Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘People Before Profit’ 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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The Miami Showband Massacre – 45th Anniversary July 31 2020 : Files delay ‘appalling’, says judge – BBC News

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Readers are urged to examine the stark facts below.

The British State was caught running the loyalist sectarian murder of Miami Showband musicians returning in the wee small hours from a music gig at Castle Ballroom, Banbridge, County Down on July 31 1975, 45 years ago.

A survivor, Stephen Travers, tells the story to Yvonne Watterson . https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/miami-showband-massacre-i-heard-my-platform-shoes-click-against-each-other-i-still-had-both-legs-1.4318542

My friend Stephen Travers knows all too well about remembering. He was a member of the Miami Showband who survived that atrocity.

They were travelling home from a gig at the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, Co Down, when they were flagged down at what appeared to be a routine British army checkpoint outside Newry. They were ordered to stand by the road with their hands on their heads, while the men in uniform checked their van.

Stephen recalls being concerned about what was taking so long. “My guitar was in there. I had a very unusual guitar, a transparent Dan Armstrong Plexiglas bass, and I was very protective of it. I was damned if I was going to let some awkward soldier manhandle it. I loved my guitar.”

Two of the uniformed men – later revealed as members of the Ulster Defence Regiment – were planting a bomb under the driver’s seat when it exploded, killing both of them. The other assailants opened fire, killing the band’s frontman, Fran O’Toole, its trumpet player, Brian McCoy, and its lead guitarist, Tony Geraghty. Read the rest of this entry »

Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The period before and since the general election has produced a renewed interest in left unity. There have been many contributions on it from across a wide sweep of the left.
There are several direct proposals for unity, or more unity.
As a small assistance to all this I have compiled links to and extracts from most of the leading interventions, since the general election, in the new round of interest in left unity. The collection is below.
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Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020. 

Links to and extracts from selected articles, posts, podcasts and interviews.

 

1. Jacobin; Michael Taft: ‘This Month’s Elections in Ireland Are a Historic Opportunity’, 2nd January 2020

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/02/ireland-elections-fine-gael-fianna-fail

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2. Rise website: ‘Why a Combined Left Challenge in the General Election is Essential’, 6th Jabuary 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/why-a-combined-left-challenge-in-the-general-election-is-essential

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3. Paul Murphy TD, speaking at the ‘Stop the Stitch Up’ rally, Dublin 7th March 2020.

“We need to build a mass political party of the left which is open to different trends, to be organised within, and to represent working class people.”

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4. RISE website: ‘After Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, what next?’ by Diana O’Dwyer, 20th February 2020

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/after-fianna-fil-and-fine-gael-what-next

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5. From: RISE website: ‘We need a socialist government’, 7th March 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/we-need-a-socialist-government

“Build a new mass left-wing party

There is a desperate need for a mass political party of the left. Because of Sinn Féin’s acceptance of the capitalist market and its hesitancy to engage with people-power movements, it will not be that party.
None of the existing radical left parties are likely to grow directly into that mass left party either. Instead, we need a left party that is anti-capitalist, anti-coalition and anti-oppression, while being open for different groups to organise within it.
RISE and our TD, Paul Murphy, wants to work with others to build such a party. While fighting for every reform in the here and now, we are a revolutionary socialist group that sees the need to end the rule of the bosses and big corporations.”
Left Unity Needed for Socialist Green New Deal

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6. RISE website: ‘No going back, but what’s ahead’ by Cian Prendiville, 1st May 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/no-going-back-but-whats-ahead

“This new era will pose new challenges and opportunities for the socialist left.
The recent general election was a brush with fate. The fractured socialist left took blows, but kept on our feet, holding onto most of our seats. This shows that a certain base of support for socialist TDs has been built. A Sinn Fein surge squeezed our vote, and we struggled to respond in a positive and principled way. In too many places the left split its vote, costing perhaps two seats and putting a third at risk. We should learn from that, and strengthen the left for the future.RISE’s proposals for a combined left challenge are a good starting point.
The truth is, this isn’t a bad place to begin. Just before the 2008 crash, Sinn Fein had 5 Dail seats, now it is the largest party in the state. Crisis changes everything.
Back then the socialist left had no seats. Now on the cusp of another major turn, we are the ones with 5 seats. We are the ones with the ideas to change the world. A desire for a radically different and better world is growing every day.
Let’s make this the decade of that revolution.”

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7. Irish Broad Left blog: ‘Uniting the Left to fight for an ecosocialist united Ireland’ by Cian McMahon, 6th June 2020.

https://irishbroadleft.com/2020/06/06/uniting-the-left-to-fight-for-an-ecosocialist-united-ireland/?fbclid=IwAR22GKSsaXbJWoISzYkC5-m2H5MOzxXqrkF6Bp-FYTF-cZrSZ-tfteQDRWQ

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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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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 »

The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born – call the midwife – Ireland needs a new left party

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cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/the-old-world-is-dying-and-the-new-world-struggles-to-be-born-call-the-midwife-ireland-needs-a-new-left-party/

This is an excellent post from the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog.

The author is a former member of the Socialist Party, who highlights the need for an organisation which is internally democratic and is not ultimately controlled by privileged components which make all the decisive decisions – in other words a significant departure from the SWN controlled PBP and the SP controlled Solidarity.

Here is the introduction :

Thanks to Shane Faherty for allowing this to be reposted. Much appreciated. Originally posted on

Modern Distortions Culture, society and history, at the beginning of the month.

 

In keeping with the spirit of our times, on Tuesday I watched an online ‘meeting’ with Paul Murphy TD of RISE (formerly of the Socialist Party/ Solidarity) and Brid Smith TD of People Before Profit. It was a virtual version of the public meeting that most of us on the left know, but may not necessarily love.

Paul Murphy TD RISE – Leaflet, General Election, February 8 2020

Campaigners supporting Paul Murphy TD, February 8 2020 General Election

I wanted to know whether the new party being mooted was a runner and what form it would take. Paul’s organisation RISE have been making overtures to members of the Green Party who may be disillusioned with their party entering government with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. He argues that they should leave the party and, along with other groups on the left, launch a new party. Similarly, People Before Profit released a statement proposing the formation of a new left party. Another small group called Independent Left, many of whom are former PBP members, released a statement welcoming the move. The elephant in the room in all of this is that Rise and People Before Profit are part of a parliamentary grouping called Solidarity – People Before Profit. Solidarity have said nothing on all of this. Solidarity and People Before Profit operate a marriage of convenience for electoral and parliamentary purposes. Until last year, they were evenly matched electorally, with 3 TDS and just under 30 councillors each, based on significant gains made at the previous local and general elections. The local elections of 2019 reduced the numbers of councillors for each party. There were gains for Sinn Fein and the Greens, and this was an indication of things to come.

This analysis hits the nail on the head 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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A West Belfast Republican Funeral Breaches CoronaVirus Restrictions – Trouble Ahead

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The Sinn Féin organisers of Bobby Storey’s West Belfast funeral on June 30 2020 got plenty of advance warning – which they chose to ignore.

Suzanne Breen set the scene in the pages of the Belfast Telegraph :

Sinn Fein has adopted an uncompromising approach to fighting coronavirus in Northern Ireland. On school closures, workplace regulations and much more, the party has rightly insisted that health and safety trumps all else.

The funeral of Bobby Storey should be no different. No ifs, buts or maybes. It doesn’t matter that he was Sinn Fein’s northern chairman, spent 20 years in jail, or has heroic status for some in the republican community.

The same guidelines that apply when ordinary folk die apply to Bobby Storey, too. Just imagine the outrage there would be in the nationalist community if loyalists flouted the rules for a UDA or UVF funeral? https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/comment/sinn-fein-should-set-example-at-bobby-storeys-funeral-but-its-a-case-of-do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do-39319738.html

Dominic Cummings moments in the six county statelet :

Sinn Féin  President and  Vice-President  Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill
Bobby Storey’s Funeral in Belfast

PBP Belfast Councillor Matt Collins observes

At the risk of sounding repetitive I will make the point again….

The only people in Belfast who have been systematically targeted with fines, cautions and prosecution threats from the PSNI for breaching the regulations during this crisis have been BAME protestors taking part in safe, socially distant Black Lives Matter protests.

Such a fact— in a majority white city with tonnes of examples of proportionally different police treatment to other gatherings — is discrimination by definition.

People should be shouting loudly about this. Those in power keeping quiet about it are increasingly becoming part of the problem in my opinion.

The double standards were also highlighted by Vincent Doherty.

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Prosecution Threats Against Black Lives Matter Protesters – Derry, Belfast June 6 2020

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Disgraceful events in Belfast and Derry – resistance is stepped up.

The originators of a statement supporting Black Lives Matter have condemned the Derry Journal for refusing to print a paid advert for the statement in today’s issue.

Dermie McClenaghan, Bernadette McAliskey, Eamonn McCann and Kate Nash, said that they were “deeply disappointed” at the paper’s decision.

They point out that the statement had already been published in full in a paid advert in the Derry News.

The signatories went on: “The statement condemned police action at the BLM protest in Derry on June 6 and was critical of some local interests which had called for the protest to be abandoned. We supported the decision of the BAME community in Derry to go ahead with the protest. We reiterate that support.

Censorship in the Six County State, Ireland

“There are two pandemics ravaging the world – Covid-19 and racism. The anti-racist demonstrations in Derry and in Belfast were meticulously arranged to meet public health requirements. In Derry, the PSNI operation – as if for a major riot – made the arrangements difficult to uphold.

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