The Future is Unwritten: Culture And Struggle

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Culture, and specifically music, is an often neglected but hugely important factor in any struggle against an oppressive system. In modern times, we’ve largely ignored the cultural struggle. Most music today only props up the individualist consensus and is a far cry from the type of cultural organisation prominent in the 1960s. It’s hard to picture that decade without the anti-Vietnam protests, the demos for nuclear disarmament, the student protests in France which nearly brought down French capitalism, or the Civil Rights Movements by black Americans or nationalists in occupied Ireland. It’s impossible to remember that decade without the soundtrack that accompanied it though, like Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which put into words the drafting of poor Americans into service in Vietnam while the sons of upper-class white politicians got away with it. Or We Shall Overcome which became an anthem of civil rights, from Alabama to Derry. Even today, it’s very common to hear these songs whenever the 60’s is featured in a film or documentary.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

– Eve of Destruction, Barry Maguire

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“We Won’t Fight Another Rich Man’s War!!!” – Vietnam veterans against the War, circa 1970.

These types of songs accompanied the growth of the Hippy movement which, in America at least, challenged the conservative, Bourgeois culture, where young people were meant to be seen and not heard, where women, blacks, native Americans etc. were to know their place, and where workers were there to make profit and nothing else. The Hippies were mainly young, practiced “Free Love”, took drugs and overall gave a massive Fuck You to the establishment. Opposition to the Vietnam War was a huge part of the counter-culture and the music that came out of that struggle gave people the energy to keep the struggle going, which ended with the pulling out of US forces from Vietnam.

Although, it wasn’t without a price, the state and the establishment understood the power of the movement that was growing out from under them. Police were encouraged to be brutal to any protests, and on occasions such as the Kent State Massacre, student demonstrators were murdered. This repression would itself lead to new music. Although the Hippy Movement wasn’t perfect, largely it was led by Middle-Class students who had a very idealist view of the world. It wanted to change the world but often wanted to do it in a very liberal way. Many Hippies just wanted to smoke and get laid, rather than change the political-economic system at its core. For many, their radicalism didn’t last much longer than their university years. However, it still made an impact, while showing how music could make a political contribution. This paved the way for a no-nonsense, working-class contribution: Punk.

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WARNING: Image contains materials some readers may find offensive…“the butcher’s apron, boy”

Punk came about in the aftermath of the Hippy movement, mainly in working-class England. The most influential Punk bands of the time were the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Early punk bands included the New York Dolls, the Ramones and The Damned, who all put a focus on quick, energetic songs with the emphasis put on effort rather than on the egoism prevalent in some popular Rock bands of the time, where the lead singers would frequently prefer to show off their individual talent rather than express something that would connect with everyday life.

The Sex Pistols made a huge impact on the music scene, not just in the decade, but in the century. Led by London-Irish frontman Johnny Rotten, whose mother came from Cork (Leave it to the Rebel County to have some connection!). The Sex Pistols not only made the older, conservative generations blush, they made them get a fucking heart attack. They focused on topics which were actually relevant to working-class youth. They put into music the same feeling among most young people at that time: That something just wasn’t right with the status quo. Their most famous song, God Save the Queen, made a mockery of the monarchy, at a time when youth unemployment was high but the media was fawning over Lizzie Windsor’s upcoming Jubilee celebrations.

God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb

Don’t be told what you want
Don’t be told what you need
There’s no future, no future,
No future for you

-God Save the Queen, The Sex Pistols

Predictably, there was shock and outrage from the media that there were actual artists who were going to call out the media’s celebrations of a professional scrounger family. It is now known that the charts were fixed, despite the song reaching number 1. During a now-infamous celebratory boat-ride by the Windsor’s on the Thames in London, the Sex Pistols attempted to get their own boat to go alongside the Queen’s vessel and play their song. The outcome was predictable, the police, not finding any drug dealers or criminals anywhere seemingly, descended en masse and assaulted the band and their supporters. On another occassion, the Sex Pistols appeared on a TV chat-show, where the host appeared to look at them as a sideshow, as a sort of in-joke with the parents watching, “just look at what your kids are into!” sort of thing. The interview, helped along with alcohol, ended up with curses being focused on the interviewer. Within hours, the tabloid rags were in hysterics – “Ban this sick filth!”. Many parents had a quiet chat with their children following it, making sure they wouldn’t listen to such outrageous filth again. Most of the venues in London banned the Sex Pistols from playing, although this only boosted their popularity. The Pistols also generated controversy upon the release of their only album, Never Mind the Bollocks. They also had notable songs such as Anarchy in the UK, about exactly what the fuck kind of country they were in, and Bodies, about abortion. Nothing was off-topic for the Sex Pistols, but it couldn’t be claimed that the things they were talking about weren’t known to young people. All that and they were together only 2 years.

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While the Sex Pistols could be said to have taken a sledgehammer to the status quo, The Clash could be said to have been the scalpel. Formed in 1976, The Clash focused on the experiences of those from working-class backgrounds. Lead singer Joe Strummer was a Marxist, and Paul Simonon’s father was a member of the Communist Party. Some of their songs included London Calling, which was about the fear of nuclear war after the Five-Mile Island incident in the US. Although now the actual meaning of the song is lost, it’s generally the song you hear when an American-made film features a part in England. Rock the Casbah, which was about the Middle East and Censorship, Straight to Hell which dealt in part with the children left behind by American soldiers in Vietnam. One of their songs, White Riot, was taken by some eejits to be a racist piece, when in reality, it was written after 2 of the band members got caught up in a riot by Black Londoners against police brutality. The song called on white youths to get their act together and start fighting back for their rights.

Black people gotta lot a problems
But they don’t mind throwing a brick
White people go to school
Where they teach you how to be thick

-White Riot, The Clash

While some punk bands, including the Sex Pistols, tended to take a nihilistic view of things, The Clash always encouraged people to take things into their own hands and fight back. Bankrobber had the lyrics:

Some is rich, and some is poor
That’s the way the world is
But I don’t believe in lying back
Sayin’ how bad your luck is

-Bankrobber, The Clash

The Clash even named one of their albums Sandinista!, after the Marxist government in Nicaragua, then under attack by Ronald Reagan’s Contras. The Clash practised what they preached, as well. They were one of the few internationally known bands to play in Belfast during the conflict in the north east of Ireland. Joe Strummer received death treats from Loyalists after he wore a t-shirt supporting the H-Block hunger strikers.

Similarly, Derry punk-band The Undertones wore black armbands on British TV after the death of Bobby Sands. Belfast-based Stiff Little Fingers wrote songs about ordinary life during the conflict, such as Suspect Device.

They take away our freedom
In the name of liberty
Why can’t they all just clear off
Why can’t they let us be
They make us feel indebted
For saving us from hell
And then they put us through it
It’s time the bastards fell

-Suspect Device, Stiff Little Fingers

Although much of this music was neutral in regard to the conflict, and made it look like those who were against the British presence in Ireland were as bad as the British, it still resonated with young people from both sides of the community.

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Nationalist youth armed with Molotov cocktails prepared to defend Free Derry from British Occupation Forces during the Battle of the Bogside, August 1969.

Overall, it’s clear to see, just from looking at the music, why things were so rebellious in the 60s/70s. The US pulled out of Vietnam, British soldiers were being engaged on Irish streets, the Portuguese overthrew a dictator and came very close to establishing Western Europe’s first Communist government, while liberation movements in Africa, Latin America and Asia were winning struggle after struggle against imperialism in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Angola etc. The Black Panthers were fighting for liberation of black Americans, ETA had assassinated Franco’s Prime Minister in the first shots of a new liberation struggle for the Basque Country. These were revolutionary times, and revolutionary movements which had a strong cultural arsenal.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, and we’re largely listless. Young people don’t have the same outlet in music as they did before, the same encouragement to be rebellious, take what’s your right through struggle. The songs of the anti-Vietnam war protests are too many to mention all of them, but can anyone name an anti-Iraq war song? There isn’t many. How many songs are there being written by bands nowadays about austerity, along the lines of  the Thatcher-era The Special’s Ghost Town? Rap music, for example, is very different to its origins in the 1990s. The focus is on what’s commercial and not on what gives an expression to the background to the various struggles of the day.

For an example, how many young people in Ireland have an instinctive anti-imperialism because of songs like Come out Ye Black and Tans or Seán Sabhat? “What’s keeping us from fighting back nowadays?” is often heard in protest movements. Maybe it’s the music?

And so now I’d like to say – people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks – I am one of them. But we’ve all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything – this is something that I’m beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. That’s because they’ve been dehumanised. It’s time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain’t going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. Without people you’re nothing. That’s my spiel.” 

Joe Strummer

Graham

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Posted in Anti-imperialism, Anti-racism, Arts, Culture and Entertainment, International Issues, Rebel History, Rebel Music, Workers' Struggles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apollo House solidarity action, Cork City 11/1/17: A few words from our man in City Hall

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Empowered by the events unfolding in Dublin, activists from a wide circle of groups in Cork marched from Connolly Hall, down the road and straight into the City Hall building this morning. We did not announce our demonstration, our march or our momentary occupation because the point of this was to create a nuisance, to gather attention and show that we stand united with the residents and activists in Apollo House. Our chants, banners and march were met with huge support from regular passersby, drivers and commuters on the bus. We received signatures of solidarity and words of kindness.

The following statement was read out by one of our activists at the protest, and also released to the media –

Statement of Cork Housing Action Group

Home Sweet Home Cork

Every abandoned building is a home waiting to be made.

Austerity as a policy has been created, encouraged and used extensively in the Irish State by the Fianna Fail, Fianna Gael and Labour parties.  A byproduct of this period of austerity has seen a housing crisis of epidemic proportions in our country. This includes visible, invisible and non secure rental tenants. This triad impacts a large portion of the population and has created a culture that accepts its own insecurity.  Those affected, include the visible homeless, such as Ireland’s rough sleepers. The invisible homeless, those staying in emergency accommodation, such as hostels, b&bs, couch surfers, or those forced to live with family and friends. And the renters, people living with extortionate, uncapped rents that often dominate family budgets to the exclusion of basic needs like heat or food. Cork has over 55,000 people officially labeled as suffering from food poverty; yet our homeless figures do not reflect this reality.

We believe this is a stark indicator of the economic decisions that people and families are making in the attempt to remain housed in our current period of economic instability. We do not believe the government has exhibited enough concern or practical application of support for Cork’s visible and invisible homeless. We as a group intend to highlight this lack of motivation or competence, through the ability of normal people to stand with their neighbors in times of hardship.

Along with the remarkable and wonderful initiative ‘Home Sweet Home’, we in Cork will stand with Dublins Apollo House and Home Sweet Home Campaign with a solidarity protest.

  1. Idle council buildings should be distributed to those on the housing list who will accept them. Government to divert rent-assistance funds from landlords to renovating/refurbishing houses considered unfit for living.

  1. A cessation of all evictions and repossessions. No family or group of individuals should face the threat of homelessness simply because they cannot pay. Housing should create homes not just profit. We call for an amnesty to those who have faced legal problems because of eviction prevention.

  1. We see that the State assures the power of the landlord, we demand that tenants are given the right of appeal of unfair rents through a mechanism in the Rental Tenancy Board. We do not accept the argument that landlords have the right to raise the rent whenever and however and reject it outright.

  1. We call upon the State to take responsibility for the Housing crisis and adopt a central long term plan to accommodate the population. The market exists to generate profit and we cast this notion aside. Housing is our human right.

  1. That the thousands of empty homes around the country are put on offer to those on housing lists and emergency housing, rather than left rot, collapse and fall into disrepair.

  1. We believe that people who become unemployed or unable to pay their rent should be able to appeal to a government or Tenancy Representative body to have the payment of their rent frozen.

  1. That the State takes the offer of the Credit Union’s assistance in construction of public and affordable housing.

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The activists stayed inside the building and spoke to those around. It was interesting to see the confused and also condescending looks that some of the staff inside gave, particularly the manager who looked very flustered. “Next time let us know in advance and we’ll facilitate you” I think I heard? Perhaps he does not understand how protests work?

Apollo House has shone a light on the awful way in which the State deals with housing, be it for the homeless or the invisible homeless. Apollo House has mobilised, inspired and united a huge variety of activists and they are ready to act.

In Cork, we showed our fellow Corkonians that the spirit of Apollo House is here, with us and we’re going to channel it to do something for Cork as well. We are not going to sit idly by as homes are left empty, we are not going to stand idly by as people are thrown to the streets. This act in City Hall building is our message of resistance.

More action will follow.

Bick Marry

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A New Year’s message to the haters…

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A homeless man begging in Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision

After some months of distraction and neglecting of this blog, the Rebel City Writers are back and hope to keep a consistent flow of material throughout 2017. For those of you new to our blog, do delve into our archives for some Pulitzer-worthy rantings and ramblings from rebels and reds alike. 

WARNING: If bad words offend you, then fuck off and read the fucking Echo!!

Absence of religion in my life has left me aloft as to who I should praise now that the curtain is about to close on another Christmas, so a theoretical nod to Karl Marx will have to suffice. Now let’s be clear, I am no scrooge and only partially a grinch. Christmas dinner and the time spent with family are my favourite parts of the holidays. Although, throwing on me novelty Christmas jumper and heading to the pub to consume intolerable levels of black stuff leading to a more intolerable rendition of my favourite christmas song, is right up there. What I can’t stand are the haters.

Some would say that Christmas brings out the best in us in terms of people’s willingness to give, to both charity and the less fortunate. However, I would say it brings out the worst in us. A few suits with share stickers dropping a couple of bob into a lads cup on the South Mall, although welcomed, is not reflective of the generosity, or of the equality, of society. Especially when our local district court Judge imprisons at least half a dozen of these very people in the final week of court proceedings, for “begging” and being “an obstruction and nuisance to the public”. Anyway the point is Christmas never fails at illuminating the core problems in society and the division surrounding them – poverty, homelessness, income inequality, mental health, unemployment, domestic violence etc. all come to the fore of public discussion. And although most people would be generally sympathetic to anyone who finds themselves in tough circumstances at christmas, not everyone would. I used to refer to them as the welfare haters, but now I just call them CUNTS.

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These CUNTS are not too hard to spot. They usually blame any lasting economic problems on the poor and destitute, otherwise known as “entitled”. Not a word said about tax evasion, income inequality or the banks causing the financial crisis. As Frankie Boyle says, all of this stuff “was on the fucking news”. The CUNTS are generally intellectually impotent, they come up with generalisations and stereotypes, not based on any fact based research by the way, and they repeat them religiously. They don’t acknowledge that at the end of 2014, 39% of the population of the Free State (or 1,969,630 people) had requested some sort of financial aid from the Department of Social Protection. Yeah, thats right 39%, probably about half of the adult population needed help. While at the beginning of 2016 we learned that 13 people had doubled their wealth in a year to have 38 Billion between them. Yeah that’s right, 13 fucking people. I could fit the bastards in the box room of me mother’s house all together, and be sure if I had the chance – I would fuck a grenade in there after them.

The point is everyone needs a hand at some stage in life. Obviously, if the current global economic system is designed to concentrate real wealth in the hands of a few, then more people are going to need help. Yeah I might be playing to divisionists by attacking the CUNTS, but fuck it and fuck them. They think that 39% of the population is entitled and part of the “don’t want to work brigade”. Their go-to catchphrase “Get a job and contribute” – yeah, contribute to what exactly? The growing loot of capital exploited on the backs of the working class being stored by the 1% in their paedophile dungeons? I’ve got a better idea, why don’t you have your mince pie and fucking choke on it, CUNT.

Jonathan Dunne

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Children of Austerity – Sugar babies

Sugar Daddy Billboard

Since the introduction of increased tuition fees in the UK and further austerity in Ireland, there has been a noticeable mark up in the amount of young people (overwhelmingly women) signing up to websites which advertise their ‘company’ (often sex) with older and wealthier men. The crisis in Ireland has placed many people under financial strain and as a result into doing work that under normal circumstances they would not do. This scheme of arranging companionship with the wealthy is one such example.

This scandalous devaluation of the human spirit and body comes with the commodity based society we’re living in. Everything is already for sale in the eye of a capitalist and countries have already taken the step to legalize sex work. Sex work however is less socially and culturally acceptable, it’s still generally stigmatized for a variety of different reasons. This scheme by name and approach makes the concept of a young person selling their ‘company’ to older, wealthier people friendlier and this is done solely and purely for PR.

Because regardless of how it is twisted or turned, the environment that drives young people into this scheme is one of financial hardship. Since the introduction of austerity measures, particularly the increases in tuition fees the numbers of people signing up as ‘sugar babies’ has disproportionately increased. It can be easily concluded that in the absence of meaningful work or support from the state, desperation has driven hundreds and thousands into advertising themselves for company.

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I don’t rule out that there are people out there who signed up voluntarily to this scheme nor do I condemn them. Their personal desires are their own, but on the basis of the statistics going back to the election of the Conservative government in the UK and the Fine Gael-Labour government in Ireland the numbers speak for themselves. Her.ie article on this topic states that ‘Since 2008 there has been 358% increase in signs up all across the world’, essentially highlighting that the very first year of the international banking crisis heralded in extreme hardship for vulnerable people around the world.

I can’t help but feel a sort of helplessness when reading about this, the way it has been spun has made it generally culturally acceptable despite it being revolting and a method of forcing young people into prostitution. This isn’t a question of ‘doing whatever you want’ or ‘following your dreams’, these are liberal notions which dilute the very real crisis young people are in.

In the face of increasing fees and continued and prolonged absence of meaningful employment the options we have are continuously cut down to the point where options such as prostitution are considered and taken up. It’s worth noting that as fees increase education becomes more and more inaccessible leaving options for young people more limited and limited.

As further austerity measures are introduced alongside the anti-student loan system we’ll see a clearer divide among young people. Those with the means will attend University and go on to well paid jobs while most of us will see either ourselves or our children locked out of third level education. Students and young people must mobilize to defend themselves and apply enough pressure to see tuition fees of all forms rolled back. But the continuing declining environment for young people won’t be simply beaten through defensive campaigns, we must also see to it that zero hour contracts are rid of alongside discriminatory wages on the basis of wage.

These sugar babies mark the beginning of a rapid and scary decline for our generation. If we’re going to do nothing, it’s just going to get worse.

Additional reading:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/labour-declines-to-rule-out-rising-fees-for-third-level-students-1.2537065

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/irish-sugar-babies-speak-about-dating-older-men-for-money-724788.html

http://www.her.ie/life/hundreds-of-irish-women-are-turning-to-sugar-daddies-to-help-them-pay-their-debts/21467

http://www.dailyedge.ie/irish-students-sugar-daddies-1284320-Jan2014/

Posted in Feminism, International Issues, National Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE CASTLE – Working Class Renamed Serfs under Minority Coalition

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The Irish government took a break from their lengthy discussions on their strategy for reneging on their election promises to make a public announcement tonight. Ireland’s first Taoiseach Enda asked the second Taoiseach Mícheál to speak (as a policy of taking turns is now in force).

“After one of the periods of silence in our political mediation, we at last found common ground. We believe the working classes of Ireland are being misrepresented by their title and we feel that this could be what has been causing the civil disobedience and mass trips to the capital for protest parades. We have become concerned by the people’s inability to accept our PR campaign slogans and never expected them to believe a few catchy phrases on a couple of posters. Our parties understanding of the national unrest about items like water or housing would seem to come from the belief that there is a class system in Ireland. We would like to clear any misunderstandings up by renaming the working, unemployed and lower-middle classes as Serf.

As an Irish Serf your ability to vote is more of a national fashion shoot and you should think of it as a festival of your betters. A leader can be a misleading term for a Serf as you might expect some representation and that was never our intention. Perhaps now as Serfs the people of Ireland will be able to accept the reality of the Eurocratic need for water privatisation and the entitlement of property owners. We are calling for more patience as it takes time to play enough games of golf to select the right property developer to bestow our housing crisis upon. The NAMA-land-distribution-of-wealth (NLDW) has caused a bit of divide among the ruling classes and the decisions around potential social-housing-profit-margins (SHPM) will need to be taken seriously and cannot be rushed. We are calling it a night as our drivers are getting tired but we will be returning at the crack of lunch tomorrow to ponder some more.”*

*may include a hint of satire…

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The wealth divide in Ireland has been gradually increasing during our age of austerity and the increase of over 70,000 Irish millionaire is a testament to the fact that this shock therapy is a lucrative one. I wish I could say it’s a covert operation but it’s not. The facts and figures are there to be read and they are reliant on our inability to change our system or lack of media coverage to promote the inequality. We see a nation with hotel children, whose imprisoned childhoods are the byproduct of non existent rental controls, and Yeats words from 1913, the era of slums and tenements, are once more appropriate.

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone…

The marrow they are drying is ours. The working, unemployed and lower-middle classes of Ireland. We will pay for over 70% of the water but we will use 10%. Increases in property tax, motor tax, VAT, PRSI, health insurance and the desecration of our public health and education services. The attacks on our vulnerable, in particular our children, have been unpalatable. We let bank employees give illegal loans of 450 million away without a prosecution but lone parent payment is cut from until age of 18 to 7. The Nuns who sold our children were more direct in their approach but a forced eviction, through emigration, of over nearly half a million of our youths, would indicate that a similar belief system is at play. Perhaps the person we are saving face for has changed, but today it is the Eurocrats whose boardroom charm has our local-lad-TDs sweating and faking solutions.

The result for us and our children remains the same. Hardship and pain. We have a housing crisis that requires 90,000 people to be housed and government strategy that felt promising 35,000 social houses by 2020 was sufficient. The remaining 55,000 people/families according to Alan Kelly and Paudie Coffey would be housed under the HAP and RAS schemes. Two schemes that create a positive statistical bubble for the Irish government. A solution worthy of any European boardroom but leaves the people within it powerless to achieve security. But what is the problem if you are housed? Well is it really housed if your landlord can ask for rent increases or refuse to renew the contract? Is it shelter when you are not part of discussions around your home, because they are held privately between landlords and the council, as tenants are not included? Or is it a home if you need to place your children, out of your community, into a city center school as you are unsure where you will be living in two years? You commute each day to ensure they have some stability in case your housing situation changes. And you hide your fears around eviction while creating a Santa you wished you could believe in.

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These contracts are a CSO stop gap but do not take the psychological impact of living with such uncertainties into account. And why should they? You are housed. You are a tick in an excel document and you should be grateful and not complain about the support, regardless of the personal cost of living under such a scheme. This attitude will need to change as the margins of poverty are increasing. And with rents of 2000 Euro the percentage of peoples monthly income being spent on shelter is reaching unsustainable levels. How can an average family earning 35,000, save for a deposit with unscrupulous rent prices? An entire class of people are then forced to rent but without the rental securities that our European counterparts are protected by. The mass evictions by Grant Thornton in Cork and Dublin are the start of a trend that could see our people brought to their knees by profit driven vulture funds. In Cork, at the Eden tenants eviction meeting, the tenants spoke of the reality of rent increases of up to 1,450 without a blink. It was normal and accepted. An apartment rented for 8-900 euros a few years ago is now worth 650euro more a month. The walls remain mortar so now it is our desperation they are selling. They went on to describe the reality of trying to secure a new rental property. Stories of 50 people turning up to a viewing. People with deposits in their hands and references ready. Of bidding wars held by estate agents at these viewings. It feels like a wild west movie, like a scramble for gold. All conscience and morals forgotten as pennys are counted. And the sheriffs or bailiffs of this new frontier take cash in hand and protect those who pay as there are no enforced laws to fear or follow.

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He’s laughing at you…

Ireland should not have a housing crisis it has estates all over Ireland that could be converted into social housing. The Irish League of Credit Unions have offered 5billion towards social housing costs. There are Irish companies in the pipelines with German and Swedish models of energy efficient passive and affordable houses just biting at the bit to work in Ireland. The question is why are the government not using common sense? Why is NAMA not being forced to hand over more land? Why are property developers not being controlled? Why are housing regulations so bureaucratic and regressive that international models of affordable and beautiful housing cannot be built here? There has to be a reason. Gross incompetence seems to obvious; so is it corruption? Is the housing crisis a mask for creating more wealth for a class of Irish people? If austerity can create millionaires; what will the housing crisis create? As minorities form some pantomime government it may serve them well to remember broken promises will not be forgotten. They may prefer the company of the wealthy but they do serve us all. Remember Russian history and ask the Tsars if they would have changed anything? That is of course, if you can still find one!

Rachael O’Sullivan

For more on who exactly the “housing crisis” benefits please read this article….

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“Kilmichael’s road, what worth?” – The usurpation of our revolutionary past

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“Barry’s dead, does no-one hear? 
Kilmichael’s road — what worth?

While Irishmen wear rusty chains that beseth them from their birth.”

– Bobby Sands, The Sleeping Rose

Irish Republicanism is at one of its most factionalised states in its history, arguably at its lowest ebb, and a state which can be summed up with painful accuracy in the above lines from Bobby Sands’ poem. With the mainstream face of modern republicanism happy to dine with royals and openly supportive of the neo-colonial European project, and with the militarist face seemingly without strategy, direction and any significant support, it has left many disenfranchised and disillusioned republican activists caught in a limbo. In this vacume potential was ripe for a large broad-based show of unity in this the centenary year, especially following the unified resistance to the demolition of the Moore Street battle site, but unfortunately conditions dictated otherwise. Or perhaps it was purely down to a lack of will. But where republicans failed the Free Staters sought to capitalise. And the resulting pageantry and faux-admiration espoused by the ruling class of the 26 county state for the heroes of 1916 would surely fool many into believing that this partitioned state is indeed what was fought for during that fateful week. But there are some that know better.

When the men and women of the assorted Republican forces marched out on the morning of April 24th, 1916, (100 years ago today) the Republic which they had pledged their lives to was not the corrupt and failed 26-county Brown Envelope Republic that has existed for the past ninety or so years. Their aim was not to create a backwards theocratic Catholic Republic that would leave a traumatic legacy of abuse of it’s most vulnerable citizens. And they did not sacrifice their lives and liberty for a “Republic” that willingly surrenders sovereignty to international and European banking cartels, and which prioritises the needs of the privileged and wealthy. Like Tone and the heroes of 1798 they sought to establish an all-Ireland republic where all citizens were equal in all aspects, where all the nation’s children would be cherished equally and where the “men of no property” would be the very class on which the strength of the Republic would be based. This rotten and corrupt state which seeks to claim legitimacy from the blood spilled by republican revolutionaries has absolutley no claim to the legacy of 1916. And in all honesty, if it wasn’t for the fear of letting the veil slip and the resulting public outcry, you can be rest assured that Kenny et al wouldn’t even bother pretending to have any admiration for the heroes of 1916.

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The 1916 Rising was fought by men and women that pledged their lives to the revolution, and sacrificed so much in defence of the thirty-two county Irish Republic. These heroes, and the countless others that came before and after, died for a dream that has not yet been achieved. A dream that will never be achieved so long as parasitic politicians and careerists are allowed to dictate to the people which aspects of our history we are allowed to remember, and how so they should be remembered. Commemorating the British occupational forces in Glasnevin, portraying quislings like John Redmond as being on par with revolutionaries like Tom Clarke, attempting to decimate our national monument at Moore Street, and, an almost complete lack of addressing of the “northern question” other than in attempts to distance the recent conflict in Ulster from the generations of conflict throughout this island – these are all methods of conditioning the people of Ireland to believe that all has been resolved, that the struggles of our ancestors have been concluded. It is in essence a usurpation of our revolutionary history by regressive forces of the ruling class.

This blatant revisionism is going to get all the more apparent as we move further into the so-called “Decade of Centenaries”. A gimic and a lie of an idea that was penned to have our people believe that the revolutionary period of 1913-1923 was the point of history when our nation was born. What in fact did emerge from the dust was the two corrupt states, both north and south, which have relied on an idea of two seperate people to maintain the staus quo and continue the exploitation of the masses after partition. This sham also portrays the labour, cultural and national struggles, which were at their height in this period, to be nothing more than problems of their times and that all has since been resolved. Unless we as a people can rise in defiance of these distortions of our history then what our martyrs died for will truly have been in vain.

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Republicans, socialists, anti-imperialists and anyone that is proud of our revolutionary past should not be willing to allow this defining moment of the revolution to be re-packaged and prostituted so the rich and powerful of both states in this nation can congratulate themselves and a century of ruling by fooling. To paraphrase the great Tom Barry, those in power have gone down into the mire to sully and destroy the legacy of our ancestors, and down after them we must go to ensure their dignity can be restored. If we fail to mount a worthy mass-movement of resistance to oppose these defiant acts of revisionism then it is not only our generation we are failing, but those that came before us and those that will come after. The British establishment, and its lickspittle shoneen allies in Ireland, have for centuries attempted to crush the unyielding spirit of resistance of the Irish people. A spirit which was borne of the ancient Gaelic warriors of centuries past, and blooded again and again in every generation that has lived under the yoke of British imperialism.

But alas, they failed. They failed because people like Pearse and Connolly and those that fought with them took it upon themselves to strike a blow for the freedom of the ancient Irish nation. They failed because the people, despite the social conditioning of Anglo-Saxon rule, yearned for the chance to take control of their own destinies. They failed because every empire that crosses foreign shores to unjustly and mercilessly conquer another people will inevitably fall when met with the unified voice of a risen people! But, where they failed, many more still seek to prevail. They seek to portray the struggle for full Irish independence as a finished fight. They seek to promote historical revisionism and sell it as a token of a “renewed relationship”. And they seek to paint the forces of the British Empire, that have for centuries carried out atrocity after atrocity on the native Gael’s for the cause of Queen and country, as equal to and worthy of the same remembrance that we as freedom loving people bestow on those brave warriors that died in the name of justice, liberty and equality. Comrades, there is much work to be done.

Barry’s dead and Cork’s asleep,
McSweeney’s cause been sold.
And the blood still lies on Kerry’s roads,
Unwashed by winds of old.
The hares cross lonely, barren ways,
Where once columns tramped the night,
And but a few still whisper Tracey’s name,
By hearthened fires in dancing light.

The Rose of Munster’s dead boys,
She choked upon her blood,
And Barry’s men died in her screams,
Trampled down into her mud.
Who cares for Kerry’s lonely graves,
The King of Cashel’s gone to Clare,
And those impoverished downtrodden fold,
As ever — laid naked, poor and bare.

Barry’s dead, does no-one hear?
Kilmicheal’s road — what worth?
While Irishmen wear rusty chains,
That beset them by their birth.
Oh! Barry’s gone let Munster weep,
His pleading ghost cries in the night,
But the Munster rose will only bloom again,
When Munster men join freedom’s fight.

AN PHOBLACHT ABÚ!

Lar Ó Tuama

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Election 2016: The year of the hotel children

Photo: Samboal/RollingNews.ie

Photo: Samboal/RollingNews.ie

We wait as a nation to hear the game played,
On radio to paper the clowns run parade.
Negotiated talks from closed wooden doors
Lay maps of a future for babes still to borne.

The hotel children hidden in Aistear cloaks,
Know no reason their ambitions will choke.
They word to letter form their homework to be done
For work if faster, harder a mother’s path may be resung.

The added pencil numbers of ones, twos and threes
All now becomes a telling of personal achieve.
Small hope eyes glow fierce to ignore,
The cold hunger of learning their young minds us implore.
For striving to thriving no teacher now claims
Is a child’s personal vendetta in a state’s CSO claim.

And no one but no one except you is too blame
For the race we all started saw equality named.
In a flat green field of true Irish grain
the feet of their childhood taught poverties pain.
A gunshot began and little legs race
Though the grass they pound down on is bought with their shame.

If a family left homeless through a fault they must own
Finds a lost vote still floating could they board it for home.
A land evergreen now torn into two
By the greed of cold penny that belongs to so few.
The masses come pouring to remind this small nation
Each voice that is standing talks for a people’s salvation.

So remember each vote that was ticked to be counted
Is a name not a chip to be hoarded and mounted.
In a jovial game of cards on Eireanns last table
So deliberate the hands dealt when cronies are able.

Rachael O’Sullivan

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