Thursday, 29 September 2011

Bad dreams in the eurozone - Austerity, Austerity and not a recovery in sight

How can you expect growth without investment or stimulus packages?  This is question that is screaming to be asked from the European leaders and the ECB who serve up the same policy: menu du jour, austerity slop/soup.   

The policy in poetic form reads thus, Austerity, Austerity, and not a recovery in sight.
Look at the growth figures, or should I say non-growth figures of the Gross Domestic Product for various economies in the second quarter and they only serve to prove this point. The UK 0.2% growth, the USA 0.3% growth, Germany 0.1% growth, the eurozone average is an anaemic 0.2%.   Top of the eurozone charts with growth rate of three times the zone average is Belgium.  Belgium has been without a Government now for 15 months. 1


Angela Merkel understands that the euro is more than a currency and said as much to her parliament “The euro is a guarantor of a united Europe, or put it another way: if the euro fails, Europe fails.”2

With that all in mind, what is being done to save the dream of a United States of Europe.  The ECB are buying up bonds belonging to the next victim economies of Italy and Spain as the market vultures are seen circulating there.  The ECB is also loaning money to eurozone banks.  Is this a plan that can save Europe?  I don’t think anyone believes it is.

In Greece they have announced plans to introduce a property tax (€2B) lay off another 20,000 state workers.  That property tax sounds a little like wha the household tax here will grow into.  Thus far their economy is predicted to contract by 5.3% this year.3

Again we return to the constant riff austerity everywhere and not a recovery in sight.  If you continue to make cuts where does the growth that is required come from?   If the dream of Europe fails will it be because they powers that be were not prepared to pay for this dream via stimulus packages that put people back to work, investing in the infrastructure and services of a country.
Instead the austerity measures being implemented all over the eurozone are all designed to placate markets, investors, and bondholders.  It also appears that the ECB and European leaders want the dream of a Europe, but want it cheap.  Someone better tell the ECB that there plan isn’t working and find out if anyone has ever managed to successfully placate a vulture.

(1) The Non-Scenic Route to the Place We’re Going Anyway – John Lancaster – London Review of Books Vol. 33 No. 17 – 8 September 2011 
(2) Eurozone: Debt Crisis Deepens on Greek Default Fears – Ralph Atkins – Frankfurt – Financial Times 22nd September 2011
(3) Across the Zone: Members states finances dissected – Kerin Hope – Greece – Financial Times 22nd September 2011

Secret Documents reveal British state collusion


New documents uncovered by the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry reveal the endemic collusion between the British army regiments and loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. The documents uncovered highlight that the Ulster Defence Regiment’s (UDR) Belfast battalion was heavily infiltrated by the Ulster Volunteer Force(UVF) in the late 1970s.

The ‘For UK Eyes Only’ documents show that:

Army chiefs feared that 70 soldiers in one UDR unit were linked to the UVF in west Belfast, including one member of the notorious Shankill Butcher gang;

• One UDR unit was suspected of siphoning-off £47,000 to the UVF while UDR equipment was regularly stolen from another unit to support the loyalist terror group;

• UVF members were regularly allowed to socialise at the UDR’s Girdwood barracks social club;

• Army chiefs considered secretly testing firing UDR soldiers’ weapons to check whether they had been used in sectarian murders;

• The collusion investigation was then suspended after a senior UDR officer claimed it was damaging morale within the regiment.

Over the last 30 years hundreds of innocent civilians mostly Catholics were killed by loyalist paramilitaries leaving many victims searching for the truth into the level of state collusion into the deaths of their loved ones.

It is also clear from these documents that this was not just the case of a few bad apples but was state sanctioned as part of a counter-insurgency strategy to combat the IRA and was covered up at the highest levels of governance. In addition it remains unclear the extent of infiltration and manipulation of armed republican groups (including those still wedded to armed struggle) by security agencies towards manufacturing the current political arrangements.

A British Army report following a 1973 report into infiltration of the UDR by ‘Protestant extremists’ stated ‘The best single source of weapons and the only significant source of modern weapons for protestant weapons has been the UDR'. Despite these damning internal reports highlighting corruption and collusion the British Government still continued to arm, train and equip the UDR as a local militia in Northern Ireland.

While these documents shed an important light on a dark chapter in our recent history, they only reveal part of our history in the 1970s. Questions still need to answered in relation to the extent of state collusion into the 1980s, 90s and today, as well as the continuing use of agent provocateurs and informers by the RUC/PSNI. It remains to be seen whether victim campaigners will get the closure and truth they deserve.

For the last 30 years the North has been used as a lethal laboratory by British state intelligence agencies and its army apparatus in state repression and counter-insurgency strategy.  We do not need to look afar to modern day military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan to the role of British Imperialism in Ireland over the last couple of centuries leaving a legacy of sectarianism, division and generational trauma. Evidently these documents once again reveal that far from being a neutral broker between two sectarian tribes the British state was an active protagonist engaged in ruthless state terrorism and collusion in its own backyard.  In the meantime it is our duty to support all victims regardless of their politics in their campaign for truth and justice.

The documents can be read here http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Anti Fascist Talk in Derry

AFA Ireland will be hosting a series of public meetings in the week starting Monday October 17 in Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Cork and London with a veteran Swedish anti-fascist entitled 'From Casa Pound to Anders Behring Breivik: Looking at recent developments in European fascism'.

Wed Oct 19,
Sanindos, Water St. Derry
followed by Social/Benefit with Ska/Reggae/Dub Sounds

A Radical Feminist Walking Tour of Derry

In Celebration of the Life of Helen Harris Women Activists for Social Justice invite you to join us and Anne Crilly, feminist, historian and lecturer on a feminist walking tour of Derry.

The journey will take you from the burning at the stake of Cecily Jackson in 1729, to the almost forgotten meetings of the Suffragettes in Derry and will include stories of Eleanor Marx and the Derry shirt workers.

The echoes of the past meet the struggles of today!

Join us for stories, forgotten histories and an analysis of why contemporary feminists including Cathy Harkin and Helen Harris posed questions about justice, equality and feminism that are as relevant today as they were to our sisters of the past.

Meet: Guildhall Square,
Saturday, September 24th at 1.30pm
Walk will last for approx. one hour
All are welcome, women and men!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Media, Dale Farm - near Billericay in south east England - Hundreds of anarchists turned Europe’s largest illegal traveller site into a fortress

Hundreds of anarchists turned Europe’s largest illegal traveller site into a fortress on Sunday night to repel bailiffs in what they say will be the “Battle of Basildon”. --- Menacing activists, wearing scarves over their faces, launched “Operation Lockdown” to stop the authorities from entering Dale Farm on Monday. ---- The huge metal gates at the front of the site were sealed shut and every other entry point was heavily fortified with high metal fencing, barbed wire, gas cylinders, car tyres and old washing machines. -- Piles of bricks have been placed behind each barricade, prompting fears they could be used as weapons when the bailiffs arrive this morning. ---- And during several “war meetings” on Sunday, the leaders of the protesters gave rabble-rousing speeches to an excited mob whose ranks have been swelled by a “foreign legion” of activists at the site in Crays Hill, Essex. Swedish Marxists and German campaigners, as well as British university students, are among those who are planning to chain themselves to the fences to frustrate the bailiffs.

Travellers have surrounded their caravans with lethal gas canisters last night and said they would lock themselves in their homes when the bailiffs arrived.

One woman said she would only leave Dale Farm “in a body bag”.

One anarchist said: “It’s going to be brutal and it’s going to be bloody. We are calling it the Battle of Basildon. We will fight off the bailiffs with everything we have. They are not going to get through our defences.”

Protest groups used internet forums to urge members to go to the camp. One message read: “Get down to Dale Farm as soon as possible and bring black clothing and balaclavas.”

On Sunday night representatives of Basildon Council tried to meet travellers at Dale Farm to negotiate a peaceful 11th-hour solution. But anarchists manning the front gate refused to allow them on to the site.

With no direct line of communication with the travellers, the council fears the anarchists are now “calling the shots”.

Essex Police say up to 2 000 activists from 30 groups will arrive at the six-acre plot near Basildon. Riot officers from other forces including the Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley, Norfolk and Suffolk will be on standby, but Essex Police declined to say how many officers were involved in the multi-million pound operation to evict 400 people.

Chief Superintendent Tim Stokes, who is in charge of the operation, said: “We have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. We could face violent disorder, a drawn-out stand-off or peaceful resistance.

“We believe there will be people on the site who are intent on violence and we must police them rigorously and robustly. There are travellers on the site who value the presence of the supporters but there are also some who are fearful of them.”

Basildon Council’s bailiffs have occupied a neighbouring farm and will use heavy machinery to smash the barricades.

Mother-of-three Kathryn Flynn, who has lived on Dale Farm for 10 years, said: “I’m moving to my uncle’s yard... I don’t want my children to go through this. I’m scared of what the bailiffs will do.”

But Mary McCarthy said: “I’ve faced constant evictions throughout my life and now I’m determined to stay put.”

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said: “We now have no line of communication to the Dale Farm residents. We are very concerned that tension has increased and it may now make our job of clearing the site in a safe and orderly manner even more difficult.” - Daily Mail 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

International meeting of anarchism from 9 to 12 August 2012

From 9 to 12 August 2012 will be held in St-Imier (Bernese Jura, CH) an international meeting of all libertarians hair and all those wishing to know more or know the various anarchist movement.

The « World of anarchism » is actually a commemoration of the first international anti-authoritarian which was organized in 1872 in response to the International Marx. Since the world has changed somewhat, at least in some ways, the libertarian currents have evolved over time and this meeting will be representative. One thing is certain, time has not diminished the oppression of the powerful vis-à-vis the weakest. This meeting will present multiple means of resistance in various forms and various.

The Jura Federation :

The International Workers Association (AIT) is based in 1864. Soon sections are created in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle, St. Imier and the rest of the Swiss Jura. Many workers who adhere are still working-makers to take home. They have a love of reading and independence. When 1869 comes Bakunin in the region, their meeting is not without consequence. The convergence of ideas, they discover that they will make the Jura Federation libertarian pole of the AIT, which is opposed to the Marxist. Infuriated by this opposition Marx is doing all it can to eliminate this current.

In 1872, he believes many do so. At the Hague Congress, he managed to bring delegates up-ed that are acquired, some babies are supposed to represent-ed sections that are nonexistent. With this majority voting dummy he exclusion of Bakunin and James Guillaume and lack of a few votes for that of Adhemar Schwitzguebel all-your-ed delegates of the Jura. Shocked, sections of anti-authoritarian tendency of the AIT, including Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, USA, organized a conference in St. Imier where resolutions are clearly libertarian. The anti-authoritarian AIT survive the Marxist branch until the end of the century. 140 years after the convention appearance of the town, exploitation and alienation of workers, keynote speakers are just as brutal. The Marxist illusion dissipated in view of the communist dictatorships. Capitalism lives from crisis to crisis, social crisis, political crisis, plus the ecological crisis now.

And the anarchist movement?

These international meetings in August 2012 will be an opportunity to review the history of the anarchist movement, its ideas, its achievements, its hopes, its defeats, what remains today; the battles that are his and those he shares with others: anti-militarism, racism, sexism, self-management, decay, education, feminism, internationalism, non-violence, etc.. A number of workshops and events are of 'already planned: historical lectures, thematic conferences, theater, concerts, exhibitions, films, book fairs, radio, libertarian camp, fair self-management and organic products, workshops, restaurants, etc.. This international event will be public and wants to be open to the entire international anarchist movement but also to the entire population without discrimination. Free zones and free price will be promoted to enable each person to be able to participate. The organizing committee reserves the right to host such and such participant. Decisions will be made based on the ideas and practices that we are clean and which are those of the International anti-authoritarian. The expression and manifestation of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and all forms of violence and discrimination will not be tolerated. Based on what has been said, any person, structure or organization may request to join this initiative and suggest places for exhibitions, debates, lectures, performances, speakers, workshops, etc..

We are also looking for volunteers!
The Organizing Committee for the International Meeting on Anarchism St. Imier 2012

Saturday, 17 September 2011

IMAGES of RESISTANCE - IRAQ and BEYOND

This Wednesday evening in Derry's Eden Place Arts Centre there will be a photography exhibition titled 'IMAGES of RESISTANCE - IRAQ and BEYOND'.  

‘Images of Resistance – Iraq and Beyond’, is a collaboration of the work of many photographers, including international award winning photojournalists. Many of the images come from war zones including Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

This photo documentary is regularly updated with images from anti war demonstrations and conflict situations around the world. Image contributors to date are photographers, Paul Mattsson, Michael Gallagher, Paula Geraghty, Guy Smallman, Gearóid O’Loingsigh, Zoriah Miller, Julien Behal, Brian Meade, serving and former members of the US military.(who wish to remain anonymous).

Further showings are planned in Ireland, north and south to also highlight the resistance against the use of Shannon Airport and Irish airspace for military purposes -see links below.

The next showing will take place on International World Peace Day in The Eden Place Arts Centre, Derry, Ireland, on 21st of September until October 12th, 2011.

For more on this and to see a selection of the images under consideration, go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/libertypics/sets/72157603974160992/

Solidarity and Rebellion in Chiapas: Reviewing Zapatista Spring

Zapatista Spring: Anatomy of a Rebel Water Project & the Lessons of International Solidarity; By Ramor Ryan, AK Press, April 2011.
 
So you’re hiking through the Lacandon jungle in Chiapas with a backpack full of plumbing supplies. There’s a half dozen solidarity activists tagging along, ranging from an orthodox anarchist from Poland to a Chicana researcher set on reconnecting with her roots. The group dynamics are unpredictable, as are relationships with the Zapatista base community when the group finally arrives. ‘Damn,’ you think to yourself before passing out exhausted in your hammock, ‘if I could just remember all these details later, it would probably be really useful.’
With his newest book Zapatista Spring, Ramor Ryan does us all a favour. After more than a decade participating in radical solidarity projects in Chiapas, Ryan has opened his notebook and shared his candid -and often humorous- reflections on working alongside the Zapatistas. The result is a unique and fun to read mix of narrative journalism, historical fiction, activism, documentary photography, and popular philosophy. 

Zapatista Spring takes us to a tiny Tzeltal-Mayan village at the dawn of the 21st Century. Roberto Arenas, as the village is dubbed, was created through land occupations after the ‘94 uprising, and lacked a fresh water supply. The book chronicles Ryan’s experience digging ditches for pipes alongside Zapatista community members and international compañeros who are there to provide concrete support for the Zapatista uprising.

Ryan positions water projects such as that carried out in Roberto Arenas as “a favored occupation in solidarity work, particularly among the more direct-action oriented, anarcho crowd.” These projects, according to Ryan, attempt to push past paternalistic interpretations of solidarity into the domain of revolutionary mutual aid.
 
On his first hike into the community, Ryan admits he’d sooner dump the metal water valves in his backpack than the books he’s stowed inside: Heart of Darkness, a Chiapas classic by B. Traven, and Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. Alas, the entire project would fail without the valves, so he holds onto them, and he manages to hang onto the books too: turns out they factor heavily into the writing of Zapatista Spring.
 
From questions from the community about how project volunteers get paid, to marriage proposals, insect bites and rickety bridges, Ryan invites readers to navigate the intense physical and social terrain that comes along with international solidarity. The book’s strength is that it’s rooted in a series of lived experiences at the local level, but instead of being written by a tag-along-academic, our straight shooting narrator speaks from the trenches, and from the heart.

Throughout Zapatista Spring, Ryan pushes readers beyond the delicate issue of solidarity, touching on controversial realities connected to the Zapatista uprising that are often ignored. He talks about the impacts of sub-comandante Marcos’ “rose-tinted prose,” which he says brought many U.S. and European radicals to Chiapas, “only to be disappointed by the authoritarian, patriarchal, and conservative movement they encountered at the base.”

The complicated reality of working in a Zapatista base community is brought into stark relief as the water workers pair up with the community in Roberto Arenas to bring water to centre of the village.

But it’s not just within the Zapatista movement that these kinds of contradictions exist. To wit, Ryan dutifully documents internal dynamics between his own crew of water warriors. From an international romance born over early morning coffee and tacos to the constant sparring of an NGO worker and an insufferable book-smart anarchist, we’re invited to reflect on these interpersonal experiences as integral components of solidarity efforts.

In a narrative twist that speaks to the political complexity of Chiapas seventeen years after the Zapatista uprising, Ryan and his crew are foiled as they attempt to return to Roberto Arenas a couple of years after completing the water system because of shifting political allegiances on the ground.

Zapatista Spring doesn’t read like a history book, and Ryan stops short of producing a personal memoir. Instead, it feels like cracking open an undated personal diary, which, thanks to the author’s revolutionary sensibilities, storytelling skills, and sense of humor, translates into a hard-to-put-down read.
 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Mural Unveiling To Helen Harris

Family, friends and comrades of Helen Harris gathered this afternoon at Free Derry Corner to unveil a fitting tribute to a much-loved activist.

Despite the onslaught from strong winds the mural, created by Women Activists for Social Justice, depicting the ancient Celtic symbol of Sheela Na Gig was finally put in place.





As everyone gathered for photos Helen’s friend and local activist, Daisy Mules spoke of Helen’s life and activism completing the unveiling.

On Saturday 24th September, for what would have been Helen’s 40th birthday, an evening of chat, music and food will be held in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in celebration of her life.

More photographs of today’s unveiling can be seen on the Derry Anarchists Facebook page.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

In Honour of Helen Harris a radical, a feminist and anarchist

On 13th May of this year, Derry had lost one of its finest daughters, following a lengthy battle with cystic fibrosis.  Helen Harris was without a doubt an inspiration to many who knew her, a friend and comrade who had the privilege and opportunity to travel alongside of her during the 39 short but eventful years of her life. Helen was a radical, a feminist and anarchist.

To Helen’s close friends and comrades, Koldo, Sara and Georgina, to the women of ‘Women Activists for Social Justice’ and to her family in Cobh, we raise a glass or two to salute you as we gather to remember Helen on the occasion of your 40th birthday.

For those available to attend tomorrow afternoon’s mural in memory of Helen Harris, unveiling will take place at Free Derry Corner, Monday September 12th at 2pm. Below is a short statement issued earlier by the local feminist group ‘Women Activists for Social Justice’ as they prepare for this week’s events in celebration of Helen Harris’s life.

The ancient spirit of feminism presides over Free Derry :


Those passing Free Derry corner this week will catch a glimpse of the Celtic Hag.   The symbol of Sheela Na Gig has survived since pre Christian times and continues to serve as a symbol of women’s defiance and power; despite centuries of being rooted out of the conscious memory.   Carved images of Sheela are still to be found in many out of the way places throughout Ireland, Scotland, England and France; although passers-by may not be expecting to see her presiding over Free Derry corner.    .

Helen Harris was born in Cork on the banks of the Lee in 1971 and passed on from this life on the banks of the Foyle on May 13th this year.    She had lived in Derry for almost twenty years and this September she would have been forty years old.     On Monday, September 12th, a group of her friends and fellow activists will gather ‘in sisterhood and solidarity’ at Free Derry corner for the unveiling of a mural in celebration of her life.  There will be a press launch at 2pm.    According to Women Activists for Social Justice :

‘Helen was a guardian of the Sheela symbol, which was visible in both her home and her life.    It is fitting that her feminism, her determination and her strength are celebrated with a Sheela mural’.    

Helen believed that fundamental change was necessary to build a more just and equal world and this commitment was evident in her work with the Pat Finucane Centre, Foyle Ethical Investment Committee and her activism on the issues of women political prisoners and the arms trade. Through her research, her publications and her interviews on the role of women in the prisoners' struggle, Helen made an important contribution and her research material remains invaluable, as many of the women whose stories were included are now dead.   Her personal commitment to global justice was reflected in her support for Practical Action, a global anti poverty charity.  Most recently she was instrumental in the formation of Women Activists for Social Justice.  

Women Activists for Social Justice (WASJ) is a network of women in Derry and Donegal concerned about social justice and the future of feminism in Ireland. The network is not funded by any statutory organisation and is non party political.   Over the past year WASJ has attracted over one hundred women to its events and actions.   Helen was committed to the grass roots and to creating positive resistance in a society where activism has been undermined by consumerism, the demands of funding and the institutionalisation of women’s activism.    She was one of a group of women who met over the past few years; sometimes in her sitting room and sometimes around the kitchen tables and fireplaces in the homes of other women, to discuss and to plan for a resurgence in feminist activity in Derry and Donegal.   One of her last contributions to the group was in the organization of ‘Feminism Rising’, a discussion event which took place in March as part of a week-long celebration of the centenary of International Women’s Day. 

Throughout historical, archaeological and feminist texts Sheela Ne Gigs have been imbued with multiple and contested meanings.   The Sheela figure has often sparked controversy in a culture keen to wipe reverence for the female from religious and historical records and has emerged as an important symbol of feminism and feminist counter culture.

The Divine Hag of the Celts is, in fact, the third in a series of feminist murals from Women Activists for Social Justice.  The first, a satirical Valentine's Day mural in 2010 with the legend ‘Beware the Valentine Zombies’.    The Second; a celebration of a Century of International Women’s Day in March 2011 echoing the demands of the early women’s movement and quizzically asking how far we have come.    And today; a bold and defiant Sheela; reflecting the spirit of Helen Harris.

Mural Unveiling will take place on Monday 12th September at Free Derry Corner 2pm

Friday, 9 September 2011

Talk by Swedish Anti-Fascist in Derry

AFA Ireland will be hosting a series of public meetings in the week starting Monday October 17 in Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Cork and London with a veteran Swedish anti-fascist entitled 'From Casa Pound to Anders Behring Breivik: Looking at recent developments in European fascism'.

Wed Oct 19,
Sanindos, Water St. Derry


(followed by Social/Benefit with Ska/Reggae/Dub Sounds From DJ Longo)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Derry Anarchists on Face Book

If you are doing all you're online communication through facebook then why not become friends with Derry Anarchists.

A Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism Available

Historian Mairtin O Cathain’s The Wee Black Booke pulls together reports of anarchism in and around Belfast in the years from 1867 to 1973.  With no local movement for much of this period, the pamphlet looks at some individuals whose political activity merited mention in the media of the time. O Cathain’s work stops before the emergence in the late 1970s of the groups from which contemporary organisations Workers Solidarity Movement and Organise can trace their roots.

Some readers will be aware of the Irish Citizen Army’s Captain Jack White who became an anarchist after seeing the Spanish revolution in practice. The others will be unknown to all but historians. Bolton Hall and William Baillie emigrated to the USA, where Hall was involved in communal experiments, propaganda, and union organising.  Baillie was more of an individualist, though he still realised that “personal freedom was tied inexorably to collective and economic freedom.”

John McAra was a Scottish anarchist who came to speak in Belfast, where he was arrested and jailed. A group did form from his activity, but appears to have died away after the First World War.  Jack McMullen was a public speaker and socialist with anarchist sympathies, who campaigned against slum housing and unemployment in the 1920s and 1930s.

Finally there is John McGuffin, a founder member of the Belfast Anarchist Group, who was involved in the early Peoples Democracy and the civil rights movement.

A Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism is now available for free on PDF format. 

If you would like a copy emailed to you then contact us at derryanarchists@gmail.com

Derry Talk by Human Rights Activist

On Wednesday 14th of September in Derry's Playhouse at 8pm there will be a lecture free of charge given by artist and human rights activist Claudia Bernadi.

Claudia is from Argentina and is an internationally acclaimed artist who works in the fields of human rights and social justice.


She is an artist who has witnessed monstruos atrocities and unspeakable human tragedies, yet speaks of these horrors in ways that communicate the persistance of hope, undeniable integrity, and necessary remembrance.


To attend contact Elaine on 02871 268027 or email elaine@derryplayhouse.co.uk