March for Choice 2017 - report & video

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Saturday the 30th of September 2017 will go down as a high point in the fight for abortion rights in the Republic, and that is a struggle that stretches back decades. Years of campaigning and maintaining a focus on the issue, saw a massive crowd of nearly 30,000 people take to the streets for the annual March for Choice as organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). The calls are for action, and the need for Repeal of the 8th Amendment.

Dublin protest against police repression of Catalan referendum - video

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Following on the attacks by the Spanish police on the Catalan referendum there was a solidarity protest called in Dublin at short notice with well over 100 people attending. [Video]

 

The text below was read out from Alfred, CUP activist and member of the cooperative social centre LA BAULA. 

Catalonia anarchists - We choose to fight. - On October 3rd, everyone on general strike

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Unions, organizations and groups that sign this call want to let all the working and popular classes know our stance on the different events that have taken place during the last days on the streets in our cities and towns.

For some years we have witnessed how the rise in tension in a – already historical – conflict has been taken advantage of to cut back the fundamental rights of the people. We come from a strong political and syndical tradition that has historically stood up for the rights and the freedom of the oppressed class and has also taken the streets whenever it has been necessary in order to grab from those in power everything we need to become protagonists in our present and future.

Delete the 8th - no restrictive wordings

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The delaying is almost over and a date for a referendum to finally overturn the 8th amendment has almost been confirmed. But - as expected - the government are now publicly threatening to present a wording other than the one needed - a vote to remove the anti-choice Article 40.3.3.

The media are reporting that the government are instead trying to somehow present a referendum that would include the terms abortion could be accessed under. Essentially the overwhelmingly old, male and conservative government do not want to follow the recommendations given by the very body they set up to avoid such responsibility. The creation of the Citizens Assembly was clearly imagined by the government as a way a new, very restrictive, anti-choice regime could be created in the aftermath of the referendum and presented as ‘the people’s will’.

However it turned out when 100 random people heard weeks of expert testimony they decided the reasonable moderate position was the one where restrictions on pregnant people would be removed or at least minimised. To the anti-choice extremists in power this was unexpected, they were only willing to concede movement on the very edges of the extreme anti-choice laws under which pregnant people and doctors face a 14 year jail sentence.

Anti-choice dirty tricks - fake posters removed in Dublin

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With the referendum not even definitively announced the anti-women bigots are already up to dirty tricks. This image of fake posters removed from Dublin's Pearse st this morning was tweeted by Sharon ✨ @sharmander_says a couple of hours ago. If you spot similar posters we suggest you remove them and message us a photo and the location and time they were spotted.  We would also be very interested in any information on who put these up.

This just underlines the importance of a massive turnout on Saturday's March for Choice, Parnell sq, 14.00.

Pro Life is a Lie - dismantling the anti-choice spin

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When pro-choice militants argue that their struggle is the continuation of a historical fight against the oppression of women, they are met with a pro-life movement which attempts to symmetrically paint itself as fighting for the rights of ‘‘the unborn child’’, a category which would otherwise remain defenseless and be sentenced to life or death by their bearers.

But both sides are far from holding symmetrical views. For one thing, while people who can get pregnant initiated the pro-choice movement, there is no doubt embryos didn’t start the pro-life movement. No pro-life advocate would deny this trivial statement, if anything they would use the voicelessness of “the unborn” as an argument to emphasise the unfair nature of abortion rights.

While it is easy to understand why one group would be motivated to fight for their own interests, explaining why a group would me motivated to fight on behalf of another group is not as straightforward. Pro-life advocates would have us believe that they are fighting for the “unborn child” first and foremost out of a strong sense of empathy and out of an unremitting commitment to defend the human right to life. The problem is that this is demonstrably untrue. Far from being satisfying explanations, empathy and adhesion to moral principles don’t even qualify as partial explanations for the commitment of pro-life advocates.

New pro-choice group launched in Kildare

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A new pro-choice group has formed in county Kildare to campaign for the Repeal of the 8th Amendment. The 'Kildare Coalition to Repeal the 8th' is comprised of people new to activism as well as veteran organisers. Around 20 people attended the first county-wide meeting last Thursday.

The new group has already gotten up posters in north and south Kildare for the big pro-choice march this Saturday as well as having articles placed in local papers. Hundreds of leaflets have been handed out and a coffee morning was held in north Kildare to raise funds. They plan to affiliate with the national Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

The county wide group will be meeting monthly to coordinate the efforts of local pro-choice groups throughout Kildare. Look out for their county banner on Saturday.
If you are from Kildare and would like to get involved, you can contact them at this email address: kildare4Repeal@gmail.com

The pro-choice & feminist movement in Greece with relevance to Ireland

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The legal right for abortion in Greece was established in 1986. Trying to find more info about this time and by digging into Greek feminist history, I bumped into that article about feminists and their struggles. I came out of my research feeling positive and empowered. Sometimes, when people get involved in struggles to bring about change, they forget that things don’t really change that easily. The articles I found made clear that that abortion rights were achieved in law only after years of women’s struggles. The same holds true in Greece, not only for abortion rights but for contraception and divorce rights. It is difficult now to imagine that only 31 years ago people were fighting for these basic rights.

Image banner says: "Get the laws off our bodies"

Emergency gas flaring at Corrib refinery as unscented raw gas allowed into grid

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Emergency gas flaring has had to take place at the Corrib refinery because unscented gas was allowed into the national grid. Terence Conway of Shell to Sea reports from the gates of the refinery in the video.

Lessons for Ireland from the Pro-Choice movement in Italy

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I moved to Ireland from Italy shortly after the Strike4Repeal of the 8th of March, a mass mobilisation on the streets of Dublin in protest of Ireland’s archaic abortion laws, which I followed closely on social media. While still in Italy, I had been involved in organising a successful feminist demonstration in the city where I lived, on that same date (International Women’s Day), and I felt deep sympathy and admiration for the Irish pro-choice activists and the amazing work they were carrying out. At first glance it was unbelievable to me that in a western-European country people still had to take the streets to demand access to abortion. While the Irish situation initially felt like something I could not relate to, I soon remembered where I was from and I had to think twice: despite abortion being legal in my home country, safe and effective access to abortion service is currently utopia.

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