S26 in Ireland and the origins of the anti-capitalist movement

Sept 2000

Andrew


What follows is a personal report of work Irish anarchists in the Workers Solidarity Movement are carrying out in preparation for the S26 Global day of action and some speculation on the origins on the new anti-capitalist movement.


[Personal reports from Workers Solidarity Movement members of events they took part in or attended, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]

I'd trace my involvement in the new anti-capitalist movement to Mexico. Specifically part of story of the origins of the movement lie with the '1st encounter for humanity and against neoliberalism', held in Zapatista camps in Chiapas in 1996. This meeting of 3.000 people from 43 countries resolved to "make a collective network of all our particular struggles and resistance's. An intercontinental network of resistance against neoliberalism, an intercontinental network of resistance for humanity.

This intercontinental network of resistance, recognising differences and acknowledging similarities, will search to find itself with other resistance's around the world. This intercontinental network of resistance will be the medium in which distinct resistance's may support one another. This intercontinental network of resistance is not an organising structure; it doesn't have a central head or decision maker; it has no central command or hierarchies. We are the network, all of us who resist".

There is much in this that appears to predict the structure of the growing anti-capitalist movement although in reality even at that time it was clear that we were actually sketching something that was already coming into existence. My report on that meeting

Whatever about the 1st encounter the link becomes clearer when you look at the meetings that were inspired by it. Immediately after the 2nd encounter (the following year in Spain) some 50 of so activists stayed behind to begin the practical task of co-ordinating this network. From this meeting the 'People's Global Alliance' emerged which played a major part in later mobilisations including those for Seattle. A host of more local events also took place including the Bradford Mayday conference in Britain in 1998. These and other meetings served to make the links and bring together the activists that would later play a significant role in events in London and Seattle.

This 'historical' introduction is relevant to those who wonder where the anti-capitalist events are going. Some left parties who don't understand this history are trying to latch on in the hope of building their parties. They don't understand that this movement was built on a rejection of such building of "A new number in the useless enumeration of the numerous international orders". The protests lack the guiding hand of the party not because we have not realised the need for one but because many of us have explicitly rejected the experience of this authoritarian method of organisation.

So Prague S26 can be seen as the next "day for global action against neo-liberalism" called for by the 'Politics table' in Chiapas back in 1996. Of course it is much more then this, there are many key people in the movement who have no awareness of these meetings. But if we were to pick a point that the movements against the IMF moved from the single campaign/issue to global anti capitalism the perhaps that point is found in the jungles of the Mexican South East some four years ago.

Here in Ireland anarchists are working with others to build demonstrations in Dublin, Derry and Cork during the week of September 26th. About two months ago - with others - we put out a call for preparation for action in solidarity with Prague.

This meeting saw the birth of the S26 - Collective with the aim of drawing in as many groups as possible who agreed with the 'General Position of the Initiative against Economic Globalization - Prague 2000' statement.

Shortly after this a similar collective was formed in Cork. As I'm involved in the Dublin one I don't intend to report on that here but I give details of its planned protest below. In general the Dublin collective has grown and diversified as time went on although there have been a few problems with manipulation by the Leninist Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Most seriously when they called a serious of public meetings using posters that carried the campaign logo but no indication that they were anything other then S26 meetings. Hopefully these problems have now been sorted out and it should be pointed out that the SWP has put considerable energy into building the S26 collective.

At this stage in Dublin two events are planned. On the 26th itself there will be a lunch time protest at the Irish Financial Services Centre. On the 30th a day of activities is planned centered on the Temple Bar Music Centre just around the corner from the Central Bank. The morning will see workshops on a range of topics. One of these 'Is there an economic alternative to neoliberalism' includes a WSM member who will sketch the anarchist economic alternative to global capitalism. We will also have a stall at this event. Details of the other workshops will be found on the web

At 2.30 a march will set out from the plaza that surrounds the Central Bank and after moving through the busy shopping streets will return to that plaza. This was also the site of the N30 rally organised last September. Finally in the evening there will be several hours of live music and DJ's at the Templebar music centre.

As part of promoting S26 in Dublin some 20,000 A4 leaflets will be given out in the next week and some 300 A1 posters put up by the S26 collective. The S26 collective will have a stall each Saturday at the Central Bank from 13:00 to 16:00 where bundles of leaflets can be picked up.

Additional anarchist activity

As well as working as part of S26 - in Dublin we are taking 10% of the leaflets and posters to distribute the WSM is also carrying out some independent activity to promote specifically anarchist opposition to global capital. We have no interest in reforming the World Bank or the IMF we want it abolished as part of an international anarchist revolution. You'll find some articles outlining our ideas on global capital at

http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/imp_wsm.html

At the time of Seattle we distributed 1,000 Anarchist News in Dublin and Cork outlining the case against the WTO and global capital. This time we have more ambitious plans which include

A national distribution of stickers and posters. We plan to distribute thousands of stickers and hundreds of posters over the next few weeks, see our web page for the designs. This is something you can take part in - send us your address we'll send you some stickers and/or posters to put up in your area. People outside Ireland who are interested in doing this will need to download and print out the stickers themselves as we can't afford to send them internationally

In Dublin we are holding an Open Meeting on Monday 18th September when a participant in the Seattle protests will give us an eye witness account. This will be followed by a general discussion of the anti-capitalist movements. These Open meetings are for anarchists and WSM sympathisers and are held upstairs in the Bachelor Inn, beside O'Connell St Bridge at 20:00. See our web page for details

We are producing 5,000 issues of Workers Solidarity for distribution over the next month. This issue (no 60) focuses on the anti-capitalist movement and will be distributed at all the events in Ireland around S26.

One of our members is attending the Prague demonstrations and will be speaking at the INPEG Counter Summit in Prague beforehand. He will be sending reports directly from Prague to our mailing list Ainriail. See below for instructions on how to subscribe

Finally after Prague - in the week starting the 7th October - we will be holding public meetings in Dublin, Cork and possibly Belfast. The speakers will include one of the Czech anarchists involved in organising the protests and the WSM member who is participating in them. But rather then simply reporting on the Prague events we will be looking at what they mean for anarchists and the growth of anarchism in Ireland and internationally. The Dublin meeting is on Tuesday, October 10th, at 8pm, in the Irish Vietnamese Centre, 45 Hardwicke Street, off North Frederick Street. The Cork meeting is on Wednesday October 11th, 8pm, in Tig Fili, McCurtain Street, Cork. Details for Belfast have not been finalised yet so email us if you want to be told when these are sorted out.

All in all you can see the WSM is taking S26 very seriously, not simply as an attempt to oppose global capital but also as a way of building the anarchist alternative. We are doing a lot of work but we could do a hell of a lot more with your help. I'd urge readers in Ireland to contact us and at least take some stickers and posters. Further for people who have thought about getting involved with us this would be a great time to start, we really need the extra hands (and minds).

Andrew Flood
(WSM - personal capacity)

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