Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Trade Unions’ Category

Brendan Ogle’s Challenge – Vladimir Putin’s War Crimes in Ukraine

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Brendan Ogle, an activist who works for the UNITE trade union in Ireland, offers a challenge.

A CHALLENGE….

Here’s a challenge to all those on the left seeking to justify, obfuscate, excuse, confuse or (my favourite) ‘EXPLAIN’ Putin’s war crimes. It comes in 2 steps. Give it a go:

‘Step 1: Look at the picture. Now imagine when you opened your curtains or blinds this morning that this is what you seen. Your neighbourhood was devastated and your neighbours are incinerated.

Step 2: Now imagine that 3,799km away there are people who consider themselves leftists saying that you and your neighbours are NAZI’s and that this happened because Michael Martin was sucking up too closely to Joe Biden/US/EU/NATO.

What would you think of such people?’

Challenge over.

Well, how did you get on?

Brendan Ogle March 25 2020

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UNITE Trade Union (Britain) Call : “Immediate Ceasefire and a Withdrawal of all Russian Forces From Ukraine”

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The British trade union UNITE – which also has a substantial membership in Ireland, has issued a positive statement about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Unite executive council – statement on Ukraine crisis.

Sharon Graham is the General Secretary of the British Trade Union UNITE

Sharon Graham was elected to lead UNITE in a recent election which produced a surprise result https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/

The Unite executive council unreservedly condemns Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and stands in full solidarity with the millions of victims of the attack. Unite calls for an immediate cease-fire and a withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine.

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Left Wing Solidarity Delegation from Wales and England in Ukraine

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A solidarity delegation from the left in Wales and England is underway in Ukraine. A copy of a press release is below. Two members of the Welsh Senedd (Assembly) – Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales) leader Adam Price MS and his colleague Michael Antoniw MS – are part of the fact-finding team. Initiatives like this belong to the best traditions of international anti-war movements connected to the left and the Labour movement. Wales, like Ireland, is a small nation with a history shaped by Great Power Domination made in London. The parallels between Ukraine and Russia were highlighted by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the first leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917-22) RSFSR after the successful October 1917 Socialist Revolution. Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61199

The history – VI Lenin compares relationships : Ireland and England – Ukraine and Russia. 100 years later – much the same starting point?

The delegation has already met with activists of the Sotsialny Rukh, Human Rights Activists from East Ukraine, and the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine.

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Pretty vacant: a gaping hole in the response to the housing crisis.

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Capital Dock January 2021 – nearly half the 190 apartments in the 22-storey built-to-let tower in Dublin’s Docklands were vacant

Guest post by Des Derwin

The figure of 183,000 vacant dwellings in the state dates back to the last census of 2016. The housing crisis would have mopped up many of these. Not as many as you might think. Half of them. Or at least there are 90,000 vacant dwellings now according to the reports below.

To great surprise Richard Boyd Barrett recently drew attention in the Dáil to the fact that the census figures for vacant dwellings did not include derelict dwellings!!!! 

And the first report below tells us that “Furthermore, there were 22,096 residences classed as derelict in 2021, although this has fallen 7.3 per cent since December 2016.” That is, 22,000 further to the 90,000 vacant addresses.

For some reason several components and figures across the housing movement, and media stories too, have recently raised the outrage of the number of vacant and derelict residences in the country. This is both timely and overdue.

Timely because the state and the private sector have both shown, for all the fanfares and ‘returns to normality’, a paralysis about delivering the number of new houses needed. So common sense responds with, ‘Let’s get procuring, refurbishing and making available these vacant residences right now!’

Overdue because, while the housing movement was and is quite right to put at the top of its demands the need for public housing, built by the state and affordable for rent and purchase to working people, it is a bit of an anomaly that the solution to the housing crisis, building thousands of houses, would not be supplemented by an emergency programme of bringing vacant and derelict dwellings into use.

For three obvious reasons. One, the relative speed at which many vacancies – some even brand new, some local council flats and houses – could be deployed. Two, the avoidance of the waste of having these houses, flats, over-shop places, apartments, derelict buildings and sites, lying empty while building extra new-builds instead of utilising them. Three, the reduction in the energy, materials, new infrastructure and resultant emissions, in comparison to exclusively all-new builds, to address the other pervasive emergency, the climate and ecological one. 

I believe that the recommissioning, the compulsory acquirement if necessary, and use of vacant and derelict dwellings – something that has hardly featured at all on some lists of aims and policies – should be bumped up near the top of the priority aims of the housing movement.  

https://www.buzz.ie/news/irish-news/grant-buy-renovate-derelict-properties-26013226?fbclid=IwAR1dQjb88pjKslf3rOx-Tk6ffn1ROtWnNMcGlKk85Oq67OY-oG65fqtt_mg

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40787289.html

https://www.facebook.com/groups/416618381831880/permalink/1992243947602641/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/416618381831880/permalink/1995976103896092/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/416618381831880/permalink/1973460046147698/

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/almost-20m-in-vacant-and-derelict-site-levies-owed-to-dublin-city-council-1.4773831?fbclid=IwAR3dT3Onx3tKjEgPyTCaHCmrArfgbz74yUkw1-mvahQzVSIrAkl5vdVoqg8

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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Aggressive suppression and zero tolerance of Covid are crucial – Damning Attack on Irish Government CoVid-19 Pandemic Policy

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A number of medical experts and Zero-CoVid campaigners – notably Tomás Ryan – have published an Irish Times letter ((Monday January 17 2022) criticizing the “let it rip” pandemic policy of the Dublin government. The letter directly responds to an Irish Times columnist – Senator Michael McDowell, a former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice – who says the Leinster House administration “should err on the side of keeping society open”

We held up New Zealand and other countries as leaders. They were, and still are, better off than we are in the choices they made across every possible metric of success. The deaths per million in each country is evidence of this: China, four; New Zealand, 11; Taiwan, 36; Australia, 97; Iceland, 106; South Korea, 120; Norway, 251; Finland, 301; and Ireland, 1,205.

Paul Murphy TD warms :

The government seem to have adopted the Boris Johnson ‘let it rip’ strategy. With half a million cases a week, they should at least be providing FFP2 masks free in schools, public transport and other high-density settings, as well as proper HEPA filters and ventilation measures to bring this under control. Instead, they are gambling with peoples health by changing the close contact rules. Let’s not forget up to 1 in 10 people get long Covid according to some studies. The more cases we let spread, the more people could be permanently affected.

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Mandatory vaccination: much ado, red herring, or getting it wrong?

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Guest post by Des Derwin

If mandatory vaccination is a delicate issue then why is it being raised by the left (statements yesterday by Sinn Féin and loud blasts from People Before Profit)? Statements yesterday from the left assert that the government wants to bring this in, and the statements oppose it vehemently. The source of the idea seems to be a public health one, with apparently mixed and tentative views emanating from NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team). The government, or at least the head of the government, the Taoiseach, has said straight out that he is opposed to mandatory vaccination. The genesis of this issue could well be the main front page story in the ‘Irish Times’ (January 10 2021) and its typical and infuriating mode of creating stories out of unattributed sources to push a line or float a try-on (though in this case there are – suitably leaked – NPHET minutes as substance). If anything the same story indicates that the government might be considering the lifting of restrictions – mandates – on pub and restaurant times and cutting down isolation days for close contacts (to reboot the labour force).

It is said that mandatory vaccination would push a minority of the working class into the arms of the fascists. On the contrary, and quite apart from the existence of vaccination compulsions already and of a minority already in the mental clutches of the far right, supporting the ‘right’ of the unvaccinated and of anti-vaxxers to free access to wherever they want is encouraging them into the arms of the fascists by legitimising their position. And giving oxygen to the position of the fascists who have made this, and other anti-public health measures, their main and most successful appeal to a new audience. Socialists need to be clear and firm, to explain why vaccination (taken up by 94%) is safe and socially essential, and how the far right are misleading and deluding people through well orchestrated and well resourced disinformation campaigns.

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Sharon Graham Wins UNITE General Secretary Election – What Happens Next?

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Here is an interesting initial analysis of Sharon Graham’s UNITE election victory – the union has a new General Secretary. This is the source : https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/.

Sharon Graham is the new General Secretary of UNITE, a British Trade Union that has a significant membership on both sides of the border in Ireland.

UNITE has a significant membership on both sides of the border in Ireland, where it operates with a large degree of independence from the British mothership. For example, UNITE in Dublin is a significant participant in the activities of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, and it has been an active supporter of campaigns for Abortion rights in Ireland.

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Rayner Lysaght has passed away – Limerick Soviet Historian, a parent of modern Irish Trotskyism

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Rayner Lysaght; January 30 1941 – July 2 2021

Most readers of this site probably know the sad news that Rayner Lysaght passed away on Friday July 2 2021. He was born in Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales, on January 30 1941.

Here is a link to the death notice :

https://rip.ie/death-notice/rayner-daniel-o-connor-lysaght-killester-dublin/463010

People can add condolences, if they wish.

A wide range of people from the left and the workers’ movement have written generous personal tributes. A number of them are here https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2021/07/02/d-r-oconnor-lysaght/

People in Dublin may wish to join friends and comrades lining the route holding banners and tributes aloft. I will be bringing a Starry Plough and Fourth International banner. People might like to assist.

Rayner Lysaght was a long-standing supporter of the Fourth International, a founder-member of its Irish Section – the Revolutionary Marxist Group, in 1971 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Marxist_Group_(Ireland)?wprov=sfti1

The cremation ceremony starts at 2.00pm, so try to get to Glasnevin Cemetery at least 15 minutes before that time.

Anne Conway reports on Rayner’s life and death.

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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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