Mayday in Dublin was on the evening of May 1st while in Belfast it took place on Saturday May 4th. I managed to get to both events with a camera, I wanted to get to the Belfast one in particualr to build up my library of stock photos from the north, and getting a load of northern union banners in a single day made sense. Below is my write up of the Dublin Mayday march and photo slideshows of my better shots from Dublin & Belfast.
The left is fond of military analogies so I want to open this piece with the observation that poor generals plan for the last war rather than the next one. Those militaries that planned for World War Two by perfecting the trench systems that dominated World War One had their powerful & expensive fortifications quickly overwhelmed in the opening weeks of the war through blitzkrieg. And in turn by 1943 Blizkrieg was defeated though defence in depth at Kursk.
The Social Solidarity Network came into existence in the Autumn of 2009 in Dublin as an initiative of the Workers Solidarity Movement. It faded out of existence a few short months later and never amounted to all that much in the interim beyond a couple of meetings, a leaflet distribution at a mass ICTU march and a badly organised and executed protest at the Dail on budget day. Nevertheless there are some useful lessons (mostly of the ‘how not to do it variety’) to be taken from its short existence.
The revolutions and revolts that swept the world in 2011 took almost everyone by surprise. One of the first strong attempts to explain why they happened is Paul Mason’s ‘Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere.’ He argues that “the materialist explanation for 2011...is as much about individuals versus hierarchies as it is about rich against poor.” By far the most provocative element of his book is the idea that communications technology, in particular the internet, is transforming the way people behave and that a significant contribution to the revolts of 2011 lie in these changes. If he’s right it had profound consequences for the form and structure of revolutionary organisations including anarchist ones.
This article also availale on audio & video, see end.
To what extent do the revolutions and revolts of 2011 reflect a new world born from the shell of the old? Were these revolts of the internet generation -- networked individuals? Are people not only using new technology but becoming transformed by it? For anarchists, what lessons can we learn and to what extent must we transform our organisational methods and structures?
Andrew Flood looks at Paul Mason's recently published book 'Why its kicking off everywhere' and in particular what Mason has to say about the internet and the emergance of the 'Networked Individual'. The recording is of a WSM supporters meeting in Dublin and the 20 minute presentation is followed by 30 minutes of discussion on the ideas outlined, roughly as summarised below.
The end of the 1960’s in northern Ireland were a unique time when, as elsewhere around the world, mass popular protest emerged onto the streets with ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The unique circumstances of northern Ireland and the particular form the state backlash took there resulted in a military conflict that lasted some 30 years and dominated politics on the entire island and to a much lesser extent in Britain. Although tens if not hundreds of thousands of people made this history it can also be told as the history of some of the prominent individuals involved, including the Irish republican socialist activist Bernadette Devlin McAliskey.
Singer songwriter Christy Moore dropped into Occupy Dame Street in Dublin last night to sing and send grettings to all the Occupy camps in the major cities of Ireland, at Cork, Limerick, Belfast, Waterford, Kerry, Athlone, Galway and the over 2000 Occupy camps world wide. In the video Christy refers to being in the 'Yellow Submarine,' thats the wooden structure built to serve as a kitchen for a camp that is waterproofed with heavy yellow plastic. Christy then sings 'Ride On' before heading off into the night to the applause of the assembled campers.
(Pic: a still from Dave's video of
Christy Moore at Occupy Dame Street)
As we prepare to enter the 3rd month of the Occupy movement a commonly heard criticism targets both the lack of clear demands and the related complex and often drawn out decision making processes being used at Occupy General Assemblies. These criticisms however miss the point, against the traditional left with its package of pre-set answers (best before 1917) what makes Occupy different is that process of decision making through assembly. The assembly form is not just a way of making decisions but also a different form of doing politics. The Assembly is in embryo the different world we seek to create.