In February, the WSM continued its series of public meetings about why capitalism is in crisis and why working people should refuse to make sacrifices to benefit the rich. Limerick and Bray were the latest. We will be continuing our efforts to spread anarchist ideas in this vein over the coming months, with meetings planned for Drogheda, Galway, Derry, Navan, Tralee, Tipperary and Ballina. Also, our next radio show will be appearing on NEAR 90.3 FM, a Dublin community radio station, in the near future.
The WSM made its presence felt in a number of protests in early January against the Israeli assault on Gaza. We also supported the anti-fees protest organised by third-level students in February, with a number of our student members active in FEE (Free education for Everyone), a campaigning group in the universities.
In a leaflet produced by the WSM for the education protests, we argued that “we need to build a national campaign that can fight the battle to prevent cuts at all levels of education, to demand more, not less, investment in our children’s future, to stop the further limitation of access to third-level and, ultimately, to push to improve the entire education system.” With this in mind, we held a meeting in late February aiming to establish an education workers libertarian socialist network.
In Belfast, WSM members participated in pickets of Subway after management sacked a pregnant migrant worker. The Belfast branch also held its inaugural ‘day school’ in February, with talks on the history of anarchism and how we can fight the recession.
Meanwhile, we have seen the first signs of workers taking direct action with the occupation of the Waterford Glass plant. Our Cork branch visited the factory to offer their support and released a statement, an extract of which is quoted below.
“In the last while there has been an unprecedented assault on our living standards. Huge numbers of us have been put out of jobs or put on short time; we have been told bluntly 'Take a pay cut or your job is gone'. Our union leadership has reacted to this with offers of talks and with appeals for calm. While doing this they have leaned over backwards to meet the demands of the bosses and the Government. Against this scenario, the Waterford Glass workers have said NO MORE. The time for talking with your hands tied behind your back are over! Workers did not create this crisis and they sure aren't going to pay the huge price that is being asked to solve it!”
With this in mind, we joined huge numbers of our fellow workers on the ICTU demonstration in Dublin on February 21st, advocating a national strike to defend workers interests.
Internationally, as the global recession deepens, there have been signs of increased resistance by working people; with riots in Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria. There was a general strike in France, while the government fell in Iceland. As the economic situation worsens in Ireland, our members remain active in their unions, student organisations, communities and campaign groups to try and fight back against the impoverishment and violence that continues to be imposed on us and our class by our rulers. We need you to join us in this fight.