Real scientific history can liberate us from false views of reality. Real history can guide our decisions in the world today. I want to contrast 2 leading people who I believe represent social democracy and communism.
The 1945 Atlee government in Britain was tasked with transforming the country based on its reformist socialist ideas. Labour with the Conservatives and the Liberals formed a war time government. They defeated fascism in most of the world. The Labour government had domestic and foreign challenges after their victory in 1945. They created the welfare state introduced the mixed economy and supported democracy at home and abroad. Atlee’s government made life better for ordinary people and they gave greater freedom to ordinary people. Internationally the Cold War started after 1945. Labour correctly saw communism as the enemy of social democracy. Atlee’s government supported America against the Soviet Union. They developed an independent nuclear programme to defend democracy from communism. Atlee’s government cooperated with others in setting up NATO.
Russia in 1917 was developing into a progressive social democracy. Lenin launched with his party a Coup against Provisional government. He with Trotsky created a dictatorship with the secret police and labour camps. The social democrats suffered the most under Lenin and his followers. Communism developed into a militant atheism that was as intolerant as a religious state. People of all faiths and none have embraced socialism. Socialism is democratic to its core. Anyone claiming that dictatorship and atheism are part of socialism should be rejected. British socialism under Atlee was democratic liberal fair and open to religion. It allowed for the market to exist and it was anti communist. Lenin’s Russia was a dictatorship, a terror state and a threat to humanity. China. Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba are communist dictatorships. Any one who values liberty and democracy will hope that their dictatorships will fall and their people will be liberated.
Meath East was a bad result for the Irish Labour Party. Fine Gael’s vote held up. It seemed to me that the majority of people in Ireland are conservative in their thinking. The Labour Party needs to ask itself does its policies meet the real needs of the people? Does social democracy guide Labour in its thinking and its actions.
I hope people enjoyed the Easter festival in Mallow. It was a pity that Easter Sunday was raining. We can’t control the weather.
I read in the Mallow Star that Hi Cone is to close in Mallow. It is important that jobs are created and maintained in this time. My heart goes out to all the employees of Hi Cone. John O Brien.
The crisis in Cyprus affects us all. Cyprus is in the EU and is the Euro. When life is tranquil we don’t see the need for change. It is only when a crisis happens that the weakness of life are revealed to us. The present crisis of the Euro has dragged on since 2008. It continues without any solution in sight.
Ireland is better off in Europe. Our economic crisis would be worse if we left the EU. This doesn’t mean that the EU as it is presently organised will solve our crisis. The EU is weak, undemocratic and it is dominated by national governments with national interests instead of a democratic European government representing European interests. A European Keynesian solution is impossible due to the present institutional structures. The European Central Bank is concerned with inflation and with nothing else. All other economic and social needs are not important to the ECB. The ECB isn’t under democratic control.
The Troika imposed austerity programme on Ireland. is hurting many people here. I know that many people are in pain over the cutbacks and tax rises. It is no excuse but things could be much worse. This government protects minimum wage, social welfare and income tax rates.
We need Europe but we need a reformed democratic federal EU. Let us hope the people of Europe will vote for a social democratic Europe. There is an alternative. Let us have hope.
Remember the Easter festival next weekend in Mallow Co Cork. Support the town, support local business and have a good time.
Mallow Thomas Davis Pipe Band will be looking for a new home. If anyone can help let me, town council or the pipe band know thanks. John O Brien.
Mallow St Patrick day parade welcomed the Minister Sean Sherlock, Tom Barry TD the Mayor the Deputy Mayor, local councillors and our special guest Mr Patrick Cronin who’s parents left Ireland. Mr Cronin was delighted with the welcome the Irish people gave him. He is an actor and a Professor of Theatre and dance in Tennessee. Mr Cronin spend many years working in as an actor on television and stage. Hi is now an Irish citizen as well. Invite your friends and family home to Ireland for the Gartering this year. http://www.patrickjcronin.com
The Tomas Davis pipe band will be without a home. They will have to move out of the town hall. They are a great musical group who have being together over nearly 90 years. If anyone can help them contact them or the town council thanks even if it is a place they can do up themselves.
We have a new Pope Francis. He lives by the values of the Gospel and he wants a Church of the poor and a Church for the poor. Let us hope and pray that a new poor Church is being born. The Catholic Church is now a Church of the Africa, Asia and Latin America. Social justice is a major problem facing us today.
The story of the British SWP crisis continues. Why is the Irish media silent? Why isn’t any Irish member of this party asked any question? What is the Irish media afraid of?
Cyprus is in the news lately. They rejected the terms that the EU and the IMF have offered them. Could the Euro and even Europe be in decline. I believe that we need Europe but we don’t need a bankers Europe. We need a people’s Europe, a democratic Europe. I hope this present crisis will be solved but honestly my confidence in the leadership in Europe isn’t very high. This story has only begun. John O Brien.
The death of Hugo Chavez has put me into a reflective mood. In life and death he divided the left. Was he a voice for 21th century socialism? There are claims that he helped the poor and the rich hated him for that. It is claimed that since he first came to power he has made the country more democratic. We cannot ignore the claims that the economy of his oil rich state of Venezuela is preforming poorly. His friendship with Cuba, Iran, Syria and others show a distain for democracy internationally. According to Gene in the blog harrysplace his opponent for the last Presidential election is a social democrat. Looking at the record of Chavez I have mixed feelings about his politics. Socialists should base their politics on democracy and the people and not on one person. The cult of personality has done great harm to the left in the 20th century. We shouldn’t support any old tyrant just because they are anti-western. Real social democracy will be anti dogmatic and it will support democracy nationally and internationally. I don’t think that Chavez will shape 21th century socialism. I hope he doesn’t have any influence at all. With friends like the dictatorships of Iran and Cuba he was no friend of democracy or the Jews.
There seems to be more claims about the British SWP rape claims. According to the blog harrysplace the British SWP is torn by internal splits and revelations of rapes and cover ups. The question I want to ask is why is the Irish media so silent about this story. After all the SWP in in Ireland and they are a part of the United Left Alliance in the Dail. Is looking like a trendy pretend leftie more important than the protection of women and political morality in certain sections in Ireland?
Just a remember the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend race meeting is on In Mallow racecourse on Mar 30 to Apr 3 2013. I have one issue about the Mallow races and that is why is it called the Cork racecourse. The racecourse is in Mallow. For anyone interested in local history Michael Shine passed away. He was a good age he wrote about local historical matters in the Mallow Field Journal may he rest in peace.
Every group and individual has the right to self determination. If every nation had the right to self determination many violent hotspots in the world would a thing of the past.
There are many factors that create problems in the Middle East. The denial of self determination is one of the factors we should consider. The Kurds were promised freedom after World War 1. They are the largest non-state group in the area. They are divided and they are ruled by different hostile states.
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the easiest to resolve in theory. In practice a resolution to this problem is not so easy to realise. Both Israel and Palestine desire self determination. 2 states for 2 people would give justice to both people. The UN, EU, USA, Russia and the Arab League support the 2 state solution. Certain anti-Semitic people and states like Iran prevent security for Israel and freedom for Palestine. States like Iran call their opposition anti-Zionism. Their anti-Zionism is a modern day version of the anti-Judaism of old. In the past Jews were not allowed the same rights as other people. Now that the Jews are a nation state the Jews are denied the same right as other nations, To Iran, Hamas and other groups who deny Israel the right to exist you are anti-Jewish you are the heirs to Hitler.
If you support democracy and national self determination then support both Israel and Palestine. 2 states for 2 peoples.
I have heard of cases that make me wonder if our social welfare system is fit for purpose. Hard working people who fall on hard times, who pay their stamps are lucky to get enough money to live on. Society has a responsibility to look after its poorer and weaker members. The social welfare system needs to be reformed. I believe that those who are sick or unemployed should get a simple payment and they should be helped to get back to work. Welfare should be treated as an income. If a person doesn’t need welfare then they would be taxed. This would resolve our unfair inefficient system. The Irish are a compassionate people. We want to help the poor. We deserve a better welfare system.
Minister Sean Sherlock TD has announced on twitter that the future of Mallow Hospital is secure. Well done to everyone who have battled to save the hospital.
John O Brien.
We have seen the rise to power of religious parties in Israel, Egypt and in other countries of the Middle East. The material needs of the people are neglected. Minority groups are treated like 2nd class citizens. I believe that religion and politics deal with different aspects of human need. Religion deal with the spiritual side of us. Politics deal with the bread and butter problems. If religion becomes political then its leaders become power hungry dictators. People continue to starve and violence and civil war becomes a reality. In Ireland we know about the reality of a Church dominated society. Now we are creating a republic where all religions including the Catholic Church is respected. Religion and politics will be separated.
As a new Croke park deal is signed I hope that it will be accepted. This government inherited an economic mess. Hard choices will have to be made by everyone. I hope that the cuts will be fair. A better deal isn’t on offer. Croke park 2 will help Ireland grow again. I hope a growth and jobs plans will be launched by the government soon.
After talking to local businesspeople I get the impression that they are not sad that Mallow Town Council will go. They feel that the local council doesn’t listen to their needs. Mallow Council has the lowest rates in the county. It will be a loss. Local government needs to listen to its voters. John O Brien
On Jan 11 1944 FDR proposed a 2nd bill of rights to the nation. He believed that the bill of rights that granted life liberty and happiness could be only secured in today’s world by establishing economic and social rights to human beings. FDR’s bill of economic rights declared that everyone should have a job with a living wage. Businesses should have freedom from unfair competition and monopolies. People have rights to housing, social security, education and medical care. Farmers should receive a fair price for their produce.
His call was largely ignored in his time. In this era of pain let us relook at FDR’s 2nd bill of rights. If the people had the right to housing, public services, employment and businesses and farmers had the right to earn income from a fair and free market then our political rights of life liberty and happiness can be secured.
During the period of Reagan and Thatcher markets were deregulated free trade treaties were made and the state had no role in the economy. The results of this policy was merger of big businesses. The banks took greater control of the economy. There was little market regulation. We live the with results of this mad policy. We have broken banks increasing poverty and less wealth created. I believe that we haven’t learned the lessons of the crash of 2008. We still continue making the same mistakes as before. Horsemeat has been sold as beef in Europe. Because of deregulated markets no one was in charge. The talk of a US EU free trade treaty will make things worse.
Unlike multinationals local businesses have a loyalty to the community. They get nothing from governments and yet they create wealth jobs and support local communities. Support your local business! It is also good for the environment. John O Brien.