Article 50 – or as some hope, Article 1950 or, for the most optimistic, Article 1850 – has finally been invoked. Few would have believed in April 2016 that a mere year later elements of the Tory party would be threatening war with Spain – or that a party whose incompetency on so many levels (not least, economic) would be doing so well in the polls. But then, under Cameron the Tories realised they can talk centre ground – even leftish – but track even further to the right.
Our global society is broken. Donald Trump & Brexit are symptoms along with the rise of the far right elsewhere in Europe. In an old pattern, fundamental economic crisis often results in society becoming very much more brutal for most people. In the age of nuclear weapons this current crisis could be our last. And with a somewhat longer countdown to disaster we are also facing climate catastrophe.
The crisis is fundamental rather than temporary because there are two underlying factors that are irreversible. The first is the end of the era where the environmental costs of growth could be mostly discounted in the belief that dilution would neutralise pollution. For much of the industrial revolution the poisonous effluent dumped into the ecosystem had only local severe effects with the vast oceans and atmosphere diluting the pollutants enough that global effects were minor. This is no longer the case with climate change being the most talked about of several examples where the pollution generated by growth can no longer be absorbed without serious global consequences.
Andrew spent the day of March 8th 2017 recording #Strike4Repeal and has edited this 20 minute video account of how the day went down in Dublin. Below you will also find a text transcript of his account.
I headed into Dublin early on #Strike4Repeal day because a little birds had told me of the plan to cover up and alter some of Dublin’s statues in the early morning.
This year (2017) marks the 170th anniversary of the publication of Karl Marx’s The Poverty of Philosophy, written in “reply” to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s System of Economic Contradictions published the year before. The book’s title is a play on the subtitle of Proudhon’s two volumes (“or, the Philosophy of Poverty”) and for Trotskyist Ernest Mandel “the prototype of that sort of implacable polemical writing which has often inspired the pens of Marx’s followers”.
It is emerging that thousands of children were starved to death in state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland. The Daily Mail today carries a detailed report which quotes Philip Redmond, a survivor of Sean Ross Abbey Hospital, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary where of the 167 babies born in 1942, there were 72 deaths. Mr Redmond says "As far as Bessborough is concerned, there is little doubt in our minds that as many as 2,000 died while we believe another 1,200 died in Sean Ross Abbey" This figures are to be added to the estimated 796 bodies found in a waste tank in the grounds of then Tuam home - see the earlier piece on this page.
The Irish Times has yet again made an entirely cynical intervention in its bid to force its agenda on the campaign to get rid of the hated 8th Amendment. This time in the form of an opinion poll constructed to reinforce the idea that abortion is a constitutional issue rather than a medical one.
Tesco agreed Friday to suspend its attempt to impose a worsening of pay and conditions on its long term workers and to return to the Labour Court, leading to the suspension of the strike. Monday’s Irish Times carries a report on just how hard Tesco have been hit by the strike action, the Finglas superstore saw a massive 80% decline in takings. These leaked figures stand in stark contrast to the attempt by Tesco PR to suggest the strike was ineffective and unpopular.
The figures reveal that even those stores which had not yet voted to strike, and which subsequently did not have pickets, saw a decline of 30% in sales. According to Conor Pope’s report in Tesco Clearwater on the Monday before the strike “sales were €165,901, while a week later they were under €35,000, a drop of €130,916 or nearly 80 per cent” and “The fall between the two Mondays across 29 stores of all sizes totalled €827,896. .. A daily loss of that scale would suggest the cumulative impact of the 11-day strike came close to €50 million”
Tesco stores across Ireland will strike from today against 'race to the bottom' wage and conditions changes the company is trying to impose on long term workers.
The Tesco’s scheme would impose up to a 20% pay cut on long-term staff. These workers, who have worked for the company for 20 years or more, are currently paid 14 euro an hour, and Tesco want to slash that. That this wage is seen as too high, in particular after 20 years' service, shows why it's important for all of us that the Tesco workers win their strike.
This is a write up of the talk I gave at the 2016 London Anarchist bookfair. I covered most of what I planned in my notes although some of it was summarised more than indicated here. It covers the basic myths and realities of the period and concentrates on non-Anarchist sources – academics and Leninists themselves. This is not because the anarchist critique is lacking, no far from it. It is done to show that the anarchist critique has the support of a substantial body of evidence. As indicated in the talk, all quotes are from section H of An Anarchist FAQ.
The internet brought many advantages to radical organising, not least the speed at which movements can grow and the ease with which complex ideas can be made available to almost everyone. But there were certainly negative side effects and here I want to look at what is probably the most important of these, the move away from sustained collective organising, analysis and preservation of lessons.
It’s useful to start with the statement that there is not point looking back to the past and wishing we where there instead of here, or in a very similar fashion just demanding the ‘discipline’ of past periods without understanding why that discipline was organic to that period.
The easiest way to understand what I mean is to understand the collective newspaper publishing projects of the past. There required many individuals to pool their efforts & cash to produce often well crafted and widely distributed papers. At the time unless you were wealthy this was the only option to reach many people. When printing was technically difficult and expensive it demanded considerable resources from a lot of people in order to distribute your message. And because a lot of resources were going into the distribution of what was a very limited number of words it made sense that a lot of time was spent on what exactly those words were.