On the 5th of March, students of National University of Galway, Ireland (NUIG) will vote in a referendum to decide whether the Students' Union will adopt a position favouring the legalisation of cannabis. They would be the first Students' Union to do so in Europe, and one of the first on the globe.
Not only do we advocate the legalisation of cannabis, but the end of drug prohibition in general. Far from preventing harm, this inimical policy merely serves to give the state undue control over our lives, empower some of the most savage criminals on the planet to the tune of billions, and, based on superstition, stymy medical treatment.
If someone has a drug problem, the last thing they need is to be punished by the police. For most, criminalisation is their biggest drug problem. But for those who suffer from addiction, what they require is non-judgmental medical care, and support from family and friends, not the heavy hand of the state bearing down on them, and not the narrow-minded stigma which abounds in our prohibition culture.
A few days ago the catholic bishops yet again dared to lecture people in Ireland with their statement against marriage equality. This morning Díobháil, a new Galway feminist group, has used Galway cathedral to speak out for and help the women trapped in unwanted pregnancies because of the bishops' role in another referendum, the 1983 anti choice referendum.
In the years since 1983 it emerged that the same bishops had conspired to hide priests who had raped children, not just on one or two but on many occasions. Despite that this same group of supposedly celibate men still continue to bother us with lectures opposing sexual freedom, bodily autonomy and even same sex relationships. The same bishops still have de facto control over most of our schools and many of our hospitals and community centres.
Some great news for International Womens Day. The students of NUI Galway have voted Yes in a pro-choice referendum by close to a massive 70%. The wording (below) was very clear and included a mandate for action. Well done to all who campaigned in this referendum.
Anti-choice groups have been engaged in a protracted campaign of spreading FUD (Fear - Uncertainty - Doubt ) ever since the tragic fact of the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was refused an abortion in Galway hospital emerged. Because they know that it is too soon for them to be seen to attack her husband Praveen for his courageous public stance they have focused on attacking those supporting the families demand for a change in the law.
One tactic has been to suggest that pro-choice groups found out about the death in an underhand manner. A smear that last weekend's Sunday Independent disgracefully republished - despite being informed of its false. This morning Galway Pro-Choice issued the press release that follows which demonstrates not only that it was Savita's friends and family who initatied contact and that GPC then went though a full range of possibilites with them including not releasing the story of what had happened at all.
Community struggles - campaign strategies - developing networks
NUI Galway, Friday October 12 - Sunday 14
NEW - FULL TIMETABLE AVAILABLE HERE. (More details of sessions at the end of this post.)
Saturdays Household tax demonstration in Galway at the Labour Party conference saw angry scenes after Garda attempted to keep the protesters out of sight and sound from the conference venue. Students who were being kept off their own campus were particularly annoyed and led a push against the Garda barriers during which several of them were attacked with pepper spray. They did however succeed in removing the barriers with the result that around 1,000 of the 4,000 or so Household tax demonstrators were able to march to the door of the conference center to protest in full sight of the Labour party delegates inside.
A number of WSM members were present at the protest, either with their various local Household tax delegations or with FEE, the student group. One of them was among the people pepper sprayed. We asked them to give us their accounts of what happened on the day.
The Campaign against Household and Water Taxes has organised a march and rally to protest the Labour Party's national convention in Galway this coming Saturday. Assembling in Eyre Square at 1pm, the march will proceed to the NUIG campus where the Labour Party will be busy planning how they proceed with selling out what little remains of their principles.
On Wednesday 29th February, over 200 people marched on the streets of Galway against the government’s ongoing attacks on the education sector. The march was organised by Free Education For Everyone (FEE) Galway in conjunction with NUIG Students Union, to fight back against cuts including the increase of third-level fees to €3000 by 2015, abolition of postgraduate grants and the slashing of the numbers of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), which FEE views as part of the wider neo-liberal attack on free education and further argues that all of these measures make education increasingly inaccessible to working-class people.
The major development for the WSM of late has been the establishment of a Galway branch, which is now up and running and meeting fortnightly in the city. We have had contacts with various anarchists in the city for a number of years and are delighted to now have a core of people in Galway campaigning and promoting anarchism in the West.
On Wednesday 26th October, the newly-formed Galway branch of the WSM will be hosting a public meeting.
Titled 'Another World Is Possible', it will feature a number of talks by WSM members which will serve as an introduction to anarchism, the history of anarchist struggles in Ireland, and local struggles, follwed by open discussion.
The meeting takes place at 7.30 pm in the Imperial Hotel on Eyre Square.