February 1999

US 1998 Air War against Iraq - This is Terrorism

Date:

WHEN THE US government resumed the bombing of Iraq last year, the media put forward two reasons: it was to get rid of Saddam Hussein or it was just a cynical manoeuvre to divert attention from Clinton's impeachment. Because the TV and newspapers went out of their way to avoid telling us the background to the conflict in the Gulf, it is not surprising that most people accepted either one of the above as the reason for the bombing.When the Shah of Iran's dictatorship was toppled in 1979 the US took fright. They weren't too worried about Iran being governed by an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship (after all they were busy arming the barbaric Taleban in Afghanistan at the very same time). What worried them was the possibility of popular revolts sweeping the region. If Iran could get rid of their old regime, others might try to follow their example; and might go a lot further than simply replacing one gang of dictators with another.

Tremendous victory for anti-racism campaigners - Deportations halted

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THE GOVERNMENT'S PRO-DEPORTATION policy has been severely dented. Members of the Anti-Racism Campaign, in the immediate pre-Christmas period, halted at least four potential deportations.

An anarchist introduction to trade unions

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TRADE UNIONS were founded to defend the interests of workers, but today have become more and more dominated by an unaccountable, and often unelected, bureaucracy. Trade unions - or at least their leadership - have been co-opted into becoming partners with Capital, and see their role as managing their members, controlling difficult situations rather than leading struggles. You are much more likely to see a trade union official selling the management's latest "productivity package" or "re-structuring deal" than to hear him/her calling for an occupation of a plant to avoid its closure, or for industrial action to fight redundancies.Given this, one might wonder why anarchists spend so much time talking about and working inside the trade unions. To write off trade unions, however, is to ignore the basic fact that for a worker to join a trade union means having to recognise, to some degree, that he or she has different interests to the bosses.

Flood, McCracken, Moriarty Tribunals and Taxation

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What the Flood and McCracken and Moriarty Tribunals have revealed over the last year or so is that politicians and business people regularly exchange massive sums of money without the slightest regard to taxation. £1.1 million was routed into Charlie Haughey's account from supermarket boss Ben Dunne via the "good offices" of accountant Des Traynor. Even more amazingly in 1991 Ben Dunne, himself in person, handed Charlie £210,000 in the now traditional brown envelope - "there's something for yourself". "Thanks big fella" replied the then Taoiseach.

Understanding the Zapatistas as a social movement

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It is now five years since the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) came to the attention of the world when they seized five towns in Chiapas on New Year's day in 1994. The years since have seen only a couple of weeks of actual warfare. However the uneasy cease-fire has seen hundreds of land occupations and several national and international gatherings. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people have travelled to Chiapas to see the rebellion with their own eyes. Hundreds have been deported by the Mexican government for doing so. Solidarity groups exist in most western countries, including Ireland. In 1993 Chiapas was as anknown backwater in Mexico. Now, in the eyes of many activists, it has moved to centre stage.

Thats Capitalism WS56

Date:

Bertie Ahern cried foul when RTE broadcast a radio quiz with candidates in last October's Cork South Central by-election. Fianna Fáil's Sinead Behan scored just 1 out of 10. She didn't know how many Cork people were unemployed, or which paramilitary organisation had not called a ceasefire. The one question she was able to answer correctly was "What salary does a TD earn?"

Homelessness & Prostitution - Legalisation not criminalisation

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The sex industry is expanding and is said to gross millions of pounds per annum. Over the last year this has been reflected in the increasing focus in the media on prostitution. In October, a brothel keeper was arrested and charged. In November, Young Fine Gael passed a motion supporting the legalisation of prostitution. It is now a popular topic on the late night chat shows on tabloid radio stations.This summer, an inevitable tragedy happened. As a result of having to work unprotected on the street Sinead Kelly, a young Dublin prostitute, was murdered as she worked. Politicians and high-ranking cops shed crocodile tears for the cameras. Few of them pointed out that it was their stringent laws that made Sinead Kelly an easy target.

The Anarchist Collectives in the Countryside during the Spanish Civil War

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Many people, upon hearing about Anarchism, consider a society based on anarchist principles as unrealistic, idealistic and naive - the vision of dreamers. Given the homogenous view of the world represented in the media, it is often difficult for people to imagine a society where such universally accepted institutions as the state, the judiciary system, the police, armies, and nations no longer exist.

Strikes free bricklayers from jail - the sort of trade unionism we need

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TWO BUILDING WORKERS were jailed in Dublin last October. They had refused to obey a High Court order not to picket O'Connors/Capel Developments' sites at Conyngham Road and Ballsbridge. A campaign of strikes by bricklayers against sub-contractors had forced big firms like Cramptons to directly employ a lot more workers; giving them the entitlements of PRSI, sick pay, holiday pay and pensions. The bosses decided to strike back.On Wednesday October 21st William Rogers was arrested at the picket in Ballsbridge. Dave McMahon had been arrested at dawn the same morning. Word spread and bricklayers from other sites began walking off the job and heading down to the High Court. By the time the two strikers were brought into Court in handcuffs there were about 300 building workers in the building.

About the anarchist Alexander Berkman

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ALEXANDER BERKMAN was born in Russia in 1870. It was a time of revolutionary upheaval, and Berkman was influenced by his uncle Maxim, later exiled to Siberia for his revolutionary activity. Joining a group of students who read the literature of the Nihilists and other prohibited organisations, Berkman was eventually expelled from school. Finding most professions barred to him, he emigrated to America. On his arrival in 1888, he quickly became involved in the anarchist movement, but, although in some ways strong, it was a divided movement.The United States at the time was opening its gates to many thousands of new arrivals, many of them from Europe. These people tended to live in the same communities as others from their country, and work in the same places. Shops, bars, and newspapers would cater for each community, usually in their native language. In Europe, the anarchist and revolutionary socialist movements were relatively strong. There was no parallel in North America, and the trade union movement was still finding its feet.

Irish Medical Council seeks to silence pro-choice doctors

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THE 'PRO-LIFE' MOVEMENT argues that abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a mother. They justify this by inventing a distinction between direct abortion, where the intention is to terminate pregnancy and 'indirect' abortion where the intention is to avoid some life threatening condition. In both cases the medical procedure followed is the same, in both cases the pregnancy is terminated. It is crucial to the 'pro-life' movement that they convince the public that abortion is never medically necessary. Therefore they continue to create this totally semantic distinction between 'direct' and 'indirect' abortion. Some doctors fear that under these terms, medical decisions could be brought through the courts. They would have to consider the threat of disbarment if their 'intention' is interpreted incorrectly. It would be difficult to practice as a doctor under such conditions.

Chumbawamba on Mumia Abu Jamal

Date:

POLITICAL EXECUTIONS are no stranger to America. The Haymarket Martyrs, Joe Hill, Sacco and Vanzetti are just a few of the victims. The most recent political show trial and execution was back in the 1950s when alleged "atom bomb spies" Julius and Ethel Rosenburg were put to death. Now the US establishment wants to revive this nasty practice. Rock group Chumbawamba have written this article about death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.Stop The Execution - He Should Have Got Off!

Short news items from WS56

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How low can they go? - 1,400 mentally disabled people in the 26 counties have no suitable place to live. Another 1,000 desperately need suitable day care. Last November their parents appealed to the government for £60 million to provide these essential services for their children.

The Socialist Party, the Anti-Racism Campaign and the anarchists

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IN AN ARTICLE in issue no.3 (Autumn 1998) of the Socialist Party magazine 'Socialism 2000', written by John McCamley, it is stated "The [anti racist] movement has to be national, support has to be well organised and coming from all corners of Ireland. We would have to act fast. There won't be time to make decisions on every single issue at weekly meetings so there would have to be some sort of co-ordinating committee. These are the simple facts and nothing to do with an attempt by anyone to "take control" of the movement in an undemocratic way. There are ongoing discussions in the anti-racism movement on what direction to take from here.

Hurricane Mitch - banana corporations Chiquita and Dole lay off workers

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"We're screwed by the government, then we get blind sided by the hurricane, then the company lays us off"

LAST NOVEMBER Central America was hit by a devastating hurricane. The floods that followed were to claim thousands of lives as well as destroying huge amounts of agricultural crops, housing and communications infrastructure.

Introduction to the Revolution in Spain (with audio version)

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The extent of the democracy in Spain during the revolution was far more thorough going than anything ever achieved anywhere else in the world at any time in know history. This might seem like a grand claim but I challenge anyone to disprove it. As many of you will know there is a great deal written on the Spanish Civil War. Not just standard history and accounts of the war and its wider political impact, but personal memoirs, poems, journalistic diaries and novels. In Homage To Catalonia, George Orwell has written one of the better accounts of what it was like to be in Spain at the time. In terms of atmosphere and drama he goes a considerable way towards giving the reader some idea of the mood in Spain in 36. Orwell hints at the revolution that was taking place, and at the atmosphere of comradeship and solidarity that abounded in revolutionary Barcelona.

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