user preferences

New Events

Ireland / Britain

no event posted in the last week

The crisis is changing politics in Ireland

category ireland / britain | economy | opinion / analysis author Friday January 27, 2012 23:27author by Kevin Doyle - WSM Report this post to the editors

If the recent budget highlighted anything, it was the fact that the working class in Ireland is under severe attack. Services, too numerous to mention here, are being cut or removed entirely, while the real living standards of many of us are being driven down and down. Meanwhile the banker-thieves and investment-gamblers still live the highlife.

oakland.jpg

It’s not that different in many other countries across the world now.  In Spain, in Italy and in Greece, of course, the same bleak reality is staring people in the face.  Except for this: in many places the fightback is much more pronounced.  We know about Greece, but in countries like Portugal and even in Britain (and in Northern Ireland) huge strikes have taken place.  If nothing else, these show that resistance to cuts and austerity has not gone away.

But important differences are emerging too.  A significant one is in the USA while the other is in Spain.  First we turn to the USA:

SUPER RICH

Despite the hot air that is often talked about ‘living standards’ in the US, the gap between the rich and the poor is at a level not seen since before the Great Depression in 1929 (and that was bad).  As significant though is the ongoing and sustained attack on workers’ wages and working conditions.  In particular, trade union conditions have been targeted – as in Wisconsin - and many workers have been coerced into accepting new and worse conditions.

But the Occupy Movement (OM) in the USA has challenged this and offered a new way forward – one that has struck a real chord with union and non-union workers alike.  The OM and its various offshoots are proactive about who the problem is – the very wealthy – but also fundamentally the OM is about ‘self-organising’ – or what we sometimes call over here ‘grassroots organising’.   

A core idea of the OM is this: if you want help or solidarity from other workers or citizens, go to them directly and ask them yourself; explain your position and ask for support.  In doing this the OM has chosen to side-step an important barrier to building a movement or winning a struggle.  This barrier is the layer of union officials and ‘left’ politicians who sometimes control unions and political movements but actually do nothing worthwhile.

In the US this new mood of self-organising and direct action has already paid dividends.  In November a one day blockade of  the Oakland, San Francisco port – one of the largest in the that country - was supported by dock works and was a major success.  The port action cost the bosses huge losses and happened in solidarity with the Occupy Oakland movement which was under attack from the police and under threat of eviction.   This example at Oakland and the manner in which it was achieved has spurred a further round of grassroots solidarity organising in December, which aimed to build more links between OM protestors and union activists; this was also a huge success.  For example, in Los Angles, where unionised port workers are under attack, they have spoken about their admiration for direct action methods of the OM.  These same dockworkers have condemned their own union officials who are afraid to sanction any strike action against the port bosses in case it lead to the union ‘being sued’.  Where have we heard that before?  

A second and different example of the changing climate of struggle lies in Spain.  Last year saw a  groundswell of anger there over the economic crisis and the cuts.  People took to the streets and occupied central areas of Madrid and Barcelona proclaiming that ‘the system’ was broken.  As it was.

In November, Spain was offered its usual round of parliamentary elections.  Just like here the electorate was told ‘now is your chance to choose’.  But for huge numbers of ordinary Spaniards this offer of parliamentary election was condemned for the sham that it was.  ‘There is no choice’ proclaimed many voters.  In Spain the ‘Socialists’ had implemented massive cuts.  The alternative at election time was the PP party who were also promising massive cuts.  So?

The Indignados – the grassroots movement in Spain – advocated that people either spoil their votes, abstain or vote for smaller left wing and regional parties in the elections.   As a result the number of spoiled votes or abstentions actually doubled from the previous election and numbered almost 11 million! Much more than the number that voted for the PP who were declared ‘winners’ in the election.

To summarise.  There is no doubt now that the crisis is deep and getting deeper.  But there is also clear evidence that this is changing politics too.  Many of us are beginning to rediscover that our real strength lies in our own organising capabilities and in our own abilities to build solidarity among our own ranks.  This is what anarchists have always argued for, and it’s how big struggles have always been won over the generations.  It’s time to push on, nurture these new methods and spread the word.   


This article is from Workers Solidarity 125, Jan/Feb 2012
 

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie/capitalist-crisis
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Verso lo sciopero generale e sociale nel mondo del lavoro, nei territori, nelle piazze

Ireland / Britain | Economy | en

Fri 31 Oct, 01:20

browse text browse image

lochgarmenausteritybanner.jpg imageBudget 2013 & the dark times to come 21:42 Fri 07 Dec by Andrew 0 comments

Roughly 1,000 people protested at the Dail (parliament building) in Dublin Wednesday night as yet another austerity budget was debated. As with previous budgets the new flat rate taxes, PRSI & excise hikes will mean workers & those on low income will be hit hard while the richest 1% will hardly notice any difference.

atloendacover1015lr.jpg imageTIME...is on my side! 02:54 Sat 06 Oct by Costas Avramidis 0 comments

That pat on the back to our "glorious leader Enda" in Time Magazine fails to come to terms BIG TIME with the reality on the ground here in Ireland.

tinycropmap.jpg image1,600 billion - Massive scale of oil giveaway revealed in Shell to Sea report 15:16 Tue 11 Sep by Workers Solidarity 0 comments

€1,600 billion. That is the figure for Irish Oil & Gas reserves already licensed revealed this morning in a detailed report from Shell to Sea using the energy corporations own reports and estimates. People in Ireland will see almost no benefits from this incredible wealth because the Irish state gives these reserves to the corporations at the cheapest terms in the world.

cameron.jpg imageTories announce new plans to cut housing benefit from under 25s 15:03 Wed 27 Jun by Sean M. 0 comments

David Cameron plans to end housing benefit for claimants aged 16-24. The ‘proposal’ forms part of wider recommendations to begin being implemented next year as part of the new Welfare Act. Further plans being rolled out including linking regional play with regional benefits, breaking the link between benefits and inflation, and considering linking benefits to average earnings and cost of living amounting to a further attack on worker’s rights and conditions.

textECB gives banks 6,250 years worth of Household Tax 23:57 Fri 02 Mar by Paul 0 comments

Wednesday the European Central Bank (ECB) gave out 530 billion euros in 3-year term loans to the private banks of the Eurozone. Together with the 490 billion they doled out last December, that's over 1 trillion euros. If pigs could fly and politicians never lied and every household in the country was magically able to pay the hated Household Tax, the total receipt would be 160 million euro. At that rate, it would take 6,250 years to amount to 1 trillion. It would also take 20 years to amount to the 3.2 billion euros the state are handing over to the Anglo bondholders on the 31st March coming.

topcopvendetta.jpg imageDublin demonstrates against ACTA & SOPA but it is about more than just downloading 20:26 Mon 13 Feb by Andrew 0 comments

Dublin last weekend saw about 400 people take part in a demonstration against the intention of Seán Sherlock, the Labour Party Minister for Research and Innovation to bring into law a requirement for Irish internet service providers to block access to sites that allow the downloading of copy righted material. This is a similar law to the SOPA and ACTA laws that Hollywood & music industry lobbyists tried unsuccessfully to force through the US Congress. A second demonstration is to take place this Saturday.

south_londonmedium.jpg imageHalf a million take to the streets of London against cuts 20:25 Tue 29 Mar by Steven 0 comments

500,000 people marched last Saturday against the coalition government's austerity measures, with the support of the majority of the population.

clarion__low_wages.jpg imageClarion hotel in Cork and Davenport in Dublin: Fighting for solidarity the key 20:43 Thu 24 Feb by Kevin Doyle 0 comments

The attack on workers at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin had highlighted the greed and bullying in the hotel business. A similar case to that at the Davenport has come to light here in Cork. But so far fear has ruled the day. The Clarion describes itself as one of “Cork’s premier 4 Star City Centre Hotels”. Although it’s well able to charge for its rooms it cannot find its way to granting its workers a 29 cents per hour pay rise.

video1% Walk in Dublin: Video Report 06:49 Sat 16 Oct by Dave Donnellan 0 comments

A political walking tour through the heartland of the Golden Circle in Dublin.

Cement truck blocks access to parliament imageProtests in Ireland as part of European action against crisis 21:40 Thu 30 Sep by Alan, Shane, Andrew 0 comments

Despite the escalating costs for the working class of the crisis in Ireland resistance has fallen off ever since the pro partnership leadership of the unions succeeded in getting the Croke park deal passed by the membership. The deal makes vague promises not to impose further pay cuts on the public sector in return for large scale restructuring but was conditional on the economic situation not declining further. Yesterday saw the unions return to the streets with a press call that the left, including the anarchist movement, tried to push into a demonstration. That morning in a rather unusual individual action a man parked a slogan covered cement lorry in the gates of the Dail (parliament building) blocking access. These articles from the WSM site report on these events and include the speech delivered by a WSM member at the protest.

more >>

imageGovernment legislation an attempt to bully trade unionists into voting for paycuts May 27 by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

The "Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013", published by the government on Thursday last (23rd May), is a clear attempt to bully public sector workers into voting for the re-hashed terms of the Croke Park II deal emphatically rejected by them just a couple of weeks ago.

image650,000 Homes STILL Not Paying Unjust Tax May 24 by Dermot Freeman 0 comments

In spite of a long and consistent campaign which has been waged against people in relation to the imposition of this unjust and unfair tax on homes, over 650,000 households have not registered with revenue [22.05.2013]. Draconian legislation and the threats of fines has not resulted in people volunteering their information to the revenue.

imageThe Croke Park extension: What it is and how to fight it Feb 27 by Mark Hoskins 0 comments

Early yesterday morning, the leadership of the public sector committee of ICTU emerged from talks with the government claiming they had achieved the best possible outcome from the negotiations. The best possible outcome in question involves extra hours at work, cuts in overtime rates and allowances for unsociable hours, delayed increments and revisions to flexitime arrangements and work-sharing patterns.

imageSean Quinn - Cowboy turns desperado - A Western in four parts Aug 02 by Dermot Freeman 0 comments

We don’t know a lot about the personal life of this son of a small farmer. He was the richest man in Ireland in 2008 with an estimated wealth of €4.7billion and now he is only out of jail because the Judge wants him to help the Irish Resolution Banking Corporation (IRBC) recover some of the €2.8 billion that he owes them. You may never have heard of IRBC but you will know of it’s previous alias: Anglo Irish Bank,winner of the dodgiest bank award in a state where there is stiff competition for that prize. His son is in prison, (plush Training Unit in Mountjoy) serving a sentence for what the Judge called ‘outrageous’ contempt of court as he sought to put money/assets beyond the reach of the bank. His nephew Peter is supposed to be there for the same reason but has gone missing. All we know about Sean – the daddy of the empire is that he’s big into the GAA and he likes to play poker for a few quid with his friends. Along with his love of poker, I would guess that Sean senior fancies the odd western.

imageCarve up of Girdwood site in Belfast reflects the sectarian carve-up May 26 by Sean Matthews 0 comments

The sectarian row over the former Girdwood army barracks site in North Belfast is part of a larger picture of sectarianism and segregation forming the bedrock of the status-quo, with our local political class depending on it for their very political survival.

more >>
Sorry, no press releases matched your search, maybe try again with different settings.
© 2005-2014 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]