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ISF: Another World Is Nearly Here!
national | irish social forum | feature Wednesday October 06, 2004 20:12 by Irish Social Forum john.finnegan3 at mail dot dcu dot ie 085-1423454
Major Debate on how to Oppose Neoliberalism
A debate on how best to oppose the forces of neoliberalism and global capitalism – and indeed what to replace it with - is set to be the highlight of this year's Irish Social Forum, which will take place in Dublin next weekend, October 8th to 10th. Another central theme will be racism in Ireland and its role in neoliberalism. Author and academic Peadar Kirby will argue for less market and more state... "What we call the Celtic Tiger is simply an Irish version of the tilt towards the market that is evident in countries throughout the world, as the state restructures itself so as to put the needs of global capital above the needs of its citizens."
However, Aileen O'Carroll of the anarchist Workers Solidarity Movement is calling for a "social revolution" to bring about "a world based on the principles of economic equality and direct democracy rather than the principle of profit. For me, the only solution is to replace this political system with one which is completely different," O'Carroll said. "I don't believe parliament will bring us the change we want. It cannot challenge the fundamental inequalities of neoliberalism. Parliament's role is to manage inequality not to remove it." The plenary, which will also be addressed by Mick O'Reilly of the ATGWU and Labour Councillor Mary Murphy, will feature conflicting views on social partnership and whether to participate in it.
Meanwhile, the role of racism in the neoliberal globalisation project will be highlighted at the other main plenary, titled Racism in Ireland. Author and Trinity College academic Dr Ronit Lentin will focus on the consequences, for Ireland, of the global migration regime. In the wake of the 2004 Citizenship referendum, Lentin will argue that "while, like all modern nation-states, Ireland is a 'racial state', at the present time of unparalleled prosperity (which, however, is accompanied by growing poverty and rich-poor gaps), Ireland is also a racist state. Ireland is creating armies of invisible migrant labourers. Looking at the stories of migrants is one alternative way to think about globalisation in today's Ireland." Also due to speak at the plenary on racism are Aisling Reidy of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Rosanna Flynn of Residents Against Racism and Jason Brannigan of Belfast-based Fascists Out Campaign.
The ISF will feature workshops hosted by more than 40 different groups from around Ireland on such topics as racism, trade unions, inner-city regeneration, trade justice, the global arms trade, Public Private Partnerships, the US military's use of Shannon Airport, female genital mutilation, left unity, incinerators, the EU constitution and the Criminal Justice Bill.
The Irish Social Forum is a gathering for everyone opposed to war, racism and the implications of corporate-led globalisation or neoliberalism. It is a space to bring together everyone who wants to see global justice, workers' rights and a sustainable society.