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THEY KEEP KILLING, WE KEEP MARCHING!

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This Saturday 26th July in Dublin there will be another march in solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially those trapped in Gaza who are being killed in their hundreds, maimed in their thousands and terrorised in their entirety by the Israeli war machine.

Assemble 2pm at The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1. March to Israeli Embassy.

Please bring friends, flags, banners, noise. We would ask that you do not bring party-political flags (Irish, Palestinian or others).
The Israeli state has launched a fresh assault on the Palestinian people, a collective punishment of a captive population. Israeli officials are now talking about “expanding and intensifying” the assault on Gaza which has already killed some 660 people, the vast majority of them civilians including 161 children and 91 women.

Over 3,500 people, mostly civilians, have been wounded, including almost 1,000 children and 700 women. 500 houses have been targeted and destroyed and 100s of others extensively damaged, while thousands of civilians have been forcibly displaced. Attacks have also been taking place in the West Bank for the past month, where at least 10 people were killed.

This slaughter must end immediately, and Israel must be held accountable for its criminal actions against the Palestinian people.
We must call for an international arms embargo on Israel, and for Israel to be suspended from the Euro-Med Agreement whihc grants its trading privileges with the EU. Israeli impunity must end.
Join us this Saturday to make your voices heard.

Organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

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Public Meeting: The Inter-Imperialist War, 1914 – 1918: Not a Noble Cause

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Communist Party of Ireland

Public Meeting

The Inter-Imperialist War, 1914 – 1918: Not a noble cause

Speakers:

Dr Brian Hanley (historian)

Eddie Glackin (CPI)

Chairperson:

Mary Cullen (historian)

3.30pm, Saturday, 26 July 2014

James Connolly House, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Note that the time has changed due to the march in solidarity with the people of Palestine at 2pm at the Spire in O’Connell Street.

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Cutting the Grass in Gaza

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This article originally appeared on Conor McCarthy’s blog Reflections From a Damaged Life on the 22nd of July.

The current Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip recalls earlier interventions over the last several years, going back to Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.  As this blog has noted before, amidst the welter of reportage and high-octane verbiage brought forth in the media about these events, perhaps the most important thing for us observing, and protesting, from afar is to maintain a sense of the ‘bigger picture’.

As this blog has noted previously, Gaza is a place where violence – the hidden violence embodied and crystalised in the historical and present structures of states and interstate relations, as well as the obvious violence of war and counter-terrorism – over-determines the situation as we witness it now.

Let’s repeat a few simple facts:

  1. Gaza is the most densely populated region on the planet, with 1.7 million inhabitants. The overwhelming majority of these people are either refugees or the children or grandchildren of refugees – the human detritus of phases of Israeli ethnic cleansing both in 1947-49 and in 1967.  The great majority of the population is poor, and unemployment is extremely high, with approximately 60% of the population directly dependent on UNRWA for assistance and food;
  2. Gaza has never been a sovereign political entity or part of one – it has no army, no formal state apparatus, and it is technically, in spite of Israel’s pull-out of its settlers in 2005, under Israeli occupation.  This means that Israel has a duty of care to the Strip and its inhabitants;
  3. Gaza has historically been the locus of various kinds of Israeli violence: not merely ethnic cleansing, but also land confiscation, illegal colonial settlement, and population transfer; punitive raids into the Strip are not new – the Israeli raid of 1955 stands out.  And so amidst our horror at the current savagery meted out to the Strip, we must remember that it is routinely subjected to Israeli internventions, air-raids and killings;
  4. Gaza has been subject to an Israeli blockade since 2007, which seeks to control all movement not only of alleged Iranian or Syrian weapons supplies to Hamas, but also of food, fuel, medical supplies, and other essentials of even the most basic civil life, and it is surrounded on its Israeli borders by a ‘fence’, which has served as the prototype for the much better-known West Bank ‘security’ wall.

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18-07-2014 18-23-01

The Great Numbers Game

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Sometimes the diffusion of figures required to explain what is going on with NAMA, the bank bailout and the economic crisis, produce nothing more than a thick cloud of confusion. For most readers, even for those who are not normally numerically illiterate, they seem to fall about incomprehensibly as we read any of the many articles spewed out by the Great Financial Crisis Machine. There are times, however, when one number can stand out, helping to make sense of all the rest.

In this case, keep the number 63 fixed in your mind.

The amount paid by NAMA for the loans in 2009 when first established (excluding the amount paid by ‘private investors’ and interest charged on the bonds raised when the loans were taken over) is €30.2bn, says this article by Tom Lyons in the Irish Times today.

In the article NAMA’s Chief executive Brendan McDonagh said that “Nama’s clients now number 700, of which 500 were relatively small with total combined borrowings of €2.5 billion.” The original number of borrowers transferred in 2009 was 800.

Based on this, it suggests that in 2009 300 people were responsible for the vast majority of the €74bn of loans taken from the banks. While we have to wait until later in the year to get a proper figure, it’s reported that €22bn of the original €30.2bn loan book remains.

The article now informs us that just 200 people originated the remaining combined borrowings of €19.5bn.

However, if we look at the figures for 2009 when NAMA was set up we can see that now only did the vast majority of the stock of the loans emanate from a very small number of people and its actually far less than 200 people.

In 2009 just 63 people were associated with €45.47bn of the €74bn of loans transferred from the banks, while 709 people were associated with the remaining €28.54bn.

Given that McDonagh has said that 500 people are now associated with total combined borrowings of just €2.5 billion, it’s worth looking at the bottom 500 debtor connections on NAMA’s books in 2009. These bottom 500 held a nominal debt of between €49m and less than €20m with combined total borrowings of €9bn. This means that 300 borrowers were associated with €65bn (€9bn less €74bn).

If 63 people were associated with €45.47bn it follows that 237 people were associated with €19.53bn (45.47 plus 19.53 equals 65).

Now NAMA has 100 fewer borrowers on its books. How many of the 63 largest borrowers in 2009 are responsible for the remaining €19.5bn on NAMAs books (€22bn remaining on NAMA books in 2014 less €2.5bn of the 500 smaller borrowers)?  I don’t know exactly, but the point remains, the vast bulk of NAMA loans were taken out by a very small number of people.

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March & Rally – Stop Israel’s slaughter in Gaza!

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[Dublin] March & Rally – Stop Israel’s slaughter in Gaza!

Sat, 19 July 2014, 14:00 Assemble @ The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

This Saturday 19th July in Dublin there will be another march in solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially those trapped in Gaza who are being killed, maimed and terrorised by the Israeli war machine.

Assemble 2pm at The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1. March to Israeli Embassy, via the Dail.

Please bring friends, flags, banners, noise. We would ask that you do not bring party-political flags.

The Israeli state has launched a fresh assault on the Palestinian people, a collective punishment of a captive population. Israeli officials are now talking about “expanding and intensifying” the assault on Gaza which has already killed some 200 people, the vast majority of them civilians including 36 children and 29 women. Over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, have been wounded, including 368 children and 253 women.  246 houses have been targeted and destroyed and 100s of others extensively damaged, while thousands of civilians have been forcibly displaced. Attacks have also been taking place in the West Bank for the past month, where at least 10 people were killed.

This slaughter must end immediately, and Israel must be held accountable for its criminal actions against the Palestinian people.

Join us this Saturday to make your voices heard.

Organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Supporting Organsiations: Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, Gaza Action Ireland, TEEU (The Power Union), Academics for Palestine, Irish Anti-War Movement, Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance, Peace and Neutrality Alliance

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The Conjoining of Affect with Cognition: Self and Emotional Life

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Book Review: SELF AND EMOTIONAL LIFE, Adrian Johnston and Catherine Malabou (Columbia University Press, 2013)

Most of us know that we don’t know ourselves as well as we like to think we do but there is a more trusting and steadfast belief in our possession of a self. In everyday life we make reference to it in a variety of ways and, notwithstanding those occasions when we catch a glimpse of an image in a mirror and wonder who that person is, filling out personal details on a form is not usually the cause of metaphysical trepidation. Besides such acts of public self-identification, we do not doubt  that our name is also a marker for a more private and defended identity that lies behind the forename and surname we answer to and surrender to others. Descartes got to the heart of it when he set about doubting everything about the world but reached a bedrock of knowledge with the certainty of his own thinking self.  From this zero-level of  self-proof a mind-body dichotomy emerged as constitutive of the conscious subject and while many philosophers after Descartes have challenged his model it is only with the advance of neuroscience that it has been seriously wounded. This is the subject matter of Self and Emotional Life, a book of two halves by two authors.

Neurobiology shows the brain, consciousness and the body’s nervous system to be interconnected in such remarkably labile ways that the metaphor of the brain as a computer, neatly processing information that reaches it via the senses, has to give way to a picture of an open organism, plastic and frangible, affective and cognitive. The brain – the emotional brain – is modelled as the site of a libidinal economy and this carries implications for any notion of a selfhood inhabiting a comfortable milieu where a subject can be in conversation with itself and its affects. Such an alluring notion is understandable; we think mostly with words after all and forms of introspection, as depicted in cartoon’s thought bubbles or in fiction’s stream-of-consciousness, can seem like engagements with our inner self.

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Emergency Protest & Rally: Stop Israel’s slaughter in Palestine! Sat 12th July 2pm @The Spire O’Connell St

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[Dublin] Emergency Protest & Rally: Stop Israel’s slaughter in Palestine!

Sat 12th July 2014, 2pm @ The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

Please bring friends, flags, banners, noise. We would ask that you do not bring party-political flags.

The Israeli state has launched a fresh assault on the Palestinian people, a collective punishment of a captive population. At the time of writing, more than 100 people have been killed in bloody airstrikes in Gaza, including at least 9 children. Israeli occupation forces have launched hundreds of attacks on the people of Gaza, and injured scores. Attacks have also been taking place in the West Bank for the past month, where at least 9 people were killed.

This slaughter must end immediately, and Israel must be held accountable for its criminal actions against the Palestinian people.

Join us this Saturday to make your voices heard.

Organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Supporting Organsiations: Gaza Action Ireland, Irish Anti-War Movement

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Ten Years On, Israel Continues to Defy the Legal Opinion of the International Court of Justice with impunity

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The 9th of July 2014 marked a decade since the International Court of Justice issued an Advisory Opinion regarding the construction of the Apartheid Wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  As if the onslaught currently being wreaked upon the people of Gaza weren’t evidence enough of the degree of exceptionalism afforded to Israel by the international community, the anniversary of the ICJ verdict further underscores Israel’s effective exemption from the most basic norms of international law and human rights. The conclusions reached by the ICJ were unambiguous: the wall constitutes a violation of international law, Israel should cease its construction, tear down those sections already built and pay reparations for the damages caused by its construction thus far.

In addition to affirming the illegality of the wall itself, the ICJ stated that the manner in which it is traced serves to effectively annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel, thereby converting the illegal West Bank settlements into irreversible “facts on the ground.”  This constitutes a grave breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is a “flagrant violation” of international law according to the ICJ, echoing the wording of previous United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning the settlements.

International complacency

One would be forgiven for assuming that in the wake of such an unequivocal condemnation by the highest judicial authority in the world, the international community would have taken some concrete measures to compel Israel to meet its international law obligations, seeing as it has consistently failed to do so.  Indeed, according to the opinion of the ICJ, such action is legally required of the international community:

“Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.”(p. 13)

In spite of this however, the ten years since the ICJ ruling have instead seen an unabated expansion of the Apartheid Wall and its “associated regime” of illegal settlements, all with the tacit consent of the international community and at the expense of the Palestinians whose daily lives have been rendered unliveable by the wall’s physical presence.

The devastating impact that the Apartheid Wall has had on such families and communities has been well documented by human rights groups such as AmnestyHuman Rights WatchB’tselem and al Haq. There would appear to be a general consensus among such organisations that the real function it serves is to aid Israel in realising its territorial ambitions, while brazenly violating the Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement, as well as numerous other inalienable human rights in the process.

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Hoarding Cash While Refusing to Invest

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This article originally appeared on Socialist Economic Bulletin on the 8th of July.

The world’s largest companies are hoarding cash and cutting productive investment at the same time. The Financial Times reportsa survey from one leading ratings’ agency, Standard & Poor’s, which shows that the 2,000 largest private firms globally are sitting on a cash mountain of $4.5 trillion, which is approximately double the size of Britain’s annual GDP.

Yet capital expenditure, or ‘capex’ by those firms fell by 1% in 2013 and is projected to fall by 0.5% this year. But this does not presage an upturn. Steeper declines in productive investment are projected by those firms in both 2015 and 2016. Taken together, if these projections materialise the actual and projected falls in capex over the 4 years from 2013 to 2016 will approach the calamitous fall in productive investment seen at the depth of the recession in 2009. This is shown in the FT’s chart below.

Chart 1. Real Capital Expenditure by 2000 leading firms

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SEB has previously argued that companies are not prevented from investing by lack of access to capital or similar factors. They are sitting on a cash mountain. The same is true of British firms. There is plenty of money left, but firms refuse to invest it.

This is because private firms are not concerned with growth, either GDP growth or the growth of their own productive capacity. They are primarily driven by the growth of their own profits, or preserving them. Where that is not possible, where new capex will not meet an expected level of return, no new investments will be made.

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The Dangers of Exaggerating RMB Internationalisation

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RMB ‘internationalization’ is one of the most discussed issues in China’s economic policy. But many claims regarding the extent of RMB internationalization are greatly exaggerated and the practical proposal to attempt to achieve it, capital account convertibility of the RMB, is extremely dangerous for China’s economic and social stability. To eliminate false estimates and policies, it is, therefore, necessary first to accurately establish the facts regarding the real international role of the RMB and then analyze what consequences flow from these.

Those wishing to present a highly exaggerated picture of the degree of RMB internationalization frequently do this by presenting percentage growth figures. This gives a misleading impression because it fails to mention that such growth rates look impressive merely because they are calculated starting from extraordinarily low levels. To take a typical example, the proportion of RMB payments carried out in the US in April 2014 had risen by 100% compared to a year earlier. This sounds spectacular – until it is noted that the rise was only to 0.04% of all worldwide currency transactions!

A sense of reality is immediately injected if its noted that in April 2014 the RMB accounted for only 1.4% of international payments – globally, RMB payments are entirely marginal. Furthermore even this very low figure exaggerates the RMB’s internationalization because a large percentage of the payments are merely between mainland China and Hong Kong.

To illustrate the real situation, start with China’s strongest area internationally – trade. By the end of 2013, 8.7% of world trade was denominated in RMB – but the dollar’s share was almost 10 times as high at 81%. Furthermore, the RMB figure was artificially flattering as around 80% of RMB payments were for Hong Kong. Excluding Hong Kong RMB payments were marginal. For example, by April 2014 only 2.4% of China and Hong Kong’s trade with the US, China’s largest single country export market, was in RMB.

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The July Issue of the Socialist Voice Out Now

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The July Issue of the Socialist Voice is Out Now. 
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/index.html

In this issue 

1. Housing is a right, not a privilege

There is not a town or city in this country that is not experiencing increased homelessness. Walk down any street and you will see at first hand the growing problem of individuals and whole families sleeping rough or wandering around the streets, as they have to leave a hostel or B&B during the day. 
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/01-housing.html

2. The anti-clericalism of the chattering classes

The recent revelations regarding the finding of up to eight hundred infant bodies buried in what were the grounds of a children’s home in Co. Galway hit the headlines and led to much ill-informed speculation, spurring renewed anti-clericalism by the establishment media. 
      While the numbers and the causes of death are still not clear, this has not prevented the state-controlled RTE and the corporate media from engaging in wild speculation. 
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/02-homes.html

3. Poetry
Richard B 

140 Reasons to Feel Betterhttp://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/03-poetry.html

4. Lessons of the Republican Congress

Contrary to the common perception, history rarely repeats itself, and never in exactly the same fashion as before. Conditions and circumstances change constantly, and so therefore does the story. Nevertheless, certain episodes from the past provide valuable lessons, offering important ideas or crucial insights. 
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/04-rep-congress.html

5.  Workers in struggle
Block a return to slave wages and conditions

The privatisation of the collection of household refuse has led not just to chaos in housing estates with the duplication of collection services but to ever-increasing charges on working people for the collection of their black, green and brown bins. http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/05-workers.html

6.  Further sentence for Margaretta D’Arcy

On Tuesday 24 June, in Ennis District Court, Margaretta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell were given two-week suspended sentences by Judge Patrick Durcan following their conviction for “interfering with the proper use of an airport.”
 http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/06-margaretta.html

7.  Bausch and Lomb: the sequel

Workers at Bausch and Lomb in Waterford voted last month to accept the deal proposed by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The SIPTU vote was 563 to 107. 
      Although the union made no recommendation, members were left in no doubt that a “no” vote would close the factory, with the loss of all 1,100 jobs. The same happened at the TEEU ballot, where the vote was 68 to 23 for acceptance. In effect there was no choice: you either accepted or lost your job.
 http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/07-bausch.html

8. Education under attack

The austerity attack by this Government and its ally, the European Union, continues to affect the many thousands of our people who are still suffering not only austerity but, equally important, the anxiety and stress that this causes to the general health of our people.http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/08-education.html

9.  Inequality to continue?

When Government ministers wax lyrical these days about “recovery just around the corner,” “green shoots,” and “light at the end of the tunnel”—beware! They are far from talking about a return to the “good old days” of the Celtic Tiger, when the Irish capitalist economy boomed (for some). 
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/09-ilo.html

9. Clean water is a human right

What will happen when an unemployed worker, pensioner or single mother is unable to pay a water bill? Will our privatised water and sewage-disposal service, Irish Water, be willing to meet in full its obligations to all citizens? Or will it threaten to cut off the water supply of those who are behind with their bills?
 http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/10-water.html

10.  An Garda Síochána scriosta le polaitíocht

Ní inné ná inniu a tháinig ceisteanna chun cinn faoi fheidhmíocht nó ionracas an Gharda Síochána. I gcónaí riamh ba “phoblacht neamh­spleách” é taobh istigh den stát, agus níor leasc le go leor de na baill, an cheannasaíocht san áireamh, gníomhú taobh amuigh den dlí. http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/11-garda.html

11. Connolly Study Circle, Dundalk

Over the last few months the CPI has held three talks for activists in Dundalk 
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/12-dundalk.html

12. Réabhlóid na Fraince agus a polasaithe eacnamaíocha

Ba í Réabhlóid na Fraince an tréimhse staire ba mhó tionchar ar pholaitíocht agus idé-eolaíocht na hEorpa sna trí haois dheireanacha. 
      Leath tionchar na réabhlóide go dtí gach críoch ar domhan, agus roghnaíodh tríd­hathacha mar shuaitheantas beagnach gach náisiún a lorg neamh­spleáchas, múnlaithe ar an mbun-leagan Francach
http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/13-reabhloid.html

13. The economic philosophy behind the euro

In 1979 Margaret Thatcher was the first European prime minister to introduce the neo-liberal agenda. She was soon followed by Ronald Reagan in the United States, and the European Union formally adopted the neo-liberal ideology in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/14-euro.html

14. The hall that Jimmy built

James Gralton was the only Irish person (so far) to be deported from the country of his birth as an undesirable alien. The deportation was ordered on the grounds of dubious logic and equally dubious legality, which claimed that because he had adopted American citizenship he was a foreigner. 

http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/15-film.html

http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/index.html

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Stag-covery

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Stag-covery (n): a situation where statistical recovery occurs within a persistent economic stagnation  

The CSO’s new release shows a statistical recovery and a stagnant economy – a state of affairs that can be described as stag-covery.

The headline rates show a GDP quarterly increase of 2.7 percent.  This might seem solid enough but all this is driven by net exports.  The domestic economy remains mired in stagnation.

DEI1

The worst of the economic crash ended in 2010.  Since then it’s just a matter of bouncing along the bottom.  In 2013 consumer spending fell, spending on public services bumped up marginally while investment fell marginally.  We can debate the swings and roundabouts (impact of the pharma cliff, aircraft leasing, etc.).  But the narrative remains the same – the ship sunk to the bottom and is struggling to get back to the surface.

The first quarter of 2014 didn’t get off to a hectic start.  On a quarterly basis:

  • Consumer spending fell, though this shouldn’t be too surprising given that it was coming off a quarter that contained Christmas spending.
  • Spending on public service resumed its long-term fall – by over 2 percent.
  • Investment fell by a substantial 8 percent.

It is this inability of the latter to generate any momentum upwards that is particularly worrying.

QIG2

This represents is a potential problem for the Government.  In the last quarter investment fell by 8 percent.  Yet the Government has pencilled in investment growth of over 15 percent this year.  Of course, the game isn’t even half over but this is an especially poor start.

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Photographing Absence

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Book Review: Phantom Home, Ahlam Shibli  (Hatje Cantz, 2013) 

The sudden and violent death of someone close to you can only intensify the grief and feeling of loss that accompanies any bereavement, so much so that looking at a picture of the person may be too unbearable to bear. The raw and unavoidable facticity of someone’s absence becomes a too-painfully presence that would be compounded by a photograph that makes the ordeal even more difficult to cope with. This is understandable and it takes an effort of imagination and empathy to comprehend another kind of response when the sudden and violent death is a public and political moment in the life of a community that is itself living with an ongoing sense of loss and deprivation. Palestinians living in their land under occupation by Israel have witnessed death at the hands of their occupiers for most of their lives and seen the destruction of their homes and crops. They live with daily indignities that prevent them from travelling on certain roads in the West Bank, they suffer from a grossly unfair allocation of water and they observe the expansion of settlements for Israeli colonizers.

Western Graveyard, Nablus, January 20, 2012 In Nablus, the families of the deceased visit the graveyards on Thursday evening or Friday morning to take care of the tombs and sit next to them in commemoration. Usually members of the same family are buried close to one each other, whether they died a martyr’s death or of natural causes.

Ahlam Shibli, a Palestinian photographer, explores the visual culture — posters, murals, banners, paintings, photographs and graffiti – of the community of Nablus as it commemorates those accorded the status of martyrs: Palestinians killed fighting Israeli forces, civilians killed in Israeli attacks and suicide bombers whose missions took them into Israel.

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Pablo Iglesias: “put a stop to the grand coalition that is imposing austerity and financial totalitarianism.”

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This is a rush translation of the address by Podemos MEP Pablo Iglesias to the European Parliament this morning, on the occasion of presenting his candidacy for President of the European Parliament. Original text via Público.

It is an honour to speak to you all in presenting my candidacy for the presidency of this chamber. This parliament is called upon to represent the sovereignty of Europe and we must, fellow deputies, live up to what that means today.

The dream of Europe has been buried many times but it always managed to awake once again. This is what happened nearly 70 years ago: Europe awoke again in the resistance of its peoples against fascism, in the survivors of the extermination camps, in those who gave their lives for justice and for freedom. Thousands of my own compatriots, who had struggled to defend democracy in Spain, took part in that struggle and that dream of justice. You cannot imagine the pride I have as a Spanish person that the first tanks that entered Paris to liberate it were manned by Spanish combatants. Today, as intolerance and xenophobia threaten us once again, I want to call upon Europe’s memory of antifascism, and that of all those peoples who love freedom and democracy.

My fellow deputies, the best of our continent and our common history was forged in the revolutions that made the people the subject of rights, above kings, gods, noblemen and major property owners. The best heritage of Europe is the will of its citizens to be free and to be the serfs of no-one. To be no-one’s serf, my fellow deputies, that is democracy.

That is why I must tell you today that the peoples to whom we owe our social freedoms and rights did not struggle for a Europe in which its people live in fear of poverty, of exclusion, of unemployment or of abandonment when faced with illness. The expropriation of sovereignty and subjection to the rule of financial elites threaten the present and the future of Europe, they threaten our dignity, they threaten equality, liberty and fraternity, they threaten our life in common.

The creation of new supranational entities does not have to come at the price of leaving the citizens helpless. Our peoples are not children, nor are they colonies of any investment fund. They did not win and defend their freedom so as to hand it over to a financial oligarchy. These are not abstract terms, my fellow deputies: all of you are well aware of the problem.

The ease with which lobbies in the service of major corporations move around here is scandalous, as are the revolving doors that turn public representatives into millionaires in the pay of big businesses. We have to say it loud and clear: this way of operating robs the peoples of their sovereignty, attacks democracy, and turns political representatives into a caste.

My fellow deputies, democracy in Europe has been the victim of authoritarian erosion. In the European periphery the situation is tragic: our countries have almost become protectorates, new colonies, where powers that no-one has elected are destroying social rights and threatening the social and political cohesion of our societies.

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