Tom Murray

A City in Common: The Radical Potential of Ireland’s Eco-Transport Struggles

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Could climate change become a catalysing force for radical social transformation in Ireland? Recent struggles around public transport in Ireland prompt us to think along these lines.

During the spring of 2016, Luas workers went on strike for decent pay and for terms and conditions similar to workers in other public transport services [1]. Similarly, in Autumn 2015, Irish Rail workers went on strike, primarily in opposition to the EU Commission and the Irish government’s gradual moves towards privatisation [2]. Previously, in Spring 2015, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann workers went on strike over plans by the National Transport Authority to tender out 10% of public routes to private operators. SIPTU’s banner at Liberty Hall outlined why: ‘Say No to Privatisation; privatisation results in fare increase, reduced services, a threat to free travel, a bad deal for taxpayers and job cuts’.

What Pegida represents and why we oppose it

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A COUNTER-DEMONSTRATION TO the announcement of an Irish branch of Pegida, a racist anti-Islam group, will occur in Dublin on 6th February. It will be one of a series of Europe-wide counter-demonstrations against Pegida and its fascist political ideology.
 

Creating the Commons: on the meaning of Bolivia’s water wars

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In the history of humankind every act of destruction meets its response, sooner or later, in an act of creation’ - Eduardo Galeano

In Bolivia, there have been remarkable experiences in urban peripheries, notably in Cochabamba, that reveal the capacity of grassroots associations to construct a free society based on solidarity and mutual aid. The background to the country’s Water War of April 2000 must be understood against preceding waves of struggle, particularly the huge marches for sovereignty and livelihoods of coca growers, Amazonian groups, and others that emerged with the implementation of the neoliberal model in 1985 [1]. Subsequent mine closures and rural migration occasioned huge increases in Bolivia’s urban centres, particularly in Cochabamba, the country’s third largest city. The state water company, Semapa, served only half of the city’s population. In the neglected southern peripheries, neighbourhood groups organised associations to bring water to their homes. Cooperatives, formed without state assistance, dug wells, built water mains, and even created drainage and sewers. In cases where wells could not be dug, the committees bought their own water tankers and organised daily deliveries. By 1990, some 140 urban water committees had formed in the south of Cochabamba, with between 300 and 1000 families in each one [1].

 

On visiting the Zapatista community of Oventic

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Last November, I took part in a week-long language school at Oventic, Chiapas.[1] I spent the week living and learning with two US-based comrades – Laila, a tattoo artist and socialist/feminist from Memphis, and Michael, a housing rights activist from Baltimore – alongside the wider Zapatista community of Oventic. Our ‘guides’ for the week were our neighbours – Natalio and Paloma as well as Stephanie (who was learning to be a teacher) and Efrain (a linguist, philosopher and educator all rolled in to one). These were the people we met and spoke with every day. What follows are some reflections recorded along the way.   

 

Horizons of our imaginations: Anarchism and Education

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Tom Murray looks at anarchist principles of education and argues that autonomous, co-operative learning is central to our finding new ways of challenging authority and dis- covering freer, more equal ways of being in the world.

Squatting, Urban Politics & the Dublin Housing Action Committee: 1968-71

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The contemporary crisis of capitalism has made markedly visible the relationship between finance capital and property speculation, between the concentrated money-power of bankers and speculators and the shaping of the built environment in our towns and cities.

Why Irish Rail workers are right to strike

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The Workers Solidarity Movement extends its solidarity to all workers at Irish Rail. A series of one-day stoppages and pickets to secure pay rises are planned over the months of November and December. The sought-after pay increases (3.75 per cent annually) are in line with pay increases secured by other transport workers in Dublin Bus, Luas, and Bus Éireann, all of whom secured these victories following collective industrial action and numerous strikes.

 

We will march for choice. Will you?

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Ask yourself a question.

A relative, a friend, a neighbour, a co-worker or a stranger on a bus says to you that they were pregnant but exercised their right to choose and secured a termination. Would you then imprison them for 14 years? If you wouldn’t jail someone for exercising their right to choose, would you want to be associated in any way with their jailors?

If the answer to the above is ‘no’, then you might consider joining the 6th Annual March for Choice will take place in Dublin this Saturday, 30th September. We anarchists of the Workers Solidarity Movement will be assembling with thousands of other pro-choice people at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square from 1.30pm, before we march on Dáil Éireann at 2pm.

THE WORMS THAT SAVED THE WORLD - a review of a brilliant children's book

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THE WORMS THAT SAVED THE WORLD is an illustrated children’s book about a rebellious group of earthworms who fight to save their home from a luxury golf course that takes over their headland. Written by Kevin Doyle and illustrated by Spark Deeley, the book introduces us to Connie and her friends as they band together to save their community and their home. 
 
 
At first, the worms try to make do but the growing pollution combined with the new owners’ intolerance force them to take action. They realise that they cannot win against the powerful golf club on their own so they seek the help of other animals who share the headland with them. They are a determined and inventive community of worms and in the end the win back control of their home. (Hurray!) The story was inspired by a famous campaign that took place at the Old Head of Kinsale in Cork, Ireland in the early 2000s.

Rojava: a new world in our hearts?

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War is hell. In September 2015, the heartbreaking image of Alan Kurdi went viral. The picture of the little Syrian-Kurdish boy lying face down on Ali Hoca beach in Turkey highlighted Fortress Europe’s racist response to those refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East.  Abdullah Kurdi, Alan’s father, returned to Kobane to bury his wife and two sons. He wrote to the world: ‘I am grateful for your sympathy for my fate. This has given me the feeling that I am not alone. But an essential step in ending this tragedy and avoiding its recurrence is support for our self-organisation’. Kurdi was referring to the emergent experiment in popular democracy sweeping Rojava, the most hopeful thing to have happened in the Middle East for a very long time. A popular, anti-authoritarian rebellion is struggling against the death-world of capitalist modernity. And for now, it seems to be winning. 

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