Aileen O'Carroll

Set backs for the pro-choice movement in 1999


OVER THE SUMMER there were developments in the long struggle over women's rights to control their own bodies. Most of them have not been good. In the North a group known as Precious Life succeeded, following a campaign of intimidation, in closing down the Ulster Pregnancy Advisory Association. The association had been in existence for 20 years. They took the decision to close their doors following picketing of the homes of their councillors, who were all volunteers. Their head office was broken into and a fire was started.

The Celtic Tiger - Is This As Good As It Gets? - overview from 1999


The Celtic Tiger is special. It differs from our European neighbours in a number of ways. Firstly, since 1993 it has had an average annual growth rate greater than 8%, that makes it one of the fastest growing economies in the western world. Secondly, while in Europe employment in manufacturing has decreased, in Ireland it has to proved to be one of the main areas of growth. Employment growth is double that of the US and four times that of the EU. The economy is growing, more people are in work.Where has this economic success come from? Much of it is due to the Tiger's ability to attract foreign investment. In the last two decades the amount of money available for global production has multiplied. In 1996 it was estimated that $3,200 billion was available for foreign direct investment. This is the money that the Celtic Tiger has been eager to attract. Ireland has received 40% of all American investment in European electronics since 1980.

Irish Medical Council seeks to silence pro-choice doctors


THE 'PRO-LIFE' MOVEMENT argues that abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a mother. They justify this by inventing a distinction between direct abortion, where the intention is to terminate pregnancy and 'indirect' abortion where the intention is to avoid some life threatening condition. In both cases the medical procedure followed is the same, in both cases the pregnancy is terminated. It is crucial to the 'pro-life' movement that they convince the public that abortion is never medically necessary. Therefore they continue to create this totally semantic distinction between 'direct' and 'indirect' abortion. Some doctors fear that under these terms, medical decisions could be brought through the courts. They would have to consider the threat of disbarment if their 'intention' is interpreted incorrectly. It would be difficult to practice as a doctor under such conditions.

Mujeres Libres


Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women's liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational. Their example shows how the struggle against women's oppression and against capitalism can be combined in one fight for freedom.

As anarchists they rejected any relegation of women to a secondary position within the libertarian movement. In the 1930's feminism had a narrower meaning than it does now, and they rejected it as a theory which fought for 'equality of women within an existing system of privileges'. They argued "We are not, and were not then feminists. We were not fighting against men. We did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a masculine one. It's necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don't we'll never have a social revolution. But we needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves".

Thinking about Anarchism: Organising & Agitating


Educate, agitate, organise. The phrase has been around for years but the ideas it encapsulates are still radical. We live in a world where we are encouraged to be passive. We are all consumers. We watch, we read, we observe, and some of us wait, hope and dream. These words go against the grain. You can't build a revolution by watching from a distance. There comes a point where many decide that they are tired of sitting on the sidelines.

New abortion rights campaign formed


Before Christmas, abortion, once again was in the Irish headlines. Once again it was a teenager who suffered because successive governments have continually avoided introducing legislation which would allow abortion in Ireland.

Mujeres Libres: Free Women of Spain


The women who founded Mujeres Libres were all active within the anarchist movement, in the CNT or in the FIJL, however as women they were in a minority and found it difficult to incorporate more women into the activist core, either because of the sexism of the men, or because of the reluctance of the women or a combination of both.

The Limerick Soviet of 1919


The first problem facing the strikers was how to feed Limericks 38,000 inhabitants. The committee sat in session all of Monday organising food distrubution. The committee was divided into two sections, one to recieve food and one to deliver it. Hundreds of special permits were issued allowing shops to open.

Anarchism and the French Revolution


We can examine the French revolution as a prototype of how revolutions occur and progress. Kropotkin defined it as the "mother of us all ". The ideas and methods of the French Revolution still have relevance to us today

Parents, Poverty & Family values in 1994 Year of the Family


1994 HAS BEEN declared the UN Year of the Family. The Irish Committee for the International Year includes state bodies like the Combat Poverty Agency & the Council for the Status of Women and the Catholic ones like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Family Solidarity were also members but walked out in protest at token places being given to two groups working with single parents. This committee has received £400,000 from Leinster House.

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