Saturday saw the 2nd Spectacle of Defiance & Hope take place in Dublin, just ahead of the budget cuts that are expected to further devastate community organisations & services. The Spectacle describes itself as a "broadly based alliance of community organisations from Dublin and beyond" and also represents an attempt to break from the standard pattern of demonstrations in Dublin to create something more fun, participatory & engaging.
This is a write up of a talk given at the 2011 London Anarchist bookfair. Its blurb was: “Why bother with dead anarchists? For some, while anarchists may do beards well we don’t do theory. This is wrong. We do have theory, as my An Anarchist FAQ and Property is Theft! show. Anarchism is a rich source for analysing and transforming society. Join me in exploring why dead anarchists are worth reading.”
I’ve tried to keep it as close as possible to what I remember of what I said, based on the same notes.
“The exploitation of man by man, someone once said, is theft” (Pierre-Joseph Proudhon)
The global Occupy movement has struck a cord with the 99% and the ruling class is worried. Rightly so, given that the neo-liberal agenda that has allowed the few to become obscenely rich at the expense of the rest has come under fire.
In the region of 2,500 people took part in Saturday's Dublin Council of Trade Unions demonstration in Dublin. Although this made it the biggest anti-austerity demonstration in the city since the massive ICTU demonstration of last year the small number attending was a wake up call for anyone on the left or in the unions who is optimistic about significant resistance to the crisis emerging in the short term.
“In drawing up theses for the international workers’ movement we must not begin with theoretical, preconceived assumptions… If we forsake the empirical road and take one that is doctrinaire, we cannot create an International of struggle.”
Augustin Souchy at the Second Congress of the Communist International
About 40 Shell to Sea campaigners blocked the Aughoose compound this morning (Nov 11) - all Shell employees were prevented from entering compound between 7.30 and 9.30. The road was kept open to local traffic by the campaign. There was no Garda presence. Just after 10 Shell to Sea activists started setting up an Occupy Shell Corrib Camp at the gates of the refinery in a show of solidarity with the global Occupy movements!
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.
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