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(en) Ireland, Anarchist journal Workers Solidarty #92 - James Connolly and Direct Action

Date Thu, 06 Jul 2006 08:53:49 +0300


If we always obey the rules of our rulers, always con ourselves into believing
that justice can be obtained by going through the `proper channels', we will
usually lose. At the Dublin May Day rally, the guest speaker from the Belfast &
District Council of Trade Unions quoted from an article, Direct Action in Belfast,
written by Connolly and published in the Irish Worker, September 16th, 1911.
"We have just had, and taken, the opportunity in Belfast to put into practice a
little of what is known on the Continent of Europe as `Direct Action'.
"Direct Action consists in ignoring all the legal and parliamentary ways of
obtaining redress for the grievances of Labour, and proceeding to rectify these
grievances by direct action upon the employer's most
susceptible part ­ his purse. This is very
effective at times, and saves much needless
worry, and much needless waste of union
funds.
"Direct Action is not liked by lawyers,
politicians, or employers. It keeps the two
former out of a job, and often leaves the lat-
ter out of pocket. But it is useful to Labour,
and if not relied upon too exclusively, or
used too recklessly, it may yet be made a
potent weapon in the armoury of the work-
ing class."
Direct Action is not a new idea. It is not
about stunts or being `hard'. It simply means
taking action directly rather than trusting in
someone else (politicians, Labour Court,
mediators, etc.) to sort things out for us.
It gave our unions many victories in the
past but that is almost forgotten today. It is
time to go back to basics: decide what we
want to achieve and then organise together
to win it. It's both a radical idea and a prac-
tical one.
Joe King
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