Archive for the ‘interview’ category

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.

A rambling interview with yours truly

January 25, 2012

At a leafletting action outside Ana Moura’s performance at Dublin’s National Concert Hall (Ana is planning on playing in Tel Aviv, ignoring the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel), a camera was stuck in my face and this normally camera shy guy rambled on about Palestine, Israel, BDS, the EU and the Irish Labour Party for a good twenty minutes. The results can viewed below (starts at the 4.30 minute mark)…

(This is post #50, and its only taken me about four years…)

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

A couple of comic related articles up on Rabble

November 2, 2011

Rabble, Ireland’s newest and best non-party culture/politics freesheet has published a couple of articles about Irish comics (the type you read) that I wrote on their website. Hoepfully I’ll be contributing more frequently to this mag, which is one that is definitely worth supporting!

1 – Now Now Stolen Cow: The Cattle Raid of Cooley Webcomic – an interview with Belfast comic creator Patrick Brown, about his epic (in both senses of the the word) online interpretation of the Táin Bó Cúailnge.

2 – Irish Comics on the Web: Five of the Best – does what it says on the tin. Almost…

LookLeft issue 8 in the shops now

October 7, 2011

Just a heads up that the new issue of LookLeft (#8) is now in the shops (including every Eason’s nationwide). I’ve got three articles in it – one about the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes and two reviews of Debtocracy and Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights. Go pick up a copy.

Also, keep an eye out for the upcoming new issue of No Quarter (#6, Anti-Fascist Action’s magazine) in which I will have an article on the ultra-right in Israel.

In this issue of LookLeft

Can trade unions lead a fight back? – Paul Dillon examines the strategic choices which face the trade union movement North and South

LookLeft looks at how class defines health outcomes

Nama plays no constructive economic role so why was it created, asks Conor McCabe

Historian Brain Hanley takes a look at the life of socialist-republican George Gilmore

Donal Fallon and Kevin Brannigan take alook at Ultra football culture

ESB – ‘It’s Your energy…for now”

Slaves and Slavery – William Wall looks at the economics underpinning the Magdalene Laundries

Tom Redmond on Left Unity

Reports from Bodenstown and Peter Daly commemorations

Tomas MacGiolla – An enduring legacy

Fighting austerity in the Banana Republic of Italy – Angela Gissi, an Italian living in Ireland, examine the backgroudn to Italy’s recent general strike

An Uncertain Future – the Arab Spring

A toxic Triangle – Gavan Titley examines the media’s role in the growth of Islamophobia.

Saving the Euro and the cowardice of Social Democracy – Influential Greek economist, Yanis Varoufakis,

Interview with the authors of White Riot and history of Punk


Three pages of news from working class communities and the left

Five pages of reviews

The Jemmy Hope Column


Football Fashionistas

September 21, 2011

Football Fashionistas
LookLeft #7, July 2011

June saw the opening of Ireland’s first dedicated football fashion and revolutionary casual-wear store. As its tagline indicates, Casa Rebelde, located on Crow Street in Dublin’s Temple Bar, is dedicated to supplying quality, affordable European style “clothing for the discerning football fan and revolutionary”, something that has long been lacking in Ireland where overpriced jerseys seem to be all we can buy.

Along with famous brands like Copa (Holland), Partisano (Catalonia) and Fire & Flames (Germany), it also stocks retro jerseys and their own unique line of ‘sports-revolutionary’ t-shirts and posters featuring legends like Paul McGrath, Mohammed Ali, Johnny Giles, Che Guevara and Cristiano Lucarelli. Casa Rebelde is also Ireland’s only official stockist of merchandise from Germany’s famous anti-fascist club FC St. Pauli.

Michael Dixon, the shop’s owner, told LookLeft: “This is my way of sticking up two fingers to those who say sport and politics don’t mix. Just because sporting bureaucrats want us to believe it, it doesn’t make it true. Besides, there’s no reason why football fans shouldn’t look stylish too”.

Casa Rebelde is on the web at