A walk with the Starry Plough
As in years past, Peace and Freedom Party members in support of the liberation and unification struggle in Ireland walked with the International Republican Socialist Network (IRSN) contingent in the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade, 15 March 2008. The slogan under which we assemble the anti-imperialist contingent is "NO WAR BUT THE CLASS WAR!", the banner carried by a member of The All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) and an IRSN member, behind the lead fl ag, the Starry Plough (Ireland's equivalent of the red flag).
The Peace and Freedom Party sign "Bring down the war machine" and the IWW flag were behind, followed by the flags of 3 other nations within the islands of Ireland and Britain with active national liberation movements, Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.
The fl oat carried a banner denouncing the Irish government's continuing arrest and torture of people who support resistance to Britain's occupation of six Irish counties, specifically calling for the release of fi ve members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party recently arrested in the city of Cork.
Along the parade route as recognition of the content of our contingent occurred to bystanders, they began to applaud enthusiastically and raise fists in support. At our pass by the reviewing stand the announcer spontaneously added to our submission, proclaiming not only our struggle for a free Ireland, but our support for the end to imperialism's wars, U.S. out of Iraq; support for anti-racist and prowomen's struggles, and for socialism, amazing even the members of the contingent! The announcer named as well the Industrial Workers of the World and the Peace and Freedom Party, reading our sign aloud for the benefit of the crowd.
The customary continuation of the celebration went on at the IRSN's office. People talked of what socialism looks like, that it's opposite the forms we know today. Work, study, city layouts, land use, recreation and enjoyment would all have a tone entirely different from the present regimented ones designed to fit the labor force into its age-old service to the profiting, owning class. Work would be our pride to do. People would not be relegated by age to limited places for participation in society. People would not only do one 'job' in their lives, but a variety of services to themselves and the community. Back- and mind-breaking labor would give way to the satisfaction of good work done in gentle care of Earth.
This happy discussion, fueled by margaritas and snacks went on for hours, as that great hope that is the struggle for justice rose among us, a shared vision urging us on.
Norma Harrison is a member of the Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party Central Committee.