Workers Solidarity 115

Date:


May - June 2010 Edition of the Workers Solidarity freesheet.

PDF of Workers Solidarity 115 Web Edition 2.14 Mb


Deal or No Deal - It's a Scrap Either Way
Public Service Pay Deal - The Battle Lines are Drawn
State Repression Continues in Mayo
A day out of the ordinary- The Dublin Anarchist Bookfair!
That's Capitalism
Successful International Women’s Day Celebration
Lessons of Pride
Iranian Protesters at War with God
Thinking About Anarchism - Should the Catholic Church remain in control of our schools?


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PDF of Workers Solidarity 115 Web Edition 2.14 Mb

Anarchism and the WSM

As the economic crisis continues, the WSM has been busy in a variety of campaigns against measures attempting to impose the costs of the crisis on workers and the poor. WSM members in the public sector trade unions have been active in organising against cuts and pressing for a no vote in ballots on the “Croke Park” agreement. We have also been involved in getting the anti-water charges campaigns up and running in both Dublin and Cork and attended a protest organised by these campaigns at the Green Party annual conference in Waterford.
Elsewhere, our Cork branch was instrumental in organising a very successful celebration of International Women’s Day (see article). We also attended a solidarity protest in Castlerea in support of jailed Mayo fisherman, Pat O’Donnell (see article). There was also a WSM presence on a march seeking justice for Toyosi Shitta-Bey, the 15-year-old schoolboy who died following a racist attack in Dublin 15.

We have been making a number of efforts to further awareness of anarchism. In Dublin, we have been running a series of educationals for those interested in anarchist ideas, covering anarchist thought, capitalism and the Russian Revolution. Our outreach group commenced the “Rethinking Revolution Discussion Series” in the Seomra Spraoi social centre in Dublin 1, which, according to their Facebook group, will aim to cover “the core ideas those of us who want revolutionary change think we have in common and so too often neglect to discuss. The discussions will be kicked off by an opinionated presentation of one or more approaches on these questions with the purpose of drawing all present into a discussion that we hope will continue long after the meeting.”

We have republished two pamphlets (see article), the first in a series of planned reprints of popular anarchist pamphlets. The “Rebel Worker” news sheet has hit the streets in Cork again recently, produced by our branch in the city, while we continue our planning for the 2010 Anarchist Bookfair in Dublin to be held on May 29th (see article). Finally, the second edition of our show, “Radio Solidarity”, was broadcast recently on Near FM and is available to hear at  http://www.nearpodcast.org/podcast/audio/podcast-2010-03-26-58991.mp3. It covers NAMA, the economy, the Irish Glass Bottle Factory fiasco and the Shell to Sea campaign. If you like what you read or hear and want to learn more about the WSM, then we would be delighted to hear from you.


In This Issue

Deal or No Deal - It's a Scrap Either Way
The long days and nights of bargaining between government and union top brass at Croke Park ended when the participants emerged and presented the fruits of their deliberations. It is a pretty awful deal, which rubber stamped the pay cuts already handed out to public sector workers and added a whole layer of new working conditions, essentially extra hours and responsibilities for the same or lower pay. Over the couple of weeks that followed, the various public sector unions in conference or at executive level recommended either accepting or rejecting this deal, with the final call resting with the membership. As we go to print the final result of these ballots are still unknown but recent experience should warn us that, in either case, the battle is far from over.

Public Service Pay Deal - The Battle Lines are Drawn
Jack O’Connor walked out of the government talks and refused to recommend the deal, saying that:
“From its inception the union was distinguished from its predecessors and contemporaries in trade unionism in Ireland by its militancy in organisation and in industrial action, its extension of membership to all sections of general workers to support other wage earners in weaker strategic positions, its vigour in fighting employers, its recourse to the sympathetic strike on the principle that an injury to one is the concern of all and its proclaiming as tainted goods, unclean and untouchable material in establishments in which its members or fellow workers were on strike or locked out”

State Repression Continues in Mayo
Local Mayo fisherman, Pat O Donnell, was sentenced to seven months in Castlerea prison in March for his role in campaigning against the Corrib gas pipeline and the corrupt deal that has given Shell access to Ireland’s gas fields. He has been consistently targeted by Shell and the Gardai, being falsely arrested on two occasions when Shell has attempted to carry out works in Mayo. This intimidation reached a pinnacle last summer when Pat's boat was boarded and then sank by four masked men. When he continued to stand up for his community, the state stepped in and imprisoned O’Donnell. He had the misfortune of living in the wrong place and not being part of the cosy cartel of businessmen, bankers and politicians who run this country.

A day out of the ordinary- The Dublin Anarchist Bookfair!
This May sees the return of the annual Anarchist Bookfair to Dublin, our fifth Bookfair to take place in the city to date. Starting from humble beginnings in the St. Nicholas of Myra Hall in The Liberties five years ago, last years Bookfair was arguably the most successful to date. Over one thousand people passed through Liberty Hall during the day with ten different meetings and workshops held discussing a wide range of topics ranging from Palestine to Left Unity, Iran to Shell to Sea, Social Centres and beyond. Special quests included anarchist and ex-Black Panther Ashanti Alston and well renowned feminist and author of Mujeres Libres, Martha Ackelsberg. Several thousand euros worth of books and pamphlets were purchased from stalls operated by the Workers Solidarity book service, Barracka Books, Just Books, AK Press, Anarchist Federation, Irish Socialist Network, Oxfam Bookstore and others. Pamphlets and leaflets from a vast array of campaigns and political organisations, including the Revolutionary Anarcha-feminist Group, Shell to Sea, Residents Against Racism, Choice Ireland, Seomra Spraoi and Justice for Mumia Abu Jamal, were distributed freely. The place was abuzz all day.

That's Capitalism
In 2009, “11% of employers visited by welfare officials were not compliant with their PRSI commitments”, according to the Department of Social and Family Affairs.  In plain English this means that they never paid PRSI to the government, as they are obliged to do. When workers steal, it’s ‘theft’, when bosses do the same, it’s ‘non-compliance’.


Successful International Women’s Day Celebration
The Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) in Cork was delighted by the success of the Douglas Street Community Celebration of International Women’s Day on Monday, 8th March.  The day comprised of fifty free, open events involving poetry, music, workshops, speakers, fortune tellers, performance art, a community dinner, knitting club, films, a community art exhibition and much more. The celebration ran from 10am to midnight at Solidarity Books and many other venues on and around Douglas Street. 


Lessons of Pride
There will be celebrations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT)
Pride across Ireland this summer, including Cork's Pride Parade on June 5th and Dublin's Parade on June 26th. The original Pride marches were held to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York which began on June 28, 1969, and which were led
mainly by working class Black and Puerto Rican trans people, butch dykes and drag queens sick of being beaten up and arrested by the police. The following year, in commemoration of the riots, the Gay Liberation Front organised a march from Greenwich Village to Central Park. Almost 10,000 women and men attended the march. Today, many major cities all over the world hold LGBT/Queer Pride Marches on the last Sunday of June in honour of Stonewall.


Iranian Protesters at War with God
On Monday November 9th last year, news of the impending execution of Ehsan Fattahian, a 28-year-old Iranian political activist of Kurdish origins, began reaching the outside world. Human rights groups, caught unaware, began a frantic effort to halt the execution.

Thinking About Anarchism - Should the Catholic Church remain in control of our schools?
Despite the Catholic hierarchy’s shameful efforts to silence the survivors of abuse, we now have some idea of what was happening behind the walls of church-run institutions across Ireland. In the wake of this, many people have begun asking whether the Catholic Church should continue to have any control whatsoever over state-funded education. As it stands, the Church still control 92% of primary schools. However a MRBI/Irish Times poll in January of this year found that a majority of Irish people now want this situation remedied. The Church is understandably reluctant to cede one of the most important sources of its power and has launched a series of media and policy initiatives over the past few months with the aim of retrenching themselves within the schooling system, albeit on a smaller scale than before (1). Given the Church’s response and the fact that there seems to be no end to the torrent of stories of abuse and attempted cover-ups, it is unlikely that this debate is going to finish anytime soon.
 


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