Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Radical Routes housing co-ops network tour of Ireland

Radical Routes Ireland presents

How to set up a housing co-operative

All-Island speaking tour 2014:
Cork Oct 25th, Dublin Oct 26th, Galway Nov 1st, Derry Nov 2nd.

Today in Ireland we find ourselves with an acute housing crisis, but the general discourse implies that all the power to affect change lies with private business and government.
We want to promote and encourage the ideas of a grassroots-led approach to solving the housing crisis.

People can empower themselves by working together in their communities to make housing a collectively-owned resource rather than an asset to be speculated on by developers.
Co-operative housing could offer a way out of the precarious rental market and the trap of long-term mortgage debt.

Established in the 1980's, the Radical Routes network has over 35 member co-ops throughout the UK which are residential projects of all shapes and sizes as well as a number of workers co-operatives. Member co-ops work together in legal, financial and planning working groups, providing advice and support to eachother as well as new members. The idea is based on mutual aid and solidarity, and a determination that access to housing is a right and not a privilege.

Radical Routes begin an all-island speaking tour on Saturday October 25th in Cork, and continue to Dublin (October 26th), Galway (November 1st) and Derry (November 2nd). The Events are free and open to the public to attend. Please contact 086-3614554 or radicalroutesireland@gmail.com for more details or find us online at radicalroutes.org.uk or on our facebook event pages.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Frankfurt Blockupy festival, November

  • Resistance in the Heart of the European Crisis Regime
  • Frankfurt Blockupy Festival

  • We will not wait for the appointments of the rulers – we will set our own agenda. Even if it will be 2015 before the ECB holds its hors d’oeurve event of prominent faces to inaugurate its new tower, Blockupy will be in Frankfurt this fall. 

    Now, after the “May of Solidarity” across Europe and before the blockade of the ECB inauguration next year, is the right time: we will discuss, we will bring together our struggles and make plans. We will meet to music, with a beer, at a film. And, of course, we will be present in those places where we disrupt normal activities: on the streets, over the fence.

    Blockupy – we refuse to adapt! “Austerity kills!” still applies. The rulers are intensifying their structural measures, even if they are more “softly” packed. They are transforming the crisis politics of the Troika into “business as usual” – mini-jobs, Hartz-IV, authoritarian policies and social cuts, racist deportations, militarized borders, and privatization of public goods, ruined healthcare systems, appear to be the answer to unemployment, precarity and nationalist reflexes. The crisis should become a form of life…

    Democracy comes from our many struggles. Blockupy attempts, together with others, to create a platform in Europe at a slow moment – against austerity and exploitation, for solidarity beyond borders. Europe is not a question of passport or origins for Blockupy – Europe is the region in which we are starting to struggle together. We are expressing a collective refusal of all nationalist, sexist and racist “crisis solutions”.

    #talk – and listen/what to do. Together in workshops, podium discussions and assemblies we want to ask questions that we can answer in collective action: how do we find the cracks in the capitalist cement? How do we guarantee an unconditional welcome to all refugees and migrations? How do we take back our cities, which are selling themselves? How can we find each other so as to live and work with dignity? We will talk about what we must do, what we want to do, to develop alternatives, to bring our struggles together and become stronger.

    #dance – grooves and resonances. The festival will bring a different light to many places in the city – spaces of self-managed culture, projects of other ways of living and taking residence, pubs and cafes, theatre, cinema or bookshops. We will met, listen, confuse and explain. We will dance, eavesdrop and be in the squares. A sustainable politics of protest cannot abstain from bringing disorder and confusion to the ruling order.

    #act – beyond borders. Factually and symbolically, collectively and publicly we will go beyond borders. We will find places that stand for policies of impoverishment. We are convinced that mass disobedience is a very appropriate answer to the scandal of the becoming-normal of the ‘crisis policies’ and ‘reform’ of European capitalism. Even as a dress rehearsal: so that we can more clearly imagine the days and nights of the ECB blockade in 2015 and break through the ‘expected’.

    From networks, Blockupy platforms, groups, organizations and NGOs in Europe we will come together at the Blockupy festival. “The blue will remain gray until it has been reinvented.”

    We should all meet in November!
    Blockupy coordination blockupy.org/en/

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Two fascinating exhibitions

In Dublin,

"Women to Blame: 40 years of struggle in Ireland for abortion and contraception. A multimedia exhibition which opens Friday November 7 in Film Base in Dublin’s Temple Bar, will visually represent the events before, during and after 1983 when article 40.3.3 was inserted into the Irish Constitution via referendum."

In London,

"Disobedient Objects is an exhibition about the art and design produced by grassroots social movements. It will show exhibits loaned from activist groups from all over the world, bringing together for the first time many objects rarely before seen in a museum." There are downloadable PDF guides for making some fascinating activist tools on the V&A's site(!)

Both links from the always-well informed Cedar Lounge Revolution blog.

The HSE goes to war on independent midwives (again...)

Philomena Canning, voted Ireland's midwife of the year in 2012, has had her indemnity cover revoked by the HSE without investigation or explanation. As anyone involved in the campaign to enable women who wish to to have home births in Ireland knows, she has been a thorn in the side of the HSE for many years - not as a campaigner but as a caring and professional midwife who has continually provided home births for women despite every obstacle the HSE have come up with. There's a petition on Change.org in support of Philomena.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

"We Make Our Own History" at 40% off this week

Apologies for sounding like Dunnes Stores but we want people to be able to get hold of this book while it's cheap...

Laurence Cox and Alf Nilsen's new book We Make Our Own History: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism is now available at 40% off through the Pluto Press website this week (Weds 1st Oct - Tues 7th) as part of their annual sale, bringing the price down to £10.20. To get this offer, click on http://bit.ly/plutob2u and then the discount gets applied to all Pluto books on the site.

Short essays related to the book / excerpts are available on various activist and academic sites, as follows:

The centrality of popular agency (OpenDemocracy)
Resisting activist despair (Reflections On A Revolution)
Recovering theory for activist purposes (Pluto Press newsletter)
How social movements shape societies (Discover Society)
Understanding neoliberalism and its crisis (E-International Relations)
Are we in a revolutionary wave? (First of a series of three in Ceasefire)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

SchNEWS closes

The ever-radical, ever-lively UK direct action zine SchNEWS has just announced that they are calling it a day after twenty years of reporting on some of the hardest conflicts in British politics. They say,  in part,

Playing the Facebook game demands a huge amount of energy, and the corporate monster is not a level playing field. With complex advertising deals and algorithms determining what you do or don't see, maintaining an impact on social media requires hours and hours per week of social networking. For us, that hasn't been feasible.
The pattern we observe is not people reporting from the front, but an increasing reliance on mainstream sources for actual news, padded out with a series of personal reflections. Rather than having a media that can reach out, we are confined to an internet echo chamber.

The very speed of real-time news has meant that it is only salaried commentators who can keep up. The demand for news this instant leaves activists fighting for social change playing catch-up, while their actions are reported and analysed by corporate media. By the time you’re out of the cop shop and in front of a computer, the twitterati have beaten you to it.

Thankfully the collective go on to say that they are taking time out but are planning to come back in a new form. Looking forward to it! 

Monday, 8 September 2014

EuroNomade event in Italy: Constituent Spaces. Europe, struggles, world

Invitation to Passignano 2014

Constituent Spaces. Europe, Struggles, World

We are happy to invite you to the annual meeting organized by the EuroNomade network, to be held in Passignano sul Trasimeno on September 18-21. EuroNomade is a network of activists, scholars and researchers that has existed since 2013. Many of its members were previously part of the UniNomade network. Coming from the "workerist" and "postworkerist" tradition we aim at fostering political debates within social movements, in a way that works at the boundary between the university and political activism. We are particularly interested in asking questions about the meaning of a European subversive politics. We are therefore connected with comrades and networks in many parts of Europe, but we always try to develop our discussion within a broader framework. In this sense fostering relations outside of Europe (e.g. in Latin America and Asia) is particularly important for us. Indeed our work on Europe is part and parcel of a broader attempt to reinvent the politics of internationalism.

The Passignano meeting will be dedicated this year to two interrelated topics. We will start on Thursday, September 18, with a discussion with David Harvey. His recent work has focused on what we would like to call the "extractive" dimensions of contemporary capitalism. Although we have often critically discussed his work, we are particularly happy that he has accepted our invitation. What we want to discuss with Harvey are the different regimes and forms of what he calls "accumulation by dispossession" as well as the relation between dispossession and exploitation.

We are convinced that the discussion with Harvey, who will participate in the whole seminar, will be an excellent introduction to the topics that we want to address in the two following days (September 19-20). The first is what we tentatively call "social unionism." By this we mean emerging forms of social struggles, which often blur the boundary between the point of production and social reproduction. The second topic is ?Europe and the world,? which will have us discuss the position of Europe within the current world disorder. We are convinced that there is a strong connection between these two topics. In other words, we think that the quality and intensity of social struggles in Europe will strongly influence the position of Europe in the world, while this position will in turn have important consequences for the spaces of struggle as well as for the quality of freedom and equality in Europe. Moreover we think that there is an urgent need to reflect upon the connection between the two proposed topics in order to go beyond the predicament of the movement against the war in Europe, which was apparent in the last months in front of the multiple wars at Europe?s borders (Ukraine, Syria, Palestine...).

We really hope that you will join us in Passignano. We have invited activists and researchers from several European countries (including Germany, Spain, and Greece). There will also be a discussion about the current situation in Brazil, and more generally in Latin America, with the participation of Brazilian comrades. The format of the seminar will be mixed, with roundtables followed by discussions in smaller groups, especially on the 19th, when we expect to have an intense discussion on the perspectives of struggles in Europe next Fall. On the 21st we will close the seminar with an open assembly, where we hope we will be able to lay the basis for an even more intense cooperation for the next future.

For logistical infos, please write to Carlo: carloromag@yahoo.it -  +39 328 2627747

Thursday, 4 September 2014

2014 entry date extended till 21 September

Applications for 2014 – 15 have been reopened and will stay open till 21 September (the day before classes start!)

Are you
-      -    active in social movement struggles but need space to stand back, reflect, recharge?
-      -   involved in community and voluntary activism but feel trapped by the structures?
-      -    politically minded but don’t know how to turn that into an effective and radical practice?
-      -    clear that social change is central to you but unsure how to build a life around it?
-      -    interested in spending a year with your peers and experienced practitioners?

Around the world today, movements and communities are making history – or trying to. The need for change is huge and the outcome is still all to play for. We see apparently-unstoppable movements squashed and apparently-hopeless ideas winning against all the odds. What makes the difference, and how can our movements find a way forward and even change the world?

The Masters in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (CEESA) at NUI Maynooth responds to the crisis by helping us learn from each other’s struggles in dialogue between different movements, different communities, different generations. The course is not tied to any single movement and participants come from many different communities and countries. Some are experienced activists who want to go back to education; others are less experienced people who are keen to get involved in movements. This mixture of ages, backgrounds, experiences and questions is an integral part of what makes the course so rewarding. Together we are building a diverse network of movement activists, radical educators and campaigners for equality and creating new alliances for change. See the video at http://tinyurl.com/ceesavideo

The course team are experienced practitioners and engaged scholars working on equality, radical education and movement struggles. The course combines social analysis, bottom-up organising methods and political strategy with a wide range of pedagogies and a focus on knowledge for change, taking a practical but radical look at the problems facing movements today. Our small-group classes run one or two days a week to facilitate participants, over two 12-week terms followed by work on a project aimed at developing your own movement practice.

Often we are told that we have to choose between our politics and “real life”. This course shows how to integrate the two with confidence, practicality, solidarity, emotional resilience, seeing the bigger picture, taking time out to reflect and supporting each other for the long haul. Participants go back to their own movements refreshed, set up new projects, find work in movement organisations, go on to further education - and bring back what they have learned to their own struggles.

For more details see the rest of this site or www.nuim.ie/study-maynooth/postgraduate-studies
Contact: adcomed@nuim.ie  or (01) 7083937
Closing date for applications: Sept 21, 2014