Thursday, 27 November 2014

ECB opening gala: let's take over the party!

European Call for Transnational actions against the European Central Bank's opening gala in Frankfurt on March 18th 2015

Dear friends, 
the Blockupy festival is over – we had good debates, fun, a lot of networking possibilities and a wonderful march: We # talked, #acted, # dances together.

And , in the closing assembly of the Festival on November 23rd of 2014 we agreed on a European Call for Transnational actions against the European Central Bank's opening gala in Frankfurt on March 18th 2015. You can find the Call below or in English, German, Dutch on the Blockupy website at:(English)   
Please spread the Call widely, bring it into your networks, share your ideas with us. get in contact if you haven’t done so. For a European wide coordinating meeting to design the plans and collaboratively think through best ways to mobilize we will have a coordinating meeting in Frankfurt probably on January 17th 2015 in Frankfurt. We’ll keep you posted!

+++ Share in your networks, spread to new networks and friends, get in contact with us at 
March 18th 2015

Transnational actions against the European Central Bank's opening gala

Let's Take Over The Party!

On March 18th 2015 the European Central Bank (ECB) wants to open its new headquarters in Frankfurt. A dizzying 1.3 billion euros was spent on a 185-meter-high fortress-like twin tower building, surrounded by a fence and castle moat. This intimidating architecture of power is a perfect symbol of the distance between the political and financial elites and the people. The staff and the offices have already started to move there. But the grand opening gala – with several European state leaders and the European finance oligarchy present – has now been announced for Wednesday March 18th.

There is nothing to celebrate in austerity and impoverishment! Thousands of angry people and determined activists from all over Europe will therefore block the roads around the ECB and interrupt this celebration of power and capital, fittingly on the 144th anniversary of the Paris Commune. We will take over their party and turn it into an articulation of transnational resistance against European crisis policies and their catastrophic consequences, especially for the people in the European south.

The ECB plays an important role in the infamous Troika, responsible for harsh cuts, growing unemployment, and even the breakdown of healthcare in Greece and other EU countries. Along with the EU Commission and the EU Council, the ECB has promoted austerity, privatization, and precarity. They have even had no hesitation in blackmailing elected governments in order to enforce their attacks on the social rights of the people.

As the crisis has unfolded the EU has became more and more of an authoritarian regime with an obvious lack of democratic participation. The murderous border controls and the progressing militarization of foreign policy add to this process. They cannot, and even do not want to, represent us anymore. The ruling elites have nothing left of value to offer for us. But new forces are emerging from all corners of life and it will be our task to build solidarity and real democracy from below. They want capitalism without democracy, but we want democracy without capitalism!

At the same time we have to be very aware of the dangers of growing racism and the rise of the extreme right, this ugly by-product of the capitalist crisis. While it's their intention to heighten the borders both around and inside Europe, our aim is just the opposite: to break down the walls of fortress Europe.

While it's true that there are no longer frequent emergency meetings for the salvation of the euro or the solvency of certain member states, this does not mean at all that the crisis has passed. For some countries the shock strategy is far from over with new harsh austerity measures being imposed. For other countries we are facing a new normality of uncertainty and of poverty. Either way it has long since become clear that the policies implemented during the crisis were not meant to be temporary – they have been safely embedded into the state and EU institutions. This has paved the way for a new phase, a model of society of precarity and very limited social rights. But we refuse to get used to it!

Germany is one of the main driving forces behind this austerity policy. In a way it's the heart of the beast of the European crisis regime and the relatively quiet eye of the storm at the same time. But limitation of social rights, growing precarity, and poverty also exist in Germany. There a many reasons for the people living in Germany to stand up for a decent living, for equal rights, and for real democracy for everybody regardless of their descent, gender, or nationality. The actions against the European Central Bank's opening gala in Frankfurt will be the perfect occasion to send a clear signal of solidarity alongside with all the activists from other countries.

For all these reasons we call for a strong international participation in the actions on March 18th in Frankfurt. There will not only be a disobedient mass action on March 18th itself, but also a diversity of demonstrations, blockades and other forms of direct actions around it. The Blockupy Days of 2012 and 2013 were only the beginning. The protest and the resistance will come back to Frankfurt – stronger in numbers and in determination than ever before!

Who we are

We are various social movement activists, altermondialists, migrants, jobless, precarious and industry workers, party members and unionists and many more from many different European countries, who want to connect our struggles and powers beyond nation-state lines. Together we want to create a common European movement, united in diversity, which can break the rule of austerity and will start to build democracy and solidarity from below. Blockupy and the actions in Frankfurt are only one step along this way.

prepared by Blockupy international and the Blockupy coordinating group, endorsed in the Closing assembly of the Blockupy festival, Nov. 23rd 2014 in Frankfurt. 

People's Forum (Erris, Co. Mayo) 2014 talks

The talks from the 2014 People's Forum in Inver (Erris, Co. Mayo) are now up online. Contents:

  • Introduction (Niall King)
  • Community, history, power (Laurence Cox)
  • Democracy usurped: corporate takeover, community resistance and the movement for a New Republic (Rory Hearne)
  • Advice for communities based on my experience with Shell to Sea (Maura Harrington)
  • Croke Park Streets Committees (Eamon O'Brien)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

"We make our own history" London book launch - transcript and video

CEESA co-director Laurence Cox and Norwegian researcher Alf Nilsen recently published “We Make Our Own History: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism” (Pluto). The transcript and video of the UK book launch (at the Historical Materialism conference) with veteran activist-scholars Colin Barker, Subir Sinha and Lesley Wood are now up on Pluto’s website at The video is a bit grainy due to size reduction but the sound seems fine.

We hope to organise an Irish event some time in the New Year.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Raising expectations and raising hell - video

Radical US labour organiser Jane McAlevey spent a week in Dublin recently doing training workshops with union and community activists, co-organised by CEESA together with unions (Mandate, CWU, IBOA), community groups (Spectacle, MRCI) and TCD Sociology.

The final event was a public discussion about her book "Raising expectations and raising hell", filmed by USi Ireland (Trade Union TV as was), with ex-Migrant Rights Centre director Siobhan O'Donoghue and trade union activists. The video is now online here.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Radical slideshows from the 1920s

Anarcho-syndicalist, communist, Trotskyist and adult educator Henry Sara put together an archive of over 1500 "lantern" slides in the 1920s and 1930s which he used to illustrate his talks on things like the Easter Rising in Ireland, spiritualism, the 1926 general strike, the Chinese revolution of 1927 and the history of the British labour movement. They've been digitised and can be viewed online here - an amazing resource.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Public transport fares - dodging the flak?

Over the last couple of weeks we have been warned of (yet another) increase in bus, train and LUAS fares due to take effect on November 1st. Those of us who've been on the receiving end of these for several years now were ducking in anticipation.

And then ... nothing. Fares just the same as they always were on Monday. On Tuesday I asked a bus driver if the new fares had come in yet. "No, December 1st" was the answer. But I haven't seen any formal indication of this, let alone a reason, anywhere.

I was left wondering if the actual reason might have anything to do with the popular fury we have seen these last two weekends over water charges, and the feeling that the next bite to be taken out of people's ever-tighter margins should come when they are less inclined to make an issue of things and have gone back to accepting whatever is thrown at them (or taken away from them)?

Third Level Workplace Watch talk: Casualisation in Irish Higher Education

Third Level Workplace Watch will deliver a talk entitled 'Fast Food Academy: Casual Labour In Ireland's Higher Education System.' This will be followed by an open discussion.  

Third Level Workplace Watch is a collective of precarious workers fighting for fair pay and working conditions in higher education.

The collective will present results from their recent online outreach survey on the working conditions of staff in the third-level sector, followed by a discussion.

It will take place on the 11th of November from 2-4pm in the Iontas Conference Room at Maynooth University.  All welcome.

For further details contact

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Resistance to tar sands is savaging the industry

A new report shows that production revenues from the ecologically devastating tar sands resources in Canada are down by over $30 billion between 2010 and 2013, with 55% of this fall being due to the massive campaigns which have delayed Keystone XL and delayed or defeated other projects (3 were cancelled in 2014 alone). There's a Common Dreams article on the subject here.

In Ireland too, popular resistance has massively slowed the Corrib Gas project and escalated costs astronomically while resistance to fracking is just gearing up. Who knows - maybe our grandchildren will still have an island to live on after all?