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- A changed, and changing, political landscape [EMC]
- The re-emergence of dark forces [TMK]
- EU election shows up core-periphery divide [NL]
- Government proposals on the “right to bargain” [NC]
- The class war intensifies [TMS]
- Spain moves to the left [TMS]
- Solidarity with the Communist Party of Ukraine
- Welcome to the new Ireland [NOM]
- The compliant state [NOM]
- Léirmheas: Tomhas maith ar Bono [CDF]
- Films: Humanity and humour [JF]
- Poems from Strabane
- Frontier Soil
1. A changed, and changing, political landscape
The election results have produced a changed and changing political landscape. There was a solid rejection of “austerity” by hundreds of thousands of working people throughout the country, with both Fine Gael and the Labour Party suffering heavy losses. The Labour Party has paid the heaviest price for its opportunism and its active support for anti-worker policies.
2. The re-emergence of dark forces
In Ireland we are often so wrapped up with our own election dramas that developments abroad may be overlooked and their impact on us missed. The remarkable rise of Sinn Féin, coupled with the equally spectacular plunge of the Labour Party and its leader, has predictably mesmerised the Dublin media. North of the border, where the story from the ballot boxes has offered little change, attention focused on the titillating travails of the recently formed and already collapsing NI21 party.
3. EU election shows up core-periphery divide
We have all heard the superficial analysis presented by the media and so-called political analysts who talk about an anti-establishment vote only in the sense of a vote for opposition parties against existing governments, and about a rise of the “extremes” throughout Europe—essentially equating a vote for the Communist Party of Greece with a vote for UKIP!
4. Government proposals on the “right to bargain”
The Government recently unveiled plans for addressing the fall-out from the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in the Ryanair and Impact dispute. This ruling undermined the operation of the Industrial Relations Acts (2001–04), known as the “Right to Bargain” legislation. The purpose of this legislation was to assist unionised workers in non-union firms where employers refused to collectively bargain in drawing on the support of the Labour Court to determine terms and conditions of employment.
5. The class war intensifies
Juan Moscoso del Prado is a young deputy of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Labour Party) for Navarra. A phrase from a book published by him in April, Ser Hoy de Izquierdas (To Be of the Left Today), summarises the trendy anti-Marxist position of social democrats everywhere: “La izquierda debe olvidar el discurso de clases” (the left must forget class discourse). Señor Moscoso and Éamon Gilmore sing from the same hymn sheet.
6. Spain moves to the left
Bucking the rightward drift of France and other European countries, Spain has moved decisively to the left. In the recent EU and provincial elections both the social-democratic PSOE (Spanish Socialist Labour Party)—the main opposition party—and the ruling Partido Popular (People’s Party) took a trouncing. The secretary-general of the PSOE, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, assuming responsibility for his party’s debacle, resigned, and the party will elect a new leader in July.
7. Solidarity with the Communist Party of Ukraine
Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with the Communist Party of Ukraine in its struggle against the imperialist coup d’état and in defence of the working class.
8. Welcome to the new Ireland
Last year Valeant Pharmaceuticals Ltd of Canada took over Bausch and Lomb, manufacturers of the famous aviator glasses, for €6.4 billion. Its plant in Waterford, which makes contact lenses, has been there for about thirty years and employs 1,100 people.
9. The compliant state
It is appropriate at this time, nearly a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War, when there will be commemorations around the country glorifying the slaughter of workers from 1914 to 1918, that we bear in mind Lenin’s book The State and Revolution, written in August 1917.
At a time when many socialists had lost their way, Lenin reiterated the Marxist view of the state:
10. Tomhas maith ar Bono
Harry Browne, The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power) (London: Verso, 2013; ISBN 978-1-781-68082-7; £9.99)
Is é Bono rí na gceiliúrán in Éirinn, i dTeach Uíbh Eachach, ceannáras na Roinne Gnóthaí Eachtracha, go háirithe. Nuair a theastaigh ón roinn Éireannach mór le rá a chur ar fáil mar chomhluadar lóin do Michelle Obama agus dá clann iníonacha, cé a roghnaigh siad ach na tUasal Bono. (Nárbh ghránna an t?ualach é sin a chur ar bheirt chailíní óga!)
11. Humanity and humour
The film-maker Ken Loach won the Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. In his acceptance speech he stated that “while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.” His films have illustrated this for nearly fifty years.
Which Side Are You On? is a documentary Loach made about the British miners’ strike of 1984–85.
12. Poems from Strabane
These two poems were written by a Christian activist in Strabane, Co. Tyrone.
“The first one is in response to the problem of hunger, welfare reform, and how churches, corporations and others feed into the myths of poverty that perpetuate the misery that programmes like the one I work with are trying to help.”
Richard B. is an active and committed Christian working and living by his beliefs in Strabane.
13. Frontier Soil
(China, ninth century)
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