Analysis

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Articles based more around exploring a particular rather than reporting on it

Absolute boy - The Youth Revolt that led Corbyn to a victory of sorts

Corbyn’s strong showing in the June 2017 UK elections has given a big morale boost to the left.  A considerable youth vote, self-mobilising in larger part as a reaction to the ‘me and mine’ selfish society revealed by the Brexit vote seriously set back Tory plans for a fresh wave of Brexit required austerity.  Activists used social networking to overcome what had previously been seen as an all powerful smear machine of the billionaire print press.  Very few outside the radical left expected this outcome, what drove it and more importantly where can it lead?
[ This is a long read so you can also listen to an audio of the text ]

This piece is not going to answer that in terms of assumptions and assertions but as far as possible through hard numbers.  66% of 18-24 year old’s voted Labour, only a quarter of that, 18% voted Tory [p4].  27% of those 18-24 year olds said the NHS was the most important issue for them, even though they are least likely to need it [p40].  For the over 65 age group this was flipped, only 23% voted Labour and over twice as many (58%) voted Tory [p4].  In fact, given the way the UK election system works, if only 18-24 year olds had voted, Labour would have been heading for 500 seats.  If it had only been those over 65 voting the Tories would have had over 400 seats.

State media outrageously reports 10s of thousands at so called 'March for Life'

Saturday July 1st saw the annual anti-choice parade and yet again RTE (state ran media) reported a grossly inflated figure of the number marching.  They headlined it as ‘tens of thousands’ and in the body of the article quoted the organisers claiming 70,000 without further comment, appearing to endorse it.  As we are going to show below at the very least that’s a tenfold exaggeration, in fact by our count about 5300 people took part.  And while that estimate might be out by 10 or even 20% its physically impossible for it to be out by up to 1500% as that would require ten people too fit into a one meter square space.

We use the same counting methodologies (see below) for almost every demonstration that takes place in Dublin, from huge anti water charges protests to smaller but still significant ones on a huge range of issues.  We do these sorts of counts more than a dozen times a year.  We don’t always publicise the numbers we reach - organisers always tend to overestimate somewhat, most often guessing a figure that is twice what actually attended.  Generally we agree with what the demands of a demonstration are so we don’t want to appear to undermine it by publicly providing real numbers.  But we do count, we do use those counts internally in the WSM and we often communicate them directly to organisers. 

Jobstown not Guilty verdict points to a Garda conspiracy

The outraged media reaction to a jury doing its job and finding the Jobstown defendants not guilty is quite extraordinary.  Rather than do the right thing and launch an investigation as to how 180 cops could produce evidence that was directly contradicted by video evidence, the media have gone on a rant against Twitter!  Rather than finding it suspicious that nearly 3 million in public funds was spent by the DPP on a case that any proper check of available evidence should have indicated was never likely to convince a jury, the media suggest instead that the problem lay in the exact charges brought. The trial was part of a large scale state operation to suppress a mass anti-austerity community campaign.

As we look across our newspapers, TV channels and radio stations and see what appears to be coordinated messaging from politicos, journalists and other elite figures we should take this as a teaching moment.  This isn’t some exception, this is how it works.  It’s only visible in this instance because so many of us followed the trial in considerable detail, and that was only possible because of the large number of activists who provided court updates, mostly in a voluntary role. Those activists with access to social media allowed a collective challenging of the media framing. Hundreds of people not only read what they posted but shared and retweeted it.

 

The pay restoration con the politicans, media and union leaders are trying to impose - Even a decade on its far from full restoration to 2007 levels

Details of the latest national plan agreed between the government and union leaders have appeared in the media today, as usual well ahead of the union leaders bothering to tell their membership anything. Then union leaders intention is to present workers with a ‘take it or leave it’ choice accompanied by dire warnings that there is no choice.

The deal as expected is pretty rotten and in effect ensures that the pay cuts imposed on public sector workers from 2009 will at least partially be in place for some workers a full decade and a year later in 2020. What’s even worse is that the worse pay and conditions imposed on workers employed after 2012 are being set in stone rather than overturned. This despite it seeming an essential basic demand of a union that workers doing the same work should receive the same pay.

Science day / March4Science in Dublin April 22nd - video of march

About 1000 people marched through Dublin this afternoon as part of the international day of action in defence of science. The March For Science is an international initiative to stand up for science and evidence in the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery.

Three futures: Barbarism, UBI Warehousing or Anarchism

Our global society is broken. Donald Trump & Brexit are symptoms along with the rise of the far right elsewhere in Europe. In an old pattern, fundamental economic crisis often results in society becoming very much more brutal for most people.  In the age of nuclear weapons this current crisis could be our last.  And with a somewhat longer countdown to disaster we are also facing climate catastrophe.

 

The crisis is fundamental rather than temporary because there are two underlying factors that are irreversible.  The first is the end of the era where the environmental costs of growth could be mostly discounted in the belief that dilution would neutralise pollution.  For much of the industrial revolution the poisonous effluent dumped into the ecosystem had only local severe effects with the vast oceans and atmosphere diluting the pollutants enough that global effects were minor.  This is no longer the case with climate change being the most talked about of several examples where the pollution generated by growth can no longer be absorbed without serious global consequences. 

[As this is a long read we have also made
the entire piece available on audio,
listen as you are doing the dishes 
or you can download a PDF version]

An account of how #Strike4Repeal went in Dublin

Andrew spent the day of March 8th 2017 recording #Strike4Repeal and has edited this 20 minute video account of how the day went down in Dublin.  Below you will also find a  text transcript of his account.

I headed into Dublin early on #Strike4Repeal day because a little birds had told me of the plan to cover up and alter some of Dublin’s statues in the early morning.

Irish Times publishes manipulative poll days ahead of 8th of March ‘Strike for Repeal’ actions

 The Irish Times has yet again made an entirely cynical intervention in its bid to force its agenda on the campaign to get rid of the hated 8th Amendment. This time in the form of an opinion poll constructed to reinforce the idea that abortion is a constitutional issue rather than a medical one.

Hitting Tesco where it hurts: Strike sees sales fall more than 80% leading to back down

Tesco agreed Friday to suspend its attempt to impose a worsening of pay and conditions on its long term workers and to return to the Labour Court, leading to the suspension of the strike.  Monday’s Irish Times carries a report on just how hard Tesco have been hit by the strike action, the Finglas superstore saw a massive 80% decline in takings.  These leaked figures stand in stark contrast to the attempt by Tesco PR to suggest the strike was ineffective and unpopular.

 

The figures reveal that even those stores which had not yet voted to strike, and which subsequently did not have pickets, saw a decline of 30% in sales.  According to Conor Pope’s report in Tesco Clearwater on the Monday before the strike “sales were €165,901, while a week later they were under €35,000, a drop of €130,916 or nearly 80 per cent” and “The fall between the two Mondays across 29 stores of all sizes totalled €827,896. .. A daily loss of that scale would suggest the cumulative impact of the 11-day strike came close to €50 million” 

Collective anarchist publishing in the internet age

The internet brought many advantages to radical organising, not least the speed at which movements can grow and the ease with which complex ideas can be made available to almost everyone. But there were certainly negative side effects and here I want to look at what is probably the most important of these, the move away from sustained collective organising, analysis and preservation of lessons.

It’s useful to start with the statement that there is not point looking back to the past and wishing we where there instead of here, or in a very similar fashion just demanding the ‘discipline’ of past periods without understanding why that discipline was organic to that period.

The easiest way to understand what I mean is to understand the collective newspaper publishing projects of the past. There required many individuals to pool their efforts & cash to produce often well crafted and widely distributed papers. At the time unless you were wealthy this was the only option to reach many people. When printing was technically difficult and expensive it demanded considerable resources from a lot of people in order to distribute your message. And because a lot of resources were going into the distribution of what was a very limited number of words it made sense that a lot of time was spent on what exactly those words were.

  


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