Hammered by the Irish — Online Book Launch

1) Photos from “Hammered by the Irish” benefit Gig for Anti-War Prisoners Dublin, Oct 9th.
2) Reflections on the Oct 9 Benefit Gig – “Community Building as Basis of Resisting Wholesale & Retail Violence!”
3) Present Availability of Harry Browne’s “Hammered by the Irish”-Ireland, England, Australia, U.S. amd online!
4) Future Events around Release of “Hammered by the Irish”

1) Photos from Oct 9th. “Hammered by the Irish” gig in Dublin
2) Reflections on the Gig – “Community Building as a Basis of Resisting Wholesale & Retail Violence!”
The Dublin court season opened this past week. A barrister who attended both the opening religious service for Dublin’s legal fraternity and our kick ass “Hammered by the Irish” gig, reports that the reading for both functions was the “Swords into Ploughshares” prophecy from Isaiah 2….that’s gotta be a good sign!
Well this was one kick ass gig. It was something like the 14th. benefit gig that has come out of the Pitstop Ploughshares disarmament action and 3 trials http://www.peaceontrial.comWhy have yet another benefit gig two years after the Pitstops reached its use by date and disbanded, I hear you ask?
Well for a number of reasons………-it’s not all about us! Like the war, the anti-war resistance continues and this gig was a benefit for U.S. military resister Robin Long presently locked up in The Naval Consolidated Brig at Mirimar, just north of San Diego, U.S.A. for refusing deployment Iraq AND for the latest ANZAC/Waihopai Ploughshares crew facing trial in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. The gig raised 600 euros for these four good people risking their liberty for resisting this war.
*Background on Robin Long and the Kiwi Ploughshares, check out
-to celebrate the Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org U.S. publication of Harry Browne’s fine book on the Pitstop Ploughshares “Hammered by the Irish”-to farewell Damien as he heads off to volunteer in Africa for a year. Damo was back in Ireland for the Summer, after 2 years in Warsaw (and a few hours at O’Hare, Chicago before being returned to sender by Homeland Security!), in the hope of making some money, learning Twi, catching up to family and friends and doing what he could to keep resisting the war. This gig was a conclusion of a 5 year organising relationship between Damo whose young -as he cocnstantly reminded me over 6 years – enough to be my son, this gig was our no budget/zero infrastructure organsing swan song.

To keep in touch with Damien in Africa, check out his blog…..

-an opportunity to gather folks who remain engaged with this war in a very militarily engaged country (refueling at Shannon as the major major hub for U.S. troops deploying to do the killing and dying in Iraq) and a very consciously disengaged country (media, youth culture, “the left”, the churches etc) with the war. To gather with people who have resisted the zombification of the mainstream media who “cover” (& bury) the ongoing Irish contributuion to an ongoing war.

Hammered by the Irish
Hammered by the Irish

-and lets face it, all false humility aside after 5 years of fine tuning, given that we have no budget and no infrastructure, we do kick ass benefit gigs!

-Paul O’Toole has been a mainstay for all our benefits and he was available, it also provided an opportunity for a bit of a reunion for folks who had accompanied the Pitstops through 3 trials. Given that the 5 Pitstops have such far flung origins, present locations and future destinations, reunions are unlikely.

Community as the Basis of Ongoing Reistance and the Search for Peace & Justice

One thing we have realised over the last 6 years of this war is that there isn’t much resistance, because there ain’t much community and solidarity with resisters. In the imperial centre, we live lives that are a lot more atomised than was the case during the Vietnam War (and the anti-Vietnam War movement) of the ’60s & ’70’s. A community of sorts emerged around the Pitstop resistance and here it was at play. In the early hours of the previous day it had also been made evident to me.

At 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I awoke to find my blind friend R in a neighboring bedsit had been viciously assaulted by another man living in the house. The assailant had broken into my friend’s room threatened to kill him, punched him repetitively in the face and ribs, picking up a metal microphone stand, hitting my friend around the head. He had left and returned to assault him a second time. By the time I woke, I discovered my friend sitting in his room in a stunned traumatised state, the cops interviewing the assailant upstairs. I stayed with my friend and waited for the cops to arrest this guy. The cops came down emptyhanded and were about to leave stating they could take no further action tonight (it was 3.30 am), if you want to pursue this matter come to the Garda station at 10pm.

I was shocked, I said to the cops, “Run this by me real slow, this guy has just broken into this room, breaking the lock and assaulted this blind guy. He has threatened to kill him. This room is no longer secure and you are about to depart the scene of a crime without taking the assailant with you who has threatened the life of the guy with the disability he has just bashed?”

The cops left, I’m still waking up and now I’m on guard duty sitting on a stool in the bedsit facing off the closed unlocked door as my friend is nursing his injuries on the bed. I don’t know, but where I come from beating up blind people is down there with raping kidz and stealing wheelchairs…it’s something the criminal fraternity wouldn’t even consider doing and not expect to get a bashing when they hit jail should the word get out, and it surely would. I’m not sure if the place I’m from is “Australia” or maybe it’s a place called “the 70’s” that doesn’t exist anymore? Whichever it is, I’m a long way from there as I sit on this stool, facing this unlocked door, listening intently and considering my options.

The forces of the state, deployed with such numbers, vim and vigor to secure Shell and the U.S. military at Rossport and Shannon against nonviolent resisters, had failed to secure my friend tonight from an ongoing violent threat.
Once I got over the illusions of the state (that it does what it says on the package), I began to turn to my community (remember them? the one that emereged and connected around the Pitstop action and trials). I text punk artist S, R & I walked around to S and had R’s injuries photographed and put on a disc. I rang an anti-war Doc to get advice on how to best access the illusive Irish health care system. At 6 pm, I put out a text updating folks and requesting help. Messages of concern came flooding back that countered R’s feelings of humiliation and isolation that go with being bashed. Paul sent back a message that he could fix the lock, but was playing a cheesy tourist gig on Bachelors Walk. He said he’d be over after the gig. Great. In the meantime R’s old friend J came to accompany him to the 10 pm appointment at the cop shop to lodge the complaint.Paul arrived with his tool kit at midnight and departed the bedsit Wed. 2 am after securing the room and pasuing httereafter to analyse the decline of Western civilisation…..a great security pardaigm shift for R. I hit the hay (actually a leather jacket between me and the floor) after being up for 23 hours.

By Wed 7pm Paul was tuning up on the Lower Deck stage to do this gig (remember the gig?). By 11.30pm Paul O’Toole and his hastily assembled A.r.s.e. (Aging Rock Star Ensemble) were finishing their act. In the meantime we had heard from the very gifted Joe Black
who I first met carrying a guitar case at the Rialto 19 bus stop. Donal O’Kelly (that’s him above doing a very convincing seagull!) was his usual brilliant self. We heard from author Harry Browne reflecting on humility, the war, the Pitstops and the impact of the anti-war movement on the U.S. elections.

We sold all the (32) copies of “Hammered by the Irish” books we had brought. We raised 600 euros for the anti-war resisters before the courts and in jail.

To me these gatherings are in their best sense sacramental – rituals of communities of celebration and resitance at play. There were 70-80 folks gathered. Some who had travelled with us over the 3 years of the Pitstop witness, action, jailtime and trials. Folks who had given us accomodation, financial support, bicycles, music, meals, written articles, taken photos, bought us pints, long hours of support inside and outside the Four Courts, intervened on our behalf with the authorities, parents, church, forgiven us and who had been forgien by us to dust ourselves down and re-engage with the important work of resisting this war.

There were a bunch of new people as well. Babs had travelled from Glasgow, Conor from Shannon, there were Austrians, Aussies, Yanks, French, Colombian, Brazilian, priests, lawyers, exprisoners, future prisoners, lotta A.A. folks, @’s over from the Seama Spraoi meeting, Mike from IAWM, fellow workers from the homeless shelter, Legalise Cannabis dudes, Rossport activists.

It was a great night, future celebrations
around Harry Browne’s “Hammered by the Irish” are planned for D.I.T., Tower Records (Dublin), Glasgow, London, Galway. If you have an activist crew in your town or on your campus..we might be able to throw a few of us (defo Paul & me, maybe Joe Black and Harry when he’s available) in a van, head up to your town, hook up with some local artists & activists and have a night. It would be a bit like Dylans’s “Rolling Thunder Review” of the ’70’s, only difffferent!
Availabilability of Harry Browne’s “Hammered by the IrishPresently Available in Dublin from….
Afri 134 Phibsborough Rd. Phibsborough
Tower Records off Grafton St. City Centre
Harry Browne
Damien Moran
Ciaron O’Reilly
In Cork…from James at WSM
In Shannon/Limerick..from Conor Cregan
In London ….
at the Anarchist Bookfair Saturday Oct 18th 08 11 a.m. workshop (see program) & Catholic Worker Book Stall
In Brisbane…..
St Mary’s Church stall, South Brisbane
(soon) Folio Books, City Centre
(soon) Avid Reader (West End)
(soon) Sean O’Reilly
Online from ….
AK Press
Catholic Worker Bookstore
The book is also available on Amazon:
4) Future Events around “Hammered by the Irish”
*Thursday Oct 16th. Senator David Norris launches “Hammered by the Irish” by Harry Browne.
*Saturday Oct 18th. 11 a.m. Room EB2
London Anarchist Bookfair
Snr. Seargeant Steiger from “Neighbours” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Steiger
in hot pursuit as Ciaron O’Reilly introduces “Hammered by the Irish”
*Thursday Oct 30th. 5 pm Tower Records
Dublin City Centre,
Colm Mac Con Iomaire (from “The Frames”)
plays from solo album “The Hare” http://www.theframes.ie/ ) as Harry Browne speaks to “Hammered by the Irish”
*Hammered by the Irish” gigs presently being explored in Galway, Glasgow and Limerick.

2 thoughts on “Hammered by the Irish — Online Book Launch

  1. Faith of our Fathers 4 –an epilogue

    by Gary MacLennan (includes link to review of “Hammered by the Irish”)

    Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
    “Now they are all on their knees,”
    An elder said as we sat in a flock
    By the embers in hearthside ease.

    We pictured the meek mild creatures where
    They dwelt in their strawy pen,
    Nor did it occur to one of us there
    To doubt they were kneeling then.

    So fair a fancy few would weave
    In these years! Yet, I feel,
    If someone said on Christmas Eve,
    “Come; see the oxen kneel,

    “In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
    Our childhood used to know,”
    I should go with him in the gloom,
    Hoping it might be so’

    (Thomas Hardy)

    I began this series of posts with an article on the Irish mystic Larry Cummins. That was followed by an article on the crisis in the Catholic Church in Brisbane centered on the radical church of St Mary’s in South Brisbane. It must be said though that to call the church “radical” makes only sense to the likes of Opus Dei. “Moderate & social democratic” would be much more appropriate. Nevertheless St Mary’s is the church of the intellectuals and it is, however reluctantly, in conflict with the core church. What the outcome of that struggle is likely to be is impossible to say at this stage. However I note that as I write this, rumors are circulating that Fr Kennedy and his curate have compromised and are keeping a very low profile in terms of liturgical innovation. The statue of the Buddha, that so offended Archbishop Batttersby, is also rumored to have disappeared. No doubt Fr Peter Kennedy and the Arch Bishop have come to a compromise that will keep the right wing fanatics of the Archbishop’s back.

    My meditations on mystics and intellectuals were followed by a review of Harry Browne’s great book Hammered by the Irish. I have urged everyone to buy and read the book. I repeat that message now. So what remains? Well for some reason or other like the knight who is alone and palely loitering, I am reluctant to quit the field as it were. The book with its gripping accounts of the action and the trials has had an almost disturbing effect on me. It is as if in reading of the account of the Ploughshare Activists and the aftermath of their action that life had somehow taken on the quality of the ‘comet’s pulsating rose’ and now I am left amidst the dull demi-reality of what surely must be the most dishonest of all capitalist crises.

    But I also want to ask and attempt to answer a question or two. I am puzzled to begin with why mystics like Larry Cummins when they hearken to the Blessed Virgin, the mother of God, never seem to hear anything about atrocities like Abu Ghraib or even obscenities like credit default swaps which have pushed millions into penury. The likes of Larry never seem to come out with a message that cannot be accommodated within the status quo. All that seems to be needed is a little bit of push and shove and make do.

    The Blessed Virgin appears to be as reluctant as Rupert Murdoch to use words like capitalism, imperialism, class warfare, or even domination and exploitation. The secrets, she passes on, never t ell us anything such as why the rich get richer and richer, why 1% control 70% of the world’s wealth and why children must starve to death while there are whole mountains of wheat and now it would be nice to have a word or two about where the invisible hand of the market has gone and why it would seem absolutely necessary that the public’s money be used not on schools and hospitals but on the rich in order to save them from themselves.

    I may seem to be mocking here, but nothing is further from my intention. The point I wish to make is that mystics like Larry Cummins must of course continue to pray for the dead, but I wish as Bhaskar does to urge them to also pray for the living. And that prayer must be linked to action to create the foundation of the Kingdom of God here on Earth. To put this in its simplest terms the church that Larry represents must meet with the church that Ciaron O’Reilly represents.

    As an outsider it seems to me that they have much to give each other. Ciaron could explain to Larry that there is really more to worry about than the repair man who cannot fix his TV because he has been watching pornography. Ciaron could no doubt explain to Larry that there is nothing more obscene than war and torture and the creation of poverty. Let it also be said that I believe that a meeting with Larry would renew Ciaron’s faith and hope in the future based on a recognition that there lives the greatest freshness deep down things.

    Finally on Ciaron himself: he is 48 now and I have known him since he was 18. I won’t recount the number of times we have disagreed. Personally I find the Plowshares approach to be much too substitutionist. The danger of choosing the role of the prophet is that one can fall into the fatal trap of complaining of the people because their consciousness does not match up to one’s own. Having said that , I am 100% behind Ciaron in his efforts to disrupt the American machinery of death.

    However I would also like to point that there is another side to Ciaron besides that of the man of heroic and often dangerous deeds. He reminds me of the poem Tall Nettles by Edward Thomas.

    Tall nettles cover up, as they have done

    These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough

    Long worn out, and the roller made of stone;

    Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

    This corner of the farmyard I like most:

    As well as any bloom upon a flower

    I like the dust on the nettles, never lost

    Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.

    Just so with Ciaron, though come to think of it he might not overly fancy being compared to a bunch of tall nettles! Whatever the case, I admire his public activism and his courage and his willingness to go to prison for his beliefs and the fact that he will never let go of the dream of a better world, but what I really like most about him is that away from the often spectacular limelight, he has led a life full of the little unremembered acts of kindness and of love that are the best part of a good man’s life. So last year when I got into strife and when I came out hours later from the ordeal there was Ciaron who had stayed all afternoon out of solidarity.

    I am also grateful for Ciaron for introducing me to Dorothy Day and I will quote now to him something of hers that I think he might benefit from as he contemplates yet again the apathy of the young amidst the terrible suffering that is all around us. It comes at the end of a letter to a young migrant woman, Felicia, who is living in desperate straits. Day writes “Never mind Felicia. God is not mocked. As things are they will not be”.

    Gary MacLennan

    Institute for Social Ecology


    20th Oct 2008

    *LINK – Parts 1, 2 & 3 of Gary MacLennan’s “Faith of our Fathers” – Reflections on the Catholic Church.


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