LAST SEPTEMBER the Bank of Ireland was, according to the 'Irish Times', 'basking in an unadulterated glow of approval' from the Employment Equality Agency, the Council of Status for Women and the Joint Oireachteas Committee on Womens Rights among others. What the Bank of Ireland had so progressively managed to do was to provide one creche which will cater for up to 45 children.
The Bank of Ireland employs 11,600 people. However, at £55 a week the centre is obviously aimed at helping only a very small section of the workforce. As Bertie Ahern said, it did not make sense having highly and expensively qualified women leaving the workforce because of lack of childcare facilities. However, it does make sense, to industry, to employ over 50% of the entire workforce having either low pay or no security of employment (or both).
Gerry Adams is no longer an MP. The politicians and media pundits are over the moon with joy. In their eyes the republicans have been denied the international 'credibility' of having an elected MP and denied their 'mandate for violence' at home.
WHAT USED TO be called the white man's civilising mission has returned with a vengeance. Suddenly white Europeans and Americans once more have to bring peace and harmony to the rest of the world by stamping on dictators, stopping the Islamic bomb and introducing economic stability. If all this wasn't tough enough the Japanese are cheating with unfair trade practices and unusual work practices.
BANK WORKERS went back to work on April 27th. After three weeks on strike they voted narrowly to accept a revised offer from the big four banks.
The dispute began with a claim for a wage increase of 6.5%. The settlement only allowed for a 3% increase under the 'local bargaining' clause of the PESP, a lump sum of £1,000 in exchange for longer opening hours and one day's extra leave. The hidden agenda was the banks' desire to smash the staff union, the Irish Bank Officials Association.
THIS YEAR sees the celebrations of the 'discovery' of America in 1492 by Columbus. The celebrations have generated some debate about the rights and wrongs of the events which followed the discovery. In Spain itself, Seville has seen riots as marches protesting at the celebration have been broken up by the police.
AT THE MOMENT the "Socialist Movement" has all but collapsed. Despite the fact that high unemployment, war and mass starvation would point to the need for a coherent anti-capitalist alternative most socialists are confused and demoralised. The reason is simple, both the reformist and Leninist parties are paying for their legacy of betrayal of socialism in this century. What they conceived socialism to be has been totally discredited. As anarchists it is important to realise that their are both advantages and drawbacks to these developments.
"It's a proud day for America and, by God, we kicked the Vietnam syndrome for once and for all" declared Bush. The imperialists' victory over Iraq was no surprise given their massive technical and military capacity. What is more interesting is the ready help given them by the "free press". This article focuses on how the media provided a "licence to kill" in the Gulf.
The mainly black cover of this pamphlet showing a drawing of a gagged woman with the words "censored" over her mouth give a graphic first sight into the contents of this pamphlet. A well written and informative document, we are brought through the recent history of Women's Rights in Ireland, in particular a woman's right to control her own fertility. (Review of "Ireland's Abortion Reality - Including a Guide to Abortion Services for Irish Women" by the Cork Abortion Information Campaign (£1.00) )
THE WAR in Spain (1936-1939) has often been portrayed as a simple struggle between Fascism and democracy. In fact it was anything but. A military coup launched in July 1936 was defeated by worker's action in most parts of Spain. There then followed a wide ranging social revolution (see Worker's Solidarity 33). As many as 5-7 million were involved in the collectivisation of agriculture and thousands in worker's control of industry. About 2 million of these were also members of the oldest union in Spain the anarcho-syndicalist; CNT.
One of the greatest myths that has been fostered about anarchists is that they are disorganised. Since the anarchist movement first emerged in the International Working Mens' Association in the 1870's it has developed many trends. Each with its own method of organisation.
It's been a year of little change up North. Just as the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1986 led to a rampage by Loyalist gangs, in the wake of the Brooke talks 36 Catholic civilians were killed in random attacks. Six taxi drivers were killed, singled out as easy targets.
The killing of the seven building workers in January marks the most bloody episode in an IRA campaign against those who work for the 'security forces', a campaign which has been going on since 1985. There has been a massive wave of condemnation from bishops, politicians and media figures.
We have been insisting on the need for the far left to re-appraise the tradition of the Russian revolution and in particular the role the Bolsheviks played in destroying that revolution. One of the most detailed responses to the anarchists critique of Bolshevism was published in the winter issue of International Socialism the journal of the Socialist Workers Party (the largest Leninist group in England).
Anarchists believe that every woman has the right to choose an abortion when faced with a crisis pregnancy irrespective of the reasons for the abortion. At least 4,000 Irish women have abortions in England every year at present. Women worldwide have always sought to control their fertility through abortion no matter how difficult it is for them to get access to abortion and they probably always will. This is because it is essential for women to be able to control their own fertility and not to be reduced to the level of their biological function as child-bearers only if they are to achieve true equality and liberation.
IN 1983 anti-choice campaigners pushed the government into holding a referendum on abortion. The Eight Amendment was then passed by 33% of the electorate (the turn out was 54.6%). Abortion was already prohibited under the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act. The Eight Amendment copperfastened this ban preventing any reforming legislation.
The Workers Solidarity Movement has, since its formation eight years ago, placed special emphasis on the struggles of trade unionists. Were we right? Why place this special emphasis on trade unions rather than any other organisation or campaign?
The articles from issue no 35 of the Irish anarchist paper Workers Solidarity, originally published in the Summer of 1992.