Anarchist movement

The History of Belfast anarchism

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Historian Mairtin O Cathain’s ‘Wee Black Booke has now been added to our archive for you to read or download.  In it he pulls together reports of anarchism in and around Belfast in the years from 1867 to 1973. With no local movement for much of this period, the pamphlet looks at some individuals whose political activity merited mention in the media of the time. O Cathain’s work stops before the emergence in the late 1970s of the groups from which contemporary anarchist organisations Workers Solidarity Movement and Organise! can trace their roots.

Conclusion to the Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism

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Anyone looking for a rogue’s gallery or general litany of scallywags in this short history of Belfast anarchists will be disappointed. It is a story of small movements and peripheral figures gathered together over many years and presented to you, the reader, as an account of how Belfast produced and received anarchist activists. It is uneven in places, sketchy on context, and optimistic in analysis.

Belfast anarchism in the Later Twentieth Century

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If Captain Jack White DSO, CNT, was the first of the great individual characters of northern anarchism, those that followed soon after into the later twentieth century were every bit as unique. ‘Slumdom’ Jack McMullen and John McGuffin were not merely products of their time and social circumstances, but transcended the context into which they were born and the politics of their generation. They were in every sense truly dynamic libertarians whose politics speak to us of a far greater and more diverse political culture in Belfast than we have hitherto been led to believe. They also have in common a type of writing whose style approximates to a combination of Emile Zola and Spike Milligan. This makes both individuals fascinating to read though at times perplexing, and it is their writing which marks them out as much as their activism.

Belfast anarchism in the Early Twentieth Century

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It was not until the early twentieth century that an anarchist group was established in Belfast. Although we have little information on anarchists elsewhere on the island, it seems entirely possible that this was the first specifically anarchist group north or south. It emerged in a time of rising militancy, though not working class militancy, and when communal relations were especially strained, and proceeded from the propagandist labours of two remarkable Scottish anarchists. One of these individuals, John or ‘wee’ McAra, as he was also known, is a subject in this chapter.

Anarchism in an Irish and Ulster Context

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It was a great pioneer of labourism in the north, Hugh Gemmell, who once exhorted fellow workers here to have two chief loyalties - loyalty to yourself and loyalty to your class. Gemmell was about as far as any old Northern Ireland Labour Party man could be from anarchism, but his note on loyalty is a not inauspicious place to begin a discussion on anarchism in Belfast.

A Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism (1867-1973)

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A Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism (1867-1973)
by Máirtín Ó Catháin

 

Contents

Introduction
Anarchism in an Irish and Ulster Context
The Nineteenth Century
The Early Twentieth Century
The Later Twentieth Century
Conclusion
Bibliography 

The Two Octobers (1927) by Piotr Archinov

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The victorious revolution of the workers and peasants in 1917 was legally established in the Bolshevik calendar as the October Revolution. There is sane truth in this, but it is not entirely exact. In October 1917 the workers and peasants of Russia surmounted a colossal obstacle to the development of their Revolution. They abolished the nominal power of the capitalist class, but even before that they achieved something of equal revolutionary importance and perhaps even more fundamental.

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti - anarchist organisers murdered by the state

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Sacco and VanzettiOn August 23rd 1927, two Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were judicially murdered by the State of Massachusetts in the USA, having been framed for two murders they didn't commit. 

Obituary for Manchester anarchist Bob Miller

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It was with great sadness that the WSM learned of the news of the passing of Bob Miller on June 17. Bob was a member of the Anarchist Federation and a comrade from Manchester, England. Many of us got to know Bob since after he visited Mayo in 2006 spending a week in Rossport supporting the Shell to Sea campaign. Since then Bob and his partner Sally have attended several Anarchist Bookfairs in Dublin and many members of the WSM had the priveldge to get to know Bob as a friend. 

Review: Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2011

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Wind and rain, a city in lockdown due to the upcoming royal visit and the best efforts of An Garda Siochana (who, despite the WSM gaining the correct permit to advertise the event on lamp-posts around Dublin, removed approximately 100 of our posters), the sixth annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair continued the trend set by its predecessors in being one of the largest annual events on the calendar of Dublin’s Left.

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