2nd February to mark St Bridget’s feastday performances were staged in public settings across Ireland and London renouncing Ireland's anti-abortion laws. St Bridget is one of four Irish saints who “are recorded as openly and miraculously carrying out abortions”, the feast day was the pre-Christian festival of Imbolg (meaning ‘in the belly’).
We recorded the event at Connolly station in Dublin, the performance as you’ll see in the video collectively confronts the themes of censorship, self censorship through art, action, performance, conversation and camradery. The location at Connolly is one of the transport hubs through which many of the 12 people who have to leave Ireland every day to access abortion in the UKL and beyond pass.
January 2016 and once more thousands of people across Ireland take to the streets to protest against the introduction of the water charges. Our footage is from the Dublin demonstration but similar demonstrations happened in most of the major towns and cities.
Numbers were down considerably on previous protests, particularly in Dublin but this is because a general election is imminent, its expected the date of the election will be released any day. Parliamentary elections like the one coming up in Ireland are set up to cause division and rivalry between groups that in fact have very similar policies, its a consequence of a system of decision making that tries to force us to choose between various leaders, self-proclaimed or otherwise.
Monday saw an eviction without court order in Dublin involving Garda and private security / builders at Villa Park, Dublin 7. The house had been left abandoned for at least two years according to neighbours before being brought back into use last October by people who needed a home. One of them told us that it was a “Beautiful house that was to be demolished in order to make a new route to warehouse / bakery behind it but neighbours objected and planning permission was refused. The person claiming ownership seemed to be very wealthy and is listed as a director of over 28 companies.”
We awake (Jan 1st 2016) to news that more towns in Ireland are under water due to storm flooding. And that perhaps the sea ice at the north pole might melt due to temperatures rising above zero. The first story is given a lot more prominence in Irish media than the second but strangely at the same time another story is being celebrated. The start of yet more greenhouse gases being pumped out of their safe place far below the sea off the Irish shore to be processed and then released into the atmosphere via the Corrib refinery.
Oxfam has just released a report that shows global inequality has escalated rapidly over the last 6 years. The particular measure they used is a very important one. First they calculated the wealth held by the poorest 50% of the planets population, which is about 3.6 billion people. And then they asked how many of the richest people held the same amount of wealth.
This is a write-up of my talk at the 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair. It is based on my notes and so will not be exactly the same as at the event but it will be close enough. The meeting summary initially submitted for the programme was:
One of the more bizarre developments of the last year has been Russell Brand or, more correctly, the response that he has provoked across the political spectrum. Watching commentator after commentator froth at the mouth and seeing Cameron proclaim in the middle of an election campaign that a comedian was a “joke” was, to say the least, strange. It reached a (to use a word Brand would surely approve of) climax when it was proclaimed by the right that Ed Miliband was “getting into bed” with Brand – by having an interview with him. Seriously?
The 129 people killed in the attacks in Paris last night were murdered by Daesh, the self proclaimed ‘Islamic State’. On June 25th this year a much larger ISIS suicide force of about 80 attacked the city of Kobane using a similar mix of suicide bombs, guns and the taking and murdering of hostages. Some 223 civilians were murdered, many when ISIS broke into homes killing everyone inside. Around 40 Kurdish militia were killed in the process of stopping the slaughter. (1 - Read more)
On October 16th ISIS suicide bombers attacked a pro-Kurdish peace rally in Ankara, killing 102 people. Although the bombers were from ISIS many understood that this bombing and the earlier Suruc bombing which killed 33 was accomplished with the aid of the Turkish state. ( 2 - Read more ) The October bombing was seen as part of the process of deliberate polarisation of the AKP government enabling them to once more win a majority in the parliament. Between the Suruc and Ankar bombings the US military had done a deal with Turkey where in return for the use of a major airbase they would turn a blind eye to Turkish airforce attacks on Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (3- Read More)
This year, 2015, marks the 175th anniversary of the publication of Proudhon’s seminal What is Property?. While opponents had hurled the label “anarchist” at those more radical than themselves during both the English and French revolutions, Proudhon was the first to embrace the name and proclaim themselves an anarchist.
One of the key foundation documents for the Workers Solidarity Movement is the ‘Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft)’ This text was written in Paris in 1926 by a group that included exiled Russian and Ukrainian anarchists and was very influenced by the lessons they drew from the Russian Revolution. Three of the authors -- Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Archinov -- were then and now very well known anarchists, the remaining two -- Valevsky and Linsky -- I know relatively little about.
In this article I intend to examine whether this text has any relevance to anarchist organising today, some 90 years after it was drafted. In addition, what can we say about its shortcomings? Finally, I will look at some of the confusion the WSM ran into when trying to follow it.