Dé Luain, Samhain 29, 2010

éirígí Call for Mass Street Protests to Secure Radical Change


Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, the Donegal spokesperson for the socialist republican party éirígí, has called for the people of Ireland to take to the streets in order to voice their anger at the politicians in Lenister House about the economic and political crisis the country is currently in. His call comes in the wake of recent developments which has resulted in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) coming to Dublin as the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government seek a financial aid package.

éirígí's anti- IMF/ECB banner erected in
Crolly, Co.Donegal
Calling for people to take action, the éirígí spokesperson said “The position the people of the Twenty-Six Counties now find themselves in is unprecedented. Silence or submission is not an option. Mass street protests are the only way to ensure our voices be heard and our message of disgust and cries for change reach the ears of the political elite in Leinster House who have brought the IMF and ECB to our shores. Just as the banner in the famous image of the Irish Citizens Army proclaimed 'We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland', we the people must call out today that 'we serve neither the IMF or the ECB but Ireland'.”

Claiming that Brian Cowens decision to call a general election after the budget is adopted was meaningless, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said: “Changing parties, even now, means nothing. It will result in more of the same. All the parties in Leinster House who seek to be in government following an election offer no credible alternative to the current situation. Equally, local Donegal councillors, TDs, senators and MEP's of the mainstream parties, share the blame for the current predicament as they propped up the current system in Leinster house. The policies they offer are all virtually the same and will just lead us back to where we are today no matter which of them forms the next government.”

He added: “The so-called leadership of the Trade Union movement also need to take responsiblity for their role in this crisis. Their silence and kowtowing to the government has been shameful and they should have done more to protect the workers they represent.”

The ICA standing under the banner
He also claimed that those who voted for what he described as “useless politicians” for little more than family history and personal favours must also be aware of their responsibility for today's calamity.

MacGiolla Easbuig concluded s James Connolly once said 'Governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class'. So what we need now is not a general election but the smashing of that system which has failed dramatically. In its place we need to create a new socialist system which would protect workers and the most vulnerable in society and place the interests of the whole Island at its heart. The only way to achieve such a system is by people taking to the streets through mass protests and a nationwide general strike to resist the cutbacks and to unite in their demands for real change. Failure is not an option as failure will condemn our children and grand children to decades of unjust and unnecessary hardship and suffering.”


Dé hAoine, Samhain 26, 2010

A Real Revolution...


The following short video is a recording of an interview with french actor and one time sports personality Eric Cantona. In the interview Mr Cantona gives his view of a way the ordinary people could rise up against the corrupt banking system to affect change.

Dé Céadaoin, Samhain 24, 2010

IMF Will Entrench the Economics of the Madhouse
Brian LenihanIntroducing the catastrophic €400 billion [£340 billion] blanket bank guarantee scheme in September 2008, Twenty-Six County finance minister Brian Lenihan was keen to offer reassurance to those genuinely fearful of the consequences of such economic recklessness.
“There is,” he intoned,“understandable concern that the exchequer is potentially significantly exposed by this measure. I want to reassure the House and the Irish people that this is not the case.” The arrival this week of International Monetary Fund representatives’ in Dublin amply demonstrates the hollowness of Lenihan’s reassurance.
This was the same minister who, at various points throughout this crisis, suggested that the economy had “turned the corner” was “on the road to recovery” and who offered further reassurances that the bank bailout was “the cheapest bailout in the world”. Reckless incompetence coupled with a stout defence of the interests of Fianna Fáil’s financial backers, the bankers and developers, has been the hallmark of Brian Lenihan’s tenure as minister of finance. It is an office that, in recent times, has seated some notable proponents of crony capitalism: Brian Cowen, Bertie Ahern and Charlie McCreevy.
Well, it seems now that the cheapest bailout in the world has not only cost the Twenty-Six County state over €50 billion [£43 billion] and rising, but has driven tens of thousands of workers onto dole queues, exposed its citizens to the vagaries of international financial markets and has now resulted in the state surrendering its sovereignty to the IMF.
Having already imposed swingeing cuts to the public sector, the Dublin government confirmed last week that it intended cutting a further €15 billion [£13 billion] from the Twenty-Six County economy over the next four years, with €6 billion [£5.1 billion] of these cuts to be implemented in next month’s budget. It is this slavish adherence to free market ideology which has created a deflationary spiral in the economy, resulting in massive unemployment, currently at 13 per cent, and once again raising the spectre of emigration.
In order to save the failed banking system and bail out bankers and property developers, the Dublin government intends driving tens of thousands of households into penury. The McCarthy Report, published in July last year, has provided the template for the Dublin government’s programme of cuts. Right-wing economist Colm McCarthy presented Leinster House with a wrecker’s charter that proposed the effective dismantling of the public sector, the imposition of savage pay cuts on public sector workers, swingeing cuts in social welfare payments, increases in taxes on low paid workers and the privatisation of state assets such as the ESB and Bord Gáis. It is a charter that will be grist to the mill of the IMF, an organisation well versed in the economics of the madhouse.
Originally established following the ending of the Second World War, the International Monetary Fund came about as part of the Bretton Woods Agreement, its primary role at that time to provide short-term loans to states experiencing funding shortages and to manage the gold-standard currency valuation system. However, in recent decades the IMF’s role has been to provide long-term loans primarily to developing countries in return for the enforcement of ‘market discipline’ on vulnerable economies.
Its neo-liberal mania has forced governments across the developing world to prioritise debt servicing and the imposition of savage public spending cuts and widespread privatisation. Its legacy has been the impoverishment of millions and the prising open of economies to allow vulture capitalists to profiteer from the sell-off of state assets.
IMFThe neo-liberal doctrine promoted by the IMF played a notorious role in the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s. The IMF encouraged developing economies in Asia to remove capital controls in the early 1990s, a decision which resulted in billions of dollars of speculative investment flowing into the Asian economies. However, when panic hit in the summer of 1997, the absence of barriers to capital control witnessed the outflow of approximately $100 billion from the economies of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea in a matter of weeks. The subsequent imposition of so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes, which enforced public spending cuts, resulted in spiralling unemployment and drove millions deeper into poverty.
In more recent times, the IMF has imposed severe austerity programmes in Europe. The €7.5 billion [£6.4 billion] loan offered to Latvia in 2008 was conditional on the imposition of a significant programme of cuts that included: 20 per cent public sector pay cuts, staff cuts of between 10 and 15 per cent in government departments, the closure of schools and hospitals and an increase in fees for third level education.
Earlier this year, Greece was forced to accept an IMF/EU loan of €110 billion [£94 billion], which again came with austerity measures attached. These measures included an increase in the age of retirement from 63 to 67, swingeing cuts to public spending and public sector pay, alongside the privatisation of public services and state assets. However, the imposition of this austerity programme has driven the Greek economy into a deep recession; it is estimated that the economy will contract by 4.2 per cent this year and by 3.0 per cent in 2011, while unemployment has soared to over 12 per cent. It is increasingly clear that the austerity medicine is actually killing the patient.
This is the scenario facing the population in the Twenty-Six Counties. However, it should be emphasised that the Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition and the so-called opposition parties in Leinster House are willing partners in the imposition of austerity measures; acquiescing in the EU demand for a reduction in the budget deficit to three per cent of GDP by 2014.
A consensus has been reached amongst the political establishment that the working class should shoulder the burden of a global capitalist crisis, one that has been exacerbated in Ireland by the decision to offer a blanket guarantee to the private banking sector. No amount of establishment hand wringing or wailing about the loss of sovereignty should diminish their culpability in the destruction of the economy and the impoverishment of the working class.
That said, the interference of the IMF into the affairs of the Twenty-Six County state is a serious development and should be resisted at all costs. It is an affront to democracy that this organisation, which has wrought misery and devastation upon nations across the globe, should be allowed dictate the affairs of a section of the Irish people. The IMF is an undemocratic and unaccountable enforcer of the neo-liberal doctrines of the small state, of deregulated markets and of privatisation. It has no constructive role to play in the affairs of the Irish people and will simply enhance the dictatorship of the markets.
ICTU rallyWhile the IMF sets about driving the working class into penury, the rich in Ireland will be encouraged to invest their vast wealth into purchasing our public assets. The sell-off of state companies such as ESB will be encouraged by capitalist parasites such as Denis O’Brien, Michael Smurfit and Peter Sutherland, who will seek to make billions on the back of the privatisation of these state assets. There is no doubt but that the economic crisis and the IMF takeover will be used to create a further boon for the wealthy, an elite that continues to control wealth in excess of €120 billion [£103 billion].
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called a rally for Saturday, November 27. It is to be hoped that this is the beginning of a serious fight-back by the trade union movement in Ireland, whose leadership to date has failed utterly to respond to the establishment war being waged on the working class.
A sustained campaign of resistance is required to drive the IMF out of Ireland and Fianna Fáil out of office; to halt the planned savage programme of cuts and to appropriate the vast wealth currently in the hands of a tiny class of pilferers. The calling of a general strike by the trade union movement is a necessary step in commencing the fight back.

Dé Domhnaigh, Samhain 21, 2010

Its Time To Stand Up!


 Week in, week out, we are are bombarded with straw polls from the media stating which political party in the Twenty-Six Counties is in the lead to be favourite to form the next government. Why they bother can be a bit of a mystery given that very little investigation will establish that none of the main political parties who sit in the Dáil have much separating them, certainly when it comes to their ideas of fixing the economy.

We are all well aware at this stage of how our economy came to the calamitous state it is now in and the disgracful manner in which those who created the problem have been as good as rewarded for their mistakes. Now the Dublin government says the €50 billion debt created by the speculators and gamblers must be paid back. And it will be the ordinary women and men in the street who will be paying back that €50 billion as those who created the debt get off Scot free.

One Percent Network protest in Dublin
The Fianna fáil/Green Party coalition who sit in government say the payback will come in the form of cuts in welfare, health, education and job cuts in the public sector. All actions which will hurt the most needy in our society, not those who created the problems in the first place. And that same government sat and allowed it all to happen by encouraging capitalist ideologies in their policies as they themselves squandered public money and claimed exorbitant expenses and pensions.

Now the opposition parties such as Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein scramble like children playing musical chairs to get sitting in the seat of government. Under the facade of party name and public image they all espouse the same type of thinking which has led this country into the position it finds itself in today. In the Twenty- Six Counties we have one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe at 12.5%, an incentive to get businesses and multi-national companies from overseas to open factories and shops here. Of course these companies do create jobs but most of those jobs are low paid and the vast majority of the companies refuse to recognise trade unions leaving their workers without a voice. Making matters worse these foreign businesses and multi-nationals take back to their own countries the bulk of their profits, which have been generated by Irish workers.

Given that the pro-capitalist policies of the current Fianna Fáil/Green Party government have left this country in such a state you would wonder at any party hoping to wrestle the reigns of power from todays government having similar policies of promoting private greed over public need. But Fine Gael and Labour both support the interests of private enterprise and the low corporation tax rate which also has private business and multi-nationals benefiting before the needs of the Irish people. They also back the use of Private Public Partnership (PPP) giving private enterprise ownership of what should be state run projects such as health, education and infrastructure.

Health cuts protest in Letterkenny, Donegal
Then there is Sinn Fein. A party who once considered themselves to be radical leftists. But this is hardly the case when they now stand more in the centre ground, promoting the same pro-capitalist policies as the others with their plans of incentives for more multi-nationals to come here and harvest our work force, backing bank bailouts such as that in the case of the PMS bank and allowing private enterprise to profit from our public services in PPP's.

But we don't have to put up with any of these parties plans of more of the same and the inevitable disaster that will surely follow again. There are alternatives to their plans. We in éirígí believe that with a fundamental realignment of the financial, construction, manufacturing, food and services sectors we could avoid future recessions. Instead of a financial sector controlled by a wealthy elite, we could have a publicly owned and controlled system creating a secure place for peoples savings and pensions, credit at low rates of interest and cheap insurance as it wouldn't be primarily profit driven. We could develop indigenous manufacturing and services sectors and support community projects and worker controlled start-ups and co-operative based enterprises creating sustainable employment.

Shell to Sea protest, Dublin
Also, Irelands natural resources such as hydrocarbon and mineral reserves should be under public ownership, not private as it is now. These resources could be exploited in an evironmentally and sustainable manner creating wealth for the nation, some of which could be used to develop alternative energy resources such as tidal, wind and hydro making Ireland a world leader in the field. The farming and fishing sectors properly supported by the state could be focused on safe, high quality produce for the Irish people and farmers and fishers co-opertatives and indigenious processing enterprises could reverse the decline in Irelands agricultural and fishing sectors.

All of this is posible today. But none of today's main parties offer an alternative to the ideologies which created the position we now find ourselves in. They wish to rewind and start again using the same principles that will only lead us and our children back to recession and unemployment. But we the people can affect change. We must stand up now and let our voices be heard. Remember, our silence today will be the ruination of our children tomorrow.

Dé hAoine, Samhain 19, 2010

The Great Money Trick


The following short film is a collective reading of an extract from the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell and gives a brief insight into the workings of the capitalist system and how it exploits workers. The reading is from chapter 21 and is seen as one of the key extracts of the book.

Déardaoin, Samhain 18, 2010

éirígí & Sinn Féin to Debate Socialism
Representatives from éirígí and Sinn Féin will debate the need for socialism in Ireland next week in an event hosted by a newly-formed student society in Queens University, Belfast.
Daithí Mac An Mhaistír
speaking in Donegal
Comhdháil Poblachtach [Republican Congress], which was formed in the university in September, has organised the debate, entitled Is the cure for Ireland’s ills a 32-county socialist republic?, in response to the economic crisis that is currently causing chaos in both the Six and Twenty-Six Counties.
Daithí Mac An Mhaistír from éirígí, who was prominently involved in the campaign against the Lisbon Treaty in the Twenty-Six Counties and international solidarity work, Sinn Féin’s Dublin chairperson Eoin Ó Broin, who is also the author of Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism, and other invited speakers will debate the topic.

A similar debate was held last year in County Donegal at the Peadar O'Donnell Weekend in Dungloe at which éirígí's Mac An Mhaistír was also a speaker. At the event he debated the future of the left in Ireland and the role that socialist politics could play in the future of the then already damaged economy. Also taking part in that debate was Sinn Fein and The Communist Party of Ireland among others.

Spokesperson for éirígí Tir Chonaill, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig has welcomed the up-coming debate in Belfast saying it is vital that such issues are talked about at this time. "As we face such an uncertain future under the current system it is absolutely vital that socialist politics is not only debated but brought to a wider audience through such events". Mac Giolla Easbuig continued, "It is clear that the ordinary people who are being affected by the greed of the capitalist system are crying out for change and many can see that a socialist republic is the only way forward for a fairer, more stable Ireland. So I commend Comhdháil Poblachtach and their initiative to hold such debate and hope that others follow their lead."  
Previous public meetings held by Comhdháil Poblachtach have included one on the nature of the Orange Order that was addressed by Garvaghy Road resident Breandán Mac Cionnaith and Lower Ormeau resident Gerard Rice, and another on Palestine that was addressed by the head of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Freda Hughes.
The meeting will place next Thursday [November 25] in the Holiday Inn, University Street, Belfast at 7pm.
Adhamh Ó hEarcáin, the chairperson Comhdháil Poblachtach encouraged as many people as possible to attend the debate.
“Since Comhdháil Poblachtach was established in September, we have attempted to stimulate popular debate on a range of issues that are important to working class people in Ireland and beyond. The attendance at our meetings so far has demonstrated that the demand is there for such debate,” O hEarcain said.
“At this time of economic crisis, we think it is important that people are exploring alternatives to a capitalist system that has failed so drastically. To this end, we have invited éirígí, Sinn Féin and others to address a public meeting on the possibility of a socialist republic in Ireland.”
Ó hEarcáin continued: “We are well aware that éirígí and Sinn Féin may share different opinions on how to respond to the economic crisis and, ultimately, on how to replace the system that created it and this should make for a lively and informative debate. Participation from the audience will be encouraged.
“Anyone who is free next Thursday night should get along to the Holiday Inn and debate the possibilities for the future in Ireland.”

Dé Máirt, Samhain 16, 2010

Crises of Capitalism


In the coming weeks, the Twenty-Six Counties are facing the harshest budget in the states history. This budget will see the unemployed, the young, the old, the sick and ordinary workers suffer in order to bail out the capitalist elite who caused the economic calamity we now find ourselves in. In the following short film, renowned academic David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane.

Dé Sathairn, Samhain 13, 2010

The Struggle for Irish Neutrality


Writing below, Roger Cole of the Peace & Neutrality Alliance recounts the struggle against the facilitation of imperialist powers in Ireland and states the need for Irish neutrality. Read on…

The Peace & Neutrality Alliance [PANA] held its first demonstration at Shannon Airport in May 2002 to protest against its use by US soldiers in the Afghan and then coming Iraq war.

The Alliance has participated in many such demonstrations since. In 2002, 73,000 US troops used Shannon Airport and, by 2009, 250,000 US troops were landing in Shannon. To date, nearly two million US troops, the equivalent of one third of the population of Ireland, have landed in the airport on their way to the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Planes landing in Shannon Airport are not searched, despite the fact that there is a prima facie case to be made that ‘rendition’ flights have landed in Shannon carrying prisoners on to torture chambers elsewhere. Indeed, not only are the planes not searched by the Garda, the Twenty-Six County state has spent over €17 million on guarding them.

In May 2007, PANA commissioned Lansdowne Market Research to carry out an independent survey on the attitude of the public to Shannon Airport’s use by US troops in the run up to the Twenty-Six County general election that year.

People were asked: “Are you in favour of, or opposed to the use of Shannon Airport by US troops travelling to and from Iraq?”
The results were as follows:

In favour: 19 per cent
Opposed: 58 per cent
No opinion: 21 per cent
Don’t know: 2 per cent

This independent survey was all but ignored by the corporate media and the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the now-defunct Progressive Democrats all made it clear that they supported the war Iraq war and the use of Shannon Airport in that war during the election.

Thus, on this key issue of war and Ireland’s participation in it, there is clear blue water between the desires of the Irish political/media elite on one hand and the people on the other.

Since then, PANA has continued to campaign against the use of Shannon Airport, which is now spearheaded by a local group affiliated to PANA – Shannonwatch.

Our two websites – www.pana.ie and www.shannonwatch.org – provide substantial information on the ongoing use of Shannon Airport in these apparently unending wars.

The historical origins of Irish neutrality need to be understood.

In 1790, Theobald Wolfe Tone was the first to advocate Irish neutrality in a pamphlet entitled The Spanish War when the British Empire appeared likely to go to war with the Spanish Empire. Tone went on to be one of the founders of the Irish republican movement, so that the demands for Irish independence, democracy and neutrality became intertwined.

However, the original republicans in the United Irish Society were defeated and, throughout the 19th and early 20th century, Irish political leaders opposed national independence, seeking only, at best, a degree of home rule within the British Empire.

It was only with the 1916 Easter Rising and the Tan War that the values of Irish independence, democracy and neutrality were at least partially restored and ensured Twenty-Six County neutrality in World War 2. However, the home rule and imperialist values were not destroyed and their supporters just waited for their time to come again.

In European Union treaty after European Union treaty, these imperialist values grew stronger and stronger as the Irish political elite rejected the republican traditions of democracy, independence and neutrality and supported the acceleration of the integration of Ireland into the EU/US/NATO military structures.

PANA was the only alliance to campaign against the Amsterdam Treaty and provided a shock when 38 per cent voted no. An even bigger shock was caused, with the help of PANA, when the Nice Treaty was defeated as was the Lisbon Treaty, the core purpose of which was to accelerate the militarisation of the EU and liquidate the last remains of the already terminated policy of Irish neutrality. The policy that had, in fact, ended in 2003 when, without even the fig leaf of international law, the US went to war with Iraq and used Shannon Airport with the permission of the Irish political elite in total contravention of the 1907 Hague Convention which explicitly states that, if a state wishes to be regarded as neutral, it cannot allow its territory to be used by belligerents in a war.

When PANA’s international secretary took the Dublin government to court for allowing the use of Shannon Airport, the judge made it clear that the Twenty-Six Counties was, indeed, in breach of the Hague Convention, but since the convention was not part of Irish law, if the Dublin government wanted to end the long standing policy of Irish neutrality, a judge had no right to interfere with that decision.

Finally, the question arises about Ireland’s future. The Irish political/media elite is totally in favour of an imperialist neo-liberal militarist ideology. All they and their ideology now offer the Irish people is unending war and growing poverty. The elite all but totally exclude those in organisations such as PANA from the mainstream media.

However, this policy comes from fear, not from confidence. As anger rises, and new forms of media develop that allows us to communicate, resistance will grow stronger. The overwhelming reality is that the desire for Irish independence, democracy and neutrality can never be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.

They have their wealth and their power. We have the Fenian dead. We have generation after generation of Irish people who fought for our independence on our side. The outcome is inevitable. We will defeat them. The Republic will be established.

Dé Máirt, Samhain 09, 2010

Protest Against Garda Brutality

Protest Against Garda Brutality. Assemble at 6pm, Wednesday, November 10th at the Wolfe Tone Monument, Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, before marching to Pearse Street Garda Barracks.

Over the course of the last number of days a large volume of video and photographic evidence has emerged of the Garda attack on student protesters on Wednesday last (November 3). The story that this footage tells sharply contradicts the version of events that have been peddled by the Garda press office and the main media outlets.
Viewers of RTÉ’s main television news programme on Wednesday night could have been forgiven for believing that the ‘violence’ had consisted of a few minutes of relatively minor scuffles outside of the Department of Finance building. No footage of Gardaí in full riot gear beating defenceless and submissive protesters, or Gardaí dragging protesters by the hair, or Gardaí on horses charging into protesters, or Garda attack dogs straining on their leads, were seen by the hundreds of thousands who tuned into the ‘national’ broadcaster.

Nor did RTÉ see fit to broadcast to the people of Ireland the bloodied faces and split heads of the young people who felt the full force of the Garda batons. That the ‘violence’ came almost exclusively from the Gardaí, that it lasted for well over an hour or that it spread from Merrion Row to Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street was all deemed not worthy of mention by the Montrose censors.

And in the immediate aftermath of the Garda onslaught many other private media outlets followed RTÉ’s lead, choosing to focus on ridiculous fantasies about ‘militants’ and ‘extremists’ who supposedly ‘hijacked’ the students’ protest. Journalist after journalist repeated the ludicrous suggestion that up to two thousand intelligent young people had allowed themselves to be ‘hijacked’ by a number of named organisations including éirígí. Not one journalist or commentator thought to ask how precisely so many people, all of whom were in possession of their full faculties, could have been duped into taking part in a building occupation, a sit down protest and other forms of protest.

It seems it is easier to believe in the republican bogey man than the prospect of educated, intelligent young people thinking for themselves. Easier to talk of looney left hijackings than the possibility of young people robustly defending their right to be educated and their right to protest.

Thankfully the days of the RTÉ and Tony O’Reilly media monopoly are over. Even as the Garda attack was continuing word was spreading via mobile phone and internet across the country and the world. By the following morning tens of thousands of people already knew that the official version of events was nothing but a web of lies. With each passing day ever greater numbers of people are learning how the forces of the Twenty-Six County state dealt with dissent on November 3rd 2010.

On Wednesday next (November 10) the student groups Free Education for Everybody (FEE) and Students in Solidarity have organised an anti-Garda brutality march. People are asked to assemble at the Wolfe Tone Monument for 6pm before marching to Pearse Street Garda barracks. Speaking in advance of the protest, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson encouraged people to join the protest:

“The Garda attack on the students last Wednesday demonstrated once again the true nature of this state. The political establishment and the Garda are quite happy to allow people to march around Dublin city until their feet ache. But should anyone dare to engage in a more direct form of protest such as a building occupation or a sit down protest, or should they refuse to do the bidding of the Garda the punishment is as rapid as it is brutal. The people of Erris in Mayo learned this lesson the hard way over the course of the last five years.

“In May a completely peaceful éirígí protest, in the form of a rooftop banner drop at Anglo Irish Bank, was attacked by members of the public order unit – the same cowboys that ran amok in the Department of Finance last week. Seven members of our party are to go on trial next year on trumped up charges arising from that Garda attack.”

Leeson continued, “It is no accident that last week’s protest was dealt with so harshly, coming as it did just four weeks before the 2011 blood budget. The government and the wider political establishment are sending out a very clear message to the people of this state. They intend to dish out their neo-liberal medicine on December 7th and if you don’t like it you can lump it. And if you protest in a meaningful way you can expect a baton or boot in response.

“These are incredibly important times for the people of Ireland. The shape of our economy and society for generations to come will be decided over the next couple of years. I would encourage everyone who believes in the right to protest to come along to Wednesday’s protest and show solidarity with the students who were attacked. We have to show the Garda and the government that we won’t allow ourselves to be beaten off our own streets.”

Déardaoin, Samhain 04, 2010

 éirígí Slams Spin, Lies & Censorship
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír has slammed the misrepresentation of yesterday’s [Wednesday] student-led demonstration in Dublin.
Around 25,000 people took to the streets of the capital yesterday to protest against the possibility of the reintroduction of fees for third level education in December’s Twenty-Six County budget.
Mac An Mhaistír said: “The coverage of yesterday’s demonstration and the comments of many prominent individuals have completely ignored the violent actions of the Garda, of which there is plentiful evidence.
“Blood flowed on the streets of Dublin yesterday as a result of Garda baton charges, yet the corporate media and establishment politicians have chosen to focus solely on the actions and alleged actions of students.
“What we witnessed in Dublin was the complete inability of the Garda, particularly its Public Order Unit, to deal with any form of protest that is not completely submissive. This has been seen before, in Rossport and elsewhere, where acts of peaceful civil disobedience have been met with violence on the part of the Gardaí.”
Mac An Mhaistír also dismissed claims that éirígí was somehow involved in ‘hijacking’ yesterday’s demonstration.
“éirígí activists, among them students and people from the teaching profession, took part in yesterday’s demonstration as an act of solidarity and in support of the demands for a free and fair education system. To suggest otherwise is a ludicrous act of scaremongering and one that is completely without foundation.”
Mac An Mhaistír continued: “Education, including further and third level education, is a right that should be universally available to all citizens free of charge. The reintroduction of fees, even means tested ones, would be a regressive step towards an education system that, at its higher echelons, provides only for the wealthy in society. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Dé Luain, Samhain 01, 2010

Alternative Community Cinema in Donegal


Friday 29th October seen a large crowd gather in Annagry, County Donegal, at the launch of the new Alternative Community Cinema (ACC) initiative. ACC, which has been set up by éirígí activists in Donegal, plans to show various films and documentaries over the next several months with the aim of the initiative to educate through the medium of film screenings.

The first screening which was a Cuban film entitled 'Kangamba' attracted a crowd of over 130 people to the small Annagry Community Hall in the west Donegal village. The film told the story of how Cuban internationalists fought along side the Angolan Liberation Armed Forces during the war against the apartheid forces of South Africa. Those gathered also enjoyed a selection of food and live music by the Afro-Caribbean band 'Talking Drums'.

Attending the event and guest speaker on the night was the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo. Speaking about the film, which Fidel Castro described as one of the most serious and dramtic films he had ever seen, Ambassador Trujillo explained the special meaning the film had for the Cuban people and herself.

Presentation being made to Cuban
Ambassador Teresita Trujillo
“This film tells of the heroism of a small number of Cuban internationalists and the assistance they gave to the Angolan people during a time of war and it is a story we are very proud of in Cuba. There are very few families in Cuba who do not have a connection to this story as almost everyone in Cuba had a family member or friend who was involved with that issue in Angola. It also shows the heros that seemingly very ordinary people can be” Ambassador Trujillo said.

“I myself used to live and work in Africa so this film screening had a particular and special meaning for me” she said. “Doing community development and youth work in Africa and Angola itself I had made a lot of friends, some of who died in the long conflict. The story of Cuba's involvement giving aid to the Angolan people was solely one of international solidarity. Our country helped because it was the right thing to do and in 1991 when the last Cuban soldier left Angola the only thing we took with us was the pride we felt in being able to help the Angolan people. This recently made film brought back to life the events of the time and instils pride in our nation and brings the idea of international solidarity to a new generation.” During the evening the Ambassador was presented with a commemorative poster of the event as a mark of appreciation for her attendance and support of the event.

Cllr Thomas Pringle 
Also speaking at the event was independent Donegal Councillor Thomas Pringle. “This film and event shows the importance of solidarity, not just locally but internationally and what ordinary women and men working together can gain for the people in the face of great adversity” he said.

éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig who co-ordinated the event thanked the Ambassador for coming to Donegal for the launch of the ACC initiative. “Its great to see the Ambassador here with us tonight. She travelled all the way from Dublin by bus to be here for the event. No fancy limousines for this diplomat!” he quipped as he addressed the crowd. “This is a story of international solidarity and it is one we have a long proud tradition of here in Donegal with the likes of Peadar O'Donnell and others and their involvement in the likes of the anti-fascist International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil War against the Franco armies.”

ACC co-ordinator Micheál
Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig
“Tonights event is the first of several to be held over the coming number of months and with this project we hope to educate and inform people about local and international issues. We also hope that it will help build international solidarity and an appreciation and understanding of other cultures” he said.

Thanking those who helped with the event Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig continued “There are so many people who should be thanked, from Ambassador Trujillo and Cllr Thomas Pringle to those who helped organise the project and tonights event. Those too who helped to set up tonight, the caterers and musicians and the staff of Annagry Community Hall must be thanked also for making tonight a success.”

He concluded by saying “Tonight was about solidarity and pulling together. The likes of Annagry Community Hall is for everyone to use and such facilities should be used to their full potential by all of the community for the good of the community. Its amazing what can be achieved when people pull together for a common purpose and use the facilities they have. Hopefully our work here tonight will encourage everyone to organise in their communities and establish similar projects in their own areas for the benefit of all the people”.