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The strange case of why the Irish anti war movement never marched against the war in Libya

category international | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Friday October 14, 2011 16:22author by still anti war Report this post to the editors

What is the story with the invisable 6 month war in Libya? Have the Irish suddenly become pro war unlike during the attacks on Afganistan and Libya when marches were organised and tens of thousands marched against wars to topple Saddam Husein and the Taliban. It seems like "regime change" is ok on this occasion

It seems to be a mystery why Richard Boyd Barrett and the Irish anti war movement didnt organise marches against the war in Libya? Unlike the first gulf war and the war that led to the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the occupation of Iraq when dozens of marches were held, not one march was organised against the Nato bombings in Libya. The Military assault against the Taliban regime in Afganistan was also strongly opposed by weekly marches and protests, so it seems to be genuinely puzzling for many on the left who have raised this issue as to why there was barely a peep out of the formerly very active individuals such as Richard Boyd Barrett on the issue of Libya.

Anti war movements in other countries were active in opposing Nato but not the Irish anti war movement. Some people criticised the anti war movement in the USA for being less active since the Democratic Party achieved success in the Congress and in the White House elections but they still organised some protests against the war. That reason would not apply in Ireland presumably as we are much more at liberty to criticise President Obama than some US anti war activists would be. Perhaps someone on Indymedia could perform a useful public service and explain this strange dereliction of duty by the anti war movement.

author by Bill OBrienpublication date Fri Oct 14, 2011 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish anti-war movement has not demonstrated on the streets of Ireland against the war in the Middle East when so-called Irish regiments returned home. There has been gallant demonstrations of people in the Belfast area against these regiments but the Irish anti-war movement has been nowhere to be seen. The Irish anti-war movement is not the movement that it was at the beginning of the recent conflate in the Middle East and we must ask ourselves why?. Also we must ask ourselves why there was no demonstrations in England by RBBs parent organisation, when the bodies of soldiers are returned home, that too would fly in the face of the establishment and some people don't have the guts to take them on, it's left to a handful of Moslem people to do that, again the British left is nowhere to be seen, once more it's to near home.

author by Jamiepublication date Fri Oct 14, 2011 21:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are correct Bill. There were no protests from the SP/SWP/PbP Irish Anti War Movement against the parading of British army terrorists returning from afghanistan being paraded through Irish streets

author by occupypublication date Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can't just go blaming RBB for this. Its everyone in the country. People see no point in marching when nobody listens to them. they just get cold and wet and ignored. So they don't bother anymore.

We need a new approach to marching up and down with signs while the elites who are the only ones supporting this shit snigger at them in their secret meetings with the US ambassador.

Maybe occupy dame street will work better. For once we're attempting to tackle the root of all these kind of things instead of just firefighting the symptoms.

author by Bill OBrienpublication date Sat Oct 15, 2011 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So occupy, since you don't want to name yourself I can not call you by your name, so this new anarchist Magic Carpet Organisation that is camping Dame Street (or should I say non-organisation that is camping in Dame Street) is a new enlightenment. Well well I am pleased, but let me tell you that my generation in the 60s stop a War, the only generation to ever stop a War the Vietnam War. We did it the hard way, by organising demonstrating and matching , for us matching did work. Don't be to dismissive of the old ways, as yours have yet to be tested. I don't really want to put cold water on this new movement ,but in theory I do think that it will crashland like a hotair balloon, hopefully I will not be right on that, we shall see.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Oct 15, 2011 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors


But over 100,000 marched in Dublin against Iraq. Then Bertie claimed it was to support his 'peace policies', and irish media fell into its usual tug-the forelock-step. Apathy thrives on cynicism taken too far. Ya need your cynicism, just dont let it rule.

author by occupypublication date Sat Oct 15, 2011 19:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Don't be to dismissive of the old ways, as yours have yet to be tested."

*cough* EGYPT *cough* Tunisia *cough*

Not everyone believes like you do that marches had much influence on the ending of the vietnam war although public opinion did somewhat. I'd say personally that public opinion turned against the war not so much because of a bunch of long haired hippies marching, but because the media filmed the carnage and showed it in all its gory detail on prime time tv thus sickening the entire american public into rejecting it.. Those were the days when journalists actually reported the news.

However, I'm afraid we just can't count on this anymore Bill. Even al jazeera has been gagged now and there is much talk about taking press tv off the sky listing. Its only a matter of time before they get RT off the list too. Then what kind of shitty news channels are left and what kind of shit will be peddled as the truth to the majority of people on the planet thus perpetuating a very skewed consensus

I suggest you watch fox news reporting on the occupy wall street protest to get the general idea. Vomit inducing!!

Once off marches, getting ignored then going home no longer cuts it. A presence needs to be maintained building up over time until there is some sort of snowballing to critical mass. This is qualitatively different to one off marches which these days can sink like a stone if ignored by the MSM in a way that a protracted occupation style campaign cannot so easily.

author by Bill OBrienpublication date Sat Oct 15, 2011 20:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

occupy the campaign to stop the Vietnam War took a hell of a lot of time, it was not confined to just matching. There was years building up organisation in both Europe and America massive demonstrations did take place, but a lot of hard work went on behind the scenes.In Schools and Colleges and places of work etc. The media was against us too, the establishment was also against us. We had to battle the same enemies that you have to battle, thousands of American would refuse to be called up to the army. There were no shortcuts, hard work determination and we stayed at it, after years of struggle and jail, being kicked around by the media and the police, in the end we succeeded, let's hope you have the stamina and good luck to you, we shall see. O just one other thing very few of us were smoke dopeing long-haired hippies, personally I have never even smoked a cigarette and never dope.

author by occupypublication date Sat Oct 15, 2011 20:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bill. no disrespect intended. I was not stating my own opinion in that hippy comment but merely stating what I understood to be the opinion of those in authority at the time.

Personally I think the people who stood up against the war were very decent human beings. I was just stating my opinion (and that of many other commentators) that the marches had little real impact compared to other factors and the actual hard politics of the war itself. Congress were more likely convinced by increasing public opinion which in turn was more influenced by seeing the gruesome clips on tv. Why do you think they resolved never to televise a war like that ever again after vietnam, and indeed they never have.

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Sun Oct 16, 2011 02:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The plain fact is that the CIA has managed to totally outflank the Western Left on the invasion of Libya. And how did the do it? The oldest trick in fraudsters book - give the dupe his deepest and most heart felt fantasy. In the case of the Western Left, that was the sight of tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to overthrow an oppressive state power.

The plain fact is that the "Arab Spring" was 100% a CIA operation. It was set up by feeding Wikileaks infomation that the CIA wanted to make public. That was combined with the previously secret alliance of the CIA and Al Qaeda now become overt for all to see. Genuine protest groups in the Arab world were infiltrated and hi-jacked by the CIA \ Al Qaeda axis, and were brought under the control of Langley. Armed units were set up as shadows to the civilian protest groups.

But, at all times, there was only ever one target - Libya. Gaddafi was about to replace the dollar with the Gold Dinar as the principle oil trading currency, and thus send the dollar into a catastrophic decline. The US administration would have literally started WW3 to stop this happening. As it happened, they got their goal quite cheaply. Overthrow one set of US puppets in Algeria and Egypt, replace them with another set of US puppets - and the Stupid fools who run the Western Left would be creaming themselves with delight, and wasting their time trying to set up copycat occupations all over Europe and Wall Street - while taking their eye completely off the ball, i.e. Libya.

A chairde. The leadership of the Left has totally betrayed us. Not through baddness - but pure stupidity.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sun Oct 16, 2011 13:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

' The plain fact is that the Arab Spring was 100% a CIA operation', runs into '..genuine protest groups in the Arab world were infiltrated and hijacked...'.
As I tried to point out, Bertie illustrated the methodology when he claimed the anti-Iraq protests as support for his NATO arselicking, just plain ol' opportunist exploitation(dont read more intelligence into the Right than they deserve either).

I think if you look that quote of yours over you'll see the contradiction yourself. Less of the superlatives and more of the complexity explication will serve solutions better than lambasting some 'Left' and its leadership, much of which has always been provided by the provocateurs of the entrenched vested interests in the staus quo.

And there are more balls in play than Libya: to reduce it to a singular dimension risks dipping into the stupidity you condemn. Besides, my personal view of progress requires we stop seeking leaders and educate ourselves and each other until we reach some sort of critical mass when effective action can be taken. '100%'s are seldom accurate assessments. Such approximations lead to failures of intelligence.

You are right about the Gold Dinar threat, but it was never going to sink the dollar, only curtail its global dominance and give Africa a degree of autonomy inimical to several imperial dreamers. Libya's sweet n light crude, and its water resources also factored, plus Gadaffi's long term 'fly in the ointment' revelling in his own image goaded the fuckers.
And stop knocking the pot-smoking hippies, I was a yuppie before I started smoking and seeing alternative outlooks(and I recognise that could be the best argument for 'just saying NO', but who needs nancy for leadership?). Many used these chemicals for hedonistic idiocy, many others kept a semblance of a grip on using them to explore definitions of reality and psychological propensities to self- and collective delusion; useful homework when propaganda and media control is the front line of that CIA/Corporate toolbox. Why do you think they were conducting the same experiments themselves, simultaneously?

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sun Oct 16, 2011 15:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors says it better than i can.

author by left of midfieldpublication date Sun Oct 16, 2011 18:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I asked a couple of members of the SWP who were involved in the Irish anti war movement if they were going to organise some opposition to the daily heavy bombing (terrorist) attacks on Libya when they started months ago and I was told that it had been decided that the SWP would not actively oppose the war because Gadaffi was not a socialist.  I replied that made no sense as neither was Saddam Hussein and the SWP and  Irish Anti war strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq! They seemed to be unable to come up  with any other reason and just kept repeating that Gadaffi was not a real socialist. I agree  with Opus the term hippy has become a term of abuse as far as some on the left are concerned, I think the more orthodox one thinks it involves  smoking loads of pot instead of doing really useful things like selling the party paper.

author by Yankee Doodlepublication date Sun Oct 16, 2011 20:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No mystery at all. We Americans have millions of rifles. And tens of thousands of well armed aircraft.

author by An Draigneán Donnpublication date Mon Oct 17, 2011 03:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SWP \ anti war movement lost any credibility it ever might have had, when the English Queen came to Ireland.  They had one poxy little protest - after the Queen had gone back to Farmleigh - and they refused to mention that fact that Ireland is occupied in any of their publicity material - their protest was against the invasion of Afghanistan and Gaza.

Of course, the so called "anti-war movement" is utterly worthless, and deserving of no comment at all.  Indeed, if you look at their activities, hatred of Israel seems to be their only motivation.  Not that Israel isn't hateful - but an obsessive hatred of one imperial power, while ignoring every other imperialist gang, would indicate that good old hatred of the Jews is the primary motivation here.

author by anti militarismpublication date Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SWP feel that there is no longer a  need to organise  Anti War events because the SWP have an elected TD in Leinster House now.  They still have marches when it suits them like last saturday when they organised a march to start one hour before the democracy now occupy dame st march started at. This did not work as the second march had been organised a month before the SWP one and was far bigger than the SWP march!  Maybe people are seeing through the SWP at last.

author by 2cpublication date Mon Oct 17, 2011 18:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Notwithstanding a decision made by the Central Committee of the SWP to let the NATO attack on Libya run its course, this lack of opposition reflects how defeated and exhausted the anti-war movement in Ireland Ireland continues to play a key role in the wars.

Shannon Airport is where the U.S. war machine rubber hit the road in Ireland, not O'Connell St.  The anti-war movement was run by political parties for the prime motive of making as much mileage out of the protest phenomenon while it lasted for their political parties.  Some of the parties (eg Green, Labour) went on to form governments that continued the use of Shannon as a U.S. military base.
Once the war lost its sex appeal, these parties lost interest.  Attempts to form alliances outside of the framework of the authoritarian left worked sporadically for the Bush visit but failed to dual power the SWP controlled Irish Anti-War Movement

Recent cables from the U.S. embassy in Dublin released by WikiLeaks showed how worried the U.S. and Irish governments were by the nonviolent direct action at Shannon.  A recent interview with a senior member of the U.S. military indicates that the U.S. military were willing to move form Ireland following the second disarmament action in a week at the beginning of 2003. The Irish government had to ask them to stay. All it would have taken was a mass occupation of the runway following the Mary Kelly and Ploughshares actions and it would have been game over.  The U.S. would have concluded (indeed was concluding) that the airport could not be secured and they would have moved to their bases in England. The anti-war leadership in Ireland was against the focus on Shannon and against nonviolent direct action and offered little support to those who took the risks and actions at Shannon.  So after ten years of war we are left with no anti-war movement in Ireland, merely scattered remnants of good folks doing their grassroots best.

Eamonn Crudden's critique in "Route Irish" is worth revisiting when wondering where all this energy went. See it online here...
Route Irish

author by internationalistpublication date Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also queried the total lack of action against the nightly bombings of libyan cities and I was informed by a member of people before profit and the swp that Muaamar Ghadaffi was a nationalist and that no trotskist should have anything to do with him. She then went on to urge me to join the SWP and to get involved in protests about Palestine. When I replied that much of the leadership of the Palestinians were also nationalists, she said that they were different to Libya because the 'workers' supported the Palestinian Leadership and the Libyan workers didnt support either Gadaffi or the armed Rebels. It was a very weak explanation of her position but she continued to say that this was the agreed position that had been decided by the committee, so I gave up arguing with her at that stage.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

my policy is to save the arguments with the potential allies for common action till we have the mega-shit shifted(somewhere in the afterlife). Always look for the common ground, only way your case has a chance of them listening in turn. None of us has all the answers(not even Dustin).

author by anti imperialistpublication date Wed Oct 19, 2011 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Call me old fashioned but I still think internationalism is important. That is why  it is important to ask questions of political groups that would have us believe that they should  become our elected leaders.  If these groups let you down in times of major crisis like a war then what would they do and how many promises will they break  if they ever get into government?

The United left  have questions to answer on Libya as well Irish Anti War they also stood idly by and organised no anti war activities in response to the imperialist attacks on Libya.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Oct 19, 2011 14:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but its easy to sit back and hang all who dont implement our agendas. Unfortunately they too are flesh n blood, have time and energy constraints, and of course, agendas of their own.
Question ok(I do, believe me, check my titles)but get out and orgnise it yourself. Are we not all the anti-war brigade?Dont look for leaders, do what you can constructively. and be prepared to stand alone when the woodwork closes back in, or else get a job in  the city.

Getting into gov is not the gig. Its changing MINDS is the gig. Our own first, and continually. I cant rememeber who said 'when all else fails to organise the people, events will'. Meantime push the events, but be prepared to swallow necessary compromise, or we get a fresh dictatorship. Dont kill the good looking for the perfect, eveyone has a different 'perfect'. And dont forget, even the mess we have as a government at present beats the negative possibilities(oh yes, use your imagination, Wanna live under Assad?I despise NATO&Co, but i dont want to live in iran either. I'd take me chances going back to England or NY first.

And dismantle that if it rings wrong, but do it constructive.

author by ordinary civilianpublication date Thu Oct 20, 2011 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some of the contributors above seem to be talking about the war in Libya as if it was already over or some type of  long forgotten ancient war with nothing to do with what is going on at the moment.  The "mistakes"  that were made do matter and the reasons behind  these  mistakes are  important. Heavy fighting has been going on in the town of  Bani Walid for the last 6 weeks  at least up to  last monday or tuesday. The civilians who are holding out in Bani Walid are members of the Warfalla tribe which  is one of the Libyan tribes that have consistently remained loyal to colonel Ghadaffi despite coming under heavy and unrelenting bombardment.  The city Of Sirte is also continuing to resist the might of both nato warplanes and the rebels on the ground who are  now very heavily armed.  The resistance of the people of Sirte is dismissed by the western media  including rte because if it the birthplace of Colonel Ghadaffi. In other words the civilians there are legitimate targets and it is open season etc.  Obviously the city of Sirte and Bani Walid will not be able to hold out indefinitely and will be eventually be pummelled and bombed into submission while the western media, RTE and the "Irish anti war movement"  either bury their heads in the sand or ignores the war and continue to look the other way.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Oct 20, 2011 13:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

of gaddafi either killed or captured wounded at sirte. IT wounded. Al Jazera morte.

author by ordinary civilianpublication date Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Events are  very fluid and fast moving but It seems like Bani walid has finally fallen to nato and the rebels.  Large areas of Sirte were  still managing to hold out up to yesterday at least but it seems  that Colonel Ghadaffi tried to withdraw and retreat into the desert  but his convoy was attacked from the air by french war planes. The yanks claim one of their  unmanned drones also attacked the convoy and brought it to a halt.  The rebels then claim that the colonel tried to escape in a drainage culvert and that they shot him in both legs. there is footage of him being carried wounded to a truck where he  was executed  by a bullet being fired into his head at close range. That will prevent too many akward questions coming up  in any kangeroo court or him having  to have a heart attack like milesovich  had in the Hague!  Rte and the tabloids are really gloating in their coverage and using headlines like "Mad Dog" etc.   The silence from the United Left and the Irish anti war movement etc is still deafening maybe disgusting would be a more fitting word.

author by An Draigheán Donnpublication date Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you ever hear from any of these snivelling cowards again, just laugh in their faces and tell them to go burn Israeli flags in Daddy's back garden.  They are no anti war movement.  They are just self serving pro-politicians.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Oct 21, 2011 15:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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