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A piece written for the WSM web site and quickly edited by our newsroom

Homelessness: Shouldn't We Just Look After 'Our Own'?

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When it comes to housing, most of us just want to sort everyone out because everyone needs a home regardless of who they are. However, occasionally an issue is raised about who the homeless are:

'Are all the homeless people Irish? And if so how can the government find houses for the refugees coming into Ireland and not their own people?'

There are lots of people in high places who benefit from us thinking that the reason for homelessness in Ireland is refugees and other migrants. Or that these people are causing 'us' a big problem. It's understandable why some people believe that, after all the media spreads this message constantly, but it's just not accurate.

Report on WSM National Conference 2016

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The Workers Solidarity Movement had our Autumn national conference in Dublin on the 22nd October. What follows is a brief report on the days proceedings.

What is WSM National Conference?

National Conference is the ultimate decision-making body for WSM members. It happens every six months and takes place over a day or two. We discuss motions on collective policy, reflect on the past six months of activity and map prospects for the next period.

Conference normally begins with reports of activity from all branches, officers and working groups.  This might cover areas like current campaigns, publications, education, engagement and administration as well as organising Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. We then move on to an open discussion of our perspectives before discussing amendments to our position papers.

We interrupted National Conference this year in order to take part in a demonstration outside the Central Bank in support of a 17 year old water charges demonstrator from Jobstown. 

This is direct democracy in action. If this appeals to you, you might consider finding out more about the WSM and what we anarchists are up to. (Not on our contact system? Self register here)

Water Charges: We've Got Them Surrounded. Imagine Winning. What Comes Next?

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We can win this battle but we would be fools to settle for that. As someone said at the January 31st demonstration, 'we have them where we've wanted them for years'. Our opportunity is huge, with a great multitude politically awakened and eager to change society. So the question is presented: will we waste this opportunity to make a better world or will we seize it? What do we do once we win, and how should that affect what we do now?

This raises lots of other broad questions we should all ask ourselves:

  1. Is voting in a new government enough?
  2. Should we keep the system the same, or try something new?
  3. How do we achieve that better world?
  4. What would a better system look like?

ACAB: All Cops Are ... Bounded

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This photo was taken at Thursday evening's demonstration against the criminalisation of protest - in particular the arrest of almost 20 people for participating in a 2 hour blockade of the Tánaiste 3 months previously. It shows protesters holding signs saying 'ACAB' – but what does this mean? It means 'All Cops Are Bastards'. We can hear some people objecting already: 'not all Gardaí are bad'. But please hold on, that's missing the point entirely. ACAB doesn't mean that each police officer as an individual person is nasty, sadistic, dishonest, and so on. It means that every police officer is bounded by their job as an agent of the state, and this necessarily causes cops to act like 'bastards' - whether or not they want to.

A cop goes to work as a cop, not as an individual. They cease to be 'John Murphy' and become 'Garda B203', anonymous law enforcement officer 71032. ACAB means that no matter how nice a person the cop is individually they must break strikes, attack social movements, execute homophobic, sexist, and racist laws, deport and evict people, and even torture and murder, because that is what the police do. Feel free to make a conscientious objection, you will be fired.
 

Greek Neo-nazis murder anti-fascist hip-hop artist

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Last night, just after midnight a cowardly attack by over 15 members of Golden Dawn resulted in the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, an anti-fascist, left militant and hip-hop artist also known by his rap name Killah P.

Athens which is already in the grip of a public sector general strike, is in turmoil with Greek anti-fascists vowing vengence. Despite the murderer, reportedly a member of Golden Dawn, being arrested at the scene, knife in hand, the Greek neo-nazi party denied any involvement in what was clearly a pre-meditated ambush by a paramilitary uniformed mob.

Inside the Filibuster, an anarchist account of the fight for the right to choose in Texas

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Interview with Texan Anarchist, Jen Rogue

Q. How easy is to get an abortion in Texas?

Depends on what you mean by “easy.” To begin with, there is a very conservative culture that shames and silences women about sex and opts for abstinence-only sex education, which contributes to abortion being inaccessible. Texas is almost ten times the size of Ireland and has the nation’s largest rural population, which is yet another obstacle to access, given the limited options in health care. Additionally, with a price tag of $450 to $3,000 (depending on how advanced the pregnancy is), the cost alone makes access to abortion a huge challenge.

Q. How was this law going to change the situation?

The bill would ban any and all abortions after 20 weeks. Also, it would require clinics to be certified as “ambulatory surgical centres” and their doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. This would close almost every clinic in the state, leaving only 5 out of the current 47.

20 years of inaction on abortion access - now a tragedy

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There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."

For years we were aware that the failure of successive governments to legislate could result in a tragedy but when the first reports started to circulate that this had happened we were horrified. How did we come to this point?

Resisting Austerity - Beyond the Ballot Box of the Fiscal Compact Treaty

Date:

On the 31st May, the Irish people will be asked to vote in a referendum on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, commonly known as the Fiscal Compact Treaty. The YES side in the campaign argue that this is necessary in order to maintain stability across the EU, and the NO side argue that this treaty represents an enshrinement and continuation of the austerity we have faced since 2008. However, both sides, either through ignorance, cynicism or malice, portray the limitations of people's agency and power as the ticking of a box on a piece of paper.

Bloody Sunday in Derry - Origins & Consequences of a Massacre

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On the 30th January 1972 British soldiers opened fire on protesters in the city of Derry, north-west Ireland. Twenty six unarmed protesters were shot, 13 died immediately or within hours, one more died just over four months later. Derry was in the section of Ireland claimed by the British state and the shootings happened in the context of the suppression of a growing civil rights movement demanding equality for Catholics in the 6 of Ulster’s counties claimed by Britain.

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)

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