January 2015

How to chair a meeting.

Date:
Why do meetings use a Chair/Facilitator?
Sit back and think of all meetings you have gone to, especially all the bad meetings you have gone to, the ones in which you were very annoyed with how it was chaired and take a note of what was wrong with them. Some of these problems might sound familiar:
 
-After hours of discussion no conclusion is reached and few important decisions are made.
 
-Participants keep wandering from topic to topic and so nothing is discussed in detail.

In a State of Emergencies - Healthcare Workers Under Pressure

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As the number of patients reached a record high in recent days, healthcare workers in Emergency Departments (ED) in the country strive to maintain some acceptable standard of care delivery for patients. However nurses and doctors admit they are swamped and feel that current activity is unsustainable if the safety of patients is to be maintained. In some of the bigger centres in the country the huge backlog has created the situation where there is standing room only for ED patients. There is agreement among healthcare workers that the result of the over-crowding can only be increased morbidity and mortality for those requiring emergency treatment.

Defending Free Speech in France Does not Stop with the Mainstream Press - Support Saïdou and Said Bouamama

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Defending Free Speech in France Does not Stop with the Mainstream Press - Support Saïdou and Said Bouamama

(Translation of article from Alternative Libertaire)

On January 20, 2015, the rapper Saïdou and Bouamama Said, a sociologist and activist, will appear before a Paris Court, following an investigation for "public insult" and "incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence" on foot of a complaint from a far right organisation.

Spanish PM Postures about 'Freedom of Expression' Despite Repression at Home

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The question isn't which of these countries' governments isn't truly committed to freedom of expression, as the Picket Line of Justice would suggest, but which is. Today Spanish police arrested at least 16 lawyers of Basque political prisoners. Three were arrested on their way to the Spanish Special Court for the first day of a mass trial against 35 pro-independence activists. This is only two days after a 80,000 person protest for the rights of Basque political prisoners.

Also, on December 16th 2014 we saw 11 anarchists in Barcelona area detained in what has been known as "Operation Pandora". All 11 detainees (4 of them were released on charges on December, 18th) are anarchist activists. Solicitors for the accused have stated that they have been arrested for being organised; evidence against the accused is non-existent and desperate. Presiding Judge Bermúdez said “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future”, presumably having to stop himself before saying 'Anarchy is on trial'.
 

Charlie Hebdo: Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Gold and Liliaceous Statement

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Politicians love to take the high moral ground, especially because they spend most of their time lying and implementing the unethical agenda of the masters. Events like the Charlie Hebdo massacre are excellent opportunities for them to declaim from the pulpit, and distract from their own malfeasance. 'Murdering journalists is bad! Those people are savages, how could they trample on our exquisite Democracy? Why do they hate our Liberty, which we love so dearly?' It is an opportunity to further reinforce the mythology of a Free Society, and Enda Kenny - the ambitious statesman that he is - is not one to let it pass.

In our solidarity we show the agents of such destruction that to us their actions are anathema, their propositions absurd ...
Together, as Europeans, may we nourish our democracy, protect our liberty, cherish our way of life.
” - An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Paris, January 2015.

How wearisome is it when we are more accustomed to our most beloved ideals being used as soundbite seasoning than being expressed in earnest - let alone actually being embodied by the society we live in? Political life is fake, and we expect it to be fake. The politicians are just so shocked that anyone would do such a thing. Where did it even come from? Well don't ask that, but they had nothing to do with fomenting the conditions for its expansion anyway. Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, (Shannon), speak not of it. The barbarians are on the loose and there's no time.
 

Sweeping 'Anti-Terrorism' Legislation Due Soon Before Dail

Date:

REMAIN INDOORS, TERRORISTS ARE COMING FOR YOUR FREEDOM

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said Ireland is on alert for terrorist attacks and that sweeping zero-tolerance anti-terrorism legislation will be soon before the Dáil.

Enough hysteria. In Ireland we've prided ourselves for not indulging such wacky 'anti-terrorism' mania to the extent the US and UK have post-11/9. 'Terrorism' is an ill-defined nonsense term and this is as true as ever.
 

Only Those Without Democracy and Freedom Need To Be Told They Have Them

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In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack we have been inundated with reminders from our 'leaders' of how glorious our society, our civilisation, is. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - these are the principles which supposedly animate our political life.

But only those who aren't free, and don't live in a democratic society, need to be told they are free and live in a democratic society. To those who are free, it is obvious. Billionaire Denis O'Brien knows he is free. We, au contraire, have to be convinced. And real democracy is a way of life, it is not something hard to spot.

We want a society where liberty, equality, and solidarity, aren't just words, but are the ubiquitous and palpable features of every day life - that is to say anarchism.

In our society, Democracy is like a marble statue in an art gallery. It is dead and motionless, put on a pedestal, you view and admire it, then go home and don't take it with you. The professionals will curate it - return to your plebeian wont.
 

Irish Ministers Pose for Charlie Hebdo Free Speech, While Blasphemy Law Remains

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'Je suis Charlie. Vive la Liberté (mais le blasphème est interdit!)'

More members of the hypocrite's identity parade. If these politicians were serious about protecting free speech, beyond posturing in photo-ops, they would be fast-tracking a referendum on abrogating the blasphemy law and not fast-tracking redundant 'anti-terror' legislation (which has been used all over the world to stifle dissent).

The greatest irony is that while they make a spectacle of defending the blasphemous Charlie Hebdo against Islamist violence, repressive Islamist governments use the Irish blasphemy law as justification for their persecution of blasphemers, and advocate the exact wording of 'our' law to the UN as international best practice to spread blasphemy laws to other countries.

In fact, this is the most important reason that the Irish blasphemy law must be abolished immediately. It will likely not be applied in Ireland, though it is certainly unjust and ridiculous. Although Dr. Ali Salem, of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, has warned that he will invoke it against blaspheming Charlie Hebdo cartoons if they are re-printed here.
 

Operation Pandora: Demonstrations in Solidarity with Spanish Anarchists

Date:

After an international call for protests on January the 16th, anarchists in Belfast, Cork, and Dublin demonstrated in solidarity with the anarchists arrested in the Operation Pandora raids in the Spanish state, along with Basque political prisoners (16 lawyers of Basque activists recently being arrested, and tens of thousands of euro in donations stolen by police).

11 anarchists were arrested back in December in Operation Pandora without any evidence being presented, but the Judge Presiding Judge Bermúdez said “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future.”

In a letter of protest which was handed to the Spanish ambassador in Dublin, D. Freeman for the Workers Solidarity Movement said:
Of course the current prime minister of Spain, Mario Rajoy, was front and centre in Paris for the staged photo-op around the Charlie Hebo march for freedom of expression, whilst back in Spain people are being arrested for being who they are.

Not much evidence there of freedom of expression. In fact what we are seeing now in Spain is the opposite; we are seeing people targeted because of the ideas that they hold are deemed unacceptable to the Spanish State.

The Spirit of Anarchism? Book Review: Cindy Milstein, 2010, Anarchism and its Aspirations. Edinburgh: AK Press.

Date:

‘By anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind’.

Anarchism in Central Java, Indonesia - an interview with local anarchists by a WSM supporter travelling in the region

Date:

 

Anarchism in Central Java, Indonesia - an interview with a WSM supporter travelling in the region by Workers Solidarity on Mixcloud

A WSM supporter travelling in Central Java recorded this interview with two local anarchists in January 2015. They talk about the anarchist & punk scene, gender violence, politics and social context in Indonesia, land struggles and the struggle for abortion rights.

Divorce .. Undermining the family? ( WSM pamphlet from 1st Divorce Referendum in 1986)

Date:

This pamphlet was produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement in the weeks before the 1986 referendum on whether or not to remove the constitutional ban on divorce. The vote was lost by a margin of almost 2:1, with 935,843 (63.48%) voting to keep the ban and 538,279 (36.52%) to remove it. A second referendum in 1995 saw the ban finally scrapped, with a result of 818,842 (50.28%) to 809,728 (49.72%).

Alone on the far left, the WSM was heavily involved in this campaign and had two members elected to the National Executive of the Divorce Action Group. At the time they described their motivation as being to “increase personal freedoms” and “challenge the power of the Catholic bishops”.  Read the full text of the pamphlet in the article.

Irish Chamber of Commerce Puts Profit Before Right to Protest

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The spokesperson for the Irish Chamber of Commerce has said 'We'd never deny people the right to protest - but the protest has to be done and managed in a way that causes minimal disruption to businesses', citing revenue lost by the massive anti-water charges demonstration on December 10th.

We cannot tolerate such anti-democratic statements. The crux of this position is that we can have some semblance of democratic rights and freedoms, but we have to remember that money comes first. The essential condition is that businesses have the maximum ability to make profits, even if it means curtailing protest.

Surviving the Propoganda Wars, Social Conditioning in Practice, the Art of Thought Control

Date:

We examine how the media determines and conditions the way that people think.  When faced with broad opposition, we scrutinise how those in power rally behind the banners of no-change in order to keep things the way they are. We also see how they are assisted by the media in this exercise with the ultimate aim of maintaining power, privilege and control of our society.

Can you remember the last time you saw real story being broken in the media or printed press?  When I was a young fellow I naively thought that I’d like to work as a journalist.  You know those secret meetings with whistleblowers in subterranean car parks, all intrigue and mystery, digging for the truth.  I envisioned myself building up a picture of the connections on a cork board, and stripping away at the official story to reveal the truth. I was chasing a dream.  That world doesn’t exist and appears to have flourished only for the briefest of moments, a long time ago.

Rojava: ISIS Almost Driven Out of Kobane

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Very positive news coming out of Kobane where as these maps, from different sources, show ISIS have almost been driven out of the city.

Overnight the YPG/J announced they had liberated Suk Al-Hal & the Industrial Zone on the eastern and north-eastern edges of the city. Earlier in the week. There are also rumours of clashes in Helince village south east of the city. If ISIS lose that local commentators say their remaining forces in Kobane will be entirely cut off from supply.

When ISIS reached Kobane about 130 days ago, equipped with US armour captured at Mosul, they appeared unstoppable. The Kurdish defenders were pushed into a small defensive zone in the north west of the city but Kobane became ISIS's Stalingrad. Unable to admit defeat they kept pouring men & equipment into the city, at one stage managing to even mount a suicide VIBED attack at the Turkish border. Now not only have they almost been driven out of Kobane but they are being driven back by Kurdish forces elsewhere.

 

Anti-Water Charges Demonstration

Date:

The next mass anti-water charges protest is on January 31st, at 2pm, in Dublin city centre. The Facebook event page can be found here.

Residents of North Dublin will meet at Connolly Station, residents of South Dublin will meet at Heuston Station, and
all will march down both sides of the quays. Those travelling from outside Dublin can meet wherever (Connolly or Heuston) is closest to them. Many local anti-water charges groups will be marching in together. Also, many local groups outside Dublin which cannot make it will be demonstrating locally.
 

Global 1% to Own 50% of Wealth by 2016 - Enough Is Enough

Date:

There is something fundamentally wrong with this system when 80 people can have the same amount of wealth as what 3.6 billion people have between them. The figures from Oxfam’s latest report show that the rich really are getting richer and that the poor are getting poorer.

There are many factors we can attribute to this trend; globalization, out-sourcing, the breaking of labour power through the breaking of the unions in the Reagan-Thatcher era that labour never recovered from. Ultimately it falls down to the growing strength of capitalism and therefore the growing strength of the other harmful power structures that it has to support it. Included in these is racism, cheap labour from immigrants or as in many cases slave labour, as well as sexism, with gender being the division of labour. Both of these things, racism and sexism (to name only a few) come from policies implemented at the top of society that are targeted at the rest of us.
 

Anti-Racist Groups Withdraw from Charlie Hebdo Rally As It Is Co-Opted Into Republican Grandstanding

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The hijacking of Sunday's demonstration against the assassination of journalists - by the same world leaders who are themselves responsible for censorship of the press and the jailings, murder and torture of journalists - has been well documented. What is perhaps less known is that their presence caused a number of left anti-racist organisations in France to withdraw from the protest.

One statement explaining this said:
"We deeply regret that Sunday's demonstration – initially set up by anti-racist organisations - was transformed into a « Republican march » for which Valls would like to appear as the organiser and where Sarkozy will be marching.

Fiercely opposed to this « national unity », for the reasons mentioned above, we will not participate. It is of utmost importance that all those who feel outraged by this fascist attempt and who refuse to march alongside Sarkozy and Valls, all those who are intent on resisting racism and discriminations, on opposing security policies designed to curb our liberties, regroup and recapture the initiative." (Full text at end)
 

After the election of Syriza - Power is not in Parliament

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Today, across Europe, the left is excited by Syriza topping the polls in the Greek election. Some on the left have gone so far as to suggest the election itself will mark the end of austerity policies, in the terminology of the Anglo left, an end to the idea that There Is No Alternative (TINA). Another indication that something of significance is happening is that ahead of the election a new wave of capital flight has started from Greece with an estimated 8 billion transferred out of the country over the last few weeks.

Garda Brutality on Doorstep of Irish Citizen Army Secretary

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The Irish Water battle came right to the door step of Sean O'Casy's home on Inisfallen Parade this morning. Garda assaults have seen one person injuries and attempted intimidation on balaclava wearing goons hired by Irish Water is continuing. 

We note that while the media has had a huge focus on insults shouted at the president no questions have been raised at why 'security' are not only following and videoing residents but are now running around masked up and refusing to identify themselves. It seems extraordinary that the media have failed to notice this while at the same time having such a focus on verbal insults (which have now been apologised for). You'd almost think they had an agenda.

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