Category Archives: greens

UCD right to protest victory

By Cillian Gillespie, Dublin Socialist Youth

At the end of November two UCD students – Socialist Party member Darren Cogavin and Enda Duffy – faced victimisation by UCD authorities for participating in a peaceful protest organised by the Shell to Sea campaign in UCD.

The protest took place in October when Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan paid a visit to UCD. This is the same minister who has stood over Shell’s criminal decision to build a potentially lethal and environmentally hazardous pipeline and refinery in Rossport, Co.Mayo.

Both students were summoned in front of a kangaroo court organised by the college authorities to face the possibility of being fined. This was undoubtedly part of a broader attempt to clamp down on the right to protest on campus.

However before this took place, much to their astonishment, the authorities were bombarded with over 100 emails and phone calls from members and supporters of the Socialist Party and Committee for a Workers International from across the world.

These included Greek trade unionists, American students and Socialist councillors from Sweden. Faced with this pressure the authorities were forced to back down and a victory for the right to protest was secured.

Advertisements

People & planet before profits! For socialist change – Not climate change

This is the text of the leaflet distributed by Socialist Youth activists at the Global Day of Action against Climate Change protest in Dublin on December 8th. You can also view it as a PDF here.

Catastrophe faces our planet because of climate change. A whole number of studies, reports and films such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth have highlighted this fact.

In February of this year, a report written by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that temperatures could rise as much as 6.4OC by the end of this century. Already climate change has resulted in the doubling of category four and five storms in the last 30 years, while arctic ice has thinned by 40% in the last 40 years.

For socialist change - Not climate change

While climate change effects our planet as a whole, it is the world’s workers and poor who will bear the brunt. If major action is not taken to halt climate change then 600 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa will go hungry from collapsing agriculture, 400 million more will be exposed to malaria and 200 million people will be forced to migrate due to rising sea levels, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

Kyoto II?

This week, the representatives of 169 countries will meet at a United Nations summit in Bali, Indonesia. The supposed aim of this conference will be to tackle global warming and produce a “Kyoto Treaty II”. However, the Kyoto Treaty itself was completely insufficient in reducing carbon emissions. Now, 150 of the world’s major companies have come in favour of a treaty that will cut climate change. The commitment of multinationals such as these and their representatives such as Bush, Brown and Sarkozy to tackling climate change is as hollow as their supposed aim of “Making Poverty History” a number of years ago!

Big Business opposes tackling climate change

It was oil and car companies who lobbied to stop the development of environmentally friendly electric car ten years ago in the US. They were afraid that the production of such a car would cut across the obscene profits that they make annually. When the IPCC report came out this year, Exxon oil offered $10,000 to any scientist who could discredit its findings.

When it comes to tackling climate change big business is the problem not the solution! In Ireland, it is the profiteering of property developers that has led to the unsustainable development of our cities. This development has meant an enormous urban sprawl, without the necessary infrastructure such as a properly funded public transport system. This has led to massive gridlock on our roads. It is hardly surprising that CO2 emissions in this country have increased by 25% in the past 15 years, while transport emissions have increased by 125%!

Green Party sell-out

In this weeks budget Fianna Fail and the Green Party introduced changes to VRT and motor tax aimed at reducing carbon emmissions. These changes are tokenistic and when related to the scale of the problem they are irrelevant. Contrast these superficial changes with what else the Greens have done. As government ministers, Eamon Ryan has allowed Shell to continue with its refinery in Bellanaboy, and John Gormley now supports the construction of waste incinerators!

Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party believe that parties such as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael represent the interests of big business and are therefore incapable of effectively reducing carbon emissions. We believe that any party that claims to have our planet’s interests at heart should not enter government with parties such as these. The experience of the Green Party in government since then went into coalition with the Fianna Fail and PDs in June proves this point.

Build a movement for system change

Socialist Youth stands for the building of a mass movement of working and young people to challenge climate change. We need to fight for a democratic publicly owned and properly funded transport system as an alternative to cars. We should demand that adequate resources are put into renewable energy as a step to phasing out our reliance on fossil fuels.

The international dictatorship of big business means climate change, war, poverty and attacks on the rights of workers and young people. In a socialist society the democratic public ownership and planning of our world’s resources could make the necessary investments into challenging climate change, while at the same utilising our planet’s wealth to abolish want and insecurity. This could be done by getting rid of the wastage that capitalism produces such as the $800 million spent on the arms trade each year and the unnecessary duplication of goods as well as the $1 trillion spent on advertising yearly.

We demand:

No to the exploitation of the environment for the profits of big business

No to nuclear power – For clean, safe and renewable sources of energy to be used in place of fossil fuels

For a massive injection of resources into reversing global warming

No to working class people paying the price of the bosses’ pollution

For a democratic and sustainable socialist plan of production that prioritises the needs of the world’s majority not the profits of big business

SOLIDARITY NEEDED: UCD Students victimised for protesting against Shell and government ministers

 

By Paul Murphy

A member of the Socialist Party, Darren Cogavin, and one other student, Enda Duffy, are due to meet the Vice President for Students at University College Dublin (UCD), Dr. Martin Butler, in the next week. They face punishment for engaging in a peaceful protest against the giant corporation Shell and the Green Party Minister for Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan.

Two protests, organised by the campaign ‘Shell to Sea’, took place on 30 October in UCD, the biggest college in Dublin. They were opposing the giveaway of over 50 billion euro worth of gas for free by the Irish government to Shell, and the building of an unsafe onshore pipeline and refinery by Shell in Rossport, Co. Mayo, on Ireland’s west coast.

The first protest was outside a Shell recruitment fair, highlighting the role of Shell in Mayo and internationally. The second took place outside a lecture theatre where Eamon Ryan was due to speak at a debate. He was confronted by about 50 chanting protestors and he turned on his heels and left.

In the aftermath, the college authorities and some right-wing students tried to paint these as ‘violent protests’, which they were not. Three students have received letters from the college authorities, claiming that the protestors harassed students, intimidated staff and put the safety of others at risk.

One of the students has already met with the authorities and been given a fine of up to 100 euro. The Socialist Party says no student should face any disciplinary action, or have to pay any fine, for engaging in a peaceful protest.

The authorities’ action is clearly an attempt to criminalise protest on campus. Recently, general activity by students in the college has been at a relatively low level, and now the authorities are now attempting to set a precedent of punishing students for protest.

The college authorities can be made to step back, through pressure in the college (the Students’ Union President has supported the students) and from outside, with a campaign of emails and phone call protests.

Please send protest emails to:

Dr. Martin Butler: martin.butler@ucd.ie.
The protest emails should be also sent to

the UCD President president@ucd.ie

and cc’d to: paul@socialistparty.net

Phone calls will have a big impact

Please let the UCD authorities know about your protest by phoning Martin Butler on (01) 716 1280

UCD President, Hugh Brady, can be phoned on (01) 716 1618

Shell to Sea – Rossport Solidarity Camp evicted

by Paul Murphy

After over eighteen months as an important base for activists supporting the local community in opposing Shell, the Rossport Solidarity Camp has been ordered to dismantle by 1 January.

The bitter irony of their eviction is that the judge ruled that the camp should be dismantled because it didn’t have planning permission and had the potential to damage a special area of conservation. This while Shell builds a huge gas refinery that will pump pollution out of tall chimneys just down the road and a high pressure gas pipeline that has the potential to explode!

 The difference is clear – the state has consistently backed up Shell, giving it €51 billion of our gas for free, while ordering and defending Garda brutality against peaceful protestors. This eviction is undoubtedly encouraged by Shell who have been surveying the estuary that runs right alongside the camp in preparation for laying the controversial pipeline.

Although Shell and the state now seem to think that they can deal the final blows to the campaign, the mass sitdown protest at the gates of the refinery on 14 September offers an opportunity to prove them wrong. A good turnout locally and nationally would demonstrate the continuing support for the campaign. Achieving even a relatively minor success, like causing serious disruption to Shell’s work for the day, will be crucial in helping to re-energise the campaign.

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.”

As the Green Party sell out, how can our environment be saved?

By Cillian Gillespie

US military to remain in Shannon warport, M3 motorway to go ahead, corporate donations to remain… it would appear that Green Party TDs would have sold their own grandmothers in order to get a seat at the Cabinet table! After the sell out of the Greens many workers and young people will wonder how can the destruction of our environment can be halted.

Whatever happens within the lifetime of this government we can be certain of one thing it won’t do – take decisive action to reduce carbon emissions and cut across global warming. In the past 15 years Ireland’s carbon emissions have grown by almost 25% while transport emissions have increased by a massive 140%. This increase will have enormous consequences for future generations living in Ireland. According to one report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, global warming will result in Limerick being permanently flooded within our lifetime.

In the past the Greens have sought to imply that society as a whole is a collectively responsible for global warming. Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party reject this viewpoint and lay the blame for the destruction of our planet firmly at the door of big business. The bosses are the people whose short term drive for profit, regardless of the consequences, has led to a dramatic increase in carbon emissions. They are the ones who produce 85% of waste in this country. The waste that the rest of us produce comes from the lack of recycling facilities and the unnecessary packaging we receive through goods we buy.

Despite the massive resources at their disposal, their friends in successive governments have failed to invest in a properly funded public transport system as an alternative to the use of cars. Nor have they sought to put the money into renewable energy as a step towards phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

The business and political establishment in Ireland have failed to confront the potential catastrophe that will result from our environment’s destruction. Experience will show that this will not be done by making cosy deals with Fianna Fail to suit the careers of a few. This is why Socialist Youth will be posing the need for an alternative to the parties of big business. We will fight for a socialist society where the future of our planet is put before the profits of a small wealthy minority.

Real action needed to stop climate change

By Cian Prendiville

Over the last few weeks and months, a lot of politicians have come out and paid lip service to need to stop climate change, and with the election approaching it will probably continue. But will they act?

Just a glance at the government and opposition track records gives us a hint. Between 1990 and 2004 Fianna Fail, the PDs, Fine Gael and Labour have all been in government and pledged to limit C02 emissions. In fact, they increased by a whopping 23%.

Promises and action are two different things. Only immediate action will halt climate change, not hot air. This vital action will, however, cut into the profits of big business – the same companies which fund the main parties’ election campaigns.

For instance enforcing C02 cuts on the main polluters (factories and big business) would require them to accept lower profits for the sake of the world – something which makes no sense when profit maximisation is king.

Similarly massive investment in public transport and renewable energy that could have a huge impact in reducing emissions will not make sense to the establishment parties, which are all about reducing public spending. What is more likely is that they will continue to starve public transport and the ESB of the necessary funding.

What is needed is a genuine opposition, not just in the Dail, but on the streets. With a recent EPA report saying my home city of Limerick will be permanently flooded in my lifetime, along with other towns and cities around the country, this gets more vital every day.

How can climate change be stopped? Socialist Youth believes a global plan of action is needed to put the needs of people and the planet before the profits of the super rich elite. This will mean taking on the oil multinationals. Energy production and public transport must be rationally and democratically owned, controlled and planned by ordinary working class people not by the market and big business.

This obviously requires taking on capitalism and the rule of profit inherent in it. As James Connolly said: “We are moderate – we only want the earth!”, maybe “we only want the earth to survive” would be an appropriate add-on today.