Abstract only

Emigrants and exiles

The political nationalism of the Irish diaspora since the 1790s

David T. Gleeson

In 1995 President Mary Robinson of Ireland, in an address to a joint session of the Irish Parliament, argued that the Irish people in Ireland should ‘cherish the diaspora’ abroad. By 2015 the once little-used idea of the Irish diaspora had been incorporated into the Irish Constitution, with its own government minister, with a bespoke diaspora policy. The term ‘diaspora’ seemed to suit because as well as including the descendants of Irish emigrants, it implied an element of compulsion in Irish migration. This idea of Irish emigration as one of exile has a long pedigree going back to the early seventeenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth, images of exiles were reinforced by the political refugees of the 1798 rebellion. Mass migration after 1815, however, complicated this notion of migration as exile. Were all those millions of Irish who left between 1815 and 1995 truly exiles? Did they represent themselves as exiles? Was exile their reality? This chapter uses the concept of diaspora as a way to assess the ways Irish emigration was seen by the Irish who left, their descendants and those they left behind. It does not overlook the Protestant. Ultimately, this chapter will attempt to show how Irishness itself was often defined through the diaspora and the formation of a distinct Irish national identity.

Abstract only

Diasporic or distinct?

Scots in early modern Europe

Siobhan Talbott

In recent years the presence of Scots in early modern Europe has attracted widespread, and continuing, attention. Alongside interest in the roles in which Scots were present on the continent, and scrutiny of both outward and ‘return’ migration, has come the proliferation of the notion of a ‘Scottish diaspora’. This chapter explores some of the limitations of this term. Through consideration of the variety of ways in which Scots were present on the continent and their motivations for leaving their homeland, this chapter argues that Scots in Europe in the early modern period should be examined as a collection of individuals, and their activities examined within broader political, economic and local contexts, rather than being considered as part of a homogeneous ‘diaspora’.

Abstract only

Philip Payton

Cornwall was an emigration region comparable with any other in Europe during the nineteenth century, and in the period 1815–1914 some 250,000 people left for destinations overseas. Cornwall’s reputation as the global centre of the hard-rock mining world ensured that Cornish miners were perpetually in demand on the rapidly expanding international mining frontier, their emigration matched by a technological transfer to destinations as disparate as Mexico and South Australia. A Cornish transnational identity likewise emerged as Cornish miners cultivated their myth of Cousin Jack – the insistence that the Cornish were equipped above all others, especially competing ethnic groups on the international mining frontier, as miners – and a corresponding myth of Cousin Jenny emerged to create a critical space for Cornish women overseas. An emigration culture had emerged early in nineteenth-century Cornwall, speeding Cornish men and women to new destinations abroad, establishing conduits and destinations that would facilitate mass emigration during the crises facing the Cornish mining industry in the late 1800s. By the end of the century, South Africa had emerged as a principal destination for Cornish emigrants but by then the great Cornish emigration had almost run its course. Cornwall was no longer the centre of the mining world, its role usurped by the mines of the New World.

Abstract only

British and Irish diasporas

Societies, cultures and ideologies

Edited by: Donald M. MacRaild, Tanja Bueltmann and J.C.D. Clark

Migrations of people, ideas, beliefs and cultures have closely shaped relations between the nations of the British and Irish Isles. In part this was the result of Anglo-imperialism, which expanded from a heartland around London and the South of England, first, then through the ‘Celtic fringe’, creating hybrid peoples who were both Irish and British, before spreading across the globe. At times, Catholics of both islands were exiled from this narrative of nation-building. Political pressures, economic opportunities, a spirit of adventure and sometimes force, spurred the creation of multiple diasporas from the British and Irish Isles. This book brings together a range of leading scholars who explore the origins, varieties and extent of these diasporas.

Wherever Britons and the Irish went, they created new identities as neo-Britons, neo-Angles, neo-Irish, neo-Scots: persons who were colonials, new nationals, and yet still linked to their old country and home nations. British and Irish emigrants also perpetuated elements of their distinctive national cultures in music, literature, saints’ days and broader, diffuse interactions with fellow nationals.

These especially commissioned essays explore processes of diaspora-formation from the English Catholic exiles of the sixteenth century, through the ‘Wild Geese’, Jacobites, traders and servants of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the modern colonising diasporas associated with the modern age of mass migration.

Abstract only

Series:

Sean Parson

Chapter 2 provides an introduction to Food Not Bombs and gives a brief history of the group. This shows the group’s strong connection to a large range of movements, and contextualizes San Francisco Food Not Bombs and their role in the rapid expansion of Food Not Bombs, which now has around 1000 chapters worldwide. Finally, an analysis of Food Not Bombs’ political project is provided.

Abstract only

The war against the homeless

Frank Jordan, broken windows, and anti-homeless politics in San Francisco

Series:

Sean Parson

Chapter 4 discusses Mayor Frank Jordan’s (1992–1995) revanchist Matrix Quality of Life Program, which sought to enforce a broken-windows policing system in San Francisco. The impact of the policy was felt largely by the visible homeless in downtown San Francisco, who were regularly harassed and arrested by the police and forced out of the city. Because quality-of-life policing desires to sanitize the public space of disruptive and asocial behaviour, the public meals of Food Not Bombs near City Hall resisted the city’s attempt to criminalize homelessness. This chapter argues that the city attempted to construct the homeless as anti-citizens and exclude them from the political and physical spaces of the city.

Abstract only

Turning statistics into people

From sick talk to the politics of solidarity

Series:

Sean Parson

Chapter 1 provides a brief introduction to the politics of homelessness by discussing the predominance of “sick talk” in addressing homelessness. In the literature review, I contend that the neoliberalizing of homelessness has shifted the “fault” of homelessness onto the individual, thus pathologizing homelessness and justifying increased criminalization and surveillance. Counter to this view, I present an alternative radical homelessness politics rooted in anarchist political theory and the praxis of Food Not Bombs and the Catholic Workers. This approach seeks to personalize the homeless, while maintaining a systemic critique of capitalism. The chapter ends with a road map for the coming chapters.

Abstract only

Series:

Sean Parson

Chapter 7 puts the lessons from the anarchist urban activism and praxis of Food Not Bombs and Homes Not Jails into dialogue with the work on the Right to the City. While sympathetic to and inspired by these theorists’ work on radical urbanism, the author criticizes productionist predilections and highlights that centralized homelessness removes the focus on formal economic production. The chapter contends that by focusing on the homeless, a more robust and radical conception of urban space as commons can be developed, which allows for rights to opacity and survival in urban space.

Abstract only

Parks, permits, and riot police

Understanding the politics of public space occupations 1988–1991

Series:

Sean Parson

Chapter 3 uses the struggle between Food Not Bombs and the Art Agnos Mayoral administration (1988–1991) as a backdrop to discuss the role of permits in regulating and controlling space. It argues that Food Not Bombs, through public feedings and organizing tent-cities, made specific claims regarding the nature of public space and claimed that the city had no legitimacy to regulate political activism and expression. The city, on the other hand, attempted to use permits as means of forcing the group into a negotiated management with city officials. When that negotiation broke down, the city turned toward an escalation of violence and harassment in an attempt to purge the group from public space. The chapter considers anarchist and autonomous conceptions of public space and expands on Margaret Kohn’s conception of populist space (2003, 2013) by exploring how autonomous politics complicates the topic. Conversely, it argues that a complex dialectical relationship exists between the autonomous populist politics of Food Not Bombs, the populist representational nature of public protest, and the regulatory desire of the City.

Abstract only

The homeless fight back

The politics of homeless resistance

Series:

Sean Parson

Chapter 5 turns to the activism and politics of anarchist homeless activists in resisting the city’s attempts to exclude the homeless. I turn to two important political theorists to make sense of the resistance of Food Not Bombs: Jacques Rancière and Eduardo Glissant. Rancière’s short piece “Ten theses on politics” provides a powerful understanding of the way that disruptive actions and resistance expand political space, while Glissant’s idea of right to opacity examines the complex relationship of violence, power, and visibility. The chapter argue that the homeless have a right to opacity from the state, and state surveillance, and that the homeless should only be as visible as they want to be. This means that public occupations, political protests, and public meals are legitimate forms of visibility, which respect the right of the homeless to be opaque, while programs such as San Francisco’s Matrix plan are a coercive form of violence.