Any honest account of the September 26 (S26) demonstrations in Prague would start off by saying that the numbers that took part in the demonstrations, some 12,000 people, were a little disappointing. But it should go on to say that those 12,000 people succeeded in not only completely disrupting the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) congress but in causing it to be abandoned by the majority of delegates on the second day and the last day was then cancelled. In short we closed it down.
December 6th saw the largest anti-war demonstration at Shannon airport since April of last year. Some 400 people took part in what the Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM) had advertised as a blockade of the airport. The blockade was supported by the Grassroots Network Against War.
REGULARS READERS of Workers Soldarity will have read of the Gathering in Chiapas, Mexico last year hosted by the EZLN (Zapatistas) attended by 3,000 rebels from all over the planet. A second gathering 'for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism was held this August in the Spanish state. Here we interview Irish Mexico Group activist and WSM member Andrew Flood, who helped organise and attended this gathering.
In August of 1996 3,000 people from all over the world gathered in jungle camps as guests of the EZLN to discuss building a global fight against neo-liberal capitalism. The EZLN is an army that has been in rebellion against the Mexican state since January 1 1994. Workers Solidarity Movement member Andrew Flood who attended as a delegate from the Irish Mexico Group reports on this conference.
One of the major confusions in the anarchist movement in the USA and parts of Europe arises out of primitivism and its claim to be part of the anarchist movement. But primitivism is not a realistic strategy for social revolution and it opposes the basic purpose of anarchism - the creation of a free mass society. Primitivists have attempted to reply to these criticisms but these replies are easily exposed as more to do with faith then reality.
Over the last decade a generalized critique of civilization has been made by a number of authors, mostly based in the USA. Some of these have chosen to identify as anarchists although the more general self-identification is primitivist. There overall argument is that 'civilisation' itself is the problem that results in our failure to live rewarding lives. The struggle for change is thus a struggle against civilization and for an earth where technology has been eliminated. [PDF]
Insurrections - the armed rising of the people - has always been close to the heart of anarchism. The first programmatic documents of the anarchist movement were created by Bakunin and a group of European left-republican insurrectionists as they made the transition to anarchism in Italy in the 1860's. This was not a break with insurrectionism but with left-republicanism, shortly afterwards Bakunin was to take part in an insurrection in Lyon in 1870.
The Easter 1916 rising in Dublin is often portrayed simply as nationalist blood sacrifice but it can also be examined as an insurrection which was seriously planned to defeat the British army. It is credited with transforming political attitudes in Ireland, leading to the partally successful war of independance but nationalist histories tend to understate the other reasons why the situation was transformed and to completely ignore the wave of workers struggles that broke out during the war.
Revolutionary martyrs, being unable to speak for themselves, are liable to be claimed by all sorts of organisations with whom in real life they would have had little in common. When they are of national or international importance, like the Irish syndicalist James Connolly, this also mean that biographies often tend to be very partisan affairs, aimed at recruiting the dead to one cause or another. The story of their life becomes reduced to a morality tale whose conclusion is whatever positions the author holds dear today.
Ken Loaches 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' got its North American release this week. In many ways this film is similar to his earlier film 'Land and Freedom' in seeking to introduce the elements of class struggle in both events to a mainstream audience which would only be aware of them as interesting military conflicts.