Monday, 28 May 2012

Dublin Anarchist Bookfair Photos & Solidarity

Some photos of Dublin Anarchist Bookfair which took place last saturday.

A big thanks to all the comrades in Dublin who organised a truely great event from talks, movie and of course the book stalls themselves.

Cheers for the solidarity!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Carve up of Girdwood site in Belfast reflects the sectarian carve-up

The sectarian row over the former Girdwood army barracks site in North Belfast is  part  of a larger picture of sectarianism and segregation forming the bedrock of the status-quo, with our local political class depending on it for their very political survival.

In a recent report, Trademark, the Belfast-based social justice co- operative affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, "Sectarianism still remains a serious problem in Northern Ireland." The group conducted a major survey with more than 40 interviews in private sector companies and surveyed 2,500 workers in a large retail company as part of its study. It found that "low-level but persistent sectarian harassment is a feature of too many workplaces in Northern Ireland".

Trademark says "the segregated nature of Northern Ireland" ensures the continuation of workplace cultures that are "partisan" to the majority workforce, whether that is Catholic or Protestant. It also finds that tensions outside of the workplace have "a direct impact on relations internally".

The study suggests there remains a very real danger that sectarian tensions in a workplace could, if not dealt with properly, "escalate to serious threats and intimidation".

Indeed since the signing the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998 the number of interfaces or ‘peace lines’ have increased from 22 to 88 by some estimates. While trade unions have campaigned for and strengthened existing legislation against sectarian discrimination such as the Fair Employment Act, such laws have also helped to institutionalise sectarianism, favouring lobbying and collective grievances based on religion over social class and direct action.

This is reflected in the political discourse of ‘equality’ and ‘parity of esteem’ where sectarianism and conflict is perpetrated under the disguise of the ‘right to cultural expression,' that is used as a political bargaining weapon against the 'other' community.

This only results in long standing assumptions, myths and reactionary agendas being unchallenged and un-opposed such as the Queen’s Diamond celebrations in Belfast.  As part of the cross-party deal commemorating a range of events, including an equal allocation of funds and ‘equality’; all parties including Sinn Fein had to endorse the shining of a beacon over Cavehill (symbolic birth place of the United Irishmen). This has now been scrapped due to public opposition.

Only this week, we have witnessed another sectarian carveup to suit electoral needs over the contentious former Girdwood army barracks site in North Belfast where a long standing principle of housing provision based on need being replaced by a sectarian headcount and segregation with two separate 'housing zones' endorsed by all the local parties. This marks a u-turn after six years of failing to reach an agreement despite the fact that over 90% of those waiting on the housing list in North Belfast is of a 'nationalist' persuasion. On the one hand we have politicians doing what they do best which is the whipping up of fear and division and on the other is every principle being sold down to the river in the quest for political expendiency- power and patronage.

What is clear is that over forty years from the birth of civil rights movement in which the struggle for fair allocation of housing was a key demand, the politics of sectarianism, discrimination is above that of 'building a shared future'. While sections of mainstream media get dragged along in this game of smoke, guns and mirrors with the power squabbles on the hill, real opposition to this charade needs to be built in our communities and workplaces.’

The fight against sectarianism, racism, homophobia and sexism, cannot be divorced from the fight against capitalism and the state. In the short-term we need to campaign for integrated housing and schools, the removal of flags and offensive emblems. Not only is sectarianism deeply rooted in our society, but Stormont rests on it for its very survival and is part of problem rather than the solution.

There is little doubt that it is about them and us.  Us the working class against the ruling class whether in the halls of Stormont or riches of Westminster and the capitalist system they uphold.

In the words of James Connolly, ‘You cannot eat a flag’.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2012

The 7th Anarchist Bookfair will take place in Dublin this weekend: 26th May 2012 at Liberty Hall, Eden Quay.

We have a full schedule of meetings planned and a varied range of book stalls from a host of anarchist and radical publishers and organisations.

Doors open at 10am and the first meetings start at 11:30 so forgo the weekend lie-in, grab a coffee and come on down!

More details of previous bookfairs at

You can help us promote the bookfair by asking any friends you think may be interested and sharing this post to your profile. There is also a Dublin anarchist bookfair group for keeping the buzz going year to year at

Friday, 18 May 2012

Evening of Palestinian Music, song and Poetry

If you're about this Sunday there will be an evening of Palestinian Music, song and Poetry in Sandinos Bar, Water Street, Derry.

Palestinian poet, Rafeef Ziadah; Palestinian singer,Terez Sliman; and Phil Monsour (Lebanese-australian singer).

The evening kicks off at 8pm.  See you there!

40th Anniversary Vigil in for Manus Deery

This Saturday there will be a Vigil held in Derry to mark the 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MURDER OF MANUS DEERY.

The vigil will take place at the Bogside Inn on SATURDAY 19TH MAY at 7pm.

Speakers include Manus's sister Helen Derry, Kate Nash and Eamon McCann. EVERYONE WELLCOME!

Your Vote Can Be Ignored..

Sticker design from our friends at Irish Anarchism for the fiscal compact referendum. Our articles on it are at

There will also be a debate about the left & the referendum at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair -

Cardinal Sins to cover up in Catholic Church- an instrument of control and domination

The media frenzy may have settled for now over  Cardinal Sean Brady’s failure to pass on information about a notorious clerical sex abuser in his midst but we need to make sure we don’t let this extremely wealthy multi-national chiefdom called the Catholic Church off the hook.

On Tuesday 1st May, a BBC spotlight programme revealed that cardinal, and then Fr Brady was at interviews in 1975 where two children were asked to sign a vow of silence after they were abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.  One survivor, Brendan Bolan told This World that he had given details of other children to Fr Brady(who was the ‘note taker’ at the time) he suspected were being abused but the problem found that none of their families or the police had ever been warned.

The programme lead to a media storm coming after the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report in November 2009 which highlighted systematic and widespread physical, emotional and sexual abuse.  It concluded that "the Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities….State authorities facilitated that cover-up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and allowing the Church institutions to be beyond the reach of the normal law enforcement processes."

Despite calls to resign from across the political spectrum the attitude of the now Cardinal primate of all Ireland to avoid responsibility by claiming that ‘he had no case to answer’ is not only a further insult to survivors but exposes a culture of silence, cover-up and collusion that still continues to be at the heart of the Catholic Church.

 Indeed the response to the programme could not have been more stark between widespread condemnation of fellow Bishops such as Mr Clifford to the Vatican bending over backwards to provide excuses and defend the indefensible. Perhaps they all have something to hide once you look beyond the religious sermons from the pulpit. The sins of the Cardinal should not be paid at the expense or a deflection from where ultimate responsibility lies which is in the marble stone riches and palaces of the Vatican.

While the days of deference and obedience to the collars of the cloth are long gone, religion still continues to hold sway in our schools and hospitals and to gain true emancipation we need to liberate ourselves both the gods in heaven and the gods on earth.

In the words of Emma Goldman,  ‘Never can Christianity, under whatever mask it may appear-be it New Liberalism, Spiritualism, Christian Science, New Thought, or a thousand and one other forms of hysteria and neurasthenia-bring us relief from the terrible pressure of conditions, the weight of poverty, the horrors of our iniquitous system. Christianity is the con- spiracy of ignorance against reason, of darkness against light, of submission and slavery against independence and freedom; of the denial of strength and beauty, against the affirmation of the joy and glory of life.’

Stop and Searched under anti-terror legislation highlighting police harassment

Last night a WSM member along with members of the pressure group 'Republican Network for Unity' was stopped and searched under the Justice & Security Act.  This happened while they were conducting an interview highlighting the growing problem of police harassment in a personal journalistic capacity.

After interviewing RNU member Ciaran Cunningham on the various anti-terror legislation being used to criminalise and intimidate not only political activits but also wider family and friends, we were pulled over by the PSNI and detained for nearly half an hour.  This is just one minor example of the campaign being unleashed across the six-counties against all forms of political opposition.

This week, the PSNI reached a new level when they stopped and searched Ciaran in the grounds of his children’s local school, much to the disgust of parents and teachers.

Despite the so-called new beginning to policing, there has been little change in our communities where dissenters from the status-quo face systematic and sustained police harassment and intimidation.

Despite the cosmetic changes in name, badge and recruitment practices the police’s first line of duty will always been to defend the status quo.  The  devolution of policing and justice powers to a local Stormont minister has merely provided a smokescreen for a heavily armed paramilitary police force, directed and controlled by security agencies such as MI5.

 The police force is the state’s physical and intimidatory means of maintaining a desired status quo in society; one of socio-economic divisions and inequalities. Alexander Berkman stated that crime “is the result of economic conditions, of social inequality, of wrongs and evils of which government and monopoly are parents”.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

7th Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2012

Those of you making your way to this years Anarchist Bookfair in Dublin, drop the Derry Anarchists a line at as travel arrangements are now being made.
 For more info on the Anarchist Bookfair:

Report on WSM public meeting in Belfast on anarchism, the future and text of talk

The WSM organised a successful public meeting on Saturday in Na Croisbhealai workers co-op on the topic of anarchists-who we are and what we are up to.  Leading up to the event leaflets and posters were distributed at the annual Mayday march and other meetings in the city. A similar meeting was held recently in Dublin which was attended by 80 plus people and the WSM aims to hold similar meetings across the country so feel free to get in touch.

 The first speaker was Alan MacSimoin from the Irish Anarchist History archives who provided a comprehensive analysis of the early origins of anarchism in Ireland, both North and South within the workers movement and touched upon the struggles anarchists are involved in today.  If you would like to find out further info on Belfast anarchism please check out

The next presentation was given by a WSM member in the North who provided a brief account of anarchist activity in Belfast and across the North.  The edited text of the talk can be read below.

There was a brief and constructive discussion and debate from the floor including an account of WSM activity in Derry such as the recent makeover of Free Derry corner in memory of John McGuffin who took part in the Civil Rights Movement and actively campaigned against state repression and internment in the North.

The WSM aims to increase its activity and presence in Northern Ireland/six counties now and in the future so if you are interested in getting involved or join get in touch with us.

Text of talk on anarchism & the WSM:

Friday, 11 May 2012

No To War in The Gulf

Photograph from the local media archive shows Derry anarchist banner during a 'No To War In The Gulf' demonstration in the Guildhall Square around January 1991. 

Anarchists at that time had been involved in the campaign locally which held several protests leading up to and during the first 'Gulf War'.  The campaign also participated in a national Anti-Gulf War demonstration in Dublin.  The banner at the time had a clear message 'Class War Not Gulf War!'

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Solidarity with Public Sector Workers

Several lunch time rallies took place earlier today across the north as thousands of public and civil service workers walked-out as part of a planned one-day national strike, the largest industrial protest witnessed since last years November 30th strike.

In Derry city centre as in Belfast, several hundred workers from NIPSA, Unite and UCU gathered in solidarity against continued government attacks on workers pensions, jobs and wages.

The one-day industrial stoppage was held as an estimated 400,000 public sector workers from across England, Scotland and Wales walked out in similar fashion.

Despite today’s 'unseasonal weather conditions' many picket lines went ahead as planned with workers rallying outside workplaces prior to lunchtime union-organised rallies.

Workers picketed outside job centres, tax offices, passport offices and other public sector workplaces. In Derry, workers who walked-out earlier in the morning to attend the picket lines, received overwhelming support from passing traffic and from other workers not on strike. Similar messages of support were expressed as workers picketed outside the local DHSS office, as well as at Altnagelvin were Derry anarchists attended to express their solidarity with today’s action. At both lunchtime rallies in Derry and Belfast, trade union representatives warned the politicians in Stormont and Westminster of possible disastrous consequences if their austerity plans are allowed to continue, raising the prospect of further industrial stoppages during the summer months.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Workers Solidarity 127 Out Now!

Issue 127 of Ireland's anarchist paper Workers Solidarity  May / June 2012.

Inside this issue: 
  • Thinking About Anarchism: Organisation
    An accusing finger is pointed at anarchists any time the word organisation is mentioned. Many people believe that anarchism is against organisation and just another word for chaos, but is it? The simple answer, of course, is no, but that does not explain the confusion surrounding the question, nor the accusations thrown at anarchists.
  • Unlock NAMA Unveiled
    Unlock NAMA (UN) hit the headlines in January after occupying a NAMA building in Great Strand Street, Dublin 1. The aim of the occupation was to open a NAMA building to the public for a day and hold a series of talks on the subject. 
  • Mary Harris “Mother” Jones
    Mother Jones was “the most dangerous woman in America” according to Reese Blizzard, a West Virginia District Attorney. Born around 1837, Mary Harris Jones was an Irish woman who became one of the most important revolutionary trade union organisers in the history of the USA. 
  • Dublin Anarchist Bookfair Returns
    This May sees the return of the annual Anarchist Bookfair to Dublin, the seventh to be held to date. Since the first, back in 2006, the event has grown hugely in scale, against the background of the bursting of the Celtic Tiger bubble, the IMF/EU bailout and the catastrophic effect of austerity on Irish society
  • Musgrave Strike Continues
  • From Protest to Resistance in the North
    The decision to approve the new Welfare Reform Bill earlier last month signals yet another devastating blow to those living on or below the British government’s very own recommended guidelines on poverty
  • The Household Tax: Where to Now
    The Campaign Against Household and Water Charges (CAHWT) has been hugely successful so far in several ways: in encouraging mass non-payment; in making the taxes a big political issue, even in the mainstream media; in getting tens of thousands of people involved in protests and public meetings.

Workers Solidarity 127 in PDF

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones to be honoured this summer in Shandon, Cork

Mother Jones was “the most dangerous woman in America” according to Reese Blizzard, a West Virginia District Attorney. Born around 1837, Mary Harris Jones was an Irish woman who became one of the most important revolutionary trade union organisers in the history of the USA. Her courage in standing up to mine owners, politicians and their armed thugs (who often killed striking workers) is legendary.
For more than half a century she led strikers in picketing and encouraged the workers to stay on strike when management brought in strikebreakers and militias. She was often thrown into jail and was demonised by the press for fighting for the cause of coal miners and other workers. She organized miners’ wives into teams armed with mops and brooms to guard the mines against scabs.

Mother Jones will be honoured this summer in the Shandon area of Cork City, where she was born 175 years ago. The centrepiece of the celebrations will be the unveiling of a bronze plaque bearing her image and one of her most famous sayings: “Pray for the dead, but fight like hell for the living.” She also said that “I have never had a vote, and I have raised hell all over this country. You don’t need a vote to raise hell! You need convictions and a voice!”

From Protest to Resistance in the North

The decision to approve the new Welfare Reform Bill earlier last month signals yet another devastating blow to those living on or below the British government’s very own recommended guidelines on poverty. Prior to the initial bill being passed, attempts were made to water it down in the House of Lords but that too fell on deaf ears, despite the fact that it may violate international conventions on human rights.  However in welcoming the move, one Tory politician jokingly remarked: “desperate times, calls for desperate measures”, but desperate for who? Certainly not those on a politicians salary in Westminster or up in Stormont.

Across the north, concern is growing with regards to successive attacks on those of us already on low pay or benefits. Dramatic changes in the welfare system have already begun and it’s clearly affecting the most vulnerable within society. Welfare campaign groups such as Child Poverty Action have painted an extremely grim picture. By their calculation, over 122,000 children in the north are now living in poverty. Similarly, according to recent official statistics, poverty in areas such as North and West Belfast remains high, with west of the Bann, namely Strabane and Derry, coming out among those with ‘the highest rates of poverty in the UK’. 

The figures show that for those who have only recently been dumped onto the dole queues, young people in receipt of Housing Benefit, people on DLA, Incapacity Benefit, etc. are finding it even harder to claim benefits needed to pay for housing, childcare or even to supplement low wages. All this comes as a systematic overhaul attempts to reduce the numbers obtaining welfare, effectively driving people into greater poverty and worsening health problems. 

Other government programmes like Workfare and Steps To Work are merely shuffling numbers around whilst providing multinationals such as Tesco with a steady supply of free labour doing menial jobs as well as undermining the conditions of employed, waged workers. Unashamedly, all these developments have taken place long before any introduction of a Welfare Reform Bill. 

The measures implemented by the bosses and politicians are a direct attack on all the achievements gained by the working class through decades of struggle. It is nothing short of an attempt to clawback what they can for themselves on deals, agreements, rights and privileges we fought long and hard for. But in saying that, attacks such as these aren’t going on unnoticed or unchallenged. Our class, on both sides of the sectarian divide, through workplace and community actions, have brought thousands on to the streets, something that hasn’t been witnessed here for years. Strikes, work stoppages, pickets and protests have all taken place, with more to come. Public sector workers are currently planning further industrial action in a follow up to last year’s unprecedented strike on November 30th over attacks on pensions. Claimants too have begun to organise against cuts in housing benefits, picketing social security offices as well as stores involved in the practice of Workfare, rendering a potential modern-day slave trade virtually unworkable.  

In the weeks and months ahead, as our class take the fight to the streets, it will give us a greater sense of strength and confidence in the potential power we possess. In doing so we must be mindful of those who would view such unity as a possible threat. None more so than those who have everything to gain from our division; the bosses and the politicians in Stormont. They will undoubtedly act as they have always done, fomenting meaningless tribal divisions in an attempt to derail genuine working class resistance, while continuing to implement Tory policies. 

From Issue 127 of Ireland's anarchist paper Workers Solidarity  May / June 2012.

Remembering Helen 1st Anniversary

This Sunday the 13th of May marks the first Annivarsary of our very Dear friend and comrade Helen. To remember her we would like everyone to Meet in the small garden-with-benches, Foyle Street, at 4 p.m.

Then move to Sandinos, upstairs to the small lounge, for a 'get-together'.
There we can have a coffee/tea/drink/whatever....Please bring a small contribution of food so we can have a bite to eat and a chat.

If anyone wishes (and we hope youse do!) do bring a short piece of 'something' written by a could be a bit of a story you liked, a wee piece of writing by a woman writer you admire, a poem, enjoyed, impressed/meant something to you etc...and share it.....maybe we could have a chat about it.....why liked/what it means to anybody etc..or not...This is not 'compulsory' and is very informal. 

Men are also welcome to long as the piece is written by a woman! If you prefer it could be a song that you'd like to sing...and that would be great too. 

Everybody is welcome!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Annual May Day Rally in Derry

Derry Anarchists took part in this year’s annual Trade Councils May Day parade through the streets of the city centre.   

This years march and rally was lead by a local jazz band however despite this, this years event has got to have been the smallest celebration yet with an estimated 100 participants despite the attendance of several leading trade unions such as UNITE, SIPTU and UNISON.

Earlier in the day Derry Anarchists erected a banner ‘Solidarity is Strength’ on the city’s historic walls over looking the rallying point only to have been removed prior to this years annual parade taking place.

As the march made its way back into the Guildhall Square, trade union officials lined up to condemn the latest round of ‘austerity’ measures inflicted on workers and our communities.   

One leading representative of the Derry Trade Council in his speech welcomed the motion passed at the recent annual Northern ICTU event which was held in the city condemning the continued imprisonment of Marian Price by the state.   

In finishing he called on everyone, including all trade union activists to join with the campaign for justice by demanding Marian’s immediate release ‘no matter what your political beliefs’. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Free Derry Wall Images on Flickr

If your online surfin why not take a look at some lovely shots of Free Derry Wall by Plastic JesusTell us what you think! Emaill us yer photos to or share them with us on Facebook..

Derry May Day 2012

This Saturday afternoon, May 5th, the local trades council in Derry will be holding its annual May Day march and rally.

The march will begin at 1pm and everyone is asked to assemble at Guildhall Square will follow the same route as last years.

See you there!

Foyle Pride Pub Quiz

Come along to Sandinos on Thursday the 10th and test your intellectual mettle with our fantastic Foyle Pride Pub Quiz!

Bring a few friends and form a team. All proceeds will be donated to Foyle Pride Festival 2012.

Get down, support your pride! :-)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Referendum: It doesn’t matter whether you vote… what matters is whether you're willing to resist their austerity

The government parties are billing it as the ‘Stability Treaty’, the left opposition – most notably the United Left Alliance – are calling it the ‘Austerity Treaty’. For the next few weeks we can expect the airwaves to be clogged with the pros and cons in the lead-up to the 31stMay referendum on the “Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union” to give it its official title.
But despite all that we will hear between now and the end of the month, does anyone seriously think that how we vote will make one whit of difference?

If the ‘Austerity Treaty’ is rejected, will the government accept that its policy of heaping more and more austerity and cuts on the shoulders of ordinary workers and the unemployed is wrong? Will they accept that the household tax, the water tax, the Universal Social Charge, the pension levy, pay cuts etc should be reversed and that instead a wealth and assets tax should be introduced?

On the other hand if the ‘Stability Treaty’ is accepted, can we expect a prolonged period of stability to follow? Will the all-powerful financial markets accept that they have got their pound of flesh, and will they signal their willingness to work for ‘stability’ and accept that the Irish taxpayer has no more to give?

Or will pigs fly?

You don’t need to be much of a genius to work out that the last of the 3 scenarios is actually the more likely to occur.

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