Author Archives: Critical&Political

About Critical&Political

This is a blog about politics mainly politics, and also on the medias role In the political process, It also contains articles on world politics In general. Hope you enjoy what you read , thank you.

Elect “Who?” as Labour Leader.

The three amigos of Burton, White and Gilmore.

The three amigos of Burton, White and Gilmore.

Jesus what a week in politics, best of all our former comrade Eamon Gilmore has relinquished the ropes of the masses, he is no longer the gallant warrior of the workers party, that’s right the Lenin of the Irish champagne socialist middle-class has stepped down as leader of the Irish Labour Party after seven years as top dog and three years in coalition with Fine Gael.

With Comrade Gilmore now gone it means one thing, someone must pick up were Lenin left off, sorry I mean Eamon, and resurrect the Labour Party as the party of the people.
Unfortunately as anyone with a glancing interest in Irish politics knows, this is now an impossible task and a task made even more impossible by the standard of candidates for leadership, have you seen it? its like, That woman with the voice? who? who? And Dick Spring’s nephew, are running for what?

Yeah serious, the choice for the next leader of Connolly and Larkin’s great socialist party is the groaning woman who cut the poor peoples welfare, some grey haired fella who’s always hanging around the back of Gilmore’s group and got a ministers position, some young fella nobody ever heard of apart from his two mates, and some ginger bloke hoping to put the spring back in to Labour, or in layman’s terms, Joan Burton, Alex White, Alan Kelly(Who is now apparently running for the Deputy) and Arthur ‘Yet Put His Hat in The Ring’ Spring.

This lack of quality choice means one inevitable thing, political suicide awaits the winner and possibly the next two party leaders after that.
Whoever it may be that wins the Labour leadership (Fingers crossed Burton) they are sure to follow a long line of political leaders who went down faster than their predecessor, party leaders whose impact was so great that we remember them as “Who?”.

This is what happens to parties who go through drastic change and lose vast amounts of popularity, for example some Irish leaders whose reign was cut short due to a slide in the polls and taking over from a more charismatic party leader are, Cowen after Ahern, Alan Dukes after Fitzgerald, Michael Noonan after John Bruton(however Noonan made a comeback during Enda’s reign), both Ruari Quinn and Pat Rabbite after taking over from Dick Spring, and now we are about to add another name to that list of pretenders because only a miracle could recover Labour’s vote and only a charismatic leader of Fidel Castro’s stature could keep the internal squabbles at rest and stabilise the party, however this is the Irish Labour Party we’re talking about and those currently at the top are lacking both miracles and charisma, so just as with the death of Lenin, with Eamon’s political death may come a purge of the old, as a new generation bursting with confidence and fresh “ideas” maneuvers its way to the top in an attempt to rescue Labour from the ashes of Sinn Fein and ‘OTHERS’ ballot papers.

Plus it’s mainly due to Joan Burton’s policies as Minister for Social Protection that Labour was wiped out, so the idea of now possibly allowing her to lead the party into the next general election(in a few months) is simply begging for complete annihilation, and those rebellious Labour politicians lurking on the backbenches know that more than anyone.

Do you get what I’m trying to say? Basically I’m saying who ever is next Labour leader is screwed.

By the way before I finish, will someone ever ask either Eamon Gilmore or the next Labour leader if, as Labour leader in a Fine Gael coalition they feel Vladimir Ilyich Lenin would have entered coalition with Benito Mussolini if that possibility had ever arisen? I’m just curious.

Me and Ming Agree, Legalise Marijuana in Ireland!

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan raising the issue of legalisation before the Dail (2014)

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan raising the issue of legalisation before the Dail (2014)

As more and more American states begin the process of legalising marijuana for recreational use, is it time Ireland leads the way in Europe(excluding the Dam) and begins a process to legalise marijuana? In the following paragraphs I will try make a rational case for the legalisation of marijuana.

I came to the decision to write a piece regarding the legalisation of marijuana after I was lying in bed last week pondering the next day’s bills, which included bills for buying marijuana on the black market. I knew I was broke, in fact I owed more out than my weekly income, thus I was in debt the following week and would have to pay missed bills alongside my usual bills which would, as usual, exceed my weekly income, therefore forcing me into debt the following week and creating a circle of debt, stress and so on.

I won’t lie; one of the problems is: I am addicted to marijuana, but I like it, and currently my marijuana consumption accounts for about 40% of my weekly income.

You could say “stop smoking marijuana and you won’t be in debt” and to an extent you’ll be correct. However let me propose a small case for the legalisation of marijuana in Ireland, that would favor weed smokers continuing to enjoy the positive aspects of marijuana, release the poorest of smokers from debt to unpleasant dealers and also help to put huge amounts of revenue back in to the local economy.

In Ireland the price of marijuana on the black market has sky rocketed in the past few years as illegal drug dealers monopolise the Irish marijuana trade and force their own prices on smaller dealers, who have no choice but to increase their prices to the customer. This monopolisation of marijuana on the black market has resulted in a situation where four years ago €50 got you 3.5 grams of marijuana while now in 2014 €50 will only get you 2 grams (if you’re lucky) This alongside police raids, destruction of growing farms (that create droughts) and manipulative dealers has all helped to radically increase the price of marijuana, therefore forcing smokers into spending more money than most earn, resulting in debt and physical threats to the point of suicide.

So what if we legalise marijuana In Ireland? How can this instantly help to tackle such problems?

It’s quite simple actually. By legalising marijuana in Ireland and forcing the weed trade into a legal and regulated practice of recreational-use stores we will help to bring marijuana prices and quality back to a safe and positive level for the consumer, as there will be no more droughts, rogue weed and dealers charging bumped up prices as they try to make as much money as possible.

The marijuana will be grown or bought legally by licensed stores thus creating a continuous flow of marijuana that as a result of been available in bulks, many varieties and under safe conditions will bring the prices down to a level where 3.5 grams is €30, instantly saving the average smoker €45 a week, money they would have been lost buying the same amount of grams illegally. It’s exactly like selling oil, when there’s a safe steady flow of oil on the markets the price of oil goes down.

By saving customers such amounts of money weekly it will help to give them more money to spend in the local economy instead of giving it to the pockets of local and foreign illegal drug barons.

Also as a result of legalisation all stores and business related will be taxed and licensed resulting in potentially huge levels of new revenue to the Irish state, a possible alternative to massive cuts to the public sector. It’s actually the exact same as an Off-License, a legal regulated and licensed trade where there is always a regulated “safe” product and fair-ISH consumer prices, even if some aspects of the alcohol industry are negative in the battle against alcoholism.

I am not the only one to agree on this, as former independent TD and now newly elected Member of the European Parliament Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is also in agreement that regulation and legalisation could help boost the local economy “Indeed. Through taxation and savings to the judicial system it would definitely boost the economy”.

Luke was also in agreement that one of the benefits the legalisation is taking it out of the hands of the criminal class; “This would be one of the major benefits. Currently criminals have control of a billion euro market. Better to have it within legitimate economy”.

By legalising marijuana in Ireland overnight we could kill off a major aspect of the illegal and vicious drug trade that has been tearing the country apart. Drug dealers around the country will no longer make thousands of pounds weekly selling weed (at times weed laced with a heroin substitute) if the customers can get better, safer and bigger in a legal recreational store.

Plus I thought the government and Gardaí are trying to end the illegal drug trade in this country? If it’s true, then it’s quite counterproductive to oppose ending an aspect of their illegal drug business.

Either way a real debate about the legalisation of marijuana must happen because god knows everyone smokes it, even that right at the top of Irish life. Trust me, if you don’t trust me then trust Ming Flanagan “Some people are highly hypocritical including Rory Quinn and Leo Varadkar who have admitted using in the past but still stand by criminalising others”, he continued “we now have over 100 thousand people with a criminal record for possession. This prevents them from being as active as they could be in society and the economy”.

 

“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan (Cosmologist, Astronomer, Astrophysicist) 1969, Essay in Marihuana Reconsidered.

Quiet Activism in Urban Ireland.

Working class Dublin communities marching against a heroin epidemic behind the banner of CPAD (1980s)

With Labour wiped-out and the Irish political establishment now gloating over the end of the Irish left, there’s a slow awakening taking place in the working class communities of Ireland, that to those in the known gives hope to the rise of a new community based activism and socialism, the rise of a new Irish left.

This community activism can be seen in the slow but gradual rise of parties like the People Before Profit Alliance and the Socialist Party/Anti-Austerity Alliance, a collection of community rights groups and socialist parties, organizing and educating on a grassroots level which is slowly opening the minds of the section of Irish society that has long been neglected by the social, political and economic class.

As Labour runs around trying to figure out what has happened to their vote, on the ground in some of the country’s most deprived areas left-wing politicians, community activists, youth workers etc. are on an all-out political education of their communities. If you go anywhere in the poor areas of Dublin such as Ballymun, Tallaght, Ballyfermot, Rialto etc. and even beyond the capital, you will see weekly and monthly notices posted on lampposts and walls all with the same message “Tonight at 8pm in the local community centre so and so will be speaking about community resistance to water charges, welfare cuts etc.” and this tactic is working as more and more people, especially the youth of these deprived areas begin to attend the meetings and suddenly realise they can change things in their community for the better through direct action.

This idea of community direct action is not new to these communities, it is not as if they don’t know how to do it, all you have to do is look back over the past 30-40 years of Dublin history and you will see, beginning in the early 1980’s, the communities began their organisation and self-instigated struggle to better their communities, the first example of this self-instigated community activism came in the form of the Concerned Parents Against Drugs, a community instigated movement that first began in the deprived inner city flat complexes but quickly began to grow in the city to areas such as Dun Laoghaire, the goal of CPAD was not political but was to end the rampant heroin epidemic that was sweeping through their working class areas of Dublin and killing their children, these communities instigated their own activity because the government refused to help, on the basis which Tony Gregory was constantly told in the Dail “The level of heroin seizures in the city is low according to the Gardaí therefore the problem is under control”

Long story short, the CPAD was mostly led by women and children and it was highly successful in ridding the communities of the heroin scourge, however its success was quickly brought to an end when the Irish political establishment in collaboration with the Irish media went on a campaign to smear the movement as “Sinn Fein controlled” and “vigilantes”, a complete and utter fabrication on behalf of the establishment but a successful fabrication as it was used to imprison some of the movements members and bring an end to ever growing CPAD.

Taking a break from her recent local and European election campaigning where she was re-elected to the Dublin City Council, Councillor Brid Smith of People Before Profit told me that although there is some connection to the past community activism of the 80’s most of its members are young people born of a newer generation with fresh ideas “Most of our activists would be younger or newer to politics and were not around for the CPAD in the 80’s, although some were, the activists around PBPA are mostly brand new to activism and politics. Personally, I am a veteran along with many others that I know. But I do think it is important to get new activists on board all the time. They bring fresh ideas, energy and methods to the movement. That said, having the experience of organising and building movements is also extremely valuable and helps those who are new to the movement”.

With the Heroin problem now properly under control, thanks to direct community actions, these residents continued to go about attending monthly meetings in their community centres and with the help of social workers, youth works and left politicians they organised and began campaigning for housing rights and other rights in the form of groups like, Community Action Network Community & Workers Action Group, Rialto Rights in Action, Dolphin House Alliance and many other grassroots community organisation.

Seeing the success of these movements others began to organise and now this idea of community direct action has spread around Ireland, it has gained the support of many influential politicians, councillors, and most importantly the locals, and all this grassroots activism is now emerging in the form of support for People Before Profit and the Socialist Party, with some going to Sinn Fein.

However the main support, especially in Dublin, is with People Before Profit, as they more than the others can trace their roots right back to those first forms of community activism, and unlike the Socialist Part or the Worker Party in the 1980’s, PBP is self-instigated from within the community, its members are vital and highly respected members of their community, youth workers, anti-drugs campaigners etc. and Brid told me of the benefits of have members who are vital to their communities “Our members base in their communities is essential. We would not be able to build movements by living in a bubble but must be on the ground and living through the experiences with our communities.

This tactic of organising communities from within and influencing them to act for themselves is growing slowly but surely, as PBP and other socialist parties gradually increase their vote, as we witness over the past five days in the Local and European elections.

If I am right then the General Election of 2016 will see another huge voter surge in the direction of SF/LEFT/IND. Although councillor Brid Smith is reluctant to predict the future she does agree that a swing to the left is most likely “It is always difficult to predict what will happen in the near future but if the election results with a big swing to the radical left and anti-establishment parties such as ourselves, the Socialist Party and Sinn Fein, if this is barometer of how people feel about getting change, then I do think there will be more political awakenings and lots of struggle to change our society. This will ultimately see a surge in support for PBPA and other radical groups”.

In finishing; Anarchist philosopher and one of the main organisers of the Occupy movement, David Graeber, once said “Protesting is like begging the powers that be to dig a well, direct action is digging the well and then daring power to stop you” and this is what is happening, Irish people are not on the streets protesting because they’re in their communities slowly but surely organising, educating and building a quiet revolution through the form of community direct action.

 

How RIGHT is the Irish Establishment?

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I’ve been thinking long and hard “How do I start this article?, How do I start to explain what I see as a deep rooted cronyist arrogant, ignorant, insular, conservative, right wing domination of not only the Irish media class but the political, social and economic class.

How do I tell the self-important power elite in Irish society that they are so immersed in their own selfish rush for self-enrichment that they either; haven’t the intelligence or don’t want to comprehend the bigger global socio-economic and political picture. How can I say it all in the least insulting way possible? In an article that’ll get published?”

Then it hit me; there is no real, non-confrontational way to serve the truth to people unwilling to hear it, there’s no easy way to tell a privileged elite that their whole world is an illusion created off the exploitation of the masses, they see life as nothing more than an opportunity to indulge in our individualistic material wealth, the live in a bubble where they can’t look beyond the box of right-wing capitalism and where proven facts of socio and political philosophy is non-existent, and should be scorned upon, they have this almost religious view that god created capitalism and then created man to serve it. So how do I tell them of a world view that calls into question the whole concept of material wealth therefore calling in to question all meaning and purpose that currently consumes their materialist dominated lifestyle?

Allow me to explain why I finally decided to write this article, with the Local and European elections taking over every outlet the past week I have been active on twitter engaging in a few civil and educated exchanges, mostly with right wing members of Ireland’s political, media and academic world, such as Constantin Gurdgiev, RTE Deputy Director-General Kevin Bakhurst, Sunday Independent hatchet woman Eilis O’Hanlon and Thatcherite and political bigamist John McGuirk and others.

The best by far was Constantin as he engaged in a civil educated exchange before blocking me once I got the upper hand, RTE Deputy DG Kevin Bakhurst also blocked me on twitter for expressing my disapproval at his running of RTE and in particular his running of the Prime Time Debates, which he is director, and which have been the centre of recent controversy regarding political bias, especially in regards to their almost complete coverage blackout afforded to the campaigns of left leaning parties such as the Socialist Party, People Before Profit, many independents and others, a public expression of RTE’s contempt for the views of ordinary working people in Ireland who live outside the middle/upper class Dublincentric bubble and instead live in the flats of the capital, the wild west of the neglected housing estates of Tallaght and the neglected and demonised estates of Limerick and Cork.

Also Mr. Bakhurst is the deputy DG of our country’s state broadcaster, paid for, and employed by and on behalf of, the people. In my opinion this kind of censorship is completely unacceptable from a man in such a position of power, the state media is a very very important tool in the democratic functioning of a just and fair society, and to put himself in a position of such power means he must be prepared to accept some harsh public criticism.

Another couple of spats that I had which publicly exposes the astonishing arrogance and ignorance of the Irish established right was with Ireland’s smearing, patronising, Denis O’Brien mouthpiece Eilis O’Hanlon, who done her well known tactic of lowering a debate to nothing more that patronising childish petulance.

More importantly I had a spat with Ireland’s former right-wing neo-con golden boy and Political PR consultant John McGuirk

To those of you who do not know Mr. McGuirk he is an ex Trinity student who engaged in student politics before moving on to right-wing politics with Fianna Fail, before being expelled from FF and then joining Fine Gael, before leaving FG and joining the Greens, before leaving the Greens and joining Libertas  before leaving Libertas and having a very public and legal dispute with the former Libertas candidate whose campaign he was in charge of, In short he is a self-confessed right-wing Reagan conservative who supports privatising everything in the public sector except for “the police and army”.

In normal everyday life I wouldn’t give arrogant, egotistic, pompous, self-promoters like McGuirk the time of day but when someone as incompetent and as politically and socially misinformed as John McGuirk is taking as a serious authoritative political figure who we, the Irish public, should listen to, and watch on Vincent Brown, and allow influence our abortion and EU policy by his sleazy email smears, McCarthyist lists and involvement at the top of Irish politics, then something serious has gone wrong in our collective social judgement, we have misinterpreted the meaning of a rational, educated, open, caring, cultured, civilised and modern people.

McGuirk told me he supported Thatcherite privatisation so I began to question him in-depth about social effects etc.- as is the way in an intelligent meaningful debate of political and philosophical ideas- but McGuirk backed by 12-14 twitter followers quickly resorted to the ignorance and arrogance that I have come to expect from supporters of the mainstream Irish political consensus, resorting to childish uncivilised unintelligent patronising of not only myself but all people from working class communities, and all people who subscribe to alternative views.

This arrogance that exists in Irish political culture is highly insulting to people across Ireland who work daily on a grassroots level to help and advance the living standards of the most vulnerable, but unlike John McGuirk and many others they don’t go in search of the spotlight, they aren’t craving attention and political power- however irrelevant that power may be- they just do their work to help others and are given no credit or recognition and do not ask for it.

The thousands of youth workers around the country or the PBP councillors in inner city Dublin first hand witness the daily struggles of the most vulnerable in the country, and they don’t need some right-wing, self-serving, opportunistic careerist mouthpiece who knows nothing of working peoples struggles to come along with a cushy Trinity College degree and tell them that they’re all completely wrong and that thatcherite economic/social policies is their gateway to heaven, what has John McGuirk or people like him got to offer to the poorest of Ireland’s communities? These communities have spent decades learning and mastering community activism, a well-documented activism, so I don’t think the right wing Irish establishment has any credible right to lecture these ordinary people on how politics and society works, using spin-doctors like McGuirk and others to make it look like one big ball of confusion that takes seven masters degrees and €100,000 a year salary to figure out..

The Irish media as a whole is no different. The vast majority of the main media outlets in the country knowingly toe the established conservative right-wing view, all rushing to report the daily increase and fall in house prices but unable to report on the growing homeless situation, or the growing lack of adequate social housing or youth facilities, and those who dare try mention such topics are either ignored, can’t get published or called mad, and even the established left in Ireland’s media are at times patronising to those they claim to represent, for example Vincent Brown is a well-known and appreciated voice of the most vulnerable but he also frequently dismisses the views and alternative ideas of people he considers too left wing, the same people that usually spend their day to day life’s working and living directly within the most vulnerable areas and fighting community battles at a grassroots level.

This rot in the Irish journalistic world that forces independent thinkers to conform to an established status-quo is a result of a few things but the two main reasons are firstly the cronyism of Irish society in general, because we’re such a small population and everyone knows everyone we are too frightened to step on toes and speak some honest home truths to those in offices of social, economic and political power, mainly in fear of damaging future prospects.

The second main reason for the lack of journalistic dissent is, the education system! Most journalists come through colleges and I can first hand testify to the incompetent ways we teach the field of journalism, in college we were always thought one basic conformist house style “find your story, get your OBJECTIVE angle and write it” we’re never told to analyse it in-depth, never told to critically and subjectively review power and its effects on society through a wider philosophical social context. That in my journalistic opinion is a complete failure of the Irish media to uphold our commitment to society and the cause of truth and justice.

It’s about time Irish journalism grew a set and spoke out, it’s time working class Irish society demands more representation in the mass media, it’s time alternative views and ideas are giving the same relevance as accepted views, otherwise we’ll be nothing but tools engulfed by our arrogant idea that everything in Irish society is all rosy and that we’re some kind of haven of equality, justice and tolerance.

Most importantly it’s time we stopped hiding behind the long held lie that class does not exist in this country, class is as relevant in Ireland today as it has always been and neglecting the reality for the past century hasn’t cured the problem.

To finish on what I see as the origins of the establishment arrogance, in my view its origins lie in the Irish political classes core characteristic- the incapability to comprehend that social class exists, and their failure to recognise this results in them failing to recognise that beyond their middle and upper class Fianna Fail/Fine Gael bubble is a vast section of less privileged, less heard Irish people who are, quietly and without the help of the government, acting for themselves, whether the authorities, media and Irish right-wing like it or not.

As a result of this self-instigated community activism working people are quietly starting to vote more for the far left in the form of candidates from parties such as People Before Profit, The United Left Alliance, The Socialist Party and others, parties who work constantly on a grassroots level and understand the concerns of the people who live beyond the establishment Dublin bubble. The job these councillors and TD’s such as Brid Smith, Joan Collins, Joe Higgins, Ming Flanagan etc. do is being seen and judged positively by their constituents and it is the right-wings incapability to accept this political activism of working people that shows their complete arrogance when it comes to how they view their own positions in society and how they view the people in which they serve, the ordinary Irish people.

These local elections are just the start, if my experience of working class communities is correct then there will be a big surge in support for the Irish far left come the next general election and because of the right wings incapability to realise this and understand the people they are sure to lose big time as their cosy façade comes crashing down.

Global Leaders Must Tackle Inequality!

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According to a recently published report by Oxfam, 85 of the world’s richest people own as much wealth as almost half the world’s population.

The same report which details a widening wealth gap around the world also states that the richest 1% of Irish people own at least 10.5% of the wealth in Ireland. Although this figure for Ireland is extremely high it is nonetheless down 2.1% from a record high of 12.6% back in 2006.

However according to the Oxfam report and a graph recently published in The Irish Times, Ireland is still second on the list of “how much is owned by the 1%”, second only to Singapore.  This news should not come as a surprise as it follows Ireland’s eleven year reign as one of the top three nations with the most wealth concentrated in the hands of the 1%.

With this news in hand The Eagle contacted Oxfam Ireland to ask what can be done to tackle such inequality and whether it not it is justified in a world where extreme poverty still reigns.

Oxfam told the Eagle “It’s a travesty that just 85 people now own the same wealth as half the world’s population. This is unsustainable and a recipe for social and economic disaster.”

In regards of whether there should be a cap on personal wealth as a way to tackle such inequality Oxfam the BCFE Eagle “Tackling inequality means that everyone pays their fair share. We are not advocating for a cap on personal wealth – instead we want a fairer, stronger and more transparent tax system that ensures the wealthy are not paying less than the poor” Oxfam continued “Also, inequality isn’t just about money. It’s about opportunity and power and decision-making too. It’s this “big picture” inequality that cements privilege and disadvantage down the generations and across countries,,,,, We acknowledge that some economic inequality is essential to drive growth and progress, rewarding those with talent, hard earned skills and ambition, but the extreme levels of wealth concentration occurring today threaten to exclude hundreds of millions of people from realising the benefits of their hard work.”. .

Oxfam continued to tell out reporter that more initiatives must be taken to tackle the widening wealth gap because, as of now, the government and governments around the world have failed to tackle the issue “Those with the most money often use that money to influence policy makers – this can be done either through illegal activities such as bribes or legal activities such as funding politicians or organisations that campaign for policies that benefit the wealthiest. This can undermine political institutions and means that governments serve the interest of the richest, at the expense of ordinary people. When rules are bent in favour of the rich, such as unfair global tax rules that allow wealthy people to hide their money in tax havens instead of paying the taxes they should, it is harmful to the rest of society”. When it comes to tackling wealth divisions Oxfam stated rules must be put in place to tackle tax evasion and they gave a conservative figure of 120 billion lost each year by governments around the world, on the topic of Irelands tax evasion problem Oxfam stated “On Ireland, our research last year showed that as much as €707 billion owned by wealthy individuals from overseas may be shielded from tax authorities around the world in Irish financial institutions”

Oxfam added that although cuts in Ireland effect the poorest in society to an unfair degree in poor continents like Africa the problem of wealth inequality is amplified At the same time cuts to public services and support disproportionately harm the poorest people, This problem is amplified in poor countries, especially those in Africa that are rich in natural resources. Global extractive companies (e.g. big corporations mining oil, gas or minerals) are able to use their influence to get generous subsidies and avoid paying taxes and royalties”.

When asked if such inequalities can be justified in a world where extreme poverty still plights the life of so many, Oxfam stated “Oxfam is concerned by global income inequality because it is hampering, if not exacerbating global poverty. Think of the money being lost by African countries because big multinational corporations are not paying their dues. In countries where children die needlessly from easily curable diseases this money would make a real difference to improve health and education systems. Some countries are actually losing more money in lost taxes than they receive in international aid. Evidence from across the world shows the price of inequality harms not just those at the bottom, but everyone in society. A highly unequal health system ultimately affects everyone’s health. Dismal education opportunities among a large section of the population harm the entire economy”

Although the report is from Oxfam they are not the only ones fighting against inequality as the stated “it’s not just Oxfam that is concerned. Last November the World Economic Forum ranked widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming year to 18 months (after conflict in the Middle East), while the IMF echoed these concerns in recent days. US President Barack Obama this week pledged to tackle economic inequality in his annual State of the Union address. Also public opinion is increasingly on our side on this one. A survey in six countries (Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa, the UK and the US) showed that a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favour of the rich – in Spain eight out of 10 people agreed”.

When asked what can be done in their opinion to tackle such inequalities Oxfam finished by stating “Global leaders must pledge to tackle inequality and to stimulate growth and economic progress for the many, not just the elite few. This means no more tax dodging and fairer taxation – the wealthy must never pay less than the poor. Governments can tackle inequality by cracking down on financial secrecy and tax dodging, investing in universal education and healthcare, and agreeing a global goal to end extreme inequality as part of the post-2015 negotiations on a new development framework. We want concrete steps to support progressive taxation on wealth and income so everyone pays their fair share. As billionaire Warren Buffet said, ‘I should not pay less tax than the office cleaner”.

(NOTE: First published in the Ballyfermot College student newspaper, March 2014)

In Support of A Crack Smoking Mayor!

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Politicians annoy me; seriously they really do! If you’ve ever met me you’ll realise that apart from far-left wingers I hate all political careerists, not personal hatred just ideological hatred. However I found myself surprised near the end of 2013 when one day I found myself writing a letter of support to a crack smoking, “pussy eating”, right-wing, Canadian Mayor.

Here’s how I ended up at this bizarre situation: I was sitting at home as usual and watching the news, when suddenly I heard that the Mayor of Toronto had been caught on tape smoking crack, I was shocked at first but took no notice as I, like most, assumed it would be over the next day and I would never hear the story again.

The next day came; I boiled the kettle and turned on Sky, there splattered across the screen was Mayor Rob Ford surrounded by starving journalists denying he had smoked crack cocaine. It’s at this point I began to take notice of the story and for the following two weeks I had no problem keeping up to date as the world’s biggest trolls-News Channels- had all dedicated hefty time-slots to the story.

As the story went on and Rob Ford’s public humiliation became the focus of all the news outlets my anger at the shameful ethics of our media, and ourselves for craving such public humiliations, began to grow, then one day when once again I was watching the ones-and-only Sky News I saw Rob Ford’s career destroyed in an instant, as he stood before the Toronto council, a council filled with depraved councillors, who acted like starving hyenas as they all rushed to speak and take their piece out of the dignity of a their Mayor. Here before me I saw a man’s career, reputation and privacy violated for the purposes of political opportunism by his opponents and it annoyed me.

I couldn’t take the political opportunist, the social hypocrisy and media trolling anymore so I put my humanitarian empathy ahead of my own personal left wing politics and sent Mayor Rob Ford an email of support- to let him know that, just because his political and media colleagues are acting like hyenas in their attempt to destroy him doesn’t mean that ordinary decent people around the world are like that, and in my opinion most decent people would sympathise with him, whether his actions at times were right or wrong.

We need to stop allowing our media and politicians from participating in devious smear campaigns that drag in every aspect of peoples life’s for the purpose of destroying that person. If the news channels are so concerned with “internet trolling” then they should look at themselves as they’re the OG’s of trolling, the original players of mass bullying.

Below is my email to MAYOR Ford and although it took him bloody ages , in fact over a month to reply, he managed to take a moment out of the madness that currently surrounds him and an unexpectedly short reply but he replied that’s what matters (It could be his assistant but who cares? the email says it’s him)

United States! A Nation Of Imaginary Millionaires!

Tea Party Supporter

If you where to look at America with no social experience of the country but just knowledge of the economic policies supported by the American people you would come to one conclusion only and that is that every person in the United States is a millionaire give or take 1 or 2 people, what other reason could it be for them to support such policies like the privatization of health, education, housing and so on, the non support for a truly national labor union , the lack of social welfare to help the poorest? The only reason people would support these policies if they are educated rich people looking out for their own interests! So is every American a millionaire? of course not, in fact most Americans are struggling to survive on the low incomes of working class people in the United States. So why do they,not all but most, support policies which goes against their interest? and in fact plunges them deeper into poverty by having to pay more in tax, pay for health or the education of their children in privately owed institutions which should be under the control of the government and used to serve the people with the tax money they pay.

The Tea-Party for example, although I am far from agreeing with their policies, I do have sympathy with the ordinary legitimately concerned tea partier. They do have legitimate concerns, Ok so they might not be the most politically knowledgeable bunch but their concerns are real and legitimate But here is where it turns sour, the feelings of these concerned working and middle class people has being hijacked by the corporate US libertarian sector such as families like the hugely wealthy and powerful Koch Brothers, The libertarian sector of the US corporate system supports pure laissez-faire economics, ie. th total deregulation of the markets to be run without government involvement, they want the privatization of literally everything from health care to housing to education, national security, the judicial system everything so what these wealthy US Libertarians done was when the republican grassroots who felt neglected by the system came together under the name of The Tea Party they took advantage of their growing fears in order to stop Obama policies of regulation of the economy and social ownership of the health system, And it was easy for them all they had to do was pump millions into propaganda, lies, fear mongering, and all other tactics of twisting the facts in order to seduce the middle class and working class republicans into their support for libertarian-capitalist economics.

An easy fear that they preyed on was the fear of Obama that exists in the grassroots of republican support, they pumped propaganda to the people about how Obama was anti-american and an Arab possibly even a Muslim undercover, seriously many tea partiers believed this, they would be walking around with contradictory signs saying “damn socialism, keep you hands of my medicare”. This is a major fear these people have, socialism, how could working people and middle class people be so misinformed about socialism that they thinks it’s not in their favor when in fact it’s totally in their favor? simple answer really propaganda and misinformation, if you want to discredit the great name of socialism just refer to so-called socialists like Stalin or Mao or soviet union and to apolitical people it works straight away, but to people who know any politics they will know Stalin, Lenin and the rest of the so-called communists where right-wing in everything they done, the only communist thing about them was the miss-titled name of their political party.

And this type of preying on legitimate fears of working Americans to support policy not in their favor is conducted by both the republican and democrats with help of both their buddies in the corporate privately owned media outlets in the US. The news is guilty as much as politicians for corrupting the minds of citizens they help distort the reality of Washington policy in order to try make it look attractive to the citizens who would naturally oppose it if they knew any better.

Lets look at Heath care for example, in most European countries every citizen is entitled to free public health care of the highest standard, it’s so free even if an illegal immigrant needed care off, in most European countries they would be taken care of by a doctor in any hospital. If you asked the politically more aware populations of Europe if they wanted to privatize health care they would laugh at you, and no distorting the facts or propaganda would make them think any different, to them it is simply ‘why pay more when you already pay for it with your tax’. But in the US when Obama and the democrats try introduce a similar system of public health care the ordinary people who can’t get it otherwise resist it ? why would they resist healthcare being offered for free? simple because a campaign of miss-information, propaganda and complete lies directed by the republican corporate owned politicians who would rather them citizens pay than live .

Americans need to wake up and realize all the tax they pay is meant to be spent by the government on such things like giving them free health care, free education, social welfare and so on, instead what they don’t realize is their taxes is going to building new technology infrastructure and so on that can then be giving to the private sector to make a profit on, such as government paid programmes in weapons technology that is commissioned to companies like Halliburton who then make hundreds of billions of dollars on the back of taxpayers money, the make billions while the ordinary taxpayer left to fork out even more money for their health care and education which they should have already paid for with their taxes.

The system in the US needs to change as one TV host said before “Americans need to stop denying their love of socialism”. Socialism and policies not supported by the US government is in their favor and not the corporate policies they currently are seduced into supporting.

Maybe we should have taking that 400 billion dollars used to bail out private banks and insurance companies and used it instead to help deprived neglected communities, maybe build schools and hospitals in these area and employ local workers, not only will you be helping the poor with health and education but also you will be giving them jobs and more money to make their lives better, and when they have more money they will spend more which maybe would stimulate the economy more than squandering 400 billion to unaccountable oligarchy’s

Author-Darren M