November 2011

Solidarity Books in Cork - making a difference

Date:

Early in the morning the crew arrive from the Occupy Cork camp to do their dish washing in the back kitchen of Solidarity Books. At 12 o'clock the days first volunteer arrives to open the bookshop and by lunch time the campers are back for the lunchtime wash up.  By evening the bookshop is closed but will invariably re open by 8 for a meeting or organising group, maybe a movie showing or a talk, the Climate Campers doing their vegan cafe or it could be the Couchsurfers for their meet up, maybe the Campaign Against the HouseHold Tax for an organising meeting or just a crew to paste posters onto corriboard.

Picket at pro Water Tax Seminar

Date:

Emergency Protest 8:30am tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at the International Institute for European Affairs on 8 North Great Georges Street where Phil Hogan will be given a speech at a pro Water Tax seminar entitled the 'Future of Water Management'. Come and spread the word

Prison Officers to walk away with 60 million in north as sectarian legacy continues in prisons

Date:

The sixty million payoff to prison officers in Northern Ireland could be much better spent on addressing the causes of crime such as poverty, social deprivation and prison rehabilitation. Prison officers who served during the Troubles could walk away from their jobs with packages of more than £120,000 plus pension as part of a £60m redundancy programme aimed at ‘modernising’ the service.

Occupy - the assembly process is the revolution

Date:

As we prepare to enter the 3rd month of the Occupy movement a commonly heard criticism targets both the lack of clear demands and the related complex and often drawn out decision making processes being used at Occupy General Assemblies. These criticisms however miss the point, against the traditional left with its package of pre-set answers (best before 1917) what makes Occupy different is that process of decision making through assembly. The assembly form is not just a way of making decisions but also a different form of doing politics.  The Assembly is in embryo the different world we seek to create.

Shell compound at Aughoose shut down during day of solidarity

Date:

About 40 Shell to Sea campaigners blocked the Aughoose compound this morning (Nov 11) - all Shell employees were prevented from entering compound between 7.30 and 9.30. The road was kept open to local traffic by the campaign. There was no Garda presence. Just after 10 Shell to Sea activists started setting up an Occupy Shell Corrib Camp at the gates of the refinery in a show of solidarity with the global Occupy movements!

Occupy Movement, the Zapatista's and the General Assemblies

Date:

The General Assemblies of the Occupy movement are creating a global experience in Direct Democracy.  But this model did not come from nowhere - among other sources of influence is the Zapatista rebellion of southern Mexico, soon to enter its 18th year. Over almost two decades hundreds of rebel communities in Chiapas have used a General Assembly model to decide on how all aspects of life in the liberated zone will be organised.  Despite their different circumstances to those faced by the majoity of the Occupy camps (in urban built up locations) there is still much that can be learnt from that experience.

This piece written for the Irish Mexico Group by a WSM member a few years after the start of that rebellion looks at how the Zapatistas organise themselves in great detail, what some of the problems they had faced are and how they overcame them.  It also looks further into the history of General Assemblies and Direct Democracy in Mexico and around the globe. [Note: This long text is also available as a PDF file in a number of different formats suitable for distribution]

Occupy Wall Street offer of election observers for Egypt shocks us

Date:

Comrades from Cairo explain why they are puzzled by the offer of Occupy Wall Street to send election monitors to Egypt for the elections when "Our struggle—which we think we share with you—is greater and grander than a neatly functioning parliamentary democracy; we demanded the fall of the regime, we demanded dignity, freedom and social justice, and we are still fighting for these goals. We do not see elections of a puppet parliament as the means to achieve them."

Overheard pre budget conversation in Cork

Date:

Overheard pre budget conversation between two women shoppers in Aldi in Cork city.

Mayfield meeting pledges to fight Household Tax

Date:

A meeting in St.Joesphs' Community Centre in Mayfield, Cork, on Monday night, pledged determined opposition to the coming household tax.  The meeting was addressed by campaign members Dave Keating and James McBarron who outlined the reasons for opposition and the plan to organise in every community in a mass non payment campaign.

Thousands of students demonstrate in Dublin against Education cuts but USI attack their own members

Date:

Over twenty thousand students demonstrated in Dublin today against the introduction of student fees and the cutting of student grants. The main demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)also included a Free Education for Everyone All (FEE) bloc comprised of rank & file students in disagreement with the passive lobbying tactics of the USI leadership.  USI stewards formed a line with Garda to prevent FEE rejoining the demonstration after they led a breakway protest at Fine Gael HQ.

(Pic: From FEE twitterstream
USI stewards form 3 rows
to stop USI members
in FEE joining march)

Eurozone Appoints New Dictators in Greece and Italy l

Date:

Armoured cars and tanks and guns did not come to take away their sons, but the peoples of Greece and Italy last week found that their elected governments had been replaced overnight by a new postmodern dictatorship of ECB-appointed "technocrat" Viceroys. Clearly in the new Eurozone, the old liberal dogma that modern capitalism and liberal democracy are joined at the hip, has turned out to be just another fairy story.

Dub: Conversations about anarchism - decision making

Date:

Join us for the 4th of our conversations about anarchism. Twice a month we are going to have an open discussion about anarchism in the form of a conversation around a set of questions. The idea is to create a space where people interested in finding out about anarchism can have a relaxed conversation with each other. In this session, inspired in part by discussions at Occupy Dame street, we will be looking at what anarchists think about various forms of decison making, everything from electoralism to consensus.

Get to Mayo to help stop Shell stripping peat

Date:

The struggle against Shell's experiemental gas pipeline at Rossport has stepped up a gear as Shell have reached the most vunerable state of the tunnelling section of their project.  They have started to remove peat from the site where the tunnel is to start, to suceed in this they will have to have as many as 427 truck movements per day along the narrow rural roads.  There is obviously great potential to disrupt, slow down and halt this work so Dublin Shell to Sea are appealing for anyone who can travel to Mayo to go to the camp now.  Note you don't have to be willing to actually block trucks to be useful as people willing to help prepare meals or do washing up will be helping by freeing up other to carry out other tasks.  The camp understands that not everyone is in a position to risk arrest.

Major victory for INTO union grassroots as leadership issues directive against JobBridge

Date:

In a statement issued after a meeting of the union’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) today (Thursday 17th November), the Irish National Teachers Organisation has said that the INTO “is not in a position to support the JobBridge initiative” and “will be directing members not to participate in the JobBridge scheme.” The issuing of this directive is a major victory for grassroots organising within the INTO.  When JobBridge was first announced by the government during the summer, and when the Department of Education and Science issued a circular on how it would be applied in schools in September, the union leadership’s first reaction was to refuse to issue a directive.  This despite the fact that it was clear to everyone that JobBridge was simply FAS’s Work Placement Programme (WPP) by a different name.

Reform vrs Revolution- What change do we want and how do we get there?

Date:

There’s a lot to be angry about. On the one hand mass unemployment, cut backs and pay cuts, we have death and destruction on a grand scale. On the other, the crushing bore­dom and alienation of everyday life. All of these various horrors are tied together, different faces of a single system. It exploits and exaggerates every tiny little difference between us from sexism to racism and nationalism, making us compete for scraps and hate each other as we fight while a tiny minority enjoy all the benefits. This system is global capitalism backed by the armed force of the state, a pattern of economic and political exploitation that reaches into every aspect of our lives. Class oppression is not simply a small cabal of the ultra-rich in Wall Street or Washington or London it's in every workplace, every police station, every dole queue, every courtroom, every prison and every territory occupied by Western militaries, and can only be sensibly understood as such.

We need a programme of class war

Date:

Six months after the assembly elections our sectarian politicians at Stormont have finally revealed their programme for government. Typical of the media spin and economic gobbledegook that pervades the realm of politics in the wee north it talks of creating ‘more than 25,000 new jobs’ in the next four years as part of a package that seeks to attract 300m in Foreign Direct Investment through the unelected quango of Invest Northern Ireland and a 50m loan to small and medium size businesses.

The programme of course was positively greeted by our arch class enemies the bosses union under the umbrella of the CBI and its Northern Ireland chairman. A sure a sign of bad news for the rest of us. Terence Brannigan welcomed the ‘strong commitments to the economy and the priority attached to creating jobs.’

Become a WSM supporter

Date:

After some months of preparation the Workers Solidarity Movement is launching our supporter program. We started working on this after debate at our Spring conference around the fact that there are many people who broadly agree with our political positions and the organising we do but for one reason or another are not yet looking to become members. We decided to launch our Supporter program so that such people could have ongoing formal relationship with the WSM that would involve some participation in internal discussion, helping us out financially and working with us in areas of activity they have a particular interest in when they have time. With members we expect a commitment to a minimum level of such activity, but we are not expecting the same from supporters rather we hope they will help us out when they are able.

Occupy the Crisis - how the WSM sees the Occupy Movement & the current phase of the crisis

Date:

It is becoming very clear is that there is no national solution to the crisis, even at the level of seizing the wealth of the 1% who live in Ireland. The debt is now too colossal and, in any case, the 1% have been given the needed time to move much of their liquid assets out of the country. The recent payment of a billion dollars in unsecured debt to those who gambled on Anglo is one of the final steps in that process. Confiscation of what they cannot move continues to be needed but there is no longer a radical social democratic solution based on taxing the wealth of the domestic 1%.

An Egyptian anarchist on the renewed revolution in Egypt

Date:

As revolution once more erupts in Egypt Yasser Abdullah from the Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement has explained what is going on in two interviews with Anarkismo.net. He outlines the origins of this latest phase of the revolution, of note is how a sit-in of just a few dozen a few days ago was the catalyist that has resulted in the mobilizations of hundreds of thousands. (Image: Lilian Wagdy)

Yasser looks at the relationship between the Islamists including the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council (SCAF) and how those defending the square on the 20th were the "the main revolutionary forces and the unorganised youth" and not the brotherhood. On the 20th Yasser concludes by saying "the people now realize that their power lies in a leaderless, collective movement."

By the 22nd Sharraf’s government is offering to resign and Yasser is outlining what the demands of the people are and that the Egyptian anarchist communist movement is using the slogan "All power to the people" and "calling for civil disobedience all over Egypt and for a general strike by the Egyptian workers."

We need to develop a new strategy in the unions

Date:

Since the start of the economic crisis the trade union movement have produced excellent analysis of government policy warning that the austerity measures being pursued “could turn Ireland into a social and economic wasteland”[1] But our movement has failed to come up with a strategy to resist the government/EU-IMF attacks. We’ve been marched around Dublin on an annual basis and listened to speeches that are more about letting off steam than planning a fightback. Our union leadership do not have either a vision of how resistance can be built or confidence in the membership to develop an alternative economic strategy.

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