Archive for the ‘history’ category

The Derry Civil Rights Song – 7″ Single from 1968

January 11, 2015

ml3
Once upon a time this blog was about vinyl records. That was a long time ago, but occasionally I still post the odd… oddity. I came across this the other day while digging in the crates. A topical song by a group called The Moonlighters (presumably a reference to Captain Moonlight, rather than working two jobs) concerning an incident in the north of Ireland on 5th October 1968 which saw a violent attack by British state police on a civil rights march in Derry. If you’re interested in the historical background to the song, check out the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) page here.

Regarding the song itself, I can’t find much – ‘The Moonlighters’ throws up only one reference on Discogs.com, and that’s to this same release. Billboard magaizne from 7th December 1968 says the following “Gerry Devin’s Monaghan-based Shamrock label released “The Derry Civil Rights Song,” promoted [sic] by the incidents of Oct. 5 when marchers and police clashed on the streets of Derry. It is by a folk group, the Moonlighters. . .”

monnlite1It would appear they were an ad hoc folk group formed for the specific purpose of releasing this single, which was released at some stage in November 1968, within in two months of the attack on the marchers. According to Discogs.com, Shamrock Records only released four other singles in its lifespan, though the IrishRock.org says of it that it was “active from the 60s onwards. Many colour vinyl releases. Similar to Glenside Records in content.” Of Glenside Records, IrishRock.org says it produced “a high incidence of very old fashioned renditions of folk ballads, with a high kitsch and sentimentality factor, and is probably of little interest to most collectors.”

The B-Side is a jaunty selection of Irish reels (instrumental songs for folk dancing to); The Sally Gardens, The Bag O’ Spuds and The Copperplate.

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I couldn’t find an upload (either video or audio) anywhere, so I’ve stuck it up on YouTube and TinyUpload (in MP3 format).  So here’s the song and its B-side. The lyrics (as best as I can make out) are posted below.


Download MP3


Download MP3

The Derry Civil Rights Song
(1968, Written by J. Doherty – Performed by The Moonlighters)

It was the fifth day of October and the sun was beaming down
And the people had assembled to march in Derry town
The police were there in hundreds and on mercy they did frown
As they freely used their batons that day in Derry town.

They’d assembled at the station as all free people might
And they peacefully marched up Duke Street as was their civil right
The police had formed a barricade and they told them turn around
Then they batoned men and women on the streets of Derry town

Oh come on ye Ulster policemen for its you that are to blame
Oh come on ye Ulster policemen you should hang your heads in shame
The shame that will go with you though you told the wide world round
How you freely used your batons on teh streets of Derry town.

Take heart you Derry people all the world knows of your plight
And that government in Stormont that denies you civil rights
The day is fast approaching when these men they must stand down
On that day we’ll march triumphant through the streets of Derry town

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.

Why is Ynet News using an image from just before the Breivik massacre to illustrate an anti-EU piece?

July 10, 2012

Well now, this is kind of interesting. The rightwing Israeli English-language news service Ynet News has just published a rant against the EU, headlined ‘Europe united against Israel‘. Reading it, one wishes that some of what it said was true in relation to the EU’s relationship with Israel. Alas, it’s the stuff of (wilful?) paranoid fantasy on behalf of the author and not really worth commenting on. Israel has a major friend and facilitator in the EU, second only to the US.

This aspect does need to be picked up on however. The author, Eldad Beck, says that “at a time where the Middle East is burning because of endless violations of human rights, condemnations are constantly being issued against Israel”. What he fails to mention is that the EU is currently supporting sanctions against both Iran and Syria, but refuses to even look at imposing any kind of sanctions against Israel for consistent violations of international law. Beck, wilfully, I would suggest, ignores the EU’s actual record in an effort to maintain the Zionist hyperbole regarding Europe’s scandalous relationships with Israel.

But what is most interesting about this piece is that accompanying it is a photograph of members of the Norwegian Labor Youth holding a banner saying ‘Boikott Israel’. The picture comes from just 48 hours before neo-fascist, racist and Islamophobic supporter of Israel Anders Behring Breivik massacred 69 people on the island of Utøya on July 22nd 2011 in a terrorist attack. Utøya is where this picture was taken, during a visit by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere (on the left) to the Labor Youth summer camp taking place there.

Both men pictured in the image foreground – Minister Stoere, and Eskil Pedersen (the Labor Youth leader), along with former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland – were on a kill-list that Breivik had drawn up. According to the Daily Telegraph, Breivik’s “initial plan was to take one of [these] leading Labor Party officials hostage at Utoya and read a death sentence before carrying out an execution”. Stoere and Brundtland had already left the island by the time Breivik arrived in his fake police uniform to carry out his politically motivated murder spree.

Breivik’s rationale for the attack was that the Labor Party in Norway, which was the ruling party at the time of the attack, were “traitors” to white Europeans. Thus, not only the political leadership of the party, but the entire island-full of young social democrats became legitimate targets in his “war on Islam”. Prior to the island attack, Breivik set off a bomb near government buildings in Oslo that killed 8 people and injured hundreds.

I’m not suggesting that Ynet’s editors believe that this is an appropriate way to deal with European government or citizens that are critical of Israel, but one has to ask, given both the context of the article and the similarities in some of the logic between the author Eldad Beck and Breivik, how the editors could think it was in good taste to include a picture from just before the Breivik massacre with this article. It is hard to believe it’s merely a simple mistake, as it was Ynet that originally reported the story about the pro-Palestine Labour Youth members being on the island, using the very same picture. It really is, simply, incredible.

With regard to the similarities in logic mentioned above, a couple of issues are worth noting. Firstly, Beck claims – preposterously – that the EU is “working with great determination to decide for Israel how it should behave”, and “that the Europeans have been taken captive by the Arab magic formula, whereby the conflict with Israel is at the heart of the region’s problems and only its resolution – that is, making Israel capitulate to Arab demands – will bring peace and stability”.

In his manifesto, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, Breivik repeatedly makes a similar point, saying for example that “Western European governments, giving in to pressure from Arab terrorists and oil-producing states, abandoned their traditional pro-Israeli position and gradually aligned themselves with the Arab-Islamic world”.

A second point made by Beck, where he accuses “EU emissaries – mostly with the help of Israeli collaborators who enjoy generous funding – [of monitoring] anything that could be perceived to undermine the rights of Palestinians or Israel’s Arab citizens”. Aside from the implicit suggestion that violations of Palestinians’ rights should not be monitored, the use of the term “Israeli collaborators” provides an insight into how Beck views Jewish people. The only good Jew is a Zionist Jew who says “I stand with Israel, right or wrong – not that Israel ever does anything wrong”.

Breivik’s manifesto says, “Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists”. Breivik views Jewish people in almost exactly the same manner as Beck.

Incidentally, Breivik’s manifesto contains repeated favourable mentions of Israel, whom he views as a natural ally in the fight against ‘Islamic Jihadism’ and ‘Euarabia’ (a rightwing buzzword indicating paranoia about the mere presence of Muslims in so-called ‘Judeo-Christian’ Europe). For example, he encourages his neo-fascist co-thinkers to “end the stupid support for the Palestinians that the Eurabians have encouraged, and start supporting our cultural cousin, Israel”. It is his view that “if Israel loses in the Middle East, Europe will succumb to Islam next”, that ” Israelis defend themselves so that their daughters do not have to suffer rape at the hands of Muslim Jihadists”, and as with other apologists for Israeli apartheid, he believe there is ‘no such thing as Palestinians, referring to “Israeli attacks on the Syrians [called] Palestinians by the mass media”.  In one section he even advises buying paramilitary equipment from Israel, as in some cases, it’s easier than buying it in Europe.

Here are some other choice quotes from Breivik, showing us his view of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims. Leftists and Israel:

“[A]ll Western journalists support the EU’s Eurabia project, their enemy (based on coverage) is the Israeli and also often the Russian government. Western European journalists, editors and publishers are guilty of facilitating Muslim crime (Jihad) by underreporting it.”

“I believe Europe should strive for: A cultural conservative approach where monoculturalism, moral, the nuclear family, a free market, support for Israel and our Christian cousins of the east, law and order and Christendom itself must be central aspects (unlike now). Islam must be re-classified as a political ideology and the Quran and the Hadith banned as the genocidal political tools they are.”

“Christians need to understand that there can be no peace or understanding with the Islamic world. They want to subdue us, pure and simple. Church leaders of all denominations, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, must stop stabbing Israel in the back”

“Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists. Conservative Jews were loyal to Europe and should have been rewarded. Instead, [Hitler] just targeted them all… So, are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal? The multiculturalist (nation-wrecking) Jews ARE while the conservative Jews ARE NOT. Aprox. 75% of European/US Jews support multiculturalism while aprox. 50% of Israeli Jews does the same. This shows very clearly that we must embrace the remaining loyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the NSDAP [German Nazi Party].”

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.

Audio: Haiti’s history and present day occupation – a talk by Elsie Hass

March 1, 2012

Elsie Haas speaking in Dublin

Elsie Haas, a Haitian journalist and former editor of the Haiti Tribune, spoke in Dublin’s Pearse Centre on Tuesday 28th February 2012 at an event commemorating the 8th Anniversary of the US-backed coup d’etat that ousted popular social democratic Lavalas President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Since then Haitians have seen their standards of living plummet, particularly after the 2010 earthquake. Since the earthquake Haiti has been a victim of ‘disaster capitalism‘, and now suffers under a UN occupation, headed by Brazil.

Elsie Haas and Sean Edwards of Haiti Solidarity Ireland

Elise gives an account of Haitian history, the situation today, hopes for the future and what we can do in solidarity with the Haitian people who have struggled against slavery and imperialism for over 200 years, and never been forgiven for being the the first ‘black slave republic’.

The talk, which was Chaired by Sean Edwards of Haiti Solidarity Ireland, is in two parts.

The first part is from the meeting, and can be downloaded by clicking here (mp3, 90mins).

The second part comes from after the meeting. I asked Elsie to clarify what “official” rationale was used to prevent Aristide’s Lavalas party gaining permission to run in the last election in the country. The short segment can be downloaded by clicking here (mp3, 3mins).

Some of the Dublin audience

The talk was organised by Haiti Solidarity Ireland and the Latin America Solidarity Centre as part of a week-long series of events to mark the 8th Anniversary of the US coup against President Aristide.

Audio: Discussion with ISM founders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro

February 24, 2012

Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, two of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has posted the audio I recorded of last night’s discussion with with Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro, two of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which promotes non-violent resistance to Israeli Apartheid. It was a wide ranging discussion that encompassed everything from Palestinian refugees to the ‘Arab Spring’.

The discussion followed the very successful première screening of the new film ‘Roadmap to Apartheid’ by film-makers Ana Nogueira & Eron Davidson, and was part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2012 in Ireland.

Copied from the IPSC website:

On Thursday 23rd February, as part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2012, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) was proud to present the Irish Premiere of the brand new film ‘Roadmap to Apartheid’ by film-makers Ana Nogueira & Eron Davidson.

The 90 minute documentary film, takes a look at the current situation in Palestine through the lens of South African Apartheid; comparing the two regimes in a manner not flattering for the Israeli state. It is narrated by US Civil Rights icon Alice Walker, and features interviews with many Palestinian, Israeli, South African and international activists, journalists and academics. The film was well received by the audience of over 60 people, even receiving an ovation at the end. The film is due to be released in the coming months and will be making appearances (and hopefully winning deserved awards) at various international film festivals. You can view the film trailer below, and if you missed it don’t worry, the IPSC will be organising future screenings of this brilliant film around the country.

Following the film, there was a discussion with Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro (audio recording below), two of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which promotes non-violent resistance to Israeli Apartheid. It was a wide ranging discussion that encompassed everything from Palestinian refugees to the ‘Arab Spring’.

Click here to download an audio recording of the Q&A with Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf (mp3). Disclaimer: Views expressed in the discussion do not necessarily reflect the view of the IPSC.

A section of the audience

Special thanks: The IPSC would like to thank the directors of Roadmap to Apartheid Ana and Eron for allowing us to screen their film as part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2012, and Huwaida and Adam for stepping in at the last minute when Iyad Burnat’s tour had to be cancelled.

Demons, ghosts, warriors and superheroes: Irish comics today

February 22, 2012

Demons, ghosts, warriors and superheroes: Irish comics today
LookLeft #9, December 2011

Growing interest in recent years has seen a burst of activity in the home-grown Irish comic/graphic novel scene; LookLeft reviews some current titles.

The League of Volunteers

The League of Volunteers
Atomic Diner

The League of Volunteers transports readers to an alternative WWII-era Ireland, where vampires roam Dublin’s streets and mythical characters from Irish folklore exist alongside costumed superheroes. Despite Irish neutrality, De Valera has organised patriotic heroes into a secret League to protect Ireland from the Nazi menace and other dangers of a more supernatural nature – namely the goat-headed demon Bocanach, freshly released from its eternal prison by those always foolish Nazi occultists. Centuries of isolation have left Bocanach with only one objective:  the demonic reconquest of Ireland.

The mix of superheroes, mythology and alternate history invites, not unflattering, comparisons with the likes of Alan Moore’s own League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hellboy and Sláine. Robert Curley serves up a smörgåsbord of curious characters including the anti-fascist street fighter Glimmerman; ex-Blueshirt Archer; human-demon hybrid Blood Rose; Lúgh Lamhfada of the Tuatha Dé Danann; and even Fionn mac Cumhaill.

The exciting plot is full of historical and folkloric references and in-jokes, and characters appear interesting and rounded (e.g. it’s implied that Glimmerman and Archer fought on opposite sides in the Spanish Civil War). Meanwhile, Barry Keegan’s simple, energetic greyscale illustrations are highly effective, giving the feeling of watching an old war film. Though perhaps not as polished as the above mentioned titles, the first two issues are extremely enjoyable.

Róisín Dubh

Róisín Dubh
Atomic Diner

It’s the dawn of the 20th Century, and Rose Sheridan’s cosy middle class life is irrevocably shattered when her parents are slain by a freshly liberated vampiric sorcerer. Herself injured in the attack, the catatonic Rose is unwillingly bound to obey Donn, Lord of the Underworld. Donn tasks her with re-vanquishing the supernatural leech, who now has a 1,400-year-old blood thirst to quench. Thus is born Róisín Dubh, demon hunter.

Issue #1 is writer Maura McHugh’s retelling of the legend of Abhartach, a power-lusting Derry chieftain whose magical dabblings render him immortal, with a taste for human blood. Hated and feared by his subjects, he was eventually imprisoned by a rival. Stephen Daly’s high contrast monochrome artwork is a perfect accompaniment to the brutal tale, and this deliciously bloody apéritif whets the appetite for the next course.

Jennifer Wilde

Jennifer Wilde
Atomic Diner

Of all three offerings from Atomic Diner, this is certainly the most original. We’re promised a 1920s trans-European romp featuring “death, espionage and revolution”, in which young artist Jennifer Chevailer and the wisecracking ghost of Oscar Wilde attempt to discover the strange secret behind her father’s murder. While extremely enjoyable, issue one is mostly exposition and scene setting, so it’s difficult to tell where the story is going. Nevertheless, its smart, sassy and sophisticated stuff from Maura McHugh; fingers crossed it will fulfil its potential.

The Cattle Raid of Cooley

The Cattle Raid of Cooley
Self-Published

Belfast writer/artist Patrick Brown has been publishing his brilliant adaptation of the epic Irish legend Táin Bó Cúailnge as a free webcomic for three years. Part of the Ulster Cycle Legends, the Táin relates Cú Chulainn’s defence of Ulster against Connacht’s Queen Medb. It is a violent, visceral and darkly comic tale and Brown’s interpretation doesn’t leave much to the imagination; the single-colour artwork, raw and frenetic, is reminiscent of Eddie Campbell’s work on From Hell and the story is well-crafted with an obvious passion for the subject matter. The webcomic stands at 140 pages with more promised, and if you like it you should support the creator by buying the print editions.

The Curse of Cromwell

Cromwell and William’s Irish Wars
Moccu Press

Writer Dermot Poyntz and artist Lee Grace have produced a trilogy of historical graphic novels dealing with the Cromwellian and Williamite wars in Ireland (Curse of Cromwell, War of the Two Kings and Plight of the Wild Geese). Similar to Blood on the Rose (reviewed in LookLeft #5), while historically accurate, they lack a sense of engagement. While enjoyable enough, often they feel like perfunctory military or Leaving Cert-esque histories with images added on.

Brian Boru: Ireland's Warrior King

Brian Boru: Ireland’s Warrior King
O’Brien Press

Much better is Damien Goodfellow’s debut offering, chronicling the life and times of Brian Boru of the Dál gCais who rose from minor Munster chieftain to become High King of Ireland. There are no heroes in this story, just a cast of power-hungry Gaels and Vikings whose alliances and intrigues are constantly shifting. Narrated by the wily Gormfhlaith, wife and ultimate betrayer of Boru, the book traces his life from his rise in Munster to his death at the Battle of Clontarf. The art – jagged, dark and bloody – reflects well the times depicted; unrelentingly harsh and marked by constant warring. While the Brian Boru’s legend is open to historical critique, this is a rollicking good read.