Sean M

Does the handshake with the British Queen spell the demise of Republicanism as a radical alternative in Ireland?

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The handshake that lasted 3.7 seconds kept the broadcast media on knife-edge as the crowning moment of the so-called peace process. However, beneath the carefully choreographed piece of political theatre is a settlement built on sand, on managing sectarianism and regulating division, rather than confronting and removing the causes of conflict in our society.

PSNI losing battle for hearts and minds

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The PSNI’s Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie may have achieved a silver fainne in Irish language speaking (better Irish than Gerry Adams), but just one in four people in Northern Ireland would encourage a close relative to join the PSNI according to a poll conducted by Belfast Telegraph/Lucid Talk. That figure among Catholics drops to just one in ten.

Disillusionment with Stormont growing claims new poll

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A survey of more than a thousand Northern Ireland voters has revealed a high level of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the current Stormont government. A Belfast Telegraph/LucidTalk poll found that only one in ten people believe the government is performing better than direct rule, and that half would label its performance as poor or very poor. This means that it is rated almost as badly as the Greek administration which was trounced in that country’s last recent election.

Protests greet Olympic showcase of normalisation and corporate privilege

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It was as if our streets were paved in gold as the Olympic torch made its way across this bright new shiny Northern Ireland. We listened to  our local business leaders and political class lining up to praise this symbol of hope and reconciliation, but beneath this spectacle of spin and ‘regeneration’ smokescreen is a showcase of corporate class privilege and profiteering.

Do workers’ co-operatives help or hinder the building of a libertarian communist society?

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Workers’ co-operatives have always been championed by sections of the left and wider labour movement - from their advocacy by 19th century Welsh social reformer and utopian socialist Robert Owens to Proudhon through to their existence in various state capitalist countries today such as Cuba. While workers’ co-operatives can provide a small example of anarchist ideas based on self-management, direct democracy and mutual aid in action, we should not be blinded by their contradictions and should query their effectiveness as a strategy for real revolutionary transformation.

Carve up of Girdwood site in Belfast reflects the sectarian carve-up

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The sectarian row over the former Girdwood army barracks site in North Belfast is  part  of a larger picture of sectarianism and segregation forming the bedrock of the status-quo, with our local political class depending on it for their very political survival. 

In a recent report, Trademark, the Belfast-based social justice co- operative affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, "Sectarianism still remains a serious problem in Northern Ireland." The group conducted a major survey with more than 40 interviews in private sector companies and surveyed 2,500 workers in a large retail company as part of its study. It found that "low-level but persistent sectarian harassment is a feature of too many workplaces in Northern Ireland".

Cardinal Sins to cover up in Catholic Church- an instrument of control and domination

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The media frenzy may have settled for now over  Cardinal Sean Brady’s failure to pass on information about a notorious clerical sex abuser in his midst but we need to make sure we don’t let this extremely wealthy multi-national chiefdom called the Catholic Church off the hook.

On Tuesday 1st May, a BBC spotlight programme revealed that cardinal, and then Fr Brady was at interviews in 1975 where two children were asked to sign a vow of silence after they were abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.  One survivor, Brendan Bolan told This World that he had given details of other children to Fr Brady(who was the ‘note taker’ at the time) he suspected were being abused but the problem found that none of their families or the police had ever been warned.

Strikes across Northern Ireland this Thursday as part of UK day of action

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Tens of thousands of public workers from the North are expected to take part in the UK wide industrial action this Thursday in protest over cuts to pension and attacks on living standards. In the North, civil servants are expected to join immigration officers in the day of action while healthcare workers are taking limited action over lunchtime, involving Nipsa and Unite! members. While this latest strike action is sending out a message that we won’t work longer, pay more into the pension fund and get less, it is significant climb-down from the public sector strike last November which was the largest in decades.

Is paramilitary punishment attacks the answer to crime?

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We maybe 10 years on from the signing of the Good Friday but the blight of militarism in the form of the state and vigilantism continues to raise its ugly head and shows little sign of fading away. In fact it is embedded and enshrined in the new discourse which even the hype around the Titanic cannot simply wash away.

Belfast bus drivers take wildcat strike action to re-instate work colleague

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Belfast city centre was brought to a standstill this morning after up to 100 metro workers took unofficial wildcat action in protest against the suspension of a work colleague over ’misconduct.’ Those on strike parked their empty buses outside City Hall in a show of solidarity for a driver they say has been suspended for allegedly damaging the disabled ramp of a bus. Talks were then held between Translink bosses and union representatives in a bid to resolve the dispute. Following a meeting on the grounds of Belfast city hall between workers and union officials with angry words being exchanged over a range of issues including working conditions, workers agreed to return to work following assurances that the sacked driver would be immediately re-instated.

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