Thursday afternoon saw a demonstration of anti LGBTQ and far right protesters descending on Swords. The issue of the day is the existence of LGBTQ books that are available in the Swords library in the young adult section. The stunt in Swords is part of a broader campaign in which far right activists have been stealing all the books from the library that they personally deem unsuitable for the age group. The claim is that the concern stems from not wanting young children to be reading about “sexually inappropriate” content, but of course it is but another way to attack LGBTQ people and trans people in particular.
A number of groups and individuals organised a counter demonstration against the far right, including ourselves in Militant Left. Our message was one of zero tolerance for these far right agitators and support for young LGBTQ people who they are targeting. Importantly, Forsa Trade Union who represent the workers in the library were in attendance at the counter demonstration. The staff in libraries around the country have been harassed, intimidated and recorded without their permission. We spoke to one trade unionist who said that “as long as local government employees are coming under attack, Forsa trade union will stand beside them.”
Shamefully, but unsurprisingly, the Gardai played the despicable role of facilitating these reactionaries, escorting them into the Library and barred entry of anyone else into the building including counter protesters. The purpose of the Gardai is becoming increasingly clear to many. They are not an impartial police force there to protect the peace. They are a tool of the Establishment and they will do what they’re told, whether that’s aiding in evictions or protecting far-right reactionaries intimidating library staff.
It is essential that the far right continue to be met with opposition wherever they try to put forward their hateful and divisive ideas. We must stand in full support of LGBTQ people, particularly young people who are being specifically targeted. Whether it’s refugees, or books about sex, the purpose of the far right is to divide us down lines of gender, or sexuality, or race. A united movement of the working class of all genders, sexualities and race is a powerful force that could fight in the interests of all of us and reject the divisive narrative of the far right. The trade unions must play a leading role in this struggle and continue to defend their members from intimidation.
Militant Left will continue to mobilise alongside others to defend LGBTQ people, refugees and all other victims of the far right.