Alan MacSimóin

A collection of articles by the Irish anarchist writer Alan MacSimóin

David Begg condemns bin tax campaign


ICTU general secretary David Begg condemned the anti-bin tax campaign. He did this at the same time that the state was jailing protesters and refusing to collect rubbish from thousands of households in Dublin.

Water tax in Northern Ireland


Northern Irish homes are to be subjected to a tax on water, unless enough of us get together to stop the government's plan. Friday 20th June saw the end of the "consulation" period, not that the government was doing much "consulting" with us - because they had already said that the next announcement would be about how to pay this tax! The decision had been made before they pretended to listen to our opinions about whether or not such a tax should be introduced.

The privatisation Aer Rianta


The state company which runs Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports is to be broken up if the government get their way. As it is one of the most profitable state firms, what is the reason for this privatisation? Is it good for air travelers, for airport staff, for the ordinary taxpayer, or just for a few rich friends of the government?

Anti Households taxes = tax dodger?


Twenty years ago (in 1983) the Government put an extra 1% on workers' PRSI. This was to pay for local services, after they abolished domestic rates. Under the agreement reached in 1983, the councils were to be allocated money from this extra 1% contribution. But you just can't trust our rulers. Last year, for example, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council only got 48% of the money owed to them under this agreement.  According to the latest figures less than 8% of waste comes from our homes. Most waste dumped in landfills is not domestic rubbish, but rather commercial, construction and agricultural waste.

Beyond the politics of 'lets have another march' - Direct Action & fighting to win


Anarchists are not particularly interested in protesting against the evils of the world - we would prefer to abolish them! Political parties, of both left and right, are happy to make statements and mount ineffectual protests that are intended to achieve little more than a bigger profile for their own party. And when their party gets big enough they will sort out everything for us. That might be alright for those who merely want to change their rulers. It holds no appeal for anarchists who want to abolish the division of people into bosses and workers, rulers and ruled.

Democratic deficit in SIPTU and INTO


At the October general meeting of my union branch, Dublin City North INTO (Irish National Teachers Organisation), the district representative on the CEC (Central Executive Committee) told the members that the union leadership was in the process of lodging a claim for a pay increase to compensate for inflation. However, he said, he couldn't possibly tell us what the amount of that claim was, as this was confidential. The members were effectively being told 'don't worry your heads, your leaders will decide what's best for you.'

Review: The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-1939


The Friends of Durruti organisation, which arose from the ranks of anarchist militants during the Spanish Civil War, condemned the CNT and FAI members who joined the anti-Franco government. For their pains they were accused of wanting to establish an "anarchist dictatorship". Alan MacSimóin reviews the first English language book about them, and looks at the lessons to be learnt from Spain. The 'Friends of Durruti' appear in just about every book on the Spanish Civil War, especially in relation to the 1937 May Days in Barcelona. They get mentioned but we are told very little about their politics or activities. Some organisations, like the Workers Solidarity Movement, see their political stance as important to the tradition of revolutionary anarchism. Other anarchists, most notably sections of the syndicalist movement, condemn them for 'flirting with Bolshevism/Leninism/Trotskyism' or for 'advocating an anarchist dictatorship'. So who were they, where did they come from, what did they say, and what did they do?

Aldi strikers win after long struggle in Dublin


The strike at the Aldi supermarket on Dublin's Parnell Street came to an end on Friday August 18th. It marked the end of a bitter three month struggle for union recognition. There had been mass pickets, sympathy protests at Aldi shops in Letterkenny, Galway and Cork, and generous donations from members of MANDATE and other unions.

Some lessons from the 'Campaign Against A New Partnership Deal' 2000


THE WORKERS Solidarity Movement have, since their inception with the Programme for National Recovery in 1987, identified 'social partnership' agreements as a major problem. Not only do they hold down wages while placing no limits on prices or profits; they also massively reduce ordinary members' participation in their unions, erode internal union democracy, and encourage a denial of independent working class interests.

'Partnership', trade unionism and anarchism


As Partnership 2000 nears the end of its three year term, talks are underway by the employers' organisation IBEC, the government and the ICTU to draw up a fifth national 'partnership' agreement.

While the economy is booming and the fear of unemployment has receded in most areas, our unions are not exactly overflowing with militancy. In fact we have seen an offensive by employers. Nobody needs reminding about Ryanair.

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