The Occupy movement may have come into our lives just over a year ago with a bang but it went out months later with a whimper. Cathal Larkin uses the benefit of hindsight to look at the phenomenon as it manifested itself on these shores and what anarchists could have done to make it work better. The difficulties as Cathal argues did not lie in making arguments for democracy has been the case in so many other campaigns but in that the occupiers “didn’t see this conception extending to the realm of economic production” and in developing the 99%/1% analysis into a deeper class analysis. Recognising problems with current modes of consciousness raising, he utilises Paulo Freire’s pedagogical framework in an attempt to subject “our own political strategies, methodologies and theories to critical scrutiny”.
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%.
Five years into an austerity program that is only working to make the rich richer, most of us are very unhappy about the lack of resistance from the unions. During the Croke Park campaign the SIPTU National Executive Council released a statement that included: "There is, of course, a wider issue of fairness in the Country as a whole because the wealthy are not contributing to the degree that they can or should. This is a consequence of the political choices made by the voters at election time.”
On the anniversary of the Wall Street occupation which sparked a global movement and captured media attention, Occupy Belfast acquired a second building. A statement released on the groups Facebook page reads ‘members of the Occupy Belfast Movement took a step towards expanding the movement’s reach by taking control of a multi-unit residential property in an undisclosed location in Belfast.
To what extent do the revolutions and revolts of 2011 reflect a new world born from the shell of the old? Were these revolts of the internet generation -- networked individuals? Are people not only using new technology but becoming transformed by it? For anarchists, what lessons can we learn and to what extent must we transform our organisational methods and structures?
Occupy Belfast held its first public meeting in the occupied building on Saturday explaining why it decided to take the building and outlining future plans for the self-managed space. Around 20 people listened to two speakers from Occupy who provided an up-to date account of work underway including the building of a stage, meeting space and a library.
The forcible eviction of Occupy Dame Street has once again shifted the spotlight on Occupy Belfast who have moved from their original camp at Writers Square to an iconic and listed vacant former bank building in the heart of the city centre. WSM member and Occupy Belfast activist Sean Matthews asks what next for Occupy Belfast and whether it has reached a critical mass.
The liberation of the former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast city centre by “Occupy” provides a glimpse of what is possible if we organise and fight together using the power of direct action and solidarity. It is about sending out a political message to our local green and orange tories that enough is enough and it is up to us as working class people to take action and organise a fightback because no politician will do it for us.
Over 150 people gathered at the Central Bank last night in the aftermath of the eviction of Occupy Dame Street (ODS). They then marched to Pearse street Garda station to demand the return of confiscated property but for unknown reasons the Garda prevented them for reaching the station, knocking many to the ground while doing so. Following on from the violence used during the 4am eviction that morning this represents a radical departure from the 'softly-softly' policing that has characterized the interactions of the state with ODS to date.
A large force of Garda and council workers were deployed at 3.30am today, International Women's Day, to clear Occupy Dame Street (ODS) camp. The camp was completely demolished in the course of the eviction, campers intimidated and their personal property stolen. This was a level of force way out of proportion with the numbers in the camp (about 15 people) and stands in contrast with the lack of resources put into investigating what happened at Anglo, the collapse of which has left a debt of 26,000 Euro on every single person in the country.
A General Assembly will take place at the former camp location at the Central Bank at 18.00 this evening.