These are the videos and audios I recorded at this years Dublin anarchist bookfair
In Northern Syria ISIS has been driven back by people fighting for a society based on principles of direct democracy, gender equality, and sustainability. From the their revolution in 2012 they have created a de facto autonomous region in which this ideas are being implemented.
At this opening session of the 2016 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair we heard from eyewitnesses to the revolution including those from the region.
The region is known to Kurds as Rojava and these events are commonly referred to as the Rojavan revolution, reflecting the fact that the revolution was initated and led by Kurdish forces, even though now they are building a much broader coalition known as the Syrian Democratic Force.
The political system of Rojava is inspired by democratic confederalism and communalism. It is influenced by anarchist and libertarian principles, and is considered by many a type of libertarian socialism. The basic unit at the local level is the community which pools resources for education, protection and governance. At a national level communities are unrestricted in deciding their own economic decisions on who they wish to sell to and how resources are allocated. There is a broad push for social reform, gender equality and ecological stabilization in the region.
The speakers in order of appearance
Janet Biehl who writes about libertarian municipalism and social ecology, the body of ideas developed and publicized by Murray Bookchin. Bookchin's writings have been credited with having a huge influence on Kurdish freedom movement in the region and thus on the revolution.
Ayse Gokkan is a woman activist from Northern Kurdistan (Turkey), representative of KJA (Free woman Congress of Kurdistan), an organisation formed early in 2015 to advance women's struggles in this part of the world, gathering different women in Kurdistan, not just Kurdish, also Syriac, Armenian, Allawis, Yezidis, etc.This is a community based association organising along communal lines through 501 delegates. She was mayor in Nusaybin for the BDP-HDP party (2009-2014). In 2013 she was on hunger strike demanding that Turkey stopped building a wall at the border in order to isolate Rojava.
Elife Berk is an activists and member of the KJA (the Free Women's Congress). She will discuss the current situation in Kurdistan, including the ongoing conflict, child deaths, and the imposition of curfews.
Erjan Ayboga is an active member of the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement and was involved in a campaign to oppose the damming of the Tigris river. His latest book, 'Revolution in Rojava', will be published in English in July.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Basic Income. Basic Income is a payment from the state to every resident on an individual basis, without any means test or work requirement. Is Basic Income a progressive proposal or does it sound too good to be true?
Róisín Mulligan will speak on behalf of Basic Income Ireland and other members of BII will be present to participate in discussion. Basic Income Ireland is a network of people working towards making universal basic income a reality in Ireland.
Michael Taft is Research Officer with UNITE the Union. He blogs regularly at Unite's Notes on the Front and the Irish Left Review.
Mark Hoskins is an anarchist writer and activist currently researching automation, urban farming, class, and alternatives to wage labour and monetary exchange.
From Trump in the US to Pegida in Europe, the recent resurgence of right-wing and fascist politics challenges all of us to develop stronger and stronger anti-racist social movements. From casual, everyday racism to state policies of border enforcement, racism comes in many forms in Ireland. What are the major issues faced by Travellers, by people living in Direct Provision, and by those fleeing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East? What can we do to advance the struggle against racism in all its forms?
In this panel we brought together a variety of activists from migrant, Traveller, and refugee solidarity networks to discuss experiences of challenging racism in everyday society and in state policy, and to share perspectives on developing solidarity in the struggle for survival, recognition, and respect.
Eileen Flynn is a Traveller rights activist.
Lucky Khambule is a member of the Anti-Racism Network and the Kinsale Road Asylum Centre. He will discuss “Dismantling Direct Provision”.
Caoimhe Butterly is a migrant justice ally and has spent the past months working with independent medical teams and self-organised refugee solidarity structures in Greece, Calais and the Balkans.
The environmental crisis represents ‘one of the gravest and most severe existential threats to our species survival’. International agreements aimed at curbing fossil fuel emissions have largely been a failure, with the most recent Paris CoP21 conference labelled ‘a fraud and a fake’ by leading climatologist and activist James Hansen. Capitalism’s unrelenting assault on the natural environment has pushed us past the point of continuing any pretence of ‘safe carbon mitigation’. It is becoming more widely accepted that we now need a global restructuring of the economic mode of production; capitalism must be dissolved.
Janet Biehl, a theorist and writer who has written on topics such as Social Ecology and Libertarian Municipalism, Ecofeminism, and the dynamics and threats posed by ‘Ecofascism’. Biehl is a supporter of the Kurdish rights movement. The Kurdish Worker’s Party have taken inspiration from work in which she was involved, notably Murray Bookchin’s theories of Social Ecology.
Erjan Ayboga is an active member of the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement and was involved in a campaign to oppose the damming of the Tigris river
"After completing my studies in civil engineering and hydrology, I worked for more than two years in the municipality of the largest city of Turkish Kurdistan, called Diyarbakir (in Kurdish: Amed). Between the fall of 2004 and the beginning of 2007, I was heavily involved in establishing a campaign to oppose the large Ilisu Dam Project on the Tigris River, which would have grave social, cultural, ecological, and political impacts on many many people. Since 2007 I worked in this campaign, called the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, as international coordinator also from Germany, but spent two to three months annually in Kurdistan. The Initiative has as its objective, not only to see the cancellation of the Ilisu project, but to build up a coalition of dam-critical and water-issue movements in the Republic of Turkey. At the same time I began a Ph.D. on river restoration."
Recent years in Ireland have seen growing community based resistance to the imposition of austerity programs: the introduction of regressive taxes such as the property tax and water charges, and the homelessness crisis as a direct consequence.
The ongoing attempt to establish Irish Water, a state backed water utility company, designed to pave the way for privatisation of our water and infrastructure, has been met with unprecedented broad based resistance from communities across the country.
Similarly the obscene growth in homelessness across the country is being met with growing grassroots resistance through groups such as the Dublin Tenants Association and Irish Housing Network.
While few, if any, foresaw the rapid rise in direct action and community organisation that we see at the moment, it has quickly become the norm for people involved in political organising. Occupations of state buildings, blockades of contractors, direct confrontation with police and struggles around housing have come to characterise politics in Ireland recently. While some political forces seek to use this surge in working class political activity for electoral gain, anarchists seek to use this opportunity to encourage direct action and democratic forms of organising in order to strengthen the organisational and political capacity of our communities.
Panel participants are
- Brian Fagan, an anarchist organiser and active member of the WSM for six years. He has also participated in community organising, centring on resistance to property taxes and Irish Water for the past three years.
- Mick O’Broin, an activist with the Dublin Tennant’s Association and Provisional University. Mick will talk about the politics of self-organising in the context of the crisis in the private rented sector and its usefulness in creating networks and empowerment.
- Aisling Hedderman is part of the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Community, a grassroots community of parents and individuals directly affected by the housing crisis. The focus of the group is in offering support, spreading awareness and taking direct action against this systemic failure.
Rebuilding radical trade unions from below
One hundred years after the vigorous labour organising of Jim Larkin, James Connolly, Rosie Hackett, and Louis Bennett in Ireland, we still remember the old labour slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all”.
But in their present structure, are trade unions nothing more than an arm of the state and of the bosses? Do unions function more to control workers rather than advance their interests? Can the major unions be reformed from within, or should we start building new ones? Are militant trade unionists ‘wreckers’, or the future of the labour movement?
In this audio from the 11th Dublin anarchist bookfair speakers from the Independent Workers Union (Ireland) and the Industrial Workers of the World (Scotland) discussed the current state of organised labour and propose possible ways to advance the interests of workers today. They draw on experiences of struggles they have been involved in, specific challenges that unions face, and specific ideas about the way forward.
Dek Keenan is an organiser and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), currently based in Glasgow.
Paul Bowman is an organiser and member of the Independent Workers Union, currently based in Dublin
The audio recording of the Bodily Autonomy at the Intersections panel at the 11th Dublin Anarchist bookfair.
Sinéad Redmond is a pro-choice and maternity rights activist. A founding member of the Abortion Rights Campaign, she is now the secretary of the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) Ireland. Sinéad is an intersectional feminist, WSM supporter and mother of two who now lives in Limerick.
Eilís Ní Fhlannagáin has been active in radical trans women’s circles for the past two decades. Her activism focuses on trans women, their access to quality health care, employment rights, poverty, and transmisogyny within feminist and queer communities. She was one of the organisers of the Ireland leg of the Topside Press "Nevermind the Hormones" tour. Her work has been mentioned in Mimi Marinucci’s “Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection between Queer and Feminist Theory”, as well as Sybil Lamb’s “How Not To Have A Sex Change”. She currently lives in Dublin where she is writing a book about an underground orchiectomy clinic.
Catriona is a sex worker and a supporter of the WSM, who lives in Ireland. She is currently involved in the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, but has been involved in other political campaigns in Ireland including sex workers rights and migrant rights. She also curated the @Ireland account in August last year.
A century ago, an armed insurrection took place in Ireland to end British rule and to establish an independent Irish Republic. The 1916 Rising was soon accompanied by major popular revolts against World War One across Europe and later emulated by anti-colonial movements across the Global South.
When it comes to remembering the 1916 Rising, why do conservative politicians and historians want to convince us that it would have been better for us if Pearse and Connolly had stayed at home? Why did the state parade lots of military equipment and personnel down O’Connell Street to mark the centenary? Why did so many people turn out to watch it?
This panel attempts to think through the meaning of 1916 for us today, and the politics at stake in how these events are remembered, forgotten, and mis-remembered.
Andrew is a member of Workers Solidarity Movement, currently based in Dublin. He will be making the case for a more critical assessment of the legacy of 1916 in terms of the sort of movement we should be building today
Fionnghuala is a member of the Workers Solidarity Movement, currently based in Belfast. She will be taking a post colonial look at the celebrations and modern day ireland and where we find ourselves in the north.
Donal is a local Dublin historian and activist. He is one of the founders of the award-winning blog on Dublin life and culture, ‘Come Here To Me’. He will be looking at the revisionist nature of centenary, the reinvention of World War One as some kind of wonderful thing and the cult of Redmond.
This panel on Feminist struggles was recorded at the 2016 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair.
The speakers are;
Elife Berk is an activist and member of the KJA (the Free Women's Congress). She will discuss Jineology, an analysis of womens struggle developed by the Kurdish Freedom Movement.
Suzanne Lee is known for having an illegal abortion and once throwing eggs at Enda Kenny. She will talk about respectability politics, young women in activist communities and mental health.
Claire Brophy is completing her PhD on the writing of Anne Enright in the School of English, Maynooth University. Her research interests lie in contemporary Irish women's writing, cultural theory, and feminist philosophy. She has been an abortion rights activist for several years, and is a founding member of the Abortion Rights Campaign
Theresa O'Keefe researches and writes on feminist resistance. She will speak about the relationship between feminism and republican armed struggle in the north of Ireland during the troubles.
This is a video recording of a panel at the 2016 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair - we've made many Anarchist Bookfair video and audio recordings available over the years, click on the Anarchist Bookfair tag to view them.
Video setup and editing Andrew Flood, follow Andrew on Twitter
Words & video:Andrew Flood (follow Andrew on Twitter)