Over the years I have written articles and published them, usually under my own name, in alternative publications. Some of those having been written in Castellano (Spanish) has meant that, with the help of others to check or edit them, I have been able to publish in a number of on-line publications from the Spanish state, including a number in the Basque Country. These articles have been political commentary, analyses and news reports. They come from a revolutionary socialist perspective and from one who has been politically active for many years in London and in Ireland, which is where I grew up.
I do not find it easy to categorise my politics in a short phrase. I have been an active anarchist, from which I learned much, later a supporter of a marxist-leninist party and that too has taught me a lot; I am not an anarchist now nor perhaps even a marxist-leninist (certainly not the type I was). I am opposed to the presence of British Imperialism and colonialism on Irish soil but I am not an Irish Republican (though many in my family have been). I have not found a revolutionary organisation in Britain or in Ireland that comes close to being what I want to belong to now: an organisation that is effective, learns by mistakes instead of covering them up, is honest with itself and with the class it purports to lead, is disciplined yet tolerant of internal criticism ….
As a revolutionary, I am interested in the experiences of people the world round but most of my experience has been with the Irish at home and abroad, with Afro-Caribbeans in London, with solidarity work with Irish prisoners, the Kurds, Palestinians and Basques. Of course, I have also been active in community resistance to cuts in services and grants, to fascists and racists, as well as active in trade unionism.
We live in a time when many anti-imperialist movements and organisations have grasped or are reaching out for something they call a “peace process”. But these processes are not about peace but instead are about pacification. They cannot bring peace since they do not resolve the basic issues: imperialist and capitalist exploitation. They bring instead fragmentation, betrayal, apathy and, from a small section, collaboration with oppression. Ireland and South Africa, often quoted as good examples of “peace processes”, are actually excellent examples of the real nature of these processes.
It is common these days for someone who expresses opposition to pacification processes to be accused of militarism without a political agenda, of favouring immediate resumption of armed struggle, or of being undemocratic. Often these criticisms are made by people from the very same organisations whose militarist acts and lack of political strategy I have criticised over the years. But no matter. It is easier to condemn the critic than to carry out a real analysis of what has been won and what lost through these processes.
Currently the working class (as well as other sections of society) in Europe and elsewhere are under attack by capitalist governments determined to make them pay for the losses incurred by their financial speculator friends and to ensure that the big capitalists not only lose no profits but actually increase them. In the course of that process they are plundering the public purse and stripping the states of their public assets. Energetic and determined resistance is called for but the organisations to which we might look for that have been either completely useless or ineffective. Never before have so many institutions of the capitalist class been so exposed and so reviled by the ordinary people, yet none of the European states seems to be near to revolution. The necessary preparations were not made and we are not in a position, it seems, to lead those disenchanted and angry masses to effective resistance and then to the overthrow of this exploitative system. Not yet anyway. We need to learn from this and build the bases and organs so necessary for effective resistance.
My main cultural activity is singing, mostly traditional/ folk and I attend regularly a number of singing circles of sessions around the Dublin Bay area (of which there are a surprising number). I did sometimes play percussion by hand on a dholak (type of Indian drum) in Irish traditional sessions but not since I misplaced the drum and have been unable to find it. I also sometimes compose songs (lyrics and music), write poetry and short stories, along with humorous pieces. Among my many interests is history, both recent and more ancient and I have been known to conduct walking history tours around Dublin on occasion. Another strong interest is natural history, the world of plants and animals.
I am likely to write about all those things at one time or another.
I am primarily trilingual in Irish, Castellano and English.