Saturday, 31 January 2015

Unmasking InJustice

Last night's meeting organised by the Bloody Sunday March Committee in Derry titled 'Unmasking Injustice' played host to local campaigns for justice, speakers included Francie McGuigan of the ‘Hooded Men’ and Packy Carty of the 'Craigavon Two' campaign.

Again this was yet another well attended and emotional event that shed more light into both past and present terror tactics of the state and what it's capable of in order to assert its control. Sadly, as we now know, such tactics developed here in Ireland have been practiced, taught and implemented the world over by countless regimes today. 

As we prepare for this years Bloody Sunday March for Justice on Sunday 1st February in Derry, it is worth remembering the words of the late Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four, who even after his release from prison continued to highlight similar campaigns for justice when he said "What happens to one of us, can happen to all of us... "We Should All Be Concerned About This!"

For more information into these ongoing campaigns for justice, please check out the links below.
Hooded Men: http://the14hoodedmen.blogspot.co.uk/

Justice for the Craigavon Two:

https://www.facebook.com/JFTC2

Further details on Bloody Sunday events and the March For Justice click on to: www.bloodysundaymarch.org

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Could All Bigots Please Rise

Last July, a story broke that a bakery that is part of a chain called Ashers was approached by a gay rights activist and asked to bake a cake that had a picture of Bert and Ernie on it with the words “Support Gay Marriage”. Instead of simply baking the cake as requested it was reported to head office with the result being that the cake goes against the Christian ethos of the business and that they would not be baking it.
Some six weeks later the general manager of the Newtownabbey branch, Daniel McArthur, received a letter from the Equality Commission telling him that he had discriminated against a customer on the grounds of sexual orientation, he was asked how he would recompense the customer and that he had 7 days to respond or the Commission would pursue legal action.

Shortly after the story broke the DUP’s Paul Givan called for a “Conscience Clause” to be added into the equality legislation, that there should be a legal exemption from the legislation on the grounds on religion. What he means is, if your God or your pastor/priest tells you to be a bigot then you have legitimate grounds to go and do so. The First Minister, Peter Robinson, claims that he wants a tolerant society so naturally he backs the initiative that would only lead to more homophobia in an already crippling heteronormative society. He claims that we must “include provisions to ensure that those with deeply held religious views are protected” – but let’s set all the bigots on the queers.

The straight, white, predominantly middle class and male DUP boggle the mind even further by talking about a ”hierarchy of rights” and that “gay rights” are on top of that hierarchy.

Contrary to this view, in the 6 counties same-sex marriage is still illegal and is the only part of the UK where this ban is still in place. The DUP have voted against the legalisation of same-sex marriage three times, the most recent being in April last year. This ban was highlighted very recently when a Scottish couple, John and Sean Vernon were prohibited from converting their civil partnership into a marriage. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act stipulates that the civil partnership must be converted to a marriage in the same country that the partnership took place.



A slim majority (50.5%) of people are in favour of same-sex marriage, when you take out the “Don’t Knows” according to a Belfast Telegraph poll. More Protestants are in favour of the legalisation than Catholics are – it probably doesn’t help when one of their past spiritual leaders branded queers “disordered moral evils”. Unsurprisingly, the greatest support came from those of no religion.

There is also a ban on gay men donating blood in the North. The ban was lifted in the rest of the UK in 2011 and stipulated that so long as the donator has not had sex with another man for a year they are free to donate blood. The North’s health minister at the time, the DUP’s Edwin Poots refused to lift the ban and when challenged on this in court claimed that he was acting in the interests of public health and claimed that “There is a continual battering of Christian principles” – hardly a health issue.

His successor, Jim Wells (also of the DUP), is even more unlikely to lift the ban as someone who branded “those who take part in this march [Gay Pride] totally repugnant” and also said that “My position on this matter will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time.”

Not to mention Wells’ draconian stance on abortion and his vehement opposition for even allowing rape victims access to an abortion.

The DUP are literally the heteropatriarchy. They have 38 MLAs in Stormont – only 5 are women. Statistically they are the worst party in the executive for female inclusion with only 13%. They also have no policy to improve this figure.

I did contact them asking what their gender ratio was among members and financial supporters – unsurprisingly I received no reply.

Not only do they have no policy on improving their female MLA figures they have no policy on creating a more inclusive society for women. They have no policy to reduce racism – they prefer to add to it instead by defending Islamophobic hate speech and saying that such speech is acceptable by trusting them to “go down to the shops” for them and trust them to give back the correct amount of change.

Their policy on queers is now quite clear: legalize all bigotry against them and if worse comes to worst say you’re religious.

No good effect will come from the Conscience Clause, all it will do is further embed homophobia and heteronormativity in our society. Certain businesses will be open to “normal” people but closed shut for “abnormal” people.

If this is really about religious belief, do Ashers refuse to make birthday cakes for children born out of wedlock?

The Conscience Clause is a license for people who chose a faith to bully people who did not choose to be gay. Any who utilise the Clause are sending out a message to the victims that they’re not good enough to avail of the business’s service like everyone else and to find another business that can stomach them.
According to statistics by the Rainbow Project, 98% of LGB people hear homophobic language in school, 30% also report that they have heard it from an adult. 65.3% of gay or bisexual men were subjected to homophobic bullying with 84.5% of them considering suicide, 35.3% attempting suicide and 41.2% of them self-harming. Yet the DUP only wants to protect those with “deeply held religious views” and have had the nerve to call this case against Ashers bakery as “verging on bullying”.

Four members of the DUP are on the All Party Group on Mental Health – obviously they are only interested in the mental health of straight people – preferably the mental health of straight white middle-class men.
Homophobia is a policy designed at the top of society and tailored to infiltrate the masses as a way of dividing us and it will undoubtedly rise if the Conscience Clause passes. This is effectively the institutionalization and legalization of homophobia.

We must separate church and state – the religious cannot continue to exercise control over our lives and in the case of half the population, our uteruses. If this was anywhere else in the World Peter Robinson would no longer be First Minister, if not for his Islamophobia but for his homophobia as well.

What we should be aiming for here, however, is not the thwarting of the conscience clause but destroying the views that made it acceptable to even suggest it. The whole system is based on these views as well as classist, sexist, racist and disablist views. All of these oppressive institutions are tightly bound together and by highlighting where they intersect and how they intersect it gives us a greater scope and means to tear them all down.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

RESIST: Bloody Sunday 2015



This year marks the 43rd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a day in which 14 innocent people were murdered on the streets of Derry as the British State sent in Paratroopers to break up a peaceful a civil rights march through the city on 30 January 1972.

Workers Solidarity Movement support the call for people to attend and support all Bloody Sunday commemorative events throughout the week from talks, film screenings and exhibitions which concludes with the annual 'March for Justice' on Sunday 1st February.

For anarchists, socialists or any others who claim to have any sense of social justice today, it is vital that we continue to stand in solidarity with those murdered on Bloody Sunday and in doing so support the continuing struggle as their relatives and the people of Derry march for justice.   In doing so, we take a stand with all who defy state terror and exercise the right to protest, be it here on the streets of Derry or in Ferguson or in Palestine.

For further details of this year’s events, visit: www.bloodysundaymarch.org

 Also:
Bloody Sunday in Derry - Origins & Consequences of a Massacre

Friday, 23 January 2015

Anarchists in Derry

Before Christmas we sent out an email to people in both Derry and the North West region who have shown an interest in the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM). If you are interested in the politics of the WSM and anarchism or even finding out more about what anarchism actually is then please get in touch.

With severe cuts about to be implemented across the North, institutionalised racism and homophobia on the rise we have got to fight against it.

From February anarchists in Derry will be holding a series of introductory discussions on anarchism with anarchist an book and info stall available.

Please feel free to message the page or register here http://www.wsm.ie/user/register

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Resist! Bloody Sunday March for Justice 2015

Resist! Bloody Sunday March for Justice 2015

(This Year's Bloody Sunday Programme of Events)

The Bloody Sunday March for Justice programme of events was launched earlier today. This year’s theme is 'Resist' and the programme will reflect the resistance to continued attacks on civil rights and liberties weather in Ferguson USA, Palestine, Dublin, Belfast or indeed here in Derry itself. The programme for 2015 will continue the tradition of acting as an inclusive platform for the seemingly disparate ongoing campaigns concerning the people of these islands and beyond.

As in previous years it is a time to join together, make connections and raise our voices in solidarity. Some of the highlights of this year’s programme can be seen below. A completed programme will be available at www.bloodysundaymarch.org from next week.

Thursday, 22nd January City Hotel 7.30pm
’Where does the Stormont Agreement leave the Bloody Sunday Investigation’

Bernadette McAliskey (chair) with an invited panel of speakers to include Liam Wray, brother of Bloody Sunday murder victim Jim Wray.

Thursday, 29th January, City Hotel 7.30 pm

’Unmasking Injustice - from the Hooded Men to the Craigavon Two’
Bernadette McAliskey (chair), Francie McGuigan (former hooded man), Packy Carty from Justice For The Craigavon Two and Darragh Mackin KRW Law

Saturday, 31st January, Pilots Row Community Centre 12 noon
Resist!

Diane Greer (Chair), other speakers confirmed include Mary McManus Housing and Welfare Rights Belfast, Louie, performance artist and Yes Campaign Glasgow, and the Revered Sekou Osagyeyfo from Ferguson USA

Saturday, 31st January, Pilots Row Community Centre 2.30 pm
’The State We're In’

Speakers include Patrick Murphy (Irish News), Kitty Holland (Irish Times) and Brian Feeney (Irish News)

Saturday, 31st January, Nerve Centre, Magazine Derry 7.30 pm

’No Justice, No Peace – From Guantánamo Bay to Ferguson USA’
Chair Eamonn McCann, speakers include: former Guantánamo Bay internee Moazzam Begg and the Reverend Sekou Osagyeyfo from Ferguson, who will speak about the killing of the young black man Michael Brown by the Missouri state police.

Sunday, 1st February, Creggan Shops 2.30 pm
Annual March & Rally for Justice

This year’s march will finish at Guildhall Square in Derry City Centre where we are delighted to announce that the Reverend Sekou Osagyeyfo from Ferguson USA and the anti-austerity, anti-water charges TD Clare Daly TD will address the rally.

Further information on our website: www.bloodysundaymarch.org

Monday, 5 January 2015

Who do they think they are fooling?

In response to the recent bullshit coming out of Stormont:
The State, in all its brutality, has to create certain artificial social antagonisms in order to justify its existence. In the Six Counties, one of these antagonisms is sectarianism; not only are we divided into hostile classes but we are also divided into hostile religions, or cultures etc. Beyond the Green, White and Orange and Red, White and Blue displays, the ruling parties of the north rarely differ in politics. We maintain that the reason for their recent amplified disagreements is that elections are on their way and that this system is based on sectarianism (among other oppressions) and that they must use the foundations on which it stands to ensure their survival in the political foreground.

If one or even both of these ruling parties were to be shafted it can be said with some confidence that nothing would change for the majority of the population. It would more than likely still be a green party on one side and an orange party on the other – or possibly green and orange coalitions - with tit-for-tat politics on loop. While they’re busy putting on a show for us about flags or parades racism is becoming more and more prevalent, the wage gap is increasing and mental health issues are on the rise.

With talk of NI Water being sold and water chargers being introduced in the North it is clear that Sinn Féin are working overtime putting on two shows a night, one north of the border and another south of it. At least the DUP is more honest about who they are; right-wing bigots.

Cuts are on their way and while the mainstream media and the government almost make it look like a victimless policy but the truth is that we are going to be hit hard with them. Political change follows economic change but our rulers are hoping that if they play on sectarianism enough then the political change will stagnate. This can only lead to an increase in sectarianism and we must resist. We must resist everything that divides us as a class; division serves the rulers, not us.

Of course there is always the (slim) chance that smaller left parties and independents come into power but would they really beable to make any difference? As anarchists our answer can only be no.

While classical Marxism maintains that a state dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary to transition to a classless society this negates a critical analysis of the state and its functions. The state, in whatever form, is founded upon slavery, violence, lies, treachery and deceit – and all these things must be used to maintain it. Quite plainly, the state is what it is; the defender of old privilege/creator of new privilege and a means to exploit the masses. A creation of a new state will require a new privilege group of people, or class, whose function is to maintain its rulership.

We cannot use an oppressive tool for our liberation; the means shape the ends. We don’t want a centralised government made up of a minority ruling a majority, no matter how “socialist”. We can’t just pick and choose which power structures we like; they all work to support one and other. Only with the abolition of power can we be free. As an oppressed group of people we should have no interest in swapping one set of masters for another.