I found this photo recently, taken 13 years ago on this day at an anti-war protest held here in Cork. I’ve re-touched the image only for effect and re-posted it below.
Back in 2003 we were being told that the US led invasion of Iraq was all about finding those “weapons of mass destruction”. On the other hand the banner suggests a different narrative to do with oil and greed. From the vantage point of 2016 I thought it might be worth it to take a quick look over what we now know. Here it is:
CNN ran an article on April 15th 2015 about the Iraq war. In Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil the following was noted:
- Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade later, the same industry was largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.
- ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell Oil all set up operations in Iraq once the war was ‘officially’ concluded.
- A number of smaller American oil service companies are also doing business in Iraq. One particular company that is busy there is Halliburton, a firm linked to Dick Cheney who was George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000 US Presidential election.
- Also noteworthy is the fact that Western oil companies are now at the head of efforts to produce more oil from Iraq oil fields – considered to the among the largest and most lucrative in the world.
- CNN notes that this did not happen by accident either. “Representatives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Halliburton, among others, met with Cheney’s staff in January 2003 to discuss plans for Iraq’s postwar industry. For the next decade, former and current executives of western oil companies acted first as administrators of Iraq’s oil ministry and then as “advisers” to the Iraqi government.
- The Bush Administration also led the way in forcing through contracts in the Iraq oil industry hat are highly favourable to Big Oil. CNN again: These contracts “provide exceptionally long contract terms and high ownership stakes and eliminate requirements that Iraq’s oil stay in Iraq, that companies invest earnings in the local economy or hire a majority of local workers.”
What about the other side of the equation – Poor Man’s Blood. Business Insider, drawing on data from the Iraq Index [The Brookings Institute] and the Costs of War Project, reported as follows last year. To date:
- 134,000 civilians have been killed directly due to the Iraq War.
- 2.8 million persons remain either internally displaced or have fled the country.
- 655,000 persons have died in Iraq since the invasion that would not have been expected to die if the invasion had not occurred. This particular piece of data has its origins in a study explained here and published by The Washington Post.
- The cost of war has been estimated at $2.2 trillion. This figure referring to costs up to 2014 only. It is expected that they are will rise further.
Oh, and those “weapons of mass destruction”? They haven’t been found… I guess you could say the protest banner was spot on.
Noam Chomsky is widely known for his critique of U.S foreign policy, and for his work as a linguist. Less well known is his ongoing support for libertarian socialist objectives. In a special interview done for Red and Black Revolution [May 1995] Chomsky talks to Kevin Doyle about anarchism, marxism and the hope for the future.
The election of Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 was one of the most celebrated electoral victories of recent times. Not since Nelson Mandela’s win in South Africa, following the collapse of the Apartheid regime, was the supposed power of the ballot box so publicly celebrated and displayed.
Obama’s victory was hailed as a triumph for the ‘democratic process’ and was widely touted as a fine example of how people power and electioneering can trump entrenched bigotry and money.
Full version here. Published in the Irish Anarchist Reivew [Issue 3] May 2011.
Patrick Galvin, the renowned Cork writer and socialist, has died. Born in Margaret Street in Cork in 1927, Paddy was a prodigious and accomplished writer producing many works in poetry and drama, as well as writing the memoir The Raggy Boy Trilogy. He was also a most accomplished balladeer and many of his early works were in this form.
Full version here. First published May 11th, 2011
The French Revolution of 1789 put an end to the idea that some people were born to rule. In only a short number of years one of the oldest and most powerful monarchies in Europe was swept away. In its place came the idea of legal equality and individual rights as set out in the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.’
The basis of these new rights, established on foot of a great social upheaval, was the real hallmark of the French Revolution since it was accepted, from that point on, that laws and how they were made were the expression of the ‘general will’. As such these laws could be made and unmade as that ‘general will’ was discerned. This was the real break with the past.
At the time of the French Revolution the idea of the ‘general will’ was still new in politics. Even so the implications for the future were not difficult to make out. Sixty years earlier, in England, during the Civil War the very same issues had come to the fore. If the monarchy was to be dispensed with, what type of society should replace it? What exactly constituted the ‘general will’? And, as importantly, in whose service was its rule to be applied?
Now two years on from that time, we are finally getting to the bottom of a very deep hole. It has transpired that the debts in the banking sector were significantly larger than expected. The debts at Anglo Irish Bank were astronomical.
The current Government has nonetheless stood by its ‘word’ and as a result the Irish State has been sucked into the banking disaster. And there you have it: now we are being asked to pay for all of that!
Note on photograph: Showing the Irish Gardaí mobilised to protect the Dáil (parliament) following a huge orotest march in Dublin against wage cuts and austerity.
The explosion and fire at the Hickson chemical plant in Ringaskiddy, Cork, last August, has gone down as one of the most serious industrial accidents in Ireland to date. Though no fatalities resulted, it is now clear that this outcome was only a matter of luck. One worker, the first to notice that something was wrong, left the site of the explosion minutes before it blew up. And the explosion itself, occurred shortly before shifts were due to change on that morning of August 6th.
This report was published in Workers Solidarity (Feb 1994)