Category Archives: Public events – Australia and New Zealand

Public talk: Che and Seamus, Friday, October 18, 6pm








This month marks the anniversary of the murders of two outstanding revolutionaries.

Seamus Costello was murdered in Dublin on October 5 and Che Guevara in Bolivia on October 9.  Che in 1967 and Seamus in 1977.

Come along and find out about these two great fighters for human emancipation.

Public talk:

Speaker: Dr Philip Ferguson
Friday, October 18, 6pm,
Seminar room, third floor, public library,
Moray Place, Dunedin (NZ).

Bigi Linn.

Connolly talk, Dunedin, Saturday, June 2

James Connolly (1868-1916) was a leading figure in socialist politics in Scotland, Ireland and the United States and a radical trade union leader in the USA and Ireland.  In Dublin, he was one of the key leaders of the new Irish Transport and General Workers Union, through the massive Great Dublin Lockout of August 1913-February 1914.  Later in 1914, Connolly became the leader of the workers’ militia, the Irish Citizen Army, that had been estaboished as a workers’ defence force in the lockout.  Under the leadership of Connolly, Michael Mallin and Constance de Markievicz, the ICA was transformed into a revolutionary army.

He also wrote stirring songs of working class struggle.

In April 1916 the ICA and the republican Irish Volunteers launched an insurrection against British rule and declared an independent Irish Republic.  After a week of fighting the rebels, under heavy British bombardment that was demolishing the centre of Dublin, were forced to surrender.  Connolly and other leaders of the rebellion were tried by British court-martial and sentenced to death by firing squad.  Connolly, who had gangrene as a result of a wound, couldn’t stand and was tied to a chair for his execution.

The Otago Socialist Society is hosting a talk on Connolly, not only to commemorate this great revolutionary working class leader but also to look at the continuing relevance of his ideas.

The speaker is a former activist in Sinn Fein in Dublin and a current member of Clann Eirigi.  He will cover Connolly’s life; his perspectives on the working class and Irish national liberation; and his writings on revolutionary trade unionism.

Speaker: Dr Philip Ferguson

2pm, Saturday, June 2

Seminar Room, Third Floor,

Dunedin Central Public Library (Moray Place)


NZ elections 2017 – putting the case for not voting

We head towards a general election here in New Zealand in September.  The capitalist National Party has been in power for three terms (ie since 2008; we have three-year terms here) and look headed for a fourth.  The capitalist Labour Party is wallowing in the polls – 27% to National’s 47%.

Labour and National are basically the two cheeks of the one arse.  Or, as a veteran leftist here put it back in the early 1990s, National are the front-stabbers and Labour are the back-stabbers.

I’m involved in a NZ-based blog called Redline and got interviewed on Hamilton local community radio – Hamilton is NZ’s fourth bggest city – to put the case for not voting:



Irish Night at the Canterbury WEA (Christchurch, New Zealand)

Tonight’s Irish Night is the second part of a talk on “Constance Markievicz: countess and revolutionary”.  It marks the end of this term’s advertised Irish Nights.


Next term, Irish Night at the WEA will be continuing on a fortnightly basis, starting on Thursday, October 17.  Each session will run from 7.30-9pm, with an initial focus on women and the struggle for Irish freedom.

October 17: Bernadette Devlin: we’ll be showing a 1969 US television documentary on Bernadette Devlin, made shortly after she was elected to the British parliament.

October 31: Off Our Knees screening; this is a documentary about the civil rights movement in the north of Ireland in the 1960s and events there up to 1988, written and presented by Bernadette (Devlin) McAliskey.


November 14: Mna na IRA: Rose Dugdale: this is an episode of a series of Irish TV documentaries on women who were involved in the armed conflict against the British military presence in Ireland; this episode is on Rose Dugdale, an iconic revolutionary figure whose background was in the English upper class.

Each showing will be accompanied by a short introductory talk.

November 28: The Troops Out Movement in Britain: a talk on the campaign in Britain for the withdrawal of British troops from Ireland

December 12: Political prisoners in Ireland today

a gold coin donation is appreciated to help cover costs

Constance Markievicz and the Irish Revolution

imagesJust in case there are any readers in Christchurch, New Zealand or any readers who know anyone in Christchurch, New Zealand, you might be interested in this talk on Thursday, September 5:

The talk is likely to end up in two parts, with the second part on Thursday, September 19.  Further talks will be on Padraic Pearse and also James Connolly; followed by some film screenings – for instance, “Off Our Knees”, made by Bernadette (Devlin) McAliskey in 1988, on the previous 20 years of struggle; plus a talk on the 1981 hunger strike and a talk on 1913 in Ireland and New Zealand.  (During the Great Dublin Lockout, NZ also saw its largest-ever industrial dispute in terms of the numbers of workers involved, with many of the activists being influenced by the same ideas as Larkin and Connolly.)

David Rovics prevented from entering New Zealand

images3US radical singer-songwriter David Rovics performs a number of songs about Ireland, as well as Palestine and other causes.  Some readers of this blog may be familiar with him.  He’s just been prevented from entering New Zealand – stopped at Narita Airport (Tokyo) and asked to speak to New Zealand Immigration on the phone.  The immigration official told him she’d been looking at his blog!

While the NZ Musicians Union are trying to get him into the country, gigs in Christchurch (tonight) and Dunedin (tomorrow night) have had to be cancelled.

Anyway, readers here might be interested in the story:

Revised date for Dublin Lockout event Down Under

Please note the revised date for the Dublin lockout event in Christchurch (New Zealand).  It is on March 23, not March 16 as was advertised on an earlier version of the poster below.

1913 Dublin Lockout. . . Down Under


Ireland, Palestine: solidarity with the political prisoners

On Saturday, June 2, I gave a talk on the recent Palestinian hunger strike, the issues behind it and the Marian Price case at a public meeting organised by the Redline collective in New Zealand.  It can be read here.

Urgent need for a broad prisoner solidarity movement

The article below first appeared under the title “A Broad ‘Prisoner Solidarity Movement’?” over on The Pensive Quill, here.  I agree very strongly with the points made by the article’s author, who is an activist in the Prisoners Solidarity Group, Cork.  I also think that supporters of the struggle outside Ireland have an important role not only in drawing public attention in the countries we’re living in to the prisoners’ situation but also in pressing the various parties and organisations we support within Ireland to work for a united prisoners campaign:

by Johnny McGrath 

Is the time not ripe for a broad ‘Prisoner Solidarity Committee’ to be formed? Made up of representatives of all POW representative groups, IRPWA, Cogús, F+F Group, Cabhair, IRSP, Éirígi, as well as active groups and ex-POW groups, like Duleek Independent Republicans, PSG, Friends of Marian (Dublin), Teach na Fáilte etc (forgive me if I have left anyone out) and including someone from a neutral standpoint like Independent Workers Union (I.W.U.). There are at present pickets, protests, white line pickets, marches, car convoys happening in various parts of the country like Cork, Dublin, Duleek, Dundalk, Derry, Strabane, Belfast, Newry, Lurgan etc etc.

The lack of coordination and the variety of groups and organisations campaigning separately for the same issue can be offputting for those outside the world of Republicanism and on the left. A united broad campaign could generate a lot more support.

It has been said that the prisoners don’t have much support because the people don’t support the campaigns that some of the prisoners have been alleged to have been involved in. There have been political status struggles Read the rest of this entry