This is the first of issue of Barricade Bulletin, news sheet of the Derry Anarchists. It is our intension to issue this free news sheet every two months locally to help generate anarchist info and knowledge of class struggle anarchism to a wider audience beyond the boundaries and limitations of the internet.
If you would like to get involved with anarchists locally, to take part in anarchist activity, discussions and conversations, prisoner support or contribute to Barricade Bulletin, then drop us a line to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If there's one thing people in the north know only too well after four decades of war, is that the State thrives on intimidation, terror and division in order to control the population.
For centuries the British state in its many guises have used such tactics to direct its imperialist programme here in Ireland and across the world. In doing so, it’s now common knowledge that it trains and advises other states on doing just that, the lessons learnt right here in the six counties.
What's clear is that in spite of our ongoing "peace process" issues of human rights abuses within the prison and justice system are far from over, having leant nothing from the traumatic events that littered the seventies and eighties the practice of indefinite detention remains a weapon issued by the State.
This can be seen with the continuing policy of criminalisation of republican prisoners, the internment and detention of many others such as the Craigavon Two.
Two young men buried within the system on false charges viewed by most as an obvious miscarriage of justice not witnessed since the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four. Their continued imprisonment shows without doubt that society here still has a long way to go to achieve any sense of 'normalisation' our politicians repeatedly speak of.
Anarchists in Derry took part in a recent rally in the city to stand with others to demand the immediate release of local republican activist Tony Taylor imprisoned on the orders of a British Secretary of State. The rally in support of Tony Taylor and his family was a success due to the broad spectrum of political views of those in attendance. Unified pressure must be voiced on the streets if the concerns of the Taylor family are to be addressed once and for all. Openly and through the continuation of mass protest on the streets, not just in the chamber's of local council or up in Stromont.
The political establishment on all levels of power have done little to move the cases of Tony Taylor or that of the Craigavon Two forward as they remain incarcerated.
We demand the immediate release of Tony Taylor and the Craigavon Two whilst calling for the support of other prisoners demands with an end to prison censorship and repression. Lessons from our history shows us that those on the inside need a unified campaign on the outside similar to that of the 'Relatives Action Committees' and free from the control of any one party or organisation. For anarchists, solidarity and direct action on the streets rather than lobbying politicians is our greatest weapon.
Michelle Smith, a much loved Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network comrade, pleaded guilty to the state charges against her for her participation in organised direct action against fascists in Dover on January 2016. On Tuesday July 12, Michelle was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Michelle is passionate in her beliefs and in standing up for the rights of people to live without fear of racist attacks. A single mum of two children, Michelle’s actions were taken to resist racism and fascism. If you want to write to Michelle, message Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network and they will send you her details.
For more info on ABC visit:
Derry ABC: abcireland.wordpress.com
Dublin ABC: dublinabc.ana.rchi.st
(For the first issue of Barricade Bulletin we decided to have an interview with a Derry Anarchist)
When did you first become active or interested in politics?
Politics is something that it’s hard not to have, especially living in Derry. Politics would always come up in conversation no matter where I went or what I was doing. I always voiced my opinions and had most people agree with what I had to say. When it came to doing something about it like becoming involved and actually joining an organisation that was different.
Have you been involved in other political groups?
I could never find where I’d confidently be able to plant my feet and get directly involved. I had taken part in local campaigns or actions on the edges to highlight certain issues around the town for a few years such as Palestine, Anti-Fascist work, Anti-War and never missed a march if I could help it, along with anything else that was going on at that time.
If not, why not?
No. I always had my mates in my ear telling me I was this or that, trying to convince me to join whatever groups they were involved with, but after a while it always came back to the same old thing. It was the way other groups organised. Whether they were socialist, trotskyist or republican minded they all worked the same, from the top down. Even if they said they did, they actually didn’t. Using terms like “grassroots” or “democratic” was limited as horizontal thinking just isn’t practiced. The cult of personality is something I don’t want to be engaged in at all, as I have seen how anarchists organise using direct democracy and how working collectively is far more healthier than being led by the nose all the time.
How did you find out about anarchism?
It was when I was reading about the Spanish Revolution and the international brigades which included people from my own city who went and fought fascism along side other revolutionaries at that time I found an interest and connection with Anarchism.
What about anarchist history locally?
The more I read, the more I could relate to it so I started looking into Anarchism in Irelands recent history, to see where it all tied in. I found books written by Jack White and Belfast born John McGuffin. White being one of the founding members of the Irish Citizens Army and of course McGuffin who was one of the founding activists of the civil rights campaign. McGuffin’s work in highlighting torture and imprisonment by the state over the years is something I admire. The more that I read and heard about him and others, the different anarchist groups at that time was equally inspiring. Particularly their role in the civil rights movement, highlighting injustices and the growth of anarchist politics at that time, I wanted to find out about how they organised. Anarchism in Ireland has only really taken root from the late 60’s onwards but there have been times in the past when people have been inspired by anarchism.
When did you decide to take the next step and become active in anarchist politics?
Hearing about the WSM (Workers Solidarity Movement) and their direct approach to issues throughout the 90’s to present day pushed me to get involved if I was to start anywhere there was no better place for me. I’ve been a full member now for well over a year and have taken part in demos and activism across Ireland. It’s helped develop my outlook and opinions for the better along with the friends and comrades I’ve made throughout it all its been a great experience.
What would you say to others interested in finding out more about anarchism and who are interested in getting involved?
To anyone who’s thinking of getting involved but doesn’t know how to or where to begin or they are hesitant about contacting us, I would say just do it, you might actually find what you where looking for all a long.
Anarchism is a revolutionary anti-state socialism. In practical terms, anarchists aim for the destruction of the ruling class and of all relationships based on domination and submission. This means taking over the industries and communities and changing them to meet the need of all, as well as the ecological needs of the environment. Without this takeover we can struggle within capitalism but never replace it.
Anarchism will be created by millions of people, not the doctoral elite (we are not Marxist-Leninists), and all will have their part to play in shaping it.
Power will lie with the organisations thrown up by and for the revolution, not with the political parties who will try and dominate and destroy them.
The new society will not be born through abstract ideas, but will come out of the realities of struggle and the need for working class people to unite. Such struggle doesn’t just involve resistance to ruling class power (strikes, mass protests and other forms of direct action), but also construction - the building of new, locally based federal organisations (examples of which from the original Soviets of the Russian Revolution to the Collectives during the Spanish Civil War, to the community resistance and collective organisation during Free Derry to the Miner’s Support Groups of 1984/85 strike), plus the forging of solidarity and the willingness to go further.
There is no truce in the class war. The answer to the ruling class power is continual and widening struggle - for social revolution and anarchism.
Derry Anarchists Contact
Workers Solidarity Movement
Support & Solidarity
Alliance for Choice Derry
Alliance For Choice Belfast
Women on Web
Women Help Women
|PDF of Barricade No1 to print out||1.42 MB|