Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Voices from Mayo: "If I could say one thing to other communities..."

An exhibition of photos and statements looking at experiences challenging the Corrib Gas project, Co Mayo

Friday 30th January 2015,7pm, in the Comhlamh offices at 12 Parliament St.

After 14 years of challenging the oil and gas industry in north Mayo, what knowledge does the community there have to share? What questions might other communities have and how might they benefit from the experiences of those standing up to Shell and the State?

A four-year CEESA research project (2010-2014) in the parish of Kilcommon, northwest Mayo, sought to identify and share useful knowledge from the experiences of challenging the Corrib Gas project. This has been used to create an exhibition in which people respond to the question: If you could say one thing to other communities facing an unsafe development planned for their area, what would it be?

On Friday 30th January some of the 51 campaigners who took part in the research will speak about what they are learning through challenging the Corrib project. The creators of the exhibition will also talk about the research and photography behind the exhibition.

On the night, we will be joined by Nuala McNulty of Love Leitrim, a community group “fully committed to protecting the environment of Leitrim and Ireland as well as the health of our children against fracking through an awareness campaign and non-violent direct action”. Nuala will talk about the threat posed by fracking to her native Leitrim and 
beyond, as well as the strength of local community organising in being a powerful force to stop it. 
For more information on Love Leitrim, visit www.loveleitrim.org. 

RSVP @ the facebook event

Further information about the exhibition:

Kilcommon, located in northwest Mayo, is home to approximately 2,000 people. It is the planned location of the Corrib Gas project – an inland gas refinery complex and high-pressure, raw gas pipeline. Since plans were revealed in 2000, a network of local people have organised in diverse ways to challenge the project.

The research was also used to compile a short resource booklet, available alongside this exhibition, which is intended to spark discussions in other communities facing injustices or unsafe developments. 

The exhibition has already been shown in Co Mayo, and in Co Fermanagh in regions affected by plans for fracking. This is the first time the exhibition has been shown in Dublin.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Radical Routes housing coop tour - audio

The audio from the Radical Routes session in the Teachers' Club last October is now up online here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

John Holloway seminar "Think hope, think crisis" (April)

The MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism is delighted to announce
the details of John Holloway's public seminar, rescheduled from October. We think this
will be of interest to many activists and campaigners for social justice and transformation.

John Holloway seminar
"Think Hope, Think Crisis"

Monday - Tuesday, April 13th and 14th, 10 am - 5 pm
NUI Maynooth

Can we still hope that there can be a radical transformation of society? How does the present capitalist crisis relate to the possibility of hope? Crisis seems to kill hope, yet the crisis of the system must be a central concept of social transformation. How do we re-learn hope, re-learn crisis?

John Holloway is a Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico and Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Rhodes, South Africa. He has published widely on Marxist theory, on the Zapatista movement and on the new forms of anti-capitalist struggle. His books Change the World without taking Power (Pluto, London, 2002, new edition 2010) and Crack Capitalism (Pluto, London, 2010), have stirred international debate and have been widely translated.

The seminar is free but we ask participants to come for both days and read a short (20-page) text in advance so that everyone will get as much as possible out of the event.

To register, please email laurence.cox AT nuim.ie and we will set aside a place for you and send details of the location and reading. Do please feel free to pass on this invite to others you feel may be interested.

Event organised by the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism.
Thanks to the Faculty of Social Sciences, Maynooth for financial support.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Contradictions, learning and a campaign for the right to the city

Public talk: Contradictions, Learning and a Campaign for a Right to the City

John Krinsky, CCNY and New York City Community Land Initiative

Thursday January 22nd, 3.00 - 4.30 pm
Seminar Room, Auxilia Building, north campus, NUI Maynooth (https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/campus-life/campus-map)

John Krinsky is associate professor of political science at the City College of New York. A sociologist and urban planner by training, he is author of Free Labor: Workfare and the Contested Language of Neoliberalism, co-editor (with Colin Barker, Laurence Cox, and Alf Gunvald Nilsen, of Marxism and Social Movements) and has written about labor and community organizing in New York and about the transformation of public work (with Maud Simonet).

He is a co-founder of the New York City Community Land Initiative.

All welcome.

Organised by the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism and the Dept of Sociology, Maynooth.

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) http://blockupy.org/en/4344/call-march-18th-2015-transnational-actions-against-the-european-central-banks-opening-gala-lets-take-over-the-party/   
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 international@blockupy-frankfurt.org 
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 http://plutopress.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/we-make-our-own-history-book-launch-transcript-and-video/. 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.