Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter Rising Rebels Vindicated: Unification of Ireland Remains the Issue

Malcolm X Movement coordinator Dan Glazebrook writes the following below, in an article published by the leading USA anti-imperialist left website - Counterpunch.

Please note that the MXM is holding an event to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Easter Uprising on Friday 13 May 6pm at the Marx Memorial Library in London (EC1R 0DU), with special guest speaker and leading republican socialist and feminist - Bernadette MacAliskey, please see the Facebook event page here and the event page on this website here.

Irish Unification Remains the Issue: Easter Rebels Vindicated by New Report

When members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army took up arms and proclaimed an Irish republic on Easter Monday 1916, they sought, first and foremost, an independent nation based on the political equality of all its citizens. But they also believed that independence would put an end to the economic dismemberment that British rule had visited on the country to such devastating effect over the previous centuries.

Following the closure of the Irish parliament and the country’s forced incorporation into the UK in 1801, Britain imposed a vicious form of ‘free trade’ designed to strangle Ireland’s nascent manufacturing industry lest it come to rival that of the English mainland. Ireland was doomed by successive Acts of Parliament to remain an agricultural adjunct to British industry, growing wheat to feed the laboring masses in Liverpool, Manchester and London, whilst its own, increasingly pauperized, population lived on a precarious diet of potatoes.

The Great Famine of 1849-52 was the result: despite a blight of the potato crop on which the vast majority of Irish survived, Irish wheat continued to flow to England, and the liberal government closed down the soup kitchens in accordance with the inhuman doctrine of laissez-faire and ‘self-help’. By the time the famine ended, the population had been reduced by a quarter, with one million starved to death and a further million fled to America. Freed from the depredations of British rule, the rebels believed, Ireland would undoubtedly be able to lift herself out of such debilitating levels of poverty and suffering.

Indeed, even the industrial development that did later occur was strictly limited to the protestant-dominated counties in Ireland’s Northeast. And although Belfast had, by the dawn of the twentieth century, become a hub of the UK shipbuilding industry, the sectarian policy of both employers and unions ensured that it was only protestants (the descendants of British colonial settlers) who were employed there, and never the indigenous (Catholic) population – a fact seemingly whitewashed out of modern British accounts. As one republican told me when I visited the City recently, “although the Titanic was built just down the road, as far as we were concerned, it might as well have been built on Mars”.

Despite briefly taking control of the Irish capital, the Easter rebels were soon overwhelmed by British troops and after six days, the uprising was over. Despite surrendering, sixteen of the rebellion’s leaders were then executed by the British, including one – James Connolly – who had to be strapped to a chair in front of the firing squad due to his injuries.

Despite the suppression of the rising, a mere six years later independence was achieved. But it was not the unified republic for which the rebels had fought. Following the Irish war of independence of 1918-1921, Britain finally negotiated a partial withdrawal; but it made sure it clung on to the wealthiest, and only industrialised, region: the ‘six counties’ of Ulster, which were to remain part of the UK.

The decline of Ulster’s shipbuilding industry, however, began in the 1960s following the growth of air travel and competition from abroad. Since then, Northern Ireland has been largely portrayed, in a twentieth century reboot of the ‘white man’s burden’, as a drain on the British economy which the British government has been selflessly bearing, at great cost to its own interests, solely for the good of the region’s inhabitants. The implication is that the Irish economy would be insufferably bogged down by having to take responsibility for the six counties of Ulster, and only a ‘great power’ like Britain is able to keep the region afloat. Uniting the country, so the narrative goes, might satisfy the deluded fantasies of a few zealous ideologues, but the price tag would be plunging living standards for the Irish people.

A detailed academic study published last week, however, has blown this colonial mythology out of the water. The report, entitled Modeling Irish Unification, was overseen by Dr Kurt Hubner, director of the institute of European Studies at the prestigious University of British Colombia in Canada, and concludes that “Political and economic unification of the North and South would likely result in a sizeable boost in economic output and incomes in the North and a smaller boost in the [South of Ireland].” To be exact, the authors of the study calculated that the combined economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic could grow by over €35 billion over eight years if they reunified.

The UK’s Financial Times wrote that “If the economy of Northern Ireland adopted the Republic’s tax regime and the euro, the resulting productivity increases and lower cost of trade could cause the province’s economic output per head to rise by as much as 7.5 per cent, according to the report, which was compiled by academics in Canada and Europe. Northern Ireland would benefit disproportionately because of the “catch-up effect”. In other words, it would open up an economy that is effectively closed, since most of its trade is with the rest of the UK, while living standards are lower, the report says”.

Indeed, the report is particularly damning on the impact of British rule on living conditions in the North: “The economies of Ireland north and south are interlinked and interdependent, but they are not aligned,” it says, adding that Northern Ireland “has relatively low living standards, inward-oriented industrial policies, high levels of output in low value-added sectors, a small private sector, and an overreliance on the public sector”.

These findings echo other recent reports that underline how Northern Ireland has gone from being the wealthiest to the poorest part of Ireland since being torn from the rest of the country in 1922. The FT notes, for example, that “the republic’s economy grew 7.8 per cent in 2015, while the North’s shrank by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter of last year.” And a recent report by the Rowntree Foundation has revealed that around one fifth of the population live in poverty, “with significantly lower employment and levels of pay hindering attempts to address poverty”. It also found that average weekly pay was around £20 lower today than a decade ago for all but the wealthiest, with the low-paid even worse off than this. Such are the fruits of British rule in Ulster.

One might have thought that the Canadian report, representing the first rigorous academic study of the economic impact of unification, and with findings that so clearly fly in the face of the ‘established wisdom’, ought to have been headline news in the UK.

After all, it has certainly been taken seriously by experts in the field. Marcus Noland, Executive Vice-President and Director of Studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, for example, called Modelling Irish Unification “an important, timely examination of the economics of Irish unification, applying state-of-the-art modelling techniques to the issue at hand. The modelling work illustrates a variety of channels which are likely to be at play in the Irish case and concludes that Irish unification would be economically beneficial to both parts of the island, especially for smaller, poorer, Northern Ireland.”

Michael Burke, meanwhile, economic consultant and former Senior International Economist at Citibank in London, said that “The issue of the benefits of a unified Irish economy are unfortunately largely overlooked. This paper goes some way to correcting that and will help develop discussion in this neglected area.”

As far as the British press is concerned, however, it can stay neglected. In fact, the only reference I could find to the report in any British newspaper was the story quoted above in the Financial Times (famously dubbed by Noam Chomsky ‘the only paper that tells the truth’, designed, as it is, to provide its wealthy readership with accurate information to guide their investment decisions).

As for the rest, they have apparently been too busy mocking the SNP over the devastating impact of low oil prices on the Scottish oil industry which, it is claimed, would make independence untenable. This, of course, fits in much better with the prevailing British media narrative on issues of self-determination, which essentially boils down to a chauvinistic claim that ‘these impudent nations could never survive without us’. The truth, of course, is that the Easter rebels were right: it is surviving with dignity within the UK that is fast becoming the real impossibility.

Monday, 28 March 2016

On this Easter's Supremacist Massacres - from Glasgow to Lahore

The following is a piece by MXM coordinator Sukant Chandan, followed by a short commentary from MXM coordinator Saqib Deshmukh, and finally by a few comments from our comrade in Lahore, Taimur Rahman. - MXM Coordinators Team

Easter's Supremacist Massacres:
Asim Shah in Glasgow, Lahore, Daesh and more, reflections on the spread of sectarianism and supremacism

"It has been a mixed Easter, on the one hand Palmyra has been liberated from the Nato's supremacist forces, also we are celebrating 100 years since the uprising of the anti-colonial Irish Easter Uprising revolt that inspired all colonially oppressed peoples across the British empire, but also we have seen on-going massacres of these supremacist forces in Libya, Iraq, Pakistan and its ugly manifestation in Glasgow. How many more innocents and children have to be devastated and killed before there is an almighty fight back by our peoples?"

By all accounts Asim Shah was a very friendly and respectful member of his community in Glasgow. He died for the 'crime' of respecting Christians and their celebration of Easter. It seems he was killed in a sectarian attack by someone who claimed his perversion of Islam allowed him to take the life of another Muslim. In Lahore we have another sectarian attack against Christians, while in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and in many other countries we see violent sectarianism and supremacism spread in communities across the globe.

While the Western media promotes a narrative whereby it seems that only Muslims are conducting this supremacism and sectarianism, a closer more accurate look into this phenomenon shows a much bigger picture whereby this supremacism's conceptual roots are to be found in modern colonialism in the genesis of what has become known by the more deceitful code names and concepts of colonial and imperialist institutions as the 'West', 'Europe', 'Whiteness', 'Democracy' etc.

'Coloniality' is conceptual framework to justify the physical and actual exploitation and oppression of colonialism against everything: women, girls, nature, colonially racialised peoples, 'Black' people, other colonial peoples, oppression and mental genocides against the ways people see themselves, their histories and the world and universe, nature and its animals and plants. This coloniality is constantly adapting itself and sophisticating itself as the main ideological framework of the capitalist-imperialist system, or otherwise known through their code names as 'Europe', 'West' and even 'human rights', 'Arab spring' and other tag names.

The first thing colonialism did in the lands and people they conquered and continue to is to enforce the colonised people to see themselves through a colonial framework, to essentialise or generalise themselves as the colonialists see themselves: as God's chosen people, or going even further (lower?) than that, the way colonial and imperialist culture secularised God and turned God into himself, the rich white western man who likes us to believe he IS God on earth, as Gill Scott Heron said, 'the white man has a God complex'. Anyone outside this category of human supremacy is outside or below Humanity, and as such can be treated that way and mental genocides, actual genocides and crimes of massive levels such as the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Congo and other places can be justified, and there will be no revolt amongst the supremacists, rather the supremacists will put the onus of blame on the victims of their coloniality and imperialism.

This internalisation of coloniality is evident in nearly every oppressed community in the world, it springs from the poisoned fountain of colonialism and modern imperialism's mass culture, media and institutions projected all over the world. The most profound example of a community hitherto oppressed by colonialism and imperialism is found amongst Jewish people. Some Jews internalised colonial supremacism to such an extent that it adopted that framework, allied and leaned on colonialism and imperialism to steal the land of another colonised people - Palestine and the Palestinians - such was the basis of the founding of a white colonial settler state of 'Israel'.

The same framework of supremacism has been promoted by the colonialists and imperialists amongst Muslim peoples, resulting in an asymmetric mirror image of white supremacism which this time wraps itself in false shrouds of not of Judaism in this regard, but of false shrouds of Islam. It was and remains the Brits and Yanks who are the main global promoters of this supremacism, the Brits instituted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is the godfather of Daesh in the Muslim world (whereas the UK and USA are the global godfathers of Daesh and similar militias and organisations), and the Brits and Yanks have always relied on viciously supremacist forces to pursue their strategic interests across the world. They rely on the same sectarian governments, Daesh states of Qatar, Saudi, UAE etc in their wars of divide and ruin against Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and others.

Like the colonial supremacism adopted by pro Israeli Jews, some Muslims are internalising and projecting this supremacism that has led to many hundreds of young Muslims leaving England to go and fight alongside Daesh in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, but at the same time like Jews but more so in some cases they are also victims of colonial and imperialist oppression.

Muslims are imperialism’s global focus and target of racism: Muslims are racialised by imperialism, which seeks to put into the minds of the masses that Muslim = Middle Eastern, Asian, and African = barbaric rapists and beheaders = refugees and immigrants in Europe/West. 'Muslim' is the tag by which imperialism has primarily targeted all Black and Asian people with this racism in the media, and in the real physical world, it is through the racist and imperialist 'war on terror' (rather should read: war of global imperialist terrorism) that has seen whole countries destroyed by imperialism's proxy forces who are guided by the West's covert military intelligence and forces.

In India the BJP government has to steer the Indian state in a pro-BRICS framework, India has existed for a long time in the non-aligned political world, it is in a global alliance that seeks to end the imperialist hegemony on the planet, so the BJP have had to steer the gargantuan ship that is India along the same ocean paths that it has been traversing. At the same time the BJP have also adopted exactly this colonial supremacism in essentialising the endlessly diverse and complex India into a 'Hindu' society, a cover for a sectarianism against all other groups that are not defined as kosher Hindus etc by the BJP and similar forces. The BJP and Daesh and the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) operate in very similar frameworks, so much so when one listens to the BJP 's view on society, it is very easy to mistake it for the way Daesh and the Ikhwan see the world and society and 'others'. This results in some people who happen to be Hindu in London argue against voting for the imperialist labour candidate Sadiq Khan because of a colonially informed sectarian narrow mindedness and instead support imperialist tory candidate Zac Goldsmith.

In the heart of coloniality, in the heart of whiteness in this country of Britain we see the situation that we saw in British-ruled India: the state insitutionalised division of communities based on nationality, 'race', and religion, a colonial division promoted as somehow beneficial to the said communities under concepts such as 'multiculturalism', whereas this is just the old colonial divide and rule strategy and has nothing to do with what is actually needed as a multi-cultural/religious/national united struggle of peoples for liberation. I have heard people in the Hindu, Sikh, Christian, leftist, Muslim community all come out with forms of colonial supremacism. I have for years heard people accuse the group that Glaswegian Asim Shah was from as 'heretics, outside their definition and outline of Muslim and 'Islam', once this otherisation has been done, horrific things always follow. I have met people from the religious group that Asim Shah was from approach me at events I have spoken at and have said that their community too is under attack and should be supported; I always agreed. I have heard of Muslims who have jobs in the mainstream UK media argue that Muslim groups in Syria 'aren't really Muslims, and they are heretics', comments and views that facilitates the sexual enslavement and mutilation of whole communities. I have heard many people in religious groups and leftists come out with homophobic comments. All these prejudices and sectarian attitudes directly support supremacist wars and murders that only benefit imperialism, and traumatically impact all oppressed communities. Countless reprehensible lynchings of people who are motivated by this bigotry in our global south homelands seems to not shift this bigotry, perhaps a more closer to home sectarian murder against the martyr Asim Shah will make those who are promoting this prejudice think again? Belgium and the UK has seen an alarming rise of sectarian murders and attacks from within the Muslim community grow as a result of UK state sponsored was of supremacism, as well as a general rise in anti-white racist attacks and attitudes.

In India, due to the BJP's oppressive internal/domestic policies against anyone who is outside of their upper class, upper caste, supremacist outlook has sparked mass movements amongst communities and persons allied directly and indirectly who are lower class and castes, anti-casteism forces, socialists, progressive Indian nationalists, communists, and just anyone who wants peace and unity between our peoples. Young Dalit rights activists, Muslims and young communist leaders have taken centre stage in India and have launched a renewed struggle against these sectarian forces and the sectarian BJP government. The Indian people are doing just fine without relying on imperialism conceptually or physically, in a counter distinctive manner to example as what happened in the Arab Sting, wherey pro imperialist liberals, and supremacist forces were the ground forces for Nato in the divide and ruin of Libya and Syria. India is rocking the BJP establishment, and it is fast looking like the BJP are crumbling in the face of this peoples resistance.

Similarly in Libya and Syria, there are political forces who believe in the unity of diverse communities of faith, ethnicities who have been fighting for five years the supremacist death squads launched by leading Nato and imperialist powers and their regional allies: an alliance of which that is THE matrix of power behind these vicious forces.

However, just as the struggle against the Nazis and fascism in europe could produce an internalised colonialism amongst Jews which resulted in a supremacist state - Israel, similarly there are some people who while rightly wanting to oppose the supremacist Nato death squads are in some cases responding with fighting this fire with fire, rather than with water, they are fighting racism with racism, instead with a counter supremacist force of solidarity and unity. In Syria and Libya it is Muslims who are doing the overwhelming and greatest amount of sacrifice and fighting to liberate ALL the communities in their countries, but some are putting more emphasis on what they see as eurocentric Christian communities, and giving the impression that these are a 'white western' type of force, when that is also so wrong on so many levels. Some people within anti-Nato pro Syria/Iran/Russian communities are joining in with the European far-right and fascists in promoting the scapegoating of refugees and immigrants as 'terrorists', 'rapists', 'alien to European white culture' or that their arrival in Europe is some 'Jewish plot' to destabilise Europe. The rise of fascism on a mass and state level in the West is a direct threat to further intensified hatred against Russia, Syria, Iran and other Asian and African countries and their diaspora in the West, they are not allies, they are our enemies and trojan horses of Nato and the imperialist countries. The more the West goes into crises, the more fascism will entrench itself, those who purport to fight Nato should think again before facilitating these fascist forces.

The leading countries and struggles in the world that are giving example to the world that we can resist and live in a more unified liberated way are shown by the leaders of Bolivia (Morales), Ecuador (Correa) and Venezuela (Chavez and now Maduro) and the grassroots movements they are involved in and allied to; it is represented by the successes of the Chinese revolution and socialist construction which united and uplifts hundreds of millions of people led by a socialist and anti-imperialist ideology, and it is represented by the anti-imperialist unity oriented Indian masses, and the anti-Nato resistance in Libya and Syria. There is no doubt that the imperialists are putting in a massive amount of efforts and resources to ensure that white supremacy racism is promoted en masse amongst not only the white masses in the West but also internalised by non-white communities in the West who ape the oppressive views and mentalities against Black and Asian people and especially immigrants and refugees. All indicators also point to imperialism working hard to promote similar narratives and frameworks amongst global south peoples struggles; this is a problem that requires serious learning and understanding of what modern coloniality and imperialism is and frameworks, ideologies and struggles that counters that.

It has been a mixed Easter, on the one hand Palmyra has been liberated from the Nato's supremacist forces, also we are celebrating 100 years since the uprising of the anti-colonial Irish Easter Uprising revolt that inspired all colonially oppressed peoples across the British empire, but also we have seen on-going massacres of these supremacist forces in Libya, Iraq, Pakistan and its ugly manifestation in Glasgow. How many more innocents and children have to be devastated and killed before there is an almighty fight back by our peoples? Syria has shown we can fight back and win. India is showing that people can turn the tables on the oppressors and fight back. People in Mali, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Niger, Nigeria and many other countries people of all faiths and no faiths are resisting. It is through the development of this resistance into a tsunami that will wash away colonialism's and imperialism's contribution of supremacism, looting, rape and genocide against our peoples.


Saqib Deshmukh:

I've been fortunate in my life to meet and work with Pakistani Christians both in Pakistan and in the UK. There have always been tensions but it is in recent years that this has been intolerable and in a country which historically has taken in millions of refugees it's concerning that groups such as Christians and Shia folk are no longer welcome. Behind the scenes the project to attack minorities in Pakistan continues and the role of intelligence services who support the Taliban elements such Jamaat-ul-Ahrar needs to be examined.The use of these as militia and death squads outside of state institutions is deeply disturbing and shows how powerful this template of operating has become


Taimur Rahman:

Seven myths that demobilised the Pakistani left against extremists resulting in tragic lost historic opportunities.

Oh yes. It has failed massively. It has failed because of stupid self-defeating ideas that I have been criticising for years. Lets start with each of them.

1. "Taliban are anti-imperialists". You would think such an inane argument could not be made but you will be shocked to read who all supported this view (Tariq Ali, Dr. Riaz, Asim Sajjad Akhtar).

2. "Fighting extremism is a US agenda": This was the position of the overwhelming number of grassroots leftists who argued that since US was condemning Taliban we should not condemn them.

3. "Fighting Extremism isn't a working class issue. It is a liberal issue": As if the rich or liberals were the only ones getting blown up or affected. Insane position I know but it dominated the left in Pakistan.

4. "Fighting Extremism is not the principle contradiction." A leftist way of saying it is not a priority. Mun chupatay phir rahay hain yeh log.

5. "Public is not with extremists, we don't have to worry about them". Take a look at Qadri's funeral.

6. "We should negotiate with extremists.Violence begets violence. We need a 'political' (i.e. non-violent) solution" ROFL.

7. And my personal favourite "They are too strong, we will be killed". We are getting killed anyway.

Your twitter RIP's and fb prayers are meaningless if they do not translate into actual struggles against religious extremism.

Your tweets about how the bombings make "you" so upset are not only irrelevant but serve only to draw attention to yourself at a time when attention needs to be focused on solving the actual problems.

Get into the grassroots movement against extremism. You know where they are. They've been calling you to action for years. You just haven't bothered to spare any time for this issue. You've been too busy with your job, your studies, your family, your x, your y, your z. Face it. You've been obsessed with "you".

Stop working for yourself and start working for people. Then we will see an end to violence in Pakistan

Saturday, 26 March 2016

MXM's Year of the Panther, Four Black Panther Vets Coming Over to Deliver Exclusive Research Sessions!

Malcolm X Movement presents:

# In partnership with the Black Panther Alumni
# 50years since the founding of the Black Panthers
# Recruiting now for the Black Panther Research Project
# Learn about the roots, ideologies, successes and limitations of the Black Panthers, includes veteran leading Panthers delivering some of the research sessions in person!
4 separate visits of Black Panther Alumni visiting London for concerts, exhibitions, panel and Q&A events. Events in spring, summer, autumn and winter
# Open invitation for supporting organisations to get involved

The Malcolm X Movement is commemorating 50 years since the founding of the one of the most important and effective revolutionary organisations from within the 'West': the Black Panther Party for Self-Defence. The MXM is offering an amazing opportunity in our Black Panther Research Project as part of the 'Year of the Panther' initiative. The MXM and all its projects is non-funded and done solely through the voluntary dedication of its coordinators, members, activists and allies. The Black Panther Research Project will involve dozens of research sessions with experts in the field of the Panthers and related subjects in understanding the achievements and limitations of the Panthers, its roots, legacy and on-going relevance. The Black Panther Research Project will also have exclusive research sessions with leading former Black Panther leaders themselves in person!

The Panthers were a Black radical, anti-imperialist and socialist organisation that showed what is possible in terms of community organising, revolutionary consciousness building, concrete global solidarity and unity against imperialism, and opposing racism and capitalist-imeprialism in our own communities in relation to police brutality, working to get young people out of street gangs and developing them as revolutionaries amongst many other things.

This is a free course, open to people from the age of 16years old upwards. The project is London-based but are open to including participants from outside of London and England, by using social media and other learning tools for maximising inclusion. We have a capacity of around 30 participants, but are keen to include as many participants as we possibly can.

Please email 2015mxm@gmail.com to get involved!

Malcolm X Movement Coordinators Team

MXM Film Festival in Ireland: 'Translating Malcolm X Into Irish'

For some of the younger people of Northern Ireland, “it was the first time they heard Malcolm X’s own words speaking about ‘rejecting the white man,’ developing independence Black liberation organizations, rejecting the dehumanization from the white man, and being inspired by the ‘darker nations’ of Africa and Asia uniting against European colonialism.”

Translating Malcolm X into Irish: Malcolm X Film Festival’s First Historic Event in West Belfast
By Sukant Chandan, one of the MXM coordinators team

We arrived into Ireland on Friday 13th March 2015 as the latest political crisis was gripping this small section of the island of Ireland. Left-wing Irish Republican party Sinn Fein had blocked an austerity budget leading to the freezing of the budget for Northern Ireland. Directly related to this was a public workers one day strike the day our Malcolm X Movement delegation arrived at Belfast International airport, so we had to catch a taxi to West Belfast where we are staying with a local grassroots Irish republican socialist activist and friend. Sitting in the front of the taxi and chatting with the driver, I went through the usual careful and subtle probing as to where he stood in the British colonial-induced division in the six counties. Was he an Irish nationalist (who happen to be overwhelmingly Catholics) who united with the “third world” anti-imperialists, including the ANC, and supported the total end to British rule and the reunification of their country, colonized and partitioned by British colonialism? Or was he a Unionist (who happen to be overwhelmingly Protestants) who were historically planted into Ireland as colonial settlers and who more recently allied to Apartheid South Africa and are still largely allied to racist right-wing forces and the white settler state of Israel and want the six counties to remain eternally a part of the United Kingdom?

As we passed the beautiful hills of Cavehill and Black Mountain that immediately surround Belfast city we discussed the budget crisis at which point the taxi driver mentioned something along the lines of “those who have always held power here do not like to see that changing,” which clearly indicated to me that he was probably an Irish nationalist. It turned out he was and I felt more comfortable and we got into a big conversation whereby I mostly asked questions and he, like it seems so many people who lived through the “Troubles,” were more than happy to impart their usually insightful and sophisticated analysis informed by their experiencing of the horrors of the conflict there.

Towards the end of the conversation we discussed British covert operations in their dirty war in Ireland, with “the Brits” supporting the pro-Unionists “Loyalist” death squads, through what is infamously known as collusion, reminding me of the same covert operations and collusion with neo-colonial death squads in the Muslims world. Our journey came to an end, we bid farewell and he wished us a good stay in West Belfast.

“The murals reflected the Irish republicans’ affinity and solidarity with the people of Palestine and South Africa against white supremacy rule, but featured mostly their own revolutionary martyrs.”

It felt great to return to West Belfast, my second time there, and my fifth time in Ireland since 1999, every one of those visits I come to partake in political and cultural work with the Irish revolutionaries who are in Sinn Fein and independent Irish republican socialists and anti-imperialists. Belfast and Derry hold some of the most politicized anti-imperialist and socialist working class communities in the entire “West,” and as such is a primary example and inspiration of how a brutally colonized people (indeed the first colonized nation of English colonialism 800 years ago) can resist, organize and steadily build their politics in an inter-generational time frame.

We arrived to deliver the first of seven events in the First Annual Malcolm X Film Festival, taking place at the well-known cultural centre, Culturlann on the historic Falls Road in West Belfast. However, we had the full afternoon before the event day to have a walk around Falls Road and see the many revolutionary murals painted on gable ends of terraced homes and the famous rows of murals showing brightly and colorfully the recent and ancient history of the struggle of Irish freedom from colonial rule.

Leila Khaled speaking at the Malcolm X Film Festival
While West Belfast remains palpably politicized, one can still feel the Troubles rescinding into the background in the community with a new generation of young people and teenagers who were borne after the start of the peace process formally initiated by the Good Friday Agreement in 1998/1999. While social justice is a long way off there has been some increase of private investment. A shiny leisure center and a massive new shopping tower above the Milltown Cemetery where many of the martyrs for Irish freedom are buried.

We saw Palestinian revolutionary icon, leading PLO and PFLP member Leila Khaled, featured on a few murals. Khaled herself would be addressing the Malcolm X Film Festival the following day. The murals reflected the Irish republicans’ affinity and solidarity with the people of Palestine and South Africa against white supremacy rule, but featured mostly their own revolutionary martyrs, people like James Connolly and IRA prisoner of war and elected MP Bobby Sands whose mural has pride of place on the Falls.

While walking around the Falls our Irish host would greet and have a wee chat with people of the community who were all politically active in some way or another – either working with local youth, or whatever anti-imperialist and socialist activities they were committed to. This is a community that is pulsating with political discussion and activity, hardly spending any time on social media, but actually being socially embedded in real life and struggles with their community. We sat down for a snack and a tea with three young community activists and anti-imperialist socialists, two of them coming from solid revolutionary families with family members having served back in the conflict in the revolutionary national liberation armed movement of the Irish Republican Army, said by some to be unofficial armed wing of Sinn Fein.

Along with the great “craic,” hospitality and political discussions, the quick wit and charisma and intense discussions that seems to be nearly universal characteristics of the people, there were also instances of the trauma of living through a brutal war. Any working class community has its fair share of trauma, but add into the mix lots of shooting, massacres, torture and imprisonment, and it all adds up to a terrible mix that no humans should have to live through.

The Malcolm X Film Festival saw over 50 local activists attend the event the following day, which my revolutionary Basque Country comrade told me was a decent turn out in West Belfast considering the time and what was concurrently taking place. The event opened up with the first film montage of Malcolm X speaking on Civil Rights and Black Power in his last final years of speeches and interviews. There would be no one more fitting to speak on this panel than Bernadette MacAliskey, who became the most inspiring and audacious revolutionary at a very young age against the British Army’s occupation of the working class district of the Bogside in Derry. She took to the peoples barricades, helped to mobilize the youth and community against the British military police and army, got elected on a national liberation and socialist platform to parliament and remains to this day the youngest woman ever to have been elected. She was a leader of the Irish civil rights movement inspired by the Black civil rights movement in the USA and the undivided Indian peoples non-violent national liberation struggle. As with those historic examples, the oppressed Irish people’s struggle for non-violent change was met with brutality and massacres by the colonialists. The notorious Bloody Sunday Massacre was conducted in 1972 by the British state, killing 14 protestors and leadig to a further radicalization of the movement.

Bernadette MacAliskey speaking at the MXM Film Festival
Later in the evening, I was told by an Irish comrade that the event would have seen young activists hear for the first time people with English accents talking about anti-imperialism, socialism and the liberation of Ireland. It was the first time that they would hear someone non-white speaking about these things. And it was the first time they heard Malcolm X’s own words speaking about “rejecting the white man,” developing independence Black liberation organizations, rejecting the dehumanization from the white man, being inspired by the ‘darker nations’ of Africa and Asia uniting against European colonialism etc. Therefore Bernadette MacAliskey was the first of two Irish speakers at the event to ‘translate’ Malcolm X for the Irish audience. She recounted her experiences of going to the USA in the late 1960s and 1970s when she was a highly sort after speaker, invited by white feminists and relatively well-off Irish Americans who lived in houses that to MacAliskey “appeared like plush hotels” with “two toilets and three bathrooms” compared to the poor working class areas of Derry from where she came from, in which the struggle for better housing for Catholics and Irish nationalists was one of the primary issues in the civil rights struggle against the Irish apartheid system. She explained that the feminists in the USA had house servants who were Black or Brown, but she would find more common ground with those Black and Brown women than the white feminists and middle class Irish Americans. She said that she felt at home associating with the Black Panthers and the radical Puerto Rican anti-imperialist socialist group the Young Lords. Famously, MacAliskey was handed the keys to New York City that she instead gave to the Black Panthers. MacAliskey explained that she thought that one of the big problems of the Irish is that they think they are white and have white minds.

Dr Moussa Ibrahim speaks at the MXM Film Festival
Following MacAliskey was Dr. Moussa Ibrahim, the last media spokesperson for the Libyan Socialist Jamahirya government before NATO and its proxies destroyed it in 2011. Dr Ibrahim is still wanted by NATO who have put him on the red list on Interpol; he is still underground and a leading figure in the anti-NATO Libyan resistance. Dr Ibrahim eloquently explained that Malcolm X is a central figure for inspiration for the Libyan resistance. He continued to explain that part of the reason why Libya was destroyed was that like Malcolm X and Kwame Nkrumah and other African revolutionaries, Muammar Gaddafi was pioneering the capacity building of the African continent, and the African Union strategically aimed towards assisting in the liberation of Black people across the world. But the two things, Dr Ibrahim explained, that motivated NATO to destroy Libya was Gaddafi’s proposal for a gold-based African Dinar that would have ended the Dollar and Euro domination of Africa, and also the Global South military alliance that was being developed with Bolivia and Venezuela, a South Atlantic Treaty Organization to counter NATO. Dr. Ibrahim hoped that the Libyan and Irish people can reconnect to the unity that they previously developed, and many Irish activists attending were keen to nurture that unity once more. Dr Ibrahim also conveyed that Libya should be one of the most important Black Liberation struggles to give solidarity to on the planet as the general anti-NATO resistance in Libya is also united together with darker skinned or Black Libyans who have been systematically persecuted in acts of genocide by NATO’s proxies in Libya.

The second Irish speaker who translated Malcolm X for the Irish audience was former IRA prisoner of war and Sinn Fein member from Derry, Gerry MacLochlainn. MacLochlainn recounted how the Irish democrats of the 18th and 19th centuries mobilized to ensure that the Belfast port was not used in the genocidal industry of European slavery against African peoples. The most powerful thing MacLochlainn said and on which he finished was that the Irish people have to thank the British in a kind of way, thank them for ensuring that Ireland did not become a European colonizing power and instead because of the British colonial oppression of Ireland pushed the Irish into the camp of the global anti-imperialist movement against racism and colonialism.

I had to nearly pinch myself as I wondered if Ireland had ever seen such a discussion of white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism, resistance, liberation and Malcolm X with such an array of revolutionary speakers. Leila Khaled spoke about the importance of Malcolm X’s message of dignity and liberation of oppressed peoples, and emphasized that the death squads such as “Isis” are working for, and creations of, imperialism and Zionism to destroy the countries and communities in the region. Leila Khaled stressed that it was of primary urgent necessity that people must unite against these neo-colonial death squads. Leila Khaled and the whole room laughed when for the third time she could not understand the English of our Irish comrades and I had to “translate” the questions for her. I later commented and joked with Irish comrades that MacAliskey and MacLochlainn politically translated Malcolm X for the attendees, and I translated the contributions so Leila Khaled could understand. I suppose all of us who are resistant victims of colonialism have to make efforts to listen, learn and understand the differences in our accents and languages to better unite for our common liberation.

We completed our event and visit with discussions about how the Malcolm X Movement and the Irish activists and struggles will work closer together and build for the Second Annual Malcolm X Film Festival in 2016 which will be dedicated to, and working alongside, the Black Panthers to commemorate the 50th anniversary since the founding of another primary radical anti-imperialist and socialist movement from within the West. As the airplane pulled away from the land of Ireland and drifted back to the heart of colonialism and whiteness in London, the Malcolm X Movement delegation left Ireland satisfied that we had fulfilled part of our revolutionary duty to unite Malcolm X with the Irish in a common cause of anti-colonial liberation. There remains much uniting to be done.

Public event: 100 YEARS SINCE THE IRISH EASTER UPRISING: A Historic and Unique Blow to British Colonialism!

A Historic and Unique Blow to British Colonialism!

The 1916 Irish Easter Uprising against British colonialism was one of the most important global revolutionary developments at the time, and shook the empire to its very core and inspired a new wave of revolutionary struggle against colonialism throughout Africa and Asia. This event seeks to bring this history and legacy to new generations of Black, Asian and working class anti-imperialist socialist youth. This event brings some the best of anti-imperialist voices to speak to this subject and to inform and inspire us.

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER: BERNADETTE MACALISKEY - A leader of the Bogside resistance, one of the youngest MPs ever and veteran republican socialist

SAEB SHAATH - Former PLO Ambassador to Ireland speaking on the impact of the Easter Uprising on the struggle of the Arab peoples against colonialism

HAKIM ADI - World renowned Black radical scholar and historian speaking on the impact of the Uprising on African liberation

Gerard MacNamara - From 'Crimes of Britain', speaking on the importance of the Uprising on anti-imperialist youth today

Chair: Sukant Chandan - A coordinator at the Malcolm X Movement

Other speakers tbc

Fri 13 May, 2016
Doors open at 6pm, 630pm sharp start, ends at 9pm
Marx Memorial Libray
37a, Clerkenwell Green, Farringdon EC1R 0DU
£5 suggested entry

This event is organised by the Malcolm X Movement and Crimes of Britain

Attending this event means that you are giving consent to possibly be in the video footage of the event which will be uploaded on social media.