The northern Ireland parliament, Stormont, is in one of its usual crises. In this latest instance we’re talking about a massive fuck up by the DUP whereby Arlene Foster introduced a Renewable Heating Initiative scheme in 2012 which would pay businesses £1.60 for every £1 they spent on heating. This lead to companies heating up empty sheds and barns through the scheme which has amounted to almost half a billion pound being squandered by the so-called political elites. This is one of those crises that has gotten out of control and Stormont is struggling to get a grasp back on things so they’ve rolled out a bit of sectarianism in the hope that we get outraged about that and not the £490 million that has gone up in smoke.
Amazingly, after watching almost half a billion quid go up in smoke, and branding calls for her to step down after such a monumental fuck up as misogynistic - insulting women who have felt the very real consequences of her and her's party's misogynistic policies - Arlene Foster has put a meme on her facebook page of a guinea pig wearing pink heart shaped sunglasses with the words "can't see all the haters with my love glasses on".
In case you missed it, the pope is set to visit Ireland in 2018. Archbishop Eamon Martin has said that this visit will be used to campaign against abortion, and that the church will run a much stronger campaign against it than what they did on marriage equality.
When the pope came to power in 2013 he was hailed and celebrated by liberals as some sort of radical who was single handedly going to bring the church into the 21st century. With statements such as the now famous "who am I to judge?" in regards to LGBT+ people you could almost have been fooled that the liberals were right.
When it comes to housing, most of us just want to sort everyone out because everyone needs a home regardless of who they are. However, occasionally an issue is raised about who the homeless are:
'Are all the homeless people Irish? And if so how can the government find houses for the refugees coming into Ireland and not their own people?'
There are lots of people in high places who benefit from us thinking that the reason for homelessness in Ireland is refugees and other migrants. Or that these people are causing 'us' a big problem. It's understandable why some people believe that, after all the media spreads this message constantly, but it's just not accurate.
A bit of great news as the year closes - Apple have been told they owe 13 billion to the Irish state. Great news now in terms of housing, healthcare and eduction where that money is badly needed. But also great news in the long term for workers everywhere as its a blow against corporate tax avoidance.
The wave of repression unleashed by the Turkish state against the left and the Kurdish freedom movement that has seen tens of thousands fired from their jobs and thousands jailed, including many HDP MPs,has also hit the anarchist movement there. We heard last night that Hüseyin Civan has been sentenced to 15 months for editing the anarchist paper Meydan Gazetesi.
The Workers Solidarity Movement had our Autumn national conference in Dublin on the 22nd October. What follows is a brief report on the days proceedings.
What is WSM National Conference?
National Conference is the ultimate decision-making body for WSM members. It happens every six months and takes place over a day or two. We discuss motions on collective policy, reflect on the past six months of activity and map prospects for the next period.
Conference normally begins with reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups. This might cover areas like current campaigns, publications, education, engagement and administration as well as organising Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. We then move on to an open discussion of our perspectives before discussing amendments to our position papers.
We interrupted National Conference this year in order to take part in a demonstration outside the Central Bank in support of a 17 year old water charges demonstrator from Jobstown.
This is direct democracy in action. If this appeals to you, you might consider finding out more about the WSM and what we anarchists are up to. (Not on our contact system? Self register here)
The launch of Saoradh in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry is the latest republican project to have emerged but is it a fresh departure a break from past mistakes or just simply a re-packaged version of the pre ceasefire Provies?
Since its inception, Saoradh has faced increasing state repression on both sides of the border as it has attempted to establish itself. Many will look upon this crackdown as evidence of a real threat to the status-quo and therefore acclaim the revolutionary potential of Saoradhs’ version of republicanism, confusing revolution with the reality that the state will always repress those who they perceive question their monopoly over violence.
This coming January in Derry, activists will be holding its first evert Radical Bookfair. In a statement on their web page organisers said: On Saturday 28th January 2017 the first ever Derry Radical Bookfair will take place in Pilots Row Community Centre, Rossville Street, Derry, BT48 6LP.
The event takes place on one of the busiest days of the political calendar in the city which is during the Bloody Sunday week of events. Each year the same venue itself hosts the annual Bloody Sunday events such as talks, films and discussions around contemporary social justice issues.
Once it became clear that Trump was going to become the president of the USA, my Facebook feed became cluttered with attempts to understand how that could possibly happen. How could a white supremacist, misogynist and utterly transparent snake oil salesman accumulate so many votes? Those on the left both inside and outside the borders of the USA struggled to understand what had happened.
A common conclusion in too many of these pieces is that the left needs to reach out, and listen to the concerns of, those who voted for him as a priority. In a similar fashion to how sections of the left evaluated Brexit, they see a working class anti-establishment rebellion in the Trump vote from what they term the ‘white working class’. They believe that component was won by Trump because it has been neglected by the left - often, they will assert, because the rest of the left was distracted by what they call identity politics.
It has emerged that Mike Israel, the US YPG volunteer who fell fighting ISIS in Rojava on the 24th was a member of the IWW. Initial reports of his killing alongside a German - Anton Leschek - volunteer indicated they may have been the victims of a Turkish airstrike but said they had been killed north of Raqqa where its unlikely Turkish jets would be attacking. The Manbij Military Council has released a statement confirming they were killed in a Turkish attack near Manbij where Turkish jets have carried out dozens of attacks on the SDF.