July 2011

Household & Water Tax Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay


The government has made it clear that it is determined to press ahead with its attempts to impose not one but two new taxes on us.  Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan is preparing to bring plans to government for a household tax, probably starting at €100 per year, from 1st January.  This tax will be added to by a water tax, expected to be introduced within the next couple of years.

Some WSM activity May & June 2011


As the new government backtracks on their election promises in record time (no surprises there), the problems facing workers, the unemployed and students continue to mount. While the visit of Queen Elizabeth may be seen as a distraction from these more important issues, the WSM nevertheless attended protests against her visit, including the banquet in Dublin castle, whose attendees epitomised the privileged minority who hold the power and wealth in this country. As detailed elsewhere, we mobilised in both Dublin and Cork against the visit. Check out http://www.wsm.ie/c/cork-protests-british-queens for a more in-depth look at events in the south.

The Gardai & “Facilitating Protest”


About 250 people took part in the Eirígí-organised march on the banquet for the British Queen staged in Dublin castle on May 18th last. WSM members joined the demonstration but Gardai intercepted the person transporting our flags and banner to the protest, leaving us somewhat invisible. This was part of a pattern of suppression of visible protest that occurred throughout the visit of the British Queen, despite Garda claims that they would “facilitate protest” in advance of the visit. It turns out the unnamed Garda source quoted by the Irish Examiner in advance of the visit, who claimed “reasonable protest will be allowed - a peaceful protest - but up to a point”, had about as much value as unnamed Garda sources making vague statements ever do. This was despite Eirígí making major efforts to ensure their protests remained peaceful. Before the march, at least two of the speakers stated that anyone not willing to be peaceful should leave the demonstration. Stewards removed a couple of people they judged to have become too rowdy.

Minister for Education backs down in face of threatened protest


Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn backed down in mid-June on his threat to amend Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act, which would have had the effect of allowing unqualified personnel to continue to work as teachers in primary school classrooms.  The Minister made his decision less than 48 hours before a protest organised by members of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) was due to be held.

Israeli sabotage results in MV Saoirse withdrawing from Freedom Flotilla


Attempts by the Israeli government to sabotage the International ‘Stay Human’ Freedom Flotilla to Gaza have resulted in 2 ships – the Greek-Swedish Juliano and the Irish-owned MV Saoirse – having to withdraw from the Flotilla following damage to both. An emergency demonstration was held at the Spire in Dublin last night to protest the sabotage, see the pictures below.

Real Democracy - The Art of Seeing


José Saramago

In this article, I look at how a nobel prize winning author's, José Saramago's ideas are reflected in the Real Democracy Movements goals.

When the old man picked up the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998, he referred to himself in the third person as ‘The apprentice’.   

“The apprentice thought, 'we are blind', and he sat down and wrote Blindness to remind those who might read it that we pervert reason when we humiliate life, that human dignity is insulted every day by the powerful of our world, that the universal lie has replaced the plural truths, that man stopped respecting himself when he lost the respect due to his fellow-creatures.”

Review: Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2011


Wind and rain, a city in lockdown due to the upcoming royal visit and the best efforts of An Garda Siochana (who, despite the WSM gaining the correct permit to advertise the event on lamp-posts around Dublin, removed approximately 100 of our posters), the sixth annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair continued the trend set by its predecessors in being one of the largest annual events on the calendar of Dublin’s Left.

Anti-choice acid house demonstration - how Queer!


After spending tens of thousands of euro in promotion Youth Defense's anti-choice march finally took place in Dublin. Despite the free coaches and months of preparation even RTE admitted that only 2-5,000 took part, making it a tiny fraction of the Pride Parade of the previous Saturday. And from observation a large part of that crowd was composed of unhappy looking young children dragged along by relatives, priests, monks, nuns and the very elderly.

Countering the "Pro-Life" Rally - Pro-Choice Counter Demonstration


WSM and other pro-choice activists took place in a counter demonstration to the “Rally for Life” which took place in Dublin yesterday. The anti-abortion rally was organised by Youth Defence (including “The Life Institute”(previously Mother & Campaign – an outgrowth of Youth Defense) and Belfast Based "Precious Life". Approximately 2,000 people seem to have attended. The pro-choice counter demonstration, organised at short notice was still attended by around 300 people. Many attending the anti-abortion rally came from all over Ireland and even included a small group of migrants from the Philippines. There were some tense exchanges between pro-choice campaigners and anti-abortion marchers.

The Coming Attacks on Irish workers


After the hyperbole of the election campaign, we have started to realise that rumours of a new day in Irish politics were greatly exaggerated. Somewhat deflated, we now sink back into the same old crisis. While the limited exposures of the Moriarty tribunal have shown us how politics works for the rich, we are about to learn exactly how it works for the rest of us.

Census shows no housing shortage


The 2011 census results show that Ireland is not suffering a housing shortage. But taken with local authority waiting list figures and homeless statistics , it shows clearly that we have a housing distribution crisis. The latest statistics from the Central Statistics Office regarding the latest census shows 294,202 vacant housing units in the state; that's almost 15% of all houses in existence.  To better illustrate the meaning of this let us take the example of Cork City because that conveniently excludes the issue of holiday homes in rural locations. Cork City has 6,386 vacant houses according to the CSO or 11.4% of homes in the city.

Anarchism, Internationalism & the Euro Zone Crisis


The euro zone crisis, and the mainstream opinion formers’ response to it, raises the question of nationalistic understandings of the way the world works, and how these understandings frame our perception of where our interests lie.

The Spanish Revolution: A quick introduction


The 19th of July marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Revolution. For a brief time, capitalism and the State were replaced by solidarity, mutual aid and respect for others. Workers and peasants, who were deeply influenced by anarchist ideas, ran society collectively and gained control over their lives, industry and land. A central part of the revolution was the struggle against a fascist attempt to take over Spain. We remember both the magnificent triumphs and tragedies of the Spanish revolution and attempt to learn from our comrades’ mistakes.

Outrage At Paltry Fine For Death Of Worker


A Dublin family has expressed its outrage at the imposition of a €100,000 fine on a leading construction company for the death of a worker in 2007. 28-year-old father of two, Eddie Fowler, died on 18th January 2007 following a workplace accident on the site of the Charlestown Shopping Centre in Finglas.  Mr. Fowler was fatally injured when he was struck by a plank which blew off scaffolding in high winds.  An inspector from the Health and Safety Authority, Kay Baxter, told a court hearing that workers should not have been allowed onto that section of the site that day. 

What kind of democracy for the Arab world?


In a previous article, I said that the events shaking the Arab world today are as relevant as those that shook the world in 1989 [1]. Not only can parallels be made on the extent and depth of discontent over a vast geographical area, but also because this whirlwind of popular fury places a question mark over a particular geopolitical architecture that was hitherto believed to be as strong as steel. In this case, these long-standing dictatorships were fed, promoted and installed by the geo-strategic interests of the USA (and its junior partner, the EU) in an area of critical concern as far as oil is concerned. In 1989 the political consequences of the demonstrations were deep and long-lasting - the fall of "real socialist" regimes not only meant the fall of a few unpleasant bureaucratic dictatorships, but because of the relative weakness of a truly libertarian and revolutionary Left, represented the fall of a set of political values and horizons that were incorrectly associated with the Soviet bloc, and the overwhelming rise of neo-liberalism as the unquestioned system in the economic, political, values and ideological field.

Film Night: J.S.A.: Joint Security Area, South Korea (2000) Sunday July 10th, 19.30 at Solidarity Books


Film Night on Sunday nites hosted by Couchsurfers International 

J.S.A.: Joint Security Area, South Korea (2000) directed by Park Chan-Wook (director of acclaimed Old Boy) Sunday July 10th, 19.30 at Solidarity Books In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier.

News Of The World – Workers Lose Their Jobs, Murdoch keeps His Profits


Very few progressives will mourn the passing of the ‘News Of  The World’.  When Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, announced that the paper was to cease publication many cheered.  Revelations over the past few days about the extent to which private investigators and some journalists and executives completely disregarded common human decency in their scramble for profits had exposed the tabloid as scurrilous and without shame.

Anarchist reports from protests suppressed in Malaysia


More than 20,000 people demonstrated for electoral reforms across Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, on Saturday in a rare protest that was declared illegal by police.

WSM twitter live during Ardoyne Orange Order July 12th parade


It is this time of year again when the spectre of sectarianism and division comes to the fore in the north of Ireland. It is a time when communities, kerbstones and poles are marked and carved into territory. There are those who will be living in fear and silenced from speaking out while the rest of us are told to turn the other check in the interests of peace and stability. It is unfortunate, if perhaps somewhat inevitable, that the now annual battles around the ‘marching season’ fall along religious lines. The Orange parades are being used to test the supposed 'neutrality' of the northern regime and the PSNI in particular. The losing side in this dangerous game however is likely to be the working class, as the confrontations and the sectarian attacks that occur around the Orange marches drive people further into ‘their own’ communities.

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