Not for the first time Mr Lulzim Basha thanked the member states of the EU for the Lisbon Treaty which had eased travel restrictions for Albanian citizens in the Shengen area of the EU.
http://www.mfa.gov.al/english/print.asp?id=4877 Neither the UK nor the Republic of Ireland are in the Shengen area.
In the last months we have seen Albanians as well as citizens of the newest member states of the EU, Bulgaria and Romania subjected to xenophobic attacks and criminalisation in Italy. This occured against a general backdrop of right wing promotion of a new Shengen Information system. c/f http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/05/399870.html http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/05/399063.html
The referendum in Ireland will not stop the next stage of the Shengen process but will shelve the increased freedom of movement Albanians and other "western Balkans" might have enjoyed.
At its most simple the decision by the Irish people to reject that treaty has ensured that for a least decade the developing economies of eastern Europe and the candidate for EU membership states may not hope for the prosperity based on free market and liberal globalisation mechanisms which in her turn Ireland enjoyed. One of the richest states of the Union with less than 1% of the Union's population in effect aborted potential "Slavic Tigers" in a sadly parochial display of Euro-skepticism. We may not say either supposed Irish neutrality or sovreignity are safer this week. But we can be sure an Albanian "Luas" (as Dublin called its tram service which with EU money still came in years late and squillions over budget) is further than ever away.
The side which campaigned for a No! vote was an odd and motley crew of nationalists and republicans who at least were consistent in their sovreignity objections to the EU and also anarchists. hmmmm. Anarchists campaigning on referenda. Anarchists with their loathing of capitalism yet belief in liberty..,
In 1892 Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman planned the assassination of Henry Clay Finch, who had suppressed strikes in the Homestead Pennsylvania factory with armed guards. She remarkably went "on the game", to work as a prostitute to raise money for a gun to kill Finch with. As she wrote years later in a seminal [forgive the pun] tract of anarchofeminist literature - "They believed that by killing a tyrant, a representative of a cruel system, the consciousness of the people would be aroused".
As the Irish site "Workers Solidarity" archive informs us in a report on a lecture from 1993 - "This didn't happen". http://www.struggle.ws/talks/goldman.html
Instead something strange has occured. There is no chance most people will agree of the societies of Eastern Europe returning any day soon to centrally planned economies. Nor are they about to organise themselves in autonomous collectives and seize their means of production. They are as trapped as we in western Europe are in the liberal free market system "for the moment". And now thanks to the Irish voters, who are less than 1% of the EU population, who are not in the Shengen area, who do not despite their fears enjoy any real "neutrality" to lose - they may not look forward to "Slavic tigers" of their own. Instead their economies will continue to be dominated by Austrian banking interests whilst their parliaments are dominated by far right or rebranded communist era politicians. In short their future is their past - that of the Austrian empire ironically without the Hungarian dual-monarchy.
It is my argument that this time Irish anarchists may have argued a parochial case well in demanding a "No" vote - but they have betrayed the better agenda of the working class and poor of eastern Europe and the populations of those states in negotiation with the EU for membership. It is my belief that anarchism is supposed to raise the struggle of the working class above local needs or wishes.
I believe that had Emma Goldman been a richer woman in 1892 she wouldn't have needed the humiliation of standing on the street finding herself incapable of luring a punter. She would have just bought that gun to shoot Finch. Or maybe that subjunctive "what would have happened if" is too generous. Perhaps if Emma Goldman had been as rich as say a contemporary Irish anarchist is, she wouldn't have wanted to get involved in workers struggle in the first place. Certainly that seems to be the impression of many observers of the current direction not only of the Irish WSM but the Irish Indymedia site whose moderation they dominate. What other explanation could there be for the recent deletion of Goldman's prostitution history as "factually incorrect" in an attempt to compare past anarchist behaviour and class identity with the spectacle of Irish anarchists siding with a US military contractor in leading the "no!" campaign. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87311 Or as another example - the musings on the lists by a WSM "editor" that though correct in removing reports on IMC Ecuador activists being targetted by police http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/05/398966.html (one of whom is still in prison) - they themselves can't be proud talking about Irish indymedia at work to their colleagues - because "too many would be contributors don't speak proper".
Oh well. Irony is such a cruel word. Let's hope the poor Albanians figure out some other solution to their woes. But at least one thing is certain - Irish anarchists won't lose their prosperity to Albanians. They won't even have to think about them much. It all works out in the end.
iosaf mac d. - Barcelona