Wrapping Themselves In The Flag


A clash between members of the National Party, protesting outside the Dáil against Covid restrictions, and left-wing activists saw both sides deploying the Irish flag as weapons

‘Different groups operate under different flags but they all, right across the spectrum, proudly fly the tricolour. The anti-fascists are referred to as antifa, but it is not clear what exactly they represent. Some of their number have associations with disaffected so-called Republican outfits.

The physical characteristics of both sides are pretty similar. Plenty of young men in dark clothings and face coverings and baseball hats. Plenty of tricolours flying. Plenty of older men who look like they’ve nothing better to be doing. Some, but not plenty, of women on both sides.

A smattering of clothing items referencing the men and deeds of 1916. (Those poor signatories, they have ended up being claimed by every headbanger from Termonfeckin to Tehran) … “Nazi scum off our streets,” roared the antifa or whatever they were. “Paedo scum off our streets,” roared back the Nationalists.’

Michael Clifford: Large garda presence keeps things under control at Dáil protest (Irish Examiner)

My wife, an unyielding critic of the far right and alert to the dangers of its growth – pointing to the history of right wing violence against direct provision centres – had mentioned earlier that the Garda had “chased the Nazis” in Dublin, but added that, to the viewer watching, it wasn’t readily apparent who was who…

….If the impression (above article) formed by Clifford takes root the only group to emerge with “honour” from the clashes will be the Gardai. Which invites the question of why the anti-fascists, with whom my own ideational sympathies lie, mount these counter protests in the first place.

…The anti-Fascist Left can hardly afford to ignore the far right phenomenon but needs to find a better way of confronting it which enables it to avoid being rendered indistinguishable from the very people it stands four square against.

Tricolours Fighting It Out In Dublin (Anthony McIntyre, The Pensive Quill)



Saturday: Mostly Peaceful

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47 thoughts on “Wrapping Themselves In The Flag

  1. Toby

    So if Antifa are supposed to be the “sounders” and the “kind and compassionate” folk- why are they such thugs and hated by everyone? Why don’t they show their faces? Why are they so violent?

    1. Micko

      Nobody know who’s who in this.

      I remember watching a piece by Adam Curtis about the conflict in Rwanda in the 90’s

      At the end of it the fighting between the Hutu and the Tutsi, no one could tell who was who. No one could figure who was bad or good.

      It led to a change in the narrative where the only thing in the West was to say ‘Oh dear’ and shrug your shoulders.

      “O’dearism” Curtis called it.

      When you can’t tell who’s right or wrong – yer knackered.

    2. AlexG

      Seems like a lot of these people think the reg guard were a sound bunch of people and anything done in the name of fighting the right is ok.

  2. Scundered

    If Twitter was a theatre production it would look like this, people fighting with very little understanding of why :)

    The centrists need to pull these nutjobs on both sides back from the brink, the polarity is increasing largely due to narrative fed social media, showing you mostly the things you agree with that keep you engaged, but with bugger all balance or truth, engagement is king.

    This is a decent link for those interested:

      1. Scundered

        The idea that people are only one of two ways of thinking is incredibly short sighted, in my experience most people can agree and disagree with many political standings, these are the people I would consider to be centrist and have a responsibility to pull back those who drift too far into extremism, to engage them in conversation instead of the polarising outrage we see

          1. Scundered

            Nigel, is it deliberate that you miss the point in just about everything I say? There was not even a slightest hint of me saying that was “mostly” their role, or are you just angry at maybe realising you had become one of those on the brink?

          2. Nigel

            I’m just not sure what a conversation between, say, black people who experience systemic racism and white nationalists who want to deprive them of their democratic rights would look like or acheive, other than the opression of black people.

            I regard myself as moderate on most things, but I find myself cast as a loony extremists because I believe in what seem to me to be normal, sensible fair things to believe – racism is bad, so is misgogyny, transphobia and homophobia. People with disabilities should’t be treated as burdens or afterthoughts. In the middle of a pandemic we should take sensible precautions to lower the rate of infection. In the face of the threat of climate change we take steps to reduce the effect and mitigate the damage. We are going to have a hard time feeding the world if we let biodiversity keep crashing. Everyone deserves access to health care. Refugees should not be treated like criminals. Everyone involved in international arms trading should be tried in the Hague. Things like that. I don’t regard any of those as extrreme, but equally, nobody has yet persuaded me, either through argument or insult or mockery, that any of them are not normal, sensible and fair. However there are those who claim to be centrist who treat me like a swivel-eyed loon becasue they can’t persuade me otherwise. So centrist schmentrist, I say.

          3. Scundered

            There is a world outside identity politics you know, it doesn’t occupy the entire political space. And often it is a much smaller problem than you interpret it to be. Like how many white nationalists do you know who want to deny rights to black people? My friends are very mixed politically, racially and of all social classes, and in over half a century I can’t remember meeting even one person who supported such a cause.

            How many have you known?

            It should also be noted that the causes you mention are not owned by just left leaning, they too are supported by right leaning for the most part, except for the extremes on both sides, as you will equally find black people who wish to deny white people as a sort of payback, thankfully very small in number, so which side are they?

            Your continual obsession with Identity politics would lead me to assess you as extreme left.

          4. Nigel

            Everything I mentioned, and it wasn’t meant to be exhaustive, is drawn from the headlines in world news right now.

            The biggest sin of ‘centrists’ is an addiction to false equivamences.

          5. Scundered

            Well you brought up the term systemic racism, which is highly questionable as to its authenticity in most cases, a lot of it just emotion and dumb assumptions instead of factual, so you can’t really talk about false equivalencies. You need to focus on facts instead of peddling these extremist positions.

      2. Junkface

        Centrists are not right wingers. They are usually people who are just not keen on being labelled with either side, especially in the last few years as they stray into whackyland.

      3. Harry he/him

        That is a really dumb thing to say. You miss out on so much when all you can see is black and white.

  3. broadbag

    It’s almost as if both sides are just bored dummies looking for a scrap, but a controlled scrap where the Gardai will jump in after 5 seconds so they don’t get their white runners scuffed or break a nail…

  4. Haroo

    Fascists and their militant opposition is an important matter and all but for the love of all that is good, is no one else concerned that Philip O’Connor is able to perv on a future conversation between the author and his progeny?

  5. Anti Bots

    And what did you do Philip? Well son, I posted a comment on twitter. I am so much better than trained journalists, because I posted a stupid comment on twitter.

    1. Cian

      What has one to do with the other? Fine Gael aren’t fascists and don’t have fascist policies.

      Fine Gael are in power because nobody trusts Sinn Fein.

          1. dan


            Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy

            Now, how true is the below?

            Fine Gael is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy

          2. Q Celt

            I suggest that you research the Spanish civil war. No matter how despicable FG are they are not fascists

  6. Junkface

    There are probably a lot of newly unemployed in these groups, or else they have poor employment options, lack of qualifications. I think the reasons are partially economic

  7. Joe Small

    Ideally the neo-Nazi protest would’ve been banned and the Gardai would have cleared the streets, arresting anyone who resisted.

    Obviously no one likes to see Neo-Nazis protest unopposed lest it give the impression that we are passive to their presence.

    But its clear the counter-protest was looking for direct conflict and the Neo-Nazis were only delighted to oblige.

    Have we helped the cause of opposing neo-Nazis in Ireland? I doubt it.

    Ordinary decent people won’t march right now because there’s a global pandemic and they’re busy keeping their families and friends safe, so its left to the nutters to fight among themselves while the Gardai are stuck in the middle.

      1. Joe Small

        I’m sorry to hear of your incontinence. It must be very embarrassing. No wonder you stay inside so much.

      2. J9

        Seeing as you find that description so hilarious, I’m wondering how you would describe the policies of the National Party?

  8. Shitferbrains

    McIntires old lady keps him on side re – rightwing violence , probably while arranging the hagiographies of supposedly leftwing butchers on his bookshelves.

  9. wearnicehats

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which”

      1. wearnicehats

        Well, he went there as a socialist journalist who subsequently signed up to the ideal of Communism in order to fight Fascism. His experience taught him that the communists were just as fascist as the fascists which helped to inform Animal Farm. That Orwell went to Spain with the intention of joining the war is only conjecture.

  10. Tirowen

    ‘Counter-demonstrations’ themselves are an attempt to stop other citizens from exercising their right to assemble and petition the government. This crowd showed up in black hoodies to discredit the Lockdown Protest with violence. They accomplished that nicely for the media, including Broadsheet.

    1. bejasus

      excellent day for the National Party and co.
      I’m not a supporter but this has really boosted their profile.

  11. Junkface

    The whole world would be safer without flags, patriotism is a sign of being a bit dim. We should all be carrying flags of balls and a vagina, that’s were we came from.

    1. SOQ

      On the contrary- IMO there is nothing wrong with nationalism but what we are witnessing on the streets is a battle between the two types- right and left- hence the vitriol, and the flags.

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