Shocking scenes have rocked Dublin. Far-right goons – showing their true, putrid colours – have used the stabbing of five people outside a school, including three children, to blame migrants and whip up mob violence. These events must be a wake up call: the left and the labour movement have been caught napping. The gloves must come off in the fight against the far right.
This is an appeal: enough with the soft, ‘respectable’ methods that have done nothing to stem the rise of this rabble. The gardaí won’t stop them. The blueshirts won’t stop them. The working class is the only force that has the power to crush them and an interest in doing so.
But we can only do that if we change our methods! We must confront and clear out this mob on the street, and deprive them of their false ‘anti-establishment’ credentials by creating a real, revolutionary alternative that can express the volcanic anger in Irish society.
The far right’s real face
Let’s look at the facts of what happened on Thursday – they tell us everything we need to know about the true nature, aims, and forces of the far right in Ireland.
The violence erupted after the stabbing of five people outside a city centre school, including three young children. One of the children and a teacher sustained serious injuries.
There was nothing spontaneous about this rioting, however. Despite the fact that a Brazilian Deliveroo driver was identified as heroically intervening to stop the stabber, the far right and fascist groups immediately linked the stabbing to ‘mass migration’, spreading rumours that an Algerian man was responsible for the crime – despite the fact that the gardaí, as of Thursday, had released no information about the stabber.
Right-wing media celebrities like Conor McGregor and known right-wing activists began inciting mobs on social media, and this incitement continued in far-right chats. Here are a few comments from some of these chats that give a good flavour of what this rabble represents.
In one leaked chat log, we read:
“THEM FOREIGN BASTARDS, BLOOD NEEDS TO BE SPILT TONIGHT IN THE NAME OFF (sic) THAT CHILD!”
Another chat participant called ‘Kill all immigrants’ sent a voice note to the same chat saying:
“They can’t control us all. Lets have little groups splintering off doing what we’ve got to do. 7 o’clock be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up, and any fucking gypo, foreigner, anyone, just kill them, just fucking kill them…”
Others, whipped into a frenzy, declared, “not a leftist will be left alive” after the night’s events. Others called for “civil war”.
Yet while they may hope for “civil war” to exterminate “foreigners” and “leftists”, what they actually achieved, though shocking, fell somewhat short. Dublin saw a few hundred masked lumpen youth, with a small, far-right and fascist contingent at its core, rampaging through the city centre. They attacked passers by and gardaí; set fire to buses, Luas and garda cars; and looted shops including Foot Locker, not known until recently as a symbol of the ‘globalist cabal’.
And of course, for all their talk of being ‘Irish patriots’ and their deliberate confusing of banners with Ireland’s anti-imperialist Republican tradition, the mob’s social media cheerleaders have overwhelmingly been… pro-imperialist British and American ‘patriots’. As usual, the ‘patriotic’ Irish right takes succour from its big brothers abroad.
Confront and defeat this rabble!
This is the genuine face of fascism. The aim of these animals is to liquidate the labour movement and murder and expel foreigners. But what is quite clear is that they represent a very small minority. These were no mass protests, and there is no imminent threat of a rise of fascism. Hyperbole to this effect, all too common on the left, achieves nothing.
However, they represent a real, physical threat to workers, migrants and the left, and must be dealt with seriously. Enormous anti-racist mobilisations, the likes of which we have seen in the past year, have demonstrated the real balance of forces in society. But they have done nothing to demoralise and weaken the far right, as Thursday night’s events showed. Why is this?
Symbolic demonstrations of ‘unity’ in the face of ‘hate’ cannot expunge the far right. They will forever remain deaf to the Christian appeals of “turn the other cheek” and “love thy neighbour”. Like animals, they understand one language: the language they unleashed on Dublin city centre last night.
The only way to clear this far-right rabble away is by confrontation on the street through mass mobilisation. Any weekend you choose, if you take a walk up O’Connell Street, you will find not one, but several far right ‘protests’ ongoing. Only when the far right become accustomed to finding their tables overturned, their placards torn up, and their arses sore from encounters with mass counter-protests everywhere they go, will they slink once more, demoralised, into the holes from whence they came.
This is how the British Union of Fascists was crushed at the Battle of Cable Street by communists, socialists, trade unionists, dockers, Jews and Irish immigrants in London’s East End in the 1930s. It was how the English Defence League was crushed in the past decade.
We repeat: the aim of the fascists is to liquidate the workers’ movement. They must be treated as a physical threat, and socialists, communists, republicans and trade unionists must crush the poisonous seed of the far right before it can lay a root.
After Thursday, there is enormous anger towards this far right, and it must be channelled into crushing them. The ruling class is also trying to canalise this anger… behind themselves. They want to build ‘national unity’ – around themselves – and are talking about ‘law and order’, i.e. beefing up the powers of the gardaí.
But don’t be fooled: the gardaí did little to prevent Thursday’s violence, in contrast with their past record in treating peaceful left-wing protesters, water charge protesters, or in dealing with young black kids.
The ruling class’ attempts to beef up the repressive apparatus of the state will be with an eye to one thing only: the enormous battles they foresee in the future. They understand that volcanic anger is building in Irish society, and that sooner or later, the working class will enter the scene.
And when these class battles do erupt, as inevitably they will, the blueshirts and others, who today dress as ‘respectable’ representatives of the Irish ruling class, will have little compunction about letting the mad dogs of the far right off their leash, to let them have their bit of fun attacking workers, migrants and whoever else gets in their way.
No more ‘respectable politics’
If the far right today in Ireland are bolder than at any time in recent history, it is because they feel that they can tap into a mood in society.
Groups like the National Party have been trying to get established for some years in Ireland, and yet the arrogant liberals smugly hailed the fact that Ireland had no far right. Weren’t we bucking the trend? There’s no Trump, no Brexit, no Bolsonaro, no extreme right and no extreme left here, thank you very much.
But the policies of the very same smug, ‘middle-of-the-road’ capitalist parties that are condemning the riots today, are responsible for creating the very conditions that led to them.
The pandemic, with the massive aggravation of the crisis of capitalism that this has caused, was seized by the far right. They appealed to a thin backward layer with COVID conspiracy theories. They could do so not primarily, as the liberals claim, because of ‘social media disinformation’, but because of the enormous cynicism and distrust towards the establishment that has built up in the depths of society.
And when Varadkar and Martin threw their weight behind NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine, the same far right whipped up anti-immigrant sentiment over Ukrainian refugees. Again, ‘social media disinformation’ was blamed. But the reason the far right could connect with a certain backward layer in East Wall in Dublin, for instance, was because they connected the housing of refugees to the explosive anger over the condition of housing in the city.
There is massive anti-establishment anger bubbling just beneath the surface of Irish society. The housing crisis, the state of healthcare, the cost of living, and the pro-imperialist, anti-worker policies of the ruling parties are its source. By distorting this anger, linking it falsely to migration, the far right believe they can break their isolation, and have had marginal success in connecting with some of the most demoralised and downtrodden layers in cities like Dublin.
Therefore it is not enough merely to beat these far right goons back into the sewer. They must be made to feel politically isolated.
Their ‘anti-establishment’ veneer is extremely thin, but it will wear right off in the face of a real anti-establishment force of the left. At present, that does not exist. Sinn Féin, for all attacks on the establishment, has clearly begun preparing itself to be a respectable party of power, perhaps in coalition with one of the traditional, hated right-wing parties.
What is needed is a new point of reference: a revolutionary, communist party, oriented towards the working class and sinking its roots in that class; a fighting party that will confront every manifestation of oppression; and that will strive to overthrow the capitalist system, boot out imperialism, and form a 32-county socialist Ireland.
Join us, fight with us, and let us build such an organisation!