Cultural Appropriation, Plastic Paddies and Irish-Americans – Who does culture belong to?

The first time I ever heard of Cultural Appropriation, I thought it was a ridiculous notion. How can it be wrong to copy another culture? What’s wrong with taking inspiration and emulating other nations? The idea that some cultures belonged to only one people seemed incredibly regressive, narrow-minded and almost racist. If some music and fashion belongs only to black people and white people can’t use it, then does that mean that there are some fashions and music that only belong to white people? Continue reading “Cultural Appropriation, Plastic Paddies and Irish-Americans – Who does culture belong to?”

Could The Far-Right Be Successful In Ireland?

Across the West there has been a growth in support for the far-right and a surge in the number of votes they’ve received. New Fascist political parties have been increasing in size and influence and even the mainstream conservative parties have been pulled further right. Anti-immigrant sentiment can be seen in the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump and the threat of Marine Le Pen.

So far Ireland has stayed completely clear of this rising tide. There is no New Fascist presence here and little anti-immigrant activity. There have been attempts to create a far-right party (Identity Ireland and the National Party) but neither of them got off the ground. A google search shows that their party launch was their only activity. Out of all the candidates in the 2016 general election, only a single one could be called far-right and he only received 183 votes.

So is Ireland safe? Does the far-right simply have no appeal here? Is there something about Irish society or politics that prevents the extremists from being popular? Or are we just as susceptible as the rest of the West and might one day too have to face far-right extremism? Can it happen here? Continue reading “Could The Far-Right Be Successful In Ireland?”

Does Fascism Exist Anymore?

Across Europe and America there is a surge in support for far-right politicians which has led some to fear a resurgence in Fascism. Donald Trump in particular has been labelled a Fascist and accused of normalising Fascism in America. A book review of the rise of Hitler lead many to draw parallels with the rise of Trump (whether it was written that way or not). The night he was elected president, my article “How Fascism Takes Over” received a surge in views, receiving a months’ worth of views in two days. Some wonder if we will see a rise of Fascism across Europe.

Yet others see this as merely hysteria. Many believe that Fascism died in the Second World War, that the age of uniformed thugs attacking Jews no longer exists. That Fascism is a mere insult that has lost all meaning. That to worry about Fascism is to cry wolf and nothing more than an attempt to smear your opponents. So does Fascism still exist? Continue reading “Does Fascism Exist Anymore?”

Would Bernie Sanders Have Won?

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton, many people are wondering how it could have been avoided. A common explanation I’ve seen a lot on social media, is that if only the Democrats had chosen Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump certainly would have been defeated. Only Sanders had the principles and honesty to mobilise and enthuse people to counter Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric. Some even go further claiming that the DNC rigged or even stole the election from Sanders. Continue reading “Would Bernie Sanders Have Won?”

I Have Dual Irish-American Citizenship But Today I Only Feel Irish

No matter which way you look at it, I’m the child of immigrants. My mother was born on a small farm in Cavan and emigrated to America in 1980. What else was there to do? Cavan is a small place and the economy was in a terrible state with no work to be found. There were 7 children in the family, 6 of whom emigrated (the rest went to Britain). In New York she met my father, a man from Brooklyn with a Danish surname. In 1990, they returned to Ireland, she had become an American citizen and later him an Irish citizen. So when I was born in 1991, I was automatically a dual citizen with a foot in either world. Continue reading “I Have Dual Irish-American Citizenship But Today I Only Feel Irish”

Why America Should Adapt The Irish Electoral System

After an extraordinary campaign, Americans are finally voting. One of the most incredible things about the American electoral system is how dysfunctional it is. What’s even more incredible is that everyone knows this. From the insane amounts of money spent, the stifling two party system, the inexplicable electoral college, the incredibly long campaigns, extreme partisanship, the lack of choices and so on. It’s truly a bizarre system that few people can defend. However, most discussions have a fatalistic tone, ‘elections have always been bizarre, there’s nothing that can be done.’

However, I will now show that a better electoral system isn’t just some pipe dream or unrealistic fantasy, it already exists. It isn’t merely a hypothetical dream, it has been put into practice and it works. There is a far better system that I am very familiar with, here in my native Ireland. As a dual Irish and American citizen, I think I’m in a good place to compare both systems. Continue reading “Why America Should Adapt The Irish Electoral System”

The 5 Narratives Of The 2016 Election

(I’ve considered deleting this post as it’s based on the presumption that Hillary Clinton would win the election, which was sadly wrong. However, I stand by everything I write even when I’m wrong, so I’m going to leave this up as a monument to hubris and a historical reminder of how people viewed the 2016 campaign at the time.)

Whenever people look back on elections, particularly Presidential elections, they always use a simple narrative to explain it. The 1964 and 1972 elections used the narrative that if you nominate an extremist, you’ll lose in a landslide. 2004 was about fear and the War on Terror, whereas 2008 was about hope and change. So what will be the narrative of 2016?

Continue reading “The 5 Narratives Of The 2016 Election”