We are all used to the scenario. You don’t see your local political ‘representatives’ for years and suddenly when an election is called they’re all swarming all over your neighborhood like flies around cowshit — the politicians and the wannabe politicians. It’s a scene which is going to be enacted all over Ireland — both North and South — shortly as general elections loom on both sides of the border. Yet again we’ll have the great choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber as to who we want to sit in Leinster House or Stormont for the next four or five years — even though we know that it’s not really going to make any difference.
We will of course also have the candidates w... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchists are anarchists because we want to bring about a wholesale change in the way society is administered. For us, therefore, a crucial question is “How can such a change be brought about?” or — to put it more pertinently — “Who can change society?” This question must be posed in a historical context and the lessons of that history transferred to present times.
At every single stage in the development of society — from ancient times through feudalism up to the present day — society has comprised two distinct groups : an oppressed class and a ruling class. These two classes have been allotted very specific roles. The oppressed class has been the one whose labor has created the wealth of s... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchist organization Workers Solidarity Movement has congratulated public sector workers who took part in today’s 24-hour work stoppage and called for further stoppages “in order to force a change of direction from the government”.
“Today’s stoppage was a brave step by public sector workers,” said Gregor Kerr, WSM PRO. “At last, after months and months of being scapegoated for a financial crisis we didn’t have any part in creating, workers have found a bit of dignity and begun to stand up for ourselves.”
“The Irish Congress of Trade Unions made a major mistake when it called off the planned national stoppage on March 31st,” Kerr continued. “This simply gave the gove... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Considerable progress has already been made in laying the foundations for a campaign against the service charges. Throughout all three Dublin County Council areas, residents’ associations and local action groups have been taking surveys and petitions, collecting bills for return to the Councils, and organizing public meetings and protests. All the indications are that these efforts are meeting with a good deal of success. In the Fingal area, for example, figures are showing 77% nonpayment up to mid-July. Results of surveys carried out in a number of areas in South Dublin show similar levels of non-cooperation.
The Dublin Anti-Water Charges Campaign (DAWCC) has been the focus of much of the activity to date. Much credit is due to Mili... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Since the ending of the ‘Cold War’, many national liberation struggles throughout the world have been ‘settled’. In places as far apart as South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Palestine these national liberation struggles were led by groupings which were often seen as having left leanings. However in all of these cases the ‘settlement’ was far from socialist. The current ‘Irish peace process’ is following exactly the same lines and has nothing to offer the Irish working class North or South
The announcement of the Provisional IRA cease-fire on August 31st 1994 was almost universally welcomed. In a statement 7/9/1994, the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) stated:
We welcome the IRA cease-... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The “Welfare State” as we know it in Ireland and other EU states is a child of the post-World War II period when governments were forced to introduce Social Welfare payments in order to deal with spiraling unemployment and to head off social unrest.
Recent years have seen this “Welfare State” under vicious assault as Thatcherite economists and politicians attempt to drive down what they see as state ‘meddling’ in their free market. Welfare payments are blamed for high wages (tell that to workers in fast food restaurants, contract catering or cleaning!) and for making it “uneconomic” for welfare recipients to reenter the jobs market (as if there were tens of thousands of jobs just waiting to b... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The book seamlessly alternates between the direct testimony of the ‘Sweatshop Warriors’ themselves and analysis of the growth and spread of globalized capitalism. This book was published in 2001 but 7 years later its strength still lies in its simplicity.
It gives voice to “immigrant women workers who are barred from rooms where deals get cut…who get punished for telling the truth; who are asked to speak only as victims…” And by giving a platform to these too often unheard voices, the book demonstrates that self-organization is the key to successfully fighting back against the exploitation and abuse faced by those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
“Luckily for us…”, writes the a... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) With the re-introduction of service charges in the three new Dublin Councils a year ago, the anti-service charge campaign spread to Dublin. Throughout the summer public meetings at which people pledged their opposition to these charges were held in a large number of areas, culminating in a conference in late September attended by approximately 130 people representing local campaigns and residents’ associations.
This Conference established the Federation of Dublin Anti-Water Charge Campaigns (FDAWCC). A co-ordinating committee was elected and it was agreed that all-Dublin activists’ meetings would be held monthly and would remain the supreme decision-making body of the campaign. Over the ensuing months well-attended public meeti... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) ”.....the man who is called ‘criminal’ is simply unfortunate;....the remedy is not to flog him, to chain him up, or to kill him on the scaffold or in prison, but to help him by the most brotherly care, by treatment based on equality........” 
The issue of crime and anti-social behavior and society’s responses to it is possibly one of the most pressing issues facing many people — especially those in working class communities. While it is true to say that the mainstream media and some politicians often — for reasons of sensationalism and for their own political ends — over-hype the “crime problem”, it is also a fact that in many of the poorer and more deprived housing estates... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Elsewhere in this magazine (see ‘Anarchism, Elections and all that’), the anarchist case against participation in elections is outlined. The alternative political strategy put forward by anarchists is the use of direct action. This article sets out to examine what is meant by the concept of direct action and also to argue that it is impossible to combine electoralism and direct action, that by its nature electoralism is disempowering, and that real direct action and participation in elections are mutually exclusive. Politics in Ireland and elsewhere is dominated by clientelism. People see themselves as needing politicians to “do stuff” for them. The politicians who are most successful are those who play the clienteli... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Until the Real IRA blasted the heart out of Omagh and its people, the Northern “peace process” appeared to be close to achieving the impossible. Loyalists and Republicans alike signing up to the “Good Friday Agreement”, its acceptance by large majorities on both sides of the border, Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley sitting down in the same room as part of the new Assembly — it seemed as if what had appeared for decades to be impossible had been overtaken by the realpolitik of the pragmatic. All sides in the “conflict” — we were led to believe — were looking to a new beginning. Countless column inches in the popular press had been written eulogizing the “statesmanship” of David Tri... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The years from 1995 to 2007 saw record levels of housing construction in Ireland. Construction output went up, land and house prices mushroomed and it seemed as if there was a never-ending bandwagon on which everyone was going to get rich by simply waiting for their pile of bricks to increase in value.
A whole new lexicon of terms and vocabulary entered the everyday parlance – terms such as ‘starter home’, ‘property ladder’, ‘first time buyer’; Newspeak phrases such as ‘affordable housing’ were bandied about. Houses and housing estates were advertised for sale by estate agents and property developers with colorful banner headlines and slogans such as ‘live the dream’, &lsquo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) THE 25th anniversary of the re-deployment of British troops on the streets of the 6-Counties sees the Republican movement at a watershed. Having been condemned and ostracized by establishment and media sources for most of that 25 years, they now find themselves at the center of what they refer to as the Irish Peace Process. Gerry Adams's statements are reported extensively in the Irish Times and elsewhere and the recent Sinn Fein conference in Letterkenny attracted huge media attention - both national and international. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have moved - as far as the media is concerned - from being 'godfathers of violence' for whom the English language did not contain sufficient condemnatory terms to being central players in a ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) “Croppy lie down!” It could have been 1969, it could have been the early 1920s, in fact it was July 1996. The ‘twelfth week’ was upon us and the so-called peace process was exposed in a flurry of Orange bigotry, baton wielding thugs in uniform and hails of plastic bullets. As Trimble and Paisley jostled to see who would emerge as the most loud mouthed bigot, the British government quietly pulled the strings in the background and delivered a loud and clear message to all who cared to listen — “Northern Ireland is an Orange State”, they seemed to say, “it always has been so and will always remain so”.
The ‘Pan Nationalist Alliance’ fell to bits. John Bruton and Dick Spring, su... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) JANUARY 1st saw County Dublin divided into three new County Council areas — Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown. Residents of all three new Councils now face the imposition of annual service charges of at least £85-£90.
Charges for such services as refuse collection, water supply, etc. vary from county to county. They were first introduced in the aftermath of the abolition of domestic rates following the 1977 general election. Governments since then have consistently refused to adequately fund local authorities. In response, County Councilors have taken the easy option of introducing service charges.
Residents of Dublin city and county (except those in the old Dún Laoghaire Corporation area) hav... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It is often said that history is written by the victors. It is probably more true to say however that history is written by the rulers or by those with ambition to rule. In this talk I want to look at the events of a period of Irish history which has had a profound effect on the events of the three centuries since and which is the source of many of the sectarian myths which people - especially those in the Six Counties - are still suffering the consequences of. Over three hundred years ago two contenders for the English throne fought their way around Ireland. Nationalist historians extoll the virtues of the "Patriotic" Irish forces and their French allies which fought with King James II in defense of Catholicism and Ireland. Unionist politi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Orange Order: an enemy of ALL workers
It is unfortunate, if perhaps somewhat inevitable, that the now annual battles around the ‘marching season’ fall along religious lines. The Orange parades are being used to test the supposed neutrality of the northern regime and the RUC in particular. The losing side in this dangerous game however is likely to be the working class, Protestant and Catholic, as the confrontations and the sectarian attacks that occur around the Orange marches drive people further into ‘their own’ communities.
The reality of the Orange Order is that it is a counter-revolutionary institution set up and maintained to target not just Catholics but also ‘disloyal’ Protestants. It&rsqu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Throughout the world, public services have been under attack for the past twenty years. Forming a central plank of the capitalist globalization agenda, ‘privatization’ and ‘competition’ are the seemingly unchallenged dogma of modern capitalism. The levels of privatization which have taken place worldwide are absolutely mindblowing. During the 1990s alone over $900 billion worth of public assets were transferred into private hands. Globally this agenda is pushed by the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The basic theory by which these bodies operate is that all decisions should be made on the basis of profitability alone.
Economies in the so-called ‘developing’ world have been carved up un... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It is no exaggeration to say that the Irish trade union movement is in crisis. Even a cursory glance at trade union density figures demonstrates the depth of the crisis. Just 34% of the overall Irish workforce, and only a worryingly tiny 20% of part-time workers, are members of trade unions.
As a ball-park figure, these percentages should be enough to sound alarm bells among left and libertarian activists who see trade union organization as being crucial to political organization. The WSM Trade Union position paper states “Trade union struggle is an absolute necessity. In the course of these struggles workers begin to see their potential power, they can be radicalized and can be brought into the revolutionary movement...”... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) 1
In February 1992, Emmet Stagg — a self-proclaimed “socialist” closely identified with the left wing of the Labor Party — resigned from Labor’s Parliamentary Party, claiming that Dick Spring was preparing to lead the party into coalition and proclaiming that he would “never vote for a right wing Taoiseach from Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.”
In January 1993 — less than eleven months later — this opponent of coalition stood up at Labor’s Special Conference to second the motion that they enter a “Partnership Government” with Fianna Fáil and duly trooped through the lobbies to vote for Albert Reynolds as Taoiseach.
On formation of the government he was rewarded for... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) At a time of increasing attacks on workers’ rights and conditions throughout both the public and private sectors, it is refreshing to report a victory for a group of workers who had the guts to stand up to their boss’s intimidatory tactics. On Friday February 17th, following a 3-week strike in defense of a colleague who had been unfairly dismissed, eight MANDATE members at Knightingales store in Dublin’s ILAC Center returned to work victorious.
With management refusing to even talk to the union at the outset of the strike, the workers faced an uphill battle. However their determination and the tremendous solidarity shown by other shopworkers in the city center and by the general public forced the re-instatement of the sac... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) 1995 WILL BE seen as the beginning of the end for the hated double taxation water charges in Dublin and throughout the country. For the first time in almost a decade, the year closed without a single water disconnection for nonpayment in the entire country. This fact is a tremendous tribute to the hundreds of campaign activists who have been busy fighting the charges for almost two years in Dublin and for much longer in many other areas. As the campaign faces into the new year, much remains to be done but great heart can be taken from the successes of the last number of months.
When the first summonses for nonpayment of the charges dropped through letterboxes in Firhouse, Rathfarnham and Templeogue in late October/early November, it was ex... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) On Tuesday May 23rd, approximately 15,000 teachers marched through Dublin as part of their campaign for early retirement. The June 1995 issue of Tuarascail (magazine of the Irish National Teachers Organization — INTO) said that this was “...merely the initiation and not the culmination of a campaign. The outstanding issues must be addressed and resolved. They will not go away. Now is the time to deal with the issues.” Rather than pledging further strike action however (INTO members had voted by an 86% majority for limited industrial action), Tuarascail went on to say that the teacher unions “...are ready to re-open negotiations.”
By 13th July, the unions had called off any threat of further action following ag... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) When the Program for National Recovery (PNR) was proposed for ratification by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in October 1987, organized opposition was negligible. Most of the left appeared to be almost unaware of the long term consequences of the bureaucrats’ adoption of ‘social partnership’ and only about a dozen independent socialists, Trotskyists and anarchists got together to run a limited campaign, producing no more than a couple of thousand leaflets and posters.
At the beginning of the PNR’s third and final year, ICTU held a special conference (February 8th 1990) to discuss its continued involvement in the Program. To coincide with this conference, the Portobello Unemployed Action Group (PUAG) organ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Debate on the effectiveness of the Black Bloc tactic could well go on forever. At the end of the day, in relation to the question of why its effectiveness has waned somewhat, it is probably true to say that both the original article by Ray Cunningham and the article in this magazine by Severino have some of the answers.
What is not in dispute is the fact that the big ‘set-piece’ anti-capitalist/ anti-globalization demonstrations appear to be becoming less effective and attracting less media coverage than earlier demos such as Seattle, Prague and Genoa.
June 2002 saw one of these demonstrations — against the EU summit in Seville, Spain. A general strike across the Spanish state on Thursday 20th June was a resounding succe... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)