Opinion

The opinion of a WSM member. This piece has not been reviewed by any WSM editing body

Repeal and the online battle - when become a billionaire isn't an option

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Over the last few days the mainstream media in Ireland has finally woken up to the way money from far right US evangelicals is being used to buy the No vote in the referendum campaign. Here we show you how to see how you are being targeted and discuss what this means for the referendum and any conception of democracy not based on the ‘one dollar, one vote’ favoured by the elite.

Maser’s Repeal the 8th mural covered up again but who regulates the regulator?

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There is a poetic symbolism to the images here of the artist Maser’s Repeal the 8th mural at the Project Arts centre. (additional images in comments section) The art is covered up. A government body orders a theatre space to cover up a mural of a heart, leaving just half a heart in its wake.

The line from the Charities Regulator is that the Project Arts is excluded from taking a stance on Repeal because that would be ‘advancing a political cause’ that does not relate to their charitable purpose of their arts space.

Repeal vote still too close to call when likely Don't Know to No taken into account

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The referendum to remove the clause in the constitution that limits what medical care, including abortion, women in Ireland can access approaches at the end of this month. With another poll appearing this morning we have updated our graph of how that May 25th vote would look IF the polling companies had a similar margin as they had for the Marriage Equality referendum a couple of years back. As you can see they suggest if nothing changes the result of the May 25th, Repeal vote will be too close to call until the count on the 26th.

Health and Happiness as a Political Organiser - Brief Notes

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This is a quick article about some of the psychology and health issues of being a political organiser. There is as much to say about this topic time in the universe would allow, as such, this is a brief sketch which will be part of an ongoing series of articles dedicated to mental health and psychology with a particular focus on its application to political organising.

Thinking About Anarchism: Competition Versus Co-operation

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Consider the accompanying image: phone service providers. How many of these companies does a rational society really need? Their job is to connect our mobile phones to communications networks (GSM, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi). Do we really need five such organisations in the 26 counties to attempt that same task? And who does it benefit that these five organisations compete with one another for profit? After all, they are all using the same infrastructure! Surely five organisations co-operating will be more effective than five walled-off organisations each attempting the same task individually.

But this article is not about phone coverage in particular. It is about those broader questions which run right through the fabric of our societies.

Distrust politicians? - Vote for Repeal because we forced them to call the referendum, we are the rebellion

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One of the more bizarre elements of the pro-choice referendum in Ireland has been the attempt by anti-choice campaigners to portray themselves as rebels.  This while defending a 35 year old ban on abortion that was introduced to copper fasten the status quo back then.   This is providing something of an excuse however for some characters on the left (generally men) to adopt anti women positions on the basis that the 'establishment' is now backing change.  A couple of our members take this argument apart below.

Trusting politicians does not come easy - distrust comes far easier. In the fight for votes in the Repeal referendum the issue of distrusting politicians has been raised by the anti-choice side. Politicians do have poor track record, tending to leave a litany of broken promises in their wake. We all remember different promises broken - I remember the one about ‘ to protect the vulnerable’ when this battered ship sailed into the storm of austerity. In Ireland, even politicians say things like ‘you can’t trust politicians’. It as if by saying that they are exempting themselves from being politicians, and saying, you can trust us again.

Trust and distrust are flip sides of a coin. The answer you give frequently depends on this. Are you dancing? Who is asking? On the bottom of some No posters it says 'join the rebellion’. There is a gross twisting of the truth going on here. It can be compared with Darth Vader stretching out his gloved hand and asking you to join the rebellion. Essentially it is the empire of misogyny doing everything in its power to gain a single no vote. Their mind trick here is that if the Government want you to vote for something that you should vote the other way. It hinges on the inherent distrust factor.

A trip into the anti-choice mind

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You'd be hard pressed to find an issue riddled with as many lies, myths, inaccuracies etc. as abortion particularly in Ireland. You'd also be hard pressed to find a more ridiculous poster as that which some members of the anti-choice brigade have produced in the run up to referendum.

How the government were forced to call a referendum to repeal the 8th

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Now that we have a definitive date of May 25th 2018, the date on which we will get to vote to repeal the 8th Amendment it is timely for us to remember how this opportunity to change Irish society into a fairer one came about. 

History is written by those in power, therefore this referendum has comes with a heavily constructed backstory that goes like this. Leo Varadkar, our funky sock wearing leader, with all his social media savvy got together with his wing of the Fine Gael party to progress social change in Ireland. Repeal was the next obvious step. The line continues that having witnessed the historic popular vote on the marriage equality referendum, the government decided to tackle the thorny issue of the 8th amendment. They had not the courage to devise a plan themselves so they gave it to the Citizens assembly, hoping that if they came back with something grossly unpopular then it was the assembly that could be blamed. I diverge from the script here, but it is important to recognise that there is a distinct lack of courage with the elected ones. Now, they are now fully enacting the recommendations, because the Citizens assembly came back with the obvious solution to deal with the issue. That was to repeal the 8th amendment and legislate for safe abortion in Ireland.

The Fenian Proclamation (1867) vs the 1916 Proclamation - the lost radicalism of Irish republicanism

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Considering the fact the Anarchist Communism as a coherent and easily transmutable ideology only came to be during the 1870’s and 1880’s the Fenian Proclamation of 1867 is striking in its progressiveness and clarity of thought. A product of the Irish Famine, English economic and military Imperialism in Ireland and a tradition of insurrectionary attempts against Imperialist rule, the original Fenians of 1867 should be viewed as proto socialistic in their values and analysis.

This is not to say they were Anarchists or close, they were most definitely Republican statists, who organised for an almost purely military strike against Imperialism, as opposed to the destruction of the state and working class/farmer self-activity for the destruction of exploitation and Imperialism and the creation of a cooperative society.

Repealing the 8th - what the opinion polls are telling us

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The Sunday Times with Behaviour & Attitudes have run two very useful polls that give a strong sense of how the campaign to Repeal the 8th Referendum is going.  The overall story the poll results tell is bad for the Vote No campaign and promising for the Vote Yes campaign.  If the referendum had been held at the time of the March poll then Repeal would have been carried by 64% to 36%, almost 2:1.  The polling data also shows No has a soft vote that is very much larger proportion than the equivalent soft Yes vote.  This means if anything between now and referendum day the polls are likely to drift towards repeal.   

None of this is a reason for complacency, what the No side lacks in terms of numbers and support they make up for in terms of funding.  Before the campaign had even started they were spending hundreds of thousands on online advertising, billboards, leaflets and free buses to what had to be their disappointingly small March 10th national march.  Together for Yes may have far more support and more people out canvassing but will it have enough to defeat all that paid advertising? 

As this is a long read we are also making an audio version available

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