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The Role of the Gardai

category national | crime and justice | opinion/analysis author Wednesday September 01, 2004 19:33author by Dec McCarthy - Workers Solidarity Movement Report this post to the editors

The primary role of the police is to preserve the status quo in society. In other words, the first task of the police force, of any police force, is to ensure the rule of the State and the rich elite. In practice this means priority is given to concerns of State over that of the population. For example, in Stoneybatter, near Dublin city-centre, on a number of occasions, the Guards have responded to break-ins over 12 hours after the event. In contrast the Guards were always prompt in attending to the scene of a bin-truck blockade.

The fact that Guards also do useful work, like investigating genuine crimes such as rape or doing traffic control, provides them with a level of cover for the fact that their primary role is to control the population in the interests of the rich. While it would be foolish to dismiss the useful work the police do, it is naive to think that it is the fundamental reason for their existence.

Garda Behaviour

Garda misbehaviour, incompetence and plain subversion of justice happens all too regularly. When you think about the continuous nature of the scandals, you are forced to conclude there is something rotten about the police. Take just a few of the more well-known examples: The Guards investigating the savage murder of two elderly women in Grangegorman framed Dean Lyons, a totally innocent man. They simply forced a confession out of a vulnerable person. It isn’t the only case of Gardai faking confessions and setting people up, though perhaps it is the most blatant and tragic - another couple died before the real killer was caught and Dean Lyons suffered under the shame and subsequently died prematurely.

The Gardai in Donegal tried to frame Frank McBearty for murder. Again, they tried to fake a confession and they also severely harassed the man’s family by issuing over 200 summonses against family members. It turns out that Gardai there were also faking the discovery of explosives in order to gain credit from their superiors for disrupting the IRA.

The roll call of shame has a long meandering history; from the heavy-gang antics of the 1970s, where policemen helped suspects talk by giving them a good heavy beating, to the Kerry Babies case of the 1980s to the shooting of John Carthy in Abbeylara a couple of years ago.

The Gardai’s actual competence as a police force that protects the community is put in perspective when you consider the almost total lack of prosecutions against serial child-abusers, for example in institutions run by religious, in Irish society until the 1990s. It is inconceivable that the Garda didn’t know what was going on in wider Irish society in the fifties and sixties, yet they singularly failed to intervene to protect the most vulnerable.

Routine Lies

The routine lies that Guards peddle in the District Court to gain convictions are so common as to be barely worth remarking upon. Rarely acknowledged too are the regular beatings meted out to working class youths. The Department of Justice pays out over €1,000,000 annually in compensation for unlawful arrest, assault and harassment. And that figure represents the tiny minority who have bothered to make complaints that were successful. Many more are intimidated out of doing so; many never bother making a complaint at all.

Very recently we have witnessed the wholesale militarisation of Dublin, with over 4,000 Guards, many dressed in storm-trooper like gear and water-cannon, protecting the European elite. The same absurd level of policing was readily available for George Bush when he graced us with his presence. The sheer level of resources poured into these events illustrate the priorities of the State and the police: the elites take precedence, dealing with joy-riders, drug-dealing and assault is very much a secondary consideration

The Good & the Bad

So there are problems with the Police Force. What else can one expect with a large organisation of over 10,000 members? But the problems with the police force are systemic and arise because it is a police force rather than from the proverbial bad apples. If it were the latter the problems could be rectified, but of course they never are.

In fact it is often mentioned, rightly, that Gardai join the force with the honourable motive of assisting society. Also, many individual Gardai sympathise with the aims of, say, anti-war activists or dislike the bin-tax or many other measures it is their job to enforce. However, it isn’t the individual that is the problem, but the institution of the police force itself and its manipulation of the individuals it controls. The institution is a bureaucratic machine which implements the wishes of those in control, i.e. the rich, and the lower echelons follow their orders. The system encourages individual Guards to identify their interests with that of the State and status quo. The individuals in the bureaucracy ‘switch off’ a part of their individuality when doing their job so that a Guard who is personally anti-war can find herself arresting anti-war activists for actions she probably thinks are justified!

Whose Streets? Our Streets!

The police force is in fact the core function and essence of any State. That is why priority is given to political policing, even at a mundane level. The recent Mayday events in Dublin organised by the Dublin Grassroots Network, were hardly a serious threat to the State. Nevertheless activists were routinely stopped and questioned for the subversive act of leafleting working class neighbourhoods.

The political nature of the police and their function is the reason why they dislike Reclaim the Streets and anarchist tainted events such as the Mayday weekend. We are reclaiming space that the State insists on controlling. An unauthorised RTS or occupation of Fitzwilliam Square is in effect saying to the State: “we will decide for ourselves where to go, we don’t need your permission”. Such actions also have a wider resonance, a symbolic message of people going out and doing things for themselves; of refusing to obey orders; of questioning the rights and privileges of the rich and the State to control our actions.

And that is why the police often try to have a heavy police presence at our events; all that fluorescent yellow is an attempt to symbolise that they are in control of the streets.

Outside of Popular Control

Anarchists refuse to acknowledge the right of the State to decide what is legitimate and what is not. As mentioned above, the police force is the quintessential face of the State. As such it must be beyond effective community control. If it weren’t, the ruling class would find that they no longer had a reliable force to, say, break up pickets of striking workers and suppress opposition. For example, when they were needed last autumn, the police were there at bin-tax pickets getting names for the courts.

People mightn’t remain indoctrinated in the lore of capitalism forever, and at the first sign of the throwing off of their ‘voluntary submission’ and dissent, it is necessary for the capitalist class to have a force capable of containing it.

Talk of the Gardai being unarmed is basically false. They are a police force, not a police request service. If you don’t do what they want they will force their will upon you. They and their colleagues in the army, are the only organisation in the country permitted to use force. And they have easy access to firearms if needs be. The fact that they are not an everyday sight is indicative of the ideological success of capitalism rather than a benign policy of the State.

Freedom!

Anarchists want to minimise the use of force in human relations. The basic anarchist thesis is that it is only legitimate in self-defence and must never be under the control of a minority. For that effectively grants power to the minority, who will, as everybody with power does, use it primarily for their own ends and with a view to controlling others. But it is possible to live without recourse to controlling elites and their organised coercion. Anarchists have confidence that people can run their own affairs, particularly in a libertarian socialist society where society is structured to facilitate freedom and justice.

Related Link: http://www.struggle.ws/wsm
author by Peterpublication date Wed Sep 01, 2004 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Really well put together piece, well done. A bit on how recent the modern police force actually is would be nice, 'peelers' etc. But really great and I think much needed, a recent piece by iosaf on the ombudsman resulted in a lot of "but there are nice policemen too" replies, when what we need to discuss is the police as an entity and "job option".

author by crime victimpublication date Wed Sep 01, 2004 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dozens of Gardai have died protecting this state and its people,some were shot,some stabbed and and one burned to death and many have died responding to 999 calls, 95% of the force are the most decent people you could meet and in 12,000 of a force thats a lot of people, they do a thankless job with very little recognition on a 24/7 basis. We have one of the best police forces in the world, it has its faults like every organisation, but see how you would get on in main land europe with your antics and how the police would deal with you, they were fantastic during the may day riots in 2004 and were set up for may day 2002, you wouldnt have the guts to do their job, any job for that matter.

author by John P - Mayday"rioter"publication date Wed Sep 01, 2004 20:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Guess the above commentator mustve read that one in the Sunday World or some similarly realistic and unbiased publishing.

There were no "riots" you naive imbecile and the only violence on the day came from the heavily protected State forces against peaceful protesters.
The lads just wanted to go to Mass,have their spuds,watch the GAA and then go out and try their new toys out on some people that Patsy Public wouldnt have any sympathy for cos theyre too blind and brainwashed to understand what theyre protesting against!
Any police force without an independent regulatory body is a sham.
Full stop!

author by Hoolypublication date Wed Sep 01, 2004 20:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jeez someones really pushing the boat out with that argument!
You think anyone that objects to the status quo doesnt have a job and sits up trees all day?
Maybe they have a job that doesnt turn them into mindless robotss too preoccupied with living for the weekend to give a shit about real issues.

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice, Pleasepublication date Wed Sep 01, 2004 21:44author email michelle33 at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Des
A lot of detail and accuracy. I was about to publish my article on bullying and read yours. I realised I had forgotten to mention Gardai in the context of bullying:

Bullying - not just among children!!!!!!!!!!

People who bully ironically are often the ones with low self-esteem. They project onto others those characteristics they share, but don't like in themselves. Alas they seek the vulnerable targets. What is more interesting is that they may not even be aware, the reaction may be from their subconscious.

Bullying applies in schools, between children, between parents of children; in the Civil Service, in the Professions, and even Bertie Ahern refused to be bullied by Michael O’Leary per a recent headline. What can be done either at an individual level or otherwise? It’s September, children are back at school; employers and employees are back; politicians are back and so are students.

Ask some person like Tony Humphry's to lecture people/children/facilitators for an hour and make them aware as why they engage in bullying. This can be backed up by some of the copious number of self-help books on the market. What has greatly helped me is the quotation from Nietzche ‘He who has the reason why, can deal with anyhow’

As a young secretary, I was facing the problem. It was a set up situation to establish the power element of I am 'the boss' and you are 'the secretary'. This is nearly 20 years ago now.

I was saved by a wise Chartered Accountant in his 60's who told me 'Young lady', if you don't make a stand now, this will continue'. I took his advice and it worked very well in that company and I was most sad to leave.

I became re-acquainted with Bullying and others seeking to be in control when I became humbled through ill-health. The only difference this time is that I had neither the health or ENERGY TO engage......it was about vulnerability, submission, and ultimately becoming passive resistant.

As I recover, I know that bullying exists. My way of dealing with it was and continues to be reading about it. A small book that I found excellent is John Powell's (Jesuit Priest) 'Why am I afraid to tell you who I am......written 1950's but sets down parameters.......I have enlisted some coping strategies like believing that I have the right to choose not to use the phone and to not listen to people who tend to want to tell other people how to their lives. I am not faulting the human being but I am acknowledging my right to say no to the phone and accepting a quality in their person that I do not like.

An extreme example of bullying – an indication of how worldwide it is.
When I lived in Zimbabwe, I either heard or read about this. The New Government in the 1980's was left with the remnants of the British civil service. Naturally, there was a change over in staff and of course the new staff had an acquired status position in line with their promotion and based on what they identified from the past administration.

The system did not quite work the same way. Sometimes to get say one's tax sorted out - you had to employ a few relatives from the rural areas to get tax due back. Power / control - we are talking about being human and susceptible!!!!!

I read/heard of one case of a white woman probably for the first time having to deal with the new system attending a civil service office. She like the rest had to queue. The black Zimbabweans had spent their lives queueing. However, each time she reached the desk - the African woman dismissed her and kept telling her to go to the back.....,,Eventually - the answer came. You are white, you have done this to us all our lives. Now you see what it is like.

This I would call redressing the power balance and is understandable. However, the key point is that people learn. The learning is key. This is where the learning starts and behaviour change is the aim.

Bullying is more a characteristic/trait/coping mechanism and it is acknowledged that if you confront bullies - they retreat. The characteristic is often born out of their own insecurity.

What is important is that this characteristic can change IF PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO INVEST THE TIME IN SELF DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH.

To confront: May be as simple as say to them - That is your projection. This disempowers the bully who fires words like arrows……
or involve years of research and accusation to achieve the forthright findings of the Morris Tribunal. The findings ought to remain stark in the minds of policy makers and Government. The Morris Tribunal may cost inordinate sums but it is up to we the people in Ireland to take an individual responsibility to ensure Ethics and Social Justice.

The time has come to engage..........within our society.

A Gandhi quote:
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

This dimension of health merits keen attention in the health boards, teaching, the Gardai, the politicians' personal commitment levels and effective leadership of their bureaucratic mass etc............Some lessons in human skills and the concept of equality and ability of people to change their attitudes need focus and personal undertaking.

Compassion seems to have fallen from grace in the society of today - it is not marketable perhaps. Compassion helps you to seek the explanation…….the 'take responsibility awareness' route needs to start in the schools NOW AND WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. In the UK – they have started at classroom level and explanation……

Michelle quotes Nietzche
'He who has the reason why can deal with any how'

author by jeffpublication date Fri Sep 03, 2004 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am not sure what crime you were the victim of, I hope it was not serious like the murder of a loved one or rape. I mean that, and you probably were lucky to have received the help of good Gardai, which may be the reason you are angry at what you may perceive to be glib bias on part of the poster here.

I am glad you put in some good words for the Gardai, but please read again what our poster had to say. Name one Garda that has been prosecuted in full view of the public for the scandals mentioned by our poster. None!

It is this that makes many people angry. It is this culture of closeted skeletons that is a part of our history for a very long time. It is not just the Gardai that have contributed to this phenomenon, but the Church, and government also.

You are wrong when you say that the Gardai did well at MayDay 2002, but right about this year. That is my personal opinion.

People make all kinds of sweeping statements on this list, with all shades of opinion.
Try not to be like them.

Again, I hope you heal from the criminal act perpetrated against you. Try , though,to also realise that a number of Gardai are themselves the perpetrators of criminal acts.

There has been a culture of impunity with the Gardai as an institution, and this needs to be addressed, not just for today, but for the future of generations, so that we have a professional force and a public with confidence in that force.

All the best, and let us all quit the anger and hate, be we socuialist, anarchuist, or just plain old centre right voter. Kids died in a Russian school today, the end result of hate.

Nip it in the bud, hate is a cancer. I know, because I have thought bad thoughts for too long. It is no good, for your health or for your mental well being.

a somewhat reformed jeff

author by Alpublication date Tue Sep 07, 2004 20:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Any police force without an independent regulatory body is a sham.
So that would be just about all forces in the world then so? Lets get one thing straight. You blame people who dont agree as being brainwashed idiots but where are you getting your information? Same places usually.
As for an independent body, the PSNI have one and guess what? They have had less disciplinary action or criminal proceedings than the Gardai have. Wow, good thing we dont have one then or I might lose my job! Also try to note that Internal affairs does just fine in places such as the NYPD and in ALL other countries the police force is indemnified for civil actions. If they face criminal action then the state must cover them for legal action by getting solicitors etc. None of that for the Gardai. Nope, were on our own. Weapons? Nope, not for me walking down the road. Whats that? I have a baton you say, well gee thanks a lot. Thats brilliant when Im saving your ass from 3 or 4 attackers.
We are not the oppressors or the bully boys of the state, we enforce the law, a law that the majority agree with. If you dont like living in a democracy then leave.
I bet the kids that got stuck after missing their bus home from O2 in the park are grateful for my help. Never mind the fact that Im out of pocket for covering their expences, never mind the fact that their parentsa didnt even bother to thank me. Or how about the girl that used MY phone to ring home and arrange a lift? Or the woman that was about to jump but is now making great strides in her recovery. Nope, no thanks but guess what? I can live with that, what I cant take is the fact that Im busting my ass and risking it for ingrates like some of the people on this board. Tell my family Im scum, tell my daughter that your glad Im dead if it happens.

author by BONZOpublication date Thu Sep 09, 2004 20:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Al you can't blame people for using these words when they have seen Gardai hitting people with batons while they sit on the ground shouting "peaceful protest" and continued to strike them in the back as they run away. I get very angry being filmed by gardai as if I'm a criminal while protesting peacfully.

Can't you see that by not being accountable to the commuinity that you serve it is enevitable that people will hate you no what good you do while your collegues are routinely beating people up and the scandals go on unchecked.

Police In General Filming
Police In General Filming

author by Ruripublication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 15:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My god, you're all so oppressed. You live in a stable democracy with precious little to really complain about so you have to nurture this fantastical world of oppression and state control.

Fact: The Gardai are not brutalist oppressors with a penchant for violence. The odd rogue operator is so rare that one guy who did lose the run of himself and smash someone's bike over 2 years back is still the subject of numerous posts here. I hardly think RTS 2002 will take its place with Seattle and Genoa in the great anti-globalisation marches of our time. Even May 1st this year must have been awful frustrating for you guys when it became apparent there was nothing really to get angry about and the cops couldn't be arsed getting involved with you and the only boys who got a few smacks and a shower well and truly deserved it. I still laugh at the photo of the gobshite sitting in the full spray of the water cannon doing the peace sign. The coverage on this site was bizarre, condemning the cops confrontational attitude when most of them weren't even deployed in riot gear.

Fact: They are allowed to film a protest, peole here have filmed them enough times. Although the stuff I've seen filmed by protestors is so badly made that it detracts rather then strengthens thier whimsical "issues' which are based entirely on the plain, obvious and simple truth that most people here don't have any real problems. You don't know how good you have it.

Easy on the paranoia pills people and find some real issues.

author by Badmanpublication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did you read the article?

If so, why are you arguing against staw men that seem to exist only in your head and have absoultely nothing to do with the arguments raised?

I'd also like to propose a medal for Al. He reveals how he was actually nice to a couple of teenagers once! Gee whizz, I'm now convinced that the police are actually a democratic force who are all about ensuring social justice, especially since he emphasises that being nice is in no way part of his job.

I'd also like to offer Ruri an exchange. My paranoia pills for whatever you're on. Yours seems so effective at shutting down the critical faculties and y'know, every so often you just have to shut the old brain down, leave sense behind and just trip through your imagination, man.

author by Ruripublication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hey, the paranoid, trippy, hippy buzz is great isn't it. I'm as critical as the next man when there is actually something to be critical about. The fact is we live in a stable society with precious little to really complain about.

I note you didn't actually say anything in your post, just a vague reference to knowing the 'real' truth. You have an easy life my friend, you really do. Just thank you lucky stars that you are able to enjoy it so much. Have a good weekend.

There's far too much misplaced angst here.

How about all the various factions hear stop bitching and sniping at each other, get together and brainstorm and come up with at least one real issue. Everyone here just seems to concerned about making themselves heard in as random and illogical a fashion as possible. And you know what tyhey say about empty vessels.

author by - - - - - - - - - - -- - - -publication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 16:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

am i right? or am i wrong?
Ruari what sort of "issue" would suit you?
Would you like another big geopolitical outrage? or do prefer keeping it local?
maybe another tax? or something?
come on, it's one of those really quite beautiful periods when we all realise what gobshites we are at heart, and that we don't and can't influence the "really big picture" anymore, so all that's left is taking the piss out of the SWP coz they're a front for the Mormons, and conspiracy theories.
And as for the police, you know you're not living in a tolerant open and "democratic" society when you no longer get away with taking the piss out of them and saying how much you don't like them.
Thus it's sort of a valued exercise for all concerned. If we don't tell the authorities we don't like them on a regular basis we won't get any indication that they may be considering being nastier.

Was Mao a bad man or was he a bad man?

author by Joepublication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 16:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ruri did you actually read any of the material produced by those organising the Mayday protests.
http://struggle.ws/eufortress/whyprotest.html

These highlighted a number of real issues including the 3,000 people so far killed by Fortress Europe. If 3,000 is enough to make S11 an issue then surely its also enought to make Fortress Europe an 'issue'.

To be fair you may be relying on the media coverage in advance of the protests. Almost without exception they repeatedely suggested there were no issues apart from 'violence' and refused to allow us to talk about anything else but the chance of 'violence'.

It is however a little hard to yake you seriously as your first post seems to consist of 'their is no brutality but those who are brutalised deserve it so stop being paranoid'. This sounds too much like a catch all intended to close down all discussion.

If these posts are reactions to the article they are interesting as they seem to show you have no answers. The article itself is quite rational and non-alarmist. It analysises the problems on the basis of the system rather than the individuals. Your 'replies' seem to invent an alarmist irrational article that suggests that the individuals are to blame. Weird!

Related Link: http://struggle.ws/wsm/crime.html
author by Ruripublication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think it's just different perceptions Joe. I don't think anybody was brutalised on May Day. The people who got a gentle soaking and a few smacks went looking for exactly that. It was a justified and measured response. I'm not always on the side of cops I might add but in this case I'm definitely on their side

Now I did go onto the website (named struggle appropriately enough) it's here where our points diverge. I am wholeheartefly in favour of developing a coherent military capability for Europe. We're not neutral any more, so we should stop talking crap by saying that we are. We should invest in developing a military capability that will dovetail with ERRF etc. I'm not recommending vigorous military expansion, just a response and react capability, such as proper airlift for our troops, integrated defence systems so our European armies can train and interract properly. These are very important issues. People here saying we should ignore or denigrate European militarisation have their head in the sand. It is vital that we as Europeans have a coherent defence strategy for intervention and peacekeeping. It is vital that Ireland becomes a stronger and more involved part of Europe.

As for the other points on your struggle site, I voted no, same as the rest of you in the citizenship referendum and I also am entirely for completely free movement of people and labour. We're on the same side there. Good luck now.

author by Badmanpublication date Fri Sep 10, 2004 18:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I don't think anybody was brutalised on May Day. The people who got a gentle soaking and a few smacks went looking for exactly that."

I assume that you know that water cannon's do not give people a "gentle soaking". There were several documented cases of broken bones and other serious injuries caused by blasts from the cannons. But more importantly, your claim about the intentions of the people who got hit and injured is laughable. You present no evidence for it, you just assert that you somehow know the motivations of all those people. I have talked to a fair number of people who got hit and from this I can safely say that exactly none of them went "looking for exactly that". Or maybe my evidence is worthless compared to your ominscence?

Another point:

"It is vital that we as Europeans have a coherent defence strategy for intervention and peacekeeping"

Firstly, intervention and peacekeeping have nothing to do with 'defence' at least if you're using the standard meaning of the word. But more importantly, you fail to make any argument whatsoever. You merely say "it is vital" and repeat this mantra several times. No evidence, no attempt to construct an argument, just an assertion backed up by.....oh shit, I forgot about your omniscence. silly me.

author by Tompublication date Sat Sep 11, 2004 03:26author email olearys at oceanfree dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a tricky one, eh? I suppose that our society, as it exists, requires a police force to protect us from ourselves. Anarchy would be entirely too messy and I for one don't want to live with Mad Max in Thunderdome. I'm not strong enough to advocate a "survival of the fittest" culture.

Unfortunately, we humans have evolved into an aggressive species and we require protection and control at times. I just wish that our policing strategy would be more practical....like establishing a presence at chippers where recurring episodes of violence take place after the pubs close rather than patroling buscars trying to make a few quid on shop street on a sunny afternoon without a permit (God forbid!)

I'm certain though, that we all agree that a recognised authority (and authority makes me uneasy) exists to help keep order on our streets and communities.

I think that we should also agree that any authority in our society should be accountable, as citizens themselves (no better, no worse, no more immune), to any laws and standards that we adopt as necessary for the safety and well being of the people in our society.

I think that the root problem with law and order in this country is more legislative than implementative. Keep your eye on the news and count how many times you read "suspended sentence" or "probation" over the course of the next week. There is no deterrent to crime, and we spend entirely too much time and money re-trying repeat offenders (now, I could write another entire book on the deficencies of our "rehabilatative" system.) We are also overly regulated with too much time spent on implementing frivilous laws that were created without real need rather than focusing on those things that directly affect the safety and well being of the populace (see buscar example above if you need one.)

Anyway, there's my two cents. Don't beat me over the head for it!

Peace Out!

Related Link: http://www.geocities.com/recruitoleary/2004.html/
author by Joepublication date Mon Sep 13, 2004 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

re Tom

Alexander Berkman observed on policing that everyone thanks that they are OK but the club is needed for the other fellow. Your post seems to be an interesting case in point, you complain about the Gardai enforcing a set of laws you don't like and then demand that the courts hand down harder sentences for those the Guards catch breaking laws!

Which is not too say that your wrong, in some ways you catch the real problems here. Who makes the laws, what are the laws they make, who enforces them and who controls those who enforce them. Crudely those with money make laws to protect their money. They then use our money (tax) to pay some people to enforce these laws but they rather than us control what these people do.

I'd suggest that the smallest problem of these four problems is the 'some people' who 'enforce these laws'. The more interesting thing is to imagine an alternative to all four problems.

re: Ruri

Here is an experiment I'd like you to try out. Get a friend to equip himself with a good solid bit of wood maybe 6 cm thick and 1.2m long. Stand in front of him and get him to wack you around the head and body with the stick two or three times. Then let us know how pleasurable you found the experience.

I suspect this would be the best answer to your odd idea that the Mayday protesters 'were looking for exactly that'!

On neutrality I don't think 'we' (the Irish government) are neutral either. With 40%+ of US Iraq bound troops flying though Shannon on their way to the occupation I don't see how anyone could talk about defending neutrality without sniggering.

That said I see our involvement in supporting way no reason not to oppose militarism rather than rushing into it because there is no other option.

author by Ruripublication date Mon Sep 13, 2004 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Then why provoke them, why go to a place where you're not supposed to be in a security environment that's obviously going to be high profile and tense. If you don't stop and move back then what do you expect. They have a job to do and on that day at least, they did it very well. No sympathy with people who got themselves into that situation. There was no reason for it. It was mere attention seeking and few too many cans in the sun.

Militarism is the way of the world I'm afraid. Better to try and build it coherently then pretend it can be replaced with some sort of fantastical alternative. As nice as that would be an all.

author by Joepublication date Mon Sep 13, 2004 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You seem to assume that the purpose of the demonstration was to 'provoke the police'. This is a pretty odd assumption, I suspect like the rest of the population your average cop finds the EU boring and is not likely to get excited one way or the other by people protesting its policies.

So the subject of the demonstration was hardly a provocation. Perhaps your suggesting then that the circumstances was. IE that people dared to demonstrate in a situation where the government really did not want them to do so and when the government had deployed all sorts of nasty tactics to try and scare people off.

There is something in that interpretation but then again protest all becomes a bit meaningless when you restrict yourself to protests the government likes. If everyone had taken that attitude we still be subjects under various kings and queens. I'm sure there were any number of people back then willing to say 'oh you can't march on the bastille, thats such a provocation'.

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