Posts tagged Ireland

Keep on rocking in the free world: Anarchist Communications

Upcoming

  • Anarchy Summer Camp. 17-19 July 2009. Northern Virginia. Anonymous, Infoshop News (2009-06-12): Virginia: Anarchy Summer Camp 17th-19th, Nova. As we prepare for the upcoming G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the Spring World Bank and IMF meetings, the ebbs and flows of our respective local campaigns, and anything else under the sun, we’ll be congregating in the woods of Northern Virginia for an action-packed Anarchy Summer Camp.

  • Belfast, Ulster. 18 July 2009. Organizing for Anarchism. Belfast: Organising for Anarchism. A day of workshops and discussions organised by the Belfast branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement and the Anarchist Communist Discussion Group. (High Church Platformism, in case you’re curious.)

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil. 18-19 July 2009. 2nd Encounter towards a Sao Paulo Anarchist Federation. The Pró-Federação Anarquista de São Paulo collective invites everyone to participate in the 2nd Encounter towards a Sao Paulo Anarchist Federation on 18-19 July 2009 in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. … It was from that Encounter che this collective was formed, with the aim of carrying on the debate. The purpose of this second Encounter, then, is to present and discuss the collective’s experiences and the work done so far, and also to invite new comrades to join us. Over this first year, the participants have engaged in many activities with the aim of joining the popular struggles and contributing social and practical ideas such as direct action, autonomy, combativity, solidarity, horizontality and independence from parties. (Especifismo, if you’re curious.)

  • 2009 Northeast Anarchist People of Color Conference. 6-9 August 2009. Philadelphia, Pennslvania. The conference announcement, mission sttaement, and Principles of Unity are all available from http://illvox.org/.

  • Providence, Rhode Island. 15 August 2009. Providence Anarchist Bookfair and street festival. Anonymous @ Infoshop News (2009-06-28): Providence Anarchist Bookfair and street festival The annual Providence Anarchist Bookfair is back again this year and we want you to come on by and enjoy the events , get some books and participate. … In the past there have been workshops and interactive presentations on radical and revolutionary topics , please feel free to submit workshop proposals or hit us up to get a table.

Openings, anniversaries, report-backs, etc.

  • Toledo, Ohio. Summer 2009. The Black Cherry community space. A new coffee-and-info-shop opening this summer in Toledo under the auspices of the October 15 Anarchist Collective. 1420 Cherry St., Toledo, Ohio.

  • Santa Cruz, California. June 2009. SubRosa community space. SubRosa celebrates six months! SubRosa is a non-profit space in downtown Santa Cruz for art and radical projects run by a collective of volunteers from the local anarchist community. It offers radical books and literature, gourmet coffee and tea, performance and a weekly open mic, gallery art by emerging local artists, and a garden courtyard social space. Free wi-fi and public computers are also available for use. A variety of radical community events are held at SubRosa, including monthly art shows, Free Skool classes and a weekly Open Mic on Thursdays at 8pm.

  • United Kingdom. Free Activist Records. Anonymous, Infoshop News (2009-07-16): New donation based UK anarchist record label launched. A new free to download donation based record label Free Activist Records has just been launched. Our first release will be a 20 track compilation to raise awareness of Sean Kirtley anarchist AR prisoner. We are a small collective of music lovers, artists, punks, workers and activists. We are veganarchist, anti-consumerist, anti-fascist, anti-millitary, pro union, feminist, pro-choice, anti-globalization, anti-authority and we support direct action to smash oppression it all of its forms, whether it come from the state or corporations. We also love music. … We rely on help from, bands, illustrators, artists, promoters, activists groups and YOU to keep FAR running. Please do contact us to find our what help we need.

  • East London, England. Anarchist Movement Conference 09. Another, very detailed reportback: Infoshop News (2009-06-13): Britain: More on the Anarchist Conference 09. (See GT 2009-06-10: Wednesday Lazy Linking for previous report-backs and No Pretence’s anarcha-feminist intervention.)

  • Tampere, Finland. 10-12 July 2009. Musta Pispala: Anarchist counter-cultural festival. via Anonymous @ Infoshop News For us anarchism means for example the critique of all forms of domination and hierarchy and on the other hand creating non-oppressive, egalitarian culture. We see domination not only in large structures of society, but also in oppressive customs among ourselves. Our analysis is not limited only to human relations. It also includes our relationships with non-human beings. Our aim is to strengthen critical views and empowerment in the form of taking control of our lives. Kill the police within! Through the workshops in the festival you can get familiar with topics such as basics of anarchism and anarcha-feminism. There will be a couple of workshops on anarchist parenting and unschooling. Anti-psychiatry criticizes mainstream views on mental problems, and offers alternatives for mental care. Environmental themes are approached practically and theoretically through worm-composting, edible wild plants, climate change and the environment and technology thinking of anarchists. We also have workshops about specifically local struggles such as anti-gentrification/yuppification and a counter campaign against the city council’s efforts to clean the streets of Tampere from street art and posters of small scale events.

  • Antioch, California. 20 June 2009. Antioch Arrow Block Party Antioch Block Party Report Back

ALLy ALLy oxen free….

Guess who wins a government award, from the Ministry of Cultural Exchange in this secessionist republic of one, for the most attractive ALL local outreach logo?

The answer is Shawn Wilbur, of the Northwest Alliance of the Libertarian Left, with his call for ALLiance in Occupied Cascadia:

Northwest Alliance of the Libertarian Left - Join!

Sure beats my photoshop defacements of tourist traps and paint company logos, anyway. Congrats, Shawn!

Alliance of the Libertarian Left Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee

Now, then. Do you know any individualist anarchists, agorists, mutualists, left-Rothbardians or others on the libertarian left in or nearby any of the following metropolitan areas, who might be interested in getting involved, or getting more involved, in local activism and organizing? (If that description matches you yourself, that’s good enough, too.)

If so, please drop me a line with their contact information. I have some requests from prospective local organizers who are looking for people to start locals for the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I would love to be able to put them in touch with anyone locally who might be interested.

On the subject of the Organizing Committee website, I’ve been getting some very good suggestions from other ALLies about materials to make available up there, and sketching out a few ideas of my own on paper. Most of these I hope to be adding over the next several days.

The main one that is now available, more or less live, is a feature to provide contact pages specific to each location where the Organizing Committee has gotten inquiries (click through on the links to each city above — for example, Baltimore — to see what it looks like). The main point is to have a landing-pad for each place we get an inquiry from, and to give prospective ALLies more information about how many people are interested in getting organized. Right now, this consists of a landing page, a map with one or more pins representing inquiring ALLies, and a quick count of the number who have inquired. My hope is to make this somewhat more sophisticated over time (right now, it’s mainly just some pretty wrapper over an e-mail form; I hope to add some features to find, e.g., how many people are interested in a particular state, possibly some sort of public Wall feature, etc.). But this will do for a start.

What I’d like to work on for the next few days is adding advice on getting started, on organizing, on ideas for activism, and so on. I’ll be incorporating some of the suggestions I’ve gotten already, and I’d like to put together some pages specifically on:

  1. A step-by-step guide to starting a new ALL local (along the lines of guides like Seven Steps To Starting A Food Not Bombs Group);

  2. Some advice focusing on organizing locals on college campuses, in particular;

  3. A sampler platter of actions and projects that existing ALLs have worked on, with an eye to giving people ideas for what they can do to kick off their ALL local, and what they might do as they get themselves established.

Which leads me to ask you all, gentle readers:

  1. If you have any suggestions, either for particular ideas or pieces of advice to add, or for focused sections that you think would be particularly useful, let me know. Let’s discuss in comments. And…

  2. If you were to pick out a sampler of four or five actions or projects that your own ALL local has worked on, or that some ALLies you know about have worked on, which you would like to add as suggestions for ALL organizers trying to make plans for a new ALL local, what would you pick? Let’s discuss in comments.

Onward.

See also:

Iatrogenesis

In medicine, the term iatrogenesis refers to a condition in which symptoms or complications are themselves caused by attempted medical treatment or the conditions under which it is administered.

John Perceval, a member of a prominent English family and the son of a former Prime Minister, resigned a military commission in 1830, underwent a conversion to an unconventional Christian sect, and had a break-down while traveling in Scotland and Ireland. His older brother, then a Member of Parliament, took him back to England and had him locked away, against his will, in two private asylums, first in Bristol and then in Sussex. Here are a couple things that he had to say about what he observed during his confinement, as noted by Thomas Szasz in The Manufacture of Madness.

I will be bound to say that the greatest part of the violence that occurs in lunatic asylums is to be attributed to the conduct of those who are dealing with the disease, not to the disease itself; and that the behavior which is usually pointed out by the doctor to the visitors as the symptoms of the complaint for which the patient is confined, is generally more or less reasonable, and certainly a natural result, of that confinement, and its particular refinements in cruelty; for all have their select and exquisite moral and mental, if not bodily tortures.

— John Perceval, Perceval’s Narrative: A Patient’s Account of His Psychosis, 1830–1832. Edited by G. Bateson. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1961. 114. Quoted in Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. 129.

And:

But when the lunatic doctors say that the presence of friends is hurtful to lunatic patients, they are not aware of the fact—at any rate do not acknowledge it—that the violent emotions and disturbance of spirit, which takes place on their sudden meeting with them MAY arise from their being overcome by a sense of their relations’ conduct toward them, in neglecting and abandoning them to the care and control of strangers, and from the treatment of the doctors themselves. The doctors naturally do not acknowledge this, for if they are acting from stupidity, their pride refuses correction, and will not admit the suspicion of being wrong; if they are acting with duplicity and hypocrisy, they necessarily preserve their character, and cannot in consistency confess that there is any error on their part—who can expect it of them? You cannot gather grapes from thorns. Nevertheless, it is true.

— John Perceval, Perceval’s Narrative: A Patient’s Account of His Psychosis, 1830–1832. Edited by G. Bateson. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1961. 218. Quoted in Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. 129–130.

After he gained his freedom in 1834, Perceval wrote two narrative accounts of his treatment in the asylums. After being released, he spent the remaining four decades of his life campaigning for the liberty of people labeled as mentally ill, notably founding an Alleged Lunatics Friends Society and leading a petition campaign against the Lunacy Act, which allowed for involuntary commitment and denied involuntary patients the right to challenge their imprisonment in court.

Please note that, today, the shrinks and their flunkies, who continue to inflict on unwilling patients every sort of isolation, restraint, confinement, physical torture, and emotional trauma that the mad doctors of Perceval’s day inflicted — the shrinks and their flunkies who continue to march forward with the same invincible ignorance, using the same involuntary commitments and the same hellhole prison-camp asylums, — the shrinks and their flunkies who, in spite of the lessons clearly taught by men like Perceval, still continue to display exactly no self-awareness or critical insight whatsoever into either the history of their own discipline or the possibility that the phenomena they supposedly study and correct may be at least partially the results of their own coercive treatments — those shrinks and their flunkies, I say, now have the supreme gall to turn around and claim John Perceval, the man who their forebearers imprisoned and tortured, and who spent the rest of his life opposing their forebearers’ exercise of arbitrary and absolute power to imprison and torture innocent people who have been labeled as diseased by doctors or family, as a pioneer … for the mental health advocacy movement.

See also:

Struggle Over European Abortion Politics

Yesterday the Beeb featured an online fact sheet compiled from an Alan Guttmacher Institute survey of the status of abortion across Europe. The survey is interesting, but paints an overly rosy picture of the status of reproductive choice in Europe.

With a few exceptions, nearly all the countries in the map are given green status for reproductive choice, meaning that abortion is permitted on request. However, this needs some serious qualifications. Countries which are counted as abortion on demand can still have extensive regulations and red tape banning abortions after a certain period of time, mandating waiting periods and government-specified counselling, and similar standard measures from the anti-choice Right’s toolbox for chipping away at access to abortion. By the standards of this survey, every one of the 50 United States counts as green—whether they rank as an A or an F in NARAL’s rankings of abortion access. The only way for a nation to not be counted as being in the most liberal category vis-a-vis abortion is to return to the state of affairs in the pre-Roe United States. For example, Greece has had on demand abortion laws for the first trimester since 1986, but illegal abortions remain prevalent because of lack of public awareness and extensive delays and red tape imposed by government regulations. Turkey is listed as on demand even though a woman must have the consent of her male partner to be able to legally obtain an abortion (!). Worse, Latvia is inexplicably listed as an on demand country, because abortions can be approved for any reason—never mind that every abortion in this liberalized state must be approved by a committee of bureaucrats.

Unfortunately, Alan Guttmacher Institute’s report, as most of their reports, is fundamentally a document on family planning rather than women’s right to choose. Just who holds the reins of power over a woman’s body is irrelevant in this survey; what is relevant is whether or not someone has the right to authorize an abortion. What they are talking about, all in all, is a doctor’s rights to perform abortions, not a woman’s rights to choose whether or not to have an abortion. To those of us who fight for abortion rights on the basis of pro-choice feminism, however, we have to worry just as much about the arbitrary veto power over a woman’s body that is given to a husband or a committee bureaucrat, as we do about blanket bans in countries such as Ireland or Malta.

However, while the report is overly rosy about the state of choice in Europe, not all is gloom and doom. There have been key victories across Europe, and many signs of hope:

  • France: in 2001, the French government liberalized abortion laws by extending the period of time in which a woman may have an abortion from 10 weeks of pregnancy to 12 weeks (this brings it up to the standard of the US, where Roe categorically protects the right to abortion in the first trimester).

  • Ireland: a referendum to tighten Ireland’s ban on abortion, which is already one of the harshest laws in Europe was narrowly defeated in spite of heavy lobbying by the Catholic Church and the ruling party in favor of the amendment. This was merely holding the line rather than an advance to take back choice, but the failure of slippery-slope anti-choice arguments, and the lopsided vote in urban districts (61% of Dublin voters rejected the amendment), augurs well for future progress in Ireland.

  • Poland: after the fall of Communism, the influence of the Catholic Church caused Poland to pass some of the toughest anti-abortion laws in Europe in the 1990s, and doctors in some hospitals began to use the anti-choice climate in the government to stonewall and illegally refuse some abortions which were still permitted under Polish law. However, the 2001 victory of the pro-choice Democratic Left Party (mostly former Communists) and the public debate over abortion may begin to roll back the tide of anti-abortion legislation in Poland.

  • Portugal: also saddled with intensely anti-choice laws, a referendum in 1998 only upheld Portugal’s present anti-abortion restrictions by the razor-thin margin of 51% to 49%. The President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, favors liberalizing abortion laws and has indicated he will work to hold another referendum on the issue.

  • Switzerland: Switzerland was also a member of the worst abortion laws in Europe club, until the the Swiss Parliament finally voted to legalize first trimester abortions in 2001. Right-wingers attempted to delay and possibly derail the passage of the law by forcing it to go to a referendum. However, the tactic failed: just yesterday, Swiss voters blew away Switzerland’s abortion restrictions in a landslide, with 82% rejecting an opposing referendum which would have made Switzerlands laws even tougher (banning abortions even in the case of rape), and 72% of Swiss voters supporting the decriminalization of abortion in the first trimester. The new law will go into effect in October.

  • The European Union: as EU legislation reduces border restrictions between European countries more and more, it is becoming harder and harder for anti-choice governments to control European women’s efforts to secure abortions. For example, despite Ireland’s blanket ban on abortions, nearly 7,000 Irish women receive abortions each year by crossing the Irish Sea to clinics in the UK. EU immigration protections prevent the Irish government from stopping these women from leaving the country.

  • The High Seas: Women on Waves, founded in May 1999 by Dutch clinician Rebecca Gomperts, sails to countries where abortion is illegal (in particular, Ireland) to provide legal counseling and reproductive health services while in port, and delivery of professional, safe, and legal abortion services offshore outside territorial waters.

The situation in Europe offers no room at all for complacency, but a lot of room for hopeful struggle. We will win this one if we fight for it.

For further reading:

Narrow Victory in Ireland: Further Criminalization of Abortion Rejected

Yesterday, Irish voters narrowly rejected a referendum that would have tightened Ireland’s constitutional restrictions against abortion, which are already among the harshest restrictions in Europe.

photo: Bernie Ahern

Ahem, I seem to have lost this one. - Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

Abortion is already illegal under the Irish constitution, but the rejected amendment sought to tighten restrictions by overturning an Irish Supreme Court ruling which authorized therapeutic abortions when the mother threatened to commit suicide, and by imposing harsh criminal penalties for women who received abortions, and the doctors who performed the procedure. Currently, nearly 7,000 Irish women receive abortions each year, but nearly all must have them performed in legal clinics across the Irish Sea in the United Kingdom. Thankfully, EU immigration protections prevent the Irish government from stopping women from leaving the country.

629,041 Irish voters rejected the amendment, while 618,485 voted in favor of it. In urban centers, the vote was much more lopsided, with some 61% of Dublin voters rejecting the new restrictions. Anti-abortion proponents of the referendum urged that it be adopted because a rejection might lead down a slippery slope towards abortion-on-demand in Ireland.

I’m not holding my breath, but let’s hope they’re right.

For further reading: