April 2018

Repealing the 8th - what the opinion polls are telling us

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The Sunday Times with Behaviour & Attitudes have run two very useful polls that give a strong sense of how the campaign to Repeal the 8th Referendum is going.  The overall story the poll results tell is bad for the Vote No campaign and promising for the Vote Yes campaign.  If the referendum had been held at the time of the March poll then Repeal would have been carried by 64% to 36%, almost 2:1.  The polling data also shows No has a soft vote that is very much larger proportion than the equivalent soft Yes vote.  This means if anything between now and referendum day the polls are likely to drift towards repeal.   

None of this is a reason for complacency, what the No side lacks in terms of numbers and support they make up for in terms of funding.  Before the campaign had even started they were spending hundreds of thousands on online advertising, billboards, leaflets and free buses to what had to be their disappointingly small March 10th national march.  Together for Yes may have far more support and more people out canvassing but will it have enough to defeat all that paid advertising? 

As this is a long read we are also making an audio version available

The Fenian Proclamation (1867) vs the 1916 Proclamation - the lost radicalism of Irish republicanism

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Considering the fact the Anarchist Communism as a coherent and easily transmutable ideology only came to be during the 1870’s and 1880’s the Fenian Proclamation of 1867 is striking in its progressiveness and clarity of thought. A product of the Irish Famine, English economic and military Imperialism in Ireland and a tradition of insurrectionary attempts against Imperialist rule, the original Fenians of 1867 should be viewed as proto socialistic in their values and analysis.

This is not to say they were Anarchists or close, they were most definitely Republican statists, who organised for an almost purely military strike against Imperialism, as opposed to the destruction of the state and working class/farmer self-activity for the destruction of exploitation and Imperialism and the creation of a cooperative society.

How the government were forced to call a referendum to repeal the 8th

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Now that we have a definitive date of May 25th 2018, the date on which we will get to vote to repeal the 8th Amendment it is timely for us to remember how this opportunity to change Irish society into a fairer one came about. 

History is written by those in power, therefore this referendum has comes with a heavily constructed backstory that goes like this. Leo Varadkar, our funky sock wearing leader, with all his social media savvy got together with his wing of the Fine Gael party to progress social change in Ireland. Repeal was the next obvious step. The line continues that having witnessed the historic popular vote on the marriage equality referendum, the government decided to tackle the thorny issue of the 8th amendment. They had not the courage to devise a plan themselves so they gave it to the Citizens assembly, hoping that if they came back with something grossly unpopular then it was the assembly that could be blamed. I diverge from the script here, but it is important to recognise that there is a distinct lack of courage with the elected ones. Now, they are now fully enacting the recommendations, because the Citizens assembly came back with the obvious solution to deal with the issue. That was to repeal the 8th amendment and legislate for safe abortion in Ireland.

A trip into the anti-choice mind

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You'd be hard pressed to find an issue riddled with as many lies, myths, inaccuracies etc. as abortion particularly in Ireland. You'd also be hard pressed to find a more ridiculous poster as that which some members of the anti-choice brigade have produced in the run up to referendum.

Housing is a Human Right march attracts thousands

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Saturday 7th April saw 3000 people take to the streets of Dublin for the Housing is a Human Right march. Some 10,000 people are in emergency accommodation, 3700 of them children.  Meanwhile landlords & property speculators pocket a massive portion of the wages of those who are working either via rent or if post 2000 'homeowners' through massive morgage payments.

Solidarity Times is now only visible if you are in Ireland

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A few minutes ago we made Solidarity Times Facebook page invisible to people who are outside of Ireland. This post explains why we did this, but remember you can still see all the content by following our WSM Ireland page so don’t panic!

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 9 - Ecology and Technology

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'9. Revolution must aim to bring human society into harmony with the rest of nature, for our own basic quality of life and for the sake of other species. This aim is not fundamentally opposed to technological development or mass society, which are always expressions of the current social system. Rather, we strive for a libertarian, ecological, technology.'

When we consider the billions of barren, lifeless, planets in our universe, it is a stark reminder of how vital the physical environment is to the existence and flourishing of life. The proper balance and functioning of the Earth’s climate and ecosystems is the basis of everything good on our planet – access to food, water, tolerable temperature, and shelter from extreme weather.

Fascist Party Openly Campaigns as 'Abortion Never' to Keep 8th Amendment

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Seen any of these posters around recently? You may be interested to know they are a product of the 'Abortion Never' campaign, an initiative of the anti-immigrant, far-right National Party. The party is led by one Justin Barrett who is arguably best known for leading Youth Defence from the early nineties until 2004.

In the past he has attended several events hosted by the German NPD, a Neo-Nazi group, whose then deputy leader confirmed that the NPD was 'friendly' with Youth Defence. Italian fascist group 'Forza Nuovo' reported that Mr Barrett has also attended several of their events in the early 2000's.
Even after Mr Barrett's departure, Youth Defence still managed to grab the headlines though. In 2013, a Youth Defence billboard truck parked outside the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre carrying a billboard that read: "The abortion bill won't make women safer, it will just kill babies". The company who owned the truck refused to carry any more Youth Defence material after the wave of outrage that followed.

Distrust politicians? - Vote for Repeal because we forced them to call the referendum, we are the rebellion

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One of the more bizarre elements of the pro-choice referendum in Ireland has been the attempt by anti-choice campaigners to portray themselves as rebels.  This while defending a 35 year old ban on abortion that was introduced to copper fasten the status quo back then.   This is providing something of an excuse however for some characters on the left (generally men) to adopt anti women positions on the basis that the 'establishment' is now backing change.  A couple of our members take this argument apart below.

Trusting politicians does not come easy - distrust comes far easier. In the fight for votes in the Repeal referendum the issue of distrusting politicians has been raised by the anti-choice side. Politicians do have poor track record, tending to leave a litany of broken promises in their wake. We all remember different promises broken - I remember the one about ‘ to protect the vulnerable’ when this battered ship sailed into the storm of austerity. In Ireland, even politicians say things like ‘you can’t trust politicians’. It as if by saying that they are exempting themselves from being politicians, and saying, you can trust us again.

Trust and distrust are flip sides of a coin. The answer you give frequently depends on this. Are you dancing? Who is asking? On the bottom of some No posters it says 'join the rebellion’. There is a gross twisting of the truth going on here. It can be compared with Darth Vader stretching out his gloved hand and asking you to join the rebellion. Essentially it is the empire of misogyny doing everything in its power to gain a single no vote. Their mind trick here is that if the Government want you to vote for something that you should vote the other way. It hinges on the inherent distrust factor.

Thinking About Anarchism: Competition Versus Co-operation

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Consider the accompanying image: phone service providers. How many of these companies does a rational society really need? Their job is to connect our mobile phones to communications networks (GSM, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi). Do we really need five such organisations in the 26 counties to attempt that same task? And who does it benefit that these five organisations compete with one another for profit? After all, they are all using the same infrastructure! Surely five organisations co-operating will be more effective than five walled-off organisations each attempting the same task individually.

But this article is not about phone coverage in particular. It is about those broader questions which run right through the fabric of our societies.

ICBR get the SPUC off treatment after they target LGBTQ spaces during Repeal referendum

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The afternoon of April 16th, outside Pantibar in Dublin, the so-called Irish Centre for Bioethical Reform staged an anti-abortion protest targeted at LGBT people in particular – planning to target well-known LGBTQ+ spaces Pantibar, Gay Community News, The George Bar, and Outhouse (LGBT community/resource centre), with a bespoke banner including a Pride rainbow flag.

The ICBR might be better known to people in Dublin as a small group of people who display large banners with graphic imagery of late-term abortions intended to shock and shame those have had abortions, who might have one someday, or who might defend a person’s right to make that decision. And, of course, those who have miscarried are collateral damage in the process.

Disgusting smear attempt by anti-choice FB page

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Perhaps out of frustration with their failure on last night's Late Late Show (Apr 27th), the anti-choice No campaigns have stooped to a disgusting new low today.  We've observed that they have been engaged in setting up apparently innocuous Facebook news pages and we presumed it was in connection with the referendum.  Today they changed the cover image of one of these pages to make it look like a Yes campaign page and then posted this disgusting post.

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