Speaker discusses Ireland, anarchy

Marissa Mendel

Students say awareness, activism rising at Kent State

Irishman Andrew Flood, member of the Workers Solidarity Movement, speaks to members of Kent Anti-Racist Action about anarchism in Ireland yesterday in the Student Center. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

More than 20 students gathered yesterday to learn about the rise of anarchy in Ireland and think about the movement in relation to their lives.

Anti-Racist Action brought Andrew Flood, a member of the Workers Solidarity Movement, to speak to students in Room 316 of the Student Center.

“In the last 15 years or so, anarchism has spread globally,” Flood said.

Flood showed slides of some of the protests his group has participated in while describing their efforts to Kent State students.

Flood spoke about protesting against the war in Afghanistan, workers’ rights and other causes through creating mass blockades and demonstrations.

He also spoke about how the media in Ireland treats the anarchist movement.

“Previously (the media) could only use it as a kind of word for chaos, where as now anarchists are thought as sort of the bogeyman of the media,” Flood said.

He said the media misrepresent what the movement is trying to do when they cover protests. Eventually, the movement decided to bring its voice to the media.

Flood said members spoke on a television talk show to get people to “recognize local anarchists on television explaining what our ideas are about.”

One of the causes Flood’s group protested was Shell’s construction of an oil pipeline in Rossport, Ireland. Flood said these pipelines can explode if they fail, and Shell was trying to build one within 70 miles of people’s homes. The Workers Solidarity Movement stepped in after Rossport citizens tried to legally stop it but were not getting anywhere.

Flood said after Shell set up injunctions and jailed five protesting farmers who did not give up, they decided not to arrest protesters anymore.

Junior history major Isaac Miller said that the large turnout of the event is proof of an interest in anarchy on campus.

“Anti-Racist Action over the last couple years has had a very small membership base, but tonight the room was packed,” Miller said.

Katie Troha, junior conflict management major, said she believes people are becoming interested in activism in general.

“I think these days there are more people getting involved and more people learning about anarchism,” Troha said.

Miller said this event is the beginning of sharing these ideas on campus.

“Anarchy, as a political philosophy, I think, is growing,” he said. “Anti-Racist Action has been involved non-exclusively with anarchism.”

He said members do not have to be anarchist, but the group prominently shares this philosophy.

Contact international affair reporter Marissa Mendel at [email protected].