Thursday, 27 June 2013

Derry Anarchists: Get Organised - Get Involved!

If you live in Derry or the North West and would like to get involved then PM or email us. Derry Anarchists meet regularly for discussions as well as street activity.

Statement from Workers Solidarity Movement - why we are leaving Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes

The Workers Solidarity Movement has decided to withdraw from the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes.  Please see statement below.  We have made a donation of €1,000 towards paying off the debts of CAHWT.

1.    It is now clear that the boycott of the property tax has collapsed and with it, any chance of defeating it in the coming period. The tactic of boycott was enough to defeat the household tax, but with draconian powers handed over to revenue to collect the property tax, much more was required.

2.    The tactics pursued by the Campaign against Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT), to build a boycott, mobilise to protest on the streets and to argue for a campaign of industrial action by workers implementing the tax, was the only approach that had any chance of success.   But for that to happen, mass participation was necessary.

3.    The principal reason that the campaign was not successful was that not enough people got involved. If protests were to have an impact, tens of thousands were needed on the streets. Occupations of government buildings needed to be more than the tokenistic acts of a few dedicated activists with the ability to cause a real and sustained disruption to the business of the state.

4.    Participation at local level never took on a mass character. In some areas campaigns were organised on a local basis. In most cases, however, only regional campaigns existed with activists working hard for the campaign, but burning themselves out due to the high level of activity required to cover large areas. Even where campaigns existed in a locality, the numbers were not sufficient to sustain a struggle of that duration.

5.     We live in an era where clientelism dominates the political landscape.  For many reasons - pressure of long commutes, no real extant sense of community/trade union solidarity, no tradition of self-organisation etc etc - most people's sense of getting involved in politics amounts to supporting 'someone else' to do it.  Not enough people felt that they needed to get involved to make a difference.  Instead they held off on registering but when the hoped-for response from 'someone else' didn't emerge they were easily intimidated into paying by government propaganda.

6.    Talk of posing an electoral challenge to put the frighteners on Labour could only increase the hope for many people that ‘someone else’ would defeat the property tax. It should be obvious that Labour is not afraid of electoral oblivion. Even from an electoral perspective, a focus on elections to local councils that have no power to revoke the tax, elections that, at the time were over a year away, made no sense.  Very quickly the argument for electoral participation turned from the idea that running candidates would defeat the property tax to the elections being an opportunity to punish Labour for their ‘betrayal’.  But revenge is not a political tactic ever likely to win.  While it might give lots of people pleasure to see the Labour party wiped out, the property tax would still remain in place.  We are not saying that the stampede towards electoralism was the cause of the campaign’s defeat but perhaps the reason why political parties adopt the electoralist position is that it's so much easier to ask people to 'support me' or even 'support' a particular idea than it is to challenge people along the lines of 'If you don't get involved we can't win.'

7.    Even after it became clear that at least half of the CAHWT campaigns were vehemently opposed to this tactic, the Socialist Party insisted on continuing to pursue it. The effect was to cause a major rift in the campaign at a crucial time in the battle. Some local campaigns, mainly ones dominated by the Socialist Party, are continuing to pursue this tactic.

8.    Other political parties involved in the Campaign e.g. the SWP/People before Profit Alliance did not support the SP’s push to turn the CAHWT into an electoral platform but made it clear that nearer the election their candidates would be seeking ‘endorsement’ from the Campaign – which in effect amounts to another, if softer, version of acquiescing to the clientelist approach to politics.

9.    All of this raises questions over the viability of CAHWT as a united national campaign in the future, particularly in the battle against the water charge. It is impossible to imagine a situation where a few candidates and politicians will be accepted by the majority of activists as spokespeople and representatives for the campaign. It will also be impossible for local campaign groups who are not pursuing an electoral path to disassociate themselves from the politicians and candidates who will be presumed by the media and others to be speaking on behalf of the entire campaign when in fact no democratic controls of candidates are possible.  We feel, therefore, it is crucial for those activists and local groups who are serious about building a campaign based on direct action, participatory democracy and autonomy from political institutions to regroup for the next fight.

10.  The water charge will only be defeated if a campaign of mass participation can be built. More people will need to be involved than even at the high points of the campaign against the household tax. People will need to be prepared to, not only boycott the charge, but obstruct the installation of water meters and to sabotage ones that have already been installed.

11.  For the reasons outlined above, we no longer feel that CAHWT, is the appropriate vehicle for this purpose. The divisions between those who advocate a representative approach and those who advocate direct action have grown too wide. We hope to work with many of the activists that were part of CAHWT in this campaign and to help mobilise our communities in resistance. 

12.  We are not suggesting that there are any easy answers.  The failure of the CAHWT to mobilise large numbers on protests against the property tax, plus the success of the majority of the public sector trade union leadership in frightening members into voting for the slightly modified version of Croke Park 2, suggests that the task of prompting, encouraging and motivating mass participation in actions designed to prevent the installation of water meters and defeat the imposition of the water tax will not be easy.  The task of moving a significant section of the working class from the clientelist approach of wanting ‘someone else’ to do politics for them to a participatory approach where they see a role for themselves in bringing about change is what faces us.

Abortion choices - Plane ticket or prison

12th June saw the publication of the The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. In this piece of legislation, it states,
  1. "It shall be an offence to intentionally destroy unborn human life"
  1. "A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or both."
It was clarified in the legislation that this includes people who induce their own abortion. The government wants to criminalise those people, who are left in the desperate situation and seek out an abortion in this country. This government includes members who were willing to go to prison to give people that access, but now will happily give more sentence time to a woman who induces her own abortion than the rapist who forced her into that decision.

It is a well-known fact that people seek out abortions in this country and the very desperate are those who have to look for options here. It might be because they are an asylum seeker who lives on €19.10 per week and can't afford the abortion nor find a pro-choice solicitor to get them the papers to travel over to the UK. Or they are a mother of one disabled child, but can't find the means to take care of a second one, but not sure if they can get the €2000 together and find someone who will take care of their child when they go over. 
Or they are in the middle of secondary school and can't tell their pro-life parents that they need an abortion. Or they simply don't want a baby for whatever the reason and just can't get the money to pay for an abortion. These are the people this government wants to lock away for fourteen years as they induce their own abortion whether by abortion pills or endangering their lives through other methods such as pushing themselves down stairs.

These examples highlight not only that abortion needs to be legal, but it also has to be free. It should not longer be the case that people with money have options and those without are optionless.

We need to stop arguing about how many doctors. Can we not trust women with their choices and doctors with their decisions? We are now faced with much the same choices as before this bill: Plane ticket or prison?

This is why we need free, safe and legal abortion.

Rossport - Spy Cameras & Pirates

Day 3 (Monday) of the week of action against Shell in Erris  saw more spy cameras on the perimeter of the Shell compound at Aughoose destroyed overnight & anti-Shell slogans was painted on the walls and gates. During the day itself a Shell survery boat was successfully blockaded by Shell to Sea Kayaks although a couple of Kayaks were dragged along by the boat and capsized.

It appears a considerable number of additional security and Garda have been brought in, at one time there were 35 Garda in the carpark of the church just up the road from the Rossport Solidarity Camp. Special Branch were again observered cruising around. The campaign brought people new to the areas were brought on tours around the compound at Lenamore and Glengad. (Photo shows IRMS security inside the section of the Aughoose compound that was occupied yesterday).

There is lots of room on the camp for anyone inspired by the actions over the weekend who wants to head down, new people are welcome and there are lots of support roles you can do if you are not sure about risking arrest (so far there have been no arrests).

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Plaque unveiling in memory of the North West Brigadistas

Statement issued by North West Spanish Civil War Project:

Invitation to Plaque unveiling in memory of the North West Brigadistas

On the Thursday 18th July 2013, the North West Spanish Civil War Project in conjunction with the Derry Trades Council will be unveiling a plaque in Derry to honour the International Brigades and the men from Derry, Donegal and Tyrone who served in the defence of the Spanish Republic and the fight against fascism.

The commemoration who will include representatives of the trade union movement as well as relatives of those who served in Spain from 1936 – 1938 when the international brigades were stood down.

A full programme of events will be released in the coming week which will include a Spanish Civil War exhibition, film screening, talks, social evening and plaque unveiling to those local brigadistas from the North West.

The plaque unveiling ceremony will take place on Thursday 18th July, at the Unite Building, 56-58 Carlisle Road, Derry at 7.30pm followed by a short reception in the union headquarters. The evening's celebrations will continue with at Sandino's Bar, Water Street with and evening of workers songs and poetry. Everyone is welcome.

North West Spanish Civil War Project

In Celebration of Terry McCartney

Saturday, 22 June 2013

City of Counter Culture - City of Choice!

Alliance for Choice, Derry is hosting this event as an opportunity for anyone interested in becoming more active in pro-choice activity to come together for a series of skill sharing workshops and discussions which can help in building campaigns and pro-choice activism in the future.

This will also be an opportunity to get to know people, share ideas and experiences. We hope it will open up a debate about where pro-choice activists are at and where we go next.

City of Counter Culture - City of Choice!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Anarchist Talks In Derry

Recent round of anarchist posters up in Derry in the run up to Anti-G8 mobilization locally. 
If you are interested in getting involved with the Workers Solidarity Movement in the north west and would like to participate in discussions please get in touch!

The most successful G8 in Northern Ireland ever?

At the post G8 press conference, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggot claimed the G8 summit in Enniskillen was the 'most peaceful and stable' in its history. The G8 gangsters may have left dazzled and wined by our local political class but beneath the media spin and smokescreen lies the ugly reality of a new Northern Ireland of one rule for the rich and powerful while the rest of us must accept our place in the ladder or face the consequences. We only need to look no further than the selective internment of Marion Price and others.
Over the last couple of days we have witnessed an temporary police state in action and a template for managing similar events in the future.  An unprecedented security operation and lockdown with up to 8,000 armed thugs, drones and watchtowers, widespread stop and search, 'fastracked' courts- all the trappings of state violence on display to preserve and uphold the interests of wealth and privilege. If anything only confirming why anarchists have no illusion in the state and its primary role in society!
All geared to  supporting a carefully choreographed pageantry locked behind fort Knox subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of at least 50 million pounds. Money which could have been better spent on alleviating poverty, mass unemployment and invested in our schools and hospitals but this has and will never be the priority of our ruling class. Opening the North up for business, eliminating any dissent and cosying up to the dealers of austerity and state terror will never deliver any long term benefits to the people of Enniskillen or elsewhere;  except more of the same in the form of increasing poverty, declining wages and working conditions and benefit cuts.
As the journalist and writer Larrie Penny noted, 'It is also about pomp and show. It’s a pageant of neoliberal capitalism functioning whether local residents like it or not. That sort of pageantry requires the suppression of dissent, especially in a political climate where the elite's only answer to a drop in living standards and a collapse of faith in democracy is to line up an epic number of police with water cannons and tear gas.' (1)
As the system and the G8 unravels before us, the rich and bankers have never had it so good while more and more workers become permanently displaced; income and wealth inequality widens; and the ecological catastrophe threatens the continued existence of the planet as we know it.  The question we need to ask ourselves is how do we channel this anger and disillusionment towards building an effective mass movement that will shake the foundations of this rotten status-quo, what tools do we use and what change do we really want? How can we make the greatest impact at the coalface in our communities and workplaces’?
US President Barrack Obama sensationalised speech may have dazzled a mainly young audience and media at the Waterfront Hall with a Mexican wave and sound bites but beyond the smoke and mirrors is a speech delivered with drones based on absolute waffle and fiction that would make Joseph Goebells proud.
The reality is that the cracks cannot be easily covered up in the ‘New Northern Ireland.’ With sectarian conflict institutionalised and always ready to explode at any moment along with the decimation of the manufacturing sector, the  highest level of unemployment and poverty in the UK provides a lethal cocktail.  A new confident labour movement must fill this vacuum in a non- sectarian manner which is not afraid to challenge state repression and imperialism.
So Matt Baggot wasn't far wrong that this was the most successful G8 conference ever in terms of the peaceful, tranquil image it promoted to outside investors and vultures but who could of predicted any other outcome other than clashes with the police and an 'armed action'. Especially against a weak and divided opposition that posed no real challenge to its smooth running in comparison to previous summits and went out of its way to warn off any 'trouble makers'. The strategic location of the conference and massive security operation supported by a media propaganda offensive and scaremongering may have helped to marginalise any disruption.  
The reality is our local ruling class was easily able to diffuse any confrontation by confining any opposition within official, typically legalistic channels with the compliance of sections of the reformist left who have no intention of rocking the boat or the harmless straightjacket of what the state considers as legitimate or illegitimate protest.
Indeed any attempt to move outside the box was swiftly repressed as in the case of 30 protestors from the republican group RNU who attempted to reach Waterfront Hall on Monday morning during the Obama speech only to be met with overwhelming force beside Belfast City Hall. The  ‘dissident republican threat’ turned out to be an empty gesture highlighting its relative containment with the exception of small protests and sporadic armed attacks which amount to merely armed propaganda rather than in real threat to the status-quo.
There was a brief ‘action’ that strayed from the boring ritual of marching from A- B, or a possible police gesture to justify its overtime and massive show of strength, whenever a tiny section of the security fencing was breached on Monday evening but this was nothing in comparison to the last G8 held in Scotland where a several hundred strong Black Block fought running battles with the police and managed to block the main highway for several hours leading to Gleneagles.
 In searching for answers we should not overlook the distinctive weakness and marginalisation of the left and anarchist movement including republicanism; and an inexperienced ‘anti-capitalist’ movement in Ireland, in terms of its lack of infrastructure and social base that can mobilise tens of thousands of working class people. It was thin on the ground and unable to capitalise on growing anger and disillusionment which tends to express itself in a sectarian and reactive fashion such as the flag protests from earlier this year.
This is despite sections of the left and mainstream union movement spending a lot of time, effort and resources into building a mass rally in Belfast city centre last Saturday and promising up to 20,000 people to lobby our leaders and demand action over climate change, poverty and hunger the attendance was very poor.
Despite another draft of empty promises these demands in the end are met with the usual blind indifference that also allows opportunist politicians and patronising celebrities such as Bono to jump on the bandwagon. It is not just a matter making ‘demands,’ or of this injustice or that unfairness – it is the whole system that is rotten to its core. Poverty, war, racism, sexism and all the rest of the problems we face are not exceptions to the rule or single issues – they are the rule.
Capitalism cannot exist without the state creating poverty, without fighting wars, without oppressing people because of their race or gender and upholding class privilege.  Therefore if we want to win, we need to recognise that being right and moral isn’t enough. Unfortunately, our society is not a debating chamber where everyone is given an equal voice, and the decisions that affect our lives are not taken on moral grounds. If you have not realised already our rulers don’t care about doing right by us. What they care about is power and wealth, and supporting the interests they represent.
To some extent this lack of opposition marks the end of an era of 'summit hopping' and massive militant demonstrations that accompanied previous G8 events. This to some degree can be viewed in a positive light; in terms of the marginalizing path of protest mobilisation, focusing energy preparing for short term actions and moving from demonstration to demonstration instead of a long term vision and strategy. But anarchism, can be, and must develop infrastructures and culture of resistance in workplaces and communities fostering a libertarian culture of self organisation, mutual aid and mass direct action.
While the continuing squabbling by rival powers over the conflict in Syria dominated proceedings, these summits are a spectacle where our global and local ruling class sets the agenda; it is important to link day to day struggles against the water charges, public sector cuts etc to the wider neo liberal agenda the G8 symbolises.  
Class oppression maintained by the capitalist system  is not simply a small cabal of the ultra-rich in Wall Street or Washington or small elite group of G8 leaders. It is reproduced in every workplace, every police station, every dole queue, every courtroom, every prison and every territory occupied by Western militaries, and can only be sensibly understood and confronted as such. This system is global capitalism backed by the armed force of the state, a pattern of economic and political exploitation that reaches into every aspect of our lives.
We should be under no illusions. We are at a crossroads and the choice is stark. Either we the working class acts as a class and wrests power from the capitalist class or economic stability will be restored by state repression, dismantling social services, cuts to benefits and slashing wages and conditions.  The current crisis cannot be transcended through half measures and limited reforms or by voting in a new set of politicians no matter how 'revolutionary'. We need to think in bold terms, to view our commitment to building a new society as an immediate strategic priority, not as a goal for some vaguely defined future.
The only solution is in one where we realise our own class power, we can finally take control of our lives, our communities and workplaces’ free from exploitation, alienation and oppression. This future, a libertarian communist one, is truly a future worth fighting for.
WORDS: Sean Matthews

Mental health: From a cruel world to a new world

Yesterday I went to a funeral for a man who cared passionately for those who suffered at the hands of state cruelty. He campaigned tirelessly against racism in Ireland and for rights for immigrants. He himself suffered from depression and took his own life. It was a very sad funeral.

Today I read in the Guardian that anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five UK adults. One in five. Those figures should make us stop and think. We are an imaginative species cabable of great kindness and creativity, and we are living in a society that causes a fifth of us to suffer from mild mental illness. If you are ill or unemployed or a carer you are more likely to suffer from mental illness.  We are living in a world that is created in the interests of healty wealthy people, it is a world that causes suffering, even in relatively wealthy countries like the UK.

Depression and anxiety will always be with us, we are complicated beings, we feel love and we feel pain. But the levels that are currently being reported now are avoidable and unacceptable. It is a cruel world, but it doesn't have to be. Anarchist Buenaventura Durruti said he had a 'new world in his heart'. The new world I have in my heart is one that is based on solidarity, compassion and mutual one, one that does not push a fifth of its people into the isolation and loneliness of depression and anxiety.

WORDS: Aileen O'Carroll

Fermanagh G8: Capitalist Smoke Screen and Mirrors

Monday's Anti-G8 march and rally through Enniskillen should undoubtedly be viewed as a huge success by everyone who attended it.

Giving the fact of how the media, both the press and television, has played a full role in subjecting the population to weeks of sensationalist scare stories, it was a surprise that anyone even left their homes on Monday as the G8 leaders flew into Fortress Fermanagh.

Of course we have come to expect this as previous summits have staged similar scare stories.

There was no end to the wild accusations, supposedly there had been thousands of “anarchist extremists” hell-bent on causing violence on the day however this can only be viewed as part and parcel of the state sponsored hysteria programme. Choreographed Government spin in their attempt to justify the millions spent in what has been one of the largest ever security operations the state has undertaken here.

A jovial PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggot wasn't long in getting front of the cameras just as the six-mile security fence, that encircled the Lough Erne resort, was being dismantled to proclaim that the G8 summit in Enniskillen was "the most peaceful and secure" in history.

  Policing the entire two-day circus has been estimated to have cost £60 million which included a deployment of four thousand seven hundred PSNI officers, along with 3,600 from other UK forces, not to mention sixteen judges put on stand-by and the construction of a temporary 'custody centre' to deal with up to 260 possible prisoners.

Clearly designed to further intimate anyone planning on traveling to protest and voice their opposition to the representatives of big business and imperialism.

On the day, for those who did manage to travel to Enniskillen, by coach, car or by boat were stopped on entering the 'militarised zone' by teams of 'Police Laison' officers who handed out information flyers declaring protesters should 'Stay Safe - Stay Peaceful - Stay Lawful'.

In all, it is thought that several thousand people mobilsed successfully to show their opposition to the summit from all corners of the country, which included trade unionists, environmental and anti-capitalist activists who formed part of the main contingent raising issues from Anti-Fracking, to workers rights and world hunger.

At the Lough Erne resort to people gathered to listen to a number of speeches which celebrated what was a positive and successful march and rally.

Irish anarchist organisations from the Workers Solidarity Movement and the Belfast Solidarity Federation making up the anarchist contingent who condemned the entire G8 farce and the hysterical smoke screen thrown up around any opposition to it wasting millions on security alone while millions around the world continue to face the hardship of mass unemployment, poverty and hunger, war and environmental destruction.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Anarchists take part in Anti-G8 rally in Belfast

WSM and Solfed members marched together in Belfast today at the anti-G8 protest. It was wet and miserable and the turn out was poor. We skipped the speeches at the end.

As predicted by some of the press, there was an element in attendance that were hell bent on intimidating, violent posturing and costing the taxpayer a lot of money.

This group, known as the Police service of Northern Ireland along with police brought in from England and Scotland took positions around the city centre with large automatic weapons, and more armoured vans than you'd have seen during the troubles.

Despite the cuts, there'll always be money available for police overtime and guns.

Derry Anti G8 Mural Unveiled

 An Anti-G8 Mural was unveiled in Derry over the weekend by local activists in the build up to Monday's G8 Summit in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.

 For more info on Monday's events, click on to:

G8 Not Welcome Here!


This Monday there will be a rally in Guildhall Sq 1pm (Monday 17th June).  Shortly afterwards there will be a number of trade union organised buses leaving the city for Fermanagh at 2pm. 

At Enniskillen there will be a March and Rally and everyone is asked to assemble at Enniskillen Library at 6.30pm. 

They Are G8 - We are 7 Billion: March & Rally Belfast

The red carpet will be rolled out to welcome the G8 leaders to Fermanagh. We are supposed to be honoured by the presence of the rulers of the world’s richest nations and ignore their connivance with the reality of hunger, war, greed and the oil addiction which threatens the planet.

This is not how it needs to be. We believe Another World is Possible and we encourage you to think globally and act locally to make it happen.

Join us for what is sure to be one of the largest mass mobilisations of people power Belfast has seen and help ensure that the G8 leaders know that we don’t honour them and won’t ignore their role in making the world what it is.

This will be a peaceful and colourful mass protest so be creative and noisy!

For more information contact:
02890 247940


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Bloody Sunday: “Sorry Don't Make It Right”

'Eamonn McCann in Conversation' with Tommy McKearney on why Cameron's apology for Bloody Sunday is no substitute to justice.

If Eamonn McCann were ever to appear on 'Master Mind' I think he'd be safe enough to choose Bloody Sunday as his specialised subject. He was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights campaign and was on the anti-internment march on 30th January 1972 as Bloody Sunday unfolded before his eyes. He wrote the first pamphlet on the killings, entitled “What Happened In Derry”, which was published in February 1972. 
Within a week of the British Government's notorious Widgery Report in April 1972, his pamphlet “The Widgery Whitewash” was in print.

He went on to write two books on the subject, including the seminal 'Bloody Sunday In Derry What Really Happened' published by Brandon in 1992 as well as a number of other pamphlets and scores of newspaper articles on the massacre. He also wrote and produced three television programmes on the subject.
Eamonn was chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust for 10 years up until and including the release of Lord Saville's Report into the second British Public Inquiry into the events of the day.

As a journalist, with a few exceptions he attended everyday of the inquiry. In 2010 he won Amnesty International's Journalist of the Year award. In the same year he won a special award from the Guardian Newspaper and Private Eye for his investigative journalism on Bloody Sunday.

Never afraid to court controversy where truth must disturb the liberal consensus he delivered a comprehensive critique of the limitations of the Saville Report just two weeks after its publication (see link on this website). He has since published widely on the limitations of the second Bloody Sunday Report and its reception. He characterises David Cameron’s much-praised Commons speech on the report as “lies and sheer hypocrisy”.