Paul O'Connell

After the Referendum: What’s Left?

There is nothing to celebrate today. The vote by a small (but significant) majority of people in the UK to leave the EU is not a victory for working people, for migrants, for socialists or left activists of any stripe. It could have been: if Labour and the main trade unions had seized the moment…

Brexit: Whose Europe, Theirs or Ours?

Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. — Antonio Machado I. Introduction The referendum on whether or not Britain should remain within the European Union (EU) is now fully underway. This debate confronts socialists with a series of pressing tactical and strategic challenges,…

Human Rights: Contesting the Displacement Thesis

As a general rule, the precise significance of historical shifts, developments or movements can take a long time to reveal themselves. This is no doubt also true for human rights. For good or ill, and in many ways that remains to be seen, the language of human rights has become ubiquitous in moral, philosophical and…

Demanding the Future: The Right2Water and Another Ireland

The American abolitionist Frederick Douglass once observed that if you find out ‘just what any people will quietly submit to … you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them’ and that such injustices ‘will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with…

Trouble in the Garden: Critical Legal Studies & the Crisis

By modest reckoning 2012 is the fourth year since the Great Recession began. Over the last four years the victories won by socialist and trade unionist movements over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (universal health care, access to education, pensions and more) have been under constant attack. All as part of a…