Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

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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Desmond Tutu, South Africa, Apartheid, Israel – An unpublished letter to the Irish Times

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An unpublished Irish Times Letter : Desmond Tutu, South Africa, Apartheid, Israel – the author is Betty Purcell :

“Dear Editor,
It was with the deepest sadness, that I learnt of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, (South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies age 90, IT December 26th )this week. He was indeed a moral giant, an unequivocal fighter for human rights, a compassionate and funny individual, who used his voice so articulately, for the betterment of humanity.
I had the honour of meeting him twice; once while filming on the subject of human rights in South Africa, and once here in Ireland, when he came to speak for Afri, the small Irish Justice campaign of which he was a sponsor. He was passionate and informed on so many issues, and eloquently argued the rights based approach.

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Improving Science Literacy – And Supporting Mass Vaccination to Fight CoVid-19

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This blog offers two very good quotations and an illustration to act as a helpful political and personal guide. Origin of the quotations? I do not personally know the authors. I wish to thank a Greek comrade, Kostas Skordoulis, who started the relevant Facebook discussion. The cartoon is just brilliant.

No. Most lay people don’t have the tools to “question the science”. They are just deluding themselves. Just look at any flat earther video. The emphasis should be on improving science literacy so people can learn to identify media misrepresentation of studies, or how to spot weak or obviously flawed studies, or to follow trustworthy sources, instead of thinking they are some modern day Galileo.

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Rupture magazine: Issue 6, Winter 2022

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Special feature: Home sweet home Green gaffs for all, by Nicole McCarthy & Des Hennelly Mica & the fight for 100% redress, by Kiran Emrich The …

Rupture magazine: Issue 6, Winter 2022

Special feature: Home sweet home

  • Green gaffs for all, by Nicole McCarthy & Des Hennelly
  • Mica & the fight for 100% redress, by Kiran Emrich
  • The North’s housing crisis, by Amy Merron
  • Expropriate the big landlords, by Nelli Tügel

Features:

  • Fascism & the algorithm, by Méabh French
  • “Learn from each others’ struggles: Interview with Laurence Cox, by Brian O’Cathail
  • Tax haven Ireland – the inside story, by Brian O’Boyle
  • Feeding an insatiable monster: Data centres in Ireland, by Diarmuid Flood

What is to be done?

  • The feminist challenge to traditional political organising, by Penny Duggan
  • Keep it in the ground, by Sarah Frazer
  • Permanent revolution: Myths, reality & relevance, by Sami El-Sayed
  • Lighting the way: Transitional demands & the struggle for socialism, by August Thalheimer

Rupture Regulars

  • The Tipping Point by Jess Spear
  • Lesser-spotted comrades: Walter Rodney, by Emma Finnamore
  • Gaslighters, Ghouls, and Gobshites, by Des Hennelly

RUPTURE is produced by RISE, a network within People Before Profit. Paul Murphy TD, Dublin South-West is a member. https://rupture.ie/. See also : https://www.letusrise.ie/

‘There’s a pandemic!’ Covid mandates, restrictions and the left

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Guest post by Des Derwin

We can all agree that a raft of things are required that the system is reluctant to give and that we must campaign for: vaccine justice towards the global south, wage support for closed jobs, real ventilation in workplaces, an end to deforestation and desertification and intensive farming leading to zoonotic crossovers, provision of personal protective equipment, decent health services, etc., etc.

I’m bending the stick and splitting from what seems a widely held miscalculation on the international left about immediately responding to this massively lethal pandemic.

I support mandatory and legally enforceable public health measures and restrictions when necessary, just like I support workplace safety legislation.

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Workers’ Solidarity Movement (Ireland) has come to an end

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I developed a lot of political respect for comrades of the WSM, who worked well with political rivals on political campaigns where common objectives were sought.

I think particularly of referendum campaigns opposing various pro-austerity European Union treaties, and referendums on the Irish abortion ban which was finally removed from the state constitution in 2017. Also, many WSM comrades worked in a collaborative way with other revolutionary left activists in trade union activities and the mass boycotts of water charges and the property tax. The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections. Once the Irish revolutionary Left made a small but significant electoral breakthrough – moving from margins to better connection with mass struggles – the political writing was on the wall for electoral boycott anarchism. In my opinion that trend began – we are still living through it – when Joe Higgins scored an extraordinary by election success in Dublin West in 1996, running as an anti Water Tax candidate, and as a member of the Socialist Party. Higgins lost that contest by a very small margin, but comfortably won a Dáil seat in the following 1997 General Election, unseating then Labour TD and coalition minister Joan Burton.

The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections.

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Does the Irish Times wins Typo of the Century Prize? : “Gourd of honour for visiting German president as Áras springs back to life”

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Gourd Versus Guard – what is the difference?

The Irish Times sense of humour : “Gourd of honour for visiting German president as Áras springs back to life”

The southern unionist Irish Times is bitterly opposed to the recent high-profile decision of President Michael D Higgins to reject a Christian celebration of Ireland’s 1921 Partition – but the newspaper may have bitten off more than it can chew.


See also :
https://tomasoflatharta.com/2021/10/08/michael-d-higgins-6-partition-0-two-opinion-polls-show-landslide-support-for-the-presidents-anti-partition-actions-irish-times-dampens-the-impact/

2021 Appalling Vistas – The 60th Anniversary of the British “Profumo Scandal” – a Secret Service Sting that went wrong, Irish Connections – Lord Denning and the Birmingham Six

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A Judge whitewashed the Jack Profumo Scandal in the early 1960’s on behalf of the British Ruling Class – that judge’s name was Lord Denning.

The Conservative government of Harold MacMillan needed a judge to whitewash the Profumo Scandal and selected the best man for the job, Lord Denning. In 1980 this judge’s track record made him the ideal man to keep innocent Irish political prisoners – the Birmingham Six – in jail.

Here is the infamous Denning Birmingham Six Appalling Vista statement. Denning, in 1980, rejected the still-incarcerated Birmingham Six’s civil claim against the police. Dismissing the case, he said:: “Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial… If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous… That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further’.”

https://www.legalcheek.com/2017/11/7-of-lord-dennings-most-controversial-comments/

Determined mass campaigning to free the Birmingham Six, Guildford 4 and other innocent Irish political prisoners took off in Dublin in the 1980’s. The beating heart of this network was the Co-ordinating Campaign on Miscarriages of Justice which met regularly in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square – a venue owned by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO). The campaign encouraged many independent initiatives. Highlighted here is a book which helped to make the Birmingham Six an international scandal, dragging the reputation of the British judiciary into the gutter. Tireless sub-editors Ralf Sotscheck and Jürgen Schneider worked closely with the political campaign alongside Oscar Gilligan.

A literary best-seller, Birmingham Six, An Appalling Vista

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“Jim Connolly and Irish Freedom” a 1926 Pamphlet containing a TJ O’Flaherty (Tomás Ó Flatharta) introduction

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Thanks to Des Derwin for locating this document

‘Jim Connolly and Irish Freedom’ – Cover

James Connolly “The Hero of Red Easter 1916” – Back Page

‘Jim’ Connolly and Irish Freedom by G. Schuller, Introduced by TJ O’Flaherty. The Little Red Library No. 11, 1927. With Daily Worker Ad.

Contents: Introduction, The Significance of Ireland for the Comintern, Role of the Working Class in the Irish Struggle for Freedom, The Union with the Peasantry, Connolly the Revolutionary and Marxist, Against the Imperialist War, The Easter Rising, Civil War and the ‘Free State.’

The Little Red Library was a series of eleven pamphlets published by the Workers (Communist) Party of America in the mid-1920s by the Daily Worker Publishing Company in Chicago.

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Institutionalized Sectarianism in the North of Ireland – Ian Paisley, Prayers for Partition, Marching Feet in Derry

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Today’s Stormont Administration is controlled by the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by far-right religious rabble-rouser Ian Paisley. Despite the honeyed words of today’s peace process, the Northern state’s government is choked by institutionalized sectarianism. Paisley’s spiritual children will descend on Armagh City on October 21 reciting prayers for partition.

October 11 1988 – Ian Paisley heckles the “AntiChrist” Pope in the European Parliament

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