Over twenty thousand students demonstrated in Dublin today against the introduction of student fees and the cutting of student grants. The main demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)also included a Free Education for Everyone
All (FEE) bloc comprised of rank & file students in disagreement with the passive lobbying tactics of the USI leadership. USI stewards formed a line with Garda to prevent FEE rejoining the demonstration after they led a breakway protest at Fine Gael HQ.
(Pic: From FEE twitterstream
USI stewards form 3 rows
to stop USI members
in FEE joining march)
As we prepare to enter the 3rd month of the Occupy movement a commonly heard criticism targets both the lack of clear demands and the related complex and often drawn out decision making processes being used at Occupy General Assemblies. These criticisms however miss the point, against the traditional left with its package of pre-set answers (best before 1917) what makes Occupy different is that process of decision making through assembly. The assembly form is not just a way of making decisions but also a different form of doing politics. The Assembly is in embryo the different world we seek to create.
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.
This is a useful little pamphlet, giving as it does a short introduction to various rebellions against Bolshevik dictatorship by the proclaimed “ruling class” of that regime, workers and peasants.
The 'Occupy X' movement arrived in Ireland over the weekend when a core group of around 50 people set up camp at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame street. Numbers grew to a few hundred at times over the next days and nights as supporters came down to join in for a while and the curious stopped to see what was going on. Issues highlighted by participants included the bank bail out, IMF intervention & the ongoing Great Oil & Gas Giveaway.
The sudden end of the Gaddafi regime some 6 months after the start of the Libyan revolt leaves some difficult questions unanswered for the left. Gaddafi’s determination to physically crush the revolt quickly transformed it into a civil war, a civil war that saw considerable imperialist intervention on the rebel side, intervention that was essential to their eventual victory. This and Gaddafi’s historic record led to some on the left taking his side in the civil war while other organisations tried to balance support for the ‘Arab spring’s’ arrival in Libya with opposition to imperialism. This question of where the balance lies between international solidarity with pro-democracy movements and opposition to imperialism could well rapidly return to the top of the agenda in a very much bigger way as the regime in Syria continues its months long military suppression of the democracy movement there. [Italian translation]
The police killing of Mark Duggan resulted in four nights of rioting across England. The immediate trigger was the killing itself, and the disrespect shown by the police to Mark’s family and friends. But the riots rapidly broadened to expressions of a more general anger and alienation; an anger that was all too often unfocused and striking out at the nearest target of opportunity. This resulted in widespread destruction of resources in already deprived neighborhoods and some anti-social attacks on bystanders. Despite this, the roots of the riots lie in the economic and political conditions of these districts, and not in ‘poor parenting’ or ‘mindless criminality’. These conditions were created by the very politicians and business elite who now call for a return to normality and repression. [French translation]
Thursday July 28 the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission released an interim report on the Garda rape-threat tape recordings that were revealed last April. GSOC is the official state body to investigate complaints against the police force of southern Ireland (Garda). The GSOC report contains a major error that suggests GSOC are the source of repeated attempts to spin the story in the media as somehow being the fault of the women the Garda were recorded discussing threatening to rape. The timing of the release of the report was also suspect, coming in the week Shell resumed construction and the day before a national day of action in Erris durig which four Shell to Sea campaigners were injured by Garda and/or private security violence. Such was the level of spin applied that some media made the mistake of leading with the news that the Garda had been cleared of something no-one had ever accused them of - directly threatening the two women with rape.
In science, the validity of a theory is generally proven by its predictive abilities. A theory suggests certain outcomes and if those predictions come to be then it becomes accepted as valid. Strangely, while proclaiming itself "scientific socialism" (something, like so much else, appropriated from Proudhon), Marxists refuse to apply that criteria to the socialist movement.
On the 9th of July 2011, I debated “Marxism and Anarchism” with the Leninist group Alliance for Workers Liberty at their conference “Ideas for Freedom.” This article is based on the notes I used and reproduces the content of my contribution.