The lazy and disingenuous reporting of the militant opposition to Saturday’s fascist rally (10 Oct.) in Dublin shows the level that some of our media has sunk to. Their ‘cut and paste’ reporting exposed a lack of real journalism in Ireland. The fear of politically aware working-class militant anti-fascists scared the establishment to a degree where the actual fascists were portrayed as the victims. History has shown that the establishment and their media are more comfortable with fascism than they are with an organised working class.
Nowhere in their commentaries and articles did these reporters ask the pertinent question of why the National Party (NP) fascists were previously allowed assault individuals in front of the police or why it required a sustained baton charge against anti-fascists by the same cops to defend the NP goons who had openly gloated about their previous cowardly attacks.
The failure of the media to expose, or simply even ask questions about, the fascist ideology of the NP and the violence against individuals which follows it has given comfort and encouragement to them and their fellow travellers.
For instance, a few weeks ago, ‘Eoin Corcoran’ one of the student incels behind what passes for the intellectual journal of Irish fascism, confidently asserted that in Dublin ‘the right can put more people on the street, and has the upper hand in any physical engagement.’ No doubt adrenalized by repeated viewing of YouTube footage of a middle-aged woman being felled by the NP’s security crew, ‘Corcoran’ outlined a grand theory of how this domination had come to pass, boasting of how ‘working class Nationalists’ could now ‘smash up middle-class reds’ at will. Surprisingly these hardened ‘fighters’ were nowhere to be seen when anti-fascists reclaimed GPO on Saturday October 3rd. Saturday’s fiasco for the NP at Leinster House has provoked a rapid and even more fundamental reappraisal. Outnumbered by working-class anti-fascists, the right’s fabled ‘fighters’ hid behind the Public Order Unit and begged for Garda escorts home.
Despite all the bluster, the NP hardmen failed their first proper test. So ‘Corcoran’ has been pressed into service again, this time under the moniker of ‘Ciaran Brennan.’ With all the confidence that an undergraduate education at Trinity College gives you, ‘Brennan’ sets out to convince his demoralized comrades that what they witnessed on Saturday was actually the ‘last throw of the dice’ for anti-fascism. Hilariously arguing that a coalition of bused-in ‘northern dissidents’ and Dublin ‘football ultras’ emerged to bolster the supposedly defeated anti-fascist movement, Brennan veers from outright lying (claiming that there were more NP supporters than anti-fascists present for example) to desperately trying to find positives in defeat. Boosted by clueless and patronising criticism of the anti-fascists by middle-class journalists in the mainstream press, Brennan suggests that this represents a major step forward for the image of the right. In reality, working-class anti-fascism has never had a good press and we have never been in the business of pleasing The Irish Times or its readership.
More significantly the NP’s new found love for the police (perhaps problematic for the drug dealers and house breakers in their ranks, but needs must) is championed as part of a newer more respectable strategy. Most importantly, while pretending that Saturday’s defeat didn’t matter, ‘Brennan’ proposes a move away from rallies and street activities altogether. For all his theorizing, the reality is this. The NP and their fellow hate-mongers were humiliated in recent elections. They were rejected outright by voters across Ireland. Their final two options were then to infiltrate street protests and to remain a social media freak show. Their social media presence and that of other right-wing bigots is primarily aimed at overseas fundraising by pretending to be relevant. They, therefore, latched onto controversial protests in a desperate attempt to gain some acceptance.
For a few weeks, Ireland’s fascists convinced themselves that easy victories against outnumbered and inexperienced people represented the future. The falling faces of the NP’s much diminished ‘security team’ (sick-notes no doubt) on Saturday as they observed determined anti-fascists approaching them told a different story. Forced to rely on the Public Order Unit to ferry them to safety, their ‘intellectuals’ have decided to pretend that there is a grand strategic reason for withdrawing from the streets. That this represents a complete reversal of their previous rhetoric will be obvious even to their dimmest recruit. Stripped of all the face-saving verbiage what this amounts to is — we are abandoning the streets because when the going got tough we couldn’t handle it — we will fawn over the cops because ultimately we will have to rely on them to do our fighting for us and despite claiming to despise the mainstream media, we cream ourselves when journalists criticise anti-fascists.
For all their bluster about the working class, the fascists have no understanding of Dublin and its traditions, no idea that on Saturday, facing them were people with decades of experience of working in communities across the city, men and women who have often faced far tougher opponents than wannabe Blueshirts. All the nationalist rhetoric in the world can’t hide the fact that their star speaker was an ex-British soldier, that their so-called security crew is run by a member of the Royal British Legion, or that their chief Twitter cheerleader is a loyalist grifter.
Though they may bleat about the ‘fall of Antifa’, the NP and their allies know well that on their first encounter with Anti-Fascist Action and Left Republicans, they were the ones found wanting.
- Bernard O’Reilly (AFA Ireland), 14 Oct. 2020.