National

MASI conference a celebration of the struggle for a humane asylum system.

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MASI - the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland - held its first ever conference Saturday to mark FIVE years of struggle to end Direct Provision.

Hundreds of people attended the conference in Liberty Hall whose theme was 'Towards a More Humane Asylum Process'. People in the asylum system travelled from across Ireland to discuss the past and present of the asylum and deportation machine and to point the way forward to the end of Direct Provision and a more humane asylum system.

Reduced numbers at 2019 March for Choice after referendum win but a big fight is coming in 2021

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The 2019 annual March for Choice in Dublin was smaller than the previous two marches as many assumed the abortion referendum that Repealed the hated 8th amendment had settled the issue.  In fact the legislation brought in by the Fine Gael government in the months after the referendum left some groups behind, in particular migrants and forces everyone to go through a medically useless 3 day waiting period.  Despite being warned about this and other issues including the trans exclusive language Fine Gael went ahead with the flawed legislation so some still have to travel and not everyone has the papers or resources to be able to do so.  The legislation is up for review in 2021 and the anti-choice organisations are gearing up to try and roll back the legislation, the pro-choice movement needs to not only stop them doing so but needs to try and force whoever is in power to remove the flaws in the legislation. [Video]

 

Ode to ARC - a video love story

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To mark International Women's Day 2019 we are releasing this video that celebrates the grassroots womens organising responsible for victory in the 2018 abortion referendum.  We'd heard the text at the ARC Christmas party and immediately felt it would make a fantastic video, hopefully you will agree.  The authors introduction is below, we've also recorded a background interview with her about the campaign which gets further into the grassroots organising themes expressed in the video, see link at end.

The author Mary writes "On International Womens Day two years ago we gathered on O'Connell  Bridge and in towns all around Ireland as part of Strike 4 Repeal, demanding that the government call a referendum on the 8th amendment. On International Womens Day last year, we marched under the banner of Votes for Repeal. We had a proposed referendum date, the structure of a campaign, energy, commitment and determination. But the result was far from certain. On International Womens Day this year, Ireland is free of the 8th amendment. Barriers to access remain and the work of ensuring free, safe, legal and local abortion care for everyone who wants and needs it continues. But we are in a place we did not think we would be a few short years ago. We have moved out from under the shadow of the 8th. We got here through collective action, hard compromises, exhaustion, friendship, compassion, determination and grit.

Huge march for the nurses but serious concerns over proposed deal

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In the aftermath of the huge march in support of the nurses on Saturday [video] the government suddenly found a pay deal it could put on the table, leading to the INMO suspending the strike until that deal is discussed and voted on.

According to RTE the suggested deal, which some nurses have expressed strong reservations about, would see a "new grade being created including the Enhanced Nurse Practice Grade which is a pay scale that is higher than the existing scale, by an average €2,000 to €2,500 – around 7% - and will range from €35,806 to €45,841 per annum. Nurses would be eligible to apply for the enhanced grade after four years' service."

Nurses strike to defend health system & demand pay parity begins

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This morning saw pickets being placed on hospitals all over the country as nurses and midwives strike against low pay. Pay now so low relative to rent and house prices that its impossible for many to find decent accommodation in the major cities on what they take home.
 
In that sense the strike has a direct importance to all workers. The Nurses strike is also essential to countering the right wing ideology that low corporate tax rates are more essential than good public services & housing. That ideology has ruled us for decades with all parties in power imposing it and is unchallenged in the media.

Was winning the Repeal referendum inevitable?

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The vote to remove the ban on abortion from the Irish constitution in May 2018 was overwhelmingly carried, with almost 2 out of every 3 voters voting Yes remove the ban. The margin of victory was such that some post-referendum polemics made the mistake of arguing that victory was always inevitable, that the campaign didn’t matter. Such arguments tended to be made by opinion writers who never liked the Repeal campaign and in some cases published pieces during the campaign arguing that unless whatever aspect they disliked was dropped the referendum would be lost.

Alan MacSimoin remembered by Des Derwin

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In recent years I saw less of Alan than in previous years. Yet I regularly bumped into him and it was always an enthusiastic and humourous short reunion.  That’s because like many here Alan was involved in every campaign of the day But Alan seemed to be involved in  all the minor as well as the major campaigns. And going right back, and without a gap or a letup over five decades. And he remembered it all. And in detail!

[This is the speech Des Derwin delivered at Alan MacSimoin's wake]

Alan MacSimoin - Rest In Power

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The WSM are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of Alan MacSimoin, one of our founder members, a friend, and a key central figure in building the anarchist movement in Ireland for over four decades. Alan had not been a member of WSM for some years but remained politically active right to the end. His last Facebook post on November 29th was supporting the locked out bricklayers at Mary’s Mansions. Alan will be sorely missed by all in the WSM and we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.


Alan (right) leading a small pro-choice march in 2002

WSM marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at their strategy gathering

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The WSM took some time out from our future directions discussions session at Cloughjordan eco village over the week to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The Presidential election in Ireland and the racist bump

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Last weekend saw a presidential election in Ireland where the clear victor was a left wing poet (and career politican) called Michael D Higgins who got 56% of the vote.  However a no hope candidate who was, 1 of 3, yes 3 hosts of the TV show Dragons Den running for president managed to boost his vote from close to nothing (2%) to 23% through the simple trick of Trump like racist remarks directed at the Traveller Community, a very small ethnic group who until recently were nomads but were forced to all but bandon that life by the Irish state over the last couple of decades. 

In the aftermath of the result the media reached for the same sort of lazy analysis about 'econoic anxiety' and people 'left behind' that was seen in the US after Trump was elected.  In this video Andrew argues that the exit poll data tells a very difrerent story.

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