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Recent articles by Andrew Flood
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An anarchist critique of horizontalism 3 commentsRecent Articles about Ireland / Britain Community struggles
Resistance issue 151 - May 2013 May 03 13
Dublin: The eviction of the Occupy Dame Street camp
ireland / britain | community struggles | news report Thursday March 08, 2012 21:19 by Andrew Flood - WSM
Last of 2011's Occupy camps in Ireland, cleared - reportage and reflections
The small Garda team 'investigating' what happened at Anglo only includes one forensic accountant. As far as anyone can tell they have yet to get into the computers that were encrypted and which the bank has refused to hand over the passwords for. This certainly tells us whose interests those in power protect and that the Garda will ‘just follow orders’ even if they are individually included amongst the 99% of us who have been screwed over.
Media coverage of the eviction suggests that it was a fairly low key affair with an overwhelming number of Garda (around 100) compared to campers (about 15) but commentary from the campers and a video interview published by the Irish Times suggests that a significant level of physical intimidation & force was used by Garda. Campers talked of pick axes being used to break into structures while they were still inside and of the seizure of mobile phones, lap tops, clothes, minutes & contact books and even bicycles that were chained on the square. This happened without warning, while people were sleeping. One of the campers said of the police that "they came like volatile bullies & terrorists .. they behaved like animals"
The ODS project was always going to face significant difficulites. It arose as a semi-spontaneous gathering in reaction to Occupy Wall Street with very little advance organisation of any kind. This wasn't the first attempt at a camp style protest at the Central Bank, Real Democracy had a small gathering back in July which included a couple of token tents. But this time because of the coverage of Occupy Wall Street a couple of hundred people turned up. The gathering developed into a large speak-out but it was a couple of hours before the first tents were erected. It wasn't clear how the Garda would react to this but by nine in the evening no attempt had been made to clear the protest despite a dozen tents having been erected and an assembly of 150 people was in progress.
The Garda strategy towards the camp turned out to be to tolerate it and in fact be quite co-operative at times towards dealing with external 'trouble'. The location of the camp meant there was a lot of this trouble in the early hours of the morning as its slap bang in the middle of the late pubs and night clubs section of the city. The camp decided to be co-operative with the Central Bank and not to obstruct the entrances to the bank with tents or other structures. So there was little in the way of day to day friction with either the police or the bank.
Many of the camps elsewhere were forced to at least temporally overcome the inevitable differences that will arise when lots of random people come together because they needed to unite to defend their space from an external enemy. And in the process of such a defense bonds of solidarity between people with quite different outlooks are often created. In Dublin though the co-operation with the Garda and the bank left no such eviction crisis and external enemy to unite against. And there was a lot of distrust and paranoia about the organised left, not all of it undeserved.
In the context of an increasingly inwards looking core camping group this left plenty of time to focus on differences within the camp and with potential allies. This, and a general lack of functional decision making mechanisms, made it impossible to develop ODS on a collective basis after the opening weeks. In the opening weeks of November this resulted in a series of fractious General Assemblies (GA) on the issue of whether or not ODS would take part in a march organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. The fact that participation was blocked and the manner in which this happened meant that at the GA where the veto was deployed and in the ten of so days afterwards almost all the people with a collective approach and organisational experience walked away from ODS.
General Assemblies seemed to have stopped happening from the start of December and apart from some odd stunts and a couple of protests the camp retreated behind its fortifications on Dame street. The Garda & Central Bank were probably hoping at this stage that the harsh winter weather would drive out the last campers but with the arrival of Spring they must have been concerned that the camp might be renewed. The annual Patricks day parade was thus deployed as the excuse for why the camp had to leave, with extensive coverage of this 'request' in the media to soften up public opinion.
The camp at Occupy Dame Street last from October 2011 to March 2012, making it one of the longest running such camps in the world. Many, particularly in the US, were violently evicted, sometimes multiple times, before the end of 2011. But leaving aside longevity after the initial buzz Occupy Dame Street did not succeed, and was even counter productive on several levels. The best things to come from it were the projects set up by people initially involved when they departed. It's worth taking some time to consider what caused this failure and what the lessons are for the future. We intend to produce a detailed article next week where the WSM members who were involved in Occupy Dame Street will attempt to do just this.
In the meantime the camp has called a General Assembly at the Central Bank for 6pm this evening to discuss 'where next.'
WORDS & IMAGES: Andrew Flood
Mon 26 Jan, 05:20
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People in deprived areas in Northern Ireland are three times more likely to take their lives. Health minister Edwin Poots said, ‘Unemployment rates in deprived areas further affect people and this is a major concern. Studies indicate that a 1% increase in unemployment is met with a corresponding 0.79% increase in suicide.
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Massive National rally of community campaign against new Household tax in Ireland 18:53 Tue 27 Mar 0 comments
Saturday's National Rally against the Household Tax in the National Stadium was literally filled to overflowing. As well as nearly 3,000 people crammed into every possible space in the Stadium another 4 to 500 were in the car park at the side, unable to fit into the building. And the thousands who attended were angry, energized and expectant of victory. The National Stadium normally hosts boxing marches but the atmosphere on Saturday topped that of watching a home fighter coming out on top in a close fought bout.
Detailed account of Shell's prosecution of 19 more people for ongoing resistance in Erris, Ireland 21:14 Thu 08 Mar 0 comments
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Despite the opposition of the governing SInn Fein party, relatives of families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and political supporters, including Irish anarchists, marched in remembrance last Saturday. A report from the anarchists present and a background to the issues behind those determined to continue the annual commemoration. [Italiano]
The Household Tax: Don’t Register, Don’t Pay 23:30 Fri 27 Jan 0 comments
Mid-December saw the eventual publication of the long-threatened household tax legislation. The first three months of 2012 will present every household in Ireland with a choice: whether to succumb to this new home tax, which along with the proposed water tax will rise to approx €1,200 per annum within a couple of years, or to refuse to register, refuse to pay and make a stand against the costs of bailing out bankers and developers continuing to be hoisted on our shoulders.
The liberation of a former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast 17:29 Wed 18 Jan 0 comments
Occupy Belfast seized the initiative Monday by re-possessing the former Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue gaining media coverage both here and across the world. Around a dozen protestors including a WSM member entered the building, unfurled banners and put up barricades despite early attempts by the police to illegally evict us. A WSM member who took part gives us his views on the occupation below.
Occupy 'x' arrives in Ireland with Occupy Dame street 22:56 Wed 12 Oct 0 comments
The 'Occupy X' movement arrived in Ireland over the weekend when a core group of around 50 people set up camp at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame street. Numbers grew to a few hundred at times over the next days and nights as supporters came down to join in for a while and the curious stopped to see what was going on. Issues highlighted by participants included the bank bail out, IMF intervention & the ongoing Great Oil & Gas Giveaway.
Galway sees Day of action against Fine Gael think-in 21:04 Fri 09 Sep 0 comments
The Fine Gael party was confronted with angry scenes at not one but two different blockades during a meeting of the parliamentary party in Galway city yesterday. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his cabinet were attending their pre-budget think-in at the luxury Radisson hotel when some 30 students from the NUIG Free Education for Everyone (FEE) group and the Students’ Union blockaded the entrance in protest at the government’s policy of education cuts, registration fee increases and the ever-looming prospect of full fees. They were joined by two dozen members of the Save Roscommon Hospital Alliance who were equally intent on showing the Fine Gael party what they think of their callous indifference to the welfare of the working class.more >>
Dublin City Council have new by laws to permit officials to interrogate members of the public as to how they are disposing of their rubbish. When the councils started charging for waste disposal years back numerous people refused to pay, the councils then withdrew their collections and ultimately the service was privatised. At the time of the introduction of a fee for rubbish collection some environmentalists argued it was a good thing that would lead to greater recycling and lower waste production. The councils began charging for recycling also of course.
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Almost a month has passed since the national conference of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT). While on the surface things look pretty quiet, this is a critical juncture for the campaign. The momentum that has been lost by the attachment of the CAHWT to the unsuccessful No referendum campaign will only be rebuilt when the government make their next move, but those active in the campaign need to use the coming weeks to prepare for that eventuality.
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There’s been a lot of talk lately about participatory and direct democracy. Renewed interest in alternative forms of organising society has arisen from increasing dissatisfaction with mainstream politics and the domination of the economy by a few corporations. This dissatisfaction has found its expression in the Arab spring, the May 15th movement in Spain and the Occupy movement in the English-speaking world. Where the anti-capitalist movement of the last decade focussed almost exclusively on the power of the corporations and finance capital, this current tendency is to also focus on politics and the state.
Household Tax- planning to win - democracy is the key May 19 0 comments
The National Conference of the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes this Saturday will be making some key decisions that will determine the future success of the campaign. The ultimate objective of our campaign should be to ensure that everyone who gets involved in it can have an equal input into our decision-making. This will make for a more democratic and far more efficient Campaign which large numbers of people will feel direct ownership of. That will mean a far stronger Campaign and one capable of winning. On Saturday we will be distributing this text which explains the case for direct democracy as a leaflet to those attending the conference.
Shell to Sea have released a very detailed report into the GSOC 'investigation' of the Garda at the center of the 'Corrib Cops Rape Tape' which first came to public attention one year ago today. The report reveals that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) engaged in spin and misinformation that misled the public over the Corrib ‘rape’ recording incident of March 2011 and undermined the case against Gardaí. The report details GSOC’s attempts to serve the interests of An Garda Síochána by undermining the women who made the recording public, while deflecting attention from the behaviour of Gardaí. The document was prepared by Shell to Sea with one of the women about whom the ‘rape’ comments were made and seven academics at NUI Maynooth. It has been made available online as a PDF and we are republishing it here:more >>
Why we are leaving Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT) Jun 26 WSM 0 comments
The Workers Solidarity Movement has decided to withdraw from the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes. Please see statement below. We have made a donation of €1,000 towards paying off the debts of CAHWT.
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The Libertarian - issue 2 Aug 28 WSM 5 comments
The second issue of 'The Libertarian' a local newsletter distributed in Dublin 8 by the WSM is online.