Jun 10 2014

CULTURAL CAPITULATION AND CULTURAL RESISTANCE IN IRELAND

Below are two articles from the May/June issue of Socialist Democracy (Ireland) about recent cultural developments in Ireland. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has always been seen as being on the cultural frontline of the Irish national movement. The first article outlines the retreat of the GAA in the  face of Sky TV’s global corporate onslaught. The gombeen capitalists referred to in this article are Irish  small wheeler-dealing businessmen always looking to a fast buck and ready to trample over others. They have traditionally formed the Right wing of the Irish national movement.

The second article provides an example of cultural resistance in Belfast. In this city, the Irish language emerged as a weapon if resistance in the ‘Jailtacht’ during ‘The Troubles’. Despite promises of being given official recognition under the Good Friday Agreement, Unionists have reneged on this. Sinn Fein has also backtracked. It appears that they are now content to develop West Belfast’s official Gaeltacht, alongside the city’s Cathedral and Titanic Quarters as money-making tourist attractions, rather than develop the language as part of  communities of resistance. However, as this article shows, they have met opposition. 

 

1. GAA AND SKY – GOMBEEN CAPITALISTS BREAK THE LINK WITH THEIR SUPPORTERS

Poster commemorating the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884

Poster commemorating the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884

With patronage by the elite, a middle class leadership and a large support base of working people the GAA has traditionally reflected Irish social stratification, but within the organisation a sometimes uneasy state of balance existed between the more plebeian club membership and the leadership at provincial, county and top management level at Croke Park. To many of those working class rank and file members the recent Sky deal has been a rude awakening, but like all degenerative processes the push towards the GAA’s commercialisation has been in progress for a while.

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Mar 24 2014

US TRADE UNIONS: WAITING FOR GODOT

James Fearon (Socialist Democracy-Ireland) argues that a lost vote for United Automobile Workers union recognition at Chattanooga in Tennessee shows US workers distrust of union partnership policies while Walmart and fast food workers illustrate power of rank and file organisation. He also draws some parallels with UNITE, which organises workers throughout these islands.

 

UAW puts US corporate interests before those of its members

UAW puts US corporate interests before those of its members

Recent events have revealed that the established conservative leadership of the trade union movement is faced with a dilemma. The era of relatively low class conflict is closing and the trade union bureaucracy is under attack from both the working class and the capitalists. The scant regard shown for Unite’s bureaucratic leadership by Ineos has now been added to by a slap in the face from the working class, this time administered to the United Auto Workers bureaucracy by the workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Jan 24 2013

Belfast – “the carnival of reaction” continues

James Fearon has sent the following article to Socialist Democracy (Ireland). We are reposting it here as a follow- up to our other articles covering the Belfast flag riots. These riots have exposed the continuing sectarian nature of the Northern Ireland statelet, and the UK state’s role in maintaining Loyalism as a back-up defence for British rule.

Happier days for Loyalists - Union Jack flies over Belfast City Chambers

Happier days for Loyalists – Union Jack flies over Belfast City Chambers

While northern middle class Nationalism stamps its feet in chagrin at the unwillingness of their Unionist counterparts to call Loyalist protests to heel it is forced to ignore an increasing body of evidence that contradicts its view of Unionism. Widespread among the chattering classes is the view that the issue of the Irish relationship with British imperialism has been put on a stable footing.

In this perspective the North of Ireland, despite some anomalies, is now a place in which the Catholic middle class, increasingly happy with a ‘Northern Irish’ identity, has a considerable stake, and the relationship with comfortable middle class Unionism, based on ‘parity of esteem’, is at the beginning of a long period of steady, prosperous evolution.

What a shock the flag issue has been for them. Nationalist spokespeople react with genuine surprise and abhorrence at the destabilising effects of the protests but it is not so much the display of plebeian bigotry that upsets them but the fact that that bigotry, and more especially the reaction to it, represents the reality of the Northern state, a reality that the Catholic middle class felt that they had the capacity to move beyond.

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