Dermot Freeman

London burns - causes & consequences of the riots - an anarchist perspective

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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]

(Image: By SkyFireXII via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0)

Looking back on the battle of the Bins & the Lessons Learnt - Interview

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The campaign against the bin charges was one of the largest organised mass movements of resistance to the state in recent years. Local organising groups popped up across the city. It climaxed in the winter of 2003, with the jailings of numerous activists in quick succession. Here we talk to Dermot Sreenan, a member of the WSM who has been a prominent activist in the campaign from the off.

Defeating the Water Tax in Dublin in the 1990s

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Last year, the domestic water charge was abolished. In 'Winning The Water War', Dermot Sreenan, an activist in the Federation of Dublin Anti Water Charges Campaigns examines the campaign and the demonstration of people power that brought about the downfall of this charge.

The EZLN rising in Mexico

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On New Years Day of '94 people awoke to the news that four towns in the south-eastern state of Chiapas had been taken over by a group calling itself the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Dermot Sreenan, who recently presented a talk on the EZLN and organised a picket of the Mexican embassy in January '94, looks at the politics and history of the EZLN.

March for Choice 2017 - report & video

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Saturday the 30th of September 2017 will go down as a high point in the fight for abortion rights in the Republic, and that is a struggle that stretches back decades. Years of campaigning and maintaining a focus on the issue, saw a massive crowd of nearly 30,000 people take to the streets for the annual March for Choice as organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign [ARC]. The calls are for action, and the need for Repeal of the 8th Amendment.

It was the X-case which politicised me - and I'll march again on the 30th

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Choice is a political issue.  I emigrated to the UK in the 80’s and when I returned to Dublin it was the X-case which politicised me.  It was incomprehensible to me as a 23 year old that this young 14 year old girl who had been raped was not allowed to leave the country.  
 
I was not the only one who felt strongly about this, and there were massive marches asking for the young woman to be let go to the UK to have an abortion. That was 1992 [in the picture I am there holding the placard on the left]. I felt like I had to leave this place to come back and see it with new eyes, and see how dysfunctional it truly was, and remains. 

Traveller Ethnicity: The end of the denial

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This evening, when Enda Kenny makes an announcement to the Dáil recognising the identity of Irish Travellers as a distinct ethnic group, it will be an historic moment for Irish society.  This recognition, which has been a very long time coming, marks the end of a campaign that has been fought for decades by Travellers to be recognised in their home country as an ethnic group.  So what’s being done today is formally ending the long denial of Traveller ethnicity that has taken place in the Irish state.

As the statement that from the Joint Oireachtas Committee admitted
“Travellers are, de facto, a separate ethnic group. This is not a gift to be bestowed upon them, but a fact the State ought to formally acknowledge….”

Apollo House - well worth fighting for

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Yesterday hundreds of people turned out to support the imaginative action which is known to all as Apollo house. Apollo House is the single point of light that emerged from an otherwise dismal year, a centennial year of significance, which gave us so little to be proud of. Homelessness, in spite of being a significant symptom of all that is wrong in our society, is both ignored and tolerated. Fortunately the sight of the homeless masses did not get in the way of the centenary celebrations of what a great little republic we have grown up to be.

The actions of the Irish Housing Network and the alliance of supporters which has become known as Home Sweet Home, has taken over an ugly brutalist building and former dole office on Tara Street, and gave homeless people hope of a fresh start. What it has also done is shone a light on the inhumane bureaucratic approach of this to dealing with people who live on the streets. Getting people who have no bed for the night, to phone a free phone number in order to secure one for a single night, only to be thrown back out into the dark pre-dawn streets to do it all again the next day. Apollo House is the golden lamp that emerges from 2016 – and that’s why it has touched the people of Ireland, and been so massively supported. It is an example of what this state should do to support the dispossessed, and would have been a far more fitting tribute than having parades or concerts.

Election 2016 - beyond the five year scratch ration

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Five years ago we all scratched bits of paper, and a new government was formed. Today, in 2016, with we are five years down the road, and here we are scratching more paper, and another new government will be formed. It may be different from the last one or it might be the same, but ultimately the policies will appear to be remarkably similar. To serve the economy above all others appears to be the top priority for all governments.

Remembering the Green Party betrayal while they held power - why trust them again?

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Green Partuy Leader Eamonn Ryan with Rossport solidarity sign outside Dail - Photo William Hederman indymedia.ieWe are in the midst of another full on election cycle. Eamonn Ryan, leader of the Green party, and former minister in the preceding government, was annoyed at not being one of the leaders involved in the TV debate. But let us not forget what happens with the little party in the coalition government. We can witness it in the performance of Labour in this government, but the previous government, lest we forget, was a Fianna Fail and green alliance, with the little party being the greens.

Bertie Ahern appointed on the 14th of June, Eamon Ryan to the newly created portfolio, of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. This was a big test for the greens who had aligned themselves with the Rossport campaign, and their leader, Trevor Sargent, at the time spoke at a Shell to Sea press conference and said that the Greens “supported an independent commission” as proposed by the campaign. The party were also aware of the great oil and gas giveaway, and said that it needed to be reviewed.

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