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Belfast, 10 years – A Progressive Movement for Change

category antrim | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Monday October 01, 2007 15:29author by Davy Carlin Report this post to the editors

This is Part 4 of an online series for Indymedia Ireland, in which I will write one final Part in the time ahead.

In a few days on the 4th of October it is my 37th birthday, the year in which much change will again be seen and the year in which, finally, I will finish and publish my ‘memoirs, as one journalist recently put it. Indeed each change for oneself comes at the start of decades {7, 17, 27, and 37} and within each, various battles had been fought. And so it was a decade prior and the beginning of my real activism in 1997 that yet another battle had begun. It was the beginning of the loss of my sight; indeed in the space of a few days I went from perfect vision to being unable to see a face in front of me. Over the next several years it had seen many months in hospital beds with bandaged eyes as grafts and transplants where put in, {and then rejected}with many months more at home in pain. And as always my partner and family had looked after me at my time of need.

Indeed I thought I may never see again and had thought yet again, that one had to suffer.

Yet it turned out sound in the end.

And as I look back at that ‘activism {of the last decade}and my writing over the years on sites such as Indymedia Ireland and the Blanket, I see my development from a naive young activist marching around chanting one solution Revolution {and effecting no change} to that of oneself in the present. For me like others, I had no advisors, finances, speech tutors, spin doctors etc. I was and am just a working class lad who had and has something to say {from the heart} and it was such online sites that had afforded me that voice when many others had not.

Indeed back through that activism and within a society which even those few years ago, seemed a different world altogether – I was once termed a ‘Half Prod. This for reaching out {when it was not the norm in some circles} to working class Protestants, may it have been speaking, engaging, canvassing, postering etc from the Shankill Road through to the Village and Annadale flats. Then I was ‘Loyalist Lover, for speaking at a Loyalist Conference, sitting around a table with the Loyalist Commission, or doing interviews with leading figures of Loyalism while the rest of the Combined Loyalist Command stood in the background – at an ARN rally

On the other hand it was said that I had ‘not left behind my Roots’, and was an ‘Irish Republican’ as I had went on Republican {of various shades} marches, to meetings, to demonstrations and protests, against local Imperialism in all its forms. And when at one stage the President of Sinn Finn had spoke out to the crowds gathered in the Falls Park in West Belfast, ‘to support Davy Carlin of the ARN’, it then meant for some, that I was a Shinner.

Then I was also a ‘Liberal for some more, this for working with NGO’s, Church groups and the Trade Union Movement, while on the other hand I was an Anarchist for the direct actions against War and during the Anti Capitalist Movement.

Yet if one reads over my writings and through my actions I have long advocated over the years and reached out to embrace and with others to form, a Movement for Progressive Change, on various issues – {this as I have always stated} while holding my own political beliefs. Indeed I had very early on realised that in the present, that one cannot effect real change alone, and it is only through such a Momentum {in many cases}created with and throughout Progressive society that beneficial change can be won for all. Yet in saying that, in other cases and on other issues it will be the Revolutionary left in all its forms {with citizens} that can and will see though real change.

Indeed each small step, each gain, is a move forward.

And that is why a decade on and in that that I am involved in, it ranges still from NGO’s, Church groups, the Student Movement, and the Trade Union Movement {on the MPH -GCAP committee} through to Residents, Environmentalists, Politicians and Statutory Bodies {on The Friends of the Falls Park committee} right through to local working class communities across the ‘divide, rank and file trade unionists, Revolutionary Marxists, Anarchists and Libertarian Socialists on the Water Charges Campaign. And within each I have found much support, and on some issues we are effecting much change. Indeed such campaigns hold many sound activists who while not holding to all my beliefs, nevertheless work for the benefit of those most in need and for positive change.

Indeed such continuum stems from the mass local and International Movements and mobilisations of recent times. It was a Movement of Movements that had united Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter on so many issues as never before on this Isle, and on some issues a Movement that had never here seen its like before. We had seen the Anti Sectarian Rallies and Movement, the Anti Capitalism Movement, the Falls and Shankill Marches, the Radical Trade Union actions and Movement, the Anti War Movement, the Anti Racism Movement, the Anti Poverty Movement and much more, –

For further reading and links trawl through and to the end of this link for an account of these Movements -

These accounts are written at the time, and from the stand point of being at the forefront of each, as a founding member/ Committee member, an organiser, or a Spokesperson/Chair of each.

As my words and actions indicate, I am not a purist in the organisational sense of the word, although I do hold core beliefs, in that the end change that I desire will be won through the collective actions of the working class, while interim change being secured.

Indeed a move away from an unwinable way to peace is welcomed, but the progress on neo liberalism needs to be challenged. And on some of the issues that I campaign with others, we have seen and are seeing issues being won back into local communities hands.

The next decade, I believe, will see further change for the benefit of many, as that Movement moves forward seeking as always to bring those most in need with it. It is on the local issues as well as the International issues that campaigning needs still to continue. Yet times are changing and our society is not that of even those very short years ago.

Indeed on Saturday as my Partner and I stood in protest outside city hall against the brutality and lack of democracy in Burma {protest called by Amnesty International} I looked down the main Avenue. In doing so I had remembered the many times over the last decade that I had marched up that avenue with thousands of others, and had remembered addressing such crowds from upon a platform. And as I looked out and into Belfast city as we stood there on that Saturday lunchtime, I looked at the many faces of the world that now walk our streets.

Yes, times are a changing.

And so much progress has been moved to happen, and yes, there is more to do.
And as Marie and I had linked arms and had began to walk through the city that Saturday, such was the change and diversity of faces, we now where, and slowly but surely are, seeing ourselves fading evermore into the masse, and to just yet more faces in the crowd.

It is though with all such faces and with all such aspects of civic society, as motioned above, that we can continue to drive forward change for the benefit of all. It has been through such a Movement and the workings together, visible and otherwise, that much has been secured and had been moved to happen –

And I would vision more gains for working class communities and society in the time ahead, in the continuum of such workings.

author by Davy Carlinpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2007 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Attached is the link to the previous articles in this series. I will come back for any discussion on the whole series in the final Part -

Signing off - D

Related Link:
author by Davy Carlinpublication date Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Attached is a relevant link, for this ongoing series - 'D'

Related Link:
author by Davy Carlinpublication date Wed Aug 20, 2008 13:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Relevant link - as my first written thoughts one year on

- link -

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