Category Archives: festival

Love Parade catastrophe was preventable

Did the organizers stop at nothing for profits?

20 people died in the horrific stampede at the July 24 Love Parade festival in the German city of Duisburg, 500 were injured and, for a time, over 1 000 people were officially listed as missing. The revellers panicked at a tunnel entrance. But, already in the build up to the parade many thought there was a risk of mass panic developing.

By Jan Röder and Sebastian Förster, CWI Germany
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Socialist Youth Festival Success

by Paul Murphy

Over 40 young people attended Socialist Youth’s fifth annual youth festival in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow at the end of August. Yet again, it was a major success, enjoyed by all who attended.  One of the notable features was the number of members attending for the first time.

One of these, Philip Lynn (Ballymena SY) commented:

“I thought it was very good, very educational. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on sexism because it was an issue I hadn’t given that much thought to before. It was good to meet other members from around the country, and it was a good bit of craic.”

Gearoid McLoughlin (Galway SY), said: “I really enjoyed having in depth discussions with members from different branches, as well as good theoretical debates on topics such as the Russian revolution.”

At the opening rally on Friday night, Joe Higgins spoke about the unfolding crisis in the world economy and the increasing attacks on workers’ and young people’s rights internationally. This rally set the tone for the weekend, which was one of discussions with a purpose – arming ourselves to fight the attacks of capitalism and for a socialist society.

The debate on Saturday night between Paddy Meehan (Belfast SY) and Anne Reilly of the Debt and Development Coalition tackled the issue of “Africa: How can debt and poverty be challenged?”

While Anne was very critical of the major powers’ role in enslaving the continent in poverty, she emphasised the need for us to try to make a difference today, by putting pressure on government leaders. SY members argued that those with a vested interesting in keeping Africa poor would not assist the African people, but were able to point to the magnificent recent displays of workers’ power in massive strikes in Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria to show the force that is capable of lifting the continent out of slavery.

Some of the most successful discussions over the weekend were: “Depression & Mental health: How can the crisis be ended?”, “Fight for your rights at work!” and “Religious beliefs: why do they still exist?”.

On Saturday afternoon, the sun shone allowing Dublin SY to take on the world in a rounders match that was competitively fought until an over enthusiastic swing put the ball in the trees!  “The Barrytown Wheelies” ran away with the table quiz on Saturday night, yet, as Kevin Coughlan (Cork SY) put it, despite his team coming second last, it was “a good laugh” nonetheless.

The event ended with an inspiring rally about the need to build a socialist youth movement. This is an event that should be in every young socialist’s calendar next year.

Report from the SY Resistance Festival 2007

By Conor Payne, Dublin Socialist Youth

On the 21 and 28 July, Socialist Youth hosted “Resistance”, a series of forums for young people around the South to discuss and debate socialist ideas.

The events were held in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. These were very successful with around 150 mostly young people attending overall. All the forums began with a debate. In Dublin and Cork, Socialist Youth members debated the Greens on the subject of how the environmental crisis can be solved. Challenged on their decision to enter government with Fianna Fail and the PDs, the Greens argued that there was no other way to ensure action was taken on urgent environmental issues, such as global warming.

Socialist Youth pointed out the link between global warming and the profit system that puts the interests of the fossil fuel industries and big business in general above the interests of people and the environment. To really fight against environmental crisis, we need to challenge this system and that can‘t be done in government with pro-big business parties.

The Greens claimed to agree with us on other issues such as privatisation, the use of Shannon Airport by the US military and Rossport! Yet they have sold out on all of this issues in government.
In Limerick and Galway, we debated the Young PDs, who argued that the free market was the solution to and not the cause of problems such as poverty, war and environmental crisis and argued the case for “socially responsible capitalism”.

Socialist Youth argued that from Irish Ferries’ attacks on workers’ wages and conditions to war for oil being fought in Iraq, capitalism is never socially responsible and always puts the lust for profit above all other concerns.

All four events included a discussion on the life of Che Guevara and the struggle for socialism in Latin America. Resistance was a great success with many young people indicating they wanted to join Socialist Youth.

Quotes

Michelle Dempsey – Student Nurse

“The event was great as it talked about things that matter like workers’ rights, anti-sectarianism and cuts in the NHS.”

James Higgins – Student

“I thought the event was really interesting. It was good to see someone addressing the topic of climate change. With a lot of people at attending it made for some important discussion.”

Gemma Foster, 19, young worker from Dublin

“The discussion on young workers’ rights was of big interest to me. This is because I’ve been in a situation of not getting my rights at work and getting ripped off and it was great to see that someone was fighting for young workers. I was also interested in the issue of the environmental crisis.

“I liked that in the young workers’ rights discussion if you asked a question you got really good answers on how you can fight to get your rights in the workplace.

“I was working for a big supermarket chain that’s obviously really profitable. The pay was ridiculous – €3.75 an hour for under 18’s. You had to work overtime and it was unpaid overtime. The manager used bullying tactics to intimidate us, threatening to give us a bad reference for example.”

Marta, 19, Bolivia

“I find it incredibly interesting to come across a socialist movement in Ireland and Europe in general. This movement is a reflection that we live in a world with problems. Society is still developing. Socialism is the best way to direct it.

“In Bolivia our government is supposed to be socialist. They have good intentions but our biggest problem is still with the multinationals and it’s a big struggle that’s still happening.

“It’s amazing that Socialist Youth is concerned with the problems all around the world and knows about Bolivia and Latin America as well as fighting on the issues here in this country.”

What do you think of the Socialist Youth “Resistance” event in Dublin?

“The Resistance event to me was a very proactive, educating event to raise awareness concerning Important and undeniable aspects of the effects that the capitalist system has on the world such as the environment, workers rights, Latin America. In my opinion, it was a great event, it allowed the youth to be involved in the greater discussion concerning their country and beyond.”

Mira, 21, Palestine

How did you become active in Palestine?

“Living in a country torn by occupation like Palestine, it’s inevitable that you become an activist and fight against the oppression faced by your people in any way you can. I have been an activist for about five years now – becoming a social-political activist has been one of the most enlightening experiences in my life, it has taught me a lot and has motivated me to continue the struggle towards freedom alongside the oppressed of the world.”

Can you describe the conditions facing Palestinians living in the occupied territories?

“The Palestinian population living in the occupied territories suffer day to day human rights abuses, especially in terms of the lack of freedom of movement (there are about 420 military checkpoints in the West Bank). The people of Palestine are terrorised on a daily basis by the Israeli occupation, we suffer from lack of freedom of speech, education, resistance and most of all a free, safe life.

“But on the other hand, the Palestinian people are, on a daily basis, fighting against occupation despite all of the obstacles that we face, that are nowadays increasing. We are fighting for our freedom, because at the end of the day, the Palestinian people are not terrorists and they are not victims -, they are survivors.”

Report from the Belfast ‘Resist’ event

By Emily Frazer, Belfast Socialist Youth

Socialist Youth’s ‘Resist’ event in Belfast attracted over 35 people throughout the day to hear debate and discussion on socialist ideas.

A debate entitled “How can we stop environmental destruction?” with the Green Party was an important discussion on the best way to solve the ongoing crisis over our environment.

A discussion on the 40th Anniversary of Che Guevara’s death and why you should be a socialist today had the biggest audience. There were speakers on young workers’ rights, women’s rights, the struggle internationally and who are Socialist Youth. There was a lively discussion on many issues from the 11+ exam to attacks on the future of our health system.

In the evening the film showing of Chavez: Inside the Coup brought up the important example of Latin America in struggle and the threats it now faces.

SY Summer Festival – 24-26 Aug

Come to the Socialist Youth National Summer Festival

When: Friday 24 – Sunday 26 August
Where: Old Presbytery Hostel, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
How Much: €60 / £40 (includes food, hostel accomodation & all transport)

SY Festival 2007

CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS

Come to the Socialist Youth Resistance Forum

Come to the Socialist Youth Resistance Forum

Dublin: Saturday, July 21st, 12am-5pm, Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin

Limerick: Saturday, July 21st, 1-5pm, Upstairs in Riddlers Bar on Sarsfield St, Limerick

Galway:
Saturday, July 28th (More details soon…)

Cork: Saturday, July 28th (More details soon…)

Click here for more details