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Party against the pipe

category mayo | environment | news report author Saturday May 07, 2011 19:01author by Party against the pipeauthor email partyagainstthepipe at gmail dot comauthor address aughoose, co.mayoauthor phone 0851141170 Report this post to the editors

Come to Mayo!

Come & join us in celebrating over a decade of resistance to Shell's Corrib gas project...it's gonna be a good party!

June Bank Holiday weekend 4-6th, Aughoose, Co.Mayo

Bands, music, circus, dance, comedy, performance, crafts, kid's activities. Free camping area.
Transport is being organised from most cities in Ireland, see website for details partyagainstthepipe.wordpress.com

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This is a not for profit event and to keep costs as low as poss, people are getting in to the spirit of the festival and volunteering whatever they have to offer for free, be it equipment, bands, performance, crafts etc. If you are up for supporting us please email partyagainstthepipe@gmail.com

Party against the Pipe is a celebration of over a decade of resistance to Shell’s Corrib gas project. It will be a jam packed family friendly festival of music, art, circus and surprise! Line up to be announced shortly :) check http://partyagainstthepipe.wordpress.com for latest updates and all information.

Please get in touch if you can help in anyway or promote the event, we can send you posters and flyers.

See you there! x

Related Link: http://partyagainstthepipe.wordpress.com

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author by Inspiredpublication date Thu May 12, 2011 21:34Report this post to the editors

I went to the Rossport Solidarity Camp for the May bank holiday weekend. I found it really positive and I want to set down my experience for anyone else who is thinking of going down.

I had visited the camp fleetingly twice before, but never stayed the night there. After the intensity of city life and fending off the insidious domination of capitalist culture, it felt so good to get off the bus from Dublin and then fall asleep in the deep peace and quiet, looking at the stars through the central window of a yurt.

While you might not go primarily to have an inspiring experience for its own sake, but rather to be in solidarity with the folks on the frontline, being there is undeniably uplifting. The camp is so well organised and responsibly run. You can sleep in the communal ‘bender’ (a kind of homemade tent made from bent over hazel rods, which has been in use in Ireland for more than 8,000 years) or pitch your own tent in the main camp, or if you prefer, in the ‘quiet zone’ 600 yards away where the ‘chill-out’ room is a Mongolian yurt, complete with wood-and-turf-burning stove (it’s so cosy!). The people from the community who gave talks or just hung out were open and friendly, which can't be easy all the time given the hundreds of visitors who come though.

The kitchen marquee was a busy place, and the co-ordinators of food kept it flowing! Three very substantial meals a day and unlimited apples in between. One morning a neighbouring woman dropped in enormous bags of scones - freshly baked, brown or white and raisiny! Someone produced butter, and tea was brewed endlessly outside with the Kelly kettle. You put your name down for cooking or doing dishes or other chores as and when you choose. When it comes to bathroom matters, you can choose from the sit-toilet, the better-for-the-bowels squat toilet, or the ‘aesthetically pleasing’ toilet (actually I thought they were all remarkably aesthetically pleasing – and as far as I could see, constructed mainly from recycled materials) – there were outdoor sinks and even a solar powered shower.

The wind generator and solar cells hum away all day charging up the bank of batteries, which powers the lights at night – and the sound system! (and I think you can charge up your phone/laptop but I’m not sure) At night the meeting-marquee is transformed into a dance hall and the beat rolls across the half mile of bog to the nearest neighbours – the IRMS men on duty at the site. If you prefer a quieter evening’s entertainment, on one night at least there were songs and stories, sitting on cushions in the yurt.

When it came to the action (described well here http://www.wsm.ie/c/shell-bog-road-rossport-solidarity-camp) there was a meeting in the marquee first in order to talk out the possibilities and different tactics and to express our hopes and fears and finally to reach consensus on what to do and how. It is totally up to the individual as to whether to participate or not, and it is totally valid to express your solidarity with the community by just spending time in the community and at the camp and not participating in the action. In planning the action it was also made very clear that there are varying levels at which people may wish to participate and that that is OK too. I found participating in the action tense to begin with, but ultimately with the support of my affinity group, empowering and joyous. Why yell at the TV or bitch about the bailouts when you can take action in support of a community that has taken enormous risks to stand up to an enormously powerful and evil corporation, and has alerted the public to the corrupt giveaway of our oil and gas worth potentially hundreds of bllions?

The raw people power was palpable. We outnumbered the security guards and police, and as a result, they were much less aggressive (than they had been some days previously when a similar trespass was made by a much smaller group – although when two IRMS men got one person on his own the day we were there, they were much more aggressive as shown at the link above). It felt good to trespass en masse and to dismantle a tiny part of Shell’s global operation. They made a number of attempts to stop us, unsuccessfully as shown at the above link.

After the action, there was another communal meal and a debriefing, then you could chill out with a lie down in your tent, some people were doing massage in the yurt, or just hang out on the sofa in the kitchen marquee and chat to whoever comes by. Talk out the tension, then dance it out that night.

The sense of solidarity, of people of goodwill gathering together from diverse backgrounds to find strength in numbers in the global battle against injustice, was palpable and strong, and is rare in modern Ireland. That’s not to sound cheesy or to gloss over the practical challenges that face both the campaign and the camp, which were openly discussed in some of the many workshops that took place in the sunshine, in the marquee or over food. It’s also not to ignore the situation of the local community, who have lived day after day with the stress of Shell’s presence amongst them with all of its attendant ills (detailed very well here http://www.shelltosea.com/content/now-you-are-talking-m...guage) for a decade now and who don’t have the luxury of hopping back on the bus to a home distant from the sharp end of the struggle.

The best part of the weekend for me and many others was the blessing of Pat O’Donnell’s new fishing boat, which was essentially a big party, with dozens of people from the local area, dozens more solidarity-campers, and many other supporters from other parts of the country all mixing together on a pier sticking out into the Atlantic from the northern end of Belmullet peninsula. The warm sun and the best of food and drink, all contributed too.

My last image of the camp is the people who were remaining behind waving us off as the bus moved slowly alongside the marquees. The sun was golden and their hands threw shadows behind them. They waved slowly but with joy. It was a quirkily powerful moment in a remarkable weekend, which remains frozen in time for me.

I would encourage anyone who is considering heading to the ‘Party Against the Pipe’ for the June bank holiday but unsure of whether to do so, to just jump in and book that bus! You will have the most interesting conversations, meet the finest of people, help to defend the most beautiful landscape, and all in the most eco-friendly way imaginable! You might even learn something new about yourself – for instance, for reasons that I cannot explain, it is good to be in a yurt!

 
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