This was originally published on Raymond Deane’s blog, the Deanery on the 16th of May.
As everyone knows by now, The Gatekeepers is a 2012 Academy award-nominated documentary film made by the Israeli director Dror Moreh. Moreh succeeded in interviewing the last six heads of Israel’s General Security Services, better known by its Hebrew acronym Shin Bet. These gentlemen display considerable frankness about the nature of their past activities, their belated advocacy of a two-state solution to the Palestine issue and their negative views of successive Israeli governments.
It’s not my purpose here to write another review of this much talked-about but surprisingly uncontroversial film. Interesting articles, both of which discuss it in conjunction with the Israeli/Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras, may be read here and here. Instead, I wish to reflect on some worrisome aspects of the film’s framing and reception in public discourse, and to suggest that its propagandistic effect is dependent on such framing.
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The May issue of Socialist Voice is out now. It can also be view online (pdf) or below.
- Irish austerity: Change of words but not of policy [EMC]
- Medical cards under savage attack [MA]
- Water and woods to be flogged off [MA]
- Reform or transform? The confusion of growth economics—Part 1 [NL]
- Croke Park II rejected [Anne Casey]
- The capitalist crisis and the demolition of workers’ rights [NC]
- Can we learn from Cuba?—A response [EON]
- Venezuela: Electoral challenge a coup attempt [RCN]
- Colombians call for solidarity [SE]
- The Progressive Film Club: an inspiration and an education [PD]
- Ireland’s neutrality demonstrated again
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Originally posted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on the 29th of April.
This brief report intends to outline the situation within the Irish left following the slow implosion of the United Left Alliance (ULA).
The ULA was an alliance made up of the Socialist Party (affiliated to the Committee for a Workers’ International, CWI), the Socialist Workers Party (the International Socialist Tendency, IST), the Workers and Unemployed Action Group (WUAG, a locally based group with public representation including a member of Ireland’s parliament [TD] and numerous municipal councillors). It also included smaller groups such as the Irish Socialist Network and Socialist Democracy.
The ULA was initially very successful by Irish left standards and won five TDs. Though, it should be understood most, if not all, of these victories did not come only from the unity project itself but from literally decades of work by the various groups.
However, seeing the left under a single banner with a serious electoral challenge did initially attract many activists to its banner.
The ULA unfortunately lasted less than two years and today exists in name only.
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Originally posted on Irish Student Left Online on the 24th of April.
Eoin Griffin writes about the history of May Day and how we can use this focal point to reassess our own goals. On Wednesday, May 1st from 6:45PM at Parnell Square we'll be taking the energy that was part of last Monday's public meeting organised by the 1913 Unfinished Business Youth Bloc into the DCTU’s May Day march leaving Parnell Square at 7pm. What was it Oscar Wilde said about socialism and evenings? Sign up to the Facebook event here.
May Day holds a mythical position among the international workers and union movements. Its origins can be traced back to Australia in 1856 when stonemasons and builders in Melbourne downed tools on the 21st of April and marched on Parliament to demand an eight hour working day without any deterioration in pay. In 1884 the Chicago Labour Movement adopted the eight hour working day as their core demand, declaring that May 1st 1886 would mark the beginning of the 8 hour working day being a standard. They famously campaigned for this using the slogan “eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, eight hours of recreation”. This slogan had first appeared in the UK during the Industrial Revolution.
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The Provisional University Presents…
A day of talks and discussions with acclaimed historian Peter Linebaugh, author of The Magna Carta Manifesto
plus research collectives based in Spain, Ireland, USA and the U.K.
Time: Saturday, May 18, 2013 11:00am until 5:00pm
Location: O’Connell House, 58 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
This event is open to the public and admission is free but booking is advised.
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1913 Unfinished Business, Youth Bloc is hosting
We're Not Leaving': public meeting of young people to fight forced emigration.
Monday, April 29th, 7PM – Wynn's Hotel, Lower Abbey Street.
Paul Dillon (Unite Youth); DaraAnn O'Malley (Student Officer, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation); David Gibney (Mandate Youth); Laura McKenna (SIPTU Youth); Derek Keenan (Chair, Communication Workers' Union Youth); Seamus Reynolds (President, NUI Maynooth Students' Union).
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The First Left Forum will be held in the Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, on May 18th 2013. In the call out the Forum states:
“We have had five years of crisis, five years where no alternative has been able to win support despite the obvious failures of the current political and economic regime, with serious human and environmental consequences.
Can we do better? Can the Left win widespread support for our ideas and build an alternative society? Can we make socialism more than a nice idea? The Left Forum invites you to contribute your views on the state of progressive politics and to discuss how we can do better.
The forum will be participatory and exploratory, and will aim to ask and answer key questions about what levels of political agreement are possible, what forms of organisation are useful and what tactics and strategies will be effective. We hope that you will join us and help define the future of the Left in Ireland”
This has led to some questions, firstly who is the Left Forum? Is it another front? What ideas do you mean, what exactly is ‘participatory’ and ‘inclusive’ and haven’t we heard all of this before?
Who are we?
The Left forum is an initiative that has been launched by the old United Left Alliance reading group in DCU, (now renamed the Left Forum DCU). While small the membership is diverse representing many trends of the Irish left. The group includes ex members of the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers’ Party, The Workers Solidarity Movement, The Workers Party, the Communist Party as well as the non-affiliated. Though the various group members very much recognise the different strengths of the various organisations we believe that for both objective and subjective reasons that these groups (certainly alone) do not offer all the answers. The group originally came together as the DCU branch of the United Left Alliance and this initiative has partly comes as a result of the implosion of the alliance and the gap left in the political spectrum by its demise, including the political space available independent left activists.
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Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German MEP with the Free Democrats party has announced that he is resigning from German politics because he is “fed up with German hypocrisy”. Chatzimarkakis was born in Germany to Greek migrants and has dual nationality so his actions and comments are particularly directed towards German-Greek relations. The issue of corruption is the one where he sees hypocrisy as most glaring:
“The Germans in their hearts believe it is OK to bribe if it leads to more profit. They have a totally different attitude to corruption as the donor [party]. Many regard themselves as not guilty if they give… The guilty ones are those who take … this is the sort of hypocrisy that I am personally fed up with.”
A recent report entitled Guns, Debt and Corruption: Military Spending and the EU Crisis, authored by Frank Slijper, hones in on one sector where such corruption is endemic. Greece has long had the highest levels of military spending in the EU and Germany has been one of its leading suppliers of military equipment. In 2011, two former managers of the German firm Ferrostaal were convicted in Germany of paying €62 million in bribes in connection with the export of submarines to Portugal and Greece, and Ferrostaal itself was fined €140 million. The former Greek Defence Minister, Akis Tsochzopoulos, along with several others, faces trial in Greece for taking kickbacks on defence contracts, including an alleged €8 million from Ferrostaal.
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A lot of ink has been spilt in the mainstream media, praising the role a free trade agreement between the EU and the US could play in pulling the two economies out of the crisis they are engulfed in. Richard Bruton outdid himself in the Sunday Business Post on 14 April 2013, claiming “abolishing restrictions in the EU’s services sector alone could boost EU GDP by 2.6%.” Three days later a press release from him claimed that the whole deal could boost EU GDP by a mere 0.5%! Of course, these claims of increased growth, together with hundreds of thousands of new jobs, should be treated with a pinch of salt by those with the experience of the ‘Lisbon jobs’ promises.
These trade negotiations will be carried out in secret, away from any real public or parliamentary scrutiny. Thankfully the draft mandate prepared by the European Commission for the Council has been leaked, although it’s outrageously meant to be kept secret from most MEPs and the public at large. The draft clearly illustrates these negotiations are a means for big business including agri-business on both sides of the Atlantic to push their interests at the expense of European and American working people. They will drive for full liberalisation of public services, and a race to the bottom in terms of regulatory standards. They intend to give privileged access to ‘justice’ to major corporations and may threaten internet freedoms with the potential for ACTA by the backdoor!
The International Trade Committee of the European Parliament will vote on a resolution in April which will most likely voice support for the negotiations. Here, Paul Murphy MEP and Tanja Niemeier (Trade Advisor for European United Left in the European Parliament) provide a critical analysis and explain why this deal will not be ‘win-win’ for workers on both sides of the Atlantic, as the free trade propaganda suggests.
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DCTU May Day Rally: Unfinished Business 1913 – 2013
7pm, 1st of May,
Assembly: Parnell Square
March to Liberty Hall
You can keep up with 1913 Unfinished Business by following the hashtag #UB1913 on twitter: https://twitter.com/UB1913 and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1913UnfinishedBusiness
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As indicated before the elections, the right-wing opposition are engaging in activities similar to those that laid the ground for the short-lived coup in 2002. In brief the main points are:
- Venezuela’s right-wing groups engage in extreme violence after rejecting official election results
- Leaders from across Latin America congratulate President Maduro & call for official results to be respected
- Venezuelan Embassy in the UK Statement on the Election
- Union of South American Nations & Election Observers Calls for Respect for Venezuela Election Results
- National Electoral Council (CNE) explains that 54% of votes have been audited & the result is valid, as Nicolas Maduro becomes President
1. Venezuela’s right-wing groups engage in extreme violence after rejecting official election results
Groups linked to the Venezuelan right-wing opposition have unleashed a wave of violence across Venezuela following their loss at Sunday’s presidential elections and their refusal to accept the official results, again (as in many times in the past) alleging fraud without providing any proof, in order to undermine the will of the people.
Henrique Capriles, the losing candidate, called his supporters onto the streets and this was quickly followed on Monday by violence.
The situation has particularly worsened after right-wing national newspapers published a doctored photo claiming to show the government burning ballot papers and an opposition-aligned journalist falsely claimed that ballot boxes were being held by Cuban doctors – the first false accusation leading to attacks on buildings of the country’s independent national electoral council, the second on widespread attacks on the nation’s health services.
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Dublin Council of Trade Unions
May Day 2013
‘1913-2013 Unfinished Business’
Resist austerity- March with your banners
The Dublin Council of Trade Unions is holding its annual MAY DAY demonstration on Wednesday, May 1st.
Assembly point will be Parnell Square at 7 pm and marching to Liberty Hall for a public meeting at Beresford Place.
Music and stalls around the Lock Out theme will follow in the theatre and bar area of Liberty Hall.
This year’s theme will be ’1913/2013: unfinished business’. The unfinished business includes the legal recognition of trade unions in all employments and negotiating rights for all members.
It also includes a policy of resistance to austerity imposed by the government at the behest of the troika. Resistance to unemployment; to relentless cuts in health services, education, social welfare, community services, and in provision for the needy.
Job creation can never be seriously addressed in a climate of austerity. Oil and water don’t mix.
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MA in COMMUNITY EDUCATION, EQUALITY & SOCIAL ACTIVISM
Applications are invited for the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at NUI, Maynooth – http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.ie/
What can we learn from each other’s struggles for equality and social justice – and what do we already know about how to change the world?
This course brings together students who want to learn how to make equality and social justice into realities and more experienced activists in community education and social movements looking for space to reflect on their own work, with a team of staff who are experienced teachers and researchers, community educators and social movement practitioners.
We form a community of practitioners learning from each other’s experiences and struggles to create new kinds of “really useful knowledge” and develop alternatives.
The MA enables students to think about how to build real alternatives to challenge existing structures of oppression and injustice. It is about developing people’s capacity to change the world through community education, grassroots community activism and social movement campaigning.
The women's movement, global justice campaigners, self-organising by travellers and migrant communities, trade unions, GLBTQ campaigning, environmentalism, service user movements, anti-war activism, survivors of institutional abuse, and many other such movements have reshaped our society and put human need on the agenda beside profit and power. This process has not ended.
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