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ireland / britain / anarchist movement / press release Thursday March 08, 2018 19:13 byWSM women

International Working Women’s Day is steeped in the radical history of women demanding improvement in our daily lives and in our working conditions. IWWD dates back to 1857 in New York City. Women garment workers went on strike to demand a 10-hour working day, better working conditions and equal rights.  In honour of this strike, another was held  in 1908 by women needle trade workers.  They demanded voting rights and, an end to sweatshops and child labour. Two years later, the socialist, Clara Zetkin, proposed that the 8th of March be commemorated as International Working Women’s Day.  It was first celebrated nationally in the Soviet Union after the, a  revolution which  began with a strike  of women textile workers.

On, women stand in solidarity with each other against oppression. We demand control over our lives. We demand We demand freedom.

This past year saw a whole movement erupt in relation to sexual violence, with complicated dynamics within this movement that illustrate the intersectional nature of our society. We’ve saw two marches on this island demanding abortion. We saw women on this island come together in an united front to call out the misogyny of the Irish left through telling our comrades to cop on.

The Cop on Comrades image from our share of the letter.

We watch from afar as women in Afrin risk their lives to defend themselves against the brutality of the Turkish state to protect the revolutionary changes they have made. We have seen the intensification of climate change, of which women will bear a disproportionate amount as our access to resources to cope with climate change has many obstacles in its path, especially for women in the Global South. We also lost a giant in the movement for sex workers’ rights just last month when Laura Lee passed, and send our condolences to her friends, family and comrades.

This past year we have made vocal our desires. There have been attempts to silence us, yet struggle continues. Many victories await us. We educate, we agitate, we organise.

Strike 4 Repeal shut down Dublin City Centre this day last year to demand a referendum on the 8th Amendment.

In the spirit of reflection and in bearing this in mind as we fight for a better future, we remember that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the year that some women won the right to vote. One hundred years ago, women had to fight to be granted the status of adults with the right to make their own political decisions; they broke laws, smashed windows, and took what was and is rightfully ours.

This is also the year in which Ireland will have a vote to repeal the hated 8th Amendment which bans abortion, as well as limits the choices of pregnant women and people in the maternity system.  Winning the referendum is just one step on the path to winning abortion rights. After the referendum we will need to fight for proper access to abortion, preferably with no law regulating the procedure, just as no specific laws exist on other medical procedures. But abortion rights are not enough for true reproductive justice. We must abolish the patriarchal ideology that allowed for the church and state to have a legal right to our bodies. We must abolish the system that strips women of our choices through poverty and violence. We must support women in their choice both to have and not to have children.

We fight for a world in which we can all live in control of our lives. We fight for a world in which every child can grow up to meet their full potential as creative and imaginative human beings.  We fight for a world based on care, community, friendship and love. So on this International Women’s Day we salute the Irish women from all walks of life who will be campaigning for repeal. We salute the women fighting in Afrin, who are putting their very lives on the line. We salute our Trans sisters and thank them for enriching our movement. We salute all our friends and neighbours, our sisters, aunts, daughters and mothers who in their daily lives struggle against an unfair and equal world. Here’s to the rebels, the warriors, the women who fight back everyday just through existing.

image copongraphic.jpg 0.06 Mb image strike4repeal.jpg 0.1 Mb image strongwomen.jpg 0.09 Mb

ireland / britain / gender / opinion / analysis Friday February 02, 2018 18:43 byEmilia & Andrew

The announcement that there will be a referendum to decriminalise abortion in Ireland is the product of decades of active campaigning. Pro-choice campaigners built for repeal ever since the hated 8th amendment was entered into the Constitution in 1983, putting a ban on abortion, which was already illegal in the country, into the constitution. If at first this seemed like a distant demand now repeal looks by far the most likely outcome in May. The story of how this happened illustrates how change comes in general. That is not through elections but through people getting organised to demand that change, regardless of which politicians happen to be running the show in any particular year.

After all few would have predicted that it would have been a Fine Gael government supported by Fianna Fáil (the largest parties in Ireland, both traditionally conservative and centre-right) that would finally move forward on the referendum to repeal the 8th. We can say this with great certainty because when Labour were thrown out of power in the last election a range of pundits from the right and the left, including the Labour Party, tweeted very definite declarations that this meant there could be no referendum. How wrong they were, but fortunately most pro-choice organisers stepped up their activity rather than waiting for the next election.

Who is in power is, of course, not completely irrelevant but significant changes are far, far more dependent on people organising themselves to demand change and forcing politicians to implement that change. Almost every significant change in political policy in Ireland, from the abolition of water charges to Repeal of the 8th has been an outcome of people organising together and mobilising to force change. Within this direct action played a key role in ensuring politicians cannot simply stick their heads in the sand.

With the water charges campaign which defeated a new flat rate austerity tax, it was mass non-payment and the disruption of meter installations that forced the politicians who insisted the charge was inevitable to abolish it. With the pro-choice movement it has been thousands of people per year, carrying unwanted pregnancies obtaining abortion pills for themselves and taking them in Ireland, despite being at risk of a 14 year prison sentence. Before and during the 1991 ‘x-case’ when the state injected a 14 year old she so could not travel to England for an abortion ‘illegal’ distribution of abortion information and huge marches demanding X be allowed travel played the same role and forced the politicians to call the 1992 referenda that saw the bans on abortion information and travel for abortion overturned.

Politicians have always been excellent at stepping in front of the cameras, right at the moment that movements, built by others are on the edge of success. Political careers are made or broken on the basis of the timing of this decision. There is of course some courage involved in that decision due to the risk being taken but the subsequent focus on the politician can give the impression that they are the reason for change, and not the movement they have stepped in front of.

The current wave of organising that won the holding of this referendum inherited the work of others but otherwise began in the protests against the Youth Defence billboards targetting women who had abortions set up by the anti-choice group Youth Defence in the summer of June 2012. Not for the first time arrogant attacks from anti-choice bigots galvanised an angry backlash and a new generation of resistance. In a similar but smaller way in the late 1980s the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children brought together the organisers who put together the x-case march when SPUC went after students providing abortion information in guidebooks.

In the early Autumn of 2012 Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman living in Galway, died from septicemia after being denied an emergency abortion. When the horrific news of her death circulated the pro-choice organisers of the Dublin demonstration knew each other from the protests against the billboards and were able to quickly organise. And after the initial protests they did not go home and wait for the next tragedy but started to do the ground work in preparing the movement that emerged - in particular through the creation of the Abortion Rights Campaign and the annual March for Choice that rapidly grew to mobilising 10s of thousands. Last year’s #Strike4Repeal, a huge grassroots protest which blocked O’Connell bridge and brought Dublin to a halt for the afternoon, turned up the heat in demonstrating there could be consequences to politicians thinking they could simply ignore this growing movement.

There will be time after the referendum victory to write a detailed history of this movement but here we wanted to open this campaign by pointing out that it is not Prime Minister Leo Varadkar or even the Citizens Assembly (a panel set up to deliberate on the issue and make policy recommendation) that is forcing change but the work of a mostly unknown set of organisers over the last few years. This understanding will matter in the aftermath of the referendum when we move on to fighting the problems in the legislation that will be introduced (and there will be problems). But it also matters to how we understand that we can collectively change all aspects of the world we live in. Solutions lie not through the selection of politicians but through the building of sustainable movement that are willing to take action to achieve their goals.

This is an internationalised version of the article published on the WSM website at For this Anarkismo publication we've explained contents that we could assume readers in Ireland would be aware of but which other Anarkismo readers might not.

ireland / britain / gender / opinion / analysis Saturday October 14, 2017 00:31 byKellie

On 14th October 2017, Rally for Choice will march through the streets of Belfast. - Last year saw us counter protest the Rally for Life in the North of Ireland, for the first time we marched against their lies instead of our usual static demo. Our counter protest was a huge success, despite being organised at short notice and with only a handful of activists. The protest burst across our streets and convened at Buoy Park afterwards for speakers. We outnumbered the Rally for Life 2016 significantly.

This year, with heightened urgency, even more organisers have come together to have a stand-alone march. We do not need Rally for Life to galvanise us. We are here, in huge numbers, and we are angry.

  • Angry that we are ignored.
  • Angry that we face discrimination.
  • Angry that our sisters and other pregnant people are forced to travel for access to a basic human right.
  • Angry that we are being persecuted by the law and the media.

Rally for Choice is a revolutionary, grassroots, feminist organisation of ordinary people who have come together to make our voices heard. We have an anarchist structure and strive for a horizontal organising arrangement where everyone is equal. Roles are rotated so that no one becomes burned out or takes on too much. We try to avoid terms like manager or leader, and use co-ordinator instead. Our structure is very inspired by the Workers Solidarity Movement.

Organising a Rally for Choice in the North has been a complex but liberating process. We have gathered into sub-groups for Social Media, Outreach and Fundraising, as well as the official paperwork that comes with holding a protest in Belfast, plus we have strong branding which is very important (as we learn from any episode of The Apprentice). We have been meeting weekly to fortnightly since May 2017.

There are only two places in the city where we are officially allowed to gather without Public Liability Insurance (PLI): outside Queen's University and City Hall. Neither of these are large enough for the Rally for Choice. Buoy Park (officially known as Cathedral Gardens) is free to use, but we need permission from Belfast City Council and we must purchase PLI. Other places in the city require gatherings to pay. Paying to protest isn't something we should have to do.

We have encountered so much resistance from Belfast City Council, that it has been hard to avoid the impression that they are trying to silence us. One of our events, Picnic for Choice in Botanic Gardens, was declined permission at 4pm the day before it was held.

Any march in the North requires a notification to be sent to the Parades Commission. They don't grant permission per se, but they must be notified. They can put restrictions on the march and we will have to have an official meeting with them 10 days before the Rally. The Rally can be classified as 'contentious' up to 14 days before. This will require more meetings and paperwork.

The City Centre PSNI will also be informed ahead of the day.

We are very lucky to have talented artists within the group. They have designed some strong pieces of artwork. The colour purple was chosen due to its feminist connotations. And our logo is easily recognisable as a symbol demanding liberation from oppression.
One of our meetings was a workshop where one of our members shared their knowledge and skills with graphic building so that more of us can contribute towards making images for future events.

Social Media
We have a team of people to spread the word on our various social media platforms. We can increase our reach and impact by posting to Facebook regularly. This is much more accessible for our comrades who are not able to make regular meetings.

  • We started out on Facebook as Rally For Choice Ireland
  • We're now on Instagram @RallyforChoiceIreland
  • We have a Twitter account - @rallyforchoice
  • And we also do Snapchat the odd time – rallyforchoice
  • Our lovely website has a beautiful purple theme

Please follow us to keep up to date.

We have an excellent video about why we are doing this, and there is another one coming soon...

One of the main aims of starting this new group was to empower people who haven't been involved in activism before. We have had an amazing response to our Open Organising Meetings. We simply post them on the Rally for Choice Ireland Facebook page and the result has been incredible. An average meeting has around 12-20 people show up, many of them new to Pro-Choice activism and the horizontal structure we have in place means most people get straight to work!

As it's incredibly close to all our hearts, we want to include and involve as many people as possible. We've sent information packs to Women's Centres and Groups across the province. We've held pro-choice information stalls to distribute leaflets in Belfast and in Tyrone. One of the reasons why we chose October is that we want people from the March for Choice in Dublin on 30th September 2017 to be inspired, and come and support us in the North! We want everyone to come to Rally for Choice. We don't want this to be just Belfast. We want this to represent people Ireland-wide.

To make sure we have complete autonomy and are not beholden to anyone except ourselves, we have held fundraisers. Past and future events include a Karaoke night, a Feminist Media Discussion, and a Gig Night. We also have a crowdfunder on the go, where you can get T-shirts, tote bags and badges which closes at 11pm tonight. The amazingly generous response from supporters has been really heart-warming. Please visit the crowdfunder and help us make this rally massive!

We will use this kindness wisely. Holding a successful Rally is expensive. As well as the leaflets, posters, stickers, public liability insurance and outlay for merchandise, we also want to make a huge purple banner and have some purple surprises for a bit of atmosphere on the 14th October.
Our hope the day of the Rally is a day of strength and solidarity. We want people to use it as a springboard to meet other activists and become involved with the movement. We want to be heard. And we want our human rights. Now.

ireland / britain / gender / opinion / analysis Friday October 13, 2017 23:32 byNational Conference

This is the Workers Solidarity Movement position paper on Abortion Rights as collectively agreed at July 2017 WSM National Conference.  This position paper sits under the Patriarchy paper which in turn is under the Anarchism, Oppression & Exploitation paper, and hence does not repeat any of that material in these.

Abortion Rights


1. Why We are Pro-Choice

1.1 The WSM stands for people having control over their own bodies: bodily autonomy. Part of that is control over our own reproductive health, including the ability to end a pregnancy if we choose to. The prohibition of abortion on the island of Ireland is a gross violation of that basic right to bodily autonomy.

1.2 Though cis women have been the primary targets of the abortion ban, abortion rights affect anyone else who can become pregnant namely trans men, non-binary and some intersex people. It’s important to recognise this in order to have a movement which includes all people who can become pregnant and which challenges patriarchy as a whole rather than only the oppression of cis women. Hence our inclusion of gender-neutral language in this position paper and in our campaigning for abortion rights.

1.3 However we believe that the imposition of an abortion ban is strongly linked to women’s inferior position in patriarchal society and expected role as baby-makers and home-makers. The capacity for most women to be pregnant has copper-fastened that inferior position in capitalist society. This has been extended to being stuck with child rearing within the family. Therefore women's access to work, education, leisure and any chance of self-advancement has been strictly limited. This is especially true for working class women. The WSM opposes women's oppression.

1.4 People who can get pregnant have always tried to control their own fertility. Anti-abortion laws have resulted in back-street abortions and induced miscarriages. World-wide, one person dies from a back-street abortion every three minutes. Winning full control over our own fertility is an essential step towards ending women’s oppression. The technology has been developed under capitalism to make this both safe and possible. Women and others must have the right to use this technology to decide if and when to have children.

1.5 We support a person’s access to full, free and safe contraception. If they find themselves pregnant but do not wish to have a child then they should have access to free, safe, abortion on request.

2. What We Mean by Pro-Choice

2.1 We believe in real options and real choices for people who can get pregnant. A person who wants to have a child shouldn't have to spend the rest of their life looking after them. This is why we favour the option of full child-care provision, parental leave and flexi-time for working, public creche facilities and restaurants. The present role of many women as full-time unpaid childminders within the family must be ended.

2.2 A person who finds themselves pregnant and does not wish to remain so should have a right to free, safe abortion on demand. This is not an abstract political slogan, we don't go around shouting "free abortion on demand" in the belief that it can only be gained in the context of a socialist revolution. We believe that it is merely one of the basic first steps in freeing women from the constraints placed on us by capitalism.

2.3 The quality of a pregnant person's life can never be made equal to that of an unborn foetus. The foetus is totally dependent on the parent it cannot be said to have an independent existence. To give it such rights (as per the Irish constitution) reduces pregnant people to the status of breeding machines or walking wombs. Just as an acorn can become an oak tree, a foetus can become a human baby. But a foetus is no more a baby than an acorn is an oak tree.

2.4 However, politically, there is little point in entering debates on "when does life begin?" or viability of the foetus. Our arguments must must focus on a person's right to control their own body.

3. The Current Legal Situation


3.1 South of Ireland

(a) In 1861 abortion was made a criminal offence in Ireland, north and south. This was still the case in 1983 when the anti-choice lobby got the southern government to hold a referendum which amended the Constitution to give equal rights to the "unborn". This is the 8th Amendment.

(b) In 1992 the High Court granted an injunction preventing a 14 year old, pregnant as a result of rape, from traveling to Britain for an abortion (this was the X-case). The WSM was centrally involved in organising protests of up to 10,000, which led to the injunction being withdrawn and a major shift in public attitudes towards abortion.

(c) In the same year two referendums passed, which amended the Constitution to protect the right to travel for abortion and to have information about abortion services abroad. A third option, to exclude suicide as a life-threatening risk which would legally justify abortion, was rejected.

(d) In 2002 voters rejected another constitutional amendment to allow abortion where a woman’s life is at risk from pregnancy, but not suicide, by 50.42% to 49.58%.

(e) Fairly hollow legislation has been enacted to allow for the very limited grounds established by the X-case. To legalise abortion in any other circumstances first requires a referendum to overturn the 8th Amendment.

(f) In response to widespread protest against the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2013 the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed which hypothetically allows for abortion when the pregnant person is suicidal, but requires that person to be assessed by one obstetrician and two psychiatrists.

3.2 North of Ireland

(a) The North as well as the Isle of Man are the only parts of the UK not governed by the 1967 Abortion Act.

(b) While the 1967 Abortion Act put an end to working class people dying from back street abortions, as wealthy people had other means of securing abortions, it did not put an end to the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. The 1967 Act is a paternalistic law that requires two doctors’ signatures for an abortion to be carried out. Rather than calling for its extension we call for full decriminalisation.

(c) In December 2015 the High Court in Belfast ruled that the anti-abortion laws in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities was a breach of the human rights of those who are affected by the laws.

(d) Despite paying the same amount of taxes towards the NHS pregnant people from the North cannot avail of free abortions under the NHS in England. Despite this being challenged in the courts an appeal as recent as June 2017 stood by this law.

4. The Situation Today and the Strategy of the WSM

4.1 The anti-choice and religious fundamentalist groups are losing support, all major opinion polls show a majority of voters prepared to permit abortion in at least some circumstances.

4.2 The major political parties want to ignore the issue, using the availability of abortion abroad as a ‘safety valve’.

4.3 The relatively widespread distribution of illicit abortion pills in Ireland represents a significant change in the struggle, and is a direct action solution which undermines the legitimacy of the law.

4.4 As pressure for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment mounts, the best option available to the southern government will be to call referendum for abortion access in more ‘limited circumstances’. The movement as a whole needs to decide whether to engage with that lesser choice or to boycott it in order to push for full repeal.

4.5 We favour uniting all who will work for repeal - with the proviso that the explicitly pro-choice position be represented, along with more limited views, on all platforms.

4.6 The building of a visible pro-choice movement is a vital part of the ‘battle of ideas’ that will see eventual decriminalisation .

4.7 Decriminalisation is preferred to legalisation. Legalisation requires law specific to abortion. Decriminalisation does not, making it a choice between a pregnant person and their doctor. There's no specific law for knee surgeries for example.

4.8 The movement should be primarily based on the needs of working classpregnant people: for free, safe & legal abortion provision as part of the health service.

4.9 In the North we call for the full decriminalisation of abortion, not merely for an extension of the British 1967 Act. While the 1967 Act put an end to people dying from backstreet abortions it did not scrap the 1861 Abortion Act which still criminalises abortion, rather it provides a legal defence.

4.10 Real choice means being able to end a pregnancy or have children without suffering major economic or social costs. We call for:
The provision of a guaranteed minimum income, housing and childcare facilities for all women who continue our pregnancies and keep our children.
A supportive attitude to all women who decide to opt for adoption, and recognition of the rights of women and children in this position.
Provision of non-directive pregnancy counselling to all who require it.

4.11 The struggle for abortion rights is part of the struggle for more liberty, those who can’t become pregnant (such as cis men) should be involved as well as those who can (such as cis women and trans men).

Amended at July 2017 Conference

ireland / britain / gender / news report Friday October 13, 2017 23:03 byDermo & Andrew

Saturday the 30th of September 2017 will go down as a high point in the fight for abortion rights in the Republic of Ireland, and that is a struggle that stretches back decades. Years of campaigning and maintaining a focus on the issue, saw a massive crowd of nearly 30,000 people take to the streets for the annual March for Choice as organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign [ARC]. The calls are for action, and the need for Repeal of the 8th Amendment which bans abortion in almost all circumstances.

The day was glorious, the sun blazed down on us, and as I cycled across the City you could see the crowds assemble. Families disembarked from buses and trams, the distinctive black Repeal sweatshirts were much in evidence, and you could see visibly see people being drawn to the starting point at the Garden of Remberance, in Parnell Square. It was akin to seeing people flock towards Croke Park on the big game day. By 1pm it was apparent that the numbers attending were going to be significant. I made my way to Jigsaw, on Dublin’s North side, to meet up with Comrades there. A breakfast for choice had been going there all morning by the time I showed up. In the sunny back yard I heard the sweet sounds of choir singing something about repealing.

The march started bang on time, sometime around 2pm. People were packed in on the streets. I saw students there, assembled left wing groups, and various groups from around the country, so that counties representing choice had brought buses to Dublin. The message was that it was Time to Act, Free Safe and Legal abortion in Ireland, and it was obvious that the message had been heard and understood all over the island. The atmosphere was one of protest, but there was also a sense of power in realising that we had the numbers, and as the march progressed there would occasionally have hollers and cheers. There is a sense of power that comes from knowing that so many people had heard the message and were here to keep up the pressure. Political promises are not enough. Waiting is not an option when you know that over 200,000 have Travelled to the UK since 1983 to secure an abortion. The chants were clear and to the point. ‘We wont’ wait - Repeal the Eighth’

The Taoiseach may not have made up his mind on the subject, but here was an army of people to help him along. This army was overwhelmingly young, with energy, imaginative placards and slogans, but coupled with that a wisdom that the way to bring about change is to get on the streets. It was heartening to be in that crowd, and it that sea of humanity we had all sorts of imaginative placards, signs, flags, banners, colours, smoke bombs, chanting, singing, hand clapping, and dancing. I believe it is a sense of people power. It stems from the campaigns that have gone before and perhaps the lesson is that social change can be delivered this way by brining it about for yourselves.

The march made it’s way around the city, and I believe more people joined in as we passed, so the numbers appeared to grow. It was great to see the protest unfurl in front of you, winding it’s way down the quays and over the bridge towards our destination in Merrion Square.

The Abortion Rights Campaign organised a wide variety of speakers who discussed many aspects of the pro-choice struggle, including political intersections with migrant and indigenous ethnic minorities in Ireland, queer and trans struggles, and sex worker struggles, as well as two musical acts. All of the speakers spoke with honesty and conviction to the huge crowd, about issues which had clearly impacted them intimately.

Cork comedian, Tara Flynn MC-ed the talks, opening from the very start with: “my name is Tara Flynn, and we are going to repeal the eight!”. The enthusiasm and compassion present among the crowd was palpable as she introduced the names and backgrounds of each of the speakers who shared with us their own perspectives and experiences of life in Ireland under the eight amendment.

The first pair to speak were the current conveners of the ARC; Angela Coraccio and Caoimhe Doyle. They discussed their organising activity as part of the ARC, noting the significance of these annual demonstrations in bringing pro-choice people together publically, providing us all with the opportunity to voice our dissent collectively, and the boost in energy particularly positive for people who feel more isolated, living in rural communities all over Ireland. They highlighted the various solidarity actions, against the eight amendment, taking place all over the world on the same day, including, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Bristol, Paris, Berlin, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Brussels, Ultrecht, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Manchester, Liverpool, Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin. Prohibition of abortion as they reminded us is an “instrument of inequality and torture” which is rightly condemned by international human rights institutions.

When people are educated on the reality of the eight amendment they said, they are pro-choice. Considering our opponents in achieving Free Safe Legal, they noted that all of the mainstream political parties are now “attempting to water down the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly”. “We don’t have pulpits to recruit from” they said – noting the influence of organised religious intuitions in drawing people into anti-choice demonstration and massively funding their disgraceful and dishonest campaigns. Urging everyone in attendance to get involved in the struggle, they finished with “now is the time to act.”

The massive crowed in attendance then had an unexpected musical performance from Galway pro-choice, joined on-stage by esteemed song-writer and performer, Lisa Hannigan. The performance, we were told was part of the “I Can’t Keep Quiet Project”.

The third speech from the platform was given by civil rights leader, independent electoral politician, feminist, republican and ant-fascist Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Speaking with her usual clarity and conviction she began by noting “it is unbelievable that we’re still here, demanding something we demanded almost fifty years ago.” She praised the diversity of the current campaign, noting a sea-change from previous activist scenes she had been a part of where the “bad images” of “sex workers, trans people, traveller women, migrant women” would not have been given any voice, and consequently denied any of the gains made by the movement. “The eight amendment”, she said, “is not exclusively about abortion. It is the usurpation of the individual’s right to have control over their own body”. It is the right of each person “to exercise first and last control over their own body, all day, and every day”. With such cognisance of the dynamics of power and political struggle, she made clear: “repeal of the eight amendment is not a favour we are asking, it is a fundamental defence of democracy for everybody and every citizen.” Achieving our aims is decriminalising, and making accessible, abortion, here in the South will give courage to those in the North to continue their same struggle for the same ends.
 [ see Bus for Choice to Belfast at the end of this article]

Emily Waznak a Japanese-American activist living in Ireland for over nine years, speaking on behalf of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ) highlighted the importance that “migrant women are a part of this movement, as they are disproportionately affected” as due to travel constraints, some cannot flee the jurisdiction of the Irish state to procure and abortion in the UK or elsewhere. The procurement of abortion pills, for which people face a potential penalty of fourteen years imprisonment is a vital resource to people in the migrant community, and Emily urged us to support groups like Need and Abortion Ireland. She asked the question “how will migrants fare with government restrictions on abortion?” referring to the potential legislation likely to replace the eight. “[We are] expected to be grateful for living in a country where our body is not our own”. Finishing, she highlighted the vital importance of “standing shoulder to shoulder” with migrants, in solidarity; making potently clear, that anything other than Free, Safe, Legal and accessible abortion is discrimination.

This was followed by a discussion/performance from Gender Studies graduate, LGBTQI + and student activist, Matt Kennedy. He thanked everyone in attendance and noted the importance of trans and non-cis voices in the movement. As a trans man he said, “This country wasn’t built for me. It wasn’t built for us. It was built in the back of churches; I sat there too.” The talk flowed, beautifully and artistically, resembling more a poetic recitation than a political declaration or manifesto. “I was always someone’s son” he said, “though they thought I was their daughter”. After making clear our project, building the new society in the shell of the old, the thanked ARC for including trans-voices in the struggle, “which are so often forgotten”.

The next speakers was a moving contribution from Gay and Gerry Edwards of “Terminations for Medical Reasons” (TMFR). They told us about their experience of being forced to leave Ireland to deliver their son, because of the eight amendment. Addressing “one of the last great taboos” Gay talked about late term abortions, in cases of fatal foetal abnormality or when the mother’s life is in danger. Speaking with such authority on the gruelling reality of abortion prohibition, they brought such honesty and clarity to the political. Cis men’s role in this political struggle, as Gerry said, “as brothers, partners, husbands, friends”, is not to stand up for women, it is to stand with women – “until all of us are free, none of us are”.

Eileen Flynn, a Traveller woman spoke and said she suffers discrimination within the Irish health system. Referencing the All Ireland Health Study, she noted that traveller women are the most likely section of Irish society to be at risk of poverty. “We face discrimination because of who we are”. Traveller women have a suicide rate, five times that of women in the general population, and a life expectancy eleven years shorter. She also noted the situation traveller women face with regard to stigma and patriarchy in their own communities: “it is not easy for me to stand here as a traveller woman and talk about abortion. It’s not something that is talked about”. Talking again about the experience as a subjugated minority within a state healthcare system she said, “When you are oppressed all the time you have low self-esteem, you tend to think the doctor is always right”. Finishing with sardonic understatement she said “Ireland, you are a little bit backwards”.

Kate McGrew of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland was the final speaker on the day. Opening by leading the partially ironic chant “Hoes need abortions”, she drew clearly the intersection between the rights of sex workers and rights of bodily autonomy at large in society. “Consent is key, partial autonomy is oppressive, it is dangerous”. Noting the recent legislation which has been inflicted on sex workers in Ireland she told us about how this has impacted on the lives of sex workers who, like people seeking an abortion, are “left to navigate the treacherous path of illegality”. “We need legislation that leaves space for personal circumstance and the sometimes messy reality of life” she said. “Shame is not an effective deterrent”. Embodying the optimism of each of the speeches she proclaimed “sex workers rights are coming to Ireland. Abortion rights are coming to Ireland.”

The day ended on a high note when the ARC choir, gave a fantastic alternate rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” – titled, of course, “Don’t Stop Repealing”.


Words: Dermot Freeman
Video: Andrew Flood (follow Andrew on Twitter)

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Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

Ireland / Britain

Mon 23 Apr, 16:56

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repealbanner.jpg imageWSM International Women’s Day Message - 2018 Mar 08 19:13 by WSM women 0 comments

Collage showing politicians who announced referendum in front of one of the protests that forced them to act imageDecades of organising wins new abortion referendum in Ireland Feb 02 18:43 by Emilia & Andrew 0 comments

textRallying for Choice in Belfast Oct 14 00:31 by Kellie 0 comments

textThe WSM on the struggle for abortion rights in Ireland Oct 13 23:32 by National Conference 0 comments

The front of the march passed the GPO imageMarch for Choice 2017 - report & video from Dublin Oct 13 23:03 by Dermo & Andrew 0 comments

shoutprochoice.jpg imageFrom Dublin to Brussels demand universal access to abortion Sep 26 20:09 by International Sec 0 comments

textNational Conference Workers Solidarity Movement Ireland Sep 03 21:37 by Nic 0 comments

textIn Ireland Jobstown not Guilty verdict points to a Garda conspiracy Jul 21 00:26 by Andrew 0 comments

rally4choiceimage.jpg imageRally 4 Choice successfully sees off annual anti-choice parade in Ireland Jul 21 00:17 by Andrew 0 comments

jobstownjoan.jpg imageIrish state fails in bid to frame community activists for false imprisonment Jun 30 23:27 by Various 0 comments

badgeagecorbynfurcoatsportscarc4publicity.jpg imageAbsolute boy - The Youth Revolt that led Corbyn to a victory of sorts Jun 15 20:24 by Andrew Flood 0 comments

standwithbusworkers.jpg imageSuccessful secondary pickets bring public transport to a halt in Ireland Mar 31 19:04 by Andrew 0 comments

Dublin's main bridge was occupied imageThousands take part in pro-choice #Strike4Repeal in Ireland Mar 30 18:46 by Andrew 0 comments

homesweethome.jpg imageOrganizing against the Irish housing emergency Mar 21 01:18 by Tomás Lynch 0 comments

screenshot20170315at8.38.17a.m..png imageAodhan Ó Ríordáin: Playing The Big Man in America Mar 18 02:25 by Tomás Lynch 0 comments

textDimissioni di Mc Guinness: ritornano i Troubles? Jan 20 08:19 by Gianni Sartori 0 comments

460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_513b8frmipl.jpg image[Belfast] Book Launch: “Revolution in Rojava” by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Aybog... Dec 05 06:28 by Rojava Calling! 0 comments

513b8frmipl.jpg image[Dungannon] Book Launch: “Revolution in Rojava” by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayb... Dec 02 07:15 by Rojava Calling! 0 comments

513b8frmipl_2.jpg image[Cork] Book Launch: “Revolution in Rojava” by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga (... Nov 30 21:33 by Rojava Calling! 0 comments

513b8frmipl_1.jpg image[Dublin] Book Launch: “Revolution in Rojava” by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga... Nov 30 20:48 by Rojava Calling! 0 comments

513b8frmipl.jpg image[Cavan] Book Launch: “Revolution in Rojava” by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga ... Nov 30 20:42 by Rojava Calling! 0 comments

watercharge17srpt2016crowd.jpg imageDublin protest to force the government to back down and scrap water charges sees 1000s on ... Sep 20 19:31 by Brian 0 comments

Retrato de Roger Casement realizado por Jim Fitzpatrick imageUn siglo del asesinato de Roger Casement, precursor de la solidaridad internacionalista Aug 04 06:13 by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. 0 comments

Nigel Farange in front of a Leave poster which many pointed out was very similar to a Nazi propaganda film. imageMaking sense of the Brexit tide of reaction and the reality of the racist vote Jun 30 06:19 by Andrew 5 comments

text10 point guide for post Brexit resistance as racist right wins EU referendum Jun 26 01:06 by Andrew 5 comments

rnb3_1.jpg image#Brexit: 10 σχόλια Jun 25 08:55 by Workers Solidarity Μοvement 0 comments

textObservations on Brexit and Lexit in the UK EU membership referendum Jun 23 00:38 by Various 0 comments

orlandofightback.jpg imageOrlando means fightback Jun 13 22:51 by Workers Solidarity Movement 0 comments

textAbout Mike Macnair, « Social-Democracy & Anarchism » and hatchets May 12 00:12 by René Berthier 0 comments

2016dabf.jpg imageAudio & video from the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair panels May 03 19:42 by Andrew 0 comments

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