Irish Anarchists Defend Direct Action

Irish Anarchists Defend Direct Action
By AF-Ireland

Today there is significant level of popular opposition to the war in Ireland, in Britain, across Europe and even in the United States. The question is how is that discontent going to express itself? With marches and speeches? Which do what exactly? Does anyone really think that it makes the slightest bit of difference, that all of a sudden the rulers of our world, fattened on the blood of a hundred countries, will suddenly turn heel at the sight of how ever many thousand protesters!

What does marching do?

(1) Those of us who have been around the block far too many times know only too well that the purpose of such events is nothing to do with stopping war and everything to do with building the membership of leftist political parties. If you don't believe me go to one and see if anyone is trying to collect your name and address, and see what they do with it.

(2) Furthermore such events are actually functional to capitalism, resting as it does on ideas as much as force (which is always the last resort). Legally marching, much like standing for election, is merely helping to promote the illusion that we live in some kind of free society. One where we choose our rulers, and where our rulers will respond to petitions and assemblies of persons asking them gently to stop this or that or to do this or that (of course an actual free society would have no kind of rulers). As the organisers of these events know that this is not the case (they claim after all to be revolutionaries), this is further evidence of the truth of the first point.

(3) Thirdly such events re-produce the hierarchy of capitalism, with a passive mass receiving the wisdom of a few chieftains on a podium.

What can direct action do?

(1) Get results! Anyone that doesn't believe me, ask yourself this question: Why is that both halves of the adult population have the vote ? (for what it's worth). Enough people in Shannon, enough times, inflicting enough costs on the government and there would be no more military re-fuelling. Just as enough people not paying the water charges had them scrapped.

(2) Empower people, rather than disempowering them through the sort of hierarchy described above. A free society can only be created by millions, and not only when millions have the desire, but when millions have the confidence. Through small victories won through our own hands (i.e. direct action) we gain such confidence.

What we do not mean by direct action are those actions which are not open to mass participation, and which relegate people to the status of spectators watching individual heroism. We do not think you need training to participate.
Some leftist groups criticise direct action as elitist. The same ones that follow the teachings of the man that wrote:
"The revolutionary party (vanguard) which renounces its own dictatorship surrenders the masses to the counter-revolution [...] Abstractly speaking, it would be very well if the party dictatorship could be replaced by the 'dictatorship' of the whole toiling people without any party, but this presupposes such a high level of political development among the masses that it can never be achieved under capitalist conditions." (Trotsky, 1937)

Elitist! Beside me at both of the two recent actions at Shannon were people who had never taken part in ANY demonstration ever before, what an arrogant condescending attitude these leftists have.

The call has gone out for a demonstration at Shannon. A Grassroots Network for Peace is in the process of establishing itself, as a means of communication for people into direct action, democracy, and kicking Washington's legions out of county Clare.