Fintan O’Toole’s ‘alternative facts’ about anarchism (2017)

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Fintan O’Toole is literary editor of The Irish Times, and has been an op-ed columnist for the paper since 1988.  He has written over a dozen books, most recently A History of Ireland in 100 Objects.  O’Toole is also one of Ireland’s best known liberals.  On January 20th 2017 he spoiled an otherwise very good article about Donald Trump by making ill-informed connections between anarchism and free market capitalism.  On January 25th 2017 the Irish Times published a letter from this archive setting him right.

trump-letter-it-25-01 click here to download

 

O'Toole jpegclick here to download

Irish labour radicals & the Industrial Workers of the World in the early 20th century (2016)

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The ‘One Big Union’ is a motto of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), founded in Chicago in 1905 and continuing today with several thousand members in the USA & Canada, about one thousand in the Britain, and smaller numbers in a handful of other countries.

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Reflecting disappointment with the achievements of political Labour, the IWW is ‘syndicalist’ in advocating that working people rely on militant trade unionism (and not politics) to create a socialist society. Prominently associated with the IWW’s revolutionary ‘Wobbly’ wing were Cork-born Mother Jones, Tom Glynn of Gurteen, Co. Galway, and James Connolly, an IWW organiser in New York. ‘Big Jim’ Larkin gave a graveside oration for Joe Hill, best-known of the Wobbly martyrs.

This conference will examine the contribution of Irish people to the IWW in America, Australia and South Africa, and consider the influence of the IWW’s syndicalism on bodies like the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union and the Irish Citizen Army.

This conference, open to all, takes place in NUI Galway & Galway city centre on Friday and Saturday 11-12 November 2016.

A modest €5 registration charge covers the cost of tea, coffee and biscuits over the two days.

prDownload the programme as a PDF here.

Full programme:

FRIDAY, 11 NOVEMBER, Hardiman Building, GO10

Panel 1, 2.00 pm: Chair: Sarah-Anne Buckley, ICHLC
Jim Larkin, Jack Carney and the American Irish Worker (1917), James Curry
Patrick J. Read’s ‘Irishness’ & the Creation of the Wobbly Mythos, Matthew White
Joe Hill and Ireland, Francis Devine


Panel 2: 3.45: Chair: Prof. Terrence McDonough, ICHLC
The Rebel Irish & the IWW: The Roots of American Syndicalism, Kristin Lawler
Sacco and Vanzetti and the Radical Irish World, Niall Whelehan
From Socialist to Syndicalist, to Communist: The political development of William Z. Foster, 1904-1922, Liam Ó Discín


8 pm Function Room, John Keogh’s, Upper Dominick Street
‘Rebel Voices: Galway Wobbly Connections’. Chair: Catherine Connolly TD
Peter Yorke: A Galway priest & the San Francisco labor movement, Tadhg Foley
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: A Galway Rebel Girl, Meredith Meagher
The Syndicalist Trajectories of Tom Glynn & Mary Fitzgerald, John Cunningham

SATURDAY, 12 NOVEMBER, Hardiman Building, GO10

Panel 3, 10.15 am. Chair: Jamie Canavan, NUI Galway
Connolly the Marxist Socialist, but what sort? Bolshevik, Menshevik or Industrial Democrat? The ideological impact of the IWW, Manus O’Riordan
Industrial Unionism and Social Democracy: Connolly as vector of organising principles, Gavin Mendel-Gleason
‘We Irish are a working race’: Connolly & Flynn in the United States, Stephen Thorntonbad

Panel 4, 12.00, Chair: Mary Gibbons, Galway Council of Trade Unions
Captain Jack White: Syndicalist? Leo Keohane
Syndicalism as a dirty word: Press coverage of radical trade unionism in early twentieth century Ireland, Donal Fallon
Patrick Quinlan: nationalist or militant IWW member? Gerry Watts

Keynote address, 2.15 pm: Chair: Tish Gibbons, Siptu
‘Romances and Erasures’, David Howell

Panel 5, 3.30 pm Chair: Jackie Uí Chionna, NUI Galway
American Reactions to the 1916 Rising, Luke Gibbons
Rebel Women and the IWW, Teresa Moriarty
The Irish & the Mooney case: a miscarriage of Justice in California, John Borgonovo  

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This conference is organised by the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class at the National University of Ireland-Galway.

Elections debate: WSM v. Workers Party (2012)

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Mark Hoskins of the Workers Solidarity Movement and Alan Myler of the Workers Party debate the pros and cons of participating in parliamentary elections. This appeared in the November-December 2012 issue of the Workers Party magazine Look Left.

ll2Click here to download

Look Left is available from many newsagents and bookshops, including Ireland’s biggest chain, Easons.  Its circulation is about 5,000.

2012 Frank Conroy Commemoration in Kildare

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Conroy pngclick here to download

This is from the January/February 2013 issue of Look Left, the magazine of the Workers Party of Ireland.  Frank Conroy was an Irish socialist republican who served with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.  As the final paragraph notes, wreaths were laid by organisations as varied as the Workers Solidarity Movement (anarchist), eirigi (socialist republican), Anti-Fascist Action, the Communist Party of Ireland, the Labour Party, Tus Nua (a split from the Green Party), and the Workers Party.

Although the Workers Party is in the same broad grouping as many of the world’s Communist Parties, its Look Left magazine regularly carries articles from other left currents, including anarchists.

Spanish Revolution material stolen from Barcelona Archive

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On 1 February 2012, many important documents were stolen from the Biblioteca de l’Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular in Barcelona.  These included:

  • Postcards from the civil war, membership cards from various organizations and political groups from the ’20s and ’30s and the period of clandestinity.
  • Collection of banknotes from the collectivized villages (a large number)
  • Postcard collection of the civil war and of Bakunin and Kropotkin, etc. (about 100 pieces)
  • Collection of film posters for the period of the civil war (70 or 80)
  • Collection of old tram tickets from ten cents to one peseta (over 500)
  • Collection of medals, pins, badges and insignia of the civil war (100)
  • A folder with pictures of Mujeres Libres and libertarian cultural associations, as well as documentation of collectivised businesses based along the road from Ribes to Barcelona and the visit of some Mexican officials.
  • And much more.

One of the stolen CNT membership cards

A list of the stolen items is here http://www.anarkismo.net/article/21946

If you see something appear on e-bay or elsewhere, alert them!  Their contact details are at http://www.ateneuenciclopedicpopular.org/spip.php?rubrique11

Irish Examiner puts anarchist into the Dail (2012)

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The daily Irish Examiner newspaper reported a press conference organised by the Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes in December 2011.  It was addressed by six TDs (members of the Irish parliament) and a couple of county councillors.  Anarchist Eoghan Ryan was speaking for the anti-parliamentary Workers Solidarity Movement, but that didn’t stop them listing him as a TD.

Maybe the Examiner could use a sub-editor who knows who the current TDs are, even if they don’t understand that anarchists decline to run for election to unaccountable positions of power.