June 2017

THE WORMS THAT SAVED THE WORLD - a review of a brilliant children's book

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THE WORMS THAT SAVED THE WORLD is an illustrated children’s book about a rebellious group of earthworms who fight to save their home from a luxury golf course that takes over their headland. Written by Kevin Doyle and illustrated by Spark Deeley, the book introduces us to Connie and her friends as they band together to save their community and their home. 
 
 
At first, the worms try to make do but the growing pollution combined with the new owners’ intolerance force them to take action. They realise that they cannot win against the powerful golf club on their own so they seek the help of other animals who share the headland with them. They are a determined and inventive community of worms and in the end the win back control of their home. (Hurray!) The story was inspired by a famous campaign that took place at the Old Head of Kinsale in Cork, Ireland in the early 2000s.

Pay Restoration Con of the Politicans, Media and Union Leaders - Decade Later Far from Restoration to 2007 Levels

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Details of the latest national plan agreed between the government and union leaders have appeared in the media today, as usual well ahead of the union leaders bothering to tell their membership anything. Then union leaders intention is to present workers with a ‘take it or leave it’ choice accompanied by dire warnings that there is no choice.

The deal as expected is pretty rotten and in effect ensures that the pay cuts imposed on public sector workers from 2009 will at least partially be in place for some workers a full decade and a year later in 2020. What’s even worse is that the worse pay and conditions imposed on workers employed after 2012 are being set in stone rather than overturned. This despite it seeming an essential basic demand of a union that workers doing the same work should receive the same pay.

Anarchists, Is It Really Our Duty To Vote?

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Voting has just ended in the UK election. Many people are consumed with hope that Corbyn could win and implement his reforms “for the many, not the few”. For those of us who work with the broad left, it is inevitable that the topic of elections and voting will come up. Heated debates can occur between those of us who would rather ignore the electoral circus and those who strongly believe in using it as a vehicle on the road to a new society.

 

Before beginning, it is important to clarify the misconception that anarchists are against voting. We have absolutely no problem with voting - how else could we make decisions? We are against a system that allows for us to tick a box every four or five years which gives whoever received the most X’s to make decisions that affect our lives in a fancy building miles away from us. Politicians once elected do what they like because we can neither mandate nor recall them.

Elections: Shouldn't We 'Fight on All Fronts'?

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Anarchists are in favour of grassroots organising rather than engaging in electioneering. Some crticise this position, stating something along the lines of:

'But what about social housing, free education, and an increased minimum wage? That's change which will make a big difference to people's lives. And electoralism and grassroots organising aren't mutually exclusive. We shouldn't concede that ground to the right, we should fight on all fronts'.

Social housing, free education, increased minimum wage - there are worthwhile reforms which might be achieved by a left wing government, or might not, but they're fairly beside the point. It's worth remarking though that the best way even to achieve reforms through the state is by having strong social movements which can apply pressure to politicians.

An Anarchist Response to “Anarchists, It Is Our Duty To Vote In Elections”

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As the title suggests, this article has been written in response to this article which was written over two years ago just before the last UK General Election and as Hillary Clinton was beginning her campaign for US presidency. Coming from my own knowledge and beliefs on voting I was surprised when reading fellow anarchist Paddy Vipond’s article that he omitted major anarchist arguments against voting. In addition to serving as a response to Vipond’s piece I will discuss what he left out under his headings and address some issues that have become apparent during this current election campaign particularly with the hope that Corbyn’s Labour has sparked among the UK electorate and indeed further than that among the international electoralist left.

Grenfell fire - our live coverages as news of the atrocity become available

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With at least 12 confirmed dead at the London towerblock fire this morning (14th June) it has emerged that repeated warnings to the landlord and council of a fire hazard were ignored.  Early reports indicate that tower was home to 120 families, many drawn from poor migrant communities. 

The Grenfell Action Group this morning posted "we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC." - they had previously called KCTMO "an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia" in their blog where 8 warnings about this tower had been posted.

Absolute boy - The Youth Revolt that led Corbyn to a victory of sorts

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Corbyn’s strong showing in the June 2017 UK elections has given a big morale boost to the left.  A considerable youth vote, self-mobilising in larger part as a reaction to the ‘me and mine’ selfish society revealed by the Brexit vote seriously set back Tory plans for a fresh wave of Brexit required austerity.  Activists used social networking to overcome what had previously been seen as an all powerful smear machine of the billionaire print press.  Very few outside the radical left expected this outcome, what drove it and more importantly where can it lead?
[ This is a long read so you can also listen to an audio of the text ]

This piece is not going to answer that in terms of assumptions and assertions but as far as possible through hard numbers.  66% of 18-24 year old’s voted Labour, only a quarter of that, 18% voted Tory [p4].  27% of those 18-24 year olds said the NHS was the most important issue for them, even though they are least likely to need it [p40].  For the over 65 age group this was flipped, only 23% voted Labour and over twice as many (58%) voted Tory [p4].  In fact, given the way the UK election system works, if only 18-24 year olds had voted, Labour would have been heading for 500 seats.  If it had only been those over 65 voting the Tories would have had over 400 seats.

Dublin Pride 2017 - Working Class Queeroes "Fucking Dregs" Bloc

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The Dublin LGBTQ Pride Parade is on June 24th.

A radical bloc, the Working Class Queeroes ("Fucking Dregs"), has been organised to push for a genuine queer liberation which involves neither being the flamboyant PR managers of corporations and parties, nor succumbing to right-wing and conservative ideas or a cis- and homo-focused agenda. Find out more about the Working Class Queeroes here: https://workingclassqueeroes.wordpress.com

Join us at 1:15pm outside HedgeServ, south of St. Stephen's Green.

Organised by those outside and inside the WSM.

Working Class Queeroes "Fucking Dregs" Bloc on Pride Dublin 2017

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Footage of the Working Class Queeroes bloc on Dublin Pride 2017 including the banner drop before Pride and the bloc smoking up the rainbow flag prior to crossing the river Liffey.

 

7 Lies for the 7th 'Rally for Life' - July 1st

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On Saturday July 1st, people who advocate the right to choose will gather at the Spire at 2pm for the counter demonstration to the 'Rally for Life', which is organised by Precious Life / Youth Defence. The first year of the All Ireland Rally of Lies was 2007. This year, the event is in Dublin. In alternate years, it is held in Belfast. Since 2011, Rally for Choice has been a counter presence. For those on Facebook, find the event page here.

To mark the 7th Counter Demo, here are 7 lies from the Rally for ‘Life’ website.

 

1 - They Don't '#SaveLives#

 

 

Jobstown Not Guilty verdict exposes Garda, Labour and class rule in Ireland

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THE JOBSTOWN SIX have been found NOT GUILTY - a disastrous outcome for the Labour party and Garda in what has been the biggest political show trial for some decades. It is impossible to have followed the details of the arrests and trial and walk away with the impression that the Garda were not acting on government instructions, even if just on the basis of the ‘nod and a wink’. The verdict may well catch anyone relying on the mainstream media as a surprise because right across that media the reporting of the trial was highly selective, reflecting the interests of those who own and control it.

*** A summary for anyone following this from outside Ireland, six men were on trial accused of falsely imprisoning the then Tanáiste and Labour TD, Joan Burton, and her colleague in Jobstown on 15 November 2014. The charge of false imprisonment carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. All six men claimed that they were exercising their right to protest, and that the protest was peaceful. Following a nine week trial, the six have been found not guilty. ***

8 Traits of a Good Organiser

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Being a good political organiser involves quite a large set of skills which take years of practical experience to hone. The manual on how to be a good organiser - if one could even be written - would be a book large enough to be covered by the Offensive Weapons Act. This is a basic primer on what makes a good organiser rather than a shoddy one, focusing on the kind of traits you should be trying to develop over time. None of us lives up to these all of the time, but it's what we should aspire to and move closer towards continuously. [Download as PDF]

The 8 traits are:

  1. Reliable
  2. Co-operative
  3. Independent
  4. Communicates Clearly
  5. Realistic
  6. Ambitious
  7. Secure
  8. Growing

Jobstown not Guilty points to a Garda conspiracy

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The outraged media reaction to a jury doing its job and finding the Jobstown defendants not guilty is quite extraordinary.  Rather than do the right thing and launch an investigation as to how 180 cops could produce evidence that was directly contradicted by video evidence, the media have gone on a rant against Twitter!  Rather than finding it suspicious that nearly 3 million in public funds was spent by the DPP on a case that any proper check of available evidence should have indicated was never likely to convince a jury, the media suggest instead that the problem lay in the exact charges brought.

As we look across our newspapers, TV channels and radio stations and see what appears to be coordinated messaging from politicos, journalists and other elite figures we should take this as a teaching moment.  This isn’t some exception, this is how it works.  It’s only visible in this instance because so many of us followed the trial in considerable detail, and that was only possible because of the large number of activists who provided court updates, mostly in a voluntary role. Those activists with access to social media allowed a collective challenging of the media framing. Hundreds of people not only read what they posted but shared and retweeted it.

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