I’ve written a good deal about both the positive organisational opportunities created by social networking. Here I’m going to look at one of the strong negatives, the intensification and deepening of conflict as a result of online disagreement . This results in fracturing movements even resulting in people unable to be physically in the same space as each other, never mind work together in a sustainable way.
This piece has been written over many months, and I’ve delayed publication at several points to avoid what I’m saying being mistaken for a specific commentary on the latest flare up. Take my references here as being very general and drawn from a long exposure to political discussion on and offline. I’ve been arguing with people online since 1992. Where I’m referring to specific incidents I’ll make that clear, otherwise I’m talking about patterns I’ve observed rather than specific incidents. This is defientley not about you, dear reader even if I hope its relevant to you.
There have been enormous changes in the world and on the left in the last 30 years. How do these effect what the role of an anarchist organisation like the WSM is? The weekend of October 11th after a couple of years of discussion the WSM reached some collective agreements around this in the form of the position paper below which replaces an older text that largely dated from the 1980's.
I was part of a long education and discussion process that culminated in this new position paper on "Anarchism, Oppression & Exploitation" being agreed by WSM National Conference at the start of October 2014.
The revolt against the water charges is of a size and militancy that if we stay on the streets we will certainly win. But the revolt has also exposed in plain view the level of co-operation between media, politicians, big businessmen like Denis O’Brien and the gardaí. All have acted together to cajole, bully and suppress protest and then to lie and distort events.
After weeks of Garda provocation, and just after Garda beat protesters with batons someone finally snapped and threw a single brick back. When a politician as unpopular as Joan Burton uses dozens of riot police to force her way into and out of one of the most deprived communities in the state, what should be expected but angry protest. And when at a moment of unprecedented popular mobilisation those same Garda pull pepper spray & batons for use against water charge resistors what is a single brick bouncing off a car in response.
Joan Burton has seized upon her brief inconvenience in being faced with the people in Jobstown last week to try and smear water charge resistance in general.
Now the Phone is already notorious for inventing quotes from random people she claims to meet about how they just love austerity so perhaps you’ll forgive us some cynicism. In any case, according to the Irish Times:
"Joan Burton has accused Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy of “smirking” while protesters threw missiles and taunted gardaí with homophobic and misogynistic remarks during the water chargers protest."
Decades of lack of investment in social housing and the growing housing crisis in Dublin means that Dublin city council now appear to be considering building temporary slum housing. That's not of course what they are calling it but Assistant chief executive and head of housing Dick Brady has revealed a plan to house families in prefabs on derelict sites.
It’s a confusing time to be on the revolutionary left as everything that was once certain turns to smoke. Technology has overturned & remade what constitutes effective communication & the construction of networks. Quite how to organise is no longer clear and old reference points of 1917, 1936 or even 1968 no longer provide definitive models.
Minister Frances Fitzgerald claimed to be shocked at reports that some women in direct provision centres felt compelled into sex work by the poverty they are kept in. How can that be, its Minister Frances Fitzgerald who actually operates this direct provision system that creates such circumstances.
As the Minister she does not allow asylum seekers to work, leaving them to exist on €19.10 per week, often for periods measured in years. Who can imagine living month after month with such a minuscule amount of spending money? And while she now wants to suggest she has concern for such women the reality is that she is the one who signs deportation orders, orders which will very often send the same women to very much more difficult circumstances.
Saturday evening August 23 saw over a 1000 people take part in a demonstration in Dublin demanding the legalisation of Cannabis organised by Legalise Cannabis Ireland. The front banner read ‘Medication - Taxation - Industrialisation - Civil Liberties’ and “We will raise awareness and demand change to Irish legislation for the benefit of every person in Ireland. The time is now to end the hypocrisy’
The message of the march as expressed by the front banner was very much a demand for capitalism as normal rather than the gangster capitalism of illegality. That’s obviously a very limited demand - indeed it’s already been won or partly won in a number of European countries and more recently states in the USA.
Like most sites we have a major problem with bots trying to post spam into the comments section. While looking for a better solution we are reduced to only on turning on the ability to anonymously comment for brief periods around the posting of new articles. But if you are a regular visitor you can comment at any time by creating an account on the site and logging in before posting. But the Spammers also set up accounts so to reduce the workload of deleting those we only turn on the ability to create accounts for brief periods which we announce on our Twitter & Facebook accounts so follow those to hear when we have that turned on. We do want you to be able to engage with us via the comments and we are very sorry for the fact that we can't find a better way of dealing with spam.