Economy

Derry Public Sector Cuts: Workplace and Community Solidarity, Not Electoral Promises

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As part of the forth coming series of strike actions next month by public sector workers across the north, trade unionists and community activists held solidarity march and rally in Derry today in an effort to highlight workers concerns. Speaker after speaker condemned continued attacks on working class communities by Stormont politicians united in their efforts to implement Tory Cuts ‘in the name of austerity’.

One final speaker, a Dublin based community activist engaged in the fight back South of the border, gave provoking examples of how working class communities their have rallied together, stood up and fought back on many different occasions over the past number of years, which in turn has inspired thousands to do the same.

Post Syriza Election - Markets Demonstrate Futility of the Electoralist Road

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The election of the radical left party Syriza in Greece has demonstrated how democracy and the capitalist market are enemies of each other. Far from accepting the democratic result of the election the response of the markets has been to try and make the mild anti-austerity measures on which Syriza was elected impossible.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Thinks Own Government’s Policies may be ‘Morally wrong’ – Vows to Continue

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Speaking at the launch of the government’s Low Pay Commission, Kenny said that “It is morally unacceptable for families with people in work to be experiencing poverty”. He did not however announce the abolition of the water charge, the property tax or that the bondholders would not be paid back in order to address this problem. Neither did he, nor Joan Burton, who accompanied him at the launch announce the end of the Jobbridge indentured servitude scheme, where unemployed people get fifty euro for a full week’s work.

Neither was there an announcement that clerical workers in public services would see an end of the pension levies and the universal social charge that have driven so many to the point where they were forced to claim family income supplement.

It is also noteworthy that Enda only thinks it’s morally wrong for those in paid employment to experience poverty, and it is quite clear from looking at government policy over the last four years, that this is the consensus amongst the cabinet. You only have value if you are making a profit for someone else or if you are working to ensure the cogs of government keep turning – though, not that much value.

 

Right to Plunder the Economy, Not Right to Protest

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This morning squads of Garda around Dublin mounted dawn raids on the houses of water charges protesters over a sit in 3 months ago in Jobstown. At the same time across the city bankers and other speculators named in the HSBC Geneva Private Bank leaks slept soundly in their beds knowing no one was going to be knocking down their door. If you want to understand the nature of power the contrast provides an excellent example.

The raids this morning were all about what the politicians' spin doctors like to call optics. Politicians, media and the Gardaí are on a drive to criminalise and marginalise those resisting the imposition of water charges. Sit ins and blockades have been part of political protest in Ireland for decades, the IFA routinely has far more militant protests.

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Will Syriza Pull Down Temple on ECB?

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Do we live in an economy or in a society? Last night Europe's central bankers sent the clear message they expect us to be the well behaved slaves of an economy rather than equals in a society. Less then two weeks after the Greeks had elected an anti-austerity government the ECB in effect told them they intended to block the promises of change that government was elected on.

Last night the ECB stopped the use of Greek sovereign bonds as collateral in borrowing from the ECB. In doing so they were sending a clear message that they expect the new Syriza/ANEL government in Greece to completely abandon the anti-austerity promises they were elected on. If they fail to obey the unelected central bankers then this policy change was intended to indicate a willingness to allow the collapse of the Greek banking system, something that would have disastrous effects in Greece but also across the rest of the EU.

Global 1% to Own 50% of Wealth by 2016 - Enough Is Enough

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There is something fundamentally wrong with this system when 80 people can have the same amount of wealth as what 3.6 billion people have between them. The figures from Oxfam’s latest report show that the rich really are getting richer and that the poor are getting poorer.

There are many factors we can attribute to this trend; globalization, out-sourcing, the breaking of labour power through the breaking of the unions in the Reagan-Thatcher era that labour never recovered from. Ultimately it falls down to the growing strength of capitalism and therefore the growing strength of the other harmful power structures that it has to support it. Included in these is racism, cheap labour from immigrants or as in many cases slave labour, as well as sexism, with gender being the division of labour. Both of these things, racism and sexism (to name only a few) come from policies implemented at the top of society that are targeted at the rest of us.
 

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.

Irish Chamber of Commerce Puts Profit Before Right to Protest

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The spokesperson for the Irish Chamber of Commerce has said 'We'd never deny people the right to protest - but the protest has to be done and managed in a way that causes minimal disruption to businesses', citing revenue lost by the massive anti-water charges demonstration on December 10th.

We cannot tolerate such anti-democratic statements. The crux of this position is that we can have some semblance of democratic rights and freedoms, but we have to remember that money comes first. The essential condition is that businesses have the maximum ability to make profits, even if it means curtailing protest.

Sindo front page belies ESRI report: Austerity for Most, Good Life for Some

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The Denis O'Brien media published a remarkably badly considered Sunday Independent magazine cover story trying to convince us the good times were back. The reality as demonstrated by a recent ESRI report is that while Budget 2015 did indeed make those on high incomes richer it made most people poorer and hit the poorest 10% hardest of all.

The years of crisis have been used to impose a shock doctrine of neo-liberal restructuring of society in Ireland. Our health services have not just been destroyed but it's become all too common to see people trying to fundraise for needed surgery through online fundits. People are sleeping on the streets in freezing conditions right beside buildings which have remained empty for years after being bought up by property speculators. Tens of thousands of young people have been forced to emigrate, tens of thousands more forced onto Jobsbridge - a scheme that provides a massive subsidy to employers at our expense.

Fighting The Water Charge – Non-payment the only way to win after huge Oct 11th mobilisation

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Saturday last, 11th October, saw tens of thousands take to the streets of Dublin in a powerful, colourful and vibrant display of opposition to the Irish government’s attempts to impose water charges.

The numbers who turned out were so large and took everybody by surprise to such an extent that nobody – media, gardai or organisers – could give an accurate estimate of actual numbers.  Estimates varied from 30,000 to 100,000, but whatever the exact figure was it was clear that this was the start of something huge.  

It was an energising and invigorating protest to be part of.  From well before the start time, people were arriving in their droves at Parnell Square.  To see groups of people arriving in by bus from all over the city and from around the country was inspiring and should have a huge impact on the political confidence of all those who took part.

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