Facebook Censors George Monbiot Movie on Western Imperialism and Genocide

Facebook has been accused recently of censorship and pulling down masses of left-wing and alternative sites. In this video, RT America reports on Facebook’s censorship of a film by Groaniad columnist, George Monbiot for Double Down Media, on the crimes of the British Empire and Columbus’ genocide of the Amerindians. RT’s reporter states that it disproved the claim that the West’s conquests were less barbaric than others.

This is then followed by a piece from movie, in which Monbiot explains that before Columbus landed in the New World, there were 100 million native Americans. By the 19th century, there were less than one million. It was a policy deliberately endorsed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote of the necessity of wiping out Native American peoples.

There then follows a Tweet from Double Down News reporting how Facebook had taken down the movie for ‘violating community standards’. The company states that it was a work of serious journalism which had gather 1 million views. The company was given no right of appeal or any reason for censorship. Why, they ask, is Facebook censoring history?

This came after Facebook took 800 pages they claimed were posting spam. They also used that excuse to pull down other alternative sites, like police watchdog groups and a fan page for RT correspondent Rachel Blevins. Monbiot himself tweeted that he thought the company’s banning of the Columbus film was a one-off, but now it appears to be part of a purge of dissenting posts.

The piece’s host then turns to interview George Galloway in London, asking him if this latest act of censorship by Facebook will lead to more people paying attention to the story.

Galloway replies that it sounds like a great video, and that he’ll try and see if he can go and see it somewhere, observing that the book they try to ban always goes to the top of the bestseller lists. Hopefully this will backfire on Facebook. He goes on to say that he himself has about a million and a half followers on social media, and because he is so well-known, he always thought he’d be invulnerable to this kind of thing. But George Monbiot is a very famous journalist and something of an insider in the British establishment, and now it’s happened to him. He states that it is quite intolerable that Facebook, a private company, can take an anti-commercial decision – which it is, if the movie had a million views – based on the political view of censoring history. And he states that he’s always known that British imperial history is censored from schooldays onward. We’re taught all about the crimes of Hitler and Stalin, but never about the crimes of imperialism.

The programme’s presenter states that there is an irony there, as Monbiot’s film touched on the way that history has been censored, and then Facebook does it all over again. Galloway replies that some of this censorship will be accidents, performed by some machine or factotum somewhere striking down something that casts an unfortunate light on the proprietors. It may be reinstated. But the general pattern seems to be that Facebook has become an adjunct of the Deep State in Britain, the United States and elsewhere, and that Deep State is bent on suppressing dissident views. This should open up a space for capitalism to work, of it works as it’s claimed to, for new Facebooks to come online, because after all it’s just a noticeboard. He hopes that the laws of commercial reality will reassert themselves. And people will know that if there’s a million views for Monbiot’s video, that’s a market not just an audience, and we’ll have to wait and see what emerges.

The host then goes on to ask him to talk about the crimes of western civilization and the British Empire which he thinks are overlooked. Galloway responds by saying the one she’s just discussed, about the massacre of nearly 100 million native Americans, is fairly hard to beat. ‘That is a Holocaust with a double capital ‘H”. But, he continues, the British Empire was committing crimes well into his own lifetime. We were shooting down Yemenis in Aden in the Crater(?) district when the Beatles were No. 1; we were shooting down Irish people on the streets of the Six Counties in the North of Ireland when the Beatles had been gone for several years. British imperial crimes are almost without number. He quotes his Irish grandfather as saying that the sun never set on the British Empire as God would never trust them in the dark. He goes on to say that the crimes of the British Empire continue to this day, in Yemen and Syria. Galloway describes the Kenyan examples, which Monbiot discusses in his film, as ‘quite extraordinary’. In Kenya and Malaya we were paying British servicemen a bounty for coming in with the heads of rebels, who were fighting for their own countries’ freedom from the British Empire. ‘And they talk about savages’.

It’s astonishing that Facebook should censor Monbiot’s video. I haven’t seen it, and don’t know anything about it except what is said here. But it seems to be well-established, uncontroversial fact. Columbus’ landing in the Americas did lead to the genocide of the Native American peoples. This was through exposure to European diseases, to which they had no immunity, enslavement and being worked to death. And what Columbus and the Spanish did the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean is truly horrific. They were worked to death producing gold. If they didn’t produce enough, they were mutilated. Their hands were cut off and hung round their necks. Indigenous women were raped by the conquistadors, and beaten if they didn’t show themselves to be sufficiently enthusiastic about pleasing their masters. Quite apart from the murder of their priests and aristocracy as pagans.

As for what the British did in Kenya, that can be read about in books like Africa’s Secret Gulags, amongst other books. I’ve posted reviews here from Lobster of more recent books discussing more recent British covert actions aimed at subverting nationalist movements and the democratic process in the former British colonies.

Facebook’s censorship of dissident and oppositional pages is a threat to the new freedoms of information that the internet has brought. Alternative news shows like Sam Seder’s Majority Report are discussing the possibility that the Net should be brought into government ownership in order to preserve it from interference and censorship by private corporations. I’m not sure this would do much good, as it would leave the American government able to censor it, in the same way that Blair, Sarkozy and Berlusconi used their power to censor and control information and news on state television. But I don’t think there can be much doubt now that Facebook and other big internet corporations are censoring news very much in concert with the demands of the Conservative elite and Deep State.

Jeremy Corbyn Blasts Universal Credit

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/10/2018 - 4:54am in

As Mike has described in detail on his blog, Universal Credit is set to increase the misery of millions more people across the UK when it is rolled out across the country. Various Tories have made gestures of opposing it, but as Mike also explains, you can’t trust any of them. When Tory rebels have their bluff called, or the government offers just a token gesture to placate them, they immediately show their true colours: blue, all the way through. They automatically give in. And the Tories making noises about opposing it are doing no more than that: making noises. Heidi Allen made a great show of weeping in parliament at one woman’s description of the hardships she had suffered due to Iain Duncan Smith’s wretched brainchild. But when Labour made a humble petition to have all the documents published, which the government has not released on the effects of Universal Credit, Allen voted against it with the rest of the Tory party.

Hypocrites to a man and woman.

The Labour party is genuinely critical of Universal Credit, and will do something about it. And in this video, Jeremy Corbyn attacks it and reveals some of the changes he intends to make. He also talks about the mess Brexit has created regarding Northern Ireland and the open border with Eire. It’s from the Daily Heil’s channel on YouTube, but they seem to be letting him speak without misrepresenting him. Corbyn made the comments to them when he appeared in Bristol, and gave his opinion that British schoolchildren needed to know the complete history of the British Empire, and what it had done to the subject nations and peoples.

The video shows Corbyn getting out of his car in front of Bristol Cathedral and the city’s Central Library before going into City Hall, where he watches a video on the Empire. It then moves to him standing outside, with College Green and Park Street, including the Lord Mayor’s chapel, as his backdrop. He says

Three million families are going to be worse off by about fifty pounds a week from Universal Credit, 2.7 million more families will be forced into Universal Credit next year. So immediately we will say ‘We will stop this process and we will make sure that no-one is worse-off under Universal Credit. The experience of Universal Credit has been that the majority of people are considerably worse off, many forced into debt due to delays in payments and many, particularly in the private rented sector, property or home is put at risk because of it. This has got to change very, very rapidly. I raised it yesterday with the Prime Minister the question of the poverty that’s come about because of austerity and because of University credit.

He goes on, but it’s obvious there’s been a cut at this section of the interview.

Well, it would cost in the sense that we’re cutting benefits by Universal Credit, we would be maintaining existing levels of benefit immediately.

There’s then a question from the interviewing journalist, who asks about ‘those savings being built into projections of the country’s (path?)’

Corbyn replies that
That is the problem. The savings that are built in are at the expense of the poorest in our society.

Then comes the inevitable question: ‘so how will you pay?’

Corbyn replies

We’ll pay for it by increasing income from corporate taxation and the wealthiest in our society. We would not be taxing the lowest paid and medium income groups.

Another cut, then

I think it has to change, I think the system has to change dramatically and we will be using a more comprehensive system on this, but essentially our benchmarks would be: nobody should be worse off, nobody should have their homes put at risk because of Universal Credit.

Another cut, then

Well, I think it’s a very real threat, and the DUP are obviously speaking up for their own constituency on this, and indeed there is a great deal of unity on this amongst all political parties in Northern Ireland across all the political divide on having an open border with the Republic, obviously open trade and therefore a customs union within the European Union which reflects that, and I think their position is very real. We will judge this government against the six tests that Keir Starmer has laid out for us and we will vote accordingly in parliament, but we cannot support chequers.

Another cut, then Corbyn concludes

The government has had more than two years to negotiate this and still hasn’t made any progress on it. Quite simply there has to be open trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and that has to be the basis of any agreement.

Mike today reported that the DUP were threatening to vote against Tweezer and with as many as 40 other Tory MPs. May was seen blustering in parliament when it came to questions about Northern Ireland. She declared to do that Brexit was ’95 per cent complete’. Among the many excellent Tweets Mike has put up about this issue, from Clare Hepworth, David Lammy, Corbyn and Steven Swinford was a nice rebuttal from Dan Lewis, the NW Chair of the CWU. He reminded everyone that the Titanic also successfully completed 95 per cent of its journey.

Tweezer and her disgusting party are a menace to the British people. The poverty foisted on us through austerity and Universal Credit is killing people. And their debacle over Northern Ireland risks one of the essential pillars of the Good Friday Agreement. And if that goes, then the province really could return to murderous chaos.

Mike states that it’s possible she won’t last till the end of the week. I hope so. And if she’s pushed tomorrow, it won’t be too soon.

Ireland and Brexit – Workers Need a Hard Border Against Bosses' Politics!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 12:56am in


brexit, eu, ireland

image/jpeg iconireland3.jpg

On 12th October, the Financial Times (FT), described the Brexit situation as an "Unpredictable Muddle". We would not disagree.

read more

Vox Political on the Insulting Appointment of Jackie Doyle-Price as ‘Suicide Prevention Minister’

Yesterday, Wednesday 10th October 2018, was World Mental Health Awareness Day. Mental health has become a major issue, with this country in particular seeing increasing rates of depression, particularly amongst school and university students, not to mention the poor, the disabled and the unemployed. According to yesterday’s I newspaper, 4,500 people take their lives every year, and a total of 6,213 people killed themselves last year in the UK and Eire. It’s the leading cause of death in blokes under 45. Guys in the UK are three times more likely to end it all than women, and in Eire the rate is four times.

With this such an issue, Tweezer decided to make a world first by appointing Jackie Doyle-Price as the world’s first Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention. The I yesterday published this pic of Doyle-Price grinning into a camera.

According to the paper, her responsibilities will include ensuring that every local area has a plan to prevent unnecessary deaths. She is also going to be investigating how technology can be used to identify those most at risk.

It also quoted her as saying

“I understand how tragic, devastating and long-lasting the effect of suicide can be on families and communities. In my time as health minister I have met many people who have been bereaved by suicide and their stories of pain and loss will stay with me for a long time.

“It’s these people who need to be at the heart of what we do and I welcome this opportunity to work closely with them as well as experts, to oversee a cross-Government suicide prevention plan, making their sure their views are always heard.” (p.3).

Which are fine words, but from her voting record and previous attitude to the poor and desperate, it’s a pack of lies.

Mike posted an article today pointing out the critical role Tory policies towards the poor, such as cutting benefits, had contributed immensely to rise the suicide. He notes that the inquest into the death of Stephanie Bottrill, who was worried about the bedroom tax, found that the stress caused by the Tory government of the day resulted in her taking her own life.

His article then goes on to quote a piece about it from Nursing Notes, who stated that

“Statistics show that those with long-term physical or mental health issues are significantly more likely to be dependent on the state for assistance with housing and living costs.

“Social isolation, financial and health struggles are thought to be some of the leading risk factors for preventable suicide in the UK.”

It also quoted Vicki Nash, the head of policy and campaigns at the mental health charity, MIND, who said

“MIND found that half of people with mental health problems have thought about or attempted suicide as a result of social issues such as housing issues, finances, benefit support, and employment. We need a benefits system that is supportive – not one that drives people into poverty.”

Which is precisely what the Tory attitude to the welfare state and their wretched reforms don’t do. Thatcher wanted to destroy the welfare state completely, including the NHS. She was prevented from doing so, but she was determined to make getting benefits as hard, cruel and degrading as possible to deter people from going on it. It was one of the wretched ‘Victorian values’ she took over, the principle of ‘less eligibility’ underlying the poverty and degradation of the workhouse. And the Tories have gone on with the same attitude ever since, followed by Blair’s equally revolting New Labour.

Mike has, in his articles, argued strongly that there is a deliberate policy of ‘chequebook euthansia’ behind the Tories’ welfare reforms. It seems as though they’re consciously and deliberately planned to drive the most vulnerable to suicide, so Cameron, Tweezer, IDS, Esther McDeath and the whole sordid lot can save more money, and give more tax cuts to the filthy, pointlessly rich. There’s a nasty strain of Social Darwinism in the Republican Party on the other side of the Atlantic, and it’s in the Tories over here as well. In the survival of the economic fittest, these parties see the rich and business leaders as the biologically superior. And the poor have only themselves to blame – it’s all due to their inferior constitutions. In the Social Darwinism of the 19th century, such people would always be with humanity. The only solution was to stop them breeding by denying them welfare support and sterilizing them. Or simply murdering them, as the Nazis did with their notorious Aktion T4.

And there can be little doubt that Tory policies are driving the poor and vulnerable to take their own lives. Despite repeated whines by the Conservatives that ‘correlation doesn’t indicate causation’, some of those, who have killed themselves left notes, which stated plainly that there were doing so because of the stress of benefit cuts and sanctions. Mike’s article states that 1/2 of all women claiming benefits have thought about killing themselves.

So how does Doyle-Price herself measure up in this? Well, abysmally, as it happens. She voted for raising the bedroom tax, voted against increasing benefits in line with inflation, voted against increasing benefits for the long-term sick and disabled, and voted 46 times in favour of cutting benefits. This was also in Mike’s article from Nursing Notes, who took it from They Work For You.

Worse. She added insult to grievous wounding by laughing about the subject. Yep, she’s also joked about suicide.

I’m not surprised about that either. The Tories have absolutely no sympathy for the suffering of the poor. They really do think it’s a jolly joke. Like when Cameron and Ian Duncan Smith were caught on TV laughing in parliament when one woman’s account of the troubles she’d had claiming benefit were read out. They had a good guffaw, like some Nazi version of the Chuckle Brothers.

Nor is the DWP sympathetic to those with suicidal thoughts. When one claimant said that they were depressed and thinking of suicide, one DWP clerk asked them why they hadn’t done it already.

Mike in his article quotes the reactions of a number of people to the news that Doyle-Price has been appointed to this post. Keith Ordinary Guy said it was like curing malaria with the plague. Matt Turner said it was a grotesque slap in the face to those struggling on. And Samuel Miller, a friend of Mike’s blog, who’s been campaigning for disabled students since attending McGill University in the 1970s, said that nothing angered him more than the government’s maltreatment of the sick and disabled.

He also posted this tweet:

“Was her appointment merely a sop to counter alarming headlines about the soaring rate of suicides and attempted suicides among sick and disabled claimants, mostly triggered by loss of benefits.”

Mike concludes his article with this:

Was it? I don’t think so.

I think it was a signal; they appointed the least appropriate person for the job because they think the deaths and attempted deaths of hundreds of thousands of people are nothing but a big joke. They really are that repulsive.

I don’t think there’s any contradiction between these two positions. Yes, it is a sop to counter the headlines about the soaring suicide rate. And yes, the Tories do find it all a joke, and so deliberately appointed the least appropriate person.

She’s there not because she has any real sympathy with the mentally ill, the depressed, the disabled and suicidal. She’s there purely to make sure the system carries on, while limiting any damage to the party that appointed her. She’s just a mouthpiece, who’s simply there to spout reassuring platitudes and assure the public that the Tories are taking this issue seriously. And all the while she’s going to laugh about it behind her back.

Get her out, get Tweezer out and the whole wretched lot of them OUT! Before they drive any more people to their deaths.

David Rosenberg on Tory Support for the British Union of Fascists

Last week, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group put up an article describing the events culminating in the ‘Battle of Cable Street’. This was an attempt by Oswald Mosley and his thugs in the British Union of Fascists to terrorise the local Jewish population by marching through the East End of London. He didn’t get very far.

Rosenberg’s article describes how Mosley and the rest of his thugs were beaten off, despite a police presence to guard them, by an anti-fascist coalition of Jews, including the Jewish People’s Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, Irish Catholics, trade unionists, the Communists and Independent Labour Party, as well as the Labour League of Youth. This was despite advice from the Board of Deputies and Jewish Chronicle that Jews should remain indoors and not attempt to resist the Blackshirts marching through their neighbourhood. The confrontation between Mosley and his thugs, and their defeat by working class, radical Jews and gentiles, has become the stuff of legend. I’ve heard folksongs about it. It’s naturally celebrated as the time working class Brits very definitely showed ‘No Pasaran!’ to Fascism.

The article’s also worth reading for what Rosenberg says about the support for Mosley in the Tory party and the House of Lords. I think it was Rosenberg, who was so shocked by the current president of the Board, Marie van der Zyle, who declared that the Tories were ‘good friends of the Jews’, that he put up a list of notorious episodes of anti-Semitism in the party. Of their support for Mosley and the BUF, he writes

Two major parliamentary debates on antisemitic terror in the East End took place in 1936. MPs detailed the wave of attacks on their Jewish constituents, but the only response Home Secretary John Simon could muster was to call for “all sides” to behave reasonably. Pathetic, though perhaps better than the sniggering of Tory backbenchers in the House in 1934 after violence erupted at a 15,000-strong fascist rally at Olympia in June that year.

The rally audience included 150 MPs looking for political inspiration, while
House of Lords members turned up in black shirts. The violence at Olympia was one way. Eighty anti-fascists needed medical treatment, yet Tory MPs parroted the BUF line that anti-fascists had attacked Mosley’s thugs. William Greene, Conservative MP for Worcester asked in the House: “Is it not a fact that 90 per cent of those accused of attacking Fascists rejoice in fine old British names such as Ziff, Kerstein and Minsky?” Frederick MacQuisten, Conservative MP for Argyll enquired: “Were some of them called Feigenbaum, Goldstein and Rigotsky and other good old Highland names?” A fellow Tory MP, Captain Archibald Ramsey frequently railed against what he called the “Jewish imperium in Imperio (empire within an empire),” claiming that the correct term for “antisemite” was “Jew-wise”.

There’s also a photo of Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay in dress uniform. He was one of the most venomous and splenetic of British Fascists in this period. I think he was the head of one of the various pro-Nazi, British anti-Semitic organisations.

Rosenberg’s article concludes

As recent political interventions have shown the “advice” offered to the Jewish community from its self-defined “leaders” has not improved in the decades since. The current Board of Deputies president, Marie Van der Zyl displayed either political ignorance or amnesia when she told an Israeli news channel recently that the Conservative Party have “always been friends of the Jewish community”. Meanwhile, anti-fascists must face up to the renewed threat to minorities, not just here, but elsewhere in Europe and America. We still have much to learn from those who united in resistance and built an anti-fascist majority in their communities in 1936.

He’s absolutely right. On this side of the Pond the past few weeks have seen UKIP’s party conference, which under Gerard Batten has become much more openly racist, and which as speakers Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars, Carl Benjamin, AKA Sargon of Akkad and ‘Count Dankula’, all of whom have extreme right-wing, anti-feminist and Islamophobic views and are fiercely opposed to immigration. The EDL are back on the rise and over the other side of the Atlantic Donald Trump has very strong connections to the Alt-Right and real anti-Semites. In Europe, ultra-nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic parties have taken power in Hungary and Poland. And the Tories, who have now allied themselves with Far Right parties like the Sweden Democrats and True Finns, aided the Hungarian president, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party last week by voting against an EU motion censuring them.

We do need a revived antifascist movement, both here in Britain and abroad, to combat this. And this means a revived local, working class activism. Margaret Hodge, the Blairite MP for that part of the Metropolis allowed the BNP to take control of Tower Hamlets council because she did precious little to oppose them. As a token of their appreciation, they sent her a bouquet of flowers when seven of them got elected to the council. As the Jewish bloggers have pointed out, it was when activists from the left of the Labour party and other radical groups started traipsing round the borough knocking on doors and alerting local people to what the BNP really represented, that the Nazis were finally voted out.

Northern Ireland has already got a tax border in the Irish Sea so let’s stop pretending otherwise

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/09/2018 - 5:33pm in


Europe, ireland

Theresa May and the Unionist politicians of Northern Ireland are somewhat disingenuous when it comes to their argument that there should be no border down the Irish Sea. They have similarly selective memory when it comes to arguments about tax alignment with the Republic. What they forget is that for much of the last decade they have been arguing for that tax alignment. And they were well aware that this would create a border down the Irish Sea. And so successful were they in pursuing their argument that law to achieve these goals was passed in 2015. As a House of Commons Library paper noted this year:

In March 2015 Parliament passed the Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Act 2015 which, subject to commencement regulations, will devolve corporation tax rate setting powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Government has committed to commencing the regime if the NI Executive demonstrates its finances are on a sustainable footing. This note discusses the development of the Government’s policy and the wider debate over corporate tax competition.

Note the last point: Northern Ireland wanted a divide from the rest of the UK. That is what tax competition implies.

I long opposed this move. As I noted in 2010 in one of many blogs on this issue on which I broadcast often in Northern Ireland at the time:

The simple fact is that the Republic does not just compete on tax rate – it does in effect offer many companies a zero tax base so they pay nothing at all in the Republic. Which is a major reason for their current economic malaise. And unless Northern Ireland want to go the same way they’d be most unwise to follow.

Those promoting the alternative idea – that the rate be cut – include the Taxpayer’s Alliance, KPMG and local big business  - are of course either indifferent to government itself or are acting out of self interest for a particular section of society – the owners of capital. But this factional view is an inappropriate basis for determining tax policy – which has to be based on the interest of the community as a whole. And as experience in the Republic has convincingly proved, when the state recedes – as it would have to if this proposal were adopted – the private sector does not rush in to fill the void. It flees in the face of falling demand. As a result you might get smakller government – the Taxpayer’s Alliance’s sole interest – but you also get an impoverished society.

Northern  Ireland wanted division, in other words. And they got it in 2015.

The reality is that the absence of a government in Northern Ireland has delayed implementation of this measure. That does not stop it being law. Nor does it stop the fact that the precedent of Northern Ireland being in tax alignment with the Republic has been set. And, as I outlined in some detail in 2010, the consequence was a requirement for an effective border in the Irish Sea.

May knows this.

I know May is playing games.

And we're all paying the price for that.

Borders that can exist when it suits Unionism and not when they don't do not need respecting.

If Ireland Can Get Out Of Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/08/2018 - 11:00pm in

On Thursday, July 12th, a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic proved it was on the right side of history. The Republic of Ireland passed a bill to divest its $370 million worth of investments in around 150 fossil fuel companies within five years. Should the bill pass the Irish Senate in September, which it is expected to do, Ireland will become the first country to fully divest from fossil fuels. This action marks a huge step forward. For years now, neighborhood climate activists have pressured cities, universities, and governments to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies. The idea is to defund and denounce the industry that contributes the most to climate change, funds climate denial, and prevents climate action. With its divestment bill, Ireland will join a group of almost 900 cities, universities, and governments that have collectively divested over $6 trillion from the extractive fossil fuel economy.

Ireland Considers Pauline Hanson’s Visit An Act Of War

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/07/2018 - 8:18am in


Politics, ireland

The Irish Government has released a statement condemning Australia for sending Pauline Hanson over on a visit and has indicated that they consider it an act of war.

“By sending this toxic hate filled individual to our country we take it as an attack. I mean why else would she be here,” said a Spokesperson for the Irish Government. “Every 5 minutes she’s either asking us to please explain, tell us we are in danger of being swamped by everything from Asians to spaghetti monsters or approaching our beggars on the street and asking them if they want to run as a candidate for One Nation.”

“Please make her go away or at least don’t ever let her travel with Cunard again or F’n Cunard as she pronounces it.”

When reached for a comment on her holiday Senator Hanson was seemingly oblivious to the hostility her trip has caused saying: “I’m having an absolute ball everyone here is so friendly and so white, it’s fantastic.”

However when talk turned to her Candidate in the Longman by-elections shady past Senator Hanson was not so enthused saying: “Longman by-election, I’m sorry you’re breaking up can’t hear you…it’s a really bad line….I’ll call back…..”

Mark Williamson

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter or like us on facebook

Ireland’s playing games in the last chance saloon of tax justice

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/07/2018 - 5:51pm in

The collective denial of tax abusers is one of the things that characterises their behaviour. It does not really matter which of the three parties to tax abuse - clients, advisers or facilitating governments - is considered, the ability to deny the reality of their actions is a consistent characteristic.

The latest example comes from Ireland. There the Irish Times has reported that:

Legislation that aims to tackle once and for all the “emerging international view of Ireland as a tax haven,” has been introduced in the Dáil.

Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said there was a need for a standing commission on taxation to deal with tax loopholes and other controversies.

She added that the growing international view and recent academic studies showing Ireland as a tax haven “have to be addressed definitively”.

Ms Burton was speaking as she introduced the Tax Law Reform and Codification Advisory Committee Bill, which would establish a taxation commission.

She claimed that “as a country we are drinking in a last chance saloon with how we participate in international tax justice and progress” and the “vital infrastructure” in the Bill was about this.

And then, as the report notes, she went on to say that problems with the exploitation of loss reliefs by banks and construction companies as well as the excessive cost of research and development allowances would be high on the new Commission’s agenda.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am sure these issues are important and need to be addressed. I therefore welcome the move to do so. But at the same time no one should pretend that this does in any way address the issue of tax justice and Ireland.

That issue is, as I once described it on Irish television, the fact that Ireland has made itself an international tax doormat where multinational companies can come, wipe a little dirt off their feet to leave a stain of economic activity, and then move on vast quantities of profit into tax havens almost entirely untaxed on their way through the Republic.

One quarter of Irish GDP is profit flowing through the country for this reason. That is why Ireland is a tax haven. That is why there are tax justice concerns about it. And that is why this Commission is just another sticking plaster.

Ireland knows how to stop being a tax haven. It has to firstly to raise its corporation tax rate to be in line with OECD smaller state averages. At least 20% is required. Then it stops advertising that it is a tax haven.

Then it has to have an effective tax administration. That is one that tries to collect tax from multinationals. It has not had such a thing for many years. That is because you cannot simultaneously advertise low tax as the main advantage of your country and then  try to collect tax from companies exploiting the advantages you offer. You destroy your whole economic policy if you do.

Third, Ireland has to become tax transparent. Local subsidiaries of multinationals must always be required to file their accounts on public record, which is not the case at present. Ireland is not just a tax haven at present, it is also a corporate secrecy jurisdiction.

And fourth, Ireland has to change its international spots, where it always opposes tax justice measures. We will know things are changing when Ireland calls for public  country-by-country reporting so that we can truly understand what happens there and in its relationship with the multinational tax community.

But most of all, Ireland needs to reform its whole structure so that profits simply cannot flow through it. This requires technical and admin changes which are wholly unrelated to bank losses but would create effective rules that ensure Ireland can no longer pretend that it can exist by routing financial flows from the world into tax havens, which is what it does now.

Finally, the minister needs to stop playing games. If Ireland is in the last chance saloon on Tax Justice it is time to take the issue seriously. There is little sign of that really happening.

Author Interview: Q&A with Sharon Crozier-De Rosa on her book, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/06/2018 - 10:28pm in

In this author interview, we speak to Sharon Crozier-De Rosa about her new book, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920, which examines the use of shame as an emotional tool in this highly divisive period for gender politics in and across these three countries. In the piece, she discusses the colonial and transnational dynamics of anti-suffrage movements, women’s militancy, her archival research in the Women’s Library and the continued significance of shame to understanding feminism today. 

Author Interview: Q&A with Sharon Crozier-De Rosa on her book, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920 (Routledge, 2018)

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Q: Could you introduce your new book Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash?

Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash is a transnational history of emotions, (anti-)feminism and nationalism. It is a study of the emotional tactics used by women in the attempt to prevent their own enfranchisement. In particular, it is an examination of the use of shame as an emotional tool in the highly divisive realm of gender politics in and across Britain, Ireland and Australia between 1890 and 1920.

The phenomenon of women opposing their own political advancement is puzzling. As such, it is often misunderstood or, given the eventual success of the ‘votes for women’ campaign, dismissed as irrelevant. In this book, I look not only at the reasons why anti-suffrage women assumed the position they did – a stance that placed them on the losing side of history – but I also examine the emotional strategies they adopted.

Published in the year that sees Britain and Ireland celebrate the centenary of the granting of the female franchise, the book casts light on the women who feverishly opposed organised feminism. It showcases the diversity of the politics of womanhood. It is compelled by questions such as: why were women leading such a vitriolic backlash against the campaign for women’s advancement? What had they to gain from participating in this very public, very bitter campaign? What emotional tools did they deem appropriate to police womanhood? And why was shame a tool in gender politics?

Q: What is sometimes obscured in histories of the suffrage movement is the imperial context in which it emerged and developed. Could you discuss some of the colonial and transnational dynamics that your book draws out in their complexity?

The politics of empire shaped the experiences of suffragists and anti-suffragists alike in all three sites examined in the book. Imperial ties connected women across Britain, Ireland and Australia, and women in each country referenced each other’s campaigns, whether such connections were welcome or not. Whether loyal or disloyal, each group of national womanhood had to frame their aspirations by referencing existing assumptions: for instance, about their country’s position on the hierarchical imperial spectrum or about the nature of British or non-British values.

For example, women at the centre of a vast imperial network were under pressure to represent imperial values, such as ‘civilisation’ and ‘respectability’. Publicly aping the habits and duties of men threatened Britain’s reputation as global upholders of those values. In the far-flung peripheries of empire, reluctant women voters – those who had opposed their own enfranchisement – were dedicated to voting in a way that upheld Australia’s reputation as a loyal member of the empire’s family of nations. In an increasingly fervent anti-colonial nationalist setting, Irish women were embroiled in vitriolic debates about whether or not to ‘beg’ the virulent British coloniser for a right to vote in an enemy imperial parliament.

Shame politics connected each site but were manifested differently in each country. Whereas Australian women worked to deflect any accusations of shameful conduct on the part of their young, white, aspiring nation, women in Britain felt that to bring shame on the relatively insignificant colonies meant something very different to dishonouring the centre of a vast imperial network. Irish women, on the other hand, struggled with the burden of whether or not joining their British sisters in demanding the vote in an enemy British parliament would bring more shame to a colonised Irish manhood and Irish nation.

There have been a number of fabulous studies that have examined suffrage politics in their transnational settings, whether from the point of view of the imperial centre, the perspective of those involved in feminist campaigns in the Antipodes or in tense anti-colonial sites like Ireland. My experiences as an historian of nationalist, imperial and gender politics, born in Ireland, now working in Australia, have inspired me to look for connections between diverse groups of national womanhood, while also respecting the uniqueness of different gendered cultures. This book, rather than collecting essays on different groups of national suffragists or plotting one national group’s interactions with the international movement, examines three groups of political women, connected by virtue of their opposition to the female franchise and their relative positions on the British imperial spectrum, to see if they forged emotional strategies that were national or transnational in character.

Image Credit: Anti-Suffrage Postcard (LSE Library)

Q: The granting of suffrage is often narrated as an outright triumph for women. But your scholarship underscores the extent to which many women felt ambivalent, apathetic or even hostile towards their enfranchisement. Is it important to underscore this complex, perhaps uncomfortable, diversity to challenge the notion of suffrage as being experienced as an unequivocal victory?

I remember first encountering passionately-articulated female opposition to suffragism that I was extremely uncomfortable with a number of years ago. As I read through the novels of an extraordinarily successful late Victorian and Edwardian female writer, Marie Corelli, to complete my PhD thesis on bestselling fiction and a history of women’s emotions in the early 2000s (subsequently published as The Middle Class Novels of Arnold Bennett and Marie Corelli, Mellen, 2010), I could not help but be disturbed by the glaring anti-feminist sentiment infusing her writing. Her books cast light on a world where feminist shaming, and sometimes woman hatred, were accepted and well-practised customs.

I was driven at the time to investigate why an eminently successful, independent, professional woman felt the need or desire to issue such vehement condemnations of female suffragists, and more generally why prominent women employed emotional tactics in such a reasoned and calculating way against other women.

In examining the views of women labelled ‘anti-feminist’, I wanted to help broaden current understandings of the sheer diversity of late Victorian and Edwardian conceptions of female citizenship – all from the point of view of women writers and activists participating in that mass public debate.

Q: Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash draws on archival research carried out in the Women’s Library based here at LSE (previously at London Metropolitan University). What role did the Library play in your research and did you discover any particularly memorable objects?

This book could not have been completed without the invaluable collections housed in the Women’s Library, one of the world’s preeminent collections of women’s archival materials.

In the first place, anti-suffragists lost the war on suffrage. As such, they are frequently overlooked by historians – their passionate campaigns, including their cutting attacks on suffragists, often act as an embarrassing reminder of an archaic, obsolete and ultimately failed movement. Yet, those compiling what became the Women’s Library did not overlook the contributions of these women to the highly volatile gender politics of the early twentieth century. Therefore, in a trip to London from Australia in the early 2010s, I was able to access preserved copies of the official organ of the National League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage (NLOWS), the Anti-Suffrage Review, which has been invaluable for my study of the British anti-suffragist mindset and political strategies.

Secondly, the Women’s Library has been a fabulous source of suffragist materials, including some intriguing ephemera. I have been able to access everything from flyers by constitutional suffragists condemning the actions of militants to a copy of Florence Claxton’s The Adventures of a Woman in Search of her Rights, complete with Claxton’s original drawings.

I know that throughout its existence the Women’s Library has struggled to survive, given the funding pressures placed on educational resources, but I am so happy that LSE has stepped in to save the collection. And now it is housed in an area of London renowned for its physical connections to the suffrage campaign, especially its militant side!

Q: Thinking about militancy, something your book discusses is the shame surrounding the figure of the violent or revolutionary woman, especially in the case of nationalist women in Ireland. Do you think any of the women in your book forged a ‘feminist ethics of violence’?

This is the issue that my book ends on. It is more of a question posed than answers given! It is also explored in greater detail in a book that I have co-written with Vera Mackie, due to be published in a few months, entitled Remembering Women’s Activism (Routledge, 2018). In sections of that book, we look at how militant women in various global suffrage and nationalist campaigns are remembered publicly, and according to the changing prerogatives of their respective nation-states.

The thing about constructing what might be termed a feminist ethics of violence is that the notion of women perpetrating acts of violence divides the feminist community almost as much – if not more – than the community of those not subscribing to feminist views. Violent women, then, fought on many fronts.

On the issue of whether or not militant or violent women affected any long-term transformation of gendered emotional norms, I find it useful to look at how Constance Markievicz has been remembered in postcolonial Ireland and in the state north of the border, Northern Ireland.

Constance Markievicz mural, West Belfast, Northern Ireland

Markievicz was a nationalist, socialist and feminist politician and a soldier. She was a vocal advocate of women arming in defence of their country. She argued that British notions of sex segregation, enforced through the colonising process, had eroded Irish notions of gender equality – equality in militant as well as non-militant spaces.

Constance Markievicz statue, Dublin, Ireland

However, I argue that, through her militancy, Markievicz did not succeed in transforming gendered emotional regimes. Instead, she and other women like her who persisted in fighting for a Republic on the whole island of Ireland have been perceived as a shameful and embarrassing reminder that the postcolonial Irish man once had need of his revolutionary sisters to help him win his war against the British coloniser. This can be seen via the ‘Poppet’ statue, for example. In 1998, a statue of Markievicz and her dog, Poppet, was erected outside a fitness facility in Dublin. It is a very tame, feminine portrait of the revolutionary with her domestic pet. Disarmed and domesticated – in the same year that the Northern Irish state that Markievicz had fought against was disarmed via the signing of the historic 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement – the Poppet statue provides no evidence that its central subject has ever been anything but a sentimentally popular local heroine.

Go north of the border where a simmering sort of peace reigns and the need for the potential of the revolutionary woman still exists. As such, Markievicz and her warrior sisters continue to adorn the walls of West Belfast estates. We look at the many other ways Markievicz has been (mis)remembered in Remembering Women’s Activism.

Q: Your research explores shame as a ‘versatile political tool’ in the debates around women’s suffrage. Do you see shame as operating in notable ways in contemporary feminist battles too?

Yes, certainly. Shame is, in effect, the fear of being judged defective by an individual or group to whom one attaches value. It is the fear of doing something that causes that group to exclude or ostracise you. Therefore, as scholars of the emotion attest, shame is always present because as humans we always fear being excluded – of not belonging.

In November 2016, I wrote a piece for The Conversation that examined why feminists felt that it was OK to shame Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the US Presidential Election. Clinton was shamed as every form of bad feminist. She was a bad pacifist feminist. She was a bad intersectionalist feminist. She was a sexist wife who joined in the slut-shaming of Monica Lewinsky after her affair with Bill. In that article, I asked if all this feminist in-fighting demonstrated that gender solidarity did not trump all, as many have triumphantly claimed. My response was: no, I think it confirms the opposite.

Woman shaming reveals – as it has since the earliest women’s rights movements – that the issue of gender solidarity is at the heart of the matter. Much of this shaming of women voters and women candidates, such as Clinton, is not about denying the notion of gender solidarity. Rather, it is about women attempting to construct a relevant and workable model of twenty-first-century feminism. In the case of Clinton and global feminist aspirations, it was about women trying to reach a consensus about what a female president should look and sound like. It was about defining the community of womanhood – and/or of feminism – to which women wanted to belong.

What I concluded in that Conversation piece was that if American women had had 44 female presidents to represent them, as men had had, then they would not have had need of this one woman – Hillary Clinton – to embody all facets of what has always been a highly diverse and fractured community of feminist womanhood.

Whatever we think about the desirability of feminist shaming, one good thing that has resulted from this campaign is the passionate body of debate centred on twenty-first-century feminist values – a body of debate that is reminiscent of that taking place a century ago!

Sharon Crozier-De Rosa is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Wollongong. She is the author of Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920 (Routledge 2018) and Remembering Women’s Activism, co-written with Vera Mackie (Routledge 2018, currently in press). She also publishes on emotions, nationalism and imperialism, and violent/militant women. Sharon is a past National Convenor of the Australian Women’s History Network (AWHN), past recipient of the AWHN’s Mary Bennett Prize, ongoing Editorial Board member of the AWHN’s journal, Lilith: A Feminist History Journal and current Co-Convenor of UOW’s Feminist Research Network (FRN). Sharon blogs at The Militant Woman. Follow Sharon on Twitter @S_CrozierDeRosa.

This interview was conducted by Dr Rosemary Deller, Managing Editor of the LSE Review of Books blog. The images of the Constance Markievicz mural and statue were kindly provided by the author, Sharon Crozier-De Rosa. 

Note: This interview gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.