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Ireland

Water revolt in Ireland: Socialist candidate wins by-election as 100,000 march

By Henry Silke, Dublin

October 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Saturday, October 11, saw a major revolt in Ireland over the implementation of the controversial water charge. An estimated 100,000 people marched in unseasonal sunshine, while former member of the European parliament (MEP) Paul Murphy was elected in the Dublin South West by-election. Murphy stood for the Socialist Party’s (CWI) electoral front, the Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA).

Scotland: Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams comments on referendum result

September 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, commenting on the result of the Scottish independence referendum, said, "all of us now need to focus on getting the Westminster elites, the British prime minister and the leaders of the two other main political parties to honour the commitments made -- not least about the north [of Ireland] -- where PM David Cameron said there needed to be extra powers given."

He went on to say, "London was notorious for making and breaking commitments but we will try and keep them to that."

Ireland: Gerry Adams reflects on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

August 31, 2014 -- Sinn Féin -- Sinn Féin president and TD for Louth Gerry Adams reflects on the 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation of military operations on August 31, 1994. Adams highlights the urgent need for the British and Irish governments to tackle outstanding issues bedevilling the political process in the north and which threaten the progress that has been made.

Sinn Féin and its newspaper An Phoblacht have launched a special section on the Sinn Féin website on the 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation. The section includes an interactive timeline, historic statements and this video by Gerry Adams.

Click HERE for more discussion of Irish politics.

South Africa: Overpopulation? Hindsight is also a blinkered perspective

[More on the population debate HERE. More by Terry Bell HERE.]

By Terry Bell

July 13, 2014 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “The misery of people here is very great, with beggars innumerable and increasing every day ... pigs and calves live better than they.” That rhyming comment could apply to the legions of the poor in many parts of the world today. And South Africa is no exception.

But that statement was made nearly 300 years ago by the Archbishop of Dublin, writing about conditions in England’s first colony, Ireland. Land seizures and a system of gross exploitation had reduced most of the Irish population to destitution.

What has this to do with South Africa today? Actually a lot. Because one of the arguments by the powers that be — and their supporters — at that time in Ireland was that the misery of the mass of Irish people was a consequence of them breeding too much. There were simply too many poor, too many children “in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers”, as the great Irish satirist Jonathan Swift noted.

Ireland: 'We have to convince people that Sinn Féin is different', argues councillor

Eoin Ó Broin (above) is a Sinn Féin activist and writer based in Clondalkin, Dublin. He is on the South Dublin County Council representing the Clondalkin electoral area. He works as a policy advisor specialising in the European Union and economic policy. He was Sinn Féin’s candidate for the constituency of Dublin Mid West and a member of the party's Ard Comhairle (national executive).

* * *

July 1, 2014 -- Another view -- Sinn Féin had a good election on May 24. We consolidated our position in the North and significantly increased our strength in the South. We are now well placed to make significant gains in the next Dáil [Ireland's parliament] election.

As we face into that electoral contest two questions will loom large. Voters and the media will want to know who we would enter government with and what economic policies will form the core of our campaign.

In the 2007 election we fudged the first question and back-peddled on the second. The electorate punished us for both mistakes.

Does Ireland need a new left party?

"We have a multiplicity of left parties [in Ireland] of the traditional types... All have maxed out their potential in their present form. Some are still vital, while others have been in decline for some time."

By Helena Sheehan

June 16, 2014 -- Irish Left Review,  posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Does Ireland need a new left party? Yes. Why? We are involved in a colossal class struggle and we are not winning.

We need to confront the very system that is demanding ever more drastic redistribution of wealth from below to above, accelerated accumulation by dispossession, continuing dismantling of the public sphere in favour of private property and commodified culture.

It is not enough to go issue to issue, to oppose cuts, to denounce austerity.

We need to win consent to a counter-narrative to the dominant view of the crisis. We need to break the grip of the belief that there is no alternative.

Ireland: Gerry Adams' radical vision of a 'new republic ... as Wolfe Tone envisioned'

June 15, 2014 -- Sinn Féin -- Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams delivered the annual address at the Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown, County Kildare today (pictured above). In the course of a wide ranging speech Gerry Adams said that Sinn Féin wants to be in government to change Ireland for the better:

We want to tackle disadvantage, unemployment and inequality and improve the quality of life and standards of living for people across Ireland – particularly those people who are today struggling under the burden of austerity. We want to deliver on issues such as housing, health and jobs. Sinn Féin is deeply committed to the peaceful and democratic ending of Partition to a new agreed Ireland.

But Sinn Fein will not do is what the Labour Party has done —go into office to give cover to the agenda of conservative parties, repeating again the failed political history of this State over the past 80 years...

The Sinn Féin Leader concluded his address by saying Sinn Féin is committed to is the radical republican politics of Wolfe Tone:

We are about creating a New Republic, with new politics and a new way of doing things that puts fairness and equality at the heart of how this country is governed.

Las elecciones municipales y europeas en Irlanda: crecimiento de la izquierda

Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3875. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Por Henry Silke

Sinpermiso.info -- En los últimos días se ha producido un pequeño terremoto en la política irlandesa. Sinn Fein ha hecho un gran avance, convirtiéndose en una de las fuerzas políticas principales en Irlanda del sur, casi duplicando su voto hasta el 17% a nivel nacional en las municipales (y más del 20% en las elecciones europeas). Y todo ello en paralelo a un importante avance electoral de la izquierda alternativa y los independientes.

En general, en las elecciones municipales en la Republica de Irlanda, que se celebraban al mismo tiempo que las europeas, el Sinn Fein ganó 150 concejales y los partidos de la izquierda alternativa, unos 40.

European elections: Hope in the gloom as left gains in Greece, Spain, Ireland

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras (centre). Syriza outpolled all other parties in Greece.
For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing all the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties at the end of the article.] 

By Dick Nichols

May 30, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly, an earlier version of this article appeared at Green Left Weekly -- The result of the May 25 European parliamentary poll was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 MEPs, Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs). It has set off a wave of mainstream media angst across the old continent.

Ireland: Left surge in South’s local and European elections

Sinn Fein's Lynn Boylan is one of the party's three MEPs in the South.

For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]

By Henry Silke, Dublin

[Stop Press, June 14: Radical independent MEP Luke "Ming" Flanagan has joined the radical left group of MEPs in the European parliament, the European United Left (GUE.)]

[Stop Press, May 28: In further counting, Sinn Fein has won a third MEP seat, meaning it is represented in each Euro electoral district in the South.]

An Irish republican perspective on Tony Benn

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in conversation with Tony Benn.

Introductory comment by Stuart Munckton

March 17, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following article provides an Irish republican perspective on Tony Benn. In some ways Ireland is a great prism through which to view Benn, his contradictions and his political development and radicalisation.

I read a book recently featuring essays by a range of British left and labour movement on Ireland and its struggle for self-determination that came out in 1985 -- the height of the troubles.

Benn's essay was fascinating because he was a cabinet minister when the then-Labour government sent in British troops to occupy Ireland's north. Benn, at the time, did not oppose it and said he knew very little of the situation. He said no one in the Labour government actually knew the first thing about Ireland and just did what they were told. He said he tried to get a debate started about it at one point, but was shot down.

Eyewitness report: 'Things have gone very quiet in Greece, haven’t they?'

Syriza congress: Alexis Tsipras (left), Manolis Glezos.

See also Helena Sheehan's "To the crucible: An Irish engagement with the Greek Left" published in January, 2013. For more on Syriza, click HERE.

By Helena Sheehan

July 29, 2013 -- Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- “Things have gone very quiet in Greece, haven’t they?” So many people said that to me in the past six months or so. I responded that there was a lot going on, even if international media weren’t covering it. There were civil mobilisations of teachers and transport workers, as well as rising unemployment, emigration and impoverishment, being met with continuing protest, strikes, occupations.

Even so, I sensed a lull in the rhythm of resistance, since the big demonstrations opposing the passage of the third memorandum last autumn. Obviously people couldn’t keep going at that pitch all the time, but how many were succumbing to exhaustion, despair, defeat? How many were quietly going about their work in solidarity networks, policy development, political education?

Tariq Ali: 'Thatcherism continues'; Gerry Adams: `Thatcher did great hurt'

For more on Thatcher and Thatcherism, click HERE.

April 9, 2013 -- SinnFein.ie -- Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commenting on the death today of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said:

Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister.

Working-class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.

Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge.

Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering. She embraced censorship, collusion and the killing of citizens by covert operations, including the targeting of solicitors like Pat Finucane, alongside more open military operations and refused to recognise the rights of citizens to vote for parties of their choice.

Ireland: Socialist Party leaves the United Left Alliance

[Click HERE to read more on the development of the United Left Alliance.]

By Henry Silke

January 30, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 26, the Socialist Party (affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International, CWI) posted an article on its website announcing the end its membership of the United Left Alliance. This was one of the least surprising political developments on the Irish left as the Socialist Party (SP) had been steadily moving away from the alliance for more than a year.

The SP has given two reasons for leaving the alliance.

To the crucible: an Irish engagement with the Greek crisis and the Greek left

Syriza poster, Synaspismos office in Athens, Helena Sheehan on the streets with Syriza in Athens.

[For more discussion of SYRIZA, click HERE.]

By Helena Sheehan

January 21, 2013 -- Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at the author's suggestion and with her permission -- A monumental drama is playing out before our eyes. It is a true Greek tragedy. The plot: A society is being pushed to its limits. The denouement is not yet determined, but survival is at stake and prospects are precarious. Greece is at the sharp end of a radical and risky experiment in how far accumulation by dispossession can go, how much expropriation can be endured, how far the state can be subordinated to the market. It is a global narrative, but the story is a few episodes ahead here.

Ireland: Capitalist press smear-campaign against United Left Alliance MPs

By Joe Higgins TD

July 7, 2012 -- United Left Alliance -- This week the tragedy that is mass unemployment in Ireland was intensified further with the official rate rising to 14.9%, a total of 440,600 people and the highest since 1994. This week, also, the Troika is in town to make sure that the Irish people continue to wear the suffocating straitjacket of austerity in the interests of salvaging the fortunes of the failed property gamblers from the European financial markets. Last week a further €1.2 billion was paid out to unsecured bondholders.

Against this unfolding national crisis, sections of the billionaire-owned press spent days manufacturing giant headlines and spilling buckets of ink in a frenzy of artificial outrage because three Dublin based, left wing members of the Dail (Ireland's pariament] said they used part of a travel allowance they are paid, to take up invitations to speak at mass meetings all over the country. They were invited by campaign groups mobilising against austerity and against the household and septic tank taxes in particular. This, screamed a few journalistic hacks, was an abuse of taxpayers’ funds because the fixed allowance which all Dublin TDs receive should only be used in Dublin.

Ireland: Shock, austerity, Sinn Féin and the United Left Alliance

(Left to right) Joe Higgins, Seamus Healy, Richard Boyd Barrett, Clare Daly and Joan Collins of the United Left Alliance hold a press conference calling for a "no" vote in the EU Fiscal Treaty referendum, outside the Labour Party headquarters.

For more reports and discussion about the United Left Alliance in Ireland, click HERE.

By Des Derwin, Dublin

June 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On May 31, the only country to get a vote on the European Fiscal Treaty – Ireland -- voted for it by 60% to 40%, with a turnout of 50% of eligible voters. Miriam Lord, political colour-writer for the Irish Times (June 2) had a front page article with a headline almost as big as the main news story headline. It proclaimed, “The nation gives one great big sigh of relief”. Certainly, the Irish elite was giving one great big sigh of relief after a hard-fought campaign.

Andy Storey of the broad based Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty (CAAT) summarised the end result:

Ireland: Former hunger striker: 'The IRA should have embraced socialism'

Updated April 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tommy McKearney was a senior member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA)  from the early 1970s until his arrest in 1977. Sentenced to life in jail, he served 16 years, during which he took part in the 1980 hunger strike in the Maze prison. Now a freelance journalist and an organiser with the Independent Workers Union, he has published a book, The Provisional IRA, From Insurrection to Parliament (Pluto Press 2011), that argues the Provisional IRA should have embraced socialism. Mat Ward spoke to him.

Can you sum up for our readers why the Provisional IRA should have embraced socialism?

I am assuming that [your] readers accept the value of socialism as a system. What we’re talking about here is why the Provisional IRA should have -- and could have -- adopted an explicitly socialist agenda. During the early years of the Provisional IRA’s development, the movement was “pro-socialist” in an unscientific sense. The membership was working class, empathised with the less well-off and had a “democratic socialist republic” as its headline demand. What it didn’t have was a tangible socialist program as distinct from socialistic aspirations.

Austerity in Europe: Susan George on the rise of neoliberal and undemocratic Europe

Susan George interviewed for the Transnational Institute (TNI). Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

March 1, 2012

What is the continuity you see between the Maastricht Treaty, through the Lisbon Agenda and the Lisbon Treaty, to the "six pack" and now this new fiscal treaty?

The Maastricht Treaty was a treaty that presented two completely arbitrary figures: 3 per cent budget deficit with regard to the GNP and 60 per cent for the debt.  Why not 4 per cent or 2 per cent? Why not 55 or 65 per cent? Nobody knows. They came out of the sky, those numbers, doubtless from the Bundesbank. But they have become sort of religious symbols, the holy numbers of Maastricht. That was the first effort to get government policy under control, but countries did not respect that, including Germany

Occupy! More reports from the frontline: Wellington, Dublin, Canada, US cities


Nati at Occupy Wellington.

[Are you a participant in an Occupy action in your city or town? Please leave a report in the comments section below. For more activist reports on the Occupy movement, click HERE.]

Occupy Wellington

By Grant Brookes

October 20, 2011 -- UNITYblog

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” -- Naomi Klein 

With comments like this, campaigning journalist Naomi Klein has captured the essence of the mushrooming movement against corporate greed which began on Wall Street. The movement is expressing the feelings of a global majority denied a voice in the media and in the corridors of power.

It spread to Aotearoa on October 15, when occupations began in Auckland, Wellington, Christchuch, Dunedin, New Plymouth and elsewhere.

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