A talk about the development & future of the campaign against water charges, a mass campaign of resistance to privatisation of water and an austerity tax that has emerged in southern Ireland involving hundreds of thousands of people.
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What is important is that we do what is right, not what is legal. Sometimes these things overlap, often they are in conflict. What the struggle against the water charges has shown clearly is that a slave mentality of blindly obeying the law will never lead to a better world. We must attend to real justice, not the judicial system.
There's a famous quote from US historian, author, and activist Howard Zinn:
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders …and millions have been killed because of this obedience …Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves … [and] the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
Today 8 housing activists from An Spreach Housing Action Committee and from D8HAC were up in court. All 8 were charged with trespassing on the 29th of July 2014 in a vacant flat in Charlemount Street in Dublin’s south inner city. All charges were dismissed by the court. This is a small victory for the housing groups, but the struggle continues it is not the end of the campaign to highlight the homeless and housing crisis.
This photo was taken at Thursday evening's demonstration against the criminalisation of protest - in particular the arrest of almost 20 people for participating in a 2 hour blockade of the Tánaiste 3 months previously. It shows protesters holding signs saying 'ACAB' – but what does this mean? It means 'All Cops Are Bastards'. We can hear some people objecting already: 'not all Gardaí are bad'. But please hold on, that's missing the point entirely. ACAB doesn't mean that each police officer as an individual person is nasty, sadistic, dishonest, and so on. It means that every police officer is bounded by their job as an agent of the state, and this necessarily causes cops to act like 'bastards' - whether or not they want to.A cop goes to work as a cop, not as an individual. They cease to be 'John Murphy' and become 'Garda B203', anonymous law enforcement officer 71032. ACAB means that no matter how nice a person the cop is individually they must break strikes, attack social movements, execute homophobic, sexist, and racist laws, deport and evict people, and even torture and murder, because that is what the police do. Feel free to make a conscientious objection, you will be fired.
Today was found the burned body of Özgecan who was raped and murdered in Mersin, Tarsus.
Today Özgecan, who was murdered by the driver of the minibus she took, became the revolt all round the region.
Palestine-Israel, 10 years of the joint struggle in Bil'in against the settlers, the separation fence/wall, and occupation*
Tonight members of the Labour Party voted against a bill which would allow abortion in situations where the foetus has no prospect of survival.Once again, the Labour Party vote against abortion legalisation on petty political grounds. Once again they promise that they will introduce legalisation. The first time they did this was in 1991, 22 years before the promised legalisation had not materialised. Labour lie, women die.
The second time they did this was after Savita Halappanavar died in October 2012. Within months of this they again voted against abortion.
Last November, I took part in a week-long language school at Oventic, Chiapas. I spent the week living and learning with two US-based comrades – Laila, a tattoo artist and socialist/feminist from Memphis, and Michael, a housing rights activist from Baltimore – alongside the wider Zapatista community of Oventic. Our ‘guides’ for the week were our neighbours – Natalio and Paloma as well as Stephanie (who was learning to be a teacher) and Efrain (a linguist, philosopher and educator all rolled in to one). These were the people we met and spoke with every day. What follows are some reflections recorded along the way.
Show your ass to the authorities: call for solidarity with Belarusian anarchists from 25th February to 1st March
We have had months of outrage from media & politicians over the last months about the 2 hours Joan Burton spent stuck in a luxury car. This morning we saw a wave of Garda raids at dawn on political activists involved in that protest, one of whom faced 8 Garda barging into his house to arrest him while he tried to get his two young kids ready for school.
That's the nature of policing in this country, one law for the rich and powerful, and another for anyone who dares to stand up to the powerful. The laws are written to protect those with wealth and power, to allow them to keep the rest of us down and desperate. It fast it turned out almost none of their scams that caused the crisis were even illegal (under the laws they paid politicians to draft).
The French proto anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wrote over 150 years ago that
“To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.
The Garda raids against the Jobstown 4 at dawn are an illustration of how the state works to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. Nothing illustrates the repressive role the state plays better than having a squad of strange men turn up at your door at dawn to take you away against your will. It’s an exercise in power that it meant to scare, to frighten others into staying quiet.
Whenever people refuse to be bought off or diverted into ineffective action or electoralism the state deploys the stick. For months Gardaí have been attacking people in communities across the country for continuing to resist water meter installations. And over the last decade we saw state repression being directed again and again against the community around Rossport because they refused to give in to Shell. There is huge and growing outrage directed at the Garda, it's at moments like this that the old anarchist slogan 'Smash the State' comes into focus.
This morning squads of Garda around Dublin mounted dawn raids on the houses of water charges protesters over a sit in 3 months ago in Jobstown. At the same time across the city bankers and other speculators named in the HSBC Geneva Private Bank leaks slept soundly in their beds knowing no one was going to be knocking down their door. If you want to understand the nature of power the contrast provides an excellent example.
The raids this morning were all about what the politicians' spin doctors like to call optics. Politicians, media and the Gardaí are on a drive to criminalise and marginalise those resisting the imposition of water charges. Sit ins and blockades have been part of political protest in Ireland for decades, the IFA routinely has far more militant protests.
It is to them that our militant solidarity is and will be directed alongside every worker with whom we raise our fists. We will not be intimidated and in every street march, picket, strike and occupation we will be shoulder to shoulder with all those who struggle!
Photo: State repression in action - Anti water charge protests Paul Murphy being arrested by 6 Garda at 7am this morning
Shocking news this morning as we hear that Garda have arrested four anti-water tax protesters this morning in connection with the sit down protest three months ago that kept Joan Burton in her car for a couple of hours. The Jobstown 4 are Paul Murphy, Scott Matherson, Mick Murphy and Kieran Mahon.
The arrests were made just before 7am this morning when teams of Garda arrived at the homes of those targeted. Eirigi have described the arrest of Scott as follows
"‘At around 7am this morning up to a dozen Gardaí in five vehicles arrived at Scott Masterson’s home. Scott was the only adult in the house getting his two young daughters ready for primary school and pre-school. When Scott’s partner returned to the house, having earlier gone to work, there were eight Gardaí in the house along with Scott and the two children. Scott was then arrested and made to stand in handcuffs on a public road for a number of minutes before being transported to Tallaght Garda barracks.’