It’s hard to image the damage caused to the lives and the mental health of those subjected to ‘punishment attacks’ in working class areas of the North unless you or your immediate family members have been directly involved themselves.
The majority of those shot or beaten are said to have been targeted due to anti social, anti community behaviour such as drug selling, joy-riding, breaking into houses or robbery. Over the last few months punishment attacks have once again become common practice in our communities resulting in numerous people being hospitalised or physically damaged due to these actions.
What is for certain is that the various armed organisations involved have and do at times come under a certain level of pressure to ‘deal with’ elements from either communities in order to stamp out anti community activity from joy-riding to drug dealing.
The role of armed organisations has also to be questioned as with the absence of any political stability or direction, power and control comes to the fore as many jockey for dominance and position within any giving locality.
Who best can be seen as having the stamina and tools to get things done the ‘right way’?
Similarly those involved within anti community activity are of course easy prey for the cops and subject to different levels of entrapment.
Vulnerable young adults are said to be routinely used by the state forces to target, spy upon or inform on their own communities.
To that end, many believe those involved can receive ‘a slap on the wrists’, ‘lesser sentences’ or even financial rewards due to their vulnerability.
Without doubt many have reported similar stories, which has become common knowledge within communities as the ‘new’ and approved police seek their own foothold and approval ratings.
For the act of punishment attacks itself, have proved over the past half century to have achieved nothing only the continual marginalisation and brutalisation of our youth, each of us have to ask ourselves, what type of society do those involved in carry out punishment beatings on a communities behalf hope to build or achieve when the workers republic eventually arrives?
Will they continue to deal working class communities with the same type of justice system or can we expect something completely different?
How will their new society deal with community criminality, drug taking, burglary, theft even murder?
Going by what many have witnessed more recently in the back streets of Creggan or North Belfast, the type of justice system would be more reminiscent of what is witnessed in Saudi Arabia, or some other similar caliphates throughout history. As anarchists we are completely opposed to the use of punishment beatings or shootings just as much as we’re opposed to anti working class activity that blight our communities.
We have for years spoken out against this type of barbarity brought upon working class communities and have instead called for community alternatives to be put in place by and for the communities themselves.
To date various initiatives have been put to use, however all of which have been connected to ‘this or that’ community group and subjected to specialised funding. All infact have been funded by the state, tied up with red tape, not to mention financial stings and entitlements for those directly involved.
Such projects are from the outset doomed to failure as it rules out any genuine working class community involvement as they seek to appease political and governmental statistics rather than achieving true community justice.
Many have set out to monopolise the fears and concerns of communities for their own political and financial gain merely adding to the growing sense of working class alienation and abandonment. Many opposed to the actions of armed organisations have asked, ‘if they’re so opposed to anti community behaviour then why are they not attacking things like loan-sharks, off-licences who sell products that blight the lives of working class communities or even bookmakers or gambling arcades?’
What is for certain is that working class communities throughout the country will continue to feel the devastation of not only anti working class activity but the brutality of punishment attacks for the foreseeable future.
That is unless the communities themselves feel they can gather the strength and confidence as a class to discuss and debate different ways to genuinely address all the issues involved.
To that end we will continue to speak out against these actions and demand we that we attempt to find and create our own alternatives to them.
A justice all of our class so rightly deserves.