How the West Undermined Women’s Rights in the Arab World 15:33 Feb 02 0 comments
Erotismo y miseria mercantilizada 14:58 Dec 22 0 comments
Oklahoma IWW Statement of Solidarity with #YesAllDaughters 11:30 Nov 24 0 comments
Desmontando el relato neoliberal desde una perspectiva feminista 02:44 Mar 10 0 commentsmore >>
Recent articles by andrew
Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Gender
Poor turnout in Ireland for Vigil for 'Life' despite massive spending
Saturday in Dublin saw another desperate attempt by the anti-choice coalition to prevent legislation coming to the Dail (Irish parliament) to allow abortion where a women's life is under threat. Despite months of preparation, a spend that must have ran close to a million euro, and the parish priest at every mass in the country telling catholics they should attend, less that 15,000 turned up. Compared to the 150,000 women who have had to travel to obtain abortions in the last ecades this amounts to almost nothing, a handful of bigots bussed in from all over the country. [Italiano]
There are always rows about numbers in the aftermath of such gatherings and we are not going to claim to have counted the crowd - neither did anyone else as we didn't see any counters there despite the fact that the very controlled entry point would have made this easy to do. What we can however say is that the space the demonstration took place in is far too small to fit the initial 25,000 both Caroline Simmons and Eoin de Faoite, the normally secretive leader of Youth Defence, proclaimed from the stage. Some hours after the demonstration the organisers decided it was smart to claim an even more ludicrous 30,000 plus probably because of the ease with which they got the media to swallow the 25,000. The Facebook page of Youth Defence front 'Family & Life' went so far as to claim the crowd 'looked like' 50,000.
There is nothing new in this, Youth Defence also tries to multiply the number of people who attended their demonstration in November by a factor of 3 to turn a very poor turnout of 2-3000 into 10,000. In anticipation of this, a group of WSM members went to the Vigil for Life and walked though it from end to end several times to estimate crowd density, see who was really there in order to be able to offer a reasonable estimate of the total number of those so bigoted in Ireland that they would want to deny women a life saving abortion for religious reasons.
Our members there made the following points
- there were enormous piles of expensive full colour pre-printed placards. No one was being allowed in with their own placards, our members witnessed one angry woman arguing with three stewards who were refusing to allow her enter with a placard that read 'The 'Kingdom' says no to abortion' (pic below). Garda appeared to be helping with this operation, we saw stewards confiscate a giant cross from a red cloaked figure and the cross was then carried into a tent (see photo) by a Garda. We are not sure quite what law the guard concerned imagined he was enforcing.
- the vast majority of the crowd was elderly people and their grand children. It was noticeable that there were very few women who were actually of the age where they might become pregnant but also as with previous events those that were present had been pushed towards the front to create misleading photos & video for propaganda use by Youth Defence and other organisers.
- there were groups of Spanish, American & British anti-choice activists present and according to twitter at least one such US activist said that his airfare to Dublin had been paid for in order for him to attend. Not enough to make any difference in numbers but it does remind us of the way the fight to deny women control over their own bodies is seen as a crusade by the so called 'pro-life' movement internationally.
- the street (Merrion Sq South) was sealed off at both ends by very large numbers of stewards who were looking everyone over who entered the area and refusing entry to some people. It was not clear to us what law allowed them to claim the right to deny entry to a public street.
In terms of the numbers present our members reported that the crowd was not at all closely packed and that the entire footpath on the south side was sealed off by crowd barriers, reducing the available width of the street considerable. They also reported that from about 15 minutes after the 4.30 start time repeated announcements were made asking the crows to move back because there was a crush at the front but that no such crush was reported by a photographer from Rabble who was on the stage. Presumably this was simply to get the limited attendance to move back to appear to fill more of the street. By they time our members left the area some 22 minutes after the advertised start time the back 1/3 of the street was still pretty empty (see photo) - and there were only limited numbers of people still arriving.
The maximum area occupied was thus defined as being between the two stewards barriers at either end of Merrion Square South. Some of that space was taken up by a number of tents, the huge screens and the large stage. And as above, the footpath on the south side was entirely blocked off behind barriers. So there was a very definite maximum space that could have been occupied.
Our members present used the Crowdsize app on a Smartphone to estimate how many people might have been present (see picture above). This is a simple process of pulling up a map of the area, drawing a box around the area occupied - very easy in this case as it was entirely enclosed by crowd control barriers and then entering a density estimate for the crowd. We were actually very generous and went for the maximum available density despite the fact it was obvious the crowd was not packed in that tightly. As can be seen below this suggests a maximum crowd size of 14,370. There is no physical way to fit 25,000 people into the available space without them being on each other shoulders - and the Vigil for Life crowd were really not up to such rock concert conditions. 30,000 or 50,000 are simply ludicrous estimates that would have required stacking people three high.
One could argue that there was considerably less than 15,000, due to the stage, screens and tents but lets accept it for now. In the last decades 150,000 women have had to 'vote with their feet' by making the expensive and often difficult journey abroad for an abortion. For every ten of those women only one bigot was wiling to spend an hour in Merrion square to demand that women in future should also have to undertake that journey. Very, very few of those bigots were women of child bearing age.
Given the enormous amount of money spent, and the order from the alter last Sunday that catholics should attend, this small turnout is a disaster for the anti-choice movement and for the catholic church. Despite laying on buses from every corner of the country only a tiny, tiny percentage of catholics listened to their priests and attended. The organisers are highly secretive of their funding both in terms of how much is spent and where that money comes from, but it is no exaggeration that if they had hired people for a tenner an hour to stand and listen to their speeches they would have bought a crowd two or three times the size of the 15,000 that attended.
On a positive note Saturday also saw a national meeting of pro-choice activists in Dublin which launched the 'Abortion Rights Campaign'. This intends not only to make sure the government legislate for X but much more importantly to fight for all women by demanding that access to abortion should be free, safe and on request as part of a funded public healthcare system. Those who gathered in Merrion Square are the fading ghosts of the grim Ireland of yesterday, the future belongs to those fighting for womens' rights and against the religious bigots who have dominated social policy in Ireland for far too long.
WORDS: @Andrew Flood
This is a preliminary report to which we will be adding further information over the next 24 hours - we have also a Facebook album of this event and the counter protest
Sun 31 Jul, 02:50
Emergency protest for abortion demand held in Belfast 19:07 Wed 02 Dec 0 comments
Somewhere in the region of 70 people attended an emergency protest yesterday outside Belfast City Hall.
Amnesty International is holding its International Council Meeting in Dublin 17:07 Mon 10 Aug 0 comments
Amnesty International is holding its International Council Meeting in Dublin this week and earlier today many of the delegate attending staged a protest at the Dail (Irish Parliament) against the criminalisation of women under Ireland's anti-choice laws.
Dublin protests in solidarity with the Belfast mother charged with supplying the abortion pill to he... 19:35 Thu 23 Jul 0 comments
A couple of hundred people came to the pro choice solidarity rally in Dublin, Ireland last nigh organised by the WSMt. It was called to protest against the prosecution of a women in Belfast for supplying her daughter with the abortion pill.
Belfast woman charged for helping daughter procure an abortion 17:44 Mon 20 Jul 0 comments
News broke on the 19th June that a Belfast woman is to stand trial for helping her daughter procure an abortion. In response on 24th June a letter was handed in signed by 215 abortion activists admitting that they are guilty of breaking the law by either taking or helping someone procure the Early Medical Abortion (EMA) pill.
Ireland - Migrant X refused an abortion and forced to have a C-section 22:31 Thu 21 Aug 0 comments
This is as complete a story about what happened to 'Migrant X' that we are aware of. Migrant X is a young migrant women who it emerged was refused an abortion by the Irish state despite apparently meeting the grounds of the X-case legislation and instead forced to carry the pregnancy and agree to a C-section. The pregnanacy itself was the result of rape, Migrant X attempted suicide after being refused the abortion and later went on a hunger and thirst strike. Once what had happened to her became known there were sizeable pro-choice solidarity demonstrations called across Ireland and at Irish embassies overseas. We have been given information that the migrant woman at the centre of the current forced pregnancy was 'committed' to a psychiatric hospital following her initial request for termination. It’s already known that the initial request was made when she was 8 weeks pregnant. It was this crucial period in which she was being held incommunicado which led directly to the Caesarian option being possible to impose as an ‘alternative’ to allowing her to access the abortion she had asked for.
20 years on X case to finally be legislated 17:40 Wed 19 Dec 0 comments
This afternoon the government had finally confirmed that it is to legislate for abortion access under the conditions of the X-case. While we can welcome the failure of the anti-choice movement to stop this announcement, despite frantically spending a quarter of a million dollars euro in ten days, this is so little so late that it is almost meaningless.
Irish parliament blockaded by 100s after 3rd refusal in 6 months to legislate for X-case 22:59 Fri 30 Nov 0 comments
Last night saw hundreds of pro-choice activists blockade the gates of the Dáil after TD's once more refused to pass X-case legislation. Twenty years after the X-case and one month after the death of Savita Halappanavar women in Ireland were told once more that the politicians had not had enough time. The political parties, in particular the Labour Party, were once more engaged in a cynical game of playing politics - a game that leaves pregnant women at continued risk in Irish hospitals.
Countering the Irish "Pro-Life" Rally - Pro-Choice Counter Demonstration 20:50 Thu 07 Jul 0 comments
WSM and other pro-choice activists took place in a counter demonstration to the “Rally for Life” which took place in Dublin on Sunday 3 July 2011. The anti-abortion rally was organised by Youth Defence (including “The Life Institute”(previously Mother & Campaign – an outgrowth of Youth Defense) and Belfast Based "Precious Life". Approximately 2,000 people seem to have attended. The pro-choice counter demonstration, organised at short notice was still attended by around 300 people. Many attending the anti-abortion rally came from all over Ireland and even included a small group of migrants from the Philippines. There were some tense exchanges between pro-choice campaigners and anti-abortion marchers.
NI Women sold out by Labour on equal access to abortion 21:22 Tue 02 Dec 0 comments
The hopes of women living in Northen Ireland for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act were dashed when an amendment to extend the act brought before Westminster on 22nd October was not debated because of a procedural motion put by Harriet Harman, leader of the House of Commons and the Minister for Women and supported by many New Labour ‘feminist’ MPs
Shut Down Rogue Pregnancy Counselling Agency 00:48 Mon 23 Apr 0 comments
Advertised as a pregnancy counselling agency, it subjects women in crisis
Next week will see the promotion of Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA (Member of Northern Ireland Assembly), Arlene Foster to the position of DUP leader and the North of Ireland’s First Minister. Foster is a woman who was once described to have “learned a lot from the likes of Thatcher when it comes to dealing with men in politics."
Over 1000 early medical abortion pills seized by Irish customs Sep 29 0 comments
Over 1,000 abortion pills were seized last year at customs, a figure that represents double the amount seized the two years previous. This fact is very much in contradiction with the myth of the anti-choice side that there is no demand for abortion in Ireland.
Save on Child Care: Smash the Patriarchy! Aug 21 0 comments
Child-care in Ireland is so expensive because it is so undervalued. Only through care-workers’ collective withdrawal of labour will those who rely on us realise how vital our work is.
Anarchist in Ireland on todays Marriage equality referendum May 22 1 comments
Southern Ireland is voting toward on whether to allow Marriage equality, that is to extend marriage to couples of the same gender. Young migrants have flocked back to the country in the last 24 hours to help insure the referendum passes. If it does Ireland will be the first country in the work to introduce Marriage equality by popular referendum yet it was one of the last countries in Europe to decriminalise sex between men. In that sense the referendum is about much more than the issue of Marriage but it also a battle against the 'old Ireland' of clerical control and an authoritarian state that sought to control all aspects of the lives of those under its control. The articles that follow are some of the many that the Workers Solidarity Movement have published, for the most part via their Facebook page.
Despite spending in the region of a million euro and getting the backing of the catholic church its now clear that the anti-choice extremists of Youth Defence & the Pro Life Campaign were resoundingly defeated when the Dail finally voted though legislation implementing the X-Case judgment of 21 years ago. This time last year they were confident that they already had enough Fine Gael TD's on board to block the required legislation but they reckoned against the wave of public anger that followed the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was denied a potentially life saving abortion in a Galway hospital.more >>
Cork Queer Pride 2005: What are we Proud of? & who can we rely on? Aug 03 WSM 0 comments
So what are exactly are we proud of? Is it just that we are attracted to a particular gender or genders? Or, are we proud of our courageous history of struggles as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered/ LGBT/ Queer people for our rights, and against bigotry, oppression and hatred?