Saturday, 31 August 2013

Derry Anti War Coalition meeting

The next Derry Anti War Coalition meeting will take place on Tuesday 3rd Setemper, upstairs in Sandino's Bar, Water Street, Derry at 5:30pm.  

The aim of the meeting is to review what to do next re: Syria and to plan for a public meeting/discussion locally.

If you are on FACEBOOK you can click on the web event and invite friends.   

For further reading on Anarchism and what Syrian Anarchists think on the current situation, click on to: 

Syrian anarchist on imperialist interventions and the Syrian Revolution

See you at the meeting!

No War On Syria!

It was agreed a last weeks meeting of the Derry Anti War Coalition that if or when the U.S. begins to bomb Syria, that we are still ready to take action against it locally. 

The Derry Anti War Coalition has called a demonstration at 5.30 at THE WAR MEMORIAL in the Diamond after the first strike - (that is, the first 5.30 after the attack, if it happens at night then the next day). 

The DAWC are encouraging people to make placards and have banners ready in advance.

No War On Syria 

5.30 at War Memorial

The Diamond.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Free The Barcelona Five

Anarchist prisoner solidarity posters distributed here in the Derry area, as part of Anarchist Black Cross prisoner solidarity work, in support of the five anarchist prisoners imprisoned by the Spanish State.  

If you want to help out distributing posters locally or writing to those imprisoned as a gesture of solidarity then please get in touch.

Details about their imprisonment: Free Barcelona 5

For further information on Yolanda, Juan, Silvia, Xabier and Jose, please visit the web links below.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Internment, parading and the politics of class

The eruption of conflict and intense rioting in Belfast over the last couple of months is a clear illustration that, no matter what lengths Stormont and the media circus go to to disguise the ugly reality of the ‘peace process’, the scars of the past and frequent eruption of sectarian conflict refuse to go away as political parties play the sectarian card to get one over on their rivals.

With over 300 police officers apparently injured so far this year, the honeymoon period following a 'successful' G8 conference has long passed - lifting the veil from a colonial sectarian settlement that has delivered a few crumbs to our class while the rich get richer. While at the same time our rulers in Stormont are busy stuffing themselves with £250,000 subsidised food expenses in 2012.
Wining and dining Orange leaders and paramilitaries at a secret conference in Cardiff earlier this year to hammer out a deal that would keep the Orange marches peaceful has clearly not paid off. Sinn Fein’s move to further accommodate some marches based on the ‘Derry model’ (which accommodates the annual Apprecentice Boys march in the city centre during August) was too little too late for some and is part of the Orange State being replaced by a sectarian carve-up.
However, unlike the Drumcree seige of the Garvaghy Road in the mid 1990s, the loyal orders and their supporters have yet to mobilise the same level of enormous rallies.  Nor have we seen the regular sectarian murders by loyalist paramilitaries of that period.
This is perhaps an indication that far from one monolithic unionist identity, as republicans often like to portray, unionism is fractured but unites when percieved to be under external threat. We need to exacerbate these internal contradictions by building a clear alternative based on class interests and opposition to fascistic loyalism rather than pandering to it as sections of the left seek to do.
In the midst of recent disturbances, the reality of living under rule from Westminster enforced by their junior partners at Stormont cannot be glossed over. Selective internment is one weapon utilised by the British state and the 26 counties under special Diplock courts to remove any activists it considers a threat to national security. Marion Price may have been released but Martin Corey and Stephen Murney still continue to be held by a Sinn Fein backed Justice system.
Since partition, both states have utilised all means of repression to maintain ‘stability’. This has taken many forms including mass internment. Today this is utilised in the form of internment on remand where people are denied bail or given stringent bail conditions which basically amount to home imprisonment. Éirígí member Stephen Murney continues to be held on the most flimsy of charges. The revoking of parole licences on the grounds of ‘national security’ by an unelected British secretary is really a method of selective internment that could be used against all opposition including anarchists.
Serious concerns have also been expressed by Justice Watch Ireland regarding the conviction of the Craigavon Two. In May last year Lurgan man Brendan McConville (41) was jailed for a minimum of 25 years for PSNI Constable Carroll’s murder, and John Paul Wootton (22) received a minimum 14 year term. Paddy Hill of the Birmingham 6 from Miscarriage of Justice Organisation (MOJO) stated: ‘“We don’t just jump into bed with anyone because they say they are innocent....The evidence in this case is very flimsy and very dodgy and I see this happening all the time…. It’s not about politics, it’s about one thing and one thing only justice, innocence or guilt. If I read the papers and thought they were guilty I would go to the jail and tell them why I thought they were guilty.”
Recently a couple of thousand people from across Ireland and beyond took to the streets of Belfast to protest against internment and other injustices. Organised mainly by republicans and human rights activists, the march was violently opposed by loyalists who were removed by the PSNI. The irony is that hundreds of loyalists were also interned by the British state since the 1970s, including the defendants in the ongoing UVF supergrass trial. While loyalists blocked the parade from going through Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre, republicans were egged as they marched past the edge of the lower Shankill.  I couldn’t help noticing from the footage the smug and crass sectarianism from some participants as they watched loyalists being hemmed in by the PSNI - seeing it as some form of hollow victory over the other side.
Yet again we witnessed running battles on the streets of Belfast, a shift from its relative containment in working class areas to the heart of Belfast city centre to the shock and horror of the tourist industry and local ruling class.  As PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggot described the scenes as ‘anarchy’, working class communities were once again left to pick up the pieces.
It is worth remembering that the only ‘anarchy’ our political rulers continue to dish out is  class robbery in the form of increasing unemployment, poverty and welfare cuts with state violence as a frontline response.
The latest rioting comes on the back of the blocking of this year’s 12th of July sectarian parade through the contentious Ardoyne/Woodvale interface after years of opposition from Ardoyne residents, serving to highlight that violent resistance and mass mobilisation does pay off . Therefore no one should be surprised that the returning march ended in violence after being blocked by the PSNI.
Sinn Fein have long since lost any credibility and leadership in their traditional heartlands such as Ardoyne while reactionary loyalism is getting pulled in all directions by misplaced fear and anxiety, being utilised by big house unionism.
The cries of ‘defending our Orange culture and heritage’ from various shades of loyalism is not that different from EDL coat trailing exercises.  They hide the fact that bigotry, alienation and underlying socio/economic problems are affecting all working class communities.  These are issues which cannot be addressed by Stormont who are part of the problem rather than the solution.
Nationalism of all stripes is no solution and the only place where national flags belong is in the dustbin of history. The sad reality is that if the same level of struggle in terms of mass parades, blockades and rioting backed up by industrial action was directed against opposing the savage cuts to jobs, housing and welfare reform we might be in a completely different scenario.   As one comrade noted, ‘If you are going to riot, do it over cuts to jobs and housing etc.’ 
At the end of the day we can engage in wishful thinking and 'abstract' calls for workers' unity until our heart is content but the sectarian and colonial context in the North means there are no easy answers. This poses a real challenge to those of us who believe in uprooting the real parasites and common enemies of our class, by building a society that offers real freedom and social equality to all. Struggles around women's right to choose, opposition to welfare cuts and workplace struggles provide small steps in breaking down sectarian barriers and building the type of unity and confidence that can empower us to take control of our lives, commuities and workplaces for our benefit.  
WORDS: Sean Matthews

Friday, 23 August 2013

Solidarity with the People of Egypt

Solidarity protest held at Derry's War Memorial this afternoon (Friday 23rd August) in solidarity with the People of Egypt. 

The event was organised by the Derry Anti War Coalition and despite the bad weather several turned out to express their support and solidarity. 

No War But The Class War!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

From Derry To Cairo: Solidarity with the People of Egypt

The Friday afternoon, Fri. 23rd August in Derry there will be a demonstration at the War Memorial, the Diamond calling for an end to the slaughter in Egypt.  

Please try and make it along to show you solidarity with the people of Egypt.  Event takes place at 5.30pm on Fri. 23rd August at the War Memorial in the Diamond and a member of the Egyptian community in the city will address those in attendance. 

Organised by:  Derry Anti War Coalition

Solidarity with the Egyptian Working Class:


Facebook events page: From Derry to Cairo...Solidarity With the People of Egypt 

Building an effective anarchist movement in Australia

This post- Melbourne Anarchist bookfair conversation took place in the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC) which has a history stretching back to the 1890s.  While visiting the premises which contains a library, meeting space and infoshop I caught up with Brendan and Ben two active members of the collective and Kieran from Anarchist Affinity which is seeking to build a similar organisation to the WSM, based on theoretical and tactical unity and collective responsibility.

Topics discussed included the history of MAC, opinions on the third Melbourne bookfair, struggles engaged in by anarchists, and the potential for building a viable anarchist movement in Australia.

A couple of hundred people attended the Anarchist Bookfair this year in Melbourne. Stalls ranged from a variety of anarchist groups and other campaigns sincluding animal rights, prisoner support and unions.
People came from across Australia and beyond. Meetings ranged from fighting neo- liberalism to sexuality, 'witchcraft', fighting austerity and resistance across the globe.

I contributed to a panel discussion on austerity in Ireland with a live link up with Turkish anarchists discussing the recent rising there.
Notes: The 'Melbourne Anarchist Club' was officially founded on 1 May 1886 by David Andrade and others breaking away from the Australasian Secular Association of Joseph Symes, the journal Honesty being the anarchist club's official organ, and anarchism became a significant minor current on the Australian left. The current included a diversity of views on economics, ranging from an individualism influenced by Benjamin Tucker to the anarchist communism of JA Andrews. All regarded themselves as broadly "socialist" however.[1][2] 
The Anarchists mixed with the seminal literary figures Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmore and the labour journalist and utopian socialist William Lane. The most dramatic event associated with this early Australian anarchism was perhaps the bombing of the "non-union" ship SS Aramac on 27 July 1893 by Australian anarchist and union organiser Larrie Petrie.[3] This incident occurred in the highly charged atmosphere following the defeat of the 1890 Australian maritime dispute and the 1891 Australian shearers' strike, an atmosphere which also produced the Sydney-based direct action group the "Active Service Brigade"[4] Petrie was arrested for attempted murder but charges were dropped after a few months. He later joined Lane's "New Australia" utopian experiment in Paraguay.'

Lessons from the Mass Student strike in Quebec - Ireland tour September 2013

In 2012 the attempt by the government to Quebec to introduce a 75% fee hike was defeated by the organisation of a mass student strike that lasted over 6 months.  That fee increase was part of the global process of imposing the privatisation and commodification of education.  Since the victory, organisers of the strike have been being doing speaking tours to aid the process whereby "youth and students everywhere are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to organize as a means to defend education as a social right".  In September this tour reaches Ireland where we need to hear how a sustained and militant student movement that can win is built.  This initial callout is for volunteer organisers for the tour - we want you to help in ensuring a really good turnout for all of the Irish dates of the tour.

There are two purposes to the tour.  Firstly so that we can learn how the successful strike was organised in Quebec and discuss whether similar methods might work here. But as importantly we want to use the organisation of the tour in order to aid in the building of a network of militant student activists across the island.  So we are not just asking you to attend another lecture, we are asking you to get involved in the process of organising the tour so that you can be part of building that network before the tour has even begun.

Why is Quebec different
"In Quebec, a student strike isn’t just a bunch of rallies, marches and occupations. The strike is a complete shutdown of all courses on campus : no classes, no exams and no evaluations are to take place while the strike is on. Once the strike is voted in a general assembly and comes into effect, picket lines are erected and classrooms are emptied. Everyone, students and faculty alike, is forced to respect the strike mandate. Universities and colleges affected by the strike see their academic calendars disrupted, and since no classes or grading is allowed to happen, degrees can’t be awarded.
During the 2012 strike, most student unions held general assemblies every week to decide whether or not to stay on strike until the next assembly. While doing so, students meeting each other could also discuss the orientation and the actions of the movement. These regular and populous assemblies were fundamental in creating empowerment and a deep investment into the movement among students."  ( from )

About the tour
Our aim is to get to at 5 cities and at least 8+ universities, hopefully talking to a couple of hundred students who want to see a militant student movement in the process.  We hope that this will be looked back on as one important moment in the creation of a fighting student movement that won in Ireland.
Our speaker Vanessa participated and organised at many levels of the strike in small horizontal and autonomous groups, but also as a delegate for her local student union in the most combative national student union (CLASSE). She says “as a feminist activist I was involved in the organization of many collectives projects directly linked with the strike, and as a delegate elected by my general assembly I was one of the transmitting tool necessary for the practice of direct democracy on a large scale”. “All my analysis of the experience of the strike is formed by my political ideas of feminism, class struggle and anti-hierarchy."

If you think its worth students in Ireland looking at how all this was organised and how Quebec has managed to maintain a multi generational radical students movement (Similar strikes happened in Quebec 1974, 1978, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1996 and 2005) then complete the Quebec tour organiser form and together we will make this tour a big success.

Register to be a tour organiser now

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Questioning Queer Politics: Is "Marriage Equality" Enough?

“Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us. Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.” ― David Cameron
"Legalizing gay marriage would offer homosexuals the same deal society now offers heterosexuals: general social approval and specific legal advantages in exchange for a deeper and harder-to-extract-yourself from commitment to another human being. Like straight marriage, it would foster social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence... it could also help nurture children. And its introduction would not be some sort of radical break with social custom... A law institutionalizing gay marriage would merely reinforce a healthy social trend... Those conservatives who deplore promiscuity among some homosexuals should be among the first to support it... If these arguments sound socially conservative, that’s no accident. It’s one of the richest ironies of our society’s blind spot toward gays that essentially conservative social goals should have the appearance of being so radical.” ― Andrew Sullivan, 'Here Comes The Groom: A (Conservative) Case For Gay Marriage'
As it's presently constructed, the LGBT movement is probably less than a decade away from achieving all of it's major aims in most Western societies: centrally, same-sex couples having the right to marry and raise children, and, more broadly, equality, understood as assimilation within existing conservative institutions such as the military, the police, or the boardroom. Inevitably, this will mean a massive demobilization and depoliticisation among LGBT people and the collapse of much of whatever activist networks currently exist, as, demonstrably, we will have achieved pretty much everything we are currently demanding.
But equality is not liberation. Paradoxically, even as gay concerns become increasingly mainstream and everyone from major corporations, to the English Defence League, to apartheid Israel scramble to feel the benefits of positive pink PR, we are hardly closer to liberating sexuality from the bridle of conservative/religious moralism.
Instead, we have sought, and are beginning to be granted, inclusion within heteronormative structures, namely marriage, but only on the understanding that the basic form and logic of marriage is to remain unchanged. In fact, this very concession is at the core of much liberal advocacy for "marriage equality": of course conservative concerns are irrational, we have no intention of threatening their family values ideology, we just want in.
So perhaps now, when articulating a critique of the push for marriage can no longer reasonably be understood as a betrayal of the movement in the face of an urgent need for unity, we should take the opportunity to re-evaluate our horizons. Indeed, given the accelerating incorporation of (some) queers within the sexual and political mainstream, I would argue that there is a pressing need to question the terms of this compromise before it solidifies.
Marriage is an institution borne out of sexual repression and patriarchy, and inseparable from its history as male ownership of women - a history which still shapes the lived realities of married people. It is the institution of an ideology that sees human sexuality as a threat, and seeks to constrain it. Ideally, sex should only happen for the purposes of procreation, but failing that, only within the bounds of stable monogamy, and not in any way that might be considered kinky or weird. There is no room for fluidity, or polyamoury, or promiscuity, which are at best tolerated among young people with the expectation that they will "settle down".
However marriage is redefined or reconfigured, it will never be ours. The State retains the power to define what constitutes a “normal” relationship, to write the relationship script for the vast majority of society, while those who don’t or won’t fit the script are pushed to the margins. This doesn't just affect people at the point where they "choose" to get married, but in fact all relationships are expected to be proto-marriages: monogamous, and aiming at permanence, with a series of predefined stages (which vary according to culture) on the way to marriage. Romantic narratives about "finding your soulmate" (i.e. expectation that you will only legitimately love one person in your entire life) are bound up with the institution of marriage, and shape people's expectations around sex and relationships in an often damaging way.
The existence of marriage, then, is not merely an issue for those who wish to get married (and who may presently be prevented from doing so by homophobic discrimination) – it is the institution around which sexuality is organised within our society. Instead of being allowed to embrace the polymorphous possibilities of romantic and sexual experience, to explore a potentially infinite landscape of bodily experience and interpersonal connection, sexuality is directed towards a single idealised form. Marriage as an institution is thus the antithesis of free love, the quasi-compulsory privatisation of affection, and the mechanism by which the state bludgeons our sexualities into the most useful shape for reproducing the next generation of labour.

No Crime to seek asylum - Irish migrant view of the Australian debate

An Irish anarchist living in Melbourne, Australia gives his perspective on the 'asylum seeker' debate there leading up to the forthcoming elections. He argues Irish workers should be standing in solidarity with the most marginalised and dispossesed in our society. In the words of one Aboriginal activist; ' “As people who know what it’s like to be invaded by boat people we are in a better position to judge how the current boat people should be treated. Where the original boat people who took our country were armed to the teeth and bent on conquest, asylum seekers in 2012 are unarmed and seeking sanctuary."
If there is one thing our barbaric corrupt political class have in common from Ireland to Australia is the need when to keep us divided through the carrot and the stick. There weapon of choice is often whipping up of division, scapegoating of minorities and fear of the ‘other’. In the case of Australia, which I have learnt to well since arriving on these shores, it is the spectre of ‘boat people’ or asylum seekers which dominates the mainstream political discourse in terms of the forthcoming elections.  Basically two shades of the same political establishment seek to outgun each other to see who can offer the cruelest form treatment for men, women and children fleeing persecution, hunger and oppression.
You don’t need to dig deep beneath the surface to expose this racist and state sponsored terrorism which has tragically resulted in at least 1376 refugees drowning while trying to reach Australia since 1998. Behind every statistic lies an individual story and a family tragedy. Behind the hysteria of ‘queue jumpers’ and ‘crime influx’,  the reality is Australia takes less that 1% of the world’s refugees, people often fleeing conflicts and military occupations created by western imperialism such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the vast majority of refugees there is no queue to join, especially when you are offered the choice of life and death.
In effort to ‘stop the boats’, both the Labour and coalition party policy believes asylum seekers should be 'processed' - illegally detained - in detention camps being built in Papua New Guinea who have been bribed and bullied by the Australian government. Until now people have been detained in some of the most isolated islands in the world at Christmas Island, the small island of Nauru and Manus Island.  They are detained in crowded and shocking conditions where rape, torture and suicide are rife, conditions that have been condemned by  international human rights groups and the UN.  A former security officer on Manus Island said; ‘I’ve never seen human being so destitute, so helpless and hopeless. In Australia, the facility couldn’t even serve as a dog kennel…I felt ashamed to be Australian.’ (1)
In an attempt to outgun the Labour Party and its ‘PNG Solution’, Tony Abbot, Catholic fundamentalist educated at Oxford and leader of the opposition claims he will completely stop permanent residency and use the Navy to stop the boats.  In this he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Thatcherite John Howard.

Foyle Pride 2013

Foyle Pride Festival has become one of the highlights of the summer, with a unique family friendly feel to the parade, inspirational speakers, workshops and fantastic nights out with live music and local artists.

The launch of  this year’s festival will feature GAA star, Donal Óg Cusack, Irelands only openly gay sportsman, and one of the very few openly gay men playing at the top-level of their game.  His brave decision to be open about his sexuality is a step towards addressing the invisibility of gay men and women in top-level sports.

We believe the Pride festival is an important way to remind ourselves how far we have come in the struggle for equality, how there is still more to do and further to go, and to show our support to our LGBT brothers and sisters in parts of the world where they face violence, imprisonment and even death because of who they love.

So whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, trans, bi or somewhere in-between, come out and show your support, join the parade, attend the events, and most importantly, have fun!

Programme for 2013:
Foyle Pride

Prisoner Solidarity: Freedom for the five of Barcelona

On May 15, 2013 a major crackdown was launched by the Mossos D’Squadra [Catalan police] which was directed from the National Audience Court in Madrid [high prosecution panel], in which five anarchists were arrested in various parts of Catalonia. 

A media-orientated coup to coincide with the second anniversary of the 15-M popular protests, a mediatic lynching, where these libertarians still remain in pretrial custody. Details of the case and solidarity initiatives can be found on the support blog to the five of Barcelona. In this post we provide the addresses where letters can be sent to the companerxs.

The current status of the 5 anarchist prisoners at July 31 is dispersion to two Spanish provinces (Avila and Madrid) and 5 different prisons under the FIES3 penitentiary regime. The state lifted the isolation which the companerxs were under, but the state continues with the other FIES restrictions they apply.
You can send letters to all of them at the following addresses listed below. Note that the communications are being monitored so we propose maximum prudence in the contents of the letters themselves.
Remember the account number solidarity for prisoners and their families:

Bankia account number (Spain): 2038 9252 63 3000365109
Postal Addresses of the Five Anarchists Arrested in Barcelona (Catalunya & Spanish State)
Address are:

Silvia Muñoz Layunta
NIS 2010012388
CP Madrid VII Estremera
Ctra. M-241 km 5,750
28595 Estremera, Madrid, Spain

Jose Carlos Recio Minguez
NIS 2000003209
CP Madrid VI, Aranjuez
Ctra N-400 km 28
28300 Aranjuez. Madrid, Spain

Juan José Garrido Marcos
NIS 2013009086
CP Madrid II, Alcala de Henares
Ctra Alcala-Meco km 5
28805 Alcala de Henares, Spain

Yolanda Fernández Fernández
NIS 2013009039
CP Avila, Brieva
Ctra. de Vicolozano
05194 Brieva (Ávila), Spain

Xabier González Sola
NIS 9226970300
CP Madrid IV (Navalcarnero)
Ctra. N-V, km. 27.728600
Navalcarnero, Madrid, Spain

Please write to them, send them a post card and tell each that you stand with them against state repression of anarchists and class struggle prisoners.

More info

Saturday, 17 August 2013

International Solidarity: To Russia With Love!

Great protest today in Derry city centre as part of the international day of action in solidarity with imprisoned members of Pussy Riot and the Russian LGBT community, criminalized, brutalized and murdered following draconian legislation introduced by the Putin regime. 

Love and Solidarity from all of us in Derry, Ireland.

Conversations About Anarchism

Friendly free and open discussion for people who are new to anarchism & seek answers to basic questions.

Conversations about Anarchism comes to Derry in September with the first sessions being What are the basics of Anarchism.

Conversations about Anarchism is our friendly discussion based sessions designed for people who are new or fairly new to anarchism and want a chance to ask and hear answered some basic questions. It's open to anyone with an interest in finding out more about anarchism and will take place in the city centre this coming September. 

More details PM us on Facebook or by email at

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Derry Protest: To Russia With Love!

Day of international solidarity in support of the two remaining pussy riot members still being held in a Russian prison one year on.

In doing so we wish to highlight the continuing anti LGBT laws in Russia also being orchestrated by the Putin Regime. As this is also a year on from the successful Pussy Riot protest at their sentencing some people are dusting off their masks already! We will be gathering on the steps of St Columb's Hall (Between Richmond Centre/Foyleside) on Sat. 17th August at 2pm-3pm

Bring a home-made mask (optional) pot/pans for noise, banners/flags, musical instrument for a song or two. 

Please Forward/Please Attend!

Link:  Facebook Event