Aug 04 2017


Throughout the life of this blog, we have been posting material about Ireland/Northern Ireland. The British ruling class has always taken a keen interest in developments there. However, such is the nature of the unionist state, that British governments have been successful for most of the time, in getting people in England, Scotland and Wales to view the situation as being  ‘over there’ and somehow disconnected from what happens ‘over here’. Now that May has made a deal with the DUP to keep the Tories in office, it becomes even more important to understand what is happening within the UK state we live in. Below we are posting three articles from Socialist Democracy (Ireland). The first two look at the reality of the ‘Twelfth’ in Northern Ireland. The third looks at the likely impact of the DUP’s entry into mainstream British politics.


The ‘Twelfth’ bonfire in Belfast


In July Channel 4 sent a reporter to Belfast to investigate the annual bonfire bacchanalia of the “Eleventh Night” preceding the Orange marches. She walked about conducting “vox pop” interviews, meanwhile expressing concern at the background sectarianism and atmosphere of violence. Then she saw something she found incomprehensible. A bonfire was burning too close to buildings, but the fire service was hosing the buildings, not the bonfire. Continue reading “TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THE REALITY OF NORTHERN IRELAND”

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Jun 05 2015


Following the inspiring referendum vote in support of gay marriage in Ireland, E&L is posting the article below from Socialist Democracy (Ireland).


Celebrating victory in the streets of Dublin


The 22nd of May was a truly historic day. The population of the Irish state, long seen as a bastion of Catholic conservatism, voted in an overwhelming majority to amend the constitution to support LBGT marriage.

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Sep 25 2014


Allan Armstrong (RCN) has written the following article for the RCN Radical Independence Campaign Special Bulletin, which will be distributed at the RIC National Forum in Glasgow on September 27th.



Nobody could have anticipated the rise of the Radical Independence Campaign, nor the form it would take. It has been moulded by the largest movement for popular democracy seen in these isles since the Irish War of Independence, and by a new clamouring for political participation and far-reaching changes, not only in Scotland, but across the globe. RIC has been a big success, despite displaying some of the political and organisational weaknesses found in works-in-progress.


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Sep 08 2010

Why we oppose the Pope’s State Visit to Britain

Taken from Peter Tatchells site

Pope Benedict preaches intolerance & rejects key human rights

Even most Catholics oppose many of his teachings

London – 13 August 2010

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who is also a spokesperson for the Protest the Pope campaign, spoke at a public meeting in Richmond, London, last night.

In his speech, he set out many of the reasons why the majority of the British people disagree with the Pope on key moral, social and human rights issues.

Text of Peter Tatchell’s speech at the Protest the Pope public meeting at the Old Town Hall, Richmond, on 12 August 2010:

Pope Benedict comes to Britain next month. As democrats, we believe he has every right to come here and express his opinions. But we also have a right to protest against his often harsh, extreme views. We have a right to say that he is not welcome.

The Protest the Pope campaign is calling on the British government to disassociate itself from the Pope’s intolerant teachings on issues such as women’s rights, gay equality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. On these and many other issues, Benedict is out of step with the majority of British people, including most Catholics.

We also object to his visit being funded by the taxpayer. Much of his itinerary involves religious and spiritual events. It is not appropriate that these are paid for by the public. After all, we don’t fund visits by the Grand Mufti of Mecca or the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

On so many important social issues, the Pope rejects human rights.

Pope Benedict opposes women’s ordination. Women are deemed unfit to preach the gospel. This is an insult to the whole female sex. The implication of the Pope’s teaching is that women have no moral capability or capacity for spiritual leadership. This is pure patriarchy, sexism and misogyny.

The Pope says artificial contraception is a sin. He condemns poor parents to having large families that they can’t care for adequately. In some countries, priests spread the lie that contraception makes women sick.

Pope Benedict opposes IVF fertility treatment, to give childless couples the chance of parenthood. This is odd. The Catholic Church says having children is God’s will but denies this option of parenthood to infertile couples.

The Pope rejects potentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research, which could help find cures for terrible illnesses like motor neurone disease – saving lives and improving people’s quality of life. Surely this research is fulfilling Christian values and ideals?

Benedict XVI has denounced the use of condoms, even to stop the spread of HIV. He has also claimed that condom usage may increase the rate of HIV infection. His dishonest teachings discourage a proven way to reduce HIV transmission; thereby putting millions of lives at risk.

The Pope has colluded with the Vatican’s promotion of the lie that condoms spread HIV because latex is porous to the virus (sic). This is an outrageous falsehood and has been condemned as untrue and irresponsible by scientists and medical professionals.

In 1992, When he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he authored a Vatican document that condemned homosexuality as an objective disorder and a strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil. Rejecting the concept of gay human rights, the document asserted that there is no right to laws protecting homosexual people against discrimination, suggesting that the civil liberties of lesbians and gay men can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct.

The Pope has attacked same-sex marriages as evil and vilified supporters of gay equality as gravely immoral. He has also denounced homosexual equality as a deviant trend and condemned same-sex love as being without any social value. He even threatened to excommunicate Catholic legislators who voted for gay rights laws.

While condemning loving, consenting adult same-sex relations, the Pontiff played a role in shielding Catholic clergy guilty of child sex abuse from prosecution.

In 2001, Pope Benedict wrote a letter to all Catholic Bishops, which ordered Papal silence concerning allegations of child sex abuse. He instructed the Bishops to report all such cases to him in Rome, so the idea that he did not know about sex abuse by priests is nonsense. His letter did not tell Bishops to report the abusers to the police.

The esteemed Catholic theologian, Hans Kung, said the Pope bears co-responsibility for the cover-up and that Benedict has failed to apologise for his own personal shortcomings during the child sex abuse scandal.

For more than two decades, as a Cardinal and as a Pope, Joseph Ratzinger has attempted to reverse the liberalising trends of the Second Vatican Council – pushing the whole church back to a more orthodox, conservative agenda. He’s strengthening the hierarchy and autocracy of the Vatican and the Papacy.

This has prompted a grass-roots Catholic revolt – the We are Church movement – which seeks a more democratic, transparent, accountable church.

The Pope has condemned liberation theology, as espoused by Catholic theologians such as Gustavo Gutierriz and Leondaro Boff, and he has opposed the worker priest movement. He preaches social justice but attacks those clergy who advocate political action to reform society and make it more just.

Earlier this year, Pope Benedict rescinded the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson who, in 2008, denied key elements of the Holocaust; claiming that a maximum of 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps and that none were gassed by the Nazis.

Benedict has also paved the way for eventual sainthood of Pope, Pius XII, despite the war-time pontiff’s failure to speak out publicly, either during or after the Holocaust, against the Nazi mass murder of six million Jews and millions of others, including Russian, Polish, disabled, gay and Roma people – and many more.

Pius XII was no saint. The fact that Pope Benedict wants to makes him a saint shows how far he has strayed from the moral and ethical values of most Catholics and most of humanity.

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