I arrived in occupied Erris on Friday evening having travelled down to take part in a national meeting of Shell to Sea groups. It had been a busy week for the campaign as the state had reacted to the ongoing resistance to Shell in Erris by seizing fishing boats, sending 7 people to jail without trial and banning two more from Co. Mayo. Not only had hundreds of state forces including the police, navy, air force and possibly the army been deployed to suppress protest in Erris but those of us doing solidarity work elsewhere had found from time to time that we were being followed by the secret police.
Pic: Irish Navy gunship in the Bay
In any country with a half way critical media, the last few months would have been disastrous for Shell. In Shell’s imposition of an experimental gas pipeline on the people of Erris it emerges that Michael Dwyer, one of the security guards on this project, was part of an attempt to trigger a civil war in Bolivia. Soon after that it became clear that at least three others who had worked as security guards at the Shell compound had travelled to Bolivia with Dwyer and were wanted there for questioning. Some, it emerged, had links to fascist organizations in Eastern Europe.
Pic: Michael Dwyer posing with pistols in Bolivia
While we should oppose the Orange Orders parades where ever local people reject them (and our ideal would be for 'Protestant areas' to also oppose them), there are real problems with the way these campaigns are proceeding. The central problem however is that the residents' groups are fighting on the sectarian terrain chosen by the Orange Order. With its membership declining and its influence on the state under threat, the Order needs an 'anti-Protestant' opposition to justify its continued existence.
The real cause of the housing crisis is neither the tens of thousands of returning Irish born migrants nor the 15,000 or so asylum seekers. The reason housing is in short supply and expensive is because of the hoarding of land and super profits of a handful of speculators.
The mouthpiece of millionaire Tony O'Reilly, the Sunday Independent, got terribly excited when it 'discovered' there were anarchists involved in the bin tax campaign. Or, as it oddly put it, anarchists of the Workers Solidarity Movement had "infiltrated the campaign in significant numbers"
The long running struggle in Erris (Rossport) against Shell's attempt to impose an experimental gas pipeline on the local community has erupted in recent days with repeated local direct actions against the compound Shell are trying to construct. Meanwhile the state at the behest of Shell continues to press vindictive prosecutions against local activists. Back in March retired school teacher Maura Harrington for jailed for 30 days, today the state returned for another pound of flesh and she was sentenced to another 7-10 days in Mountjoy prison. At very short notice over 20 activists from Dublin Shell to Sea gathered at the prison gates and showed their outrage by blocking the entrance of the prison van containing Maura in to Mountjoy for about twenty minutes.
An article summarising why anarchists reject electioneering and suggesting an alternative in the form of popular assemblies.
In 2003 in Dublin over 20 people were jailed for resisting the imposition of the bin tax in Dublin. There were some who saw the bin tax struggle as being an example where the 'environmental agenda' is counterpoised to the 'working class' agenda. I don't and I think the few environmentalists who have supported the ruling class line in this have done great damage to the environmental cause. The bin tax pure and simple was about imposing the neo-liberal agenda, what some people call 'globalisation'. A core part of this agenda is to transfer the costs of running society from the rich and corporations to workers and the poor.
Article from 1994 arguing that possession of small amounts of all drugs should be de-criminalised. Anti- social drugs like heroin should be available on prescription from doctors at low cost to prevent junkies turning to crime to finance their habit. What is needed is a real debate on the control of the other drugs. It seems reasonable to say that the maximum of restrictions should be similar to those applying in relation to drink or tobacco and this should be medically based and enforced rather than state controlled.