Thursday, 25 October 2012

March for Marie Stopes

The time has come to put on a public show of support for the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast. 

In the face of those who are currently trying to shut the clinic down and who are say that ‘there is no demand for abortion in Ireland’ we need to defend Ireland’s first clinic to offer abortion services and the progress it symbolises. 

 Come and celebrate its opening with us!

We will be marching from the UU Art college (beside St Anne’s Cathedral), through town and ending at City Hall, where we will have a rally with speakers (to be confirmed).

NB. The time may change depending on the parades commission, this will be sorted this week.

Assemble:  Sat. November 10th @ 1.30pm
UU Art College (York Street, Belfast) to Belfast City Hall.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Support the Marie Stokes clinic in Belfast

The opening of the Marie Stokes clinic in Belfast is a positive step forward for women’s rights and continuing battle for abortion services in Ireland.  While the 1967 Abortion Act has still not been extended to Northern Ireland due to an alliance of reactionary conservative forces from our local sectarian parties to the Churches.  This means that abortions can be carried out only to preserve the life of the mother, or if continuing the pregnancy would have other serious, permanent physical or mental health effects. There is strict assessment regarding any impact on mental well-being and the woman must consult with two clinicians.

The Marie Stopes clinic has said it will carry out medical, not surgical, procedures only up to nine weeks' gestation and only within the existing legal framework.  It said that the health professionals in the clinic will be from Northern Ireland and that they will make the assessments, although the views of the woman's own GP will be taken into consideration. The clinic's services will also be available to women from the Republic of Ireland, if they meet the legal criteria in Northern Ireland.

Contrary, to media reports the clinic will not just offer abortion access but provides a range of services and counselling from contraception to sexual advice.

As anarchists we believe the struggle for women’s right to choose is part of larger fight for greater control over our lives free from the state and church. It is also a class issue because the denial of free access to abortion in Ireland both North and South particularly affects working class women who are forced in travel abroad. However, private clinics are no long term solution to free, safe abortion on demand starting with the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. The opening of this clinic will serve to highlight and challenge the ambiguous nature of the current legislation.

The WSM has been active in pro-choice struggles over the last decade. In our position paper on Abortion rights we believe:
‘Women's biology, pregnancy and child-bearing has copper-fastened our inferior position in capitalist society. This has been extended so that we are also stuck with child rearing and child-minding within the family. Therefore women's access to work, education, leisure and any chance of self-advancement has been strictly limited. This is especially true for working class women.
Women have always tried to control their own fertility. Anti-abortion laws have resulted in back-street abortions and induced miscarriages. World-wide, one woman dies from a back-street abortion every three minutes. Winning full control over our own fertility is an essential step towards ending women’s' oppression. The technology has been developed under capitalism to make this both safe and possible. Women must have the right to use this technology to decide if and when to have children.
We support a woman's access to full, free and safe contraception. If she finds herself pregnant but does not wish to have a child then she should have access to free, safe abortion on request.
We believe in real options and real choices for women. A woman who wants to have a child shouldn't have to spend the rest of her life looking after it. This is why we favour the option of full child-care provision paid for by the state, maternity leave and flexi-time for working, public crèche facilities and restaurants. The present role of many women as full-time unpaid child-minders within the family must be ended.
A woman who finds herself pregnant and does not wish to remain so should have a right to free, safe abortion on demand. This is not an abstract political slogan, we don't go around shouting "free abortion on demand" in the belief that it can only be gained in the context of a socialist revolution. We believe that it is merely one of the basic first steps in freeing women from the constraints placed on us by capitalism.’
Over the coming days, weeks and months the anti-choice lobby will be out in force to oppose the clinic. It is important that we rally behind this clinic and show our support.
Check out
A recent decriminalise abortion demo in Belfast.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Austerity Isn't Working!

This Saturday, October 20th, the march and rally in Belfast takes place at the Arts College at 11am moving on to Custom House Square at 12.30.

Union-supplied buses will be leaving Derry from Foyle Street at 9am however places need to be booked via the various union representatives.  Return times will vary but buses should be back in town around 5pm again. Again places have to be booked so make sure you've got a place.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Bus for Oct. 20th Demo Planned

Postering in town next week, ahead of the October 20th demonstration in Belfast. Meeting point for posters at same place.

As for the Oct. 20th demo, so far there will be union-supplied buses leaving Foyle Street at 9am on the day - back in town around 5pm again. Places have to be booked by contacting your union or rep in the trades council.

Derry: Conversations on Anarchism

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Peadar O'Donnell Weekend 2012

Workers Solidarity Movement will be attending this years Peadar O'Donnell Weekend 2012 in the Rosses area of West Donegal. 

Hope to see you there if you can make it, as we will be providing an anarchist bookstall as part of a number of events organized for the weekend, so drop by and say hello and pick up some free anarchist info or buy a book.

For a closer look at Peadar O'Donnell and an Irish anarchist take on his politics, click on the following like: Peadar O'Donnell & the Spanish Revolution

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Stormont rubber stamps Welfare Reform Bill

Anyone with any illusions in Stormont as a 'progressive' alternative to Tory cuts from Westminster should take note after yesterday’s passing of the devastating Welfare reform bill.  The motion which will impact on thousands in NI and affect disability living allowance, housing benefit and employment support was passed in the second stage by 60 votes to 42. This biggest shakeup of the 'welfare' since 1945 has already been passed in Scotland and Wales and will bring in a single, Universal Credit to replace six income-related, work-based benefits.

In Northern Ireland 9,000 people are likely to be affected by the cuts to housing benefit. When it comes to social housing, people will no longer be able to live in houses with more bedrooms than they need. For example, if a single person is living in a two-bedroom flat, they will no longer receive the same amount of housing benefit. So to stay in the same property they would have to make up the shortfall in rent from their benefits.

The Disability Living Allowance will change to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people of working age but DLA will be retained for children and pensioners. That will mean all 118,000 working-age people currently on DLA in Northern Ireland will be reassessed and receive PIP instead.
 As NIPSA’s Deputy General Secretary, Alison Millar stated:

"At a time when unemployment is rising in Northern Ireland it is not appropriate that the Assembly are debating how to take £500m annually out of the NI economy. If this Bill is voted through then many more jobs in both the public and private sector will be lost. This cannot be allowed to happen.
Also with unemployment figures rising month on month more families will be faced with a bleak future with cuts to the welfare benefits at a time when they are needed most.”(1)

We should also not be fooled and let Sinn Fein and the SDLP off the hook because the reality is that both parties pushed for amendments and deferral rather than calling for the bill to be scrapped.

If both parties were serious in their opposition to 'Tory cuts' rather than toothless soundbites they could of utilised the so-called Petition of Concern. This technical option is available to any party that is able to garner 30 MLA signatures and means legislation can only be approved if a majority of unionist and nationalist members back it. With Sinn Fein holding sway on the nationalist benches, and the SDLP also willing to sign a petition, it would have guaranteed the fall of the Bill.

The passing of this vicious bill which is a direct assault on the rights and conditions of our class both here and across the UK is part of continuing neo-liberal agenda and re-structuring of capital waged under successive governments. An ongoing process to remove long-standing social-democratic reforms won through years of struggle.

While Stormont has once again proved itself to be rubber stamp for London and cast its colours on the side of the rich and powerful the task for all of us is to build militant opposition in our streets, communities and workplaces to Stormont cut-backs. The gloves are off and the battle lines are clearly marked. The question is what side are you on?