Irish anarchist interviewed about the 1970s and 80s (part 2)

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This is the story of Alan MacSimoin a long-time Anarchist activist who, as a young man, joined the Official Republican Movement (Sinn Fein).  MacSimoin was part of the Murray Defence Committee in 1976-77 to stop the state execution of anarchists Noel and Marie Murray for the killing of a member of the police.  He was a founder member of the Workers Solidarity Movement in 1984.


In this interview, filmed in October 2014, MacSimoin talks about the death sentence handed down to Noel and Marie Murray, the H-Block hunger strike, the current crisis within capitalism, also the lack of a response to the Palestinian struggle from western governments, and why socialists need to be a lot positive.

Alan lives in Stoneybatter, where he is involved with the Stoneybatter and Smithfield Peoples History Project and the local campaign against the Water Tax.

The interview was conducted by the Irish Republican and Marxist History Project, and is at

Letters from An Phoblacht/Republican News (1980 & 1996)

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An Phoblacht/Republican News, the weekly paper of Sinn Féin, was Ireland’s biggest selling radical publication throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Twice it published letters about the misuse of the word ‘anarchist’. The first cutting, from May 31st 1980, has two letters taking them to task for talking of “terrorist anarchists”. One of the writers, Cathal McLoughlin, had been a member of the Belfast Anarchist Collective. We have no information about the other writer, Neill Roberts.

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The second cutting, from October 31st 1996, sees the Workers Solidarity Movement complain about AP/RN “turning the word ‘anarchy’ on its head to denote chaos and disorder”.

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This is followed a couple of weeks later by a letter from an anonymous member of Red Action accusing anarchists of being “due to their anti-patriotic nature, reactionary in character” and “counter-revolutionary”.

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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.