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“The Pipe” in Greystones

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We will be screening The Pipe movie on 20th April at The Happy Pear in Greystones. This amazing movie tells the story of the local, grassroots community effort in Rossport, County Mayo (Ireland) to halt the planned laying of a gas pipeline by Shell Oil, across fishing grounds and pastoral farmland, following the discovery of a large supply field offshore.

Shell Oil, with the taciturn approval of the Irish State government, had planned to begin the laying of the pipeline underwater, off the Mayo coast. The proposed pipeline would then snake over working farms and pristine landscape for miles to its destination. The local community, fearing loss of livelihood, environmental disasters, non-transparent corporate profits and the invoking of “eminent domain”, rose up in non-violent rebellion.

The Pipe is a story of a community tragically divided, and how they deal with a pipe that could bring economic prosperity or destruction of a way of life shared for generations.

The film received a huge interest in The Pipe in Ireland and abroad. For example The Pipe’s Facebook page has already gained over 3,000 fans.

20th April 2011 (Wednesday)
8pm
The Happy Pear
Church Road
Greystones

No charge of course.

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Written by Kruk

April 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Films & activism

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In recent months I run a quite intensive educational campaign by organizing a series of screenings of films involved politically and socially. They’re connected with lectures and discussions held after the screenings. Some of the movies I watched for the first time, and I think it is worth to mention a few titles, and post a short review. Perhaps it will be useful to other activists in their work.

Let me start by Bold Native, which to me is a big favorite. For me it’s the best film of 2010. The film tells the story of a member of Animal Liberation Front, wanted by the FBI, and his father (the CEO of one of the corporations) who is desperately trying to make contact with him. We find here a range of difficult questions and tough answers; we also find here the truth about the so-called. organic milk and organic eggs, vivisection, farming, etc. The film unobtrusively prompts to think over our choices, our commitment to the conformism based on suffering of thousands of animals. At the same it presents a number of controversial topics such as the use of violence against those involved in animal cruelty, the absurdity of vegetarianism, or double standards. All this is wrapped in a gripping story, excellent camera work, music and directing. I showed the movie twice already, and soon I will show it once again. Each time the reactions were very positive, people were touched, some even shocked, and most inspired by what they saw. A must-see-before-die for everyone!

The Economics Of Happiness is a documentary about globalization and its alternative, namely building a society based on the local economy, ecology and equity. The first part sets out the key features of globalization and its tragic impact on people’s lives in different parts of the world. We are talking about climate change, the environmental devastation, exploitation, drastic Western consumerism and the destruction of local cultures. The second part deals with aspects of local social life. The film presents a pretty interesting alternative, while explaining the mechanisms that can improve the lives of us all. The advantage of the film is a positive message, hope for change that moves between different sequences. The downside is a utopian belief or omission of fact which is familiar to most activists. Building egalitarian alternatives and opposing status quo is always connected with the reaction of corporate and political elites who seek to block any possibility of rejection of capitalism, corporatism, or the monetary system. Just to mention the Zapatistas struggle or Shell To Sea campaign in Ireland, which has been well documented in The Pipe movie and the book Once Upon A Time In The West. The lack of a theme for me is a big omission on the part of the filmmakers.

At the end, well-promoted another part of the Venus Project Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. Unfortunately, despite much promotion of it, this production is a disaster. We are dealing here with nearly three hours long document, which consists mainly interviews with people from diverse fields. Although quite interesting issues rose in the film, such as genetics, the monetary system and a more anti-capitalist expression of this (third) part, the film is simply boring. It’s more a propaganda tool of the Venus project. Futuristic solutions proposed by the authors do not convince viewers, often seem unreal and far from the expectations of people. In the discussion after the film it turned out that nobody liked it. It is worth noting that at least half of these people would have seen the previous parts. The only good aspect of the film is a thorough critique of neo-liberalism, the banking and monetary system. But I’m afraid it is all what it can offer.

Shell2Sea

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a solidarity demonstration with the imprisoned activist Shell to Sea campaign, Pat O’Donnell, who is another victim of government and financial elites repression. Conflict with Shell (which is not enough that is responsible for destroying the environment, so that feeds millions of euros, which receives from the Irish Government, when at the same time the country is sinking because of the crisis and the scale of unemployment) has lasted a decade. I do not want to describe the entire course of the conflict, which can be briefly described as a perfect example of corruption, political links with corporations, repression, ignorance of alternatives and the public. In all this turmoil you can find everything we associate with the rapacity of corporations and political degeneration.

It is important that all this is not happening already in Third World countries, but in the heart of the neoliberal world. As a reminder, as a typical Shell oil company is even responsible for stoking the murder of nine activists in Nigeria, who protested against his presence in the Niger Delta, where he destroyed a Nigerian tribal land. The activists were hanged, and after several years of Shell’s graciously agreed to take out of guilt by paying 15.5 million dollars. Shell’s policy in Ireland is also saturated with repression against opponents, subject to regular operations against key figures of the Shell To Sea campaign. Naturally Shell can always count on the support of police and courts, bravely defending their interests against peaceful activists putting them in prison with absurd reasons (eg, disorder, or interfering with the Garda in the performance of duties). In addition, to protect its facilities Shell employs mercenaries, ex-special forces soldiers. Of course, their presence has nothing to do with the sinking boat by Pat O’Donnell for four armed and masked men, 11 June 2009.

Western society often feel quite safe, thinking that people are subjected to repression in such exotic areas as Tibet, Peru, Mexico and Nigeria. They deceive themselves that Western police defend the interests of the people and not corrupted rich, they naively believe that Western courts are independent and that there is democracy and freedom of speech in Europe. Well, nothing more wrong. Anyone who would oppose the destructive plans of corporations and the interests of political elites will be subjected to oppression and intimidation, anyone who will think and live differently can be branded. The Shell To Sea activists fate (imprisoned many times) is the best proof. So let’s remind everyone that the expensive suit does not make anyone a better type of criminal.

Written by Kruk

September 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm