May 2018

Well that makes no sense - on the anti-choice 1916 beermats

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There are many strange things about the anti-choice bigots trying to protect the antiquated status quo of the 8th amendment - a piece of text inserted into the constitution at the moment when the power of that old clerical Ireland was about to crumble.

Health and Happiness as a Political Organiser - Brief Notes

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This is a quick article about some of the psychology and health issues of being a political organiser. There is as much to say about this topic time in the universe would allow, as such, this is a brief sketch which will be part of an ongoing series of articles dedicated to mental health and psychology with a particular focus on its application to political organising.

Dublin Mayday 2018 - at a hectic time it's a small gathering of the faithful

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The Dublin May Day march last night took place in miserable weather conditions, the parade was led off the Trade Union Repeal the 8th banners - Repeal was one of the march themes and copies of a newspaper aimed at trade unionists called Yes Repeal were also distributed.

Another Dublin May Day theme was working rights for migrants following the farcical new rules that supposedly give asylum seekers a right to work but which in practice few qualify under and which require too much paper work for employers to bother with for a 6 month contract.

Extremists on 'both sides'? Not really.

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If anyone says to you that 'there are extremists on both sides' in the referendum campaign, do be sure to point out that it's only the 'No' side that has the Far Right activists and the people with the big gory pictures that stand outside maternity care centres trying to harass and shame women.

The man in the pictures on the left is Justin Barrett, former leader of Youth Defence, and current leader of the anti-immigrant, homophobic, National Party.

The National Party wants 14 years imprisonment for women who access an abortion and the death penalty for doctors who provide abortions. Justin Barrett has attended neo-Nazi events in Germany and Italy in the past and his Far-Right party have been putting up posters around Ireland calling for a 'No' vote.

Health minister targeted with graphic posters as No to Repeal campaign turns nastier

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As the referendum to remove the 8th amendment approaches in Ireland the No campaign are turning to increasingly nasty shock tactics.  The 8th amendment passed in 1983 removes healthcare control from pregnant people and puts it in the hands of the courts, it was inserted to ban abortion but in fact impacts every aspect of pregnancy.

Repeal vote still too close to call when likely Don't Know to No taken into account

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The referendum to remove the clause in the constitution that limits what medical care, including abortion, women in Ireland can access approaches at the end of this month. With another poll appearing this morning we have updated our graph of how that May 25th vote would look IF the polling companies had a similar margin as they had for the Marriage Equality referendum a couple of years back. As you can see they suggest if nothing changes the result of the May 25th, Repeal vote will be too close to call until the count on the 26th.

Maser’s Repeal the 8th mural covered up again but who regulates the regulator?

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There is a poetic symbolism to the images here of the artist Maser’s Repeal the 8th mural at the Project Arts centre. (additional images in comments section) The art is covered up. A government body orders a theatre space to cover up a mural of a heart, leaving just half a heart in its wake.

The line from the Charities Regulator is that the Project Arts is excluded from taking a stance on Repeal because that would be ‘advancing a political cause’ that does not relate to their charitable purpose of their arts space.

Repeal and the online battle - when become a billionaire isn't an option

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Over the last few days the mainstream media in Ireland has finally woken up to the way money from far right US evangelicals is being used to buy the No vote in the referendum campaign. Here we show you how to see how you are being targeted and discuss what this means for the referendum and any conception of democracy not based on the ‘one dollar, one vote’ favoured by the elite.

What Happened When Portugal Decriminalised Abortion?

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With the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment on May 25th drawing nearer, it’s with great interest that we look at the experience of other countries which have struggled against an abortion ban like ours, to learn from the lessons of the campaign, and to ‘look into the future’, as it were, and see the result of decriminalising abortion. As such, here are some brief notes on Portugal.

On 11th February 2007, in a national referendum, the Portuguese voted in favor of the decriminalization of the "voluntary interruption of the pregnancy" (VGI). It was the end of more than 30 years of struggles, advances and retreats, with many public debates dividing several quarters of Portuguese society.

Anti-choice groups freak out as google bans referendum ads - what had they planned?

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A few hours ago the referendum campaign in Ireland took an unexpected turn when google announced it was banning all referendum based advertising across all its platforms including Youtube. The howls of outrage from the anti-choice No campaign has been going on ever since.

This reaction across the No campaigns is telling. For the first time spokespeople are posting about No losing the referendum & suggesting the whole vote is rigged. Which makes you wonder what nasty online ads they were intending to run in the last 10 days?

Finance, SIPO & the repeal referendum

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If you’ve been following online debates about Repeal you will have seen many, many references to Soros as supposedly funding the Yes campaign, even though much of the money was raised very publically when Together for Yes held an online fundraiser that brought in 550,000 euro from over 10,000 people.   The use of the George Soros’ name by right wing ideologues to discredit left wing movements is nothing new and speaks to an racist  stereotype, one associated in particular with the Nazis, of the Jewish financier influencing political decision-making through shadow channels and dirty tricks.

The weirdness of the Save 8 roadshow in Newbridge

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"Oh, you're going to start quoting the pro-choice Irish Times are you?! Why don't you come over here and I'll give you some *real* statistics!".

The bishops - no more credible on abortion than on divorce referendum

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In the week before the 1995 divorce referendum the catholic bishops put out a statement commanding their flock to vote No. The WSM reacted to this by putting up posters reading 'The bishops; They hid priests who raped children and now they want to lecture us about morals.." illustrated with a photograph of Father Brendan Smyth who had raped at least 143 children and whose religious order had hid these actions from the police. The enquiry had found that "..despite knowing his history of abusing children, the Norbertine religious order moved Smyth to different dioceses where he abused more children.."

Belfast activists canvass for Yes in Cavan

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With just under two weeks to the Repeal referendum pro-choice activists from Belfast travelled across the border to help canvass Cavan for Yes this weekend.

A super canvass for Repeal in Swords

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On Sunday I was fortunate enough to have the time to spend canvassing Swords for a Yes in the upcoming referendum on the 8th amendment with great gang of volunteers. This was a weekend when Together For Yes was organising big canvasses in towns that we knew had to be covered. Naas, Swords and Navan along with other towns were all being canvassed this weekend.

100s of Yes posters torn down by organised gang in County Cork

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In a pattern all to common across rural Ireland hundreds of Yes posters were torn down in an organised fashion by what had to be No activists across Country Cork last night.  This anti-democratic rage typifies the No campaign which has has so much wealth that it is printing 10 No posters to every Yes.  All across Ireland the few Yes posters there are to distribute have been torn down, in one case we have heard of in the west they have even been discovered in the houses of No campaigners.  This is ahead of the May 25th referendum to remove the article of the Irish constitution that equates the life of a women with that of a foetus.

Our photographer threatened & assaulted at Rally for Life as an angry No campaign steps up hateful rhetoric

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On Saturday one of our photographers was assaulted and threatened at the ‘No’ campaigns’ anti-choice Rally for Life.  He wasn’t injured and although his camera was punched (see video) no damage was done but this is yet another example of how the No campaign, having failed to make any impact in the polls, are becoming nastier in their desperation.

The ‘Love Both’ anti-choice rally itself was very poorly attended, attracting around 1500 people.  The feeling in the crowd was one of tiredness and demoralisation with a few people even admitting out loud that the turnout was miserable.  Radical Queers Resist were holding a small silent counter protest opposite the entrance to the rally so after counting the crowd we headed over to this.

Canvassing in the Repeal referendum - Kildare view

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"I'm pretty sure I could clear that gate in one bound if I get chased down the driveway by a dog...".

This is what you think to yourself as you walk up a very long driveway that had a 'Beware of the Dog' sign on the gate that you respectfully closed behind you on your way in.

Nevertheless, you push on because the Yes side must win out over the ICBR fetusphiles, the American evangelicals and the assortment of women hating Irish fundamentalists.

All Polls shows Yes lead for Repeal but it could still be close if previous patterns hold

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Two new opinions polls were out Sunday morning on next Fridays referendum to remove the hated 8th amendment to the constitution that equates the life of a woman with that of a foetus.  Both this mornings polls are good news for the Yes to Repeal campaign with an increased Yes vote since the same companies' previous polls.

Should men vote for Repeal - a canvassing story from Navan

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"Yesterday on the street in Navan, I had a rather fascinating conversation with a very intelligent, articulate young man. The first time he passed by, he didn't take a leaflet or engage, but when I offered him a leaflet as he passed by a second time, jokingly telling him that he had escaped the first time, we ended up having a long, if rather frustrating, conversation.

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