Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Raised Fist

My initial post in reaction to the VRA’s asinine request that the British ban, for us, the ‘Black Power’ salute was more of an anger driven rant as it was my first emotion upon reading and hearing about it. As I said in the post, their request is not just an insult to all Africans who have ever struggled for freedom, but an insult to many other peoples who have struggled for freedom as well, and I want to give just a quick history of the raised fist.

As has already been stated, the raised (or clenched fist) is a salute, used by many groups from across the political left, from political and social activists, anti-fascists, and simply those with anti-establishment outlooks. It has been used by communists, anarchists, feminists, environmentalists, socialists, national liberationists and unionists. It has almost always been considered a symbol of solidarity, strength and defiance.

Additionally, different movements at different time have used various terms to describe the raised fist salute: amongst communists and socialists it is often known as the red salute, whereas amongst black rights activists, especially in the United States, it has been called the black power salute. During the Spanish Civil War, it was sometimes known as the anti-fascist salute.

It has often been said that the fist represents unity, as many weak fingers can come together to create a strong fist. Many groups have used the salute, including but not limited to:

  • the American Indian Movement
  • Anarchist Black Cross (a political prisoner and prison abolitionist organization)
  • the Black Panther Party of Self-Defense
  • Earth First! (eco-defense organization)
  • the Women’s Liberation Movement
  • Food Not Bombs (holding a carrot) (an anti-capitalist free-food sharing organization)
  • International Brigades – International volunteers who fought to defend the democratic, Second Spanish Republic from the fascist forces of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
  • International Socialist Organization, US-based socialist movement
  • Italian Radical Party
  • Jewish Defense League
  • the Irish Republican Army and other Irish Republican and Socialist Movements
  • United Farm Workers of America
  • additionaly the clenched fist holding a rose is one of the main symbols of social democracy, and is the symbol of the socialist intyernational
The salute consists of raising the arm with a clenched fist, at an angle of 90 degrees or greater. However, specific use of the salute has never been consistent; for example many anarchists use the right arm while Marxists tend to use the left arm. The salute contrasts with the Roman Salute (also known as the Hitler or Nazi salute), used by fascists in the 20th and 21st centuries, in which the arm is held stiff and the hand is held palm downward with the fingers together and extended outward. Also unlike the Roman salute, which is generally directed toward another person or a symbol such as a flag or standard, the clenched fist salute generally is not.

Probably one of the most famous uses of the gesture was at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. African-American medal winners John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the raised fist salute during the American national anthem as a sign of black power and protest on behalf of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. For this, they were barred from further Olympic activities.

So as I said before, the battle is long from over, so let us keep those fists raised above our heads always until the victory, the VRA be damned!

In Solidarity


Keep Those Fists Pumpin’!

Fuck the VRA, that’s all I have to say. It seems every time they open their mouths I lose more and more respect for them, their true colours as nothing but a pack of bourgeoisie liberals comes out more and more. They show themselves to be reactionary agents of repression, but this time they have gone way to far. To even begin to equate the black power salute to the Hitler salute, swastika (of course I find listing the swastika as a hate symbol questionable, see my old post on this subject here) and cross-burning is beyond insulting to each and every African who has ever struggled for liberation in this world.

The entire notion of equating the symbol of one of the most destructive, most vile regimes in history with a symbol of the struggle for freedom for not just Africans, but for Indians, women, workers, and others goes even further and insults all these people everywhere, and in all times who fought against oppression based of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and class.

As to the VRA’s claims that “the Government has introduced programmes in the public schools that arguably are developing a negative image of the white population among young children.” Well fuck, if reclaiming education and telling the truth is a crime, then I think the VRA’s position speaks for itself.

To paraphrase Zach de la Rocha, the present curriculum is still largely Eurocentric, and you know what Europe isn’t my rope to swing on, we can’t learn a thing from it, yet we hang from it. We seriously have to check the interior of a system that cares about only one culture, and take the power back.

As for the rest of us (to quote The Coup) “raise your hands in the air like you’re born again, but make a fist for the struggle we was born to win.”

In Solidarity

One People, One Struggle

IRSP Easter Commemoration 2008 Speech

I know this is coming a little late, Easter having been in March this year, and the actual date of the uprising being April 22nd, but better late than never I guess. This message comes from the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, which includes the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Irish National Liberation Army and Republican Socialist Youth Movement.


Republican Socialism will not be bought, will not be sold and will not be deflected from its revolutionary path.

Comrades, supporters and friends, on the 92nd anniversary of the Easter 1916, we assemble to commemorate the courageous actions of Irish Republicans and Socialists as they strove to light the revolutionary touch paper that would rid Ireland of British occupation and capitalist control.

We recall with pride the courage and tenaciousness of Comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for a 32 County Irish Socialist Republic. Today we honour our fallen Comrades of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Irish National Liberation Army.

We pay tribute to their families and friends, your sacrifice has been permanent and long term and often goes unacknowledged, we acknowledge your courage, your steadfastness and your pain. It is only through the pursuance of the revolution, the continuance of working class struggle and the attainment of our goals that we can truly commemorate our fallen comrades.

We send revolutionary greetings to our POW’s in Portlaoise and Maghaberry, your continued incarceration is testament to the arrant failure of those who purport to represent the interests of the Irish working class, whilst swigging champagne and playing happy families with our oppressors.

Across the world, global imperialism runs rampant, we send solidarity to all those who struggle against occupation, exploitation and genocide in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. ‘Western Democracy’, far from being a tool for liberation and empowerment for oppressed peoples across the globe, is in fact the weapon of the oppressor.

It corrupts and divides the oppressed and disenfranchised, replacing the natural solidarity among our class with division, suspicion and poverty. Western democracy dissipates working class unity; it promotes sectarian and racist division that enables it to exploit countries and peoples in the pursuance of greed and profit.

In each and every decade there have been a generation of Irish men and women who have been prepared to step up to the mark and ensure that the noble aim of an Irish Socialist Republic that recognises and cherishes the worker as the central pillar of revolution from which all else is possible.

The Republican Socialist Movement has come under attack by the forces of capitalism in both the six counties and the 26 counties, over the past year our membership and supporters have come under a sustained and draconian assault from the Free Staters. Arrest, assault and detention of republican socialists have become commonplace.

It is important to put these detentions in their political context. The IRSP is experiencing measured growth; this growth of membership is due in no small part to our involvement and support of civil rights campaigns across the Island.

Whether it is the fight against occupation, against unjust wars, against racism, against unfair taxes, against the exploitation of workers or against the rape of our national resources, the IRSP seek no compromise and make no apology for our revolutionary actions. We will not take any lectures from the corrupt and internationally discredited Dublin administration in regards to how we organise.

In 2008 in Ireland we are witnessing a prolonged and sustained attack by the reactionary forces of global imperialism and national capitalism on the Irish working class. Whether it’s our people ravaged by poverty due to economic recession, unemployment, ill health, and poor education or imprisoned in their own homes frightened of the drug barons and their hooligan thugs.

This week we have witnessed the brutal murder of former republican prisoner Bap McGreevy in West Belfast attacked by thugs, crazed by drink and drugs. Many of you here today will remember Bap McGreevy, not just here in Belfast where he was a friend and neighbour, but also those who met Bap in Long Kesh, an innocent man sentenced to life imprisonment by a corrupt British regime. He bore this grave injustice with great courage and dignity, he deserved better than being kicked to death in his own home.

Unfortunately, Bap’s murder is not isolated, each week across Ireland, in Dublin, Derry, Limerick, Cork, we learn of such attacks. These conditions exist because of exploitation, poverty and hardship; they are not an innocent symptom or a side effect of capitalism; capitalism requires the exploitation of workers to make excessive profit.

To paraphrase Seamus Costello when talking about the Republican Socialist Movement he said, ‘a movement that cannot defend itself has no place talking about defending and representing the Irish working class’. I would like to extend that sentiment.

A working class movement that cannot defend, protect and nourish the interests of the Irish working class has no place calling itself a revolutionary movement.

Our aim is to oust imperialism, oust capitalism in all its guises and end the occupation and exploitation of the Irish working class. To our oppressors we state; you will not criminalise the Irish working class or our struggle for emancipation.

Let no one here today have any doubt about our intentions we intend to prosecute revolution in Ireland, we will achieve revolution through organising mass agitation and civil disobedience; remember comrades if the working class refuses to be governed by what passes for democracy in Ireland, it will not be governed. That has to be our starting point for rebellion.

We remember fallen Irish revolutionaries of past liberation campaigns on the anniversary of Easter 1916, we remember them with pride and a determination to succeed.

– You are today’s revolutionaries
– Be a revolutionary in the home
– Be a revolutionary in the community
– Be a revolutionary in the workplace
– Refuse to conform in an unjust society.

Together we can conclude the unfinished business of Easter 1916 in this new millennium.