Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

Electoralism: a real and present danger for the radical left everywhere – in Ireland the Dáil SPBP bloc avoids the trap : unconditional opposition to coalition with the FFFG et al right

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A publication in India, the Radical Socialist, offers a timely warning to radical socialists in every part of the globe :

Unless the lessons of the repeated political collapses in Sri Lanka are learnt, not only Sri Lankan Marxists, but those elsewhere in South Asia, who have learned also from the achievements of the Sri Lankan Marxists, may suffer politically. There is a need to examine, not merely in terms of mid 20th century history, but in terms of today’s class struggle, why the politics of electoralism, and of alliances with bourgeois parties (under the disguise that they are petty bourgeois parties, or ‘democratic’ parties, etc) can only lead to damages for the Trotskyist forces. We urge the Fourth International leadership to take it up as a burning political and educational issue, and take firm action. Collaborating with bourgeois oppositions is hardly restricted to Sri Lanka, and serious political discussions will benefit revolutionaries in India, at least. http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/statement-radical-socialist/899-radical-socialist-statement-on-sri-lankan-elections

What is the story in Ireland?

Gaining significant electoral victories is a key achievement of the radical left in Ireland since 1997, when Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won a Dublin West Dáil seat. This electoral victory significantly helped to defeat government water charges plans promoted by the then main capitalist parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which were aided by their serial coalition partners, the Labour Party.

Ups and downs in Irish radical left electoral fortunes have occurred from 1997 to 2020. This was an open question in 1997 : could the Dublin West victory of Joe Higgins be a minor Trotskyist blip on a stable bourgeois election landscape dominated by FFFG? It turned out this was not a blip. Higgins was the first TD who openly promoted a “Women’s Right to Choose” Abortion policy. He himself and members of his party actively promoted various pro-choice campaigns. The election of numerous radical left pro-choice deputies in 2011 and 2016 eventually forced the main right wing parties to allow a referendum repealing the anti-abortion 8th constitutional amendment. The result : a landslide victory for the pro-choice movement in Ireland and abroad. Here is one report written by USA activist Sarah Jaffe : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article5823

Today there is a 5 TD SPBP radical left bloc in Dáil Éireann. Three other deputies – Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle – adopted the same anti-FFFGGG governmental policy as the SPBP bloc. This scenario was historic – it had never happened before, since the foundation of two partitioned states in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Government Coalition with the Right? : Ghastly Results Revealed

The policy of the Irish radical left on coalition with right wing parties is clearly explained here by RISE Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy :

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Left Greens in Ireland Organising Internally – and Saoirse McHugh Leaves calling for “an actual eco-socialist party”

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This is a rapidly moving story. Saoirse McHugh’s departure from the Green Party in Ireland is no surprise to readers of this blog :

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/07/11/saoirse-mchugh-is-leaving-the-irish-green-party/

McHugh signed a “Just Transition Greens” (JTG) statement which did not address a key question : rejection of coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – actively opposing the current FFFGGG government. Active Opposition to the Maradkar-Ryan coalition is the accelerating direction of travel. Saoirse McHugh signed the the JTG statement, and has left the Green party. She directly calls on the JTG to break off from the Ryan-Greens and form “an actual eco-Socialist party”.

Saoirse McHugh – “Form an actual eco-socialist party”
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“John Charles McQuaid Made Me a Socialist” – Mary Muldowney

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youtu.be/khWX_lMEZEY

I first met Mary Muldowney in the early 1990’s in pro-choice radical left circles, discovering both of us attended Sandymount High School around the same time – we did not personally meet then – we moved in different circles and (school) classes! We attended the same Dublin marches against the Vietnam War and the Apartheid South Africa Rugby Tour of 1970. https://comeheretome.com/2015/02/03/45-years-ago-the-controversial-visit-of-the-springbok-team-to-dublin/

Mary, a Dublin City Council Historian, vividly describes the late 1960’s and 1970’s – events which also made me a socialist, feminist, and pro-choice activist.

Muldowney’s talk offers the unlikely suggestion that arch-bigot John Charles McQuaid, then boss of the Dublin Archdiocese and the Catholic Church in Ireland, turned a teenage Sandymount High School pupil into a socialist. Recommended listening

Dublin Archbishop, Catholic Primate of Ireland, 1940-1972 John Charles McQuaid

Dublin City Historian Mary Muldowney – Socialist and Feminist

Mary Muldowney’s talk is part of the Sarah Lundberg Summer School 2020, an online event.

http://eastwallforall.ie/?p=4712

Here’s a good description of Sandymount High School, which Read the rest of this entry »

€14.6 billion tax income, courtesy of Apple mega-corporation, could be used for Green New Deal – Green Party finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan TD dithers

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Exactly Right – from Paul Murphy TD :

“The verdict in the Apple Tax case is due tomorrow. The Irish government has already spent millions trying to NOT get this money from Apple. They shouldn’t waste any more money fighting for the billionaire’s right to dodge taxes. Green TDs shouldn’t just ‘query’ this – they should draw a line in the sand. This is €14.6bn that could be used on a Green New Deal to rebuild the economy with socialist policies.”

It should be noted that Catherine Martin TD, seeking the leadership of the Green Party, is on the record saying that female Green Party Oireachtas members (TD’s and Senators) should have got more slurps from the ministerial piggies’ trough. This works out as a nod and a wink to Ms Hourigan that promotion is possible. Careerist feminism in action. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/most-fffggg-ministers-are-male-would-extra-green-party-females-at-the-top-table-improve-things/

Green Party Piggies join FFFGGG charge towards the trough
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Jack Charlton (1935-2020) World Cup winner, Ireland football manager, supporter of the miners, anti-fascist

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There has also been some coverage of the fact that Charlton along with a number of other footballing figures including Brian Clough & Terry Venables signed the founding statement of the Anti-Nazi League in 1977.

In Ireland Jack Charlton is celebrated – he was the most successful ever manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team. There was a political side to this cultural phenomenon – it is well explained in the Keith Flegg blog below. Months before the opening 1990 game between Ireland and England in Cagliari a small group of Dublin people met in a Dublin pub, the Teachers’ Club. They wondered : how they could raise funds for a cash-strapped campaign seeking freedom for the Birmingham Six and other Irish political hostages in British jails. The venue, largely because of the example set by this campaign, has become home to many left-wing, trade union, feminist and human rights social movements.

A couple of the men in the group focused on the forthcoming Battle of Cagliari – Ireland’s Game Versus England, our Italia 90 opener. We were overcome by a brainwave : let’s organise a big screen showing. In those days that was a novel idea – we booked the scarce equipment months in advance. The staff in the Teachers’ Club did a great job installing the required technology. As the big day approached many large pubs and hotels offered to buy the equipment from the campaign, allowing us a huge profit. We refused – the event was going ahead. The venue was overwhelmed by the crowd – mainly young, male, Dublin working class, and proudly Irish. A number of women activists joined in – a little bemused, entertained, and deeply moved.

The Diceman, Thom McGinty, Symbolises British Justice and the Birmingham Six

A follow-up

“It begins with a man getting to shake the hands of some of the football heroes he’d only ever previously been able to see on television in prison. It ends with one of those same football heroes, having partied well but not wisely, fast asleep at a table in a motorway café and being prodded awake by a couple of passing Welsh supporters. And in between is one of the defining games of the Jack Charlton era, a 1-1 draw with England in a European Championship qualifier at their national stadium which should, in truth, have been a victory for an Irish side playing at something close to the peak of its powers.

For one Irish supporter in particular, the experience was bound to be memorable, whatever the result. Hugh Callaghan was one of the Birmingham Six, innocent men who had served 16 years of a life sentence for the IRA’s 1974 Birmingham pub bombings. With those convictions finally quashed after a long-running campaign and, having been released amid scenes of unbridled joy only 13 days before the game at Wembley, Callaghan found himself walking the famous turf as a guest of the Irish team at their eve of match training session.

Niall Quinn, the striker who would have such a significant say in the game itself, has vivid memories of meeting a man who had endured one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

“He came on the bus with us from the hotel and stood with Jack and watched the training,” he recalls today.

“We had a good chat with him first on the pitch and then he had a cup of tea with us in the dressing room. He was a football fan, very proud of what we’d achieved over in Italy. He spoke about how he used to listen intently on the radio and saw bits and pieces on TV. I think Paul [McGrath] was his favourite – but then Paul was everybody’s favourite. It’s one of those nice memories that stay with you. It was a thrill to meet him and my memory of the meeting is that he was thrilled to meet us, and it was a very happy occasion.” https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/soccer/we-felt-a-little-bit-robbed-232294.html

Kmflett's Blog

Jack Charlton at the Durham Miners Gala

Jack Charlton who has sadly died at 85 was an iconic figure in post-1945 British culture as part of the 1966 World Cup winning England team, and a football manager most significantly with the Ireland team

The media rightly carries a range of appreciations and obituaries

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jul/11/jack-charlton-england-world-cup-winner-dies-aged-85

There has also been some coverage of the fact that Charlton along with a number of other footballing figures including Brian Clough & Terry Venables signed the founding statement of the Anti-Nazi League in 1977. Charlton had some criticisms. While the ANL was about building a broad united front to isolate the fascists of the National Front it also confronted their attempts to whip up racism when they held deliberately provocative actions.

Charlton was clear in his opposition to fascism but not happy about confronting the NF physically. This of course was a tactical not an…

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Most FFFGGG Ministers are Male – Would Extra Green Party Females at the top table Improve Things?

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Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin wants the job of current numero uno Eamon Ryan.

Her pitch looks blatant : do her quoted comments mean that, if elected Green Party leader, she will replace male Green Party Ministers and mini-Ministers with females? If so, Martin has a limited choice – the only available female Green TD who can be promoted is Dublin Central deputy Neasa Hourigan, who voted against coalition with FFFG. Martin could also give ministerial promotions to two female Green Party Senators.

12 Irish Green Party TD’s Elected in February 2020 – Scramble for Ministerial Promotion

This takes bribery and careerism in Irish politics to previously uncharted waters. The FFFGGG coalition is tainted because so many overpaid ministerial piggies are slurping at its trough, most of them male. The Green Party in coalition is careering downhill to the gutter inhabited by the likes of Willie O’Dea.

Limerick’s Willie O’Dea TD – Squeals from a piglet muscled away from the trough

Green Party opponents of the anti-woman FFFGGG coalition should prepare an exit strategy.

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/open-letter-to-left-greens-what-next/

Will a real problem of government misogyny be remedied if there are extra Green Party females at the top table? The answer is No.

“We should always seek to promote because young girls cannot aim to be what they cannot see. We should always be seeking to do that, to promote women.”

The Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht said she congratulated all the male Ministers.

“They’re all able for the job, but I think there was a missed opportunity to promote women and from our side there was also a missed opportunity to unite the party as well, that nobody who voted no or advocated no to the programme for Government was promoted to ministerial position and I think that was a missed opportunity to unite.

“We are a party that respects and cherishes debate and challenge and having those voices inside and within government at the ministerial table would have been welcome.”

When asked about an accusation of misogyny within the party by Cork Green Party councillor Lorna Bogue, Ms Martin said: “I think we have to be seen to do more — as a party we talk the talk in relation to promoting diversity and inclusivity, but if we’re not acting on it I think that’s regrettable and that’s something I would like to see changed.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/eamon-ryan-missed-chance-to-promote-women-says-catherine-martin-1.4299071

Tarlach Mac Niallais Radio Broadcast from 1984 – Gay Liberation Politics, the Partition of Ireland, Fighting Against a Carnival of Reaction

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Previous Readers of this blog know about the New York Death of Belfast Gay Liberation and Socialist Activist Tarlach Mac Niallais. Thanks to an old friend and comrade of Tarlach, Cathal Ó Ciorragáin, we can listen to a New York Radio Interview with Tarlach dated October 9 1984

The interview concludes with a ballad sung by Tarlach.

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/covid-19-has-taken-tarlach-mac-niallais-from-us-in-new-york-a-courageous-fighter-from-north-belfast-who-saved-sodomy-from-ulster/

Dubai ruler organised kidnapping of his children, UK court rules | World news | The Guardian

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The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is an international criminal. Perhaps he will be the next monarch visiting President Michael D Higgins of Ireland in the Phoenix Park. It is time to stop grovelling to Royal Parasites. Read the rest of this entry »

Images, Funeral of Joe Kelly

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Joe Kelly Greets the Mourners Coming to His Funeral, Teachers’ Club / Club na Múinteóirí, December 10 2016

Joe Kelly’s Most Recent Campaign

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Written by tomasoflatharta

December 11, 2016 at 12:52 am

The super chairperson – Joe Kelly, born April 8 1938, died Wednesday December 7 2016, Aged 78.

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Tributes are pouring in to Joe Kelly.  In future days a lot more will be written said and sung about an outstanding political activist and very firm friend.Death Notice of Joe Kelly

A small initial contribution is below, along with some other tributes seen on social media.

The mid-1980’s : The first big mass campaign where Joe Kelly and I worked together was Miscarriages of Justice, primarily the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six :  innocent Irish people in British jails, framed by the British State, sentenced to life imprisonment and no mass campaign existed.  That changed in Dublin, Joe Kelly was its heartbeat.  An enormous “Parade of Innocence” in Dublin, headed by the Diceman Thom McGinty, was one outstanding result.  Declan Gorman Writes About Dublin’s Parade of Innocence

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