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Apprentice anarchists didn't give peace a chance!!

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday December 12, 2003 22:28author by David Report this post to the editors

political activism according to the Clare Champion

I took one look at this article and almost pissed myself laughing

The latest march on shannon Airport was supposed to be about peace, not that this mission statement meant much to one group who attempted to ambush this afternoon (wsa he talking about the cops?)writes Joe O Muircheartaigh


Cork woman Claire ****** shuffled along the protest rout from Shannon town Center- Shuffled along because she was clad in chains and the distinctive Orange garb worn by prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
The shuffling stopped when Claire reached the Barricades that closed off Shannon Airport to about 300 anti-war protestors. Behind these barricades were 35 uniformed gardai: behind them were 25 members of the riot police and behind them were the mounted police.

This was one of the biggest gardai operations ever mounted in Clare. Gardai from all Clare divisions were involved, while members from outside the county bounds were drafted in as well. The force was out in force (well done joe)

The first show of force was a check point on the road from Ennis at clarehill, Clarecastle, twelve gardai were on the road, four paddy wagons were by their side;, there was more of the same on the airport road out of limerick. And still more on the smithstown and drumgeely roundabouts, Boys in blue at every turn, Blockading roads and redirecting traffic while the eye in the sky was provided by the helicopter hovering overhead.

Claire slumped to her knees in front of the barricades and knelt there for 15 minutes. The paparazzi swarmed around this symbol, the boys around the barricades just stared straight ahead.

Claire was making her stand - a stand against American imperialism as she saw it. She was doing this peacefully, she didn't open her mouth in anger - the symbolism of chains and a simple message daubed on her back saying "end Irelands complicity" was her way.

Same as it was for John ********* - another member of the IAWM who had journeyed from cork. he wasn't in chains, all he had for company was an old style Ghettoblaster

John walked up to the Barricade and placed his Ghettoblaster on the pavement, for 20 minutes his compilation album of anthems for peace rent the air. pete seeger and woodie Guthrie came to shannon, their anti-vietnam anthems given a new context.

Where have all the flowers gone? was one of petes songs, another was "we shall overcome" those beside the barricades joined in. "deep in my heart i do believe, we shall overcome someday" they sang.

This impromptu singalong was the highlight of the afternoon. The only time when protestors seemed to be singing from any sort of hymnsheet for Shannon's latest street protest.

The rest of the day was taken up by lowlights. this was a march organised badly - there were no leaders, just a "mix em gather em" rabble coming under the same big umbrella of peace and anti-war.

Not that the rabble was wholly given over to peacefull methods. The lines between peace and conflict became blurred when a group of children - they can only be described as apprentice anarchists - attempted to steal the show.

The Apprentice anarchists - they called themselves the Grassroots Network Against War - didn't want a peaceful protest.

They were dressed in Black and had their faces covered - presumably so they wouldn't be recognised by their parents if they were caught on camera. Hence the move by one apprentise anarchist to attack one photographer from the press association agency who had his lens too close for comfort.

Straying from the path of peace did not end there, on the march towards the airport the apprentice anarchists made a break for the perimeter fense of the shannon free zone. The gardai and the Riot police gave chase and the threatened security breach was headed off.

Then as the peaceful protesters dispersed, the boys and girls in black camped down and the Drumgeely roundabout. they waved their black flags - their show of 'black power' not that they'd know the meaning of the term - mouthed off about media conspiracies and blocked a number of passing cars.

Scuffles broke out, truth is it was mere handbag stuff really - followed by more mouthing off as Gardai kept a watching Brief, and as the darkness closed in it looked as though the gardai might become night watchmen.

However, the "cause" didn't mean that much to these apprentise anarchists, they soon moved off - they probably had to be home indoors and accounted for by the curfew set by their parents.

Still the apprentice anarchists probably went home with smiles on their faces, if one could see their faces behind those black scarves, they had brought the full might of Clare gardai out on the streets.

Worse still, they had won the tacit approval of those people who have been the frontline of the antiwar movement for the past year. While the apprentice anarchists were amusing themselves with their own juvenile behaviour, genuine peace activists like Tim H and Ed H were standing By. By being there they were party and part of what were nothing more than childish pranks.

They did their cause of peace no good - the cause of Pete seeger and Woodie Guthrie songs and young Claire ****** kneeling in front of the barricades. these peaceful actions should have spoken much louder than the apprentice anarchists who stole the show.

author by Resist - Black blocpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 01:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you must know i was not their as an apprentice Anarchist or some kid who never had any political convictions. I was there as an active opponent of imperialism which heeds on neo-colonial client states such as Ireland to comply to their demands. Black bloc is a protest tactic which ensures grassroots democracy in a small scale. The colours represent direct action and solidarity which was sanctified by the Zapatista insurrection in 1994. We are committed to the spirit of revolt, liberty and equality in solidarity .

author by Acidpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 02:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I dont even know if I could even start a comment on this!! Truly a funny & entertaining read. I believe it's mainly this type of narrow-mindedness that causes so much shit between anarchists and whoever else.
Well done Clare. Weakining the 'movement' one step at a time!

author by David Cpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 03:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is how most people view the peace activists - you're getting a glimpse of the world through our eyes.

author by ...your leaderpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 06:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"this was a march organised badly - there were no leaders" !!!
Oh! Horror of horrors! That's why we havn't managed to stop the war - no leaders!
Perhaps we could appoint Bertie as our beloved leader, now he has discovered he was against the war all along. What a sight to behold - Bertie leading the black block!

author by Davidpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you are correct and most people view events in this light then you really should make an effort to inform yourselves as there are many many inaccuracies in that opinion piece.
You could argue that you are entitled to your opinions, but if you discover that they are based on false information are you still entitled to hold them?

It particularly annoyed me when he alluded that the black Bloc were just a bunch of bored kids who came out for a few hours to play in the streets totally ignoring the fact that we had been planning this event for a long time, we had put a lot of effort into organising and most of us travelled long distances to be there. And how could this reporter know that the black bloc were mere children (which is an insult to children everywhere) if they had their faces covered?

author by Auld anarchist - creaking at the seamspublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm always sceptical of people who claim that their opinion is the view of "most people". I wonder has David C conducted some kind of survey to establish their opinions on this matter?
As for the age profile of the BB, just because they seem reasonably fit and agile does not mean they all fit into a specific age group. If their faces are covered, how can we tell?

author by initiated anarchist - .:.33º.:.publication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 14:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

there was no Guantanamo Bay.
Which is why I suppose we ruffians in the 5th international decided to attract attention to our svelt youth by bringing Guantanamo Bay to it's present status as a "household name".

Or did the Clare Champion stick it's little neck out on that one?

author by redflaremist - magpiespublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 14:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is the Clare Champion after all, hardly a bastion of free thinking and radical news reporting.

Media will always try and dress down direct actions, calling them "childish" or the like. Or else insult the demonstrators. If the Black Bloc hadnt been there then doubtlessly the writer would have turned his spleen elsewhere, calling the street theatre people a bunch of hippies or druggies, or labelling the IAWM as a bunch of commies, etc.

Maybe he should do his homework about the Special Branch spying on people - enough reason for anyone to cover up their face.

As for his argument about the people going home, what does he expect? All of us dont live in Shannon (thank fuck) and our buses were waiting to bring us back to urban sophistication... (ho ho). In fact the Grassroots buses were the last to leave, because the GNAW people stayed out on the streets the longest.

Another typical media tactic is dividing demonstrators... Tim & Ed were there. They may not agree with the BB tactic, but having met them both I iamgine they respect diversity of methods to shut down the war machine - the same way that anarchists respect them and their methods.

I wonder if the Clare Champion considers Fintan Lane one of the "genuine activists". Remember that Fintan was arrested while involved in an airfield tresspass - exactly what the anarchists were trying to do last Saturday.

And finally GNAW people and those in black masks are not mutually exclusive. Some in black would consider themselves involved with GNAW, others just non-affiliated individuals.

And there are GNAWers as well who do not cover their faces, and probably wouldnt on principle. Thats fair enough - the masked people respect their decision, the same way they would expect the same respect for their choice.

Have you got a contact email address for that newspaper? I might drop them a line.

author by redflaremistpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 14:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coming soon - GNAW exercise and aerobics classes for the extremely easily knackered, i.e. most of us on the day.

At one point I was sure I was going to have a heart attack. Too much butter on my toast and excess salt on the chips!

I wonder if there's any gyms around Dublin that would give us a discount anarchist group rate. Maybe we could skip some Creatine.

author by davidpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

editor@clarechampion.ie

They haven't updated their website in about a year but the e-mail should still work

author by davidpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 15:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah but lets remember, no matter how unfit we were (myself included) we still easily out performed even the most athletic of the cops on the day

author by funnypublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

one has to be amused by this.

top post was signed as 'by Resist - Black bloc'

then goes on to say: 'Black bloc is a protest tactic...'

this is the common verbal tactic of the BB - we're not an organisation, we use a tactic' but then they refer to themselves as 'the black bloc'

which is it kids?

author by alois vincenzo - eco socpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 19:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

on the subject of fitness and physicality, it's true that a lot of the time at these types of things black bloc types (i use the term loosely; i rarely don the garb) can outrun the cops, and we often do tend to be lighter on our feet than the cops. we tend to be more agile, but they tend to be brawnier, and that's the way it's traditionally been.

but now they have more than just brawn, as for me D6 marked a much increased aptitude on the cops' part for crowd control tactics. i imagine they have been drilling and training in their riot gear quite a bit lately, and it shows; you can't run rings around them like you used to. i know they had the numbers on the day, but even apart from that they had the place pretty much locked down.

and while it was great to see so many people up for it on D6, i felt we were still quite rag-tag when it came to facing up to disciplined,(ish) well-drilled lines of cops.

i know (nv)DA training tends to be awfully hit and miss, but i wonder is there scope for training that would properly address, for want of a better term, battlefield-type issues? i mean bloc tactics, moving in massed numbers to counter masses of police..

oh and if the guards are continuing to adapt to their renewed role of riot police, it probably won't be long till the physical profile of the guys in the body armour changes from that of the local plod to younger, fitter, tougher specimens for whom training exercises and work-outs are the norm, as is the way in other police forces.

author by Ciaronpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2003 21:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Rucks with the Cops are a Destraction!

It is obvious the state is taking this issues of servicing the U.S. military very seriously in terms of depoloyment of resources (on this occasion probably equal to the 1 million euro they spent on March 1st.).

They have also managed to kill the issue media wise as a dead issue. It is part of their strategy to reduce it to questions of public order/civil liberties so a (hopefully nonviolent) glove is not laid on the issue & mechanisms of the U.S. military refueling at Shannon.

Given the inexperience, underresourced nature and opportunist & moderate leadership of the Irish peace movement - the movement lost the initiative a long time ago. To such an extent that the Irish Army deplkoyed in response to the Jan/Feb ploughshares actions was withdrawn from Shannon in October. (The stunted nature of the Irish peace movement is to be expected as Ireland has gone form being quite marginaol to the U.S. war machine to central overnight!)

Those of more radical and militant nature should not get lost in co-dependent rucks with the cops. This is a predictable technique of managing and sidetracking dissent. The powers-that-be are happy we are focussed on the cops - that's what they're there for!

This original article misses the great crime that continues at Shannon. The excesses of youth are not the issue - Irish facilitation of the U.S. killing kids in Iraq is!

Given how outmanouvered we are at Shannon it might be time to reframe the issue as a "European" one (Shannon being U.S. European gateway to Iraq) rather than an "Irish" issue (given how compromised Irish nationalists are with the U.S. in terms of agendsas in the north).

We could bring in the Euro-peace movement that is much more experineced in nonviolent direct action and resourced.

Ahern's recent statements make a mockery out of the obsession in Ireland with Feb 15th. (Part of the leadership thought the phenomenon was a mandate for a meeting/lunch with the government. The government thought it was a mandate for the policy. And the remainder of the peace movement leadership policed, underminbed, marginalised and suppressed noviolent civil disobedience
to the war whereever it rared its head..Shannon, Dail, Aer Rianta, Hillsbrough.

Related Link: http://www.ploughsharesireland.org
author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Sun Dec 14, 2003 11:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Ciaron's right about the European peace movement, as something we can tap into and get support from. Hopefully at the action camp planned for March 2004 at Shannon will be joined by fellow travellers resisting US imperialism in their countries too.

author by Abbeypublication date Thu Dec 18, 2003 19:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It would be great if we could organize another event such as the Grassroots Gathering that went on in Galway recently and have an expert come to train us in developing strategies in order to have an effective non-violent movement... I've e-mailed the folks at training for change, and I'll let you know how they reply.

Related Link: http://www.trainingforchange.org/workshops/workshop-warr.html
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