SPANISH NAZI CALLS FOR THE CREATION OF CELLS OF WHITE, CHRISTIAN, EUROPEAN MALES

(Reading time:9 mins.)

(Translated from Publico report by Danilo Albin and with comment by D.Breatnach)

A few days before Nazi bookseller Pedro Varela’s date for trial in Malaga for the continued crime of provoking hatred and discrimination, the Hitlerite activist gave a talk in which he called for founding “cells of Christian, white, and European men.”

The audience listened in silence. On stage was Pedro Varela, the great leader of Spanish neo-Nazis and one of the few Hitlerites tried in Spain for spreading genocidal ideas.1

It was the morning of Sunday, November 6, there were a few days left before another trial for spreading hate and Varela, in his usual style, had not planned to move an inch from his script.

“You go down a street in Madrid or Barcelona and you see black boys, handsome, tall, stocky, who measure 1.90. They are going to be the owners of the situation and the owners of the country. Do you think they are going to pay your pensions?”2

That was one of the statements made by the owner of Librería Europa during the conference held that day, according to a video that has just seen the light.

The Nazi activist’s speech, organized by the far-right publishing house Fides, was made on November 6 within the framework of the XVI Days of Dissidence3.

The event, which was initially going to be held in a conference room on Calle Hilarión Eslava in Madrid, had to change location after the publication of a news item about said meeting by Público4.

That change of location angered Varela, who did not hesitate to lash out at this newspaper. “As you know, lovers of freedom of expression and democracy have tried and succeeded in cancelling the room in Madrid that for years we used for this rally,” he said.

“The Público newspaper, a pamphlet from the extreme left5, announced the address where the Sixteen Days of Dissidence were going to take place, and encouraged the anti-fascist mobs to call, bother, and outrage the owners of that place so that they finally barred us access to it for holding the ‘Dissidents’,” he continued.

This veteran Nazi activist also referred to an episode of the Cuéntame series in which there was an allusion to his bookshop, located in Barcelona and dedicated to the sale of National Socialist materials.

“The propaganda against this small group of 200 or 300 people here today is tremendous. A newspaper like Público, a television program like Cuéntame, dedicate part of their efforts to combat the spread of our thought and our struggle,” he warned.

As established by Court Number 11 of Barcelona in 2010, this “thought” and this “fight” imply the crime of spreading genocidal ideas. Varela was imprisoned between December 2010 and March 2012.

In 2016, after a raid on the Nazi bookstore in which the Mossos d’Esquadra seized 15,000 books glorifying genocide, the activist spent a few days on the run until he turned himself in at a police station.

Nazi Pedro Varela attending court in Malaga, Spanish state. (Image sourced: Internet)

He then paid a bail of 30,000 euros and returned to the street. Currently he is awaiting a new trial.

The Prosecutor for Hate Crimes and Discrimination requested 12 years in prison for exaltation, justification and denial of the Holocaust and for crimes of incitement to hatred against Jews, migrants, Muslims and homosexuals, among others, as well as the permanent closure of its business, the Europa bookshop in Barcelona.

“Do not fear prison or persecution”

“Whoever had something interesting to say who has not been in prison for that? Do not fear prison or persecution, because they are medalsto your credit in the afterlife,” he said during the conference on November 6.

The latter was held a few days before he was due to face another trial in Malaga as a result of a complaint made by the Movement against Intolerance directed by Esteban Ibarra.

The prosecutor in this case – which is now pending resolution – requested three and a half years in prison for Varela for the continued crime of incitement to hatred and discrimination as a result of the content of some conferences held in Seville and Malaga.

This was given that his rallies created “an evident feeling of hostility towards the affected groups (African, Muslim or Jewish migrants, basically) that generated an objective dangerous to peaceful coexistence”, affirms the Public Ministry.

In the talk on November 6 in Madrid, Varela returned to raise similar issues. Among other things, he linked the number of migrants to the “increase in rape on the streets of Spain, including Valencia.”

“The Spanish are peaceful people6, almost all of them have a partner, a girlfriend, a family… they have a culture of respect for women, something that does not happen with these immigrants.”7

At another point in his speech, he asserted that “60 million blacks are needed to take the place of 100,000 abortions per year that Spain has.”

He also alleged out that immigrants “go to look for a partner in Spain, and if Spanish women do not decide to become their partner, what is happening happens.”

Varela not only did not hesitate to refer to himself as “National Socialist”, but also claimed the role of the ‘Napola’, the male boarding schools of the Hitler Youth that served as a school for the Nazi elites.

In these centres “they educated them in austerity, order and discipline” and offered them “a sense of mission in life”, according to his interpretation.

He encouraged the founding of “those cells of Christian, white, European men”

“What do we have to do to face this world? We cannot organize the Napola, because they are going to be banned, but yes, you can form a Napola among yourselves, in your family, in your circles of friends.”

“You have to mould the youth, your family, the children and yourselves” – he remarked – “in the character of the Napola kids”.

The Nazi bookseller proclaimed that “resistance must be not only political, ideological and human, but also familial, ethical and religious”, while encouraging his followers to have children and “found those cells of Christian, white and European men who, with respect and good neighbourliness with other races and cultures, prefers to defend his own than to succumb”.

“What Happened at Auschwitz”

He alleged that in Spain there is a “gradual loss of freedom of expression” and condemned the Democratic Memory Law8, which he compared to the German laws against Nazi apology.

“In Germany, as you know, the whole question of what happened, what did not happen or could have happened in Auschwitz is not debatable, it is not debatable,” he indicated. “Any German who claims to defend his own identity is suspicious of Auschwitz.”

In his opinion, “this dictatorship against freedom of expression also exists here. This law of historical memory and cancellation of white culture9 is carried out in all Western countries.”10

He even asserted that the legal persecution against Nazi broadcasting in Germany is a “sword of Damocles that hangs above all Germans so that any possible resistance to the cultural and ethnic invasion of the country does not take place.”

Pedro Varela addressing a fascist meeting in the Spanish state (Image sourced: Internet)


“Where do the transsexuals go?”

His speech was also loaded with transphobia. “I read a very curious joke the other day. – Hey dad, women go to the gynaecologist, right? – Yes. – And do men go to the urologist? – Yes.

And where do transgender people go? – I don’t know, kid, probably to the psychiatrist“. As can be seen in the video, the transphobic joke was followed by laughter and applause from the ultra-rightists who inhabited the room.

“This is of course a joke, because otherwise transgender people are going to sue me.11 Humour is what it is, but that is the biological reality. You can feel whatever you want, but biology says what you are.

You are a man or a woman, or to the urologist or the gynaecologist, you cannot go anywhere else,” he concluded.

COMMENT
by Diarmuid Breatnach

Fascism in Spain, then and now

The first thing to take into account is that unlike anywhere else in Europe, there was no overthrow of fascism in the Spanish State.

A cosmetic job of painting over four decades of the savage Franco dictatorship with pseudo-democracy was managed by the fascist ruling class with all their politicians, senior military and police officers, judges, bishops, bankers and media moguls remaining in place.

The second thing to note is that despite antifascist laws being passed as part of that “Transition” process, fascist glorification continued to be rampant in the Spanish state with fascist salutes and iconography regularly displayed in public and on photographs and video.

Spanish fascists against Catalan independence, Barcelona January 2020. (Image sourced: Internet)

And fascist speeches too, all with impunity. Except in this case, which is why the report states that Varela is one of the few Hitlerites to be tried: not because there are only a few of them but because the State has decided to make Varela an exception to the rule.

Varela complains about the “dictatorship” that he feels being exercised against him and his rhetoric. Fascists always raise the flag of democracy, which they despise, only when they feel unable to use the mailed fist. Once in power, they give democracy to none except their own12.

It’s not a little amusing that the State is trying to close Varela’s fascist bookshop through the court because they closed Basque social centres, newspapers and social media sites merely be decree and even when their own Constitutional Court made them recant, are yet to pay a cent in compensation.

Hollocaust denial is one pretty frequent plank in the fascist platform, wherever in the world it is erected.

This too is curious, in a way because in the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis and other fascists boasted about what they were doing, in particular to the Jews in Germany, Austria and in Occupied Europe.

True, they did not admit publicly to the mass exterminations but all the rest of it, expropriations, mass round-ups, concentration camps were no secret and they corresponded among themselves and reported to authority about the rest – the story the photos, film and survivors told the world later.

Vulnerability of the fascist male ego

Varela’s worries about Spanish women’s vulnerability to men of migrant background is another area of irony, given the problem of Spanish gender violence (see below).

Whilst there have been prominent female fascists, historically the cult of the superior male has been prominent in most fascist movements. Indeed Hitler’s Nazis proclaimed the correct areas for women’s activity to be “kinder, kuche und kirke” (‘children, kitchen and church’).

Most fascist movements and organisations have denounced homosexuality and many gays and lesbians have been killed by them, including an estimated 60% fatalities of the 50-60,000 sent to concentration camps by Nazi German courts.

In their hetero-sexual male insecurity, fascists and other racists often fear “their” women being attracted to other men, specifically to men of other ethnic groups13.

Conversely, fascists regularly see themselves as the “defenders” of “helpless females” while simultaneously detesting any exhibition of female independence or assertiveness.

Those circumstances encourage acts of rape and other sexual violence towards women: last year in the Spanish state 37 women died in violence by men and 46 the previous year.

People still remember the “Manada” (‘wolf-pack’) case where five men videoed themselves raping a young woman whom they left in a doorway after they stole her mobile phone. Although it occurred in the Basque province of Navarra, all the assailants were Spanish.

What’s more, one was a Spanish policeman while the other was military and some had previously videoed themselves in a van with an unconscious woman, talking about their intentions. The “Manada” was the name of a WhatsApp group of which they were members.

Historical memory and mass graves

Many people hope that changes in Spanish law, such as the Law of Historical Memory in 2007 and more recent practical steps herald a coming to terms with the state’s fascist past.

Some mass graves of fascist victims have been exhumed and removal Franco’s remains in October 2029 and projected removal of Primo de Rivera’s from their mausoleum in the Valle de Los Caidios gives hope to some14.

The remains of General Queipo de Llano, believed personally responsible for the execution of poet and dramatist Garcia Federico Lorca in 1936, were removed from the La Macarena basilica in Seville on 2nd November this year.

Postcard of fascist General Queipo de Llano, whose remains were exhumed recently from the Macarena Basilica and reinterred in a family cemetery recently. (Image sourced: Internet)

After Cambodia, the Spanish state remains the one with most mass graves in the world and the majority of those have not been exhumed15. The names of fascists still decorate streets and, as noted earlier, fascist events continue with public displays of fascist affiliation.

The fascist political party Vox continues in existence with currently 52 (out of 250) members of the Congress (lower house) of the Spanish Parliament.

There exists a deep fascist pool which has reflected at various times the political parties Partido Popular, Ciudadanos and now Vox with the votes of the pool being divided among those parties according to the wishes of the day.

As is usually the case, Spanish fascism is combined with a reactionary ‘nationalism’ of a unitary Spain based on Castille and León but including all its current territories.

They tack on to that a fictional concept of Spain with Flamenco in Andalusia and holidays in the Balearics and Canaries but seek the suppression of any national self-determination.

The Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia have all historically declared for self-determination but all three were murderously suppressed during the Civil War and the Dictatorship, with the former two suffering heavy repression in the post-Franco ‘democratic’ Spain.

Any move towards self-determination in those nations stirs a fascist hornet’s nest to venomous buzzing and threats.

Overall, the signs are not favourable for a future Spanish state cleansed of fascism – at any rate not by moderate and peaceful means.

End.

FOOTNOTES

1See the Comment section on this question.

2A variation of the “white replacement” irrational anxiety of racists.

316 Days of activism against gender-based violence:16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign held every year. It begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. It is ironic, to say the least, for fascists to locate their events within this framework.

4Left wing on-line Spanish newspaper.

5From the perspective of fascists and far-right in the Spanish state, that on-line newspaper may seem “extreme Left” but although on the Left it is not even revolutionary.

6Oblivious to past and more recent history, obviously!

7See the Comment section on this question.

8The main provisions of the law are:[5]

  • Recognition of the victims of political, religious and ideological violence on both sides of the Spanish Civil War and of Franco’s State.
  • Condemnation of the Francoist State
  • Prohibition of political events at the Valley of the Fallen – Franco’s former burial place.
  • The removal of objects which exalt the July 1936 coupcivil war and Francoist repression from public buildings and spaces. Exceptions may be given for artistic or architectural reasons, or in the case of religious spaces.
  • State help in the tracing, identification and eventual exhumation of victims of Francoist repression whose corpses are still missing, often buried in mass graves.
  • The granting of Spanish nationality to surviving members of the International Brigades, without requiring them to renounce their own nationalities.
  • Rejection of the legitimacy of laws passed and trials conducted by the Francoist State.
  • Temporary change to Spanish nationality law, granting the right of return and de origen citizenship to those who left Spain under Franco for political or economic reasons, and their descendants.
  • Provision of aid to the victims and descendants of victims of the Civil War and the Francoist State.

9To Varela, there is such a thing as “white culture”, which will be a surprise at least to, let’s say Irish, Basque and Russians.

10See the Comment section on this question.

11See the Comment section on this question.

12And not even to their own, on occasion, as with the violent suppression of the whole leadership of the Browshirts by the Gestapo in The Night of the Long Knives 30th June-2 July 1934 in Germany.

13This has been nowhere more observable perhaps than in the ‘Deep Southern’ states of the USA, where black men were regularly lynched for alleged rape of white women without any proof. Conversely, the evidence of rape of black women in the same area during and after slavery is legion.

14Franco was the fascist dictator of four decades and Primo de Rivera was the founder of the fascist Falange, executed by the Spanish Republic.

15Holding the remains of an estimated 100,000 men and women.

SOURCES & REFERENCES

Original Público report: (El librero nazi Pedro Varela arremete contra ‘Público’ durante un nuevo alarde supremacista y tránsfobo | Público (publico.es) by Danilo Albin)

Cuéntame/ Remember When series: Cuéntame cómo pasó – Wikipedia

Thousands demonstrate in Spain to end violence against women | Reuters

La Manada rape case – Wikipedia

Historical Memory Law – Wikipedia

The Murder of Vicky Phelan

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh

(Reading time: 6 mins.)

First published in “Socialist Democracy” December 2022, republished here with kind permission of author.

The death of Vicky Phelan on November 14th was announced by the media. They were full of praise for a woman who was a victim in the cervical smear scandal.

She was one of over 200 women whose cervical smear tests were outsourced to a private US company, which gave back erroneous results.

Women who could have received treatment went on to develop cancer and in the case of Vicky Phelan die. But she didn’t just die. She was murdered.

Engels in his famous tract The Condition of the Working Class in England stated that

When one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another such that death results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance that the injury would be fatal, we call his deed murder.

But when society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live – forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence – knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission.(1)

The Irish state has for a long time deprived its population of the necessaries, as Engels put it, of life in relation to health care. One of the first politicians to wreak havoc in the health system in pursuit of her ideology and profit was Mary Harney.

Mary Harney, former Health Minister who set up the Irish health service for privatisation – guilty of murder through neglect. (Photo sourced: Internet)

She and her party the Progressive Democrats were ideological in their commitment to the privatisation of health care. Under her rule and that of successive governments, the health service was privatised.

First, they ran it down, closing hospital wards and reducing the number of beds in the health service, paying Consultant Doctors extravagant salaries, allowing them to moonlight as private consultants, whilst there are now around one million people on public waiting lists.

The system is a shambles and compares poorly in terms of speed and quality of care to even Third World countries.

At the same time a private health care sector has arisen and expanded, all the time promoted by the state through tax breaks and discounts for the companies with affiliates being able to write off part of their private health insurance against tax.

In other words, a public subsidy to the health companies paid for through the taxes of many people who cannot afford to use these services. The Irish health service does not exist to provide health care but rather to generate profit. It is important to understand what this means in practice.

If profit is the motive, then the law of supply and demand takes over and prices and the quantity of services are calculated on the same or similar basis to the sale of a car. It also means that in order for some to be treated and live, others must die.

It is an intrinsic part of the system and they know it. For health care to be profitable some must not have full access to it, some must die in order for others to make profits. If everyone can access cancer treatment without problems then there is no need for private medicine.

This is not the situation in Ireland. Public services are run down in order to encourage private medicine and profit.

It is in this context that the Health Service Executive outsourced the testing of cervical smear tests not only to a private company, but to one in another jurisdiction. Money was to be made, and to hell with the consequences.

Dr David Gibbons, a former member of the screening programme, said he expressed concerns about the outsourcing of smear tests to the US in 2008 but they were dismissed.

Tony O’Brien, former head of the National Cancer Screening Service and Director General of the HSE until 2018 — another one of the guilty (Photo sourced: Internet)

Gibbons, chair of the cytology/histology group within the programme’s quality assurance committee, brought up his worries with Tony O’Brien, then chief executive of the National Cancer Screening Service and director general of the HSE until 2018, but they were not listened to.

Dr Gibbons resigned as a result. O’Brien defended the decision to outsource the testing saying that tests would have otherwise been left idle for a year or been examined by doctors “on their kitchen table”.(2)

Why would they lie idle for a year? Because they had decided not to spend money on it. Why would doctors end up examining them on their kitchen table? Because the facilities weren’t there.

When it all went wrong, they dragged their heels on informing the women, and this is where Vicky Phelan comes in.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, but only informed of the false negative from the unapproved labs used by the HSE in 2011 and sued the US company and the HSE, but her case against the HSE was struck out.

The cat was out of the bag, however, but they continued to drag their heels on informing women that they may in fact have cancer and they stuck by their accountancy guns and continued to outsource the tests.

As Engels stated they know these victims will perish and yet permit the conditions to continue.

When she died, the great and good in Irish society expressed their praise for her. The murderers came back to the crime scene in a perverse act to say “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it”. The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin stated on Twitter

Very saddened at the passing of Vicky Phelan, a woman of great courage, integrity, honesty & generosity of spirit. She will be long remembered as someone who stood up for the women of Ireland, & globally.(3)

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, for his part, was brazen in his Janus-like abilities.

Today Ireland has lost a woman of limitless courage, compassion and strength. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Vicky’s family, particularly to her children on the loss of their incredible mother.

Vicky was a shining example of the power of the human spirit. Her fight to uncover the truth and the courage with which she faced her illness made her an inspiration to us all. We mourn her as a nation, as a society, and as individuals.(4)

Both of these men bear responsibility for what happened. To listen to them you would swear they were talking about some social justice warrior in a far-off land who stood up to a government that the Irish state is not on good terms with.

Condolences from murderers by neglect, Taoiseach Mícheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, presiding over the privatisation and degradation of the Irish health service. (Photo sourced: Internet)

Varadkar was a government minister in 2011 when Vicky Phelan was tested. He was Minister for Health when she was diagnosed with cancer and he was Minister for Social Protection when she was eventually informed about the mess up with her results.

Martin has been a T.D. in the Irish parliament (Dáil) since 1989 and has served as a minister on and off since 1997 and is the current Taoiseach.

They oversaw the dismantling of the health system, they made up the rules and implemented them. What happened to Vicky Phelan was on their watch. In other jurisdictions functionaries can be held liable for decisions they take, but not in Ireland.

They took decisions on the health service which affect the lives of millions, not just Vicky Phelan. Every year countless patients die in Ireland due to a lack of access to proper healthcare; Varadkar and Martin know this and yet they proceed with their actions.

In a criminal court case where a person carries out an act knowing it could result in the death of a person and decides to proceed nonetheless, they would be liable for that person’s death through recklessness.

Yet, politicians take decisions that kill people knowing that this is the likely outcome. They are guilty of what Engels termed social murder.

Vicky Phelan didn’t just die, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil along with the Greens murdered her. No amount of praise from Vlad the Impaler a.k.a Leo Varadkar can hide the fact that he bears responsibility for death.

Vicky Phelan, cervical cancer campaigner, 1974-2022.

Notes

(1) Engels, F. (1885) The Condition of the Working Class in England https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/index.htm

(2) Simon Carswell (01/05/2018) CervicalCheck scandal: What is it all about? Irish Times. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/cervicalcheck-scandal-what-is-it-all-about-1.3480699

(3) See https://twitter.com/MichealMartinTD/status/1592115397754494976

(4) Leo Varadkar (14/11/2022) Statement by Tánaiste and Fine Gael Leader Leo Varadkar on the death of Vicky Phelan https://www.finegael.ie/statement-by-tanaiste-and-fine-gael-leader-leo-varadkar-on-the-death-of-vicky-phelan/

FOUNDING OF FIRST WORKERS’ ARMY IN THE WORLD COMMEMORATED IN DUBLIN

Clive Sulish

(Reading time: 8 mins.)

The founding of the Irish Citizen Army, the first workers’ army in the world1, was commemorated in Dublin at the site of Wolfe Tone monument in Stephens Greeen, in song and speech on 23rd November 2022.

Organised by the Connolly Youth Movement, the other participating organisations represented were the Irish Communist Party, Independent Workers Union, Lasair Dhearg2 and Welsh Socialist Republican Solidarity (Ireland) – the Irish branch of the Welsh Underground Network.

In addition, a number of independent activists were also present.

CYM speaker beside the Wolf Tone Monument (by Edward Delaney) which was blown up by Loyalists in 1969; it was recast and the surviving head incorporated. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

THE IRISH CITIZEN ARMY

The Irish Citizen Army was founded on 23rd November 1913 on a call from Jim Larkin and James Connolly, both leading the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in its titanic struggle against the federation of Dublin Employers’ plan to break and disperse the union.

The call for the formation of the ICA arose due to the attacks of the Dublin Metropolitan Police on the workers and their supporters; already in August 1913 the DMP had killed two workers by truncheon blows and injured many, including a youth who would die later as a result.

The ICA’s initial organiser was the writer and dramatist Seán O’Casey, later succeeded by Boer War veteran Jack White.3 In addition to requiring its recruits to be union members, the ICA enrolled women as well as men and some of the former were officers commanding both genders4.

While the ITGWU was defeated in the eight months of the Lockout, it was not smashed and came back stronger in a relatively short period. The ICA faded away then but was reorganised over following years and approximately 120 took part as a unit in the 1916 Rising, alongside other units.5

SPEECHES AND SONG

A small crowd had gathered at the advertised location, the Wolfe Tone Monument in Stephen’s Green and the chairperson of the event called people to order.

Diarmuid Breatnach, an independent activist, was asked to sing one of Connolly’s compositions, ironically titled Be Moderate, often referred to instead by its refrain, “We only Want the Earth”.

An older man with a Dublin accent, Breatnach told his audience that Connolly published the lyrics in New York in 1907, going on to sing the five verses to the air of Thomas Davis’ A Nation Once Again6, using the chorus part to repeat the refrain that “ … we only want the Earth!”7

A representative of the Independent Workers’ Union, a young man with an Ulster accent, spoke about the need for workers to have a trade union and for that union not to align itself with employers or with the State.

In order to truly represent the interests of the workers, the union needs to be independent, he maintained and also democratic in its decision-making.

In conclusion, the speaker said that the IWU is the union that is needed and called on people present to join it and to support it.

“MAKE THE VISION A REALITY”

Amy Margaret, a young woman, also with an Ulster accent, delivered a speech on behalf of the organisers of the event, the Connolly Youth Movement.

“The Citizen Army was a direct response to the brutality carried out by the RIC and Dublin Metropolitan Police during the Dublin Lockout” she said; “the police killed two workers, injured hundreds more with baton charges, and frequently ransacked the tenements where strikers lived.”

“The Citizen Army fought back with some succes” she continued “and as one pointed out, a hurley has a longer reach than a baton. It was in the Citizen Army that the working-class stood up to the RIC and employers,” she continued.

“The same RIC that torched farmer’s homes during the Land war, the same employers who often owned the slums where workers lived; it was here at Stephen’s Green (and elsewhere in the city) that the Citizen Army stood up to the British Empire, alongside comrades in the Irish Volunteers.”

She told her audience that when, during a dockers’ strike in 1915, scabs were imported and police harassed picketers, Connolly sent a squad of the ICA with fixed bayonets to the scene, resulting in the dispute’s resolution with “a considerable increase in wages to the dockers concerned”.

“The Citizen Army was not simply workers armed with guns,” the speaker said, “but also armed with culture” and referred to weekly concerts in Liberty Hall (the ITGWU’s HQ) and to the dramatic acting history of Seán Connolly and whistle-playing of Michael Malin, both 1916 martyrs

“What the ICA stood and fought for in their own words, “… is but one ideal – an Ireland ruled and owned by Irish men and women, sovereign and independent, from the centre to the sea.”

“Connolly was clear however that such a Republic would have no place for the “rack-renting, slum-owning landlord” or the “profit-grinding capitalist”, but should rather be a “beacon-light to the oppressed of every land”.

“The most fitting tribute for the ICA then is to make that Republic a reality. To do so we must learn from the past and their examples. We can learn from them to never be cowed by the odds against us, we can learn from their comradeship to each other.

We can learn from how they combined political, economic and cultural methods to advance the cause of a worker’s republic. But more importantly we must be able to learn from their shortcomings.

After the Rising and the loss of its leadership the ICA began to devolve into a social club and whilst some members played an important role during the Tan War, the ICA was not the revolutionary workers’ army it once was.

Therefore we must build a truly mass movement – not just a committed core of activists, and we must build a movement not reliant upon key personalities so that it can function no matter what.

We all know that things must change in Ireland, and so we reaffirm the principle that the Citizen Army stood by; only the Irish working class is capable of waging the revolutionary struggle necessary to change things; not capitalists and landlords.

Helena Molony of the ICA, said, “We saw a vision of Ireland, free, pure and happy. We did not realise that vision. But we saw it.”

As the socialist-republican youth of today, we commit ourselves to make that vision a reality and to build a Republic that the men and women of the Citizen Army would gladly call their own.”

Some of the gathering at the Wolfe Tone Monument (out of shot to the right) to commemorate the creation of Irish Citizen Army (Photo: Rebel Breeze)


MARKIEVICZ: “RESOLUTION, COURAGE AND COMMITMENT

Breatnach was called back to the microphone and talked about the lessons to be learned from Constance Markievicz, co-founder of Na Fianna Éireann, the Irish Citizen Army and of Cumann na mBan, born in Britain “as were a number of our national and class heroes”, he said.

“Constance was born into a settler landlord family, the Gore-Booths”, he told the audience and her experience of witnessing deprivation, along with her sister Eva, during the Great Hunger, had a strong effect on both, inclining them to social reform and they became also suffragettes.

The speaker said that in that latter aspect and as a poet Eva became well-known particularly in England but Constance was better known as a revolutionary and for her allegiance to the working class and to the Irish nation.

He reminded his listeners that Markievicz was artistic and apt to strike poses; O’Casey, founder of the ICA had been hostile to her and co-founder of Cumann na mBan and wife of Tom Clarke of the IRB, Kathleen Clarke, had found her irritating.

Breatnach said that Markievicz was 3rd in 1916 garrison command at Stephen Green and had been accused not only shooting dead there a member of the DMP but of exulting in it; however according to witness accounts she had not even been present when the officer was killed.8

Bust of Volunteer Markievicz in Stephen’s Green (Photo: Rebel Breeze).

A British officer at her court-martial after the surrender of the 1916 Rising had claimed that she begged for her life at the court-martial but the official British records published later gave the lie to that and her own account that she demanded equal treatment with the executed leaders rings true.

“Her life as an example,” Breatnach continued, “teaches us not to judge people only by their background or indeed by their idiosyncrasies but primarily by their resolution, courage and commitment, all of which Constance Markievicz had by the bucket-load.”

The speaker also reminded those present that the very Wolfe Tone monument beside which he stood had been blown up in a number of British Loyalist bombings of the city during the 1970s, a number of which would soon be commemorated on the December anniversary of one of them.

The Irish State had prosecuted not a single one of the perpetrators, not even for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, with the highest death toll9 of any one day during the recent 30 Years War. Instead, they had used the 1972 bombing to pass emergency legislation to attack Irish Republicans!10

Speaking briefly as a historical memory conservation activist, primarily active in the campaign to save the Moore Street market and 1916 battleground from speculators, Breatnach remarked that it was fortunate that the area behind him was a public park.

Otherwise it would all have been a prime target for property speculators. People sometimes express surprise that Irish governments do so little to protect areas of insurrectionary history. He stated however that this was natural since it was not their history but that of the struggling people.

“The history of the Irish ruling class is of a foreign-dependent one”, Breatnach stated, “rather than that of a national bourgeoisie willing to fight for independence. The last time Ireland had such a bourgeoisie was in 1798, mostly led by descendants of settlers and planters.”

“This is why Connolly pointed out that the Irish working class are the true inheritors of the Irish struggle for freedom. National independence and socialism are two different objectives but interdependent in Ireland and for the struggles to succeed they must be led by the working class.”

CONCLUDING

Wreaths were laid on behalf of a number of organisations, including Lasair Dhearg and the chairperson thanked all for their attendance, leaving people to their various ways into the mild autumn-like afternoon.

End.

(Cropped photo: Rebel Breeze)

(Photo: Rebel Breeze)

FOOTNOTES

SOURCES

1Clearly not the first army composed of workers, since these are the members of most armies; nor the first to fight for the workers, as did some for the Paris Commune in 18th March-28th May1871. However, the ICA was founded specifically for the defence of workers, the first in the world to be so, though its constitution was largely Irish nationalist.

2Socialist and anti-fascist Irish Republican organisation mostly represented in Belfast. The name means “Red Flame”.

3A number of Irish were veterans of the Boer War, the British against Dutch colonists in South Africa, most like White were on the British side but some fought for the Boers, to the extent of forming an Irish Brigade for the purpose. Later, a number from both groups ended up fighting alongside one another in the 1916 Rising (and no doubt against others who remained in the British Army).

4This too was a ‘first’ to the credit of the ICA.

5The Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann, the Hibernian Rifles and of course the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the chief architects of the Rising, its members fighting as members of other units, chiefly the Volunteers and the Fianna (the membership of both those organisations was exclusively male though its couriers were often female but Tom Clarke’s wife, Kathleen Clarke, was the IRB’s liaison from Dublin with the sister organisation in the USA.

6James Connolly (1868-1916) did not prescribe any air for the lyrics and they have been sung to several. A Nation Once Again was composed by leading member of the Young Irelanders, Thomas Davis (1814–1845) and published in 1844, for many years considered a candidate for Irish national anthem.

7“For our demands most moderate are: we only want the Earth!”

8Breatnach also said that least two and probably three members of the DMP were killed during the Rising, each one in an area under the control of the ICA, who no doubt remembered well the force’s actions during the 1913 Lockout.

91974: 33 male and female civilians and a full-term unborn baby.

10The Amendment to the Offences Against the State Act, including the introduction of the no-jury Special Courts, essentially for trying Irish Republicans with a much lower quality of evidence required to convict, including the unsupported word of a senior Garda officer.

NEWS & VIEWS No.1 – Fascists and Women

28th February 2022

(Reading time: 7 mins.)

The mass media is not great for accuracy or wide coverage and even less for trustworthy analysis but it does often provide entertainment.

Today the Belfast Telegraph reported that Gerry McGeough failed in court to obtain a restraining order against Michelle Anne Lyttle Robinson Ex-IRA gunrunner Gerry McGeough fails in bid to get restraining order against woman who punched him in the face at Gay Pride parade – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk .

People may remember that McGeough and an assortment of other far-Rightists and fascists (such as Niall McConnell) were rosary-protesting a local Gay Pride march in the small Co. Tyrone town of Cookstown in September last year, the first ever in the town it seems. Michelle just walked up to Gerry and punched him in the face.

Well, not quite – she did say “Hello, Gerry” a second before she smacked him.

There was some confusion initially, as many thought Michelle was an antifascist or at least an LGBT rights supporter but it turns out that she and Gerry had history that had turned nasty in the branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians of which Gerry had been a member – hence the knuckle complaint.

Anyway, this allegedly ex-Republican and definitely ex-Provo (both military and political wings — he had been on the Ard-Choiste, equivalent to Executive Committee) took his case to the courts of the British colony but failed as the judge in Dungannon took the view that the punch was a “one-off” (which is perhaps why some people prefer the old “one, two”).

It is remarkable how many of our native far right-wing and fascist stalwart fighters, constantly calling out the corrupt political system and the need to overthrow it, seek the endorsement of the State’s legal system, whether British colonial, as in the Six Counties, or Irish Gombeen, as in the Twenty-Six.

Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters for a while seemed to have season tickets for the High Court; Dee Wall “The Screaming Crutch” of QAnon was heard enough times threatening legal action, as was Right-Wing Ranter-in-a-Vehicle Carey; Ben Gilroy was a frequent (and ineffective) defence representative for people being evicted from their homes.

Gerry McGeough claimed in court that the assault was not merely an attack on him but was also an attack on the Virgin Mary. News & Views staff attempted to contact the Mary in question to hear her views but she failed to respond.

Actually, her main support organisation, the Irish Catholic Hierarchy, was keeping quiet on the matter too, although they are known to share Gerry’s view on the alleged sins of consenting LGBT adults.

It’s just that the ICH management board like to tone it down these days since their position of moral superiority has been eroded over the years, largely but not alone due to exposés of the sexual practices of many of the ICH’s employees with non-consenting minors.

Gerry claimed that on the occasion he had just been there in Cookstown to pray in public, as he does and that he should have the right to do so without being assaulted. Ah Gerry, now, really? News & Views investigative staff enquiries in the locality have found not one local who has ever seen Gerry praying there on any other day.

Which of course leads one to suspect that he and the other fascists and right-wingers were there to protest against the Gay Pride parade and using religion as a cover.

In fact, we recall Niall McConnell and other fascists and far Right-wingers on a number of occasions objecting to the right to pray in semi-public, when Muslims hired Dublin’s Croke Park to celebrate their Eid festival.

Which reminds us, on the occasion that Dublin Republicans Against Fascism organised a counter-protest in July 2020, women were accused of punching or slapping some of the fascists too.

And Niall McConnell, Fuehrer-of-Five of Síol na hÉireann1 took one of the women to court, requiring her to attend court a number of times and then failed to attend himself when the case was to be tried.

There does seem to be a thing about male fascists and women, come to think of it.

At the recent bust-up of the also fascist National Party’s congress at a luxury resort in Co. Fermanagh, the only injuries of consequence inflicted on the anti-fascists were on three female comrades, while five of the would-be stormtroopers – all male — ended up in hospital in exchange.

End.

FOOTNOTES

1The title means “Seed of Ireland” but ‘seedling’ might be a more accurate description and one suffering from damping-off or withering in recent times.

OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION FOR THE POLISARIO IN IRELAND?

Clive Sulish

(Reading time: 6 mins)

A Dublin public meeting on Western Sahara attracted a high-powered attendance including ambassadors and other diplomats of four foreign states, along with the Prime Minister and Minister for Women and Social Affairs of Western Sahara.

Western Sahara – a Spanish colonial possession but then occupied by the Kingdom of Morocco, has been called “the last colony in Africa”, by which is meant the last African region remaining under formal occupation by its coloniser.1

The Western Sahara liberation politicians included the Prime Minister of the Polisario Front, the national political representation of the Saharawi nation, Mr. Boucharay Beyoun and Souilima Biruk, Minister for Women and Social Affairs.

Other diplomatic representation for the Saharawi people was provided by Mr. Oubi Bouchraya for the EU and Europe, Mr. Sidi Breika, for the UK and Mr. Nafi Sediki, for the Irish state.

For other countries, there were the Ambassadors to Ireland of Cuba Mr. Bernardi Guanche, of Algeria Mr. Mohammed Belaoura and of South Africa Ms. Yolisa Maya. For Colombia, Andres Echeverri, Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul attended.

Also in attendance at the meeting in the Teachers’s Club, in Dublin’s City centre were the diplomats’ support and security staff, a few solidarity activists and SIPTU officials. Earlier, the Saharawi delegation had met with TDs, members of the Irish parliament.

COLONIAL RULE AND RESISTANCE BACKGROUND

Western Sahara is a territory located between the internationally-recognised borders of Algeria to the south, Mauritania to the east and Morocco to the north. Along with much of North Africa it was colonised by the Spanish State in the latter’s various forms2 from 1884 to 1976.

In 1967 the Harakat Tahrir organisation was formed and challenged Spanish rule peacefully but publicly. In 1970 the Spanish police destroyed the organisation and ‘disappeared’ its founder, Muhammad Basiri, widely believed murdered.

As the Spanish state left without making any arrangements for decolonisation, holding a referendum or handing over power to Saharawi representatives, armies of the Moroccan and Mauritanian states invaded. In response, the Frente Polisario was created, raising armed and political resistance.

Mauritania withdrew in 1979 and revoked its territorial claim but Morocco, supported by France, rather intensified its occupation and attendant repression. Large numbers of Saharawi people fled over the border into Algeria where they currently inhabit refugee camps.

The population is of part-Berber, part-Arabic descent, mostly Muslim in religion and in many aspects of culture. The people are universally at least bilingual, common languages in the occupied area being Arabic and Castilian (Spanish) along with, in the refugee camps in Algeria, Arabic and French3.

The Polisario Front has been resisting the Moroccan occupation from the moment it began in guerrilla war but in 1991 the United Nations brokered a ceasefire which was supposed to be followed by arrangements for the Saharawi people to determine the territory’s future.

All attempts in this direction have failed due to the irreconcilable differences between the objectives of the mass of Sahrawi people on the one hand, i.e self-determination and independence and those of the Moroccan State on the other, colonisation and extraction of natural resources.4

The Moroccan state has built a 2,700 km (1,700 mi) long wall or berm of rocks and sand fortified by bunkers, topped by surveillance and communication equipment. Artillery posts dot the wall with airfields on the Moroccan occupiers’ side.

Running along this is the minefield, the longest in the world. The wall even penetrates the Mauritanean side for several kilometres.

Popular demonstrations of the Saharawi people broke out at different points since, including a “protest camp” of 12,000 people broken up by Moroccan militarised police with disputed claims about numbers of injuries and fatalities and in 2020 more military action against Saharawi protests.

After the latter, the Polisario Front considered that the Moroccan forces had broken the truce and, declaring their own abandonment of it, resumed the guerrilla war last fought in 19915.

DUBLIN MEETING: PRESENTATIONS, SPEECHES AND EXCHANGES
Mark McLoughlin opened the meeting welcoming people and giving a brief overview of the situation of the Saharawi, before introducing the first speaker.

Mark McLoughlin opening the meeting (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Suelma Beirouk,Minister for Social Affairs and the Promotion of Women, spoke briefly in Spanish, with her words interpreted into English. The delegation had been received and listened to by representatives of most of the political parties, she said.

Ms Suelma Beirouk (centre), Minister for Social Affairs and Promotion of Women, speaking with her interpreter (left) and Oubi Bouchraya (right).

They had also met with some civil society organisations and were made welcome. Saharawi women, Ms Beirouk went on to say, were at the forefront of the struggle for the nation’s self-determination and had suffered much – including even rape — but continued to resist.

Mr. Oubi Bouchraya, Polisario representative for the EU and Europe was the next to speak and the main speaker. In fluent English he set out the current international situation regarding Western Sahara and the context of the Delegation’s visit to Ireland.

The speaker pointed to the diplomatic importance of Ireland with its presence in the United Nations Security Council in which the Saharawi would hope for its support when the question of a referendum is due to be discussed there at the end of the month.

The UN has had a mission called MINURSO based in W. Sahara since 1991, the only one in the world without a human rights observation role. If it is not going to oversee that referendum, what is the point of it being there? On the other hand, observing human rights would be useful.

Mr. Oubi Bouchraya speaking (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

As a member of the European Union, Ireland also has an important role to play. The EU’s Ministers negotiated economic agreements with Morocco which included access to resources in Western Sahara. As WS is a non-self-governing colony, by international law, those agreements were illegal.

The European Court of Justice has judged accordingly and, though it allows them to stand temporarily, the agreements must fall, stated Mr. Bouchraya.

Questions, Contributions and Responses

From the floor there was a question as to whether the Polisario could have a national delegation recognised by the Irish government, as had happened in the cases of South Africa before the end of apartheid and currently with Palestine.

This question is being explored by the Saharawi mission. An aide to the South African Ambassador pointed out that that recognition for South Africa and Palestine had been gained as a result of pressure “from the bottom up” and went on to speak of the ANC’s unequivocal support.

South African speaking from the floor, next to his state’s Ambassador. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

A Dublin member of the audience, responding to the need for “bottom-upwards pressure”, related the history of the Western Sahara Action Ireland solidarity group some years ago which had been very active publicly to the extent of being harassed and even threatened by some Moroccans.

The WSAI group had however had suffered a number of departures of activists and with a number also active in other areas of struggle, was unable to maintain itself as an active group. He stated that he believed the group’s necessary reactivation needed an injection of some personnel.

A number of questions addressed the issue of the support for Western Sahara in Africa and generally. Over 80 states formally support the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination and most of those are in Africa, including the formal support of the African Union6.

(Photo: Rebel Breeze)
(Photo: Rebel Breeze)

FOOTNOTES

1Actually this is not accurate since Ceuta and Melilla are both colonial enclaves on the northern and north-eastern coasts of North Africa, surrounded on land by territory of the Kingdom of Morocco. It would be more accurate to say that Western Sahara is the only remaining un-decolonised large territory.

2The Spanish State was a monarchy until it became a French client 1807-1814, followed by monarchy again but interrupted briefly by the First Republic (1873-1874), a monarchy again until the Second Republic in 1931, in which it was briefly a military dictatorship, followed by a Popular Front democracy (1936-1939). A military-fascist rebellion against the Republic led to its defeat and rule by a military dictatorship 1939-1978, then to its current form, a monarchy once more.

3Algeria was colonised by the French in 1830, winning formal independence in 1962 after a fierce national liberation struggle.

4The major natural resources being exploited are the extremely rich fishing off the coast and phosphates being mined on land. Solar energy ‘farms’ are also being run without benefit to the indigenous people and though not discovered yet (“thank God!” commented a Saharawi in a meeting), sources of oil and gas are a possibility.

5And for which there had been sporadic periods of pressure in particular from Saharawi youth.

6Formed in 1963, the African all 55 states currently in Africa.

LINKS

Western Sahara Action Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/256377861125569

Western Sahara Resource Watch: https://www.facebook.com/wsrw.org

https://www.irishtimes.com/politics/2022/10/12/western-saharan-delegation-lobbies-irish-parties-for-diplomatic-recognition/?

THE COLONIES STRIKE BACK – IN FILM

Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 5 mins.)

The colonies have been striking back at the Empire in film for some time and why not? Sure the Empire’s been colonising them all over again for decades, also through film.

But for a long time the liberal anti-colonial script-writers couldn’t bring themselves to make the main heroes of the film the indigenous colonised in Africa, America, Asia or Oceania – or else the finance backers doubted they’d recover their investment.

So the situation of the colonised had to be seen through the eyes of a liberal hero of European background or ancestry1 — someone with which, as they thought the the white European audience could identify2.

Stories figuring the Europeans colonised by England, i.e the Irish and the Scots, many who were in turn used by the Empire to colonise the lands of others — gets the film-makers over that difficulty.

Script-writers and casting directors in that ex-colony-now-superpower have been getting back at the English for years, of course, in historical drama3 but also portraying their villains with English accents4. Posh accents at first and then regional and London-Cockney5.

But rarely against the Irish, being often heroes in US films, providing they are Irish-Americans, which is to say Irish UStaters.

Two productions I’ve watched recently had as heroes people exported by the Empire from their own conquered homelands to other conquered colonies, in each case forming alliances with indigenous people.

Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) and Clare (Aisling Franciosi) in a scene from the Nightingale film (Image sourced: Internet)

Both productions have also given coverage to native languages of the indigenous people and, in one of them, also to a fair bit of the Irish language, spoken and sung.

THE NIGHTINGALE IN TASMANIA

The Nightingale (2018) is set in the British colony of Tasmania in 1825. In that period, which is not the main story, the Black War took place, in which an estimated 600-900 indigenous Tasmanians were killed, nearly wiping out their entire population. The killers were British colonial armed forces and settlers.

Political or social prisoners in the UK6 of the period were often transported to serve their time in penal colonies where, if they survived, they could be freed upon completion of their sentences or even earlier by agreement but to return was impossible unless they could purchase passage home.

Clare — “The Nightingale”, so nicknamed for her singing voice — is one such social prisoner, an Irish woman convicted of stealing and transported to Van Diemen’s land to serve her time.

She is part of the household staff of a British officer stationed there but is permitted to marry a free Irishman, Aidan; they live together in a hut and have a child together. The officer desires Clare and acts violently upon that desire, giving rise to a chain of tragic events.

Clare sets out to track the officer down and wreak revenge upon him but, needing a tracker-guide, employs an indigenous Tasmanian for that purpose. The story then is not only about her journey but about the uneasy relationship between these two victims of colonialism and occasional glimpses of other aspects of colonial rule, particularly in Tasmania.

IRISH, SCOTS AND INDIGENOUS

Frontier (2016) was originally a series for Television and, like The Nightingale, found a home later on Netflix. It features Irish and Scots heroes against the British Authorities and military.

It is set in British Canada in a historical struggle for control of the fur trade between the Hudson Bay Trading Company, a monopoly jealously protected by the UK, and a consortium of trappers striving for independence in trade.

Tavern owner Kate Emberly (Zoe Boyle) being meneaced by Captain Chesterfield (Evan Jonikeit) in the Frontier series (Image sourced: Internet)

The indigenous people are represented too, with a female warrior and communities, speaking Cree and a number of other Indigenous languages, including Inuit, with subtitles providing a translation.

The main hero is Declan Harp (now there’s names with an Irish connection!) who is half-Cree and half-Irish; after his parents were killed, he is adopted by Benton, the British administrator of the area but Harp later grows to hate Benton, who had his wife and child murdered.

A lesser male hero and ally is Michael, totally Irish but with a shaky moral compass. The main female heroes are a Cree warrior/ hunter and a Scottish woman, owner-manager of a tavern.

A female sort of anti-hero is a wealthy English woman of aristocratic type and there’s an Irish woman of humble background, being schooled to be “a lady”. There are a number of male Scottish anti-heroes too and there’s a Metis (of mixed Indigenous and French [or Breton or Basque?] parentage) helper, trapper and guide.

The Frontier has a couple of villains of US-origin but that’s allowed, this is Canada after all, its domination taken over by the USA from England. Otherwise nearly all the bad characters, the “black hats”, are English and so too with The Nightingale.

The British soldiers in both stories have regional English accents but so do some of their lower-ranking officers. Most of them are brutal and drunkards, some also murderers and rapists. Anti-English propaganda? No doubt but from what we know of history and even of more contemporary colonialism, very likely true enough.

Reviews have praised Jason Momoa’s portrayal of Declan Harp in The Frontier and certainly his physical size and appearance (long tangled locks, one eye clouded, looking out under lowered eyebrows) does focus one’s attention.

Jason Momoa as Declan Harp and Jessica Matten as Sokanon in a scene from the Frontier series (Image sourced: Internet)

Personally I found the number of times he survives torture, serious beatings and wounds straining credulity and, in a way, tending towards boring, as though the Director or screenplay writer thought: Let’s get Declan to have another massive bloody fight here, we haven’t had one of those in a couple of episodes now.

However, even with at times difficult-to-believe plot turns, there are some excellent performances, chiefly perhaps and not surprisingly Alun Armstrong as Lord Benton and Shawn Doyle as the ruthless smoothly urbane but underneath volcanic Samuel Grant

Greg Bryk as Grant’s smooth and sinister manservant-lover Cobbs Pond puts in effective performances too. Evan Jonigkeit as Captain Chesterfield, is also good, particularly in his anguished frustrated desire for the tavern owner Grace Emberly (Zoe Boyle), and his burning desire to rise above his social station.

Jessica Matten is believable as the Cree warrior-hunter Sokanon, despite her gender being unlikely in that role, but her frowning expression grows repetitious after a while.

Katie McGrath played the plotting and provocative English aristocrat Mrs. Carruthers well in her unfortunately short run as a character (but Wardrobe and Sequence, would she wear the same lace-sleeved undergarment so many day in a row?).

Katie McGrath as Lady Carruthers in Frontier. (Image sourced: Internet)

The female who develops something of a penchant for killing violent dominating males and disposing of their bodies is an interesting character creation though her appearances in that role are few.

When Declan Harp commandeers a ship to take him and McTaggart (Jamie Sives) to Scotland to rescue Grace and avenge himself on Lord Benton, we are introduced to a Portuguese ship captain and a Polynesian mariner, the latter also singing and praying in his native language.

In Scotland, Harp recruits local toughs to attack the English Castle Benton where Lord Benton has taken residence and they kill many redcoats.

STEREO OR TRUE-TYPES

The main characters in The Nightingale are of course the vengeful woman Clare (Aisling Franciosi), her aboriginal guide and companion ‘Billy’ (Baykali Ganambarr), along with the British Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claffin) and Sergeant Ruse (Damon Herriman) she pursues.

All are believable characters with strong performances by the actors. England is an evil bastard in this story, represented by the officer Hawkins and sergeant Ruse but some decent English individuals make their appearance on occasion too.

The dialogue is mostly English but the Tasmanian language spoken and sung in the film is Palawa Kani. Some Irish is spoken between Aidan and Clare, the latter singing mainly English folk songs but to her child sings the Irish language lyrics of Cailín Álainn to the Scottish air of the Mingalay Boat Song7.

Speaking their own language makes the subjects their own people; speaking English, usually badly or with heavy un-English accents, though making them more intelligible to English fluents also presents them to the English-speaker as lesser-English, lesser-UStater, lesser-Canadian — in total: lesser human.

End.

FOOTNOTES

1 For example the plight of the Cheyenne in 1864 was represented in Soldier Blue through the eyes of the European woman Cresta Lee (Candice Bergin); it’s the liberal newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) who we accompany as we follow the story of the hero Biko in Cry Freedom, murdered by the South African white minority regime. Even in the British colony in Ireland, where the natives are white, the heroes may be English (Brian Cox playing an honest English cop in Hidden Agenda, Emma Thompson as the lawyer in Name of the Father).

2 When the promoters and financiers finally realised that a large part of their paying audiences were not in fact white European is when one started to see heroes of other backgrounds and ‘blacksploitation’ films.

3 Mel Gibson’s The Patriot and Bravehart, for example but going much further back, Disney’s The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966).

4 For examples Grand Moff Tarkin in original Starwars trilogy (1977-1983), Steven Berkoff in Beverly Hills Cop (1994), Scar in The Lion King (1994), arguably Anthony Hopkins [though Welsh and playing a Lithuanian] in Silence of the Lambs (1991), Sher Khan in The Jungle Book (1996) and sequel.

5 Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction (1994).

6 Not just the British – the French had their penal colonies abroad, for example in Guyana and the Spanish state sent prisoners to Ceuta, in North Africa even in modern times.

7 An anachronism, since the composer of the Irish lyrics of An Cailín Álainn is Tomás ‘Jimmy’ Mac Eoin from An Bóthar Buí in An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara, Galway, Ireland – and he was only born in 1937. The lyrics of the Mingalay Boat Song are also apparently sung to a much older air and one supposes the original lyrics would have been in Gaedhlig.

SOURCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightingale_(2018_film)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontier_(2016_TV_series)

MIXED FOOTBALL TEAMS COMING?

Translation from piece in Catalan on VilaWeb

(Reading time: one min.)

Women’s football will become universal in Catalonia starting from the 2022-2023 season. Both field and indoor soccer players may participate in any male category within the territory, whether amateur or grassroots. This has been determined by vote of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Catalan Football Federation (FCF), held at the Ciudad Deportiva de Blanes, where the Catalan clubs have voted in favour of this new step for full equality between men’s and women’s football.

Barca women’s soccer team were in the teams of five different nations in the international championship in France in 2019.

The regulatory change will enable any female soccer player to process a federative license in a male team, starting this Friday, July 1, coinciding with the official start of the new soccer year. Consequently the cap for mixed football, now set in the cadet category, is eliminated, also incorporating players of youth and amateur age, who will be able to compete up to the Men’s Youth Preferred, in the first case, and up to the First Catalan, 2022-2023 season, and the Super League, 2023-2024 season, in the second.

Barcelona women’s team beat Espanyol (despite name, another Catalan team) to become Catalan champions in 2018. (Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition)

Likewise the FCF will give a new impulse to women’s football through the development of the Women’s Football and Indoors Committee, which will be in charge of setting out the main lines for action in this area throughout the entire mandate.

end.

SOURCE & FURTHER INFORMATION:

https://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/futbolistes-podran-participar-qualsevol-categoria-masculina-catalunya/?fbclid=IwAR1RFjQn1RUD6jBDAltTA7bnJCwAlVXyaapIJtcAPReSS6MWDgsMSrWxsjA

https://www.lemonde.fr/en/sports/article/2022/05/21/fc-barcelona-the-new-stronghold-of-women-s-soccer-in-europe_5984201_9.html

DEMONSTRATORS CALL FOR A SECULAR MATERNITY HOSPITAL — AND SOCIETY

Clive Sulish

(Reading time: 3 mins.)

View of section of the crowd from Molesworth Street (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Around two thousand demonstrators, including a high proportion of women, held a rally on Saturday afternoon outside Leinster House, the building housing the Irish Parliament. They were protesting the lack of clarity around whether the new maternity hospital will carry out pregnancy terminations on demand — with the suspicion that it will not.

View of section of the crowd in Molesworth Street (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

But speaker after speaker went further still and demanded the secularisation of the Irish health service and of society in general.

The issue arises in the first place due to the necessity to relocate the Dublin maternity services currently based at Holles Street due to the inability of the latter to meet the demand. However, the Government decided to relocate the facility to land near St. Vincent’s Hospital, owned by a Catholic Church organisation, which in turn formed a company to buy the land and lease it to the State at a nominal annual rate. It is the perceived Church veto on some procedures that has raised so much concern.

View of section of the crowd in Kildare Street looking northwards (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

A SECULAR SOCIETY – A REPUBLICAN DEMAND

A secular society is a fundamentally republican demand, up there with opposition to monarchy. English Republicanism failed to achieve1 it even after the execution by Parliament of Charles I in 1649 but the French revolution did not, which was one of the reasons why the Irish Catholic Church hierarchy was against La Republique and against the United Irishmen too.

View of centre section of the crowd in Kildare Street (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Irish Republicans after the United Irishmen have had at best an ambivalent attitude to the Catholic Church – although the Young Irelanders and even more so the Fenians were decidedly anti-clerical, the Republicans in the first two decades of the last century were not so in general and many actually courted the support of the Church. The fact that the Irish Republican movement during the rest of the century failed to lead social struggles is adequate testimony to its leadership at the very least not wishing to earn the hostility of the Catholic hierarchy. That in turn was one of the factors ensuring that the Republican movement failed to broaden its struggle to encompass the majority of the nation … a factor sufficient on its own to ensure its defeat.

On the whole it has been left to writers, revolutionary socialists, social democrats and liberals to fight the secularisation battles – but above all, left to women. Control of fertility, access to contraceptives, personal sexual freedom, gender equality in law, equal pay, and termination of pregnancy were all hard battles won over decades by women. And often at huge personal cost. Most of those battles confronted the authority of the Church Hierarchy and even when some did not so directly, they did so by implication, undermining its basic judgement that the role of a woman is as wife to husband and mother to children.

Section of the southern end of the protest crowd in Kildare Street (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

The position of the Church hierarchy in Irish society was one of moral judge, jury and practical punisher and when punishment failed to correct, the State took over. In fact, we can view the Irish State in social and political terms as a partnership of native capitalist class – the Gombeens – and the Church hierarchy. In return for its role in social control, the State permitted the education, health and social care systems to be run by the Church either wholly or in part. Which in turn increased the power and authority of the Church hierarchy further. And it was that unquestioned (and unquestionable) authority that fostered the decades of physical, mental and sexual abuse carried out by so many clergy, in particular on women and children.

Women are still to the forefront of the struggle for the secularisation of the State and they are too in this struggle over an important branch of the health service. The people need a well-resourced national health service, with free access – but it needs to be secular also. Irish Republicans who do not actively support this struggle are failing not only the society they hope one day to lead but, in secularisation, failing also a fundamental principle of republicanism. That one of the issues with regard to Church influence on the maternity hospital is a suspicion that it will not carry out elective pregnancy termination should not prevent even those Irish Republicans opposed to elective termination from supporting its secularisation.

Quite simply, one is either a Republican and therefore in favour of a secular health service — or one is not a Republican.

End.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Since 1524, not only is the UK a monarchy but the monarch, the Head of State, is also the head of the (Anglican) Church of England.

Ella Young, California’s Beloved Irish Druid

By Geoff Cobb

California has long been home to the eccentric and free spirits, so naturally the highly eccentric Irish mystic, poet and Celtic mythologist Ella Young found a home there. The first woman to hold an endowed lectureship in the English Department at the University of California at Berkley, Young left several enduring legacies on the Golden State’s literature, counterculture, and environmental movement.

Nearing old age in Ireland, Young helped spark a new age consciousness in the Bay Area. Young lived the first fifty-eight years of her life in her native land, but even before leaving for America, she traveled far from her conservative Ulster roots. Born in December 1867, in Fenagh, a townland near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ella was eldest of five daughters of a Presbyterian minister. The family moved to Dublin at an early age and Young graduated with a BA in History, Political Economy and Law from the Royal University of Ireland. Abandoning Christianity, Ella’s interest in the spirit world led her to join the Hermetic Society, the Dublin branch of the Theosophical Society, which sought to awaken the power and presence of Ireland’s ancient spirits. Young was greatly influenced by fellow Ulster mystical poet AE Russell, and she soon became one of his select group of protégés known as the “singing birds.”

Ella Young in Oceano, California, image in Princeton University of Art Museum.

She found her muse and published her first volume of verse in 1906, and her first work of Irish folklore, The Coming of Lugh, appeared in 1909. Young mixed with luminaries of the Celtic revival including J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne, with whom she might have had a romantic relationship. Like other writers of her day, Ella found great spiritual riches in the West of Ireland, where Irish was still the spoken language of the locals and where she was also able to hear what she called the Music of the Faerie, the ceol sídhe.

Ella completed a master’s degree at Trinity, but she would be drawn into the revolutionary fervor then sweeping Ireland. Young’s immersion in Celtic mythology and theosophy led her to promote a spiritually inflected Irish nationalism. A friend of Patrick Pearse, Ella became a member of Sinn Féin in 1912 and a founding member of Cumann na mBan in 1914. Ella witnessed the 1916 Rising in Dublin and is alleged to have hidden ammunition under the floorboards of her home and helped two fugitive Republican prisoners to escape Dublin. An anti-Treaty Republican, she strongly opposed the Anglo–Irish Treaty and, after supporting different sides, she and her mentor Æ Russell never spoke again. Because of her anti-Treaty stance, Young was interned by the Free State in Mountjoy jail and in the North Dublin Union.

An ardent cultural Nationalist, Young fervently believed the revitalization of Irish culture could be realized through a reconnection with its Celtic mythological roots. She taught in Dublin, but she came of age as an anti-Treaty woman at a time and in a state where her gender, politics and Protestant background severely limited her career opportunities. Young left Ireland for the US In the mid-1920s, where she would spend the rest of her life. Her emigration, she claimed, had been foretold in 1914 by a Romani fortune teller.

Ella Young 1930, Edward Weston Centre for Photography

Fortunately for Ella, Celtic studies scholar William Whittingham Lyman Jr. left his Berkley lectureship in 1922 and Young was hired to fill the vacancy in 1924. Ella, however, was almost forbidden entry into the United States. During an interview in Ellis Island, Young was detained as a probable mental case when the authorities learned that she believed in the existence of fairies, elves, and pixies. However, outrage by her American readers at the ban helped her finally gain entry.

Young fell in love with Berkley, California and Berkley loved her back. Young adored the college town, especially its exotic flora, breathtaking views, and its student culture. She quickly inspired a cult-like following in California. A striking woman, Young cut a dramatic figure with a noble forehead and face that seemed to shine with an inner light. She lectured in what she considered the traditional purple robes of a Druid bard, which she called her “reciting robes,” to visually portray an authentic Irish identity. She let her shoulder-length silver hair hang free and instead of shaking hands when introduced, she raised her hands high in the ancient druid greeting. Poet Padraic Colum compared her to the ancient “women who knew the sacred places and their traditions, who knew the incantations and the cycles of stories about the Divine Powers, and who could relate them with authority and interpret them wisely. . . She speaks of Celtic times as if she were recalling them.” A gifted speaker, Ella held her listeners spellbound with the heroic myths and sagas told in her lilting Irish voice – the voice of the bard, a keeper of the ancient teachings of her ancestors.

Young was above all a gifted storyteller and children’s author. She published The Wonder-Smith and his Son (1925), The Tangle-Coated Horse (1929), and The Unicorn with Silver Shoes (1932), stories for children, inspired by themes from Celtic myth, with beautiful illustrations and written in her delicate, carefully cadenced prose. The Unicorn with Silver Shoes was nominated for the American Newbery Prize for children’s literature in 1932; all her children’s stories were repeatedly reprinted until the 1990s.

(Image sourced: Internet)

Young was a frequent guest at the home of the celebrated California poet Robinson Jeffers, who was also deeply influenced by the Celtic revival. Jeffers and Young both identified the physical and spiritual similarities between California’s Big Sur and the West of Ireland. Ella considered dramatic Point Lobos in Marin County, where she communed with the dryads of the pine trees, the sea spirits, and the great guardian Deva who hovered over the sea with shining wings, to be the center of psychic power for the entire Pacific Coast. Young also became a close friend of Virginia and Ansel Adams, the renowned photographer of California’s wilderness, who made Yosemite Valley a symbol of the state. Adams took several dramatic portraits of Young in her “reciting robes.”

Ella Young lectured that an awareness of the supernatural world in Celtic folklore and literature could bring her listeners into a closer relationship with the natural world around them. Her love for the beauty of California made her an environmentalist long before it became fashionable, and also she saw the Earth as a great living being. She forged a close friendship with Dorothy Erskine, an early California environmentalist and advocate for limiting growth. Young also founded The Fellowship of Shasta, which became involved in environmental activism, working successfully to prevent developers from building on Point Lobos and also with the Save the Redwoods League, which preserved the remaining old-growth forests of California.

An enemy of materialism and egotism, Young espoused “the natural world and our relationship to it” as an alternative to consumerism. Ella moved to a Theosophic commune in Oceano, near San Luis Obispo in the early 1930s, and became part of a community of artists and writers living on the sand dunes, known as the Dunites. Thanks to her friendship with Ansel Adams, Ella stayed with the community of artists in Taos, New Mexico, where she met Georgia O’Keeffe and Frieda Lawrence and studied Native American and Mexican myths.

Back in California, Young assembled around herself a fascinating circle of artists, writers and freethinkers. She became close friends with the Irish-born landscape painter John O’Shea and other West Coast painters. Ella also became intimate with composer Harry Partch, who set several of her poems to music. Perhaps a lesbian herself, Young befriended California pioneers of sexual liberation, such as Elsa Gidlow, the British-born lesbian poet, and Gavin Arthur, a bisexual astrologer and sexologist whom Young first met in 1920s Dublin.

Young developed cancer. In the last year of her life, she claimed that she had been in communication with the occupants of a thimble-sized spaceship which came and hovered in her garden. Ella died in her cottage on July 23rd, 1956, aged eighty-eight. She was cremated, and her ashes were scattered in a redwood grove. She left the royalties from her books to a society that protected those redwoods.

End.

(Image sourced: Internet)

GOVERNMENT SLAUGHTER IN COLOMBIA

Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time main text: 5 mins.)

For months the Duque government in Colombia has been unleashing violent repression on its people, in particular those who organise or participate in protests. The statistics are frightening, which is what they are intended to be: 40 dead, hundreds injured (some with loss of an eye), nearly 170 “disappeared”. Yet the people continue to protest.

What all this has exposed is that Colombia, despite its support by western states, has no democracy and that its vaunted “peace process”, like all others elsewhere before it or since, has had nothing to do with peace but everything to do with pacification. Unlike many in other parts of the world however, its acceptance by the FARC was the prelude to intensified State repression, with assassinations of leaders and activists of popular democratic movements. Also exposed is the lie that Colombia and the USA are truly involved in a “War on Drugs”, a commodity the sale of in which most of the political class of Colombia are involved and the profits in which the financial institutions in Colombia and much of the world are active in laundering.

Meanwhile, the people are subjected to economic squeeze, they protest, they are shot, beaten, tortured, raped, disappear ….

This police victim survived but many did not (Photo source: Gearóid Ó Loingsigh)

In two weeks of protests, statistics from the Defensoria del Pueblo (a kind of Ombudsman), listed 42 dead and 168 reported “disappeared”; of the dead, 41 were civilians and one was a member of the State security forces. A 17-year-old female demonstrator was reportedly sexually abused by four police officers and took her own life afterwards. Protesters burned the station where it happened but the officers themselves remain at large.

Protestors burning the station where police officers sexually violated a 17-year-old demonstrator who took her own life afterwards.

WHO KILLED VILLA?

Lucas Villa Vasquez, an iconic figure in the peaceful demonstrations, dancing and carrying out acrobatic acts, was shot during the General Strike, was declared brain dead in hospital and had his life-support system turned off, his heart stopping finally on 11th of May. Andrés Felipe Castaño, a 17-year-old youth shot on the same day underwent two operations before he could come off the critical list.

Who killed Villa? Not Duque, the President wanted people to believe as he sent a message of condolence to Villa’s family, the first personal condolence he has offered since the demonstrations – and the killing – began, except for the one police officer killed so far. Not the Police, their Director General, Major General Jorge Luis Vargas Valencia insisted, insisting his force is working hard to find the culprits and that a reward for information has risen to 100 million pesos1 for information. But people who know how these things work are only in doubt about one question: was it the police themselves who killed Villa and nearly killed Andrés Felipe, or was it one of the State-sponsored fascist gangs (which have strong links with the police and army)?

Dilan Cruz, murdered by police two years ago, is remembered on demonstrations where people are still being killed. (Photo source: Gearóid Ó Loingsigh)

Villa has joined over 40 martyrs known to have been killed by the forces of the State; since their names are known only to their families or smaller political and social circles, Villa’s name stands for them all. As did Dilan Cruz before him, shot at close range to the head by a “non-lethal” beanbag in October 2019. And what of the nearly 170 disappeared? Are some of them already dumped into pits or rivers? Others in prison cells, awaiting their next session with the torturers? Or in the case of female prisoners, awaiting their next incident of violation?

Man in blue top and white trousers dancing in some clips was Lucas Villa Vasquez

Two Latin American league soccer matches in Colombia were affected on Wednesday: Visitors from Argentina’s River Plate team had their warm-up in Barranquilla abandoned for awhile due to the volume of police tear gas drifting in from outside and loud bangs could be heard also. That was a Copa Libertadores game and another, between Atletico Nacional and Nacional of Uruguay in Pereira was delayed by an hour due to protests there.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) moved matches from Colombia to Paraguay and Ecuador last week to ensure the protests did not affect games but the Copa America is due to be held in Colombia and Argentina next month with Colombia hosting 15 games including the final of the world’s oldest international tournament. The title match is due to be held in Barranquilla on July 10.

SUSTAINABLE SOLIDARITY” WITH WHOM?

Part of the reason for the protests in the first place was the proposed tax reform by another name: Sustainable Solidarity Law. The Duque Government plans by this system to collect 23 billions in Colombian pesos (US$ 6,300 millions) by extending its tax base, to avoid any further increase in the country’s international risk qualification, to institutionalise the basic income level and build a fund to comply with its environmental protection targets.

Well, ok, but who is going to pay this tax-by-another name? According to the Minister of Finance himself, Alberto Carrasquilla, 73% is to be contributed by ordinary citizens and the rest by the companies.

Art in active resistance

In addition, the law proposes to apply the collection of Value Added Tax, which in Colombia is up to 19%, to basic consumer products such as public services (water, electricity and gas), funeral services, electronic items such as computers and other services that have been exempt until now.

Add to that ongoing State repression in the countryside, the number of unemployed nationally rising to 4.1 million as a result of the pandemic and the country was ready to take to the streets. But not ready for the repression of the demonstrators that followed.

Riot Policeman aims weapon at point-blank range at unarmed demonstrators in Colombia. Whether tear-gas canister or stun grenade launcher, at this range it would almost certainly kill but if not, partial or full blindness would be likely along with permanent brain damage. (Photo source: Internet)

President Duque asked the Colombian Parliament to withdraw the new tax reform which they did but the people are on their feet now, as they say there; now they have martyrs too on top of the issues they already had.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

It is up to the people of Colombia, the workers, civil servants, small business people, indigenous – to free themselves. None else can do it. But we owe them solidarity, just as we in turn have claimed solidarity (and will claim again) from others. It is difficult at the moment to see how our solidarity can express itself in much more than symbolic form, such as pickets, demonstrations, articles and memes on social media. But even those have more than a moral effect, for the Colombian Embassy staff here have as part of their duties to collect information on how the regime in Colombia is viewed in Ireland and to report that to their bosses at home. And since the Colombian ruling class needs to do business around the world ….

Recent small Colombian solidarity picket protest outside the Colombian Embassy in Dublin.

The Colombian masses also need to know that they do not stand alone, that others are watching, applauding them, cursing their enemies, mourning their martyrs.

We can also assist by continuing our efforts against another faraway enemy of democracy, the main instigator and protector of reaction, repression and oppression around the world, and main external supporter of the Colombian regime, trainer of its repressive forces – the ruling class of the United States of America.

Solidaridad con el pueblo Colombiano! Dlúthpháirtíocht le poball na Colóime!

Banner slogan: “The Tax Reform means Hunger and Misery for the people.” (Photo source: Gearóid Ó Loingsigh)

End.

USEFUL SOURCES

Officially-accepted statistics some days ago: https://www.facebook.com/waykaperu/photos/a.586123314805406/4058327907584912/

TV news report on the general strike, general protests against killing by government forces; mothers and grandmothers of murdered protesters demonstrate against “Public Order” forces; Duque tries to present concern and gives a concession to students at a certain level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz8ed0hS6OQ

Amnesty International complaint (English version, despite title): https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/05/colombia-preocupan-las-denuncias-de-desapariciones-y-violencia-sexual-contra-manifestantes/

Tear gas drifting on to inter-Latin American soccer game: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/05/13/football/copa-libertadores-players-affected-tear-gas-colombia-spt-intl/index.html

Reasons for the wave of protests: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-56932013

War on Drugs (Plan Colombia) – spraying of glyphosphate: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/pandemic-upends-colombia-s-controversial-drug-war-plan-resume-aerial-spraying

Plan Colombia is not working (2016): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35491504

1 €22,185.95