A Year Of Rabble In 2016.

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Above: Mice nails Regime Teilifis Eireann as a ship of fools in #rabble12.


As you lot root around the compost bin for leftover Turkey sandwiches to wipe away the pain of last nights foolery, us rabblers have another listicle to push you over the edge.

With the torrent of online content, the pressure on outsider projects like ours to keep up can be relentless – so we decided to take stock of some of our publishing highlights in 2016.

Here it goes, in no real order at all and without a single mention of Trump or Brexit…

 

1. Getting issue 12 out!

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Despite all the odds and cods, we got rabble 12 out in June. When it lands home on the back of a flatbed truck it’s a real moment of magic. Plenty told us it was the most banging one yet and it disappeared in super quick time across the land carried off by our magic distro fairies. It may not come as quick and as regular as it did but for us it represents a real collective expression and coming together of the project.

The beauty of it lies in getting to turn our hands to comic writing and sentences of sheer sneer. The paper also gives home to a bizarre little universe of our own madbag imaginings that has few comparisons with characters from Harry Hangover, Unemployed Floyd, The Session Pixies, We Speak in Code, and bitter caricatures of Tubridy, DOB and many others light up the page each time.

A favourite in this issue was the whopper ilo of Becket and Behan from the one and only Thomas McCarthy that sat beside Alan O’Brien’s account of the two very different word weavers.

Huge props to all the illustrators who step up in ink and doodle to make it what it is. Out to all our contributors who provide the wordage and on point content.

Don’t forget the whole thing is dished out for free in ten thousand copies. Where would you get it?

 

 

2. Here Comes The Tech Sector

 

A lot of things became clear this year when the Irish state turned down an EU ruling that Apple owed us 14.whatever billion in back taxes.   

They’d rather stack us up on trolleys in hospitals and force us onto the streets than call multinationals to account for income earned. 

Many of our pissed up bar chats this year have honed in on the tech sector,  as we struggle to comprehend Dublin as two towns.

One part of the city booms while another goes broke. Cocaine and cocktails on Camden St for some and immiseration for more. Yes, the boom’s back baby.

Unfortunately, the sheer Leprechaun economics of our recovery means a political kowtowing to the overlords of the tech scene and a painful fawning over the whole thing in much of the media (ohhh Twitter jobs and on tap coconut water!!!).

Already there’s been some great journalism on the impact of Air BNB on rental properties in Dublin, while the snobbery of some firms in reinforcing old city developmental divisions  was called out in a hullabaloo over Slack’s relocation.

Finally, maybe people are copping on to social consequences of these disruptive technologies and hopefully just in time before the whole world turns into an episode of Black Mirror at their behest.  

We really don’t have enough time in the day here in rabble land, but something we tried to chase funding for this year following on from our coverage of the Web Summit, was an investigation into the shaky foundations of a potential tech bubble and how it could leave us up shit creek when they decide to piss off.  

Our app didn’t get far, but it’s fair to say we turned in some ahead of the curve coverage anyway, Rashers Tierney looked at how the vaunted SDZ  in the docklands represents a brewing triumvirate of social exclusion, vulture funds and tech sector worship that is quickly reshaping the city. 

Jamie Goldricks’s Deliveroo piece about the exploitation of “consultants” racked up thousands of shares and provoked some serious discussion online with “Johnny come lately” follow on pieces appearing in the mainstream papers and ththessue being raised in the Dail.

Props to Holly Pereira for turning in a sick illustration  that did fine justice to the theme of tech-sploitation.  

These are themes we are desperate to return to again.

 

3. Reclaiming 1916

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And so it was the year of commemorations.  Truth be told we met it with an eye brow raised.

If anything it left us with plenty of room for smart arsery and taking a fairly sacrilegious tone to the whole thing as the memory of 1916 was used and abused all over.

Fedayn got in early with digs against the official commemoration via a “fake news” story with the dinger of a headline Fine Gael To Re-Execute Connolly.

It ratcheted up some serious hits – the coupla thousand shares on social media, sent us scurrying to our web hosts as our cheapo package deal couldn’t handle the server stresses

It was a year peppered with reflection too, and really we have to raise a glass to all those community groups, local historians and activists who reclaimed and often reforged a memory of the Rising from below.

Events like the Stoneybatter & Smithfield People’s History Project commemoration of sixteen locals murdered by the South Staffordshire regiment and the Reclaim 1916 parade were where it was at for us. Who could Forget Damo Dempsey belting out the ballad of Connolly?

Let’s also not forget how the official commemoration saw the Pavee Point group on the celebrations stopped at one point in a rather apt piece of Garda idiocy.

Remember too, 2016 was a year that began with anti-homeless architecture going up outside the Dept. of Social Protection on Amiens Street but ended with the occupation of Apollo House as a powerful token of resistance. No better way to mark it so.

And our essential read? Well, it has to be our Take Five on all those crass cash ins and ill thought out abuses of history. Have ye forgotten the Mayo Tapestry and Connolly shot glasses already?

That re-execution story about Connolly will crack you up too.

4.  Real World Shit

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2016 wasn’t a bad innings for us in terms of stepping out from behind our keyboard warrioring and doing real world shit.

We did our Del Boy routine at loadsa random things –  like the Anarchist Bookfair, The Dublin Digital Radio Xmas market and the Jacobin 1916 launch.

We hosted a sold out Paddy’s Day party down our favourite alley way off Mountjoy Sq, where we had a homecoming for the odd ball character of Auntie Patty and brought in some fine selectors like Kenny Hanlon, Shane O’Meara and Tonie Walsh to light up the room. All three peeps turned in lists of their all time fave party starters for you to lash out. Tonnes of dosh was raised out the back too for the Dublin Calais Refugee Solidarity group with a yummy BBQ.

One of us stepped out down at the Journalism In Crisis conference too sitting in on a panel on radical media. Later in the year we were providing a sound system and running a stall at the annual All City Jam, which saw us running for cover absolutely soaked in the pissings of a summer storm.

Then there was a halloween party with the companeros at Dublin Digital Radio.

Finally, a new rabble tshirt was born from the mind of Matt Hedigan that surmised our septic isle rather well.

Go buy one!

 

5. Clubbing Coverage

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As much as we love having 18 year olds on their first flush of techno love trampling all over us uploading video live to some poxy Facebook page in somewhere like District 8, here in rabble we tend to be drawn to smaller rooms and the homegrown.

So it was back in August, Beggars and Beardy chatted to folk about Dublin’s venue famine and the closure of mid sized clubs. That said there was a slew of really good Out To Lunch parties, a highlight of those being Ben UFO dropping an old Naphta tune at the weekender.

Elsewhere grime don Kahn punching holes in the Wiley Fox with dubplate specials blew this rabbler away, while others told us that Byron The Aquarius for Chain Gang and All City after the March For Choice was the gig of the year.

For us Beggars was the canary down the mine, going where we grey hairs feared to tread and letting us know the good and the bad while raising a flare on the blog for all that good shit year on in with constant hot tips for weekend mangling.

While problems of old cease to go away, like cherished venues closing their doors, our ever poxy licensing laws and places charging for water (WTF) – there were good things, like staunch challenges to male dominated line ups, new local festivals like Open Ear popping up all over and Dublin Digital Radio getting going.

Take a swing back through our archive and you’ll find interviews with all sorts turned in by rabble contributors like Jasper Matthews and Shiv too.

6. Labour Activation Survey

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With the film I, Daniel Blake causing gasps among critics about the dehumanising effects of Britain’s turn to a harsh ideology of labour activation, rabble pulled together a survey and pushed it out on our social media networks.

What came back was an avalanche of first hand accounts from participants on labour activation schemes here. Truth be told, it overwhelmed us and we’re waiting til the holiday season is over to properly digest and publish the results. We’ve contacted several prominently academics for comment and are parsing though the results for themes and trends.

So yeah, basically, watch this space. Who knows, maybe we’ve stumbled on a methodology to usefully mine our network for broader investigative pieces.

 

7. More Video

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As much as we love the mischief of the printed page, this year saw rabble put out three polished video pieces.

On a cold dark February morning, we headed up to the North to carry out video interviews on community resistance to an oil exploration company who were working right beside a reservoir in Northern Ireland. The rest of the media didn’t take much notice. In June, under increased public scrutiny and attention, but citing commercial reasons Infrastrata the group behind the drill said that it would be “plugged and abandoned”.

Again in February, after all their online bluster and hype –  a pitiful presence from the far right PEGIDA was pushed off Dublin streets, while their scattered far-right sympathizers were forced to cower in alley ways around the city. We caught it all and the Youtube video has ratcheted up over 100,000 views.

Then just over a month ago, Ireland’s disturbing policy of effectively warehousing asylum seekers in direct provision was put under the spotlight with activist Lucky Khambule who nailed the system in an emotionally charged interview. Some brilliant drone footage and a slick soundtrack made this one hum.

You can expect much more of this in the New Year and we’ll be working out a way for you to help us.

8. That Time They Wanted To Archive Us

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That feeling of being decommissioned by the powers that be doesn’t come around too often, and this certainly had a tang of it.

In a rather bizarre occurrence, rabble was nominated and won some class of a competition ran by the National Library Of Ireland. The gesture was nice and a huge thank you to all of those who voted for us as well as the National Library for the initiative. But to be honest we kind of turned up our noses up at the awards ceremony…

Given the nature of our project it wasn’t going to do us any favours to be seen photographed or accepting an award from Heather Humphreys.

Our funding and ability to print is largely drawn from reader donations and public support. Editorially, we have criticized Fine Gael in power over the last couple of years (and even Heather Humphreys specifically) – so standing around doing the handshakes, fake smiles and posed photos routine isn’t something we are into as individuals.

If there’s something to be taken away from it though, please note that rabble and our good friends in the fine parish of Come Here To Me, work tirelessly on a volunteer basis.

While recognition is one thing, some sort of supports scheme for apparently vital indigenous alternative media like our own might go a step further than pats on the back.

9. Beyond Repeal

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From your classic feminist types (whatever the hell that means…) to lads at football matches, this was the year the pro-choice movement bum rushed the mainstream of Irish consciousness. Remember what it felt like at the annual March For Choice this year? The energy.

Unlike some in the media, we really don’t think this has happened because a few celebrities have lent their weight to it. Nor because savvy influencers have segued the aims of the movement into hipster fashion trends.

These things are all useful and good, but the concept of abortion rights in Ireland mainstreamed in 2016 because of long hard slog by organisations like Abortion Rights Campaign in laying a groundwork for it. Parts of the media are just real slow to the anger out there and seek personality led answers.

Given the huge momentum that has been building in opposition to our antiquated abortion laws, Rosi Leonard took a flight of fantasy and imagined a world beyond the simple repeal demand – where the energy of this new movement spreads into addressing other ills. This got a huge response. A premonition of the surge of support for Apollo House perhaps?

Top illustration from the one and only Mice too.

 

10. The Orts.

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A good chunk of material covering the art world started coming through this year.  Some of it was grim, like Martin Leen’s coverage of how many of our multi-use art spaces like Block T were getting murdered by new rental realities. Martin also brought our attention to the Theatre Club crew, who’s performance of It’s Not Over during the Theatre Festival was a mind bending odyssey into the Troubles.

With women notoriously underrepresented in film, on both sides of the camera, Mog Kavanagh took  a look at some festivals and film makers determined to buck the trend in Ireland and kept us filled with tidbits on what to look for on screen through out the year.

Caitriona Devery turned in pieces looking at the Troika Fiscal Disobedience Consultancy which looked at tax avoidance strategies borrowed from international finance and chatted to Aideen Barry one of Ireland’s most inventive artists.

 

11. Politricks and Biting Back

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In case you’d drank it out of your brain, we did have to sit through an election this year – Ragbags turned in several deadly pieces looking at the messy goings on after it as we got an oddball FG minority mutant, while the rest of us sat through the pain of many GE2016 election videos so you didn’t have to.

In a fantastic review of the Fine Gael-led Labour coalition, Shane Ragbags took us through how the Irish eventually learnt to hate the regime as a housing crisis, evictions, banking bailout and destruction of the meagre social supports brought people onto the streets around fissure moments like the water.  

With party politics sowing cynicism and mainstream media seemingly on a permanent wind up footing, Oireachtas Retort brought us through how middle ground media types continued to dismiss the movement against Irish Water in tones both patronising and paternalistic. Echoes of the coverage now being dished out about Apollo House.

Dublin city saw dramatic transport disputes this year, first the Luas workers went up against their management and faced some scurrilous attacks online. If there was an award for idot this year, it should go to anyone who gave out about them disrupting the celebration of an armed insurrection.

The dispute between tram drivers and their employer grew proper bitter at times, and Donal Fallon took us through a history of other  major strikes involving Dublin’s tram drivers. Top drawing from look to complement it too.

In one of our most circulated pieces of the year, Henry Silke started off with how Lovin Dublin crossed a red line in its constant mobbing up against transport workers. He then took us through how the ideological state apparatus rushes to demonise anyone that dared fight back.

The Dublin Bus strike happened as well with far more popular support. We put beggars to use on his extended walk home from UCD where he dropped by the picket lines at Donnybrook bus depot and chatted to the drivers

Of course the year ended with the momentous Home Sweet Home occupation of Apollo House. Sean Finnan took a look at the extent of our nationwide housing crisis just as the building was been taken.

 

If there’s anything we missed, let us know in the comments. 

 

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