March 2017

Traveller Ethnicity: The end of the denial

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This evening, when Enda Kenny makes an announcement to the Dáil recognising the identity of Irish Travellers as a distinct ethnic group, it will be an historic moment for Irish society.  This recognition, which has been a very long time coming, marks the end of a campaign that has been fought for decades by Travellers to be recognised in their home country as an ethnic group.  So what’s being done today is formally ending the long denial of Traveller ethnicity that has taken place in the Irish state.

As the statement that from the Joint Oireachtas Committee admitted
“Travellers are, de facto, a separate ethnic group. This is not a gift to be bestowed upon them, but a fact the State ought to formally acknowledge….”

8 reasons to 'Strike for Repeal' this 8th March

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The WSM are supporting and taking part in the ‘Strike for Repeal’ events on March 8th, intended to demand the government stop stalling and introduce a referendum to repeal the hated 8th amendment that denies access to abortion.  We have been fighting Ireland’s anti-abortion access laws since the 1980’s, a period when they meant books and magazines were being banned because they had contact details for clinics in Britain.  We continue to demand that access to termination be an option to be decided on by a pregnant person as part of a free health service.  The 8th amendment should never have been introduced, the referendum to repeal it should be delayed no longer. 

What follows are 8 of the reasons to take part in ‘Strike for Repeal’ events near you Wednesday followed by links to all the Facebpok event notices across Ireland and elsewhere.

Irish Times publishes manipulative poll days ahead of 8th of March ‘Strike for Repeal’ actions

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The Irish Times has yet again made an entirely cynical intervention in its bid to force its agenda on the campaign to get rid of the hated 8th Amendment.  This time in the form of an opinion poll constructed to reinforce the idea that abortion is a constitutional issue rather than a medical one.

Opinion polls using complex questions have become a common method of political manipulation in our time.  The method is simple, the questions are used to frame the way the subject considers the issue and so direct the answer they give.  That directed answer is then presented as some ‘objective truth’ discovered by the person or group who framed the question.  A poll that simply asks ‘Should women control their own bodies’ is liable to get one response, today’s poll that instead gives a long set of options around the degree women should be judged under law was designed to give another.

A magnificent gesture - women fighting ISIS in Rojava take time out for #strike4repeal solidarity

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In what is by any measure a wonderful mark of solidarity the women fighting ISIS in Rojava have taken the time to send solidarity greetings to next Wednesdays #strike4repeal in Ireland.

Thousands of children were starved to death in Tuam and other state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland

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It is emerging that thousands of children were starved to death in state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland. The Daily Mail today carries a detailed report which quotes Philip Redmond, a survivor of Sean Ross Abbey Hospital, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary where of the 167 babies born in 1942, there were 72 deaths. Mr Redmond says "As far as Bessborough is concerned, there is little doubt in our minds that as many as 2,000 died while we believe another 1,200 died in Sean Ross Abbey" This figures are to be added to the estimated 796 bodies found in a waste tank in the grounds of then Tuam home - see the earlier piece on this page.

Strike for Repeal went well this morning blocking O'Connell bridge - video report

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International Woman's Day March 8th and the continued refusal of the Irish government to introduce the referendum to remove the hated 8th amendment results in an enormous mobilization peaking at unchtime blocking off O'Connell st bridge is

An enormous and militant protest was called under the title of Strike For Repeal. The purpose is to try and force the government to immediately introduce a referendum to get rid of the Eighth Amendment. This amendment passed in 1983 makes it illegal for abortion to be carried out in Ireland under all almost all circumstances. 

How many took part in #Strike4Repeal and #March4Repeal - up to 8k and 11k

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The packed in nature of the #Strike4Repeal on O'Connell bridge made it impossible to do an actual count. So we've done the next best thing, used the area occupied to calculate how many people could have fitted into the space photos show was occupied.  We also did the same thing for the later #March4Repeal

March for Repeal - watch entire march leave Parnell square - video

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March 8th 2017 and International Womens Day sees an enormous mobilisation in Dublin to demand repeal of the eight amendment to the Irish  Constitution.  Thousands of people blocked O’Connell street bridge as part of #Strike4Repeal and then in the evening 11,000 marched on the Dail.

Oppose the police raids searching for abortion pills in the north

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A number of police raids have occurred in search for abortion pills in the north this past week. According to the London Times "At least a dozen other people connected with the pills have been contacted by the PSNI and invited for interview." This will impact people in the south as many pills provided to people south of the border generally come through the north.

Three futures: Barbarism, UBI Warehousing or Anarchism

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Our global society is broken. Donald Trump & Brexit are symptoms along with the rise of the far right elsewhere in Europe. In an old pattern, fundamental economic crisis often results in society becoming very much more brutal for most people.  In the age of nuclear weapons this current crisis could be our last.  And with a somewhat longer countdown to disaster we are also facing climate catastrophe.

The crisis is fundamental rather than temporary because there are two underlying factors that are irreversible.  The first is the end of the era where the environmental costs of growth could be mostly discounted in the belief that dilution would neutralise pollution.  For much of the industrial revolution the poisonous effluent dumped into the ecosystem had only local severe effects with the vast oceans and atmosphere diluting the pollutants enough that global effects were minor.  This is no longer the case with climate change being the most talked about of several examples where the pollution generated by growth can no longer be absorbed without serious global consequences. 

[As this is a long read we have also made
the entire piece available on audio,
listen as you are doing the dishes 
or you can download a PDF version]

Anarchist Gathering 2017

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Anarchists are gathering to discuss how we can better organise and fight for a free society.

Intersectionality - A Basic Primer

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The WSM’s politics are fundamentally intersectional. ‘Intersectionality’ is a fancy word for some rather basic ideas. You can think of it as ‘overlap-ism’ instead. There are three main points, 1) that each person needs to be seen as a whole, 2) that no power system exists in isolation, and 3) that all forms of oppression and exploitation should be uprooted at the same time.

The first point refers to the fact that real people aren’t cartoons. We are each complicated and multi-dimensional. For instance, a person is not just ‘working class’. They also have a gender. In general, life for a working class woman will be significantly different than for a working class man, not only because a woman is oppressed by sexism but because class itself is experienced differently.

An account of how #Strike4Repeal went in Dublin

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Andrew spent the day of March 8th 2017 recording #Strike4Repeal and has edited this 20 minute video account of how the day went down in Dublin.  Below you will also find a  text transcript of his account.

I headed into Dublin early on #Strike4Repeal day because a little birds had told me of the plan to cover up and alter some of Dublin’s statues in the early morning.

From apathy to rebellion: the water war in Ireland.

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No one saw this coming, not even the veteran activists. Hundreds of thousands resisting neoliberal economic policies would have been difficult to imagine even at the height of the Campaign Against Home and Water Charges. Although that campaign, primarily fighting against the regressive Household Charge and the subsequent Property Tax, was nationwide, it never quite built the momentum that we’ve seen with the anti-water charges campaign, though not for lack of effort on the part of activists. The CAHWT failed in its objective of defeating the Property Tax, the resistance effort however was not in vain; it prepared the ground for the current phase of struggle.
 

Yes Equality? The limitations of the marriage equality referendum victory

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We don’t understand words as simply words on their own, entirely dependent on their definition, as one word can have many different meanings. Context plays a big part in our understanding of words. There are some words that leave context with the responsibility of our understanding of what has just been said. The word “buckle”, for example, can either mean “to connect” or “to collapse”, two meanings opposite to each other, leaving us in need of context in order to understand the usage of the word.
 

Domination, Capitalism, and Economic Crises.

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The history of capitalism has been a of history domination; of landowners’ domination over tenants, of bosses’ domination over workers, of economically robust countries’ domination over developing economies. of bloody labour struggles, social struggles, and of many crises, which have the most devastating effect on the working class, those furthest away from the levers of power and influence. As the framework of capitalism has developed, its systems have expanded in complexity, but paradoxically also in fragility.
 

What Is Anarchism?

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Like almost any political term, ‘anarchism’ is very broad in scope and covers a huge range of ideas and practice.  Instead of trying to give an exhaustive description, or detail everything that is and isn’t anarchism, this article will attempt to get to the heart of it, and capture the essence, as far as possible, at the core of anarchism. Giving a complete definition of such a broad term would take many more words than will fit here and has been done well in other places (e.g. An Anarchist FAQ).
 

Interview: Belfast Co-operatives.

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Belfast has seen something of a surge of co-operatively run businesses in recent years as more people are faced with the choice between precarious work and unemployment with meagre dole payments. Belfast is now home to a taxi co-op, Union Taxis, a cleaning co-op, Belfast Cleaning Society, a co-operatively run café, Lúnasa, and a digital media co-op, The Creative Workers’ Co-Op - to name but a few. We sat down with Clem and Colin, two of the three members of the Creative Workers’ Co-Op, and Elena from Lúnasa to get their thoughts on co-ops in Belfast.
 

How to organise a meeting

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Organising requires getting together and making decisions, sharing information and organisational work.  It only takes a few informal chats among any group of people before it becomes obvious that some structure is greatly needed in facilitating group functioning.  Without structures and procedures people often forget what was agreed, what tasks were to be done and by whom, or when the next meeting is.  
 

A great display of solidarity from transport workers as Bus Eireann strikers mount secondary pickets

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Inter city bus workers in Ireland launched widespread secondary pickets at 4am this morning. Solidarity from transport workers at the other services picketed meant that most of the country ground to a halt as morning rush hour approached, almost all trains, Dublin bus and light rail services did not operate.

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