Today in Dublin, there were three solidarity protests with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United (Disunited) States.
Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine - Under the shelter of each other people survive.
It is within times of crisis when the thin veil of neoliberalism slips to reveal the emperor is not wearing any clothes. It exposes the sheer inefficacy of capitalism to cope with human crises and cater for the most basic human needs. In these times, when the capitalist state is left reeling, we see glimpses of community, solidarity and interdependence emerge once again - the very ideals neoliberalism has for the last 40 odd years attempted to erode and eradicate. It exposes that the ‘common sense’ manner of organising our lives, work and economy is entirely at odds with the will of the people but also, very importantly, it provides us with the opportunity to imagine a transformed world.
The Covid-19 global health crisis is one that required a global response led by health workers but with the consensus of almost everyone. Instead we face a piecemeal response, often in the form of repressive policing solutions that are not even particularly effective and where the borders between the states have undermined collective action and allowed the virus to multiply in the gaps.
Tensions have been growing amongst the migrant communities in Lesvos since the beginning of January when the new right-wing government (New Democracy) implemented more aggressive migration policies with a view to “decongest” the Aegean islands and to stem the flow of migration. Deputy minister Stelios Petsas announced that “the government, from the first moment, followed a different policy on the refugee-migration issue. With a comprehensive plan based on four axes: guarding the borders, speeding up asylum procedures, increased returns and closed pre-departure centers.” What this translates to is increased spending on border controls, a staggering backlog of asylum claims, fast-track border procedures that fail to protect people (including children) from deportation if they are rejected in the first instance, even if they appeal, along with large scale confinement and detention.
People protest against the Pre-Removal Detention Centre in Moria Camp after an Iranian migrant was found dead, hung in his cell.
Cork showed the far right the door on January 4th as about 300 anti-fascists turned up at city hall to face down a far right rally of about that peaked at about 70. The anti-fascist rally was called by Cork Rebels for Peace, "a broad spectrum of left political & community activists from across the city and county and we’ve called upon a celebration of diversity, inclusiveness and solidarity. We have come together to show the far right that Cork city will not succumb to intolerance."
A very successful anti-fascist Rally For Peace took place December 14th as 100s of anti-fascists occupied the planned site at the Dail of a far-right rally. Stewards did a great job of containing far-right provocations throughout the rally. The 1st group of far right agitators that appeared were visibly bewildered to find the site of their rally occupied. This group included masked members of Generation Identity, the group linked to the New Zealand mass killer & two of whose Irish members were jailed recently. [see video]
Ireland’s activist community was left in deep shock as news spread of Bob Kavanagh’s sudden and untimely death in late December. Bob is remembered as both a committed political activist, a very talented musician, a great friend and loyal comrade. Many of us got to know Bob from the pivotal role he played in the long running Shell to Sea campaign from 2005 onwards. The campaign which pitched a rural community against a global oil company took place in Erris in western Mayo. Bob was one of the first who took the decision to move to Erris to stand with the local community against Shell. Those involved in the campaign will always remember Bob’s political dedication which was offset by an often needed wry sense of humour on picket lines on cold Mayo mornings.
Book length histories of the Repeal referendum have started to appear. That this second one is an autobiography is in itself a testament to how long the 8th Amendment ruled over us. The 8th amendment takes up about half the space of Peter Boylan’s ‘In the Shadow of the 8th’. Boylan was an obstetrician who retired from Holles St in 2016, he was a prominent spokesperson for Repeal in the referendum of 2018 and was then central to the implementation of abortion access in the aftermath of winning that referendum. In telling the story of his medical career he tells the story of how the 8th shaped it.
The publication of the co-directors history of the Together for Yes (T4Y) campaign is an important step in building an accessible collective history of the final stage of the long struggle to repeal the hated 8th amendment to the Irish constitution. It along with the forthcoming Together for Yes review of the referendum campaign should probably be read by everyone who worked for Repeal, if for no other reason than to get a better understanding of the ‘big picture’ of what we were involved in.
Abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland. Marriage Equality decriminalised in Northern Ireland. It has been a long hard struggle, many years, many people.
Tonight we celebrate our victories. Tomorrow we will fight for more.
The final day of the countdown had some tension to it as the reactionary DUP and elements of the SDLP teamed up to try and reopen Stormont after 1000 days of not caring to shoot down these extensions of equality to the 6 counties. Writing ahead of these shenanigans the Alliance for Choice said "It is clearer that this action, after over 1000 days of no functioning government, has one sole agenda; to obstruct the fulfilment of the human rights of women, girls and anyone who can get pregnant. I take the view that those who have called for this sitting of the Assembly know that an Executive cannot be formed under these circumstances. This recall is nothing more than a political stunt and it is disgraceful that our bodies would be used as political pawns in such a manner."
After almost two weeks of intense strikes and protests that brought Ecuador to a standstill and forced the government to flee the capital protesters have succeeded in their demands. The IMF backed financial package known as Decree 883 will be thrown out.
A Call to International Solidarity with the Chilean People
Feminists of the World Against the Violence of the State!
October 18th, 2019
The President of Chile, in agreement with the National Security Council, has declared a state of emergency – the first one since Pinochet’s dictatorship – in response to protests against the rising cost-of-living and transportation prices that have swept through Santiago. The right to assembly and freedom of movement have been effectively restricted, and control of the nation’s capital has been turned over to the army, which is currently deployed in the streets. Nonetheless, the people have come out to protest at hundreds of locations throughout Santiago and across the country, facing their fear and breaking their silence.
The following letter has been signed by feminists living in Ireland, including WSM members
A Letter to our friends in Rojava
As feminists living across the island of Ireland, we wish to express our heartfelt solidarity with our courageous sisters and comrades in Rojava as their project for women’s freedom is under attack. Please know that as the fascist Turkish state attempts to isolate, dispossess and brutalise the communities of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, they will only serve to strengthen our collective resistance and resolve.
Despite a landslide vote to Repeal the 8th amendment, women are still being forced to travel for abortions. The Health Service Executive revealed today that 244 women who had passed the 12-week limit for an abortion had called their helpline. The 12 week deadline is an extremely restrictive deadline. Due to a national shortage of GPs many women have to wait up to a week to get appointments. Parts of rural Ireland still do not have GP coverage.
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.
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]
As part of the global climate strike about 25 thousand students marched through the center of Dublin city. This was one of many demonstrations that took place around Ireland, even the small dormitory towns around Dublin like Maynooth had their own demonstrations. So the actual numbers protesting in Ireland was probably in the region of 40,000. In this piece Andrew looks at how collective action can halt Climate Breakdown using the example of the need for transport to illustrate why individual consumer choices cannot fix things.
If you happened to be using bad science to impose a strategy that turned out to be inefficient, and if as a result of this inefficiency billions of people died... who would be the most violent person in the room? This is the question Roger Hallam (a founder of XR) and George Monbiot (a Guardian journalist and prominent supporter of XR) would do well to ponder as the collapse of the earth's biosphere and the system fueling that collapse are claiming more lives every day.
Both of these men have been arguing in favor of non-violent civil disobedience as the only acceptable tactic to avert catastrophic climate change. This stance is usually justified by referencing a study entitled “Why Civil Resistance Works” authored by Erica Chenoweth.
Around a thousand people took part in the second Dublin Transgender Pride Parade last Saturday, July 6. This is almost double the number that marched last year. Upon assembling at Parnell Square the colourful procession made it's way down O' Connell Street, through Eden Quay, Customs House Quay and Lombard Street, before arriving at it's destination of Merrion Square. It was watched by crowds of onlookers who offered encouragement and support in the form of cheering and applause.[video]