Report of Anarchism Not Chaos mini-festival in Derry, Ireland


Saturday 30th of September saw Derry's Dunlgoe bar play host to a day of anarchist talks, films and music hosted by the Workers Solidarity Movement. The event which was organised by a local Derry WSM member saw people from Dublin, Switzerland, Copenhagen and Belfast as well as locals gather to discuss anarchist ideas.Gregor Kerr, Secretary of the Federation of Dublin Anti-Water Charge Campaigns, kicked things off with a discussion on how the water charges were defeated in the Republic and the role anarchists played in that struggle. The current campaign in the North to defeat the tap tax was discussed with updates on the campaign provided by a comrade from the Belfast anarchist group Organise! and Eamonn McCann of the SWP. Julia Doherty of the wsm then gave an introductory talk on Anarchism covering history, theory and practice and a lively debate ensued over violence, white-male dominance of anarchism and republicanism.

Stalls by Just Books, WSM and Mujeres Libres Derry were on hand stocking everything from pamphlets and books to flags and t-shirts. The mujeres libres had the most creative stall offering t-shirts commemorating free Derry, the Paris commune, Spain 1936 and the limerick soviet as "temporary autonomous zones" with cool front and back logos.

Ramor Ryan, author of "Clandestines: The Pirate Journals of an Irish Exile" gave a reading of his book to a packed upstairs room with a discussion afterwards. The book covers his life from the squats of west-Berlin to Chiapas via a number of hairy and exciting situations, well worth checking out when it's launched in Dublin this Thursday.

A Swiss comrade put on a "comedy" show about police violence which was very informative and gruesome although I didn't really see the comedy aspect. The dangers of baton rounds, tear gas and other "less lethal" weapons were explained and the gory reality of the damage these weapons cause was project on a six foot screen. The message was all the more relevant in Derry where many of these weapons are still in use.

A benefit gig for Belfast's Just Books collective finished off the night with Anti-State and Tin Pot Operation playing to a packed out bar. Hundreds of stickers and anarchist papers were distributed to the crowd as well as leaflets detailing the Justice for Terrence Wheelock campaign.

This was the WSM’s second public event in Derry and the positive reaction we received from many people attending was encouraging. Although anarchism is still a very small political current in Ireland it is currently growing and chaotic cities like Derry need a strong, organised and united working class to get beyond the dead end of both republican and loyalist ideas.