Internationalist salute to a friend of people’s struggles: Patrick Mac Manus (1944-2011)

Farewell PatrickAnd the legacy and lessons of Patrick Mac Manus for resistance to ‘War on Terror’ repression laws

Statement from ILPS-Canada – September 2011It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Patrick Mac Manus, who passed away on August 12, 2011 after a battle with throat cancer. The Irish-born writer and activist was a vocal advocate of liberation struggles against imperialism as well as an outspoken opponent of the national oppression of the Kurds, Palestinians, and Tamils, among others. Beyond his tireless and inspiring advocacy work, however, Mac Manus did not fear paying a higher price for his commitment to liberation.

As a spokesperson and leading member of the Danish organization Rebellion (Oprør), Mac Manus was singled out for criminal charges for his organization’s bold challenge to the legitimacy of Danish and EU “anti-terror” laws. In an open act of defiance, Rebellion publicly raised funds for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The FARC and the PFLP are only two among the many mass-based revolutionary organizations slapped with the “terrorist” label in the post-9/11 era by the imperialist states and their allies to further counter-revolution.

On March 15, 2010, Mac Manus was found guilty by the Copenhagen City Court for the “attempting to collect funds” for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); and for “encouraging [hundreds of organizations] to collect funds” for the same “terrorist” movements. In a trial that was turned into a public debate on the legitimacy of the “War on Terror” with throngs of supporters surrounding the courtroom waving WW2-era anti-fascist resistance banners, Mac Manus would receive a sentence of six months probation – far lighter than what the prosecution sought. Under Denmark’s anti-terror legislation, the Danish anti-fascist resistance fighters of the 1940s would be considered terrorists by today’s standards, no different than they were in the eyes of the Nazi occupiers during the Second World War.

The unfavorable ruling for Mac Manus from the Copenhagen City Court followed the precedent set by Denmark’s Supreme Court decision in an earlier case against the organization “Fighters and Lovers”.  Fighters and Lovers was targeted for selling T-shirts with FARC and PFLP logos with the intention of sending the proceeds to the two organizations. In that case, the initial ruling from the Copenhagen City Court in 2007 found Fighters and Lovers defendants innocent because it deemed the FARC and the PFLP not to be terrorist organizations.

But this ruling was reversed by the Supreme Court on March 25, 2009.The bold acts of defiance by Mac Manus, Rebellion-Denmark, and Fighters and Lovers against Denmark’s “anti-terror” legislation forced a public debate on the “War on Terror”, bringing into public view the fact that among the principal targets of the imperialists in their endless global wars are people’s struggles for national and social liberation.

Here in Canada, the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial people’s struggles face the same obstacles with Canada’s so-called Anti-Terrorism Act, which not only scapegoats Muslims in general, but particularly targets revolutionary organizations and national liberation movements around the world, including the Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Canada’s persecution of the Tamil self-determination movement became most pronounced in 2009 during the Sri Lankan state’s annihilation campaign against the Tamil Tigers and tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. Canada not only continued its support to Sri Lanka diplomatically and by sending “aid” to the genocidal state, but it played its own part by persecuting and vilifying Tamil-Canadian activists mobilizing in Canada. Domestically, the Canadian state has also not only hinted at designating the Mohawk Warrior Society as a terrorist organization, but conducts surveillance operations and repressive measures against them just the same.

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, which was also the occasion for the U.S. to launch its naked global war of terror, it is timely for us to take inspiration from the example of Patrick Mac Manus, who will continue to inspire our international solidarity for people’s struggles for self-determination and liberation from imperialism around the world.
In the memory of Patrick, long live international solidarity!

Steve da Silva, Vice-Chairperson, ILPS-Canada
Malcolm Guy, Chairperson, ILPS-Canada


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