INTERNATIONAL ANARCHIST MOVEMENT:
ANARCHISM IN IRELAND PART 2- CORK:
We've spent far less time in Cork than in Dublin, and are due to back on the road tomorrow. So this report is far briefer than the last. There is a branch of the WSM here, but we made no contact. Other than that there is no specific anarchist group, though there once was in the recent past. Cork is a city of between 125,000 to 200,000 people depending on how you define the "city". There is a 7,000 student University here, but one local comrade assured me that it has quite a conservative tradition. It does, however, give something of an artsy fartsy feel to sections of the city.
What we did visit was the Cork Autonomous Zone- Barracka Books (sorry no website available). Like most such infoshops across the world it is small and tucked away on a rather inconspicuous side street. Like all the projects here it is plagued with a lack of money and is in constant talk of moving. The fact that it exists at all is a great tribute to the dedication of the comrades who keep it going. On the way to BB we stopped by at the offices of Sinn Fein, and I may say with deep pleasure that BB had a wider selection of literature than Sinn Fein did. I was given to understand that SF makes most of their trade in Republican bric-a-brac. Not that I didn't contribute myself by buying one of their pins. Ah well, I never claimed purity.
But another great and deep pleasure awaited us at BB. Not a single piece of the anarcho-nut literature on the shelves. Not a single one. It gets better. I start to question the staffer, someone who was obviously not new to the movement. Good stuff on the shelves. Their biggest items were local history and anti-globalization material. "Have you ever heard of 'Anarchy Magazine' ?" He had-vaguely, but had never seen a physical copy. It just doesn't register with what people over here are concerned about. My shit eating grin extends from ear to ear. I pick the worst example I can think of, someone that the anarcho-nuts do their best to promote, even sending the bastard to Spain at one point. "Ever heard of John Zerzan ?". Nope he doesn't know him from Adam. The two sides of my shit eating grin cross at the back of my head and come down on opposite shoulders.
This is one place on Earth where all the efforts of the Americans who have done so much to damage anarchism in their own country haven't reached with their exported "anarchist" version of Coca Cola and McDonalds.
The conversation drifts off into what people here are more concerned about. I assure the fellow that Republican politics are hardly a major topic of conversation in Canada. To say the least. Cork has indeed seen some rather significant campaigns, anti-war, ecological (very big here), anti-Bin tax, etc., and it has a lively if small radical community. Quite a pleasant place. Too bad we won't be staying longer.