Workplace

Turnips, hammers & the square - why workplace occupations have faded.

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What if we build it and they don’t come? That was the experience of the left during the crisis - decades had been spent building organisations and a model of how crisis would create revolution, but when the crisis arrived the left discovered that the masses weren’t convinced. The expected pattern of crisis leading to small strikes and protests, then to mass strikes and riots and then perhaps to general strike and revolution didn’t flow as expected. Under that theory the radical left would at first be marginal but then as conditions drove class militancy to new heights, the workers disappointed by reformist politicians and union leaders, would move quickly to swell its ranks.
 
In 2008 and 2009 that was the expectation of the revolutionary left organisations across Europe and North America, but that cycle of growth never materialised. In 2011 revolts did break out, but not in the manner expected and so the left could only spectate and criticise. Beyond that the period of struggle from 2008-2014 suggests that there is less strength in building struggles around broad ‘bread & butter’ issues than we imagined and a suggestion that diversity proved more useful in sustaining progressive struggle.
 

The British Miners strike of 1984-85 -Video & Audio from DABF 2014

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At this session at the Dublin anarchist bookfair Dave Douglass talked about his experiences of 1984 - the year the British mines almost defeated Thatcher. "That fight in 84-85 involved the whole community, it was not only about unions. It was partly about unions but it was about an industry, it was about a way of life. The miners were almost an ethnicity, with father to son for hundreds and hundreds of years in the same miner family. And we had a very strong revolutionary and radical tradition. So, all of the politics of power, fuel power was about political power and not just about energy. It was about more than that. It was about "Who rules ?""

Sex Work as Work - Dr. Laura Agustín at the Dublin anarchist book fair

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Dr. Laura Agustín (author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry) talked at the 2013 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair about why she believes sex work should be treated as work and why we should “resist the general victimising of women who sell sex”. 

General strike - Protest or process?

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On Merrion square, an evacuation is in progress. Thousands of people scatter in all directions; panic is etched across their faces. To the casual observer, this is a life or death situation. There is however, no crazed gunman, no volcano, no earthquake nor alien invasion. They are fleeing the catastrophe that is the Irish Congress of Unions (ICTU) bank debt protest.

Why we said No to Croke Park Two

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Vote NO to

  • Further deterioration of the public services we all use
  • A freeze in pay & increments
  • A huge increase in hours for many workers & the subsequent loss of jobs
  • The loss of 6 days holidays for many workers
  • Unpaid overtime & cuts to overtime
  • Restrictions on flexitime & work sharing

 

Take Back The Power! - Our message to ICTU's anti-debt marches 9th Feb '13

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It is time for every one of us to take responsibility for trying to turn things around.  We have to stop referring to ‘the union’ as something outside of ourselves and begin to see that our unions are OURS.  We have to stop seeing ‘head office’ and ‘the officials’ as anything other than employees of the union - our employees who should be taking their instruction from us.  And we have to convince our fellow-workers that there is a benefit to engaging with the union structures and organising to resist.

The Croke Park Agreement – the very antithesis of Larkin’s trade unionism

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Next year, 2013, will mark the 100th anniversary of what many see as the most significant industrial dispute ever to have taken place in Ireland - the Dublin Lockout.  The employers of Dublin, led by William Martin Murphy, locked out over 20,000 workers in an attempt to starve them into submission and to smash the increasingly popular Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).

The trade unions

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The Workers Solidarity Movement position on the trade unions including an anarchist analysis of the unions and what sort of demands anarchists should put forward in the unions. Last modified at WSM National Conference, June 2011.

Capitalist crisis and union resistance in Ireland

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Reading a SSN leafelt at the GPOLate 2008 saw the Irish capitalist class wage a major ideological struggle against the Irish working class. They called for workers to bear the brunt of the capitalist crisis. Print media, TV and radio carried segment after segment where well-paid commentators argued that workers, in particular public sector workers, were earning too much, had overly generous pensions and that the public had unrealistic expectations of public services.

Trade Unionists betrayed by leadership

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On Tuesday 24th November 2009, 250,000 public sector workers took strike action in opposition to the government policy of public service pay cuts. This was a potentially massive show of defiance and the first time in more than 20 years that the trade union movement had flexed its collective muscle.

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