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CYM Solidarity with Cuban 5, Sep 2013

cuban5_vigil

The Connolly Youth Movement calls for an immediate release of Cuban heroes: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Rene González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort. Five men are held as political prisoners by the US, after unfair trial convicted and sentenced to four life terms and one 75 years. Cuban 5 were gathering information on violent Miami exile gangs, who planned terrorist attacks on Cuban soil.
CYM expresses the full solidarity with Cuban patriots and demands the review of the case and immediate release of Cuban 5.
Photo: Vigil for Cuban 5, The Spire, Dublin (Sep. 12, 2013)

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Flyer for CYM table quiz, Aug 2013

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The Arrests, Why Now?

The Arrests, Why Now?
CYM Statement:

When people woke up on Monday morning to the news that 4 people had been arrested – AAA/SP TD Paul Murphy, AAA Cllr Kieran Mahon, AAA Cllr Mick Murphy and the now airbrushed Scott Masterson of Éirigí, there was an initial state of bemusement. Since then more arrests have taken place and more will come in for questioning over the alleged ‘imprisonment’ of Joan Bruton. These events are without a doubt hugely politically motivated.

The question that people need to be asking is why now? The CYM recognise and agree that this has the hallmarks of a maneuver to discredit the R2W and anti-water charges protesters. Tensions will begin to mount among those families, residents and protest groups of the detainees, while the wider movement will rightly condemn these arrests.

It is quite clear that the government’s tactics of trying to appease the public by making changes to the Irish water package have failed, with wide-scale refusal to sign up to Irish water now a reality. These arrests in this context are clearly then a new tactic to try and raise tensions, with the possibility of violence breaking out among the water protesters. These arrests therefore are a new attempt at trying to draw out anti-social behaviors so as to be able to generate headlines, in order to demonise the R2W and anti-water charges movement.

However there is another element to the arrests which the CYM believe has to be raised – the next general election. It is quite clear that the arrests were a very well thought out and orchestrated political stunt, devised by the government, carried out by the Gardai and played out in the media, with the immediate goal of trying to discredit the water campaign among those that are sitting on the fence about it.

CYM pose the question, in whose interests then do these arrests serve? Who is to gain and who will lose? The one thing that is for certain is that Paul Murphy and the Anti Austerity Alliance/Socialist Party have just been gifted a national platform and could not have asked for much more, as their public profile will have skyrocketed from all the media attention.

People may believe that this was a stupid and strange move by the government but actually when you look at who is likely to be hurt the most by a rise in AAA/SP support you have to conclude that it will be Sinn Féin. This episode has been a political exercise in vote splitting in the anti-water charges camp, which in turn will weaken the overall chance for a Sinn Féin led government at the next general election.

There can be no questioning that the Irish state is looking both at the immediate water mobilisation and at the next general election. In both cases they are looking to divide and conquer. In both cases they see a very real threat to their party votes and in terms of the international context they have every reason to fear a mobilisation of people away from the Troika parties.

On this basis the CYM urge those that are engaged and work with R2W, not be tempted to fall into their trap. We urge that R2W protests remain peaceful and that those that try to instigate violence be condemned. Discipline and solidarity is needed by all groups within R2W at this time. The propaganda war will be in full swing and it wont take much to create sensationalist headlines that will look to isolate the protesters from the general public.

The CYM would have hoped that AAA/SP would have extended their solidarity to Éirigí member Scott Masterson, but it seems that by omitting him in their official statements they are taking a narrow party line to advance their position politically. It seems the seeds of division have sprouted stems.

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Explaining Economics Part 2- Labour Theory of Value and Commodities

The labour theory of value

The labour theory of value is the very basis and foundation upon which economics can be understood. It is the key that Marx and Engels found through their studies and is the basis of understanding exploitation in capitalist society.

The scientific method of studying economics begins with the manner in which all things are created. Marx and Engels continued the study of classical economists by starting their analysis at the beginning, how we produce everything.
What creates everything around us? What gives value to otherwise useless matter? Labour, work, creates all value. The apple on the tree comes from nature but as a valuable object it is useless until picked from the tree by someone’s labour. Labour alone creates value. It is the application of our strength, tools, know how to material that creates food, objects, art, culture, etc. etc.

What is the common social substance of all commodities? It is labour. To produce a commodity a certain amount of labour must be bestowed upon it, or worked upon on it.    —Karl Marx, “Value, Price and Profit” (1865)                                                                                             
If labour produces all value, then it is only those who labour that create worth. It is those who work that create what we need. It is workers who grow the food we eat, it is bus drivers who provide the service we need, etc. Those bosses, capitalists, who employ us, who pay for our labour through wages, don’t actually create value themselves. They just own us who do.
. . . The working class alone produce all values.    -F. Engels, “Introduction to Wage-Labour and Capital” (1891)

Commodities and labour

We have said above that labour creates all value. It is only through labour that we can create commodities. What, then, are commodities? Commodities are anything that can be bought and sold to create more wealth, more capital. Commodities, as such, have not always existed, just as capital as we know it has not always existed. It is the capitalist method of ownership, production and exchange that creates commodities, and the production and sale of commodities expands the system.

The labour theory of value not only says that labour creates value, it also shows how labour is the measure of value. That is when we ask the question, how much does something cost, we could be asking how much labour went into the production. The more labour that goes into creating something the more it costs.

The value of a commodity is determined by the total quantity of labour contained in it.-K. Marx, “Value, Price and Profit” (1865)

Compare that of an apple and gold. Which one is more expensive, which one requires more labour? In forthcoming editions we will have to look at “prices” of commodities, because other factors of course play a role too. But labour is the dominant determining factor in the cost of commodities. It is the comparison of labour time spent in the creation of commodities that is reflected in their differing prices.

A commodity has a value, because it is a crystallisation of social labour. The greatness of its value, or its relative value, depends upon the greater or less amount of that social substance contained in it . . . The relative values of commodities are, therefore, determined by their respective quantities or amounts of labour, worked up, realised, fixed in them. –K. Marx, “Value, Price and Profit” (1865)

Labour too, however, is a commodity. It is the vital ingredient in the production of goods and services, and ultimately capital. Labour is the vital commodity.

Labour-power, then, is a commodity, no more, no less so than is the sugar. The first is measured by the clock, the other by the scales.-K. Marx, “Wage-Labour and Capital” (1847)

Labour is used by those who own capital to create more capital. Those who do not have the resources to buy and pay for the factory or office, the material resources, the training and education and most importantly the labour have only their labour to sell. They are forced by circumstances to sell their labour-power to the boss.

What they [workers] actually sell to the capitalist for money is their labour-power.-K. Marx, “Wage-Labour and Capital” (1847) …Precisely from the fact that labour depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than his labour power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men who have made themselves the owners of the objective conditions of labour. He can work only with their permission, hence live only with their permission.-K. Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Programme” (1875)

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Football, Capitalism And The Fight Back By Fans


From issue 10 of Forward

It has been called soccer and footy; some call it the foreign game; others the garrison game more call it the beautiful game and the workingman’s game. But for most of us it’s just plain old football. And football has been at the centre of the cultural life of the working class throughout the world ever since the modern game first emerged from the grotty industrial cities of Victorian England. Indeed without the victory of the labour movement for the five-day week in Britain, workers would simply have had no time for football. And without workers we would no players and no fans.

Yet there lies the paradox. Like everything else in a capitalist society the bosses own football created by workers. As soon as capitalists realised that they could charge people into watch football matches they have placed themselves in the position of club owners, ‘chairmen’, ´board members’, ‘directors’ and ‘investors’. Turning a cultural item, which rightful belongs to the people into a ‘profitable industry’ for the bosses.

Today after well over a century of professional Football we can clearly see the price fans have paid for the role capitalism has played in the game. Corruption is wide spread and the very credulity of the game now hangs in the balance.

Football Clubs like Manchester United and Bayern Munich have become giant faceless corporate brand names with the ubiquity of McDonald and Coca-Cola. Increasingly alienating even toward their own traditional fan base. In Britain, the home of football or so we are told the problem has become almost unbearable. Although creepy capitalists have always been there in the background of the English game they are now it the process of ruining the game they pretend to manage.

In the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster back in 1989, the “Taylor Report” on football supporter safety, which recommended all-seated facilities, club owners seized on the opportunity to justify jacking up prices. Prices went from under 10s to 25s and beyond. The top clubs of the English 1st Division rebelled because the some of the money they generated was being used to develop the game in the lower divisions. These clubs would go on to form the English Premiership. English fans would suffer further at the hand of the corporate vultures such as media mogul Rupert Murdock who’s Sky Sports Channel bought up the ‘rights’ to show weekday and Sunday matches. Today Sky Sports has almost a monopoly on the ‘rights’ to show English and Scottish Football. The ordinary fans have all but lost the chance to see their own game on terrestrial television.

To add insult to injury English Football fans have the gloomy prospect of having their beloved local club bought over by a Multi-millionaire. Some might think this is a good thing. In practice however the reality is a little different. Since the Russian Mafia Oligarch Roman Abramovich has taken over at Chelsea Football Club he has invested an estimated $440 million. Yet ticket prices have risen over 70%. It is also widely believed that Abramovich’s spending spree has over heated the players transfer market.

Fearing the worst, rebel Manchester United supporters have decided to go it alone as American billionaire Martin Glazer; the owner of the New York Yankees took over at the Club. The renegade fans fed up with years of being ripped off by their own club with ticket prices, needless replica jersey changes and general poor treatment of the fans have decided to form their own breakaway FC United of Manchester. The new club now plays in the semi-professional Northern Premiership and has won promotion for two consecutive years since the clubs foundation three years ago.

This is following a pattern of rebellion amongst fans. The owners of Wimbledon FC had threatened to move out of South London after years of having to rent Selhurst Park from rivals Crystal Palace. The clubs onetime millionaire chairman Sam Hammam had made plans to move Wimbledon FC to Dublin. This prompted fierce opposition from both Wimbledon FC fans and National League fans who fear if English Premiership games where played in Dublin this would undermine the domestic game. Sam Hammam left Wimbledon for Cardiff City and new club owners moved to Milton Keynes renaming the club MK Dons FC. Wimbledon fans have rejected the move and have formed their own AFC Wimbledon and are now playing Football in regional semi-professional Football.

Red Bull; the “energy drinks” firm bought out Austria Salzburg and changed the clubs name to Red Bull Salzburg along with the club colours from their traditional Violet and White to red. However a large section of rebel fans have joined their fellow renegades in Manchester and Wimbledon in forming their own club this time retaining the original name and colours.

Domestic football in Ireland may be far removed from the glamour and multi million Euro transfers but money talks here just the same. Two of Dublin’s largest football clubs Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne FC have faced major financial troubles in the last few years. Despite a massive protest by KRAM (Keep Rovers at Milltown) Shamrock Rover have been without a permanent home since 1989 when the clubs owners, the Kilcoyne family sold their ground at Glenmalure Park, Milltown. The club was intended to move to Tolka Park but so far away from the traditional home on the south side of the city the move proved to be a disaster. The club have been moving from stadium to stadium ever since.

But as the game has suffered at the hand of capitalist it has created vibrant fighting fans. Bray Wanderers Supporters Club alongside the people of Bray fought and won the battle to keep their stadium, the Carlisle Ground in the town centre. Bray Urban District Council wanted to sell off the property to developers who wanted to build a Supermarket and car park on the site. However after a lengthy battle with the fans and the towns people the Wanderers where granted a 100 year lease on the site.

Donegal club, Finn Harps FC, has for many years now been run as a Co-operative by the fans and local business people and the club remains hugely popular in the Northwest.

Supporters clubs seeing the danger of corporate interests in game have become far more than just organising bus and rail travel for away games. In Germany and Italy fan clubs have kept ticket prices low and defended the right to have standing room terraces despite pressure from both the European Union and the club owners to enforce all-seated stadiums.

Capitalism has given Football fans a number of stark choices for the future. Will Football be something, which distracts people from their own conditions and cements division and sectarianism? Will football be just another way for advertisers to reach consumers? Will football be simply another product to be bought and sold? Will football be something only the wealthy few can afford to enjoy? Or will fans fight so football can be something which will unite people, build community spirit, celebrate sportsmanship, athleticism and will enrich the lives of working people? The future is in our own hands it seems.

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