Ireland için arşiv

Ireland, Dublin, Noam Chomsky & the WSM discuss politics over breakfast

Posted in Duyurular, English with tags , , on 10/11/2009 by Karakök

During Noam Chomsky’s recent visit to Ireland five members of the Workers Solidarity
Movement met him over breakfast to talk over a range of issues from Palestine to the
capitalist crisis to social partnership to Iran to Obama and the US Labour Movement. Notes
on the discussion are below followed by the audio recording itself. —- The conversation
is about 52 minutes long and as its recorded over breakfast there is a fair bit of cutlery
noise included. The notes below are a very rough outline to the conversation noted down as
I edited the audio file, it is not a transcript but a summary and there are substantial
gaps in it as the conversation goes back and forth. Note the acronym BDS is used a couple
of times in the conversation, this stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

Farah – Voices in the Wilderness, going to Iraq and Lebanon, what the Israelis did to
Lebanon in 2006, problems getting the facts to the American people
Chomsky – you can’t non violently shoot down fighter jets
Etain – Gaza protests in Ireland
Ger – Palestinian solidarity groups in Ireland, the Goldstone report and Israeli war crimes
Chomsky – the flaws of the Goldstone report, lies in the NY Times, unprovoked aggression
is a war crime, problems with the tactics of the Palestinian solidarity movement, have to
change US policy, the successful South African example
Ger – Irish activists should target our government, suspend EuroMed agreement, Irish
government position is just rhetoric
Chomsky – Europe voted with US to block an International Atomic Energy Commission demand
that Israel open its reactors for inspection, did Ireland vote for this.
Farah – the difficult of pro Palestinian activism in the US
Chomsky – experience of protests against him speaking on the issue at US colleges and
using that to build events
Julian – how is the financial crisis being reported to the working class in the mainstream
Chomsky – somewhat accurate but it doesn’t explain why the crisis is happening and so the
Murdoch right press and lunatics are providing cry answers. The Liberal Democrats can’t
give the right answers so they are stuck with Rush Limbugh and Sarah Palin.
Etain – what should the anarchist response be
Chomsky – explain how the policies of the last 30 years enrich rich people, these are
policies of Carter, Clinton and Obama. Obama’s financial advisors should be in jail.
Etain – Irish media trying to divide public and private sector workers, unions only strong
in public sector, what can we do
Chomsky – build the labour movement, there has been a major campaign since WWII to
undermine unions, its part of the reason the US has no health care, UAW in the US only
fought for its own workers, in Canada the unions fought for everyone.
Johnny – how can anarchists and Irish workers counter anti-union
Chomsky – education, organization and tactics that are at the level of people’s
understanding, union bureaucracy is usually the enemy but the workforce may trust them so
you can’t simply say they are the enemy.
Gerry – we need to go back to Larkin
Chomsky – the working class is in trouble if it accepts the one big family line. There was
some rational to partnership in giving a broader range of the workforce the benefits of
the Celtic Tiger.
Etain – the fear of a return to emigration and unemployment is real
Julian – heads of ICTU put pension levy on the table, 120k workers wanted a general strike
but the strike never happened, was very demoralizing
Chomsky – the degeneration of workers solidarity has been pretty remarkable, Obama spoke
at a Caterpillar factory but there were no protests from the Labor Movement, it was the
first factory in generations back in the 80’s to call in scabs, strikers did not get
community support because of collapse of working class culture, that’s where Obama goes to
give his solidarity speech
Ger – how does that compare with workers struggles in Argentina in 2001
Chomsky – that crisis really destroyed the economy, there have been little revolts in the
US like the Republic Windows and Doors sit in in Chicago, lot of the workers got their
jobs back, auto plants are being shut down but high speed rail could be build in those plants
Ger – Waterford crystal & Visteon occupations in Ireland
Chomsky – I followed that. In the New Deal as soon as workers started sitting in that is
when legislation was passed. In Argentina it happened after everything collapsed, you
don’t want to wait till that. Youngstown, Ohio saw an attempt to have a legal take over of
the plants by the workers rather than a closure, that is where anarchists should be
pushing to take the next step. From giving talks in working class areas people think its
kinda reasonable, that is labor history, someone has got to light that spark.
Etain – importance of education, how do you deal with apart and people not getting terms
like anarchist
Chomsky – subtract the terms, they scare people, just talk about taking over the plant
Etain – what is the best way to communicate that
Chomsky – house to house organizing, neighborhood meetings, remember antiwar and civil
rights movement started with small meetings of 4 people
Johnny – what is the medias role in driving a wedge between workers
Ger – media furore about the release of last two (provo) IRA prisoners but no reporting of
military refueling at Shannon
Chomsky – they are doing their job, they are part of the state corporate system, praise
them for occasionally breaking out. Journalists believe in what they are doing just like
soviet party hacks. They can criticize someone else’s crimes but not those of their own state.
Julian – media crusade against Shell to Sea campaign
Chomsky – media critique is a good thing to do but you can’t act if your surprised.
Purpose of critique is not to change media but to get people to understand the filters
Etain – should grassroots groups be advocating strikes or a building social centers
Chomsky – does the population understand what tomorrows (ICTU) demonstration is about?
Impressions of the audience at the Pat Kenny discussion about the demonstration, they
seemed very split about it. This can be harmful, happened to the anti-war protests in the
60’s with split to maoist cults and weathermen which turned into a gift for Nixon. People
can understand taking over a factory. It’s pretty straightforward. All tactics need to be
adopted to the circumstance
Etain – why are so few women involved in politics
Chomsky -are you sure its true, there are plenty of women now and in the past e.g. Women’s
Strike for Peace. The anarchist tradition has plenty, participation is better now then
before due to feminist movement, there are less barriers. Back in the Spanish Civil War
the women anarchist leaders were supporting sexist practise that wouldn’t happen now.
Farah – some of biggest social justice movement in Middle East are women’s movements, even
on agenda of Iranian election
Chomsky – a bit on Iranian election, feminist movement in Afghanistan preceded that in the US.
Farah – perception that women don’t have rights in a lot of Islamic countries, going to a
protest after that about execution of scholars, do you have thoughts on Iran
Chomsky – will there be a demonstration in Iran outside the US embassy tomorrow as they
have banned all demonstrations. It’s a very touchy situation, its unclear how we can best
help, a strong stand against the government is good from one point of view but it helps
the government paint the demonstrations as a western plot. You don’t want protest to take
a form that can be exploited by the ruling clerics. On Afghanistan we can make sure their
voices are heard.
Farah – Code Pink recently came out against a timetable for US withdrawal after visiting
Afghanistan, it was very disappointing
Chomsky – who did they talk to, Afghan women are caught between awful forces, where do you
find a way out that doesn’t leave one of these forces in power.
Farah – EU ambassadors saying they don’t want to tell Afghan government how to treat their
women as its culturally insensitive
Chomsky – best period for women in Kabul was probably during the Russian occupation, big
problem was with US backed Islamic radicals, wasn’t possible to get stuff published that
said this.
Ger – can I ask for your opinions on Free Gaza and Viva Palestina movement
Chomsky – really inspiring development, something totally new in the history of
imperialism, if Israel rams the boats its an organizing technique, if they get through its
great, people have been beaten and kidnapped by Israeli forces, one thing that can turn US
government policy and that’s the real target. One goal is to help the Palestinians
directly which is fine but also tactics that can shift US policy is critically
significant. Europe can take an independent stand and Ireland could help this happen

Listen to the audio on, 24mb, 52 minutes

When Chomsky was in Dublin in 2006 he did a private questions and answers session for the
WSM and guests at the Teachers Club. You can view the video recording of this at our
youtube channel at
That presentation if more focused on a discussion of anarchism and anarchist history

Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Marxism & Hope for the Future
Interview between Noam Chomsky and Kevin Doyle of the WSM from 1995
Related Link:

Ireland, Press Statement: Anarchist Organisation calls for support for November 6th demonstrations but warns that ‘Marching Is Not Enough’

Posted in Avrupa haberler, English with tags , on 04/11/2009 by Karakök

Anarchist Organisation Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) has called on all workers to
attend the national marches called by Irish Congress of Trade Unions on Friday, 6th
November. —- “WSM members will be marching on Friday with our work colleagues,
neighbours and families,” said Gregor Kerr WSM PRO. “We call on all workers to ‘Get Up,
Stand Up’ and join these marches to show the government that workers are fed up with being
forced to take all the blame and all the pain for the financial crisis.”—- “Workers did
not cause this crisis,” Kerr continued. “The attempts being made by politicians and
commentators to divide and conquer workers by pitting private sector workers against
public sector workers must be resisted. All workers need to unite on Friday and show that
there has to be another way to deal with the crisis – the wealthy must be made to face up
to their responsibilities.”

“1% of the Irish population own 34% of the wealth,” Kerr pointed out. “This small number
of super-wealthy people own assets worth €100billion. So while Brian Lenihan might claim
there is no pot of gold to be had from the wealthy, there clearly is. What is lacking is
the political will to make the rich pay.”

“We all have to take to the streets on Friday to show our strength”, he concluded, “but
it’s also clear that marching will not be enough. To truly show that we mean business and
to begin the process of building a campaign to force the wealthy to pay for the crisis, we
need to begin to organise in our workplaces for a national strike that will shut down
every workplace – public sector and private sector alike.”

Statement Ends

Note to Editor:- Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) is an Irish anarchist organisation with
branches in Dublin, Cork and Belfast and members in several other places around the
country. WSM members are actively involved in many community and trade union campaigns,
and have been involved at local and workplace level in building support for the 6th
November demos.
For more information about the WSM visit our website

For confirmation and/or further comment, contact Gregor Kerr, WSM PRO

Ireland, Belfast, Combating Racism and Fascism Means Combating Capitalism

Posted in Avrupa haberler, Duyurular, English, Haberler with tags , , on 30/09/2009 by Karakök

Continuing the series of articles on anti-racism and anti-fascism in issue 2 of Organise’s
The Leveller, this article deals with racism, the far-right and the recession, emphasising
that the battle against racism and the far-right, is also a battle against the social and
economic conditions that are its root cause. —– The flight of the vast majority of the
116 Roma from Belfast in June following sustained and co-ordinated racist attacks
emphasises the need for effective action against racists in our society. The recent return
of 12 of the Roma men in the first week of August with families to follow does not take
away from this. While the attackers are unlikely to have been members of any of the
British far right organisations seeking to recruit in working class protestant areas of
Northern Ireland these actions will be seen as a boost to the fascists and give
encouragement to racists.

Reactions to the events have been varied but some have chosen to view the attacks through
the prism of sectarianism. While there is undoubtedly widespread and genuine opposition to
racism in West Belfast the mural painted on the International Wall on the Falls Road in
response to the attacks betrays a smug complacency that is at heart as sectarian as those
it condemns for carrying out racist and sectarian attacks.

There is a danger of being blind to the levels of racism right across the sectarian
divide, particularly when it comes to anti-Traveller racism. Travellers still find it
impossible to get appointments at hair dressers, are barred from pubs and shops and are
subject to almost constant racist abuse. That these things, along with last years attacks
on Lithuanians, also happen in West Belfast needs to be acknowledged and challenged. The
recently published Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey for 2008 found that Travellers
faced more prejudice than migrant workers with 51% of those questioned saying they would
have a problem with a Traveller living beside them. This is an increase of 10% since the
last survey.
While much is made of links between Loyalist paramilitaries and the British far right,
many who claim to be opposed to fascism in principle have been silent about reports that
Italian fascists took part, alongside nationalists, in recent riots in Ardoyne.
The notion that it is the ‘Prods’ who are racist and sectarian may serve some sort of
Republican self-image of its imagined community but it does nothing to challenge or
confront bigotry. It is people from within working class protestant communities who are
key to taking on and challenging the racists and fascists within those communities and who
are carrying out attacks and spreading hate.

Increasing Intolerance: A Shift to the Right?

There is a fear that the current recession is driving large sections of society further to
the right. Problems created by slum landlords, cut backs in social housing stock, and
seemingly unending announcements of job losses leave migrant workers more vulnerable to
scapegoating. Unemployment is rising so rapidly that dole offices have been forced to move
from fortnightly to monthly signing, while this may be good news for those of us who are
unemployed and sick of the petty harassment that is associated with signing on it is a
worrying development. Across the UK unemployment has jumped to a staggering (and under
estimated!) 2.38 million – the highest level since 1995. Unemployment in Northern Ireland
had increased to 6.1% this May from 4.6% the year before. There was a 159% increase in
confirmed redundancies over the previous year. While the Northern Ireland unemployment
rate is lower than the average for the rest of the UK it does not take into consideration
the staggering 28.6% figure for the number of working age adults who are economically
The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2008 also found that homophobia and racism are
on the increase in Northern Ireland. Anti-gay prejudice has almost doubled in three years,
from 14% of people surveyed admitting they would have a problem with a gay, lesbian or
bisexual person to 23% in the 2008 poll.
The labour movement in the UK appears to be infected with reactionary nationalist ideas
about ‘British Jobs for British Workers’, taking the lead from the media and Prime
Minister Gordon Brown.
It should come as no great shock that there will be those who want to deflect from the
misery that capital has caused to so many by stirring up bigotry and hatred. The far right
could undoubtedly benefit from the current recession and seek to promote its anti-working
class agenda by scapegoating ‘easy’ targets.
The BNP have now got two MEPs and are actively trying to build a base in Northern Ireland
and have opened a call centre in East Belfast. “B N P” was heard among the chants directed
at those who were involved in the recent defence of the Roma in South Belfast.
Governments have also been busy strengthening repressive legislation and clamping down on
dissent. The UK government are still trying to force ID cards on us, and have entered into
worse than dubious extradition arrangements with the US while Shami Chakrabarti, Director
of Liberty, has warned that the UK has become a surveillance society. Locally the PSNI are
piloting the wearing, as a matter of course, of video cameras by the police while public
displays of dissent were publically clamped down upon by the police at the G20
demonstrations earlier this year.
In the south the state has moved to clamp down on workers trying to protect themselves
from the worst blows of the recession and has engaged in heavy-handed raids on workers
occupying the Thomas Cook outlet in Dublin. Anti-Shell activists have also been jailed.

The Alternative?

Of course the conditions described above are the very same conditions that give rise to
resistance that is aimed straight at the cause of the social problems we are currently
experiencing as a result of capitalism and the state. This issue of the Leveller is full
of inspiring examples of workers fighting back and winning! Working class self
organisation and solidarity are what are called for in the struggle against racism and
fascism and in the struggle against capital and state.


Pumped Up Vigilantes?

Continuing the series of articles on anti-racism and anti-fascism in issue 2 of The
Leveller (Aug-Oct 2009), the newspaper of Irish anarchist group Organise!. This article is
a response to Derek Hanway’s (director of Irish traveller organisation An Munia Tober)
claims that those who defended the Roma under attack in Belfast in the summer of 2009 were
pumped up vigilantes.

Derek Hanway’s article in the July/August issue of Fortnight magazine, among other
inaccuracies and distortions, accused anti-racist activists of being pumped up vigilantes
who’s actions were counter-productive. He isn’t alone in that attitude, it is a position
which has been whispered by many, from the voluntary and community ‘sector’, church
‘leaders’, bureaucrats and politicians and more publicly by the police.
Hanway betrays his lack of knowledge about the situation when he says anti-racist
activists’ presence outside Roma homes, which had been attacked, attracted unwelcome
“Anyone with a knowledge of Roma people would have known about a general reluctance by
Roma to attract attention,” the director of An Munia Tober Travellers Centre said.
“While the Roma families were still in their damaged homes, they were being ‘protected’ by
anti-racist activists. I witnessed many acting like pumped up vigilantes, some bringing
cider carry-outs to the garden of one home. This response strengthened the Roma families’
sense of fear and attracted more unwelcome attention to their homes.”
True, 3 or 4 punks brought a couple of tins of beer while they sat-down outside the home,
but they were very much a minority of those at the home, and were told that doing so was
inappropriate. That said, they were among the few people who did bother to stay with the
families all night on the Monday. Hanway can say what he likes, but he was not there
helping these people defend themselves, and his ill-informed comments read like he did
nothing more than drive by in a car. He clearly did not speak to the Roma families, who
overwhelmingly welcomed the support from local residents, anti-racists and anti-fascists.
They brought cups of coffee out to supporters and made abundantly clear that they very
much welcomed the showing of solidarity demonstrated by locals and activists.
Hanway ignores the fact that there had been no publicity surrounding the attacks before
Monday 15th June. The only unwelcome attention being visited upon the Romanian families
was that of the racists who had persistently carried out attacks in the absence of any
protests, defence or publicity.
The Socialist Party were right when interviewed by the BBC, that “The Roma families were
extremely supportive of the stance that we took and if Mr Hanway was there he would have
seen the hospitality we received from the families.” The supporters only stayed with the
Roma families as long as they were asked. When some supporters thought about leaving after
repeated hassle from the police about the crowd outside the house, the families politely
asked us to stay, and help them defend their homes.
It should come as no surprise that the only nights the houses were not attacked were those
when a physical presence was visible. Hanway also bemoans the fact that the police did not
realise the “damage” anti-racists were doing, wishing that they had acted to remove those
acting in defence of the Roma families. Gary Mulcahy of the Socialist Party, who were
central to the organisation of support for the families points out in their response to
Hanway’s article that:
On Channel 4 News a representative from the PSNI was unable to defend their inaction and
admitted that the PSNI did not respond appropriately. The most effective defence of the
homes was not to rely on the police; it was by organising local residents to be present
outside of the homes. This approach, combined with the protest and publicity, succeeded in
stopping the attacks.
It was the intervention of the authorities, church groups, liberal ‘do-gooders’, the
political establishment and the Northern Ireland Executive who began a process of
‘repatriation’, encouraging the families to return to Romania. In doing so they are guilty
of handing a victory to the racists.


No Gods, No Masters: how the churches and politicians failed to help the Roma in Belfast

Continuing the series of articles on anti-racism and anti-fascism in issue 2 of The
Leveller (Aug-Oct 2009), newspaper of Irish anarchist group Organise!, this article
comments on the failure of the churches and politicians to tackle racism in Belfast.

When the attacks on Roma homes in South Belfast finally ceased after a week, it wasn’t
because of the actions of eager politicians or earnest church representatives. However
when the Roma made the final decision, 6 days after the first attack, to leave their
homes, politicians were in for the photo ops, and the churches weren’t far behind in using
the crisis to promote themselves. News broadcasters worldwide took an interest in a
sanitised humanitarian ‘flight’ story, but had been pretty reluctant in the previous days
to cover the racist attacks.

Supporters and anti-racist activists were scapegoated by the media, either for provoking
an attack on the anti-racist protest on Monday 16 June, apparently ‘bringing it on
ourselves’, or for allegedly sealing the fate of the Roma by standing side by side with
them, at their request. But these charges levelled at anti-racist protestors only serve to
deflect blame for the abject failure that was the response of the police, statutory bodies
and churches to respond when it mattered.

While it was several days before anti-racists were aware of the situation, it was only
when anti-racist activists drew attention to the attacks on the Roma, that politicians,
the media and churches ‘intervened’. Once statutory agencies became involved, rather than
providing practical solidarity in defence of the Roma’s homes, the intervention in reality
became the start of a repatriation process. The politicians and media then had on their
hands a palatable ‘humanitarian crisis’, which allowed them to ‘help’ the Roma, without
getting their hands dirty tackling racism or the social/economic problems that have
fuelled it.

Belfast Mayor Naomi Long only took an interest on the day the Roma finally vacated their
homes. Had the situation not been so grave, it would have been amusing that when she
arrived, she hung around for an hour looking concerned, only to miss a BBC News crew, and
a juicy PR opportunity, by minutes, as she was chauffeur-driven off in her mayoral car.
Other politicians were ‘quick’ to join Naomi in seeking photo opportunities. The Romanian
ambassador posed for the cameras with First and Deputy First Ministers Robinson &
McGuinness, and paid lip-service to anti-racist sentiment, however, at the makeshift
‘refugee camp’ in the Ozone Leisure Centre, he accused the Roma of bringing these attacks
on themselves, and told them that they had made him ‘ashamed to be Romanian’.

In the case of the Roma, the churches involved, and as far as individual members may have
been sincere, also exploited the situation to attempt to bring people ‘back to the
church’. The pastor at the church where the Roma were temporarily housed seized the moment
to indulge in some self-aggrandizement, talking up the church, “my office now is like the
stable at Bethlehem”.

Self-satisfaction oozed from every word, and barely a thought was given to what actually
happened to the Roma people, less than 10 minutes from his church. When interviewed on BBC
Radio 5 Live on the night of Tuesday 17 June, the pastor didn’t even know what had
happened, he didn’t know there been an impromptu assembly of over 200 people against
racism only minutes from his church the previous night, nor that attacks had been going on
nightly for the best part of a week. But boy could he talk about how great it was what he
was doing, and how pleased God was.

This complete detachment from what was really happening in ‘their community’ was
exemplified by another church member, who characterised the generally patronising and
self-congratulatory tone of the church, while saying: “I believe God’s hand was in the
timing of this event.” This Christian do-gooder, like the pastor, remained blissfully
unaware of what had actually occurred.

“our pastor, received an emergency phone call from his wife who relayed a message that
racial riots against Romanians had escalated to the point that about 130 Romanians were
attempting to pack themselves into one home to achieve safety in numbers in response to
threats from their neighbors. A member of our church who works with a relief organization
asked if we could take these families in for the night at our church building… [the
pastor] agreed without hesitation”

These attacks had happened less than ten minutes from the church and had been all over the
national news, yet an ill-informed do-gooder was calling this ‘racial riots’, completely
oblivious to the fact that these were not riots, but a serious of orchestrated and
consistent cowardly racist attacks on one of the most vulnerable minorities in Belfast.
She continued:

“This evening illustrated tremendous human compassion and a battle against racial tension,
but for the Christian community, it signified much more. The relief and care provided to
the Romanians depended on a community of believers working diligently as one body with
many parts. I saw each member find his or her own way to serve, a glorious example of
individual gifts knit together to offer compassion of Christ…What unified us all to
press on through exhaustion and hunger was the knowledge that together we were sharing the
love of Christ and hopefully bringing glory to Him… I remember the sacrifice that Jesus
made for me and that no matter how much I do, I can never truly pay Him back. The beauty
of that is that He doesn’t expect me to!!!! Therefore, as Christians, we serve out of
love, not obligation. I am also mindful that it shouldn’t take a crisis to jolt me into
action. I was bought with a price, I am His. Victory over death has been won, and until
I am with Him, each day of my life should be a sacrificial tribute to God’s glory. We are
His ambassadors, the aroma of Christ…may the world open their hearts and breathe us in.”

We don’t need guidance from religious headcases, nor can we appeal to them to tackle
issues related to the existence of racism or the inequalities of class-society. Under
capitalism, racist divisions will always be used to divide the working class, and
particularly during a recession, tensions are pushed, so anyone conveniently perceived as
‘different enough’ can be blamed for the deficiencies in our lives, be they lack of
housing, lack of jobs, or generally poor living conditions.

Ireland, Anarchist WSM calling: No to Lisbon – A Treaty for the Rich

Posted in Avrupa haberler, Direnis, Duyurular, English with tags , , on 03/09/2009 by Karakök


The WSM is calling for a No vote in the 2nd Lisbon referendum on the grounds that people
in Ireland can do a lot better than a choice between the clowns in the Dáil or those in
Brussels. We oppose the EU’s policies of privatisation, militarisation and attacks on
workers’ conditions but don’t insult people’s intelligence by saying that our current
society in Ireland with its severe recession, diabolical public services and corruption is
anything better. The major lack of democracy in our lives is not between us and the EU but
between the Irish government and us. —- We see issues like the democratic deficit in the
EU as merely a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is in how we live our own
lives. We work all day and have absolutely no control over our lives or in our workplace;
we are asked to vote every five years to chose who we would like to make decisions for us.
This is not democracy in any meaningful sense of the word.

There are people who do have control however; the politicians and business elites. They
make money off our work everyday. A quick look over the past ten years in this country has
shown they couldn’t care less about us. A massive amount of wealth was been created by
workers in this country during the Celtic Tiger years, yet we have seen little long-term
improvement in our lives as a result.

Anarchists believe the problem is not the treaty alone but the EU as an institution. The
treaty, no matter what it contained, wouldn’t give us more control of our lives. This can
only happen when we have democracy in our communities and workplaces. Thus, only a radical
change in the democratic and economic structure of our society can change things so that
the majority of people benefit from the resources of this country. The wealth, held now by
the minority, must be used to benefit everyone.

So, why should we give them the thumbs up? Vote ‘No’ to their project for benefiting
elites. But a vote ‘No’ is worth little on its own if things are not changed at home. The
EU must change but so too must Irish society.
A Infos

(en) Ireland, Anarchist journal Workers Solidarity

Posted in Avrupa haberler, English with tags , on 18/05/2009 by Karakök

#109 – Why We Celebrate on Mayday



The struggle against capitalism and authority is constant but each year on May Day the
labour movement takes time out to celebrate its history and achievements. Rather than
dwell on the hardships of struggle we take to the streets and remember what it is we are
aiming for – the emancipation of our class. Climbing a mountain means paying close
attention to the ground you walk but it’s important to look up now and again in order to
focus on exactly where it is you’re headed. —- Celebrate Peoples History – Mayday Poster
May Day’s association with class struggle stems from the trade union movement in the
nineteenth century which fought for an eight hour working day. Their demands remained
unheeded and direct action was then seen as the most effective way of creating change.

Workers and unions set a date of May 1st 1886 on which workers would create the eight
hour day themselves.

On this day an estimated half a million people took to the streets across America. In
Chicago, where anarchists were the strongest organised force among workers, violent
incidents involving police and strikers led to a crackdown on the labour movement by state
forces. Eight well-known anarchists of the time were arrested and prosecuted as part of a
campaign of terror aimed at crushing the strike movement.

Their subsequent trial closed with State Attorney Grinnell’s speech: “Law is on trial.
Anarchy is on trial. These men have been selected, picked out by the Grand Jury, and
indicted because they were leaders. There are no more guilty than the thousands who follow
them. Gentlemen of the jury; convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and you
save our institutions, our society.” Four of these men, Parsons, Engel, Spies and Fischer,
were hanged, while another man, Lingg, committed suicide in his cell and the three other
men sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

May Day has since become a tradition of celebration of how far we have come in the
struggle for democracy and freedom, a symbol of resistance, of people power and direct
action. Every year, workers globally gather to celebrate the social and economic
achievements our struggle has gained so far. One of the largest May Days in Ireland in
recent years was in 2004, When an EU summit in Dublin clashed with our annual holiday. A
weekend of activities was organised celebrating May Day and opposing the capitalist agenda
of the summit.

May Day today poses the question – why should we continue to celebrate? Well, we should
never forget our history or the potential we have to take control back of our lives. Here
in Ireland, the labour movement has forced the bosses and the state to give many
concessions around workplace conditions and basic social needs. We are well capable of
defending these gains and of going on to win much more.

Workers Solidarity Movement – Anarchist communist organisation in Ireland