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A prolonged revolt is happening in Ireland against the introduction of yet another austerity tax, this time as a charge on water. Across the country housing estates have seen conflict between residents, Garda and private security over the installation of water meters. Marches of tens of thousands have taken place.This week seizing on a minor incident 3 months ago when water charge campaigners sat in front of the Tanaistes (Deputy Prime Minister) car for two hours the Irish police (Garda) have mounted dawn raids against the houses of 21 water charge campaigners. The piece that follows is the Workers Solidarity Movement reportage of these raids as they happened over last week.
The enormous use of Garda resources in terms of a 3 month investigation and large squads of Garda arriving on people's doorsteps in the early morning reveal the highly political nature of these arrests. And these carried out in revenge for a minor protest against a deeply unpopular Labour party political.
The continuing opposition by loyalists to the decision by Belfast city council to limit the flying of the Union Jack (bringing it into line with other council chambers) is a product of a deeply sectarian colonial settlement that smothers the importance of class.The disturbances were pretty predicable in the context of summer riots over parading, intra-unionist rivalry and rising anger in traditional protestant working-class communities over shortage of jobs, housing and perceived gains made by the ‘nationalist’ community. The mass inflammatory leafleting by unionist parties in the days leading up to the council vote served to heighten fears in a constituency which is easily inflamed and mobilised in defence of the realm. This is not the cause of the disturbances; but the logical conclusion of capitalist decay and opportunist politicians battling for the hearts and minds of protestant working class communities - disenchanted and disillusioned with the peace dividends promised over 10 years ago.
There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."All the ruling parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Greens and the Labour party - have prevaricated, delayed, avoided and ignored the issue. This has led to two further court cases where girls in care had to go to the courts in order to be allowed to travel to another country. It has led to court cases over ownership of eggs used in IVF. It has, no doubt, led to the forced pregnancies of immigrant women who cannot travel. It has led to women ordering abortion drugs over the Internet. It has forced women to travel under stressful conditions at great expense to other countries, including women who are carrying foetuses who will not survive birth. And now the delay in carrying out a termination has led to the death of a women. Whether it’s due to cowardice or callousness, all the ruling parties have shown little concern for the misery they inflict on women's lives.
National and international solidarity campaign with electrical engineers in the UK, who in recent months have been forced to organise in response to attacks from the 8 bigger employers in the industry.Last summer these 8 firms announced their intention to leave the agreement on pay (the JIB) that governs the industry. The workers expect wage cuts of up to 35% and the deterioration of their working conditions. These workers are already required, with their low wages, to perform overtime in order to provide for their families.
It is not an isolated attack on a particular occupation in an individual country. It’s well known that these firms are supported by all firms in the building industry, some of which are multinational.
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ireland / britain / crime prison and punishment Thursday August 18, 2011 15:03 by Aidan, Andrew & Dermot
The police killing of Mark Duggan resulted in four nights of rioting across England. The immediate trigger was the killing itself, and the disrespect shown by the police to Mark’s family and friends. But the riots rapidly broadened to expressions of a more general anger and alienation; an anger that was all too often unfocused and striking out at the nearest target of opportunity. This resulted in widespread destruction of resources in already deprived neighborhoods and some anti-social attacks on bystanders. Despite this, the roots of the riots lie in the economic and political conditions of these districts, and not in ‘poor parenting’ or ‘mindless criminality’. These conditions were created by the very politicians and business elite who now call for a return to normality and repression.The riots happened at a particular moment, a moment when capitalism is in deep crisis. Indeed the riots occurred at the same time as yet another crash in global markets. The two competed with each other to be the lead story on the news. This is not a coincidence; the crash, and the cuts unleashed to impose it’s costs on ordinary people, mean not only rocketing unemployment but also the slashing of public services. And while the focus is on the estimated £200 million of destruction caused by the rioting, this pales into insignificance in comparison with the huge destruction of wealth taking place on the stock exchanges.
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