January 2012

A Christmas Tale - Irish Health System experience

Date:

Over Christmas I found myself at home babysitting my niece while myBeaumont Hospital "better half B" had to go to work. Around 3.00 o'clock B rang me in pain that was so intense I could not make out what she was trying to tell me. After a few attempts it turned out that she had pain in her lower belly and she was on her way to the GP. 
 

 

 

 

Interview with Na Croisbhealai workers co-operative - organising without bosses in Belfast

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Na Croisbhealai workers-co-op is the latest centre to emerge in Belfast along with the Warzone centre providing a practical example of workers self-management in action. Located in the city centre the café offers a space to organise and agitate under every shade of the political left, and a delicious international cuisine from all corners of the globe courtesy of its chef Hugh Corcoran. In the same building is Fresh Claim photography hosting a range of impressive photos and colourful portraits from conflict zones across the world including the recent troubles in Ireland.  Below is an interview with Jack Corcoran from the collective who talks about how it organises without bosses and its role in building a better society for all.

SDLP leader pleas ‘poverty' as we face their cuts

Date:

SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell has claimed that Stormont assembly members should be entitled to a ‘small increment’ on their 43,000 basic salary a year and better pension payments to keep them from ‘poverty’ in retirement. Yet again one rule for them and another for the rest of us as these gangsters on the hill expect us to bear the brunt of their vicious cuts in jobs and services being imposed by all our local political parties at the behest of their masters from Westminster.

Vita Cortex Workers Rally at the Dáil

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About 150 people rallied at the Dail Thursday lunchtime in support of the Vita Cortex Workers.  According to SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Gerry McCormack, “the Vita Cortex workers have shown enormous courage in making the stance they made.  They are tolerating appalling conditions in terms of sleeping on foam on the ground at night, in what might be described as a large shed, and are fully determined to stay until this employer engages in a meaningful way to resolve this issue. The new owners of the company borrowed millions of euro from AIB to buy out previous shareholders and used the company assets as collateral against those loans.  They gambled with our members’ jobs and livelihoods to gain control over a valuable site in Cork. The Vita Cortex workers securing their rightful redundancy entitlements is a cause which should be supported by all trade unionists and those who believe in the just and fair settlement of industrial disputes. Failure to win this struggle will amount to a massive defeat for all those fighting against the race to the bottom; it will not be allowed happen.”

School Communities to protest against cuts at Department of Education and Skills

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Press Statement from Dublin INTO Districts

 

Quinn ‘Review’ not enough – Complete Reversal of DEIS Cuts Needed

 

Thousands of parents and teachers from disadvantaged schools to protest at Department of Education and Skills against staffing cuts

 

Campaigners against staffing cuts to DEIS schools have said that the Review ordered by Minister Quinn is a move in the right direction but not enough and that the cuts must be completely reversed.  Teachers and parents from Dublin DEIS schools have announced that they are to continue with their plans for a major protest outside the Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough St., Dublin1 on Thursday 19th January from 3:30p.m.

CCTU Unemployed Centre, Vita Cortex and a NAMA building - Cork's three occupations

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Three occupations in Cork highlight the ideas of direct action, self-organisation and solidarity

 

At a time when Ireland's rich class and their government are relying on passivity and apathy from the country's working class to push through their austerity agenda with the minimum of resistance, the presence of three separate occupations of workplaces and vacant NAMA commercial property in Cork is a hopeful sign that 'the powers that be' are not going to have it all their own way, as they attempt to make everyone else pick up the tab for the economic carnage their actions have unleashed upon this society. Although each occupation is separate and different in origin and potential outcome, each one shows that people do understand the necessity and the effectiveness of direct action in this time when bosses and property owners are trying every trick in the book to slough off their debts and evade public accountability while doing so.

The Fight against the Household Tax - Time to Get Involved.

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The regressive household tax is yet a further embodiment of the government’s will to make us pay for a crisis we did not create.

Globally, 2011 was marked by a surge in grassroots resistance movements that highlighted the inherently disparate nature of global capitalism, from Tahrir Square to the #Occupy movements that mushroomed their way across the globe.

At home however, the sad highlights of 2011 were job losses, another cruel budget that savages the living standards of honest workers, and a rate of emigration that is comparable only to that of several decades back.

 

Cork: Hundreds Turn Out to Support Vita Cortex Workers

Date:

Factory-gate rally draws large support ahead of LRC talks next week

 

This afternoon, the workers of Vita Cortex in Cork accompanied by several hundred supporters attended a rally at the factory gates on Kinsale Road, which was organised by the Cork Council of Trade Unions. Among the attendance showing their support for the Vita Cortex workers were several former staff from the La Senza lingerie store chain, who themselves were in dispute with the liquidator of their former employer KPMG until this Friday. They were made feel very welcome by the crowd, and the speakers from the impromptu platform in the factory carpark drew inspiration in their speeches from the result achieved by the La Senza workers who were in a similar situation to that facing the 32 Vita Cortex employees. The platform was compered by Pat Guilfoyle of the TEEU, and other speakers were Vita Cortex shop steward Seán Kelleher, president of Cork Council of Trade Unions Ann Piggott, and Joe O'Flynn, general secretary of SIPTU and Cork native. Mr. O'Flynn spoke of the efforts being made by SIPTU headquarters in pursuit of a resolution of this situation, and he castigated runaway employer Jack Ronan for refusing to pay the €1.2m owed to his former employees, a sum described by Mr. O'Flynn as 'not a king's ransom'. He also spoke of the union's determination to support the Vita Cortex workers in their dispute 'for the long haul, if it takes 30 days or 30 weeks, with the support of trade union members across the country'. The rally ended with a long peal of applause as the names of all 32 Vita Cortex workers were read out from the podium.

Take back the city- Fight house evictions and homelessness

Date:

Occupy Belfast held a protest outside the city hall yesterday in a campaign against evictions/re-possessions and an end to homelessness. Campaigners have also located an empty building in the city centre and hope to re-possess the centre as a self-managed space in the next couple of weeks beginning the process of building a movement against house evictions.

Police are part of the problem rather than the solution

Date:

The PSNI new strategy of 'pizza n peelers' covered in a recent edition of the Andersonstown News, is a cynical and laughable stunt to win over young people and highlights how much they are out of touch in our communities. Despite the cosmetic changes and a propaganda blitz waged by the media and Sinn Fein apologists, the continuity RUC/ PSNI like any police force is political, to defend the power and wealth of the ruling class. Quite simply it is the state’s physical and intimidatory means of maintaining a desired status quo in society; one of socio-economic divisions and inequalities.

The Household Tax: Don’t Register, Don’t Pay

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Mid-December saw the eventual publication of the long-threatened household tax legislation. The first three months of 2012 will present every household in Ireland with a choice: whether to succumb to this new home tax, which along with the proposed water tax will rise to approx €1,200 per annum within a couple of years, or to refuse to register, refuse to pay and make a stand against the costs of bailing out bankers and developers continuing to be hoisted on our shoulders.

Referenda: A Strategy for Success?

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The idea that calling for a referendum is a good strategy for winning significant reforms often crops up in campaigns. It seems logical, as a referendum is a chance for the population to directly make a decision on the issue to hand. But the reality is that the demand for a referendum is seldom, if ever, the best way to build a struggle for a reform. Here are five reasons why:

The liberation of a former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast

Date:

 Occupy Belfast seized the initiative Monday by re-possessing the former Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue gaining media coverage both here and across the world. Around a dozen protestors including a WSM member entered the building, unfurled banners and put up barricades despite early attempts by the police to illegally evict us. A WSM member who took part gives us his views on the occupation below.

 

Cinema Night at Solidarity Books - Zapatista - a Big Noise film (2001) this Thursday 19th at 8pm

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Starting this Thursday, we will be resuming our weekly film screenings at the bookshop. A full programme for the month of February will be up soon.

The public sector workers strike in NI - Organise for a General strike

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Up to 200,000 public sector workers took part in the largest one-day industrial action in Northern Ireland in decades along with millions across the UK, demonstrating that when we withdraw our labour and stand together in defence of our rights we have real strength. Belfast was a sea of red and colourful rainbow coalition trade union flags for a change, as up to 15,000 workers rallied outside the city hall against the cuts and attacks on pensions. From the early morning, picket lines  involving public sector workers from transport workers to teachers dotted the city’s landscape in a show of unity.

The Budget, 3rd Level Education & the Student Occupations

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The changes to third-level fees and the maintenance grants system for new postgraduate students in Budget 2012 come as no big shock. The €250 increase in the student contribution charge means students will pay €2,250 from next September, with other increases likely to come in 2013 and 2014. In relation to postgraduates, no maintenance grants will be paid for new entrants from the 2012/13 academic year. These changes come into effect after months of campaigning by the grassroots student campaign group Free Education for Everyone (FEE) and the Union of Students Ireland (USI).

Thinking About Anarchism: Direct Action

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The idea of direct action is sometimes misunderstood as meaning anything violent, anything from a brick through a window to a full-scale guerrilla war. Our political opponents go out of their way to spread confusion because they know that in a “battle of ideas” they would lose. That is why they portray anarchism as a ludicrous system of chaos and disorganiation.

DEIS School Communities announce intention to proceed with protest at Department of Education & Science on Thursday

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Teachers from Dublin DEIS schools have welcomed the publication by the Department of Education & Skills and the Educational Research Centre of a report which shows that “…the DEIS programme is having a positive effect on tackling educational disadvantage…” and that “…improvement is taking place in the learning achievements of pupils in DEIS primary schools…”

Reclaim the City- Defend the ‘Peoples Bank’ in Belfast

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Occupy Belfast will be holding a rally this Saturday outside the former Bank of Ireland building at 2pm. Following the rally there will be a public general assembly whereby all are invited to participate in the discussion on where next for the movement. There is a stall including leafleting outside the building every day at 1pm if anyone is interested in getting involved.

Cut Stormont not services- Time to get these parasites off our backs

Date:

Recent figures uncovered by the Irish News show that almost 41 million of taxpayers’ money was handed over to our local NI politicians in salaries and allowances - including childcare -while the assembly was suspended between April 2003 and May 2007. Yet, only a few weeks ago we listened to the SDLP leader pleading ‘poverty’ and warning of ‘millionaire clubs’ only forgetting to mention that he was born with a silver spoon and remains so. As well as his wage as an MLA and MP (excluding expenses topping at least 150,000 a year) he has a large list of privilege and perks including his part time wage as a GP and rental from several properties including his farm.

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