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Left Archive: Ainriail No.6: An Irish Anarchist Bi-monthly Oct/Nov 1996 August 8, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Ainriall - Belfast Anarchists, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: AINRIAL 96 1

This document provides something of a companion piece to the Ainriail published in the Archives from the late 1980s. Although there is no statement to that effect it seems reasonable to assume that there was some degree of continuity between those behind the two publications. That said another issue of Ainriail from the 1990s notes that ‘Ainriail Collective grew out of the developments surrounding the ‘downfall’ of Class War in Ireland’ and links that explicitly to the British ‘Class War’ paper and group.

As the Introduction notes:

This magazine has been produced by Ainriail. It’s purpose is to promote anarchist politics by providing coverage of local, national and international class struggle, anarchists actions and resistance.

It also notes that:

Most of our activity centered around Strike Support as Dunnes workers fought back yet again – the full story is covered within. Our comrades in Organise put on an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, which was held in Belfast and was well attended.

The contents is fairly varied with coverage of the Dunnes Strike, a piece on Organisation and various snippets of news from both Ireland and internationally.

Unlike the 1980 Ainriail this publication seems to take a more critical view of Republicanism. Consider for example a letter on page 9.

Dear Ainriail,

The article carried in issue 4 ‘Anarchism and the North’ was a positive stance to take on the National Question. I had wondered if I was the only person within the ‘left’, both in England and of course in the 32 counties who felt that neither Loyalism or Republicanism benefit the working class. It’s about time that all anarchists woke up to the reality of the North. Like Loyalism, Republicanism is statis and cannot be supported in any way by true anarchists. The Republican movements ‘middle class’ political thought has always contained the ideals of a united capitalist Ireland and as for Loyalism, well its just shit. No to Republicanism/Loyalism – No to Statism

Chris/London.

The response is:

As one of our immediate aims as an Anarchist Collective on the issue of the North is to change the minds of Anarchists in Britain, Europe etc, who support to a degree the Republican movement. As anarchists, we reject links with all bosses, Orange & Green. A divided working class only serves the interests of statists – Republic or Loyalist, Israeli or Palestinian, Greek or Turk Cypriot or Serb and Croat. The list is endless. We are not Marxist/Leninists but Anarchists. Our slogan remains for all to see, ‘NO WAR BUT THE CLASS WAR’.

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1. T - August 8, 2011

I think this version of Ainriail was an outgrowth of the Frontline Collective – a Galway based group which largely consisted of Northerners and was itself a development out of the Irish branch of Class War. I do not think there was any connection with the 1980s Ainriail apart from that people involved in both may have been members of Organise! at different times (but I am not sure about that).

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WorldbyStorm - August 8, 2011

Thanks a million T. I wasn’t sure myself particularly having seen the Class War connections to this version of Ainriall. I’ll amend the text above to reflect your thoughts on that.

By the way, you wouldn’t happen to know if Frontline Collective had any literature or is there any available online? It’d be nice to get that in the Archive as well. We have very little anarchist material and it’s a serious deficit.

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T - August 8, 2011

The first issues of Ainriail (90s edition) appear to have been the publication of the Frontline Collective, see

“The Frontline Collective: Galway-based group formed in early 1995 by ex-supporters of the British Class War Federation. They produce a bulletin, Ainriail, and wish to create loose local anarchist groups – which are open to all sorts of anti-authoritarian ideas. They hope that the most committed people in these groups will move on to develop their politics and form national organisations. [This group no longer exists, its core members moved to Belfast – from where a few issues of Ainriail were produced in 1997/98].”

http://struggle.ws/talks/history_anr_irl.html

http://www.afed.org.uk/org/issue41/ainriail.html

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2. Mark P - August 8, 2011

So there was no connection between the Belfast Anarchist Collective, who produced the 1980s Ainriail and the Frontline Collective who produced the 1990s Ainriail?

When did the Irish branch of Class War come into existence and why did it fall apart? If I remember correctly Class War in Britain were known for taking the kind of republican cheerleader position on Ireland that this document criticises.

And why were a bunch of Northern anarchists in Galway in the first place?

Also, am I correct in thinking that the politics behind this operation were “synthesist” (ie broad church) anarchist?

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Mark P - August 8, 2011

Actually, maybe synthesist isn’t quite the word for its organisational views. It does propose a political bottom line, but not the level of political unity sought by platformists. It seems like a kind of half way house.

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