McCormick, Declan

Declan McCormick
1 November 2011News

A report from the Glasgow march and rally against the cuts

The 1 October Glasgow march and rally against the cuts began and ended in rain of biblical proportions. None escaped the deluge as banners sagged, soaked within minutes of being raised, and placards (many hand- drawn) disintegrated in the hands of their creators. And, annoyingly, all this at the end of a week of remarkable warmth and sunshine!

The mobilisation was a notably diverse one. Besides the Scottish TUC, civic society was represented by a range of groups from the leftist…

1 October 2011News

Students protest tuition fee hike.

On 17 September, students began an occupation of Edinburgh University’s George Square lecture theatre that lasted 36 hours. A hundred students were involved in the occupation, which followed the university’s announcement that tuition fees would be raised to £9,000 per annum for UK students from outwith Scotland, with Scottish students remaining exempt under Scottish law.

Standard Scottish degrees consist of four-year courses, taking the fee total to as much as £36,000. Students asked…

1 September 2011News

"Festival against the cuts" comes to the Fringe.

When London was experiencing the aftermath of looting, Edinburgh commenced its annual festival season. But the political backdrop to the explosion of sometimes nihilistic, often materialistic anger and frustration vented in England was not forgotten.

Public service union UNISON brought a “festival against cuts” to the Edinburgh Festival this year. “Mobilise, The Anti-cuts Festival” was held in an attic space in Edinburgh’s West End, hosting free events with artists and performers…

13 August 2011Feature

May Day has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day since 1890 when it was instituted as a day of commemoration for the Haymarket Martyrs, anarchist labour organisers who were hanged amongst anti-radical hysteria in Chicago in 1888.

It is celebrated with varying levels of enthusiasm and popular involvement across the globe. In every town and city in Spain it remains a day when the libertarian labour movement holds marches, rallies and fiestas; in Moscow numerous reconstituted…

3 October 2010News

There are similarities between the UK government’s attitude towards the poor and that in Canada. So said AJ, an active member of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), on a visit to Glasgow and Edinburgh in mid-September.

AJ told me how people in Britain have a tendency to look upon Canada with affection when actually it is an “a***-hole of a country”. Later, at a meeting in Edinburgh’s Drill Hall, AJ drew comparisons between the UK and the experience in Ontario.

Back in…

1 May 2010News

Edinburgh’s first “Celebrating Cultures of Resistance” all-day film festival took place on 20 March at the Banshee Labyrinth, a unique venue near the Royal Mile. Organised by the local Anarchist Federation group and supported by AK Press and the local Solidarity with the Serbian 6 campaign, the event was a big success.

And this despite an error on the publicity that listed the starting time an hour too early! Organisers met would-be filmgoers outside the venue and had to ask them to…

1 May 2010News

The Faslane naval base, home of the UK’s nuclear weapons and a regular site of protest and nonviolent direct action, saw demonstrations on 3 April as part of a European day of action against nuclear weapons (see p3).

With the impending general election, the opportunity arose to keep the issue of Trident in the spotlight.

The symbolic blockade at North Gate was followed on 6 April by a more direct action approach by Trident Ploughshares, who blockaded the base with lock-ons,…

1 April 2010News

The attempt by the Scottish Defence League (SDL) to stage a rally in Edinburgh on 20 February was the mother of all damp squibs, as the “patriots” were confined to a couple of pubs in the vicinity of the Royal Mile. For those who had travelled up from England in solidarity, it was, at best, a poor introduction to Scotland’s boozers. Certainly the Scottish Defence League, the little brother of the English Defence League (EDL), must be getting the message that they really aren’t welcome on the…

1 April 2010News

On 13 March, Edinburgh appeared to host two manifestations of popular nationalist sentiment on the same Saturday, one considerably larger than the other. At Murrayfield, the Scottish rugby team met England in the Calcutta Cup (a 15-15 draw, by the way), while down in the Grassmarket, Scottish CND mobilised a relatively small gathering in opposition to the Trident nuclear weapons programme.

While the former was open about its flag-waving, kilt- and chain-mail-clad patriotism (yes,…

1 May 2009News

Palestinian online shopping
Sarah Young

Edinburgh has just launched the UK’s only online store specialising in handicrafts produced by Palestinian community groups and cooperatives. www.hadeel.org.
Many of the fair-trade producers provide health, education and emergency services to their communities in the West Bank, Gaza, Galilee and Negev. Any profits go back to the producers via small development grants, through the Scottish charity…

1 April 2009News

 “We were not militant people – just little people who refused to be little anymore. We stood up for what we believe in and we are all proud of that.” David Taylor, workers occupation, Dundee

When the owners of Prisme Packaging in Dundee decided to shut up shop, they were hoping that their employees would go quietly. They certainly weren’t expecting them to refuse to leave and to occupy their former place of work!

But that’s exactly what 12 workers did in response to management’s shock announcement on 4 March that the firm was closing down with immediate effect and without redundancy pay.

The fact that this was a non-unionised workplace may have something to do with…

1 December 2008Feature

“If we are to roll back the tide of privatisation and war, rebuilding the grass roots of our movement is essential.”

Bob Crow – General Secretary, National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)

The National Shop Stewards Network was established in 2007, the first such initiative in the 21st century. Its origins lay in a conference called in October 2006 by the RMT union which was attended by 300 trade union officials and activists and addressed by the…

1 December 2008Feature

The trade union movement in Britain, as elsewhere, has gone through periods where the rank and file has felt the need to organise itself in order to revive, reform or replace the existing structures. Perhaps the best-known attempt at initiating radical change within the unions was the so-called “Syndicalist Revolt” of the first decade of the 20th century.

Responding to a perceived timid reformism of the leadership and the bureaucratisation of the trade union movement, this revolt was…

1 March 2008Feature

In Britain and especially in Glas- gow there are fewer and fewer outlets for independent and radi- cal materials.

Corporate bookshops rule the roost and offer little in the way of counter culture, radical voices or local independent materials. The Radical Independent Book fair project (RIB) has come about to help redress this imbalance.

Launched in October 2006, RIB has been an attempt to make available not just books, but jour- nals, DVDs, CDs, T-shirts and a plethora of…

1 March 2008Feature

This was the key message from a conference on "Trident, Trade Unions & Scotland's Economy" jointly held by the Scottish Trades Unions Congress and Scottish CND.

The cost of the Trident replacement won't come from existing Ministry of Defence budgets. Funds will be redirected from elsewhere, which means cutbacks in essential services. UK-wide, up to 30,000 public sector jobs are expected to be lost.

Of these, 2,500 will be lost in Scotland ­ more than the number of jobs…