Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

The retirement of southern Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny several months ago led to Leo Varadkar taking his place.  Varadkar is young, gay and his father is an Indian immigrant to Ireland.  Varadkar’s victory in the leadership contest in the Fine Gael party and assumption of the role of prime minister has been widely hailed as some kind of victory for gay rights and anti-racism.  Varadkar, however, is a committed anti-working class politician, with no track record of campaigning for either gay or migrant rights.  Varadkar  is no friend of the oppressed and exploited – quite the contrary.  The article is taken from the Irish Socialist Democracy website here, where it appeared on June 30.  It is a timely reminder that people need to be judged by their politics rather than being lauded because they are gay and/or female and/or brown.

The election of Leo Varadkar as Fine Gael leader – and his assumption of the role of Taoiseach – has been hailed as a watershed event in Ireland.  This perspective – which is particularity prevalent in international media coverage – carries the assumption that identity is the overriding factor in contemporary politics.  Within this framework the election of a relatively young gay man of ethnic migrant descent – standing in stark contrast to the profile of leaders that went before – is indeed a seminal event.  The other assumption attached to this identity-centred perspective is that a person from such a background will have a more liberal approach to politics.  However, a consideration of the record of Leo Varadkar quickly debunks such assumptions.      

Right-wing

Despite his relative youth, Varadkar is a long standing member of Fine Gael (he claims to have joined as a 17 year old) – the most conservative party in the state – and has consistently occupied the most right-wing positions on a range of issues, including those related to sexuality and race.  In 2010 he opposed the Civil Partnership Bill and also raised concerns over the prospect of gay couples  (more…)

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Below is the text of a talk delivered by Dani in Dunedin on Friday, July 21.

by Dani Sanmugathasan

Good evening! My name is Dani Sanmugathasan, and I am a member of the British Marxist and Leninist organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group. The following talk will be on the topic of ‘Corbynmania’ – the opportunist phenomenon that’s swept through the labour movements in core economies over the last two years – and a good place to start is at the events in London earlier this month.

INTRODUCTION

“Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!” rang out the chants of many on the streets of London on the 1st of July at the People’s Assembly’s ‘Tories Out’ march. The People’s Assembly, Momentum, Radical Housing Network, the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the Socialist Party, and the large trade unions (PCS, RMT, CWU, Unison, Len McCluskey’s Unite the Union…) were all rallying round the Labour Party leader, the holy Son of Attlee, the man who would save Britain from the iron grip of Tory austerity.

But beside these organisations, a distinct second current of marchers – composed of such organisations as Class War, the Focus E15 Mothers, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Architects for Social Housing, Movement For Justice, the Revolutionary Communist Group, and trade unions like the IWGB – led a different chant: “Labour, Tory, same old story!” These groups made (more…)

FreeFM Hamilton’s community radio station interview with Philip Ferguson

Interview starts at 18.39 min

19.20  Discussing the lesser evil position on Labour vs National. Someone who was generally critical of Labour had said they would vote Labour as it was for light rail in Christchurch. On that basis beneficiaries should vote National as they raised benefits where Labour didn’t; pensioners should vote NZFirst because they are the most pensioner-friendly party!

21.50 National is a lot less xenophobic than Labour. Intern scandal – a fraudulent vote for change ‘non-partisan’ campaign really a front for Labour.

25.00 There’s lots of pressure on people to vote as if not voting makes one responsible for something bad happening. Were people who voted Labour in 1984 responsible for that government? Why give your vote for something you don’t agree with or don’t trust?

27.00 Not voting is actually making a statement. A lot of people not voting says something quite powerful. “They are all basically the same, how do we choose”.

  1. 00 Murray Horton in the early 1990s said National are the front stabbers and Labour are the back stabbers. That is the key difference between them

(more…)

Excellent radio interview with Scott Masterson in Dublin. Scott was one of the Jobstown Accused, a leading figure in the anti-water tax campaign in the area and also of the socialist-republican current eirigi. The Jobstown Accused were facing charges of ‘false imprisonment’ of then-Labour Party leader Joan Burton (who was also deputy prime minister). The cops, judge, state, Burton and her Labour cronies, all did their best to get a guilty verdict, but a jury of their peers found the anti-austerity protesters not guilty.
https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/…/dublin-classic-…/

The jury verdict in the Jobstown case is another blow to Labour, the cops and state

by Ian Ó Dálaigh (general secretary of  Éirígí, writing in a personal capacity)

On the 15th November 2014, a spontaneous protest took place in Jobstown, Tallaght, an overwhelmingly working class area in south-west Dublin.  Labour Party leader Joan Burton, who at the time was also tánaiste (26-county deputy prime minister), was delayed in a car for just over two hours by a sit-down protest.  The protest was directed against the vicious austerity measures of the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.  These measures included cuts to social welfare benefits, disability benefits, and pensions and attempts to impose a water tax.  As both minister of social protection and tanaiste, Burton played a key role in these attacks.

Nineteen of the protestors (eighteen adults and one teenager), including our own Scott Masterson, were arrested and charged with false imprisonment in the wake of this. The teenager has already been convicted.

To term a two-hour delay in a car – while surrounded by police – as (more…)

by Socialist Democracy

The announcement by an Irish government minister that “significant quantities” of human remains had been discovered at the site of a former mother and baby home in Tuam, County Galway has brought official confirmation to claims about the disposal of the bodies of babies and very young children who had died there during the almost forty year period it was in operation. Even to a public who have become accustomed to revelations of abuses perpetuated in Church run institutions the treatment of the women and children in the Tuam home were truly shocking.

These mother and baby homes were places where unmarried pregnant women were sent to give birth. After birth their babies were then taken from them and raised in a separate part of the home by nuns. These children were later given up for adoption, often without the consent of their mothers. The women remained in the home for a year, working unpaid hours to reimburse the nuns for their “services”. This was the standard practice – not just at Tuam – but across all ten of these type of institutions that existed within the state. It is estimated that 35,000 unmarried pregnant women passed through these homes.

Informed by a warped religious dogma that deemed the sexual activity of females outside of marriage to be a sin, these homes were designed as places of punishment rather than care. This punishment came not only upon the women but also their children who were seen as the products of sin and therefore less than human. While forced separation and adoption is shocking even more shocking is the very high death rate of children born into these homes that meant that most never left alive.

At least 6,000 children died in mother and baby homes throughout Ireland. For many the end was an unmarked burial plot within the grounds – their remains disposed of with those of numerous others in what can rightly be described as mass graves. For others even death didn’t end the exploitation with hundreds of bodies being sent from the homes to Irish medical colleges. These deaths cannot be accounted for solely by the poverty of that time but rather by the conscious neglect and cruelty that women and their children were subjected to.

Investigations

It was claims about the nature of the disposal of the remains of almost 800 children at Tuam – that they were dumped in part of the sewage works – that (more…)