Growth in knife crime is a result of our anti-culture, and a symptom of the growing disenfranchisement of our youth

After another shocking knife attack in Cork city on Saturday night, the Irish Republican Socialist Party in the city call on young people to abandon knife crime and mindless street violence. We also send our solidarity to the young man who was subjected to this vicious assault and his family. We hope he makes a full recovery and that he overcomes the physical and psychological scars with little long-term effects.

This latest attack, which occurred in the suburb of Carrigaline, saw a large group of young boys attack a random passerby with a barrage of punches and kicks followed by a frenzied knife attack while the victim already lay bloodied and incapacitated on the ground. The most harrowing thing about this attack is that the perpetrators recorded the entire crime themselves, seemingly for the purpose of sharing it on social media. And what’s equally pathetic as all the aforementioned cowardly behaviour, is that they carried out the attack speaking in faux-London accents while shouting the prefix to the Ballincollig eircode, as if to mimic the culture of the postcode wars in London.

Although this most recent knife attack is being portrayed by many in a very different light than previous similar incidents in Cork (for reasons already well documented on mind-numbing comment sections of social media sites), this attack is in reality not very different to the knife murder of Cameron Blair in the city last January. Both attacks were carried out by young men with their entire lives ahead of them and in a most needless and callous display of violence and toxic masculinity (we use the term “toxic masculinity” here not in the liberal sense, but as socialists and adherents of social science). The main difference is that thankfully there isn’t a family mourning the demise of a loved one as a result. But one of the similarities is that there is likely another family mourning the loss of a son to the penal system, and all in the name of the age-old idea of male insecurity dressed up as “machoness”. That is toxic masculinity, and it destroys men’s lives, their families lives, and the lives of those at the receiving end of its manifestations. 

In capitalist society we are fed an endless tirade of the glamourisation of excess. For working class people this excess is usually unattainable, with few routes out of poverty. These routes usually involve paths such as music, sports or crime. And it is crime which is often the drug of choice that capitalist society portrays most appealingly to young people – with the willing aid of the media. All media platforms and broadcasters sell the glamorous life of crime, whether through television, film or music, yet refuse to accept their role in its permeation. Sunday papers sell their publications as though they are portraying a fantasy soap opera that the masses can indulge themselves in. But in reality newspaper “Gangland” is produced and sold at the expense of working class families and communities, broken homes and blood-stained pavements. Likewise, when media platforms keep pushing us show after show about cocaine millionaires and song after song about those who run the streets, it is at the expense of the working class. Even in place of class-conscious and political rappers such as Akala, they saturate their platforms with individualism and celebrations of excess. Art imitates life, and as such should reflect all of life – including the gritty side. But when the lifestyle of gangsters is regularly glamorised to such a degree, then it is inevitable that society will be faced with an increase of young men wanting to act the gangster. After all, if we were to accept Oscar Wilde’s philosophy, it is also the case that the inverse is true and that life itself, imitates art.

However, unfortunately today we live in an Irish society devoid of any real culture. Our native culture – and language – are looked at with derision by most people. This being an obvious side effect of centuries of colonisation, and it’s long-term psycho-sociological effects, yet still it’s a side effect which has a very real and detrimental effect on modern Irish society. Today young people are so detached from our rich and ancient culture and heritage that they look across the waters for a culture to mimic. This results in a bastardised anti-culture that is very prevalent among youths today. This is not their fault alone of course, it is the result of the acceptance by their elders of an Anglo-Yankee non-culture that has evolved as such. As the Irish saying goes; mol an óg is tiocfaidh siad. It is the parents and grandparents that lay the foundations of the path this generation walks. And until we free our minds form the collective shackles of colonisation, we are destined to remain a soulless imitation and cultural outpost of the Anglo-American empire. 

As with the horrific murder on Bandon Road last January, this horrendous assault has rightfully shocked the Cork public. And though some who harbour questionable motives may seek to use it to divide, it should in truth unite our city. Unite us in opposition to violent knife crime, in opposition to toxic masculinity, in opposition to the anti-culture of the glamorisation of crime and in opposition to the forces that seek to divide man against man, woman against woman and worker against worker. 

Furthermore, we are proposing the establishment of a Youth Peace Initiative across Cork and in our communities. We call on political parties, community activists and all concerned bodies to come together to find solutions to the growing and rising trend of spiraling violence among sections of our young people. There is strength in unity. Ni neart go chur le chéile.