Capitalist crisis

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Disappointing turnout for DCTU anti-cuts demonstration

In the region of 2,500 people took part in Saturday's Dublin Council of Trade Unions demonstration in Dublin. Although this made it the biggest anti-austerity demonstration in the city since the massive ICTU demonstration of last year the small number attending was a wake up call for anyone on the left or in the unions who is optimistic about significant resistance to the crisis emerging in the short term.


Resistance pays off in Greece as bond holders burnt

Months of intense resistance by ordinary people in Greece appear to have resulted in a partial victory. The EU crisis summit conceded that bond holders be forced to shoulder 50% of their losses. This did not come easy, Greek workers have staged several general strikes and Athens has seen day after day of large scale rioting.

The contrast with Ireland is clear. Here the union leadership called off token resistance in the first months of the crisis and workers passively marched, shrugged their shoulders and went home. As a result the ordinary Irish worker alone, the majority of 'the 99%', have shouldered all the costs. Bond holders will scontinue to have their failed gambles covered. Next week alone another 700 million will be handed over to the Irish & global 1% to cover their losses in Anglo. This is our ‘thanks’ for being the poster boys for austerity across Europe.

Ireland: They Say Cut Back, We Say Fight Back

I left Ireland in 2007 at the height of the economic boom there, the unemployment rate was under 5%1, house prices had gone through the ceiling and the head of state had suggested that anyone who thought there might be an end to the boom should go and kill themselves. I passed through Philly in March 2008 and the news from back home was not so good as the international banking collapse was having its impact. That June I moved back to Ireland, and from then on the economy went into free fall, pushed over the edge by property speculation, which had grown exponentially in the previous decade.

The Irish election changes nothing - effective resistance needs to be built

Today*, in an even more meaningless exercise then normal, a minority of the population of Ireland will choose between two almost identical options as to who will implement the ECB / IMF austerity plans for southern Ireland. Outside of this plan the wealthiest 1% will continue to set economic policy tomorrow as they did yesterday and have throughout the last decades. The electoral circus we are now going through provides the rest of us with the illusion of control even though deep down almost everyone acknowledges the ritual as having no real impact on what policies are actually implemented. (written 25 Feb 2011)

Claiming Our Future

Over the Halloween weekend I attended the Claiming our Future event in the RDS along with a thousand or so other people. Today I got a card I sent myself in the post from the event reminding me I'd promised to write it up. This draft has been mulled over for a while so I guess its time to publish.

The Spectacle Of Defiance & Hope and the marginalistion of the left

Several hundred people took part in "A Spectacle Of Defiance And Hope" in Dublin Friday night to protest the way the government have cut funding to vital community services. Janice Feighery a co-ordinator at an after school computer program for young people said “Community programmes are being devastated by the cuts. Our work with young people is strangled by lack of funds."  The spectacle draws to a close the week of protests against the austerity budget.


1% Network speech for Budget protest and some pictures

Last night saw the latest 1% Network gathering when the Network met up once more at the Wolfe Tone statue for the short march down to the Dail for the budget day protests.  The 1% Network was formed to highlight the fact that 1% of the population of Ireland own 34% of the wealth and to say this 1% should bare the costs of the crisis.  In fact as Michael Taft has shown last night the 1% actually gained from the tax changes in the budget while the low paid were hammered.

Covering the 100k union march in Dublin

Saturday 27 November saw in the region of 100,000 people take part in a demonstration called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in Dublin.  The day itself saw me juggling trying to help co-ordinate the 1% Network bloc on the demonstration, providing live coverage via the WSM twitter of the demonstration and taking what turned out to be a little over 200 photographs for the news article we published within hours of it ending.  I've pasted in the final article below, the second half of it is mostly composed of sections of other articles, leaflet texts and the planned speech for the 1% Network.  These had been saved the day before and were published with a general introduction and a twitter box an hour before the demonstration started.  The twitter box displayed the latest tweets sent to WSMIreland which were coming from the spot via my iPhone. The first half of the article is now a text put together by Odhran, another WSM member right after the march based on what he saw and what was reported on our twitter feed.

Secret police disguised as protesters at union demonstration?

Many of the hundred thousand plus people who took part in Saturday's demonstration against the IMF/ECB four year plan would be disturbed to know that mixed among them were a number of secret police disguised as protesters. And it appears these Special Branch operatives were among the small breakaway march to the Dail that occurred after the main protest and which some media outlets seized on as 'proof' of the violence the Garda and that section of the media had been hyping in advance of the protest. 


A radical analysis of the ECB / IMF four year plan for Ireland and call to action

November 24th the Irish government announced the details of the four year plan required as part of the ECB / IMF ‘bailout’ of the banks. There will be five billion worth of new taxes and 10 billion worth of cuts under this so called ‘National Recovery’ which in reality will take 10% out of GDP. As we show below almost all these costs are being dumped on workers, particularly low paid workers, the very sector that gained little or nothing during the boom years. the richest 1% are left with most of their legal tax dodges in particular the ability to avoid paying tax at all if they spend 6 months on holidays out of the country. [In Italian]


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