Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Derry Taxi Drivers Unionise!

The Independent Workers Union will be holding an information event tonight in Derry in a bid to help local Taxi Drivers unionise. 

At this evenings event independent taxi drivers are said to discuss their current working conditions. 

One local independent taxi representative said that "Tonight's meeting starts at 6pm sharp at the Rosemount Resource Centre which is situated behind 'docs shop' - its open to everyone". 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Conversations about Anarchism: Belfast

Friendly free discussion for people who are new to anarchism & seek answers to basic questions.

Conversations about Anarchism comes to Belfast March 23rd with the first sessions being What are the basics of Anarchism.

Conversations about Anarchism is our friendly discussion based sessions designed for people who are new or fairly new to anarchism and want a chance to ask and hear answered some basic questions. It's open to anyone with an interest in finding out more about anarchism and will take place at Na Croisbhealaí Workers Co-Op, KIng Street, Belfast at 12.30

If you are on Facebook sign up for the event there and ask your friends

Event date and time: 

Sun, 2013-03-03 12:30 - 14:30

Monday, 11 March 2013

Mass Civil Disobedience in North Illuminates Role Of States In Abortion Discussion

In an act of mass civil disobedience directly challenging the legitimacy of the state to regulate women’s reproduction against their own will, over 100 people in Northern Ireland under the banner Alliance for Choice have signed an open letter declaring they have taken, or supported others to take, a pill to induce an abortion.

The political action is designed to coincide with a vote in Stormont tomorrow that, if passed, would make it illegal for women to receive abortions in private clinics in the north. The proposed amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill is being pushed by fundamentalists within what’s traditionally described as “both communities.” The proposal to change the law was tabled by the DUP’s Paul Givan, who chairs the Stormont Justice committee, and the SDLP’s Alban Maginness both of whom will never get pregnant. The Alliance party and Sinn Fein will oppose the amendment.

The act of civil disobedience itself is interesting from many perspectives, not least the way in which a coherent analysis within the letter makes apparent the links between women’s reproductive autonomy and the social/political policies of austerity that function to increase poverty and social inequality within national borders. That analysis is shared by the Pro Choice movements in the south.

Its also throws into stark relief one of the ambiguities of public discussion around abortion in the south. Whilst looking northwards, mainstream media seems to have little problem in conflating religious, social and political perspectives with the function of the state itself. Its one I and other anarchist share, and the contested nature of political identity and structural oppressions that gave rise to both to the civil rights movements as well as the provos make help illuminate that. That the state itself is an ideological entity is a given and assumed, even as the workplace practices of contemporary journalism give little reward or encourage for this to be untangled and explored. Neither is the tactic of civil disobedience in examined beyond the word ‘protest’.

For example this act of civil disobedience forces the northern state – via its police force and criminal justice system - to act or not act in a public fashion. The political act of disobedience is calculated to illuminate and educate about unjust structures of social/political/economic power as well as forcing the state to act in ways that regardless of the specifics, all actors know the state will itself be judged upon by the wider public.
However when looking closer to home, this Irish state seems to be continually framed – and likes to present itself as – ideologically neutral, as if it were a paternal independent arbitrator between two opposing positions. But this self image is patently false and can only be sustained under a social imagination that separates out abortion from the state’s historical role in the systemic abuse of women. But that’s simply not tenable to an increasingly political literate population, nor is it to the growing feminist movements on the island. The state is patriarchal in so far it has continually reproduced social conditions of inequality against women.

The Catholic Church has seen a massive diminishing of it social power, a direct result of the breaking of silence surrounding the systemic brutality that enforced its cultural weight in Irish society. Its “socially conservative” (read deformed, sexually repressive and violent) dogmatism, simultaneously anti-women, anti-homosexuality, is being challenged by an increasingly counter-hegemonic discourse. Woman in the pro choice movements are no longing pleading for control over their own bodies from a church and state nexus which have previously deemed itself the only legitimate authority that can dispense or renege on that autonomy. Many are, quite sensibly, demanding complete autonomy for themselves and each other.

Also the narrative that ‘abortion debate’ revolves around two opposing yet valid abstract moral positions is itself a mispresentation. There is no emotional or intellectual equivalency between the positions of “I dont want to be forced to remain pregnant against my will” and “You should be forced to remain pregnant against your will because I think abortion is ‘bad’”. I have yet to hear a anti abortion argument that doesn’t relegate women’s existence to forced birthing factories. Appeals to God and a paradigm of ethics and morals founded upon his (yes of course his) existence can of course can be made – and as an anarchist I support the freedoms that facilitate that – but they should be given no greater intellectual weight that the musings of Thomas the Tank engine or other fictional entities.  The function of suppressing women’s right to bodily integrity and reproductive choices does need a meta philosophy to justify itself. It is not to role of critically thinking, emotionally literate human beings to do that however.

If you align yourself to the Catholic Church you need to get used to the idea that many people see this as reason enough to reject the idea that you are an ethically coherent and emotionally literate human being. You have some ground to make up given our collective history. Likewise if you are a member of a political organisation that oversaw generations of state sanctioned abuse. And indeed this is also the case if you “believe” in unending economic growth on a planet of finite resources and growing inequality and social injustice. You simply come with too much baggage and too much incoherency to expect your ideas be deemed valid or socially useful merely because you hold them.

What come from this is the basis of a position that makes coherent arguments against state coercion in all its forms, but that also recognises that the state itself is deeply ideological itself, rather than an arbitrator. The tactic of mass civil disobedience has yet to be used within this wave of feminist struggle for social justice in the south. However when that happens, the state itself will be forced to act, and in doing so illuminate part of itself that so far has remained invisible in mainstream media narratives

Heres the letter
Open Letter
We, the undersigned, have either taken the abortion pill or helped women to procure the abortion pill in order to cause an abortion here in Northern Ireland.
We represent just a small fraction of those who have used, or helped others to use, this method because it is almost impossible to get an NHS abortion here, even when there is likely to be a legal entitlement to one.
We know that Stormont Ministers and the Public Prosecution Service are aware that such abortions have been taking place in the region for some years, but are unwilling to prosecute for a range of reasons, at least partly to do with not wanting an open debate around the issue of when women here should have a right to abortion.
We are publishing this letter now because of the Givan/Magennis amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill which we believe is aimed at closing down the debate on abortion here, as much as it is about closing down Marie Stopes.
We want to emphasise that medical abortions happen in Northern Ireland on a daily basis but without any medical support or supervision. We were delighted when Marie Stopes came to Belfast as it meant that women who are unwell, and therefore eligible for a legal abortion, can access a doctor to supervise what we have done or helped others to do without medical help.
We live in the only part of the UK that still does not have a childcare strategy. We face huge cuts in children’s living standards if the Assembly passes the Welfare Reform Bill without major amendment. If our politicians showed as much zeal in protecting the lives of children who are already born, perhaps we would have fewer women seeking abortion because of poverty.

Christiane McGuffin, Derry
Bronagh Boyle, Belfast
Goretti Horgan, Derry
Judith Cross, Belfast
Siusaidh Laoidhigh, Belfast
Roisin Barton, Derry
Virginia Santini, Belfast
Julia Black, Derry
Natalie Biernat, Derry
Adrianne Peltz, Bangor
Elizabeth Byrne McCullough, Belfast
Naomi Connor, Belfast
Catherine Couvert, Belfast
Caitlin Ni Chonaill, Belfast
Helen McBride, Armagh
Wendy McCloskey, Derry
Alice Lyons, Bangor
Maev McDaid, Derry
Janet Shepperson, Belfast
Mary Breslin, Derry
Anita Gracey, Belfast
Grainne Boyle, Belfast
Catherine Rush, Derry
Yvette Wilders, Limavady
Deirdre Kelly, Derry
Sarah Wright, Belfast
Sharon Meenan, Derry
Shannon O’Connell, Bangor
Ciara Smyth, Belfast
Shannon Sickels, Belfast
Jason Brannigan, Belfast
Connor Kelly, Derry
Claire Hackett, Belfast
James Doherty, Derry
Jill Letson, Derry
Noella Hutton, Derry
Glen Rosborough, Derry
Ann Harley, Derry
Ryan McKinney, Belfast
Kieran Gallagher, Derry
Jeanette Hutton, Derry
Julie Rogan, Derry
Matt Collins, Belfast
Pat Byrne, Derry
Susan Power, Derry
Aisling Gallagher, Belfast
Betty Doherty, Derry
Mel Bradley, Derry
Edward Gary Hill, Belfast
Sha Gillespie, Derry
Abby Oliveira, Derry
Joanne Butler, Derry
Majella Keys, Derry,
Gerard Stewart, Belfast
Maisie Sharkey, Derry
Orlagh Ni Leid, Belfast
M. Campbell, Derry
Tiarnan O Muilleoir, Belfast
Laura McFeely, Derry
Brenda Graham, Derry
Janet Shepperson, Belfast
Donna McFeely, Derry
Daisy Mules, Derry
Malachai O’Hara Belfast
Eileen Webster, Derry
Véronique Altglas, Belfast
Dianne Kirby, Derry
Helen Quigley, Derry
Sadie Fulton, Belfast
Aaron Murray, Derry
Aoife McNamara, Co.Down
Eileen Blake, Derry
Diana King, Derry
Paula Leonard, Killea
Kitty O’Kane, Derry
Sara Greavu, Derry
Eve Campbell, Derry
Katherine Rowlandson, Derry
Justine Scoltock, Derry
Eamonn McCann, Derry
Catrin Greaves, Belfast
Anita Villa, Derry
Caolan Brown, Derry
Asha Faria-Vare, Belfast
Chrissie Kavanagh, Derry
Elaine Power, Derry
Maria Caddell, Belfast
David Stewart Campbell, Lisburn
Ellie Drake, Belfast
Lisa Byrne, Derry
Siobhan Doherty, Derry
Stella Green, Belfast
Jim Collins, Derry
Guy Hetherington, Belfast
Amos Gideon, Belfast
Stephen Connolly , Belfast
Catriona Acherson, Belfast
Timothy Lavety, Belfast
Ellen Wilson, Belfast
Richard Bailie, Belfast
Manuela Moser, Belfast

The letter contains signatures of 100 individuals from Northern Ireland who have accessed or helped women to access illegal (under Section 58 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861) abortion pills, such as those available from Women on Web (WoW).

Since the letter was published, the following names have been added:
Emma Campbell, Belfast
Judith Thurley BA (Hons) RGN, Belfast
Lynda Walker, Belfast
Claire McCann
Lily Hendron, Coleraine
Nick Ní Fhéasóg
Claire Molloy, Belfast
Peter McCormack, Belfast
Áine Jackman, Belfast
Seanín Ní Connalláin, Belfast
Ruth Wilson, Belfast

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hugo Chavez is dead

Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has had a similar impact on the world stage – praised by those seeking radical change; attacked by those connected with business and financial institutions. Chavez is former army officer and was first elected to power in 1998. Despite repeated efforts at destabilising his regime, including one almost successful coup attempt, he has remained in power. He is widely hailed among Venezuela’s poor and in 2004 survived a rightwing inspired referendum aimed at driving him from office.

The rise to power of Morales, Chavez and Lula (among others) has come at the end of a long and sustained period of conservative rule in the Latin American region. Brutal dictatorship, fixed elections and repression have been repeatedly used to stem any popular pressure for change. However since the early 90s and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a gradual and slow return to normality. Although open and fairer elections have been back in favour, all they have resulted in is the imposition of neo-liberal policies in the region. The disastrous impact of these policies – privatisations, cutbacks, and subsidies of the wealthy - together with the overwhelming and persistant sense that nothing has really changed in the region is feeding this new upsurge in electorate support for what are perceived to be ‘radical’ left leaders.

The victories then, in this sense, are important in terms of what they represent. Popular movement are recovering their confidence and the election successes reflect the fact that people want and demand change. But the biggest question of all remains – what can be achieved through electoral successes?

Will a popular movement survive Hugo Chavez in Venezuela or will he turn out to have been another Caudillo?

Workers Solidarity Movement 

International Women's Day Vigil for Marian Price

International Women's Day vigil in Solidarity with Marian Price in Derry. 

Gathering at 7.30pm Thursday March 7th, at Free Derry Corner, Derry. 

Please forward. Please Attend. 

Free Marian Price Now!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

City of Counter Culture

For the past few years now Anarchists in Derry have come together to promote the politics of class struggle anarchism, as well as our activities, news and opinions from across the North West. We are involved in a number of different projects from workplace and community campaigns, prisoner support and antifascist solidarity. 

We are currently organising a series of open discussion on anarchism in the form of a conversation around a set of questions. The idea is to create a space where people interested in finding out about anarchism can have a relaxed conversation with each other.

If you would like to get involved with Derry Anarchists or participate in the open discussions then email us at: derryanarchists@gmail.com

A statement from the Price McGlinchey Family

A Chairde,

It's been 21 months since Marian was arrested and imprisoned - we hope to step up the campaign for her release in the coming weeks. As Marian’s family we are grateful both for your continuing support and your respect and understanding of the pressures we are under.
This email address - freemarianpricecampaign@gmail.com - has been set up as a central point of outgoing information from Marian’s family to those who are actively supporting the campaign for her release.

All information included in the e-mails will be for use in the public domain and should be shared as widely as possible to help co-ordinate and strengthen the Free Marian Price Campaign.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and for your tireless work in the distribution of all news, events and updates on your sites - it is much appreciated and we feel by engaging with you through this email we will increase publicity for the campaign by contributing and adding to the great network already in place.

Supporters are asked to keep Marian’s family updated on the actions you are taking and the outcome of any lobbying work by sending clear, brief and factual updates to this address.

Please be aware that incoming mail will not be replied to unless necessary and no press requests to this e-mail address will be responded to.

Abusive mail will be reported.

Please keep an eye out for future statements in the coming weeks and please share any email addresses with us for anyone you are in contact with who is involved in facebook, twitter or other web campaigns in support of the Free Marian Price Campaign.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh!

The Price McGlinchey family.

Friday, 1 March 2013

G8 Campaign Gathering - Enniskillen

Fermanagh Campaign Group invites all G8 Protest activists to an Gathering to discuss ideas and make contact with the local grassroots campaign. Please share widely!

Hands Off Our Homes! - Public Meeting Derry

Talk by Marina Vishmidt and screening of Liberty, Equality... Maternity?

London-based theorist Marina Vishmidt will present an overview of how the management of women's reproductive capacity relates to the kind of gendered labour women have done in capitalism, historically and in the present. Her talk will consider the question of how gender counts in the way our society reproduces itself materially and normatively. Alongside Vishmidt's talk, reproductive rights activists from Derry and Dublin will provide updates on their campaigns.

Presentations will be followed by a discussion on ways of bringing together labour and reproductive rights struggles as both being issues of social reproduction, and what kind of feminism is most helpful here. There will also be a screening of the short film Liberty, Equality... Maternity? (Biased Tapes, 1985).

7pm Thurs. 7th March, CCA Building, 10-12 Artillery Street, BT48 6RG