On the 13th of March, unions across the north of Ireland will be striking against another round of service cuts and job loss proposals including the introduction of prescription charges.
The Minister for Health would like to introduce prescription charges across the 6 Counties. The DUP’s Jim Wells claims that this is to be done in order to provide a “cash injection” to his department to create a specialist drug fund which would pay for drugs that are either too expensive or too specific to be licensed right now. In doing so he is proposing £3 per item and hopes to raise between £5m and £10m per year claiming that this is not “unreasonable”. But it is unreasonable; the rich should be taxed for this.
An introductory video on what direct action is and isn't, providing illustrations from the campaign against the water charges.
Direct action is at the heart of the struggle against the water charges, from preventing meters being installed, to Meter Fairies removing them, to boycotting registration and the water bills in April. But what is direct action, and what is it not?
A lot of left reporting of Greece reduces us to spectators of a West Wing like show where we are required to unthinkingly cheer the good guys in their efforts to get one over through clever negotiation methods. We don't quite understand what is going on but we are required to believe our side are doing their best because they are the 'good guys'. And we like it when they appear to land a blow on the EU establishment. But does this drama tell us much about what is actually happening in Greece.
Minister for the Environment, and 2nd in command of the Labour Party, Alan Kelly has dared to denounce protesters as not contributing to society, despite his own status as grand leech.
Without a hint of irony the minister accused some in Sinn Fein and 'the hard left' of being jobless and not making a contribution to society despite being politically active.
Though Kelly is virtuous enough to have a job - because remember, you're a bad person if you don't have one - he and his party's contribution to society is much like a bullet's contribution to the healing process, despite the fact that he is very politically active.
Although Kelly was keen to point out that these comments were totally unrelated to the campaign against the water charges, we all know they are part of a long line of government smears designed to rip apart our movement.
Indeed many of us wait with hands to our ears for the next damning fiction to slop out of a Labour or Fine Gael politician's mouth. What will it be next time? We're already dole scrounging terrorists, how much further can they push it?
Speaking at the launch of the government’s Low Pay Commission, Kenny said that “It is morally unacceptable for families with people in work to be experiencing poverty”. He did not however announce the abolition of the water charge, the property tax or that the bondholders would not be paid back in order to address this problem. Neither did he, nor Joan Burton, who accompanied him at the launch announce the end of the Jobbridge indentured servitude scheme, where unemployed people get fifty euro for a full week’s work.
Neither was there an announcement that clerical workers in public services would see an end of the pension levies and the universal social charge that have driven so many to the point where they were forced to claim family income supplement.
It is also noteworthy that Enda only thinks it’s morally wrong for those in paid employment to experience poverty, and it is quite clear from looking at government policy over the last four years, that this is the consensus amongst the cabinet. You only have value if you are making a profit for someone else or if you are working to ensure the cogs of government keep turning – though, not that much value.
Peaceful protest is not protest which is placid, docile, quiet, polite, tranquil, serene, gentle, or soothing. It is merely protest which does not use violence.
Establishment figures exploit the many meanings that 'peaceful' can have, and use this equivocation to dupe us into thinking our protests should be docile and polite.
We must not be constrained by the narratives the media and politicians try to cast on us like a fishing net. We have to decide what we want to do on our terms, not theirs.
The parliament in Turkey has witnessed unprecedented scenes; opposition MPs being beaten up by AKP (the ruling Justice and Development Party) MPs and Ministers, one MP being pushed down from the balcony of the assembly hall, falling facedown resulting in broken ribs, right wing ultra nationalist MHP MPs and socialist Kurdish opposition party MPs holding a sit in side by side. All because of the new New ‘Internal Security Package’ . In this piece one of our supporters in Turkey explains what is happening and goes on to look at the broader context, including events in Rojava.
Aidan writes "As a queer and a participant in the anti-water charges movement, I regard Aodhán Ó Ríordáin's comments as a rather cynical and desperate attempt to paint one of the most promising movements for progress in this state as somehow regressive, and to staple together some progressive credentials for himself by co-opting LGBT demands and organising.
We can win this battle but we would be fools to settle for that. As someone said at the January 31st demonstration, 'we have them where we've wanted them for years'. Our opportunity is huge, with a great multitude politically awakened and eager to change society. So the question is presented: will we waste this opportunity to make a better world or will we seize it? What do we do once we win, and how should that affect what we do now?
This raises lots of other broad questions we should all ask ourselves:
On Saturday February 21st, police in Greece batoned and tear gassed protesters outside one of the migrant detention camps now being run by Syriza. Militant protests both inside and outside the camp resumed last weekend after the suicide of a Pakistani migrant, Nadim Mohammed who had been held for 18 months, released and then returned to the Amygdaleza camp. The news of the suicide broke on February 14th along with the news that another migrant had killed themselves in Thessaloniki police station.