Category Archives: Anti-household and anti-water tax
This article gives an overview and the Éirígí perspective on the recent General Election in the 26 counties; it appeared in last week’s issue of the French left-wing publication Informations Ouvrières. The author is cathaoirleach Éirígí.
by Brian Leeson
On February 7th voters in southern Ireland went to the polls to elect a new government for the first time since 2016. When the exit poll was released at 10pm that night it became clear that the electorate had delivered a major blow to the two dominant centre and centre-right political parties.
When counting concluded four days later the outgoing party of government, Fine Gael, had just 20.9% of the popular vote. Fianna Fail came in with the second largest share at 22.2%. And in a shock result, Sinn Féin won the largest share of first-preference votes at 24.5%.
The importance of this result can only be fully appreciated when it is placed in its historical context. In the century since the foundation of the state in 1922, no party has ever secured more Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Imperialism (generally), Irish politics today, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Public sector/cuts, Toadyism, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
This is an interview that Mick did recently with Kevin Keating, a veteran activist in Dublin. Kevin’s many years of activism go from the IRA to the fused People’s Democracy (merger of the original northern-based PD and the southern-based Movement for a Socialist Republic), which became Socialist Democracy in the later 1990s.
Kevin has very serious health problems these days. Happily, this was one of his better days.
See also the interview with John McAnulty of SD. John was a leading figure in People’s Democracy in Belfast over decades. Mick spoke to him last October about the experience of 50 years of struggle. See here.
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, Partition, Peter Graham, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, Trade unions, Workers rights
Today marks the dawning of not only a new year, but also a new decade. The last ten years have been largely defined by the response of the Irish and British political establishments to the collapse of the private banking sector in 2008.
Both states chose to reward the malpractice and criminality of the private banks with unlimited political and financial support. The cost of this support was transferred to the people at large in the form of vast public debts and the savage austerity programmes that were implemented on both sides of Britain’s border in Ireland.
Éirígí activists were heavily involved in the fight against the bank bailouts and austerity. We take this opportunity to recognise and applaud the significant contribution that current and former party members made in these critical battles to defend the interests of the Irish people.
We also take this opportunity to thank all of those who have supported the party over the last decade, by attending party events, through financial donations and by entrusting our election candidates with their votes.
The decision of the Dublin government to bail out the private banks in 2008 exposed the underlying ideology that has informed all important decision-making by all Dublin governments since the foundation of the state. When faced with choosing between protecting the interests of capital or protecting the interests of the Nation, they have always chosen the former, at great cost to the latter.
Decades of blind, unquestioning, fanatical commitment to the concepts of private property, private capital and private markets has Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Corruption, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Housing, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish politics today, Natural resources, Partition, Political education and theory, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
The article below appeared in the July issue of Socialist Voice, paper of the CPI, as an opinion piece under the headline “Provisional Sinn Féin, republicanism, and socialism: Some comments”.
by Eddie O’Neill and Mark Hayes
By any relevant psephological indices, it is absolutely clear that Sinn Féin did exceedingly poorly—perhaps disastrously—in the recent local and European elections; and the results have clearly precipitated some reflective introspection by various party members.
For example, a defeated Sinn Féin candidate in Dublin, Lynn Boylan, has called for dialogue and co-operation with other “left-wing parties” in future, arguing that competition for votes had handed seats to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. She claimed: “I am a republican, I am a united Irelander, but I am a left wing activist.” Indeed she went on to claim: “That’s how we were able to stop water charges—it’s because the left came together and worked together.”
Let’s just leave aside Sinn Féin’s specific role in the campaign against water charges, which is contentious, and concentrate on the more significant ideological proposition about Sinn Féin and its relationship with “the left.”
Over the years the Provisional movement has undoubtedly flirted with socialism as an ideology. For example, the original Éire Nua programme articulated by the Provisionals had a reasonably well-defined social component, with the emphasis on a more equitable and decentralised distribution of resources. By the late 1970s, under a new “Northern” leadership, this trend was accentuated. This was perhaps most vividly expressed in Jimmy Drumm’s speech of 1977 (apparently written by Adams et al.) which stressed the need for social liberation and the importance of standing in solidarity with workers against British colonial rule and the “fascist” Free State. (The speech also, incidentally, rejected a reformed Stormont and power-sharing.)
In this period Adams not only criticised capitalism, he was fond of quoting Connolly, while Sinn Féin explicitly identified itself with the ANC, PLO, and Sandinistas. Some commentators even detected the influence of Marxism; and though this was hugely exaggerated, there was a sense in which Sinn Féin identified itself as an integral part of a global “left” movement. It undoubtedly established its radical credentials through community work and activism in working-class areas.
However, there was always another, more pragmatic and opportunistic dimension to Sinn Féin strategy. This could be detected during and after the Hunger Strike, when the process of politicisation sought to reconfigure Sinn Féin as an electoral force. It was confirmed in a very personal way to one of the writers of this article when a letter was smuggled out of Albany prison in 1983 (written by Eddie O’Neill and Ray McLaughlin, and signed by other Republican prisoners). This missive explicitly addressed “the left” and urged all comrades to show solidarity with the Irish revolution while calling for a “broad front” of left progressive forces to form a common platform against imperialism.
The correspondence was completely disregarded by the Republican leadership at the time. The writing was on the wall: Sinn Féin was moving towards conventional constitutional politics. It eventually came to see itself as the natural repository for middle-class Catholic votes and positioned itself as the successor to the SDLP as the primary representative of the “Nationalist” community.
In relation to the north, Sinn Féin eventually adopted the diplomatic strategy of. . . continue reading here. . .
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British strategy, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Revolutionary figures, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism
“If we have learned anything from recent progressive changes in Irish society with the Repeal movement and the Water Charges campaigns is that it is through struggle, constructive participation and direct action that change really happens.”
– Joanne Pender, February 2019.
During the people’s resistance against injustice in the North of Ireland, it was said that ordinary people did extraordinary things. This could be said of socialist Joanne Pender, originally from the Curragh Camp but now living in Kildare Town with her husband and two children.
In February 2012, hundreds of people packed into the Hotel Keadeen in Newbridge for a meeting organised by the Anti-Household Charge Campaign. The attendance included Joanne, who had never before considered Read the rest of this entry →
Éirígí launches election campaign for Brian Leeson, Saturday, 17 November, 7pm, Mill Theatre, Dundrum
Clare Daly TD and MIck Wallace TD will be in attendance as special guests. Food, music and drinks in The Eagle after the launch for those that want them.
A political activist since 1989, this is Brian’s first time running for public office. Probably no other candidate in the Dundrum Local Electoral Area has been involved in so many progressive political campaigns over such a long period of time.
From supporting the then-isolated nationalist community in the Six Counties in the early 1990s to fighting for housing justice today, Brian has Read the rest of this entry →
Thomas (Charlie) O’Neill was born in Drimnagh in Dublin on 20th December 1937 and was a dyer by trade. His family had fought with the United Irishman and the Fenians. He was a Socialist Republican with a sharp wit who loved classical music, the Irish Times, a glass of wine and, especially, his family.
As a young man, Charlie joined the Irish Republican Army where, with a large number of Dublin volunteers, he became involved with the breakaway Joe Christle group. In 1956 they joined forces with Liam Kelly’s organisation Saor Uladh in Co. Tyrone. Christle and Kelly were annoyed at the lack of action by the IRA, although the IRA leadership were actually putting together plans for Operation Harvest aka “the border campaign”.
Saor Uladh went on the offensive and attacked the RUC barracks in Roslea, Co. Fermanagh in 1955, custom post telephone exchanges, bridges, B-Special drill halls as well as demolishing lough gates at Newry. When the IRA began its own campaign in 1956, Saor Uladh was subsumed back into it.
With the failure of Operation Harvest, Charlie moved to Cork. He worked in a shoe factory there during the early 1960s and eventually bought a cottage in Crosshaven. He became good friends with many of the University College Cork socialists as well as Jim Lane and Gerry Higgins from Irish Revolutionary Forces. Charlie, Gerry and Jim attended an anti-Vietnam War protest, organised by the Cork Vietnamese Freedom Association, during the berthing of USS Courtyney in Cork harbour in 1967.
At this time Charlie also became good friends with the legendary Tom Barry who had commanded the IRA’s Third West Cork Flying Column during the Irish War of Independence, fought on the anti-Treaty side in the civil war and briefly became IRA chief-of-staff in 1937.
Upon his return to Dublin, Charlie was associated with the radical National Civil Liberties League. The NCLL agitated around industrial disputes and tenant and traveller rights. Later he became involved in the Saor Éire Action Group, a militant Marxist-republican group which included prominent former members of the IRA like Frank Keane and Liam Sutcliffe and Trotskyist activists associated with the Fourth International.
On October 3, 1968, shots were fired in a Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, Border Campaign/Operation Harvest, Commemorations, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish politics today, Partition, Prisoners - past, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Saor Eire, six counties, twenty-six counties, Workers rights
Excellent talk and discussion period – Ronan Burtenshaw at the James Connolly Forum in the little city of Troy, in New York state in March 2017. Troy, of course, is somewhere Connolly himself lived and organised – thus the name of this working class political forum group.
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British strategy, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish politics today, Partition, Political education and theory, Provos - then and now, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism, Workers rights
Not satisfied with the blow given to them by the Irish public, ‘Irish Water’ are again pushing for the commodification of Ireland’s water resources. This time they are doing it under the ruse of needing an extra two billion euro of tax-payers’ money to guarantee the greater Dublin areas water supply, by building a 170-kilometre pipeline to bring 330 million litres per day from the River Shannon to the area. This is all very convenient coming a few days after the announcement that Irish Water have plans in place to introduce excess water charges from next year.
According to Irish Water, excess use charges will not begin until January 1st, 2019, “at the earliest” while bills for excess use charges will not be issued until July 1st next year “at the earliest”. In order to make up for its losses and to fund these huge infrastructural projects Irish Water will be charging huge amounts on what it considers to be Read the rest of this entry →
Over on Redline, I’ve put up an article Ian Ó Dálaigh wrote for us. See: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/jobstown-not-guilty-working-class-activists-beat-labour-state-assault-on-right-to-protest-in-ireland/
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, Censorship, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Irish politics today, Labour Party, Public events - Ireland, Repression in 26-county state, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Workers rights