June 1994

Gay sex finally decriminalised in Ireland but equality struggle not over

Date:

The coming into effect last June of legislation which decriminalised certain male homosexual acts was the subject of much celebration in the gay community. The Minister who introduced the legislation, Maire Geoghan Quinn was awarded the Magnus Hirschfield award for her contribution to the gay community by the National Lesbian and Gay Federation. For many it was felt the battle for equality had been won. This was certainly the outlook in the national and international press. Champagne flowed freely in the capital's gay pubs and clubs.

The real reasons why Emmet Stagg should resign

Date:

*1 In February 1992, Emmet Stagg - a self-proclaimed "socialist" closely identified with the left wing of the Labour Party - resigned from Labour's Parliamentary Party, claiming that Dick Spring was preparing to lead the party into coalition and proclaiming that he would "never vote for a right wing Taoiseach from Fianna Fail or Fine Gael."

Parents, Poverty & Family values in 1994 Year of the Family

Date:

1994 HAS BEEN declared the UN Year of the Family. The Irish Committee for the International Year includes state bodies like the Combat Poverty Agency & the Council for the Status of Women and the Catholic ones like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Family Solidarity were also members but walked out in protest at token places being given to two groups working with single parents. This committee has received £400,000 from Leinster House.

Sex, Gasmasks & Pantyhose

Date:

THE 'BACK TO BASICS' propaganda campaign has been undermined because the Tories failed to meet their own moral standards. In condemning the Tory party we must be careful not to take on their morality. There's nothing wrong with shagging. No one should expect human sexual behaviour to be expressed in only one way. It's strange that while we accept diversity in tastes in food, music, book, films when it comes to sex we talk of rights, wrongs and norms.

10th anniversary of the formation of the Workers Solidarity Movement

Date:

IN LATE September 1984 five anarchists, three from Dublin and two from Cork decided to launch the Workers Solidarity Movement. This was certainly a major undertaking for such a small number of people. Workers Solidarity began publication five weeks later. The first editorial introduced the new organisation: "Are there not enough organisations trying to change society? What makes the Workers Solidarity Society so different?

Thats Capitalism from WS42

Date:

In 1977 part-time women workers in Britain earned 83% of the full-time hourly rate for women. By 1992 they earned only 73% of the hourly rate.

*****

In the Indonesian archipelago only 7% of land has a clear owner. Most is communally owned and administered by villages and families. That's no good for capitalism says the World Bank. they are working with the Indonesian Government to change things by compiling a register of land owners. In the next 25 years they hope to register 54 million parcels of land.

Workers Solidarity changes format and other Spring 1994 news from WSM

Date:

THE CHANGE from a magazine to newspaper format reflects the increased readership Workers Solidarity is building up. It will take a few issues before we iron out all problems involved in changing our printing process but we hope you will bear with us. None of us is a professional journalist or designer. This issue was produced by a gardener, a couple of office workers, a teacher, a researcher, three unemployed people and a student.

Thats' Capitalism from WS42

Date:

In spite of the Employment Equality Act and the Anti- Discrimination (Pay) Act many employers still get away with treating women workers worse than male employees. More than fifteen years after the introduction of equal pay laws in the 26 counties, women workers earn only 62% of men's average earnings. On an hourly basis they are paid, on average, #2 less.

*****

60% of the tax relief in the 26 counties on mortgage interest and VHI premiums goes to the top 20% of earners. Only 5% goes to the bottom half.

PLC students demand grants

Date:

STUDENTS from low income backgrounds are having to drop out of their studies. If you are doing a Post-Leaving Certificate course you get no grant. Nothing at all. A survey in Ballyfermot Senior College found that 48% of these students have to work long hours after lectures to find the cash to keep them in college. 97% said that their jobs interfered with their course work. Not everyone can burn the candle at both ends. Some students are finding it impossible to study and then work twenty or more hours each week.

Wage councils abolished in north - get you claims in

Date:

WAGES COUNCILS in Northern Ireland (and Britain) have been abolished by the Tory government. For years they set minimum pay rates in some of the traditionally low paid industries like catering. As of last February 7th they are no more.

However the Wages Inspectorate will continue to investigate complaints and order payments of back money until August 6th of this year. After that date you will no longer be allowed to recover the wages that you were legally entitled to.

People in Need Telethon - A hypocritical sham

Date:

ON FRIDAY MAY 20th, starting at 3 pm., R.T.E. will broadcast over 10 hours of the "People in Need" Telethon. All over the country people will - with the very best of intentions - organise fund-raising events to raise money for "the poor". There are two main reasons why we feel the Telethon should be opposed

Cops ban Class War meeting in Dublin

Date:

YOU DON'T have to break the law to get hassled by the gardai. The Class War Federation planned a small public meeting, entitled "the politics behind the anger", in a Dublin pub last March. This group, who describe themselves as "communists", have gained lots of media coverage in Britain by organising publicity stunts like their 'Bash the Rich' marches (where no rich people got bashed!) and publishing a poster of a cemetery with the caption "we have found new homes for the rich".

Edouard Balladur retreats in face of mass protests in France

Date:

PRIME MINISTER Edouard Balladur and his government have been in retreat over the last six months as the people of France take to the streets to demonstrate their anger at new policies. The government has backed down on Air France (see last issue of WS), on extra funds for church schools and with the fishermen. The turn of the students of France came when the government proposed to cut the miniumm wage by 20% for people under 26.

Bosnia, Rwanda and UN intervention

Date:

The WSM has always said socialists should not support any intervention by the UN anywhere. What is currently happening in Bosnia and Rwanda demonstrates the reasons why we should not call on the UN to intervene.

In Europe most people have favoured intervention from an early period in ex-Yugoslavia. Initially this would have been in the support of Croatia, now it would be for Bosnia. Yet despite the popular acclaim such intervention would receive (in its early days), it has not happened. Why? Because our rulers have decided it is not in their interests to do so.

Significant minority say no to Programme for Competitiveness and Work

Date:

AS EXPECTED the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Special Conference voted to accept the Programme for Competitiveness and Work, by 256 to 76. Unions opposed included the ATGWU, TEEU, MSF, NUJ and the FUGE which represents low paid messengers and cleaners in the civil service.

Personality politics & the European elections - Don't vote: It only encourages them

Date:

THERE ARE so many parachutes in the sky we can no longer see the sun. They are dropping 'personalities' into the June Euro-election. All the major parties in the 26 counties have selected 'names' to run for them. Fianna Fáil got Olive Braiden from the Rape Crisis Centre; Labour got RTE's Orla Guerin; Fine Gael got the Ranchers' leader, Alan Gillis.

National rail strike averted

Date:

Letter: Rail strike is averted

Dear Comrades,
One minute to mid-night on Friday 15th April and the rail strike is averted. SIPTU left it to the last minute leaving the company sweating it out. The unions never had problems with negotiations. The strike notice was only served after the company suspended workers for not accepting new training arrangements which they were being forced to take or face being suspended. The company had repeatedly refused to enter negotiations because this productivity deal had been on the table for three years.

Review of The Poll Tax Rebellion by Danny Burns.

Date:

IN THE LAST issue of Workers Solidarity we discussed the proposed introduction of service charges in Dublin. We pointed out how they were a grossly unfair form of double taxation on ordinary PAYE workers. How can they be resisted? A refusal to pay campaign in Waterford, Dublin and Limerick beat the water rates in the 1980s we believe a don't pay, don't collect campaign can do so again. Conor Mc Loughlin examines a new book on how the Poll Tax was beaten in the UK.

The Poll Tax Rebellion by Danny Burns.
AK Press.
£4.95 (available from WSM Book Service)

Yes to peace but the 'Peace Process' offers little to the working class

Date:

DESPITE ALL THE talk of peace the war continues. The media has as usual focused on the acts of the republicans, particularly around the Heathrow attack in March. However as the following extracts show the British state is also continuing its war effort and continuing to defend its usual mixture of lies and torture while doing so. They are all taken from An Phoblacht/Republican News (Sinn Féin paper) in the closing weeks of March, mostly stories the media did not consider to be worth covering.

Evolution or Revolution?

Date:

THE IDEA OF evolution has always been important to socialists. Except for a handful of utopians most have thought of socialism in terms of human progress and improvment. This idea was given a scientific basis in the nineteenth century by socialists who saw society as evolving through stages towards socialism (not that it would stop here socialism would just be the end of pre-history real history could then begin.) Most socialists believed that the struggle towards socialism was a striving of people to develop and move forward.

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