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Volume 6 Issue 2– June 2011 Stop asking what and Start asking Why Page 4

Education is the Key to Eradicating Poverty Page 14

USI: Reasserting their position in Irish Society Page 18

Table of Contents 3

Editorials and Message from National Chairperson


Stop Asking What and Start Asking Why


American Empire?


An interview with Cllr. Chris Bond


Wilful Ignorance : How football is failing in LGBT Issues


Branch Focus : IT Tallaght


Slan Seanad Eireann


Education is Key to Eradicating Poverty


Our Branches 2011/12


Time for USI to Reassert their Position in Irish Society


BitCoins : The LowDown


Ecosy: In Our Out? Where Should we Stand?


Ageism: But Against Who?


NYE Profiles


Poetry : A Curse Upon Bad Builders by Alan Garvey

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Message FROM THE CHAIR Comrades, First of all, congratulations to all who received exam results and to those who finished the Leaving Certificate! We have witnessed many interesting developments in Irish and international politics. Since our last National Meeting, we have taken a number of important decisions. Perhaps the most significant commitment we’ve raised is our support for Michael D Higgins and indeed our role in the Presidential election campaign. I believe that Labour Youth has a critical role to play in promoting Michael D’s ideas and vision among young people across the country. The next few months will prove pivotal for our organisation in terms of how we maximise our input into what is shaping up to be a unique election campaign. In the context of campaigns, many ideas have been shared on strategies to be followed. It is important that we re-affirm our opposition to the reintroduction of 3rd level fees and campaign within and outside the party to that effect. We will face opposition from many corners, but it is vital that we continue to promote an alternative to the proposals on offer. There will be numerous occasions where we will have differences on key policy areas and it is important that every member’s voice is heard. For the next two months, a focus will be on re-structuring Labour Youth and co-ordinating an important recruitment drive during Freshers’ weeks across the country. In this respect, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our new Recruitment Officer, Aideen Carberry and thank Darren Bates for his work over the last number of months.

Comrades, It is in a very different situation that we find ourselves from the last time I sat down to write an editorial. In government we find ourselves forced to take responsibility for our actions while remaining loyal to promises made. We are in a unique position to have our calls heard and acted upon but must ensure that we are brave enough to selfreflect and remain faithful to the revolutionary spirit that we so proudly extol. This issue reflects the hunger for change that is as always the force behind Labour Youth. From national to international issues, it is important to always question where we stand and what we feel our position ought to be. From stories of successes to continuing struggles, the writers who have contributed to this issue of the Left Tribune all share their unique passions and points of view. I would like to thank everyone who played a part in making this issue a success, particularly Mick Reynolds for his tireless work and the rest of the NYE for their continuing support. I hope as always that you enjoy the following pages and if you are interested in contributing to the Left Tribune please get don’t hesitate to contact us at Yours, Audrey Walsh Deputy Communications Officer/Editor

Friends and Comrades,

Welcome to the second edition of the Left Tribune of 2011. This is unique in being only the second time that the Left Tribune has been published as a digital only version, showing Labour Youth’s commitment to being at the forefront of the latest technological and social media developments taking place in Ireland at present. It is important in this sense to always remember to keep our finger on the pulse of both our own Colm Lawless, organisation and the senior party. We are all aware that the decisions this government will take will often not be to our likNational Chairperson, Labour Youth ing and it is vital that we speak out when we feel it is necessary. That is at the very core of our belief as young activists.

When I stood for election, I spoke of how Labour Youth needed to return to the heart of activism. To this end, the next few months will represent a vibrant period in our history. There are many issues to campaign on and many challenges to confront over the next while.

Editors: Audrey Walsh & Mick Reynolds Contributors: Luke Dineen, Declan Meenagh, Eoghan Boyce, Adam Lonsdale, Mick Reynolds, Kerri Ryan, Peter Kelleher, Glenn Fitzpatrick, Neil Warner, Chris Bond, Jerry Larkin, Alan Garvey Thanks to: The NYE, Cathy Flanagan

The articles in the following pages are elucidating and stimulating and can hopefully promote debate and discussion. The main forum for such discussion in the coming days will be the Tom Johnson Summer School which takes place in Kilkenny from the first to the third of July. It promises to be a superb weekend of engaging debate and exciting discourse. You can visit our new website for further details. All that remains for me to say is to enjoy the following pages, and to thank the NYE, Cathy Flanagan, Audrey Walsh, and all who contributed. Your efforts keep the Left Tribune as the premier publication for Left Wing Activists throughout Ireland. Is Mise Le Meas, Mick Reynolds

Interested in writing an article? Email:

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Stop Asking What “Some say move left, others say move right and everybody is convinced that we need to „come to terms with 21st century society‟ without ever really indicating any conception of what that actually means. Meanwhile, the question of where we are and how got here merely receives a few perfunctory asides.”

By Neil Warner

Social Democrats have lost a second consecutive election for the first time since the 1920s and the Italians can‟t unseat a man who has come to look like a caricature of a Bond villain. Yet, unbelievable as it may seem, that is not actually the worst of what is going on with the left. The real problem is the sense of ideological retreat that we have been experiencing over the last thirty years. It is a retreat that makes little sense with respect to empirical reality, and yet it continues. Socialists and social-democrats, particularly in Europe, are bleeding all self-confidence and have lost any sense of vision for the future of society which they once had.

Of these seven: The Cypriots are actually a communist Neil Warner examines party that is affiliated with the state of the left in Europe the same European grouping and suggests a radical rethink as Sinn Fein and the Socialis necessary ist Party; the Austrians are There is no shortage of in a grand coalition in which thinking and writing with re- they conceded everything in spect to the condition of pro- negotiations with their cengressive politics. This is not tre-right partners; the Slovesurprising considering what nians have unpopularity ratthat condition is. We are liv- ings unprecedented in their ing in the aftermath of the country‟s history and, most most stunning lesson in the ingloriously of all, the Slofallacies of right-wing ecovakians are in coalition with All of which means that we nomic doctrines since the the far-right. The other two are in serious need of deep Great Depression. We should countries are Greece and and extensive discussion of be cruising on a wave of pro- Spain; enough said. where we are, where we are found ideological vindicaIn the meantime the French going and what we should tion. Yet, nearly three years Socialist Party is in disarray do about. Unfortunately, after Lehman brothers, of the and its members roundly however, there has been a twenty-six EU member dismiss the rights of a vulplethora of suggestions with states, a mere seven have nerable hotel maid, the Ger- respect to the last of these governments led by leftist man SPD polls behind the problems, but little regardparties. Green Party, the Swedish ing the former two. Some Page 4

And Start Asking Why say move left, others say move right and everybody is convinced that we need to „come to terms with 21st century society‟ without ever really indicating any conception of what that actually means. Meanwhile, the question of where we are and how got here merely receives a few perfunctory asides.

gress and solve the most “We are much more likely to problems, so much as it is the identification and open- get somewhere once we stopping coming up with superficial minded analysis of puzzles and start thinking more which we are quite willing broadly and openly with reto recognise we cannot yet spect to long-term structural trends in global politics” solve. In fact, with most things, the more befuddled and utterly lost we admit we politics. are, the closer we are to ac- It is time we reduced our tually finding some real so- self-confidence in finding lutions in the longer term. solutions to a level befitting All of this gets us nowhere. the state of our politics. It is The fact of the matter is that What‟s more, the more we people have been coming up look at things circumspectly time we stopped talking and took a long hard look at the with the „Way Forward‟ for and the more we recognise the left ever since modern the countless variables we world around us and at the structural limitations it has politics began. In fact, so are dealing with in any parmany people have their own ticular puzzle, the closer any imposed. A ban should be put for the time-being on all shade of opinion on this subsequent solution comes stand-alone „solutions‟ to question that in times such as to the truth. It is also the crisis of the left, on all these what we are really just unlikely that the solutions uses of phrases such „we left with a cacophony of we are looking for are going must‟, „we should‟ and „we vague pronouncements out to spring out of our heads as need‟. Instead, we [ahem] of which nothing material is a consequence of experineed to engage with an ever likely to come. ences from our immediate open-ended series of quesThe reason for this is that we environment and the most tions about the left and the structure of 21st-century are approaching the problem obvious plans for action politics. Only then will the from the wrong angle. Isaac which they suggest. Asimov once stated that the We are much more likely to cacophony of solutions begin to take the form of most exciting phrase to hear get somewhere once we in science is not „Eureka!‟ stopping coming up with su- something coherent. but „That‟s funny...”. In other perficial and start thinking words, it is not really more broadly and openly enlightened discoveries and with respect to long-term prescriptions that create pro- structural trends in global Page 5

American Empire? I couldn‟t help but despair at the ignorance and hypocrisy of it all. Obama is not, like the Queen, a mere figurehead but the active commander and chief of an armed forces committing atrocities everyday of the week. Moreover, he is committed to maintaining his country‟s pernicious role in the world, its empire.

Since the birth of its hegemony the United States has rampaged across the world leaving a trail of death, destruction, suffering and anguish in its wake. Its imperial arrogance has provided the justification for the invasion of more than fifty countries since 1945, and in particular the chemical incineration of VietBy Luke Dineen From the ashes of World War nam, leaving over three million of its men, women and chilII arose a wolf in sheep‟s Luke Dineen takes exdren dead. Furthermore, what clothing, the United States of amines the legacy and history can be said about the conceit of America. A newly crowned of America‟s foreign policy in economic, military and techno- such a country which claims to the wake of the visit by Obama logical superpower the likes of be the global champion of democracy while providing supwhich the world had never port and aid for some of the The dust has now firmly seen. Not even the pinnacle of any previous empire in history most brutal and tyrannical dicsettled on the Queen‟s official could match the strength of this tatorships of recent times- the state visit to this country and other 9/11 providing the most thankfully, so too the fears sur- new giant. The nature of this egregious example of such rounding the possibility of mass American empire has been difconduct. ferent from its predecessors protests and disorder never however. It has usually reChile, September 11th 1973, coming to fruition. Such demsorted to the tactics of indirect the day its democratically onstrations (for the most part conducted by fringe nationalist imperialism by means of eco- elected socialist president Salgroups) purported to protest the nomic exploitation and control vador Allende was deposed in a CIA backed military coup visitation of the titular head of a rather than direct annexation. This has been frequently mis- d‟etat. The first day the beleastate with a long history of guered Chilean people were to committing atrocities and injus- interpreted by the American public as a benevolent propul- experience a new period of tice upon the people of this issustained terror, that of Genland, and many other countries sion to spread „liberty‟, with the only indiscretion of the ex- eral Augusto Pinochet. The across the world. ploited often being the assernewly installed dictator whose Upon seeing the universal joy tion of its (usually democratic) death squads tortured and and exuberance that engulfed sovereignty and resistance of killed on a sickening scale, and the country during American American authority over its whose neo-liberal free market President Barack Obama‟s visit natural resources. policies devastated the Chilean

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American Empire? poor and enriched American oligarchs all too happy to exploit the country and its people. Even more disturbing is the role of giant multinational corporations in directing American foreign policy. Is it not sinister the fact that then Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the main architects behind the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, was a former CEO of Halliburton? Is it any shock that this giant oil company grew fat and rich from the deaths of more than a million innocent Iraqis and of thousands of ordinary British and American soldiers as a result of the occupation? Why does the US perpetrate such acts of evil you may ask? The answer is very simple, because it can, because the United States of America is an empire, and this is how empires behave. It is how the British empire behaved in the 19th century, and how the Romans behaved in the 1st century, all to maintain hegemony and protect its „interests‟.

tally to civil unrest? Furthermore, there seemed to be no sense of moral applicability to the suppression of dissent by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to events in Bahrain and Yemen, where civilians have also been killed in rebellion against dictatorship.

Only last March did the US once again demonstrate its imperialistic desires, under a pretext so feeble as to be contemptuous. I of course refer to the military intervention in Libya on the grounds of motivation by humanitarian concern. Why then did such humanitarian concern not arise at all when the dictatorships in Egypt and Tunisia brutally responded bru-

Apparently however, it was in the US national interest to court Gaddafi right up until recent times. Less than a year ago Hillary Clinton welcomed Gaddafi's son, who was also the Libyan national security minister, to the state department in Washington where she spoke of the Obama administration‟s wish to “deepen and broaden our co-operation” with

Isn‟t it curious that alone of all the Arab autocracies, where rebellion is under way, it is the one in the country with the most oil reserves that is the target of a military onslaught and regime change? Explaining why the US was keen to involve itself in Libya and not in other states where rebellions were being crushed, Denis McDonough, the US deputy national security adviser, said: “We don‟t make decisions about questions like interventions based on consistency of precedent. We make them based on how we can best advance our interests in the region.” While a more perturbing statement could scarcely be made, one must admire its honesty.

“Obama, while perhaps a slight improvement on his neoconservative predecessors, remains firmly committed to the fundamentals of post war US foreign policy: the sustenance of hegemony, the maintenance of empire and support for Israel‟s occupation of Palestinian territory”

the Gaddafi dictatorship. The duplicity of it all would be laughable, were it not so depressing. Obama, while perhaps a slight improvement on his neoconservative predecessors, remains firmly committed to the fundamentals of post war US foreign policy: the sustenance of hegemony, the maintenance of empire and support for Israel‟s occupation of Palestinian territory. This merely consolidates a longstanding de facto reality; states that fail to defer to the interests of the world‟s only superpower are in danger of subversion or military intervention on some pretext or other. Those states that do defer can feel free to deny their citizens the most basic of human rights, without fear of repercussion.

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An Interview With “Labour Youth has really punched above its weight on issues like third level fees and the rights of people in employment. It also makes politics accessible to young people”

By Cllr Chris Bond

Newly co opted Councillor Chris Bond takes us through his time in Labour Youth and his views on the future of the country

Firstly congratulations on your new role. You must be delighted. What do you see as the main challenges ahead as a Labour Councillor in the coming years? Thank you very much, I am really enjoying the role so far. It goes without saying that there are a lot of challenges facing Ireland. I have met people on a day to day basis that are struggling to pay their Mortgages and to make other Page 8

ends meet. Irish local government is limited somewhat, but there is still so much that can be achieved on a council level. Much of a councillor‟s time is spent attending meetings and addressing queries from constituents, but there are a lot of political projects that can be furthered at a council level. My priorities as a Labour Councillor include sustainable planning, swift provision of social amenities to communities and improving public transport links. On South Dublin County Council the Labour Group along with other members of the alliance that control the council have made a decision to forgo expenses for certain conferences and international trips in order to finance the building of a homeless shelter.

You were active in Labour Youth for many years before becoming a councillor. Has that given you a unique perspective on some of the problems you face on a day to day basis? One of the good things about Labour Youth is that it helps members to learn about campaigning on issues. The organisation has really punched above it‟s weight on issues like third level fees and the rights of people in employment. It also makes politics accessible to young people. The experience I had there gave me a great understanding of politics and how to interact with others in order to achieve political goals. In terms of the role that Labour Youth can play in rebuilding Irish society, what specific areas can you see the organisation making a vital difference on? I firmly believe that it is incumbent on all people involved in politics to contribute fixing our country.

Councillor Chris Bond Change doesn't come from above it is the result of struggle and activism. That said having Labour in government is an important step towards facilitating that change. Labour Youth have done fantastic work on issues such as third level fees and youth unemployment, and I think we must continue to make the case. Even amidst Ireland' s difficulties we must also play a role in highlighting injustices throughout the world such as the treatment of LGBT people, women, and trade union members in certain countries and on the plight of the people in Palestine.

“Even amidst Ireland's difficulties we must also play a role in highlighting injustices throughout the world such as the treatment of LGBT people, Women, and Trade Union members in certain countries and on the plight of the people in Palestine�

to get by financially and in campaigning to protect public services and community facilities.

Youth should trust its instincts, supporting and promoting the good things Labour do in government, without being afraid to Is there a danger in speak out in the event of years to come that the poli- the party making unpalatcies between the Labour able decisions. Party in government and the policies of Labour Finally if you had a Youth could become too message to give to the diffuse? coming generation of activists in Labour Youth I certainly would not con- what would it be? sider it a danger, Labour Youth should be free to Its great to be involved in adopt whatever policies its the party that have done members instruct it to so many progressive adopt irrespective of things for this country Do you think that the whether those policies are over the years. The most important thing to rememissues you face day in day sometimes different from out as a councillor reflect the policies of the party as ber is to keep up your a whole. Even in times good spirits, encourage upon the issues that you would have campaigned on when the party was in op- your friends who might be position the youth section interested and most imwith Labour Youth in the have taken on stances that portantly don't be afraid to past? have sometimes contrastand up for your beliefs dicted the senior party. Its and don't let anyone try to Admittedly enough the not a dichotomy between keep you in line. council is a different environment, however opposing the party for the sake of it and rolling in bethere is still the common hind the party all the time theme of standing up for people who are struggling for the sake of it. Labour Page 9

Wilful Ignorance “I feel that there are too many vested interests; in FIFA and in Football Associations across Europe and the world, to deal with the issues on a mature and responsible level”

work done in terms of anti racism across all levels of English football. Campaigns such as Show RaBy Mick Reynolds cism the Red Card and grassroots activism as well Mick Reynolds disas constant vigilance by a cusses the problems that soccer has had living up to new breed of politically and socially aware supit‟s responsibilities to the porters have managed to LGBT Community transform English football From being labelled from one of the worst a “slum sport for slum peo- black spots for racism in ple” in the wake of the sta- European football to amongst the most tolerant. dium disasters of the late 1980s at Heysel, Hillsbor- That is not to say however, that English football, or ough, and Bradford, the landscape in English foot- indeed football as a culture and a sport worldwide ball has changed dramatiis a wholly tolerant entity. cally in the past twenty For a glimpse into what an years. old boy‟s club FIFA is, This has led to rocketing ticket prices and a myriad just wait for President of other problems in terms Sepp Blatter‟s latest gaffe about homosexuality in of the game getting away football. When asked from its roots that are too (quite legitimately) about diffuse to get into in this piece. However, one of the the treatment which would great initiatives which has meet gay fans travelling to occurred since the hooligan the 2022 World Cup in blighted days of the 1980s Qatar, Blatter chortled that “they should refrain from is the massive amount of Page 10

any sexual activities.” So if the top dog in FIFA is not exactly a paradigm of tolerance, then maybe down the line amongst the organizations already praised in this piece we can find some answers. The FA Of England for example, who regularly do great work with Kick Racism out of Football, have been recognizably slower in endorsing the Justin Campaign, an excellent group founded to demonstrate that ten years after Justin Fashanu‟s tragic suicide in 1998, homophobia is still hugely prevalent in both grassroots and professional football. Fashanu was the first English footballer to come out as gay in the 1980s, and was met with a barrage of hate and intolerance from the media, fans, and players alike, including his own brother John and the noted manager Brian Clough. His death in 1998 was the culmination of a long period of personal torment that many in the game, including PR Guru Max Clifford who represents various high profile players, have taken as

How football is failing in LGBT Issues dence that homosexuality will not be accepted football even today, a shocking indictment on a game that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of modern society. More recently there has been the admission of the Players Football Association Chief, Gordon Taylor that the campaign was unable to find one high profile supporter amongst all the leading Premiership clubs to front the campaign and that it would be “unfair for a player to back a campaign like this in case they got targeted by football crowds�. Never mind the fact that it is likely that there are surely thousands of football fans from the LGBT Community that go to football games every week, pay their way in, and are surely entitled to the same level of respect and support as anyone else amongst the supporters. Fortunately there is some hope on the horizon, in the form of a player with Swedish Fourth Division side Utsiktens BK by the name of Anton Hysen. He has become the first high profile player to come out since Fashanu, albeit at a

much lower level and gaining much of his notoriety from the fact that his father Glynn had a spell at Liverpool. Allied to recent messages of support from Bayern Munich and Germany striker Mario Gomez and German FA President Theo Zwanziger to gay footballers, these steps represent the right steps on the road towards tolerance to all in football. Despite these positive developments, I would not be confident in seeing any major breakthroughs in terms of a tolerance of LGBT Rights in football anytime soon, at least not at the top level. One can happily point to the likes of John Ameachi (Basketball), Gareth Thomas (Rugby), and closer to home Donal Og Cusack (GAA) as examples of players who have played

sport to a high level and been broadly supported by their peers and fans after coming out, albeit in the case of Thomas and Cusack at the tail end of their careers. I feel that there are too many vested interests; in FIFA and in Football Associations across Europe and the world, to deal with the issues on a mature and responsible level. People say that it will only take one high profile player to come out to change attitudes, and whilst this would be welcome, it requires a lot more work at grassroots level to truly equal campaigns such as Show Racism the Red Card and remove the blight of homophobia from football once and for all.

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Branch Focus : IT Tallaght

By Adam Lonsdale Adam Lonsdale gives us the rundown on the success story that has been Labour Youth in IT Tallaght

by next semester. This might seem

ther. Adam Fulham did us proud by

small but this is Ireland, a notori-

winning Societies Person of the

ously wet nation. I can‟t count the

Year and we had a full page spread

times I‟ve had to wait in the rain for

in the Tallaght Echo towards the

a bus.

end of the year.

During the general election the soci- What is more important about this Not many people would have suspected that Labour Youth would out live Fine Gael and Sinn Fein as a society within ITT, but it happened. We are currently the only political party with an active membership, how the hell did that happen? The answer is simple enough really, the answer is hard work. People like Adam Fulham would not quit and this proved our saving grace.

ety assisted Eamonn Maloney in

whole situation is what we can

canvassing despite bad weather and

learn from what has happened over

towards the end of the semester and

the past 2 years. It is possible for us

after the election, now Minister Pat

to set up a branch within any col-

Rabbitte and Eamonn Maloney TD

lege. We can use what we have

came to ITT to have a Q&A with

learned to create an active branch

the students of the college. It in-

anywhere. With the right people

cluded questions about the econ-

behind it anywhere could become

omy, cannabis legalisation, reducing just as active as any Dublin branch. mobile phone costs and a variety of

It only takes a few dedicated indi-

other topics. This event, which was

viduals to do amazing things.

organised by the Society, brought a pretty large and interested crowd. In

This year we did many great things

attendance was I, by then still un-

for Labour and for the college.

sure where I stood politically. How-

Spearheaded by Adam Fulham we

ever if there was any doubt before

petitioned Dublin Bus to give IT

then, it was washed away and I

Tallaght its own Bus Shelter which

found myself joining the Labour

it has lacked for many years. This


bus shelter should be up and ready

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We go into next semester with a bedrock of hard work to keep us going strong. Though we are losing several members we are more than ready to take on the challenges the New Year will bring.

The society didn‟t go unnoticed

Slan Seanad Eireann voices or different points of view 1. The eleven Taoiseach nominees

then those that are already in the

are, by far, the worst example of

Dáil. There is no reason for this as

the undemocratic nature of Seanad

the TD's should be able to make

Éireann. One TD, elected by

their own cases without the Sena-

17,472 first preference votes last

tors on the panels.

February, hand picks 11 other members of the Oireachtas. Even if

There are other reasons, such as the

it is assumed, in a roundabout way,

cost of the Seanad, the irrelevance

that this is representative of the

of it to the average citizen and the

Before I get into the main point of

people who voted for An Taoiseach

fact that, unlike America, Canada,

this post, I would like to congratu-

then one Senator represents 1,588

Australia, Britain or Germany, we

late all of the 60 men and women

people in Mayo, this time.

are not a confederation, do not have

who are now, or will be, members

2. The six university seats (three

a large population and do need to

of the Upper House of the

for the graduates from Trinity Col-

travel great distances to get from

Oireachtas, Seanad Éireann. How-

lege Dublin and three for the gradu-

one side of the country to the other.

ever, as I have said before, I firmly

ates from the National University

Also, the idea that we need a

believe that Seanad Éireann must

of Ireland) is another form of ex-

'checks and balances' system is a

go and go soon.

clusion of the vast majority of peo-

non-runner for me as there is only

ple from the political process. Six

one group of people who should

Oireachtas members for certain

perform this function, the elector-

This has nothing to do with the

third level graduates. Even if the


calibre of candidates that have put

franchise was extended to gradu-

themselves forward (although there

ates of all third level institutions,

I wish all the members of the 24th

are some I would never vote) or the

this would still remain a select

Seanad the best of luck and, in par-

beliefs that Senators hold. For me it

group of people involved in the

ticular, the Labour Senators. How-

comes down to one thing, democ-

process. No one citizen should have

ever, if/when a referendum on it

racy. There is not one single Sena-

more of a say than another citizen

abolishment comes before the peo-

tor that has been accepted by the

because there were fortunate

ple; I will enthusiastically cam-

citizens of this State in the same

enough to attend a third level insti-

paign for a Yes vote.

way as our TD's have been. To


make the point in a clearer way,

3. The remaining forty-three Sena-

From My Blog: ploughsan-

here is the specific issue I have

tors from the Vocational Panels.

about how Senators are elected in

This is dominated by the parties in

all three entry routes:

the Dáil, so it doesn't produce new

By Peter Kelleher

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Education is Key to Eradicating Poverty happiness. A true childhood! “Poverty is beatable. We can eradicate poverty and hunger. And we can do this through education. Giving people various forms of education for example primary, secondary and third level education, as well as business education and key skills education, gives them the chance to remove themselves from the poverty cycle”

By Kerri Ryan

result in malnutrition, malnutrition results in a person Kerri Ryan considers becoming weak and sick. the link between education This makes a person incapaand poverty and has some ble of work resulting in povtips on how it can be allevierty. Families in poverty are ated also unable to pay for education and this result in their One person dies every children continuing the cycle three and a half seconds from of poverty. Children are the hunger in a world where food biggest victims of poverty supply meets demand. There and hunger. are two types of poverty- absolute poverty is the absence It is generally seen that of financial resources, many people suffering from whereas relative poverty is seen as poverty that is deter- poverty in the developing world, is in part due to a lack mined by the society in which a person lives. So why of education. As is well in the 21st century do poverty known many jobs require some form of education as and hunger continue to prepart of their job description. vail? By educating those living in poverty we are giving them the chance of getting out of Poverty is the biggest cause poverty. We‟re giving their of hunger. In 2010, 925milchildren a chance at a decent lion people were hungry in life. Freedom from hunger the world. It‟s a vicious cycle! Lack of money reduces and sadness and instead filled with the possibilities of the ability to buy food, this Page 14

So what has been done to eradicate poverty? The Millennium Development Goals set the target of the eradication of poverty and hunger by 2015. This remains somewhat possible as Asian countries continue to climb the economic ladder however the 0.7% pledge is not currently being met. (The 0.7% pledge was agreed by 22 developed countries to give $195 billion towards international aid). And other than the numerous charities and key figures working effortlessly and tirelessly to eradicate poverty, very little is being done. Poverty is beatable. We can eradicate poverty and hunger. And we can do this through education. Giving people various forms of education for example primary, secondary and third level education, as well as business education and key skills education, gives them the chance to remove themselves from the poverty cycle. In Pakistan an ordinary peasant girl used the compensation she received for being raped, to build a school. Through international help she built a boys

Education is Key to Eradicating Poverty school and a small college. This small step reduced the rape level in the Pakistani country side. And it helped educate girls so they had a better life. Imagine what could be done by the developed world! Bettering the education systems available is bettering the future. It isn‟t the most expensive step but it is the most beneficial. The other critical step that has to be taken is eradicating debt of the countries most affected and at risk. The governments of the developed world have to be encouraged to do this. The developed world can survive without that money, but the developing world can‟t! Educating the developing world leads to better health, education and social systems. This in turn leads to a better standard of living. Teaching and educating governments in how to take care of their people is also important. Showing how beneficial it is to have a decent education system and the benefits it brings is a crucial part of ending poverty. Teaching them that more money is generated when the population isn‟t in poverty and are out working generating tax can change

even the most stubborn of governments. It is critical to get governments involved. Nothing can be achieved long term if a government is corrupt and unwilling to change. This is why we have to educate people. Give them a chance to be a part of their government and make the necessary changes. Tackle the issues affecting them and others. Through education we are giving people a voice! Another beneficial factor to an educated world is more women being educated. This in turn can and should lead to a shift in power within governments. This change towards a balanced, equal government, in turn, has the potential to better policies and laws being introduced. It brings a new vision to the

“The need for women in government is evident across the globe. Women in governments change the views of women in a positive direction.”

world. Many of the countries where poverty and hunger are rampant are ruled by male dominated governments or a dictatorship. The need for women in government is evident across the globe. Women in governments change the views of women in a positive direction. These are critical for eradicating poverty. This isn‟t an overnight event and it may not happen in our lifetime, but we can be significant players in bringing about the change. We are the present and the future and the decisions we make now determine if poverty, can truly be eradicated.

Page 15

Labour Youth Branches Trinity Chairperson : Ciaran Lyng Email :

Secretary : Eoghan Harney Email :

UCD Chairperson : Conor Quirke Email :

Secretary : Lisa Connell Email :

DCU Chairperson : David Healion Email :

Secretary : Jessica Owens Email :

IT –Tallaght Chairperson : Adam Lonsdale Email :

Secretary : Roisin Cullen Email :

Page 16

2011/12 DIT Chairperson : Luke O’ Rourke Email :

Secretary : Lyndsay Copeland Email :

NUI Maynooth Chairperson : Eleanor McKenna Email :

Secretary : Ruaidhri Boland Email :

UCC Chairperson : Dean Duke Email :

Secretary : Siobhan De Paor Email :

NUI Galway Chairperson : Eanna Mac Donnchadha Email :

Secretary : Mark Glynn Email :

Page 17

Time for USI To Reassert Their

By Glenn Fitzpatrick

Glenn Fitzpatrick suggests a rethink of USI‟S Policy with regard to engagement in Irish Society. Despite a record attendance at last year‟s march, criticizing USI is something that has become commonplace among social activists. This is not without good reason though. While the present team carried out an excellent job in ensuring that there were 40,000 students out that day, it still defies belief that they continue to fail to distinguish between the people outside the DePage 18

partment of Finance who continued the protest peacefully and the few who crossed the line. Certain past political affiliations have also been pointed out but I, for one, do not believe that these arguments are of much, if any merit at all. Within USI there is a much more serious problem that needs to be addressed quickly. I was unsuccessful in my attempt to bring a motion to USI congress this year that would have mandated the union to develop links with the wider civil society. It did not even make it past my own student council. It soon became clear to me that the heads of the union itself view issues of the surrounding world as largely irrelevant and outside their remit. Furthermore, the organization sees its sole function as to serve the best interests of its members. From my understanding, explanations as to why USI should not worry about

what is happening in the wider society have only gone as far as the lack of resources, both temporally and financially, that USI works within. Essentially, it‟s a safe position for USI to take. This year‟s congress took place in Dunboyne, Co. Meath. The vast majority of mandates that USI received were to do with welfare and proposed campaigns. The only real debate of note was had over a NUIM motion - whether or not USI should back the restoration of the minimum wage to €8.65 per hour. It was a lengthy one and contained some very passionate arguments in favour. The arguments against were easily rebutted and the motion passed with ease. There was talk before the motion started that a 9B would be called and that the question would not be put to the floor given that it does not directly have anything to do with students but

Position in Irish Society? “From my understanding, explanations as to why USI should not worry about what is happening in the wider society have only gone as far as the lack of resources, both temporally and financially, that USI works within. Essentially, it‟s a safe position for USI to take.”

only care about themselves. It‟s important that we don‟t become a bunch of „me feiners‟, someday we may need the voice of the young to speak out for us too.

for government but it took up fully this was not the case. virtually no time or money This rubbish talk did not whatsoever. USI should aim just point out the inwardto be a socially progressive looking nature of the ororganization that does not ganization that is being shy away from taking a conbred in colleges across the troversial stance on things. country, it pointed out pure For example, it does not take The passing of this moignorance and naivety that up much time to show solition did however demonwas frankly quite worrying. darity with workers who are strate the sheer potential Perhaps some Congress being treated like slaves. USI that USI has to become members may well find delegates would prefer to an active voice in Irish themselves in the same posiwaste money on telling ofsociety. By speaking out tion some day. Nor would it ficers to print extra pamagainst a government decost much money to allow a phlets for members who cision that pandered to delegation of Palestinian stustill have acne in their the worst employers in dents to be guests at congress twenties rather than serious the country, it not only issues that not only affect served the best interests in order to show sympathy with them. I don‟t nearly students directly but also of its members, it threw agree with the sentiment that their families and friends its substantial weight betoo. I wonder will the men- hind a cause that needed USI is a useless entity but it could be so, so much more. tality of current USI mem- as much backing as it And this won‟t just happen bers ten years down the line could get. Alas, this was by itself… be that those darn students an easy one as it was already in the programme Page 19

BitCoins : A Massive Waste of Time? “There are a lot of people online who accept BitCoins for real life goods. These include: renting a truck in Colorado, a guitar shop in Israel, a gun shop in America, chemicals, legal services, web development, photography, graphic design- the list goes on.”

By Declan Meenagh Declan Meenagh explains another technological concept : this month he gives us the lowdown on the virtual currency BitCoins This sounds like something from a science fiction novel, but it isn't. It's a system which is actually working. Put simply, some people on the Internet have created a virtual peer to peer currency. In this article I will explore the technology behind it, the legal, economic and political fallout, and whether it is worthwhile or not. Before I describe what it does I‟ll discuss some technical issues that are relevant. An Open Source project is a project which aims to build a piece of software. Page 20

public key encryption which is based around a trapdoor function in Maths. This means that it can be converted one way but can't be converted back. Imagine two people, Alice and Bob need to send a private message to each other. Alice encrypts the message with her private key and Bob‟s public key. Bob needs his private key and AlThis is done by a group of ice‟s public key to open it. people all over the Internet. The resulting software is made This has two benefits, only Bob available to anyone who wants can open it, and only Alice to use it for free. The code is could have written it. also available, so anyone can BitCoin depends on a massive modify it. The Firefox web P2P network, and coins are browser, and VLC media player are examples of popu- generated by some users. Unlar open source projects. Most fortunately, there are so many computers which host website coins that creating them takes a long time. Unless you‟re using on the Internet are running a super computer (you‟re open source operating sysprobably not) then you won‟t tems, Linux, Unix or BSD. Wordpress, the blogging plat- be able to generate many of form, is also open source. Bit- them. Fortunately, it is possiCoin is open source, and any- ble to trade them for real life one can view and verify that currency. At time of writing, one BitCoin is worth 15 euro the code works. and 22 dollars. Peer to Peer or P2P is a way of organizing a network. In tra- In order to transfer BitCoins, ditional networks, there was a you need to verify the transaccentral computer which con- tion with peers in the network. Mining rewards these peers trolled the whole thing. Requests went from the smaller with BitCoins. computers or nodes, to the I'm not a legal expert, so take server and were processed. P2P gets rid of the server, and the following as the work of an amateur. Recently, someone nodes talk to each other diset up their own currency rectly. called the liberty dollar in America. The US government For security, BitCoin uses

Or A Software Project Which Will Topple Governments? arrested him because it was very much like the American Dollar. It's unclear if this is actually illegal or not, and the exact laws don't apply to BitCoins because they refer to physical coins. It seems to be in a grey area, at least under US law: It could be used for dodging taxes or laundering money, so there could be legal issues there. Another issue which was reported by Gawker is that there is an online store selling all sorts of illegal drugs with BitCoins. However, the creators of BitCoins claim that the store users could be traced easily by the police. I‟m not sure if it‟s legal or not in Ireland, so be careful! Basically money has value because people accept it in exchange for goods. There are a lot of people online who accept BitCoins for real life goods. These include: renting a truck in Colorado, a guitar shop in Israel, a gun shop in America, chemicals, legal services, web development, photography, graphic design- the list goes on. There are also services which trade BitCoins as if it was a real currency. People claim that this is a force for political change, removing the currency from government. A lot of people, like the liberty dollar, have tried this before. It

will be interesting to see if this will have the clamed effect. In issue 19 of the LAUNCH newsletter, Jason Calacanis made a few observations about BitCoins, “ 1. Bitcoin is a technologically sound project. Before the economic 2. Bitcoin is unstoppable with- crash, I would have disout end-user prosecution. missed BitCoin outright. However, after witness3. Bitcoin is the most danger- ing the incompetent manous open-source project ever ner in which the previous government caused and created. handled the economic crisis, I‟m open to new 4. Bitcoin may be the most dangerous technological pro- economic ideas. I would certainly advise caution if ject since the internet itself. you choose to start using BitCoins, there‟s the le5. Bitcoin is a political stategal issue, and even ment by technotarians though the system‟s security is very good, indi(technological libertarians). viduals using it could still be dishonest. I don‟t 6. Bitcoins will change the know if it will be a masworld unless governments ban sive force for change, or them with harsh penalties.” something that some nerds on the internet play with. Perhaps the only There is also an ongoing dething I can say with cerbate about some security istainly is I will follow the sues with BitCoin, but a deproject with interest. tailed discussion of these would be beyond the scope of this article.

Page 21

ECOSY : In Or Out?

By Eoghan Boyce

Eoghan Boyce deliberates whether it‟s better for Labour Youth to stick it out in Ecosy or if it‟s time to move on

tion of our motives and actions during the lead up to this congress, the details of which remain sketchy at best. Secondly, continued disgraceful behaviour Reading through the reagainst the SDLP. Thirdly, port of our delegation to the nature of ECOSY itself. ECOSY Congress in BuLuke Field, a delegate and charest, Romania, I can‟t author of the report quoted help but feel a certain above, recommends in conlevel of despair for what clusion that we should the organisation has bewithdraw from ECOSY, focome and the role the cus more on IUSY and coyouth wing of the Irish operate directly with other Labour Party has become parties in Europe that are within it. The analysis of agreeable to us. This apour very own Luke Field pears to be a far more desums it up tidily, “ECOSY sirable outcome than conis fundamentally undemo- As anyone would agree, the tinuing with ECOSY, it has cratic and its long-term situation looks grim for to be said. membership is highly in- both ECOSY and our posistitutionalized; the baltion within it. The problems ance of power is entirely can be categorised as folThe British Labour Party‟s skewed in favour of the youth representatives seem lows; First of all, distinct larger, more centrally lo- antagonism towards our to be particularly vexing, cated nations. Most party due to misrepresenta- as they seem to have forPage 22

“decisions” in ECOSY are reached long before a Congress, put into motion by powerful regional alliances in a continuing cycle of backroom horse-trading. In this circumstance, Labour Youth will never be able to have any meaningful influence, especially in light of the majority of UKLP youth members apparently not wanting to play ball with us, and the new Control Commission President‟s plan to further sideline the SDLP.”

Where Should We Stand? “Bilateral ties with European parties will inevitably be tainted by our abandonment of ECOSY as well as we will be considered outsiders whether we like it or not. Our right to speak and be heard at ECOSY Congress, however constrained, is of absolutely vital importance to our International activities.”

gotten the Good Friday Agreement. Their continued refusal to grant the SDLP a single delegate and insistence that we should be the ones to provide one is totally at odds with legal and political reality in Northern Ireland. If the youth wings of British Labour wish to vote to support a handover of Northern Ireland when they reenter government, and boost our delegate numbers accordingly, then by all means let us grant the SDLP a delegate. Their involvement in our recent fall from grace is also to be noted, however vague the details are on the matter.

much by good works as by evil.” However much we despise the practical reality of ECOSY, we cannot leave it and serve our party‟s cause effectively. The simple fact of the matter is that any attempt to re-enter ECOSY would most likely be blocked for as long as the vast majority of the current membership are around. IUSY cooperation is all very well and good, except that our party is extremely unlikely to agree to fund junkets to their events when compared to ECOSY, which is built far more effectively for that sort of role. Bilateral ties with European parties will inevitably be tainted by our abandonment of ECOSY as well as we will be considered outsiders whether we like it or not. Our right to speak and be heard at ECOSY Congress, however constrained, is of absolutely vital importance to our International activities. As for the SDLP, we can hardly explore options on their delegate status if we‟re not part of ECOSY anymore!

mation about events leading up to this point needs to be put in the hands of our membership. We cannot preach about ECOSY if we are exercising hypocrisy by withholding information. Secondly, we need to put that information to good use, having frank and open discussions via the International Working Group. This will allow us to rise to meet the challenge of regaining our reputation, by any means within reason. Will this mean sacrificing some of our ideas about what ECOSY should be in the short term? Possibly, but I for one refuse to accept a situation where we have no right to speak at Congress. We are representing our country after all.

All of this is a very good idea, if we‟re thinking with our hearts. Unfortunately, we must think with our heads on this matter. To quote Machiavelli (if my comrades will forgive What needs to happen is me), “Hatred is gained as simple. First of all, all infor-

Page 23

Ageism : Against Who?

By Jerry Larkin

Jerry Larkin looks at the question of ageism in Ireland from a young person‟s perspective and asks who it is directed against A few weeks ago I was in Dublin to attend a national meeting of Labour Youth. We drove from Cork and took the Luas from the Red Cow park and ride facility to the city centre. On the way in, I couldn't help but notice that on every stop there were posters highlighting the issue of ageism. The recent controversy over the pension levy on private pensions, as well as these posters, made me stop and think about the whole issue of ageing. The more I thought about it, the more I Page 24

not seek to belittle these hardships. However, I believe that at the moment in Ireland there is an attitude amongst some of the media and politicians, as well as the general public, which is entirely dismissive of young people and their talrealised that the public dis- ents. This is the first gencourse on this issue is domi- eration of young people in decades which will have a nated by the question of worse standard of living looking after older people, than their parents. Positive and that another form of ageism is being obscured – coverage of technological innovation or charity work the obstacles facing young amongst young people is people. overwhelmed by negative Young people are in an age headlines concerning young group which is most at risk hoodlums, irresponsible to a whole plethora of dan- teenage mothers and excesgers, some social and some sive boozing. Of course all economic. These include a these stereotyped characters much higher risk of depres- exist, but that is why a sion and suicide, emigration, stereotype is a stereotype – psychological disorders such they are rarely true. as self-harming, bulimia and I believe the best time to be anorexia, unemployment a teenager in Ireland was (unemployment amongst young people is around 20% probably in the early noughties. The Celtic Tiger was on the last count, against a roaring, registration fees for national average of 14%), road deaths and STIs. While third-level education were negligible and someone was some of these dangers are spoiled for choice when it due to naivety and ignocame to jobs. During this rance, the bulk of them are time, the middle-aged produe to wider societal and fessional classes were morteconomic factors and attitudes. There is no doubt that gaging their children‟s' futhere are massive challenges tures by buying second and third houses at highly infor older people, and I do flated prices.

Ageism : Against Who? “There is an attitude amongst some of the media and politicians, as well as the general public, which is entirely dismissive of young people and their talents. This is the first generation of young people in decades which will have a worse standard of living than their parents”

These property gambles have now of course been proven to be reckless, and who is going to foot the bill through NAMA? The taxpayer, and more specifically, the younger generation. While I'm sure that most middle class taxpayers bought homes in good faith, thinking that the price was only going to go higher, they must share a portion of the blame for the collapse. Evidently the blame (or even the majority of the blame) is not exclusive to mortgagees – the banks and politicians were the ones who fostered and encouraged this culture of greed and recklessness. What do all these major actors have in common? They are all middleaged. Of course, this is nothing to be ashamed about. But what really annoys me is that those in charge of our economy, and our wider society, seem to have forgotten to have empathy with those that are different to themselves – this includes the elderly, the poor and young people.

change is vital because For example, the first cutof increasing life exbacks in the education sector pectancy and the state were not aimed at those in of the public finances, administration or the highest it is another measure earners - they were aimed at which will hammer cutting the number of special younger genera-need teachers, as well as tions. Indeed, the lack steadily raising the registra- of coverage this meastion fee, so that now it is a ure received was surtuition fee in all but prising to me considername. Grants for disadvan- ing its importance in taged students have been the future. slashed, and funding for worthwhile capital projects But of course, that is have been put on the long just the problem with finger. The minimum wage Irish society at the minwas cut by 13% with the ute. We are only conquestionable objective of cerned about the hereboosting employment, while and-now. Guarantee all all it would have done is fur- the toxic debts of the ther hammer the lowest-paid banks and leave it to and students. The moral hy- the next generation to pocrisy amongst the elite in pay off this debt. Slash our republic absolutely the education budget stinks. and forget about the consequences. It is this So basically all I'm asking for kind of short sightedis a public debate which is ness which has gotten not sensationalist and looks us to this current preto seriously assess who is be- dicament and an iming hurt most by this ecopulse we must shed in nomic depression. Most re- order to avoid another tirees have their mortgage depression of this payed off. The state pension kind. However I behas doubled in the last ten lieve that if anyone can years. Meanwhile, the retire- discard that viewpoint, ment age for those under 50 this generation of was raised from 65 to 67, young people can. with it later rising further to 68 years of age. While this Page 25

Your National Youth Executive National Chairperson — Colm Lawless

International Officer—Mike Spring

As National Chairperson, Colm is responsible for the smooth running of Labour Youth as a whole, along with acting as the public face of the organization. He is currently Labour Youth’s representative on the Central Council of the Labour Party.

As International Officer, Mike is responsible for representing the organization at European level and beyond, looking at how Labour Youth can assist in international issues.



Vice Chair/Campaigns— Conor Ryan As National Vice Chair and Campaigns Officer, Conor is primarily responsible for the formation and execution of Labour Youth National Campaigns. He also acts as Chair of the organization in Colm’s absence, and chairs the Campaigns Working Group. Email:

National Secretary — Martin O’ Prey As National Secretary, Martin is responsible for taking minutes at all Labour Youth events, and at NYE meetings. He is also responsible for correspondence, accounts and fundraising.

Communications Officer— Reynolds


As National Communications Officer, Mick is the Chief Editor of the Left Tribune, and is the admin of LY’s various Facebook pages. He is also responsible for managing the overall design strategy, and online presence of the organization. Email:

Ed & Policy — Dean Duke As Education and Policy Officer, Dean is responsible for drafting Labour Youth Policy Documents, researching prospective Policy Positions, the Tom Johnson Summer School and Chairing the Policy Working Group. Email:


Recruitment Officer — Aideen Carberry As National Recruitment Officer, Aideen is responsible for the recruitment and retention of new members. She is also the primary coordinator for the National Recruitment Campaign. Email:

Youth & Development—Position Vacant

The Youth & Development Officer, is a the Labour Party Staff Member responsible for the administration of Labour Youth. They is also a non-voting member of the NYE. The position is currently vacant.


Page 26

Poetry: A Curse Upon Bad Builders by Alan Garvey

A Curse Upon Bad Builders by Alan Garvey May you have hornets dancing about your head like the nails in my loft danced around mine By Alan Garvey

The inclusion of poetry in the Left-tribune, seeks to highlight the continuing legacy of The Left, Politics, Poetry and Ireland. All contributions are welcome and feedback appreciated; send to: Alan Garvey‟s third collection of poetry, „Terror Háza‟, was published by Lapwing (Belfast) in 2009. His work is in various magazines and anthologies. He graduated with a MA in Creative Writing; has read in Toronto and Newfoundland, and worked in Budapest, courtesy of the Arts Council. He has worked as an arts administrator, part-time lecturer, community arts facilitator and is now a stay-at-home


may thoughts like rubble of glass and rusty screws you left behind in gardens for my children to find gather in your empty skull may every thought your children have be crossed as wires you failed to fit with no regard for safety in my home untrue as lines you failed to plumb or divine when building my bathroom may you suffer from constant lack of pressure in your wrinkled member may your sphincter do the same job as a cheap and brittle washer may your ardour be fired and overheat like my immersion each and every occasion you press the wrong button on your wife may she hate you for it on a daily basis and may all your lovemaking be lukewarm tepid and grey as bathwater with an oily film dead skin cells and scum floating on top Page 27

Volume 6 Issue 2– June 2011

Also: Bitcoins: The Lowdown American Empire?

Page 28

Also: Ageism : Against Who?LGBT Issues in Football

June 2011 Left Tribune  

The June 2011 edition of Labour Youth's magazine the Left Tribune. Featuring articles on Education eradicating poverty, USI, and ECOSY

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