Hardcore for Nerds

"Why sneer at the intellectuals?"*
punk music, left politics, and cultural history - previously found here.
contact: gabbaweeks[at]gmail.com (sorry, no promos/submissions, thanks) or ask
Dublin/Galway, Ireland. 27, history graduate & human rights student
HFN | Best New Punk | HFN 2012 2011 2010 2009 | HRO 2k9 | Hoover Genealogy Project | @HC4N
*from the title of a review of Arthur Koestler's Arrival and Departure by Michael Foot, Evening Standard, Nov. 26, 1943.
Aug 26
Permalink american exceptionalism irish entrepreneurialism & idiocy
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Anonymous said: Yo, Monday morning my coworker finds a mini copy of the new testament on her desk. She's Jewish. our office is on lock down on weekends and no one is admitting to it. I feel like she should pursue it.

kurosakikirito:

yoisthisracist:

She should set it on fire in front of everyone.

Also, who the fuck prints just the New Testament? What purpose could that possible have other than harassing Jewish people?

You clearly don’t know much about Christianity

tbf Christianity does also encourage proselytisation
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In relation to the last post, here’s Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin for the past several decades and formerly a commander of the IRA in Belfast (though he consistently denies this well-known piece of information), on top of a mountain in Donegal, looking like a cross between James Joyce and a Chinese mountain hermit. The rest of his feed is actually a surreal exercise in net art and/or the musings of a 65-year-old Irishman with a fondness for rubber duckies and teddy bears. Or a Machiavellian publicity ploy to show the softer side to one of the most ruthless yet strategic Irish politicians of the last 50 year - you decide, I don’t really think it matters. I may have very little truck with Sinn Féin’s politics, over the North or otherwise, but I’d much rather see pictures like this (I do like mountains, after all) than ones of balaclavas and guns.

In relation to the last post, here’s Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin for the past several decades and formerly a commander of the IRA in Belfast (though he consistently denies this well-known piece of information), on top of a mountain in Donegal, looking like a cross between James Joyce and a Chinese mountain hermit. The rest of his feed is actually a surreal exercise in net art and/or the musings of a 65-year-old Irishman with a fondness for rubber duckies and teddy bears. Or a Machiavellian publicity ploy to show the softer side to one of the most ruthless yet strategic Irish politicians of the last 50 year - you decide, I don’t really think it matters. I may have very little truck with Sinn Féin’s politics, over the North or otherwise, but I’d much rather see pictures like this (I do like mountains, after all) than ones of balaclavas and guns.

irish mountains
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thewoodquarter:

benicetoafriend:

drinkingfromtherubicon:

cristoecafe:

eurofox:

benicetoafriend:

eurofox:

benicetoafriend:

IRA - Irish Republican Army

normally when i see europeans with guns i get worried that they’re probably fascist. when they’re irish though, i know its gonna be alright.

They murdered a lot of innocent people though. Even people they claimed to represent.

the same slurs used against every revolutionary/national liberation movement from the bolsheviks to every organization in palestine who has taken up armed struggle. 

how about instead of blaming the IRA for the deaths of innocent irish, maybe you place the blame on the soldiers marching under the union jack.

Because they caused the deaths of innocent people, as did the Britsh. But it was the IRA who took my mums cousin out and shot him in front of his co-workers when he was only 18 because he said he wanted nothing to do with them once he realised what sort of people they were. He was an Irish catholic. They also harassed a lad in my mums youth group, making threats towards his family until he couldn’t take it and killed himself. He was an Irish catholic too.

There was plenty of scumbags on both sides. It’s not a slur when it’s true.

ethnic nationalists are repulsive.

right, says the white settler on indigenous land. weigh in later when you’ve been enslaved and humiliated for 800+ years.

L OH FUCKING L

There is nothing more hilarious than tumblr ~*rAdIcAlS*~ speaking over lived experiences of violence to promote solidarity. 

Irish people criticising the IRA?

'No, shut up you dont understand the conflict you're living through.'

Feck off. 

I don’t really have any direct lived experience of the Troubles, as growing up in south county Dublin is probably as far away from it as you could get in Ireland. But there’s one thing that always sticks in my mind as a ’90s kid’ was that, alongside the gnomes in the attic, what I was afraid of in the night on hearing a van pull up outside was that it was the IRA coming to kidnap my family (it was actually the milkman in the early morning, I think). We were Protestant, but apart from that there was no absolutely no logic behind the fear, which wasn’t all that great, considering - I didn’t lose much sleep over it, in comparison to other things, and I can only imagine what real childhood trauma from conflict must be like. Still, it’s unsettling that it was such a part of the surrounding culture that I picked up at such a young age. You could say that it was due to media demonisation, or you could say it was unavoidable. In any case, I’m of a generation who saw the last atrocities of the Troubles on the nightly news as children.

The recent death of Albert Reynolds is the passing of, I think, the first Taoiseach I can recall. And I remember the 1998 Good Friday Agreement much better than anything about the Downing Street Declaration, but I was aware of IRA ceasefires and the frustratingly slow progress of the peace process. There was a very moving scene recorded on TV at Reynold’s funeral yesterday where the celebrant addressed his British counterpart, John Major, in the church, telling him he was ‘most welcome’, followed by a spontaneous ripple of applause, and then a shot of Major wiping away a tear. Whatever you may think of either of their day-to-day politics, or of the current outcome of the peace process and its interminable but non-violent political wrangling, they achieved something of immeasurable importance. You can debate the history and the role of violence as much as you want, but the vast majority of people here are just glad it’s over. 

A more political viewpoint I, and I know many others, share is a strong opposition to the nationalist repulican ideology that justified so much violence and suffering, irrespective of the wrongs (of which there were many and greater) on the other side. I don’t know, were I there, if I would always have been opposed to physical-force republicanism, or what year would be the dividing line between radically naive and irresponsibly futile - it’s a counterfactual I don’t have to answer. But I do know an awareness of as many sides as possible of the history is important - because it is the lens through which every Irish person ought to see world affairs. Our support for the Palestinian cause is usually attributed to the Irish struggle for national liberation - although for me what I also see is an uncomfortable ambivalence towards anti-Semitism in Irish history, and more importantly a parallel between the partition of this island and the need for some kind of reconciliation or mutual understanding between divided communities. Ferguson, too, has circular echoes of the civil rights movement in late 60s Northern Ireland, inspired by its African-American counterpart, but which, for various complex reasons, derailed into thirty years of violence. It’s the legacy of the North, in large part, which makes me so uncomfortable about constant demands to ‘take a side’, to buy into the oppressed/oppressor binary which, even if it expresses some deep and uncomfortable truths about our world, does not necessarily present the solution.

irish politics history
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thewoodquarter:

I wish there was a snopes for tumblr bullshit. 

It’d have to be pretty big…

Also there’s that thing where I think ‘should I maybe add to this’ and then see the post already has 25,000+ notes, so why bother?

Even if there was a feature where the ‘notes’ were filtered so you could see actual additions, instead of having to scroll through a sea of mute likes and reblogs, it would help.

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Aug 23
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[Liberals giving me a nerve itch (redux)]

easpageag:

eurofox:

I’m not quite sure that I even know what a liberal is tbh

Broadly speaking, liberal means taking a centerist position. The confusion comes from the fact that the further in either direction you go, the wider the centre becomes.

Anarchists think Communists are liberal because they maintain hierarchies, Communists think trade unionists are liberal because they maintain capitalism, trade unionists think the Labour Party are liberal because they broadly maintain the status quo, Tories think Labour are liberal because they don’t openly detest poor people, UKIP think the Tories are Liberal because they’re willing to be seen in the same room as an immigrant, the BNP think UKIP are liberals because they only want to stop immigration not deport all the effnicks, and white power groups think the BNP are liberals because they spend their time trying to get elected instead of … I dunno … shitting on their own faces, or whatever it is that lot enjoy doing.

Um… I think the confusion arises from there being several, sometimes overlapping definitions of ‘liberal’ which nevertheless cover a wide range of political opinions and relative positions. I explained some of this here with reference to The Knife: but basically there’s the political science definition which would be more in line with the original, historical ideology of individual freedoms (whether they be social or economic, the former becoming the popular US usage, as below, and the latter covering more what’s now called ‘neoliberal’) and then there’s a more subjective, rhetorically pejorative meaning that also has ‘right’ and ‘left’ variants, roughly corresponding to fears of either social or economic liberalism - e.g. a leftist might critique ‘liberals’ for supporting socially liberal ideas while ignoring economic inequalities and/or the underpinning structure of economically liberal societies, while a conservative may or may not support liberalisation of the economy, but usually opposes social liberalisation; although of course all that rests on a questionable division of ‘economy’ and ‘the social’).

That might not have ended up being too clarifiying, sorry - however, I don’t think ‘liberal’ really means centrist except by accident, or because it represents in some form one of the mainstream currents of western politics, or because it has turned into a pejorative for ‘less radical’ (more on the the left than the right I think… the Tory example rings false to me, or as an echo of the US bleeding-heart ‘liberal’).

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Aug 20
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"“The Labour movement is like no other movement. Its strength lies in being like no other movement. It is never so strong as when it stands alone. Other movements dread analysis and shun all attempts to define their objects. The Labour movement delights in analysing, and is perpetually defining and re-defining its principles and objects. The man or woman who has caught the spirit of the Labour movement brings that spirit of analysis and definition into all his or her public acts, and expects at all times to answer the call to define his or her position. They cannot live on illusions, nor thrive by them; even should their heads be in the clouds they will make no forward step until they are assured that their feet rest upon the solid earth.

“In this they are essentially different from the middle or professional classes, and the parties or movements controlled by such classes in Ireland. These always talk of realities, but nourish themselves and their followers upon the unsubstantial meat of phrases; always prate about being intensely practical but nevertheless spend their whole lives in following visions.

“When the average non-Labour patriot in Ireland who boasts of his practicality is brought in contact with the cold world and its problems he shrinks from the contact. Should his feet touch the solid earth he affects to despise it as a “mere material basis,” and strives to make the people believe that true patriotism needs no foundation to rest upon other than the brain storms of its poets, orators, journalists, and leaders.”

James Connolly, Workers Republic, January 1916, quoted in Conclusion to “The Failure of Irish Republicanism, 1907-1927”

irish history socialism politics
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Spoonerism Revolution

While writing that last post I initially had it in my head that the law was called ‘Comme Positatus’ which, I was thinking, sounds like ‘Commie’, which is ironic for something quite important to American conservatives… but of course, it’s not, it’s that other thing…

Freudian Politics
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notoriouslgbt:

I’m possibly probably coming from a position of huge ignorance here given that Ireland’s military is mostly involved in UN international peacekeeping missions but isn’t the distinction between the police force and the armed forces an inherent quality of any soi-disant liberal democracy and not solely an American characteristic? Plus, doesn’t the branch of government which oversees the military enabling the transfer of its surplus equipment to local branches of the police actually compromise that distinction somewhat, and also compromises the idea of that distinction being an exceptionally American characteristic in the first place? This seems like such a bizarre point on which to appeal to exceptionalism, especially given that the circumstances should call for the total opposite of this kinda pandering, I dunno.
(I know I’ve not really said or reblogged anything about Ferguson, everything about this is too horrible and too large an affront to human decency for me to even express in any way which I think would be acceptably coherent or anything. Obviously, much love and positive energy goes out to the protestors and the activists online and in real life.)

I noticed this too and although I think it can be mainly explained as a rhetorical expression of American exceptionalism (or rather, unexceptionalism) there are a couple of other things that come to mind:
European police forces (i.e., outside of UK/Ireland) are frequently split between a ‘civil’ police and a more ‘military’ (or at least more heavily armed) gendarme force - e.g. the French gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri - making for more of a graduated military/police distinction, with the latter especially used for tackling things like organised crime. But truthfully I don’t properly understand the distinctions and may be mischaracterizing them somewhat; in any case, it’s unlikely that’s what Obama is referring to and, as you say, I think a distinction between civil and military force is as fundamental to liberal democracy in Europe as elsewhere.
Sort of related to that, however, what is a big distinction in the US is between state and federal power, especially when it comes to the use of force. So you have the Posse Comitatus Act restricting the use of (federal) military personnel to enforce (state) civil law. In that case a distinction which would be familiar to European national democracy is overlaid with the concerns of the US as a federalized polity. As a bridge there is the ‘National’ Guard which is normally constituted as a state military force; the next stage up is bringing in the ‘federal’ troops of the Army, which really indicates the state has lost control (in more than one sense).
In general, as I understand it, the US tries to maintain a theoretical distinction between outward-facing military power and inward-facing policing (CIA v. FBI), which is another aspect of this, precisely because the country is founded on a very particular idea of internal liberties (both of individuals and of states) while also having evolved into a massive behemoth of global force. And with the flow of surplus military equipment back into the domestic police forces - right down to the lowest level - that distinction becomes even more fatuous, which Obama probably realises, even if with the use of drones and domestic surveillance he himself has kept the US on a more a militaristic course.*
Ireland’s particular experience with an unarmed police force can be usefully compared with that of the UK, because I think a lot of the motivation behind the establishment of the Garda SIochána came from the experience of militarised, effectively colonial policing during the period of the War of Independence (and of course the internecine violence afterwards) whereas the rest of Britain continued with its tradition of civil, relatively uncontroversial policing that is, however, only slightly more armed today. On the civil/gendarme distinction pre-1920s, the Dublin Metropolitan Police were unarmed and continued in existence until the later formation of the Gardaí, while the Royal Irish Constabulary which served the rest of the country was armed and is/was viewed as more colonial although it employed many Catholics; ultimately we chose the former model.** 
* Personally, I think the (rightful) criticism of the drone strikes may neglect the extent to which it serves the political imperative, post-Iraq (2003) of not ‘putting boots on the ground’ and of pursuing more ‘limited’ wars - from that perspective anyway - and any change in that policy would have to be based on a more fundamental realignment of America’s geopolitical power. Which may, slowly, be coming anyway. 
** Incidentally, one thing that made me suspicious in Ken Loach’s otherwise excellent recent film Jimmy’s Hall, set in 1930s rural Ireland, was that when Jimmy Gralton was finally arrested for deportation, it was by what appeared to be local police with rifles, which I’m dubious about (though it does neatly fit Loach’s ‘Free State bastards = Black and Tans” thesis).

notoriouslgbt:

I’m possibly probably coming from a position of huge ignorance here given that Ireland’s military is mostly involved in UN international peacekeeping missions but isn’t the distinction between the police force and the armed forces an inherent quality of any soi-disant liberal democracy and not solely an American characteristic? Plus, doesn’t the branch of government which oversees the military enabling the transfer of its surplus equipment to local branches of the police actually compromise that distinction somewhat, and also compromises the idea of that distinction being an exceptionally American characteristic in the first place? This seems like such a bizarre point on which to appeal to exceptionalism, especially given that the circumstances should call for the total opposite of this kinda pandering, I dunno.

(I know I’ve not really said or reblogged anything about Ferguson, everything about this is too horrible and too large an affront to human decency for me to even express in any way which I think would be acceptably coherent or anything. Obviously, much love and positive energy goes out to the protestors and the activists online and in real life.)

I noticed this too and although I think it can be mainly explained as a rhetorical expression of American exceptionalism (or rather, unexceptionalism) there are a couple of other things that come to mind:

  1. European police forces (i.e., outside of UK/Ireland) are frequently split between a ‘civil’ police and a more ‘military’ (or at least more heavily armed) gendarme force - e.g. the French gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri - making for more of a graduated military/police distinction, with the latter especially used for tackling things like organised crime. But truthfully I don’t properly understand the distinctions and may be mischaracterizing them somewhat; in any case, it’s unlikely that’s what Obama is referring to and, as you say, I think a distinction between civil and military force is as fundamental to liberal democracy in Europe as elsewhere.
  2. Sort of related to that, however, what is a big distinction in the US is between state and federal power, especially when it comes to the use of force. So you have the Posse Comitatus Act restricting the use of (federal) military personnel to enforce (state) civil law. In that case a distinction which would be familiar to European national democracy is overlaid with the concerns of the US as a federalized polity. As a bridge there is the ‘National’ Guard which is normally constituted as a state military force; the next stage up is bringing in the ‘federal’ troops of the Army, which really indicates the state has lost control (in more than one sense).

In general, as I understand it, the US tries to maintain a theoretical distinction between outward-facing military power and inward-facing policing (CIA v. FBI), which is another aspect of this, precisely because the country is founded on a very particular idea of internal liberties (both of individuals and of states) while also having evolved into a massive behemoth of global force. And with the flow of surplus military equipment back into the domestic police forces - right down to the lowest level - that distinction becomes even more fatuous, which Obama probably realises, even if with the use of drones and domestic surveillance he himself has kept the US on a more a militaristic course.*

Ireland’s particular experience with an unarmed police force can be usefully compared with that of the UK, because I think a lot of the motivation behind the establishment of the Garda SIochána came from the experience of militarised, effectively colonial policing during the period of the War of Independence (and of course the internecine violence afterwards) whereas the rest of Britain continued with its tradition of civil, relatively uncontroversial policing that is, however, only slightly more armed today. On the civil/gendarme distinction pre-1920s, the Dublin Metropolitan Police were unarmed and continued in existence until the later formation of the Gardaí, while the Royal Irish Constabulary which served the rest of the country was armed and is/was viewed as more colonial although it employed many Catholics; ultimately we chose the former model.** 

* Personally, I think the (rightful) criticism of the drone strikes may neglect the extent to which it serves the political imperative, post-Iraq (2003) of not ‘putting boots on the ground’ and of pursuing more ‘limited’ wars - from that perspective anyway - and any change in that policy would have to be based on a more fundamental realignment of America’s geopolitical power. Which may, slowly, be coming anyway. 

** Incidentally, one thing that made me suspicious in Ken Loach’s otherwise excellent recent film Jimmy’s Hall, set in 1930s rural Ireland, was that when Jimmy Gralton was finally arrested for deportation, it was by what appeared to be local police with rifles, which I’m dubious about (though it does neatly fit Loach’s ‘Free State bastards = Black and Tans” thesis).

(Source: theguardian.com)

american exceptionalism
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Permalink irish dublin abortion
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