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Call for meeting of grassroots education workers

category dublin | worker & community struggles and protests | feature author Thursday February 05, 2009 22:33author by 1st of May - WSMauthor email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

featured image
In Education, I Should Have A Voice Too

At all levels, the education system is under attack from the present government.

The savage cuts already announced at primary and second level appear to be just the first steps in what will be a sustained attack on the public sector in general and education in particular – both from the point of view of the provision of the service and the wages and working conditions of those employed in it.

At third level, increased registration fees and the promised re-introduction of full fees are being accompanied by a creeping privatisation and an erosion of workers’ rights and conditions.

The adult and community sectors are both under attack and will continue to suffer as funding cutbacks continue. Pre-school education barely exists and the few community crèches and pre-schools that do exist have seen their funding and the working conditions of their staff savaged in recent times.

There have been impressive demonstrations of opposition to these education cuts and across the country many education workers and parents have been involved in helping to organise these demonstrations.

Workers Solidarity Movement members who work in education are aware that there are significant numbers of workers at all levels of the education system who subscribe to the Grassroots Gathering principle (see end). We are talking about all those who work in Education, from teachers to cleaners, from those working 40 hours to those working 2 hours a week. As a starting point we are contacting those who have been active in a wide range of campaigns in recent years, who have been involved in the organisation of and have attended some of the many Grassroots Gatherings, and/or who have been and are active in trade union organisation and activity.

We believe this is a good opportunity for such activists to come together to discuss the issues that we have in common, to talk about how we can work together to build and strengthen campaigns to defend the education system and the working conditions of education workers. We also think that by pooling our ideas and our thoughts on these campaigns we can influence them in a libertarian direction – and spread and enhance libertarian ideas and non-hierarchical ways of organising among our fellow-workers.

Coming together and sharing our organising skills and our ideas can help us to spread those ideas. As libertarians and anarchists we know that the widespread dissemination of these skills and ideas is the only way in which our world will eventually be changed for the better.

We would like to invite you to an initial meeting to begin the process of discussing how a libertarian network of education workers might be built and what it might be able to do in both the short and longer terms, both within and outside the trade union structure. We don’t have a set agenda and are interested in an open and honest discussion. The only criteria we are insisting on is that those coming to the meeting work in the education sector at some level and agree with the principles of the Grassroots Gathering. In the next couple of days we expect to be able to announce the time and venue for this meeting, it should be towards the end of the month.

1st of May branch of the WSM

---

Grassroots Gathering principles

The Grassroots Gathering aims towards a network which would:

- Be based on the principle that people should control their own lives and work together as equals, as part of how we work as well as what we are working towards.

- Within the network this means rejecting top-down and state-centred forms of organisation (hierarchical, authoritarian, expert-based, Leninist etc.) We need a network that’s open, decentralised, and really democratic.

- Call for solutions that involve ordinary people controlling their own lives and having the resources to do so: the abolition, not reform, of global bodies like the World Bank and WTO, and a challenge to underlying structures of power and inequality.

- Organise for the control of the workplace by those who work there.

- Call for the control of communities by the people who live there.

- Argue for a sustainable environmental, economic and social system, agreed by the people of the planet.

- Working together in ways which are accessible to ordinary people, particularly women and working-class people, rather than reproducing feelings of disempowerment and alienation within our own network.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/89885


Embedded audio: http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/nov2008/capitalistcrisisggnov08.mp3

author by Workerpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2009 14:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a really good idea, and very interested in getting involved. However, and I dont mean this to be too bi-partisan, but is the intention to make it explicitly 'anarchist'?

I dont think this would be a good idea. Perhaps a meeting could be arranged that is explicitly democratic and allow those who are serious about building a campaign amongst education workers to determine how it should be organised.

author by Another workerpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2009 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The intention as is stated above is to open this up to anyone who works in education and who agrees with the Grassroots principles. This is an organising basis that has been used for the dozen Grassroots Gathering as well as Grassroots Against the War and Dublin Grassroots Network of Mayday 2004 fame. This is broader then those who might self-describe as anarchists but narrower than 'democratic', a label which after all Bat O'Keefe and Tony O Reilly would happily claim.

In the sense of an open door broad organisation for eduction workers we'd suggest also joining one of the unions that organise education workers (if your not already a member). I'd also say if someone takes the initiative of calling a meeting for everyone in education I'd be interested in turning up, I'm just not convinced its the best use of effort right now and in any case couldn't afford the cost of booking Croke Park.

Grassroots Gathering principles

The Grassroots Gathering aims towards a network which would:

- Be based on the principle that people should control their own lives and work together as equals, as part of how we work as well as what we are working towards.

- Within the network this means rejecting top-down and state-centred forms of organisation (hierarchical, authoritarian, expert-based, Leninist etc.) We need a network that’s open, decentralised, and really democratic.

- Call for solutions that involve ordinary people controlling their own lives and having the resources to do so: the abolition, not reform, of global bodies like the World Bank and WTO, and a challenge to underlying structures of power and inequality.

- Organise for the control of the workplace by those who work there.

- Call for the control of communities by the people who live there.

- Argue for a sustainable environmental, economic and social system, agreed by the people of the planet.

- Working together in ways which are accessible to ordinary people, particularly women and working-class people, rather than reproducing feelings of disempowerment and alienation within our own network.

author by Darren Cpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2009 15:45author email offensieftegenracisme at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The intention as is stated above is to open this up to anyone who works in education and who agrees with the Grassroots principles. This is an organising basis that has been used for the dozen Grassroots Gathering as well as Grassroots Against the War and Dublin Grassroots Network of Mayday 2004 fame. This is broader then those who might self-describe as anarchists but narrower than 'democratic', a label which after all Bat O'Keefe and Tony O Reilly would happily claim."

Well that rules me out as I'm neither an anarchist or a libertarian. I would prefer if radical workers in the education sector could unite on a sound political basis - like sharing a perspective of building rank-and-file networks in the unions against the bureaucracy and education cuts - rather than on an agreement of an organisational model. Neverthless, I wish you well and hope something bigger can come out of it.

author by Workerpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2009 15:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I appreciate the grassroots principles, and very familiar with them. However, from my experience these 'principles' are too often used to invite people into a programme that is implicitly anarchist even if it does not say it on the tin.

Like yourself, I am interested in getting involved in this network/ campaign if it genuinely is open to a) diversity of ideas and b) diversity of mechanisms for organisation. If it is simply anarchism dressed up in the grassroots charter then I would not be particularly interested. It is being organised by an anarchist group so I think my concerns are well founded.

Despite this, I think it is a great idea, and if a genuinely open-tolerant approach to ideas/strategies that go against the grain of WSM- Anarchism but remain within the broader principles of left-libertarianism then, as an education worker, I think it could be a success.

author by Mark C - ASTI + CCFE (Pers. Caps.)publication date Thu Feb 05, 2009 16:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This sounds like a great idea and a very worthwhile project. I wish you the best with it, and hope to get involved myself.

There is a similar project in New York called CORE - Collective of Radical Teachers - http://nycore.org/ (there's probably many more, but I'm not sure of them).

There's also an interesting conference "A National Conference on Education for Liberation" that I was asked to submit a paper for, but time and money doesn't permit in Houstan, Texas this summer being organised by the Education for Liberation group http://www.edliberation.org/

See http://www.freemindsfreepeople.org/ for more details.

Their aims are:
· Connecting local community efforts to national education for liberation activities.

· Expanding our network of education liberators by building relationships that cross barriers of geography, race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, profession and other identities.

· Showcasing a broad spectrum of strategies, including arts, popular education, organizing, dialogue and scholarship, and their related impacts.

· Acting as a catalyst for the continued development of a social movement around education for liberation.

Related Link: http://markconroy.net/category/personal-writing/teaching-and-education
author by Teachers United - Teachers Unitedpublication date Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Protest at the Pay Cut in the Public Service...Make those who created the crisis pay for the mess!

Protest @ 4.30pm, Anglo Irish Bank Offices, Stephen's Green
Monday 9th February 2009

All welcome

Organised by Teachers United

author by 1st of May - WS Editorial committeepublication date Fri Feb 06, 2009 13:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A venue has been obtained for the meeting. It will take place in the Teachers Club which is at 35 Parnell square at 2pm on Saturday 28th February.

author by Blacblocpublication date Sat Feb 07, 2009 03:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's the business report which described how Ireland had 30K millionaires:

http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=565&fArtic...32509

My earlier post was unclear. The bulk of the country's wealth is cocentrated in the top 20%

This report from 2007 - pre economic crisis but already warning of huge debt buildups:

http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/20118

Beneficiaries of the bailout? This lot should be rounded up:

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/building-on-....html

author by Blacblocpublication date Sat Feb 07, 2009 03:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Six government ministers refused to state whether they had shares in Anglo Irish. If there is a conflict of interest between them and the bank, this government should be brought down in flames. Ryle Dwyer in today's Irish examiner - this must be the end of the road for Fianna Fail:

http://www.examiner.ie/irishexaminer/pages/story.aspx-q...1.asp

author by JK - -publication date Sun Feb 08, 2009 21:58author email teachersunited09 at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Make those who created the crisis pay for the mess!

Protest at the Pay Cut in the Public Service...Make those who created the crisis pay for the mess!

Bail out for banks...pay cuts for workers!

Protest @ 4.30pm, Anglo Irish Bank Offices, Stephen's Green
Monday 9th February 2009

Assembly at Stephen's Green, opp Shelbourne Hotel, before protest at Anglo Irish Bank

All welcome- bring placcards/banners

Organised by Teachers United

author by Peterpublication date Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Think bringing together people as education workers is great idea. Dont understand the fact that as I'm not an anarchist that I'm excluded as an educational worker in such an initiative.
It seems crazy to me that there is a set of hoops to jump through before you can get involved
People should get involved in all these initiative and protests.
See you all at the protest at Anglo Irish today.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Public Meeting Of Trade Unionists In Public Sector .

Resist The Pension Levy !

ICTU must call a One Day National Stoppage to begin a real campaign!

11.30 to 2.30pm,Saturday, Feb 14,
Davenport Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin 2

More info at: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/91053

author by Andrewpublication date Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The purpose of the meeting is not to exclude anyone but rather to create a space where those of us who agree with the Grassroots Principles (a wider group than anarchists) and work in education can come together to discuss responses. We fully expect to also be involved in both broader meetings (as the one Pat advertises above, in fact one on the people involved in that is also involved in setting up this meeting) and if anything more importantly in the unions that organise in education. Tactical differences might emerge but otherwise consider this as a way of mobilising additional people rather than a 'rival' to whatever else is emerging, I know that's how I'd look at it.

author by Mark C - ASTI + CCFE (Pers. Caps.)publication date Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm with Andrew. I don't think the notice hints at it being exclusive by any means. Myself and my wife and hopefully going to be there (and another friend -a montessori teacher). Whatever about myself, my wife is certainly not anarchist but still looking forward to it.

Mark.

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