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Alan MacSimoin (1957-2018) – #Dublin Historian and Political Activist

We learned at lunchtime today (December 5, 2018, EIE) of the tragic news that Alan MacSimoin has died. It was sudden and hit us hard. Alan was a social historian, political activist, trade unionist and great supporter of the Come Here To Me! project from day one.

Originally published by Come Here To Me

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only. 

Alan first became interested in politics in the late 1960s as a young teenager in Dublin. Paddy Healy recalled a very youthful Alan approaching him outside the GPO to buy a copy of the Young Socialist newspaper.

Alan said back in 2011:

I remember it as a time of optimism, modern ideas were challenging the conservative ones, the civil rights movement had brought out tens of thousands across the North, the Vietnamese were beating the mightiest military power on earth, the women’s movement was winning very real reforms.. Big change seemed possible.

While a secondary school student at Newpark Comprehensive School in South Dublin, Alan joined the youth wing of Official Sinn Féin. He recalls that the Special Branch visited his home and school in attempt to intimidate him as was a common tactic back then. Alan was centrally involved in the Irish Union of School Studentsin the 1970s which at its height had 7,000 paid up members.

Red Rag cover, 1975. Credit – Irish Anarchist History project

17-year-old Alan and a friend, both members of the William Thompson Republican Club, published a political magazine entitled ‘Red Rag‘ in 1975. Shortly later Alan resigned from the Official Republican Movement “because of its decision to regard the Soviet Bloc countries as “actually existing socialism” and to describe the 1956 Hungarian uprising as fascist.”

Alan then became interested in libertarian socialist/anarchist politics and remained committed to these ideals until the day he died. In the 1970s, he was also active with the anti-Nuclear movement and the Murrays Defence Committee.

He helped form the Dublin Anarchist Group (1978) and later the Anarchist Workers Alliance.

Alan’s contact details for the Anarchist Workers Alliance, 1979

A still from a recent television documentary showed Alan at a counter-demonstration in the face of a large anti-Traveller march in Tallaght in 1982:

Alan with leather jacket and long hair in Tallaght, 1992

Here is a wonderful photograph of Eddie Conlon (left) and Alan (right) at Dunnes Stores strike picket in 1984.

Eddie Conlon (left) and Alan (right) at Dunnes Stores strike picket, 1984. Credit – The Irish Times

In 1984, Alan was a founding member of the anarchist Workers Solidarity Movement and for the next 26 years was involved in countless campaigns around trade union rights, migrant solidarity, anti-racism, anti-apartheid, anti-war and anti-Bin charges.

In the early 1990s, he acted as spokesperson for the Dublin Abortion Information Service and was active with the campaign for divorce in the 1995 referendum.

Letter to the Irish Times, 6 June 1996

A life-long historian, Alan was involved with SIPTU’s Dublin District Committee in its 1913 and 1916 commemorations and was a founding member of the Stoneybatter & Smihfield People’s History Project. Launching the website in 2011, this pet project of his was an amazing resource of Irish anarchist material from the 1880s until today.

Alan at Mayday march in Belfast, 2006.

In the last couple of years, Alan was heavily active with the Stoneybatter Against the Water Tax and the Dublin Central branch of the victorious Together For Yescampaign that repealed the 8th amendment.

Alan was a political mentor and strong supporter of Come Here To Me! since we launched in 2009. He will be truly missed. A giant of a man, he managed to retain close friends from all strands of left-wing politics in Ireland.

Alan at launch of CHTM! book 1 in December 2012. Credit – Paul Reynolds

Our deepest condolences to his partner Mary Muldowney and his extended family.

Alan MacSimoin (25 June 1957 – 5 December 2018)

  • 2013 recording of Alan speaking at a public meeting about his involvement in radical politics in 1970s/1980s Dublin. Starts about 5mins 30secs in. Link.
  • 2014 recording of Alan speaking about Irish Squatting history. Starts about 12mins in. Link.
  • 2015 interview of Alan speaking about his early entry into politics. Link.
  • 2017 recording of Alan speaking at Peter Graham memorial meeting. Link.
  • 2018 post from the Working Solidarity Movement marking his passing. Link
  • 2018 post from Look Left Magazine (Workers Party) marking his passing. Link.

Come Here To Me, December 5, 2018

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