Gregor Kerr

An anarchist introduction to trade unions

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TRADE UNIONS were founded to defend the interests of workers, but today have become more and more dominated by an unaccountable, and often unelected, bureaucracy. Trade unions - or at least their leadership - have been co-opted into becoming partners with Capital, and see their role as managing their members, controlling difficult situations rather than leading struggles. You are much more likely to see a trade union official selling the management's latest "productivity package" or "re-structuring deal" than to hear him/her calling for an occupation of a plant to avoid its closure, or for industrial action to fight redundancies.Given this, one might wonder why anarchists spend so much time talking about and working inside the trade unions. To write off trade unions, however, is to ignore the basic fact that for a worker to join a trade union means having to recognise, to some degree, that he or she has different interests to the bosses.

About Anti Racism Campaign (ARC) - Building the anti-racist resistance

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In response to growing racism against refugees and asylum seekers, recent months have seen the beginnings of an anti-racism campaign in Dublin. This campaign had its public 'launch' at a very successful public meeting, attended by over 80 people, last October.

Anarchists and the trade unions - Be active - be involved

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Trade Unions are important organs of the working-class. Gregor Kerr - a member of the Irish National Teachers Organisation who has been involved in campaigns against "social partnership" and in many strike support groups - argues that trade union involvement should form a central part of the political activity of all anarchists.

Sinn Fein and the 'Peace Process'

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The 'Irish peace process' is now well into its second year. It has brought respectability for Sinn Féin but little of consequence for the Irish working class - North or South. Gregor Kerr a member of the National Committee of the Irish Anti Extradition Committee in the late 1980s, looks at events leading up to the cease-fire and Sinn Féin's pan-nationalist strategy.

Since the ending of the 'Cold War', many national liberation struggles throughout the world have been 'settled'. In places as far apart as South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Palestine these national liberation struggles were led by groupings which were often seen as having left leanings. However in all of these cases the 'settlement' was far from socialist. The current 'Irish peace process' is following exactly the same lines and has nothing to offer the Irish working class North or South

Lessons of Trade Union Fightback

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Following the vote on the Programme for Competitiveness and Work at the end of March 2004, the Trade Union Fightback (TUF) campaign was wound up. Here Gregor Kerr, an INTO member who was secretary of TUF, looks at the history and lessons of the campaign.Following the vote on the Programme for Competitiveness and Work at the end of March 2004, the Trade Union Fightback (TUF) campaign was wound up. Here Gregor Kerr, an INTO member who was secretary of TUF, looks at the history and lessons of the campaign

Thousands of children were starved to death in Tuam and other state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland

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It is emerging that thousands of children were starved to death in state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland. The Daily Mail today carries a detailed report which quotes Philip Redmond, a survivor of Sean Ross Abbey Hospital, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary where of the 167 babies born in 1942, there were 72 deaths. Mr Redmond says "As far as Bessborough is concerned, there is little doubt in our minds that as many as 2,000 died while we believe another 1,200 died in Sean Ross Abbey" This figures are to be added to the estimated 796 bodies found in a waste tank in the grounds of then Tuam home - see the earlier piece on this page.

Voting Yes for Marriage Equality

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Marriage as an institution has no great appeal for anarchists. Its primary role in capitalist society is to regulate property ‘rights’ and to promote social norms. But we also know that in our current society marriage has a social standing to which many people aspire. To tell a significant section of the population that they should be denied access to marriage is to ask them to accept a second­class position vis a vis their straight family members, workmates and friends.

The Fight Against the Water Charges - Where Next? - Contribution to DABF 2015 Panel with Video

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Can we turn the water charge movements away from the self-destruction of taking the electoral route, can we convince people in large numbers that it is on the streets and in conversations with their neighbours that the battle will be won not in the ballot box?

Over the coming months we need to solidify the message of the twin direct action tactics of blocking meter installation and not paying the bills – the message of people seeing themselves as leaders in their communities in terms of having that conversation – ‘I’m Not paying.  You Shouldn’t Pay’ – retaining the many headed monster and avoiding the false ‘unity’ that involves leadership from above being imposed on self-organising community campaigns

All Together Now - Against Water Charges, Against Racism

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We want to clearly state that attacks on migrants have no place in the fight against water charges. Those who sow such divisions are not our allies, they are pursuing the agenda of the government and big business.

Paris Bakery and EF Language School Workers Speak Out

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One of the key principles underpinning anarchist politics and philosophy is that of self-organisation.  And one of the key principles underpinning self-organisation is the belief that it is by doing that people learn.

 

Very few people come to radical politics through what they read or through ‘education’ in the traditional sense.  It is usually through becoming involved in a struggle that directly affects themselves and their neighbours/work colleagues that most people come to see the power structures of society and begin a process of analysis of how society operates and how it needs to change if the needs of ordinary people are to be met.

 

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