Goodbye Brigadista

January 31, 2009


Legendary anti-fascist Bob Doyle died this week at the age of 93. Born into poverty in Dublin, the young Doyle Doyle joined the street battles against Ireland’s Blueshirt fascists. In October 1937 joined the International Brigades and fought in the Spanish Civil War where he ended up as a POW until 1939. Throughout his life he would re-visit Spain to campaign against Franco’s dictatorship.

Living in Notting Hill during the race riots of 1958 he helped to organise protests and patrols to protect immigrant West Indians. He also drew regular Sunday crowds of up to 600 at Speakers’ Corner, where he would attract attention by setting fire to newspapers and saying “That’s what I think of the capitalist press”.

At the age of 72 he discovered marijuanaand grew his own “Neasden Dope” in his back garden until he grew tired of local youths breaking in to his greenhouse 🙂

His autobiography, Brigadista: An Irishman’s Fight Against Fascism was published in Dublin in 2006.

RIP Bob.


6 Responses to “Goodbye Brigadista”

  1. Epona Vals said

    He sounds like a fantastic guy! The term fascist along with other terms like racist and so on that are bandied about today are quite meaningless most of the time.
    But I am very sure that Bob Doyle would know all too well the reality of what a threat totalitarianism in all it’s forms really means.
    May he rest in peace,
    Epona x

  2. Class War - Barnsdale Brigade said

    True enough, Epona. We also feel that these terms are largely negated by overuse. For what it’s worth here’s what we think about racism & fascism…
    Racism = Race is largely a psuedo-scientific concept based more on mythology and cutltural tradition than scientific reality. In terms of DNA, genetic racial differences are so small that they are considered to be insignificant; therefore racial ‘differences’ are a cultural creation. Racism is an attempt to endow socio-economic privilege or suggest superiority in perceived racial terms. This feeling of superiority is used as justification for any inequality that ensures the continued privilege of the dominant socio-economic group. Racism appeals to the politically lazy because it renders issues, quite literally, in black and white. But similar mechanisms are at play in the class war as we can see from the demonstration of the poor in the media and the middle class myth of a ‘culture of poverty’ that suggests that the poor are responsible for their own impoverishment. Having experienced breadline poverty we know how damaging these myths of superiority can be.
    Fascism = Fascism was invented by the disillusioned socialist Bonito Mussolini. Mussolini became disillusioned with ‘international’ socialism after serving in the First World War. He realised two things; firstly that, thanks to the slaughter of the war, people were paranoid and could not trust the ‘old school’ Ruling Class, the bourgeoisie; secondly that war had brought with it a sense of solidarity through shared suffering. A lifelong pragmatist and opportunist Mussolini used nationalistic sentiment to build on this feeling of unity and catapult himself to power. Once in power, of course he courted the capitalists (actually he was already a strikebreaker, so was a capitalist tool even when he claimed to be anti-bourgeoisie) to satisfy his own greed and was more of showman than a statesman. Mussolini also revelled in the idea of a totalitarian state.
    Totalitarianism = The belief that there is nothing outside of the state and, therefore all human experience should be in state control. Fascism, Nazism, State Communism and, to a lesser degree (or at a more stealthy level depending on your viewpoint) Neo-Liberal Capitalism are all famous for their overbearing natures and a desire to control every aspect of human life in order to secure power and profits. Our present Labour government has infringed upon personal liberties to an even greater degree than the Tories – who were at least more open in their classism.
    For this reason we must fight racism, classism, fascism and statism if we are to ensure equality and social justice for all.

    So – based on the above criteria – is the BNP racist, fascist, classist and/or statist? You decide 🙂

  3. Britain Awake said

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  4. Sean Doyle said

    Men like Bob Doyle are an inspiration to us all. I am active in trade union work in New York, and can honestly say that the investment class are using this depression to try and destroy organized labor. Young workers in particular have to be educated about the struggles that were necessary to create unions. God bless you Bob. Your example keeps us strong against the exploiters.

  5. Donovan Terry said

    Good ridance. Sounded a bit of a pissed-up dickhead. The international brigades in the Spanish Civil War just got in the way and were instrumental in Franco winning the war.

    • Of course the IB got in the way, that’s what they were there for – to fight against fascism.
      Unfortunately they were attacked on two fronts; the black fascism of Franco (backed by western capitalism & the catholic church) and the red fascism of the Soviets.
      It doesn’t matter how you dress them up – fascism, communism, capitalism, religion, etc. – the ideologies of authoritarianism all lead down the same bitter road; to the deaths of millions and the enslavement of billions.
      The real struggle exists between the libertarian and the authoritarian.
      So who’s side are you on?

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