Clive Sulish

(Reading time: mins.)

On Thursday evening fascist Phillip Dwyer and a number of other known fascists led a mob in threatening migrants encamped in the Mount Street/ Fenian Street/ Sandwith Street area on the north reaches of Dublin City Centre.

Dwyer, formerly of the fascist National Party and some of his cohorts had been there the previous night too but in smaller numbers, when he was met with opposition.

Migrants have for some time been camped out in that area near the International Protection Office of the Irish State which has a brief to help refugees. Those living in the tents say that little is being done in reality to help refugees and their encampment is an illustration of this.

On Thursday night Phillip Dwyer had brought a mob to at least intimidate the refugees but was faced off by antifascists. He had declared his intention to return.

On Friday in Sandwith Street, a number of people in ordinary clothes could be seen in confrontation with another group, with yellow-jacketed Gardaí and dark blue Public Order Unit between them. An Irish Tricolour and green Starry Plough waved on one side and a lone tricolour on the other.

The view some time after the arrival of fascists and supporting mob. The antifascists are where the green Starry Plough flag may be seen, in a short laneway and in a group in front of the lane’s mouth.
(Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Local people and some passers-by watched.

People who received a callout for antifascist support but arrived late experienced difficulty in getting into the antifascist sector, which was where the Tricolour and Starry Plough could be seen, due to the police line between there and the confronting mob.

It seemed that neither antifascists nor fascists would be permitted to get in this way. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

For many antifascists it was a novel experience to be facing the backs of the Public Order Unit, normally drawn out against them, often with batons drawn (none of that seen on this occasion).

The dominant chanting was from the antifascist side, mostly of “Say it Loud and Say it Clear: Refugees are welcome here”, interspersed at times with “Homes for Need, not for Greed!” and another.

Section of antifascists before moving, Gardaí further away and hostile mob further still. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Though these slogans outline socialist positions they don’t directly address what the fascists were doing and some slogans need to be developed for that, for example pointing out that the fascists are dividing working people and assisting capitalism.

It was difficult to make out what the mob were shouting but individuals at times threw accusations of paedophilia at the migrants and antifascists. This is a common lie by fascists in Ireland and there has not been a single case among this refugee group to justify the accusation.

Section of antifascists before moving, Gardaí further away and hostile mob further still. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)
Section of antifascists before moving, viewed from short laneway mouth, Gardaí further away and hostile mob further still. The new block of expensive apartments is in the left background. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

The refugees camped around there are actually causing nobody any harm, except perhaps embarrassment for the IPO and the Irish State. Journalists for the Cork Examiner and the Irish Times have both written sympathetic pieces about them recently (probably to the ire of Dwyer).

The area includes working-class flats complexes and higher-market-end housing, including a newly-completed block nearby where the rents are reportedly 2,000 euro a month for one-bedroom-units and 3,000 per month for two bedrooms.

And it is said that some low-rent units were promised but never delivered.

Of course, the Fascists and their followers don’t mobilise against that problem, caused by failure of the State to supply quality affordable housing units lest they compete with the property speculators, big landlords and financiers, although that would make general housing sense.

Fascists are an arm of the capitalist class, not its enemy and for their followers, it’s infinitely easier to pick on vulnerable refugees and other migrants than the rich and their State.

Antifascists kettled by Gardaí after agreement to move. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Some investigation carried out locally ascertained that although some local people were being fooled by the far-Right discourse, others blamed the Government. Some also said that a lot of the anti-refugee crowd were just in it for the fight and were not even locals.

However one should not underestimate the potential for fascists to mobilise disadvantaged people to split the working people as fascism and racism has done in the past.

Rear section of antifascists after kettling by Gardaí. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

A light moment occurred when one of the mob threw a plastic water bottle at the antifascists. As the missile arced towards them, a hand rose out of the crowd and caught the bottle in the air, followed by applause, congratulatory for the catcher and derisory at the thrower.

Since the refugees had been moved earlier there seemed little reason for the anti-fascists to remain except to shout slogans at the opposition and perhaps to deny them a feeling of victory. However, they would have to leave at some point.

A couple of individuals who seemed to be in some kind of leadership role began to discuss with the police their desire for everyone to leave together. At last, to the relief of many, the crowd began to move in the direction of Pearse Street. But not for long, as they were stopped by some POU.

The antifascists were now strung out along the pavement and much more vulnerable than they had been in their previous position in the small lane entrance. Police vans moved up, ostensibly for protection but the actual result was the kettling of the antifascists for a while.

Dissatisfaction was expressed among the crowd – a lot!

The Gardaí might present it as a protective measure but in effect it was part of the kettling of the antifascists for a period after agreement to leave. (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Eventually they began to move again, and a local elderly man wished the antifascists well and “safe home”. One of the antifascists was heard to reply: “Thank you; go raibh maith agat!”

The route was through a narrow passage under a railway bridge and on to Pearse Street, heading for Tara Street but strung out and not at all in good defensive form, with members of the mob regularly screaming hatred at them from a metre or two away.

The temptation to knock out one individual nearby who was spitting at antifascists was strong but apart from the danger of arrest, that might have sparked a general assault with the whole group exposed and badly strung out along the pavement.

It is clear that the fascist and far-right threat which was so much in evidence during the Covid Lockdown and which received a couple of important setbacks since has not disappeared and the National Party has planned a rally for Custom House Quay today.

Responses to fascist threats will need to be more widespread and probably better organised in future.

Subsequently the revolutionary Housing League issued a brief statement that they had opened up an empty building in Dublin to accommodate the displaced (again!) refugees. It was learned today that some antifascists were assaulted as their group dispersed.

Misguided people from disadvantaged working class communities the followers of the mob may be but there is no excuse for harassing and threatening vulnerable people who are living rough on the street.


Book Review: I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Come to It.  Norman X. Finkelstein.

Norman X. Finkelstein. Substation Media 2023

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh 26 April 2023

(Reading time: 9 mins.)

Norman Finkelstein has published a new book on cancel culture. It comes from a man who as he points out became a high-profile victim of one of the more modern iterations of cancel culture, that of Zionism.

The latter was unashamedly right wing and did not dress itself up in liberal or even bastardised Marxist tropes, peddled by people who should know better. 

He is perhaps, one of those with a vantage point on the issue, who deserves to be listened to.

He opens the book with an epigraph from Bertrand Russell: “I feel a real and solid pleasure when anybody points out a fallacy in any of my views, because I care much less about my opinions than about their being true.”

A statement that should be basis of all discussion is now frowned upon in a world of unassailable truths, wicked witches who should be burned at the stake, dogmas that once enunciated can never be challenged.

And whether the statement is true, matters not as it is more important how many semi-literate university graduates are offended by it that counts.  Of his own cancellation and the hypocrisy of some of those who signed the Harper’s Letter decrying cancellation he is not bothered.

This is because he contends that “Hypocrisy was rife, for sure.  But the irrefragable fact remains that “woke” politics are intellectually vacuous and politically pernicious.”  He forewarns us that the book is laced with vitriol… because so much of “woke” culture deserves contempt.”

But that “a large amount of space is devoted to dissecting this nonsense… because it’s not immediately obvious why it’s nonsense.”  This Foreword alone entices the reader to delve deeper into its pages and the plea from Tariq Ali for him not to throw a tantrum makes it all the better.

Cancel culture as Finkelstein points out is not new. 

He gives a short list of some of his heroes who were cancelled at one point or another, Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson, Lee Hayes and even Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and even Chomsky were cancelled and reviled in their day.

Pete Seeger, veteran folk singer, folk song collector and political activist, was among victims of cancel culture in his day. (Photo sourced: Internet)

Yes and by the same newspapers, journals and political quarters that are now to the fore in cancelling one and all and in some cases, those involved in the cancelling now decry the cancel culture that affects them.

He divides the book into two parts, one dealing with woke politics and the other with academic freedom, though they are not separate and there is some overlap, even in the book. 

In the first part he looks at some of the figures of woke politics, those who make the case for identity politics in particular.  Some of the people he looks at, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X Kendi, are well known in the US but not so much outside of it. 

He eviscerates them rather well describing Kendi’s writing as being “as supple as a calcified femur and as subtle as an oversized mallet”.  Obama is of course, well known, though his politics are modern in how they are sold. 

Obama is all about style over substance, partly because the substance is not new, he represented no great change in US society, though that is not the image he sought to portray.  His message was vacuous, Yes we can, and Finkelstein asks the question, can what?

And gives the very direct and truthful answer “Yes we can, elect me”.  Obama is shredded in the book, his famed oratory derided for what it is, speeches that were written by an all-white team of writers, despite Obama’s identitarian claims.

A parsing of Obama’s public addresses reveals a relentless concatenation of the most vapid, sententious, shoeworn, fatuous, hollow, saccharine clichés—a cornucopia of the commonplace—without a single clever phrase, metaphor or aperçu to redeem or relieve them, interlarded with oleaginous homilies to humility before God.

That does not mean that his speeches and politics are devoid of consequences.  Obama epitomises the reality of identity politics.  It is another con job.  For all his blackness Obama did very little for blacks in terms of socio-economic advancement. 

Not even in terms of a relatively simple issue, police violence against blacks.  In one of the first rows in his presidency on the issue, he backed down and instead of taking action invited the policeman and his victim for a beer. 

Identity politics is waived about, not to solve any problems but to divide.  Finkelstein asks whether it advances causes or provokes their retreat.

The objective of politics, Mao Tse-Tung famously exhorted, was to “unite the many to defeat the few.”  Whereas, identity politics divides the many so as to, designedly or not, enable the few. 

It conjures a hierarchy of oppressions, in which each group vies with the others for the position of most oppressed— Kimberlé Crenshaw says Black women are most oppressed, Angela Davis says it’s transgender people, Ibram X. Kendi says it’s poor transgender Black women. 

The victors in this inverted Oppression Sweepstakes, where you win by being the biggest loser, get to leap to the head of the queue as most worthy of preferential treatment, while, simultaneously, fomenting new resentments among those shoved further and further behind…

This, in effect, performance politics has spawned a disgusting den of thieves who brand themselves with radical-sounding hashtags, churn out radical-sounding tweets, and insinuate themselves into positions of prominence, as they rake in corporate donations and cash corporate paychecks.

Theyhang out at the watering holes of the rich and famous, and thence can be safely relied upon not to bite the hand that feeds them.  In a word, identity politics is a business—in the case of Black Lives Matter “leaders,” a most lucrative and dirty business.

Cancel culture is about silencing voices other than those sticking their snout in the trough and their grubby hands in the greasy till, a point he is right about, not just in the US but around the world. 

Finkelstein found himself cancelled, though not silenced, as he points out, because his views go beyond the grimy quest for self-aggrandisement and enrichment.  Identity politics is utterly reactionary. 

He contrasts the fumbling for pennies and the endless categories of oppressions with an historical figure that our perpetually offended money grabbers in search of the latest shakedown could never match: Rosa Luxemburg.

My mind drifts back further still to Rosa Luxemburq, this exotic creation of a lost epoch: Polish, Jewish, bourgeois, handicapped, female—

Rosa didn’t wallow in or capitalize on her “intersectionality” but, on the contrary, triumphed over it as she became the brilliant, impassioned (and then martyred) revolutionary leader of the German workinq class;

A class which—be it noted as a robust class rejoinder to claustrophobic identity politics —fervently embraced this Polish-Jewish-bourgeois handicapped-female as one of their own.

And that is exactly the point. Luxemburg is a real hero, many of the heroes of the woke do not measure up to their own standards, not even Frederick Douglass, who had a very poor opinion of native Americans, a fact overlooked by modern day identitarians. 

Though many don’t have a positive opinion of native American themselves.  Douglass however, is despite this a towering admirable figure in history, not one that should be cancelled, a hobby now of every spoilt ignorant brat that mammy and daddy got into an overrated expensive university. 

And though it is only a matter of time before some hippy in Berlin decides to reinvent Luxemburg as intersectional, she was not and had no time for the woke equivalents of the day.

Academic freedom is the other area of concern for Finkelstein, conformity, banal ideas and salivating over money is not limited to our woke warriors in the press, NGOs and politics but in academia.  It is not new, but is more pronounced now than before. 

Bertrand Russell summed it up nicely and Finkelstein agrees that “As a rule, by the time a man becomes a professor, he has been tamed, and has learnt the advantages of submission” the advantage being measured now in euros, dollars, yen and shekels, though many would deny this.

Again  as he points out “For self-deception, you can hardly beat academics,”.  There are of course exceptions, but in the current atmosphere, the younger new academics are bowed and beaten by those who went before them.

Given his own personal experience, he is obviously in favour of academic freedom which he describes as not just the freedom to teach but to enquire and travel the road less travelled. 

He points out that in the US the idea went through various stages, freedom from churches, then from corporations and later the state (MacCarthy).  Nowadays, all three encroach upon it, sometimes in unison and to the same end. 

He goes again into some detail on the issue and chooses the thorny ground of Holocaust denial. 

He is Jewish, so he is clearly not advocating that the Holocaust did not happen, but rather how it is dealt with on campus and links it up to other issues, giving examples when he himself has been uncomfortable teaching and the examples he relies on. 

He makes an argument for challenging ideas.  This section, like the Obama part is overly long and could also have done with a bit of editing.  But he clearly comes out against censorship and new morality police that abound everywhere.

It’s easier to fight against codified speech restrictions than against “enlightened” campus opinion, which, in the name of its “special duty,” insinuates itself in campus life and throttles free speech with its asphyxiating pieties.

The situation now is that debate is being stifled on a whole range of issues, beyond the obvious ones and the high profile debates on Men’s Rights i.e. the right to id your way into women’s spaces. Due to his own experience, he does seem to think that it is more the case when an academic goes off campus that the trouble arises. 

But actually, the baying mob throttling free speech are doing so on campus now to people who have never ventured off it, or at least have never been given much opportunity to do so.  He cites a very interesting case, that of Bertrand Russell when he was appointed to City University. 

His morals, his sex life and general outlook were brandished about as reasons for not hiring him.  Russell defended himself, saying they were irrelevant, he was appointed as a lecturer in “modern concepts of logic,” “foundations of mathematics,” and “relations of pure to applied science.” 

In the modern cancel culture that wouldn’t stand.  People are sacked precisely because of their private lives or their opinions on matters wholly unrelated to the area in which they teach. 

It didn’t stand back then either, Russell lost the case precisely because he argued in favour of homosexuality and premarital cohabitation, amongst other things.  Our woke liberals on campus, those who hounded Kathleen Stock out of her job are as reactionary as the judge in the case. 

He goes on to look at other cases before finishing off with the details of his own case and his unemployment and unemployability in academia.

The book is interesting, though far too long with too much detail about some cases and aspects which makes it difficult to see the wood from the trees at times.  But it does offer arguments on issues that are current with reference to historical precedents and also to philosophy. 

It is worth reading, as he is a rather high-profile victim of cancel culture.  His book the Holocaust Industry was thrashed by the New York Times, which had positively reviewed the Bell Curve and even gave a better review of Mein Kampf than Finkelstein’s book. 

They probably keep quiet about that aspect.

Cancel culture, identitarianism, intersectionalism are amongst the biggest intellectual challenges to the left. 

They deny class and reduce politics to the acceptance of pre-ordained dogmas, that are espoused by the US Democratic Party, Facebook, Google and many major multinationals i.e. from the right of the political spectrum. 

They are the wolf in sheep’s clothing, though the sheep is clearly showing the fangs for anyone who wants to see.  History is unlikely to be kind to them. 

Whilst Finkelstein has some illusions of his own in some liberals like Bernie Sanders, his point about freedom of speech, the search for the truth, discussion and debate are his main point in the book. 

A point that cannot be overemphasised in its importance, nor of the need to persevere through the current darkness.  As Finkelstein says.

Many of the heroes of my youth had been blacklisted, but also had, despite all, stayed true to their youthful convictions; not dogmatically, as almost all of them had left the Communist Party, but still unreconciled to the capitalist system, and committed, at any rate in theory, to its overthrow.

A picture of Robeson sits on my bookshelf beside a picture of Marxist economist Paul Sweezy.

The cancel culture advocates and wokerati have, unlike Finkelstein, reconciled themselves to fumbling in the till and harassing those who might speak out against the system in any meaningful way.


Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 2 mins.)

Leaders of both mainstream unions in the Spanish state recently concluded an agreement with the employers of a 4% rise in their members’ wages in 2023 and of 3% for 2024 and 2025.

The deal is effectively a pay cut even on on average inflation and even worse on weekly inflation yet the leader of UGT celebrated the result.

Average inflation in the Spanish state, calculated on a wide range of products and services, was 8.83% in 2022 and is currently projected at 4.3%-4.87%. However the weekly inflation rate in necessities such as food, power, housing etc. as we know always runs substantially higher.

The trade unions concerned are the CCOO (Comisiones Obreras, founded during the Franco era by the Communist Party but no longer controlled by them) and the UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores, linked to the PSOE, Spanish social-democratic party currently in Government).

Except in the southern Basque Country and in Galicia, and in some particular workplaces in the Spanish State, the CCOO and UGT are by far in the majority in members and therefore in representatives (shop stewards, convenors).

Because the CCOO and UGT are also Spanish unionist, i.e opposed to independence for nations and regions within the Spanish state’s territory, they have been rejected in the Basque Country, where Basque unions ELA and LAB are in the majority, along with some smaller ones.

ELA is linked to the Basque Nationalist Party PNV, while LAB is controlled by EH Bildu, main party of the Basque patriotic Left. In Galicia too, the main trade union is Confederación Intesindical Gallega (CIG) and also in favour of independence for Galiza.

In Catalonia and Asturias, CCOO and UGT are by far in the majority though in Catalonia1, Intersindical CSC, which supports Catalan independence, is making progress. However, Intersindical there and in Galiza2 are ‘unions of class’ which the Basque unions are not.

L-R: Presidents of Employer Federations Cepyme Gerardo Cuerva and CEOE Antonio Garmendia with General Secretaries of CCOO and UGT Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez (Photo cred: Gabriel Luengas, Europa Press)

President , Antonio Garamendi; Gen Secs CCOO Unai Sordo & UGT, Pepe Álvarez May 2023 Gabriel Lluengas Europa Press

A ‘union of class’ maintains a philosophy of militant struggle and does not recruit from repressive organisations such as police and prison warders or from management levels.

Trade unions were established at enormous sacrifice by working people in strikes and other actions, suffering deprivation, physical attack by police, army and other hired goons, losing liberty in jail and penal colonies and often enough shot dead on the street or executed by the State.

Though by themselves trade unions can never lead to socialism, their struggles have advanced the economic and social conditions of working people in society. But as unions became an accepted part of capitalist society, they became institutionalised.

Their leaders and employees became more committed to the institution of the union than to its original purpose and perceived their role as being exercised within the capitalist status quo, their political allegiances generally reformist.

CCOO section with hospitality sector workers’ banner, Mayday parade, Madrid 2023 (Photo credit: Patricia Cinta, Christian Monitor)

Throughout most of the world, union hierarchies are betraying even the basic economic needs of their members, to say nothing of their social and political needs. Furthermore they often act as police, restraining what they perceive as too radical confrontations.

Yet it is impossible to conceive of a social revolution without mass action by workers and difficult to imagine that without mass workers’ organisation. In the absence of a revolutionary union of those dimensions, a unified militant grass-roots trade union movement is sorely needed.



1And in Paisos Catalans (Catalan countries) of Valencia and the Balearic Islands in the Spanish state and Pau in the French state.

2And in Canarias, the Canary Islands



Inflation in Spain – Statistics & Facts | Statista





Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: One min.)

A deadly disease has struck some people in Ireland, affecting tendons in the legs, control of the tongue and causing partial amnesia. By a strange twist, some of those affected are attracted to the very site of the first outbreak of the disease.

The effect on the tendons in the legs of those affected is dramatic: they can no longer stand up straight and find themselves bending a knee or even collapsing on to both knees, the tongue protruding in bizarre licking motion.

Less visible but in many ways more striking is the amnesia effect. Those affected lose memories of parts of what they learned in school or what they themselves thought and said in the past – even in recent years.

According to Dr. P O’Neill of the Institute of Research and Adjustment, a new symptom was observed recently: “Affected people spent four hours staring vacantly at a film of some anachronistic ritual”.

Dr. T.W.Tone, who has been studying similar outbreaks in the past observed on the affinity of the disease for people of higher social classes: “No-one is guaranteed immunity but it does seem that the lower the social class, the less likely the person is to contract this disease.”

Commenting on the low recovery rate of those who contract the disease, Dr. J.Connolly pointed to the crucial importance of prevention, for which community programs of education can be very effective. “We rely especially on Volunteers,” he said, “men and women who are dedicated to preventing the spread of this disease.”


Gardaí Arrest Republican Denouncing the Monarchy & British Occupation

Clive Sulish

(Reading time main text: 3 mins.)

An organisation by the name of Anti-Imperialist Action yesterday held an anti-monarchist march and rally in Dublin, including a mock execution of royalty, where their speaker was arrested by Gardaí.

The protesters met first at the James Connolly monument in Beresford Place and after some words marched up Abbey Street to Dublin’s main street and to the General Post Office building to hold their anti-monarchy rally.

Royalty and guillotine beside James Connolly monument at start of event (Photo: AIA)

At the GPO the gathering of socialist republicans, socialists and anarchists had grown. As the mock-up guillotine carried out mock execution of the dummy representing royalty, a large force of Gardaí arrested the speaker. Participants then went to Store Street Garda station to demand his release.

At Store Street the protesters were met by a line of Gardaí1 drawn up in front of the entrance to the police station. In speeches and slogans, the protestors denounced the police for the arrest of the speaker at the GPO, also denouncing the monarchy and the State.

Line of Gardaí barring entrance to Store Street Garda Station (Photo:Rebel Breeze)

View of protesters outside Store Street Garda Station (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Some speakers criticised also the national broadcaster RTÉ which was devoting four hours to the coronation.

The most frequent chants were: When Republicans are under attack – stand up, fight back!2 One, Two, Three, Four – Occupation no more; Five, Six, Seven Eight – Smash the Free State!3 Brit King – Guillotine! No democracy – under a monarchy! No democracy – in the Free State4!

One of the protesters, accompanying himself on guitar, sang the Republican ballad popularly known as “Come Out Yez Black ‘n Tans”, the attendance joining in on the chorus. They displayed a banner with a slogan from Liberty Hall5 in WW1: We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland.

Using a loudhailer, another protester read out James Connolly’s6 1911 denunciation of the monarchy. Yet another speaker quoted Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’ recent words saying the Gardaí were the “biggest gang”, the protester calling them “an MI5-directed gang”.

Eventually news of the release of the arrested man reached the protestors and they marched up Talbot Street with Starry Plough7 flags and a Basque Ikurrina flying, back to the GPO, outside of which they held an impromptu rally.

Along with portraits of Irish hunger-strike martyrs of 1981 there was a portrait of Palestinian martyr Khader Adnan carried also in recognition of the international role of British imperialism and its Head of State.

Many looked on in interest while some applauded them, both in Talbot Street, where a taxi driver enquired the reason for the protest and wished them well and also outside the GPO. Gardaí arrived and stood across from the building to watch the protesters but in smaller numbers than before.

The protestors return to the GPO for an impromptu rally in place of the planned one interrupted by the Garda attack and arrest of speaker (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

Another speaker said the protesters were “health workers, working to rid Ireland of a dangerous disease affecting politicians, media and State forces, a disease that makes them go to their knees in front of royalty and a foreign state, extending their tongues to lick a certain part of the anatomy.”

Interest from the pedestrian reservation in O’Connell Street across from the GPO, including much smaller number of uniformed Gardaí (Photo: Rebel Breeze)

The speaker said they were working “to rid Ireland of this dangerous disease, to enable the people to stand up straight once more, to claim their Republic, celebrate their history and speak out against foreign domination and monarchy”.

He drew attention also to arrest of a Republican speaker outside the iconic GPO, headquarters of the 1916 Rising8 and which still bears the scars of British bullets9.

Reference was also made a number of times by protesters to the arrests of English Republicans in London who were prevented by from holding a protest against the monarchy.

The victim of the police attack returned from police custody and briefly spoke thanking those who had demanded his release; people who had stopped to listen applauded and the group dispersed without further arrest.


Photo taken at GPO before police attack (Photo: AIA)


1Police force of the Irish State.

2This seems adapted from a slogan often chanted by Irish socialist groups.

3This too seems an adaptation but from the Palestine solidarity movement.

4The new state of 26 Counties (missing six, which are in the British colony) and which fought a Civil War against the Republicans was called “the Free State” and though the name was changed (and to a ‘republic’) Irish Republicans and many nationalists in the British colony call it the “Free State” in irony and in negation of its legitimacy.

5Liberty Hall is a very tall building housing SIPTU but the trade union’s ancestor, the ITGWU had purchased the previous building on the same site which was destroyed by the British during the 1916 Rising. The slogan “We serve neither …” etc had been displayed across the front earlier during WWI.

6Revolutionary socialist leader, trade union organiser, writer and historian who brought the Irish Citizen Army to participate in the Rising, during which he was made Dublin Commandant, afterwards being shot by British firing squad.

7Originally flag of the Irish Citizen Army, the first workers’ Army in the world, formed to defend the workers in 1913 Lockout against police attacks and which also took part in the 1916 Rising.

8The rising 24-29 April 1916 was the first against world war and contained many other ‘firsts’ – six different organisations played a prominent part in it, including women. The Rising is regarded as leading to the War of Independence 1919-1922.

9One of many buildings in Dublin that bear the scars of conflict, this one is an imposing building in the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street. With the building in flames from British artillery on Easter Friday, the garrison, including five of the Seven Signatories of the Proclamation of Independence (which was read out at the start of the Rising) relocated to nearby Moore Street, where the decision was taken to surrender.

Useful link and Reference:



No money for peace in Colombia

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh 12 April 2023 (first published in Socialist Democracy)

(Reading time: 5 mins.)

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, announced in a National Peace, Reconciliation and Harmony Council (CNPRC) meeting that the state didn’t have sufficient funds to fulfil the Havana Accord signed with the FARC.(1) 

The situation seems to be so serious that according to the President it will take 125 years to fulfil it. There are some points in which he is right, but only if we ignore the most obvious things: the nature of the Accord itself. 

He alludes to this and asks some rhetorical questions, ones which he should really ask as proper questions, not as some gesture in his oratory, but rather as questions to the FARC, Santos and all those who promoted the Accord nationally and internationally. 

Among guarantors of the Colombian conflict pacification deal signed by, at the time, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, and leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Timoleón Jiménez, known as “Timochenko,” during a news conference announcing an agreement between the two parts in Havana on Sept. 23, 2015. Among those applauding, Cuban President Raul Castro at far right of picture. (Source photo: Internet)

Petro asks “was that Accord signed with the aim of applying it, or with the aim of disarming the FARC and later, Colombian style reworking everything?(2)

Well of course it was sonny boy.  That much was clear.  At the time you were told so and those of us who criticised the Accord were accused of wanting more war, ignoring that many of us had never participated in or supported the war.  It was a debate they didn’t want to have. 

During the not very open process negotiated behind closed doors, it was said, in the midst of the euphoria of the signing and the parties in public squares with huge screens in the streets so one would miss it, that criticisms were not welcome. 

They were, as an old friend used to say, as welcome as a fart in a space suit.

Petro continued and stated something he certainly believes is very important.

I want to implement the Peace Accord, but it costs 30.5 billion Euros.  If the Santos government signed this in the name of the state and society is represented in this, then, tell me where am I to get this 30.5 billion?(3)

There is an easy answer to that question.  The money can be got from the same place that they, and in that I include Petro, thought it was when they signed the Accord in 2016.  Don’t ask where they are going to get the money, but rather tell us where you expected to get it in 2016. 

Petros giving a clenched fist salute after his inauguration as President of Colombia. (Source photo: Internet)

Senators such as Iván Cepeda who played an important role in the process can point to where.  The cost of the Accord was obvious from day one, this problem is not new and it is just not credible thatPetro and his Congress benches have just realized how much money was needed. 

But the truth is Petro, Cepeda wanted to bring the FARC to an end and rework things later.  All of them without exceptions.  Of if this is not the case, maybe they can tell us where they thought they would get the money.

The former FARC commander, Timochenko said that war against the FARC (he excludes all of the other guerrilla groups that have existed) cost 83.7 billion Euros and the 30.5 of Petro is a minimal cost for the chance of a country in peace. 

He is partially right, except that the problem is not about money or amounts, but rather the Accord itself and their perspective that what is needed is money and not political changes.  The Havana Accord reads like shopping list, like a list of demands and a not very precise list at that. 

A Land Bank would be set up with three million hectares, but it doesn’t say where and left it to the whim of whichever government.

So Petro announced that he would fulfil that part by buying land off cattle ranchers.  The same ranchers whose spokesperson José Felix Lafaurie accepted that Fedegan’s affiliates, rice growers and various multinationals financed the right-wing paramilitaries.(4) 

Nothing happened to him, nor to the 10,000 cattle ranchers who had signed an open letter where they acknowledged their crime.(5)  At the time it was argued that the Prosecutor was not in a position to process that many people. 

It wasn’t true, the crime had been publicly vindicated and they also said that there was nowhere to put 10,000 criminals.  This wasn’t true either. 

According to the prison service’s own figures and the calculations of the Corporación Excelencia en Justicia, in 2006 the Colombian prison system had a capacity for 52,414 prisoners with 60,021 actually held in them. 

In 2011, that figure had risen to a capacity of 75,260 with 100,451 people in them i.e. they managed to put 40,000 poor prisoners in overcrowded conditions, but they had no room for 10,000 paramilitaries and their lackies. 

In 2006 there were 19,353 prisoners on remand.(6) A little bit of creativity with the judicial abuse of remand and they could have put the paramilitary funders in jail without any problems. 

The prison population eventually reached the figure of 125,000 prisoners in overcrowded conditions whilst others rambled around their lands despite having acknowledged their crime.

What was missing was the will.  But instead of spending money buying land from paramilitaries and their backers, Petro could confiscate the land of those 10,000, amongst others.  It wouldn’t cost that much. 

There are other measures he could take with a view to peace, justice and truth.  Petro could ask for the extradition of the Board of Chiquita who paid a 25 million dollar fine in the US having accepted their responsibility in the crime of financing paramilitary groups. 

It wouldn’t cost more than the price of posting the request.  There are other measures that have some bureaucratic costs, like forcing public bodies to comply with land restitution findings, something which does not happen.  It also only requires the will to do so.

Petro’s focus is the same one as the FARC and the Santos’ government and other peaceniks, who are now Congress reps: it is a question of money.  But this is not the case.  It is a question of returning stolen land, reviving organisations, guaranteeing the right to exercise one’s rights. 

It is also the disbandment of the specialised riot squad, ESMAD.  It is more expensive to change its name and give it a makeover, as Petro proposes, than abolishing it. 

He wanted to buy fighter jets at a cost of 3,150 million dollars.  Due to public reaction, he backtracked but he did buy the Barak MX air defence system from Israel at a cost of 131.2 million dollars.(7)  He also bought 18 Howitzers from Israel at a cost of 101.7 million dollars.(8) 

Such systems are for conventional wars between countries, they are of no use against insurgents, i.e. they are toys for the military.  Maybe they will be used in the Coup that Petro’s followers announce all the time.  It is what happened in Chile.

So, is there any money or not? And what will be done with the things that don’t cost much?  Why don’t they reduce the extravagant salaries of the magistrates in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace who to date have produced little?

But then, at least he partly accepts what was always the case, that the peace process and the Havana Accord were a mockery of the victims of the Colombian conflict.  Their only purpose was to remove the FARC from the field, particularly in areas with oil and other natural resources. 

No one sought to solve any deep-seated problems in the country and here we are with the tale that there is a lack of money, when really what was lacking throughout the entire process were clear political positions.


(1) El Espectador (12/04/2023) Petro asegura que no hay recursos para cumplir el Acuerdo de Paz ni para víctimas https://www.elespectador.com/colombia-20/paz-y-memoria/petro-afirma-que-no-hay-dinero-para-acuerdo-de-paz-ni-para-indemnizar-a-victimas-del-conflicto/

(2) Ibíd.,

(3) Ibíd., Euro figures were calculated at 4906 pesos to the Euro and the original figure of 150 billion in the article was taken using the Spanish definition of billion, which is a million, million.

(4) El Cambio No 704 diciembre 2006/enero 2007 Diez Preguntas (Entrevista con José Félix Lafaurie p. 48)

(5) El Espectador (17/12/2006) La hora de los ganaderos, p. 2A

(6) CEJ (2018) Evolución de la población reclusa en Colombia https://cej.org.co/sala-de-prensa/justiciometro/evolucion-de-la-poblacion-reclusa-en-colombia/

(7) Defence News (05/01/2023) Colombia buys Israeli-made Barak MX air defense system. José Higuera. https://www.defensenews.com/land/2023/01/05/colombia-buys-israeli-made-barak-mx-air-defense-system/

(8) Defence News. (06/01/2023) Colombia picks Elbit’s Atmos howitzer over Nexter’s Caeser. José Higuera https://www.defensenews.com/land/2023/01/06/colombia-picks-elbits-atmos-howitzer-over-nexters-caesar/


Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 5 mins.)

Revolutionary greetings on the First of May! It is International Workers’ Day, for recalling of the struggles of working people down the centuries past and of resolution to carry the struggle forward until we succeed in building and defending a socialist society.

On that Mayday too we are aware that in some parts of the world, those wishing to mark the date in public will be subject to intimidation or worse: arrest, baton charge or being fired upon. Possibly even trial and death sentence.


The day dates from an incident in Chicago 1886, USA, when trade unions and socialist groups of various kinds organised a campaign in many cities of the USA to exchange the common 10-hour1 working day for the 8-hour day. May 1st was set for the start of the campaign

On May 3rd in Chicago, a city central to the campaign for an eight-hour working day, a demonstration as part of the campaign took place outside the McCormick Harvesting Machine company. The police opened fire on striking workers, killing one of them and injuring many.

The anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists organised a demonstration for May 4th to protest the killing of workers. When the police advanced on the peaceful crowd ordering dispersal, a bomb was thrown at them and police opened fire on the crowd, some of whom returned fire.

Some of the police are believed to have shot some of their colleagues by mistake.

Sixty police were injured and one killed; the police chief gave his opinion that more than that number of demonstrators were injured. The media was mostly hostile and many demonstrators wounded would have feared to attend hospital for fear of arrest or worse by police.

Contemporary engraving of the seven originally sentenced to death (Image: Wikipedia)

Subsequently, amidst a wave of police repression, including raids on union halls and people’s homes, eight Anarchists were framed, charged with conspiracy to murder and convicted. One of them was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The sentences of Schwab and Fielden were commuted to life imprisonment. Linng took his own life in jail but August Spies, Albert R. Parsons, Adolph Fischer and George Engel were hanged by the Chicago State authorities.

Artist’s impression of the hanging of the four (Image: Wikipedia)

In 1889 the (Second) International Workingmen’s Association, a federation of trade unions and socialist organisations, agreed that in memory of that struggle and its martyrs, the First of May should be marked by all socialists around the world as International Workers’ Day.2

The site of the incident was designated a Chicago landmark in 1992 and a sculpture made in 1893 was dedicated there in 2004. In addition, the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997 at the defendants’ burial site in Forest Park.


In European agricultural society the First of May was celebrated firstly as a pagan festival and later as an allegedly secular one or named for a Christian saint. It celebrated the coming of summer, of growing of crops and of livestock.

Industrial workers originated in agricultural societies or, in the case of early miners, were located near to such. It was natural that they should participate in such festivals and also even generations later create their own around a similar calendar.

European settlers in the USA, many of them from agricultural societies3, brought those traditions with them. That was probably one of the reasons for the date of the Chicago demonstration, although certainly there had been others on other dates.


My father took me as a child on my first Mayday march in Dublin. He was an active member of the NUJ and some members of his union and of others participated in a small march through the city centre led by a brass band.

Returning to Ireland in 2003 after decades working in England and marching there on May 1st, I was disappointed by the very small size of Mayday demonstrations in Dublin, though I participated in some and on at least one occasion as part of a Basque contingent.

The oppositional movement to the status quo in Ireland, because of our history of anti-colonial struggle, is dominated by Irish Republicanism. And though all of that movement’s parts would claim to be socialist too, the First of May is not of great importance in their annual calendar.

This is unfortunate because the mass of Irish workers who are not members of the Republican movement need leadership for their class and also, as it happens, most Irish Republicans are workers. And practically all immigrants are workers too.

While fighting for an independent Ireland, do we as workers want to exchange one group of exploiters for another? And is a struggle for an independent Ireland even remotely winnable without enlisting the working class fighting as a class in its own class interests?

James Connolly thought not and our history since his day has certainly attested to the correctness of his view.


On 1st of May for years I took the day off work – unpaid, of course and went into the centre of London, the city in which I was living and working. My destination was usually Hyde Park Corner and if I was then in an organisation I met up others and if not, just joined in as an individual.

Thousands of people met there to rally and perhaps to march and I was aware that around the world not just thousands, or hundreds of thousands but millions were marking that day also. As a day to recall struggles in their own particular countries and in solidarity with others around the world.

Generally the various organisations and tendencies marched with those of their own affiliation but in the same demonstration, with the exception of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, which on at least one occasion marched in as everyone was leaving.

The WRP was an extremely internally dictatorial and externally politically sectarian trotskyist organisation that at one time up to the mid 1980s was probably the largest socialist organisation,4 certainly outside the ranks of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

The latter organisation, with the support of some other socialists, many of them left social-democrats, began to push for Mayday to become a national holiday, an objective they achieved in 19785 (followed by the Irish State 15 years later)6.

So now I could go to the demonstrations and not lose pay. Great, right?

No, not really. For a start, the holiday was no longer on May 1st but instead on the nearest Monday to the date. More importantly, people tended to treat it as a holiday rather than a day of international workers’ solidarity. Of course people are entitled to holidays but the essence of the day was gone.

And rather than being larger, the demonstrations grew smaller.

Sculpture made in 1893 known as The Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument (Photo: Wikipedia)


This is not a day for class collaborationists, politicians or union leaders who try to undermine the struggles, water down demands and act as the ruling class’ police on union activists. It is a date for those at minimum in support of militant resistance.

The essence of the day is what we need to keep. A day upholding our struggle, that of the working class against its exploiters, native and foreign. A day remembering our long history of struggle, of victories and defeats, of sacrifices and why the colour of the workers’ flag is red.

It is a day to remember our internationalist duty of solidarity, not as charity or altruism but as partners in struggle across the world, as on a picket line or demonstration we would shield the person beside us and strike out at the company goon, fascist or policeman attacking us.

And rightfully expect the same from those next to us as we ourselves are the subject of assault.


Current mural in Portugal


1That was for a six-day week and 14-hour days were not unknown and in rural areas, even a seven-day week.

2Five years later, U.S. Pres. Grover Cleveland, uneasy with the socialist origins of Workers’ Day, signed legislation to make Labor Day—already held in some states on the first Monday of September—the official U.S. holiday in honour of workers. Canada followed suit not long afterward.

3That would certainly have included most Irish, Italians, Sicilians and East Europeans in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

4The WRP was the result of a split in socialist organisations and by the mid-1980s was disintegrating in many smaller organisations. It exists still in name but as shade or sliver of its earlier form.

5May Day became an official public holiday all across the UK in 1978 with provisions for it being made in the Banking and Financial Dealings Act. Prior to that time it had been a holiday only in Scotland. The May Day Bank Holiday was instituted by Michael Foot, then the Labour Employment Secretary to coincide with International Labour Day.

6In the Irish State, the first Monday of May became a public holiday following the Public Holiday Regulations 1993 Act. The holiday was first observed in 1994.




One of the songs of the time for an 8-hour day, recorded by Pete Seeger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVWigCuq83w

Anti-Fascist Event in Gernika Pays Homage to a Basque-Nicaraguan Revolutionary

Clive Sulish

(Reading time: 9 mins.)

Kontxi Arana, code name “Rita”, was a fighter of the Basque armed organisation ETA and also of the Sandinista movement. A ceremony of homage to her memory on 22nd April was also the occasion of an antifascist conference with representatives from a number of European countries.

The event took place in Gernika, the SW Basque town infamously bombed by German and Italian Nazi and Fascist squadrons during the Spanish Civil/ Ant-Fascist War, the act which inspired the Catalan painter Picasso´s famous piece on the event (which he called by its Spanish name, “Guernica” (sic)). The venue was the disused Astra factory, formerly manufacturer of handguns.

The Origins and Nature of Fascism

The day-long anti-fascist conference began with a talk on the origins and basic nature of fascism by Iñaki Gil de San Vincente, Marxist theoretician and veteran of the Basque Left Patriotic Movement from which leadership of however he has broken for a number of years.

Speaking in Castillian, he declared the essential nature of fascism to be authoritarianism, deriving from the development of the bourgeois family. The central authority figure in that family, later reproduced in other social classes including the working class is the Father, represented in capitalist society by the employer and the Church.

It is an authority to which all are required to submit: patriarchical, homophobic and intolerant of criticism or deviation.

De San Vincente spoke at length about this development and about early descriptions of fascism, for example by Clara Zetkin and Lukacs and described it as a production of capitalism and imperialism and therefore represented today most clearly in the actions of US Imperialism and the NATO over which it exercises hegemony.

The speaker also highlighted the development of NATO and its recruitment of Nazis as well as the development of its Vatican route for Nazis to leave Europe and enter Latin American countries where they would form fascist centres.

This talk was followed by a representative of Ezkerraldea Antifaxistako (Antifascist Left) who, speaking mostly in Castilian, outlined the history of the development of fascism in the Spanish state following the military-fascist uprising and the four decades of dictatorship, and how the organisation he represented responded to that.

The final speaker of the morning session was from Mugimendu Socialistako (the Socialist Movement – organisation with a large membership, according to a participant) who spoke entirely in Euskera (Basque language). Although simultaneous translation was provided into Castilian (Spanish), the volume of such was too low to be understood by many.

Morning session of the anti-fascist conference in Gernika (Photo: DRAF)

According to a participant, the content of that speaker´s contribution was similar to that of the previous speaker, although he mentioned the existence of Frente Obrero (Workers´Front), a Basque organisation which, despite its name, is a fascist organisation. The existence of that latter group appeared to be news to many present.

These talks were followed by a break and, upon resumption, there were some contributions from the floor and some responses from the panel, after which all repaired to the green outside the Astra building to where the ceremony of respect to the memory of Kontxi “Rita” Arana was to take place.

Kontxi Arana: A leading Basque liberation fighter who also joined the Sandinistas in the liberation struggle of Nicaragua

A Basque woman of the independent Patriotic Left movement blew the traditional cow or bull horn to summon attention, while the speaker in the Basque language introduced the program and speakers along with a short history of this internationalist anti-imperialist and anti-fascist fighter.

Kontxi Arana was an active member of the Basque armed liberation organisation ETA who avoided capture while on operations in the Spanish State but was arrested in the French state and exiled to an island, from which she and others escaped. Sometime later she surfaced in Nicaragua, where she had joined the Sandinista armed liberation movement.

Around the end of the 1990s, the leadership of the Basque Patriotic Left asked some exiles to return to the Basque Country to help push the pacification process and release of prisoners but the Spanish State refused to play, though they did not arrest Kontxi (however according to reports arrangements were not well organised to support her).

Most of the crowd present at the Gernika commemoration and homage to Kontxi “Rita” Arana, with the Astra building in the background and the railway line fence just visible in the left background.

The homage to her memory

A man formerly of the official patriotic Left movement spoke in Spanish about the need for internationalist solidarity, through which however mistakes can be made (e.g. in supporting corrupt leadership) which however does not alter the importance of such solidarity, without which the revolution cannot advance.

This was followed by a man from Dublin Republicans Against Fascism who briefy explained in Castilian (Spanish) the history behind Christy Moore´s “Viva La Quince Brigada“, which the Dubliner then sang in its original English.

Dublin Republicans Against Fascism representative singing Christy Moore’s Viva La Quinze Brigada.

The homage event concluded with red carnations being laid by members of the audience in front of a portrait of Kontxi “Rita” Arana. Two ex-political prisoners played the ´txistu´ (Basque three-hole flute), one of them also beating a rhythm on a small drum (´tamborina´). A young woman stepped forward and danced the ´aurresku´, a traditional honour dance.

Crowd queuing to lay red carnations in front of a portrait of Kontxi Arana

This dance was traditionally danced by a male, then by male dancers, then by male and female dancers until today, when it may be performed by any of those combinations or by a lone female, as in this case, and often enough in ordinary clothing as was the case on this occasion, though she did wear dancing shoes laced to the ankles.

The young woman performing the honour Aurresku dance in one of the high kicks of the dance with, to the far right, the ex-political prisoner txistulari (players of the Basque flute). In the immediate background, participants and organisers. (Photo: DRAF)

The musicians then played the air of The Internationale, which most could be heard singing in Euskera, followed by Eusko Gudariak (“Basque Soldiers”), the Basque national resistance song, similar to the Soldiers’ Song/ Amhrán na bhFiann of Ireland in content. Many had raised clenched fists as the songs were sung.

Suddenly, a wild high-pitched yodelling cry rang out from a female throat, the Irrintzi, traditional Basque battle-cry which probably echoed around the mountains in olden days.

All the audience then repaired to the Astra building where a hot meal was served to all on long tables with a bottle of wine to share among each group of several people (those present had purchased tickets to the event either in advance or upon attendance).

Afternoon session: Presentations from Turkish, Irish and Catalan antifascists.

The afternoon session started a little late as people straggled in. The chairperson, speaking in Euskera, introduced the theme of the session which was for antifascists from Turkey, Ireland and Catalonia to describe the situation with regard to fascism in their countries and how it was being confronted.


Two people from the Turkish-based revolutionary organisation Anti-Imperialist Front presented their contribution while using a video of images, some subtitled in Castilian but where not, spoken by the woman in English while her comrade translated simultaneously into Castilian.

Overall, the presentation was about the development of state fascism in Turkey and the failed military coup of 2016. The DHKP/C organisation had resisted this on the streets but a major struggle with the Erdogan government took place in trials and in the jails.

Through hunger strikes and physical resistance in the jails, hundreds of martyrs had lost their lives, said the speaker but had remained undefeated. Also martyred had been members of the Group Yorum music group which has played revolutionary songs heard by millions.

Another struggle was carried out through public hunger strikes by elderly relatives seeking the uncovering of mass graves in the bodies of fighters, their sons, had been thrown by the Turkish military.

As a result two mass graves had been eventually disinterred, permitting the remains of fighters of the DHKP/C and of the PKK (Kurdish patriotic socialist organisation) to be returned to their families for respectful re-burial.

The Turkish speakers concluded by stating the necessity for anti-fascism to be anti-imperialist and calling for internationalist solidarity and victory to peoples’ struggles.

Section of audience at afternoon session of the anti-fascist conference in Gernika, Basque Country.


The next speaker was from Dublin Republicans Against Fascism, explaining that eight centuries of occupation of his country by England has ensured that the dominant struggle had been one of national liberation and that all armed struggles since 1798 had been led by Republicans of various kinds: 1801, 1848, 1867, 1882 and 1916.

The Irish State that came into being after the War of Independence in 1921 had been a client of the UK, conceding over one-fifth of its national territory as a direct colony. The armed forces of the State had formally executed over 80 of the IRA and instituted a wave of repression including kidnappings, torture, murders including of prisoners.

In keeping with the rise of fascism across 1930s Europe, Ireland saw the Blueshirt movement, led by former police chief Eoin O’Duffy. The Republican movement and socialists fought these on the streets, the speaker said.

The Dubliner recounted briefly the history of Irish Republicans and socialists going to fight Franco in the Spanish state and the Irish diaspora fighting the British fascists, the Blackshirts, in British cities and in defence of Eastern European Jews in famous Battle of Capel Street in the East End of London against over 7,000 police.

He went on to recount some more recent successful physical attacks by joint Republican groups against fascist organisations, the Pegida group in 2016 and even more recently the National Party. Recently too, Republican ex-prisoners had released a video stating the opposition of Republicanism to fascism with a growing list of signatures.

In conclusion, the speaker said that Ireland’s history made it difficult for fascism to advance in Ireland (except in the Loyalist areas) but as long as capitalism exists so too does the danger of fascism, particularly if the progressive forces do not fight effectively against the attacks of Capital on working people.


The representative of the Anti-Repression Platform of Catalonia, speaking in Castilian (Spanish), explained their organisation had come into existence after the repression of the Independence Referendum in 2017 and the subsequent frame-ups and allegations of terrorism against the Committees for the Defence of the Republic.

The speaker alluded to the jailing of the revolutionary socialist rapper Pablo Hasel and comrades who were charged with terrorism merely for expressing and organising solidarity for those being repressed.

“Don’t try to frighten us with threats of a fascist party getting into government”, he said in a reference to the growth of the Spanish fascist party Vox, because we have had a fascist government in the Spanish state since 1939!” (The year that the military-fascist forces defeated the Second Republic and founded four decades of dictatorship).

The Catalan went on to denounce the social-democratic party PSOE (currently in coalition government with Podemos Unitas), pointing out that it has had more political prisoners in jail and fatal victims than any other party in Spanish government (he was probably including the sponsoring the GAL terrorists of the 1980s).

“There has not been a year in which there were no political prisoners in the Spanish state”, he went on to say but also denounced the current Catalan Government, led by the allegedly pro-independence and leftist ERC party and its repression of socialists and independence activists.

He pointed out that fascists would make no distinction between communists and anarchists and asked “so then why should we?” He declared that all who resist repression now, regardless of before, are welcome to take part in their organisation.

The panel at the afternoon session: from left to right: speakers from Catalonia and Ireland, Basque chairperson, Turkish speakers and translator.

Prisoners on hunger-strike

The chairperson of the panel thanked the speakers and drew together elements from each of their presentations.

He went on to announce the declared intention of a small group of Basque political prisoners to embark on a hunger strike and to outline solidarity events being organised. The prisoners concerned are in the non-compliance minority of Basque political prisoners with a regime that forbids them referring to themselves as political prisoners.

The prison authorities intended to make the prisoners share a cell with other political prisoners who are however in compliance, intending to undermine the resistance of the small group and also posing the danger of conflicts within the cell. (A few days later news came that the hunger-striking prisoners had won their demands).

Amnistia organisation solidarity poster announcing forthcoming hunger-strike of political prisoners, now over because they won their demand.


The conference in its organisation and content of contributions drew anti-fascism together with imperialism and internationalist solidarity, all from an anti-capitalist perspective. It also drew connections between solidarity with political prisoners and resistance to repression.

All of the Basque organisations represented are in opposition to the trajectory of the leadership of what had been the Basque Left Patriotic movement, now represented by the EH Bildu party led by Otegi (with daily newspaper GARA, its trade union organisation LAB) and many of the older people were ex-supporters of that leadership.

That included some prominent ones such as Inaki Gil de San Vincente and the speakers and organisers of the conference and of the homage to the memory of Kontxi “Rita” Arana. The younger participants might have included ex-members or had come into political consciousness in opposition to that leadership.

Taken together, they are what many call ‘dissidents’ though some reject that term, saying that they are in fact sticking to the original line of independence and socialism and that it is the official leadership and their followers who have deviated. Their numbers are comparatively small at the moment but they are growing.



Speaking at the Conference:

Boltxe: https://www.boltxe.eus/

Inaki Gil de San Vincente:

Socialist Movement (Socialist Councils) of the Basque Country: LANGILE KAZETA (gedar.eus)

Antifascist Left: Ezkerraldea Antifaxistasta


Anti-Imperialist Front (Turkey): https://anti-imperialistfront.org/

Dublin Republicans Against Fascism: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100067893558778

Anti-Repression Platform of Barcelona: https://twitter.com/antirepreBCN
Plataforma Antirepressiva de Barcelona | Barcelona | Facebook

More to come later

Others in Ireland:

Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee: https://www.facebook.com/dublinbasque

Anti-Fascist Action: https://www.facebook.com/afaireland/

Republicans Against Fascism: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100090617432158

There are also other local antifascist groups and organisations that include antifascist activity in their programs


Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 3mins.)

Earlier this month I attended a group singing in Basque, a language of which I only know a few phrases, as we walked through streets of the town of Bermeo, in Bizkaia province of the Basque Country.

I was invited by one of the organisers to whom I had been introduced the previous evening by a Basque friend as we walked on an errand through the narrow streets. At the appointed time and place I met the walking singers and about four guitarists, male and female.

Around 40 mostly women, the majority ranging in age from middle-aged to elderly with a scattering of teenagers met in the Town Hall square. Unusually, the Basque ikurrina (national flag) hung from a flagpole there without the legally-required presence of the Spanish State’s flag.

Singing around the port area

Spanish State law decrees that its flag must accompany any others on or in front of municipal buildings throughout the state, be they Basque, Catalan, Galician or other. And that the State’s flag be elevated higher than the others.

However, the municipal building was damaged by fire, it is not open for ordinary business while being repaired, so …

The singing group, Kanta, Kanta Lorue (‘Sing, Sing, Parrot’) was addressed at some length by a woman, apparently their Secretary or Chairperson with I guessed, from the names of towns and dates, a schedule for the month or so ahead. At least one location named is across the border.1

Each of the participants had a songbook or the lyrics saved into their Iphones or tablets and I was loaned a songbook by my contact, who was one of the guitarists. A local man (who could have been Irish by his features) led the singing with great energy, throwing his whole body into the role.

Picking up the airs, I joined in singing the lyrics in Basque of which, as noted earlier, I speak only a few phrases2. This is quite easily done as, like much of Irish, knowing the sound of the vowels one can read the words without knowing what they mean.

The consonants too are simple (unlike in Irish) providing one remembers that TX is pronounced like the TCH in English and X as SH; the J as the English J (not usually as the Spanish J, pronounced like the Irish lenited C, i.e Ch) and that the H is silent (as in Spanish and French).

Pronunciation of individual words is not the problem but what can be difficult is that the Basques often cram a lot of syllables into one line. At times I laughed helplessly as I stumbled to a halt while the rest of the singers pronounced each word to the air, passing on to the next line without difficulty.

Photo of some of the singing group from their Facebook page which is however unused with part of the port harbour visible behind (and also some banners that seem to be the work of the Amnistia prisoners’ solidarity group).

The group proceeded down to the port where the singing continued outside one tavern, then outside another (some wine and beer glasses appearing in the crowd); from there on to the central park area, stopping outside two more pubs.

I am given to understand that the themes of the songs were a mixture, as on might expect, of love for the land, the people, romantic love, seafaring and a few of opposition to foreign occupation and fascism (without naming any names!).

Sometimes the singing included some doing harmonies and once of different sections of the group singing one line behind the others.

Recovering from being unwell and feeling tired, I enquired politely how many more stops we were due to make. “Only a few more” I was assured but it soon became clear that I was being teased, this was the last stop. And here one of the guitarists was urged to play and sing an Irish song in English.

After a little reluctance, he did so and it turned out to be The Wild Rover3 ballad. I sang along and soon took over the verses as, to my surprise, I recalled lyrics I had not sung in probably over two decades, with some of the ensemble joining in on the chorus. Then it was agur, gabon and etxera.

There are around 140 such singing groups throughout the Basque Country, one of the participants told me, some meeting monthly, some more often and others still only on special occasions (such as local festivals). The accompanying instruments too may vary.4

The occasion was an enjoyable one for me and seemed so for the other participants, who take to the local streets one evening a month. This is an activity we in Ireland could easily emulate: we have probably many more songs (at least in English) and likely more musicians than do the Basques.



1The Basque Country consists of seven (zazpi) provinces (zazpiak bat = ‘the seven [are] one’), three currently in the French state and four currently in the Spanish state.

2Although my mother was born and raised in the Basque Country, neither she nor her mother spoke the language and her father was German. The language was forbidden during the Franco dictatorship of four decades and her part of the family may not have had much Basque nationalist feeling. As a result, the language I learned from my mother is Castilian Spanish, with which I can converse with Basques from the Spanish state, though I try to use whatever Basque I have learned since. Hori da.

3In case there should be others, this is the one with the opening line of I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year … Although it has been in the Irish repertoire for centuries, it’s actual national origin is unclear.

4For example, the Taberna Ibilitaria group in Bilbao includes acoustic and electric guitars, txistu (3-hole Basque flute), ordinary 6-hole flute or whistle (which they call “Irish”), piano accordion, trikitsa (small diatonic accordion) and pandera (small open one-sided drum like the tambourine but without the ringing pieces).


por Diarmuid Breatnach

(Tiempo de lectura del texto principal: 6 min.)

El domingo 9 Abril, gente asistiendo a la Conmemoración del Alzamiento de 1916 organizada por Acción Anti-Imperialista fueron acosados por la policía mientras encabezaban una marcha hacia el complot republicano del Ejército Ciudadano Irlandés en el cementerio dublinés de Glasnevin.

Seis policías políticos vestidos de paisano caminaron entre los asistentes junto a las tiendas de Phibsborough identificando los participantes, la mayoría de los cuales eran bastante jóvenes. Cerca también se encontraban cuatro uniformados de la Garda y una camioneta de la Unidad de Orden Público estacionada en la entrada del cementerio.

El desfile se prepara a partir. (Foto: D.Breatnach)
Centro y a la derecha de la foto, cuatro de la policia politica preparando a hostigar a los asistentes. (Foto: D.Breatnach)
Centro de la foto: dos de la policia politica de paisano — el calvo hacia chistes mientras hostigaba a los asistentes. (Foto: D.Breatnach)

Los participantes no se dejaron intimidar y emprendieron su marcha, encabezados por un gaitero solitario que tocaba aires de marcha irlandeses, seguido de un ‘colour party’ con diferentes pancartas intercaladas entre los manifestantes, entre las que ondeaban muchas banderas.

Los organizadores se enteraron de que la policía había impedido que el carruaje que transportaba a los miembros de una Banda de Flauta Republicana de escocés que encabezaría el desfile tomara el ferry a Irlanda.

(Foto: D.Breatnach)
(Foto: D.Breatnach)
(Foto: D.Breatnach)

Antecedentes históricos

En 1916, una amplia alianza de los Voluntarios Irlandeses, el Ejército de Ciudadanos Irlandeses, Cumann na mBan, na Fianna Éireann e Hibernian Rifles(1) participó en un Alzamiento organizado por la Hermandad Republicana Irlandesa contra el dominio británico en Irlanda y contra la guerra mundial.

Debido a una serie de circunstancias desafortunadas, el líder de los Voluntarios canceló el Levantamiento que, sin embargo, se llevó a cabo un día más tarde de lo planeado y se limitó en su mayor parte a Dublín, donde luchó una semana por un tercio de los números en el plan original.

El ejército británico de ocupación bombardeó el centro de la ciudad desde una cañonera en el río Liffey y también desde la artillería en tierra. Las explosiones y los incendios resultantes destruyeron gran parte del centro de la ciudad, incluida la Oficina General de Correos en la calle principal, que había sido el cuartel general de la insurrección.(2)

Después de una semana con el centro de la ciudad, incluido la OGC, en llamas, la guarnición rebelde evacuó hacia Moore Street, donde al día siguiente, rodeados y superados en número, se tomó la decisión de rendirse.(3)

Un tribunal militar británico condenó a muerte a casi un centenar de prisioneros. Todas menos quince de esas sentencias fueron conmutadas por largos períodos de cárcel.

Pero los siete firmantes de la Proclamación de 1916 (4) y otros siete fueron fusilados por un pelotón de fusilamiento británico en Dublín, un decimoquinto en Cork y, después del juicio, meses después, un decimosexto fue ahorcado en la cárcel de Pentonville, Londres.

En la Pascua de 1917, las mujeres socialistas y republicanas irlandesas conmemoraron el levantamiento de 1916.

Desde entonces, los republicanos irlandeses y a veces los socialistas en Irlanda y en muchas partes de la diáspora han conmemorado el levantamiento, ya sea legalmente5 o no, en la cárcel o en libertad.

La Guerra de la Independencia comenzó en 1919 con la participación de muchos de los sobrevivientes del Alzamiento6.

El desfile del domingo – memoria histórica local marcada

En Cross Guns Bridge sobre el Royal Canal, el desfile se detuvo y se encendieron bengalas en memoria de los eventos allí en 1916.

El lunes de Pascua de 1916, un pequeño grupo de voluntarios irlandeses había andado desde Maynooth a lo largo de la orilla del canal para unirse al levantamiento en Dublín encontró vigilando el puente a dos voluntarios irlandeses que les aconsejaron que esperaran hasta el día siguiente para ir al centro de la ciudad.

El grupo de Maynooth pasó la noche en Glasnevin y al día siguiente entró en la Ofecina General de Correos (que servia de cuartel general del Alzamiento), pasando por el puente Cross Guns vacío en el camino. De regreso a Phibsborough, la artillería británica voló una barricada y mató a Seán Healy, miembro del grupo juvenil na Fianna en el Cruce del North Circular Road.

Más tarde, la unidad Dublin Fusiliers del ejército británico bloqueó el puente, impidiendo que la gente lo cruzara en cualquier dirección. Mataron a tiros a un lugareño sordo que no respondió a su desafío porque no lo escuchó.

“No servimos ni al rey ni al káiser, pero a Irlanda” declaró una pancarta que se llevó el domingo pasado, “Gran Bretaña/OTAN fuera de Irlanda” otra, “Este Es Nuestro Mandato(7), Nuestra República” y “La colusión no es una ilusión, es un asesinato patrocinado por el estado” fueron otras dos.

Una gran pancarta también declaraba junto a la imagen de James Connolly que “solo el socialismo puede ser la solución para Irlanda”. Algunas organizaciones también llevaron sus propias pancartas, como las de los Republicanos Independientes de Dublín, la Campaña contra la Internación de Irlanda y los Republicanos Socialistas Irlandeses.

Las banderas que ondeaban incluían las que llevaban el logo del grupo organizador Acción Anti-imperialista y otras con el lema “Siempre Antifascistas”, Arados Estrellados verde y dorado, un par de Ikurrinak (banderas vascas) y otras dos de Roja con el Martillo & Hoz en amarillo.

(Foto: D.Breatnach)
Republicanos Socialistas de Irlanda (Foto: D.Breatnach)
(Foto: D.Breatnach)
Campana Anti-Internacion de Irlanda (Foto: D.Breatnach)
(Foto: D.Breatnach)

En el Monumento: discursos y cantos

El cementerio de Glasnevin (Reilig Ghlas Naíonn) cubre más de 120 acres en el norte de la ciudad de Dublín y está dividido en dos partes, cada una con parcelas republicanas separadas por Cabra Road y contiene las tumbas de personas entre famosas y comunes.

Por el lado norte también se encuentra el acceso a los Jardines Botánicos, ambos en la margen sur del río Tolka. El imponente Monumento a numerosos alzamientos republicanos y complot al Ejército Ciudadano Irlandés está en el lado sur, cruzando el puente peatonal sobre la vía del tren.

(Foto: D.Breatnach)

Un hombre presidió el evento de la Acción Anti-imperialista y habló brevemente, presentando a las personas para las lecturas (todas de James Connolly) y para los discursos. Las presentaciones de estos se dividieron equitativamente entre hombres y mujeres, siendo tres de ellos de jóvenes.

Se cantaron tres canciones: una mujer cantó The Foggy Dew (de Charles O’Neill) y Erin Go Bragh (de Peadar Kearney), mientras que un hombre cantó Where Is Our James Connolly? de Patrick Galvin. Dos mujeres leyeron piezas de James Connolly y otra leyó la Proclamación de 1916.

Un lector (Foto: D.Breatnach)
Una lectora (Foto: D.Breatnach)
Una cantante (Foto: D.Breatnach)
Uno de los cantantes.

Las palabras del presidente y de los oradores fueron diferentes pero hubo temas comunes: defender el espíritu histórico de resistencia irlandés, la importancia de la clase trabajadora en la historia y el objetivo de una República socialista que abarque a toda la nación irlandesa.

Estas palabras se equilibraron con la denuncia del imperialismo estadounidense y británico y la ocupación colonial/OTAN de los Seis Condados por parte de este último; el régimen cliente irlandés; los tribunales especiales sin jurado(8) de ambas administraciones en Irlanda y la represión por parte de las fuerzas policiales y el ejército de ocupación.

También se denunciaron aquellos partidos políticos que habían abandonado la lucha por la República y en su lugar habían pasado a formar parte de las administraciones coloniales y neo-coloniales o, en este último caso, que estaban en vías de serlo.(9)

Representantes de organizaciones nombradas colocaron tributos florales y luego otros se adelantaron para colocar tributos florales también.

El presidente agradeció la asistencia de todos, nombró a las organizaciones por nombre y advirtió a todos que se mantuvieran juntos mientras se marchaban, debido a la presencia amenazante de Gardaí y, en particular, de la Unidad de Orden Público. En el evento, los celebrantes salieron del cementerio y se dispersaron sin incidentes.

Pero esa noche los domicilios de algunos sufrieron redadas policiales y algunos detenidos bajo ley represiva del Estado para quedar dos dias en comisaria y liberados sin, por ahora, carga.


Banderas de Euskal Herria cerca de las anti-fascistas de Irlanda (Foto: D.Breatnach)
El colour party baja las banderas en homenaje a los caidos en la lucha (Foto: D.Breatnach)
El colour party levanta las banderas de nuevo en simbolismo de que la lucha continua, el pueblo de pie. (Foto: D.Breatnach)


1Una pequeña unidad, un brazo armado de una escisión de la versión estadounidense más socialmente conservadora de la Antigua Orden de los Hibernianos, su participación en el Alzamiento fue notable.

2Las fotos de gran parte de la destrucción están disponibles en Internet y se puede acceder a ellas mediante un navegador de búsqueda.

3La terraza que ocuparon sigue en pie y es objeto de una lucha de memoria histórica y conservación contra los planes especuladores inmobiliarios aprobados por oficiales del Municipio y los partidos políticos del Gobierno (ver smsfd.ie).

4Un documento notable, cuyo texto está disponible en muchas publicaciones en Internet.

5 Las mujeres irlandesas lo conmemoraron en público en contravención de la legislación marcial británica de la Primera Guerra Mundial en 1917 y 1918 y durante décadas la conmemoración pública del Levantamiento de 1916 (e incluso el vuelo del Tricolor Irlandés) estuvo prohibida en la colonia británica de los Seis Condados con ataques policiales colones ante cualquier intento de hacerlo.

6 A veces llamada incorrectamente “la Guerra Tan” (referencia a una fuerza auxiliar especial de la policía colonial que se conoció como “Black n’ Tans”), la guerra vio el nacimiento del IRA y duró desde 1919-1921. Una propuesta de “paz” británica abrió profundas divisiones en la coalición nacionalista y fue seguida por una Guerra Civil de 1922-1923, en la que el gobierno pro-Tratado y sus fuerzas armadas fueron armados y abastecidos por los británicos para derrotar a los republicanos en una campaña de represión. Y con encarcelamientos, acciones militares, secuestros y torturas, asesinatos de presos, asesinatos y más de 80 ejecuciones formales.

7 También se muestra texto referente al Programa Democrático del Primer Dáil de 1919.

8 El tribunal Diplock en la colonia y los Tribunales Penales Especiales en el Estado Irlandés, tribunales especiales políticos en todo menos en el nombre, con un nivel de prueba bajo y una tasa de condena anormalmente alta y denegación de fianza mientras se espera el juicio.

9 Referencias a 1) la década de 1930 se escindió del partido Sinn Féin, el partido político Fianna Fáil que se convirtió en el partido gubernamental preferido de la burguesía gobernante irlandesa dependiente del exterior y 2) al partido Sinn Féin Provisional que respaldó el plan de pacificación británico en 1998 y emprendió el camino de convertirse en un partido del nacionalismo reformista en la colonia y en este momento se encamina hacia un gobierno de coalición neocolonial (y neoliberal capitalista).