Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘History of Ireland’ Category

Disastrous CoVid-19 Epidemic in the north of Ireland – Stormont Government Shambles, U-Turns and Half-Measures

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A CoVid-19 disaster is happening in the north of Ireland. It is spreading. This was preventable. And drastic measures are now necessary – the Stormont government’s latest measures are “too little too late”.

Zero CoVid Strategy Needed in Ireland https://www.facebook.com/PeopleBeforeProfitDerry/

Éamonn McCann, veteran socialist and People Before Profit Councillor (Derry-Strabane) reports from a state in Ireland which has one of the highest CoVid-19 infection rates in the world. The official name of that failed state is Northern Ireland.

Eamonn McCann’s alarming analysis is supported by the north’s doctors’ union, the British Medical Association (BMA [NI]).

The north’s BMA chairperson Dr Tom Black, warns :

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Nazi Rally Scheduled in Dublin – Don’t Go! Boycott!

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A correspondent highlights a tiny rally in Dublin next Saturday – Don’t Go!

“I see Justin Barrett’s National Party, who want a Catholic Fascist Dictatorship in Ireland, have organised a little protest for Saturday ‘against the lockdown’. Even if you don’t agree with public health measures, don’t be fooled by this shit. These people want young women and girls back in slave labour laundries, young men and boys back in industrial schools, an end to birth control and women’s bodily autonomy, all non-white-Irish people to be forcibly exiled, and executions of their political opponents. All under the jackboot of a paedophile-protecting Catholic dictatorship.”

Don’t Go!

The Official IRA and Workers Party In The Wake Of The De Rossa Split | The Broken Elbow

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“Helmut Oberlander”, a whistleblower, explains the recent split in the Workers’ Party / Official IRA. The message below was sent to Ed Moloney.

Once again, in the history of left-wing organisations which degenerate politically, we see the needs of the apparatus (in this case criminal businesses created by a conspiratorial army aided by North Korean forged dollars) prioritised against legitimate struggles waged by the working class and its allies.

This form of left politics is today re-emerging via the ideology of “Campism”, where régimes like Xi Jinping’s China (a major capitalist power) are supported when they are competing against Donald Trump’s USA. Xi Jinping and company know that “left wing” puppets in foreign lands can be cynically bought.

Irish Workers’ Party Leader, the late Seán Garland

I received the piece below as a comment on an article I wrote on the recent split in what remains of the Workers Party and Official IRA. ‘Helmut Oberlander’ is the undoubtedly fictitious byline that came with the article but knowing a little about the organization involved, I cannot blame the author for seeking refuge in such a deep blanket of obscurity. That aside, I think what ‘Helmut’ has to say about his former comrades at the time that Prionsias de Rossa led most of the WP’s TD’s into the new Democratic Left party, carries the ring of truth and authenticity as well as fascinating revelation. And so dear reader I recommend it to you. Enjoy: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

August 15, 2020 at 9:27 am

Donald Trump’s Anti-China “Cold War” – Capitalist China’s Hot War against Muslim Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong – Trump’s Hot War against the “Black Lives Matter” Movement

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A lot of tit-for-tat politicking is on the international political agenda. Shooting the messenger is a big temptation. Donald Trump is a hypocrite because he condemns China’s terrible human rights assaults on the Muslim Uighurs – while organising military tear-gassing assaults on “Black Lives Matter” street protests in his own country, the USA.

A correspondent notes the big problem with “shoot the messenger” politics (promoted by nocoldwar.org) :

Oppose all imperialist wars, hot or cold, but I think we can be safe in assuming that nothing will be said at this in solidarity with the Uighurs or independence movement in Hong Kong, unless they are denounced as agents of imperialism that is.

Do not mention the Muslim Uighurs in China, or Police Brutality on the streets of Hong Kong

What is a good collective noun to describe this sort of 21st Century politics? Pierre Rousset offers “Campism” and presents a clear example :

“campism” remains present in this field, like a Pavlovian reflex: satisfied for example to condemn imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria (which it is certainly necessary to do), but without saying what Islamic State represents or calling to resist it. http://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3669

“Stalinism”is out of date – the decrepit megalomaniac dictator of the Soviet Union, Stalin, died in 1953. Stalin’s leftwing fan club loyally defended every anti-worker crime performed by the Moscow Régime – “Socialism in One Country” in action.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, and no serious person on the revolutionary left bickers today about the class character of Putin’s Russia and Xe Jinping’s China – both are capitalist world powers. The fan club listed in the attached notice is of interest to trainspotters since it includes ex-Trotskyist renegades – a name which jumps out is the British China-based academic John Ross.

Let’s work on a positive alternative. We can take inspiration in Ireland from Easter 1916 Rising Rebel Roger Casement’s exemplary 19th and early 20th century campaign against Belgian imperialist brutality in the Congo. Similarly, the 21st century radical left needs to make principled alliances in support of the oppressed Uighur Muslims and the mass pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, oppressed by capitalist China.

Roger Casement’s lesson “when the status quo is injustice, the right thing to be is a rebel.”
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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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“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 »

The Annual Orange Order Hate Festival in Northern Ireland – Partition Within a Partitioned State

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Suzanne Breen reports :

‘Kill All Taigs’ on a ‘children’s’ bonfire in Belfast. That’s not family fun, it’s a hate crime. Was there nobody in the community to show leadership & remove it? Shameful.

“Kill All Taigs” Belfast Bonfire
No social Distancing at a Racist Belfast Bonfire

Hang on a second, I hear people say. The 12th was postponed in 2020 because of the CoronaVirus Crisis. That is the “Official Version” (OV):

There will be no official Orange Order parades after the organisation announced their cancellation earlier this year.

Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, Mervyn Gibson, urged people to stay at home, while the Order have launched a ‘Twelfth at Home’ campaign to urge people to celebrate safely.

https://www.derrynow.com/news/news/556402/thirteen-twelfth-parades-to-go-ahead-in-county-derry.html

OV is not the real world – it has become a “talking point”.
Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Six Counties leave their homes and travel far away to avoid the tyranny of the “OrangeFest”. Not this year due to travel restrictions. But residents of Andersonstown and other areas like it do not have to worry about flags; Lambeg Drums; blocked streets; 11th night bonfire parties in their public parks. A new partition within partition exists in the Six County State today.

An update :

The Belfast Telegraph suggests “community relations” have “taken a hit” :

There had been a surge in the number of bonfires being organised by loyalists following the contentious west Belfast funeral of former IRA man Bobby Storey on June 30 – in defiance of an Orange Order plea for no pyres because of the coronavirus threat.

Scrap wood and furniture with messages mocking Bobby Storey written on them were placed on some bonfires along with tricolour flags and the sectarian abbreviation KAT. Pictures also emerged in social media of an anti-Black Lives Matter placard at Whitehill bonfire in Bangor.

Yesterday afternoon cops confirmed they were investigating a separate loyalist banner which also ridiculed the funeral of Bobby Storey.

The ghoulish banner was circulated on social media as preparations for the bonfires ramped up last week and the PSNI said it was being investigated as a hate crime. The banner, which carried images of Bobby Storey and his funeral, carried the caption: “Bobby Storey raised in west Belfast, burnt in Loyalist east Belfast.”

Former British soldier and UUP MLA Doug Beattie condemned the banner, saying: “I’ll be clear – I think this is wrong and only targets the grieving family.

“There are issues to explore in respect to the funeral but this is not the way to do it.”

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/news/burning-bridges-community-relations-take-hit-as-old-hostilities-resurface-39360717.html

Dáil committee to investigate Bríd Smith comments about judge – “Attack on Democracy Itself” Says admirer of the RIC/Black and Tans Charlie Flanagan TD

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A People Before Profit TD attacked ‘democracy itself’, former minister for justice claims.

The deputy who made the complaint against Bríd Smith TD (Dublin South-Central) is Charlie Flanagan, who dumped his Fine Gael Party in very hot water in January 2020. The ex Minister for Justice, attempted to sponsor a government ceremony celebrating the Royal Irish Constabulary/Black and Tans. These were ruthless gangsters in a notorious uniform of the RIC during the War of Independence 100 years ago. Splendid language was spoken by deputies in the first Dáil, elected in 1919, about the Black and Tans and other props of British rule in Ireland such as judges, who were very effectively shunned and boycotted.

Ex Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan with British Premier Boris Johnson

RIC/Black and Tan Recruitment Public Letter

Bríd Smith TD campaigning for Repeal of the Anti-Abortion 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution

Hats off to Manus O’Riordan, a tireless researcher – retirement from SIPTU has not dimmed his energy – O’Riordan’s lengthy demolition of Charlie Flanagan’s political and historical hypocrisy about the Black and Tans should assist Bríd Smith TD :

A CUMANN NA NGAEDHEAL REBUKE TO FINE GAEL!

EOIN MACNEILL ON THE RIC WAR AGAINST IRISH DEMOCRACY

In the Irish Republic’s democratic assembly of Dáil Éireann on April 10, 1919, the following address on RIC atrocities was delivered by the Minister for Industries, Eoin MacNeill:

“It is impossible for us to escape having our blood stirred at the recital of the details laid before us here to-day. While all that we have heard stirs the indignation, there is not a single one of us who is surprised. There is nothing in it that surprises us. We know that only for fear of the consequences such infamous things as have been detailed here to-day would be thrown into the shade. We cannot allow our feelings of indignation to be uppermost in dealing with these matters when we come together in common council. In our homes we give full voice to what we think. The responsibility for these things rests on the heads of the rulers of England (and not on such vague abstracts as the English Government or the English State) from Lloyd George down to Macpherson and those others who are employed by them who are personally engaged in committing atrocities. They are the men we have to defeat. I hope that any potentate who has been guilty of atrocities will be punished. It will be a wholesome precedent.”

“If they fix the precedent of bringing the ex-Kaiser to trial, we may yet have an opportunity of having other persons brought to the bar of international justice. I have been watching the development of the English Government’s policy. That policy aims at making the police our masters in Ireland, and we often do not realise that with the single exception of Russia under the Government of the Czar there never was a country so police-governed as this country is.” Read the rest of this entry »

Border Poll: It’s Just Democracy – People Before Profit

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New Fianna Fáil taoiseach Mícheál Martin rejects a border poll about the partition of Ireland – People Before Profit has issued a good political statement on the issue.

The welcome statement highlights a number of issues the radical left needs to address, urgently. The looming threat of Brexit – a right-wing British Exit from the European Union – should be a wake-up call.

He has only been a week in office but already Micheál Martin has ruled out a border poll, saying that it would be ‘divisive’.

Under the provisions of the Belfast Agreement, the British government has the power to call a border poll. But with the Irish government saying they do not want one, they have got cover to refuse.

This is a disgraceful rejection of democracy.

People have every right to aspire to a United Ireland and they should be able to put their case before the people of the North – and the South. Read the rest of this entry »

Stormont Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Rallies in Derry and Belfast – Dáil greenIights Special Criminal Court

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In Dublin Sinn Féin is the largest Dáil opposition party up against the new right-wing FFFGGG Coalition. In Belfast the same party is part of a coalition headed by the far-right Democratic Unionist Party at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland State is almost a world-leader for practicising racism, bigotry, and discrimination. The “Protestant State for a Protestant People” spent decades discriminating against a nationalist minority. That still happens, but has been scaled down. Rebellions helped – and mass struggle caused progressive legal change – for example the lifting of legal bans on abortion and gay rights. But, in 2020, this state discriminates vigorously against other minorities, especially immigrants.

Derry People Before Profit highlights Sinn Féin moving in the wrong direction on these issues :

Despite Sinn Féin’s claim to be a party interested in fundamental change – they are headed in the opposite direction.

In the North, Sinn Féin support the PSNI crackdown on Black Lives Matter rallies in Derry and Belfast. In the Stormont Assembly Sinn Féin MLAs voted with the DUP and others for Amendment 5 of the Health Regulations to approve the PSNI’s political policing of the Black Lives Matter rally including prosecution threats and fines. By backing Amendment 5 Sinn Féin voted to give the PSNI more enforcement powers even though no other incidents or events – including mass rallies of loyalists and racists to ‘protect statues’ – have been targeted by the PSNI.

Sinn Féin President and Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill

In the South, by abstaining on the vote Sinn Féin gave the greenlight to legislation empowering the Special Criminal Court. Throughout its history Sinn Féin has voted against and called for the non-jury Special Criminal Court to be abolished. They’ve now turned their back on this position.

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