Climate Justice, Global Capitalism and Lingering Troubles of Colonialism

6 Apr

or, A Giant Poisonous Penis Stuck Off the Coast of Ireland

by Panagioti / EF! Newswire

“Bod nimhneach an ghaill dhaill” 

Yesterday began the weekend of events surrounding the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair in Ireland. I wasn’t planning to write an article about it—actually, I was just trying to coordinate getting a box of Earth First! Journals over there, and find some one to sit next to our table for the day.


A clever double-entendre which will make more sense by the end of this article.

As you may have guessed, it turned out to not be that simple. While I found some folks to hang out at the EF! Journal table, I also found out a few other things which caught my attention, namely that the next G8 meeting and the annual June action camp against Shell’s infamous gas pipeline are being planned over there in tandem, which sent me down a winding path of research and reflection.

Our neighbors across the Atlantic might still have a couple months of being cold and wet, but it’s looking like it things could really heat up in Ireland this Summer…

With the G8 planning to meet in County Fermanagh and the Rossport Solidarity Camp planning to celebrate 13 years of fighting “the pipe” in County Mayo, it seems that eco-resistance and anti-capitalist movements could get a much needed boost there in Éire, oh yeah, and in Northern Ireland too.

Troubles with the G8

For those who don’t live there, and have never visited, the border between the Republic of Ireland and the counties in the province of Ulster, which are still occupied by the UK, can get pretty blurry and confusing. (I know, you’re still wondering about the penis reference… We’ll get there.)

As with many social struggles that we may only hear about through big media outlets, it can be easy to get distracted by the supposed complexities of history, culture or religion which tend to be emphasized. But also as in most conflicts, the bulk of strife boils down to greed and control.

By the early 20th Century, Belfast had become the largest city in Ireland and Ulster’s economy was closely integrated with the British Empire’s industrialism. The further from Belfast, the less colonial control maintained by the UK.

And Co. Fermanagh is just far enough to be renowned for electing Provisional IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands as a Member of Parliament in April 1981, shortly before his death. Sands was a political prisoner who died in the H Block (or Long Kesh), a prison in Northern Ireland that was used to torture and repress IRA militants during “the Troubles” from mid-1971 to mid-2000.

Lough Erne Resort, G8 meeting location June 2013

Lough Erne Resort, G8 meeting location June 2013.. Looks like a wild and beautiful place to crash a party!

In announcing the coming G8 plans to meet in Northern Ireland’s Lough Erne Hotel and Golf Resort, The British prime minister David Cameron had this to say: “I want the world to see what a fantastic place Northern Ireland is… This will be a great moment for Northern Ireland.”

Seems, in all his enthusiasm, Dave might want to make sure that he also mentions the group Oglaigh Na hEireann (ONH) claiming a car bomb abandoned in County Fermanagh last month was intended to be detonated at the fancy hotel hosting the G8 summit of world leaders in June, and perhaps also that the “new” IRA have been intensifying their attacks on security forces, mainly the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and other strategic targets. In a coded statement to The Guardian, ONH offered this early greeting to the global elite: “Car bomb defused in County Fermanagh on Sat 23rd March. Target was hotel hosting G8 summit in June.”

Mr. Cameron will be joined by President Barack Obama, President Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel and other members of the G8 group from France, Italy, Canada and Japan.

Of course, these summits generally draw huge protests from anti-globalization and anti-austerity demonstrators. The cops in Northern Ireland have already begun arranging for hundreds of extra holding cells in anticipation of protests at this summer’s G8 summit turning ugly.

The PSNI also says they acquired spy drones to be flown over the luxury hotel while hundreds of police officers and security officials will be deployed into the border region for the biggest gathering of world leaders in Northern Ireland’s history.

Those fond of road blockades and canoe flotillas may be interested to know that the resort complex has just one main entrance with a long drive to the hotel and is otherwise bound by a lake.

Local anti-Shell campaigner Terence Conway standing in front of the stuck tunnel boring machine, 2012.

Local campaigner Terence Conway
 in front of Shell’s stuck tunnel boring machine, 2012.

Enter Shell, the Poison Penis Wielding Blind Colonizer

If you’ve made it reading this far, perhaps your thinking you deserve to know what the title of this article is about. So as a reward for your attention span being longer than a tweeted message, here’s little evolving legend about Shell, the Children of Lir and bod nimhneach an ghaill dhaill [according to Irish activists this seems to be translated as the poisonous penis of either the bitter and the blind or the blind colonist. I couldn’t quite get a clear translation.]


Children of Lir statue at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin

The tunnel boring machine (TBM) trying to tunnel under Sruwadducon Bay has been named “Fionnuala” after one of the children of Lir. The four children of Lir were turned into swans for 900 years by their jealous step-mother. They spent the last 300 years in the seas off North Mayo. “Fionnuala the TBM” is 140 m long and weighs almost 500 tonnes. Big one.

Rumor among the Rossport Solidarity Campers has it that its been stuck in the mud under the bay for near 5 weeks now. This is Shell’s gift to Sruwadducon—bod nimhneach an ghaill dhaill.

Back to the legend I am plagiarizing off the Shell to Sea website:

“In the story of the children of Lir the 4 children Aodh, Fiachra, Conn and Fionnuala are stricken by their jealous step-mother Aoife and turned into swans. In some remorse for her terrible deed, she leaves them their human voices, to lament and sing of the terrible hardships of living on the sea. 900 years they are condemned to live as swans. 300 years on Lough Derravaragh, 300 years on the sea of Moyle and 300 years on the seas off Iorras Domhnann. Sruwadducon bay (the bay of the Dog of Conn) is named after Conn one of the children of Lir, as the sea’s off Erris are where the children of Lir spent their last 300 years. They returned to human form before dying and are buried on the isle of Inis Gluaire, where the ground is said to be sanctified.

“Is this ancient and beautiful area where some of the first Celtic peoples settled to be excavated and treated like mere collateral trash? Fionnuala, if she were to come back, would be appalled to see her name adopted by such a monster…

Spirit of Place - The Children of Lir (monument at Ceathrú Thaidhg) by Lyle McElderry

The Children of Lir monument at Ceathrú Thaidhg, photo by Lyle McElderry

“Last year 27 swans (a conference of swans) gathered on the water in Sruwadducon. They stayed together as the tide rose and fell for a day before flying out off the bay and to the sea. Swans are also associated with the Irish struggle for freedom.

“It brings bad luck to those who kill them. Let us invoke the curse of Mannanan McLir (a Celtic god of the sea) on Shell, may their hopes founder and be crushed by the Sea.”

And for any of you who happen to be wandering through Co. Mayo in the next week, consider visiting on April 10 to show support for four campaigners who are due to appear in Court, at 10:30am, as a result of their opposition to Shell’s Corrib Gas project. These include Maura Harrington and John Monaghan, who you might recognize from The Pipe, a great film on the first 10-or-so years of the struggle against Shell. “Support is always welcome.”

Some Final Thoughts

Thanks to those who followed me on this strange and spontaneous writing foray into some past, present and near-future of resistance and autonomy in Ireland.

Though I am not from Ireland myself, I recognize many connections between the US and the island. For one, the fight against fossil fuel pipelines in North America has been going off like never before (with Shell very much in the mix, including another oil spill revealed just this week in Texas). For two, the anti-colonial and indigenous elements that are interwoven throughout social movements in Ireland, as well as the US, Mexico, and, especially Canada’s recent Idle No More explosion.

And finally, in relation to the Earth First! movement taking on a stronger dedication to anti-oppression framework as a movement that is currently comprised largely of people socialized as white from various European ancestries, to recognize that anti-colonial environmental justice struggles are present world-wide. The likelihood that your pale n’ pasty relatives have been (or are still) on the front lines of these struggles in some shape or form is high, and that is part of your story that you take into battle as a reluctant settler here on the stolen land of Turtle Island.

In closing, some words from C.A.L.M (Celtic Anarchist Love Monks)

Ní hé an lá ————————————————- This is not the day

Ní hé an lá an lá an lá ——————————— This is not the day
Ní hé an lá a chailleach an airgid —————— you old hag of money

Ní h——-é an lá
a chailleach an airgid


Panagioti is an editor at the Earth First! Journal. He spent several weeks in Spring 2012 traveling Ireland, Scotland and England visiting campaigns (including the Rossport Solidarity Camp) and offering presentations on the EF! movement in the US. He is also involved with the Everglades Earth First! group.. Oh, and excitedly preparing to become a father of a half-Irish, half-Greek (but mostly americanized) sprog in his home town of Lake Worth, occupied Florida.

5 Responses to “Climate Justice, Global Capitalism and Lingering Troubles of Colonialism”

  1. Earth First! Journal Sonoran Office April 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Mannanan McLir! Mannanan Fucking McLir!


  1. G8 Summit and Activism Against Oil Pipeline Could Lead to More Trouble in Northern Ireland | Design Interaction - April 11, 2013

    […] Panagioti writes at Earth First! Newswire: […]

  2. G8 Summit and Activism Against Oil Pipeline Could Lead to More Trouble in Northern Ireland | Conspiracy Theories - April 11, 2013

    […] Panagioti writes at Earth First! Newswire: […]

  3. Irish Teens Toss 25 Molotovs at Loyalist and Police in N. Ireland | Earth First! Newswire - April 14, 2013

    […] [As the G8 prepares for meeting in Northern Ireland this Summer, it seems anti-colonial militants and rebellious youth are gearing up as well. Or, maybe they're just excited about Margaret Thatcher finally kickin' the bucket… For more background on G8 preparations, check out an article featured last week on the EF! Newswire "Climate Justice, Global Capitalism and Lingering Troubles of Colonial Occupation"] […]

  4. Sabotage Against Shell’s Pipeline in Erris, Ireland | Earth First! Newswire - June 23, 2013

    […] For more on the ongoing battle against Shell’s pipeline, check out A Giant Poisonous Penis Stuck Off the Coast of Ireland […]

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