Resistance (1983)

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Resistance was produced in 1983 by the Dublin Anarchist Collective, which had come into existence the previous year. Despite the name, there was no formal connection with the Resistance! magazine published in Dublin in 1980. Circulation was about 500 copies.

A couple of those involved, Sue Richardson and Steve Woods, had been part of the Dublin Anarchist Group (1978-1981). Other members were Eddie Conlon – who was one of the founding members of the Workers Solidarity Movement in 1984, Honorary Secretary of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland, and more recently a spokesperson for the United Left Alliance; Caroline Butler, Mary Flanagan and Marianne Heron.

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No.1 opens with a piece about the 1983 budget, much of which could be written today “..those with an unfair share of wealth and privilege are in effect immune to the cut-backs and the real hardship of the recession (created in the first place by the greed and ineptitude of capitalists and politicians)”, “..they are apt to use every trick in the book to con people into thinking they have no alternative but to take these measures”, “..the health cuts and the increasing shortage of hospital beds mark a regression to the last century”. It also calls for a No vote in the anti-abortion referendum, looks at the then novel idea of community policing, the creation of unemployed action groups, and pays tribute to Doloures Lynch who was murdered in Dublin for standing up to pimps.

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No.2 opens with opposition to the proposed Constitutional amendment to stop abortion ever being legalised, and urges readers to join the broad-based Anti Amendment Campaign. The occupation of the Ranks flour mill in Phibsboro is recounted, with the jailing and subsequent release of 14 workers.  The unofficial strikes in support of them by the dockers, car workers at Nissan and Mazda on the Naas Road, Unidare in Finglas, Oldlums mills and others are contrasted with the inaction of the ITGWU head office. There is also an article by an ex-prisoner (Sue Richardson) criticising the jailed Ranks strikers for differentiating themselves from ordinary prisoners by saying they were not ‘criminals’.

An article for International Women’s Day sees the oppression of women as a product of class society, “We have been deemed the servants of men, much as our men have been treated as the servants of the bosses”. A look at attempts to divide and conquer by implying that public sector workers are a burden on their private sector counterparts is given a page, and there are pieces about Emma Goldman, Polish feminism, an unemployed action group in Finglas, the trial of those who tried to fight their way to the British embassy after gardai stopped a hunger strike march, discrimination against women in dole payments, and the possible locating of cruise missiles in Northern Ireland.

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No.3 looks at the tax reform protest and the refusal of Waterford Glass workers to allow PAYE & PRSI to be taken from their wages. Also covered is the murder of gay man Declan Flynn in Fairview and Justice Gannon’s decision to impose no jail time on the convicted killers.  Confidence in the willingness of the justice system to defend gays was further questioned, given that garda inquiry into another murder of a gay man, Charles Self, was used to compile dossiers on 1,500 gay people.

The Peoples March for Decent Jobs is announced, this was a Cork to Dublin march financed by dozens of union branches, trades councils and unemployed groups.  Rather than call for the ‘Right to Work’ their call was for ‘decent jobs’.  This resulted from anarchists making the case that the jobless should not be thankful for scheme work or low paid jobs but should fight for socially useful work paid at trade union rates.

Other articles look at the proposal to build a major liquid gas storage facility in Clontarf, the continuing occupation of Ranks flour mill, the government ministers who drew pensions while working, a strike at Pizzaland, the creation of a co-operative creche by single parents in Ballymun, Nicky Kelly’s hunger strike, and a brief mention of the anarchist origin of May Day.  There is also a snippet about a prison officer from Portlaoise who was shot and wounded as he left the National Boxing Stadium.  Resistance says he had a long history of brutality towards prisoners.

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No.4 leads with support for abortion rights, this was in the run up to the constitutional referendum.  The Waterford Glass workers’ tax protest spread to Dublin, with an unofficial shop stewards committee – which included a couple of anarchists – able to call a half-day strike in their own jobs.  Among those out were Datsun, Tayto, Packard Electric, Tesco, Unidare, Rowntrees, and sections of Aer Lingus, Dublin Corporation and CIE.

‘Erin Go Expedience’ is a guest article by “a friend in the North who is now totally disillusioned with the Republican Movement, of which he used to be part”.  The editors say the views expressed in it do “not entirely coincide with those of the Dublin Anarchist Collective” but don’t tell us what the differences are.

Other articles include a rooftop protest in Mountjoy prison, a report on the Peoples March for Decent Jobs, a strike at KC bakery, and the export of toxic waste to countries with no effective controls is looked at in the context of the resulting illness and premature deaths.

An Anarchist Communist in Dublin (1894)

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From the Irish Times of April 26th 1894

What makes this newspaper report interesting is that it confirms that some form of anarchist organisation existed in Dublin after the demise of the Socialist League, whose Dublin branch was overwhelmingly anarchist, in 1887.   Indeed, as Fintan Lane has written in his Practical Anarchists We: “Nevertheless, at the end of the 1880s anarchism still had a real presence in Dublin, in part sustained by solidarity work for the ‘Chicago anarchists’, men convicted, on threadbare evidence, for alleged involvement in the Haymarket attack of August 1886, when a bomb was thrown at police in Chicago.  Meetings and debates on the issue were organised, with one event held in October 1887, weeks before four of the men were executed.

Moreover, Thomas Fitzpatrick travelled to Chicago in August 1888, returning the following year to give a ‘first-hand’ history of the case at a packed public meeting on 11 November, the second anniversary of the executions.  There were also visits to Dublin by leading international anarchists, such as Max Nettlau (April 1888) and the Irish-born Dr John Creaghe (November 1889).  Creaghe probably attended Fitzpatrick’s public meeting; he was present primarily to participate in a discussion at the Progressist Club on ‘Anarchism versus Democracy’, a debate that lasted three evenings because of ‘the great number desirous of speaking’.”

The Central Lecture Hall was at 12 Westmoreland Street, later the home of Bewley’s Cafe and today a Starbucks.

The guest speaker, Fauset McDonald, was a doctor specialising in tropical diseases and one of the founders of the British fortnightly paper The Commonweal.  He later moved away from anarchism and was a member of Socialist Parties in Australia and New Zealand in the late 1890s and 1900s.

However it transpired that McDonald had also become a racialist.  He was condemned by his former comrades in an editorial in the “Commonweal” in July 1907 when he became president of the New Zealand White Race League (which opposed Chinese immigration)..

Resistance! (Dublin) no.2 (1980)

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Resistance! was produced in 1980 by members of the Dublin Anarchist Group who also ran the ABC bookshop in Dublin’s Marlborough Street. This second issue was also the final one. However a couple of members were involved in the formation of the Dublin Anarchist Collective in 1983, which also published a bulletin called Resistance.

In the article on Armagh & H Block the difference between Sinn Fein and themselves is expressed as “We are Anarchists, not Republicans, the main difference being the latter’s Statist ambitions, in contrast to our Libertarian proposals”. There is no discussion of Sinn Fein’s ‘socialism’, nor of the historic anarchist position that the State only has a function when a minority class rules. A few pages on from this there is an advert for raffle tickets in aid of Sinn Fein.

Other articles include uranium prospecting in Carlow, the proposed Wheatfield prison, an extract from Gaston Leval’s book about the collectives during the Spanish Civil War, and a long piece about the toxic pesticide 2.4.5-T which was widely used on farms. There is also a cartoon strip about the life of Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno. Unfortunately pages 11 & 12 are damaged.

Irish anarchism in the 1880s

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Irish anarchism is often seen as a movement which started in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with just a minor pre-history of lone individuals prior to that. Historian Fintan Lane has done much to correct this misunderstanding, particularly with his book The origins of modern Irish socialism, 1881-1896 (Cork University Press, 1997).

When we read of Irish revolutionaries in the 1880s, we read of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (popularly known as the Fenians) rather than the anarchists who were becoming influential among advanced radicals in much of Europe. With the dominance of nationalist ideas among Irish radicals of the time, neither Marxism nor anarchism had many supporters here. But that is not to say that there none.

According to Lane “The emergence of a Dublin branch of the Socialist League in December 1885 marks the beginning of modern organised socialism in Ireland, though it was immediately preceded by the semi-socialist Dublin Democratic Association. An unbroken continuity of organisation exists between this first socialist group and Connolly’s Irish Socialist Republican Party of 1896. Moreover, the libertarian socialism of the Socialist League remained influential within Dublin socialist circles until the arrival of ‘new unionism’ and the subsequent establishment of branches of the Independent Labour Party in Dublin, Belfast and Waterford in the mid-1890s.”

We have two articles by Lane: Practical Anarchists We was published by History Ireland in March/April 2008 (vol.16, no.2), and The origins of modern Irish socialism, 1881-1896 in Red & Black Revolution (no.3) in 1997.

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