The May 2017 issue of Socialist Voice has been published
16 pages of facts and analysis
Water charges: Working people need to be vigilant Eugene McCartan
The water struggle shows clearly the important and central role of mass mobilisation by working people in defence of their interests. The struggle created a focus and channelled the deep frustration of working people over “austerity,” the bank bail-outs, NAMA, the savage cuts in wages, and deteriorating working conditions.
A vibrant and dynamic coalition developed around what many believe was an achievable goal, the defeat of water charges. The emergence of Right2Water gave structure and direction to the developing mass movement, while the five trade unions involved played a central role in providing organisation, resources, and strategic direction.
Housing in the 21st century
The Central Statistics Office recently published a report on housing from the information obtained in the 2016 census. It shows that overcrowding and rackrenting are now the norm in Ireland—and it’s getting worse.
Over the five-year period 2011–16 the number of available properties increased by only 0.4 per cent, despite a growth in population of ten times that. Home ownership is down nationally to 67 per cent, and to 59 per cent in Dublin—a rate not seen since 1971, and it’s continuing to fall.
British ruling class pays scant attention to the North
Tommy McKearney: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/03-north.html
Two months after an Assembly election, the North’s electorate is being asked to return to the polls in June. This time, though, the people of the Six Counties will have little say in the outcome or the policies made afterwards.
Theresa May’s decision to call a general election was a purely cynical action, not designed to secure certainty over Brexit negotiations but an attempt to take advantage of a weakened Labour Party and thus extend her time in Downing Street.
Angela Davis visits Belfast
A centrepiece of this year’s week-long International Women’s Day celebration in Belfast was the visit of Angela Davis. She spoke at three packed meetings in Belfast: in City Hall, in Queen’s University, and in one of the main hotels in the city.
Ireland in debt
Eoghan O’Neill: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/05-debt.html
Ireland in 2017 is in a state of confusion. On the one hand the official line tells us that we are out of the recession, that government revenue and expenditure are increasing annually. The level of general government deficit is declining, and government debt in 2016 was 75 per cent of GDP—from a peak of 120 per cent in 2013.
We still need to borrow money to finance government expenditure, but at continually lower levels. Employment is increasing, and unemployment is decreasing (6½ per cent in 2016), while we are stabilising migration levels. Recording net immigration for the first time since 2009, we still maintained net emigration of 10,700 Irish nationals in 2016.
Debt, inequality, and industrial action: The chicken or the egg?
Nicola Lawlor: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/06-unions.html
Trade unions remain the most tangible and most effective means of reducing inequality. Unionised work-places tend to have fairer, more transparent and more equitable pay models, which provide pay increases year by year for workers above inflation. They redistribute wealth from the surplus value created by workers that would otherwise go to profits (or dividends and executive pay).
Rodolfo Jorge Walsh: An Argentine-Irish rebel in Cuba
Tomás Mac Síomóin: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/07-walsh.html
Che Guevara was not the only Argentine-Irish rebel to join the Cuban Revolution. Rodolfo Jorge Walsh, the fortieth anniversary of whose murder by the then Argentine dictatorship occurred on the 25th of March last, shared this honour. His contribution may have saved Cuba from counter-revolutionary turmoil, or worse.
The Koch Brothers and Donald Trump
Dan Taraghan: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/08-koch.html
In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852), Karl Marx stated: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur as it were twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”
Hitler was the tragedy. Trump is the farce.
Not the feelies
Jenny Farrell: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/09-cinema.html
The dystopias of the mid-twentieth century Brave New World (1932) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) described with astonishing accuracy the world we live in today: thought police, Newspeak, genetic engineering, escapist drugs, and a cinema that conditions people not to think about the kind of society they inhabit. Their films, in Brave New World, are aptly called the “feelies.”
“To be Irish is to be political”
Part of the James Connolly Festival, 2017, will be the Irish premiere of Fanatic Heart: The Story So Far of Black 47. This is a feature-length documentary that charts the career of the legendary and extremely political band.
Black 47 came together in the New York Irish emigrant scene in the late 1980s. Their music has been described as a “streetwise mix of rock, reggae, ska, and Irish music.”
Culture and politics: the music industry
Eoghan O’Neill: http://www.communistpartyofireland.ie/sv/11-music.html
The problem with the music scene in Ireland manifests itself in two forms: the pub-owner and the broadcaster.
Live music has been given over to the publican, who dictates the music and the rate of pay of musicians. Chart music, the majority of it being foreign imports, is played every hour by all mainstream radio stations, apart from a few exceptions. Little air time is given to original local artists.
Can nobody save this child?
Gabriel Rosenstock presents a version in Irish and English of a poem by the famous Urdu poet Ali Sardar Jafri (1913–2000)
Jafri was a communist poet, writer, critic, and film lyricist. Though born with a silver spoon in his mouth in Uttar Pradesh, he was expelled from university and later imprisoned for his revolutionary views.
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