Dermot Freeman

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Apollo House - well worth fighting for

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Yesterday hundreds of people turned out to support the imaginative action which is known to all as Apollo house. Apollo House is the single point of light that emerged from an otherwise dismal year, a centennial year of significance, which gave us so little to be proud of. Homelessness, in spite of being a significant symptom of all that is wrong in our society, is both ignored and tolerated. Fortunately the sight of the homeless masses did not get in the way of the centenary celebrations of what a great little republic we have grown up to be.

The actions of the Irish Housing Network and the alliance of supporters which has become known as Home Sweet Home, has taken over an ugly brutalist building and former dole office on Tara Street, and gave homeless people hope of a fresh start. What it has also done is shone a light on the inhumane bureaucratic approach of this to dealing with people who live on the streets. Getting people who have no bed for the night, to phone a free phone number in order to secure one for a single night, only to be thrown back out into the dark pre-dawn streets to do it all again the next day. Apollo House is the golden lamp that emerges from 2016 – and that’s why it has touched the people of Ireland, and been so massively supported. It is an example of what this state should do to support the dispossessed, and would have been a far more fitting tribute than having parades or concerts.

Election 2016 - beyond the five year scratch ration

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Five years ago we all scratched bits of paper, and a new government was formed. Today, in 2016, with we are five years down the road, and here we are scratching more paper, and another new government will be formed. It may be different from the last one or it might be the same, but ultimately the policies will appear to be remarkably similar. To serve the economy above all others appears to be the top priority for all governments.

100 years after 1916 will the Irish state recognising Traveller ethnicity

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2016 is fast approaching and we will be subjected to endless documentaries about that start of our bloody history as a nation. It will also be a time for analysis of how far we’ve come since the proclamation of this Republic.

In the proclamation there are lines which are aspirational, but grounded in the reality of experience of the rebels.
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”

People's need for housing before markets property speculators and bankers

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People's need for housing has to be put before the considerations of the markets, the property speculators, and the bankers.

Property is once again on the rise which means this is a great time to be a landlord as you kick tenants out on the streets on some pretense, only to get in a new batch at a higher rental rate. The neo-liberal agenda has really given a free hand to the landlords to do what they wish, whilst the banks are only too happy to take homes of families who cannot meet their mortgage obligations, so that they can sell it or rent it out for quick cash.

A critical view of the Refugees are Welcome Rally in Dublin

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No Borders No Nation banner and Homes for all Refuge for all banners at GPO Dublin for Refugees are Welcome protestThe Refugees Welcome rally saw a good crowd assembled at the Spire in Dublin.  The rally was a response where people wanted to express their solidarity with the refugees who are attempting to escape war and death.  

Thanks to the work of a few volunteers WSM had some banners to bring to the Refugees are Welcome rally and march at the Spire on Saturday the 12th of September.  The banners were important to link up certain struggles.  One linked the appalling reaction to the social housing crisis by this government with their slow reaction to the humanitarian crisis on the edges of fortress Europe, which simply stated Homes for All, Refuge for All, and another which read No Borders No Nations. 

After the Referendum: How Equal Is Ireland?

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We might’ve voted for equality in large numbers when it came to the marriage referendum, but the likelihood that this will impact on the way the country is run or the lived realities for many appears unlikely. This week the Irish Government is once again having their knuckles wrapped by the UN in Geneva for failing to live up to the documents they sign around the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. The reality is that there has been the imposition of austerity measures on the sections of Irish society who can least afford it. The inevitable by-product is inequality, increasing poverty and deprivation. The message is simple, economy trumps all else and lip service is all that is all that is paid in terms of human rights or equality. Emily Logan – Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said as much, she said that ‘budgetary decisions had been made without any consideration of the State's human rights obligations.’ This is the reality that needs to be examined, especially in the aftermath of the sight of politicians kissing, smiling, hugging each other and slapping each other on the backs as champions of equality in Dublin Castle.

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

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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.

The Fight in Detroit and the Cost of Water

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In the spring of this year, Detroit started to disconnect people who were behind with their water bills.

The Cost of a Crisis – Who pays?

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We’ve recently been informed about the fact that Dublin has 30,000 millionaires living in it, but what do the figures tell us about how the rest of us have coped with this crisis? The National Economic and Social Council actually produced a report on this very subject entitled ‘The Social Dimensions of the Crisis: The Evidence and Its implications.’

The government is continuously telling us that we’ve turned a corner. Recently we were subjected to the new leader of the Labour party desperately trying to spin the line that her party is one that cares; essentially launching the re-election campaign alongside Enda when they did a re-boot of this coalition.

Review of Gustavo Esteva’s talk on Anarchy and Buen Vivir at Kimmage - All Power to the Imagination

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It does not prove difficult to persuade an anarchist to go to a meeting with the subtitle ‘ Anarchy and Buen Vivir (Good living)’ and more especially when the speaker, Gustavo Esteva, has direct links with the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) who inspired the world with their uprising in 1994.

Gustavo was invited to speak by the Kimmage Development Studies Centre (DSC) as part of their 40th year celebrations. Gustavo addressed the gathering in the parish hall and started with the position that Development was counterproductive. Considering this was the Kimmage DSC’s raison d'être is to facilitate education and training for development practitioners, this was a sharp starting point.

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