Every August for the last nine years anarchists, socialists, communists and other progressives from throughout Ireland, England, Scotland, Europe and as far as Palestine have descended on the Donegal Celtic in West Belfast for the annual Anti Racism World Cup.
The Anti Racism World Cup is an anti fascist, anti imperialist football tournament that also consists of political talks and concerts. It allows like minded thinkers and comrades from around the world to gather and interact with each other socially, building bonds, creating networks and building the international struggle.
For the last number of years I have attended the event but this year was the first year that I attended the events on all three days. For me this year was the largest that I had seen and despite other festivals clashing in Belfast the crowds still flocked to the event.
Organisers and the Green Brigade through Bethlehem to Belfast raised money to bring a delegation of Palestinians to Belfast to play in the tournament and also gave them the opportunity to experience Irish culture and games and give their account of the current political situation in Palestine.
I attended a talk on Saturday night on Republicanism in Lenadoon by Padraic Mac Coitir. Padraic discussed the republican history of the area right up to the present day and gave his opinion on some current affairs. This was followed by a night with the wakes who sang songs of struggle and political protest songs.
Today (Sunday) I attended a Poc Fada in Sarsfields GAA club. The delegation of Palestinians and other anti fascists from throughout Europe got the chance to experience first hand gaelic games and culture.
Credit needs to be given to the organisers of this great event. The Anti Racism World Cup remains a grassroots community festival that attracts people from around the country and the world. Although the events are entertaining politics remains the core of the three days and they have not been diluted like other local festivals that are bought off by sponsors, the state and serve the political interests of the constitutional nationalists.
I look forward to the event next year and I have no doubt that it will grow in number again.