Sunday, 15 May 2016

MXM Easter Rising Event Report - 'The Most Important 1916 Centenary Event'

'This is the most important 1916 event I have addressed' - Bernadette Devlin MacAliskey
Event report on Malcolm X Movement's and Crimes of Britain's event 100 Years Since the Irish Easter Uprising

Friday 13 yesterday turned out to be a fantastic day to salute the revolutionaries and martyrs of the great Irish Easter Uprising in the 13th there was a tiny bit of bad luck that was overshadowed by an enormously informative and inspiring evening. The Malcolm X Movement's event was entitled 100 Years Since the Irish Easter Uprising, and we were honoured to have two special guests, both of whom very kindly flew in especially for this event, being former PLO Ambassador to Ireland and veteran senior Palestinian revolutionary Saeb Shaath, and the most well known and respected living female Irish revolutionary Bernadette Devlin MacAliskey. It was also a great privilege to have on the panel leading global Black radical decolonial scholar Hakim Adi and finally our young comrade Gerard MacNamara from the excellent and highly successful social media project Crimes of Britain as well as MXM coordinator Sukant Chandan chairing the event. The revolutionary 'craic' was being had in full effect! The room was packed with over 80 people in total in attendance.

Sukant Chandan opened the event for the MXM as chair by stating that the historical importance of the 1916 Uprising are many including the fact that it was the only anti-imperialist uprising in Europe during the first imperialist war, and that it electrified the anti-colonial peoples especially of the British empire as it struck the enemy right on its doorstep at such a critical moment. Chandan stated the reason the MXM has put on this event and the reason that of all the centenary commemorations across the world why this one stands out is due to the fact that no one until this event has brought clearly the global anti-imperialist analysis from Africa and Asia into the analysis to 1916. Chandan singled out Peter Middleton for particular thanks who was in attendance and whom in the 1990s, was a leading political organiser in London for Irish freedom, including amongst many other the weekly protests outside Downing Street.

Gerard MacNamara from Crimes of Britain and co-organisers of this event made his maiden public speech, and a brilliant talk outlining the history of British colonial looting and genocide against the Irish people, in the forced famines against the Irish for example in taking away millions of gallons of butter away from the Irish, tearing off roofs of houses so people could not squat them and how this colonial supremacism AKA white supremacy/racism against the Irish is still normalised today. MacNamara stated that Channel 4 recently floated the idea of having a comedy on the Irish famine. While at the time of the famines a British army colonel stated: "you must pay or get out, I tell you, I care no more about turning you out on the roadside than I do about shooting the bird which flies across my path".

Hakim Adi made a very informative speech as to how the Irish struggle had inspired Black / Pan-African liberation, including stating how Claude McKay, a leading Halrem Renaissance man of Jamaican heritage spent time in London uniting with Irish revolutionaries in the 1930s. Adi also relayed how much the Irish struggle informed many ideas in the leader of the millions-strong global United Negro Improvement Association, Marcus Garvey, who named his own building Liberty Hall after the Irish revolutionaries building in Dublin also called Liberty Hall that is still a trade union hub today.

Saeb Shaath gave a impassioned contribution imparting knowledge to the attendees as to the plots of the British colonialists in their oppression of Ireland and how they developed their oppression to then export to the rest of the people of the British colonies. Shaath focused especially on colonial partition, of which the British are the global masters, and how they have divided and partitioned many countries and regions, including Palestine and the Arab world. Shaath then recounted the current situation of British imperialist meddling in the North African and Middle Eastern regions. There were many cheers and applause for Palestinian liberation throughout his contribution from the audience.

Bernadette Devlin MacAliskey very generously flew in from Derry especially for this event but the flight was delayed for an hour so she entered the event at 830pm. However, she was welcomed by great cheering and applause and everyone spontaneously and en-masse chanted her name in unison to welcome her, reflecting the great respect and admiration her role and sacrifices for Irish freedom and socialism inspires. Devlin spoke in her typically eloquent and articulate manner on a number of issues that captivated all in attendance. She stated that she has spoken at many centenary events, events attended by great numbers of people but that the MXM event she was addressing was the most important one that she had spoken at because while Irish people have been commemorating and saluting 1916 for 99 years, it was an event like this that brought together all the global dimensions and impact of 1916. Devlin stated that the Irish people who were starved out of Ireland by the British colonialists first went to the North Americas as Irish speakers not English speakers. Devlin explained that they were not a part of the colonial 'white' club, and that there was a process that turned Irish people into white people, and that was through realising that if they spoke English that they could not be visibly defined as being phenotypically be seen as anything other than white. Devlin stated that she did not identify with those of Irish heritage that saw themselves as white in the USA, but she identified closely with the Black Panthers, with the Native American movement and other radical movements. Devlin's contribution was met with great applause and a long standing ovation.

The event saw young Black and Asian and radical white British youth and Irish patriots and revolutionaries gather together to understand each other and to unite with each other. No one else is doing this important work in England in bringing together communities of resistance, communities of oppressed peoples.

The full speeches have been recorded on video and will be uploaded in the coming two weeks and will be shared across MXM accounts and supporters on social media.

The MXM would like to give a big thank you to all our speakers, and all those who attended and put in the hard work to make this event a success.

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Next MXM public event:
1926 General Strike: 9 Days That Shook Britain

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