Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Northern Ireland flag protests and Direct Action

If there is anything we can take from the continuing street protests in loyalist heartlands is that we are from powerless if we utilise direct action rather than constantly lobbying our politicians and peacefully marching from A-B.

While the protests may be completely reactionary in all its forms in terms of sectarian pandering to Queen and country who have little regard for us plebs, other than useful cannon fodder for imperialist wars which are not in our class interests; rolling illegal road blockades bringing Belfast city centre to a standstill, numerous attacks on the police did strike fear into the stability and image of our local rulers at Stormont.

It was quite ironic listening to political parties such as Sinn Fein who have roots in extra-parliamentary activity and linked to an armed organisation condemning the protestors for taking illegal action rather than utilising the path of ‘democracy.’ Sinn Fein are not alone in being pillars of the establishment, the PUP have also decided to jump on the bandwagon keen to claw back some their political wilderness in recent years to grab a couple of seats on the table of so-called great and good.

It is also noticeable that unlike various shades of ‘dissident republicanism’- and anger over treatment of republican prisoners and Marian Price; loyalism still has the muscle to mobilise thousands of people into street confrontations with the state and posing a real challenge to the PSNI and its ability to police.
As a response to mainly sections of the loyalist working class take action into their own hands without permission from the state or big house unionism, the local political/business class were quick to roll out the red carpet for endless and meaningless talking shops, greater investment in loyalist areas, while the PSNI promising harsher action in the future.

As one Belfast anarchist commented, ‘The protestors are well aware that direct action targeting Belfast’s ‘neutral’ city centre (and the profits of our business class and other capitalists) is having an impact. The response from many republicans, unfortunately, along with much of the left, has been marked by smug hypocrisy, crass sectarianism and vilification of the protestors as plebs and chavs. Many who should know better are joining the media in criticising the protestors for being unemployed and uneducated. This has also been the response of middle and upper class Unionism. Ironic then that the UUP and DUP did much to ratchet up tension coming up to the flag vote at Belfast city hall, and despite this attitude are now hoping to reign the plebs back in through the Unionist Forum.’ (1)

In a nutshell for anarchists direct action is about building and promoting working class self-organisation and confidence-any form of activity which working people themselves decide upon and organise themselves which is based on their own collective strength and does not involve getting intermediates to act for them. Rudolf Rocker, a German anarcho-syndicalist, wrote in 1938:

“By direct action the anarcho-syndicalists mean every method of immediate warfare by the workers against their economic and political oppressors. Among these the outstanding are the strike, in all its graduations from the simple wage struggle to the general strike; the boycott; the sabotage in its countless forms; anti-militarist propaganda and I particularly critical cases…armed resistance of the people for the protection of life and liberty [against, for example, fascism]”

In the end, these protests will build nothing of the type of non-sectarian revolutionary class politics needed in this wee island but if there is anything we can learn is that marching to Stormont or the Dail; listening to the same old boring speeches or voting every couple of years delivers nothing apart from allowing our masters to set the terms and conditions of struggle along harmless channels that does not rock the boat.

(1) lib.com

Other articles:
Working Class Unity not Sectarian Diversions 

Loyalism

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bloody Sunday's March for Justice Continues

This year's annual Bloody Sunday's March for Justice takes place this weekend in Derry.  This years programme of events has a host of discussions, movies, drama as well as the annual march and rally which takes place on the Sunday afternoon. 

Anarchists in Derry will once again gather for the march and will be joined by other friends and supporters across the country.

We would like to encourage everyone to attend to show your solidarity with the those who continue to fight for justice. By taking part in the 'March for Justice' on Sunday, we do so not because we wish to carry on a tradition or claim a mantle, but because we wish to stand with all who defy state terror and exercise the right to protest around the globe.

To attend the list of events, check out the full programme of this years events on the Bloody Sunday March website.

The 41st Bloody Sunday Anniversary ‘March for Justice’ will take place in Derry on Sunday 27th January. Assemble 2.30pm Creggan Shops, Derry.
Also see: Bloody Sunday 40 Years On – March For Justice

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Anarchists not to blame for flag riots in Newtownabbey

A WSM member responds to the crazy claims of the Newtownabbey Times.  As the sectarian flag riots continue to burn, one paper the Newtownabbey Times in sensationalised headlines in December of last year attempted to blame riots in the Newtownabbey area on “anarchists hell-bent on damage and destruction.” Quoting South and East Antrim Community Federation spokesman, Tommy Kirkham, a former independent loyalist councillor who previously represented the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group, who claimed that known paramilitaries were behind the trouble as “convenient”, adding that young people intent on anti-social behaviour and “anarchists hell-bent on damage and destruction” were responsible for the disturbances.

Below is a letter in response to these ridiculous and unfounded anti-anarchist scaremongering that was written by a WSM member and published in the 3rd January edition of the paper.

As an active anarchist over the last 10 years I was completely stunned to read claims by a loyalist spokesperson linking 'anarchists' to recent disorder in Newtownabbey, from someone who clearly has no understanding of what anarchism stands for. Instead of engaging in anti-anarchist scaremongering he should go and get his facts right and stop pandering to sectarianism.

While it would be a welcome development if there was a growing class struggle anarchist presence in Newtownabbey, these allegations are ridiculous and a complete distortion of reality as anarchism is opposed to all forms of nationalism and patriotism. We the working class should have no business getting involved in the petty squabbles over flags between political parties of all shades of colour who we have nothing in common with as we need to get rid of the entire capitalist system. The continuing opposition by loyalists to the decision by Belfast city council to limit the flying of the Union Jack (bringing it in line with other council chambers) is a product of a deeply sectarian colonial settlement. As the violence plays out on the streets our class must be mindful of the fact that sectarianism is used in the six counties like a water tap. Used to divide and rule, as and when those in power see fit to unleash it, from the halls of Westminster to the halls of Stormont. Capitalism has used it time and time again, just as those who represent it have used fascism, racism and repression to assist and prop up their positions of power, dominance and control.

For anarchists, it's our belief that recent disturbances is yet another sectarian diversionary tactic by the politicians. Beating of the war drums over flags in the middle of an ever deepening economic crisis, just as working class communities across the north are being crushed under the weight of it, shows us just where their true interests lie. In the continuation and protection of their own sectarian positions and privileges up in Stormont. It is therefore vital that we continue to fight for working class unity in the streets and in the workplace.

Our class must not allow those in Stormont to deflect us from the struggle at hand. Creating a unified fight across the sectarian divide against the cuts in jobs and welfare, in health and education as the crisis of capitalism continues is the task that faces us.The question we need to ask ourselves is not what flag we want to live under but what type of society do we want. By winning small battles in the workplace and community such as the Visteon workers struggle in 2009 we can make small steps that build confidence, a culture of self-organisation and direct action that can steadily erode what may divide us.''

For more information on what anarchism actually stands for check out www.wsm.ie or Anarchist FAQ.
references:
http://www.wsm.ie/ulster-loyalism-flag-protests-zero-sum-politics%20
http://www.wsm.ie/c/working-class-unity-not-sectarian-diversions

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Derry Anti-Fascist Action Gathering

Nearly 30 people, from a wide range of political backgrounds, packed an upstairs room in Sandinos pub today for the first 2013 organising meeting of Derry Anti-Fascist Action (AFA).

An email address and Facebook page for the group will be launched later today. Here they are, pictured with their beautiful new banner.

If you are based in Derry we suggest wholeheartedly that you get in touch and get active with the group, in whatever capacity that you can.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Gerry Conlon To Unveil Prisoner Solidarity Artwork in Derry

Gerry Conlon of the Gilford Four will be unveiling a 16 by 10 ft artwork, produced by Prisons Crisis Group, at yet another Preliminary Examination of the case against Marian Price. 

The event and protest will take place on Wednesday, January 9th 2013 outside the Derry Courthouse from 9.30-10.30 am. 

Gerry Conlon spent 16 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

We are hoping it won’t be 16 years before it’s admitted that Marian, too, should never have been jailed. 

All Welcome. Spread the word.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Derry Solidarity with Greek anti-Fascists

The Derry AFA network are organising a public demo on Saturday, 19 January as part of the international day of solidarity with Greek anti-Fascists. Meeting at 2pm at Guildhall Square. Please share poster widely.

Event on Facebook

AFA Ireland: On Facebook