Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Dublin spring?

It looks as though things may be starting to turn around for movements at last - between the water charges movement in Ireland and events in Greece and Spain it's clear that there's a new sense of
possibility in the air, however people read that.

There's a series of upcoming events in the greater Dublin region this spring aiming to feed into this process and hopefully contribute to taking things further. Here's a few dates:

Friday March 6th (7 - 9 pm) and Saturday March 7th (10 - 5 pm), Teachers Club:

Grassroots Strategy Weekend organised by Gluaiseacht for Global Justice, ATTAC Ireland, Third Level Workplace Watch, Marea Granate Dublin and We're Not Leaving.

Monday April 13th and Tuesday April 14th (10 - 5 pm), Maynooth:

John Holloway seminar "Think hope, think crisis" organised by the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism.

Friday April 17th (evening) to Sunday April 19th (afternoon), Don Bosco centre, Drimnagh:

Grassroots Gathering "Joining the dots", co-organised by the MA CEESA. Watch this space for more details.

Friday April 24th - Sunday April 26th, Smithfield

Dublin Anarchist Bookfair, organised by the Workers Solidarity Movement. More details TBA.

Just so you know...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Origins and development of the movement against water charges

The audio of a great recent talk and discussion analysing the water charges protests (41 mins) by veteran activist Andrew Flood is now online here. Very perceptive stuff.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Academics, social movements and praxis

Interface's Africa editor Richard Pithouse has written a very interesting piece about emancipatory praxis and the academy which is well worth a read. Probably not all of it is applicable to the Irish situation but some of it seems particularly true of relationships between academia, NGOs and working-class community activism.

Monday, 16 February 2015

50 Shades of Socialist Feminism

Just for a nice change of tone...

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Grassroots Strategy Weekend (Dublin, March)

Not the Grassroots Gathering / CEESA event (details TBA but greater Dublin, April 17th - 19th) but another Very Good Thing and just the right time for it!

Gluaiseacht for Global Justice, We're Not Leaving, ATTAC Ireland,
Third Level Workplace Watch, and Marea Granate Dublin invite you to a

Grassroots Strategy Weekend
Evening debate, Friday 6th March
All day workshops, Saturday 7th March

The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Vibrant and spirited grassroots campaigns, including water and housing, have invigorated and energised people, movements and political actors in Ireland. Many of us now speak about austerity, neoliberalism, and the ruling elite that has lost touch with the majority of the people. We speak about and see the connections between the water-tax, the nationalisation of private debt, the housing and homelessness crisis, the scandal of direct provision, the crumbling health care system, trade agreements like TTIP, privatisation of public goods, services and national resources, the decimation of the community sector, the assault of structural violence and institutional racism, and much, much more. 

Still, this awakened public consciousness of how the powers that be operate and influence our lives is not yet visible in the collaboration of social movement groups who work on these issues.

Hence, we invite you to a weekend of discussion intended to establish what connects us
and to work out collectively if there are common strategies or projects we can pursue together to strengthen all of our movements.

For who?

This event is for people active in progressive social movements in Ireland; anti-austerity, environmental, end direct provision, anti-racism, economic justice, debt justice, water justice, 
trade justice, anti-fracking, housing crisis, human rights, anti-discrimination, unions, choice, women's movement, anti-TTIP, and so on...

Panel Discussion, Friday March 6th 2015, 7pm to 9pm

Topic: “Routes to power - from social movements to political power.” Are there (or what are the) limits to what social movements can achieve?

Emma Avilés Thurlow was involved in the wave of the 15M Spanish r-Evolution. She has also participated in Citizen Debt Audit Platform (PACD and is part of Xnet (, the group of activists that has driven the initiatives that are behind the leaks of the major corruption cases that are shaking Spanish politics today with the devices of 15MpaRato (the main lawsuit against the Spanish bailed-out bank Bankia and its banksters) and BuzónX (a system for citizen whistle-blowing).
Theodoros Karyotis is a sociologist, translator and activist participating in social movements that promote self-management, solidarity economy and defence of the commons. A member of the Initiative of Solidarity with the Vio.Me, a self-managed factory, ( and the Initiative 136 for the social control of Thessaloniki’s water services ( He helps organise the annual Direct Democracy Festival, an international event that brings together collectives, activists and academics around the issue of constructing radical alternatives to capitalism from below.
Cian O'Callaghan is an independent left wing councillor on Fingal County Council. He has being involved in both grassroots activism and electoral politics in Dublin since the 1990s.
Caoimhe Butterly has worked with social justice movements and grassroots community projects in Chiapas, Guatemala, Haiti, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon for over 12 years. Presently engaged in post-graduate studies at Kimmage DSC, her research is focused on migrant women's activism and self-organisation. She is active with anti-racism, migrant justice and other movements in Ireland.

More panellists to be announced in the coming days.

Strategy Workshops, Saturday March 7th, 10 am to 5 pm

A full day of workshops and discussions all day on Saturday 7th March. For more information see below. Also check out Gluaiseacht for Global Justice on Facebook.
Childcare is available. If you require childcare please let us know in advance; email

All day strategy workshops for grassroots campaigns

Saturday 7th March 10 am – 5 pm, The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square
The second day of our Grassroots Strategy weekend will be a full day of workshops and discussions about what we have in common and how we might wish to work together across movements.

How to prepare:
If you have time, we have prepared some questions (see below) for participants to answer. You can do this either in your campaign group or individually in order to prepare for the workshops. Please send your answer back to
Session 1: 10 am – 11 am, opening session
“Making Waves: voices from European and Irish social movements”
In this session, we will hear from movement organisers from Ireland, Spain, and Greece, who will speak about how movements in their countries have come together. This will be followed by an open discussion.
Session 2: 11 am – 12.30 am
“Creating links in Ireland”
What links all of our movements? What do we have in common? What are the common targets? What are the roots of the problems?
The attached questions sheet will be very helpful in preparing for this session, and will contribute to the following sessions.
Session 3: 12.45 am – 1.30 pm
Brainstorm sessions for workshops. Here we will ask questions like:

- How do we create stronger links between existing Irish initiatives?
- What initiatives and struggles needs to be developed?
- How do we dismantle media narratives that focus on misleading causes and bogus solutions? How can we build a counter narrative?
- How do we plan actions together? Should we?
- How can we avoid duplication of work?
Lunch: 1.30 pm – 2.30 pm
Lunch will be provided, please RSVP in advance so we order enough food.

Session 4: 2.30 pm – 4 pm


Session 5: 4.15 pm – 5 pm 

“Bringing it all back together”
Hearing the outcomes of the workshops.
Closing comments.

Preparatory Questions for Workshops, Saturday 7th March

Please answer these questions and send the answers to no later than 1st March 2015.

These questions are designed to form a common working document for the workshops. The answers will be collated, and we will give general feedback of the results to participants. The findings will be generalised and anonymous, and are intended to form a starting point for discussion in the workshops.

  1. Present your group in one paragraph, if you are in a group (ethos, purpose, membership/who is in your group) in 3-5 sentences.
  1. Have you or your group identified a root cause of the issues you're working on / what are the underlying issues?  (e.g. lack of 'real' democracy, the markets, elites ruling in their own interests, etc.)
  1. A: In the context of your campaign/group, who are the antagonists? (e.g. politicians, companies, etc.)
B: What are the obstacles? Are any of them global? Are any of them specific to the Irish context?
  1. A: Which groups do you see as your allies?
B: If you could see your campaign moving to another issue what would it be?
C: What do you think connects you to them? 

Please note that there will be another grassroots event in April - Joining the Dots: Grassroots Gathering 2015. The events will be relevant to each other and are not in competition. Check their website or the facebook events page for further details. 

Dublin Anarchist Bookfair

And the weekend after the Grassroots Gathering ... the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair is happening, somewhere near Smithfield (Saturday, April 25th).

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Joining the dots - Grassroots Gathering 14

A preliminary announcement of the 14th Grassroots Gathering, to be held in the greater Dublin area (venue TBC) on the weekend of April 17th - 19th. Co-organised by CEESA and with a social event for CEESA people along with all the usual Gathering highlights.

More details to follow but for now we just wanted to say "hold the date".

Monday, 9 February 2015

The joys of "living in a democracy"...

Update: WSM have put together a list of the complete set of arrests (so far) in retaliation for embarrassing poor Joan. That's us put in our place then. The cheek of us!

Now read on...

Or, as the joke has it, "now we see the violence inherent in the system". This being our own dearly beloved Republic, what we mostly see behind the dawn raids on protestors is the huffing and puffing of outraged respectability - how dare poor people not be grateful for having Her Magnificence turn up and bless their little projects? Isn't it clear to anyone who got a 2:2 in manufactured outrage that there is just a tiny step between a kid throwing a water balloon and fascism? Well ... perhaps those who want to present themselves as responsible statesmen and -women should be a bit more, shall we say, informed when throwing that particular f-word around? Not least when it comes to police cover for gangs of masked men intimidating communities on behalf of the wealthy.

It will be interesting to see whether those in charge of political policing believe their own hype when it comes to pressing charges. Do they actually think a jury will convict? Or that any of this will help the Labour Party's claims to be anti-austerity when it comes election time? But maybe they genuinely think that people in Jobstown would love Her Mag if it wasn't for all those pesky outside agitators and their sinister fringes...?

Thicks in office - the gift that keeps on giving.


Thinking through that "false imprisonment" stuff - presumably the implication is that Her Mag couldn't just get out and walk...?

[Later still:]

Look at that - released without charge. Just fancy.

Almost a shame - it would have been funny to watch our dearly-beloved voices of outraged respectability defending the increasingly-indefensible while simultaneously claiming that of course there was nothing political about any of this. Almost.

Apparently they didn't even bother to interview him - so much for "operational reasons"...