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Anti-war hangover in Dublin - reports and images from yesterday's march.

category dublin | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Sunday March 19, 2006 15:00author by the way, i'm hungry. Report this post to the editors

featured image
Anti-war march on O'Connell Bridge

Most of the population would have been getting out of bed this morning with a raging hangover. Mid afternoon people would be wiping the crust from their eyes, and making their way into town for a fry up, trying to recollect all the hazy memories of the night before, when the crowds were out and everyone was fired up with enthusiasm.

Thus I couldnt help but think that this day was very fitting for the anti-war march in Dublin. Approximately eight hundred people marched from the Garden of Remembrance to the end of Grafton Street, stopping briefly on O'Connell Bridge for a barely-registered two minute silence, then looped around back to the GPO. At the start of the rally where people assembled for speeches, there were numerous references made to three years ago where 100,000 people marched in town. This march today just seemed like a bad hangover for the Irish anti-war movement (no capitals). Hazy memories of when the crowds were out and everyone was fired up with enthusiasm, now long lost to the mists of time.

People give out about marching and saying that direct action is a better way to get results. I think marches are important now and again but they have to be happening in a continuum of other actions. People were paying attention on the streets today, stopping to watch and listen, curious and perhaps secretly hoping for some disorder like last month; but marching around town on a Saturday once a year is simply not enough. Even the choice of the location for the end of the march has never varied much, either the GPO or Merrion Square. Top Oil, the company involved in refuelling the planes in Shannon, run a station on Amiens Street. This could easily be the finishing point for speeches - thus having your rally -and- shutting down a business profiting from war. Alas, this never happens. The level of adventurous thinking by the groups involved in antiwar activities seems to be very low.

There was a small red and black bloc of about 60 who branched off at the bottom of Grafton Street, up towards the Dáil and then the Department of Justice on Stephens Green. I dont know if anything happened with this or not, but even when they split off, I just felt there was something... inevitable or predictable about the way it happened. The stewards freaked out for a minute, and the rest of the crowd were briefly confused about what way to go or what was going on, but then just rejoined the larger section and marched on. Nobody seemed really interested in why the bloc was splitting off, what they were doing, or possibly even joining them.

I remember once at some meeting or other about three years ago, someone made a point about how the antiwar movement needed victories. There havent been any at all... and I guess this is demoralising. When it emerged late last year that the CIA had used Shannon as a stopover for the torture express, this was met with a deafening silence. Nobody seems to have any ideas on how to re-energise it or re-invent it as a cause to get angry about, so perhaps the State has won. Today's march will ultimately be forgotten and ignored by those in power... other methods and opportunities of putting the spotlight back on the State's complicity in the "War on Terror" must be explored, otherwise antiwar activities in Ireland are doomed to failure and ever-decreasing support...




author by Thisbikeisahypebombpublication date Sat Mar 18, 2006 20:32Report this post to the editors

The turn out was ok,could have been much much better.

Nice to see so many groups out, also feel bad for the guy who was busted by that miserable Ban Garda for selling DVDs at the end,grabbed two of him quick.

The confusion when the anarchists turned off was actually the funniest moment of the march." NO SIR!!WRONG WAY" etc.

Not many photos sadly,camera was hiding in the bag,I couldn't find it for most of the march.

Minus the ugly cover,welcome back.
Minus the ugly cover,welcome back.




author by Jack White - .publication date Sat Mar 18, 2006 21:25author email wageslave at eircom dot netReport this post to the editors

Who were the madzers with the hammer and sickle flags?

author by Opublication date Sat Mar 18, 2006 21:44Report this post to the editors

The anarchists marching off up Nassau Street was the strangest thing. All I saw was the march turning to the right at Grafton Street (almost everybody) and off in the distance heading up Nassau Street were some anarchists with their banners and flags flying. Nobody around me knew what they were up to or where they were going! I didn't see any leaflets promoting a distinct action and remain completely puzzled. One of the postings above says they headed off to the Dail or the Dept of Foreign Affairs.

Not a very inclusive 'action' - whatever it was - and I can't see the point of the breakaway myself. Did they have a problem with the organisers? Did they not support the march? If not, why were they on it? I thought it showed contempt for everybody else (though I hasten to add that I was more puzzled than offended). Any chance somebody might enlighten us as to what it was all about and why it wasn't explained in some way to everybody else?

author by blokepublication date Sat Mar 18, 2006 22:09Report this post to the editors

hammer and sickle = Communist Party of Ireland :)

author by -concerned citizenpublication date Sat Mar 18, 2006 22:35Report this post to the editors

Fair play to everyone who went to the march today. But how many marches is that now against the war? And what has been the result? Sometimes I think that these marches are an attempt by groups on the irrelevent left to give themselves a spotlight in which they can actually say that they're doing something worthwhile and of course to sell the paper and possible gain a few new members.
Marches in themselves are not a bad thing, but as the author of this thread said, a bit of variation wouldnt go astray. The direct action that was witnessed in Shannon and in which groups on the left scourned possibly did more for the anti-war movement than all the marches put together. That doesnt mean that everyone should put an axe to a plane every week (although it doesnt sound that bad now that I type it). But groups like the CPI etc who have no influence in working class area's and who think they are the theoretical vanguard of the working class are fooling no one by attempting to represent the most progressive aspect of the Irish working class.

author by kpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 01:16Report this post to the editors

That was me who the female Garda was harassing, she didnt arrest me or anything but threatened to and also to take my stock ("evidence") of films, if I didnt leave straight away... so glad my taxes are paying for this kind of policing...

author by Opublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 01:27Report this post to the editors

'All out for the Red and Black bloc!'

Why? For what? What exactly did the breakaway group do today?

author by thisbikeisahypebombpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 01:38Report this post to the editors

Cheers anyway for getting out there and getting them out there at very reasonable prices. Its a fact that their are DVDs being sold in Dublin every day that most people would find much more offensive than No Logo or OutFoxed. Gardaí never seemed to bothered about them...

Actually,a LOT of Gardaí out today. Don't know if we'll be seeing much more of them at protesters now for a while after the Love Ulster fiasco.

author by Cian - Socialist Youthpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 01:57author email ComradeCian at eircom dot netauthor address Limerickauthor phone 085-7077919Report this post to the editors

End the Occupation of Iraq - Withdraw the troops now!
By Cillian Gillespie
At the beginning of this month the war criminal George W. Bush paid a visit to US soldiers at Shannon airport. This gave two fingers to the majority of Irish people who have opposed his brutal war and occupation of Iraq.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Irish government allowed him to pass through the airport on two separate occasions in the one week. They have allowed over 300,000 US soldiers to pass through Shannon since 2003. This devotion has not gone unnoticed by the Bush administration. The US special envoy to Ireland Richard Hass said that the use of Shannon was crucial to operations in Iraq.

The Irish Government’s slavish support for so-called "war on terror" has not stopped there. They have been more than happy to turn a blind eye to the CIA using Shannon as a stopover for ‘’rendition’’ flights. Rendition is the Bush administration’s disgusting euphemism for the kidnapping and torture of mainly Muslim prisoners who are brought and held without charge in detention centres like Guantanamo Bay.

Using conservative estimates, over 100,000 have died as a result of the occupation in Iraq. Unemployment now stands at 70% and living standards in Iraq generally have declined significantly in the past three years. On top of this, imperialism has helped to fuel sectarian tensions that are potentially pushing Iraq in the direction of civil war. These facts speak for themselves. Bush and Blair’s war was not waged in the interests of the Iraqi people but was a war for oil and profit waged under the flimsiest of pretences.

This is a conclusion shared by the vast majority of workers and young people across the globe. But on the third anniversary of the outbreak of the war, many will wonder how this brutal occupation (and in Ireland the use of Shannon Airport by the US) can be brought to an end. In the past year, we have seen mobilisations such as the successful campaign by school students to “Bring Kunle Home” and the successful strike of Turkish and Kurdish migrant workers against GAMA Construction. These glimpses of struggle show that we are not powerless against capitalist war criminals like Bush and their servants like Bertie Ahern. If any anti-war movement is to be successful in its aims, it needs to base itself on this real power and not just on annual protests.

Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party will be using the anti war protest on 18 March to hammer home this point as we have consistently done. Once again we will be arguing the need to link opposition to this imperialist war with the capitalist profit system that has created horror without end for the people of Iraq. The fact that $1 trillion has been squandered by the Bush administration to wage this war is as good an argument as any as to why young people need to fight for a socialist future. A future not based on wars waged for the blind pursuit of profit, but one where the collective ownership and control of our planet’s resources can be utilised for the benefit of all.

author by Elainepublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 02:13Report this post to the editors

3rd Anniversary Anti-War March
Indeed a lot has happened in the last three years, the obvious being the drop from 100,000 to just under 1,000 marching against this war. (Yet, ironically, more people are awake to the corruption and greed that fueled this war in the first place.)
Is this to our shame or the shame of the 99,000 who didn't join us today? Perhaps the message they took from our Government's continued complicity, after that overwhelming mandate from the people in 2003, was one of disempowering impotency. I don't for one minute believe that they changed their minds on the war and if that is the illusion FF and the PD's are labouring under, then they face an unpleasant introduction to reality at the next election.

So how to motivate people who feel that democracy has let them down? Should we even try?
I believe the failing is on the part of the Government who have not served their people well.
Should we play the numbers game and claim success only if a lot of others turn out to march with us?
Not a bit of it; their support is there, physically they were elsewhere - they are the dis-empowered. We represent them when we take to the streets. We are the voice for the voiceless and for those who are too cowed, or house-broken, to raise their own voices in dissent.

I personally believe that marches, along with other forms of non-violent direct action, are an important part of Anti-War activities. For those with a conscience, complicity in any form is never an option.

Any Anti-War gathering, however small, is a chance to network with like minded individuals. Information is disseminated, opinions shared, ties strengthened and new friendships made. We don't need the strength in numbers - that's called a mob. We need strength of purpose and unity!

Speaker's Corner
Speaker's Corner

Cosantoiri Siochana Stall
Cosantoiri Siochana Stall

That Banner's Holding Up Well Lads
That Banner's Holding Up Well Lads

Stop Refueling
Stop Refueling

Black Sham Frock
Black Sham Frock

author by Elainepublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 02:46Report this post to the editors

Today was the first public outing of the newly formed Code Pink Ireland - Women For Peace And Justice. (And no, that doesn't mean we think that men are for War and Injustice) It aims to give women a voice in Anti-War activities. Quite a few women (and a couple of guys) were more than happy to get pink and fluffy behind our banners today. Some women watching the march go by from the pavement, stepped into the fray and joined us simply because the wearing of pink seemed less threatening to them than the Red n Black. This is not a criticism of any section / faction - there is a place for all - but I feel we must endeavour to be inclusive. From the perspective of those on the pavement it is a big first step to join a protest. Hopefully we made it a bit easier for some today.

Pink Block
Pink Block

More Pinkies
More Pinkies

Staging His Own 'Die-In'
Staging His Own 'Die-In'

Pink Ladies
Pink Ladies

Think Pink!
Think Pink!

author by Elainepublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 03:05Report this post to the editors

So spoke David Norris, back from his flying visit to Shannon Warport last Wednesday. Despite the bitterly cold wind, most of the crowd stayed for the speeches and were not disappointed by the firey rhetoric. Norris questioned the logic behind impeaching Clinton "for a blow-job" while Bush continues with the genocide, unimpeded.

David Norris - 'This Is An Anniversary Of Shame'
David Norris - 'This Is An Anniversary Of Shame'

We All Know Who To Blame
We All Know Who To Blame

David Norris, Deirdre Clancy And Michael D - Peace Mongers All
David Norris, Deirdre Clancy And Michael D - Peace Mongers All

Deirdre Clancy And Honorary Code Pinkie Fintan Lane
Deirdre Clancy And Honorary Code Pinkie Fintan Lane

author by raypublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 13:17Report this post to the editors

The turn out lets face it was abysmal . From !50,000 to 800 - which is a
decrease of over 1,500% isn't it ? If a football team had seen its
fortunes dwindle to such an extent , or if a business were to see its
shares plummet by 1,500% , heads would surely roll .
Richard Boyd Barrett ,the leader of the IAWM ,for the last three years has been running the Dun Laoighre anti -bin tax campaign , Dun Laoighre People Before Profits ; he has been the spokesperson for the Ballybrack 3 and has run the campaign to save Dun Laoighre water front. Oh yes and the campaign to save the local swimming pool. Richard, it’s time to pick which hat you’re going to wear.

author by iosaf {the assembly I protested the war with 3 years ago - disbanded itself in 2003. We didn't stop being pacifists }publication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 13:33Report this post to the editors

I found myself walking surrounded by 2nd spanish republic flags at the end (as usual) of the Barcelona march. The press played the game of exagerating the turnout, underestimating the turnout at the "drinking riot" the night before, ignored another march for imprisoned squatters an hour later. C/F Very few people bothered to turn out, but a lot of soviet union flags were to be seen as well, & they appeared in Ireland and in most other cities where people went to march. This is a symptom of sentimentality. It is a redundant emotion which is one of the main weaknesses of the marxist left. This weekend pacifists and anti-war activists didn't have to march, they needed to bring attention to what else they have done and achieved in the last 3 years. I'm always going on about it - "The Selective & Collective memory : Memory as fetishised community : Communality as fetishised memorial". © iosaf mac diarmada Doesn't matter if its 1916 or March 20. Same low grade shite applies. all said, its nice that owners of fantasy flags get a day out.
But don't forget more of France was burnt for nihilism and then forgotten about than for precarity.
Don't forget that more young people engaged in street parties for the right to drink in public space than bothered waving any flag. We are against war. We are against the global guantanamo. Everyone knows that, now lets them about the other stuff.

author by Niallpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:22Report this post to the editors

... Forever.

author by D_Dpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:26Report this post to the editors

The turn out was disappointingly small. Less the numbers be, for a change, exaggerated downwards, a Socialist Party member actually counted the march passing Trinity College. Rather than the 'less than 1,000" and 800 figure being used so far, he counted 1,300. Not a great consolation, true, but 'for the record'.

Four other unavoidable factors would have had a small impact too: it was the day after the Paddys Day 'parading' and some would have been away for the long weekend too; it was freezing cold; 'Ireland' was playing in a rugby final, and DCC have banned posters. There also seems to have been less of a publicity build-up by the organisers, but that should not take away from granting fair dues for having organised it. The line up of speakers was good. Too male, again. The band was a minority taste.

The huge drop in marchers, though, must represent something political, either in the 'movement' or in the attitude of those who came out in such large numbers as before. Nevertheless to go on marching/protesting against the war in lean times IS NOT a sign of futility or blinkerdom, but a sign of determination and principle. Those that did not get disheartened will feel all the better when the numbers return. It seems the marches were bigger in other countries yesterday.

As for the 'internal' reasons, if any, for the size of the march, I leave them for discussion by people more familair with the movement.

author by Anarchistpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:27Report this post to the editors

M18 2006 Breakaway
Yesterdays IAWM march from to A to B and back again had a healthy red and black bloc of about 80 to 100 people who decided the march route was too boring and headed off to put the focus where it belongs, ON THE STATE.
The anarchist march broke away at Nassua street while the main march was doubling back on itself to listen to speeches outside the GPO. The department of transport and deptartment of justice were called at before the crowd gathered in St. Stephens green for an open anti-war discussion.

Anarchist March Breaks Away
Anarchist March Breaks Away

Crowd Gathers at Parnell Square
Crowd Gathers at Parnell Square

Anarchist Youth Banner
Anarchist Youth Banner

Workers Solidarity Movement take up the rear
Workers Solidarity Movement take up the rear

Anarchists Against The War Banner
Anarchists Against The War Banner

author by anarchistpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:28Report this post to the editors

Garda Surveillance Van
Garda Surveillance Van

Crowd Turns Onto Kildare St.
Crowd Turns Onto Kildare St.

Stopping at Dept of Transport
Stopping at Dept of Transport

Graffiti around Dept. of Transport and Speaker
Graffiti around Dept. of Transport and Speaker

Speaking at Dept of Justice
Speaking at Dept of Justice

author by anarchistpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:35Report this post to the editors

Young Anarchists Outside DOJ
Young Anarchists Outside DOJ

Trouble as gardai stop people from entering the park
Trouble as gardai stop people from entering the park

Gathering in the park
Gathering in the park

author by seapublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:40Report this post to the editors

so what exactly did you do that was different.
Instead of marching from a to b
you marched from a to c
very productive

author by calvinpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:53Report this post to the editors

I think the point was that they put the focus on Goverment departments complicit in the war and then held an open meeting (with about 50 people, I was there) to discuss the need for Direct Action against state complicity in the war.

author by Confusedpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:55Report this post to the editors

Ok, so you marched to Stephen's Green and had a picnic. Delightful. Have to say, though, I don't see the point myself in "walking in circles" (as you would put it) in a different direction. Let's examine what this posting claims as the substantive difference with the main march:

1. You put the focus ON THE STATE (your caps!). Really? You walked PAST (my caps) two empty government departments and then, ahem, occupied some grass on Stephen's Green. Despite the masks worn by some of the bloc (what dat all about?), no government building was sacked, no occupation occurred. In fact, there was NO (my caps) direct action. You "walked in a circle".

2. You didn't have to listen to "boring speeches". I'll bet! Listen, I've heard anarchists speechify, so pull the other one.

What happened had no point and no focus. Utterly ineffective. All hot air.

author by calvinpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 14:59Report this post to the editors

The fact of the matter is the IAWM march went from parnell square to the bottom of grafton st. and back again - an exercise in futility. The anarchist march attempted to do something beyond this AND got together to decide on future actions they can take together. If they had sacked the government building you would be moaning so you can't have it both ways. It was an alternative to the other march, nobody claimed it as a bold piece of direct action.

author by Curiouspublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 15:00Report this post to the editors

Or is "Ray" a special branch troll? Ray says that, if the IAWM was a business, heads would roll and that RBB should end all involvement in other campaigns to concentrate on IAWM. I didn't realise that RBB is paid to be chair of the IAWM, I had assumed he did it on a voluntary basis. In fact, now that I think about it, he DOES do it - and all the rest of that he's involved in - on a voluntary basis. So why should he - or anyone else involved in any campaign, be told by any special branch troll what to do in their own time?

author by Shannon Estuary - The Dolphinspublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 15:11Report this post to the editors

Shannon airport was surprised to find itself invaded by almost twenty peace activists and a dog called pebbles on the third anniversary of the Iraq War. In spite of alleged tight security all twenty (and the dog) made their way past security by diverse means. The first indications of a protest were the appearance of hundreds of daffodils that were distributed inside the terminal building as a token of remembrance for the over 100,000 Iraq dead. The protest was greeted with respect and understanding by most employees at the airport, except some Gardai and some security staff, and by active expressions of solidarity by very many members of the general public, including many foreigners, and US citizens. Security only became aware of this initiative when security themselves were presented with a bunch of daffodils, and asked to pray for all those killed in Iraq, and told it was a peaceful protest. Several peace activists were vaguely threatened with arrest and eventually all exit and entrance doors to the terminal building except one were locked in serious breach of the Fire Services Act 1981. The airport was busy with arrivals and departures, and a fire emergency over the period between 3pm and 5pm would have led to serious difficulties in evacuation due to locked fire exit doors. An airport manager was informed of this breach of fire regulations, but ignored it.
The group of peace activist came from Limerick, Clare, Galway, Dublin, Donegal, and Derry, and an international representation. Most of the peace activists were ordered to leave the airport immediately, and all did eventually over three hours later. They insisted in availing of their constitutional rights to lawful and peaceful protest in a public place.
Peace banners were unfurled both inside and outside the terminal building, and one peace banner was forcibly removed from a peace activist without due cause and using undue force, in which the peace activist’s finger was bent backwards, causing pain and injury.

A US Hercules C130 warplane was parked on the runway. There is now serious concern that these military aircraft are being used to transport prisoners for torture, instead of the CIA executive jets that have used Shannon airport almost on a weekly basis over the past four years. The reason for the likelihood that Hercules warplanes are now been used by the US for torture rendition comes from the Irish Government response to the Council of Europe investigation on extraordinary rendition. Hidden in be waffle of this response, are surprising statements. The first is that the Gardai are entitled to search CIA planes passing through Shannon. [Para II, 3 a, (2) Aircraft not in flight.] “Civil aircraft used by foreign officials which land on Irish territory are not entitled to any state immunity.” This of course has been contradicted by custom and malpractice at Shannon airport, whereby Gardai and Airport Security, and immigration officers have been refusing to search all such CIA Aircraft, in spite of the duties imposed by the UN Convention Against Torture, and repeated statements by the Minister for Justice up to recently that these CIA planes would not be searched.
Of even more significance is Para II, 3 b, Foreign State aircraft, which states that:
“It is a requirement of Irish law that prior permission must be sought for a foreign military aircraft to land in Irish territory. In such circumstances, the foreign military aircraft enjoy immunity from search by Irish officials unless permission is conditional upon the waiver of this immunity. In addition, persons on board such an aircraft, who commit an offence while they are on board, enjoy immunity.” The first sentence in this statement is correct, in that all foreign military aircraft must get permission to land or over-fly Irish territory. The remainder of the statement is false, and is in direct contravention of several aspects of international law, including customary international laws on neutrality which obliges neutral states not only to search but to arrest and intern all foreign military personnel and aircraft passing through its territory for the purpose of participating in war. In addition, there are international treaty and international law obligations on all Governments to prevent their territories being used for crimes such as torture, crimes against humanity, or engaging in wars that contravene the UN Charter. There is no Irish or international law that grants immunity to foreign military aircraft on Irish territory, and there are specific international laws which prohibit such aircraft from using Irish territory. The Irish Government’s response therefore to the Council of Europe enquiry into rendition for torture is false, in this and in other respects.
The Garda Sergeant in charge of security at the airport was requested to search the Hercules C130, at about 3pm on 18 March 2006, but he refused to do so.
Details of the Dick Marty's investigation and the Irish Government response can be found on the Council of Europe website.

While the peace protest was in progress a chartered aircraft arrived with over 200 US soldiers probably returning from Iraq. None of the soldiers on board this aircraft were questioned by Gardai, in connection with any possible crimes they may have committed recently in Iraq, where further allegations of torture at Abu Graib have been made, and unlawful killings of non-combatants have occurred due to use of weapons by US forces that contravene the Geneva Conventions on war.
The day of reckoning will come as it has come for Solbodan Milosevic

Related Link:
author by seapublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 15:15Report this post to the editors

yes but you havent actually explained what you were doing. Im honestly confused . You said you were breking away so that you could "do something" as opposed to "just march". But thats all you did march. Except you separated yourselves away form all of the other antiwar protesters in the great tradition of sects, to show yourselves as the vangaurd who actually "do something" and lead the way for those naive people who wont "do something". This was a complete disaster, which hasnt proved anything.

author by Eimearpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 15:20Report this post to the editors

"I think the point was that they put the focus on Goverment departments complicit in the war and then held an open meeting (with about 50 people, I was there) to discuss the need for Direct Action against state complicity in the war."

Hmm. I have to say I totally agree with 'confused'. Rather than "discuss the need for direct action against state complicity in the war", would it not be an idea to actually put yourself on the line and do some? When exactly has anyone from workers solidarity or the grassroots network (or whatever you now call yourselves) actually done any direct action to oppose the war in the last three years, or taken any personal risks in that direction? I'd be interested to know, cos I've never encountered anyone from any of these groups doing any of the direct action you all seem to talk so much about.

I hope the discussions went well, but you are rapidly creating a situation where people routinely laugh at the toy revolutionaries playing at being dangerous when nobody in authority could care less.

If you're going to break away from the collective, then you should have a bloody good reason to do it. But to break away to go and have a picnic to DISCUSS direct action - well, that's just laughable.

author by raypublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 16:23Report this post to the editors

Given the 1500% decrease in turnout I don’t think Special branch need to pay a troll to do their work for them in the anti war movement - theSWP does it all on “a voluntary basis”. That party likes to spread rumours that anybody taking a critical view of their involvement in campaigns is secretly working either for America or the Special Branch. Can you not accept that the anti war movement needs critical voices - that it needs democracy and vigourous internal opposition ?That’s the sign of a healthy movement . What it doesn’t need is the amateurism that you are endorsing.
The SWP fight like tigers for their leadership niches in groups like the IAWM , and then when they run these groups into the dust -as they invariably do - they refuse to take any responsibility . "We're only doing it on a voluntary basis" - like they were organizing a church raffle ! If RBB wants something to do in his spare time he should take up a hobby and stop foisting himself onto a movement that needs to get
serious ,and ,yes - profesional .

author by sineadpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 17:17Report this post to the editors

"Hmm. I have to say I totally agree with 'confused'. Rather than "discuss the need for direct action against state complicity in the war", would it not be an idea to actually put yourself on the line and do some?"

Hmmm, I'm confused here how is something supposed to come about without discussing and organising it first. It doesn't just materialise, unless .... hmmm. To the bat cave robin!

"When exactly has anyone from workers solidarity or the grassroots network (or whatever you now call yourselves) actually done any direct action to oppose the war in the last three years, or taken any personal risks in that direction? I'd be interested to know, cos I've never encountered anyone from any of these groups doing any of the direct action you all seem to talk so much about."

Hmmm, don't know. Not involved in any of these groups.

"If you're going to break away from the collective, then you should have a bloody good reason to do it. But to break away to go and have a picnic to DISCUSS direct action - well, that's just laughable."

If this is laughable, then marching in a circle and listening to speeches is what exactly? And what is this mystical collective you speak? Is it like the borg?
It wasn't just march do something! on the day itself if you read the piece above, but suggestions about what to do after the event. Some quite good suggestions if you ask me. What were the suggestion made by the speakers at the end of the march or what was the content of them if anyone would be so kind as to reply to this piece with the information.

author by young anarchistpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 17:42Report this post to the editors

This is a link to the anarchist youth article where we call on people to look beyond m18 and not just attend a march once a year, the open meeting in stephens green is part of this process of not just marching but also "doing something".

author by S-manpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 19:11Report this post to the editors


We've heard endless big talk about direct action from blow-hole Dublin anarchists over and over again during the past few years. Plenty of discussion, no action. You say that discussion must happen first. Sure! I agree! But the antiwar movement has been going since 2002 (Iraq was invaded in March 2003) and you're STILL discussing what you should do! Here's a suggestion: discuss prior to the demonstration and do something on it, or, alternatively, just shut up with the big talk and stop slaming everybody else. It's showboating.

author by young anarchistpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 19:31Report this post to the editors

Anarchists have done several direct actions against the iraq war ranging from blockading top-oil several times to blockading shannon warport, pulling down the fence at shannon and invading the runway etc. We've also been involved in solidarity work with others resisting the war (ask the pitstop ploughshares - i didnt see boyd barrett at their trial) and ordinary grassroots work like vigils outside the aviation authority etc.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 20:09Report this post to the editors

The Guardian has a good piece about the numbers of UK veterans of Iraq that are killing themselves. Apparently they get very little support from the MoD. Similar situation to the USA where all the gung-ho patriots can't be bothered to support their ex-servicemen who go nuts (a large proportion of the homeless populations of cities are veterans. There are about 500,000 veterans homeless during the year and 200,000 any given night:

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author by Anti-War Activistpublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 20:40Report this post to the editors

I was a bit confused about the Anarchists marching down Nassau Street. Most were totally unaware of this. I think that most would agree that Government should be a focus for a rally/debate/discussion after the march. It would have been good if we all knew what they were doing and many would have joined them I think. There is a danger to focus attentions agianst other anti-war activists. The real enemy is Bush, Blair and Ahern not comrades in the Anarchist movement or socialists. I found the speaches particularly weak. Michael D. Higgins was very bad. He talked of "illegal war". Would he be happy for a UN endorsed slaughter and privatisaion in Iraq? Mick O'Reilly was poor also. Again he praised the collection of capitalists that is the UN. Disgusting. Senator for Trinity graduates David Norris was making this 'illegal' war argument also. Right-wing SIPTU leader Jack O'Connor argued the the election of Democrats in the US elections would be the way to go! Ind Cllr. Joan Collins made references to 'illegal' war and to elections (this time in Ireland in 2007). Richard Boyd-Barret made reference to "illegal" war. Very weak, very poor speakers. I didn't get a chance to hear what Joe Higgins said as I'd to get home!

author by Daniellepublication date Sun Mar 19, 2006 23:14Report this post to the editors

"But the antiwar movement has been going since 2002 (Iraq was invaded in March 2003) and you're STILL discussing what you should do! Here's a suggestion: discuss prior to the demonstration and do something on it, or, alternatively, just shut up with the big talk and stop slaming everybody else. It's showboating."

I like the way this is worded, cause it's implying that it's somehow up to the anarchists to do something. They've made their suggestions, where as it appears everyone else is just pushing the illegal war idea, we know! What now?! That's the point. It's not about doing something on the demonstration but moving beyond it. What have you done? And it's not "big talk" Play the ball not the player, what's wrong woth the ideas/suggestions/critiques being put forward?

author by regpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 00:00Report this post to the editors

After years of lectures about "just marching and making speeches" from the anarchists it seems our socialist commenters are having a little fun at the expense of the anarchists, As their "do something" turned out to be a march past empty gov. departments (marching) and then some discussion (speeches!). Whats next leaflets! Personally I don't think its either sides fault for the size of the march, but our anarchist friends should be able to take a little slagging as to be honest, ye's walked into this one! Alltogether now "splitters!!!"

author by Ypublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 00:20Report this post to the editors

I would say most of the Shannon crowd protesting about the US flights are proud now since the article about them on CBS news in the states during the week.

author by on the marchpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 00:37Report this post to the editors

I think the key for the dublin anarchists is to start getting down to shannon instead of continuing to be stuck in the rut of dublin demonstrating.
If you want to "Do Something" go down to shannon!

author by d grace - http://ImpeachPAC.orgpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 00:47Report this post to the editors

Just recently moved from Ireland to California... different scene altogether. Irish anti-war Coalition much more organized.... and the numbers of street activists, marchers, do seem more representative in Ireland .... Howsoever, there is not the presence of anarchists in US demonstrations to counter-act or counter-attack the progressive movement.

The Irish people are more free than their American counterparts... do they know it?
The Irish press is also more free and accurate.... if only the Americans read more !!!

Anyway, in advance of Saturday's demonstration in San Francisco, about which the Associated Press reported only 1,000 demonstrators, when there were in fact 10,000 demonstrators... i was reading about the protest in Tokyo.... 2,000 to people protested on Saturday the 18th of March in Tokyo, among them 500 Japanese Buddhists who have been protesting this particular Iraq war since 2001.... and who have been protesting American wars for the last 60 years.....

TOKYO; 18 MAR 06
Over 2,000 Gather in Tokyo to Rally for Peace

In Tokyo tonight, about 2500 gathered in the Park in Shibuya, led by a buddhist chant and drums in a march down the main avenues of Shibuya's shopping districts -- one of the busiest neighborhoods in the world.

The number of participants was small, but this is TREMENDOUS considering the Japanese reticence. And the impact on pedestrians in Shibuya -- where such things literally NEVER happen -- will be incalculable.

Greenpeace was also there in force.

Tomorrow, it's your turn in the west. Please do your part.

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.... There is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

-- William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice from 1939-1975

and I came across this:

"Certain meditative practices allow practitioners to choose whether they will have an emotion and what emotion they will have, he said. In other words, people have a choice in what emotions they feel, a concept capable of challenging many scientific orthodoxies. "

Then this one is worth a read:

Obora's team of antiwar activists, Tachikawa Jieitai Kanshi Tento Mura (Tachikawa SDF monitoring tent village) has campaigned peacefully in the western Tokyo area for quarter of a century. The group was founded in 1972 to prevent the SDF from occupying land vacated by the departing U.S. Military and uses classic antiwar tactics: sit downs, peaceful obstruction and propagandizing.

Over the years, the group has fought, with very mixed results, against the SDF occupation, the dispatch of U.S. troops to Vietnam and the construction of a military runway. By the time they were raided on Feb. 27, 2004, Tent Mura was one of the oldest protest groups in Tokyo and had shrunk to seven, mostly middle-aged activists who shared a cluttered second-story office in Tachikawa.

So on Jan. 17, 2004 when Obora and his colleagues went to the Tachikawa SDF housing complex hoping their fliers would be noticed among the piles of junk advertising that clogs up postboxes all over Japan, it was business as usual. "We had been doing this since the previous autumn," says Obora. "And we had been distributing newspapers outside bases and sending direct mail since the early 1970s. We stopped for a while because we didn't think it was having any impact."

They believed, however, that amongst the hundreds of families in the complex, some were likely to oppose Japan's first dispatch of troops to a war zone since the Second World War, a belief supported by surveys, at least until the soldiers left for Southern Iraq later that month; a Nippon Television poll in November 2003, for example, found 71 percent of the population against the deployment.

tokyo anti-war Buddhist
tokyo anti-war Buddhist

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author by terry hallpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 00:51Report this post to the editors

do something turned out to be do nuthin

author by Oispublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 01:25Report this post to the editors

Let me get this right, people go on a march and distribute a leaflet saying we need to do more than march, and then get criticised for going on the march. I don't really understand this criticism. It seems a bit silly to be honest.

Or maybe the criticism is: 'why did you break off'. Well i'd imagine they broke off because they didn't want to listen to the speechs but wanted to go and have a discussion about how to go beyond marching and really challenge the war in ireland. To be honest I don't see how this is really a valid criticism.

Maybe as one poster suggested, these aren't real criticism at all but are just comments coming from Trots and liberals who are trying to get there own back. If that's the case then either say something funny, use a bit of wit or come up with better criticisms.

author by Dust - AYpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 02:04Report this post to the editors

What is clear from Saturday is that the Anti War Movement has been run into the ground. In 3 years we have gone from a height of 100,000 to near 800 people. This is a serious decline that cannot be simply attributed to objective factors.
The anti war movement as a whole has failed to act as an effective vehicle for people opposition to the war. Over the past few years the IAWM has resigned itself to staging ritualistic marches once a year. The weary marchers walk up and down O' Connell st before listening to the same stale politicians and party functionaries spout the same guff. The dismal results of this policy are clear to see. People feel that there is no longer any point in marching. It doesn’t get anywhere, the government continues to ignore them and the IAWM continues appealing to the government and the UN.
This critique of the tactics of the IAWM ties in with the reasons for the break away. As expected some in the IAWM were disgusted at the audacity of these Anarchists who wanted to leave the IAWM march. Others prefer standing at the sidelines sniping at those that try and find solutions to the problems facing the anti war movement.

If people read the leaflet it clearly says "don't JUST march, do something". From this i take that marching is simply one tactic to be used among many. I have no problem with marching; however, I do have a problem when we refuse to go beyond it.

There seems to be some confusion about the differences between an open meeting and speeches. A Speech is when carefully selected people talk to the masses(all 600 of them) and the audience is relegated to the role of passive spectator whose job it is to clap. An open meeting allows all those in attendance to put forward their ideas, critique what they hear, ask questions and propose solutions.

As far as i can see, direct action is the only possible way of re energizing the anti war movement. It remains to be seen whether this is possible or not but, if we are serious about the occupation, we need to try.

author by anonpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 07:42Report this post to the editors

AY's suggestions of what to do beyond marching were fairly modest

- Join the Red and Black contingent on the March 18th demo!
- Organise/Re-organise a local anti-war group in your school, college or community.
- Organise talks, debates and film screenings in your area.
- Occupy/Picket your local TD’s office demanding US withdrawal from Shannon.
- Make stickers or stencils to get your message heard.
- Organise a clandestine or mass trespass/demonstration for Shannon or Baldonnel.
- Get involved with PANA ( Catholic Worker ( or Grassroots Network Against War

author by Michael Rpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:02Report this post to the editors

I concur with the author's analyis that:-

"Today's march will ultimately be forgotten and ignored by those in power... other methods and opportunities of putting the spotlight back on the State's complicity in the "War on Terror" must be explored, otherwise antiwar activities in Ireland are doomed to failure and ever-decreasing support..."

We must double our efforts. More needs to be done. Other options and avenues need to be explored. More unity on the left, I believe, will greatly increase chances of success. This for me is an imperative. Another imperative is to lift the postering ban. Posters are vitally needed to market to the masses when left wing groups do not have enuf cash to advertise on tv etc.

Its always going to be an up hill task but more can be done. And more must be done. The dying are dependant on people like us.

author by John - dunaree2000publication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:30Report this post to the editors

This is exactly as I predicted on here the day of the Dublin mini-riot. The middle class are not interested in riots, workers' uprisings, confrontations with the gardai, rowdism of any kind. I predicted here on the night of the Dublin mini-riot that its effect would be to ensure that the middle-class stayed away from all forms of protest marches and radical activity of any kind for at least several years. That's how its turning out.

author by Jonahpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:36Report this post to the editors

Just a few ideas coming out of the anti-war march on Saturday.

Firstly, we need to cut down the number of speakers. I think there were 17 speakers in total on the march and this is nothing short of complete madness. Anyone who arrived at the GPO might be open to the notion that there were thousand people on the march (My own best guesstimate) but by the time I left, during Joe Higgins' remarks (Nothing personal, just cold), there were barely 500 people there. If it was proposed that there be no party political speakers but an agreed statement from all the supporting parties, organisations etc. it might create a space for less obvious voices to come forward.

Secondly, while I think it is true to say that the IAWM/SWP bears some of the responsibility for the running down of the anti-war movement in Ireland remember, it was St Patrick's weekend. It was a truly terrible day to pick for a demonstration in Dublin. I realise it was not picked by the Dublin organisers but it should be borne in mind.

Thirdly, the anarchists are right in a lot of what they are saying. Marches alone will not bring about change. I actually disagree with the argument that what happened Saturday will be ignored. I think the government will pay very close attention to it because the message it sends is the following: We're weak, we're in decline, we're back to the usual suspects and average punters have fallen away.

We can debate for ages why this is the case but it is the reality, and it is a sign of weakness that will reassure the government.

Lastly, we then need to sort out exactly what we can do to force change. Direct actions by less than a dozen people all told have done more to restrict US use of Shannon than almost anything else. People who take part in such actions need to be encouraged and supported. We need to focus attention on the other political parties.

I routinely meet and talk to people out of FF in particular and they say, and I believe them, that Iraq is not coming up as an issue at all. It was when the war kicked off, but not anymore. We need to change this perception. We need FF Cllrs and TDs believing that Iraq WILL be an issue in the next election. Is it as effective or glamorous as direct action? Obviously not, but if ripples of anxiety can be created in FF by punters, and I mean normal punters, turning up to their clinics and raising the issue on the doorsteps, then this might have an impact in the organisation itself.

Whether this is possible or not I don't know. While officially the march on Saturday was organised by the IAWM, PANA and the NGO Peace Alliance, I don't know a single activist who would have been so blind as to not see the SWP stewards and be aware the SWP organised it. At one level, fair play, because if they hadn't no-one else would. At the other, any campaign or organisation in which the SWP play a role runs right into the instinctive distrust Dublin activists have to that organisation.

Unless the SWP can understand this, and while some of its members can there is not sign it as an organisation is able to do so, the IAWM will continue to function as a front organisation for it with a corresponding lack of interest from the broader left.

author by ipso de factopublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:56Report this post to the editors

The thing is, the anarchist or direct action grouping havent done anything beyond marching or calling for direct action for more than two years. The last thing that you could classify as an explicitly anti war action with any level of serious involvement was the Bush visit ("AmBush 2004") and that is pushing on two years now. There have been very small actions down in Shannon but they have always been no more than a dozen or so people, and are usually symbolic, e.g. candle vigil, reading of names of the dead, etc.

I expected that Red'n'Black bloc to go down to Top Oil or the Airport Authority (or some sort of other direct action) on Saturday, because I dont think there's much point in 'focusing on the State' when they're all off on holiday at Cheltenham for their Paddy Pints with Michael O'Leary and other assorted business gombeens. An 'anarchist youth' (the group, or individual?) above says they had a meeting up in Stephens Green, but ultimately I cant really see the point of branching off and publicly calling for a 'militant and creative alternative' bloc weeks beforehand if it just involves sitting down among yourselves and having a chat. AY already had meetings to talk about the march itself. And even as an action in branching off to put any emphasis on the state seemed a bit pointless, when there was no explanation in a flyer or leaflet to the rest of the march (or anyone else watching on the street or sitting in the Green for that matter) about why you were doing it, or inviting people to discuss further militant actions - which might encourage some people beyond the group who were already into direct action anyway. Exactly how a discussion about militant (and possibly illegal) actions could proceed with any seriousness when you're surrounded by numerous Gardai listening in and the Special Branch filming in a wide open public space is beyond me.

The Anar/DA crowd are always quick off the mark to flame the IAWM, PANA, and other moderates for not engaging in a higher level of confrontation. Not without reason either. As someone else pointed out, three of the four troop carriers left Shannon for a time due to 'security concerns' when there were repeated actions at the fence. But then the airlines came back. If the IAWM had kept up the pressure down there, then its possible this could have been a victory. But this is all past history now at this stage, revisiting it is nothing more than putting a CD on repeat.

The thing is, it seems like the Anar/DA crew have lost faith in their ability to call actions themselves. A group of people split from the IAWM, not related to GNAW or DGN, and called themselves Anti War Ireland. They had a decent spokesperson in Fintan Lane and someone else down in Cork (name escapes me), organised a march for the Bush visit, and had people committed to doing posters and getting involved. After a brief burst of activity, this group promptly vanished into thin air. Why?

The Anarchists also seem to have completely forgotten about Mayday 2004. This weekend had more actions in it then I think have happened in the last two years. The biggest ever Critical Mass (RIP), some street theatre, banner drop from a squat, invasion of a private park, brief blockade of top oil, mass meeting in O'Connell St, a very militant march up to a line of Garda, a visit to a refugee camp, and a street party to finish it. This was all done without any trots or assorted fronts. Thousands of people marched towards Farmleigh despite the biggest smear/scare/hype campaign by the Garda and the media this country has ever seen. And this was for an issue as blurry as EU expansion, rather than something as clear cut as the US Military in Shannon. This was all organised without any sort of SWP involvement. The Anarchists actually got the finger out and organised, and drew a huge crowd. After this burst of activity, all this promptly vanished into thin air.

I think the Anarchists are going to have to stop with the "that's a front!" shit. Yeah if it is a front, so what? Is this an excuse to deflect attention away from your own lack of ideas, action, and working with other people? There's been endless threads on indymedia giving out about the ineffectiveness of the IAWM, now maybe its time to look in the mirror rather than pointing the finger and question your own lack of actions. All the slogans about "smashing the state" and "dont just march, do something!" ring very hollow when it doesnt translate into a campaign or action that causes the state to worry (and in this I mean in an antiwar context). The State -was- worried around Mayday 2004, even if their small amount of fear was blown out of all proportion for propaganda purposes. Nowadays all that seems to be going on is film screenings, talks, trying to rent a little anarchist office or clubhouse (this from a group of squatters!) and seemingly endless meetings, to organise what exactly? That "AAA" has been meeting for about nine months now and doesnt seem to have evolved beyond barely agreeing on some very vague general principles.

Direct Action enthusiasts need to stop being afraid of calling actions themselves, and stop latching on and breaking off from swp-style marches, this is almost a statement of your own inability or willingness for DIY. If you bring the fight to the State, say on the day of the 1916 commemoration as has already been brought up on some other thread, you risk arrest/ridicule/abuse (and after Mayday 04 you know what to expect and should be ready to learn and improve from it) but you also raise the war/Shannon again into a prominent issue, as previous poster notes FF/PDs dont consider it a problem and I agree. Arrest and court cases are shit and demoralising but if you are genuinely serious about what you believe in - and publicly proclaim - then it is going to be part of that gamble. Otherwise you are turning into the caricacture of what the mainstream media/capitalists portray you as, a frustrated well educated middle class youth "going through a phase", full of rhetoric and slogans but not willing to risk your inevitable comfortable existence beyond your mid twenties.

OK rant over.

author by Máire - Christian Nonviolencepublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 13:34author email soisceal at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

 Nonviolent resistance is okay as a term providing it is as Jesus resisted nonviolently, which is honestly trying to return good for evil and not just clever tactics to out-fox someone who does not see the world the way I see it. This latter approach is what Gandhi referred to as "the violence of the weak"‹isolated nonviolent tactic without mind-style, life-style, and an agapeistic Spirit behind it. It is trying to "win over" (conquer) someone instead of trying to win them over (enable them to see the truth).
 Jesus did not come up with a "reasonable" way to deal with Caesar, Herod, Pilate, etc. Does this mean He and His teachings are wrong, unrealistic, impractical? He did come up with a way of dealing with evil, which one will never know how practical it is if one invest his/her time, mind and money in ways other than Jesus', as most of Christianity, right, left and middle, is doing today and has done for the past 1700 years.
 If hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of million of human work hours had not been invested in working out the practical applications of Einstein's E=mc2 we would all still be trying to dismiss it by saying "This is fantasy, it doesn't work in the real world!" The task of applying E=mc2 is the work of those given the gift of the mathematical and scientific intelligence which is the required condition for developing this truth in the human situation.
 So also, it is those who are given the gift of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ the Son of God, the Lord, the Word of God, the incarnation of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, whose work it is to figure out how to apply His truth in the human situation. But, if those given the task of understanding the implications of a truth and working out its applications do not do their job that in no way undermines the truth of what was said nor the fact that Einstein or Jesus said it is the truth.
 Why Christians are not investing and have not invested themselves wholeheartedly (time, mind and money) in incarnating Jesus truth of NV Love of friends and enemies, and have invested themselves so completely in incarnating (time, mind and money) the direct opposite of Jesus truth, says less about the truth of what Jesus taught than it does about the firmness of the general Christian belief that Jesus is who they say He is.
 "Christians try to arrange their affairs in every instance so that things go well whether God exists or doesn't exist, whether Christ is risen or is not risen. To be a Christian one must risk everything on 'Christ is risen."' (Tolstoy) If He is risen then His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is the truth and if Christians and their Churches don't wholeheartedly work (time, mind and money) at applying it in the world then its applications will never be seen beyond the isolated personal effort of isolated persons here and there.
 But in no way is this evidence that Jesus, the Son of God, does not know what He is talking about, and therefore the Christian is to replace following Him with following some left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal politician and his/her way as a substitute for Jesus and His Way. To the best of my knowledge Jesus authorizes none of His followers to substitute someone else's way, e.g., Cicero's or Hugh Haffner's, for His Way.
 It is important to ask why is it more important to get rid of Saddam that it is to get rid of Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld? Which of these has destroyed more human beings and brought more misery into the human situation? And, after you get rid of these four well-to do thugs, how about Putin? And then how about........

The above was written by Emmanuel Charles McCarthy. To read more on Christian Nonviolence, check out:

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author by Donnachapublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 13:48Report this post to the editors

Anti-war activity is poison for the left because it's reactive and defined by something that most people cannot directly affect. Divisions in points of view are clear and usually destructive:
Liberals - "This world would be great if politicians stopped having wars."
Socialists - "This world would be great if we replaced the current politicians with our politicians."
Anarchists - "This world would be great if we got rid of politicians."

Thus, the purpose of anti-war activity is different in each case - the first group want to change politicians' minds, the second want to build their profile and present an alternative electoral platform, anarchists, however, need to highlight how war is the natural tendency of government and show the alternatives through a range of actions. Anarchists are never just anti-war campaigners, the aim is not simply to end the war in Iraq, it's to end authority.

Anti-war activity, therefore, is difficult for anarchists. Traditional anti-war activity suits reformists and authoritarians - the aim is to change government policy or change government. Marching up and down, showing the support that the movement has, replicating the marching of armies - it's not something that works for anarchists. Even direct action against war is of minimal use as it's only part of a broader campaign to end authority. When this war ends, anarchists go on, but many others (particularly reformist liberals) do not.

Thus, anarchist activity is never just about the war and isn't always easily identifiable as being anti-war. It's always against authority, of which war is a part, but the point is to build an alternative where war doesn't happen.

author by Michael Rpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 13:53Report this post to the editors

Excellent analysis & suggestions Jonah. (few comments back up)

I believe the way forward now is for "mass" (in so much as that is possible), non-violent resistance and direct action on both Shannon and in Dublin (in places like the Dail). Innocent people are being slaughtered in a war of vicious lies and corruption. We must step up our efforts and do something. We must become imaginative and catch the attention of both the media and Joe Public.

author by Oispublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:03Report this post to the editors

That's a pretty weird comment ipso de facto. It's pretty clear to me and I would think to most people that the Anarchist movement is larger and stronger than it was in May 2004 and in 2003 with the war. Granted we're not calling marchs or organising many 'actions'. But to be honest so what, we are revolutionaries. Our job isn't to do 'actions', our job is to do what we can to further the cause of social revolution. What is the obstacle to revolution it's the fact that the working class is not aware of it's own power. To criticise us for not doing actions but instead concentrating on the proliferation of our ideas of collective self-empowerment, is genuinely bizarre.

I've heard a million and one people say we shouldn't concentrate on doing actions we should concentrate on organising and propagandising (is that a word?) where we are now. This is honestly the first time I've ever anyone say the opposite.

author by Just Thinkingpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:14Report this post to the editors


I think you are all missing the point of why the turnout was so low.

Prior to the war there was a slim chance of stopping the invasion by mass protest, and that is why people turned out in numbers.

Much has changed in the past 3 years. The Iraqi people have voted in a new consitution, and held democratic elections, not once, but twice.

The Iraqi people are trying to build a democratically run country. They are building their security forces slowly, imperfectly, but steadily. The only group that is trying to stop them is the Saddamites (baathists) and the terrorists.

You who marched for an immediate withdrawal of US troops are putting yourselves on the side of the Saddamites and the terrorists. You are putting yourselves against the Iraqi people. The size of the march reflects fairly how many people are on your side. That is; practically no-one, except for loons, nutters, hard left, local terrorists/criminals, etc.

You have managed to put yourselves on the wrong side of history again. Well done.

(PS: I hope you anarchists try to "sack a government building". That will be the end of you.)

author by Chekovpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:21Report this post to the editors

Just Thinking: you're rosy picture of life in occupied Iraq is straight from cloud cuckoo land. Some interesting details:

Last week the US launched its biggest air campaign since 2003.
2 days ago the ex Iraqi PM declared that Iraq is in a state of civil war.
The vast majority of Iraqis support the withdrawal of the US/UK occupation.

author by Michael Rpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:26Report this post to the editors

Here is another idea that springs to mind. Rahter than "just" debating it on this here website of how we are going to move the situation forward from what appears to be a continuing backward slide why not organise a public debate on this issue?

I would like to see a whole range of speakers on a stage with a Chairman and an audience. Rahter like a "Question & Answers" style format. The theme would be somehthing like "How are we going to move things forward" of "How are we going to get US Troops & Torture Flights out of Shannon?" And let us all debate the issues out in the open TOGETHER.

I would be thinking of people like Pat Rabbitte (though wishfult thinking!) but if not then Michael D. Higgins - Gerry Adams/Martin McGuinnes or Aengus O Snodaigh for Sinn Fein, Trevor Sargent, Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd Barrett, David Norris, Ed Horgan, Tim Hourigan and a representative from the Anarcists. This is just off the top of my head. A whole array of differnet speakers to the above could be arranged.
But one way or the other I think a public debate shoudl be organized. Have in one of the big Trinity lecutre halls in the Arts block and FILL it to capacity.

author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:35Report this post to the editors

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

I missed Saturday as I was out of Dublin but really it appears it was part of a pattern of post March 2003 events, a pattern that will not be fixed simply by trying harder. Anarchist actions at Shannon have become rare because the time to act was March 2003 - acting now might make individuals feel less guilty about the war or give them a sense of excitment but the tide was missed and now the anti war movement, including the anarchist section of it is 'bound in shallows and in miseries'.

Writing in April 2003 after an IAWM demo at Shannon that was only slightly smalled than this Dublin demo I observed


At this stage it looks like the government won the battle of Shannon, at least for now. Up to now Irish aid to US wars has been a dirty little secret. During the Afghan war the government was trying to deny there was any military materials or men bound for that war coming through Shannon. The US Marines in desert camouflage spotted during the December 15 2001 protest we were told were coming back for Christmas from West German bases, as we all know these are surround by extensive deserts. Through the dedicated work of the anti-war plane spotters and the Dubsky court case the reality was blown wide open for the Iraq war. We knew tens of thousands of troops were pouring through Shannon.

But getting this out in the open was never more then a first step. The point was to stop it. And here is where the government's victory lies. If we had failed to mobilise anyone because, for instance, the media refused to cover the story then there would be hope for the future. But the movements managed the February 15th march when some 100,000 marched through the streets of Dublin, This was in the context of a series of militant direct actions at the airport which saw over a hundred trespassing and three separate attacks on military planes.

On February 16th the state must have been worried. Its worst nightmare of massive mobilisations against refuelling had happened. Polls where showing an overwhelming majority opposed the war. A small minority had already decided to defy the law and take direct action at the airport to stop refuelling.

But Bertie and co kept their nerve. They gambled that they could split the movement by attacking the direct action wing as 'violent' and demanding that the respectable wing distance themselves from it. The Green Party had already revealed it was vulnerable to this sort of pressure when Trevor Sergeant moved from supporting Mary Kelly after she had disarmed a US Navy jet to attacking the Catholic Workers who disarmed the same jet just a few days later. The secret police were presumably telling McDowell that they reckoned that even those trotskyists whom he so hated were unlikely to actually do anything.

They gambled and won. For the most part the anti-war movements reacted to the government ignoring the huge Feb 15 march and the fine speeches by organising more marches and more speeches. When a small minority in Grassroots Network Against War took the only logical route and called for mass civil disobedience at Shannon things went like a dream for the government. They played the violence card and won big time, not only did the NGO's and respectable parties queue up with the bishops to denounce the planned 'violence' so too did McDowells trotskyists. Gleeful laughs must have echoed around government buildings on the last day of February when the news came through that Sinn Fein was telling people to stay away from Shannon the next day for fear of violence.

All that was left for them was the show of force that awaited us on March 1st. Lines of riot police and rolls of razor wire were a show not for the 300 who turned up to take part in the action, nor even for the 800 or so who marched past for the speeches at the terminal. It was for the 100,000 who marched in Dublin. On the one hand 'there is no smoke without fire' - a naked show of state preparation for violence simply adds to the idea that there is violence planned. But on the other it showed just what the state had waiting in the wings for those who might feel frustrated and inclined to act.

Personally after March 1st I began to feel that we had lost. The state had called our bluff. The IAWM had shown it was unwilling to take even the mildest form of direct action - what a fuss about a fence. And it was clear that the state was now mobilising at a level that GNAW could not hope to counteract in the short term. There were problems with GNAW which will be discussed in the period to come but our chief problem was that we were too few, too late and on our own were not capable of convincing and organising the numbers required.

In advance of the war there was a lot of 'look at how big the demonstrations are before the war' talk that was intended to imply that the outbreak of war would make them bigger. I reckoned this was unlikely. The demonstrations before the 1991 Gulf War in the US were bigger then those during it. Before the First World War millions demonstrated, it took three years of horrendous bloodshed before opposition once more reached the pre-war peak. This isn't surprising, when war breaks out all those who opposed it because they reckoned it was bad for the national interest will end up backing 'our troops'. As it is many of the 100,000 who marched on F15 will wonder why they bothered. They marched, the government ignored them and that was that. The (wrong) lesson that many may take is that marching is a waste of time.

The disruption that could be caused by demonstrations was another possibility even if it was clear that the IAWM was not going to organise it. I hoped, and argued with other people within GNAW, that the revolutionary groups might finally act and at least block roads on the day itself. In the end that was another humiliation as we were marched up to block the road at the British embassy to the familiar chants of 'One solution, revolution' only to discover that it had already been arranged to have the Gardai divert the traffic. Later in the week a blockade of the Dail would turn out to have been arranged to end a few minutes before the TD's were actually due to leave.

We could have called the governments bluff. All we had to do was show them that allowing refuelling to continue was going to meet with actual resistance (rather then something designed to look like resistance). Out of the initial arrests at Shannon last year there were no charges - obviously the state hoped the issue was just going to go away. They were then willing to arrest and process ten or so at a time, probably aware that this was a good percentage of those who had declared a willingness to act. But could they have survived arresting 100's or even 1000's in order to allow refuelling to continue? We have not only let a real opportunity slip through our fingers, the government has also managed to bring refuelling into the public sphere. It is perhaps fitting that the last GNAW action at Shannon to date was based on finally burying the well rotten corpse of Irish neutrality.


The Irish anti-war movement (and not just the IAWM) is little more than an animated corpse, shocked to life every few months in the hope that a few twitches will somehow succeed in doing what the movement at its height was incapable of. Militant actions will not change this - they will just lead to further court cases, fines and perhaps sentences. Those willing to take the consequences should continue to be supported and applauded in their actions - but there will be no mass actions and no potential for mass actions until a new anti-war movement emerges. Despite three years of slaughter in Iraq that has only served to confirm the reasons for opposing the war there is no sign of the emergence of such a movement, here or anywhere else.

We are "bound in shallows and in miseries"

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author by seapublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:40Report this post to the editors

and what form of direct action have you taken. Excpet the direct action against the anti war movement by spliting it. You are meaningless

author by Brianpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:46Report this post to the editors

The problem with ipso's interesting criticism and Michael R's and Jonah's is the 'mass' or the general public (who are also moslty middle class btw) do any anarchos want to depend on such a fickle 'MASS', who have other priorities.( Talk to sure, Wait on, NO)

ps nicely put Donnacha

Why not have Public debate about the war with Pat Rabitte, John Gormley, D Higgin, and Activists in Stephens Green!! (with nobody sitting higher then anyone else) now that would be sight to see

author by Irish Patriotpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:58Report this post to the editors

Were any of you at the debate last Monday night at DCU when Richard Boyd Barrett and Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance debated a guy from the US Embassy and a journalist from the Sunday Independent? The crowd of students voted easily 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1 AGAINST RBB and Cole!!!

The debate's resolution was something like "this house believes the US is a force for evil in the world." RBB was pro and the Embassy and Indo guys were against.

Imagine, Irish students voting by a large majority in FAVOR OF US FOREIGN POLICY!!

Tells you something about the leadership of this movement. Or maybe the Embassy and Indo guys were just really good.

I'm beginning to think there's no substance to the anti-war arguments.


author by seapublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 14:59Report this post to the editors

What the hell.
They are middle class. So its only middle class people who march against the war. Because oh yeah working class people wouldnt be interested. Did you do a survey or something of how many of them owned small buisnesses because we all know the small buisneess community are always crying about the war. I know what you meant, the mass of people on the demo didnt wear scrubby black clothes like our dear anarchists therefore making them middle class

author by Michael Rpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 15:36Report this post to the editors

Hi Brian. You argue above to talk ot the "mass" sure, but wait on, no.

The problem though is that if the mass is not on our side the Government and "opposition" parties will not lose votes. Hence they will not care about us and things in Shannon etc. will go on as normal. It is only when we get the mass on our side that things will change. As what happened with the Vietnam war in the US and which is beginning to happen there now (60% against the war in the US currently).

Obviously the other anarchist alterative is to get of parlimentary politics as we know it altogether. Im neiher arguing for or against this. But in the absence of this do we not need to try and win over the mass in the meantime??? Regards. Michael.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 15:43Report this post to the editors action could and should be just another part of the campaign...suggestions have been made and should be considered (and more). The IAWM 'committee' are meeting this week, so what happens next? Any ideas 'committee'?

One of the sad facts about all of this is that if a bomb went off in Shannon or anywhere on this island tomorrow, there would soon be millions of Irish people on the streets protesting. And we could all write the speeces ourselves (the predictability).

If the IAWM/SWP -and looks like it from here- have run the campaign into the ground, well I suggest a new 'leadership' and shake up.

Just one question, the Socialist Party name was not on the poster, have they pulled out of the IAWM?

author by irish crimespublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 15:46Report this post to the editors

"The march was preceded by two Garda vehicles, including a van with a camera on top, pointed at the crowd. There were contingents from the Labour Party and Labour Youth, the Socialist Workers' Party, the Communist Party of Ireland and the Socialist Party, among others. About 600 people chanted anti-war slogans, except for a small group of anarchists, who shouted "We support the Dublin riot", a reference to the disturbances in the city on February 25th. These demonstrators went off in the direction of Leinster House as the march turned back for the GPO."

author by JRpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 16:13Report this post to the editors

But the only two chants I remember on the RnB bloc (I'd much prefer a grime onr..) were "1234 we don't want your fucking war...4678 organise to smash the state" and something along the lines of "US military out of Shannon." There was mention on the net of pausing outside the PD's office to let a roar out for the "heroes" that smashed up the windows, but I can't remember that, but am not surpirsed it happened.

God, that "Bertie Bertie's got no SOOUL! chant from the swappers really had my head done in by the end of the day. They seem to have bred a new generation of chant leaders since last time I turned my head.

author by Jonahpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 16:36Report this post to the editors

"I would like to see a whole range of speakers on a stage with a Chairman and an audience. Rahter like a "Question & Answers" style format. The theme would be somehthing like "How are we going to move things forward" of "How are we going to get US Troops & Torture Flights out of Shannon?" And let us all debate the issues out in the open TOGETHER."

I think there is the nucleus of a good idea here but it's got a couple of problems.

Firstly, though I have never attended any of them I understand the IAWM hold annual conferences where no doubt they would say these issues are discussed. I have no idea who or what attends them. Interestingly I can't find a list of organisations affiliated to the IAWM on its website, which I think is kind of weird. I think, and I know a lot of decent people in the IAWM will find this difficult to hear, that if such a conference is to be held it cannot be held under the auspices of the IAWM. It doesn't matter if the organisation is 100% NOT an SWP front. No-one outside of it (Including me) believes it to be anything other than that. If you refuse to accept what everyone else sees as a reality, at least accept that the perception is real.

Secondly, we'd have to make this conference very, very open. Right now the strategy of the IAWM seems to be: March until the government changes its position. Now, nothing against marching, but the issues of direct action and political lobbying need to be focussed in on. We need a strategy about actions at Shannon that restrict or slow down or even stop US forces going through the airport. We also need a strategy that maximises pressure on those people in government who have the power to change their decision on this. These are NOT contradictory positions. They are simply pursuing this struggle on two fronts, along with the third front of street mobilisations in the form of pickets, marches, street theatre etc.

The reality is that not every party supports the idea of wandering into Shannon Airport and smashing the nosecone of a transport plane. Some who oppose the war, the exceptions being the SP and SF, condemn such actions. Sure, I want to hear John Gormley and Michael D outline their strategy for dealing with the use of Shannon, but I want to hear from those comrades who believe direct actions at Shannon are an essential part of the struggle.

Lastly, I think Andrew makes a number of good points. It's depressing, albeit accurate analysis. A conference is not going to sort things without a structure to implement a work programme that comes out of such a conference. If that structure has even the suspcicion of SWP domination about it, we might as well pack up and go home. And even if the conference comes up with a work programme, and even if it comes up with a structure to implement it that all can buy into, it will need a major push from the constituent parts of the Irish left to re-energise their base, especially when for the parties, their base if beginning to focus on elections and the unions don't seem to be able to mobilise on this issue in the numbers their activists would like.

It's not a tall order, it's a freakishly massive order. It requires parties, unions and people to refocus their energies back to the anti-war stuff. It requires the SWP to take a hit for the good of the movement. It requires openness, transparency and respect for other people's points of views. It requires a sense that even if you don't agree with direct action, you won't condemn a comrade.

Can it be done? Theoretically yes. Practically? Well....let's see.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 16:49Report this post to the editors

Just about recovered from 10 weeks continuous activity to get the march off the ground. To run stalls 2-3 times a week. To organise meetings around the country with our two US guests. Have been reading with interest all the comments....enjoyed the pics...some of the speeches were far too long and some empty of content.
The march itself was not the best - but neither was the worst. Whatever the cynics may say.
Was delighted to see the 100 + strong colourful B+R bloc join the rest of us in front of the Ambassador...was expecting them to veer off somewhere along the route to show their autonomy and they did and good luck to them. They added their strength and power to the march [for a while] and only good can come out of this.
A number of questions remain: the anti-war movement proper globally, including the usa, is in a relative decline. Witness the numbers these last few days This in direct proportion to millions of people worldwide stating their opposition to the war [65% + in the usa] as well as to the resistance in Iraq getting stronger, more virulent and more diverse.
It is if we all feel / sense that peaceful,democratic, 'legal' opposition within the confines of the system does not work...does not produce the required results. What does? What works? Facile answers like 'direct action' of a peaceful or not so peaceful variety or 'acts against authoritarian structures' are clearly not enough. Support the resistance the hardliners say...easier said than done. Would that bering us more support or drive away the few who remain?
Try hard as you can, surely RBB or SWP or any set of initials cannot be assigned full responsibility for this flux....wasn't at the debate but if 2 out of 3 DCU students have no problem with US foreign policy, that's not a reflection on PANA or the iawm, but a reflection of a much more deep-seated confusion and malaise in our society - and particularly our younger brothers and sisters. Some call it greed, some call it apathy, others assign it more diverse anti-political definitions....
Let us leave our sectarian baggage aside for a moment and lets use this wonderful tool that is Indymedia to discuss honestly the way forward. MichaelR, earlier, made a good suggestion....go back to his comment, respond, come forward with ideas. And R is not Y - just in case somebody asked.
To the extent that the iawm movement can respond expect our contributions too.


author by Jonahpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 16:51Report this post to the editors

The reference to Andrew in my previous post refers to Joe.

All you WSM people look the same to me :)

author by Paula - enniskillenpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 16:53Report this post to the editors

I think that in the future if we are to build a true broad mass 'anti - imperialist' movement, then we need to unite on a very serious issue that Ireland too reamins occupied by Britain - and if a serious anti imperialist movement must be formed we must declare the ocupation of Ireland Illegal just like Iraq.

At current there is over 10000 British troops in Ireland, and just under 5000 in Iraq - and the british Government is supposedly not at war in ireland.

Irish people when challenging International Imperialism, can not be taking serious if they are not to be challenging Imperialism in their own nation.

Theres a saying that if you want a perfect world then you have to sort out your own little corner first!

So i completely agree, I want a serious anti imperialst movement in Ireland, who's chant, whose aim is to end Imperialsim in Iraq, in Ireland, all over the world, we must make a stand!

It is then we will see the protesting dozens turn into protesting thousands!

Ireland and Iraq abu!

Solidarity will unite us - Socialism will free us!

Onwards to the Socialist Republic!

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author by Eimearpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 17:00Report this post to the editors

D. wrote 'Thus, the purpose of anti-war activity is different in each case - the first group want to change politicians' minds, the second want to build their profile and present an alternative electoral platform, anarchists, however, need to highlight how war is the natural tendency of government and show the alternatives through a range of actions. Anarchists are never just anti-war campaigners, the aim is not simply to end the war in Iraq, it's to end authority. "

Anti-war activity, therefore, is difficult for anarchists. Traditional anti-war activity suits reformists and authoritarians - the aim is to change government policy or change government. Marching up and down, showing the support that the movement has, replicating the marching of armies - it's not something that works for anarchists. Even direct action against war is of minimal use as it's only part of a broader campaign to end authority. When this war ends, anarchists go on, but many others (particularly reformist liberals) do not."

This is all very nice theoretically. I identify myself as an anarchist too, you know. But the fact is, while the anarchists of ireland are sitting discussing the finer nuances of what it means to be anti-war and anti-authoritarian, people are being slaughtered. I don't see any of them actually putting themselves on the line. That's a problem. It's patronising to the activists who've actually done direct action to suggest that they don't see the bigger picture too or don't have a broader analysis, which is by implication what you are suggesting. These are just lame excuses for not taking risks. Anarchists spend too much time disucssing how things should be done and too little actually doing anything. Then some of them have the cheek to criticise people who actually do direct action because the way they do it doesn't fit with their theories.

There is such a thing as good authority, people who've earned their standing in certain areas and earned respect through experience and knowledge. There's a difference between ending authority and questioning it and keeping it under scrutiny. Ending authority per se sounds like the simplistic project of a prolonged adolescence.

author by an exhausted and inactive anti-war headpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 17:35Report this post to the editors

His main tactic was fill the jails - right?

The anti-war movement is fucked because change requires sacrifice and ppl these days except a tiny minority have decided at a deep down level that individual fulfillment is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD.

Maybe it is but If there's a world war the opportunities for same will be available only to the most powerful.

Same with a world without a hell of a lot of clean water.

People can't think ten minutes ahead - that's the biggest problem - eh?

author by Donnachapublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 17:44Report this post to the editors

Eimear, I think you've misunderstood - in no way am I criticising direct action - I salute those who engage in it (me - I'm a bit more of a writer than a fighter). However, are you really arguing that direct action against the war is the most important thing for anarchists right now? That, for the past three years, the WSM and Organise! should have done nothing else? Of course war is horrible and people die, but ending this war will only go a small way to changing the world. If it's not Iraq, it's Colombia and might well be Iran, Venezuela or anywhere else tomorrow. Any action has to be in the context of building peoples awareness of the broader issues, to wake people up from their knee-jerk recognition that the state must always exist, that there's no alternative to capitalism. Otherwise, when the war's over, the movement goes down the drain.

author by anonpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 17:46Report this post to the editors

Was EU Fortress partly successful cause the government were talking about it too, and the scaremongering back fired?

This was advertised by PANA,

Sun. 12 March, 2 - 4pm: Simultaneous protests outside the airports where CIA rendition planes have landed (organised by PANA). IAWM will protest at Baldonnel Airport.

but I don't think it happened. Why not? I'd go again. The Irish Military would laugh but be annoyed.

author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 18:02Report this post to the editors

Michael Y says Try hard as you can, surely RBB or SWP or any set of initials cannot be assigned full responsibility for this flux

I'd agree with this - within limits - the anti-war movement has also declined in countries where there was no equivalent to the SWP or where they were insignificant (actually today it is really only Britain and to a lesser extent Ireland where they are in any way significant). True there were very often other groups (eg ANSWER in the USA) putting forward an identical tactical position but even the general tactical similarities does not explain everything. In early March 2003 there was a global illusion in democracy, that the people had spoken and that in some sense the governments would have to listen. The anti war movements failed (or in most cases never even tried) to shatter or even warn about this illusion.

On the other hand the real effort by the SWP to marginalise and discredit all those who talked of or carried out direct action in early 2003 was a disaster that fatally split the movement and which has made the initials of IAWM a real barrier to moving forward. I was one of those who argued for working with and dialogue with the IAWM/SWP in 2002. The 'sectarians' who argued against me were with hindsight 100% right, the exodus from the IAWM around the start of 2004 further demonstrated that all along we'd have been better ignoring the IAWM rather than seeking dialogues that always ended in betrayal of whatever we thought had been agreed. I was fooled more than twice.

In Ireland the failure was not mostly the SWP but the toleration of the SWP methodology by most of the left and the anti-war movement either in the honest interests of 'unity' and not rocking the boat or in the more dishonest 'let them do the work and we'll see what we can get out of it' approach of some organisations.

But this means that today we'd actually have been better off if the anti-war movement had never existed. Now we find ourselves trying to build on a mass of distrust and suspicion both arising from the events of 2003 and the scurilous lies that were told and continue to be told. Just look at the methodology of accusing people who disagree with you of being police agents that those who should know better fell back on again and again. And if many were stupid enough to publish such filth under their own names on indymedia we can only guess at the lies that were circulated in the quiet corners of bars.

In other words if I was trying to get there I wouldn't start from here.

That said I think Jonah (who I think might be SP?) offers a way forward when he writes A conference is not going to sort things without a structure to implement a work programme that comes out of such a conference. If that structure has even the suspcicion of SWP domination about it, we might as well pack up and go home. And even if the conference comes up with a work programme, and even if it comes up with a structure to implement it that all can buy into, it will need a major push from the constituent parts of the Irish left to re-energise their base, especially when for the parties, their base if beginning to focus on elections and the unions don't seem to be able to mobilise on this issue in the numbers their activists would like.

There have been initatives towards this in the last year but they have always been restricted to the tiny groups and individuals. Unquestionably these include the most dedicated anti-war militants, the people who have worked through all the period when the rest of us took long breaks. But on their own they are too weak to build a mass movement and without such a movement I suspect no amount of direct action will result in anything other than the isolation and criminalisation of those who have the courage to carry it out. The lack of real support the Ploughshares defendents received through their trials is an example of this.

What is needed is a mass movement that will no simply tolerate but actively support and maybe when the time is right engage in direct action. The government has to fear that the criminalisation of the minority will risk the majority moving closer to action.

author by Jonahpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 18:25Report this post to the editors

"That said I think Jonah (who I think might be SP?)"

SF actually. No worries.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 18:29Report this post to the editors

Thank you Joe. I find the main thrust of your comment very close to my heart. What is done cannot be undone though...I am sure we agree there. Jonah may or may not be in the SP and you're in the WSM -have no idea where MichaelR lives - while I am in the Steering Committee of the iawm without being part of or close to the SWP...I've been there since late last year and work very closely with comrades in and out of the SWP. This is great - we have a full team there. Enough for a basketball game anyway.

"What is needed is a mass movement that will ......actively support and maybe when the time is right engage in direct action" you say. I can't agree with you more. A mass movement independent of any and all political groupings...working in conjunction with all the forces willing to engage in issues...the war and Shannon right now....Iran most likely soon....racism - I add.

Lets leave aside what gets whispered in the murky corners...lets not focus on individuals...lets debate openly and with proposals over the next while, put forward ideas, assemble when the time is ripe.

I don't know of any other way of moving forward from where we are now...perhaps I was lucky enough or blessed to have missed all this shit that went on in 2003/4. I was abroad working. I understand well the bitterness and suspicion....and some of the people actually in the WSM now, with whom we fought shoulder to shoulder in another life, know well what sectarianism and narrow mindedness is. We've survived it - we're still there.

I just hope we can move beyond all that.

author by anonpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 19:00Report this post to the editors

What is done cannot be undone though....maybe... but it should not be forgotten.!!!

author by Laurence - Cosantoiri Siochana / Peace Networkpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 19:12author email info at cosantoiri dot orgReport this post to the editors

We hope as many people can come along as possible.


author by anti militaristpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 19:20Report this post to the editors

... is to organise an anti war protest at the 1916 commemoration. this will be a big pompous military march with weapons of war and death on display... very good time to "put the focus on the state"

really hope that gd/ay/aaa etc go for this. needs to be a bit creative.

author by eifpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 19:28Report this post to the editors

come to aaa and suggest it yourself. next one is on sat (see events). they are completely open meetings, where people with anarchist/libertarian-style politics meet, aaa is not an organisation.

author by eifpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 19:29Report this post to the editors

if you're near dublin ...

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 19:54Report this post to the editors

Dear Anon,

Agree - shit that has been poured on people cannot and should not be forgotten. Isn't there a song that says 'Memories are made of this'....? And our memories, our past, usually determine our present and future.
To be more specific - we're four and we need and outside guard to complete the first five for the team. Are you on?
And I see Laurence above is offering us a pitch to play on.
This is getting hot....

author by hspublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 22:08Report this post to the editors

I think the march on Saturday was as big as anyone could have expected. As another commenter pointed out, the feb 15th march was before the war began, when people were angered by the idea (i don't really believe everyone thought it would stop it, more likely they were registering their disgust). Three years later with civil war looming if not started already in iraq, sectarian bombings and civilian killings muddy the waters. Also the basic unsuprising fact that the government didn't listen when tens of thousands did come on the streets. Add to that the cold and paddys weekend and its not really suprising no one outside the leftist backbone of the anti war movement came out. I don't think its down to numbers falling from 100 to 1 thousand, they were very different marches. I hate to be a real sper, but really the objective conditions were completely different.

On direct action, it's hard to picture the thousands necessary becoming involved if we can't even get thousands to march. There's no point in screaming direct action when its blatantly obvious no ones going to get involved, and theres even less point in lecturing anarchists or anyone else for not doing it. The only type of direct action possible now is the old small catholic worker style commando raids, although as they are more for publicity than anything else there's probably not so much point. But if anyone does, hats off to you. We need to keep a serious and sober analysis, as much as I'd love thousands to descend on shannon. I just don't see it happening. I can understand where anarchist youth are coming from, but wishing for it and putting it on a leaflet doesn't make it so. Any more than the SWP saying "one solution, revolution".

I would still argue direct action isn't the be all and end all, i was in Italy for that period, there was plenty of direct action and blockades. Whole airbases were blockaded. But the americans had an awful habit of using their planes to fly over them! While direct action is a useful tactic, we shouldn't presume it will work.

I was suprised to see the anarchists head off up the road, more than anything I think isolating yourselves is hardly going to convince whats left of the broader movement towards direct action, if thats what your about. Would seem to me to make more sense to try and convince a few of us in person while you were there, (i was expecting anarchist youth to be doing that ) or even organise a meeting after the march that non anarchists could have gone to. Leaving the march half way thorough (no one outside the anarchist groups actually knew you were still marching, or having a public meeting), meant it was pretty sure there'd be no one else there. It makes me wonder is the fuss about direct action serious or a slogan, or a way of differenciating the anarchist movement from the socialist groups.

author by aaaaaaapublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 23:18Report this post to the editors

Tres bien HS bout the anarchists - u know the workin class should have all spontaneously known that the anarchos were going to the dail and should have just known to have brought their own sticks of chalk so that they to could have engaged in direct actioney against the americano imperialistas - I read on al jazerra that the Iraqis were all talking about the anarcho dubs and the impact their chalk writin had on the americano war machine!!!!! - PATHETIC

author by XFORWARDXpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 23:39Report this post to the editors

This sounds cool! peace network maybe a nice neutral arena to meet and organise!!!
Everybody should go to this!!!!!

author by Eimearpublication date Mon Mar 20, 2006 23:53Report this post to the editors

"Eimear, I think you've misunderstood - in no way am I criticising direct action - I salute those who engage in it (me - I'm a bit more of a writer than a fighter)."

More of a writer than a fighter? Are you serious? The best writers have always been engaged with their times, and have been fighters. Many fought in the Spanish civil war (for example). Are you actually suggesting the two are mutually exclusive? That the fact that someone is a writer or an academic actually justifies a lack of participation in war resistance? I'm shocked that an anarchist would suggest this.

Yes, there are plenty of conflicts in the world and it's better to resist than sit on your arse talking (or indeed writing) about resisting authority. Sorry. But that's what I think.

author by Ciaron - Pit Stop Ploughshares (perosnal capacity)publication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 06:27author address OZReport this post to the editors

Well from a distance...with the fly-in, Margarets 100 flowers action and the Derry FEIC & Co Black Shamrock action. There has been a lot more nonviolent intervention at Shannon recently than for many a long year. The Derry FEIC group have been running a very effective grassroots campaign against the presence of Raytheon in their town for a long time. There is a lot we can learn form them. The Black Shamrock campaign reaches out to the diaspora in the U.S., Britain & Australia...three of the countries most involved in prosecuting this war. Hopefully this is the begining not the ned of that campaign!

Folks in Ireland should never underestimate the symbolic power of what happens in Ireland in terms of its effect on the much larger diaspora. This is why it was a tragedy that the Irish government (who don't really believe in this war or argue for it - but go along to get along) did not take a moral and clear stance against the war and remain in denial about the ever expanding irish involvement in it.

Annual or biannual rallies against the war only make sense if it is a gathering and celebration of many and varied grassroots activity against the war.

As the war escalates and expands it is a mystery why there isn't an expanding anti-war movement. The U.S. is losing the war. If they wish to remain an empire rather than take Vidal's advice of returnig to be a Republic they are now in a situation where they can't afford to stay and can't afford to leave! We are entering reckless and dangerous times.

Pit Stop Ploughshares return to trial July 5th. at The Four Courts. The more proactive solidarity expressed with nonviolent resisters, the easier resistance is to undertake! Many thanx to all the good folks who have accomapanied us so far. Many thanx for friends in jail and before the courts for resisting this war.

Related Link:
author by anarchaeologist - GrassrootsDissentpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 08:52author phone 086 8537281Report this post to the editors

As suggested by Eif above, GrassrootsDissent invites anyone with an interest in ending Ireland's participation in this war to come along to the AAA being held this Saturday (25th) from 16.00 in the parish hall of St. Nicholas of Myra just off Francis Street in the Liberties.

As part of the assembly, we will hopefully be discussing real alternatives to the usual anti-war activities in an open and non-hierarchical environment.

Despite stories to the contrary, the AAA is not the exclusive preserve of libertarians/anarchists and welcomes all schools of opinion willing to organise in a democratic and non-hierarchical way.

Let's take this discussion into real time and examine our options...

author by Michael Rpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:50Report this post to the editors

Good analysis HS which I enjoyed. However you do not put any ideas for the "movement" going forward?

Do you think everyone is doing as much as they can?

Have we gone as far as we can go?

Do we just settle back and just accept the status quo? Accept the slaughter of the innocent as simply unstoppable?

Is there anything else we can be doing?

author by Donnachapublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 15:12Report this post to the editors

No that I've calmed down a bit (you should have seen what I was going to write).

"More of a writer than a fighter? Are you serious?"

No, I'm joking. Why not? I'm a professional writer, it's what I do, without people to write about things that are happening, there's little point in doing them. Actions only have impact when people know they've happened.

"The best writers have always been engaged with their times, and have been fighters. "

Two different points, there, love, being engaged with ones time does not make one a fighter.

"Many fought in the Spanish civil war (for example)."

And weren't they great - many didn't, it doesn't mean they weren't great writers.

"Are you actually suggesting the two are mutually exclusive?"

You need to work on your comprehension a bit, how does "more than" imply mutual exclusion, it's comparitive phrasing.

"That the fact that someone is a writer or an academic actually justifies a lack of participation in war resistance?"

You really are ignorant, aren't you? Blinkered "angry young woman" with no comprehension of different pathways to resistance. My writing is an act of resistance, particularly who I write for.

"I'm shocked that an anarchist would suggest this."

Well, then, you're clearly easily shocked.

"Yes, there are plenty of conflicts in the world and it's better to resist than sit on your arse talking (or indeed writing) about resisting authority. Sorry. But that's what I think."

So, Bakunin made a greater contribution to anarchist theory running around Europe getting into scraps and not writing his ideas down than Kropotkin did dividing his time between tending his English country garden and writing some of the most important and inspiring texts of anarchist theory?

But, don't let me interfere with your blinkered and childish view. My self-worth, thankfully, is not dependent on your approval.

author by Lpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 16:04Report this post to the editors

Hi. Well, I think it's worth beaing in mind that while we keep on arguing and playing who's the most revolutionary there' still people dying in Iraq. Are we really interested in peace or such demonstrations are just a chance to show our party/organization is better than other ones?..which bring us to the anarchists: did you consider there might have been people interested in other forms of protest, who might even have followed you if they only had a clue of what was going on? Would have been so bad to mention on a leaflet your intentions about departing and having a meeting somewhere else? Your attitude just makes me think you wanted to be on your own instead, discuss among your schoolmates and distinguish from the mass. Did you want to be revolutionary? It would have been more revolutionary if you joined the rally, sent your own speaker and debate your ideas in front of everybody else. It's time we all leave sectarianism aside, or we'll always end up losing our struggles. Maybe being losers has been convenient so far, so that everyone could have his own word, and accuse the other for failures. Now I think we need a real change.

author by Donnachapublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 16:12Report this post to the editors

"It would have been more revolutionary if you joined the rally, sent your own speaker and debate your ideas in front of everybody else."

This cracks me up - it would have been more revolutionary if you'd followed the rules and done things the way the Trots had organised. Bollix, anarchists don't follow set pathways, don't put speakers on platforms where it can be avoided and debate things on an equal footing with others. Traditional Trot rallies don't suit, but, instead of thanking those who added what looks like a considerable number of people to the march, you criticise them for doing their own thing AFTER dancing to someone else's drum. Unity is not the same thing as uniformity and doing what you're "supposed" to do.

author by Emma Goldmanpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 17:44Report this post to the editors

"Two different points, there, love, being engaged with ones time does not make one a fighter. "

Is it any wonder it's mainly men who post here????

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 17:50Report this post to the editors

....."the pen is mightier than the sword."....."move to move"....."talk with your feet"......"united we stand, divided we fall"....etc etc. All anti-war action is relevent, whether it's carried out by word or deed. But the divisions, old scores mentality, we are the 'it' revolutionaryies etc, will have to be put aside if the IAWM is not to die a sad death. Serious thinking is needed now for a shake-up/re-grouping if we are to hold on to the 'threads' of what's left of the movement.

With all knock-backs in any movement going forward, the obvious thing to do is re-group, take stock and most important of all, learn from the mistakes and apply the lessons.

There are enough on the left including groups, trade union reps, genuine party activists, individuals etc to re-motivate the movement.

A conferance is a good starting point.

I suggest that all interested people/parties take this idea on board and discuss it very soon, with a view to a conference being held within the next two months. Maybe a goal can be set to coincide with some major massacre or event during of the war.

In my opinion, If petty, party and whatever differences are not put aside, any talk of revolutionry politics and getting rid of right wing governments are just laughable, foolish.....and embarrassing.

For starters, if the IAWM is a democratic movement (and popular opinion here suggests it is not) ....well they should be the ones to call a conferance...but if not, well then it needs an injection of new faces and fresh thinking. If that means disbandment and a restart....well so be it.

Just a suggestion. Are there any more out there?

The role of the so called 'leaders' in the trade union movement is shameful. They should be asking themselves..."what would Connolly or Larkin do?" Simple answer, they would be mobilising the masses of working class people inside and outside the unions.
It was done for the Irish Ferries workers (and numbers could have been at least trebled), it was done for the 100th anniversary parade for the Irish trade union movement. What was the turnout, 500,000?

This government can be brought to it's knees.

The will of the union 'leadership' is not there. What are they waiting on, bombs to go off in Ireland, the war to end quietly?

author by Donnachapublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 18:03Report this post to the editors

That wasn't sexist, it was patronising and deliberately so. If I'd used honey or darling, that would have been sexist - love, in Dublinese, is gender-less.

Now, off you go and dance to your revolution. ;)

author by Jonahpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 18:04Report this post to the editors

"This cracks me up - it would have been more revolutionary if you'd followed the rules and done things the way the Trots had organised. Bollix, anarchists don't follow set pathways,"

Fair enough, but I think the notion of informing people of what you're doing is worthwhile nonetheless.

I happened to be right behind the anarchist bloc when it turned off the march. Chatting to a comrade I wasn't paying a lot of attention to where I was going and suddenly ran into an SWP steward. Behind him I could see Anarchists and to the right the rest of the march. A couple of Anarchists who knew my friends and I were looking back at us with what I can only describe as bemusement. It was clear they didn't know where they were going either.

My friend and I briefly discussed following them but not knowing where they were going or what they were going to do saw little point in wandering off the route of the march on the off-chance the Anarchists had something interesting planned.

If Anarchists had gone up to people in other parties and organisations and non-aligned along the route of the march, explained what they intended doing and asked people to come along, I'm sure many would.

author by Michael Rpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 18:52Report this post to the editors

Akin to a conference another thing I'd like to see happening is for some meeting to be set up between representatives from all the major and minor parties and groups who are anti this war.

I would like to see one delegate from each group meet around a table and TALK. I would like to see this meeting happening bi-weekly or monthly, preferably bi-weekly.

I would also like to see the focus from ALL groups start shifting to the up-coming elections. We need to hit Fianna Fail where it hurts them - i.e. at the ballot box. A strategical and professionally marketed campaign needs to be aimed at the election. Besides this being a good tactic I think we also need to bring home to the public their DIRECT involvement in this war and general support of ALL military actions by George Bush and the US.

I don't want to be over bearing on the public but I feel this is the truth. Anyone who supports this government is supporting the war in Iraq (and elsewhere) and the slaughter of the innocent. They are also increasing the chances of innocent people in Ireland being slaughtered by a terrorist bomb at some stage. That innocent person may indeed be themselves.

The LINK must be got home to the ordinary public that by voting Fianna Fail they are voting for George Bush and this war. They are voting for the slaughter of innocent people. Besides good stats, specific example of war attrociites must be brought home to people in the most visual means possible. People must not be allowed exonerate themselves from this horror. Fair enuf if they acutally agree with the war, but if they don't then they "at the very least" must not vote for FF/PD.

I dont think there is anything malevolent in this tactic. I think it is merely bringing home the truth.

And in doing so, will hit Fianna Fail where it hurts most.

author by Emma Goldmanpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:36Report this post to the editors

I have never seen any man addressed as "love" in print, only women.

Not sure I want to be part of YOUR revolution! :-)

author by lizpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:40Report this post to the editors

this is a really interesting thread, which is in itself hopeful. i reckon one option is to think about what possible pressure can be put on & who it would need to be put on in order to stop the military use of any airports in Ireland. this may necessitate thinking beyond ideology & what kind of tactics groups usually use and focusing on strategy., meaning what might be effective. who made the decision to militarise our airports? the irish govt. currently , we can unmake it only by forcing them to change policy. one of the problems is just what an overwhelming proposition this is. we're looking for a way to force a govt. ( whether or not govt.s should exist is another debate, right now we have one & it keeps making dodgy decisions on our behalf ) to change a policy which facilitates the world's biggest empire, which our govt. has a cosy economic & cultural relationship with. this is a tall order & most of us don't think it's possible, which is the real reason so many actions & events so far have been symbolic. on the other hand there is a fear of being tainted by anything that looks reformist or politely liberal. would that matter if it worked? we already know what doesn't work. so what might?

what we have is a solid 60% public support , on military stopovers, probably higher on torture flights. so we're actually a majority on this one & should use this. we also need campaigns the majority of people can get involved in without having to listen to anybody's speeches and which might actually work. 'We' posting here are considered fringe loonies by our supposed representatives. we don't vote for them & have no hold over them. they listen only to those who pay them, most frequently harrass them, their core voters & lobby groups. what do politicians care about? and how do we get military use of airports back on their agenda? incidentally if the goal of this campaign is to demilitarise our airports i for one am willing to use many methods to do that including talking to people i wouldn't normally poke with a stick. here's a few suggestions for actions anyone could take, based on possible effectiveness on politicians rather than how i would like the situation to be: these can be done continually with maybe a one week period where they are used extensively by as many people as possible. one week can be picked on which to barrage the aviation authority, dail offices etc. etc. with phone calls, emails & faxes. this tends to jam the system.

1. doorstep them. politicians have clinics, constituency offices and mobile phones & emails. bother them. keep it on rediall. maybe a postcard campaign too.
pressure on politicians in the u.s. too.u.s. activists can help. let our friends in the U.S. & worldwide know what's going on.
2. make it an election issue. pressurise opposition parties in particular to commit to demilitarising our airports.
3. start a boycott the military airport campaign.
4. expand the black shamrock campaign to independent media sources worldwide & corporate media too. a massive media campaign with snappy repeatable points..
5. bring campaign info to the social forums, international activist meetings etc.
6. force a referendum. i hear this is complex but possible. would be the first one forced by us rather than on us..

please add to the list & let's meet at the April 1st meeting & do some spinning.

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:53Report this post to the editors

I would like to see one delegate from each group meet around a table and TALK. That could be a problem. Depending on how many pseudo groups there are. What about if there are differences within a "group"? A conference might be a good idea, but if it's one that's rigged from the start by its structure then I doubt it'll attract much interest. That's one of the lessons of the IAWM debacle. Also, if you're interested in compromise and unity you might find that you need to give up your pet idea of making elections the focus.

author by lizpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:56Report this post to the editors

just to clarify .i'm suggesting a campaign that uses some methods that could be seen as polite and liberal, as well as other methods, not an actual polite liberal campaign. moral outrage is not effective in changing govt. i'm thinking of something like the shell to sea campaign which is concrete and well done comprising many shades of opinion.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 20:19Report this post to the editors

I am delighted this thread has become a focus for a lot of good people offering suggestions, ideas, possibilities of moving forward.

The April 1 meeting could be a focal point where those of us interested in moving and working with the large numbers of people fed up with what's going on in Iraq, those of us who are disgusted with the Coalition's complicity and the use of Shannon as a warport, could meet and discuss the format of a large national assembly type gathering where all interested, on the basis of one person-one vote can meet, talk, propose, debate, decide and move forward.

There is a precedence on this type of campaign back in the late '70s early '80s in the large popular movement against the then Government's plans to build a nuclear plant at Carnsore Point. One of the few truly popular movements that was victorious. That made the Government eat its words....that made Fitzgerald who was then Taoiseach and later O'Malley - Minister for Industry grovel.
No delegates - no reps - these things can be and have been manipulated and smaller groups can override majority decisions. Let us begin with all those who are committed to building a large movement`beyond labels, colours and etiquettes.

On April 1st we can decide on two or three people as convenors...and move.
MichaelR, MichaelL, Jonah, Liz, Joe - come back to this thread and respond to my suggestions.
Laurence could be our host on April 1st - what do you say?

I will argue for this position inside the iawm Steering Committee soon and let all know of the outcome.

This is very hopeful.

author by hspublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 00:17Report this post to the editors

My analysis I know is depressing, but I think it will be unlikely protest whether using marches or direct action will be successful without a massive influx of support. And more constant long term support. I see the americans pulling out of iraq itself before shannon. And I don't see thousands of people getting involved now.

I think one way we could force some pressure, is put it upon the greens especially and then labour to make the demilitarisation of shannon airport an election issue and make coalition with FG depend on it. This could be done by pressure on reps as well as trying to convince their memberships to force the issue. A very difficult task, but even in trying it could raise the issue in the public domain and possibly refocus some attention on shannon. We could put out questions for people to ask green and labour canvasers as that'll be starting very soon.

I'm sure the Greens could be pushed, Labour would be a hell of alot more difficult but theres hopefully still something left inside. Making it an issue and/or coalition issue would of course only be the first difficult part of the equation. The second part would be if it's an election issue. Hopefully the issue may be talked about more on the street and in the mainstream media. Thirdly if the opposition came to power even with such an election promise they'd probably break it. But again this alone would highlight the issue even more. And although labour in the past have no problem with promisies (i'm thinking of 92) the issue would be raised and it could anger a large mass of people. And you never know... ! It's a very very very long shot, but if we're about actually ending the military use of shannon, there is a small possibility they could be forced, i know its difficult to imagine FG presiding over a government that closes shannon to the US. But the publicity generated could hopefully win more people over and even to wider political actions (as I believe we need wider political thinking than "single issue" anti war movements to actually build something capable of closing down an airport)

Thats not to say marches and direct actions should cease, but we should put pressure on the states weakest points which in this case are the Greens and Labour.

author by Niall Harnett - Cosantoirí Síochánapublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 00:56Report this post to the editors

First of all I think it's quite exciting to see so many comments on this article. People are obviously a bit stirred up now, not seen for a while perhaps.

Let's harness this.

Obviously full discussion is difficult on a forum such as this so I think we, and by 'WE' I mean all involved in this thread of discussion, and others, should MEET AT THE NEXT AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITY which would be the Teachers Club on SAT 1ST APRIL, DUBLIN as advertised in the flyer above.

We in the West here, active at Shannon, would definitely like to engage more with ye all in Dublin and elsewhere, with a view to discussing more action at Shannon.

So, having just chatted on the phone with a few of the others down here, I suggest that we use this meeting, NOT so much as a public meeting, but as a meeting for those who would like to develop some fresh action.

Let's talk amongst the groups in the next 10 days or so for this meeting as to what we want, and specifically consider ... facilitation and security for this meeting.

Your thoughts please lads and lassies.

author by lizpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 02:37Report this post to the editors

april 1st sounds good. no speakers, roundtable discussion. no party political or other pet is short. i would suggest continuing good facilitation policies of prioritising people who haven't already spoken & giving name & affiliation, if any.
rather than attempting concensus on one campaign it would probably be better & more interesting, to brainstorm ideas & find people willing to help do them. if people can continue to come up with concrete proposals in the meantime that will speed things up.
multiple simultaneous campaigns can be very effective & we can come together for the big events. i've seen campaigns fall apart from lack of concensus on how to proceed on everything from slogans to poster colours where one definitive slogan or poster was never necessary. i would also agree with neill that we keep to actual proposals for a campaign & not get sidetracked talking about how awful it is that we have militarised airports etc.
see yus april 1st. it's always best to assume victory is possible it's 90% of the battle :)

author by kACZKA - PiSpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 03:44Report this post to the editors

Just a few thoughts on how the Irish anti-war/peace movement can rejuvenate.

Recent Non-violent Resistance to the Iraq War

Our Good friends in the Justice Not Terror Coalition in Belfast, Northern Ireland are co-ordinating nonviolent resistance actions to the occupation of Iraq throughout 2006 in support of the Global Call to Action ( The first was carried out on Monday, March 20th to mark the third anniversary of the Iraqi invasion (
The next actions will take place on May 1 (International Day of the Worker), August 9 (anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki), September 11 (anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the U.S.) and December 10 (International Human Rights Day).

Proposal of future model of anti-war activity

This is a good example of how affinity groups of about 8-12 people can organise effective and creative nonviolent actions which have a small but nonetheless direct impact on the 'business as usual' of the warmaking corporate-state military industrial complex and the all too often sanctioning church authorities.The Irish and most of the global anti-war movement have one major thing in common at the moment. They all should seriously consider and emphasise a micro community based action-oriented model that helps facilitate ongoing initiatives through affinity group direct actions. The types of group which could form (or may be already formed in Dublin) are for example:

Grannies Against War -

Feminists Against War

High School/University Students Against War

Anarchists Against War
Too many to link to here but this is useful Irish source

Lay & Religious Communities Against War

.....and there are many others of course.


Highly unlikely I hear folks whisper/laugh. That may be so. But, nonetheless, it is surely far healthier a concept than a monotonous march (been there, done that - with what someone above mentioned as the empty 'one solution: revolution' chants) once every 6/9/12 months. Not that I am totally against such marches. They have their time and their place. But they are reactionary and not sufficient for a vibrant peace movement which actually strives to succeed in it's key ain to prevent more wars from occuring, or minimally from Ireland participating in them.
And even if the Irish gvt. does participate and line it's pockets with blood money it's important to strategise and determine how best to be an effective pain in their war-creating/making/participating ass!

Affinity Groups

The key thing about the proposed groups above are that they are not out to recruit anymore than say a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 15 people. Indeed recruitment will probably not be neccessary as they will have a natural tendency to form within groups which already exist so folks already know each other well enough. The key difference between these affinity groups and the types of short-term reactionary groups, which have a tendency to spring up over night and burn out by sunrise, are that they are formed with the vision of lasting maybe a couple of years or minimally for a couple of / few effective actions: or even longer if they are successful in maintaining a positive community vibe. Trident Ploughshares has been proposed at former meetings as a very good model for peace activists to look at if they are interested in engaging a more intense, personal, accountable, creative, non-hierarchical, participatory, consensually democratic, initiative-taking, fun but very serious diverse movement. Their methods are worth exploring.

Affinity groups could start meeting bi-monthly/monthly in order to building a sense of trust and consensual, participatory, non-hierarchical democracy within their group. Over time they could plan what sorts of actions they want to/can participate in on the above dates or dates which are important to their respective traditions. In addition a delegate from each group would hopefully go to the AAA meetings or meetings specifically established for people to engage in ongoing personal networking and relationship building. These are by no means original ideas but alot of stuff I've inherited from folks I hung out with. Nevertheless I haven't seen them mentioned and not in the country to go the meeting on April 1st. I hope others who are contributing to the debate will try to make it.

Anyhow, I guess the possibility is that lay religious communities would do whatever anti-war actions they are planning on certain feast days (I know the church really sucks regarding anti-war stuff amongst other things but there are good models of christian anarchism that are engaged in direct action in many countries - surely there has got to be a handful of christian anarchists other than the catholic workers who can form a community of resistance - or anarchists on May Day (and other important days in t heir calendar like; or feminists on important days in their annual schedule.

Acts of Resistance

These actions may start very small, from public speaking or a weekly vigil in order to engage the public and keep people on the street informed about the harsh reality of the war (as the mainstream media here largely seem to ignore it). This may develop into occupations of gvt. buildings, protests against Irish companies profiting from the war, small-sscale surprise demo.'s at Shannon and Bladonnel, street theatre, and who knows - maybe even plowshares actions ( or

Taking into consideration that what is under discussion is the future of the anti-war/peace movement, we are in fact preparing ourselves for the sad truth that the warmongerers have not had their fill and therefore more death and destruction is set to come. The most important thing is for us not to resign ourselves to cynicism or waste too much energy on internal battles, rather for creating ideas that will dent the war effort.

My general opinion is in the field of other commentators here, that we missed a great opportunity 3 years ago after Feb. 15th - whether it be in the U.S., London, key coalition participant capitals, or in Ireland. The movement in effect failed to move on to the next natural step - that is, mass (or 1-5% of the masses who had assembled against the war before the war broke out) non-violent resistance.
It got stuck in the muck of it's own rhetoric and importance. Nonviolence education workshops would have facilitated the neccessary direct action to really test the State's willingness to go to war. God only knows, or if you're an atheist then not even he/she knows, what would have happened if there were mass arrests! Anyhow, another idea might be for groups to commit to organising nonviolence workshops to share skills and tactics that will equip folks with the armour required for future nvda.

Then again, it's all very well to make these comments in hindsight.
The fact is it's not February 16th, 2003, and what happened then cannot be changed, although we do need to learn the valuable lessons it provides us. I am not a direct action exclusivist and don't wish to come across as a person who thinks he knows it all. I'm already too aware of my mediocrity. But I do know that I personally want to strive to do more in the future. It upsets me that we don't have anything near the numbers we had and despite huge public opinion being against the war the general man and woman on the street doesn't see the point of acting at this stage. But this is not good enough reason to fall into slumber and do nothing. What I will do or hope to do won't be mentioned here, cause as with all affinity groups, such issues should be on a need to know basis only.

Despite all of this public speaking must continue at every avenue possible. Does Dublin (Temple Bar) still have a free speech corner? I for one did not work hard enough to help out this great initiative by KILA's Rossa. The activist community need to create spaces for free debate on issues such as the war, homelessness, drug abuse, etc. It's a good way to use free speech. It's a good way to meet folks on the street and hear their opinions. Use it or lose it.

Public stalls disseminating anti-war, anti-authoritarian ideas need to continue on a regular basis in a regular part{s} of the city in order to create a scene where more people can be made aware of how to get more active or become more equipped to perform public speaking, convince their neighbours/workmates, and ultimately be available to help out with or commit acts of civil disobedience/civil resitance/non-violent direct action.
Holding stalls on /o'connell or grafton st. on a regular basis with the Anarchists against the war one day, cs another day, iawm a different day helps spread the load and means it ain't such a daunting task or committment to engage in

I realise folks may think alot of this may not be feasible but I taske heart when I recollect that 18 Grannies in New York closed down a recruitment centre last year when they demanded they be deployed to Iraq instead of US soldiers. Creativity and keeping the initiative will keep the anti-war movement alive. What we need is small victories to keep the flame burning - From little things, big things grow!

author by Ciaron - Ploughsharespublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 03:55Report this post to the editors

Pretty much agree with the previous post. All we needed was 1% of those who marched against the war to go into nonviolent resistance and the other 99% to proactively support them and the Irish state would have had a major problem. The proposal of dates put forward seizes the initiative and as in football as in politics once you lose the initiative you lose the game! This sounds like the way to go...oganise around these dates for nvda rather than another bunfight conference that is being proposed. Show proactive solidarity with those before the courts and imprisoned who are nonviolently resisting the war. The lack of mutuality in the movement is the killer from the petty refusal to announce other activitiers and events that your group doesn't control to well you've heard it all before by this stage.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:52Report this post to the editors

....some excellent suggestions, but is April 1st too soon? I don't like this idea that only reps from groups should be 'picked. What I had in mind was that the first meeting could be the start to build a 'huge' public meeting and all of the time keeping our options open. The people in positions of power and influence on the left should be put under pressure to mobilise for this 'huge' public meeting.

Just a footnote, April the first was the day the Poll Tax and the minimum wage were introduced.
I still think its' too soon, there are people in left wing groupings that include Seamus Healy, Joan Collins and Des Derwin to name just three. They and others should be given the opportunity to attend and the time frame for lots of people may be to short.

author by Niallpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:59Report this post to the editors

No I don't like this idea that 'only reps from groups should be picked', either Michael. But was that suggested at all.

Rather suggest many individuals from all groups, from pink ladies to anarchist youth, as many as want to consider some fresh nvda.

Not in favour of public meeting myself, more of a meeting of people we know or want to know, to facilitate free, open and full brainstorming discussion, as suggested by Liz.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 00:03author email libertypix at yahoo dot co dot ukReport this post to the editors

....Niall, Phud Hedd mentioned 'a delegate from each group' and someone else also.
I hadn't the time to find who it was, just rushing here. Well if it's April 1st so be it, I will try and get as many along as posssible. But I think anyone attending should keep an open mind and think 'BIG.'

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 01:21Report this post to the editors

Yeah cheers Michael. Michael R suggesting it in context of planning a conference. Phug Hedd not gone on the idea for reasons outlined. But that's another days work, and conference not something I want to focus on for this discussion

I'm just thinking of immediate opportunities for critical mass nvda organising like AAA meeting this Sat 25th in St Nicholas of Myra & next Sat 1st at Teachers Club. I'd really like the AAA / Grassroots / Anarchist crew to do a bit if brainstorming at this meeting this Sat. Then bring some ideas to Teachers Club on April 1st, if that's possible. Difficult for us down West to get to both meetings, easier for you guys in Dublin to get to both though, and then we can meet you in the Teachers club. Would really like to see as many as possible in the teachers club and come out of it with a specific plan of action/event.

author by Ciaron - Ploughsharespublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 08:16Report this post to the editors

Just bouncing of the initial theme of this post. When I was detained at Brisbane Airport recently by ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Officers), they weren't concerned that I was landing to organise a big demo in Melbourne or Sydney or Briz. They wanted to know was I going to Alice Springs near Pine Gap, what was I doing at Operation Talisman Sabre (11,000 US military execising ni Queensland 2005) last year, was there a possibilty of the PIt Stop Ploughshares type of action happening during my stay in Australia. The stae views marches and rallies as a safety valve..the gentleman's agreement of you can have your demonstration if you let us have our war.

The question remains are people serious about nonviolently resisting this war. As serious as 1,000 young Americans passing through Shannon are about waging it (willing to risk their arms, legs, sanity, being seperated from loved one etc. The only way we can sustain resistance is by organising in community, or affinity groups and travel through these confrontations with the State. Too many political groups viewed the war as a marketing opportunity to push thier brand. When the war lost it sex appeal they moved on.

This looks like its going to be a long war...the U.S. can't afford to leave and can't afford to stay. So hopefully folks are beginning to organise for the long haul. The first step is to group with 5-10 folks with a commitment to the long haul. Otherwise it does risk being a wordshop. I think the dates for nonviolent direct action that have been suggested are good...when our movement acts on May Day, Hiroshima Day, S11..we'll no other good folks in other relevant placces will be acting as well. Good luck with initiatives in Ireland...see you in the Four Courts July 5th.

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author by Mick Butler - Nonepublication date Fri Mar 24, 2006 17:54Report this post to the editors

There were several reasons for the low turnout which was, I just heard sneered at on Joe Duffy's show (no surprises). The organisation of it -I dont know the nuts and bolts but there is a lot of accusations and counter accusations flying about. -People feling less inclined to come out and feeling disempowered and helpless in the face of "Mr Danger" etal in the White House. A certain amount of that no doubt. BUT there is one basic element missing from the correspondence that I have seen here, maybe one person referred to it, but it is that the bulk of the population in the capital city did not KNOW it was on. Whether we like it or not, most people do not be scanning indymedia.

International musicans sink a lot of money into advertising in the newspapers, radio, tv, AND also on -----billboards--- all over the city these are to be found. The POWER OF THE POSTER is utilised by rock stars,Hollywood etc. The efficacy of the POSTER is appreciated by these people and excercised to the full. In stark contrast here in the capital of Ireland people campaigning on human rights/ enviornmental issues etc are not even at the races in terms of reaching the vast bulk of the population. WE need to get our act together and focus on DCC's unlawful ban on advertisements for public meetings. ( see p 5 Phoenix ) MAYBE COVER UP DATES OF CONCERTS IF WE CANT, THEY CANT, ETC.

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Sat Mar 25, 2006 23:56Report this post to the editors

has been advertised here

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author by seedotpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 01:22Report this post to the editors

but the organisers of this march were so removed from the movements that they have claimed to speak for that they didn't even bother posting here.

For March there are currently 129 events posted to the indymedia calendar. For the 18th, there were four events - an anarchist youth film, and a troops out of Iraq demo - in Belfast. There were also notices for the red and black bloc and the code pink block on the Dublin march, but nobody bothered putting a notice up for the demonstration, submitting a press release or proposing a feature or in any way attempting to tell the 200,000+ readers of indymedia, which include loads of irish journalists, the justice minister and a few of the councillors.

but of course someone here might call the poster a name. this is a bad place.

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