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Where Were The Protests Going Before They Were Gone?

category dublin | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Friday June 18, 2010 02:53author by Diarmuid Breatnach - Personal capacity Report this post to the editors

The weekly protests at the Dáil didn't last long -- but where they headed and how did the main players interract with them?

Why didn't the weekly protests build up to a "Mass Protest" as one organisation called for? The Right to Work Campaign, the Anti-Capitalist Bloc -- what were they about? This analysis from a political activist and witness not aligned to any of the political groups looks at the context and the way in which the protests were organised, how the organisations interracted with each other and what, in his opinion, is needed to resist the attacks of capital here in Ireland.

INTRODUCTION – THE HISTORY OF THE SERIES OF PROTESTS
The Tuesday weekly protests against the plans of the capitalists and their government to make the workers pay for the capitalist financial crisis have now ended. Although short-lived they are worthy of analysis for there is much that we can learn from them about the the Irish Left and a little about the Irish State.

In May, the Socialist Workers’ Party and the Socialist Party held a meeting about how to respond to the financial crisis and the plans to make the workers pay for it. They agreed to hold a protest demonstration to initiate a campaign called “The Right to Work”. At some point Sinn Féin came on board – an unlikely alliance but not the first to be made during the campaign. The march was also sponsored by the trade union Unite.

The first protest was on Tuesday 18th May. After listening to speakers outside the Garden of Remembrance, a wet, bedraggled but militant crowd of around 1,600* marched through torrential rain to the Dáil. It was there at the gates that a short struggle ensued between a small section of the demonstrators and a small force of Gardaí in which the latter drew their batons and hurt some of the protesters. The media reports of this incident, albeit confused and contradictory, gave publicity to the campaign that it would otherwise probably not have gained.

Among the crowd could be seen, as well as those of the main organisers, banners and flags of anarchists, Republicans who were not Sinn Féin, Labour, some smaller socialist groups; however, there were many non-aligned people there too. After speeches to the crowd from various people, including representatives of the trade union Unite, People Before Profit and Sinn Féin, the SWP activist acting as MC announced that there would be another protest the following week. Apparently this came as a surprise to their SF allies (and possibly others), who had not been consulted on this decision. The protesters proceeded in an apparently unplanned march of approximately 1,000 to the GPO, where they dispersed.

Despite or because of the media hysteria, the numbers on the following week’s protest numbered no more and perhaps even a few less than that of the first week. However, there was an interesting development: an unlikely alliance of the anarchist Workers’ Solidarity Movement and the Irish Republican group Éirigí had formed an Anti-Capitalist Bloc and invited others to join them at the Wolfe Tone monument at Stephens’ Green. They were joined there by non-aligned anarchists, socialists and republicans, as well as by small detachments of the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, Republican Network for Unity and the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

The ACB (Anti-Capitalist Bloc) were treated to a little piece of street resistance theatre, some speeches and then set off to join the demonstration down at the Dáil. The mounted police moved in an apparent attempt to impede them and in the tussle some of the demonstrators were hurt. However they made it to down to Molesworth Street to join the other protesters.

The incident had given the media, hungry for some sensation, more material and this made it on to TV news and newspapers (where it was again incorrectly reported). Another brief scrimmage as a small group of protesters later tried to get through the police lines to the Dáil added to the material. There had also been an apparent attempt to raise the temperature by some elements in the crowd in Molesworth Street, who let off two fireworks during the event. This time the demonstration ended where it had started, without any further march.

The third week’s protest passed without excitement: one group met in Molesworth Street, the other at Stephen’s Green, which then marched down to join the others. During the speeches, the SWP announced that when the rally was over, the Right To Work campaign would be marching to Dublin Castle, the site of many financial and political corruption inquiries. Before that took place however, the flags and banners of the WSM and of Éirigí could be seen moving towards the rear and then disappearing.

The fourth week, the twenty or less of us who gathered at the Wolfe Tone monument stood around waiting for the WSM, Éirigí and others, but they were nowhere to be seen. Police numbers in attendance were across the road and also very low, suggesting that even if some of the supporters of the ACB were unaware of its cancellation, the Gardaí were not. Eventually these protesters trickled down to join the others at Molesworth Street. The protest there was much smaller, even taking into account the decamping of the ACB and it seemed that the end of the series of protests was imminent. Indeed, it turned out to be the last. And the actions of the Israelis in attacking a humanitarian relief flotilla the previous night had given many of the main actors another focus for activity.

THE RECENT HISTORY OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND RESPONSES TO IT
The context in which these protests took place was an Irish financial crisis fuelled by speculation, greed for profits and political favours, taking place at a time of an international crisis created by similar factors in other countries and on the international stage.

The financial crisis in Ireland was intended to be managed by bailing out the banks and developers with public money, part of which was to be paid for by cutting social expenditure, increasing unemployment and by cutting wages and conditions of workers. In order to facilitate this, a wide but artificial discourse was started to pit the private sector workers against the public sector. This would have not only the effect of distracting attention from those to blame for the crisis but also of attacking the largest group of workers (i.e. the public sector) and also those most represented by collective bargaining, therefore providing the largest returns on investment of effort – providing their trade unions could be made to comply.

The capitalist representatives in the public domain and media and their politicians also created another discourse: that we all had to share in the pain in order to get out of the mess. Leave aside that the capitalists hardly ever share in the pain of crises; leave aside that even if they did, taking a cut in a rich lifestyle is nowhere near the same as taking a cut in a marginal or near-marginal economic existence, even without losing one’s job; the fact remains that there was no reason on earth why the workers should share the pain with those who had created the crisis. Not only were the workers not to blame for the crisis, they had hardly gained anything but employment from the boom before it.

Right from the beginning, the leaders of IMPACT and SIPTU, the two major unions in the state, and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ leading officers, undermined the workers’ position. They did so ideologically, by saying that the pain “must be shared fairly”. The inference was clear, they would lead the workers in making sacrifices, in return for some concessions from the capitalists and their government.

But when the government appeared unwilling or unable to grant any concessions, the unions adopted a militant stance and called for industrial action. On one day alone, at least 100,000 trade unionists marched through Dublin in protest and the ICTU announced that they would be calling for a one-day general strike. In the ballots, SIPTU got a significant majority for the general strike while IMPACT, with a large majority for the strike, nevertheless fell just short of the percentage needed by their constitution to carry the action. But clearly the leadership had no stomach for a general strike and where it might lead them; they had not campaigned vigorously for a “Yes” vote and now they used IMPACT’s results to abandon the general strike and to go back into negotiations with the government. Those talks ended eventually with the “Croke Park Deal” in which the union leaders actually agreed to some of the measures attacking the workers, such as wage cuts and pension deductions, with quite nebulous promises of alleviation from the government in return.

There was some resistance from groups of trade unionists trying to defend their wages and conditions but they were without cohesion, without a leadership which could unite the workers across sectors and the country and set a standard of resistance. The revolutionary socialist groups of the SP and SWP were the only ones who even made a show of trying to provide this (apart from in the teachers’ unions, where the anarchists had some presence).

Several meetings for left-wing trade unionists to set up a united network were convenend during the HSE funding crisis and then with the general attacks of the capitalist class but all foundered on the usual aspects notable in these situations: jockeying for position, promotion of one’s own organisation at the cost of joint working, attacking one another, exclusion of individuals seen as problematic, manipulation, setting short-term targets which when not achieved left the movement with no follow-on strategy, never mind tactics.

When the Right to Work campaign was announced, whatever its sources and their credibility, it seemed to many that “here at last was something”, some kind of resistance on a public level, and that on that basis alone it was to be supported. ‘Where to afterwards?’ was, however, always going to be a problematic question and a great many who supported the protests were well aware of that.

POLITICAL AND TACTICAL ANALYSIS
The early actions of the State exhibited a certain degree of ill-preparedness, weakness, and panic. Insufficient forces at the Dáil gates (who could possibly dare to storm the Dáil?) led the Gárdaí to feel they had to draw their batons or face the shame of having let protesters break through their ranks into the alleged centre of Irish state power. The use of police horses the following week against the ACB was an overreaction. Both actions drew media attention which in turn drew the attention of potential supporters of the protests. Somewhere, someone “had a word”: henceforth, the police numbers would be adequate to resist an attempt to break through until reinforcements (hidden nearby) could reach them; also the protesters would be permitted to march and to picket until they got tired of it.

From a revolutionary socialist point of view, the naming of the campaign Right to Work was not unproblematic. The “right to work” is most often quoted by strike-breakers or by employers opposing effective picketing; saying that workers have a ‘right to work’ can be interpreted as saying that they have a right to be exploited. These criticisms were levelled at the SWP when it had that campaign in Britain in the 1970s but since they were able at times to attract large numbers there they were able to ignore the criticisms of opportunism in slogans and, of course some people would say that what appears in the SWP in Britain will eventually appear in the SWP in Ireland.

Both the SWP and the SP’s slogans criticised the bankers being bailed by public funds and attacked the capitalists, especially the bankers and developers, also the Government. The SWP’s slogan of “They say cutbacks – we say fightback!” captured the need to resist the capitalist state’s attacks on the working class. However, one of the party’s slogans, “No ifs, no buts, no Fianna Fáil cuts!”, was also deeply problematic, in that it targeted the current capitalist government and majority political party, leaving open the inference that some other capitalist party might do better, might be acceptable.
The participation of Sinn Féin in the Right to Work campaign was unusual in that they chose to formally ally with the SWP and SP. SF’s own programme to deal with the crisis called for more government funding to aid the unemployed, for training, to fuel the economy etc. but did not call on the workers to “share the pain”; however, nor did it call for the capitalists to be made to pay in total.

The Labour Party’s line was always some variation or other, depending on whom one spoke to, of the workers shouldering a “fair” share of the burden of the crisis arising out of negotiations with the trade unions.

Both the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, it must be remembered, stood a chance of being part of some Irish government in the near-enough future. The Labour Party had been in coalition government before – in probably the most reactionary and politically repressive government in the 26 Counties since the 1930s.

The slogans of the ACB on the other hand were uncompromisingly and unmistakeably against the banks, the Government and the capitalist class. “Make the rich pay” might be somewhat populist but in the circumstances was a clear call for the workers to line up against the capitalist class and their government, as was “Break the connection with capital!”.

In calling for a campaign against the capitalist class and their government without inviting representatives of all the possible forces to sit down as equals to hammer out a plan of campaign and a maximum position of unity, the SWP, who were clearly the initiators of the Right to Work campaign, left themselves substantial room to maneouvre. However, in doing so they also potentially closed the door to an alliance along unequivocally anti-capitalist lines. The SWP may have wished for a broad alliance of revolutionary and social-democratic forces (under their leadership, of course) but in the event they only got the semblance of that, with SF going along with them, some elements of Labour hanging around their margins and the SP muttering and doing no promotional work for the campaign but attending the protests. Of course, the way in which the SWP decided things and then told their partners later was bound to alienate them from SF sooner or later.

The initiative of the WSM and of Éirigí in calling together a separate grouping at a separate rallying point, even though it was to join up with the protest a little later, might have seemed somewhat splittist. Calling it an “Anti-Capitalist Bloc” could be seen as an insult to the those rallying in Molesworth street, an inference those were not anti-capitalists.

However, the tactic of creating a revolutionary caucus within a movement or organisation has a respectable pedigree (as well as a disreputable one). It is argued that revolutionaries have a right to set up a standard and to work to win others over, as do people advocating one tactic or form of struggle against those advocating another.

The ACB initiative, slogans and banners did represent a more unequivocally anti-capitalist stance than that apparent in the equivalent signs of the Right To Work Campaign; also it was a broad front and the numbers were not an insignificant consideration. For those reasons I supported it, both with my physical presence and in discussion with others.

But I could not support the tactics of Éirigí and WSM in withdrawing from the rally in Molesworth Street before it concluded and in absenting themselves from the march to the Castle. Whether the SWP decided to march without consultation and whether it was a useful action or not was beside the point: it was a march through a busy part of Dublin, displaying resistance to capitalist plans to make the workers pay for the crisis and the absence of the ACB deprived the march of unequivocally anti-capitalist slogans. Nor could I support the way the WSM and Éirigí just stopped going to the protests, neglecting to inform a number of their supporters (although the Gardaí seem to have been notified) and giving no public explanation for their position, never mind consulting their supporters.

In the end, Éirigí and the WSM seem to have acted in the same way as those other organisations on the Left that they have often criticised: arrogantly, using their organisational power to positional advantage, ignoring non-aligned individuals and smaller groups and refusing unity when it seemed not in their organisational interests (as distinct from the needs of the class).

WHAT WE NEED
What we need from those offering revolutionary leadership to the working class is maturity, inclusiveness and the ability and willingness to analyse the needs of the class and to put those above their own organisation’s needs.

However, it does seem unlikely, even had the protests been conducted with exemplary revolutionary broad-front unity and effective tactics, that the protests could have “Escalate(d) to (the) “Mass Protest” that the SWP were openly calling for and that most participants were hoping for. This is because although most workers have little or no faith in their bourgeois politicians, they have perhaps even less faith in their alternatives. The union leaders have, for the most part, let them down badly and the revolutionary left seems, well .... irrelevant.

If effective organs of resistance are to be built among the working class, it would seem that one absolute requisite will be a genuine broad front solidarity network which will work to build democratic and participative groups in workplaces and which will reach out to give support when industrial struggles break out – especially when they are inadequately (or not at all) supported by the union leaders. However, these groups need to be built continuously, not just to try to cobble them together whenever industrial action occurs.

It also seems that a non-sectarian broad forum for discussion will be needed, with strict rules on conduct, which will allow activists to voice their opinions and to test them in argument, both before they get the opportunity to test them in practice and in the midst of that practice too. Again, this forum needs to be built now, not just created in the midst of some campaign, much less to be dominated by and to serve the needs of some particular political group.

I am ready to help with either or both of those projects. In the absence of either, I will attend this or that demonstration, this or that picket, knowing that all I am doing is contributing to some visible sign of resistance. But ultimately, will that contribute much more than

upon a wall,
a slanted scrawl
proclaims to all
“Kilroy was here”?

End.

author by Séamuspublication date Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A number of dates in the piece above have been mixed up. The first Right to Work rally, which included the scuffle at the gates of Leinster House, took place on Tuesday 11th May.

The second protest, on the Tuesday 18th May, was the also when the first "Anti-Capitalist Bloc" had been organised. This was a feeder march organised specifically to pass Anglo Irish Bank HQ, where three days earlier éirígí activists had been attacked by Gardaí with seven arrested during a peaceful protest against NAMA and the bailouts.

This march met with a heavy Garda presence trying to prevent the ACB from reaching Anglo Irish and thus Leinster House, and so the feeder march became as much about asserting the right to protest as it was about the economic situation.

In the end, I don't understand your surprise at the falling numbers (the law of diminishing returns would be a cruel mistress for a rally that was the exact same week in and week out) or organisations deciding that there were more productive things they could be doing on a Tuesday evening.

In the end, the SWP saw this as well and decided to call an end to the Right to Work rallies.

author by TomásOBpublication date Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have to say I enjoyed reading your analysis, thank you for sharing it.

I would have one criticism though, I think the Anti-Capitalist Bloc(im not a member of any group involved just given an opinion) stopped attending the "Right to Work" protests because they seen it as just an other front for the SWP, just like the Anti-War Movement and People Before Profit, I find the "Right to Work" protests was just a platform for the SWP to get their point across, i know that they let Sinn Fein speak among others, but why not any spokesperson from the Anti-Capitalist bloc who have done great actions against the Bank bail outs?

eirigi, did an great action in the last few weeks and months and some of their members being arrested, I find the Anti-Capitalist Bloc are more affective compared to the "Right to Work" protests. I think that groups from the Anti-Capitalist bloc should have an equal say in the movement against the Bank bail outs and the SWP and SP should not think they are subservient to the Anti-Capitalist bloc groups.

author by Jamespublication date Fri Jun 18, 2010 14:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The WSM and, as far as I'm aware, Eirigi or anybody else, never intended that anti-capitalist block stage weekly protests and never called for them to be so. The WSM considered from the outset that having weekly protests would lead to smaller rather than bigger demonstrations after a very short period of time. For this reason, we called for specific demonstrations rather than a series of open ended weekly ones.Your misapprehension means the basis of your argument regarding us is on a shaky basis, particularly the silly remark that "neglecting to inform a number of their supporters (although the Gardaí seem to have been notified)". It is difficult to cancel an event which doesn't exist.

author by Conorpublication date Fri Jun 18, 2010 17:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with James.

Also, yes the right to work campaign is another SWP front, but it's not gone yet. They have actually called for another demo -

''...after a series of sucessful protests at the Dail, will be returning to the streets next week to 'welcome' Brian Cowen as he arrives for the IBEC presidents dinner which is due to take place on Weds June 23rd at 6.30pm

http://sites.google.com/site/righttoworkireland/home/la...-news

One thing here is unusual, 'after a series of sucessful protests'. Are they serious?

author by Jim - Nonepublication date Sat Jun 19, 2010 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree that it was a bit confusing for people who normally don't protest. People were confused as to whether it was a weekly event or not. I genuinely don't think numbers matter, as long as there are people visibly marching (whether that's 50 or 5000). I know a lot of non-political people are mortgaged up to the hilt and are afraid. Seeing people march, no matter how small, shows people that they have someone at their back. Maybe I'm wrong.

author by sp memberpublication date Sat Jun 19, 2010 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A correction. The Socialist Party was not involved with the SWP in establishing the Right to Work campaign. The SWP established the campaign and then asked the SP to get involved. The SP said no on the basis that RTW had been established in a completely undemocratic way. The usual SWP method which is to set something up so that they comtrol it and then get others to get invovled on their terms. The SP has nothing to do with the RTW campaign. RTW is finished now. It may have another few protests but it has failed to meet the SWP's expectations of establishing a mass opposition movement to the government. Kieran Allen said the campaign's aim was to bring down the government. This ridiculous statement exposes the SWP's leaderships frivolous and cavalier approach to politics.

author by Realist.publication date Sat Jun 19, 2010 13:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I agree that it was a bit confusing for people who normally don't protest."

I have to bring you sad news:

Most peope don't pay a blind bit of notice to protests outside the Dail.

They are " Two for a Penny and Three-for-Sixpence".
.

author by Diarmuid Breatnach - personal capacitypublication date Sat Jun 19, 2010 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair comments from everyone and thanks for them. Apologies if dates were inaccurate but the sequence remained the same. I never said that I was surprised at the numbers falling (in fact, I said that they stayed about the same) and in fact I wasn’t. Numbers are not the most important thing at all times but they often are a very important factor. Nor is it necessarily the case that numbers must necessarily decrease; there are many examples where they have risen and even led to important victories for the protesters. It may be that the Anti-Capitalist Bloc demonstrations were never intended to be weekly but in the context of ongoing demonstrations at the Dáil and two consecutive ACB demonstrations it was natural that there was an expectation that they would continue, in the absence of any announcement to the contrary.

However, the most important part of the article I thought was about the interraction between the different forces among the protesters and the work that needed to have been done long before and still remains to be done.

author by Jim - Nonepublication date Sat Jun 19, 2010 14:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with you that most people don't pay attention to protests outside the Dail. But some people do, and I think there's no harm in marching through the centre to demonstrate that that some people have a definite opinion on the economy.

author by Ciaron - Catholic Worker/Ploughsharespublication date Sun Jun 20, 2010 07:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thax DB for going to the time and trouble of reflecting on these events.

To the revolutionary, protest movements are only as relevant as they express solidarity with resistance and as usual little on the Dublin Left little is relevant...whether it was this RTW and the lack of solidarity expressed with (or platform offered to) those who were engaged with NVDA at the AIB, whether it was the recent Palestine solidarity manifestations and the lack of solidarity expressed with those on trial in Belfast and Bristol for NVDA during the bombing of Gaza or whether it was the long lost years of the Irish Anti War Movement and the marginalisation and censorship of those who took action at Shannon Airport and were in tension with t he state and before the courts for years.

A subculture of sectarian competition for what is perceived as a limited "left market" (along with all the expressions of marketing that one runs the gauntlet at sucjhdemonstrations where prime target audience is gathered) undermined a more expansive culture of solidarity with those moving in resistance. As you point out........

"usual aspects notable in these situations: jockeying for position, promotion of one’s own organisation at the cost of joint working, attacking one another, exclusion of individuals seen as problematic, manipulation, setting short-term targets which when not achieved left the movement with no follow-on strategy, never mind tactics."

RTW Tuesday demos, quickly replaced by Palestine silidarity, replaced by the next wave to surf. We are called to these manifestations to play the role of passive extras on a set while the small left groups who have successfully jockeyed for platform positiions get to play rick star and preach to us the captive audience. Yep it was a bit weird to be invited along to the ACB and see our hosts (WSM & Eirigri) drift off before the party was over....made ya feel a little dispensible at the time. As a good OZ Trot once explained to me "there are comrades and there are periphery!"..........

Once you've been to these demonstrations for a while and played the role of passive extra it all wears a bit thin. You either stop going or you go to socialise with like minded folk on the edge of the crowd or if your in an organisation I guess you go to recruit and sell the paper primarily.

I think they should call one of these things, disgard the rock stars and centralised platform and invite people and groups to bring soap boxes, and go for it with unamplified sounds and plenty of interaction, questioning and clarification and debate about the crisis and respnses to it. But such a proposal would require an imagination that just doesn't seem to be there among those who run and benefit form these exhausted left rituals.

author by Diarmuid Breatnach - Personal Capacitypublication date Mon Jun 21, 2010 02:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just like to make it clear that when I posted my reply to comments, the posts of neither "SP member" nor "Realist" were yet visible.

author by drpublication date Mon Jun 21, 2010 03:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thats a brillient idea about the soap boxes cirian.

when SF went through its not bothering to go to protests phaze there was a lot of theese frustrations at the time. one suggestion to get around it was that instead of 20 speakers all the groups sign an agreed statment and one person reads it out. but your idea might be a bit more practical and admit self interest., which is better. instead of trying to deny intstincts, understand them.

author by big picturepublication date Mon Jun 21, 2010 14:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your analysis is interesting Diarmaid. You make some interesting points about the various little groups putting their interests before class interests, however that does not address the disinterest that is there among the general public. Even if these groups were able to see the bigger picture that disinterest would still be there. Doing the work that you talk about will not fix the problem or working harder wont work either. There are problems with the small parties and also with their working methods that is true, but the main problem is that the workers don't want to hear the politics that any of them are promoting.

author by Diarmuid Breatnach - Personal Capacitypublication date Wed Jun 23, 2010 04:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the various comments.
The argument that the workers don't want to struggle to defend their interests, much less for revolutionary change, has been around for a long time. But it keeps being proven wrong. Were 100,000 plus workers marching on Dublin's street in order to say that they didn't want to fight the government and their employers? Were the majority in the big unions who voted for a general strike doing that to show their contentment and/ or passivity? They were betrayed by those who claim to be their leaders and we, on the revolutionary left, have not given them an alternative that they can have confidence in. To provide that remains our task.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...that they can have confidence in.No indeed.I've been brushing with the self-anointed 'revolutionary Left' for a half century at least, back to the pontifications of the red-book weilding Maoists of the mid-sixties, and the reason they dont(and wont) gain my confidence is because they apply 19th century analytical tools to twenty-first century problems.If you talk down to people dont be so surprised when they refuse to listen up.If you listened in the last month you might have been as pleasantly surprised as I was to find outrage from the most unexpected quarters at the savagery of the flotilla interception off Gaza. A little self-analysis with the social critique might balance the argument.Unless it is a regimented society of clones with heads full of ideological rectitude you wish to revolve.Listen to radio China (or Moscow pre 89) for a taste of that wished for revolution you should be careful of.Mussolini and Adolf galloped in on 'revolutionary' chariots too.Dont get me wrong.I'd rather take my chances in Fidel's Cuba than Papa and Baby's Haiti. But the Irish peasant memory of revolution betrayed will not be extinguished by firebrand slogans and simplistic formulae of sociological abstraction. As me uncle Nero used to put it, Rome wasn't burnt in a day.Tog go bog e.

author by independent republican.publication date Wed Jun 23, 2010 19:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i attended the first anti-capitalist bloc demo in dublin,which i thought was a very good initiative and i thought it was great to see the various organisations like wsm, eirigi,32csm,irsp,and independent anarchists aswell as independent republicans like myself coming together to show the state that we are not afraid to march on the streets
and defend our rights as citizens against the heavy handed attacks by members of the gardai.
i think it was a positve initiative that these various groups found some common ground with which to work together on.no doubt there is plenty of bickering and bitching goes on behind the scenes. i thought it was a pity that the whole idea just fizzled out,which it did,here's hoping the 'acb' idea is used in the future for areas which all anti-capitalists would agree on such as:
1.rossport solidarity 2.palestinian solidarity. 3 solidarity with republican prisoners in maghaberry. 4.any anti'capitalist initiative. 5.any anti fascist anti racist anti imperialist initiative. finding areas that we agree on should be easier to find than areas we disagree on

a good idea like the anti capitalist bloc shouldnt be allowed to just fizzle out that easily..

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Jun 24, 2010 15:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of it fizzling out.But the arguments need to be refined a bit.And rather than concentrating strictly on the anti- department, it might draw a bit more support if the alternatives to current practise were addressed.All anti is not leadership, its Luddite nay-saying.Capitalism does continuing damage and is increasingly a threat to the very biosystems that sustain us and it, but it was not Marx, Stalin or Mao that produced the keyboards we tap.
Qualify the jargon with more specifics and a lot of the internal divisions may just turn out to be verbal.And the sea of apathy might even shrink like the Aral.
Oh and if it all fizzled out tomorrow, the powers that be would re-instal structures to justify their security budgets.The'Right' is far more sophisticated and complex than many 'Leftists' credit.

author by Curiouspublication date Thu Jun 24, 2010 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have never attended any of these demos which iv seen advertised around the city until only recently when I heard about the first demo on the news the evening after the attempted sit in at the Dail.Myself and my brother decided we head into the next one,which we did.

Was really impressed with the numbers which I taught would be much smaller for what reason i dont know,but it was great to see.I listened to the speeches and left happy to have come.Brother couldnt make it the following week but decided to head in on me own anyway.

As i said this was now my 2nd demo to have ever attended,I left about 25 mins in after speaker after speaker called for an election now,no mention of the peoples right to work,i am an unemployed plumber who qualified 2 years ago and was let ago as soon as,as my wages would have rose,no more cheap labour for my employer.

Anyway thats my tuppence worth.

author by aunty diatribepublication date Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As a new kid on the bloc I have read Che and Mao and Connolly and they could write in a non boring way. But the left in Ireland uses the most boring stuff they can find which is trotskyism. it just puts everyone to sleep. I see no hope for the current Irish left and I have gone to most marches in the past 3 years, most of them were a disaster apart from the 100,000 one the unions decided to go ahead with and a couple of the anti war ones were good, the rest were useless and it is no wonder most people dont bother to turn up to them anymore.

author by Some people think differentlypublication date Tue Jun 29, 2010 20:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's a video from last week's RTW protest when loadsa people showed up. I don't see much passivity going on here. Who else has had the imagination, creativity and capacity to maintain and hold these events but all the people in the rightowork campaign.

Stop whining and do something! You doing no one any favours. As Bob Dylan says

" Your old road is rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'."

Caption: Right To Work at the Mansion House


Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb-Y6LjRT5o
author by Diarmuid Breatnach - personal capacitypublication date Mon Jul 05, 2010 04:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Some people" leaves a comment clearly attacking some contributor but doesn't say whom. However, s/he is incorrect to say that there were "loads of people" on the most recent RTW march, as anyone who was there should know.

Interestingly, at the rally at the end, speakers from SWP, SP and WSM all gave the call for building workers' industrial resistance organisations (or grassroots union organisation, if you like). In my article above I said that building such organisations is what has not been done but what is urgently needed. It is good to see agreement about this among such a wide section of the Irish Left but the question remains: Will they repeat the mistakes of the past or facilitate the building of a genuine broad, non-sectarian and democratic fighting organisation with short and medium-term goals to work towards?

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