As they have driven ISIS back in northern Syria / Rojava the Kurdish YPG and their allies in the SDF have won increasing visibility in western media. While such reports often mention the key role in this fight played by women in the YPJ, there is otherwise little examination of the revolution happening behind the front lines in Rojava. That revolution is why they stood and fought ISIS rather than fleeing. This can be true of a lot of alternative media coverage. In part this is due to the limited amount of information on what this revolution involves. but it’s also in part because photographs of women with guns are judged to be more striking than women workers in a co-operative bakery or a community assembly.
We’ve tried to address this imbalance somewhat, both in our coverage and through bringing a number of Kurdish and other speakers over to talk at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. They spoke about what is happening behind the front lines. What is it that is being constructed that so many have judged is worth going to the front lines to defend against ISIS? Our speakers this year included Erjan Ayboga author of ‘Revolution in Rojava’ and US academic Janet Biehl who has visited the region twice since the revolution to investigate what is happening on the ground.
The native Irish ruling class have long been prone to parasitical activity, enriching themselves by acting as agents of absentee landlords or today as law firms for multinationals keen to avoid and evade paying taxes. As landlords agents that involved breaking down the doors to evict those who were literally dying of starvation. The modern form is less hands on but the repercussions are similar, the 13 billion they don’t want to collect from Apple are the same billions whose absence has people dying on hospital trolleys.
This year Belfast saw its largest pro-choice demonstration when about a thousand people took to the streets for the Rally for Choice. This was a significant achievement and to mark it we’ve put together this brief documentary featuring footage from the march, some of the speakers and interviews with both organisers and participants.
Around 1000 people currently live in a camp near Dunkirk in France. Many of them are Kurdish, fleeing either ISIS in Syria, the Iranian state or the Turkish states war against the Kurdish part of its population. Some families have already spent 10 months in the camp.
Many hope to get to the UK just a short and very famous journey away across the sea. There is a motorway near the camp and when traffic slows down some in desperation try and leap onto passing lorries. Sometimes people get killed doing this.
It’s an all too familiar story and there is a liberal tendency to paint the people living in these conditions as victims requiring our charity. What we want to talk about here is how this isn’t the case, that instead people in the camps are self organising with solidarity activists and in the most difficult of circumstances taking some control back over their lives. It's solidarity we need to talk about, not charity.
The Leave / Brexit vote in the referendum came in the end as a surprise, a narrow win for Remain was expected. This may be because the core Leave vote was in the run-down white working class communities of the now desolate English and Welsh industrial zones. A population trapped in conditions of long-term unemployment and poverty who no one really pays much attention to anymore.
Some on the left have seized on the makeup of this core vote to suggest that there was some progressive element to the Brexit vote despite the campaign being led by racist hatemongers and wealthy US-oriented neoliberals. Mostly that’s a mixture of wishful thinking and post hoc justification for having called for a Leave vote in the first place, but it is true that a section of the working class, C2DEs in marketing speak, voted to Leave in close to a 2:1 ratio. Is the class composition of that vote enough to automatically make it progressive regardless of content? And what does it tell us that a section of the radical left seems to think the answer to that question is yes, that it is enough to be anti-establishment?
Why can’t the 99% simply vote in a government that acts in their interest and not that of the 1%
At a simple level parliamentary elections sound like the ideal way for the mass of the ‘have nots’ to use their numbers to overcome the power and influences of the tiny number of have’s. Occupy talked about this division in the language of the 1% and 99%; a crude approximation that does reflect a reality where the number of wealthy decision makers is actually very tiny, indeed less than 1%. So, why can’t the 99% simply vote in a government that acts in their interest and not that of the 1%? [Listen to this article]
Oxfam has just released a report that shows global inequality has escalated rapidly over the last 6 years. The particular measure they used is a very important one. First they calculated the wealth held by the poorest 50% of the planets population, which is about 3.6 billion people. And then they asked how many of the richest people held the same amount of wealth.
One of the key foundation documents for the Workers Solidarity Movement is the ‘Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft)’ This text was written in Paris in 1926 by a group that included exiled Russian and Ukrainian anarchists and was very influenced by the lessons they drew from the Russian Revolution. Three of the authors -- Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Archinov -- were then and now very well known anarchists, the remaining two -- Valevsky and Linsky -- I know relatively little about.
In this article I intend to examine whether this text has any relevance to anarchist organising today, some 90 years after it was drafted. In addition, what can we say about its shortcomings? Finally, I will look at some of the confusion the WSM ran into when trying to follow it.
An interview about the wave of occupations and evictions that took place in the first half of 2015 in Dublin.
Two different futures are fighting to be born in this moment.
One the future of more effective border guards, of dragging refugees off trains and herding them into camps, of war without end, of hatred for the 'other', of wealth for a privilege few and immiseration for the masses.
The other future is glimpsed in the people quietly organising our own aid convoys to Calais, of solidarity with Rojava, of fighting for an equality that will be global in scope and from which no one will be locked out.
Which of those futures will you choose to feed?