March 2011

Fianna Fail signed off on gas give away on last day in power

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Oh the last day of his brief spell in power the replacement Minister of Energy Pat Carey signed the consents on the final stage of Shell's experimental gas pipeline in Erris despite continued opposition from the local community and people all over the island concerned with both safety and the Great Oil & Gas Giveaway.  It is increasingly clear that the haste on pushing the project thorough is because the Bellanaboy refinery is intended to take not just the relatively small deposits of the Corrib field but also the hundreds of billions of oil and gas found off the atlantic coast.

Second Thoughts on Work-life Balance Day

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Today is work-life balance day. "Hurrah!" you think. Think again. Despite how friendly it sounds, work-life balance is not something to celebrate. There are three things to know about work-life balance.

Democracy Delivers? Broken promises and unstated policies

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It’s great to live in a democracy, right? From the moment we are old enough to grasp the concept, the idea that we live in the freest of all possible worlds is drummed into us. From the pages of our school history books to the celluloid magic of our favourite movies, our way of life is portrayed as the ideal, one which we must preserve at all costs and, if possible, export to the less fortunate.

Wealthy Elite announce plans to celebrate “business as usual”

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Members of Ireland’s wealthy elite have announced plans to meet outside the Central Bank in Dublin’s Dame Street on Thursday 10th March at 6p.m. to celebrate the fact that it’s “business as usual now that the election is out of the way”.

Thinking About Anarchism: Policing and the Law

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Many people don’t see eye to eye with the police, Anarchists much included. While this opposition can manifest itself physically when the police employ repressive tactics, it must be stressed that it has far more to do with ideology and the harsh realities of disaster-capitalism than it does with being beaten off the streets.

“Gasolinazo” in Bolivia

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The day after Christmas 2010, Vice-President García Linera, in the absence of President Evo Morales, who was on a tour of Venezuela, announced that the state subsidies of some fuels were to be removed. He also spoke of raising taxes on some of them such as gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. As a result, petrol rose by 72%, diesel by 84% and aviation fuel by 99%.

Fine Gael & Labour excuse tearing up of election promises

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As the first step to sorting out some sort of coalition deal Fine Gael & Labour in a co-ordinated move last night announced that they had discovered the financial situation was worse than expected.  This follows only days after the election and the subsequent vote by all but two of Labour's central council to enter into coalition talks with Fine Gael.  Clearly the scene is being set for not only Labour but also Fine Gael to abandon the promises they were elected for, only days after the supposed exercise in 'democracy' of Election 2011 and before a government has even been formed.  So much for Enda Kenny's proclamation of  "a democratic revolution at the ballot box", instead it's the usual Dail as parliament is meant to work, free from the interference of the masses. 

Dub: Feminist Walking Tour 2011

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For the past three years hundreds of people have taken to the streets to take part in the Feminist Walking Tour of Dublin, marking International Women's Day. Following the enormous success of previous years, we are once again stepping out to tell the often forgotten stories of the Dublin women who have shaped the world we live in.

Interview: Cork Social Welfare Defenders

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Workers Solidarity spoke to Dave Higgins of the recently formed Cork Social Welfare Defenders.

WS Who’s in the group, what’s your reason for organising?

Austerity - How the rich suffer too

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Today German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, politely rebuffed any chance of re-negotiation of the interest rates we are paying on our substantial loan from the ECB/IMF, saying that we knew what we were getting into when we took the loan. It is time to reflect on the difference that loan is making to the lives of those affected.

One picture or story can tell us all we need to know and it should bring comfort to each tax-payer now labouring under the additional losses suffered in their pay packet due to the universal social charge to see such a story.

Picture this, the story of the Kelly family.

Super rich try to slash wage at Davenport hotel - Labour court to make ruling

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Some 300,000 workers in Ireland should be watching the Labour Court as it rules on the attempt by the Davenport Hotel, owned by the 122nd richest person in the country, to cut the wages of workers by almost a euro an hour. Five workers there were removed from the payroll after they refused to sign new contracts that contained the wage cut. When they picketed the hotel it got an injunction that sought to limit how many could picket at a time and which forbid supporters from the picket line.

Signs of Resistance to the crisis from the unions

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Amidst the myriad of austerity measures, in both the public and private sectors, there are some signs of resistance.

Corrib pipeline - resistance wipes out Shell's profits but Fine Gael are clueless

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Blockade of Shell HQ in DublinIt has been revealed that the decade long resistance of the people of Erris to Shell's experimental gas pipeline has now wiped out Shell's projected profits from the project. Brian O’Cathain, the Managing Director of Enterprise Energy Ireland let the cat out of the bag at a debate at the IFI on the 4th December. Instead of the 650 million dollars the project was intended to cost, Shell & partners have now spent over 3 billion dollars.

The Workings of Anti-Union Legislation at the Clarion & Davenport Hotels

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The Clarion describes itself as one of “Cork’s premier 4 Star City Centre Hotel”.  Although it’s well able to charge for its rooms it cannot find its way to granting its workers a 29 cent per hour pay rise.

Bertie, Coillte and the Enclosure of the Public Forest

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There is an increasing likelihood that the state owned forestry firm, Coillte, will be part of a rushed fire sale of semi-state companies. Last year, the government asked “An Bord Snip Nua” economist Colm McCarthy to head a semi-state privatisation group and produce a new report, which is believed to be almost complete. The original 2009 McCarthy report recommended the selling of Coillte “with a view to realising optimal return through rationalisation, asset disposal and, possibly, privatisation”. Thus, the prospect of a sell-off of Ireland’s entire public forest estate is now on the cards.

Wisconsin Workers Put on an Inspiring Show of Strength

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For three weeks, until ordered to leave by a judge Thursday, up to tens of thousands of union protesters have been occupying the Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison.  They are protesting the attempt by Scott Walker, the new Republican governor, to all but eliminate collective bargaining for public unions in the US state.  Wisconsin is the battleground against the latest wave of anti-union law in the USA.

After the election: Prospects for Struggle

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The election campaign and its aftermath have witnessed strident declarations that all has changed, changed utterly. Most prominent is the decimation of support for Fianna Fail, the party that has ruled 60 of the State’s 79 years of existence. Both Fine Gael and Labour have experienced remarkable success in the polls, unparallelled for the latter. These are not insignificant, but the context of continued economic crisis renders the changes in parliament relatively minor. Whatever government is formed, it will share the titanic debt burden of the previous administration. Although Fine Gael made suitably statesman-like noises about ‘renegotiation’ of the interest rate on the ECB bailout, their timid overtures won only tolerant obfuscation from Frankfurt during the campaign and categorical refusals since.

Audio from the 2011 Feminist Walking Tour

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Around 80 people took part in Sunday's annual Feminist Walking Tour to mark International Women's Day. The tour was organised by Choice Ireland, Lashback and RAG and for the first time was confined to the south side of the city, starting at Stephen's Green and ending up in Temple Bar. The audio from the individual stops on the tour is included with this article.

Central Bank to be cordoned off as Crime Scene; Members of elite 1% see government politicians as Puppets On A String

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The 1% Network has announced plans for a Street Theatre and Music event and an Open Meeting during which the Central Bank in Dublin’s Dame Street will be cordoned off as a crime scene. 

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