Monday, 30 January 2012

Shell to Sea Solidarity day in Erris - Feb 17

The next Shell to Sea day of solidarity will be held on Friday 17th February.  Dublin Shell To Sea will be organising a bus to leave Dublin at approx 6pm on Thursday 16th February  Parnell Sq.

The last one was a great success with all peat and gravel haulage stopped for the day. Please arrive Thursday night for a briefing and early morning action the next day. If they are working on Saturday we will do something then too.

There is a fundraiser for the camp at McGrath's pub on Saturday night
Come along, all are welcome! Food and accommodation provided, donations are welcome
Dublin Shell To Sea will be organising a bus to leave Dublin at approx 6pm on Thursday 16th February from Hugh Lane Gallery on Parnell Sq.

The bus will return from Mayo on Saturday afternoon.

International Day In Solidarity With Leonard Peltier Feb. 4th

The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee calls on supporters worldwide to protest against the injustice suffered by Indigenous activist Leonard Peltier. Gather on February 4, 2012, at every federal court house and U.S. embassy or consulate worldwide to demand the freedom of a man wrongfully convicted and illegal imprisoned for 36 years!

If you can organize, or help organize and event in your area, please contact LPDOC. Please if you can make a donation to help with the costs of the LPDOC. Scheduled events will be announced and details provided at:

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106

Phone: (00 1) 701/235-2206

International Day in Solidarity with Leonard Peltier Facebook events page. 

Please share and invite your friends:

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bloody Sunday 40 Years On: March For Justice

There was a large turn out in Derry today to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and to support the families' continuing fight for justice.    

Despite the bad weather Anarchists from several organisations attended both at home and abroad, Workers SolidarityMovement and the furthest being from the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). 

At this years march anarchists walked behind the local Derry Branch banner of the Independent Workers Union.  

There was a huge media presence during today's march and rally and below is how they reported it.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Belfast: Fighting the Cuts & the Anarchist Alternative public meeting

The Workers Solidarity Movement will be hosting a public meeting on fighting the cuts, the vicious class war and the anarchist working class alternative to the status-quo.

The meeting is free and open to anyone including those who are interested in helping to build an active and visible anarchist movement in this city and beyond.

Na Croisbhealaí workers' co-op
Fresh Claim Café, King Street.
Belfast city centre, 28 Jan 2.00pm

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bloody Sunday in Derry - Origins & Consequences of a Massacre

On the 30th January 1972 British soldiers opened fire on protesters in the city of Derry, north-west Ireland. Twenty six unarmed protesters were shot, 13 died immediately or within hours, one more died just over four months later. Derry was in the section of Ireland claimed by the British state and the shootings happened in the context of the suppression of a growing civil rights movement demanding equality for Catholics in the 6 of Ulster’s counties claimed by Britain.
The killings in Derry had a transformative impact on the next 30 years of Irish history. By 1972 the attempt to suppress the Civil Rights movement alongside the anti-catholic pogroms that had taken place, particularly in Belfast, had already seen the popular and nonviolent movement divided into communitarian camps, and fostered the rebirth of a more traditional armed nationalism. The massacre of unarmed protesters that day, and the state cover up that followed, ensured that the response to the British state would become increasingly militaristic, growing the influence of the IRA. What else would be expected in such circumstances? By transforming the conflict from a popular struggle into a military insurrection, the British State pushed the struggle onto terrain in which it was more confident of a victory.

The history of the British state’s military involvement in and rule of Ireland is very old, going back to the 1100’s. However if we start in 1918, the last year of World War One, we find another round of rebellion igniting that for the first time involved organised labour and which alongside a military struggle saw many local and five national general strikes. This at a time of revolution across Europe, when the various ruling classes desperately tried to impose a new stability. Part of the price for the British ruling class of that stability was to allow independence for 26 of the 32 counties in Ireland.

Excluded from independence were the 6 counties of Ulster in the North-East of the island, counties which contained a significant protestant majority. British imperialist policy almost everywhere made use of religious or ethnic divisions between ‘subject peoples’ in order to maintain imperialist rule. That mechanism had been developed and tested in Ireland from the 1500’s with the displacement of indigenous gaelic catholics from significant portions of good agricultural land and their replacement with protestant settlers from Britain and Scotland in particular. This policy was most successful in the North East which was in any case close to Scotland and thus saw much movement to and from Scotland. The continued promotion of sectarian divisions meant that by late 1800s the working class in the city of Belfast was divided deeply along religious lines with periodic rioting between catholic & protestant workers often triggered over access to housing & jobs.
The partition of Ireland in 1922 saw the new Northern State being given limited Home Rule. These local powers were used over the next forty years to try and unify all protestants regardless of class behind what came to be called the ‘Orange State’ through discrimination against the catholic working class in particular. This discrimination was expressed through restricting access to employment and housing but also through limiting access to weapons to the state forces and a very large auxillary force of protestant males, the ‘B Specials.’

The Civil Rights Movement
Inspired by the civil rights movement in the USA the late 1960s saw the formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association based on the following demands
  • one man, one vote in local elections - only rate payers were allowed vote
  • an end to gerrymandering - election boundaries had been set so that towns with large catholic majorities elected majority protestant councils
  • an end to discrimination in housing
  • an end to discrimination in jobs
  • the disbandment of the B-Specials, the auxillary force already referrred to
NICRA soon met with state repression and the repression of a demonstration in Derry on 5 October 1968 was followed by two days of nationalist rioting. Footage of the suppression of the march shocked many in Ireland and elsewhere. Radical students influenced by these events came together to form People’s Democracy, a grassroots socialist and anti-sectarian organisation with a libertarian character which was at the forefront of direct action and practised direct democracy.

Tensions continued to rise in 1969 culminating in three days of rioting in August when nationalists in the Bogside defend the area against the police and the B Specials. The Bogside and neighbouring Creggan had in effect become a self governing area known as Free Derry, protected behind barricades. On the day ‘Free Derry’ was set up some 1500 locals armed with steel bars, wooden clubs and hurleys (French parallel?) mobilised to defend the area.

Free Derry
Free Derry derived its name from a sign painted on the gable wall of a house at the edge of the area reading ‘You are now entering Free Derry’. That street was later demolished but the gable has been preserved to this day bearing either that legend or variations of it tying into a variety of political themes.

The police and army were prevented from entering the area until October 1968. Even when the British Prime Minister Jim Callaghan visited the Bogside at the end of August 1968 he had to abandon his army escort at the edge of the area and accept instead an escort from the Derry Citizens Defence Association set up by the residents to defend the area. After reforms were announced and Callaghan visited again on the 11th October unarmed military police were allowed to patrol.

This period saw an increasing militarisation of the conflict including a split in the IRA centered around the question of the balance to be struck between radical (but stalinist) politics (the ‘Officals’) and more traditional national militarism (the ‘Provisionals’). Then on 9th August 1971 the British state tried to crush opposition through targetting for internment 450 people from factions of the IRA, left radical organisations like People’s Democracy and even some of the civil rights leaders! However there wasn’t a single loyalist among the 450 people initially targeted.

Barricades were once more erected in Derry bringing ‘Free Derry’ back into existence for a third time. This time the area was also defended by armed paramilitaries. Sniper attacks on soldiers became common and an extensive bombing campaign was conducted against commercial premises in the center of the city.

Events of the day
By early 1972 internment was resulting in an escalating cycle of violence but a mass unarmed movement continued to exist and mobilise in the streets. NICRA organised a march to protest internment from the Creggan through the Bogside into Derry city center. The army erected barricades to stop the march reaching the city center.

Estimates of how many attempted to march that day vary but probably at least 15,000 gathered in the Creggan and marched to the alternative end point at Free Derry corner. As had become ‘traditional’ youth threw stones at the British army on the barricades and the army used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets. Shortly before dusk the army command ordered the Parachute Regiment (‘Paras’) to enter the Bogside. As in other armies Parachute troops are trained as brutal shock troops, encouraged to use extreme violence to achieve their objectives. That Sunday there were ordered to use live ammunition. As the unarmed crowd fled over 100 rounds were fired, 13 people being killed instantly or dying soon after, 14 others were wounded including two who were ran down by APC’s. Many were either shot in the back or shot as they tried to crawl to cover along the ground.

Widgery cover up
In the face of a mounting international outcry, the burning down of the British embassy in Dublin during a huge demonstration against the massacre and the southern Government requesting UN intervention the British state was forced to announce an enquiry. This was held under Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery and amounted to no more than a massive cover up that sought to confirm the army lie that many of those shot had been armed.
The City coroner, himself a retired British army Major issued a statement on the day of the completion of the inquest into those killed reflecting what had really happened

“It strikes me that the Army ran amok that day and shot without thinking what they were doing. They were shooting innocent people. These people may have been taking part in a march that was banned but that does not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without hesitation that it was sheer, unadulterated murder. It was murder.”

The military road
John Kelly the brother of one of those killed on Bloody Sunday recalled in 2005 that "There were queues to join the IRA after that day. The paras were responsible for countless deaths that day, including soldiers, policemen and everyone who died during the Troubles. Many young people in Derry and across the North lost their lives through ending up in prison. The paras not only murdered people that day, but they carry the responsibility of the blood that was spilled since."

Ivan Cooper one of the organisers of the NICRA march on Bloody Sunday also saw the massacre as undermining the non violent basis of the civil rights movement. He thought before that day the IRA was tiny and with little support. The idea that Bloody Sunday led to the gorwth of the IRA is also confirmed by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams who wrote that “Money, guns and recruits flooded into the IRA”
Almost everyone who witnessed the events agrees with that perspective and indeed how could any other outcome have been expected. When an occupying army guns down over two dozen unarmed protesters it would be almost impossible to expect any response other than those who are still determined to struggle looking to arm themselves in defence and to seek revenge. In the three years to Bloody Sunday the escalating violence had killed 200 people. In 1972 alone, the year of Bloody Sunday 479 were killed, the vast majority after the massacre and as part of the reaction to it.

Bloody Sunday limited the British state’s ability to spin the northern Ireland conflict as one between two warring tribes or criminal gangs. Bloody Sunday exposed the central role of the British state in escalating the conflict. And successive British governments couldn’t use that ‘that was all in the past’ excuse because they were forced to stand over the ludicrous Widgery finding that the Para’s were acting in self defence.
Alongside that the annual commemoration of the massacre became a significant organising focus or northern nationalists and the left. Up to 40,000 people took part in the march that marked the 25th anniversary of the massacre for instance, and every year tens of thousands would participate. That weekend in Derry also saw a wide range of well attended events, everything from cultural events to eyewitness accounts of what happened on the day to current political discussions including the creation of links with struggles elsewhere.

Eventually the British state was forced to address the continued anger over the Bloody Sunday massacre through a second 12 year enquiry under Lord Saville. After all most 38 years and 3000 deaths the British Prime Minister finally admitted in the House of Commons what had happened and apologised on behalf of the British government.

This article was written by Shane O'Curry & Andrew Flood of the WSM for French libertarian communist publication Alternative Libertaire

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bloody Sunday 40 Years On – March For Justice

The Derry Anarchists and the Workers Solidarity Movement support the call for people to attend and support all Bloody Sunday commemorative events over the upcoming weekend, including the 'March for Justice' leaving Creggan shops at 2.30 pm on Sunday 29 January.We stand in solidarity with and salute the courage and dignity of all of the members the Bloody Sunday families and the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign in their long struggle for justice and truth.

As anarchists we value direct democracy, accountability, openness and equal participation at all times and at all levels as paramount principles in bringing about a just and equal society. The right to- and the exercise of- free protest, is a key step on the road to achieving that society.

Bloody Sunday and the Widgery cover-up represent direct attacks intended to deny that right by terrorising working class people off the streets, killing innocents and quashing freedom of expression and assembly in the same process.

The Saville report has done little to safeguard the right to protest by holding those responsible for the massacre to account. Only those soldiers who fired were held to any kind of account, while their masters up the chain of command get away scott free. The lesson from this for states around the world is that they will not be held to account if they choose to terrorise legitimate protest off the streets.
We support and encourage all to attend the 'March for Justice' on Sunday, 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, from Toxteth to Tahrir square, from Belfast to Basra, and from Wall Street to Rangoon.
The 40th Bloody Sunday Anniversary ‘March for Justice’ will take place in Derry on Sunday 29th January.  Assemble 2.30pm Creggan Shops, Derry.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Police are part of the problem rather than the solution

The PSNI new strategy of 'pizza n peelers' covered in a recent edition of the Andersonstown News, is a cynical and laughable stunt to win over young people and highlights how much they are out of touch in our communities. Despite the cosmetic changes and a propaganda blitz waged by the media and Sinn Fein apologists, the continuity RUC/ PSNI like any police force is political, to defend the power and wealth of the ruling class. Quite simply it is the state’s physical and intimidatory means of maintaining a desired status quo in society; one of socio-economic divisions and inequalities. 

The evolution of policing structures and transformation of Sinn Fein from poachers to gamekeepers of the status-quo has provided an illusion of state ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ and the green light to isolate and criminalise any ‘dissenters’. DPP's are a ‘talking shop’ with no legislative authority and designed to gloss over the inherent irreconcilable cracks and contradictions in the system. Rather than real ownership and empowerment, input by local residents in DPPs is limited to asking questions as a spectator, reinforcing our sense of dependency and powerlessness. 

A stronger, more militant and confident working class will be able to and must, take on responsibility for tackling anti-social crime in its own communities as part of wider independent movement fighting for a better society because the police are part of the problem. No amount of token reforms, ‘sexy’ makeover, and government from Dublin, Stormont or London can disguise its fundamental role as the armed wing of the state.'

The letter above appeared in this weeks edition of the Andersonstown News in its letter's page in response to a 'pizza n peelers' publicity stunt by the PSNI in West Belfast. It was written by a Belfast WSM member in a personal capacity.

Workers Solidarity # 125 Out Now!

Issue 125 of Ireland's anarchist paper Workers Solidarity  January / February 2012.

Occupy Belfast: This Building is Now Occupied

A short film on the ongoing occupation of the former Bank of Ireland, Royal Avenue, Belfast.
by the Creative Workers Cooperative

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The liberation of a former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast

Occupy Belfast seized the initiative Monday by re-possessing the former Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue gaining media coverage both here and across the world. Around a dozen protestors including a WSM member entered the building, unfurled banners and put up barricades despite early attempts by the police to illegally evict us. A WSM member who took part gives us his views on the occupation below.

In a well planned and calculated operation taking the police by surprise, Occupy Belfast decided to occupy the building the night before put in necessary equipment and unveil the banners at mid-day in front of the media.  The gorgeous listed building and former home of the Belfast stock exchange has remained empty for several years under the ownership of a property developer keen to use it as monopoly and speculation. It is also apparently haunted and used for the annual Halloween haunted incursions across the city.

Morale and confidence remains high as we hope to build on the momentum, support and solidarity shown by the wider public. Despite the damp conditions inside we have access to necessary supplies including an electricity generator, providing a space and forum to organise and agitate. The Fire Brigades Union have also refused to be used as pawns by the PSNI and have stated that they will not enter the building unless there is a fire risk.

Article continues:

Occupy Belfast will be holding a Rally of Support for the Occupation on Saturday, January 21st, at 2pm outside the building, former Bank of Ireland on Royal Avenue. 
Following the rally there will be a public General Assembly whereby all are invited to participate in the discussion on where next for the movement.

Thinking About Anarchism: Direct Action

The idea of direct action is sometimes misunderstood as meaning anything violent, anything from a brick through a window to a full-scale guerrilla war. Our political opponents go out of their way to spread confusion because they know that in a “battle of ideas” they would lose. That is why they portray anarchism as a ludicrous system of chaos and disorganiation.
When the phrase ‘direct action’ was first used at the end of the nineteenth century it meant no more than the opposite of trying to win change by trusting in ‘better’ politicians. In the context of modern trade unionism it means using industrial action – strikes, work to rules, occupations – rather than trusting in the supposedly impartial Labour Court, Rights Commissioners and mediators.

In the community it means tenants and residents associations organising non-payment of water and household taxes instead of trusting in the local politician to get rid of them. The point is that action is taken, not indirectly by representatives over whom we have little control, but directly by those who are affected. It is action intended to succeed, not just to gain publicity. It rejects the notion that ordinary people are stupid and powerless and so must leave all the important decisions to someone else. It recognises that most improvements for our class will not be handed down by the bosses; they have to be fought for. That is how we have gained nearly everything we have, from the eight hour day to the right to join a union.
Anarchists hold that genuine socialism cannot be created by the actions of any small minority or elite. If we are to create a socialism based on the grassroots democracy of workers and community councils a lot of people will have to be involved. A lot of people will have to believe that they can destroy the present system and build a better one.

Through engaging in direct action we learn by experience that there is no need to depend on some ‘expert’ or professional politician. We learn that we can manage our own struggles in our own interests. We learn the need to link up with others in the common cause. For example, if we want to win on the household tax, we have to involve more than just one area of the country. This is when the ideals of solidarity and mutual aid become real. There is no pre-condition for revolution more important than working class self-confidence. If this does not exist then the running of society will be taken over by whatever party is able to put across the image that they are the “professionals” and “experts”. 

When this happens we can forget about socialism. A minority is in the driving seat and it is only a matter of time before they develop from a grouping with their own interests into a new fully-fledged ruling class. This is what has happened every time a minority has been trusted to rule a country after a revolutionary upheaval. Only a confident working class can create the true democracy that will stop this happening.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

SDLP leader pleas ‘poverty' as we face their cuts

SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell has claimed that Stormont assembly members should be entitled to a ‘small increment’ on their 43,000 basic salary a year and better pension payments to keep them from ‘poverty’ in retirement. Yet again one rule for them and another for the rest of us as these gangsters on the hill expect us to bear the brunt of their vicious cuts in jobs and services being imposed by all our local political parties at the behest of their masters from Westminster.

All this from the same politicians who have double jobs, milk the expenses system dry and then jump on the bandwagon with the recent public sector strike. Providing little comfort to those of us at the coalface who are being made to pay for the crimes and greed of the 1%.

Meanwhile planned cuts in housing benefits are coming into force which could effect up to 6,000 people making many homeless. Government changes mean young people aged between 24 and 35, who live alone and receive housing benefit face cuts of up to £40 a week. Concerns have been raised by housing support groups that many will struggle to find the extra cash to stay in their current accommodation and will have to find shared housing.

Ursula Toner, from the Housing Rights Service, said she has a number of concerns about the change and the potential impacts.

"To be single and in need of accommodation, it is only in limited circumstances that you may be able to avail of social housing and even if you are on the list for social housing, you are likely to be on a waiting list," she said. 

William, 27, lives in north Belfast told BBC Newsline that he has been unemployed since work in the construction sector dried up. He is also worried about how he will find the extra money. "My rent is £100 a week," he said. "At the minute I currently make up £23 of that. "I got a letter in November to say they were going to cut it by £27, so basically they have cut my rent to £50 that they are going to pay and I am going to have to make up the shortfall on that. "What I am looking at is being made homeless."

In the last few years the divide between the politicians, the richest in our society and rest of us couldn’t be more stark and the battle lines exposed more than ever. The ruling class will continue to attack us at every level and strip of us of hard won workplace rights and right to a social wage until we begin to organise a fight back and let them know who is boss. 

The WSM will be hosting a public meeting on Fighting the Cuts & Anarchist Alternative in the workers cafe, 48 King street in Belfast city centre on the 28th January at 2pm. All welcome!

Interview with Na Croisbhealai workers co-operative - organising without bosses in Belfast

Na Croisbhealai workers-co-op is the latest centre to emerge in Belfast along with the Warzone centre providing a practical example of workers self-management in action. Located in the city centre the café offers a space to organise and agitate under every shade of the political left, and a delicious international cuisine from all corners of the globe courtesy of its chef Hugh Corcoran. In the same building is Fresh Claim photography hosting a range of impressive photos and colourful portraits from conflict zones across the world including the recent troubles in Ireland.  Below is an interview with Jack Corcoran from the collective who talks about how it organises without bosses and its role in building a better society for all.

Could you tell me a bit about the history of the Na Croisbhealai workers co-op and why did you decide to get involved?

Na Croisbhealaí Workers Co-Op started in June 2011 and was born out of the idea of the Belfast Youth Assembly which one of our members was trying to organise. Through research on youth assemblies and Squats in the Basque Country came the idea of a Café/Restaurant and social centre to be run as a workers Co-Op and to create a space for radical thinking and organising which is something lacking in Ireland. I became involved in the Co-Op as I was inspired at the idea to set up workers Co-operatives and social centres aimed at the left in Belfast, I agreed originally that I would volunteer to help get the Café started and from there got fully involved in the project as a worker and organiser.

Interview continues:

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Bloody Sunday - March For Justice!

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday 1971 - 2012.  On Sunday 29th January a March For Justice will take place in Derry.  Assemble 2.30pm Creggan Shops, Derry. 

Derry Anarchists will be producing a banner for this event and will be joined by other anarchists from across the country. Bring banners and flags.

Please Forward - Please Attend  - All Welcome

Shell To Sea - Day of Solidarity

Friday the 13th Jan - Shell To Sea - Day of Solidarity!

We are starting the new year as we mean to go on. Come celebrate with us this Friday the 13th and show solidarity with the community in Erris who have been opposing Shell for the last 11 years. 

Saturday the 14th will be another Shell-stopping day, so come spend the weekend!

For more details contact the camp@ 085 114 1170 or rossportsolidaritycamp[at]gmail[dot]com

Come and help bring bad luck unto Shell!! 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

100 Years of Bread and Roses - A night of song

On Thursday night (Thursday, 12 January 2012) will see some of the best of Derry talent - including Diane Greer and Paddy Nash, Abby Oliveira, Eileen Webster and special guests sing songs of struggle.

It's 100 years on 12th January since the strike of textile workers in Lawrence Massachussets began. The strike, organised by the Industrial Workers of the World ("the Wobblies"), saw thousands of workers, from virtually every country of the "old world", men and women together but with women in the lead. The strike began when the mill owners tried to cut wages which were already starvation level. It became known as the "Bread and Roses" strike because a placard carried by one of the striking women read "We Want Bread, But Roses Too!" 

It became a rallying cry of the strike, and then of other industrial organizing efforts, signifying that the largely unskilled immigrant population involved wanted not just economic benefits but recognition of their basic humanity, human rights, and dignity.

 The event will take place in Sandinos Back Room in Derry's Water Street at 9pm

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Derry Anti War Rally - Class War Not Gulf War!

Activists in Derry came together yesterday in opposition to US military manoeuvres’ being held close to Iran in what's being viewed as the first step to yet another Gulf War.

In 2012, a massive issue for those against war is likely to be the threat - maybe the actuality - of war on Iran.

The Western powers have already used the threat of force against Iran, and may move to actual military action. It is imperative that anti-war activists continue to demonstrate against this.

Saturdays rally’s took place at the city war memorial and was organised by the Derry Anti War Coalition.