Category Archives: ireland

Shut Down the Bogus Crisis Pregnancy Agency

THE “WOMENS’ Resource Centre” (WRC), Dorset Street, has been picketed regularly throughout August by Choice Ireland and supporters. Funnily enough, this organisation that likes to pose as above-board and legitimate, has decided to change its name in the past number of weeks to “Abbey Counselling Centre” due to the bad publicity the pickets have engendered.

By Laura Fitzgerald, Dublin Socialist Youth

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Come to the Socialist Youth Summer Festival

SY Summer Festival Brochure

SY Summer Festival Brochure

Friday 22nd August – Sunday 24th August

Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

All Welcome

Cost: €65/£50 (Cost includes accomodation, food and travel)

To download the brochure please click here.

If you would like to book your place please send your name, address, phone, e-mail and any special food requirements you may need to:

Socialist Youth Dublin
P.O. Box 3434, Dublin 8

Socialist Youth Belfast
13 Lombard St
Belfast
BT1 1RB

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The Real Miss UCD!

Elisa O’Donovan, Dublin Socialist Youth

UCD Socialist Youth last week set up the Students Against Sexism campaign to protest against the Miss UCD beauty pageant sponsored by UCD Students Union. This beauty pageant is part of the Miss University competition and apart from being sexist, it bans mothers, wives and women under 5ft4 from entering!

The protest held was enormously successful with over 70 students and staff showing their support, along with messages of solidarity from other universities where the pageant had taken place.

The protest began with a speaker from the UCD equality department, highlighting the huge effects beauty pageants have on young women with regards to body image. Second speaker, Ailbhe Smyth, spoke of how acceptable sexism has become in society and how Miss World encourages this as it allows women to be viewed as just objects. The Socialist Youth representative spoke of how the union’s role was to fight for women’s rights on campus, particularly highlighting the lack of decent child care facilities and health facilities on campus. Each speaker was met with a rousing response from the large crowd of students.

Following the speakers there was the Real Miss UCD pageant. All contestants were immediately disqualified as one was too short, the other had two children and the other was too masculine! Eventually a sheep was crowned the real Miss UCD to signify the union following the flock and not standing up for women rights on campus. “There was a great feel about UCD today, students were standing up against discrimination. It was empowering and shows how successful direct action can be” said Sophie Grenham after the demo.

UCD Socialist Youth will now continue its campaign against sexism in UCD and continue the fight to ensure equality for all on campus.

Belfast: End the occupation of Iraq – Young people show their anger

On the 15 March nearly 300 people protested in Belfast city centre on a wet and miserable day to show their anger at the war and occupation of Iraq.

Billions of pounds are being wasted annually by the British government while local hospital units and schools are getting closed across Northern Ireland.

Socialist Youth had a loud and very visible contingent on the demonstration arguing for a socialist solution to the crisis in the Middle East. We got an excellent response with a number of people joining on the day and more interested in finding out more.

Say NO to the Miss UCD pagent

BY ELISA O’DONOVAN – UCD Students Against Sexism

This year see’s the first (and hopefully last!) Miss UCD beauty pageant, sponsored by UCDSU ,alongside trashy tabloids The sun and News of the world. The first Miss UCD takes place on Thursday 17th April. The winner of the ‘competition’ will win automatic entry to Miss Ireland as well as winning beauty makeovers , clothes and a gym membership. Miss Ireland and hence Miss UCD bans all mothers, wives and women under 5’4 from entering.These sexist competitions have no place in Ireland and particularly in UCD. These types of competitions are demeaning and are an excuse for putting sexism on parade They encourage the idea that women should be seen as sex objects to be judged by men, as well as making women believe that to be desirable they have to conform to unrealistic types of ‘beauty’.

The Miss university pageant is doing the rounds in third level colleges throughout Ireland and already a Miss DIT,Miss Portebello,Miss NCI,Miss RCSI,Miss St Pats and Miss Tallaght IT have been ‘crowned’ with extensive positive media coverage. Miss Ireland and Miss world seems to have become an acceptable form of ‘entertainment’ in Ireland despite thats its a competiton that is grossly offensive to both men and women. 

Why oppose it?

It has become normal for young women to be irrationally critical of their bodies. As young women we are bombarded with on average 600 ads/day each telling us how to look .Every week there’s a new part of our body we have to change and look better in order to be accepted and respected by society. The young women most celebrated in Irish media are Katy French, Rossana Davidson ,those that are ‘ beautiful’ and successful with Miss Ireland being the most pictured young women in Irish media. The effect that this has on
women cannot be overstated. In Ireland alone 6000 women suffer from eating disorders compared to 400 men. Self esteem in young Irish females has never been so low. This is because as women we are constantly barraged with how we should and must look. This stereotype of youth, clear skin, sparkling teeth, tanned and toned is a stereotype which is completely reinforced by the Miss Ireland and Miss World franchise. And who does this stereotype benefit? Does it benefit us women? Of course not it directly benefits’s the pockets of the Miss Ireland franchise!

All the time women are struggling with self esteem and self worth while big business is making billions of our insecurities. Miss Ireland helps accelerate these insecurities by allowing wealthy businessmen on the judging panel to choose what society should see as desirable or not. Miss Ireland is not run for fun or for creating opportunities for women as it often proclaims, its sole purpose is to make as much money for the organisers. Millionaire businessman and owner of the Miss Ireland franchise, Krish Naidoa, recently stated in a daily mail article that ‘we ( the miss Ireland organisers) are all in it to make money.’ Like the beauty and diet industrys constantly advertising a new diet trend or latest must have product which as a result doesn’t boost our self esteem it only boosts the enormous profits of the diet/ beauty industry. Last year alone L’oreal made a massive €1.86 billion in profits!

Miss UCD will also contain the famous swimsuit portion. This is where women don bathing suits purely so there bodies can be judged to see if they conform to what is desirable for society I.e. lacking wrinkles, celluite, flab and every other normal constituent of a women’s body. This is a pervasive force not only in shaping our body ideals but also in creating stereotypes on how women should act and be. The female body has become a commodity that can be sold. From playboy bunnies to Miss world women are seen for a sexual use other than as a person with the capacity for independent action and thought. Frequent exposure to media images that sexualize women and girls affect greatly how women conceptualise feminity and sexuality. It leads them to accept more constrained and stereotypical notions about gender roles and sexual roles. Miss world is part of an industry based on portraying women as sexual objects, available to be “consumed” by a male customer. Women’s sexuality is reduced to pleasing men.

What about Student Union involvment? 

Our SU is there to represent us, the students. Its role ,like all students union is to empower and reach out to all students whatever their sex. Students need a strong union to fight for students rights and to campaign,educate and inform students on all issues.

However, this year UCDSU has completely ignored women’s issues on campus. The women’s officer, an active member of fianna fail, has held only one event all year. Women have never been more isolated from the union which can be seen in the fact that we once again have an all male sabbatical team to represent us next year. Considering women are a majority on this campus their issues whether health, social or political should be represented yet they are being completely ignored by UCDSU.

The union justified their reasons for holding the Miss UCD pageantby running it as a charity event for the primary immunodeficiency association; a charity that helps mothers and fathers cope with raising a child with a incurable paediatric condition. It is ironic that in order to raise money to help struggling families the union has to resort to using a competition that bans mothers and wives from entering!

The union should not be holding beauty pageants, they should be fighting to ensure equality for ALL on campus by fighting for; decent child care facilities for mothers and fathers on campus, free smear testing and proper health care facilities for women, fighting for workplace rights,including maternity leave and equal pay; and to speak out against all other forms of discrimination in Belfield.

To oppose union involvement in Miss UCD, UCD students against sexism are holding a mock Miss UCD beauty pageant where the REAL Miss UCD will be crowned. At the event,which will be held Thurs 17th April at 1 outside the arts block, we will be distributing leaflets to highlight some of the challenges facing women in modern Ireland. There will also be speakers present from the Equality department, the Socialist Party and more.

We ask all students and staff from all univeristys who oppose sexism to get involved.Come along on the day,show your support and say NO to sexism! 

Miss Ireland rules: http://www.missnorthernireland.co.uk/rules.php
Miss afterdark rules: http://www.afterdark.ie/content/view/50/54/

 

Iraq five years on: End the Occupation – Fight for a socialist solution

By Paddy Meehan, Socialist Youth Regional Organiser

In 2003 Bush’s top commanders met to discuss the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They concluded then it would take four years to “normalise” the country. Yet from this March, US and British troops will have been in Iraq for five years with no end in sight to the conflict.

Bush’s intention is to dump the mess of Iraq onto his successor. It is estimated that the war and occupation of Iraq has claimed the lives of  over one million Iraqis and 4,000 US troops. No US presidential candidate has committed themselves to a complete withdrawal from Iraq. Both Republicans and Democrats represent the interests of companies like Haliburton and Blackwater who have made billions of dollars from the suffering and destruction in Iraq.

The US mission to ‘stabilise’ Iraq has failed miserably as 70% of Iraqi’s are without access to adequate water supplies and in total 4.6 million people have been forced to leave their homes. Living standards in Iraq are getting worse despite contracts of over $20 billion being paid to companies to rebuild Iraq. The US Congressional hearings in February 2007 stated that $10 billion was either “wasted or mismanaged” in Iraq. Along with this hardship, Iraq is descending into sectarian war. US forces lean on different ethnic and religious groups attempting to keep their control of the country. The Sunni Awakening Councils are being recruited extensively into the police and army. This is an attempt to challenge the control of Shia militias such as the Mehdi army by backing sections of the Sunni forces. But the real outcome is a fracturing of the police and army along religious lines, which can increase the likelihood of civil war.

US imperialism’s divide and rule strategy is directly contributing to the increasing sectarian divisions. Imperialism has no progressive role to play in the future of Iraq, and the longer the occupying armies remain the greater the chances of civil war and a break up of the country.   Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party believe that a united movement of working class Iraqis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds could drive out the occupying armies. A struggle by such a movement of the working class against imperialism and for a socialist solution is the only way to guarantee freedom, democracy and a decent life for all.

On 15 March thousands will protest around the world against the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the north Socialist Youth is aimimg to collect 5,000 signatures before the anniversary to show the opposition to the war. If you can help collect signatures or can build support for the protest please contact Socialist Youth at socialist.youth@btconnect.com or 02890232962.

In the south Socialist Youth will be participating in protests and also organising a series of “Resistance” meetings around the country at which young people can discuss political issues like the occupation of Iraq, climate change and socialism. You can find out more about Socialist Youth’s “Resistance” and anti-war activities by visiting socialistyouth.wordpress.com or phone us at 01 6772592.

Dublin: Join Socialist Youth on the anti-war demo on Saturday 15th March, 1pm Parnell Square, Dublin. more info – www.bebo.com/Socialist-Youth.

Belfast: Join the Socialist Youth contingent on the protest, Sat 15th March, 2pm Arts College, York St. (beside St Ann’s Cathedral)

Campaigning against the Occupation of Iraq

To mark the 5th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, Socialist Youth is building for a protest on 15 March in Belfast. SY members have been energetically campaigning outside schools and on the streets with an aim of collecting 5,000 signatures of young people against the occupation of Iraq. The Socialist spoke to SY members Leontia Madden and Conor Barr about how their campaign is going so far.

“Over the past five years the arguments of the anti-war movement have been proved correct. Many young people today may not be too sure of all the facts and figures, but when we get talking to them they have strong feelings against the war” said Leontia. Conor added “The war for oil is a terrible example of capitalism’s constant drive for profits. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, all for natural resources.

“We get young people to sign our petition outside schools across Belfast to demonstrate the opposition which exists but also to raise awareness of what is going on in Iraq. We have received an excellent response with most people signing the petitions and buying our very popular anti-Bush badge. The important thing is we get to speak face to face with people on stalls to put forward a socialist solution.” said Conor, who has been organising very successful stalls at his technical college.

Leontia, a school student from North Belfast said “There is still a feeling of anger against Bush and Blair. But with the occupation lasting five years and no end to the conflict in sight people want to do something more than just sign a petition. We’re holding public meetings in the run-up to the anniversary to explain what is going on in Iraq now and how a socialist solution can be found. As well as this, we want to give an opportunity to people to show their opposition by protesting on 15 March.”

Public Meeting: End the Occupation of Iraq
4.30pm Wednesday 13th Feb. SY Offices, 13 Lombard Street, Belfast

PROTEST against the occupation
2pm Sat 15th March, Arts College, York St, Belfast