Around lunchtime on April 15th we received word that there was an anti-eviction protest underway on Manor street in Dublin outside a house that had been squatted. A Garda had called at the door that morning and after being refused entrance had said he'd be back later with more Garda. The building had been squatted on and off a couple of times in recent years and was recently re-occupied.
This is an excellent, if occasionally frustrating, book. Written by leading Primatologist Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy summarises the research into the evolution of cooperation, social feelings and empathy. If I were to sum it up in a few words it would be: “Kropotkin was right.”
Ireland is to have a referendum after all on the EU austerity treaty and a lot of the left is getting unreasonably excited about this. I say unreasonably because my opinion is that the referendum will not really, as the likes of the ULA claim, be a meaningful ballot on austerity. Austerity is not something simply being imposed on us by Europe through this referendum but something our domestic ruling class are already imposing and have been for a few years. Of course they have used the ECB/IMF as the 'bad cop' to scare us with and when passed will use the EU austerity treaty in the same way. But we need to recognize and organize around the fact that our local politicians and capitalist class are not really a 'good cop' eager to help us avoid the attentions of the 'bad cop' making threatening gestures at us across the room.
The idea that calling for a referendum is a good strategy for winning significant reforms often crops up in campaigns. It seems logical, as a referendum is a chance for the population to directly make a decision on the issue to hand. But the reality is that the demand for a referendum is seldom, if ever, the best way to build a struggle for a reform. Here are five reasons why:
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)
The ConDem’s are continuing the grand tradition of all governments in proving anarchists right. Our so-called representatives are able to ignore their manifestos, are free to break their solemn pre-election pledges and vote as they like – all in the interests of capital.
As the first step to sorting out some sort of coalition deal Fine Gael & Labour in a co-ordinated move last night announced that they had discovered the financial situation was worse than expected. This follows only days after the election and the subsequent vote by all but two of Labour's central council to enter into coalition talks with Fine Gael. Clearly the scene is being set for not only Labour but also Fine Gael to abandon the promises they were elected for, only days after the supposed exercise in 'democracy' of Election 2011 and before a government has even been formed. So much for Enda Kenny's proclamation of "a democratic revolution at the ballot box", instead it's the usual Dail as parliament is meant to work, free from the interference of the masses.
Friday was declared 'Departure Friday' by democracy protesters in Egypt as a second Friday of mass protest was been called to drive president Mubarak from his 30 year reign. Huge numbers took part in these protests.
Recent days have seen intense street fighting as protesters had to defend themselves from mobs mobilised in a desperate bid by Mubarak to hold onto power. Meanwhile there are dozens of disturbing reports of secret police arresting protesters at their homes and workplaces. There has also been a sustained violent campaign against journalists which has forced the majority of them off the streets and onto balconies around the square. On Friday morning Aj Jazeera had its Cairo offices trashed.
After a week of popular revolt two million people are demonstrating in Cairo today demanding that president Mubarak and his son leave the country and that the regime be changed. An indefinite general strike has also been called by organisers of the movement.
The revolt which started last Tuesday with small groups in their hundreds marching and meeting up has now engulfed all of Egyptian society, resulting in the collapse of the police force and the deployment of the army. Ordinary Egyptians formed Neighboorhood Defence Committees to patrol their streets and a new Federation of Unions has been declared. In the streets today the mass of people are debating what the next steps are as opposition groups struggle to be seen as the leadership of this essentially leaderless movement.