporary relevance.

When Connolly led the revolt in Dublin in 1916 some of his comrades in other countries did not understand why he lined up with the Nationalist elements. They claimed that Connolly. lost his original Marxian purity. These elements could not see in the revolutionary opportunism of Connolly the tactic that is today the guiding star of every revolutionary party in the world. Connolly’s idea was to mobilize all the available discontent in Ireland and hurl it at the enemy. Out of the inevitable sacrifice which the Easter Week Revolution entailed would spring a new movement inspired by the example of the martyrs of Easter Week. Connolly knew quite well that national independence alone would never give Ireland independence until the Empire was overthrown, therefore every move made to overthrow the Empire tended to bring about the inevitable revolution. The Citizen Army composed of members of the Trade Unions was pledged not alone to strike for Irish freedom but for the Workers’ Republic. The Nationalist Volunteers had a certain contempt for the men of the citizen army. The former were carried away with their hostility to England into a feeling of sympathy with Germany. The citizen army, however, was just as much opposed to the Kaiser as to King Gorge and hung over its headquarters the banner with the inscription “We serve neither King nor Kaiser.”


When Eoin MacNaill, the leader of the Nationalist Volunteers, issued the countermanding order which kept the full force of the members of that body from participating in the Easter Week revolution, Connolly called out his citizen army. The army of the workers was the backbone of the rising and according to Seamus MacManus in his “Story of the Irish Race,” it was Connolly’s insistence on making a fight that ultimately carried the motion for the insurrection. But since Easter Week Irish labor has been relegated to obscurity and the Irish middle class have been given credit on American platforms and in the Irish journals for the great struggle that has been carried on against British tyranny.

Revolution’s Newsstand

‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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Postponed : Ireland-Ukraine : International Solidarity of the Left – Public Meeting Tuesday October 4 2022

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Our ‘Ireland-Ukraine: International Solidarity of the Left’ public meeting in Dublin on Tuesday 4th October is postponed due to the illness of the principal speaker Yuliya Yurchenko. Our apologies to all for any inconvenience. We will announce the date for a re-arranged meeting as soon as possible. We wish Yuliya a speedy recovery.”

Irish Left With Ukraine

Yuliya Yurchenko – an active supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) – speaks at this Dublin meeting along with Irish trade union speakers and others. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

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.

An extensive interview with Yuliya is here : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/12/fighting-for-self-determination-yuliya-yurchenko-explains-for-ukrainians-its-an-existential-fight-our-countrys-identity-territorial-boundaries-and-our-very-existence-is/


Latest News from the ENSU :

Open the borders for Russians refusing military service!

Latest news from the anti-conscription movement in Russia : https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/9c8950df16724719b875eece066b3912?v=3bc1cb6bcdb84da2b0a88fdb3783cfdc

Putin’s attempt to conscript up to a million young Russians to fight in Ukraine is failing. In less than one week, more than 300,000 young Russians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries like Georgia and Kazakhstan. Hundreds of thousands are expected to seek exile in the next few weeks. We call on West European countries to open the borders to these courageous and principled young Russians, in the name of peace and justice.

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Cost of Living Coalition March in Dublin, September 24 2022 – How Big Was The Crowd? The Irish Times Estimate was 3000!

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In the company of Des Derwin and many others I walked from Parnell Square to Merrion Square in the Cost of Living Coalition Dublin march on Saturday September 24 2022. Exhausting!

I helped Des and other comrades carry the Dublin Council of Trade Unions banner. An Irish Times report claimed 3000 people were with us – I was flabbergasted! 😕! It seemed like a lot more people were on the Dublin streets that day.

John Meehan, September 29 2022


Des Derwin investigates :

Physician, Heal Thyself. The back page of this morning’s ‘Irish Times’ is almost completely given over to an advertisement for Specsavers.

Finbar Geaney and Des Derwin carrying the Dublin Council of Trade Unions Banner

On page two the paper carries a report of the Cost of Living Coalition march on Saturday (24th September). Grand, and such reports are by no means guaranteed in that newspaper these days. The print report doubles down on its original online piece ‘estimating’ 3,000. The experts are wheeled in: “Use of the online crowd calculator Map-Checking gave an estimate for the crowd of about 3,000 people…” The caption to the photograph repeats the 3,000 people ‘estimate’, just in case, I presume, any reader might get the impression that the peasants were actually stirring. I think the ‘Times’ might benefit from a trip to Specsavers themselves, or at least a trip out to ‘the field’ to count the marchers passing within yards of their office, or even to view some of the videos and photographs of the event.

Maybe it wasn’t 20,000. Who came up with that anyway? Maybe it was half that. (One video based calculation on Twitter comes out at c.16,000). But 3,000?! That byline will become a byword.

Des Derwin September 29 2022


It’s a sunday and I like maths so I thought I would get an actual estimate of the Cost of Living march yesterday, and disprove figures given by the Irish Times. (the latter was actually very easy!)

Darragh’s Twitter Page https://twitter.com/Taiwo_Oifigiuil/status/1574031121792520193?t=Ve3zSg_rEgmTrvpaBqw-1g&s=19&fbclid=IwAR2BBhaDfZk8JAUWjT74eu-OiwdV4_JOMfeG8wReH8BSusspc8FQy_RU9j8

with the width of one side of O’Connell street (8.8m excluding paths), and a very conservative estimate of 2.6 people per sqm this gives 16,085 people. Adding other numbers discussed gives an absolute minimum of 16,710 The 20,000 estimated by the organisers is more than possible

Perhaps the Irish Times should add Darragh to its list of reporters?

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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