Several hundred people took part in a demonstration in Dublin last night (Monday 4 March) demanding the government legislate for abortion access as laid down in the X-Case judgement over 21 years ago. Government after government have refused to introduce this legislation due to politicians own conservatism and their fear of the huge resources of the US funded anti-choice movement. But the massive mobilisations that followed news of the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was refused an abortion in a Galway hospital in the Autumn have forced the Labour Party & Fine Gael to finally begin the process of introducing legislation.
Selma James, the activist and political writer, spoke in Ireland during the week. She has been active since the time of the Spanish revolution in a number of countries and across many struggles but is possibly best known for the International Wages for Housework Campaign and her writings around gender, class and racism. I got to her 'Defending Caring and Welfare in Careless Times' meeting for the School for Social Justice in UCD where I tweeted notes to the WSM Twitter feed. The video of her talk (but not the more controversial Q&A session) has also been uploaded as has her entire talk 'How Can Women Defeat Austerity?' at CERSA, NUI Maynooth.
Picture: Theresa O'Keefe, used with permission
The left is fond of military analogies so I want to open this piece with the observation that poor generals plan for the last war rather than the next one. Those militaries that planned for World War Two by perfecting the trench systems that dominated World War One had their powerful & expensive fortifications quickly overwhelmed in the opening weeks of the war through blitzkrieg. And in turn by 1943 Blizkrieg was defeated though defence in depth at Kursk.
Last night saw hundreds of pro-choice activists blockade the gates of the Dail after TD's once more refused to pass X-case legislation. Twenty years after the X-case and one month after the death of Savita Halappanavar women in Ireland were told once more that the politicians had not had enough time. The political parties, in particular the Labour Party, were once more engaged in a cynical game of playing politics - a game that leaves pregnant women at continued risk in Irish hospitals.
Saturday 17th Nov 2012 saw a Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) protest in the center of Dublin against the attacks on Gaza by the Israeli state. Speakers at the protest on O'Connell street included a Gaza resident and a member of the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall group - both speeches are in the embedded video. For the curious I filmed this with a Go Pro Hero 2 which I wear on my head when I'm taking photos, that's why you will see my SLR coming into view from time to time.
A huge secretive Garda security operation Sunday night swung into operation in Dublin Port as Shell's Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) left the port as part of a huge convoy of Garda vehicles. News of the operation had leaked at the last minute meaning that with only an hours notice a handful of Shell to Sea campaigners managed to get down to the port entrance despite the pouring rain. Most of us were pulled over and questioned by Garda at least once and the Garda helicopter stayed overhead as various Garda vehicles including a van load of riot cops with the door open drove past us repeatedly.
A video being circulated on the internet shows Youth Defense anti-choice posters being sprayed with paint. Over the last month more and more billboards from the anti-women anti-choice organisation Youth Defense have been appearing all over Dublin. It appears they have spent hundreds of thousands of euro in their latest campaign targeting women who have had abortions. In the last days we have seen or been sent photos of their posters that have been altered all over the city and just now we received notification of the video below which shows several of these sites being covered with paint or torn down.
I was on the panel for the 2012 Dublin Anarchist bookfair discussion of the continued usefulness of old / print media. It was a well set up panel with a good range of people from publications following quite different models of print and distribution. I've included the write up of the session and the audio and video I recorded and edited of it below. For the curious the video was taken by a Go Pro Hero2 camera which I'd placed on the edge of the table as an experiment which turned out to be 'good enough' to use.
Four anarchists including two Greek anarchists examine the real effects of the Euro crisis on the Greek population, resistance to the attempts to impose all the costs of the crisis on ordinary Greeks and the meaning of the second round of elections in particular the role of SYRIZA.
The revolutions and revolts that swept the world in 2011 took almost everyone by surprise. One of the first strong attempts to explain why they happened is Paul Mason’s ‘Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere.’ He argues that “the materialist explanation for 2011...is as much about individuals versus hierarchies as it is about rich against poor.” By far the most provocative element of his book is the idea that communications technology, in particular the internet, is transforming the way people behave and that a significant contribution to the revolts of 2011 lie in these changes. If he’s right it had profound consequences for the form and structure of revolutionary organisations including anarchist ones.
This article also availale on audio & video, see end.