Posts By Irish Left Review

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LookLeft 22 in Shops Now!

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LookLeft 22 is in Easons stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the country now.

Only €2.00, the highlights of this issue include:


Greek Lessons
– What can be learnt from the referendum and negotiations in Greece? Gerry Grainger and Ronan Burtenshaw debate.

You Can’t Eat a Flag – Chris Bailie and Paddy Wilson take a look at the state of Protestant working class politics in Northern Ireland.

Spotlight on Denis O’Brien – A critical look at the controversial business man and media baron’s career.

Take Back the City – LookLeft looks and how working class communities are seeking to assert control of their cities.

Leading the charge – Dara McHugh looks at the next steps for Right2Water and the water charges movement.

Can we organise now? – The union movement will not be saved by planned collective bargaining legislation alone. Richard O’Hara investigates.

Bomb Girls – Hugo McGuinness on the social and political effects of WW1 munitions factories on Dublin’ Northside

Paving Paradise – A community garden in West Dublin digs up problems of church and community relations.

A different vision of society – LookLeft talks to the Cuban Ambassador about talks with the US, the Cuban social model and medical internationalism.

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Progressive Film Club: Palfest & “5 Broken Cameras”

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Progressive Film Club

Oscar-nominated “5 Broken Cameras” amongst the attractions in upcoming Palfest.

We finished our screenings for summer last Saturday and plan to resume in September or October. We thank you for your great support for our events.

In the meantime we will try to keep you posted on any upcoming films that might be of interest such as these that are being screened during the upcoming Palfest (full details from site).

SMALL HANDS IN HANDCUFFS

Wed. 8th July 2pm
The Pearse Centre
Admission Free, donations welcome

In October 2013, Anrai Carroll, a 16 yr old Transition year student travelled to the West Bank to make a film about child arrests in Palestine. Posing as tourists, Anrai and his mum, activist Brenda Carroll flew to Israel and travelled on to the West Bank where Anrai finally met Mahmoud, a boy his own age who was arrested at 14 and imprisoned for almost a year and a half, also Rasim, 18, who lives in fear of a knock on the door which could mean his arrest.

Anrai’s film shows not just the physical journey but the painfully emotional and sometimes scary transition from naive xbox player to a wiser and stronger young man. What started as a simple idea in Powerscourt Lawns, Waterford has grown into a global symbol of solidarity.

FLYING PAPER

Thurs. 9th July 4pm
The Pearse Centre, Dublin
Admission Free, donations welcome

Flying Paper tells the uplifting story of resilient Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. This feature-length documentary film is directed by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill and co-produced with a team of young filmmakers in Gaza.

FIVE BROKEN CAMERAS

Fri. 10th July 4pm
The Pearse Centre, Dublin
Admission Free, donations welcome

A screening of Emad Burnat’s Oscar-nominated Documentary, – an extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion.”

“It presents with overwhelming power a case of injustice on a massive scale, and gives us a direct experience of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of oppression and dispossession, administered by the unyielding, stony-faced representatives of those convinced of their own righteousness.” – Philip French, The Guardian.

OPEN BETHLEHEM

Sat. 11th July 4pm
The Pearse Centre
Admission Free, donations welcome

Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, filmmaker Leila Sansour plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay in Bethlehem, her hometown she had left years before, to start a campaign to save the city.

As the pair launch OPEN BETHLEHEM, Leila finds herself trapped behind a wall in the very place she so much wanted to leave. The face of Bethlehem is changing rapidly with potentially detrimental consequences. Reports predict that if trends continue the Christian community of Bethlehem, a city that provides a model for a multi faith Middle East, may be unsustainable within one generation. Leila’s plan to stay a year stretches to seven.

OPEN BETHLEHEM is a story of a homecoming to the world’s most famous little town. The film spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife, under occupation. The film draws from 700 hours of original footage and some rare archive material. In fact the making of this film has led to the creation of the largest visual archive of Bethlehem in the world and plans are currently being discussed with University College London (UCL) to turn the collection into a museum.

Website ;- http://www.palfestireland.net/

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Progressive Film Club: Autumn Sun and Ciutat Morta

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Corruption In the Spanish police force and a look back at the Occupy movement – last screening before the summer break.

A reminder about this weekend’s films: 

When: Saturday 27th June
Where:
Pearse Centre (27 Pearse Street)

2:30 p.m.  Autumn Sun
Autumn Sun tells the story of Occupy Oakland, which was part of Occupy Wall Street, a movement that swept the United States in 2011 and 2012 in response to inequality and injustice. Occupy Oakland was always a special case. However, the city’s deep history of radical politics and active social movements meant that Occupy Oakland would demand more and compromise less. This film documents the movement’s dynamic story.

  • Directed by David Martinez.

3:10 p.m. Ciutat Morta [Dead City]

On 8 June 2013 eight hundred people entered an abandoned cinema in Barcelona to view a documentary film.

The old building is renamed Cinema Patricia Heras in honour of a young woman who committed suicide two years earlier. But who was Patricia? Why did she take her life?

How is her death related to Barcelona? The answers to these questions, and the truth about one of the worst cases of police corruption in Barcelona, are sought by this action.

  • Directed by Xavier Artigas and Xapo Ortega.

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cancelgreekdebt

Please Sign the Petition to Cancel Greek Debt

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From the Greek Solidarity Committee asking people to sign this petition to cancel Greek debt.  

The petition: http://cancelgreekdebt.org/en/ 

We, the citizens of countries across Europe, call for:

  • A European conference to agree debt cancellation for Greece and other countries that need it, informed by debt audits and funded by recovering money from the banks and financial speculators who were the real beneficiaries of bailouts.

  • An end to the enforcing of austerity policies that are causing injustice and poverty in Europe and across the world.

  • The creation of UN rules to deal with government debt crises promptly, fairly and with respect for human rights, and to signal to the banks and financiers that we won’t keep bailing them out for reckless lending.

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A Mayday Message: Brendan Ogle

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A Mayday Message from Brendan Ogle, Unite Education Officer and a Right2Water coordinator

Mayday, Dublin Ireland 2015 comrades. Happy workers day, ‘united we will never be defeated’, lets sing ‘The Red Flag’ or ‘The Internationale’ and remember Connolly and Larkin. We do it every year don’t we? Then we disperse. By ‘disperse’ I don’t just mean we go home or go for a tipple. I mean we ‘disperse’. We go back into our silos and we do whatever it is we do, for another year, while neo-liberal capital continues its triumphant rise to total domination of our country, our community and our lives. The rich get rich and obscenely richer, the rest of us get manipulated and bullied into giving them our money, our assets. The 1% wins while the 99% let them. On and on it goes until someday we will be the most unequal country in the EU. OOOPPS….sorry, we already got there! Still, what matter, isn’t it only another 364 days before we can assemble again, sing our songs, remember our heroes and pay lip service to their legacy?

What Ireland will we live in by Mayday 2016? We know two things for certain. By Mayday 2016 we will have passed the Centenary of the 1916 rising and we will have had a general election. Will there be anything to celebrate?

There is some hope that there might be, that there is something akin to an awakening. Following the national collective trauma the nation went through following the scandal of 2008, the bank bailout and the surrendering of our economic sovereignty, the citizens are protesting in numbers, and a frequency never seen since independence. They are angry, motivated, energetic and looking for change. That much is very clear. What is a lot less clear is whether we, the citizens, can deliver real social and meaningful change.

Today the RIGHT2WATER Unions host a Conference to look at developments throughout Europe relating to our Human Right to water and also, critically, at the emergence of democratic people’s movements in other countries throughout Europe, fighting back for the 99%. We will look and listen, learn some things and discard others, and still have the question. What is happening in Ireland? RIGHT2WATER is simply an umbrella campaign that aims to bring diverse groups and individuals together in defence of our Human Right to water and to ensure the abolition of domestic water charges. We will win this campaign. Of that I have no doubt whatsoever. We will return a Government that will be voted in to reverse the current crazy, wasteful, ideological, neo-liberal privatisation of our publicly owned water. And then what? Is that it? What about our right to housing, to a job and decent workers rights, to decent healthcare, to education? Do we, those in what has clearly become a ‘movement’ care about these things? And if so, can a water movement become a vehicle of real social and political change? Surely, less than a year away from an historic centenary we have a chance to actually have something to celebrate for once.

I believe we can do it if the necessary conditions are present and a lot of them are. The anger, and mass mobilisation necessary to reclaim our nation for its citizens are present. The citizen’s hunger for their democracy back is present and the electoral means are present. But the enemies of a more equal society are great and powerful. Our media is owned by the neo-liberal agenda and so the propaganda machine is in full flow. The short term bribes are on their way in a budget and the legacy of gombeen and parish pump politics is not a legacy at all. It lives and breathes today throughout the nation in the parties of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. So, if Mayday 2016 is not to be just another remembrance of what we could have been we need to unite like never before. If Easter 2016 is not to shame Easter 1916 we need to all behave and interact differently.RIGHTS2WATER has three pillars and I raise here three questions, one for each.

Of the five RIGHT2WATER Trade Unions, and others, I ask the following. Are we going to continue to grow and develop this project that we have played such a key role in? Can we see the vision, the possibilities and mobilise our members, their organising capacity and their resources into a vehicle for social and economic change? If we can we will do more to change their lives, and their families and communities than any single pay and conditions package we could ever achieve. Connolly and Larkin were men of vision and dreams. On Mayday we remember them. By Mayday 2016 can we honour them?

For the political groupings of the disparate Irish left let us be honest. We have failed utterly. Look all around you. Capital is winning and labour is losing. If it was a boxing match the referee would stop it. So whatever prescriptions have been used have not worked. Great people have been elected on the left and great people are elected today too. But the impulse of internal argument and separation within our class is deep and wounding and holding the vision we all share back. In the next 365 days can that change? We will not have a progressive Government that does not see unity within the political groupings in RIGHT2WATER. A coalition of some sort will be necessary before an election or in its immediate aftermath. Is it possible?

And to the communities up and down Ireland that are seeking a new direction? Political Economy education is the key. Progressive politicians are not your enemy.  And Unions are not either. We, the citizens have two enemies, neo-liberalism and ourselves. We must understand the neo-liberal enemy in order to fight it, let alone slay it, and that requires political economy education in every city, town and village in the state. We must ‘join the dots’. And then we must stop internal fights and vote for progressive candidates when the election comes. How will we know who they are? If we educate ourselves they will stand out, as will our enemies. Regressive neo-liberal politics only lives in an atmosphere of ignorance, suspicion and internal division. Even neo-liberals cannot persuade us to vote against our own interests if we are enlightened. So let us read, communicate, talk and unite like never before. AND MOST OF ALL VOTE!

Let us see, for once, can we do  in Ireland what our forebears wanted us to do and create a country that, at last, cherishes all of the children of the nation EQUALLY.

Brendan Ogle

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Conference Convened by R2W Unions: Build an Active, Democratic, Principled Left

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The following statement has been agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists including Cllr Brendan Young.

The anti-water charges movement, which has seen hundreds of thousands mobilise and become active in campaigning, has transformed politics in this country. It has forced climbdowns by the government and given people confidence and hope that the austerity agenda can be defeated. It has opened a potential to build a significant Left, working class political movement.

We welcome the initiative by the trade unions involved in Right2Water to host conferences in May and June to discuss a political initiative. The fact that a number of significant unions are discussing launching a political platform and considering support for a range of candidates is a very important development. It could create a political pole of attraction for many who are fighting austerity and oppression – and who are looking for a political formation that fights for genuine social equality.

For a democratic, bottom-up, participative approach

In order for this to have the best chance of achieving its potential, we think it is essential that the process of deciding on a political platform and an approach to the general election is participative, open and democratic. The mobilisation and democratic self-organisation of people in their communities is vital to the strength of the movement against the water charge. Their involvement is essential for the development of mass support and participation in any new political initiative which could  have an impact similar to Syriza or Podemos.

We welcome the initiative of the unions to organise events in May and June. But it is vital that these events do not remain limited and invite-only. Instead, they should become conferences involving all sections of the anti-water charges movement, anti-austerity groups and those active in fighting for democratic rights who favour taking a political initiative on an explicit anti-austerity basis.

In advance of the 13 June event, we think there should be local open meetings or assemblies of everybody active in the anti-water charges movement or other active social movements, meeting to discuss the issues and to decide on delegates to send to the event. The meeting on 13 June should therefore be a much larger meeting than 200 people: as well as including trade union representatives and political representatives, it should include representatives of campaign groups across the country, selected by those involved in campaigning on the ground. On foot of this, the June gathering should be able to decide for itself the political positions it adopts and how to proceed – not simply endorse previously determined statements.

Non-payment of water charges is key

We believe that this political initiative should complement the crucial struggle against water charges in the coming months – not become an alternative to it. In order to advance the actually existing struggle against austerity – the movement against the water charge – and to draw on its strengths and develop mass support, the political initiative should champion the demands of the movement, openly call for non-payment and use its forces to organise non-payment and active resistance to water metering on the ground. This should be part of a general approach, which is to use elected positions to encourage struggle from below, rather than focusing on elections and parliamentary positions.

Principled positions against austerity and for democratic rights

We think that the initiative should adopt a principled anti-austerity position. That means committing to oppose and organise to fight against any more austerity and for an immediate reversal of key austerity measures such as water charges, property tax, USC for those on average or low incomes, health, education and welfare cuts. It also means developing a strategy for repudiation of the bankers’ debt; for a write-down of residential mortgages; for taxation of wealth and big business profits; and against privatisation of public services and natural resources.

Instead of putting money into bank debt, we think there should be public investment in housing, healthcare, education, childcare, public transport, water services, renewable energy and environmental protection – as the start of re-orienting economic activity to meet social need and provide useful work for young people and the unemployed.

A new political initiative should stand for the separation of church and state; and commit to extending democratic rights to all oppressed groups: women, the young and the old, LGBT people, Travellers, migrants, asylum seekers and people with disabilities. As a first step, it should commit to campaigning for a Yes vote in the upcoming marriage equality referendum; and to campaign for repeal of the 8th Amendment and lift the ban on abortion in Ireland.

We also think a political initiative should champion the right of workers to defend their jobs and living standards. It should support solidarity action with the likes of the Dunnes workers and action to scrap the anti-union laws. Opposition to austerity should not stop at the border: we think austerity must be fought both in the North and the South. The implementation of Westminster cuts by Stormont is no more acceptable than the implementation of Troika cuts by the government in the South.

Reject coalition with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or Labour

This kind of real change requires a political alternative that will break the rules that impoverish working class people. We cannot do that if we accept the approach of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour – the proponents of austerity, inequality and oppression. So a new political initiative must publicly commit to reject any coalition or deals with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or Labour.

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Cuban Film Festival 2015 – Pearse Centre – 25th- 26th of April

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Note venue: Pearse Centre (27 Pearse Street)

Saturday 25 April

11:30 a.m.

Esther en Alguna Parte [Esther Somewhere] (2013)

The peaceful life of Lino, a widower who keeps busy with the simplest every­day things, is turned upside-?down when Larry Po, another quirky old man who has multiple personalities, tells Lino that his late wife, Maruja, led a double life: by day a house­wife, at night an impres­sive singer of boleros. Given the possibility that perhaps he had not really known her, he becomes a detec­tive obsessed with find­ing the truth. ? Directed by Gerardo Chijona. ? In Spanish with English sub­titles. ? Running time: 95 minutes.

1:30 p.m.

Tarde para Ramón [Too Late for Ramón] (2013)

Nerve-racking, unforeseeable events throw a Havana taxi-driver for a loop, rush­ing to finally settle an issue haunt­ing his relation­ship with an estranged daughter before she flies away that afternoon. ? Directed by Daniel Ramón Chile. ? In Spanish with English sub­titles. ? Running times: 10 minutes.

1:45 p.m.

Habana Station [Havana Station] (2011)

Filmed in a slum in western Havana, this film addresses inequalities in Cuba through the relation­ship between two chil­dren of different social strata. The film was selected for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards. ? Directed by Ian Padrón. ? In Spanish with English sub­titles. ? Running time: 95 minutes.

And lots more…

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Demonstrate in Solidarity with Venezuela. Sunday 19th April 2015

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In 1985 President Ronald Reagan declared Nicaragua to be “a threat to the United States”, and proceeded to finance and arm the “contras” in order to overthrow the democratically elected Sandinista government. When, thirty years later the current president of the U.S. declares Venezuela to be “a threat to the United States”, it can only mean one thing – the U.S. is seeking to overthrow the government of Venezuela.

Since the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 transformed the political situation in Venezuela and Latin America, the U.S. has striven to restore its dominion over the continent. It has supported and encouraged the Venezuelan ultra-right, during the coup d’état in 2002 and since, in all its efforts to destabilise and undermine the Bolivarian Government.

Last year the ultra-right organised street violence resulting in the deaths of 43 people. This year in February, Venezuelan security services uncovered a plot for another coup d’état. You would not know this from the Irish media who take their news from the Washington Post and the New York Times. They would have us believe that the deaths last year were the result of state repression of peaceful demonstrations and that there was no plot, that persons convicted of violent crimes or awaiting trial are political prisoners.

These false reports have been endorsed by the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament. It is on this basis that the Senate orders sanctions and the President issues his executive order.

The threats against Venezuela have been repudiated by UNASUR and by ALBA, representing a majority of Latin American States, who no longer accept the hegemony of the United States. The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in the United Nations has stated that they also reject the latest decision of the Government of the United States to expand it’s coercive measures against Venezuela.

 

The Venezuela Ireland Network is holding a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Dublin from 2pm til 4pm on Sunday 19thApril, to call for the rescinding of the order declaring Venezuela to be a threat to the United States, for the ending of sanctions against officials who were only acting according to the constitution and laws of Venezuela, and for an end to all U.S. interference in Venezuelan affairs.

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LookLeft 21 Out Now In Easons and Across the Country

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LookLeft 21 is in Easons stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the country now.

Still only €2. The highlights of this issue include:

Women on the frontline – Áine Mannion talks to women who are leading the fight against austerity

Pious Hooligans’ – Donal Fallon discusses the mass movements of Christian Anti-Communism in 1930s Ireland.

Divided but strong – The Greek Left’s history informs its present and Europe’s future. Éilis Ryan reports from Athens.

Solidarity at Solitude – Paddy Wilson and Chris Bailie discuss the efforts of fans to create a progressive, non-sectarian fan culture at Cliftonville FC.

Combat Folk! – Kevin Squires talks to The Modena City Ramblers about the music and politics that keep them going.

Can the left co-operate? – At least four different plans are being proposed to further Left co-operation but many hurdles remain, reports Dara McHugh

The battle for Ukraine – After the coup in the Ukraine, Ukrainian progressives face severe repression. We interview leftist organisation Borotba about the coup and the new regime.

God, culture and the republic – After the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, Gavan Titley and Ultán Gillen discuss the roles of secularism and multiculturalism

Cut out from the docklands carve up – Dublin Docklands communities are being sidelined from their area’s development. Richard O’Hara investigates.

Another lost generation? – Youth work is disproportionately hit by cutbacks, damaging the prospects of young people.

Stormont House Agreement: who benefits? – Justin O’Hagan looks at the movement against austerity in Northern Ireland.

And much more…

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Grassroots Gathering 2015

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Grassroots Gathering 2015
Joining the dots between grassroots movements, communities, campaigns…

Call for contributions and registration info

St. John Bosco Youth Centre, Drimnagh, Dublin


Friday April 17 (evening) – Sunday April 19th (afternoon)

We are coordinating with local water charges groups so as to fit in with the Burn the Bills demo.

A grassroots gathering is a one-off event run by a local group bringing together people involved in different community campaigns and social movements to learn from each other’s experiences, talk about what works and what doesn’t, develop networks and make alliances. Joining the dots – imagines a raising of awareness, a politicisation leading to radical transformation, it may also envision a strategic connection between diverse campaigns and collective actions in order to advance, strengthen, consolidate and collaborate in struggle with unity and purpose.

There have been over a dozen of these gatherings in different parts of the country over the last eleven years and they have helped support all sorts of different campaigns and movements – campaigning against the water charges, resisting Shell in Erris, campaigning against cuts, supporting women’s right to choose, advocating for housing rights and resisting evictions, challenging neo-liberalism in the EU, campaigning against deportation and the direct provision system, creating free space for young people, fighting for environmental justice, highlighting US military use of Shannon, challenging racism and more.

We’re looking for contributions – offers to host workshops or even just to give a short talk, as well as artistic and children’s events. Please let us know by Tuesday April 7th (just after the Easter bank holiday) if you would like to do something so we can finalise a programme. You can email us at grassrootsgathering2015@gmail.com or find us at https://www.facebook.com/GrassrootsGathering.

A good workshop for this gathering has any speakers talking for just 5 or max 10 minutes each to get a discussion going – remember most other people there are also activists. A really good workshop has people from different movements giving 5-minute intros about the same kind of practical problem from their own experiences and then a discussion. We aren’t looking for events which are mostly made up of one person talking or which are mostly about trying to sell other people on a specific issue. So please let us know if you’d like to do a short intro or organise a whole workshop!

Typical sessions might include:
– How to organise, strategy and tactics, direct action, dealing with police…
– getting people involved, mobilising communities, media of all kinds, politicisation…
– education, understanding the issues, working together against austerity…
– arts workshops, film showing, children’s activities, outdoors activities…

It’s not for profit (and we all get to muck in with washing up, passing the hat and generally helping out), it isn’t run by any political party and nobody will try to recruit anyone.

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New University / ReThink UvA occupation at the University of Amsterdam

ICTU Youth, USI and IFUT statement in support of University of Amsterdam occupation

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The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Youth, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) want to express our support for the New University / ReThink UvA occupation at the University of Amsterdam.

The demand to put an end to “managerialism, real-estate-speculation and precarious labour in Higher Education” should unite students and staff across the world. 

In Ireland, the campaigning group Third Level Workplace Watch recently highlighted the terrible conditions facing adjunct staff in our Higher Education institutions – where lecturers are surviving on welfare, in ‘permanent’ part-time status for years, and working sixty hours per week while barely making minimum wage.

At the same time, students are facing exorbitant increases in fees as budgets for Higher Education are cut by successive austerity governments. In the twenty years between 1995 and 2015 these fees have increased 1,579%. From an adjusted figure of just under €190 in 1995 to €3,000 for incoming students. 

The balance of funding for Higher Education in Ireland is moving from public to private. In some cases this takes the form of major multinational corporations directing scientific research, in others EU research grants being used in the development of drones and “counter-terrorist” weaponry. Little if any of this enjoys democratic oversight.

Still again this neoliberalisation takes the form of increased emphasis on attracting international students – who pay exorbitant, unsubsidised fees and are set into competition with Irish students for places in a process antithetical to genuine internationalism. These students can expect to pay more for poorer services too.

The neoliberal university in Ireland is profoundly changing the student experience. Most students aspire to engage in the free and critical pursuit of knowledge, to use our time in Higher Education for personal development and to become rounded citizens of society. However, increasingly it seems like we are reduced to consumers in a rat race, with degrees little more than stamps of social capital meant to improve our chances in the job market.

But this is not simply a problem in Higher Education. In Further Education budget cuts have forced the closure of many programmes. Community education and training has also been devalued, utilised as a source of free labour and a means to hide real unemployment figures. 85,000 people are on ‘labour activation’ schemes in Ireland at the moment which are often exploitative and result in little experience being gained. Apprentices have found themselves burdened with extortionate fee increases too.

The occupation in Amsterdam inspires many of us – both students and staff – who are trying to understand how we can break these cycles which worsen year-on-year. In Ireland we understand, like you do, that it is time for a fight back.

We send our solidarity to all of those involved in the occupation and in our common struggle for an education system that is democratic, developmental and focused on serving the needs of society rather than the careers of technocrats or the profits of business.

Derek Keenan (Chairperson, Irish Congress of Trade Unions Youth)

Laura Harmon (President, Union of Students in Ireland)

Mike Jennings (General Secretary, Irish Federation of University Teachers)

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What would Europe Win from a Grexit? ‘Peace and quiet. (Pause…) For a period’

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Two recent interviews with Marxist economist, and now Greek MP Costas Lapavitsas are worth have a look at, particularly as they outline his view of the strategies that Syriza need to follow during the engineered ‘breathing space’ created by recent negotiations with the European institutions. He also outlines how a strategy he has long advocated, a Greek exit from the Euro, should be managed.

The first, published on the 12th of March in Jacobin magazine. The interviewer was Sebastian Budgen, an editor at Historical Materialism.

And Varoufakis himself explicitly located his position within a kind of Keynesian framework, and is allied with people like James Galbraith who are openly Keynesians.

Let me come clean on this. Keynes and Keynesianism, unfortunately, remain the most powerful tools we’ve got, even as Marxists, for dealing with issues of policy in the here and now. The Marxist tradition is very powerful in dealing with the medium-term and longer-term questions and understanding the class dimensions and social dimensions of economics and society in general, of course. There’s no comparison in these realms.

But, for dealing with policy in the here and now, unfortunately, Keynes and Keynesianism remain a very important set of ideas, concepts, and tools even for Marxists. That’s the reality. Whether some people like to use the ideas and not acknowledge them as Keynesian is something I don’t want to comment upon, but it happens.

So I cannot blame Varoufakis for that, for associating himself with Keynesians, because I’ve also associated myself with Keynesians, openly and explicitly so. If you showed me another way of doing things, I’d be delighted. But I can assure you, after many decades of working on Marxist economic theory, that there isn’t at the moment. So yes, Varoufakis has worked with Keynesians. But that isn’t really, in and of itself, a damning thing.

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Progressive Film Club & Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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A reminder of our screening this Saturday, in conjunction with the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which features the multi-award winning “A World not Ours”.

We will be having two screenings this month. Details of our show on the will be sent next week.

2.30pm: The Great Book Robbery (2012)

Telling the story of the systematic looting in 1948 of 30,000 Palestinian books in a joint operation by the nascent Israeli army and the Israeli national library. A remarkable illustration of how one culture emerges from the dust of another after it has laid it to waste; the moment Palestinian culture is destroyed is also the moment a new Israeli consciousness is born, based not only on the erasure of the Arabs’ presence in Palestine but also on the destruction of their culture.

¦ Directed by Benny Brunner.
¦ In English & Hebrew, with English subtitles.

**3.45pm: A World Not Ours (2012)

An intimate, humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh, in Lebanon. Personal recordings, family archives, and historical footage ensure the film is a sensitive and illuminating study of belonging, friendship, and family. Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of one family, is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten, and mark what should not be erased from collective memory.

“Flips storytelling and Mideast-Arab cliches on their heads … The Wonder Years in a refugee camp” – Variety

¦ Directed by Mahdi Fleifel.
¦ In Arabic, with English subtitles.

**A note of thanks to the directors

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