Alex Amargi

They Seem Invincible, says Orwell, But Don't Give Up

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'Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible' – democratic socialist George Orwell.

You wake up, and the radio is saying something about hundreds of billions of euro again. Police somewhere just shot a load of protesters, and something about the polar ice caps melting faster than we thought. It's awful, but you're just one person. Things are pretty bleak.

You're not the first to feel hopeless
As Orwell says, the rulers of society, the people in charge who control the resources and make the decisions, will seem invincible. Put yourself in the position of a feudal serf, or a slave? Do you think they ever thought that the feudal regime would crumble, that slavery would be abolished? People said it wasn't possible, that human nature wouldn't allow it, and that we should just aim to have a 'better feudalism', a 'better slavery'. But, lo and behold, it happened and only because there were people who refused to settle, who dared to believe that a fundamentally better world was possible.

Disobedience is Humanity's Original Virtue says Oscar Wilde

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'Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue' - Oscar Wilde.

However, there is a prevalent perception counter to Wilde's view which considers conformity and compliance to be virtuous traits. This perception is quite clearly held by most of those at the top our society's hierarchies - be they politicians, top business people, or religious leaders - or at least they want us to embody these passive 'virtues'.

But as Wilde points out, a reading of history clearly shows that it has been disobedience, rebellion, and heresy, which have driven progress over the millennia. It seems almost too obvious to say, because the absence of resistance will obviously lead to nothing changing for the better.
 

RTÉ Primetime Parrots State Propaganda on Water Charges

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On Thursday night RTE Primetime presented what many have described as a 'regime broadcast', an utterly transparent hatchet job of the anti-Water Charges campaign. This featured, supposedly, an anonymous water meter installer describing being accosted by knife, hatchet, baseball bat, and golf club wielding maniacal protesters – the sinister fringe. The core message transmitted in the program was 'you can protest, but don't protest effectively'. If you watched it (link below), what did you think?

 

Smear Them! Indo Hypocrisy in Vilification of Anti-Water Charges Campaign

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'Smear Them' - Indo makes shocking newspaper vilification of anti-Water Charges campaign



The conveyor belt of smears against Water Charges protesters has lurched back into Full-Speed Mode, with Denis O'Brien's Irish Independent deciding to run this incendiary headline: ''Shoot him' - Protester makes shocking Facebook threat towards Taoiseach'.

This story, featuring in one of the largest publications on the island, is based on some Facebook comment a person seemingly made in anger: 'Shoot him make a martyr haven't had one in a long time'. This headline is ludicrous for a few reasons.

Water Charges: Resistance is the Real Irish Exemption

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There has been much discussion of the 'Irish Exemption' to the EU Water Framework directive, with some suggesting that 'this changes everything', but it's important to note that the Real Irish Exemption is our widespread and continuing resistance.

Background
Despite assertions from the government that Ireland is required by the EU directive to impose water charges, there is actually a unique exclusion of Ireland in article 9.4, negotiated in 2000 - which former MEP Kathy Sinnott brought to light 2 weeks ago. Therefore the imposition of domestic water charges is, unsurprisingly, a choice made by the Irish government.

This legal exemption, however, is under threat as Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly – who continues to deny the existence of the exemption – intends to rescind it on the 1st of January. The exemption can only be rescinded by the Irish government, and must be renewed (or cancelled) every 7 years in Ireland's River Basin Management Plan which is submitted to the EU Commission.

The Real Exemption

Although this is significant, it is most important to note that the huge anti-water charges movement was in full swing before many were aware of this legal exemption. We are opposed to the water charges because they are unfair and an assault on our living standards, not because they aren't really required by some EU directive. 

Did you know Oscar Wilde was an anarchist?

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Happy Birthday to Oscar Wilde! Born this date - the 16th of October - in 1854 in Dublin, he studied at Trinity, then Oxford, moved to London, living mostly there, and died in penury in Paris 1900. He was a very successful playwright (as well as a journalist, poet, and lecturer), a London celebrity, and is most famous for his play 'The Importance of Being Earnest', novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', epigrams, and, sadly, his persecution for being gay which was his ruination.
 

Though eminently quotable, there was more to Wilde than his turn of phrase and artistic flair. Many know his remark that 'to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all', but few know its proper context. It is quoted from an essay entitled 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism' in which Wilde espouses his politics - those of libertarian socialism. Commonly understood as an apolitical aesthete, Wilde's radical political views are quite a well kept secret - like George Bernard Shaw's socialism, and to a lesser extent George Orwell's socialism. In fact, he signed Shaw's petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested, and later executed, after the Haymarket Affair in Chicago, 1886. Wilde was a huge admirer of the famous Russian anarchist communist Peter Kropotkin, describing him in De Profundis as 'a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia'.

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