Alan MacSimóin

A collection of articles by the Irish anarchist writer Alan MacSimóin

Strikes free bricklayers from jail - the sort of trade unionism we need

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TWO BUILDING WORKERS were jailed in Dublin last October. They had refused to obey a High Court order not to picket O'Connors/Capel Developments' sites at Conyngham Road and Ballsbridge. A campaign of strikes by bricklayers against sub-contractors had forced big firms like Cramptons to directly employ a lot more workers; giving them the entitlements of PRSI, sick pay, holiday pay and pensions. The bosses decided to strike back.On Wednesday October 21st William Rogers was arrested at the picket in Ballsbridge. Dave McMahon had been arrested at dawn the same morning. Word spread and bricklayers from other sites began walking off the job and heading down to the High Court. By the time the two strikers were brought into Court in handcuffs there were about 300 building workers in the building.

Building local campaigns

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We live in a world where we are encouraged to be passive. We can either accept things as they are or, at best, we can ask someone else to do things for us. That someone can be a politician, a 'community leader', or even a full-time union official. The 'experts' will look after the important stuff and we can stay at home feeling dependent and powerless. Just as there are bosses and workers, there are also leaders and led; and we are supposed to accept it as somehow natural.

Biography of Mexican anarchist Ricardo Magon

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INSIDE MODERN MEXICO the name of Ricardo Flores Magon is well known, and is regarded in a somewhat similar way to that of James Connolly in Ireland. But outside Mexico few have heard of him. Born to a poor family in 1873, he became a journalist on the opposition paper 'El Demócrata' after finishing school. In 1900, along with his brother Jesús, he founded "Regeneración', a radical paper opposed to the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.

Labour Pains for the UDA and UVF? A New Loyalist Party?

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DAVID ERVINE of the UVF linked Progressive Unionist Party has been saying it. So has founder member of the modern UVF, Gusty Spence. Gary McMichael of the UDA's Ulster Democratic Party hints at the need for it. What they are all talking about is a new working class loyalist political party.

Personality politics & the European elections - Don't vote: It only encourages them

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THERE ARE so many parachutes in the sky we can no longer see the sun. They are dropping 'personalities' into the June Euro-election. All the major parties in the 26 counties have selected 'names' to run for them. Fianna Fáil got Olive Braiden from the Rape Crisis Centre; Labour got RTE's Orla Guerin; Fine Gael got the Ranchers' leader, Alan Gillis.

Prospects for Revolution after the collapse of the existing left - 1994

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We are living in a time of great change for the left. For this century the left has been identified with social-democracy (Labour, WP etc.) who saw socialism as being introduced through a few good men taking getting elected through parliament. Or by Leninists who saw socialism as a few good men being put into power by a revolution. Essentially both were variations on the Marxist conception of socialism. Anarchists who argued that socialism could not be brought about by a few good men but only by the self activity of the working class were dismissed as everything from dreamers to bomb throwers.

Vote No to the Programme for Competitiveness and Work

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TOP TRADE union leaders like Phil Flynn, Billy Attley and Peter Cassells have been working flat out to get the employers and government to agree another national deal for pay restraint. The talks were on, then they were off, then they were on again. It was all a game to make it look like the unions leaders were fighting hard for their members. And maybe they felt they had to put on more of an act this time. The Programme for Competitiveness and Work doesn't even pretend to offer much more than pay restraint and cheap labour schemes.

Syndicalism and Anarchism

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In the 1860s the modern socialist movement was beginning to take shape. The International Working Mens' Association or First International was becoming a pole of attraction for militant workers. As the movement grew points of agreement and of disagreement between the Marxists and the Anarchists about what socialism meant and how to achieve it were becoming clear. This led to the Marxists using less than democratic means to expel the anarchists.

Anarchism and leadership

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A CYNICAL EYE is directed at anarchists whenever they speak of organisation. Is not anarchism the opposite to organisation? The simple answer is NO. Is it then the opposite of large or complicated organisation. The answer is equally simple, NO. So where do such mistaken ideas come from?

Anarchism and the Trade Unions

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The Workers Solidarity Movement has, since its formation eight years ago, placed special emphasis on the struggles of trade unionists. Were we right? Why place this special emphasis on trade unions rather than any other organisation or campaign?

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