“Perhaps, therein also lays the reason why our opponents seek to demonize us..”

The Irish Central website makes room for an interesting right of reply from Breandán Mac Cionnaith, general secretary of éirígí, in response to a previous article by Niall O’Dowd. In the response, Breandán Mac Cionnaith confirms the party’s intention to contest future elections and he states

Let me make clear, in terms which I and other senior members of éirígí have been publicly consistent and unequivocal – éirígí is not aligned to or supportive of any armed groups, Irish or British, which presently operate in Ireland and therefore it also logically flows from that fact that we do not support the armed agendas or strategies of those same groups. We certainly do not have any paramilitary driven agenda.

éirígí recognises the immense task ahead as we plough an alternative furrow based on an acknowledgment of the political reality that neither the existing path of constitutional nationalism, however re-branded, or that of a ritualist physical force tradition within Irish politics will deliver re-unification, independence or a new, more equal socio-economic order in Ireland.

Despite the scale of that challenge, we are committed to building a radical, credible and viable political alternative that is capable of attracting popular support.

Contrary to the wishes of our detractors, éirígí is here for the long haul. In developing strategies for our future development, éirígí has sent a clear and unambiguous signal of its intention to build and develop throughout Ireland and to become a permanent fixture on the Irish political landscape.

Perhaps, therein also lays the reason why our opponents seek to demonize us at such an early stage in our development.

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  • underwood

    Noticeable that after discounting the other methods, he signally fails to outline the eirigi alternative route to the promised land.

    How many “former” members are waiting trial? A large pinch of salt required here methinks.

  • 6countyprod

    The footnote in McKenna’s article states that the name éirígí is taken from the quote, “the great only appear great because we are on our knees, let us arise.”

    McKenna, you are already on your feet, and you’re still puny!

    So, Knees Up, éirígí!

  • frustrated democrat

    Only people who currently vote unionist can deliver a United Ireland, if Nationalist parties accepted that then they would change their stance on many on the things to one that would be attractive to those voters.

    They won’t change so it proves they are happier to keep their current positions rather than work to achieve a UI through the democracy of the ballot box.

  • Mark McGreg

    An excellent rebuttal and statement of position to not only O’Dowd but those that have been buying into the SF lead smear campaign against éirígí. About time many started to realise that the attempts to pigeon-hole all alternative republican positions as militarist are just attempts to stifle alternate republic views.

    As for the questions on what is the alternative strategy. Well recognising the current ‘settlement’ will and can never realise a socialist republic is the first step people need to take before starting the long task of building for the future seemingly destroyed by the actions of those leading the pRM.

    Not accepting the defeat, not lying about how comprehensive it was, not working withing the structures designed to contain republicanism – that is the start of rebuilding real republicanism. That is what SF and the British state are worried about. That is why they seek to attack and undermine éirígí whenever and however they can.

    More power to them.

  • underwood

    What is the other route? It’s fine to oppose what is currently on offer, but there is still the little matter of presenting a realistic and coherent alternative.

    How come if they oppose violence, as they claim they do, that “former members” are now awaiting trial?
    Is it the case that people only become “former members” if charged with a violent offence?

  • Bruno Spiro

    The “fear” erigi thinks the establishment have of erigi is an erigi fantasy, like their ‘politics’. No one fears them as a political presence. However other legitimate fears may exist…….

    McKenna should give up making statements about what his gang is going to do politically and get on and do it. Although I think that even after they crash and burn at election time they will be unable to see past their egos and realise that they are history before they even start.

  • “Despite the scale of that challenge, we are committed to building a radical, credible and viable political alternative that is capable of attracting popular support.”

    This sounds a bit like some of the republican socialist rhetoric from around 50 years ago. I don’t see it receiving support from the unionist and nationalist socialist-orientated folks.

  • Deja Vu

    Haven’t we heard all this nonsense before:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers'_Revolutionary_Party_(UK)

    quite amusing and sad at the same time

  • kensei

    Mark

    Given Eirigi influence and dissident republicanism seemingly spontaneously appearing in the same places, I can’t help feel he’s, well, lying through his teeth.

    Will they condemn any future murders of policemen, for example, or just equivocate? I hate to apply cricket tests, but hate to feel bullshitted even more.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Hi Mark good to see you back commenting, probably disagree with you on most things but at least you put proper arguements and keep an open enough mind for discussion. 🙂
    As for the topic, strangely as a Unionist if Eirigi mean what they say about non-violence I almost welcome them onto the political scene, for a couple of reasons,
    firstly hopefully it give republicans who feel betrayed by SF a place to get involved politically rather than turn to the dissident groups, if i was a republican I wouldn’t be happy with the “settlement” either but I think most dont want to return to “the struggle”.
    Secondly as a Unionist I welcome anything that splinters the Nationalist vote, makes a change from the usual Unionist splits 🙂
    Now comes the “but”, Eirigi havnt got off to a good start on the non-violence aim if any of those arrested are convicted, as the above posters have pointed out, the “former member” label mite just work this time but if more incidents occur then most will think of them as another RSF or 32CSM, with a funny name.
    And finally whilst i disagree with most of the thinking of radical republican socialism ( had typed nationlist socialism then realised somone else had used that term before!),it has a message or some relivance today, but why do they base so much of their thinking on figure from the past like Connelly, Pearse, etc. after all that has happened in the world in the last 100 yrs surely a literal application of thier aspirations in the modern world is surely a bit dated?

  • Complete Tosser
  • Scaramoosh

    At a time when the radical left in Europe is seen to be in resurgence ;

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/6023214/German-police-warn-of-return-of-1970s-Leftist-terror-after-car-burnings.html

    (or, the recent case of the Tarnac 9 -);

    http://tarnac9.wordpress.com/texts/the-coming-insurrection/

    along comes éirígí with its outdated taint of socialism, masked behind the age old rallying call of Brits Out/RUC/PSNI/Dogs of Oppression….

    At least they will keep the boys in Hollywood in a job!

  • Mark McGreg

    Drumlins – thanks for the kind words, I don’t deserve them.

    I’ll reply to you and Kensei together –

    I think the Tribune had a comment that covers this area:

    Sources claim the organisation genuinely does not want a return to violence in the North; it just initially attracted people who thought otherwise. One republican source said, “éirigí doesn’t want to be within spitting distance of those involved in armed struggle against British soldiers or police.”

    I like others for various reasons decided that éirigí wasn’t for me. If people leave and are subsequently involved or accused of involvment in other activities it is not reflection on éirígí’s direction or position. They sure as hell aren’t about attending orange parades as I decided to do after my departure.

    As for killings/murders they seem to be clearly distancing themselves from the acts and criticising the actions while being Republican enough to not get involved in hypocrictical condemnation of actions some involved may have previously been part of or supportive of.

    This response from Mac Cionnaith is a great reply to all those believing the SF bullshit that all ‘dissent’ is about a return to militarism.

  • I know many who have left Sinn Féin who understand that armed struggle will not achieve the socialist republic at this time.

    They simply disagree with some of the decisions that Sinn Féin have taken and reject Sinn Féin’s analysis of the current situation.

    That said there is something about éirigí that doesn’t sit at ease with me and it’s not their vocal attacks on Sinn Féin.

  • Mark McGreg

    Chris,

    Maybe you should expand or explain that?

    Spit it out.

    After a limited period of membersip I have very few things I can say out of class that would damage éirígí. However, speaking out of school about the pRM would just be can of worms after can.

  • What do you mean Mark?

    I thought I was pretty clear inmy post

  • dunreavynomore

    “That said there is something about éirigí that doesn’t sit at ease with me and it’s not their vocal attacks on Sinn Féin.”

  • dunreavynomore

    “That said there is something about éirigí that doesn’t sit at ease with me and it’s not their vocal attacks on Sinn Féin”

    That previous one got away from me before I added . What does this mean, Chris?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mark & Chris,
    without trying to put words in your mouths, the impression I get with eirigi is that they are still dreaming of this ideal fantasy land, but their policy of dealing with the reality of life here and now seems a bit scant. It may be a bit strange for me to give advice to Republican community, but if they could should how socialism can work in 21st century Europe then maybe they would have a stronger case for republicanism.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Drumlins Rock, I think how Eirigi handled the british navy band and was effective in having the band not play at the tall ship festival recently this month in Belfast shows that they have a handle on the reality of the situtation. I give Eirigi credit for peacefully letting their intentions known and for stopping the band that is associated with a unit that has created much infliction in the north of Ireland.

  • S.C

    You are all missing the point. Re-read Breandán’s Mac Cionnaith letter: Eirigi does not support “any armed groups … which currently operate in Ireland.” The giveaway is the word ‘currently’. In other words, they are keeping their options open, only because their army hasn’t been organised yet. Furthermore, “We certainly do not have any paramilitary driven agenda.” Any republican knows how to translate the word ‘paramilitary’ – it was always used by republicans exclusively to describe loyalists like the UDA, UVF, UFF and Red Hand Commandoes. The IRA and INLA never referred to themselves as paramilitaries. Over to you Breandán.

  • Drumlins Rock

    kathy that was just playing silly buggers, disrupting what was overwhelmingly a positive event for the city, upon reflection when you look at thier actions as opposed to words they are just like the Rent-A-Mob lot over the the water, stirring things up then disappear if it gets ugly. Thats not politics it media hype of the same scale as Jordan and Petes split.

  • It is our analysis that today’s imperfect political settlement in the context of the continued partition of our country within a British framework will not advance re-unification.
    This point is very apt when viewed in the context of the words of then British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, in September 2006, just prior to the St. Andrew’s negotiations. He stated that “A broken-up United Kingdom would not be in the interests of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but especially not England.

    Straw’s comments were an admission of political weakness as much as anything. He used those words precisely because of the context of a political situation in which the future of the UK is very much on the table.

    Scottish devolution illustrates the point that the British Government’s intended outcome isn’t the only guide to the potential of a political settlement.

    They anticipated that Scotland would be a Labour fiefdom, just as they anticipated the UUP and SDLP would dominate Stormont but it didn’t work out that way.

    It’s a brave man who would say that the SNP threat to the Union is contained. Many people in England would be quite happy to see an independent Scotland, which is one reason why Straw was trying to convince them otherwise.

    Quite apart from that, he was presumably trying to get the DUP to sign on the dotted line. It’s hardly surprising that a British Minister would talk up the union in that context.

    That doesn’t mean it was insincere but it’s as much about the exigencies of the situation as it is about an insight into the underlying logic of some monolithic masterplan.

  • Drumlins rock and others.

    I am always amused when people come on here and say socialism will not work in the 21st century or to profess it we are living in the past.

    Do you never look outside your own door? We in the UK have almost one million young people on the dole, with almost another two million over 24.

    We cannot supply enough university places to all those who have gained entrance result, not can we provide apprenticeships or jobs to the youngsters who have not.

    Our economy is belly up and we have a government who practiced a form of socialism for the rich when they poured almost a trillion pounds into the banks and bankrupt businesses.

    Overseas the UK has been involved in a number of hopeless military adventures and in Afghanistan they are involved in a war they not only cannot win, but when they withdraw, they will end up giving a share of power to those who are killing british troops [remind you of anything)?

    I am not saying socialism can solve all of society ills, but I doubt democratic socialism could be worse than what we have got, unbridled capitalism.

    After all, when given the chance we socialists introduced the NHS, built decent Council housing for many, rebuilt an industrial base after WW2, and withdrew from an Empire which was bankrupting the nation and making us the pariah of the free world.

    We also helped rebuild Germany so that it became an example to all nations that are foolish or unfortunate enough to fall under the spell of a Fascist dictator.

    It seems to me to believe the end of history is unbridled capitalism is infantile, not least because the most prosperous nations in the world are also the most equal and in which even the political right accepts a degree of societal state intervention and in which the socialist left plays an important role in the nations political life. I would go further without a strong and vibrant left opposition, you eventually end up in a mess, witness the UK and Ireland today.

    ———
    On BREANDÁN MAC CIONNAITH article, I am surprised no one has commented on this section, which seems relevant to me.

    “This point is very apt when viewed in the context of the words of then British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, in September 2006, just prior to the St. Andrew’s negotiations. He stated that “A broken-up United Kingdom would not be in the interests of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but especially not England.

    Our voting power in the European Union would diminish. We’d slip down in the world league GDP tables.

    Our case for staying in the G8 would diminish and there could easily be an assault on our permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”

    That statement publicly reversed the previous British position of having no “selfish economic or strategic interest” for remaining in the North of Ireland.”

  • Tom G

    apologies as I had not read your post when I wrote mine

  • Reader

    Mickhall: We cannot supply enough university places to all those who have gained entrance result…
    Surely those now struggling for limited places in ‘clearing’ are those who did *not* gain the ‘entrance result’?
    Also, I am nowhere near convinced that labour’s announced target of 50% in university education is honest, realistic or remotely sensible. There’s a significant number of dolts and wasters with a university education anyway. We should raise the academic bar and lower the financial hurdles.

  • Dumlins rock

    It may be a bit strange for me to give advice to Republican community, but if they could should how socialism can work in 21st century Europe then maybe they would have a stronger case for republicanism.

    Mickhall

    I am always amused when people come on here and say socialism will not work in the 21st century or to profess it we are living in the past.

    Do you never look outside your own door? We in the UK have almost one million young people on the dole, with almost another two million over 24.

    I actually think you are both right. It’s pretty clear that neo-liberalism has failed, but that doesn’t mean that the left will necessarily be the beneficiary.

    The Thatcherite right did 30 years of intellectual groundwork prior to the demise of post-war social democracy. It’s not obvious to me that the left is that well-prepared for the current crisis.

    One of the strengths of Eoin Ó Broin’s book on left republicanism is that it confronts those issues, whereas Eirigi seem to me to suggest its a simple matter of moving to the left without worrying about whether there is a coherent left position to move to.

  • Tom

    What is shocking for me, as a leftist, is the way we have allowed ourselves to be sidetracked from economics. In the 1980s onwards all these isms, anti racism, anti homophobia, feminism, anti fascism were brought to the fore of the struggle by middle class leftists to the detriment of economics and the working classes.

    Whereas the political right concentrated on economics above all else, we almost ignored it completely. How many of those middle class activists who claim to be marxist can square that circle is beyond me.

    The fact is controlling the commanding heights of the economy is as important today as it has always been, hence the banking bail out. Whether this done via state control of infrastructural sectors, or strong regulation is open to argument (Although not from me).

    For example if the bad banks had been allowed to go to the wall with government protection for savers, and the good ones nationalized under ‘open’ public ownership, we would have been in a far better place economically today.

    If you look at the subsidies Germany, the US and Japan gives to there manufacturing base, let alone China, it is clear centralized control works wonders as it sustains a better economy long term.

    As to essential infrastructure such as railways, water, highways,etc, being state owned, even the most dimwitted should be able to see the benefits. As it is today, we merely subsidize private companies which are not equipped to carry out the task adequately and worse they are allowed to cream off profits from the tax payers purse.

    I suppose the truth is, like the population as a whole, far to many on the left brought into, often subconsciously, the Neo liberal crap.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mickhall,
    think you sorta got me wrong, although I’m probably right of centre on most things I think socialism has a valuable input to make in modern society, I just dont think basing your thinking on 100yr old teaching by Connelly is the way to go about it, and thats how i read Eirigi ATM.
    Your post above is probably the only socialist arguements I heard for a long time!
    Finally it brings me to the point, why do Socialism and Irish Nationalism have to be wed to each other? The left wing of Unionist Politics barely exists as it is percieved as purely nationalist ground these days, is there not a chance of having a Socialst party without the Nationalist agenda.

  • Jim

    Drumlins,

    They do and they are called the PUP.

  • Drumlins Rock

    thats who I meant by barely exists 🙂

  • Jim

    Drumlins,

    There are certain Unionist politicians who would left-wing such as Lady Syvlia Hermon and Sammmy wilson. However at the minute is there really a need for another Unionist Party?

    Hovever you touched on a good point regarding Unionist viewing an issue or ideology as wed to Nationalists and then running a mile from it. I believe a classic example of this was unionist reaction to Israel invasion of Gaza recently. You had Stalford and McCaulsand taking pictures of the march itself. Later you had McCaulsand on TV almost happy about the massive amount of violence used by the IDF. In comparison he made Adams look like the peacemaker in the interview.

    Better surely For Unionists to follow the government line of both groups needing to ceasefire. Really there is nothing for Unionists to gain from being so one-sided in this conflict. The Muslim community while small in northern Ireland at the minute will be an important electorate in Northern Ireland in ten or twenty years time. The continued link with Britain could well depend on these new immigrants and their votes. IMO at the minute Sinn Fein has positioned itself as their champion. I would firmly believe this is a long-tern strategy on their part and one that Unionists could do well to copy.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Jim, we def dont need another party, this may sound strange but could the SDLP not become purely a Labour party and drop the nationalist baggage, ie. you could be a member of the SDLP and a unionist without feeling uncomfortable. The UUP is taking the first steps to becoming a Conservative party, ok quite a bit to go and it will still be Unionist, BTW I think the McGimpsey Bros are quite left leaning too as Lord Ken always was. It would be nice to just get normal left/right politics here.
    As for Israel/Palastine (totally of topic i know!)was there a couple of months ago, mainly doing the historic stuff but got a wee flavour of the modern problems too, not Gaza of course. There is a NI connection btw with Chaim Hertzog a former President and general born in belfast, anyways Prods from here for various reasons, theological, physcological, or historical reasons tend to easily side with the Isrealis, I think what made me think the most, and would probably make them retihnk too, was talking to Palastinian Christians, they are getting squeezed from both sides and are just about surviving. After you talking to them your tempted to say a curse on both thier houses.

  • Jim

    Drumlins,

    If you remember a couple of years ago Durkan tried Post-Nationalism and it went down like a lead balloon. As a voter for the party all my life it has always had people who were more labour than the old school nationalist types. IMO it’s future lies with a link up with FF to offer a real alternative to the post 1994 Sinn Fein voters. Of course Drumlins FF is no left-wing party whatever Bertie might say. The link up with the Tories you mentioned is a smart move by the UU and something that will offer real challenges to Nationalists when and not if Cameron gets elected.

    I can see why Unionists would side with Israel but my point would be not to be so unblinkered in its support. The British government would be measured in its support for the Israelis but when Right-Wing Unionists go OTT they are alienating an important future electorate. Patrick YU of NICEM reckoned there are now 35 thousand Ethnic minorities and 35 thousand seasonal workers in Northern Ireland. This report is about two years out of date from memory. Ethnic Minorities tend to float toward the left-wing party of their new country. Think Hispanic, African Americans tending to vote Democrat in America and Black British and South Asians in Britain voting Labour. That is the danger IMO for Unionism in this coming political generation that the lack of a Left-Wing party will hurt were it counts- at the ballot box. I belive that you are a Tyrone man and you will see the effect of immigration more than most. As a Unionist can you afford to lose these new voters? The effect of C18 in the village (Belfast) as done damage to the Unionist community because people generalise. I know the vast majority of Unionists abhor racist violence but polical alliances are being formed in these new communities and if 90 of attacks are coming from one side (Henry McDonald report) would it not be expected that these new communities will give their alleigance to the Left-Wing Parties of the other community?

  • Jim

    sorry blinkered.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Jim,
    three big topics in one post! firstly would the SDLP not be better tieng up with Labour in the south, FF arent flavour of the month down there, but more importantly unless they transform into a centre left party are not really compatible with each other.
    I agree with you on having a more critical support for israel, as I said I would reccomend that the DUP in particular talk to Palastinian Christians who strangely see both sides, they are seriously oppressed by the IDF but on the other hand they also need thier protection form them from radical Muslims.
    Finally the immigrant population, first thing for sure is they are not a united voting block, but they are voting, havnt gone into it in depth yet but the marked register for the european poll has shown a good percentage of them voting in this area, my suspicions are they mite be inclined to go with the tribal vote of the area they live in, but dont know this for sure, a small example of this is one of the local loyalist bands has Polish and Portugeses fluters. Whilst other are playing for the GAA.

  • kensei

    Mick Hall

    I am always amused when people come on here and say socialism will not work in the 21st century or to profess it we are living in the past.

    It wouldnm’t work. You are living in the past. “Socialism” in the sense of some kind of Marxist state, public controlled economy simply cannot work. It is destroyed by fundamental lack of information. How many cars to make? What colour? What shape? What features? And not simply that, hopw many cars versus toilet rolls.

    There was a giant economic, not simply political experiment in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 20th Century. If “socialism” could work, it would have worked. Consider East and West germany: a giant natural experiment. Same people, same state post war. Who did better?

    Then there is the problem of lack of diversification. If you have one entity and it makes a mistake, then that failur eis catastrophic. If you have many experiements running at once, then you can have safe(r) failures. Systemic failures can and do happen in market based systems but they are rarer and require people to start copying each other.

    That doesn’t mean that public ownership can never be the right thing. It seems to me that there is scant evidence that a private monopoly is any better than a public monopoly, and probably a good deal worse. And there are cases where the profit motive distorts good outcomesd – like health. And there are plaxces for temporary nationalisation -like the ones we are having now with the banks, or properly thought out solutions to the problems they are symptoms of. And the type of leftism that ssumes always and everywhere to centralise is the same leftism that brings you ID cards. The left doesn’t have to be centralising – see the co-iop movement. The Left needs to develop and expand a coherent world view, taking these things into account.

    The reason the far Left gave up on economics was because it kept telling it things like above. Even fairly liberal economists like Paul Krugman would find the idea of seizing the height sof the economy serious regressive.

  • kensei

    I set out a perfectly reasonable and democratic socialist platform and all you can do is revert to a Stalinism that you know I oppose. How can we seriously debate this matter when you are still caught in a cold war mentality.

    You attempt to compare the two Germanys is infantile and deceitful as you know full well the West contained the overwhelming majority of Germanys industrial base and population. Nevertheless, despite all its faults there is much that is worth studying in East Germany, not least a majority of people who lived in the GDR say today they prefer their life styles back then, compared with what they have now.

    I mean specifically the life work balance which under unfettered capitalism has become so distorted, many working peoples lives have become both a misery and drudgery. For example the average holiday period US workers get is two weeks.

    Before you go off again on a cold war slant, I believe passionately if we are to offer a socialist perspective, those on the left must work to broaden the democratic envelope not shut space down, even if we disagree with some folk.

    I find it amusing that Neo conservatives condemn all of us as stalinists when they themselves have been at the forefront of shutting down democratic spaces whilst creating big government, indeed the neocons and Stalinists have much in common. Not least contempt for those they govern.

    PS I am bewildered by your claim that the left advocate ID cards?

    ——-

    Drumlins Rock

    Apologies for failing to reply to your question in more detail.

    You make a really interesting point about unionism and its lack of a left wing, it is a complex question that deserves a proper answer not just a view sentences and I do not have the time now.

    Whilst it is not impossible to be a unionist and a socialist, people in England, Scotland and Wales have no difficulty in doing this, I feel where Ireland is concerned 800 years of history makes it very difficult and few if any have managed successfully to overcome this historical legacy.

    Of course republicanism and socialist like myself are not blameless here and to its credit I think some elements have finally recognized unionists are hardly going to warm to our ideas when in the past we have attempted to bomb them into the Republic.

    The important thing is to keep asking the type of question you are and demanding answers from people like me, because when doing this it makes us re-look at our own somewhat static ideas.

    all the best.

  • GGN

    I would be interested if any Éirígí supporter could direct me to their policy docs on An Ghaeilge.

    I interests me alot that Éirígí have attracted many younger Irish speakers in Belfast to their banner, yet their website, like all the rest of the parties with the notable exception of the Irish Communist Party website remains monolingual.

    I will watch with interest to see if any tensions arise between the Dublin socialists and the Northern Nationalists.

  • kensei

    MH

    I set out a perfectly reasonable and democratic socialist platform and all you can do is revert to a Stalinism that you know I oppose. How can we seriously debate this matter when you are still caught in a cold war mentality.

    I am sure you don’t support, “Stalinism” int he sens eof a police state. But if you are talking about “seizing the commanding heights” then you are talking Marxist economics. And the cold war powers certainly had that, whatever else their faults.

    You attempt to compare the two Germanys is infantile and deceitful as you know full well the West contained the overwhelming majority of Germanys industrial base and population. Nevertheless, despite all its faults there is much that is worth studying in East Germany, not least a majority of people who lived in the GDR say today they prefer their life styles back then, compared with what they have now.

    No, it is not. You had a 50 year experiement. You seem to miss the point that if Marxism had have been sucessful then over that period it would have caught up, at least in some areas. It did not. Don’t like it, pick another Eastern Block country. Or compare the US with the Soviet Union — and by the by what happened post collapse was a bit of a disaster, but does not invalidate taht comparison. Market based economies have done it – Western Europe post war, Japan, more recently South Korea, China. How’s Cuba and North Korea getting on, boss?

    I do not give a stuff for nostalgia, and neither does the economics you were so happy to talk about a few posts ago. Show me tangible stats boss. GDP. Famous brands. Etc.

    I mean specifically the life work balance which under unfettered capitalism has become so distorted, many working peoples lives have become both a misery and drudgery. For example the average holiday period US workers get is two weeks.

    I am not in favour of unfettered capitalism. It does not follow I should therefore favour “socialism”, Marxist style. I am a social democrat.

    Before you go off again on a cold war slant, I believe passionately if we are to offer a socialist perspective, those on the left must work to broaden the democratic envelope not shut space down, even if we disagree with some folk.

    And that almost certainly means pushing power down and working for pluralist structures. It makes sense for political structures, but not economic. You can’t see the inherent contradiction?

    I find it amusing that Neo conservatives condemn all of us as stalinists when they themselves have been at the forefront of shutting down democratic spaces whilst creating big government, indeed the neocons and Stalinists have much in common. Not least contempt for those they govern.

    I am not a neocon. Nor does it follwo that because I disagree with you I agree with the opposite of what you are saying. Do not be a child.

    PS I am bewildered by your claim that the left advocate ID cards?

    Labour UK is an example of the authoritarian left. And it’s not a new thing. It’s a consequence of centralising power.

  • Barnshee

    “Do you never look outside your own door? We in the UK have almost one million young people on the dole, with almost another two million over 24.

    We cannot supply enough university places to all those who have gained entrance result, not can we provide apprenticeships or jobs to the youngsters who have not”

    Simple TOO MANY PEOPLE especially in England
    Far TOO MANY PEOPLE in eg N Ireland –what basic industries are there –Farming in an indifferent climate? some poor land about ? No coal, oil steel other metals. Can`t make anything big –transport costs too high.

    Where is the need for all these apprentices?
    Building NO engineering NO .

    Too many people chasing too few jobs Emigrate somewhere else or stay on and hope to get a slice of the increasing sectarian cake in the Public sector-

    Take yer pick
    #

  • Kensie

    If you believe UK new Labour is a leftist party, or the stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe were socialist, you have little understanding of socialism nor its history. As Chirac once said to Blair, “when dealing with you Tony, it seems I am on the Left and You the right.”

    You say you are a social democrat, that is a socialist if we use the historical definition, yet in another sentence you prove you have swallowed the neo-con crap whole when you write,

    ” And that almost certainly means pushing power down and working for pluralist structures. It makes sense for political structures, but not economic.”

    You claim in one breath you wish to push power down, then say the most powerful element within this society, big business, must be excluded from such progress.

    Now where have I heard that before, ah yes the markets must be left to find their true level as they know best.

    (Knock knock, gives us a hand-out Gordy? we have broken the bank.” some level, some market, just neocon crap)

    I will tell you one more time, I am not a marxist, try and get your head around that, believe it or not, the overwhelming majority of socialists are not Marxists. Indeed in my experience few people who ran the USSR were Marxists, most of those whom I met had about as much understanding of Marx as the average member of the SWP, or western economists, which was/is a great shame in my view.

    Move beyond the prejudices you have in your head and forget the cold war. You seem to believe economic growth is all, no matter what its collateral damage is. The economic growth we had over the last decade benefited the few, not the majority, what good is that? The only reason ‘some’ ordinary people felt they were better off was because they were borrowing on house price inflation.

    By the way, I am a 60 year old man, not a child, stop embarrassing yourself, you can do better than that.

  • kensei

    Mick

    If you believe UK new Labour is a leftist party, or the stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe were socialist, you have little understanding of socialism nor its history. As Chirac once said to Blair, “when dealing with you Tony, it seems I am on the Left and You the right.”

    Left and Right are relative terms and vary across countries. Labour have moved significantly tot he Right, but are still the party is still the Left wing one in the UK.

    As for history, Stalinist countries were certainly economically socialist, Mick. They did what you wanted. Took the commanding heights of the economies. Had the state employ everyone. It was a mighty failure.

    You say you are a social democrat, that is a socialist if we use the historical definition, yet in another sentence you prove you have swallowed the neo-con crap whole when you write,

    “Socialist” has been debased by Marxists. I like much of what happens in Europe, especially the Nordic countries. I would be prepared to pay higher taxes for a more equal society, or have the state run a few natural monopolies, like the railway system. But in general I am suspicious of any large concentrations of power, be it state or private. I want a strong diverse private sector, and a strong government at all levels to keep it right. That is both a republican attitude and a generally left wing one.

    No, I don’t. I am agin big business dominating too. So I believe that the state should, for example, break those giant banks up into smaller ones with less risk and less individual influence. There are questions over big international finance, but create pools, markets and auctions from the smaller banks to get it – a pluralist structure.

    I think the government should be supporting co-ops and other options to the limited liability company too. I thinkt he loss of many of those structures over the past 20-25 years is part of the problem and has less removed competition taht keeps business honest.

    If you get a monopoly, however it is come to, just generally break it and allow others in. It’s almost certainly a bad thing.

    Now where have I heard that before, ah yes the markets must be left to find their true level as they know best.

    No, markets are a tool. They are a highly useful one. They are good at many things, and we should be utilising them as much as possible – they solve a lot of coordination problems and generate innovation. But they cannot be left to their own devices. The state must constantly regulate wilder behaviour, break down barier to entry and adjust incentives to keep things right. An active government is important for the proper functioning of these things. There are lots of problems, and I’d wager the Left could come with some nice new ideas to deal with them if they weren’t trapped in 1912.

    I will tell you one more time, I am not a marxist, try and get your head around that, believe it or not, the overwhelming majority of socialists are not Marxists. Indeed in my experience few people who ran the USSR were Marxists, most of those whom I met had about as much understanding of Marx as the average member of the SWP, or western economists, which was/is a great shame in my view.

    Every time you parrot “seize the commanding heights” or take an ideological view on just nationalising things and so on, you are calling for Marxist style reforms. If you don’t understand it then that is even worse. You are railing against the current system without thought, and simply proposing the opposite and hope that it works. That’s a waste of time and effort, Mick.

    Move beyond the prejudices you have in your head and forget the cold war. You seem to believe economic growth is all, no matter what its collateral damage is. The economic growth we had over the last decade benefited the few, not the majority, what good is that? The only reason ‘some’ ordinary people felt they were better off was because they were borrowing on house price inflation.

    By the way, I am a 60 year old man, not a child, stop embarrassing yourself, you can do better than that.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Missed this bit

    Move beyond the prejudices you have in your head and forget the cold war. You seem to believe economic growth is all, no matter what its collateral damage is. The economic growth we had over the last decade benefited the few, not the majority, what good is that? The only reason ‘some’ ordinary people felt they were better off was because they were borrowing on house price inflation.

    We need economic growth. If we stay still in a growing world, we will be left behind. That is an unfortunate fact. But I agree that there is a question about how the growth is distributed and there is ample evidence that you do not need huge uneven growth to grow, and grow well.

    The bigger problem though is that the past decade of growth in large part has not been real. That’s what a sustained contraction means. And that’s an indictment of the polcies we have been pursuing. It just doesn’t validate your position.

    By the way, I am a 60 year old man, not a child, stop embarrassing yourself, you can do better than that.

    I am happy to embarass myself with the facts. “Socialism” as in a state driven and directed economy does not and cannot work.

  • “I am happy to embarass myself with the facts. “Socialism” as in a state driven and directed economy does not and cannot work.”

    Kensei

    But according to you it is OK for the State to direct a capitalist economy in a centralist manner and bail it out when it goes belly up. Something which far from benefiting the majority, benefits the few, but placed a dead weight of debt on the tax payers with no improvement of services or in life styles, I find that perverse.

    I really can see no difference, accept positive results, between what we have now and the State sensibly directing an economy that brings about more equality and better services for the majority. Indeed it seems perfectly sensible and desirable.

    I keep saying it, but you are caught in a time warp and have swallowed all the Neo liberal crap about the markets being free etc. Unregulated they are neither free nor enriching, Have you ever been in a sweat shop that produces those ‘brands’ you spoke so highly off?

    Or say an Asian packing plant from which our Super market chains purchases from?

    Unbridled capitalism is an economic system based on exploitation, this fact is undeniably, just look around the world at the pitiful poverty amidst plenty.

    There is an alternative, it worked well for the first few decades after WW2 and still prospers in Scandinavia and to a lesser degree in Germany and France, etc. It is a combination of state direction, regulated capitalism and common sense. Even in backward Britain when we had such a system lives improved greatly.

    Then Thatcherism and Reganism became the order of the day, and it was drummed into the heads of people like you, there is no alternative, man is an animal. People are economically poor because it is their fault, equally people are rich because they are clever or work harder, tell that to an indian peasant who works 16 hours a day or a Bolivian miner.

    Your way of thinking is leading back to the type of world that existed in the 19th Century, endless foreign wars, occupations of other peoples lands, rampant greed and abject poverty every where.

    Dream a little man, read a history book, forget newspaper cuttings, another world it not only possible, but with global warming it is our only sensible alternative.

    We either share the burdens and bounties of life more equally and fairly or we will go under, or at best return to a very brutal way of life.

  • kensei

    Mick

    But according to you it is OK for the State to direct a capitalist economy in a centralist manner and bail it out when it goes belly up.

    No, Mick, I said nothing of the sort. The State will always have some say in the direction of the country as it makes important decisions on investments, incentives and education. But that is a loose sort of direction. It should nto be running entire economy sectors.

    And in a any case there is a difference between putting out fires and building the house.

    Something which far from benefiting the majority, benefits the few, but placed a dead weight of debt on the tax payers with no improvement of services or in life styles, I find that perverse.

    Do you believe that a depression benefits the majority? I do not agree with some of the decisions regarding the banks, either in the UK, US or Ireland but there is no doubt it needed done. the modern economy relies on credit flows.

    I really can see no difference, accept positive results, between what we have now and the State sensibly directing an economy that brings about more equality and better services for the majority. Indeed it seems perfectly sensible and desirable.

    Fundamental information problems. Should everyone drive the same car, or should you have choice? Not simply that set of information problems but also, how many cars should be manufactured versus bog rolls? Or computers? Markets work this out through a process of discovery; by allowing things to fail. A central planner, no matter how good, cannot.

    It would also stifle innovation and decision would be made on political rather than business grounds. You have failed to even attempt to address any of my objections.

    I keep saying it, but you are caught in a time warp and have swallowed all the Neo liberal crap about the markets being free etc. Unregulated they are neither free nor enriching, Have you ever been in a sweat shop that produces those ‘brands’ you spoke so highly off?

    And you appear to not have read the bit where I said I don’t believe in unregulated markets. Try again. I don’t believe I mentioned brands either.

    People can work their way up the chain from sweat shop. South Korea has done it. that doesn’t mean I don’t believe that the system is ideal or it can’t be done more humanly or more justly. But the fact is that under Marxist economics a hell of a lot more Chinese people died than under market reforms. Sweatshop beats starving hands down.

    Or say an Asian packing plant from which our Super market chains purchases from?

    Tell me, do you never use Tescos?

    Unbridled capitalism is an economic system based on exploitation, this fact is undeniably, just look around the world at the pitiful poverty amidst plenty.

    I don’t believe in unbruidled capitalism, Mick.

    There is an alternative, it worked well for the first few decades after WW2 and still prospers in Scandinavia and to a lesser degree in Germany and France, etc. It is a combination of state direction, regulated capitalism and common sense. Even in backward Britain when we had such a system lives improved greatly.

    And all those examples had their own problems. Everytime I hear “common sense” I reach for my gun because it is a shorthand for trying to shortcircuit debate and the need for facts.

    Then Thatcherism and Reganism became the order of the day, and it was drummed into the heads of people like you, there is no alternative, man is an animal. People are economically poor because it is their fault, equally people are rich because they are clever or work harder, tell that to an indian peasant who works 16 hours a day or a Bolivian miner.

    Are you goign to stop debating with yourself and putting words into my mouth?

    Your way of thinking is leading back to the type of world that existed in the 19th Century, endless foreign wars, occupations of other peoples lands, rampant greed and abject poverty every where.

    Dream a little man, read a history book, forget newspaper cuttings, another world it not only possible, but with global warming it is our only sensible alternative.

    We either share the burdens and bounties of life more equally and fairly or we will go under, or at best return to a very brutal way of life.

    Again, you are off on one. You have no iterest on what anyone has to say. Just your the sound of your own voice apparently.

  • “Again, you are off on one. You have no iterest on what anyone has to say.Just your the sound of your own voice apparently.

    Kensie,

    Get real of course I am off on one, I’m a socialist activist who blogs here to attempt to get across my cause, not to prove I am some sort of smart arse. If you truly believe I have no interest in what others have to say, that makes you one dumb fuck, as you have posted countless words in argument when replying to my posts to this thread.

    As it happens I am very interested in what people say, including your good self and of course I do not regard you as a dumb fuck, but that does not mean I will not challenge what you write, if I disagree with you.

    Of course channelling funds into solvent banks under the pretext that they would then lend it, when they had no intention of doing so, benefited the few, indeed the crooks are already back to their old games.

    As I wrote in a previous thread the weak banks should have been allowed to go to the wall with savers cash, government guaranteed, or the banks should have been nationalized without compensation.

    The new state owned banks could have then re-floated the loans market etc.

    Your snide comments about me claiming a recession benefited the majority is untrue and not what I meant as you are totally aware.

    I am shocked by your closed mind on economics, we who live in the UK/US live in a country in which today, the state regulates almost every act of our daily lives and you are obsessed with what happened in the Stalinist countries that no longer exist and no one [I know] wishes to recreate.

    Your claim that the US/UK governments regulates the economy far less that we socialists would is hog wash. Gordon Brown macro managed the UK economy as to did Alan Greenspan in the US.

    How do you think PPI, private companies administering local Council’s and health care trusts, unregulated markets, anti trade union legislation, tax breaks for multi nationals,etc, etc came about? by the governments leaving it all to the markets. These men created an unleveled playing field where big business could bleed the public purse.

    We cannot walk out of our doors without being monitored by CCTV, make a phone call or use the WWW without some government department listening in disapprovingly. We are living under the largest and most centralized governmental systems ever to exist in the west and this is true of the economy too.

    Yet when I mention building a society that lessen such intrusion and gross inequality, you will not even run it pass your mind,
    The freedoms you seem to believe the market gives, do not exist for the overwhelming majority of humanity, all you can come up with is do I shop at tescos, as if you feel that will put me on the spot.

    Yes, the answer is, it has been known, I also pay taxes to a government that occupies part of Afghanistan, which I regard as criminal. But unlike you who shrugs his shoulders and says such is life, there is no alternative, I rage at such things, because I am certain there is an alternative, otherwise my friend what is the point of it all?

    Is this a rant, yep, but one made more in despair than anger, as I find it sad that an extremely bright fellow such as yourself is so unwilling to even consider there may be an alternative.

    I’m off.

  • Kensei

    Mick

    Get real of course I am off on one, I’m a socialist activist who blogs here to attempt to get across my cause, not to prove I am some sort of smart arse. If you truly believe I have no interest in what others have to say, that makes you one dumb fuck, as you have posted countless words in argument when replying to my posts to this thread.

    Yes, but eventually I cotton on. As and until you reply only to the words I say, I’m off.

  • Jim

    Drumlins,

    Just as a voter and not a member of the party their thinking appears to be to join the biggest political beast on the Island of Ireland. Irish Labour are on the up at the minute but if you were joining a party surely it would be FF given there history of power in the Republic of Ireland?

    That leads me on to the SDLP being left-wing. I feel this is not as important as people feel it is. There are about as left-wing as ‘New Labour’ are. More Centrist with a slight touch of left-wing politics. Most of their voters are Middle-class and would be inclined to be centre right-wing in their politics from the economy to social issues. The main aim at the minute appears to be to take on Sinn Fein and become again the main voice of Irish Nationalism in the north. Whether they achieve this Drumlins is open to debate but IMO they are better placed to achieve this with FF rather than Irish Labour. Again the dreadful state of the economy in ROI is putting these plans off the shelf.

    Im interested in your experiences over in Palestine/Israel, particularly in relation to the treatment of Christians over there? I know the Copts in Egypt are treated incredibly poorly to put it mildly. I get angered when watching QT when I see members of the Muslim community both radical or moderate talking about the West(Christian) persecution of the Muslim umma around the world. However there is no mention of genocide commited by the Muslim umma on Christians by these groups and allies in the West. Armenian 1-1.5million killed by Turkish government, East Timor 200000 or one-third of the population killed by Indonesian Government and 1 to 2 million Christians and indigenous religions in the Sudan. The worst part is there is no apology from any of these countries for their genocide on these people.

    I was interested in your comment regarding the bands. Are the new immigrants still Catholics or have they converted to the Protestant faith? Are they invovled in Blood and Thunder bands? I would say it will take 10-15 years to see if these immigrant communities vote tribally or at all. My point would be that certain Unionist Politicians have not gone out of their way to make them welecome. Henry Reilly was at this today by arguing for sacking immigrant workers first if job loses had to happen.

    Regards,

    Jim.