Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Manus O’Riordan has passed away

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Here is a preliminary tribute written by Des Derwin, and a report describing his funeral

Trade unionist, socialist, historian, researcher and singer Manus O’Riordan has died. A keeper of the memory of the Spanish Civil War, and of the music of the movements.

Trade unionist, socialist, historian, researcher and singer Manus O’Riordan has died. A keeper of the memory of the Spanish Civil War, and of the music of the movements.

It is only hours, according to Facebook, since Manus O’Riordan posted on his page. It is less than three months since he stood with the wide spectrum of the left at fellow historian Rayner Lysaght’s funeral. Manus shall have as great a send off. Since then I spoke to him briefly near Hart’s Corner, where he lived and where he had some memorials erected. (Manus O’Riordan is pictured carrying a banner honouring Irish anti-fascists who fought against Franco in the 1930’s Spanish Civil War – in Glasnevin Cemetery at the funeral of Rayner Lysaght https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/07/05/rayner-lysaght-has-passed-away-limerick-soviet-historian-a-parent-of-modern-irish-trotskyism/

I differed profoundly with Manus on many issues and strongly agreed with him on many others. In the ITGWU and SIPTU he always showed the greatest respect to me and to my minority views. He cooperated on labour and anti-imperialist history with all those on the left providing a historical forum.

In the past fortnight I finally completed noting my political reminiscences of my own father, who was a one-time colleague of Manus’ father.

Passing on and passing it on. RIP. Des Derwin September 27 2021

Update : the funeral of Manus O’Riordan, Glasnevin Cemetery, Friday October 1 2021

Some images from the funeral of Manus O’Riordan. Friday October 1 2021. Among the attendance was Tara, carrying the shopping bag of the occasion. It can be bought at the Bang Bang Café, Phibsborough. Also present was Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland – currently popular with nearly stream of the Irish Left after refusing to attend a religious ceremony in Armagh celebrating a “Carnival of Reaction” 100th Anniversary : the partition of Ireland in 1921. There were many displayed Trade Union and left wing banners at the funeral, honouring a dedicated historian of the Irish working class. See also https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/the-fascist-origins-of-fine-gael-in-the-1930s-manus-oriordan-one-of-his-last-posts/

Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland
Banners honouring Manus O’Riordan

2021 General Election Result in Germany – Preliminary Notes – Will Berlin go Red-Red-Green?

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  • These are the official numbers :
  • Preliminary official result
  • Distribution of votes
  • 24.1% CDU/CSU (Christian Democrats)
  • 25.7%. SPD (Social Democrats)
  • 10.3% AfD (Far-Right)
  • 11.5% FDP (Liberals)
  • 4.9% Die Linke (Left)
  • 14.8% Greens
  • 0.1% SSW (Danish Minority)
  • 8.6% Others


Distribution of seats
Total seats
735

  • 196 CDU/CSU
  • 206 SPD
  • 83 AfD
  • 92 FDP
  • 39 Left
  • 118 Greens
  • 1 SSW

A Red-Red-Green coalition is just short of a majority 206 +118+39 = 363

https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/s-9097

Do any readers know the politics of the single SSW member?

“Do minorities have their own parties?
In Germany there are four state-recognized minorities: Sorbs, Danes, Frisians and the German Sinti and Roma. There is only a special party for the Danes and Frisians in Schleswig-Holstein, the South Schleswig Voters Union (SSW). It is standing for election to the Bundestag for the first time in 2021. The SSW has a good chance of gaining a seat, because it is exempted from the 5 per cent clause as a protected minority. This means that the calculated average number of votes needed for a single mandate is sufficient for the party to be represented.”


https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/politics/the-german-federal-election-facts-about-the-bundestag-and-electoral-law

The far-right party, the AfD, are shunned by all other parties (including the Christian Democrats and the Liberals).

German voters made very positive decisions about housing in Berlin elections


Voters in the German capital, Berlin, alongside casting ballots for the makeup of the new German parliament and for their local legislature, also took part in a referendum on whether to force large real estate companies to sell off most of their housing units.

With Berliners casting more votes in a day than the city ever had, there was chaos and delays at several polling stations. About 34,000 helpers were working at more than 2,250 polling stations across the city.

Therefore, final results on the nonbinding referendum are not expected until Monday.

After counting 27% of the ballots, a clear margin was already emerging: 56.9% had voted in favor and only 39% against the proposal.

“This is just an extrapolation, we won’t get the final results until tomorrow! But even this number shows that Berliners have had enough of speculation and mad rents,” the movement to expropriate Berlin housing corporations said on Twitter.

The measure required a simple majority to pass as well as a “yes” vote from at least a quarter of all eligible voters, but, even if it does pass, that would only force the incoming Berlin city-state government to debate the proposal.

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-berlin-locals-vote-to-expropriate-real-estate-giants/a-59315431

Die Linke (Left) suffered a significant electoral reverse. It gained 4.9% of the National vote, losing 4.3% compared with 2017. By comparison the SPD and the Greens gained 5.2% and 5.8% respectively. The big losers were the Christian Democrats (down 8.8%). The AfD Nazis also lost ground (down 2.3%). The free-market Liberals, the FDP, held their ground (up 0.7%).

Here is a Die Linke pre-election statement :

Janine Wissler, Chairperson of DIE LINKE party, declares on the occasion of the Global Climate Strike on 24 September 2021:

A supporter of die Linke chairperson Janine Wissler

“On Sunday, we are facing a General Election. The coming federal government will be the last one that still has a chance to prevent the worst in climate protection and still achieve the 1.5 degree target. As the Left, we say: stop the politics of lost time. In the last three years, the many committed people at Fridays for Future have ensured that society, politics and business can no longer ignore the climate issue. Their fight for climate justice is making history.
DIE LINKE stands in solidarity with the climate movement. We call on our members to participate in the climate strike! We have requested the recognition of the climate emergency in the German Bundestag and are on the ground with MPs as parliamentary observers at climate protests.
With an “Immediate Programme for Climate Justice”, we want to set the course for a change in climate policy after the Bundestag elections. Our goal is climate neutrality by 2035. The Left Party is the guarantor of consistent and socially just climate protection:
We want to complete the coal phase-out by 2030 at the latest and introduce compulsory solar on roofs. In addition, we want to expand wind power, for 100% renewable energies by 2035 at the latest.
For us, a socially just mobility transition means: We want to expand public transport and make it free of charge. Making Germany a rail country: Railways must become a real, low-cost alternative to cars and air travel. No more fossil combustion engines from 2030. A moratorium on new motorway construction and finally enforce a speed limit.
We want to push ahead with the ecological refurbishment of buildings by investing billions and protect tenants from burdens by abolishing the modernisation levy.”

on behalf of Antje Dieterich

Press Office DIE LINKE Party Executive Committee
Press spokesperson Matthias Hinze – office 030 24009-543 matthias.hinze@die-linke.de
Deputy Press Spokesperson Götz Lange – Office 030 24009-674 goetz.lange@die-linke.de
Deputy Press Spokesperson Antje Dieterich – Office 030 24009-544 antje.dieterich@die-linke.de

German comrades will have to deal politically with this interesting electoral result. John Meehan September 27 2021

Irish Police Boss Drew Harris and Two Unsolved Murder Cases – 1975 Miami Showband Massacre; 2007 Paul Quinn Murder

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The Masks of Garda Boss Drew Harris

If you knew nothing about Irish 6 County whataboutery you might think “Fair enough – Garda Boss Drew Harris is doing the decent thing”. Maybe there are better questions : What mask is the former Royal Ulster Constabulary / Police Service of Northern Ireland high-flier wearing? Is he a “fox in charge of the hen-house”? Or, should we trust a “warm and friendly” chap “committed to justice”?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has visited the barn in Co Monaghan where Paul Quinn was battered to death by the IRA, and has pledged to help bring his killers to justice.

But, when you know about Harris’s obstructive behaviour towards survivors of the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, you correctly suspect the motives of a powerful state agent who shields British State killers.

Garda boss Drew Harris and his legacy – Stephen Travers, Miami Showband, Aftermath of a loyalist murder spree.

Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers also criticised Mr Drew Harris’s appointment, describing it as “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”.

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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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The final tally, and Results Dublin Bay South By-Election, July 9 2021 – Easy Win for Ivana Bacik (Labour Party)

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Tallies showed Ivana Bacik (Labour Party) was very likely to win the Dublin Bay South By-Election.

Updates here :

https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2021/0709/1234013-Dubliner-bay-south-by-election-live-updates/ Ongoing coverage continues.

A first count came in confirming predictions that Bacik would win the by-election.

Here is a brilliantly presented table of all the data :

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YiEnNrYEFWirEiW7mmgxxnpM-MVxGrxqfkIjPx71I_Y/htmlview?pru=AAABeq5c0Lo*b9QSwf-x3ITRC9LswcJRDw

The counts came in :

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/elections/dublin-bay-south-byelection

Initial comments :

1. The Irish Times opinion poll was largely accurate.

2. This is a big defeat for Fine Gael.

3. Bacik is likely to keep the seat in a General Election, removing Green Party leader and government minister Éamon Ryan from the Dáil.

I think all activists should carefully look at the content of Ivana Bacik’s campaign, which was very successful.
Attacking party policies is fine – attacking an individual should not be a left-wing calling card – especially in the case of somebody like Ivana Bacik. Read the rest of this entry »

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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RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell

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The Censor, RTÉ Journalist Claire Byrne

Media Alert!

The Claire Byrne RTÉ 1 Show on the Irish Border (March 22 2021) was incredibly bad, swamped in identitarian gibberish. The tone was set by Sinn Féin leader MaryLou McDonald and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar. The rest of us should focus on “the carnival of reaction”. Once Joe Brolly criticises the reactionary politics of a previous contributor, Gregory Campbell, he is censored.

Derry GAA Star Joe Brolly, Censored

Joe Brolly explains

I was taken off air and told it was because RTE could not risk me saying the DUP were homophobic, racist or sectarian. I must apologise to the DUP at once.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B : Mr Gregory Campbell MP (DUP) allegedly once described homosexuality as “evil” and claimed God sent AIDS as a homosexual “curse”.

He had claimed: “It’s an evil, wicked, abhorrent practice. My opposition to that is based on the Bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole, and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition. You’re not even talking about someething which is a run of the mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved.

“The AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God.

“I would see homosexuality as something which merited the curse of God.

“AIDS came about because of sexual contact between homosexuals. Now that to me is something which shows in a small way that there is more than just human opposition to homosexuality.

“In the Bible there is only one sin which called down literal fire and brimstone from God and that wasn’t murder, it wasn’t theft, it was homosexuality.” https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/12/meet-the-dup-homophobes-who-now-hold-the-keys-to-power-in-the-uk/

Exhibit C

John Meehan March 23 2021

Roy Greenslade – Agent Of Influence – TPQ – Anthony McIntyre Explores a Strange Story

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Anthony McIntyre offers a useful review of the Roy Greenslade story. At this stage I agree that the retired Professor is probably telling the truth, denying any role in an alleged IRA plot to kill the journalist Liam Clarke in 1988. We should all accept that denial unless any new facts are brought forward casting doubt on the former journalist’s statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Roy Greenslade and an Alleged IRA Plot to Kill Journalist Liam Clarke

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This week former journalist and media academic Roy Greenslade announced that he secretly supported Sinn Féin and the IRA’s armed campaign from 1972 onwards. Greenslade was, in 1988, the Sunday Times line-manager of a journalist, Liam Clarke, who seems to have been an IRA assassination target. The disturbing Greenslade CV includes active participation in a well-documented British Secret State plot to frame the leftwing leader on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Arthur Scargill. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/06/roy-greenslade-destroyed-communities-and-a-powerful-man-who-said-sorry/

Ed Moloney, a journalist who worked at the time in Belfast, backs up claims about the alleged IRA plot to kill Liam Clarke. Many serious questions arise. Let’s be clear about the basic issue : nothing justifies an apparently serious threat to kill a journalist, merely because he was politically hostile to Sinn Féin.

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