Events – September 2014

Sunday 7th September : Annual Peter Daly commemoration in Monageer, Enniscorthy, County Wexford.

More info here.

Peter Daly 2014

Peter Daly 2014

Saturday 13th September : Polish/Irish punk and hardcore gig in The Hut, Phibsboro, Dublin. 8.30pm, €7. Permawar (London/Poland), Crows (Dublin), Sissy (Dublin) and Sonda (Dublin).

More info here.

Dublin DIY punk gig Sep 2014

Dublin DIY punk gig Sep 2014

Thursday 18th September : In response to the international call-out from Greece to commemorate the first anniversary of the murder of Pavlos Fyssas (aka Killah P) at the hands of fascists, AFA Ireland are organising vigils in Cork, Belfast, Derry.

Pavlos Vigils Ireland 2014

Pavlos Vigils Ireland 2014

Friday 12th – Sunday 14th September : The Limerick International Brigades Memorial Trust (LIBMT) are hosting a weekend festival titled ‘Even the Olives Are Bleeding’. There will be a (free) history symposium on the Saturday with historians Brian Hanley, David Convery, Manus O’Riordan, Emmett O’Connor and Richard Baxell. Saturday evening folk singer Andy Irvine is performing at the Lime Tree Theatre. Tickets €15/€10. Sunday will be a band parade and march from the Mechanics Institute to City Hall where the new memorial (to the 6 Limerick men who fought in Spain) will be unveiled. This will be followed by trad session at Peter Clohessy’s Bar.

Full timetable here.

Limerick IB/SCW weekend 2014

Limerick IB/SCW weekend 2014

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No Quarter Issue 7 out now

The new issue of AFA journal ‘No Quarter’ is available to purchase now in shops and from the website- see merchandise section.

NQ7 Cover

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Solidarity vigils in Dublin & Derry tomorrow (Sat 21 September 2013)

Pavlos Fyssas, son of a metal worker and a trade unionist, was an active anti-fascist hip-hop MC. He was 34 years old when on Wednesday, 18th Sept he was killed by Golden Dawn fascists.

Dublin:

Dublin vigil

Dublin vigil

Derry:

Derry vigil

Derry vigil

More info – https://www.facebook.com/afaireland

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Clashes with Youth Defence (1992 – 1995)

[Chapter excerpt from AFA's book 'Undertones: Anti-Fascism and the Far-Right in Ireland 1945-2012'. A few copies are left and are available to buy here.]

Having been officially founded in 1991 the individuals who formed AFA really consolidated friendships and trust when they came together to help defend pro-choice pickets from attack by the extreme anti- abortion group Youth Defence (YD). It should be made clear it was AFA members in individual capacities who became involved in clashes with YD as opposed to AFA as an organisaion.

Clash between pro-choice and pro-lifers. Dublin, early 1990s. (Credit – Wally Cassidy)

The main pro-choice group, including many young activists from both independent and left-wing backgrounds, was the Dublin Abortion Information Campaign (DAIC). DAIC’s main activity was public leafleting to distribute the phone number for a womens helpline which gave out contacts details for abortion clinics in Britain. Distribution of this information was illegal in Ireland at the time.

James:

That’s probably how the different elements that became AFA, really came together – from fighting with YD. Even though it wasn’t organised by AFA as such, the people who were prepared to fight and get stuck in kinda all came together during this period. It helped people who were militant make links with each other. A lot of people ran and some would stand. You soon found out who you could trust and as a result you were able to bond with them. It was really important in the development of AFA.

Mary:

In reality none of the encounters with YD amounted to much, jostling and scuffles really. If they knew you would fight they were less keen for aggro. The more middle class people on the pro-choice side did not understand this at all, they had not experienced physical opposition to their ideas before. They thought the ‘opposition’ was a distant and unseen body called ‘the government’ or ‘capitalism’

From the start of 1992 to around 1994/1995, nearly every weekend, there were altercations with YD people. “Sometimes they tried to move us off from the GPO and sometimes we’d try to move them off from the traffic island in the centre of O’Connell Street” Mary remembers.

Clash with YD. Dublin city centre, early 1990s. Credit – Wally Cassidy

Mary got involved with AFA as a direct result of seeing that they refused to back down. “At that stage, it was only the Red Action and AFA people who stood up against YD. Most of the lefties and liberals wanted to avoid confrontation. They’d suggest moving to Grafton St to leaflet instead of the GPO in case YD showed up. By that logic you would end up in your own bedroom pushing leaflets under the door.”

Barry, a full time Socialist Workers Movement (SWM) organiser at the time, looks back at the group’s response bitterly. “They didn’t take it seriously. They riled people up into protesting against YD but offered no help or guidance when YD started to attack pro-choice people.”

Youth Defence was taken by surprise when young militant working class pro-choice people began to fight back. Harry: “They just couldn’t figure this out. We weren’t the usual students, willing to move when they were told to. As a result, they brought in heavies then from Donegal and Coolock. Absolute knife merchants. It got very dangerous for a while”

Youth Defence heavies. The Irish Times, 8 June 1992.

Peter’s “first encounter with YD was when they attacked Barry who had an ear ring ripped out. Just prior to that they had attacked a Socialist Workers Movement (SWM) meeting in Tallaght.”

A weekend in late October 1992 saw three separate days of AFA members clashing with YD. This weekend, which would go down in the AFA history annals, helped to stabilise the organisation and strengthen friendships within the group that remain to this day.

On Friday October 23rd, Democratic Left Youth organised a picket outside YD’s Headquarters, which was above Pipers House pub (now The Thomas House), owned by an Irish nationalist and YD supporter, on Thomas Street. Thirty picketers, mainly students, were attacked by around fifteen men in their 30s and 40s who came out of the pub armed with sticks, planks of wood and other weapons. In the melee, a photographer from The Star newspaper was beaten and had his camera broken.

 

Journalist attacked by YD supporter. The Irish Press, 24 October 1992.

Barry:

I was there that day in Thomas Street when they came out of the pub. I had said at a SWM meeting a few nights before that the march was likely to be a disaster. They hadn’t done their homework. They were going to march on a pub in the south inner city as outsiders. The people who ran that pub were dangerous fuckers. Sure any pub owner would object to his business being picketed but this was a different kettle of fish. After the incident, I was pretty annoyed and began to become more cynical of the SWM and eventually left.

Peter remembers at the picket:

I was writing a slogan on their front door when it suddenly opened and Willie Ryan, the owner came out. He punched me and I hit him back. All hell broke loose then. Ryan got a pickaxe handle and came running towards me. That’s when I decided to leg it!

Clash with YD outside Pipers House. The Star, 24 Oct 1992.

Mary:

The Democratic Left group and TCD students panicked and ran through the traffic on Thomas Street, pursued by a handful of men taking swipes at all and sundry with pool cues and baseball bats. Myself, Barry, and a very few others, stewarded people safely away from the area. It was a rearguard action. The whole event was a disaster. We had tried to stop the march ever going there from the start.

The next day there was a tense standoff between YD people and AFA in the city centre.

On Sunday, YD held a 1,200 strong demo through town. It was met by a small counter picket of around 150 people. A short scuffle broke out between the two sides and a YD member and AFA activist James were arrested and charged with breach of the peace.

Clash with YD on O’Connell Bridge (The Irish Times, 27 April 1992)

James takes up the story:

I got arrested at the Sunday demo fighting one of those Saor Eire guys. We were in court that Monday. It was only a breach of the peace. When the YD bloke who I’d been fighting with went out for a smoke, one of our guys walked over and punched him in the head. He came running back into the court to get the police to come out but they wouldn’t. After the case was heard, we went to the pub next door for a cup of tea. There was only about six of us. In the mirror, we saw a big gang of YD piling into the pub from the far end. We thought they were going to go for us. We jumped up and grabbed everything. I had a chair in my hand; Barry had one of those heavy ashtrays. When they saw us like that, they froze. It was funny though because there was a little hatch in the window where you could see into the side of the pub where the cops could go for a drink away from the criminals. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw one cop with a cup of tea half raised with his mouth wide open. Anyway, they backed out the door and we chased them down the road.

 

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Dublin Intenational Brigade Plaque Unveiling (Saturday 4 May 2013)

On Saturday 4 May, the Inchicore Friends of the International Brigades are erecting a plaque to the memory of six local men who went to Spain to defend the Spanish Republic.

Facebook event page – http://www.facebook.com/events/428451207251515/

Meeting at 4pm at 109 Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8. All welcome.

Event poster

Inchicore is unusual because of its development around the railway works and for the multiplicity of religious faiths (and none) represented in its workforce. Perhaps as a result of this mixture of socialism and non-conformity, Inchicore had a unique concentration of volunteers in the ranks of the International Brigades. Of the six men commemorated, two came from a protestant background and all had republican or communist connections. Three died in Spain and one survivor was to write perhaps the most significant first-hand account of the early fighting (Joe Monks, With the Reds in Andulusia, London, 1985).

The Inchicore Friends of the International Brigades is a local group dedicated to remembering those who volunteered to defend the Spanish Republic against the forces of international fascism and capital. As part of the Friends of the International Brigades in Ireland (FIBI), the group is affiliated with the International Brigades Memorial Trust. Future projects include the erection of a memorial to Jim Prendergast in Temple Bar in September 2013 and the continuation of a second-level schools’ essay competition, launched successfully in 2012.

Those being commemorated are:

Tony Fox (1914-28.12.1936). From Goldenbridge Avenue, Fox was a member of A. Coy., 4th Batt., Dublin Brigade, IRA and was with the first organised detachment of Irish volunteers to join the International Brigades. He crossed the Pyrenees with Frank Ryan and his school friend and neighbour Mick May on 15 December 1936 and was killed in action at Lopera on the Córdoba front less than two weeks later. Fox had just finished dressing the wounds of two friends, John Gough and Seamus Cummings, when he himself was fatally wounded. His body was never recovered.

Mick May (1916-28.12.1936). Michael May from Connolly Avenue was also a member of Fox’s IRA unit. He was additionally a member of the Communist Party of Ireland. He died close to Tony Fox at Lopera on 28 December 1936 and was last seen alive, single-handedly covering the retreat of comrades, armed with a rifle.

Liam ‘Bill’ McGregor (d. 22.09.1938). McGregor was the Dublin secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland and the son of Esther McGregor, president of the Municipal Tenants’ Association. He attended the Lenin International School in Moscow and on his return volunteered to fight in Spain. He was killed on the very last day the XV Brigade saw action on the Ebro front, alongside fellow Dubliner Jack Nalty.

Joe Monks (1915-1988). Joe Monks came from Park Street and went to school in James’s Street with Tony Fox and Mick May. A member of the Communist Party he was one of the initial volunteers along with his two school friends. He was one of the defenders of Connolly House, headquarters of the Revolutionary Workers’ Group (forerunner of the Communist Party of Ireland) when it was attacked in March 1933 by a hymn-singing mob. Author of With the Reds in Andulusia, Monks was wounded in the chest at Lopera but was to see further action in March 1937 at the little known battle of Almadén. He was repatriated later in 1937 and was active with the Republican Congress before immigrating to the UK where he remained involved in radical politics until his death in 1988.

Paddy McElroy (b.1911). Paddy McElroy came from 20 Nash Street. His brother Christopher had taken part in the 1916 Rising. A mechanic with the TE&FU, he joined the XV International Brigade on 7 January 1937 and was seriously wounded at the battle of Jarama outside Madrid in February. He was repatriated on account of his wounds and after a brief stay in Dublin he appeared again in Cairo in 1939. Returning to Liverpool via Durban, he was curiously listed as a government official with an address in Southampton. He was subsequently involved in a wages hold-up at Amiens Street in March 1943 and was defended by Sean MacBride. From this point onwards McElroy disappears from the historical record.

Bill Scott (1908-1980). Bill Scott came from Ring Street and was a member of the Communist Party of Ireland. One of the Irish Citizen Army’s earliest recruits was his father, William Scott, a member of the Church of Ireland and an activist in the Bricklayers’ Trade Union. During the 1916 Rising, Scott fought alongside William Partridge in the College of Surgeons garrison, under the command of Michael Mallin and his deputy Constance Markievicz. His son was possibly the very first Irish International Brigade volunteer to fight in defence of the Spanish Republic, finding himself in Barcelona at the Workers’ Olympics when the coup broke out. He was elected political commissar for the English Tom Mann Centuria in September 1936, before joining with the German Thaelmann Battalion in the defence of Madrid. Bill went back to Ireland where he was withdrawn as a CPI candidate in a Dublin by election in favour of Frank Ryan. He returned to Spain with Ryan and received a serious leg wound and was sent back to England. Disillusioned with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, he left the CP for a period before re-joining in 1941. He then became a member of the Essential Construction Corps, building infrastructure throughout the UK. After the war he continued his trades union activities until his death in 1980.

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Dublin book launch of “Physical Resistance: A Hundred Year’s of Anti-Fascism”

Book launch poster

AFA Ireland present….

Book Launch – Physical Resistance: A Hundred Year’s of Anti-Fascism by Dave Hann

Large-scale confrontations, disruption of meetings, sabotage and street fighting have been part of the practice of anti-fascism from the early twentieth century until the twenty-first. Rarely endorsed by any political party, the use of collective bodily strength remains a strategy of activists working in alliances and coalitions against fascism. In Physical Resistance famous battles against fascists, from the Olympia arena, Earls Court in 1934 and Cable Street in 1936 to Southall in 1978 and Bradford 2010, are told through the voices of participants. Anarchists, communists and socialists who belonged to a shifting series of anti-fascist organizations relate well-known events alongside many forgotten but significant episodes.

Studies of anti-fascism in Britain have tended to be either academic texts or partisan political histories. Physical Resistance is niether; it is an inclusive history, broader in scope than any other work so far. It covers the whole period of anti-fascist activism but importantly, it redefines political practice according to the act of participation rather than the adherence to precisely defined ideological standpoints and offers an alternative interpretation of political action, which includes physical resistance as part of an everyday pattern of opposition. This wider and longer historical perspective is pieced together through the everyday experiences of activists themselves.

More information: http://www.zero-books.net/books/physical-resistance
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/161276864030737/

4pm
Connolly Books
43 East Essex Street
Dublin 2

From 10am-4pm, AFA Ireland will be have a stall at this year’s Anarchist Bookfair in Liberty Hall.

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The Siege of Connolly House

In March 1933 Connolly house, the home of the communist party of Ireland, was attacked for 3 days by an anti-communist mob. Storymap favourite and Come Here to me! blogger Donal Fallon tales us more about this fascinating and often forgotten about piece of Irish history. If you want to learn more check out Donal’s piece here at http://comeheretome.wordpress.com/tag…

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Los Fastidios – “Johnny & The Queer Boot Boys”

Los Fastidios – “Johnny & The Queer Boot Boys”

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National Socialist Irish Workers Party (1968 – late 1980s)

[Chapter excerpt from AFA's book 'Undertones: Anti-Fascism and the Far-Right in Ireland 1945-2012'. A few copies are left and are available to buy here.]

The simply named National Socialist Irish Workers Party (NSIWP) was founded in 1968 in Dublin by 26-year-old  Terence Allan-Byrne [1], a self-employed decorator who lived with his mother at 6 St. Brendan’s Cottages, Ringsend. The founding of the organisation coincided with a ‘huge black swastika’ and the letters NSIWP daubed on the monument to Dr. William Ashford at Irishtown Square, Dublin.[2]

This organisation, though never involving more than two dozen or so members, would be active for the next twenty years. It also played a vital role in the production of neo-Nazi paraphernalia for the European movement.

NSIWP letterhead

Byrne, who was born in 1942 and supposedly died in unknown circumstances in the early 1980s, insisted on being addressed as ‘Commander’ Byrne throughout his career in National Socialist politics. Other early members of the NSIWP included Pat Webb (Head of Propaganda), James Moore [3] (Head of Security), Colm Tarrant, Jos Mussche [4](former Dutch SS), P. O’Flaherty [5], Ann Flynn[6] and two ‘leaders’ of the NSIWP’s Stormtrooper paramilitary units F. Radcliffe and Brent O’Brien. John T. Kane was a pseudonym used by several NSIWP members, originally Byrne.

Webb, an ex commando originally from Wolverhampton, was active with Colin Jordan’s National Socialist Movement (NSM) in the early 1960s and heavily involved in gun running for the far right. He went on to plant a bomb in the basement of a black family’s home in the 1970s, which exploded killing a visiting teenage relative. The rest of the family escaped injury as they were attending church at the time of the explosion.[7]

There are also persistent rumours that both 1916 veteran Commandant W.J. Brennan-Whitmore, who was attached to the National Movement, and Alfred E. Day a former Mosleyite from Bristol who ran Carraig Books in Blackrock, were members of the NSIWP.

Throughout its existence militant anti-fascists in Dublin and elsewhere kept a close eye on the NSIWP and launched several unpremeditated, as well as pre-organised attacks, against NSWIP members and property. Commander Byrne was particularly sought out for ‘reasoned political debate’.  The intensity and viciousness of these attacks does, to a degree, give credence to the long-standing rumour that Byrne had also “perved” on local kids.

In October 1970, he was shot and critically wounded.[8] In May 1973, anti-fascists raided an isolated farm in Arklow, which was leased by James Moore, to steal NSIWP internal documents. A few hours after the operation, Byrne was attacked again and hospitalised for several months.[9]

NSIWP ‘Free Rudolph Hess’ stickers. (Private Collection)

In March 1977, while out walking, a car pulled up beside him and a man ‘leapt out’ and stabbed him in the hand.[10] That same week, a gang of four men attacked him and stabbed him in the stomach with a bayonet.[11] In September 1977, the NSIWP’s HQ (6 St. Brendan’s Cottages) was petrol bombed.[12]

In 1979, Byrne had a ‘wound in the shape of a back-to-front Swastika’ carved into his chest. He refused to allow a ‘greasy, slimy Indian’ doctor treat it and as such was referred to another hospital. Here, a different doctor refused to treat him and ‘remarked that the wounds he was receiving were costing the tax-payers a lot of money’.[13] In another attack in the same time period, Commander Byrne ‘suffered severe lacerations to the leg and right arm’ which needed 26 stitches.[14]

In the 1977 Sunday Independent interview with Byrne, his mother had remarked that he had been shot at three times.[15]  In another incident, Byrne had acid thrown over him and one night, when anti-fascists could not find Byrne at home they removed all the tiles on his roof and left them in a neat pile outside his front door..[16] Byrne always insisted that his dog had been poisoned by the ‘reds’ as well.

As one can imagine, Byrne was known to the Gardaí and at least on one occasion, March 1976, he was arrested and held for twenty-four hours under the Special Powers Act.

The NSIWP published three periodicals – The Phoenix, a monthly magazine from 1972, The Irish Worker, a monthly newspaper that was wound down around 1977 and N.S. News, an internal bulletin.  These were amateurish, shoddily produced products filled with articles and images espousing Holocaust denial, racism and anti-Semitism.

The Irish Worker, 1970 (Private Collection)

In April 1970, Byrne tried to get involved with a Sinn Fein led protest campaign against the proposed building of a road through Ringsend Park. However, local activist Mairin de Burca told The Irish Times there would be absolutely no joint action between the groups as Sinn Fein had strong ‘ideological objections to fascism’.[17]

In 1971, Mr. Maurice Abrahamson, a leading member of the Jewish community in Dublin spoke to the Sunday Independent about ‘scurrilous anti-Semitic literature’ that was being circulated from a ‘small cottage in Ringsend’.[18] Abrahamson admitted that the Jewish community had been aware of this man’s (i.e. Byrne) activities for a number of months.

Bizarrely captioned picture of alleged NSIWP member getting attacked by Communists in Dublin in 1973. (Credit – Dublin Opinion)

In July 1973, the NSIWP made its first and only known public appearance at a Anti-Apartheid Movement protest at the Portuguese embassy in Ballsbridge, called in response to the massacre in Wiriyamu in Mozambique at which 400 villagers had been killed by Portuguese troops.

Alan, a young Official Sinn Fein member at the time, remembers what happened next at the 50 or 60 strong demo:

…two lads turn up, brown shirts, jackboots, brown trousers, swastika armbands, real Hollywood Nazi stuff carrying signs “Stop hate against white Portugal!”  People were a bit sort of stunned, not the sort of thing you usually saw in Dublin, certainly not in those days!

Some people wanted to sort them there and then. But maybe wiser heads prevailed saying “no, that would become the story in the media rather than the massacre in Mozambique “.  So when the protest was over about a half of dozen of us followed them up the road and they got, eh, quite savagely beaten and thrown over the wall of another embassy into their garden.

We then turned around to see half a dozen Garda stood in a line looking at us. We almost put our hands out, and said ‘ handcuff me, take me away’ but the Garda were all “fair play lads, good on ya” and they walked off.

We had gone through (the Nazis) pockets, one of the guys had his address on him in Clonskeagh[19] and some people visited him later. Nothing physical that time, just letting him know that people knew where we lived. And as far as I know, neither of the two were ever seen again at any public fascist activity. [20]

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AFA welcomes decision to pull Puhakka from fight

The Board of Celtic Gladiator have announced that Finnish MMA fighter Niko Puhakka, with deep neo-Nazi links, has been pulled from their upcoming fight. As such, we will wind down our campaign. Thank you for all your help especially those AFA members and close supporters in the MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and boxing communities who played such an important role.

We’ve made several new links that will undoubtedly become useful in the future. AFA Ireland, active now for 21 years, will continue to both ideologically and physically oppose the far-right in whatever guise they take. We reiterate that we have nothing against the sport MMA, just the presence of a known neo-Nazi sympathiser.

Link to Celtic Gladiator statement.

Link to article in the Irish Examiner.

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