Thursday, 22 December 2011

Why Does NATO Still Exist?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) came into being at the end of World War II in 1949. The treaty was signed by twelve members in Washington, DC.  Although not explicit in the treaty, the alliance was a direct response to the perceived threat of the ideology and military power of the Soviet Union. The treaty was designed, in the words of NATO’s first Secretary General Lord Ismay “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down” (Eden 2000, p.2). The main provision of the treaty was in its Article 5 which stated;

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Role Of The Media In An illegal Imperialist War

“A massacre in one place was a fight against terrorists in another, and what was unavoidable collateral damage from one perspective was a war crime from a different angle” (Bahador 2007, p.18)

On March 24th 1999, NATO forces launched an aerial bombing campaign on multiple targets inside the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The campaign lasted until June 11th 1999, when an agreement was reached to allow a peacekeeping mission to enter Kosovo. NATO’s official justification for the intervention was ‘humanitarian’. It suggested Slobodan Milosevic’s troops were committing crimes against humanity by massacring ethnic Albanians in its Kosovo province. The war against Milosevic was illegal under international law, having not received a sanction for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Because of this, NATO fought a media war in conjunction with its aerial bombardment. NATO’s justifications for the intervention have been widely disputed, with academics such as Chomsky suggesting that the media was used as a tool to help justify what he calls ‘humanitarian imperialism’ (Chomsky 2008).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Democracy Suppressed In DCU

The farce of the DCU referendum on higher education funding descended deeper into controversy last night when the DCU Student's Union President  Ed Leamy vetoed a FEE DCU motion at Class Rep Council to have the result of the recent referendum respected as a 'democratic survey' and adopted as union policy. The action by DCU SU President Ed Leamy cast further suspicion on a process that has been tainted by a constitutional screw-up by the  referendum Electoral Committee and the Student's Union Executive.

Monday, 12 December 2011

DCU Student's Union Disrespect Democratic Result

DCU SU President Ed Leamy has just declared the result of the DCU referendum on the funding of higher education "null and void".

The option of a "fully free education system" had won the vote.

FEE DCU will campaign for the democratic will of students to be respected, and for the result to be maintained.The declaration that the result  is "null and void" shows a lack of respect for the democratic choice that students have made.

A new referendum has been called for next year. We don't want another referendum. The students democratic choice was reflected correctly after the first count. 

This is not the Lisbon Treaty. We can't re-run the vote until the people in authority get the result they desire.

Have your voice heard. Demand that the result of the first vote is respected!!
For a background to this story, see the previous post HERE

We Only Want The Earth (And Free Education for Everyone)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

DCU Students Vote For Free Education For Everyone - DCU SU Call A Recount

After a mandate from DCU's Class Rep Council, a historic referendum was held in DCU this week to ask students their opinion on how higher education should be funded in Ireland. The original mandate put before the council had four options for students to vote on, but left out the option of a "fully free education system" funded through progressive taxation. During a rigorous debate, FEE DCU fought hard to have this option put on the ballot paper, however council voted to have a "less ideological" question regarding free education. Finally,  the question “Would you agree with a fully free higher level education system that is funded fully through the conventional taxation system?” was put on the ballot.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Responsibility To Protect In Libya: The New Imperialism?

The idea of military intervention legitimised by ‘humanitarian’ ideals is nothing new. The concept of responsibility to protect (R2P) however, has risen to prominence in international relations discourse since the end of the cold war. The R2P concept has created much debate, with some seeing it as an important development that redefines state sovereignty in terms of responsibility to protect citizens rather than borders or territory. Critics however see the concept of R2P as Western liberal imperialism dressed up to cloak its true nature.  The recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctioned North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military intervention into Libya, based on the concept of R2P, has reignited this debate.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

New Blog Posts Coming Soon...

Apologies about the lack of blog posts lately, I have been on an extended break from writing and political activity. I was re-charging the batteries! I will have some stuff to write from next week on once I get back into student politics, and back into the cut and thrust of political activity. Keep an eye out for what's new on the blog!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Stand Up, Get Up - UK Riots 2011

This is a song that I wrote and recorded in early 2010. I have not had the opportunity to create a video for the track until now (due to my lack of knowledge of Windows Movie Maker), but the recent riots in the UK provided me with the video footage, and the inspiration to match the song to the video. This is the end product. If you like the song or the video, feel free to share it on!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Speeches From The ULA Forum (Part 2)

The recent United Left Alliance forum in Liberty Hall (25/6/2011) was the first real opportunity for the different factions within it to debate a possible future programme that the ULA should adopt. Following on from my previous post containing videos of the first plenary session, below are the main speeches from the debate from the floor on the first plenary session "The left response to the crisis" and the speeches from the second plenary session of the day from Seamus Healy, Declan Bree, Richard Boyd Barrett and Joe Higgins.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Labour Party: A Party Of Lies And Broken Promises

A recent Facebook rant  made from the profile of Labour Youth (Dublin South-West) on a ULA event page caused a bit of embarrassment to the national leadership of that organisation, who moved quickly to have the comments removed and went on to issue an apology on their national Facebook page. A young man named Sean Glennon also went onto the national Facebook page to say it was he who had posted the comments, and that he was not a member of Labour youth and did not agree with their values and policies.

However, since then it has emerged that the young man who posted the comments was in fact a prominent Labour Youth member, and was an administrator on their Facebook page. While the comments could be passed off as juvenile naivety, I believe that the whole debacle provides a deeper and more disturbing insight into the policies of the current Labour Party in Ireland.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Enough Campaign And The ULA

The 'Enough' campaign's recent #IrishRevolution July16th protest demonstration drew a crowd of between 400 to 1000 people (depending on who you ask) onto the streets of Dublin's city centre. The event didn't quite live up to its billing, but was an energetic and encouraging demonstration nonetheless, by groups opposed to the EU / IMF deal, and other issue specific groups. The Enough campaign was initiated by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) to try to create a broad opposition campaign against the EU / IMF deal, and to demand a referendum on that deal. Whilst this type of initiative is to be welcomed, I believe that its demands do not go far enough. I also believe that future campaigns ought to be initiated, developed and prepared for under the banner of the United Left Alliance (ULA). Unfortunately, the SWP don't agree with this, and prefer to push ahead with their own 'Enough' campaign.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Debunking The Myths Of Irish Capitalism

There is no alternative. We must rely on foreign direct investments and on the private sector to create jobs. Private is more 'efficient' than public. An entrepreneurial spirit will drive economic growth. These are just some of the mantras that we are exposed to on a daily basis from economic commentators, whom our mainstream media promote as 'experts'. They have a monopoly over our airwaves and newspapers, and use it to espouse their ideas as if they were common sense facts that are irrefutable. However, with a serious analysis of Irish capitalism it is quite evident that their mantras are neither common sense nor facts, and are very refutable indeed. A look through the figures on the Irish economy reveal a very different picture to the one painted by our government and the economic 'experts,' who argue that an economic recovery based on real job growth is to be achieved through attracting foreign direct investments (FDI's) into the country, and a strong Irish entrepreneurial spirit.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Crisis Of Capitalism: What Lies Ahead?

We are often told by the innumerable economic commentators on the issue, that we are currently experiencing the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. However, the current crisis is in many ways different to others because of its globalised nature and because of the ‘advanced’ form of capitalism it exposes. It must be recognised that capitalism as a form of investment in manufacturing has been in decline since the 1970s, with modern ‘advanced’ capitalism now based on financial speculation. The crisis we are experiencing illustrates that far from being part of a boom and bust process, the inherent greed that capitalism predicates itself upon has led to the system destroying itself from the inside out.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Speeches From The ULA Forum

The recent United Left Alliance forum in Liberty Hall (25/6/2011) was the first real opportunity for the different factions within it to debate a possible future programme that the ULA should adopt. Below are the main speeches from the first plenary session of the day, with an introduction from Ailbhe Smith from People Before Profit, and speeches from  Professor Terrence McDonough from NUI Galway, Kevin McLoughlin from the Socialist Party and Kieran Allen from the Socialist Workers Party. In a previous post  I have already put forward my views on the internal debates within the ULA. By watching these speeches, you can make your own mind up. 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Race To The Bottom Continues...(High Court sanctions cuts to the low paid)

The news that the High Court of Ireland has upheld a challenge from the 'Quick Service Food Alliance'  on the constitutionality of laws setting the mandatory minimum wages of 200,000 low paid workers, is indicative of the race to the bottom in pay and conditions of workers in Irish society.  It is also illustrative of the rotten system we live under. When High Court judges, who on hugely over-inflated salaries themselves refuse to take a pay cut, an issue that will need be put to a referendum,  can condemn the lowest paid workers in Irish society into further poverty, we know we live in a screwed up system.  The Joint Labour Commission (JLC) wage setting mechanism was there to set minimum pay rates for workers in the retail, bar, restaurant, hairdressing and catering sectors amongst others.  These workers, most often women, students or migrants, already victim to low pay, will now face the prospect of further pay cuts in their meagre salaries.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

To Be A Student And Not A Revolutionary Is A Contradiction

It was Salvador Allende who once said "To be a student and not a revolutionary is a contradiction."  The logic of this statement seems to have been lost on the current bunch of hacks that run our national student's union, the Union of Students Ireland (USI). Yesterday (29/6/11), their ineptness to lead students in a fightback against EU / IMF brokered package of  austerity was illustrated clearly by two different events.  Early yesterday morning, the USI put out the following statement on its' Facebook page

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Reformism: A Cancer To Socialism

The great James Connolly once said "The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system, it must go." His words ring true more so now than they ever did, and should be noted by some factions within the broad left of Irish politics. The underlying debate that simmered at the ULA forum in Liberty hall (25/6/2011), was on the type of programme that a new mass party (when the ULA goes that way) will adopt. The Socialist Party put forward the case for a strong and principled 'socialist' programme, with a clear and explicit route towards a socialist society.  The Socialist Worker's Party and People Before Profit called for a socialist programme too, but one that is less explicit and is focused more on daily struggle for reforms, with 'socialism' as the "long term" aim. In this approach, they are making a grave error. The objective situation has arrived, and in diverging from DeValera's famous 1918 injunction, "labour must wait", it must be put forward that labour must wait no more!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Talk Is Cheap, It's Action That Matters

Below is the text from a number of emails that I have exchanged with the Labour Party TD for Dublin North East Sean Kenny. The emails relate to the proposed scrapping of overtime and Sunday pay for some of the lowest paid and marginalised workers in Irish society, particularly affecting women, migrant workers and students. I had asked the Labour Party TD to do all he could to protect the the pay and conditions of these workers, and he initially said that he supported my stance on the issue. However, when I asked him which way he had voted on the ULA motion on the matter, he informed me that he had voted against it and with the government. This type of double-speak perfectly illustrates that talk from Labour Party TD's is cheap, and it's action that matters. I am also including the tally count which shows how each TD voted on that ULA motion below my email correspondence with Sean Kenny TD. I would encourage all to contact their local Labour TD and ask them why they voted against the motion.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Songs Of The Working Class

This is a project that I have wanted to do for some time now but with my university and other commitments I have not been able to take the time to put it together.  I had no unified collection of worker's songs in my possession, and I have not come across one in the shops that brings together all the songs that I love.  So, now that I have some free time I have managed to put this little collection together for your (and my) listening pleasure. Of course, it took me some time to choose a final 17 songs for the album, and I had to leave out song excellent songs of working class struggle.  If you feel there is a song that I have not included that should be on the album, please post a comment on this page and I may make some amendments before I finally produce it.  I intend to put all of these onto CD, and sell the album for €5 each, with all of the proceeds going towards the funding of future campaigns against the water tax, home tax, education cuts etc etc... If you would like to purchase a copy, drop me an email and I can post it on to you.

Friday, 17 June 2011

This Is What Class War Looks Like

If you look up the definition of 'war' in the Oxford English Dictionary you will learn that it is "a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country." The famous military theoretician Carl Von Clausewitz notoriously described war as "the continuation of politics by other means." I have no doubt that at the forefront of Clausewitz’s mind was the form of war defined above by Oxford when he pronounced his aphorism, however I believe that his view of war can be just as perfectly applied to a form that does not include armed conflict, but instead relies on acts of economic aggression to achieve its aims. The war that I am speaking of is of course class war, and it is occurring all around us.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Capitalist Way: Work Longer For Less

When I’m old and grey at 68, and my weary body can’t take any more of the working life, I will look back and curse the current Fine Gael / Labour government for having the shameless audacity to put me to work for three extra years before retirement.  The Social Welfare and Pensions Bill, 2011, was passed through the Dail on June 8th by a massive 107  to 25 votes, in an instant doing away with years of hard fought struggle by the labour movement.  This bill will have huge repercussions for all workers, yet it hardly raised a whimper in the mainstream media.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Irish Dream. Time To Wake Up!

I was pondering recently just why it is that us on the left seem to be consistently correct in our economic and social analysis, yet many in the mainstream consider us to be uninformed loonies or economically illiterate. It was then I remembered a video I had seen of the late and great George Carlin entitled “The American Dream” "Video Clip" and I realised that Irish Society is living in a collective dreamworld, and needs to wake up fast.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Domino Effect: The Revolution Spreads

In the future when history is being written, the year 2011 will be known as 'the year of the revolutions'. Since the turn of the year we have seen a wave of popular uprisings across the globe. First was Tunisia, where the dictator Ben Ali was overthrown.  Next came Egypt, where Mubarak was forced from power and arrested, before the domino effect took hold and the scent of revolution spread across the middle eastern region. At the moment, uprisings are continuing in Lybia and Syria, although the former has been hijacked by the powers of western imperialism. The African and Middle East uprisings and revolutions would, many thought, be contained to the region. The past week's events in Spain have cast doubts on whether the contagious and infectious idea of revolution can be contained.

Stand Up, Get Up: A Song Of Revolution

This is a song I wrote and recorded last year. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, share the link on !!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Default Now And Throw Off Our Chains

The recent Morgan Kelly article in the Irish Times, “Ireland's future depends on breaking free from bailout[1]  has caused much debate in the Irish media.  In the article, UCD economist Kelly suggests that Ireland should walk away from the EU/IMF deal. In this regard Kelly is totally right, however the solution to the crisis that he proposes is wide of the mark.  More austerity is not the answer.  It is only through the promotion of economic growth through public investment and job creation, progressive taxation and nationalisation of our resources that Ireland will 'start' to emerge from the crisis.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Critique of the IMF

Recent years have seen growing criticism of the International Monetary Fund. What are these criticisms and are they justified?

“It is important to note that IMF programmes are not designed to increase the welfare of the population. They are designed to bring the external payments account into balance.... The IMF is the ultimate guardian of the interests of capitalists and bankers doing international business” (Kari Polanyi Levitt, cited in Torrie, J. 1983, Introduction).

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

International Human Trafficking Law

International Human Trafficking Law
This piece will focus on International Human Trafficking Law and will discuss and critically evaluate four elements. Section one will cover the historical development of international human trafficking law.  Section two will focus on the legal models employed in the European Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings [2005][1].  Section three will take a look at the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) approach to international human trafficking in Ranstev V. Cyprus and Russia [2010][2].  Section four will contain a discussion of proposed amendments to improve the European Convention on Action against Trafficking Human Beings [2005][3].   

Monday, 18 April 2011

Globalisation. Myth or Reality?

The term globalisation is one that is used with ever increasing frequency as if it had a universally accepted meaning and definition.  According to Modelski, globalisation is a historical process which is characterised by a growing engagement between peoples on all corners of the globe (Modelski, 2003, pp.55-59).  However, as Heywood points out, it can refer to various things such as processes, policies, strategies, an occurrence or an ideology.  He suggests, its elusive meaning lays in the fact that it “is not so much an it as a them” (2007, p.143).  The reason for the elusiveness of the term is that, as Heywood pints out, it involves many different facets which many different academics proclaim as its defining features.

What Causes Wars? A Theoretical View. Realism, Liberalism and Marxism.

What causes wars?

War is a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country.  War can take on many forms including world, inter-state, intra-state or revolutionary. In order to assess the causes of wars, a theoretical approach is useful to broaden our understanding and perspective on the issue. 

Ireland's Future. Lessons From History

Since early 2007, the world capitalist free-market economic system has been experiencing a systemic crisis.  A report circulated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2008 stated the crisis was caused by “global macro policies affecting liquidity and by a very poor regulatory framework that, far from acting as a second line of defence, actually contributed to the crisis” (Blundell-Wignall et al, 2008, p. 2).  As a small and open free-market based economy, Ireland was caught in the contagion from the unfolding crisis of world capitalism.  However, far from being an innocent victim of conditions in the world economy, the Irish state’s economic problems were the result of both international and domestic factors. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Words Matter, Equality Matters.

A vote will be taken next week in DCU on whether to change the Student Union's constitution.  A new constitution has been drawn up to replace the old one which stands since 2007.  The new constitution, written by the Student Union executive and a constitutional review committee, and voted upon by the class representative council, contains a number of vital flaws.  The new constitution removes the concept of equality from the workings of the Student Union.  In fact, the new constitution does not contain the word 'equality' once within its pages.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Power To The People

Today, March 9th 2011 saw the first sitting of the 31st Dail.  The make up of that new Dail had in the region of 70 new T.D's.  Amongst their number was the 5 new United Left Alliance (ULA) T.D's, Joe Higgins, Clare Daly, Richard Boyd Barrett, Joan Collins and Seamus Healy.  Before taking their seats in the Dail, all of the ULA T.D's marched to parliament from the central bank with the people who had voted them in.  I was one among their number.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

We Only Want The Earth (James Connolly)

Some men, faint-hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch,
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much.
’Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Seductive Folly of Power

So as the dust settles on the 2011 Irish general election and the formation of a new government of Fine Gael and Labour has been decided, both camps are claiming victory in the content of the programme for government.  A quick read over the document reveals that it has the print of a neo-liberal agenda all over it, yet the Labour Party seem intent on claiming it as a victory for their negotiators. However the reality is that Labour will be propping up a neo-liberal government just to get a sniff of power. So what does all this mean for the ordinary punter?