Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Chaos in the United States of America Congress – We Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

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2023 international news coverage began with banana republic scenes from Washington DC, capital city of the United States of America. Establishment Irish media outlets usually look for an excuse to tug the forelock in the direction of prominent North American politicians. Irish broadcaster RTÉ and newspapers such as the Irish Times were presented with a perfect opportunity to roll out the sleeveen carpet – the new Republican Congress Boss is called Kevin McCarthy. For now, the paddywhackery shamrock wavers in Dublin have decided that the Kevin Mccarthy card may not be an attractive PR option.

The “Irish News” of Belfast failed to restrain the natural instincts of Ireland’s forelock-tuggers :

Mr McCarthy has highlighted his Irish roots previously on St Patrick’s Days. In 2015, during the Obama administration, he shared an Irish blessing his father used to recite. In a 2021 St Patrick’s Day message, McCarthy reflected: “My great-grandfather came to America from Ireland back in the 1800s.”

Irish News January 7 2023
Marjorie Taylor Greene is a far-right member of the USA Congress

A North American correspondent, John Reimann, reviews the dark side of Washington DC politics.

Republicans step back from abyss…. for now

Source oaklandsocialist on

Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala) is restrained from assaulting Matt Gaetz. Chaos ruled the day. That chaos will return in even greater form.

The Republicans stared into the abyss and stepped back…. for now. They watched Matt Gaetz apparently renege on a deal. They watched fellow Representative Mike Rogers (R, Alabama) have to be restrained from assaulting Gaetz. They watched vote after vote with no end in sight. They watched the Democrats thoroughly enjoying themselves. And they convinced Gaetz “not now. Not this time.” Unspoken (amongst themselves) was, “we’ll save the rest for later.”

Republican Party fragmentation
And just as night follows day, “later” will certainly come. Consider what former Republican bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich (of all people) said about Gaetz: “He’s essentially bringing ‘Lord of the Flies’ to the House of Representatives” As far as the Freedom Caucus rebels in general, Gingrich said they’re not interested in “anything that takes longer than waiting for their cappuccino.” The same could be said about those people’s supporters.

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Christmas Subversion 2022 – by Sarah Springer

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Trotskyist Subversion Again – “By far the favorite of all the miniatures I’ve made: my Merry Marxmas house!”. – Sarah Springer.

Readers might like to see and read more articles written by Sarah Springer. I recommend this short essay “Literature from a Marxist Perspective”.

The War in Ukraine – How Should Socialists Respond?

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Jill Stein : Fake Anti-War Activist, Apologist for Russia’s Imperialist Invasion of Russia – Green Party (USA) Split Down the Middle

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Jill Stein has form. Mary Scully, an Irish-American activist and blogger, explains below.

The Green Party (USA) is split down the middle on this issue.

This party’s 2020 Presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins, endorses the policy of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) and its Irish supporter Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU).

Here is an extract from a Howie Hawkins post dated March 2022 :

People are not going to respond to a call for no US war with Russia when they plainly can see that the shooting war is Russia’s assault on Ukraine. If we are not clear that we oppose Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine, we won’t be able to get a public hearing about opposing the expansion of NATO to Russia’s doorstep as a precipitating factor in this war, as well as opposing the many “low-intensity” and economic wars that the US and NATO are fighting around the world.

I would like to suggest some more particular demands we should make and actions we should take under these two slogans of Russian Troops Out and No NATO expansion.

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Two tweets, a ‘Phoenix’ fable and a hatchet to the bud of left solidarity with Ukraine.

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The Phoenix piece (below) from 5th May 2022- re-posted in the ‘Left Links’ Facebook group on 3rd October 2022 – is a case of accusation through association, and association through juxtaposition, seeking to identify Ukrainian activist and academic Nadia Dobrianska with the far right.

In the Facebook group ‘Left Links’ the Phoenix piece was re-posted (3rd October 2022) with the demand for “some kind of explanation why socialists in Dublin would be hosting an event with Nadia Dobrianska who, if not a fascist, would certainly appear to be aligned with them”. There is no evidence provided for these innuendos and claims. There is possibly ground for a case of defamation from Nadia Dobrianska.

The flyer for the public meeting organised by Irish Left With Ukraine  (with additional speakers’ names covered to keep them out of the present controversy).

Two tweets referring to Russian refugees from Nadia Dobrianska were also posted on ‘Left Links’ (29th September). If these tweets are genuine they – or one in particular – are problematic for her and for a speaker at a left public meeting on Ukraine. These will be discussed later but for now it should be noted that they do not offer evidence that she is fascist, or far right or even has an anti-immigrant position in general.

The general political background to a piece on Ukraine in the Phoenix is that the magazine tends, like much ‘left-leaning’ commentary in Ireland on Ukraine, to blame the US and NATO for the invasion and to portray the Zelensky government as oppressive, right wing and particularly objectionable.  

The Phoenix piece is headed “Azov Human Rights”.  Azov is a sea to the South of Ukraine. It is also a signal for the imputation of fascist politics to Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion, extrapolated from the common propaganda claim that the far right Azov paramilitary organisation reflects the viewpoint of the Ukrainian government. The claim usually denies that Azov has been depoliticised and incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard engendering the departure of its leaders to found new independent political organisations. Indeed the claim is exactly repeated later in this Phoenix article where it says: “The Azov Battalion is a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine which has as its core white supremacist and neo-Nazi members and ideology.”

The first sentence in ‘Azov Human Rights’ contains a gratuitous claim that Nadia Dobrianska “has become quite the Irish media darling”. This is another signal to those who object to the mainstream media’s support for Ukrainian defence and who would see it as the same as the usual media bias and misrepresentation in favour of the West on Palestine, Iraq, Julian Assagne, etc.

The Phoenix article begins:

Irish-speaking Nadia Dobrianska works for a human rights organisation in her native Kyiv and has become quite the Irish media darling. Dobrianska works for ZMINA, which ‘aims to promote human rights, the rule of law and the ideas of civil society in Ukraine’ … one of the high profile cases is that of Serhiy Sternenko… “former head of the regional branch of the Right Sector’ [which] has been widely described as neo-fascist [and] has been linked to attacks on journalists, left-wing party members and offices.

A second case of ZMINA support for a rightest is then offered. Note she works for ZMINA. That is, she does some of the work that ZMINA does and would not presumably be involved at all in every case that ZMINA takes up, such as for instance the two cases cited by Phoenix.

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“Putin is talking about the desire for peace again? Amazingly. Because ‘conflict resolution’ is extremely simple. Immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.” – Mykhailo Podolyak, Senior Adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelensky

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Allowing for the fog of war and incomplete exaggerated or inaccurate media reports – convincing evidence suggests that the invading Russian army is losing the war in Ukraine :

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Mr Zelenskiy, said in response: “Putin is talking about the desire for peace again? Amazingly. Because ‘conflict resolution’ is extremely simple. Immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.”

The astute analyst Mary Scully notes that Russia’s few powerful allies, Modi and Xi Jinping – leaders of India and China, are offering grim advice to Kremlin boss Putin :

“Supporters of Putin’s war are looking pretty damn foolish now that no less a war criminal than Modi publicly confronted Putin telling him to end the war against Ukraine & Putin acknowledged that China’s Xi Jinping privately expressed the same position. Russia has been able to sustain western sanctions only because India & China provided a financial lifeline by increasing trade, especially the purchase of oil & natural gas, from Russia.

It will be interesting to watch the song & dance of the war mongering progressives as they try to coordinate their apologetics with China & India’s realpolitik.”

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Whiteys Mourn an English Queen at Buckingham Palace, London

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Whiteys gathered at a London Palace because the English Queen died..

“Throngs of mourners gathering outside Buckingham Palace on a rainy day saw a rainbow form over the palace. This is being taken as some kind of divine omen rather than a natural phenomenon related to rain. Some are crying & the crowd broke spontaneously into an off-key “God Save the King” even after it was announced she was dead. The whole scene would be touching if it didn’t signify that too many Brits have a dysfunctional relationship with a woman they only knew from her hand-waving on TV. It’s not surprising that as far as the eye can see that crowd is lily white, kind of Tory-like, way too many white people in a single location for anyone else to feel safe.”

Mary Scully

We can all do better than this.

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Solidarity With Ukraine, Solidarity With Palestine – Open Letter to President Zelensky

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The USA based Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign has published an open letter addressed to President Zelensky – see below :

August 22, 2022

Attn: Ukrainian Embassy

Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign has been organizing support for Ukraine and its right to defend itself against Russia’s imperialist invasion since the start of that invasion.

We’re shocked to learn that your government supported the recent Israeli “pre-emptive” attack on Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli news source Ynet News reports that Yevhen Korniichuk, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel, expressed support for Israel while it was attacking and killing at least 30 Palestinians including 4 children. No Israeli casualties have been reported – yet, according to news reports, Korniichuk wrote in a tweet on August 7th, “As a Ukrainian, while our country is under brutal attack from a close neighbor – I feel great sympathy towards the Israeli public. Terror and malicious attacks towards citizens have become daily matter for Israelis and Ukrainians.” He added. “We have to put an end to it. We pray for peace and hope the escalation ends soon.”

We do not see the tweet referencing Israel at the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Israel Twitter account: https://twitter.com/UKRinIsrael. Was the tweet made? Was it withdrawn? We also understand that others have sent inquiries about this tweet and received no reply, so we can only assume that support for Israel’s bombing campaign has not been withdrawn.

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The voters of Kansas USA Favour Abortion – Landslide Victory for the Pro- Choice Movement

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The Wizard of Oz is a brilliant movie, especially when you factor in the time it was made. From top to bottom, with the script, music, performances, …

Follow Kansas

In the state of Kansas, USA, voters have decided to make abortion legal. A referendum produced a landslide pro-choice result : 59 per cent Versus 41 per cent in favour of keeping Abortion as a constitutional right.

Pro-choice activist Mandy La Combre offers this comment from Ireland :

“Go Kansas!! 👏👏👏

profuckingchoice #AbortionIsHealthcare #abortionrights

It seems Judy Garland and the Wizard 🧙‍♀️ of Oz approve.

American blogger Clay Jones celebrates

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The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

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.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/