North of Ireland to vote on 2 March

North of Ireland to vote on 2 March

Following the resignation, last week, of Sinn Fein’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in protest at unionist arrogance and intransigence, the Stormont Executive has collapsed and new elections will be held on 2 March.
Britain’s governor in the north of Ireland, James Brokenshire, made the announcement almost exactly one week after Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness resigned and thereby also removed DUP leader Arlene Foster from her post of First Minister.

Sinn Fein’s most senior Minister at Stormont, Mid-Ulster Assembly member Michelle O’Neill, confirmed Sinn Fein would not nominate
a new deputy First Minister. She said the party had been “stretched to the limit” by the DUP and it was “calling time” on the Stormont institutions.

Ms O’Neill paid tribute to Mr McGuinness’s “Trojan efforts” during his 10 years as deputy first minister and said her party would not tolerate the “arrogance and disrespect of the DUP. Sinn Fein will only be part of institutions which work and deliver for all in the community,” she said. “There can be no return to the status quo. If something is broken, you stop and you fix it.”

The move by Sinn Fein was not unexpected as the republican party had warned on multiple occasions in recent weeks that its patience with its unionist partners, the Democratic Unionist Party, had finally run out.
Finally Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams signalled the party could withdraw Mr McGuinness in order to make Ms Foster’s position untenable.

Due to the joint nature of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the move means the DUP leader Arlene Foster is no longer First Minister, that the power-sharing Executive has collapsed and that a new election is pending to the Stormont Assembly.

Mr McGuinness’s resignation comes amid question marks over his own health, but there is no doubt the move follows directly from the actions of DUP leader Arlene Foster and her Ministers. Most recently, this has been Foster’s failure to recognise the seriousness of corruption allegations facing her party over a government renewable energy incentive scheme which will cost in the region of a billion pounds in public funds. Known as the ‘cash for ash’ scandal, the scheme provided limitless subsidies for those who burned a certain biomass fuel well in excess of the cost of the fuel itself, and had generated public outrage and despair.

In yet another show of arrogance Foster made it clear she was prepared to see Assembly elections rather than step aside ahead of an independent investigation. In a message to Mr McGuinness – before the announcement of his resignation – she had said: “If Sinn Fein are playing a game of chicken, and they think we are going to blink in relation to me stepping aside they are wrong – I won’t be stepping aside. And if there is an election, there is an election. I take my directions from the electorate and certainly not from Sinn Fein,” she declared.

Indeed elections will be.

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The single most important issue facing the people of Ireland and Britain is the achievement of Irish unity and the construction of a new relationship between Ireland and Britain based on equality. Economic crises, however severe, will come and go. Governments will come and go, but for more centuries than any of us care to contemplate Britain’s involvement in Ireland has been the source of conflict; partition, discord and division; and
great hurt between the people of these islands.The peace process has delivered an end to conflict and that is to be welcomed and applauded. But the underlying cause of conflict persists – the British government’s claim of jurisdiction over a part of Ireland. It is this denial of the Irish people’s right to self-determination, freedom and independence that is the core outstanding issue that must be resolved. Sinn Féin is initiating a conversation this week in Westminster about achieving this. Sinn Féin believes that a national representative democracy in a sovereign reunited Ireland is desirable, viable and achievable in this generation through peaceful and democratic methods.

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Modernità capitalista e la questione kurda: intervento di Toni Negri

In search of the Commonwealth

Antonio Negri

1. Empire and Multitude raised many problems and questions: it was pointless to define these again in Commonwealth, and of no use to try to solve them. Rather, it was better to begin anew and, on the basis of the concepts we had developed, dwell on the question of what the political is today. What is subversive politics? What partage of the social does it involve? How can capital be fought today? By moving on from the debates around those books, we are convinced we can confront the unsolved problems with renewed strength. But after ten years of work on Empire and Multitude, when sat down to write Commonwealth, our convictions had strengthened and our perceptions matured: contemporaneity had been re-defined, and the time when the prefix post- could define the present was over. We had certainly experienced a transition, but what were the symptoms of its end?

In particular, our impression was that the concept of democracy was being re-evaluated. During the War on Terror, this concept had been worn out by the frenzied propaganda of the neo-conservatives, and political science had witnessed the emergence of issues that could no longer be comprehended with the concept of democracy. To simplify, we refer to what Rosavallon tries to grasp and qualify in his latest book (La contre-démocratie. La politique à l’âge de la défiance), when he states: ‘the republic and the comportments of modern populations have left something profound behind that cannot be found again, something obscure that can no longer be explained’. In this way Rosavallon tries to define sentiments of mistrust and impotence, those figures of de-politicisation that arise out of contemporary democracy. And almost against his own wishes, he adds that ‘political democracy’ has become the name for the consolidation of a ‘mixed regime’ that includes counter-democracy, a ‘democracy of exception’.

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