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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.

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


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’.

Left Archive: Ainriail – A Belfast Anarchist Bi-Monthly – Jan/Feb 1987 February 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Ainriall - Belfast Anarchists, Irish Left Online Document Archive.

To download the document please click on the following link: AINRIAIL 87

This document begins to fill a gap in the Archive. We have, unfortunately, very limited samples of Irish Anarchist material – and those documents we do have were very kindly donated by Alan MacSimoin and the Workers Solidarity Movement.

The 12 page A5 document dates from early 1987 and was as far as can be determined produced by the Belfast Anarchist Collective, or a successor group, and was one of a series of regularly published leaflets [for more on the BAC see here].

The contents is strongly positioned within an anarchist viewpoint specific to Belfast during this time. Therefore it has articles on Strip-searches and an interesting two page contribution from Anthony McIntyre and Micky McMullan, both Republican prisoners at the time in Long Kesh under the heading ‘Ideas from Long Kesh’.

This is contextualisd as follows:

The following article is not meant to be a definitive analysis of present republican strategy in the struggle for Irish unity. However the issues it deals with are of consequence, and should not be ignored by Republicans when reflecting on the nature of the present struggle and the direction in which it is ultimately leading us.

Indeed it is telling how critical they are of ‘armed struggle’ – they write that ‘the present shape of the armed struggle – as distinctly opposed to the legitimate right of a suppressed people to use armed struggle – is in no way conducive to long term progress being made. Not only has it failed to remove the British, or substantially alter their resolve it has – because of its emphasis on ‘local targets’ given Northern Nationalists the peculiar appearance of ‘otherness’ in the eyes of many people in the South’.

There is a useful account of an Ainriail visit to England and a video and speaking tour which was organised by the Direct Action Movement, ‘an anarcho-syndicalist grouping’. The video chosen was ‘the Plastic Bullet video, ‘The Deadly Truth’ and ‘along with the half-hour talk, ensured a wide ranging debate on the role of the British state in Ireland’.

This further expands on Ainriail’s own viewpoint which it describes as this:

There is clear and common understanding by the two [anarchist] groups in the north, Ballymena and Belfast, and the Workers Solidarity Movement in Dublin and Cork, that we are anti-imperialist. That we are opposed to the division of the working class in the north, the division of the working class north and south, opposed to both sectarianism and partition, and to the cause of both – the British state’s presence in Ireland. And further more to the incorporation of Ireland in NATO.

But as anti-imperialists we are also opposed to the relations of production based on capitalist exploitation, whether from local or multi-national sources. Herein lies one of our differences with the republican movement, which is the largest, most active and influential of the anti-imperialist groups. At best they have a policy of nationalistaion, ie state run industry, and at worst a benign free capitalist attitude which favours more constraint on enterprises eg heavier taxation.

It continues with an analysis that is critical of Republicanism, whether ‘socialist or not… but concludes:

Having said that we have every respect for our Republican brothers and sisters who are committed to political and military oppostiion to the Britsh state. In Belfast we have, and will continue to work along side them and with other left wing groups…

There are more copies and further anarchist material which will be added to the Archive over the year.

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