Culture

The Sunday Independent is an attack on Democracy

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The Sunday Independent hasn't changed one bit since William Martin Murphy used it to vilify Jim Larkin and the locked out workers of 1913. These days, the anti-working class rag, now owned by Denis O'Brien's Independent News and Media group, uses it's influence to attack anti-water charge protesters. 

Today's front page couldn't be topped for sensationalism, "Attack on democracy" screams the headline. Yesteryear, Jim Larkin was "Looking for Trouble". Both headlines legitimise state violence against protesters. Both headlines present opponents of the state and big business as a danger to society. 

The real attack on democracy however, is the implementation of a water charge that no government has a mandate to introduce; It is the ripping up of streets to install water meters against the wishes of communities; It is the use of state police and private security to threaten, intimidate and assault protesters; and it is the control of the means of mass communication by a small group of super wealthy individuals. 

Surviving the Propoganda Wars, Social Conditioning in Practice, the Art of Thought Control

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We examine how the media determines and conditions the way that people think.  When faced with broad opposition, we scrutinise how those in power rally behind the banners of no-change in order to keep things the way they are. We also see how they are assisted by the media in this exercise with the ultimate aim of maintaining power, privilege and control of our society.

Can you remember the last time you saw real story being broken in the media or printed press?  When I was a young fellow I naively thought that I’d like to work as a journalist.  You know those secret meetings with whistleblowers in subterranean car parks, all intrigue and mystery, digging for the truth.  I envisioned myself building up a picture of the connections on a cork board, and stripping away at the official story to reveal the truth. I was chasing a dream.  That world doesn’t exist and appears to have flourished only for the briefest of moments, a long time ago.

Disobedience is Humanity's Original Virtue says Oscar Wilde

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'Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue' - Oscar Wilde.

However, there is a prevalent perception counter to Wilde's view which considers conformity and compliance to be virtuous traits. This perception is quite clearly held by most of those at the top our society's hierarchies - be they politicians, top business people, or religious leaders - or at least they want us to embody these passive 'virtues'.

But as Wilde points out, a reading of history clearly shows that it has been disobedience, rebellion, and heresy, which have driven progress over the millennia. It seems almost too obvious to say, because the absence of resistance will obviously lead to nothing changing for the better.
 

Did you know Oscar Wilde was an anarchist?

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Happy Birthday to Oscar Wilde! Born this date - the 16th of October - in 1854 in Dublin, he studied at Trinity, then Oxford, moved to London, living mostly there, and died in penury in Paris 1900. He was a very successful playwright (as well as a journalist, poet, and lecturer), a London celebrity, and is most famous for his play 'The Importance of Being Earnest', novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', epigrams, and, sadly, his persecution for being gay which was his ruination.
 

Though eminently quotable, there was more to Wilde than his turn of phrase and artistic flair. Many know his remark that 'to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all', but few know its proper context. It is quoted from an essay entitled 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism' in which Wilde espouses his politics - those of libertarian socialism. Commonly understood as an apolitical aesthete, Wilde's radical political views are quite a well kept secret - like George Bernard Shaw's socialism, and to a lesser extent George Orwell's socialism. In fact, he signed Shaw's petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested, and later executed, after the Haymarket Affair in Chicago, 1886. Wilde was a huge admirer of the famous Russian anarchist communist Peter Kropotkin, describing him in De Profundis as 'a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia'.

The Garth Brooks panic in Dublin - same politicians ignored X-case for 20 years

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Extraordinary stuff. The Party that failed to act for 20 years on the X-case legislation wanted emergency legislation rushed through the Dail in 24 hours to facilitate a Garth Brooks concert. The concerts now appear to be all cancelled following an announcement from the promoters but the entire episode shows how politicians found great urgency to act when it came to a populist money making cause that they could not locate anywhere when women's lives were under threat.

Review: Iain M. Banks' The Culture series.

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When Iain Banks shuffled off this mortal coil in June of last year, sci-fi geeks in general and lefty sci-fi geeks in particular, mourned the fact that there wasn't a backup copy of his personality stored somewhere. In the universe he created in his acclaimed The Culture series of sci-fi novels, that almost certainly would have been the case. Transplanted into a new body, biological or artificial, or even brought back in virtual reality or as an adjunct to the mind of a Culture ship, he could have continued writing the books we've come to know and love for another few hundred years.
 

Media panel on Manufacturing Consent at DABF 2014 - Audio

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Just how good are the mass media at keeping the rabble in line? This panel from the 2014 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair explores the media’s complicity with the rich and powerful and what we can do about it.

 

A Media panel on Manufacturing Consent at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2014 by Workers Solidarity on Mixcloud

 

Review- Anarchy in a Cold War

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They say you can't judge a book by it's cover. The cover of the book, however, which has a picture of someone's buttocks with a circled A on one butt cheek and the squatter's symbol pretty much told me what was in store.

Internment, parading and the politics of class

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The eruption of conflict and intense rioting in Belfast over the last couple of months is a clear illustration that, no matter what lengths Stormont and the media circus go to to disguise the ugly reality of the ‘peace process’, the scars of the past and frequent eruption of sectarian conflict refuse to go away as political parties play the sectarian card to get one over on their rivals. 

With over 300 police officers apparently injured so far this year, the honeymoon period following a 'successful' G8 conference has long passed - lifting the veil from a colonial sectarian settlement that has delivered a few crumbs to our class while the rich get richer. While at the same time our rulers in Stormont are busy stuffing themselves with £250,000 subsidised food expenses in 2012.

You can't eat a flag - or a border poll

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Over recent weeks we have seen leaders of Nationalism call for border polls while seeing leaders of Unionism once again using a flag to whip up the loyalist working classes.  This further creates division and raises sectarian tensions between Catholic and Protestant neighbours. It also diverts attention away from the issues of socio and economic deprivation, poverty, lack of social and affordable housing and the bread and butter issues of life. Yet these are the issues that day and daily affect working class communities lives the most. Politician’s words promised delivery on such essential issues of concern. And words are all that many have heard, as little change can be seen within many working class communities  The old adage of ‘you can’t eat a flag’ couldn’t be more apt at this time of recession, cuts, job losses and misery for many.

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