Listening to Morning Ireland on regime radio on the 7th of November we were surprised to hear the word lock out used only in the context of pupils being locked out of schools. The term has been carefully avoided when it comes to the teachers locked out by their employers.]
Thousands of teachers are locked out of their place of work that morning despite turning up as normal. The ASTI twitter account has sent many photos of teachers standing outside closed schools around the country, some 60% of secondary schools are closed.
Over the night of 3rd November the Turkish state moved to deepen the repression directed against the HDP, the party that got the 3rd largest share of the vote in the last two elections. Arrest warrants have been issued for at least 15 of that parties members of parliament including it’s two co-chairs. At the same time the state moved to shut down social media in the country with access to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and WhatsApp being blocked.
If we were to bullet point everything that is wrong is this country we’d fill all 4 pages of this leaflet. From the denial of Bodily Autonomy to Direct Provision racism to the control of our media by one super rich villain we face a system of interconnected elements designed to ensure the rule of the most privileged 0.1% of the population who divide & control the rest of us. And when we look outside this island it only gets worse, we live in a world where oil companies are driving us into climate disaster on the one hand and where European politicians have imposed border controls that have killed over 15,000 people fleeing the war’s our governments created in the middle east.
A lot of people are resisting these policies and fighting for real change. Every now and again a victory is won in one area, although often riven with compromises and incomplete. Winning the Marriage Equality referendum was one such example, forcing the suspension of Water Charges another. But, particularly on the global level, it can feel like an impossible whack-a-mole game as for every victory that is won another 50 bad moles are popping up elsewhere.
The native Irish ruling class have long been prone to parasitical activity, enriching themselves by acting as agents of absentee landlords or today as law firms for multinationals keen to avoid and evade paying taxes. As landlords agents that involved breaking down the doors to evict those who were literally dying of starvation. The modern form is less hands on but the repercussions are similar, the 13 billion they don’t want to collect from Apple are the same billions whose absence has people dying on hospital trolleys.
At least 84 dead in Nice as a truck is deliberately driven through the huge crowds marking the anniversary of the French Revolution. The driver who was shot be police after plowing through the crowd for 1.2km is reported to be a French citizen of Tunisian descent. The method of attack which is very similar to one advocated in the ISIS magazine strongly suggests an ISIS /Daesh attack.
The Leave / Brexit vote in the referendum came in the end as a surprise, a narrow win for Remain was expected. This may be because the core Leave vote was in the run-down white working class communities of the now desolate English and Welsh industrial zones. A population trapped in conditions of long-term unemployment and poverty who no one really pays much attention to anymore.
Some on the left have seized on the makeup of this core vote to suggest that there was some progressive element to the Brexit vote despite the campaign being led by racist hatemongers and wealthy US-oriented neoliberals. Mostly that’s a mixture of wishful thinking and post hoc justification for having called for a Leave vote in the first place, but it is true that a section of the working class, C2DEs in marketing speak, voted to Leave in close to a 2:1 ratio. Is the class composition of that vote enough to automatically make it progressive regardless of content? And what does it tell us that a section of the radical left seems to think the answer to that question is yes, that it is enough to be anti-establishment?
1. The Brexit vote for the UK to leave the European Union demonstrates that even weak parliamentary democracy is incompatible with escalating neoliberal inequality. In the UK as elsewhere a tiny segment of the population have taken a larger and larger share of total wealth in the last decades. Particularly under austerity almost everyone else has seen their share of the wealth they produce decline massively.
2. The Remain campaign was headed up by the political class of the neoliberal establishment and backed by model neo liberal corporations like Ryanair. But because the anger against rising inequality was successfully diverted through scapegoating already marginalized people, in particular migrants, the Leave campaign was also lead by wealthy elitist bigots whose variant of neoliberalism looks to the former colonies and the US rather than Europe.
ANARCHISM AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY
1. Anarchists are generally hostile to decision making mechanisms that demand people put their faith in others to make decisions on their behalf without mandate or recall. We favour systems of direct democracy where the people either discuss and vote on an issue directly, or delegate other people to meet up for such discussions but these delegates are both mandated and recallable.
“organisation, that is to say, association for a specific purpose and with the structure and means required to attain it, is a necessary aspect of social life. A man in isolation cannot even live the life of a beast... Having therefore to join with other humans... he must submit to the will of others (be enslaved) or subject others to his will (be in authority) or live with others in fraternal agreement in the interests of the greatest good of all (be an associate).
Almost a century ago, an armed insurrection took place in Ireland to end British rule and to establish an independent Irish Republic. The 1916 Rising was soon accompanied by major popular revolts against World War One across Europe and later emulated by anti-colonial movements across the Global South.
When it comes to remembering the 1916 Rising, why do conservative politicians and historians want to convince us that it would have been better for us if Pearse and Connolly had stayed at home? Why did the state parade lots of military equipment and personnel down O’Connell Street to mark the centenary? Why did so many people turn out to watch it?
This panel attempts to think through the meaning of 1916 for us today, and the politics at stake in how these events are remembered, forgotten, and mis-remembered.