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A piece written for the WSM web site and quickly edited by our newsroom

Irish Ministers Pose for Charlie Hebdo Free Speech, While Blasphemy Law Remains

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'Je suis Charlie. Vive la Liberté (mais le blasphème est interdit!)'

More members of the hypocrite's identity parade. If these politicians were serious about protecting free speech, beyond posturing in photo-ops, they would be fast-tracking a referendum on abrogating the blasphemy law and not fast-tracking redundant 'anti-terror' legislation (which has been used all over the world to stifle dissent).

The greatest irony is that while they make a spectacle of defending the blasphemous Charlie Hebdo against Islamist violence, repressive Islamist governments use the Irish blasphemy law as justification for their persecution of blasphemers, and advocate the exact wording of 'our' law to the UN as international best practice to spread blasphemy laws to other countries.

In fact, this is the most important reason that the Irish blasphemy law must be abolished immediately. It will likely not be applied in Ireland, though it is certainly unjust and ridiculous. Although Dr. Ali Salem, of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, has warned that he will invoke it against blaspheming Charlie Hebdo cartoons if they are re-printed here.
 

Only Those Without Democracy and Freedom Need To Be Told They Have Them

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In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack we have been inundated with reminders from our 'leaders' of how glorious our society, our civilisation, is. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - these are the principles which supposedly animate our political life.

But only those who aren't free, and don't live in a democratic society, need to be told they are free and live in a democratic society. To those who are free, it is obvious. Billionaire Denis O'Brien knows he is free. We, au contraire, have to be convinced. And real democracy is a way of life, it is not something hard to spot.

We want a society where liberty, equality, and solidarity, aren't just words, but are the ubiquitous and palpable features of every day life - that is to say anarchism.

In our society, Democracy is like a marble statue in an art gallery. It is dead and motionless, put on a pedestal, you view and admire it, then go home and don't take it with you. The professionals will curate it - return to your plebeian wont.
 

Sweeping 'Anti-Terrorism' Legislation Due Soon Before Dail

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REMAIN INDOORS, TERRORISTS ARE COMING FOR YOUR FREEDOM

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said Ireland is on alert for terrorist attacks and that sweeping zero-tolerance anti-terrorism legislation will be soon before the Dáil.

Enough hysteria. In Ireland we've prided ourselves for not indulging such wacky 'anti-terrorism' mania to the extent the US and UK have post-11/9. 'Terrorism' is an ill-defined nonsense term and this is as true as ever.
 

Charlie Hebdo: Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Gold and Liliaceous Statement

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Politicians love to take the high moral ground, especially because they spend most of their time lying and implementing the unethical agenda of the masters. Events like the Charlie Hebdo massacre are excellent opportunities for them to declaim from the pulpit, and distract from their own malfeasance. 'Murdering journalists is bad! Those people are savages, how could they trample on our exquisite Democracy? Why do they hate our Liberty, which we love so dearly?' It is an opportunity to further reinforce the mythology of a Free Society, and Enda Kenny - the ambitious statesman that he is - is not one to let it pass.

In our solidarity we show the agents of such destruction that to us their actions are anathema, their propositions absurd ...
Together, as Europeans, may we nourish our democracy, protect our liberty, cherish our way of life.
” - An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Paris, January 2015.

How wearisome is it when we are more accustomed to our most beloved ideals being used as soundbite seasoning than being expressed in earnest - let alone actually being embodied by the society we live in? Political life is fake, and we expect it to be fake. The politicians are just so shocked that anyone would do such a thing. Where did it even come from? Well don't ask that, but they had nothing to do with fomenting the conditions for its expansion anyway. Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, (Shannon), speak not of it. The barbarians are on the loose and there's no time.
 

Spanish PM Postures about 'Freedom of Expression' Despite Repression at Home

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The question isn't which of these countries' governments isn't truly committed to freedom of expression, as the Picket Line of Justice would suggest, but which is. Today Spanish police arrested at least 16 lawyers of Basque political prisoners. Three were arrested on their way to the Spanish Special Court for the first day of a mass trial against 35 pro-independence activists. This is only two days after a 80,000 person protest for the rights of Basque political prisoners.

Also, on December 16th 2014 we saw 11 anarchists in Barcelona area detained in what has been known as "Operation Pandora". All 11 detainees (4 of them were released on charges on December, 18th) are anarchist activists. Solicitors for the accused have stated that they have been arrested for being organised; evidence against the accused is non-existent and desperate. Presiding Judge Bermúdez said “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future”, presumably having to stop himself before saying 'Anarchy is on trial'.
 

Céad Míle Fáilte to Rough It Outside the Garda National Immigration Bureau

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Some International Students & Workers organised a solidarity gathering to stand up and speak out against the humiliating treatment of international students and workers required to register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

Many have seen the recent reports and photographs of students and workers queueing overnight at the GNIB in order to obtain required visa permissions to remain in the state. Under huge pressure from students, workers and allies the Department of Justice (DoJ) were forced to temporary alleviate the situation by placing more resources into processing claims, especially for re-entry visas.
 

Demonstrations in Spain as Police Crack Down on Anarchist Movement

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Demonstrations took place overnight across the Spanish state against the series of police raids targeting the anarchist movement. The Barcelona demonstration of 2000 people was led by a banner proclaiming "If you touch one; you touch all".

Demands include "Freedom for those arrested for struggling", "Down with prison walls" and "Social war against the state of capital".

Media reports say that the raids took place in 15 locations in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa and Madrid and that 11 have been arrested. The usual excuse is given, 'terrorism', but the same reports reveal that all that the raids have discovered are "computers, mobile phones and notebooks found during searches"
 

Sunday World Story More Incendiary than Starring Petrol Bomb

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We have an easy winner for the WTF example of media bias this week in relation to the water charge resistance. The Sunday World journalists have pulled out all the stops in the service of Denis O'Brien as illustrated below. In case you miss the small print under the photo we have underlined it in yellow 'How it Could have Looked'.

The non exploding Drogheda 'petrol bomb' was a weak story in any case, a scare that felt manufactured before the Sunday World got creative with its photographs of a burned out van from somewhere else altogether. But really what sort of excuse can be offered up for such transparent bias?

 

Abortion: Just Travel to England?

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The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) revealed yesterday that over the last 12 months alone they have seen 26 asylum seekers or women with travel restrictions who indicated they wanted an abortion but were unable to travel abroad. At least 5 of those women were forced to continue the pregnancy to term.

For too long people have allowed the state to continue to deny bodily autonomy because the trip to Britain for an abortion was a difficult and expensive option but one still available to many. What was ignored was that those unable to access such abortions were the most marginalised, those with little or no voice. As the IFPA revealed as well as Asylum Seekers this includes "women in poverty or on low income, young women, women with disabilities, women in State care, women experiencing domestic violence and women with travel restrictions”.
 

They Seem Invincible, says Orwell, But Don't Give Up

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'Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible' – democratic socialist George Orwell.

You wake up, and the radio is saying something about hundreds of billions of euro again. Police somewhere just shot a load of protesters, and something about the polar ice caps melting faster than we thought. It's awful, but you're just one person. Things are pretty bleak.

You're not the first to feel hopeless
As Orwell says, the rulers of society, the people in charge who control the resources and make the decisions, will seem invincible. Put yourself in the position of a feudal serf, or a slave? Do you think they ever thought that the feudal regime would crumble, that slavery would be abolished? People said it wasn't possible, that human nature wouldn't allow it, and that we should just aim to have a 'better feudalism', a 'better slavery'. But, lo and behold, it happened and only because there were people who refused to settle, who dared to believe that a fundamentally better world was possible.

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