Magazine

Articles from one of the WSM magazines

A history of the struggle for abortion rights in Ireland

Date:

A detailed history with photos of pro-choice struggles in Ireland from the 1980's to 2007 and the involvement of Irish anarchist in those struggles. Includes the 1983 referendum (and those in 1986, 1992 & 1995) as well as the X-Case, the D-case and the Women on Waves ship. Written by a participant in almost all (if not all) of the events described.

IMAGE: DAIC picket at Dail with the then illegal abortion information number

The historical development of the global financial order under US hegemony

Date:

In 'Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction', Paul Bowman examined the derivatives market and promised that the succeeding article would cover the 'story of the historical development of successive regimes of global financial orders' and would explain the role of the Eurodollars market 'in undermining the Keynesian Bretton Woods system'.

However, in the interests of space and relevance, I will only tell the story of the historical development of the regime of global financial order under US hegemony. I will begin by examining how the centre of capital accumulation shifted from Europe to the US in the first half of the twentieth century, and how following World War II the global financial order became centred around the US through the Bretton Woods system.

I will then look at how the Bretton Woods System was undermined, concentrating as much on the role of workers’ militancy as on the role of the Eurodollars market. After considering the response to the crisis of Bretton Woods, I'll look at the Clinton boom bringing us up to the current situation of the US’s current heavy dependence on foreign borrowing.

Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction

Date:

Written months before the banking crash of the Autumn of 2008 this is the first part of a series of articles investigating the capitalist financial markets from a critical perspective.  It explains in some detail what the various financial instruments are that were to be blamed for the crash and what implication they have for class struggle. (Image: Just around the corner)

A System in Need of a Cure

Date:

The healthcare system, upon which people in Ireland depend, is an apartheid system. Simply put, some lives are worth more than others. Rare attempts at reform have been stymied by historic, chronic underspending and vested interests. This legacy has forced the vast majority of working people to take out private health insurance and has laid the foundations for a neo-liberal push towards an American-style system of private medicine.

Despite the “economic miracle” called the Celtic Tiger that has led to Ireland having a higher GNP per head of population than much of the rest of the EU, it lags behind in terms of health outcomes. At age 65 we have the lowest life expectancy in the EU for both men and women. Indeed, the gap between Irish and EU life expectancy has been widening. Infant mortality rates are above the EU average. We have above EU mortality rates for cancer and coronary heart disease. Despite Ireland’s incidence of breast cancer being among the lowest in Europe, the death rate in 2001 from breast cancer was the highest in EU15. To cap it all, we have a widening income gap, which analysis suggests will of itself worsen our health experience since greater inequality is associated with higher mortality rates.

Left Communism & Its Ideology

Date:

Anarchism is today finally emerging out of its long held position as ‘the conscience of the workers’ movement’, as the eternal critic of Leninism and state centred politics.

It long took the side of the working class against the Party, a position Lenin mocked when he wrote: “The mere presentation of the question—"dictatorship of the party or dictatorship of the class(1); dictatorship (party) of the leaders, or dictatorship (party) of the masses?"—testifies to most incredibly and hopelessly muddled thinking....to contrast, in general, the dictatorship of the masses with a dictatorship of the leaders is ridiculously absurd, and stupid.”(2) Interestingly this was not written about anarchists, but rather about the position held by a Dutch-German Marxist tendency that was part of the Comintern. This tendency and others comprise what is known as ‘left-communism’. (Pic: Workers of Fiat in Italy take over the Factories )

The Grassroots Gatherings

Date:

In practice, the Grassroots Gatherings – and groups linked to them – have become the main (and the only continuous) networking of the “movement of movements” in Ireland. To date 10 gatherings have been held between 2001 and 2005. In keeping with the goal of autonomy and decentralisation, there has been no central committee; at the end of each gathering a group of activists has offered to host the next one in their own area and has got on with organising it in their own way, around an agenda set by themselves and with sometimes very different structures and themes.

The politics and reality of the peak oil scare

Date:

 Peak Oil Theory has been around since the 1970s. Some think we have already reached 'peak oil', others think it will happen with the next twenty-five years. The theory argues that when we reach 'peak oil' the rate at which we extract oil from the earth (measured in millions of barrels per day) will reach a maximum and thereafter will start to drop.

As the rate at which we use oil is currently close to the rate at which we extract it, the point of peak oil will coincide or be closely followed by the world consuming more oil than it is producing. As oil reserves are very limited, within months there simply will not be enough oil available.

Rossport Solidarity Camp and the struggle against Shell

Date:

 The Rossport Solidarity Camp was established in the summer of 2005 and since then has provided an important focus for campaigners travelling to Mayo to support the local struggle. Here we speak to Sean Mallory, a WSM member who has spent a considerable amount of time at the camp, about his experiences. Please note that the views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Camp. 

(Pic A night down the local pub during a solidarity weekend)

Direct Action Gets The Goods – But How?

Date:

Elsewhere in this magazine (see ‘Anarchism, Elections and all that’), the anarchist case against participation in elections is outlined. The alternative political strategy put forward by anarchists is the use of direct action. This article sets out to examine what is meant by the concept of direct action and also to argue that it is impossible to combine electoralism and direct action, that by its nature electoralism is disempowering, and that real direct action and participation in elections are mutually exclusive. Politics in Ireland and elsewhere is dominated by clientelism. People see themselves as needing politicians to “do stuff” for them. The politicians who are most successful are those who play the clientelist game most effectively. And left wing or socialist parties and candidates who decide to play the electoral game find themselves drawn into this clientelist game as well. This has huge implications in terms of how they approach campaigning work.

Precarity: An Introduction to a Word

Date:

Precarity is a term synonymous with precariousness. It is perhaps best conceived as chronic insecurity. In recent times with the dismantling of the welfare state, the destruction of social security, workers’ existence is becoming more and more insecure. Precarity is a term that has been developed to describe these changes and the new form of working class existence that has developed due to them.

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