America Doesn’t Have a Gun Problem, Guns Have an America Problem

August 2, 2015

Originally posted on :

So long as capitalism exists we will always have the gun control debate. On one side the liberals say we must lose our guns because they kill people. On the other we have the conservatives saying they need their guns to protect themselves. As Marxists we understand that the reality of the situation

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Correcting a pseudo-Marxist on use of the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”

July 10, 2015

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

The July 2 issue of the British leftist paper Weekly Worker included an article by Jack Conrad (central leader of the CPGB) “Truth, not myths, serve our cause” with a sub-head “Why do comrades on the left insist on repeating evident falsehoods about Lenin and the Bolsheviks, not least when it comes to 1917?” (

There is much in this article that I believe is, lets say, a creative interpretation of history but one issue stood out in particular – Conrad’s defence of the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry” as being a guide for the Bolsheviks right up to and including the October revolution.

I replied as follows in a letter published in the July 9 issue of WW (

Jack Conrad ends his meandering piece, ‘Truth, not myths, serve our cause’ (July 2), claiming Lenin’s continuity of political perspective in 1917, as follows:

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A Marxist response to the Right2Water “Policy Principles”

May 19, 2015

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

Trade unions in Right2Water have called for submissions on their document “Policy Principles for a Progressive Irish Government”, expected to be adopted by the full Right2Work organisation at a conference on 13 June. It is likely that this will form the minimal basis for calling for votes to candidates in the upcoming general election and perhaps a platform for community activist candidates standing under the Right2Water umbrella.

While it contains many abstractly supportable demands around the right not only to water, but to employment, housing, healthcare and education, the document is clearly designed to remain within the existing capitalist framework, as shown by the requests that submissions:

“Put forward principles that can create unity among all progressive organisations and individuals and building the widest possible coalition for change.

“Promote principles that will promote policies that are radical, popular and deliverable.”

Given the involvement of Sinn Féin in Right2Water…

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A revolutionary Marxist’s view on the Marriage Equality referendum

May 19, 2015

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

As I am not an Irish citizen I don’t get to vote in Constitutional referenda but I am fully in support of people voting YES in the upcoming referendum on marriage equality.

The following article was first published in 1917, the journal of the International Bolshevik Tendency ( While it was written by a leading gay rights activist in the context of the successful legalisation of same-sex marriage in New Zealand the article is just as relevant here in Ireland.

Love & Marriage

Capitalism, Queers & Equality

In April 2013, New Zealand finally legalized marriage for same-sex couples. There was considerable discussion among left-wing queer and trans activists about whether marriage equality should be supported as a democratic right, or opposed on the grounds that marriage is a bourgeois institution. In October 2013, the Queer Avengers organized a conference in Wellington entitled “Beyond Marriage” where this issue, among others…

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Debating water charges and Gardai in London: impressions of Socialism 2014

December 10, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

Last weekend I was at the Socialism 2014 event in London, working with British comrades from the IBT. Among other issues, this gave me a chance to debate the situation here in Ireland with Paul Murphy and Joe Higgins, as well as their comrades from other sections of the CWI.

According to more regular attendees, the event was larger than usual and there was a definite upbeat mood. This was reflected in the major talk on Saturday by SP leader Peter Taaffe on “Trotskyism in the 21st century”, which was designed to highlight the achievements of the CWI as the genuine Marxists/Trotskyists of our time, without much elaboration on what programmatic issues differentiated the CWI from other groups claiming to be Trotskyist.

Taaffe highlighted positive prospects for the CWI and speculated that the socialist revolution was going to occur in the life-time of the audience and possibly even his own…

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Socialist Party directing anti-water charges campaign down the dead-end of electoralism

December 10, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

Paul Murphy was interviewed on the This Week RTE 1 radio programme on Sunday the day after the protest in Tallaght against Joan Burton. Since then he has been vilified in the press for encouraging violent protest. Paul’s militant stance of standing with his constituents is to be commended, and all campaigners against the water tax should defend him and others from attacks in the bourgeois press. This is no reason, however, for holding back on criticising the tactics of others within the movement. There were a few points in Paul’s radio interview that concerned me in terms of the direction the Socialist Party would like to see the anti-water charges movement developing.

Paul’s main argument in defence of a strategy of mass non-payment is that the government would avoid attempted prosecution of non-payers in the courts for fear of losing votes:

“by the time they get around to that…

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Leaflet on fighting the water charges

December 10, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

No payment! No meters! Abolish the water charges!

Irish working class organise to fight back

Recent weeks have seen dramatic scenes of working people taking action to defend themselves against the imposition of the hated water charges. Over 100,000 took to the streets of Dublin on 11 October, with at least twice that number demonstrating locally across the country three weeks later.

More significant than one-day demonstrations, however, are the many forms of local organisation that have sprung up – street meetings, estate committees, local groups delegating to area groups – bringing in people who have never been politically active before, including significant numbers of young women. The militant action of many of these groups is directed towards preventing Irish Water installing unwanted water meters. Residents with posters in their windows declaring they don’t want a meter have been standing on their stopcocks, blocking entrances to their estates and risking…

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Report from We Won’t Pay protest in Cork, 29 Nov 2014

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

I traveled to the protest with Cobh activists. Meeting up with Midleton and Youghal to march as an East Cork contingent from Kent train station to the protest rally point in the centre of the city:


The crowd gradually grew at the rally point and by the time we marched there were over 2000:

The political organisations that I noticed present were the Anti-Austerity Alliance/Socialist Party, Sinn Féin and the People’s Convention.

SF weren’t really participating as a clear bloc and I only knew they were there because of a leaflet I was given – its political message can be boiled down to “vote for us and if we get into power we will abolish the water charges” with nothing to say about the water meter installations or what to do about the bills when they arrive next year. The People’s Convention leaflet was just advertising their own protest in the city next…

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What will happen after 10 December?

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

I have recently seen a lot of chatter on Facebook about the result of the demonstration on 10 December being the end of this government. I’m not so sure it will be that easy. Even if the demonstration really does cause them to make some changes at a governmental level there a lot of options that could be tried short of the collapse of the government. For instance Fine Gael could replace Enda Kenny and his key associates and try to put the blame for everything on them, or if the Labour Party jumped ship Fine Gael could go for a “National Unity” government with Fianna Fáil.
And even if the government was to somehow fall in response to the protest that just poses a bigger question – what will replace it?
The seemingly common sense answer that many are putting forward is the election of a new government with…

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Some thoughts on violence and the protest in Tallaght

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

A couple of people have asked what I made of the violence at the protest against Joan Burton’s visit to Tallaght on Saturday (links to videos at the bottom of this post).

That is quite simple – I condemn the violence unreservedly.

  • The violence of the Gardai manhandling the protesters blocking Burton’s car.
  • The violence of the riot police deployed against working people protesting on the streets.
  • The violence of the Garda pepper spraying peaceful protesters.

The reality is that it was the Gardai who escalated a peaceful protest into a situation something more than that.

Of course the word violence has been used by the capitalist media and liberal commentators to refer to something else entirely.

Firstly there was the supposed threat to Joan Burton from a handful of protestors banging on her car with a water balloon and a few eggs being thrown. Burton has claimed that the…

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