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CroppyBoy

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CroppyBoy last won the day on December 14 2012

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About CroppyBoy

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  1. CroppyBoy

    What are you reading at the moment?

    Finished reading Patrick MacGill’s Children of the Dead End. An excellent account of working class life in the pre WW1 twentieth century. The book is semi autobiographical although MacGill chooses to use the name Dermod Flynn for his main character. Flynn is born into a poor rural Donegal family and the first few chapters recount his life there. The conditions he describes are shocking. A place where children die for want of money to pay a doctor. The money in the house is set aside for the landlord and the local priests ‘tax’ and cannot be spared to pay the doctor. As Dermod grows up he is sent to ‘hiring fares’ in Strabane when he is 12, where farmers essentially purchased a slave for a set amount of time. The descriptions of the work undertaken and the life he led are again shocking and very sad. It is not hard to imagine tens of thousands of children across Ireland experiencing a similar childhood. The next stage of the book describes Dermod’s time with a squad of potato pickers from his home town as they work farms around Scotland. The conditions these poor people endured to send a few pounds home to their families were disgusting and the farmer’s animals seemed to get better living quarters. Much money is squandered on gambling and drink and not all the squad from Donegal make it back to their families. The book then moves on to Dermod’s travels around Scotland with an array of other tramps and navvies. Descriptions of his life on the road and the jobs undertaken form the bulk of the book, particularly his time working on a plant in Kinlochleven. Thousands of men were employed on the Kinlochleven and probably hundreds died, nameless and forgotten. It is around this tiem that MacGill becomes a socialist. His socialism is borne out of the hard experience of his life. He describes walking past a park where socialist speakers would address crowds delivering what MacGill termed ‘…the true Christian Gospel of socialism’. He describes attempting to lead a strike amongst his group of navvies who are working in unimaginable conditions. A thoroughly sad and shocking book. MacGill gives a voice to the Irish experience in Scotland at the time. I had never heard of this book growing up, perhaps because of MacGill’s scathing attitude to the church. The local priest Fr Devaney is described as a tyrannical man, keeping ‘his flock’ in poverty and ignorance. Devaney urges people under the threat of eternal damnation to make sure all their debts to the local landlord and gombeen man are paid. Devaney taxes the local population to build a luxiourous home for himself. A must read book for anyone interested in the Irish experience in Scotland or rural Irish poverty at the time. As the intro to the book says, the book is a true ‘proletarian novel’ in the tradition of Robert Tressel’s ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropist’.
  2. Sounds good. Hopefully it will be an active group that can co-ordinate action and provide a space for Socialist Republicans from different groups to some together.
  3. I agree with that but there is a tradition of working class education and self improvement that seems to have been completely 'airbrushed' out of history. To say that to want your kids to do well in school is middle class and to have no expectation is working class is completely self defeatist (Im not saying you said that but that is often the general tone of debate when people talk about class and education). Our cultural capital of self improvement, libraries, evening classes etc seems to have been buried. To want to acheive educationally, is now considered a middle class and that is a great defeat for working class people. Education is so important. The last thing the elite want is a educated, well read working class population. The media, quite purposefully, often conflate the working class with drugs, crime, fecklesness etc. The other side of working class life is studiously ignored.
  4. CroppyBoy

    What are you reading at the moment?

    Just started 'Children of the Dead End' by Patrick MacGill. A semi auto-biographical account of Patrick MacGill's life as a labourer in Donegal, Scotland and England before the First World War.. Great read so far, still on the early chapters, he hasnt yet gone over to Scotland. Scathing of the gombeen men who kept people in permanent debt and the church for backing them.
  5. CroppyBoy

    What are you reading at the moment?

    Yes, it goes into detail into some of the atrocities in Kenya. Brutal stuff. Good chapter on the Opium Wars as well. The East India Company were essentially drug dealing to fund their operations in India. Some major names in the financial and other industries today made their fortunes poisoning the Chinese people. A very readable and informative book that I'd recommend. Nearly finished it now.
  6. CroppyBoy

    Comhrá - Chat for absolute beginners

    Ah, Tá brón orm. Tá a ainm James.
  7. CroppyBoy

    Comhrá - Chat for absolute beginners

    Go raibh mile maith agat mo chara. Tá sí go an-mhaith. I cant get the last bit of your post...
  8. CroppyBoy

    What are you reading at the moment?

    Owen Jones wrote it. It is meant to be very good. Its about the (successful) demonisation of the working class in England. From salt of the earth to feckless scroungers. Its on my list to read... http://www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk/cgi/store/bookmark.cgi?review=new&isbn=9781844676965&cart_id=217737.26555
  9. CroppyBoy

    Comhrá - Chat for absolute beginners

    Mo bhean chéile go raibh buachaill leanbh tseachtain seo caite. Tá áthas orm!
  10. Thought it might be an idea to have a thread for people to discuss the books they are currently reading. Apologies if there is already one and I missed it! Currently reading 'The Blood Never Dried. A Peoples History Of the British Empire' by John Newsinger. Very good read. 15 or so fairly short, very easy to read chapters breaking down the crimes of the British Empire. A chapter on the Irish 'Famine' fairly gets the blood boiling. Excellent chapter on Kenya detailing the barbarity of the treatment dished out by the Brits to the Kikiyu people in particular, torture, castration, mass executions etc. I'd definitely reccomend it. A very good antidote to the Niall Ferguson, Andrew Marr, David Starkey type school of historiograpy which tells us the British Empire was some sort of Benign, benevolant, paternalistic trading enterprise. Some shocking stuff in the book. The author bases the book on the fact that empires are built on such violence and cruelty and that such instances cant be written off as the work of a minority of people. Very good read.
  11. CroppyBoy

    Comhrá - Chat for absolute beginners

    Bhí sé ag cur sneachta í Londain inné agus Dé Domhnaigh.
  12. One thing you could clarify for me cara if you can... In Things vs Processes you say: Of course, it is very tempting to see ourselves a constant things. But, in reality, we are the combination of many processes, such as the flowing of blood, the creation and destruction of cells, the forming and forgetting of thoughts and memories, etc. etc. Then in the discussion on Hegel and Von Shelling: you were who you were. You bore your fathers name, and usually his trade. And that was you. You were a finished product by your late teens. Your life was a life of "being," not "becoming." The idea of eternal becoming seems to break that mould - and so it does. However, in our time, this idea has become almost oppressive. People are constantly doing courses, looking for promotion, etc. etc. to the point that just "being" seems impossible. Now, I understand the basis of dialectics, process etc. However from the discussion on Von Shellings point, doesnt he seem to be arguing against it? What I mean is his argument seems to be that just "being" is preferable to "becoming". Isnt that going against dialectical thought ie. someone becoming a "thing" rather than a "process". (Obviously dicounting the biological and environmental processes involved in someones life) I take your point when you say - 'courses and various other ego trips that they had no need of'. However, would people attempting to further educate and improve their situations mean they fall into Von Shelling's "becoming" rather than "being"? Isnt "being" essentially what the capitalist elite would love us to do? I suppose, essentially, what Im trying to say is how does "being" differ from "accepting"? I certainly dont accept that it is my lot in life to work in a low wage and insecure job until I can retire on a pittance of a state pension when Im over 70 (as it probably will be by the time I get to retirement!) or until I get ill and die. Therefore, I do strive for promotions or better jobs, education etc. I have to strive for these things as the society we live in does not allow me to have a decent standard of life (decent housing, enough to raise my family in reasonable health and comfort, disposable income to enjoy lesuire time etc) without these things.
  13. Very interesting read cara. Did you write these yourself for some talks you have given or something? Some quite complicated ideas are explained very well there. Go raibh maith agat.
  14. CroppyBoy

    Brian Shivers Conviction Quashed

    Great news there. British justice-internment and fit ups. Like Lugh said, the court was happy to sentance him to 25 years on next to no evidence. Hopefully he'll be home soon and they wont drag it out hold him while they set a retrial or anything.
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