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Anarchism in Ireland: NE USA speaking tour

category international | anti-capitalism | news report author Sunday February 17, 2008 15:06author by Philip - NEFAC Report this post to the editors

North American readers of indymedia.ie who are in the north east should be interested in this speaking tour by the Irish anarchist Andrew Flood. In the next month he is speaking at NEFAC arranged events in 15 cities including Boston, New York, Baltimore and Washington DC. The list below is not yet complete as the later dates in Virginia and upstate NY are being finalised.

Building a Popular Anarchism / Anarchism in Ireland

Worcester MA -Feb 20th 7pm
Stone Soup, 4 King st

Providence RI - Feb 21, 7.30
DARE, 340 Lockwood street

Boston - Saturday, February 23rd - 7pm
Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave., 5th Floor, Chinatown (www.encuentro5.org)

Portland, ME, Feb 25
Meg Perry Centre, 644 Congress st

Amherst, MA, Feb 27 or 28
Food for Thought books, 106 N Pleasant street

Dates for NYC, Hartford, Philly, Baltimore, DC, Richmond, Fredricksburg, Harresburg, Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo to follow.

A decade ago the active anarchist movement in Ireland consisted of
little more than a dozen people in two small organizations. Today
hundreds of people are active and one banned libertarian demonstration
in 2004 saw 5,000 people take part. Anarchists are increasingly
replacing Irish republicans as the bogeyman of the mainstream media.
This talk explains how this breakthrough happened and details the
various struggles anarchists have been involved in.

About the speaker
Andrew is an active anarchist organizer and writer, with twenty years
experience in Ireland, most of that time as a member of the Workers
Solidarity Movement. More recently, he has been become a member of NEFAC
and is a founder member of Common Cause, Ontario. His publishing record
includes well over one hundred articles, translated into over nine
languages, chapters published in three books, and articles in seven
English language anti-authoritarian magazines and newspapers. As well
as numerous events in Ireland he has been the speaker at meetings in
Britain, Italy, Canada, the Czech Republic and the USA and attended
conferences in the Netherlands, France, Spain and Mexico.

A partial archive of Andrew's writings, radio interviews and
translations can be found at

More info on NEFAC: http://www.nefac.net

author by Conor (pers cap)publication date Sun Feb 17, 2008 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Looks like a good show but I wont be able to make it. Too far away. Maybe next time.

author by the truth hurtspublication date Sun Feb 17, 2008 22:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hundreds of members...the new bogeymen.....replacing republicanism... is this a comedy routine? we just seen Jake Stevens tour amerika, is this the next seris. Keep whistling andrew aka Jake

author by Séamuspublication date Sun Feb 17, 2008 23:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nothing wrong with a little hyperbole every one in a while.

author by Chekovpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 00:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The flyer doesn't say that the WSM has hundreds of members, it says that there are hundreds of anarchists. That is true. A significant minority are members of the WSM. It's also true that anarchists are becoming a favourite bogeyman of the corporate media.

It's not at all hyperbole. I remember well the days when the anarchist movement used to comprise of a half-dozen people at the back of marches organised by others. It has grown by a factor of 10 over the last 10 years. If you think this is hyperbole, you aren't watching closely enough.

author by K.R.Opotkinpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You and your associates will be really chuffed one of these days when the Corporate media start noticing you, won't you Chekov?

author by googleme - nonepublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I remember listening to a podcast by the WSM and in it the speaker said that in 2001? the WSM had 13 members. What is the round about number now? - it couldnt be more than 30, maybe less. Maybe someone could correct me on this?

Even still, jasus have they made an impact and let their presence be felt. Fair dues to them.

author by Mass actionistpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 01:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They're so numerical they could hold their agm by crowding into half a dozen telephone kiosks.

author by Chekovpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 09:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The WSM has now something over 60 members - hardly enormous, but there's little point in making jokes about how small we are since we know exactly how big we are and that is bigger than we've ever been before.

"K.R.Opotkin": yes, we will be dead chuffed. Our politics are an elaborate smokescreen for a group of wannabe celebs. If the anarchism doesn't work out, we may try reality television next.

author by counterpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Numbers dont count for much if you dont do anything with them.
The above article mentions the mainstream media and their distaste for anarchists, portraying them as bogeymen. Yet every article I've seen or radio show I've heard recently (in many cases featuring members of wsm) have all been nice, soft focus, lifestyle, saturday-supplement type pieces and nowehere portraying anarchists in the same light as republicans.
This is probably because the last spark of anything coming remotely into the sphere of challenging the state (on both an ideological & street confrontational level) was the (also mentioned above) may 2004 protest at the heads of EU summit. Since then nearly four years later there's been little of the same frenzy of media coverage, but also a complete lack of interest among the general populace in such events too - a protest against the World Bank late last year was a damp squib despite monopoly style posters all around town.
(This isnt just an Irish thing, its typical of the anarchist/direct action/anti capitalist in all western societies - its moved off the street. It now convenes in [rented] "social centres" (see previous paragraph about nice soft focus media coverage) or in halls for endless debates, workshops, and discussions, rather than in the street for actions, where it is visible and creating a presence beyond activist circles. You have to wonder which the powers-that -be would prefer: a couple of hundred activists sitting around for yet another meeting or bookfair in the Teachers Club, "building" towards a revolution that in all sane likelihood will probably never come, or attempting to pull down fences at Dublin airport, which was recently acknowledged that the US Military had been using [yet not a peep from the movement which advocated such methods as the answer to stop the warplanes landing here not that very long ago)
Talking and putting out newspapers only gets you so far.

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0125/9news.html
author by Chekovpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 13:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At least there's some substance to this criticism. It is, however, once again totally wrong. The WSM and the wider anarchist movement has been heavily involved in the Shell to Sea campaign, and has been attacked in the mainstream media on several occasions for this. That campaign has seen an awful lot of direct action and WSM members have been beaten, hospitalised and arrested for taking part in actions in Rossport. There are also several other street-campaigns that we've been heavily involved in - the justice for Terence Wheelock campaign being one example.

Maybe, you could furnish yourself with a clue before having a go?

author by Anarchopublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 13:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Last week Biffo Cowen had a go at dissident republicans by claiming they had an anarchist approach:

"Tánaiste and Minister for Finance Brian Cowen said: "Those people don't represent anybody. They don't have an agenda for anyone. It is just a nihilist, anarchist approach to 21st century Ireland."


author by Starstruckpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 15:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Checkov has accurately countered all the jealous bullshit forrwaded by others in some of the comments on this thread so I wont repeat his points.
The anarchist movement has undoubtedly mushroomed in the past 5 years in Ireland and the WSM have played a sizeable part in this.
Anarchists continue to play pivotal roles in many of the campaigns that the mainstream left found attractiv once and have since abandoned.
Its called struggle for a reason and the anarchist contribution on these shores continues to grow.

Anarchists last Mayday
Anarchists last Mayday

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie
author by querypublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Quote- one banned libertarian demonstration in 2004 saw 5,000 people take part.
When did this happen?
Not the march on Phoenix Park. I was on that there was no where near 5,000 people on that. The swp don't even exaggerate that much.

author by Chekovpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This site was full of arguments about the numbers who attended the march to farmleigh. The range put forward was from 3,000 to 5,000 people, depending on one's sympathies. The figure of 5,000 has always been claimed by the organisers. It would be really dumb to open up that debate again - have a look back through the archives for 2004 to see the arguments.

At this stage we've seen virtually every sentence attacked. Ah, the warm glow of our enemies' bitterness!

author by figurespublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From 3,000 to 5,000 people- thats a pretty big difference. I was there and I can say that there was no where near 5,000. In fact 3,000 would be a better guess and even that is a tad on the big side. Checkov you shouldn't be getting all annoyed now about this- you've been quick to accuse others of things in the past on this site and now your very dismissive when its your crew under fire for mis-truth, exaggeration.

author by Chekovpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Go back and read the arguments at the time. If you feel that we are being dishonest, then we've been dishonest all along - it is just ridiculous to bring it up again now when this site is full of detailed arguments from the actual time.

For what it's worth I was there too and I think that 5,000 people is a reasonable estimate. A range in crowd estimates of 66% is not at all unusual for such things. Anyway, your major point is that you think it's an exaggeration. Point noted.

author by Davy Carlinpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good luck with the tour Andrew,

Davy Carlin - Belfast Branch WSM

author by Bobbypublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 17:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The WSM have no need to exaggerate, they are certainly one of the bigger and more effective groups on left but to classify yourselves or any other anarchists as “increasingly replacing Irish republicans as the bogeyman of the mainstream media” is just bollox. Every week we have bullshit stories about the various “dissident” republicans meeting to plan join campaigns of violence or their involvement in drug dealing. Just look at the media the INLA get.
I’m afraid you guys have been caught out with a little hyperbolt!

author by wolfhooks bane - nonepublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 23:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

as a foreigner formerly living in ireland i´d like to say my warmest greetings to the comrades of WSM. If my homecountry had a group like WSM, we´d be ready to combat the newly elected right-government...but instead we´re stuck with nihilistic anarco-punks, pennytossers and the odd liberal anarchists. class struggle must be on the streets, and it must be easily understood and wrapped in a good package. wsm is doing all that. don´t be a asshole when you don´t have to. all thumbs up to you WSM!

author by K.R.Opotkinpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 02:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to Starbucks anarchism has mushroomed in Ireland in the last five years. Just be careful though; some species are inedible while others are just giant puffballs. Champignons sprout up overnight in August and September especially on pastures littered with horse manure. Chanterelles (Pfifferlinge in German) are abundant in the mountain woods of the Tyrol throughout summer and taste good when cooked with rich cream butter. Other bland species sprout plentifully from the decaying bark of fallen trees. Go to Mexico and you might strike gold with magic mushrooms. No prizes for guessing that the Greens in the current coalition are Bertie's toadstools. Don't pick, just crush em underfoot. As for McDowell in the last coalition: the man was deadly nightshade. The voters eliminated him with organic defoliant.

author by citoigpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 09:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to the WSM for bumping their numbers up to 60. At the same time, celebrating an increase to such a figure just highlights how tiny the far left is in Ireland.

Here's my guess re. the existing groups. I think I'm right in my figures (corrections welcome).

Labour Party 2,000 (mostly paper members)
Sinn Fein 1,500 (many up north)
Eirigi 70
IRSP 200 (but mostly inactive 'family' members)

WSM 60
ISN 25-30
Organise 5 or 6

SWP 150
Socialist Party 150
Workers Party 100
Communist Party 60 to 70

And then you have a collection of little groups like the crowd around Joan Collins in Crumlin, the remnants of WCA in Cabra and Seamus Healy's machine in Tipperary.

Overall, not very impressive, unfortunately.

author by ///publication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Communist Party, ISN and SWP's numbers seem very exaggerated

I'd put SF and SP on higher membership numbers though.

author by DC - nonepublication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 21:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Those numbers would also suggest that the IRSP is the largest Socialist/Communist organisation in Ireland. I personally would have thought the Workers Party to have been much larger given their past status.

I think the SWP numbers would be close enough at 150, iv heard that cited before.

If we were to include all the non-affiliated individuals then the numbers would be far greater. Id be one.

author by Mark C - None - That's My Pointpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 09:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can count me in as a non-affiliated leftist individual too.


author by citoigpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Communist Party, ISN and SWP's numbers seem very exaggerated

I'd put SF and SP on higher membership numbers though."

This isn't an exact science, so I'm talking ball-park.

1) CP numbers might seem high given their very low level of activity, but that's just the point with them. They have a number of old lads that do nothing but are still on the books. I'm also counting in the handful of Connolly Youth people (though at least one of them seems blissfully unaware of their connection to the CP :)

2. The ISN, according to Wikipedia, has three branches. They have a good presence in Finglas but now also have people outside of that area. I think my figure is about right.

3. SF figures could be higher, but, if so, I'm guessing they're mostly concentrated in Ulster.

4. I reckon I'm bang on re. SP. In fact, the numbers for both the SWP and SP could be a little below 150. I'm including non-active members.

As regards the comment about the WP and IRSP, the irps still have a bit of life in them and are recruiting, while the WP has fossilised and membership is dropping. Both groups have a fair few people who are just 'on the books' but can be called upon for commemorations and other events.

author by Observerpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They probably have more members in Ireland the entire ultra left. Bit laughable really lads that such miniscule and unpopular and irrelevant sects think they know better than everyone else and should be given power :)

author by Statisticianpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The posted figures for "Libertarian Left" and "Leninist Left" need to be viewed carefully. Possibly ten percent of the numbers in those miniscule outfits are garda/MI5 paid informants or deep cover infiltrators from rival sects. There may be an overlap on the part of the cuter informants and deep entryists i.e. they may be operating a complicated treble cross, playing both ends against the middle and getting double paid. Some outfits may have been originally set up by garda/MI5 to lure in,confuse and make activists look absurd in the eyes of straight society. Follow the money, as my old pal Deep Throat used to whisper. Well that's the advice some people have followed these past thirty years in Fianna Fail.

author by citoigpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd say most of the deep throat moles are in the nationalist left, to be honest.

On reflection, I could be wrong about the CP figures. Was talking to somebody about this earlier (somebody with an inside view) and a couple of dozen might be more accurate with most inactive.

author by DC - nonepublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 13:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Possibly ten percent of the numbers in those miniscule outfits are garda/MI5 paid informants"

I doubt that very much. Republican organisations would be infiltrated more of course, but even they wouldnt have a 1in10 inflitration ratio - no way. And certainly not other leftist parties who pose a minimul threat to the security of the state.

I would emphasise again, that there are literally thousands of non-affiliated socialists out there. I can can think of 12 from the top of my head who I have encountered on the internet alone.

And here's a surprising thing also. If you go to the youth wings of the various parties on bebo. Check out and compare the amount of 'friends' or affiliates of the various organisations. The CYM actually have almost the same amount as Ogra Fianna Fail - (give or take 'friends' that are not individuals but organisations).

Even still though, and as bebo would suggest, there are a hell of alot more of us out there than we think.

author by DC - nonepublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 14:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here are some bebo figures...

WSM - 290
CYM/CPI - 279
Sinn Fein - 1151
Socialist Youth - 284

Young Greens - 653

Fina gael - 605
Fianna Fail - 327
Ogra Fianna Fail - 226

Much of the left are overlapping here with friends, but it must indicate something - thera are not random numbers. Maybe it says that more of the left are internet activists? - I think not.

author by Billy Idlepublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"the remnants of WCA in Cabra"?????????????

citoig, what does this mean?

author by Infopublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 15:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The CYM has about 30 members, mainly focused in Dublin, Kildare and Belfast with a lot of others scattered around in strange country places.. About 2/3's of them wouldn't be in the CP tho.

CPI probably has about 60 members, with the majority in Dublin and Belfast.

author by Philippublication date Wed Feb 27, 2008 16:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What people liked about the 'Building a Popular Anarchism talk' (based on post talk surveys in Boston, Providence and Portland)

? -I liked how well Andrew explained his experiences and related them to
universal strategies for struggle.

M - Andrew was very clear & interacted w/people in such a way that it was very
comfortable to interact.

? - it was concise, humorous and well rounded

C - I enjoyed the speaker and his realistic views on the state of the
"anarchist movement."

? - The intimate environment in which the presentation was given and the
presentation itself

S - It was a talk from personal experience that took its time to develop the argument

D - Knowledgable, fascinating facts, liked the photos used in presentation

? - The speaker was very well grounded in objective conditions. Real analysis.
No fantasy.

Y - I didn't know much about it previously -- & Andrew was a great &
informative speaker!

? - I learned lots!

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Jul 08, 2008 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Still working on the audio from the tour itself but here is the map of all the cities

It's a google map and all except a couple of places (where the venue was a private house) are exactly placed. So if you go to the google map page you can zoom right in. Clicking on the pins brings up the name of the location, the date, a link to the venues website and links to the blog entry and if there is one the interview for that locations. At http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&ie=UT...&z=16

All the stops
All the stops

author by moderate anarchistpublication date Tue Jul 08, 2008 17:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good that Phillip was able to get the thread back on course . I’d like to endorse the poster who pinpointed Chekov’s forensic countering of the “jealous bullshit” coming from the usual sources . Anarchism is a force to be reckoned with . Contrary to the widely held preconception, it’s certainly not some sort of a joke . “Concise, humorous and well rounded “ describes Andrew’s approach perfectly and I am grateful to our companeros in the United States for allowing him the time to develop and expand his well honed argumentation .

Andrew’s melding of geoscience and technology –as in his post above - moves anarchist theory some way towards the explication of a coherent and sustainable critique as articulated in a broad selection of anarchists’ ideas , writings and oral debates and as implied in submerged discourses and actions. But the question imo still needs to be addressed in terms of our orientations and political actions - whether for instance towards moderatist or extremist anarchist models and perspectives .

author by Andrewpublication date Mon Mar 30, 2009 14:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It took a little bit longer than planned but I've finally got the talk online as a video (this made sense as some of it is image dependent). It's at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/91728

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