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(en) Ireland: Meeting on Women and the Environment in NUI Galway, Saturday January 29th

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 19 Jan 2005 11:15:46 +0100 (CET)


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It would be fair to say that left libertarian politics has experienced
something of a renaissance in Ireland in recent years, though we shouldn't
lose the run of ourselves with self-congratulation! However there are many
arenas of struggle where its theory and practice is relatively undeveloped.
This conference focuses on two of them: the environment and women.
Ideas for Change is being organised by NUI Galway Ecology Society. Taking
place on Saturday January 29th it features discussions, both practical and
theoretical, on the environment and on popular ecological struggles, and on
feminism and the struggle for reproductive rights.

Environmental destruction occasioned by the grow-or-die dynamic of capitalism,
what was described as the second contradiction of capital by Ted Benton,
founder of the Red-Green Study Group, has been practically contested by
community-based campaigns across Ireland since around 1975. See for instance
the struggles documented in Robert Allen's book "No Global: The People of
Ireland Versus the Multinationals". These are, surely, in someways an example
of what the Bad Days Will End! talked about in their critique of the "Give Up
Activism?" document, which came out of the early days of the globalisation
movement in England, when they wrote: "Perhaps, then, the first steps towards a
genuine anti-activism would be to turn towards these specific, everyday,
ongoing struggles. How are the so-called 'ordinary' workers resisting
capitalism at this time? What opportunities are already there in their ongoing
struggles? What networks are already being built through their own efforts?"

Around this theme James McBarron, of Cork Grassroots Network/Workers Solidarity
Movement (Cork), will be talking about how left-libertarians in Cork relate to
the campaigns to free the Old Head of Kinsale, a public amenity transformed
into a private golf course, and to prevent an incinerator being built in
Ringaskiddy. What have been the different problems and issues arising in these
campaigns, what hope do they offer?

While Alan McSimon, of Dublin Grassroots Network/Workers Solidarity Movement*
(Dublin), will talking about the lessons learned from the successful movement
to keep Ireland nuclear free in the late '70s/early '80s, which saw a massive
popular mobilisation against the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant
in Carnsore, Wexford.

One perennial problem with environmental activism is shallow analysis leading
to a practice of half measures and palliatives, a fact which underscores the
need for a clear-cut incisive theoretical perspective, which is where Colm
Breathnach's (of Dublin Grassroots Network/Irish Socialist Network) talk on
"Marxism and the Environment" comes in.

Something which underlines the possibility of social progress is the changing
position of women in Irish society, something which was plain to see in the
recently released State papers from 30 years ago, an era in which all
reproductive rights were denied, in which women couldn't do jury service and
had to give up State jobs upon marrying.

Rosita Sweetman, author of "On Our Knees and On Our Backs" and participant in
the Irish women's liberation movement in the early '70s will be talking about
feminism in Ireland in that period.

Niav Keating (Dublin Grassroots Network/Alliance for Choice) will be speaking
around the theme: Everything you wanted to know about reproductive rights (but
were afraid to ask)! and looking at:

* The history of the pro choice movement in Ireland.
* The law and abortion in Ireland.
* The reasons why activists continue to fight for reproductive rights
for Irish women.
* Threats to abortion legislation worldwide.
* The re-emergence of backstreet abortions in Ireland.
* Direct action and the pro-choice movement.

And Tobie Marven will be seeking to create a space to discuss what feminism
means to us, how it can be useful and where to go with feminist theory in a
libertarian movement.

This is happening in room AC201 on the concourse, which is the long, low
building with the two towers, in NUI Galway, on Saturday the 29th of January,
starting at 2pm. The environment section runs between 2pm and 4pm, with the
women section going on between 5pm and 7pm.
=========================
* Workers Solidarity Movement is an anarchist communist organization.
Dublin Grassroots Network is an anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist network.


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