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pescalune posted Repeal the 8th: Ireland Votes on Abortion (20 posts)
I was bored this evening after work and thought I may as well put down my rambling thoughts on the situation. I'd be curious to know how much you Yanks have heard about the whole affair.

The Free State has it's referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment coming up this Friday. As I'm sure many know Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, with it only being acceptable in circumstances where the life of the mother is at risk. This is a result of the 8th amendment to the Constitution, which was introduced by popular referendum in 1983 with Catholic Church and State backing. It guarantees the right to life of the unborn, to an equal extent to that of the mother. There have been numerous cases of women dying as a result of this amendment due to lack of care being given, the most infamous being the X Case and Savita Halappanavar in 2012, which in many ways kicked the current movement off. The consequences of the 8th aren't merely related to terminations. Ireland has one of the highest rates of C-Sections in the world due to the fact that Doctor's would rather operate than allow the slightest risk to the child, and of course the mother's consent is not relevant. Similarly pregnant women with cancer have been refused chemotherapy due to risk to the child. Even in cases where the foetus is non-viable, or is absolutely certain to die due to abnormalities soon after birth, abortion is forbidden. If one wishes to see the absolute hypocrisy of the Irish people, one need only look at the fact that the 8th amendment was followed by the 13th amendment, which allows Irish pregnant women to travel abroad. An average of 9 women a day travel to England for terminations. These are of course the women who have the ability and the funds to do so.

Despite the endless footdragging by Establishment Ireland and the cowardice of the major political parties, including Sinn Fein, there was enough of a upsurge in support through marches, protests and pressure on the government these past two years that they inevitably allowed a referendum to take place, as well as promising to legislate for Abortion on demand up till 12 weeks. The referendum is solely to remove the 8th amendment from our constitution so that legislation can be passed in the Dail (Parliament), with YES being to remove. Our heroic Taoiseach (PM) Leo Varadkar and most of the traditionally socially conservative Fine Gael party even came out in support of the campaign in a wise oppurtunistic move, before even Sinn Fein jumped aboard the bandwagon (they hemmed and hawed largely so as to not alienate their reactionary nationalist members, particularly those in Northern Ireland). The equally traditionally conservative opposition, Fianna Fail, was majority against Repeal, the only party in that camp. The minor parties and socailists are all in favour: People Before Profit (Cliffite Trots), Solidarity (Trots), Greens, Social Democrats, Communist Party of Ireland, Worker's Party. Afaik the only Socialist party that is not actively campaigning for a Yes vote is the Irish Republican Socialist Party for reasons I cannot determine, and I'm not 100% on Saoradh either.

The official campaign, Together for Yes, despite being dominated by ostensible radicals and "anarcha-feminists", is incredibly liberal and middle class. The leadership which was at least superficially radical before the referendum was called took a right-ward turn afterwards. Fortunately it seems it will pass (last poll suggested 44% YES to 32% NO) despite their best efforts to alienate working class voters. They decided their campaign strategy in large part based on a few focus groups done by some marketing firm, which also incidentally managed to use up a huge chunk of their budget. Their findings were apparently that "undecideds" (not broken down by class, area or gender) don't like the words "choice", "campaign" or "bodily autonomy", and that people "just don't care" about issues such as trans healthcare, or the treatment of migrant and asylum seeking women which intersect or are directly relevant to the issue. Many of the most infamous consequences of the 8th Amendment have been the suffering and deaths of non-white Irish women, notably those stuck in the barbaric system of Direct Provision in which Ireland keeps it's refugees and asylum seekers. Despite these being the women who genuinely cannot either afford or legally be allowed to leave the country to seek an abortion, it's been largely avoided so as to not upset the broader racist society.

Class of course receives the occasional mention by the campaign, but is mostly relegated to the various Left parties to argue for in their own parallel campaigns or on the doors. The posters and marketing have been geared directly at not upsetting the mythical undecided, and thus have ended up not meaning particularly anything at all. The official Yes campaign slogan? "Sometimes A Private Matter Needs Public Support". Mealy-mouthed bullshit compared to the No campaigns "Abortion Kills Babies". Naturally the most likely answer is that it was what was least offensive to bourgeois and petit-bourgeois liberal elites who are well represented in the campaign, as well as the Centre-Right Party in government. This past week it was revealed there was an enormous fuckup with cervical cancer tests by our health service which has produced an outcry. Despite this the Fine Gael Health Minister responsible, Simon Harris, is representing the Yes Campaign live on State television tomorrow. Idiocy like this is why I encounter working class people who are voting No out of anti-government sentiment. The notion that "we can't let the Government decide what we do with our bodies" is an unfortunately common one. The No side have their share of fuck ups too of course, the usual ghoulishness associated with showing pictures of dead fully grown babies and outright lies. Though the No campaign have also been quite clever in exploiting that anti-government sentiment among working class voters. They talk of the need to "Join the Rebellion", the fascist National Party use images of the heroes of 1916 laid over quotes from the constitution, one of the many no doubt Yankee lead front groups is called PeoplePower.ie.

This brings me onto the next important point: foreign interference by American and British conservatives. Despite having a fraction of the number of campaigners and activists, and no backing from any significant political party or even really the Catholic Church, the No campaign manage to produce more posters and more online advertising by far, much of it funneled by ultra-conservative organisations such as the Iona Institute, or the quasi-fascist Youth Defence. Google, following revelations that many if not most of the Facebook pages related to the No campaign were in fact run by people outside of Ireland, decided to ban all advertising related to the referendum, which was of course vigorously protested by the No side and a huge boost for us. Because Ireland is a moronic country with moronic laws, there's no limit whatsoever on how many posters can clog up the streets of Dublin, with 6 or 7 posters sometime adorning a single pole. American and British churches have also paid for hotels and flights so that bright young eager kids can come over here and campaign for a No. During the last March for Life which they hold annually it was inescapable that the crowd was chockful of people flown in from the US, England and bused down from Northern Ireland to inflate numbers. Though what really matters is that the Yes campaign has managed to knock on most of the doors in Ireland in the past couple of months, and the polls have consistently shown at least a 10 point lead over the Pro-Life campaign. We in fact had a greater lead a couple of months ago, whether that can be attributed beyond a doubt to the weak bourgeois messaging of the Official Yes Campaign I'm not sure. This referendum may well be the final death throes of Political Catholicism as a force in this country, though I'm sure many would say it is already dead and long ago replaced with insidious neoliberal capitalism as an ideology. It's not impossible that the No vote could win, and all the ingredients are there for a backlash against Dublin elites, but it doesn't seem to likely at this stage.

What does this all mean for Socialism in this country? All the significant Socialist parties of any stripe were largely subsumed into the larger campaign. They no doubt gained a few members in the process but nothing earthshaking, though Solidarity have probably done particularly well for themselves. The adoption of surface-level radicalism by really quite liberal groups and individuals within the Together for Yes campaign can't help to develop a warped sense of what radical politics is, and these groups have consistently worked to push the Trots, MLs and Republicans to the side. While Left TDs (Members of Parliament) in the Dail like Brid Smith and Ruth Coppinger were valued early in the campaign they're now seen as an impediment to collaboration with the Government. And on the subject of Republicanism, the referendum just highlights how weak it's become. Sinn Fein continue their wholesale embrace of bourgeois liberalism, many of the minor groups hardly put any effort into the campaign and certainly are hardly growing. One can at least see a positive in that for the first time in a long time Ireland now has a large number of young people and particularly women interested in politics, even if that often manifests itself in weak quasi-anarchist or liberal ways. The majority of single issue Repealers will obviously drift away quickly. Socialism in Ireland has been weak for essentially the last century or so, and it's only with the Water Protests of 2015 and the movement against Austerity that you see any serious mass mobilisation of working, mostly older, people. Most of the attempts to seriously couple Socialism with Irish Republicanism have been unsuccessful. It seems to me that Socialists in Ireland can look forward to more of the same slow slog of building up membership in dribs and drabs, with the occasional minor success, though at least there's the occasional young woman thrown in now.
cars posted 🔊 Communist telepaths defile amber waves of brain 🔊 (14 posts)
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/23/asia/us-employee-china-sound-injury-intl/index.html

US officials have issued a health alert in China after a US government employee stationed there reported "abnormal sensations of sound and pressure" that indicated a mild brain injury.

The US State Department is looking into whether the incident is a "sonic attack," a US diplomatic official told CNN, similar to what happened in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, which led to a reduction in staffing at the nation's US embassy in Havana....

Cuban officials previously denied they had anything to do with the diplomats' health problems and said the whole affair might be the result of mass hysteria.

jansenist_drugstore posted in there should be a thread for just posting funny pics, (4535 posts)
amerikan bus stops:





MarxUltor posted in YEAR ONE (251 posts)
Congress just passed a "right to try" law which is claimed to allow terminally ill patients to try non-FDA-approved drugs. This is commonly advertised as specifically allowing poor grandma with cancer to get that high tech wonder drug which would definitely save her if only those stupid "medical safety" laws werent in the way.

This sounds completely OK! But of course, as the man said, no investigation, no right to speak soooooo https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/204/text

“(a) Definitions.—For purposes of this section—
“(1) the term ‘eligible patient’ means a patient—
“(A) who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or condition (as defined in section 312.81 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations));
“(B) who has exhausted approved treatment options and is unable to participate in a clinical trial involving the eligible investigational drug, as certified by a physician,"


Well that sounds responsible. Just to be sure, lets check that CFR.

(a) For purposes of this section, the term "life-threatening" means:
(1) Diseases or conditions where the likelihood of death is high unless the course of the disease is interrupted; and
(2) Diseases or conditions with potentially fatal outcomes, where the end point of clinical trial analysis is survival.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term "severely debilitating" means diseases or conditions that cause major irreversible morbidity.


So here's a problem or two with this.
Strep Throat has a high likelihood of death unless the course of the disease is interrupted. In fact, virtually every condition for which a working class person would be willing to accept the financial risk of seeing a doctor for in the US is a condition which could, in the right light, be considered lethal. An infected toenail is a bacterial infection that, if untreated, will spread to the body and kill you. It could pretty reasonably be argued that depression or many other mental illnesses fall into this category. Babies with the flu. Old people with pneumonia. etc.

Congress left it open to political appointees at FDA to modify this at any time by allowing for "ANY successor regulations" to expand the potential list.

Because the requirement is that patients have "exhausted approved treatment" what this law does is state that from this point forward, there is no compelling reason for drugmakers in amerika to actually bring any drugs to approval for any newly discovered medical conditions. Get it through phase 1 trials and then start advertising it to doctors. If a new disease has no approved treatments, and can be considered to have a risk of death, every victim may then have access to unapproved snake oils. Manufacturers are fully shielded from any liability for harms suffered under this law, and any harms caused by such experimental use cannot be held against them in trying to get the drug approved later.

Dimashq posted in YEAR ONE (251 posts)
NFL just banned kneeling during the national anthem. Americans are so fascist and so fragile my god
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