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Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link This Week At Irish Election Literature .. .. Local Elections Special 00:01 Fri Apr 25, 2014 | irishelectionliterature

offsite link ?The dogs of war [were] unleashed week after week after week to attack me?? 21:26 Thu Apr 24, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Presentation on Irish Left Archive, 1st May 2014 21:11 Thu Apr 24, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Special screening of The Colombia Connection 15:00 Thu Apr 24, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link ?Social Democratic Union? 14:36 Thu Apr 24, 2014 | irishelectionliterature

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link EAMON GILMORE AND FRIENDS - NOW ONLY SIX PERCENT 20:02 Sun Apr 20, 2014

offsite link GOTTA LOVE THIS COUNTRY 18:11 Wed Apr 16, 2014

offsite link ?In light of our Christian Faith and the strong Christian values contained within our Cons... 11:08 Wed Apr 16, 2014

offsite link PLAYING OUT THE STRING WITH THE ANGLO TRIAL 18:16 Sun Apr 13, 2014

offsite link Care and Social Reproduction - Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 12 April 2014 09:58 Sat Apr 12, 2014

Dublin Opinion >>

Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link What Planet Are You On Thu Apr 24, 2014 23:20 | Seán Sheehan

offsite link Flying Pigs and the End of Austerity Thu Apr 24, 2014 22:13 | Michael Taft

offsite link 1,230,000 Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:21 | Michael Taft

offsite link Dublin Council of Trade Unions: Mayday March and Rally Tue Apr 22, 2014 14:01 | Irish Left Review

offsite link New eBook: Unmasking Austerity: Opposition and Alternatives in Europe and North ... Tue Apr 22, 2014 13:50 | Dexter Whitfield

Irish Left Review >>

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Engage & Contribute, FLAC leading Shadow Report on Ireland?s Legal Obligations: Economic, Social & C... Thu Apr 24, 2014 14:02 | GuestPost

offsite link Public Interest Law Alliance: Driving the law into activism and activism into law Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:42 | GuestPost

offsite link Refugee Studies Centre Short Course: Statelessness and International Law Mon Apr 21, 2014 14:15 | GuestPost

offsite link Open for Applications: LLM in International Human Rights in UCD Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:08 | Liam Thornton

offsite link UCD Seminar: The March to Marriage Equality in the U.S.: What a difference a Decade Makes! Thu Apr 17, 2014 09:29 | Liam Thornton

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Seán Sheehan - Thu Apr 24, 2014 23:20

Reading Magnum: A Visual Archive of the Modern World by Geoff Dyer and Steven Hoelscher  (University of Texas Press)

City Stages by Matthew Pillsbury (Aperture)

Some of the finest poetry of Wallace Stevens expresses the constant struggle between representing things as they are, capturing moments that accord with something independent of the mind ? moments, one might say, of cast-iron existence where no metaphors or tropes attach themselves to this level of material being -- and, on the other hand, the alluring inclination to mediate experience with subjective positions of contestable value. In ?The Auroras of Autumn? he writes of ?form gulping after formlessness?, the need to impose some order and pattern on restless, multiplex reality. Photography is like the late poetry of Wallace Stevens in that it too battles with the conflicting drives of representing what is there, in all its necessary incongruity, and depicting a mediated slice of life that tells us more about the photographer than the photographed. When Magnum first established itself, co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson spoke of ? a respect for what is going on [in the world] and a desire to transcribe it visually?. What was going on was war, first in Spain and then across Europe and the globe, and war begat Magnum with the idea amongst a small group of Left-leaning photographers in 1947 for a cooperative that would allow them to take and disseminate pictures free of control from commercial and military organizations. The experience of conflict  had brought home to the Magnum founders the importance of pictures in conveying to non-combatants what happened when  war was unleashed and two of them (Robert Capa in the First Indochina War and David Seymour in the Suez War) would die in the course of their chosen careers. Another one of the co-founders, George Rodger, gave up war photography after taking pictures at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, appalled that he treated ?this pitiful human flotsam as it were a gigantic still-life?. What shocked Rodger was that ?I could look at the horror of Belsen ? and think only of a nice photographic composition, I knew something had happened to me and I had to stop. I said this is where I quit.? The concentration camp, its dead and its survivors were there before Rodger?s eyes but so was his camera and when he put one up against the other something else came into play.  What Wallace Stevens said, in the same year that saw the formation of Magnum Photos, is as true of the photograph as it is of a poem: ?What our eyes behold may well be the text of life but one?s meditations on the text and the disclosures of these meditations are no less a part of the structure of reality.? The tension between the photographer as a reporter and as an artist lies at the core of the best work residing in the Magnum archives for as Philip Jones Griffiths put it, ?There is no point in pressing the shutter unless you are making some caustic comment on the incongruities of life?.
Michael Taft - Thu Apr 24, 2014 22:13
Do you really believe that 2015 is the last year of austerity?  If you believe that fiscal pigs will fly, then, yes, 2015 will be the last year of austerity.  However, if you are even just a tad sceptical then read on.  For 2015 is not the end ? it is just the end of the beginning.  After 2015 we will be into a new phase of real austerity. The Government has produced a budgetary scenario up to 2019.  They emphasise that this is just a scenario.  They even underline it.
'Again it must be stressed that this is purely an illustrative scenario.'
So this is one possible future that the Government is considering.  However, given that they have published it twice means that this scenario is being serious considered ? especially as they have not produced any other scenario. The key to understanding why real austerity will continue up to the end of the decade is the premise of this scenario:
'Expenditure is assumed to increase by 1 per cent per annum.'
Ok.  And how much do they expect inflation (GDP deflator) to increase by?  1.4 percent per annum.  So each year the increase government expenditure will not match the increase in inflation.  Therefore, each year it will be cut in real terms ? that is, after inflation. Let?s run through some basic numbers ? focusing on primary expenditure, which excludes interest payments.  This means we?re looking at expenditure on public services, social protection and investment.
Michael Taft - Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:21
1,230,000. This number should be burned into the debate.  This the approximate number of people included in the CSO?s enforced deprivation rate.  This is the number of people who suffered two or more deprivation experiences in 2012.  This is more than one-in-four ? 26.9 percent - of all people in the state.  This is a number that should drive the debate from here on. The CSO sets out eleven enforced deprivation experiences:
Without heating at some stage in the last year * Unable to afford a morning, afternoon or evening out in the last fortnight  * Unable to afford two pairs of strong shoes * Unable to afford a roast once a week * Unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day * Unable to afford new (not second-hand) clothes *  Unable to afford a warm waterproof coat * Unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm * Unable to afford to replace any worn out furniture * Unable to afford to have family or friends for a drink or meal once a month * Unable to afford to buy presents for family or friends at least once a year
Those who suffer two or more of these experiences are officially categorised as deprived. Deprivation has been rising since the beginning of the recession.  In 2007, 11.3 percent were categorised as deprived.  In 2012, it rose to nearly 27 percent ? more than doubling.  In absolute numbers, it has increased by nearly three-quarters of a million. In this overall number there are approximately 375,000 children, aged 17 and under.  Since 2007, this number has increased by 180,000. There are sections of society that are under severe pressure.  The following is the deprivation rate for particularly vulnerable sectors:
  • Social housing tenants:  50.7 percent
  • Lone parents:  49.5 percent
  • Unemployed:  49.4 percent
  • Not at work due to illness or disability:  48.5 percent
In these groups, one-in-two people live in deprivation.
Irish Left Review - Tue Apr 22, 2014 14:01

Poverty!

Emigration!

Privatisation!

Austerity!

Stand Up!

Fight Back!

We urge all trade unions, community and campaigning organisations to march with their banners on May Day to drive home to government that there is another way.

March and Rally 

6.30 p.m. Thursday 1st May 2014

Garden of Remembrance

Parnell Square, Dublin

Dexter Whitfield - Tue Apr 22, 2014 13:50
Unmasking Austerity: Opposition and Alternatives in Europe and North Americaby Dexter Whitfield, Spokesman Books (eBook) Unmasking Austerity: Opposition and Alternatives in Europe and North America exposes how austerity policies have fuelled the fire of recession rather than stimulated growth. It identifies key lessons from organising and action against such policies, and urges a rethink of trade union, community and social movement strategies to overcome austerity. Unmasking Austerity examines the deeper causes of the financial crisis, and exposes the manufactured crises, which are being used to dismantle hard-earned labour rights and the welfare state. A radical alternative strategy includes economic stimulus, reconstruction of public services, faster fundamental reform of banks and financial markets, the elimination of corporate welfare that enriches big business, and strategies to increase labour?s share of national income. Published April 2014 - ISBN: 978 0 85124 832 5 Now available in the following eBook formats: ePub (134 pages):  £9.99 Amazon Kindle (165 pages): £10.29
Michael Taft - Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:55
The Government?s paper on Ireland?s effective corporate tax rate confirms what the dogs in the street have known for a long-time:  Ireland has a low,extremely low, corporate tax rate. There is that vexed question of what corporate income counts for the purposes of determining the actual rate of tax companies pay here.  Professor Jim Stewart produced data which showed that the effective tax rate of US multinationals operating here was 2.2 percent in 2011.  This was disputed because Stewart ? using the US?s Bureau of Economic Analysis ? included the $140 billion that US multinationals move through Ireland on their way to other places, including tax havens.  Some claim you can?t count this because it is not taxable in Ireland. But, of course, that is the point.  The issue is not the Irish corporate tax rate per se but the role that Ireland plays in the global tax avoidance chain ? the ability of multinationals to use Ireland to avoid paying taxes that would be due elsewhere.  That is the character of a ?tax-haven conduit?. In this respect, it is worth remembering: ?Tax havens attract foreign investment not only because income earned locally is taxed at favorable rates, but also because tax haven activities facilitate the avoidance of taxes that might otherwise have to be paid to other countries.? The Irish corporate tax rate is the sign on the door.  It?s an inviting sign ? a low-tax rate of 12.5 percent.  But the real goodies are what's behind the door ? the prospect of using Ireland as a transit point in the global avoidance chain.
Communist Party of Ireland - Mon Apr 07, 2014 09:38
The April edition of the Socialist Voice is out now. Follow the links below or online here. Contents: At the same time, capitalist shock-troops are using different negotiating tactics: force and intimidation. On the one hand, employers? organisations have been leaking stories about pay increases; however, they want the ?pay increases? to come from a reduction in tax. In other words, everyone finances pay increases for employers, so they increase their profits, and there is a further reduction in public services. Recent media reports suggest that, with a supposed ?recovery? on the horizon, employers and unions are increasingly making noises about a return to some sort of partnership structure. The leadership of the unions, most notably Jack O?Connor and Shay Cody, have raised the idea of reconstituting some type of formal Employer-Labour Conference. The offices of the Law Society in Chancery Lane, London, were the venue for the International Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Cuban Five; but the British government sought to scupper the event before it even began. On the 19th and 20th of December last the European Council met; and to anyone who thinks that the EU is a benign body of people seeking to ease travel for all its citizens, and various other media-friendly soundbites, you are wrong?very wrong. There was a major increase in the annual surpluses of the surplus countries between 2000 and 2009 and between 2010 and 2015, as can be seen in table 1. The mean for the countries was up from 4.2 to 6.8 per cent. Did anyone read about the study partly funded by NASA that says ?industrial civilisation is headed for irreversible collapse?? It was reported in the Guardian (London) in March.* Following the threatened national dispute in the electrical contracting industry that prevented, once again, an attempt to cut the wages of electricians, the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union has employed significant resources to sustain the terms of the National Collective Agreement, formally registered with the Labour Court. Enda Kenny has lost control of his government, and of his party, and now even his own position may be in question. The wretched man is thrashing around in despair as his government lurches aimlessly from one mishap to another. At its recent meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland discussed the political and economic situation throughout the country. Give ear to my words, O Lord Hearken unto my moaning Pay heed to my protest ?What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle.? This month we celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare. When Shakespeare wrote his great tragedies?yes, the ones studied at school, year in, year out?he had a very great and grave concern at heart. Missing from many left-wing critiques of transnational corporations is the part played by cinema. We read daily about the depredations of the oil, financial and media giants. In Towards a Third Cinema by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino the cinema is described as ?the most valuable tool of communication of our times.?
Irish Left Review - Mon Apr 07, 2014 09:15

The Sheehy Skeffington School is on this Saturday April 12.

Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse St., Dublin 2

The keynote speaker this year is Gareth Peirce.

Schedule: 

09:30 Registration

10:00 Introduction by chair, Carol Coulter (former Irish Times journalist, now Director Child Care Law Reporting Project)

10:15 Michael Farrell (Sen. Solicitor, FLAC, former ICCL & IHRC) 'Brief update on human rights infrastructure'.

10:30 Gareth Peirce (leading human rights lawyer) 'No World for Whistleblowers'

11:00 Questions

11:15 Break

11:30 Seanie Lambe (Inner City Activist, Chairperson ICON) 'Communities, regeneration and rights'.

11:50 Clare Daly (TD) 'The Legacy of Austerity'.

12:15 Panel Discussion

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Leeann Lane (Head of Irish Studies, MDI) 'The Irish Suffrage Campaign on the eve of World War 1 : Tensions and debates'.

14:30 Questions

14:40 Richard Sheehy (Glasnevin Parish and relative of Sheehy Skeffingtons) 'Thoughts on Francis Sheehy Skeffington'
followed by Donal O'Kelly (playwright and actor) & colleagues Readings from 'A Prodigal Daughter' (a play written by Francis Sheehy Skeffington, first performed in 1914).

15:30 Close

Speakers biogs:
Dr. Carol Coulter is Director of the Child Care Law Reporting Project and a former Legal Affairs Editor with the Irish Times which she joined in 1986. She has been deputy News Editor, acting London editor and acting Belfast editor. She has won a number of journalism awards, including a National Media Award and the overall Justice Media Award in 2012 for her coverage of legal and justice issues. Carol's chairing of previous Sheehy Skeffington Schools contributed substantively to the level of discussion on the subjects under consideration.

Clare Daly is a TD for the United Left Alliance in the constituency of Dublin North. Formerly a Students' Union President in NIHE and later DCU as well as a long standing SIPTU shop steward in Dublin Airport when she worked for Aer Lingus, Clare has a long track record as a campaigner for workers rights and the interests of the community.

Michael Farrell is the senior solicitor with FLAC. He formerly worked as a solicitor in private practice and has taken cases to the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee and the European Committee of Social Rights. He is a former Co-Chairperson of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and was a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission from 2001 to 2011 and of the working group on the proposed merger of the IHRC and the Equality Authority. He is the Irish member of the Council of Europe Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and a member of the Council of State.

Seanie Lambe is the Chairperson of the Inner City Organisations Network (ICON). He has been involved in the development of the area for many years and sits on a number of boards. He is currently the Director of the Inner City Renewal Group (ICRG).

Dr. Leeann Lane is Head of Irish Studies and Head of the School of Humanities at the Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University. She is the author of Rosamond Jacob: Third Person Singular (2010). She is a member of the "Expert Advisory Group on the Decade of Commemorations" appointed by the Government in 2012.

Donal O?Kelly is one of Ireland's foremost socially engaged playwrights. His recent production, 'Hairy Jaysus' is a bifocal perspective of Francis Sheehy Skeffington's final hours ? through historical and contemporary viewpoints. His other plays include Catalpa, Jimmy Joyced! and Bat the Father Rabbit the Son. Donal's creations include The Cambria, The Adventures Of The Wet Señor, Vive La, Operation Easter, Asylum! Asylum!, The Dogs, Farawayan and The Hand. As an actor, he has appeared in Translations, Juno and the Paycock and The Tempest in the Abbey, played Lucky in the Gate Theatre?s Waiting For Godot, and on screen played leading roles in Kings, The Van, and Spin The Bottle, as well as RTE?s Paths to Freedom and Fair City.

Gareth Peirce is a solicitor, educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College, University of Oxford and the London School of Economics. She is best known for her tireless, groundbreaking work and advocacy in high-profile cases involving miscarriages of justice, and those of people (particularly Irish and Islamist) accused or convicted under anti-terrorist legislation. Gareth's calm and reflective demeanour belies a passionate and longstanding commitment to the use of law to promote human rights and justice for the most vulnerable.

Irish Left Review - Fri Apr 04, 2014 18:23
New LookLeft out now! ?2 for 48 pages of progressive, news, views and solutions In Easons and selected newsagents countrywide. This issue includes:
  • Who Watches the Watchmen: The Gardai, drugs and the working class
  • Look Back in Anger: Brian Hanley on remembering the reality of WW1
  • Conor McCabe on Ireland, the frontline of the class war
  • Sean Garland pays tribute to RMT leader Bob Crow
  • LookLeft talks to Andy Irvine
  • Kevin Brannigan on the struggle to save the home of Irish football
  • Interview with Belfast?s Red Devil: Des O?Hagan
  • Jennifer Silva on Economic Uncertainty and Mental Health
  • Mark Walshe on Making a market out of education
  • Chris Hudson asks Where is progressive unionism?
And much, much more?.
Michael Taft - Fri Apr 04, 2014 16:50
Take a very quick look at the green line on the chart below.  Very quick ? the green line represents Irish labour costs.

1

On a quick look, it appears that Irish labour costs started growing in 2010; and that by last year labour costs growth in the EU and Ireland converged.   Now take a closer look.  In reality, Irish labour costs actually fell in 2010.  In fact, the gap between the EU and Ireland are widening.  The chart was ?structured? to not only elide over these inconvenient facts but to actually give the opposite impression.  Welcome to the world of massaging stats to fit a political purpose. For make no mistake ? the National Competitiveness Council?s Costs of Doing Business in Ireland completely fails to present the reality of wages, labour costs and taxation in the Irish economy.  Instead, they construct ?evidence and arguments that neatly into line with the Government?s desire to depress wages and cut taxes.  Funny that. Are wages a danger to ?competitiveness??    First, let?s remind ourselves of the current situation, something the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) fails to do (again, funny that).  Using the last year for available date we find, using the mean average:

2

Whether using the labour cost survey (which surveys firms) or the macro-economic data contained in the national accounts (where you divide employee compensation by hours worked) the results are pretty much the same.  We are well below averages ? in particular, when compared to EU-15 countries not in bail-out (excluding really low-waged Greece and Portugal) or other small open economies. So we start out pretty low.

Irish Left Review >>

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