Opinion

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

A critical history of WSM from a 2010 internal meeting

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This audio history of the WSM was presented at a meeting in Cork in 2010 as part of a day of critical internal discussions. As it was originally recorded for internal use it's been edited so it is just the presenter and then his responses to questions and discussion points. For more on the history of the Workers Solidarity Movement see https://www.wsm.ie/wsm-history

Humanity and Nature under Capitalism

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Welcome to the era of human-caused climate change. [1] This economic and political system will kill us all – that is, if we don’t do something drastic quite soon. If not, there will be no future for human beings or other species. The world, as we know it, may soon become a mirage, a beautiful dream. We are reaching the end of the road, after driving the wrong way for over 200 years. What awaits us? The answer is obvious: destruction, suffering and death.

But is this inevitable? Is the human being biologically destined to destroy the natural world they so keenly depend on? Mercifully the answer is likely ‘no’, this destruction is most clearly understood as the result of very particular institutions and social norms, a situation we can change if we have the will to do so. A task which, while certainly not easy, is the most palatable outcome at this late stage.

Strikes and Solidarity: Interview with a worker at Irish Rail

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Irish Rail workers were out on strike recently. What’s going on? 

The WSM recently caught up with J, an activist and worker at Irish Rail, to find out.

For background details, see our analysis, "Why Irish Rail workers are right to strike", published here.

Comic - Why Pro-Life is a Lie

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Anti-choice advocates like Youth Defence / Precious Life and the Iona Institute claim to be driven by an indiscriminate empathy and a genuine concern for human beings' universal right to life, hence invocations to 'Love Both' and the 'pro-life' label.

Are these claims to be taken seriously? Not for a second, as clearly illustrated in this pro-choice comic (PDF).

The Nazis were Pro-Choice? Think Again

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It's not uncommon for someone arguing in favour of criminalising abortion to draw a comparison between pro-choice advocates and the Nazis, often on the basis that supposedly the Nazis had the same liberal views on abortion, or that pro-choice campaigners are of a similarly genocidal bent.

Comparing the Nazis to the Irish feminist movement is bizarre. In summary, Nazi abortion policy was driven by sexism, ‘pronatalism’, and eugenics, while pro-choice campaigners in Ireland are driven by personal freedom.
 

Audio - Anti-fascism in the age of Trump: A panel of US anarchists speak in Dublin

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Nazis, white-supremacists, “Identitarians”, and other fascists are organising, becoming more emboldened to attack members of our communities and spread hate speech online, in the media and on our streets. In the US, the election of Donald Trump has been heralded as a victory by right-wing reactionaries and racists around the world. [Audio]

Democracy - The Art of Re-making Society

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David Graeber’s excellent insider account of the occupation of Wall Street [1] offers us an insight into what form the politics of resistance needs to take. It will be dual purpose, having to both build resistance and also build anew. It will be about renewal, hope and learning. Crucially, how you build resistance will inform and shape what is to follow. It will entail democracy being built from ground zero.
 
During Occupy wall street there was a electric hum that came from that community. People were actively engaged on a social level, face to face discussions everywhere attempting to make it an active space for direct democracy. In that electricity of building community, ideas flourished, principles were applied, democracy was direct and actions flowed from the place where decisions were reached, collectively. In short, politics has to became about the remaking of society.[2] What is society if it is not about people? It can only be rebuilt by people; people meeting, planning, discussing, deciding and acting together.

March for Choice 2017 - report & video

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Saturday the 30th of September 2017 will go down as a high point in the fight for abortion rights in the Republic, and that is a struggle that stretches back decades. Years of campaigning and maintaining a focus on the issue, saw a massive crowd of nearly 30,000 people take to the streets for the annual March for Choice as organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). The calls are for action, and the need for Repeal of the 8th Amendment.

Delete the 8th - no restrictive wordings

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The delaying is almost over and a date for a referendum to finally overturn the 8th amendment has almost been confirmed. But - as expected - the government are now publicly threatening to present a wording other than the one needed - a vote to remove the anti-choice Article 40.3.3.

The media are reporting that the government are instead trying to somehow present a referendum that would include the terms abortion could be accessed under. Essentially the overwhelmingly old, male and conservative government do not want to follow the recommendations given by the very body they set up to avoid such responsibility. The creation of the Citizens Assembly was clearly imagined by the government as a way a new, very restrictive, anti-choice regime could be created in the aftermath of the referendum and presented as ‘the people’s will’.

However it turned out when 100 random people heard weeks of expert testimony they decided the reasonable moderate position was the one where restrictions on pregnant people would be removed or at least minimised. To the anti-choice extremists in power this was unexpected, they were only willing to concede movement on the very edges of the extreme anti-choice laws under which pregnant people and doctors face a 14 year jail sentence.

Pro Life is a Lie - dismantling the anti-choice spin

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When pro-choice militants argue that their struggle is the continuation of a historical fight against the oppression of women, they are met with a pro-life movement which attempts to symmetrically paint itself as fighting for the rights of ‘‘the unborn child’’, a category which would otherwise remain defenseless and be sentenced to life or death by their bearers.

But both sides are far from holding symmetrical views. For one thing, while people who can get pregnant initiated the pro-choice movement, there is no doubt embryos didn’t start the pro-life movement. No pro-life advocate would deny this trivial statement, if anything they would use the voicelessness of “the unborn” as an argument to emphasise the unfair nature of abortion rights.

While it is easy to understand why one group would be motivated to fight for their own interests, explaining why a group would me motivated to fight on behalf of another group is not as straightforward. Pro-life advocates would have us believe that they are fighting for the “unborn child” first and foremost out of a strong sense of empathy and out of an unremitting commitment to defend the human right to life. The problem is that this is demonstrably untrue. Far from being satisfying explanations, empathy and adhesion to moral principles don’t even qualify as partial explanations for the commitment of pro-life advocates.

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