The Queen in the postcolony

Talking about the effects of a long history of colonisation is not exemplary of the holding of a 'petty grudge' or a failure to let go of the past, writes Cian O'Callaghan. The effects of Ireland's particular history on its particular present cannot so easily be dismissed, and deserve to be engaged with.

Onwards and backwards?

There are plenty of parallels to be drawn between Ireland in 2011 and Ireland in 1911, writes Adam Larragy; indeed, we are ominously close now to where we were then.

Citizens' initiatives, cave dwellers and the harsh fire of thought control.

While there is no question but that We The Citizens has some entirely laudable aims - the reimagination of our broken political system; placing citizens at the heart of deciding what kind of country they wish to have – it ignores questions of power and autonomy, placing its faith instead in an imago of a free individual who will, given the opportunity, express opinions and beliefs which are untainted by power and ideology.

Why we don’t need an academic rebel alliance

As an intellectual, the first duty of the academic who wishes to engage with society is on the level of ideas, writes Eddie Brennan. Trying to build a new society within the institutions, language and politics of the nineteenth century is hopeless; what is needed from intellectuals and academics is rebellious thought.

Debt and austerity: from the global south to Europe

Between 6 and 8 May hundreds of campaigners against debt and austerity gathered in Athens to exchange ideas and information on everything from the experience of default to the structure of debt audits. Andy Storey was there, and reports that delegates came away from the event determined to build a truly global movement for economic justice.

It's not popular, but it is profitable

The argument over wages and competitiveness usually lacks one critical fact: that that argument, when articulated by the likes of IBEC or Chambers Ireland, is not really about competitiveness at all, and is rather about maintaining or increasing the profit margins enjoyed by employers at the expense of their employees, writes Aidan Regan.

The real public sector

{jathumbnail off}The long-running project whereby a wedge is driven between private and public sector workers, as if each was a separate species (and with the defining characterisitics of the latter a tail and pointy horns) has had a fairly simple outcome, as Hugh Green writes below, and that is 'to mobilise animosity among disaffected and hard pressed workers employed in the private that they seek, via the assault on the public sector, to drive down their own wages, working conditions and social provision.' Meanwhile, overlooked

A serious man for a serious job

Speaking on RTÉ radio's Dialogue a number of years ago writer John Moriarty, quoting Philip Larkin's Church Going, said: 'There's that last wonderful stanza:

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

Building movements, debating movement building

{jathumbnail off}The recent upsurge in movement building is something to be celebrated, in that it both reflects and answers the demand for new forms of social and political involvement from the people. It is a difficult and often chaotic process, writes Niall Crowley, which needs to try and answer questions like: How to challenge dominant ideas and entrenched mindsets? How to build effective forms of organisation on what is currently emerging? What effective strategies for change can be developed on actions currently being taken?

Let's make a deal

{jathumbnail off}Yes, Morgan Kelly is right: Ireland has to ditch this bailout. But no, that doesn’t mean we have to deliver a ‘lethal injection’ to the economy by immediately balancing the books. The ECB isn’t the only bank in town, writes former commercial banker John Clark - Ireland simply needs to look to examples, and perhaps lenders, beyond the European centre.