With Martin McGuinness resigning as Deputy First Minister and Sinn Fein declining to nominate a deputy first miniter an election is almost certainly going to be called and the electoral circus will once again come to town.
Please excuse this writer's election fatigue - with this being the third election in 12 months on this island - as I begin this short post off with a well used phrase: "Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth".
The Green and Orange politics of the north almost guarantees us that we will be returned with a Sinn Féin - DUP government, meaning that, yep you guessed it(!), if voting changed anything here it would be illegal.
The Barricade Inn was a squatted social centre in the centre of Dublin. During the peak of its activity over the summer of 2015 hundreds of people were involved in putting on events in the space that thousands of people attended. In this audio we talk to three WSM members who were involved in opening up and running The Barricade about what happened there and what lessons they drew from the experience.
Revolution in Rojava” is an eye-witness account on the experience of creating a bottom up social order which actively challenges all forms of oppression and exploitation. The struggle in Rojava (a mostly Kurdish region north of Syria), despite the extent of counterrevolutionary and imperialist forces aligned against it, continues to nurture an autonomous, grassroots resistance across its multiply ethno-religious communities.
Yesterday hundreds of people turned out to support the imaginative action which is known to all as Apollo house. Apollo House is the single point of light that emerged from an otherwise dismal year, a centennial year of significance, which gave us so little to be proud of. Homelessness, in spite of being a significant symptom of all that is wrong in our society, is both ignored and tolerated. Fortunately the sight of the homeless masses did not get in the way of the centenary celebrations of what a great little republic we have grown up to be.
The actions of the Irish Housing Network and the alliance of supporters which has become known as Home Sweet Home, has taken over an ugly brutalist building and former dole office on Tara Street, and gave homeless people hope of a fresh start. What it has also done is shone a light on the inhumane bureaucratic approach of this to dealing with people who live on the streets. Getting people who have no bed for the night, to phone a free phone number in order to secure one for a single night, only to be thrown back out into the dark pre-dawn streets to do it all again the next day. Apollo House is the golden lamp that emerges from 2016 – and that’s why it has touched the people of Ireland, and been so massively supported. It is an example of what this state should do to support the dispossessed, and would have been a far more fitting tribute than having parades or concerts.
The small town of Ballaghaderreen recently found out that it would be welcoming some 82 refugees in the near future. About half of these are minors and most of those are under 12 including 13 under the age of 4. There were the predictable attempts by neo-nazis to whip up hate online and someone even distributed about 80 British fascist leaflets in the town. But rather than hate taking hold the town held a standing room only welcoming meeting last Thursday. We asked one of the organisers, Jessamine O Connor, to tell us how this happened.
Hundreds of people responded to the High Court demanding the eviction of Apollo House by linking arms to form a protective ring around it. The judge refused the residents an extra week to find accommodation despite the housing minister failing to deliver what had been promised.
It emerged overnight that housing minister Simon Coveney has failed to deliver on the terms he agreed in order to get Home Sweet Home to vacate Apollo House. Protests are taking place outside Apollo house and across the country in response to this betrayal.
Like many other TDs Coveney is a landlord, we know he earns at least 2600 a month from landlordism - it could be a lot more, TDs are only required to declare that there are landlords if they earn more than that figure, they are not required to say how much more. For landlords homelessness plays an essential role in keeping tenants in a state of insecurity and fear, it makes us feel we have no other choice but to pay rent increases.
Ireland is in the depths of a severe homelessness crisis, with 7,000 people without a home. With the government refusing to act, some activists in Dublin did. Apollo House was occupied by Home Sweet Home Eire on the 15th December, to intervene in the housing crisis and to save lives.
There are around 190,000 vacant buildings in Ireland, that's 27 houses for every homeless person.
You can tell a lot about someone from what they worry about. The Housing Minister Simon Coveney isn’t so much worried about people sleeping on the streets at the moment. He is losing sleep about the thought that other people might fill their swimming pools with free water!
The northern Ireland parliament, Stormont, is in one of its usual crises. In this latest instance we’re talking about a massive fuck up by the DUP whereby Arlene Foster introduced a Renewable Heating Initiative scheme in 2012 which would pay businesses £1.60 for every £1 they spent on heating. This lead to companies heating up empty sheds and barns through the scheme which has amounted to almost half a billion pound being squandered by the so-called political elites. This is one of those crises that has gotten out of control and Stormont is struggling to get a grasp back on things so they’ve rolled out a bit of sectarianism in the hope that we get outraged about that and not the £490 million that has gone up in smoke.
Amazingly, after watching almost half a billion quid go up in smoke, and branding calls for her to step down after such a monumental fuck up as misogynistic - insulting women who have felt the very real consequences of her and her's party's misogynistic policies - Arlene Foster has put a meme on her facebook page of a guinea pig wearing pink heart shaped sunglasses with the words "can't see all the haters with my love glasses on".