This is a write-up of my talk at the 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair. It is based on my notes and so will not be exactly the same as at the event but it will be close enough. The meeting summary initially submitted for the programme was:
One of the more bizarre developments of the last year has been Russell Brand or, more correctly, the response that he has provoked across the political spectrum. Watching commentator after commentator froth at the mouth and seeing Cameron proclaim in the middle of an election campaign that a comedian was a “joke” was, to say the least, strange. It reached a (to use a word Brand would surely approve of) climax when it was proclaimed by the right that Ed Miliband was “getting into bed” with Brand – by having an interview with him. Seriously?
The 129 people killed in the attacks in Paris last night were murdered by Daesh, the self proclaimed ‘Islamic State’. On June 25th this year a much larger ISIS suicide force of about 80 attacked the city of Kobane using a similar mix of suicide bombs, guns and the taking and murdering of hostages. Some 223 civilians were murdered, many when ISIS broke into homes killing everyone inside. Around 40 Kurdish militia were killed in the process of stopping the slaughter. (1 - Read more)
On October 16th ISIS suicide bombers attacked a pro-Kurdish peace rally in Ankara, killing 102 people. Although the bombers were from ISIS many understood that this bombing and the earlier Suruc bombing which killed 33 was accomplished with the aid of the Turkish state. ( 2 - Read more ) The October bombing was seen as part of the process of deliberate polarisation of the AKP government enabling them to once more win a majority in the parliament. Between the Suruc and Ankar bombings the US military had done a deal with Turkey where in return for the use of a major airbase they would turn a blind eye to Turkish airforce attacks on Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (3- Read More)
This year, 2015, marks the 175th anniversary of the publication of Proudhon’s seminal What is Property?. While opponents had hurled the label “anarchist” at those more radical than themselves during both the English and French revolutions, Proudhon was the first to embrace the name and proclaim themselves an anarchist.
One of the key foundation documents for the Workers Solidarity Movement is the ‘Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft)’ This text was written in Paris in 1926 by a group that included exiled Russian and Ukrainian anarchists and was very influenced by the lessons they drew from the Russian Revolution. Three of the authors -- Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Archinov -- were then and now very well known anarchists, the remaining two -- Valevsky and Linsky -- I know relatively little about.
In this article I intend to examine whether this text has any relevance to anarchist organising today, some 90 years after it was drafted. In addition, what can we say about its shortcomings? Finally, I will look at some of the confusion the WSM ran into when trying to follow it.
People gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Dublin last night to take part in a solidarity protest of remembrance for the 100 plus people killed in the bombing of a peace rally in Ankara on Saturday.
Graffiti has appeared at the site of the bomb explosion in Ankara yesterday (10th October 2015) that reads "It was not terror that killed us, it was the state." This is reflecting the widespread belief that the true origins of the bombing that killed around 100 people at the pro Kurdish peace demonstration are to be found in Erdogan's AKP party desperate attempt to intensify conflict in the hope of polarizing the electorate ahead of Novembers elections. The same process in other words that those killed yesterday were demonstrating against.
Dublin city centre came to a halt Saturday 26th September as thousands of people marched for choice and against Ireland's anti-women law that would jail people who access abortion here for up to 14 years.
The key demand is to Repeal the 8th Amendment which was passed at the height of clerical control back in 1983. So long ago that nobody who voted on it would now be in a position to even become pregnant. More that 2/3rd of the population want abortion to be decriminalised, only 25% want the current criminalisation to remain yet Enda Kenny has announced he has no intention of introducing a referendum to Repeal the 8th.
About 10 days ago three van loads of riot cops arrived at the door to No 2 Gardiner Place at around 9am, There they formed a Roman style tortoise shell shield formation and proceeded to start to batter the door down. Once in they stormed through the building, arresting the residents and dragged them down to the High Court for an eviction / injunction hearing at which they were forced to agree not to try and re-enter the house. No media outlet deemed any of this worthy of coverage.
Solidarity Times had been in the building the previous week, shooting some video in anticipation of a campaign in opposition to the eviction. We’re assembled a video report on the space from that footage as yet another example of the vast amount of empty housing that is around even inner city Dublin. Homelessness is not caused by a lack of usable buildings but by deliberately leaving such buildings empty and boarded up in order to create the scarcity that is seeing rent hikes and a new property bubble.
After proclaiming that Britain rejected Labour because it was too left-wing, as smugly asserted as it was false, the right-wing media happily praised George Osborne’s first all-Tory budget and its attempt to steal Labour’s clothes. The Tories are proclaiming themselves the real workers party while simultaneously subjecting actual workers to new restrictions on our ability to organise and defend our interests and reducing their income. They think that re-branding the Minimum Wage the "National Living Wage" will fool enough people.