Capitalist crisis

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Haiku for the Trade Union Fightback 2009 - 2010

Below is the text of a talk that I preprared for a meeting of activists in August- and the theme of this talk was around the Trade Union fight back to the imposition of the austerity measures, i.e. Cuts.

When asked to do a talk about Trade Union fight back – the running joke was that it would be a pretty short talk – so let’s work this into a short format – what better way than 17 syllables – of the Haiku.


We vote up to Strike.
Leaders say, steady more talk;
End with less than zero

What else could the Anglo 25 billion be used for?

The NAMA bailout of the property speculators bank, Ango Irish Bank, is now costing the rest of us 25 billion euro.  Twenty five billion euro is a figure that is almost meaning less to almost all of us.  A worker earning the minimum wage would have to work for 1.4 million years to earn 25 billion (before tax).  The economist Ronan Lyons listed 100 things that 25 billion could have been spent on in, some flippant but others which give a real sense of just what the real cost of the 25 billion that the richest 1% have robbed off the rest of the population through NAMA is.

More job losses but no further slump for now? NTMA sells 1.5 billion in bonds

In what was described ahead of time as the most "important bond auction of the year" the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) sold 1.5 billion in bonds, a result which may steady the international markets at whose whims workers in Ireland have discovered their employment and living standards are subject to.  There was nervousness ahead of the sale due to the rise in the cost of servicing Irish debt in bond sales last week.  Meanwhile thousands of bank workers are losing their jobs.

WSM conference, Capitalist Crisis, and a united front of struggle to resist it

Women with CE cuts protest placardsThe last two years in Ireland have been dominated by the massive assault launched on the working class as our rules have successfully forced us to pay for the crisis in their system.  Tens of billions have been used to bail out the property developers, speculators and bankers, money that has been generated by the slashing of public services and the imposition of a massive pay cut on public sector workers. The response of the left has been weak and highly fragmented, reflecting in part the massive hold neo liberal ideology has on the working class but also a left that was in no way prepared for the coordinated assault that fell on workers in Ireland. WSM had its six monthly conference in May and as you might expect this topic took up a good chunk of the agenda.

Organise workplaces where we are strong rather than where we are weak

In the aftermath of the summit protests many on the libertarian left followed a set of tactics which concentrated on marginal workers in insecure employment. From the strategic point of view, it would seem to make more sense to imagine a wave of organization that starts with workers who are concentrated into larger workplaces and whose strikes have some real social power.

The anti-capitalist blocs to the Dail

Anti capitalist bloc in DublinFollowing Gardai attacks on people protesting the bank bailouts on two seperate occasions we had a discussion in my WSM branch about mobilising for a protest that had been called by the SWP / Right to Work for the following week.  There was a bit of debate about being seeing to support what was yet another SWP front group (an ongoing discussion) but in the end we decided to try and mobilise the Dublin WSM for the following protest.  This involved the activation (and to an extent the invention) of a Dublin version of our national Interim Decisions Committee, basically delegates from each of the branches to make the decisions that needed to be made before the next scheduled branch meetings were to take place.

Speaking & pushing - last Tuesday at the anti-capitalist bloc

Anti capatilsit bloc on Dawson street, DublinIn a couple of hours I'm heading in to the second anti-capitalist bloc march on the Dail. Last week the police tried to prevent us marching but after a couple of minutes we managed to push past them.  The text here is my notes in case I needed to give a speech at the form up point.  On the night I ended up using segments of this at the form up point at the Wolfe Tone statue and another portion after we had pushed through police lines outside Anglo Irish Bank.

Gardai violently attack eirigi occupation of Anglo Irish bank

Gardai have again attacked campaigners protesting at the bank bailouts this time with batons and dogs. This morning around 7am four people got onto on the overhang of Anglo irish Bank and chained themselves together with a banner read that read 'People of Ireland Rise Up.' In the last half hour a force of some 50 police, secret police and dogs attacked them and their supporters on the ground with batons, fists and feet. At least six were arrested as a melee broke out on Dawson street.


As 2007 turned into 2008 and the themes of the economic commentariat shifted from the question of whether a recession was avoidable to whether a depression was avoidable, a new theme emerged - the possibility of "decoupling".

Thoughts on Revolution in our lifetime, the crisis and demoralisation

The audio this blog is about was a presentation I gave last week on 'Will we see a revolution in our lifetime' to the Rethinking Revolution discussion at Seomra Spraoi in Dublin.  I go into some of the thoughts behind what I said on the night and the idea of the discussion sessions in general. This was the second of these meetings, the idea of which was inspired by the interest shown in the Better Questions discussion series which I've previously blogged about here.  This one was set up as a debate between Alan MacSimoin and myself, he is the other speaker on the recording.


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