The period of Irish history from the 1880's to the 1920's defined and divided politics including socialist politics, on the island for the rest of the century. The most militant workers struggles occurred in the second half of that period, north and south, concentrated in the last five years. In terms of working class struggle the periods of militancy of northern and southern workers coincide. Yet the working class was divided and these struggles remained almost completely isolated from each other.
At 11.30 in the morning of April 24 1916 Bugler William Oman, a member of a syndicalist workers militia the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), sounded the ‘fall-in’ outside his union headquarters. This was the start of an insurrection in Dublin which was to see around 1,500 armed men and women seize key buildings throughout the city, and to hold these positions against thousands of British Army soldiers for almost a week. In the course of putting down the insurrection, 1351 people were killed or severely wounded and 179 buildings in the city centre were destroyed.(1) [French translation]
This article is an anarchist analysis of the 1916 insurrection and the war of independence in the context of the struggle for socialism in Ireland and internationally. It concentrates on the ‘unknown’ but intense class struggle that ran alongside the war of independence and the role republicanism played in the suppression of that struggle. It asks ‘what is freedom’ and shows how anarchism originated amongst earlier European left republicans as an answer to the limitations of republicanism
This collection of articles looks at some of the highpoints in the development of Irish republicanism. The articles themselves are linked to below but you can also download them as a PDF booklet by following the instructions below. You are welcome to distribute copies of this booklet but do let me know that you are doing so.
If you were anywhere in Ireland in the last week of February you can't have missed the hype ahead of the March 1st direct action called at Shannon by the Grassroots Network Against the War (GNAW). Suddenly every politician, reporter and even bishop in the country was joining the queue to denounce the planned 'violent' protest. The morning before the protest irony died on its feet when Sinn Fein announce it was pulling out of the unrelated Irish Anti War Movement protest at the airport for fear of violence.
A report on the first of the Grassroots Gathering direct action style protests against the re-fueling of US War planes at Shannon airport.
A protest against an international privitisation conference at Dublin's Burlington hotel Oct 10 2001 turned violent when the Gardai (Irish police) attacked protesters with batons. They were aided by a number of non uniformed men armed with sticks and torches, some of who may have been political police (Special Branch) but others appeared to be private security.
On January 1st 1994, a rebel army called the Emiliano Zapata Liberation Front (EZLN) rose against the Mexican government in Chiapas, Mexico. Workers Solidarity contributor Andrew Flood has been researching the life of ordinary people in the Zapatista area. Below he writes about some of his findings
This is the text of a talk given to the WSM Ideas & Action dayschool 13 Nov 1999 shortly before the Seattle WTO protests. It looks at whay anarchists should be interested in the Zapatista rebellions and in particular references the anti-capitalist network that was emerging around the rebellion.
We are used to being promised the sun, moon and stars in elections only to receive cuts, cuts and cuts. Is this just because all politicians are liars or are there deeper reasons? Abstention from elections has been an anarchist tactic from the time of Bakunin. In this article we look at some of the reasons anarchists advocate abstention/spoilt votes. The right to the vote was part of the hard won struggles of workers (and suffragettes!) over the last couple of hundred years. Obviously it is preferable to live in a parliamentary democracy rather than a dictatorship. Even the most flawed democracies are forced to concede rights that dictatorships do not, such as relative independence for trade unions, the right to limited demonstrations, a certain amount of free speech, etc.
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