Archive for the ‘capitalism’ category

Audio of Vijay Prashad talk: ‘Europe Can’t Shake Off Its Imperialism (Needs Help)’

July 1, 2015

Vijay Prashad gave a a talk on the topic of ‘Europe Can’t Shake Off Its Imperialism (Needs Help)’ in the Comhlamh building in Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday 30th June 2015.

Download the MP3 here (hosted by Archive.org)

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Vijay Prashad speaking in Dublin

Where in the world is Europe? Imperialist, neoliberal, fortress – but also riven by crisis, resistance and spaces for solidarity inside and outside its putative borders.

This informal talk, followed by discussion, was given by scholar, public intellectual, and activist Vijay Prashad. The talk was introduced by author, journalist and academic Harry Browne, and bookended by human rights activist Caoimhe Butterly. Recording includes Q&A session.

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Dr. Vijay Prashad, is an Indian historian, journalist commentator, and Marxist. In his most recent book The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, Prashad writes an alternative history of the contemporary world from the standpoint of the Global South. Prashad is currently a visiting faculty member at American University of Beirut’s CASAR and is the Edward Said Chair Professor of International Studies at Trinity College (Hartford, CT., USA). He is the author of 16 books, writes for Jadaliyya, Frontline, CounterPunch online magazine, and The Hindu. He is also an advisory board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

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Audio: Vijay Prashad on People’s Struggles in the Global South

June 1, 2014

Vijay Prashad gave a a talk on ‘People’s Struggles in the Global South’ in the Nasawiya Café in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday 14th May 2014.

Download the MP3 here (audio courtesy of Angela G, and hosted by Archive.org)

Vijayprashad

The struggles of the peoples of the Global South did not end with independence and emancipation from colonialism and occupation. The post-colonial era has witnessed a continuous and growing refusal from the decolonized world to the imposed global economic and political systems. The movements in the Global South attempted to create an alternative economic project reflecting people’s aspiration. The recent global financial crisis that exploded in 2008, rejuvenated the peoples’ movements in the different parts in the Global South, and culminated into the Arab uprisings and other social movements challenging the neo-liberal order and forging the basis of what could be alternative peoples’ projects based on participatory democracies and economies. This has manifesting itself in increased trade labour action as well as actions on the consumption level refusing price hikes of basic needs.

This talk will further examine these growing movements, their context, significance and development. It will also have a special focus on the Lebanese context, seeing it through the lens of the Global South, and trying to answer how the ongoing movements in Lebanon can be placed and interlinked with peoples’ actions and struggles in the Global South

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Dr. Vijay Prashad, is an Indian historian, journalist commentator, and Marxist. In his most recent book The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, Prashad writes an alternative history of the contemporary world from the standpoint of the Global South. Prashad is currently a visiting faculty member at American University of Beirut’s CASAR and is the Edward Said Chair Professor of International Studies at Trinity College (Hartford, CT., USA). He is the author of 16 books, writes for Jadaliyya, Frontline, CounterPunch online magazine, and The Hindu. He is also an advisory board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Audio: 21st Century Republicanism (McKearney, Leeson, Ó Broin & Redmond)

April 16, 2012

L-R: Tommy McKearney, Eoin Ó Broin, Mary Cullen, Brian Leeson & Tom Redmond

On Saturday 14th April 2012, a very interesting meeting took place upstairs in Connolly Books, Dublin. The meeting, entitled ’21st Century Republicanism’, brought together some important thinkers and activists from the Irish republican and socialist left. A standing room only crowd packed in to see former IRA prisoner Tommy McKearney (author of The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliament), Eoin Ó Broin of Sinn Féin (author of Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism), éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson and Tom Redmond of the Communist Party of Ireland. The meeting was chaired by Mary Cullen of the Ireland Institute and editor of The Citizen magazine. Following the contributions of each of the speakers, there was a very interesting Q&A session. I think the Communist Party should be thanked for hosting this much needed discussion, which will hopefully be the merely the first in a series teasing out the issues involved in left republicanism.

For those who were unable to make it along, you can listen to a recording of the talk that I made. Download it by clicking here (right click and ‘save target/link as’ – mp3, 2hrs35mins). The CPI also made a video of it, but I’m not sure when that will be online.

Here’s the poster for the event, which, incidentally, was designed by a certain Citizen of this blog.


This is the first in a short series of meeting being hosted by the Communist Party over the next couple of months. The next, on the topic of ‘Culture & Class’, will take place on Saturday 28 April at 2pm, again upstairs in Connolly Books.

Some shorts for LookLeft and an unpublished exhibition review

January 25, 2012

Below are some shorts I wrote for LookLeft magazine, and a review of an exhibition about reggae soundsystems which was dropped due to space issues.

‘Jemmy Hope column’ – shorts
LookLeft #8, October 2011

– After sacking 575 workers in Waterford – some of whom actually trained their low cost replacements – TalkTalk have offered an “insulting” redundancy package of four weeks pay for every year worked. At the same time, TalkTalk hosted a lavish bash in an English stately home which cost a mere €2.3 million. Priorities, priorities.

– The Labour Party is celebrating both its centenary and the inauguration of the National Job Bridge internship scheme. They’re looking for someone to work a 30 hour week on the celebrations. This lucky intern will get €50 per week, plus dole. Larkin and Connolly would be proud.

– It’s not all doom and gloom for social welfare recipients. When they’re not trawling the pages of JobBridge.ie looking for an internship that isn’t actually insulting, they can revel in the fact that since 1986 dole payments have risen by princely €143.75. Meanwhile, TDs’ take-home pay rose by a paltry €980. Per week.

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Soundsystem culture: From Kingston to Dublin
LookLeft #9, December 2011 (unpublished)

In November, Dublin’s Little Green Street Gallery played host to a slice of reggae history. Soundsystem: From Jamaica to Europe 1950-1995, created by music historian Ronan Lynch, designer Paula Strzelecka, and artists Freestylee and Mau Mau, explored the history of reggae soundsystem culture.

Soundsystems – collectives of deejays, selectors and technicians – have been the backbone of Jamaican music from ska and rocksteady through to today’s dancehall styles.

Using words and images, and a constant backing track of reggae tunes, the interesting and informative exhibit traced the movement from its roots in Kingston’s ghettos to its influence on the rise of European warehouse parties. Alongside the displays, the documentary Holding On To Jah was screened and gigs featuring the cream of the Irish reggae scene were held in the venue.

Poster Fish Promotions’ Freda Hughes, organiser of the event said: “The positive vibes and sense of community we created is something I hope will live on in future gigs and events”.

National campaign to defeat new household tax launched

January 25, 2012

National campaign to defeat new household tax launched
LookLeft #8, October 2011

Using the cover of the EU/IMF austerity deal, the government announced the imposition of an annual tax of €100 on households. In September, a national meeting of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes was held, at which over 200 people from 16 different counties initiated a movement that will fight this new tax through non-payment. This campaign includes virtually all left-wing organisations, with the exception of Sinn Fein.

Campaign steering committee member Gregor Kerr says, “it is clear this is just the thin end of the wedge. John Fitzgerald of the ESRI said the approximate annual take should actually be about €1,350 per household. If the government gets away with this initial €100, we’re looking at it rising to €1,300 per household within two years. It’s just another way of extracting more tax from ordinary people, which will go straight into the banking bailout black hole. On top of this, there is Irish capitalism’s privatisation agenda. Therefore, the campaign is organising for people to unite against this tax, to stand up and say ‘No! We won’t pay’”.

The campaign seeks to build a national movement that will “get the idea of non-payment out into communities quickly, even before the bills arrive, so there’s already a feeling that nobody’s paying, neither will we”.  The aim until January is “hosting public meetings and building local non-payment campaigns, with the goal of having open and democratic campaigns in every community. It’s got to be much bigger than the existing Left. If we’re to defeat the government we need to turn people, who may never have done anything political before, into organisers in their own areas”.

In conclusion, Kerr says “in bringing forward local organisers and empowering communities, we’ll not only defeat the tax, the campaign will politicise people and encourage thinking about the type of society we live in and ways change can be brought about.”

To get involved in establishing a non-payment campaign in your community, visit www.nohouseholdtax.org

Book Review: Revolutionary Pirates?

September 21, 2011

Review: Life Under the Jolly Roger: Reflections on the Golden Age of Piracy by Gabriel Kuhn (PM Press, 2010)
LookLeft #7, July 2011

Almost 100 years before the French Revolution gave the world the slogan ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’, the imperial sea-trading routes were plagued by “floating republics”. These pirate ships of the Golden Age (c.1690-1730) and their crews of “rebels, robbers and rovers” plagued the high seas from Madagascar to the Bahamas. Much has been written about these “republics of rogues”, from both radical and reactionary perspectives. Kuhn’s short book, an attempt to distil the reality from the myth, draws on many sources and illustrates what was indeed revolutionary about these pirates and their rejection of the aristocratic status quo – turning their backs on “institutionalised authority” and attempting to build internally “egalitarian communities” that were the antithesis of the dictatorial regimes that existed on the imperially-sanctioned vessels on which many of these pirates once served.

Kuhn himself is an anarchist, but unlike some other anarchists, he does not ideologically romanticise these Golden Age freebooters either. He is careful to point out that there was much that was decidedly unprogressive about their behaviour – they were brutal, violent, often slave holders and while their democratic form of organisation was revolutionary, generally “they had no social ideals at all” and that if anything, the perceived radicalism of these pirates lies more in their symbolism than in their actuality.

Finally, it has to be said that while the book is not a chronological history of Golden Age piracy – for the most part it explores themes and ideological interpretations – it is an extremely engrossing work that anyone with an interest in this era of history will be rewarded for reading. 

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Audio recording of book launch of ‘The Provisional IRA – From Insurrection to Parliament’ by Tommy McKearney

August 11, 2011

On Wednesday 10th August 2011, Tommy McKearney launched his book The Provisional IRA – From Insurrection to Parliament in Connolly Books. Over 70 people crowded into (and some had to remain in the street) the small shop to hear veteran trade unionist Mick O’Reilly and éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson talk about the work and its lessons for, and relevance to, the Irish struggle for social and national liberation today. Tommy himself then spoke (very briefly) about the book.

I have not yet read the book (I bought my copy at the launch today), but judging by the great blurbs and superlatives by friends and comrades, it seems like a must-read. You should go and buy it from Connolly Books! Anyway…

To listen to/download the recording in mp3 or ogg format, please go here.

Speakers:

Pauline Conroy (Chair)
Eugene McCartan (General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland)
Mick O’Reilly (Vice President of Dublin Council of Trade Unions)
Brian Leeson (Chairperson of éirígí)
Tommy McKearney (author and former Provisional IRA member, blanketman and 1980 hunger striker)

And here is the blurb from the publisher’s (Pluto) website:

This book analyses the underlying reasons behind the formation of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), its development, where this current in Irish republicanism is at present and its prospects for the future.

Tommy McKearney, a former IRA member who was part of the 1980 hunger strike, challenges the misconception that the Provisional IRA was only, or even wholly, about ending partition and uniting Ireland. He argues that while these objectives were always the core and headline demands of the organisation, opposition to the old Northern Ireland state was a major dynamic for the IRA’s armed campaign. As he explores the makeup and strategy of the IRA he is not uncritical, examining alternative options available to the movement at different periods, arguing that its inability to develop a clear socialist programme has limited its effectiveness and reach.

This authoritative and engaging history provides a fascinating insight into the workings and dynamics of a modern resistance movement.

About the Author

Tommy McKearney was a senior member of the Provisional IRA from the early 1970s until his arrest in 1977. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he served 16 years during which time he participated in the 1980 hunger strike in Long Kesh. He is now a freelance journalist and an organiser with the Independent Workers Union.

Tommy McKearney, author

Mick O'Reilly, DCTU

Brian Leeson. éirígí