The Leave / Brexit vote in the referendum came in the end as a surprise, a narrow win for Remain was expected. This may be because the core Leave vote was in the run-down white working class communities of the now desolate English and Welsh industrial zones. A population trapped in conditions of long-term unemployment and poverty who no one really pays much attention to anymore.
Some on the left have seized on the makeup of this core vote to suggest that there was some progressive element to the Brexit vote despite the campaign being led by racist hatemongers and wealthy US-oriented neoliberals. Mostly that’s a mixture of wishful thinking and post hoc justification for having called for a Leave vote in the first place, but it is true that a section of the working class, C2DEs in marketing speak, voted to Leave in close to a 2:1 ratio. Is the class composition of that vote enough to automatically make it progressive regardless of content? And what does it tell us that a section of the radical left seems to think the answer to that question is yes, that it is enough to be anti-establishment?
Two different futures are fighting to be born in this moment.
One the future of more effective border guards, of dragging refugees off trains and herding them into camps, of war without end, of hatred for the 'other', of wealth for a privilege few and immiseration for the masses.
The other future is glimpsed in the people quietly organising our own aid convoys to Calais, of solidarity with Rojava, of fighting for an equality that will be global in scope and from which no one will be locked out.
Which of those futures will you choose to feed?
Anarchism can learn a lot from the feminist movement. In many respects it already has. Anarcha-feminists have developed analyses of patriarchy that link it to the state form. We have learned from the slogan that "the personal is political" (e.g. men who espouse equality between all genders should treat the women in their lives with dignity and respect). We have learned that no revolutionary project can be complete while men systematically dominate and exploit women; that socialism is a rather empty goal--even if it is "stateless"--if men's domination of women is left intact.
Here in Ireland over the past eighteen months asylum seekers have been organising protests against the conditions they are compelled to live in, including blockading the ‘hostels’ (effectively for-profit open prisons) where they are forced to live in appalling conditions, which some have been made to endure for over a decade.
For the past several years, Anti-Deportation Ireland, a political campaign run by both asylum seekers themselves and by their supporters has been pushing for three demands:
1/ An immediate end to deportations.
2/The immediate abolition of direct provision
3/The rights to work and to access 3rd-level education
1. The WSM Constitution’s core point of unity number 7 states:
“We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.”
In this guest piece Damien Walshe, long term anti-racist activist, takes the opportunity to reflect on what happend in the last week when State authorities acted to take away blonde children from their Roma parents.
“Damned if they did something, damned if they did nothing”
A standard response (and the one trotted out by the Minister for Justice) is that it was best for the HSE/Gardai to err on the side of caution: “better be safe than sorry” has been the mantra. Okay, let’s have a look at that statement: What the danger was established in order to abduct the two Roma children from their families? Under the Child Care act children can be taken into care if a child has or is being assaulted, ill-treated, neglected or sexually abused, or whose health, development or welfare has been or is likely to be impaired or neglected. No one has remotely suggested this was the case for either child.
Solidarity is unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards. It refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one.
A good barometer of any society is how it treats people who are the most socially disadvantaged. In other words we are talking about people on the edge or on the bottom of this heap. In Ireland we have a pyramid structure which has 1% of individuals at the top owning 34% of the wealth. At the broad base of this triangle we have people who are treated appallingly, who are discriminated against, stigmatized and ultimately written-off before they reach the age of adulthood. People who are never given a chance; many Travellers find themselves here.
Last night, just after midnight a cowardly attack by over 15 members of Golden Dawn resulted in the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, an anti-fascist, left militant and hip-hop artist also known by his rap name Killah P.
Athens which is already in the grip of a public sector general strike, is in turmoil with Greek anti-fascists vowing vengence. Despite the murderer, reportedly a member of Golden Dawn, being arrested at the scene, knife in hand, the Greek neo-nazi party denied any involvement in what was clearly a pre-meditated ambush by a paramilitary uniformed mob.
“If you don't like me, how can you like my child?”
The following is a report from the situation at the Drishane Castle direct provision centre, after successful protests by residents there this week forced a number of immediate changes there. Listen to the audio clips attached to hear directly the opinions of the residents themselves. These audio clips can be listened to individually or as one full recording.