Posts By Irish Left Review

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LookLeft 20 is Out Now in Easons and Country Wide

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LookLeft 20 is in Easons stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the country now. Still only €2 the highlights of this issue include:

Boiling Point – Dara McHugh takes a look inside the working class revolt over water charges from Donegal to Cork.

This ain’t no fairy tale - Justin O’Hagan takes on the myths and realities of the Northern economy.

Not afraid of the fight - Brendan Ogle has been to the forefront of organising the water charge resistance. Paul Dillon discusses the campaign with him.

No debtor solidarity - Éilis Ryan looks at Ireland’s shameful lack of solidarity with other debt-ridden nations.

Citizen Baby - Michael Taft outlines the need for a greater State role in supporting families, while Éilis Ryan and Gyunghee Park assess the damage done by bad policies.

Forum - Opinion from across the Left, trade unions and the feminist movement.

After the referendum – David Jamieson and Tom Morrison debate the Left’s next steps in Scotland.

The republican congress – Brian Hanley looks back at one of Ireland’s most iconic Left organisations.

Cycling ac ross the border – Jimmy Dignam takes a spin through the famous Rás Tailteann and republican cycling.

Women to blame - Therese Caherty looks at Ireland’s feminist struggles, past and present.

And much, much more…

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Seminar and Workshop on Precarious Employment

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Seminar: ‘Ethics in Higher Education: the increasing casualisation of teaching within a discourse of quality and excellence’, December 9th @ 2:00pm

Workshop: ‘Precarious Employment in UL’, December 9th @ 4:00pm

Both events take place at the University of Limerick, Engineering Research Building, ERB001

The seminar is open to all.

The workshop is for all those concerned with the immediate and long-term consequences of the casualisation of employment in third-level, for those interested in researching and highlighting conditions and related trends, and for those that would like to help fellow workers organise and act on the issue.

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Liechtenstein on the Lagan?

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A statement from the Workers’ Party

Liechtenstein on the Lagan?

It is rumoured that the Con-Dem government is about to introduce a lower rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland in return for an electoral pact with the DUP at the next election.

It is the contention of the Workers’ Party that the risks involved in the introduction of a reduced rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland are enormous and that even if ‘successful’ the benefits will mostly be felt by a tiny group of local investors, accountants and tax lawyers and a larger group of foreign corporations and wealthy individuals, many of whom will be tax avoiders rather than wealth creators.

The risks, on the other hand, will be felt by workers in Northern Ireland, who will have to face the consequences of a substantial reduction in the block grant and may see no meaningful return for this sacrifice. If expected initial  losses in the Westminster  block grant  of between £285 million  and £300 million are not offset by an increased tax take, job losses in the public sector will pay for a tax break for wealthy corporations.

All of this is taking place in a political vacuum in which working people have no effective political representation.The sectarian parties of all stripes are as one in agreeing that turning Northern Ireland into a tax haven is the way of the future. Time will prove them disastrously wrong for most people. A small privileged elite is looking forward to a windfall while for the majority the decline of living standards is set to continue at a faster pace than ever.

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peoplesnews

Latest Issue of People’s News is Out Now

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The latest issue of People’s News is out now. Click here to download

Articles in this issue include 

Page 1

Water charges, the EU and TTIP

Water charges can and must be defeated by resistance and non-payment; but water as a human right must also be secured as a publicly owned and controlled resource……

Page 2

The Berlin road to an EU army

Prominent German think tanks and politicians have been repeatedly calling for the establishment of an EU army but recognise that there are obstacles standing in the way……….

Page 3

Kenny misleads Dáil on EU lawmaking changes

Weighting votes on the basis of population is…….. a power grab by Germany in particular, supported by France, Italy, and Britain, to increase the weight of the big states……..

Page 6

Big Tobacco wins judicial review on EU directive

The EUs recently agreed Tobacco Directive will be challenged in the European Court of Justice after cigarette giants won a judicial review to examine whether the bills provision for more health warnings and product bans is disproportionate and infringes the rules of the single market……………………….

Page 7

Belgian anti-austerity strike shakes new government

Workers from throughout Belgium converged on Brussels on 6 November to protest against the austerity measures of the new right-wing government of Charles Michel……………….

Page 7

Italian groups seek restoration of national currency

Ireland was not the only euro-zone country to get a letter from the European Central Bank……………………..…………

Page 9

“Dark, secret rooms, behind closed doors”Junckers murky past

Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the EU Commission, was the prime minister of Luxembourg for almost two decades. In that time he oversaw the growth of a financial industry that became a tax centre for at least 340 global companies, not to mention investment funds with almost 3 trillion in net assetssecond only to the United States……………….

Page 10

EU mission in Kosovo beset by allegations of corruption

The EU has asked a French academic to look at recent allegations of corruption against Eulex, its “rule of law” mission in Kosovo…………………..

Page 12

Mícheál Ó Loingsigh

Mícheál Ó Loingsigh, who died last week, was chairman of the Common Market Defence Campaign, the non-party group that campaigned against Irelands membership of the EEC in the 1972 referendum and provided the main arguments that were used by the various elements on the No side on that occasion. These included the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Labour Party, as well as both elements of the then divided Sinn Féin. He was also an active member of the Common Market Studies Group, which produced several pamphlets for the No side…………………..

Page 12

Page 17

Summing up TTIP: An agenda for corporate plunder

The corporate jargon surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal is about “protecting investment,” reducing “unnecessary” barriers and “harmonising” regulations that supposedly deter free trade between the US and the EU………………..

Return of the bondholders?

A talk to be given by Dr Conor McCabe of UCD School of Social Justice and author of Sins of the Father: The Decisions that Shaped the Irish Economy. The event is being hosted by the trade unions Unite and Mandate.- Wednesday 3 December

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Progressive Film Club: Films on Conflict Around the World

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Films on Conflict Around the World

Saturday 29th November 3.00 pm

The New Theatre 43 East Essex Street, Dublin 2

Admission Free

www.progressivefilmclub.ie

  • “Mi Fink”: Make it happen – 3.00 pm
  • Road to Revolution – 3.30 pm

“Mi Fink”: Make it happen – 3.00 pm

“Mi Fink”-Make it happen! shows the process of community organization and resistance. This participatory action arose in the face of vulnerability to losing the land: one of the few things that keep the community united and free. Since the abolition of slavery in Colombia, the land has sustained the food supply and the economy of the Afrodescendant people of Villa Rica. Today the sugar companies dominate the area, planting sugar cane as a monoculture, thereby forcing out the traditional small farms of the region. Some families are resisting this eviction and the loss of their livelihoods. As a result, the life of Jota, one of the community leaders,is being threatend.

Road to Revolution 3.30 pm

Taking off from Istanbul, the “Road to Revolution” crosses some of the most tense territories on the planet – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Tiago Carrasco, João Henriques and João Fontes will be determined to find out more about the lifestyle, culture and beliefs in those territories. Three journalists travel 15.000 kilometers and 10 countries in the Maghreb & Middle Eastern region, following the path of the Arab Spring.

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We Won’t Back Down: Statement from Communities Against Water Charges

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Statement from Communities Against Water Charges

We Won’t Back Down

On Monday the 24 November 2014 we expect four of our friends and neighbors to be committed to prison for exercising their right to peaceful protest. They are to be punished for failing to abide by a High Court injunction granted to GMC Sierra which requires them (and any other protester) to, among other things, remain at least 20 meters away from workers installing unwanted water meters.

This injunction, in spite of the High Court Judges claims to the contrary, obliterates any meaningful right to protest against the installation of water meters. For that reason protesters throughout Dublin, and the rest of the country, have rejected this illegitimate interference with their right to protest, and have continued their dignified resistance to the installation of water meters, and the water charges regime.

This injunction, and the expected imprisonment of our friends and neighbors on Monday, represents another attack on the people of this country, and on the right to peacefully resist and oppose the unjust policies of an unrepresentative government. In the coming weeks and months, we expect the establishment to engage in many more attacks on our movement, using the law as one of its main instruments.

For this reason, we have been working with groups around the country on building legal defence funds: this is a collective struggle for our basic rights and a better future. For that reason, any person that ends up in court for resisting this illegitimate tax and attempt to commodify the most basic of necessities, needs to know that they will not be alone, and we will stand with them. We therefore call on the Right2Water Campaign, it’s affiliated unions and the political parties that have stated their opposition to the water charges, to contribute what they can to the Peoples Defence Funds.

If, as feared, our friends are imprisoned on Monday we are calling for a mass, silent candlelight vigil outside of the prison they are committed to (most likely Mountjoy Prison in Dublin).

As the struggle against this unjust double-tax enters a new phase, and a beleaguered government begins to lash out with all of the means at its disposal, we will make it abundantly clear that fear will not carry the day in this contest, and that nobody who stands against this injustice will stand alone.

Communities Against Water Charges

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peoplesnews

Peoples News: Where’s your mandate, Mr Bruton?

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The latest issue of Peoples News is available now. Click here to download.

Articles include:

P1. Where’s your mandate Mr. Bruton? Minister Richard Bruton and thirteen other Member State trade and foreign affairs ministers signed and sent a letter to Trade Commissioner Malmstrom and Commission President Junker last week in which they insisted that ISDS be included in any TTIP trade agreement.

P2. Ireland’s voting weight in EU law-making reduced by 150% since Saturday. Since Saturday, under the Lisbon Treaty provisions, Ireland’s voting weight in EU law-making was reduced by 150% and we have  lost our full-time commissioner.

P3. ILO study finds that TTIP would have significant negative effects

Official studies of TTIP are unclear about outcomes for employment  and income distribution but a recent study by Jeronim Capaldo, an Econometrics and Data Specialist with the International Labour Organization(ILO, finds that that the main existing studies of TTIP rely on inadequate economic models (of the CGE type).

P4. Peoples Movement Press Conference and demonstration. The Peoples Movement held a press conference and picket last week to highlight the fact that from last Saturday, Ireland’s voting weight in making EU laws fell from its present 2% to 0.8%.

P5. Children badly hit by EU austerity measures. Unicef has just published the most comprehensive study of the effects of the financial crisis on children in the OECD.

And lots for more…

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Left Forum Talk: “Cybersocialism”, by Dr Paul Cockshott

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Left Forum Public Meeting: “Cybersocialism”

Left Forum public meeting on the subject of “Cybersocialism”, by Dr Paul Cockshott of University of Glasgow.

The talk will explore questions around how a centrally planned socialist economy could be realised using mathematical techniques supported by advanced information technology.

For anyone who read the novel “Red Plenty” this should be right up your street.

Time: 7:30pm, Tuesday 18 November

Place: Unite Hall, Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1

Facebook event notice

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Resisting the Water Charges and Defending Our Right to Protest

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Statement from Communities Against Water Charges
Resisting the Water Charges and Defending Our Right to Protest

We are residents of a number of communities in Dublin North East. Over the last number of months we have come together to resist the installation of water meters in our areas, and to oppose this unfair double taxation that the government calls water charges.

For most of us, this is the first time in our lives that we have engaged in any sort of protest and have only done so because we simply cannot take any more of this government’s austerity agenda. At all times we have sought to resist the installation of these meters in a peaceful, dignified and resolute manner.

We are therefore appalled at the recent developments in how An Garda Síochána have policed our protests, and with the blatant campaign to vilify and demonise us that the government and Gardai, supported by segments of the media, launched in recent days.

They have claimed that Gardai are routinely assaulted at protests, and that our movement has been infiltrated by a “sinister fringe” or by “dissident republicans”. We categorically reject these claims. In recent weeks we have been subjected to heavy handed and abusive policing by the Gardai. Men and women, protesting peacefully, have been pushed, pulled and punched by Gardai. To our knowledge not one of our fellow protesters has been convicted of assaulting a member of An Garda Síochána, and violent protest is not something we would endorse or tolerate.

With respect to the claim that our movement has been infiltrated by sinister elements, we reject this also. We are the people on the streets, day in, day out, peacefully resisting these meters; we are mothers, fathers, parents, pensioners, workers and unemployed – we are not sinister, dissident republicans.

In light of these developments, we are genuinely fearful that the Gardai, at the behest of the government, are preparing to become even more aggressive towards our protests and to eviscerate our right to protest.

We therefore call on all of the people of Ireland to come out and support us this coming Monday, 10 November 2014, in Dublin North East. We fear that GMC Sierra will attempt, with heavy Garda support, to enter our areas and install meters that we do not want. It is our intention to continue to resist this unjust tax in a peaceful and dignified manner, but we fear that the decision has been made to strip us of a meaningful right to protest.

Each and every one of us has resolved to resist this tax and these meters, we will continue to do so in a peaceful way, but if we are to succeed we need the support of other communities. If we all stand together, we can resist these charges, retain water as a public good and human right, and vindicate our right to protest.

Communities Against Water Charges
communitiesagainstwatercharges@gmail.com
09 November 2014

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The 80th Anniversary of the Republican Congress: Its Relevance Today

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Public meeting

Thursday 13 November, 8 p.m.

The 80th Anniversary of the Republican Congress: Its Relevance Today

Speakers: Brian Hanley (historian and writer), Tommy McKearney (trade union official, writer, former hunger-striker)

Pearse Centre (27 Pearse Street)

Organised by the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum.

Déardaoin 13 Samhain, 8 i.n.

Cruinniú poiblí

The 80th Anniversary of the Republican Congress: Its Relevance Today

Cainteoirí: Brian Hanley (staraí agus scríbhneoir), Tommy McKearney (oifigeach ceardchumainn, scríbhneoir, iar-stailceoir ocrais)
Lárionad an Phiarsaigh (27 Sráid an Phiarsaigh)

Á eagrú ag Fóram Poblachtach Sóisialach Pheadair Uí Dhónaill .

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Time for Trade Unions to Demand Referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment

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Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment

November 3, 2014, Buswells Hotel, 11am

We are calling on the trade union movement, the largest organised grouping in Irish civil society, to join the move to repeal the archaic, sectarian 8th amendment to our Constitution. For working women, who now make up half the workforce in Northern Ireland and nearly half in the South, the amendment is an affront to their equal rights. It is a duty of all trade unions to secure its removal.

In 1983 the Irish Congress of Trade Unions opposed Article 40.3.3, stating that “the rigidity and inflexibility of constitutional directives on social and moral issues is inappropriate in a democracy”. Since then, over 150,000 women and girls have had to travel abroad for abortions, and every day, 12 more take the trip to the UK for a medical procedure they should be able to access in their own country. Men in Ireland face no such restrictions to any medical care they may need.

For over 30 years, the 8th Amendment has been a major source of inequality and discrimination.  From Miss X in 1992 to the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012 and the recent obscenity of Ms Y’s treatment by the State, Irish history is littered with tragic individual cases directly caused by a Constitution that equates a woman’s life with that of a foetus.

Emotionally and financially, the cost for women with unwanted pregnancies is incalculable. In the middle of a crisis, they have to find at least €1,500 to travel abroad, often alone and in distress. CSO figures show 50% of women earn €20,000 or less which means this dilemma falls hardest on the poorest. And if they go to the internet for abortion pills, they – and anyone who may have helped them out – face up to 14 years in jail. Healthcare workers are routinely compelled to tell women who need abortions that they cannot provide them with, or refer them for, abortion services because there is not enough of a risk to their lives.

Attempts to deal with the rigidity of the 8th Amendment have created a hypocritical situation: you are legally entitled to travel abroad for an abortion which is illegal in your own country. Many women face huge obstacles in attempting that journey.  For poor women lack of money may delay or prevent them travelling.  For migrant women, the uncertainty about being able to return to Ireland effectively denies them the right to travel. If they are faced with a crisis pregnancy, that denial is nothing short of an abuse of human rights. And these difficulties lead to later and more complicated terminations which may pose medical risks.

The 1983 Amendment was an attempt to hold back progress in Ireland. The political elite collapsed in the face of an offensive by SPUC and its allies. The trade union movement played a role in resisting that offensive.

Recent pinion polls have consistently shown that attitudes to abortion in Ireland have changed radically. We live in a more liberal country where individual rights and freedoms are more respected. The 8th Amendment is a barrier to progress; it denies women’s rights and dignity.

It is time for this to end.  We call on all our fellow trade unionists to join with us in calling on the Government to introduce legislation for a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment.

Signed by: Taryn Trainor, Regional Women’s Race & Equalities Organiser, Unite; Salome Mbugua, Chief Executive, Akidwa, African Women’s Network;Helen Mahony, TUI; Laura Harmon, President, USI; Laura Duggan, Unite and ICTU Youth Committees; Jo Tully, INMO; Des Derwin, Siptu, Dublin Council of Trade Unions; Cllr Eilis Ryan (Ind), Siptu;

Marnie Holborow, SIPTU; Eddie Conlon, TUI; John Humphreys, Unite Youth Committee; Padraig Mannion, Unite; John Meehan, Siptu;Grainne Griffin, Siptu; Una Dunphy, TUI, Waterford; Kerry Cuskelly, Impact; Mary Diskin, Retired Teachers Association; Therese Caherty, NUJ; Maggie Ryan, Impact; Cathie Doherty, Abortion Rights Campaign; Shane Fitzgerald, Unite; Mary Caulfield, NUJ

From the TU Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment, affiliated to the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment

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A New Kind of Trade Unionism Emerging

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This article was originally posted on the Trade Union Left Forum on the 14th of October.

A new kind of trade unionism is emerging and consolidating itself within the right2water campaign, led by Mandate and Unite and supported by OPATSI, the CPSU, and the CWU. These unions are bringing the broader social and economic interests of their members to the fore and committing resources, time and effort to support mobilisation not only of members, but also the working class and communities more generally.

By viewing their members as workers (as opposed to people paying a subscription for work-place representation services) these unions are placing the workers’ immediate social demands alongside, and equal to, their immediate work-place concerns. This is crucial if the trade union movement is to really represent its members and to recover its power and leverage in society. Wage increases alone will not improve the lot of workers while the political economy of the country is being restructured from one made up of citizens to one of customers in a toll-booth economic and political structure.

The TULF on many occasions has suggested that the trade union movement has a unique position in Ireland in having the resources and channels of communication to support the mobilisation of working people in a way that no left party can. And now it seems that some unions are realising this potential, which is both necessary and welcome.

The right2water alliance is a genuine alliance of union, political and community groups, making a clear demand and statement, “calling for the Government to recognise and legislate for access to water as a human right. We are demanding the Government abolish the planned introduction of water charges.”

As well as the five unions mentioned, community groups and parties have signed up to the campaign. Some 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for the scrapping of the water charges, close to 100,000 marched at the demonstration on 11 October, and more local actions are planned for 1 November.

The right2water campaign is not dictating tactics to communities or individuals but is building and growing a broad campaign of groups and people based on the principle of water as a human right and as a publicly owned utility and resource. Some on the left have attacked the campaign for not demanding non-payment; but at this moment building the biggest, broadest alliance against water charges and privatisation is the priority. A turn towards direct non-payment may be necessary in the future, but right now the campaign’s strength is in growing and building the alliance rather than splintering over tactical matters.

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Open Letter on the Housing Crisis

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An Open Letter to the Dublin City Council, Real Estate Agencies in Dublin, the USI, the PRTB, the HEA, Department of Education and skills, the NAMA, Landlords, the Citizens and Students of Dublin City on the Housing Crisis in Dublin.

As well as being sent to all of the above today it was also published on www.increature.com issue 4 on Sunday the 12th October

Dear all,

We are two final year university students who live in Dublin and wish to express our profound discontent with some of the situations we found ourselves in during the housing crisis that took place this summer in the Irish Capital and the clear discrimination against students which is common practice in the rental market.

Between June and September, we were actively looking for private accommodation in Dublin. We sent several hundreds of emails, made hundreds of phone calls, many of which were from abroad, went to numerous viewings and spent a lot of time, money and energy looking for a place. This house hunt was long, stressful and, overall, a very unpleasant experience which resulted in us sacrificing a large part of our summer, spare time after work, family time and the possibility to advance with college work (readings, dissertation, etc).

We finally found a place two weeks before the start of the academic year. A place that we are not entirely satisfied with, but had to take because we had no other decent offers. We are somewhat relieved that we were lucky enough to have found something, as we are very aware of the fact that many students were not as lucky and are therefore forced to commute, live in hostels or even have to take a year out of college.

One of us is a final year Student in the faculty of arts and humanities who worked the whole summer in a well-respected office in Dublin and will continue to work part-time throughout the academic year. The other is a final year Political Science and Geography student who works during the summer months and is financially supported by her father who works in one of the European Institutions in Brussels. Both of us have letters of references from all our previous landlords stating we are responsible tenants, that the rent and all utility bills have always been paid on time and that we left our previous flats in good condition. Furthermore, we both have good work references from well-respect institutions.

Having such documents, one must wonder how it took us three months to find a mediocre residence.

To us, the answer is very simple. The housing crisis meant that it was hard for everyone to find a place in Dublin due to the fact that this year there was a 43% drop in supply in the rental market and a 7.5% increase in rental prices, but in particular students have a clear disadvantage and are discriminated against.

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Right2Water March: Sat 11th of Oct, Garden of Remembrance @2pm

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The Right2Water campaign established by a number of trade unions and supported by campaign groups and left political parties will be holding a demonstration against the introduction of water charges at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin at 2PM on Saturday, 11th October.

Everyone is being encouraged to wear or bring something blue. It is hope to form a huge blue water drop filling the streets with blue from O’Connell Bridge up D’Olier St around into Westmoreland St back to O’Connell Bridge.

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