Monthly Archives For April 2015

New Proclamation to the People of Ireland

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Proclamation
The Next President
OF THE
IRISH REPUBLIC
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

IRISHLADS AND IRISHLADIES: In the name of O’Brien, Martin-Murphy, Esat Digifone, the Dublin United Tramways Company, and of the dead executioners who met with unhappy accidents on their way to midday Mass, from whom she receives her old tradition of being neither this nor that.

Having patiently perfected her zeal, having waited, resolutely as a cat bound and gagged all night in the outhouse, for the right moment to reveal herself on Facebook, she now seizes this moment, with her one good typing hand, supported by all her children who thankfully went away and quietly died in flats above chip shops at Cricklewood, and by gallant allies first in London, and now, Berlin, but relying in the first instance on her own weakness, she strikes in full confidence of her ongoing defeat.

I declare the right of others – henceforth to be referred to as the financial markets – to the ownership of Ireland, and their unfettered control over all Irish destinies –male, female, hermaphrodite, thin, fat, or medium sized – to be sovereign and indefeasible. Our long subjugation by foreign institutions and dudes named Rupert, or lately Gunter, who knew and still know what’s best for us, has extinguished us. Nor should we be ever again be spoken of, except by madmen roaring on street corners and those who will be henceforth called Shinnerbots on Twitter, our candle having been successfully quenched by our own hand. In every generation a rabble of corner boys (joined occasionally by Bernadette Devlin and her likes) have conspired in back alleys and attics secretly converted for said purpose to assert the lie of our right to national freedom and sovereignty; eight times during the last four centuries they have asserted it by force of pikes, Lewis machine guns and Kalashnikovs. Standing against such fundamental wrongs and re-asserting our most recent surrender in the face of Goldman Sachs, on legal advice received from Peter Sutherland Senior Counsel, I hereby proclaim the Irish Republic to be a state subjugated to people whose names I don’t even know, and couldn’t pronounce if I did, and pledge my life, and more importantly yours– and those of your inconsequential children – to the cause of our ongoing interest payments and GMC/Sierra Ltd, in which you should all immediately buy fucking shares.

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LookLeft 21 Out Now In Easons and Across the Country

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LookLeft 21 is in Easons stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the country now.

Still only €2. The highlights of this issue include:

Women on the frontline – Áine Mannion talks to women who are leading the fight against austerity

Pious Hooligans’ – Donal Fallon discusses the mass movements of Christian Anti-Communism in 1930s Ireland.

Divided but strong – The Greek Left’s history informs its present and Europe’s future. Éilis Ryan reports from Athens.

Solidarity at Solitude – Paddy Wilson and Chris Bailie discuss the efforts of fans to create a progressive, non-sectarian fan culture at Cliftonville FC.

Combat Folk! – Kevin Squires talks to The Modena City Ramblers about the music and politics that keep them going.

Can the left co-operate? – At least four different plans are being proposed to further Left co-operation but many hurdles remain, reports Dara McHugh

The battle for Ukraine – After the coup in the Ukraine, Ukrainian progressives face severe repression. We interview leftist organisation Borotba about the coup and the new regime.

God, culture and the republic – After the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, Gavan Titley and Ultán Gillen discuss the roles of secularism and multiculturalism

Cut out from the docklands carve up – Dublin Docklands communities are being sidelined from their area’s development. Richard O’Hara investigates.

Another lost generation? – Youth work is disproportionately hit by cutbacks, damaging the prospects of young people.

Stormont House Agreement: who benefits? – Justin O’Hagan looks at the movement against austerity in Northern Ireland.

And much more…

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Returning to the Business of Bonuses

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When everything came crashing down there was considerable discussion of the ‘bonus culture’; primarily but not exclusively in the finance sector.  Bonuses were tied to outputs that, while rewarding the individual (usually a senior management figure), played mayhem in the economy –as if the dispensing of loans for property speculation is a measure of commercial success.

Bonuses, in general, have been with us for a long time.  It actually started among workers and was paid out as ‘piece-meal’ work – the more you shovelled, the more you harvested, the higher the pay This benefited only a few, especially as the total pot of remuneration rarely grew – it was just redistributed (but it did get workers to produce more for their employers).  But as economies industrialised, bonuses became a phenomenon of management and those with special skills; and as the financial sector was deregulated, bonuses became associated with bankers – senior bankers.

Bonuses are justified on the basis of ‘rewarding performance’ or ‘attracting the talented’.  That’s the justification – a hypothesis rarely tested.  It can reward some aspects of work but it ignores others; they can attract some talent but demotivates other talent.  Employees rely on the fixed income of their wage – either the direct or social wage; bonuses can have a distorting effect and can leave employees reliant on HR whim no matter how dressed up it might be with metrics that aspire to measure productivity.

Whatever the justification, there is one thing we can be sure of:  bonuses benefit higher income employees; namely, managers and professionals.  Very little trickles down to workers on the shop and office floor, production line or building site.   The CSO used to measure bonuses by type of employee – not so anymore.  But we can reasonably assume that the share-out is much the same today.

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Agree to a Left Slate: Response to PBPA ‘Alliance’ Proposal.

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This response is written by Brendan Young and Eddie Conlon

People Before Profit have released a public letter seeking endorsement from individuals and organisations for a ‘coherent left alliance’ which would include “[PBP], the Anti-Austerity Alliance and many independent socialists and community and trade union activists.” The focus of this is the coming general election. We are in favor of a slate of anti-austerity candidates standing in the election – based on the water charge campaign and clear opposition to coalition with pro-austerity parties. While we favor this, we are opposed to the method of the current PBPA proposal. But we are in favour of urgent discussion between the SP and SWP on a left slate and would urge the SP to stop stalling on the matter.

While we agree with much of the politics set out in the PBPA proposal, individuals and organizations are being asked to sign up to a proposal for a new left alliance – which is undefined. An alliance is, by definition, a formal organization involving groups and perhaps individuals. We are a couple of years after the breakup of the ULA and relations between groups and individuals on the left are probably worse now than before 2011. Proposing that a new alliance be set up has no basis in the current relations on the left.

There is now however, an improved basis for a left slate in that PBPA is now openly campaigning for non-payment of the water charge. Calling for a boycott is essential to winning this battle and is the basis for common political work. We think that PBPA should now energetically build the non-payment demo on April 18; and that PBPA should actively get involved in the Non-Payment Network or agree to a coordinated approach to non-payment activities. This does not involve splitting from R2W. The groups in North Kildare actively build R2W events – but have publicly argued for non-payment from the outset.

But to propose a new alliance by publicly soliciting support is to attempt to apply pressure so that those who do not agree with participating in a new alliance at this point in time are seen as divisive. The PBPA proposal, as it stands, is likely to fail. The last thing we need now is another failed initiative for left unity leading to hostile recrimination and the demoralisation of those who actively want to see the radical left uniting.

A more considered approach is needed which ensures that those left forces with significant social weight, and in the main that means PBP and the AAA, are committed in principle before the project is publicly launched. That’s not to argue that these are the only forces that should be involved. Indeed the success of any new project will be determined by the extent to which it engages with those who have become active and organised against the water charges.

The focus now should be on building a slate of candidates to run in the general election. A slate would be based upon rejection of coalition with the Troika parties and the championing of non-payment as essential points; repudiation of debt, taxes on wealth, a public works program and repeal of the 8th Amendment would also be needed. How to deal with the North should be parked for ongoing discussion, as there are known differences on it and the more urgent need is to put a slate in place for the elections in the South.

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From Alpha to Omega Podcast #061: The Calculation Problem

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After repeated requests from a number of listeners, this week I am delighted to  welcome back to the show Dr Paul Cockshott, a reader in the computer science department of Glasgow University. We talk of the Socialist Calculation debate, the Soviet plans for their own internet, Google vs a planned economy, and the problems with Council Communism.

If you’d like to listen to the show on your phone, you can now also listen with TuneIn here:

http://tunein.com/radio/From-Alpha-To-Omega-p686756/

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Peoples News No. 122 Out Now

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Peoples News No. 122 Out Now

Contents 

P1. Greeks do the decent thing – Irish EU officials helpful; as usual! The Greek parliament has overwhelmingly adopted a “humanitarian crisis” bill to help its poorest people, ignoring pressure from the EU to halt the legislation.

P1.  TTIP and education. Proposals to make education a ‘traded’ commodity could cost the Irish taxpayer millions, by allowing investors in ‘for-profit’ colleges to sue the government for loss of profit as a result of state investment in public education.

 

P2. Draghi calls for quicker and deeper Eurozone integration. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has called for a “quantum leap” in institutional convergence of the eurozone.

 

P3. The IFA pronounces on TTIP. EU negotiators must ensure the interests of Irish and European farmers are not sacrificed in pursuit of an overall trade deal with the US, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned.

P4. Blockupy!! This week some 17,000 people gathered in Frankfurt to protest against the European Central Bank (ECB). The protest culminated in acts of violence which of course attracted a great deal of publicity.

P5.  Irish data commissioner happy with EU/US data transfer agreement! A lawyer for the European Commission told an EU judge on Tuesday last that he should close his Facebook page if he wants to stop the US snooping on him.

P6. Next, an Energy Union – as EU integration deepens! EU leaders agreed on 19 March to construct an Energy Union with what the EU Commission has spoken of as a ?dynamic governance process.

P7. How to Measure Impacts of Trade – The Copenhagen Report for the Irish Government on the impact of TTIP. The Copenhagen Economics Report (CER) released today Friday 27th is sure to cause controversy on the basis of its underlying rationale for the initiative.

P9. To know the truth and call it a lie. The reaction among German political parties to EU President Juncker’s call for a full blown EU army provides a cautionary tale for us all.

P11. Why the agri-food community should oppose TTIP. Here are some reasons the agri-food community need to oppose TTIP and fight for something far better as agri-food policy in the EU in general!

P14. TTIP 2015 deadline likely to be missed. EU trade officials have conceded that the 2015 deadline to agree the TTIP trade deal with the United States is likely to be missed.

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