Anarchist Workers Alliance leaflets (1979/80)

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Some leaflets from the Anarchist Workers Alliance in 1979 and 1980.  First off are two national ones about nuclear power.  The first set out their position, with two points of particular interest.  They, along with almost everyone else at that time, had believed the ‘research’ indicating that oil deposits would be exhausted within thirty years.  There may be a similarity with the “peak oil” argument of the last decade, which was also widely believed but does not appear to have been accurate.  Both of these outcomes will occur, but clearly not as quickly as had been believed by many.

The other point of interest is their rejection of ‘zero growth’ economics, “while we oppose any attempt to bring nuclear power into Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter) we distance ourselves from those who say we don’t need nukes because there should be no increase in energy usage.  Zero growth would mean more poverty, unemployment and lack of facilities.  We need more energy to create socially useful jobs, more facilities for leisure and entertainment, and better living conditions.”

The second leaflet was given out at the 5,000 strong anti-nuclear festival in 1979 at Carnsore in Co Wexford.  It calls for a campaign in the unions to win ‘blacking’ of any work to build nuclear power stations.  At that stage the ESB Officers Association had come out in opposition to nuclear power.

Today Ireland has no nuclear stations, and never had.  An account of how this was achieved is here

The others leaflets are from the AWA’s Dublin branch.
(1) An advertisement for a public meeting in the offices of the Amalgamated Transport & General Workers Union.  Today the ATGWU is part of UNITE, and the hall is now the headquarters of the Samaritans.

(2) A call for industrial action circulated at the tax reform march in late 1979.  The ICTU leadership was trying (successfully) to reassert its control over the more militant Trades Councils who had earlier organised massive demonstrations on working days to demand that more of the tax burden be shifted to the rich.  There is an interview with Sam Nolan of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, where Sam discusses the marches here

(3) A response to the declaration of a “housing emergency” in Dublin.  See here for information about the Dublin Squatters Association of the mid-1970s.

(4) And finally, one produced during the Pope’s 1979 visit to Dublin.  At a time when the Catholic Church and its influence on the state was almost beyond question (with divorce banned, gay sex illegal, and contraception restricted to married couples) it pulls no punches.  Church control of schools is seen as filling “young people’s heads with superstitious drivel about hell, god and other repressive fantasies”.

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Cork Anarchist Workers Group (1984)

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The Cork Anarchist Workers Group was set up in early 1984 and became the Cork branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement when the WSM was formed later that year.

Their leaflet about that year’s pay negotiations could have been written today, when it noted the Irish Congress of Trade Unions response to a threatened pay freeze was a call for “compromise, commonsense and reasonableness”. Members included industrial chemist turned author Kevin Doyle and Clonakilty anti-war campaigner Dominic Carroll.

Fight War, Not Wars (October 1982)

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A four page leaflet put out after British anarcho/pacifist/punk band played at Belfast’s short lived anarchist youth ‘A Centre’ in Long Lane.  National Front supporters attacked the gig, and then the RUC arrived and thumped some of the punks who had been the target of the NF attack.

Opened in November 1981 the A Centre was run by the Belfast Anarchist Collective as an “alternative cultural space” in Belfast city centre and ran on Saturday afternoons.  It soon became a magnet for young people and punks in particular.  On loan from Belfast’s gay Carpenter Club the A Centre put on banned or controversial films, new wave music and punk bands, performance poets and artists, alternative books and comics, and a wholefood cafe.  Among the bands who played there were Stalag 17, The Defects, Xdreamists, Rudi, Spider, Rufrex, The Outcasts, The Defects, Just Destiny and Ten Past Seven.

The corganisers were openly hostile to the cops (usually refusing them admission: “sorry pal, we have a no uniforms policy“).  In retaliation the RUC got scare stories into the local papers about “under age kids mixing with subversives” “glue sniffing”, and so on.  This, and resulting hassle from the city council because they didn’t have an entertainment licence, meant that after about a year the Centre closed.