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Black Bloc Tactics

category dublin | summit mobilisations | opinion/analysis author Tuesday May 04, 2004 00:54author by ZXBarcalow Report this post to the editors

One good thing?

I have been thinking about the mayday protest for a while now, particularly the confrontation with the gardai. Yet while I can think of plenty of negative results of the black bloc's decision to try force their way through the police lines, I cant think of ONE good thing that came from it.

Can anyone out there give me one reason why the day's events would have done less good if the anarchists HADN'T done that? In other words, what was the point? Can anyone give me one good result? And please, I'm not looking to start an argument -I was there too getting soaked with the watercannon, and I'm sure some of the gardai were heavy handed, AND i've nothing against anarchism but that's not the point. How in god's name did this decision contribute to the various causes we were protesting about more than it hindered them?

author by James Kellypublication date Tue May 04, 2004 01:53author email jkelly32 at hotmail dot comauthor address Belfastauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not black bloc, and my mind was not made up about them during the Reclaim the City march, but I have come to the conclusion that they aren't the bunch of 'hellbent', 'violent' 'thugs' which I perceived them to be.
I really wanted to march to Phoenix Park on Saturday. I knew that we had to do all we could to try and get as close as possible to 'bring the noise' and remind the leaders of our dissent.
There is a simple line that the black bloc cross and its a decision we all have to ask ourselves: Do we want to make a token protest or do we want to try as *hard as we can* to change things?
We could have marched half way to Tara Hill to just walk away when the police decided we had gone far enough OR we could confront the oppressors face on and *make* our way until *we* decided we have gone far enough.
The march was about demonstrating our freedom to protest and freedom from the tyranny of the state and the super-state. I realised on the march as I looked behind me how many people felt the same way. We are free. Their power is an illusion. We are the powerful ones and THEY ARE AFRAID.
I joined the black bloc and helped push against the police line. I'm not violent and I never would have imagined myself doing something like that when I decided to head down. But I had to do what I believed in and that was showing my opressors that nobody can force us into situations without getting forced back. I got batoned for my troubles then drenched. I only wish *I* had a mask. As we can see, people were pulled away from the RTS tonight and arrested. These people may have been seen at the protest and recognised. Now I'm afraid of being targeted.
The Black Bloc pushed against Garda lines. withtheir hands. Later the Gardai charged against us with batons. Who is violent? Who is out of line? Do you honestly think that unless everybody turned around and walked back to town en mass, the water cannons didn't have to come out?
I remember a guy with a megaphone telling the crowd that there was going to be people who were going to try and push the line back. If you don't want to join, get back.
Anyone who didn't want to get soaked could have left. Those who decided to stay fought for our freedoms and to show our leaders that they can't expect to destroy our planet and control our lives without a fight.

If you want a token protest and not fight against the state oppressers while world leaders wine and dine and destroy everything we love, that's your choice. I respect that. But if you want to fight back for your own live as well as for others, then support the Black Bloc.

author by XZBarcalowpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 02:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

James, I know the Black Bloc were not violent thugs. And I stayed at the front too, because I didn't want to just walk away when the police told us to (though I wasn't pushing against the gards). But i see these protests as primarily about raising awareness of important issues. They are fun and liberating in and of themselves, sure. But the protest is part of a wider struggle. Now you didn't answer my question: what did the pushing accomplish? I'm not blaming anybody, just wondering did the good (if any) done by that tactic outweigh the bad? The bad would include alienating people who sympathise with us, and who may have joined us in the future but who are unsure now because they disapprove of violence. Also people would be afraid they might be in danger if they go to the next one. So what good did it do that outweighed the bad?

author by improverpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 02:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was also present on Sat. I agree and have taken part in non-violent police-line breaking, it has and can be very effective. Unfortunately the people who were involved in trying to break the police-line on Saturday could not see or realise the pointlessness of their exercise. I believe many of them thought/think that at every demo/protest this tactic should be used and that assumption is ludicrous. When it became obvious to those on the front-line that there wasn't even a second line they should have re-thought and abandoned the idea of trying to break the police-line.
Because of the media build-up to this demo and the gov/gardai hype (to put it mildly), I really believe that most people on the demo felt they were not going to fall into any traps, hence the march to Navan rd was full of spirited protesters making the point through large loud numbers that this lap-dog gov to the EU were not going to stop us gathering and making a defiant stance in the face of all the shite they spewed at us through their channels of dis-information.
As I said already I am in favour of civil-disobedience but there has to be some logic behind it and a sense that there is even a 'slight' possiblility it will suceed. There seemed to be no mature thinking behind the actions of those who were linked opposite the gardai on Sat. Without sounding too cynical and presumptuous I reckon those involved were mostly young guys who have been greatly inspired by what they saw at similar demos in other countries and see this as their niche, but lads the fact is in Ireland we have not yet reached a stage where we have gathered enough like-minded people. The way to do this is firstly by getting people interested in the issues, and then you build in numbers with proper preparation and understanding for the days of action that lie ahead, but that's hard work convincing people to join in in this tactic but it can be done the proof is in several puddings. It's very easy to mask up on any given day and try unsucessfully with your mates to get passed a line of cops, it takes much more dedication to try and build for such an action.The worst thing to do in my opinion is have a crap attempt at something which only draws negative criticism and thus makes people who previously might have got involved reject the idea altogether in the future.
The fact is that this was simply an immature premature, bad idea on Sat. the irony is, there were many people there in the crowd who would be willing to use this tactic at the right time but they knew Sat. was not the day.
Before these guys on the front-line took there stance I reckon the strong crowd that were there would have thought that a mass sit-down would have been effective, but I certainly do not claim to know all the facts of the day although i was very near the front at all times but if we perhaps had an extra half hour before those at the front decided to try and wade in, we could have achieved this, and spent the time we were being sprayed back sitting down singing a few tunes and making our "noise".
It's true, there is a time and a place, it simply wasn't the time nor the place.
But hey no major harm done let's just hope a lesson learned. Now get networking, busy times, busy times!

author by ppublication date Tue May 04, 2004 03:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

O.k can we get this straight once and for all THERE IS NO black "block" in Ireland we have at present a few black "bricks" as we saw on saturday, and maybe just maybe the one good thing that can come out of this is that the bricks try and make a wall before they go for it again.

author by kpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 09:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Black block my arse. A bunch of teenage wannabes full of Royal Dutch lager with their hoodies on backwards does not a credible revolutionary movement make. Don't feed the medai/garda frenzy by portraying these clowns as anything but a bunch of clueless messers out for an adrenalin rush and some food for their egos.Be realistc people

author by Ciaron I Could be wrong?publication date Tue May 04, 2004 10:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I could be wrong about this at is my subjective perspective...............................................I was in London before May Day monopoly when a small crew came back from Italy keen to duplicate the nonviolent militancy of Ya Basta...the comical padded up, upbeat battering ram of the nonviolent movement. Where people dress in inner tubes etc and get between the crowd and cops and become an assertive buffer to break police lines. This experiment was the White Overall Movement for Better Libertarian Struggle (WOMBLES)...it was an unsuccessful english duplication of an italian tactic....they never recruited to a critical mass to duplicate this nonviolent militant tactic (I assume the WOMBATS Whiteoverall Big Assed something or other in Australia didn't fare too much better as they seem to have disapeared without a trace?)

What did happen is that the cops and media targetted the WOMBLES as the next threat to Western Civilisation (this was before S11NYC)....to justify their unjustifiable militarisation of a cop response to May Day in London (this wasn't the Wombles fault etc). The Met admitted after May Day monopoly their tactic (announcing snipers on the rof, armed raids of suppose Womble squats) was an attempt to scare off "legitimate protesters from May Day".

It seems somewhere along the line the Ya Basta tactics have been abandoned and folks more interested in Blac Bloc tactics (which is another story) stuck with the media brand name of Wombles (dunno why maybe it was free advertising in terms of recruitment...second only to Swampy in brand recognition!!!!).

I was looking forward to seeing some Ya Basta tactics on Saturday night but their wasn't the preparation or interest it seems.

The point is we have to move from protest to nonviolent resistance (symbolic and actual)...the unmasked, chilled out courageous Chinese guy standing in front of the tank at Tinamon Square..was confronting power. Action is both symbolic and actual...the actual part of it (disrupting the tank for some moments) relates to inanimate objects....the symbolic dimension of that guy's actions inspires us still as it relates to the hearts and minds of other wills and consciousnesses (is tat a word?)....so don't use symbolic as a swear word!

We were outnumbered, out resourced, infiltrated and acting in the limits of a "come one come all" confrontation with power (we didn't know who we were, the State knew who they were and who we were)...so let's not beat ourselves up too much.

It's time now to look after our casualties. Pick a name from the lsit in Monday's irish Times and support them (you don't have to agree with everything they do or did) through their long journey through the courts, parental harrassment, job sackings over the next few months

author by great Gazebo Builder. - "we meet in sinister secret" har har har har har har har ("the code of the 7 hars")publication date Tue May 04, 2004 10:49author address hear hare hair.author phone Report this post to the editors

The Grand old duke of York
he had ten thousand men
he marched them up to the top of the hill
& he marched them down again.

(all together now...)
And when they were up - They were UP!
(bit of enthusiasm) [clap hands for the rhythm]
And when they were down - They were DOWN!
and when they were only half way up,
They were neither UP nor DOWN.

Ireland used have the Big Mon, Rev, Dr. Iain to do the up and down stuff, now we have the BB. Great. How's judge land?

author by Responsepublication date Tue May 04, 2004 11:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I assume you are refering to Bertie, 7,000 Garda and the Brits patrolling Irish airpsace here

author by Crusty the Clownpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Where are these black-clad heroes when it comes to REAL DIRECT ACTION like blockading bin trucks in working class communities last Autumn. Where are you guys when there is a Bus Workers or Building Workers strike. Some in the 'Black Block' do not have any conception of workers' struggle against capitalism. They think that you can take on capitalism by have a confrontation with the cops when the cops are the only ones that will win.

Those on saturday's march that didn't go up the front where the intelligent ones. They realised that May Day without any confrontations with the coppers would be a blow against the Government, media and cops as they would have to justify their waste of €4million. Now they can justify it.

author by Homeypublication date Tue May 04, 2004 12:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Crusty baby,

Don't confuse being contrary with being rebelious. Can't be everywhere and yep there was some overlap with the bin tax and sat night activist wise. Do what you can man....

When you're not doing it be in solidarity with those who are!

author by Joe Murphypublication date Tue May 04, 2004 12:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were other people than so-called 'black bloc' people at the frontline but I would have to support and congratulate the 'black mini-bloc!' amongst others for the way they handled themselves overall.
The Gardai were in the wrong, they had no right to stop a peaceful march from going to the Park to make our voice heard in the first place and the Gardai were the only weapon-holding troublemakers there trying to start trouble. Protesters may have had sticks etc but I didn't seem them being used in an agressive manner myself, only defensive.
The 'black bloc' has plenty of intelligent, honest people trying to change things for the better for everyone. They were also trying to protect other people as some had mentioned at the previous nights meeting.
Maybe it was tactically wrong to try and push through without enough numbers but I cannot complain about people standing up for their rights and the rights of others.
For a couple of things that may have gone wrong, there were a hundred things that went right during this and other marches/actions at the weekend. Don't let the mainstream media decide what is right or wrong.

Congrats to the Wombles and assorted foreign travellers who helped make the weekend into a proper mayday party as opposed to the pantomime in Farmleigh and elsewhere.

author by Chekovpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The assorted wombles, 'ninjas' and others who walked up to the police lines must be commended for their bravery and restraint. There are some things more important than media spin. They stood up to the state when it had all its forces on show. They showed very clearly that this movement is not all huff and puff and helped to turn mayday into a powerful sign of resistance. Fighting capitalism is more than just a media campaign.

author by Indy Reporterpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 15:08author email billhickslives at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll try to keep this short. I too was there on Saturday, and am proud to say it.

The black block, as did all the protesters there, showed immense courage and restraint in the face of intimidation and the implicit threat of state violence. All that we “threatened” to do (and this was publicly announced, repeatedly before hand) was march as free citizens of our country, Ireland, to Farmleigh to make our voices heard, literally, by our heads of state, the ones we elected to represent us.

Saturday’s march and protest was non-violent despite a difficult situation, and that was crucial. Most people, first and foremost myself, would have disassociated themselves from it otherwise. Despite this we were portrayed as a bunch of party-pooping, interfering trouble makers. Well that thing was never our kind of hollow, stuffed-up, stage-managed party anyway. We put on our own, or tried to. The mainstream media will distort these events anyway - it’s been shown again and again. Hopefully that's where Indymedia comes in, and can continue to expand it’s challenge to this socially strangling hegemony.

The guy standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen square is the point - we have to physically stand up sometimes and say no, you can't mow us down, or in the case of last Saturday, yes, we have a right to free peaceful movement, and by what right do you say you are going to forcefully take that away from us? The scare tactics and manipulation of the public went on for weeks, and a lot of people who might have come that night were genuinely scared away. Everyone knows it's hard to stand up to a bully. But we do have a right to our freedoms, hard won. We were free human beings before we ever heard of Bertie Ahern or Michael McDowell, and their visionless march into an unsettling, false Irish future. Their attempts to mystify us, demoralise us, criminalise us, slander us, make us despairing and ultimately control us and our spirit must be resisted actively, assertively, persistently - with courage and peace and liberty still burning bright in our hearts.

author by Crusty the Clownpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You're right resisting the capitalist state is not just about media campaigns. I fear that some in the Anarchist movement see taking on the state as getting into confrontations with the Police Force. It is not.

The capitalist state would have been more hurt if there was absolutely no 'violence' whatsoever and if everything kept good humoured etc. That's why they moved into the demo on saturday and used agent provocateuer. I think that most in DGN realised this and did initially stand back 200 yards or so from the Police Lines.

I don't think that taking on the state is only about confrontations with the Police. That will happen in the course of events of course, and in that situation we should choose out battles on our terms. Last Saturday was not a time to confront the state in such a way.

The capitalist state can be taken on in other ways. For example in the anti-bin tax campaign working class people are fighting against the unjust bin charges that is all about privatisation. In that struggle workers had the Police Force, the Courts, the Media, the Politicians etc. used against them. In the battle last Autumn there were 'batles' with the Police that the campaign won because of the strong support of local communities. You've got to choose your battles.

In the trade unions capitalism can be challenged as workers look for a better share and challenge and fight for a greater share of the profits they create.

I think that those involved in the Farmleigh protest should go back to their communities and trade unions and get active to take on the Capitalist system that will throw Riot Cops, Water Cannon, the Courts, the Media etc at protesters that question capitalism.

author by Ashtown roundabouterpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 16:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I think that those involved in the Farmleigh protest should go back to their communities and trade unions and get active to take on the Capitalist system that will throw Riot Cops, Water Cannon, the Courts, the Media etc at protesters that question capitalism."

A lot of those at the Farmleigh protest are active in their unions, some were jailed during the bin tax battle, and nearly all are active in 'their' community.
Saturday was important and empowering. Two groups planned to march to the park on Saturday, one asked for permission and they were refused. The other didn't and got closer to the Aras and Farmleigh.
One thing is for sure getting active to take on the Capitalist system won't involve doing the job of the cops and asking pretty please all the time.

author by Trade Unionistpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who exactly among the Grassroots Network were jailed for anti bin tax protests and who exactly are active in their trade union?

The answer is no-one. The Grassroots Network are a middle class group of disaffected rich kids which have more experience of academia than they have experience in real struggle. They are nothing but toytown revolutionaries.

author by GGerpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 16:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I won't name anybody for you but as you seem to know everybody in the GN surely you should know one or two.
Members of the WSM and ISN to name but two groups who are involved with GG have members who are actively involved in the bin tax struggle and have members who are involved in their trade unions.
I saw members of the SF, SP and SWP at the demo on Saturday, can't imagine you would deny that they are active in their communities, unless of course you are going to change the argument and say you are only talking about GN.
By the way, one thing I can confirm is that no member of the GN (to the best of my knowledge) signed any undertaking with the council during the bin tax struggle.

author by Joepublication date Tue May 04, 2004 16:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Usual crap from SP members hidding behing 'trade unionist' or 'community activist' etc, etc.

As you probably know the Grassroots Gathering doesn't have a formal membership. But of those who have attended gatherings at least two have been jailed in connection with the bin tax. More to the point (because the point was not to get jailed, or was it?) a good percentage were active in the course of the struggle, taking part in multiple blockades as well as the more boring work of building the campaign in the years beforehand.

On union stuff this is a weaker area mostly due to the age profile of the GG (it's mostly under 25's) but also due to the inactive state of the unions. All the same a good dozen or more are or have been active at the level of union reps or branch committee, some for many years. We've had some good union/workplace sessions at the gatherings but unlike the rest of the left we don't pretend to have any answer to the cronic dis/non/weak organisation in the workplace at the present.

I suspect this is an area to watch as some quite imaginative workplace/union organisational stuff may emerge from the GG that will break some moulds that badly need to be broken. For all the talk the left generates about unions our impact has been very, very weak in the last decades so boasting that your running faster than us on your little hamster wheel does not have much meaning. I'd like to work out how to get off that wheel rather than convince myself that making it spin faster means I'm going somewhere.

I think Saturday demonstrates that there is a growing number of people looking to take action outside of the conventional mold of old left politics. The GG has grown in a remarkable way in a very short time. I think the challenge is to move from our success on 'global issues' like the war and the EU to local issues like the bin tax and the workplace. However from the trot reaction to our war and EU work I don't 'trade unionist' will be at all happy if (and when) this happens.

Final thing 'trade unionist' - you want to look to your internall discipline. A little bird tells me that there were two SP members among the masked up multitude pushing at police lines on Saturday. More power to them! (And congrats to another SPer, EF for his excellent on the spot response to events on Newstalk 106, good to know that some at least can follow George Orwells 'knowing what side you on' line when put on the spot).

author by lishpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 16:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

between 3000 & 5000 people went on a banned anarchist/libertarian/anti-capitalist march on Mayday after weeks of bloodbath hype, knowing that they'd come up against the biggest security operation in the history of the state.
most of those people aren't anarchists.
so why did they come
and say" i won't be told what to do" & to echo james" we aren't afraid of you!"
hundreds of people faced down riot cops and danced to the watercannons. any idea how powerful that is? all their authority is based on fear of what happens to those who step out of line. we danced over it.
we said "you have no authority, no legitimacy other than what we choose to give you & we give you none."
it's not about having the right to protest it's about demanding to be listened to.people
are openly debating in the street about
garda accountability, the imbalance of power between the state & corporations & the citizens, between padded guards with batons in stormtrooper formation and unpadded , unarmed ( there were plans for a padded bloc, didn't happen ) protestors, including the black bloc.
the odds were overwhelming. no-one seriously thought they could have gotten into the park so why push through?
we believe we have the right to march through our city & confront our "representatives". we had walked for 2 hours to do so & were told thus far & no further because we say so.
i think a bloc pushed through police lines to say we do not accept your authority. you do not have the right to prevent us from going where we've comehere to go. i have never sen irish people do that before in such numbers, though historically we've done it many times.if people come away from this knowing they can step over the borders, barriers & rules created for them by others it was a great weekend.

author by SP memberpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 17:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What makes you think that "trade unionist" is an SP member! The fact is that there were SP members at the Grassroots march to Farmleigh. I wan't personally but I was talking to other SP members about it after. The SP are firmly on the side of the protesters. The Gardaí were looking for violance, they needed it to justify the hype they participated in.

Indymedia is full of shite-strirrers. Don't jump to conclusions that some anonymous idiot is an SP member.

author by lishpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 17:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

between 3000 & 5000 people went on a banned anarchist/ libertarian /anti-capitalist march on Mayday after weeks of bloodbath hype knowing that they'd come up against the police, riot cops & army, armed to the teeth.
most of those people aren't anarchists.
so why did they come? why did they trust us?

they wouldn't be told what to do & they weren't afraid.
hundreds of people faced down riot cops and danced to the watercannons. any idea how powerful that is? all authority is based on fear of what happens to those who step out of line. we danced over it.

the odds were overwhelming. no-one seriously thought they could have gotten into the park so why push through?
we believe we have the right to march through our city & confront our "representatives".
we had walked for 2 hours to do so & were told thus far & no further "because we say so".

i think a bloc pushed through police lines to say "game over".

i have never seen irish people stand up for themselves in such numbers, though historically we've done it many times.

we said to the "leaders of the free world"
"you have no authority, no legitimacy other than what we choose to give you & we give you none."

it's not about having the right to protest it's about demanding results.

people come away from this knowing they can skip over the borders, barriers & rules created for them by others.
believing something & acting as if it's already the case makes it happen.
that logic has worked for the powerful so far.
but now we do it too.

author by Joepublication date Tue May 04, 2004 17:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can't be 100% sure but the tag 'trade unionist' is consistently used by someone who argues the SP line on very many threads. Sometimes its 'community activist' and sometimes its 'bin tax activist'. Their method of argument is often dishonest but they know the SP politics and the politics of other groups quite well which would suggest to me its someone senior in the party, I could even guess the name if you like.

The problem here is the SP's method of intervention on indymedia which with one or two exceptions (HS, NI) consists of a constantly shifting range of pseudonyms as often as not pretending not to actually be SP members but people who think the sun shines out of the SPs ass. I've obviously no problem with the use of pseudonyms but the SP would come across as a lot more credible if there members stuck to one or two.

I know SP members were there on Saturday (see post you are replying to, I mention 3 in it). In fact one interesting thing about Saturday was seeing who had turned up.

author by Bobpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trade Unions..aren't they the ones that called off their march on May Day. Don't follow leaders, watc your parking meters..especially when it comes to Trade Union bureacrats making a deal with capital and selling out their membership.

author by Sir Mixalotpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 18:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think anyone can deny that it was a great demo- really lively and positive.

No amount of scare-mongering in the capitalist media could stop thousands from marching, determined to get as near to the park as possible.

I can completely understand why some protestors decided to approach the cop lines. it's natural to get angry when the people of Dublin are kicked out of their park and prevented from excercising their democratic right to march and protest so as Ahern can shake hands with Blair, Berlusconi and their ilk.

Personaly, i would like to have seen all the protestors stick together (strength in numbers etc.) approach the cop lines together and have a mass sit down protest. It might not have been as easy for the cops to let their water cannons and batons loose on a 1,000-strong sit down crowd. However, this might not have worked as the cops were so determined to play with their new toys, no matter what happened.

Anyway, all the protestors should be commended for their stand on saturday. Forward to the Bush demo!

author by Mepublication date Tue May 04, 2004 18:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We all know who the SP union organiser is - hasn't done an honest day's work in his life.

author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What Were The Black Bloc's Intentions If They Had Stormed Farmleigh?
After Saturday night and all the nonsense has died down could someone please answer this legit question?
Supposing the Gardai and Army failed to stop the March On Farmleigh what were the protestors going to do then?
Did they intend to have a discussion with the 25 European heads of government?
Did they intend to assault, kidnap them or some thing worse?
What was their intention?

Someone answer the question.

author by lishpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the above is a comment on the black bloc tactics thread not a new item.
given the odds the black bloc'd have to have been the a-team.
what would they do? dunno. i'd explain to the heads of state that they're fired.

author by Righteous Pragmatistpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 25 EU heads of government represent 450 million voters.

Who elected you?

author by disappointedpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 20:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i was there with the crowd of people dressed in black on saturday(i would'nt call it a black bloc really) and for me the main problem was the amount of alcohol being consumed! dont get me wrong i like a beer or 10 but a black bloc does not get pissed up before an action! and i doubt that many of the people there had read a direct action manual. now that does not go for al the people there but its those bloody up for it kids that dont have the first clue about anarchism or class struggle that get to me!!!
next time stay at home and let the real revolutionarys take the direct action against state oppression!! we dont need beer to stand up for wat we believe in!

author by Karlpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 21:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For me who was in the black bloc and for the record used non violent protest my personal goals were as follows.

These are not aboviously what everyone wanted exactly as i can only speak for myself.
The first goal i saw was to break past the lines or at least try to be able to march down ARE roads and streets to ARE park.

Secondly we wanted to express are dissent to the heads of State.Now i think we realise we probably would never get close enough to actually speak to the ministers but maybe we could get areselves heard hence "bring the noise"

I believe the Bloc was positive it just needs to be bigger oh and yes i have read a lot on the Bloc over the past year and also on class struggle and anarchism and have tryed participate in as many positive actions as i could.

author by Gpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 22:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You may feel great about standing up to the man and not giving in or whatever when you try to push through the cops and so on but its only gonna lead to you being portrayed in the mainstream media as being just out to cause trouble. And like it or not that's just gonna lose you support among ordinary people, who you claim to represent. A big sit down sing song or whatever would have been a much more effecitve fuck you to the waste of money on security that day and to all the media spin in the lead up to May Day.

P.S. Reclaim the streets was classic yesterday. That was me with the snare.

author by @publication date Wed May 05, 2004 12:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We are some of the people who participated in the bloc that pushed through the police lines on the demonstration to Farmleigh.
We are some of the people who participated in the bloc that pushed through the police lines on the demonstration to Farmleigh. This bloc was not formed spontaneously. It came as a result of a meeting the night before, called by both international and Irish people planning to join the march who did not wish to march under the guidelines issued by Dublin Grassroots Network.

We have no leaders and we reject authority. We believe it is neither possible nor desirable to tell others how to behave on a demonstration. We also reject the media division of demonstrators into “violent” and “non-violent”. In a world where hundreds of thousands of people die every year due to the economic policies of global capitalism, the discussion of the “violence” of a push through police lines or property damage on a demonstration becomes an irrelevance.

Violence comes from the state. Violence comes from a system where profit takes priority over humanity. Our attempts to rise above the attempted division of “good” and “bad” protesters reflects the attitude of many of the discussions and manifestations of the global anti-capitalist movement over the last few years.

The consensus decision of the meeting was to form a bloc without guidelines that would march together with our fellow protesters from the Dublin Grassroots network to Farmleigh House where the 25 leaders of Fortress Europe were meeting.

Demonstrations where people are herded from one place to another, miles from where decisions are being taken, can be ignored. We took our protest to Farmleigh House to directly disrupt the gathering of the EU. We did not ask permission to do this and we don’t need to.

We feel that it is appropriate on a weekend of demonstrations against borders, to confront the lines of police creating a border between ourselves and those who create the policies which result in the deaths of thousands of desperate people on the borders of Europe, and the internment of many more in detention centres.

The militarisation of Dublin to prepare for the summit is not shocking. These 25 politicians have to meet behind these lines because of the violence and poverty their policies create. It is right that they should experience the same fear and look out onto the same razor wire fences and military controls that face the thousands of migrants and refugees forced to leave their homes.

Our intention was to reach Farmleigh and make our protest with dignity. We knew we would have to face militarised police to do this. We decided that we would not cause property damage and we would not be an aggressive bloc or attack the police. However, we decided not to turn and walk away as soon as police blocked our path and not to allow ourselves or others to be attacked by the police without offering resistance and self-defence of ourselves and those around us.

We knew that not everyone who participated in the demonstration would be aware of our meeting or in agreement with our decisions and we did not seek to control the behaviour of others.

When the police formed a line to stop the demonstration at the Ashton Gate roundabout the Dublin Grassroots Network stopped their march 200 yards from the lines.

Some of us who wished to confront the decision to prevent our protest from going ahead then calmly formed organised lines behind a banner, locked arms and marched and pushed through the first line of police. We did this to show that we will not be intimidated by a show of force and we will not allow state violence to silence us. Many of the people who stood and faced the police were ordinary women and men from Dublin.

We would like to thank the solidarity of people, who despite their decision to stop and not confront the police, nonetheless waited for those who did, so that we would not become isolated, and so we could march back to town, as one.

At anti-summit demonstrations around the world, States have shown the extent of military force and violence they are prepared to use against people who question and confront their “democratic” regimes. On Saturday the actions of the riot police using water cannons from the North of Ireland and baton charges to attack a demonstration, making indiscriminate arrests and refusing people bail for minor offences like breach of the peace and trespass shows that the Irish state is no different.

Resist state violence
Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!

author by BushCheney'04publication date Wed May 05, 2004 13:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No it isn't!! Your "passion for freedom" ain't gonna get you out of prison, matey.

The Establishment will always win. Make peace with us.

author by AEpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 13:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...just what exactly? Your message is totally lost on the public.

If you advocate violent action, then the violent action taken by the State is just as valid. Advocting violence, which the genral public don't support, to justify your ideals sounds to me, just a little Bush-y...

author by hooded idiots international - dublin 7 branchpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 13:57author address no borders, no nationsauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Good article. I am involved with Grassroots but I wanted to go on the black bloc this time because I think it is important to cross the border of a Garda line.

Pushing through a police line is hardly a riot. I'd hardly rank it as violent either. I was quite surprised the yellow line decided to jump straight away. Watch the video footage, they chose the location of the "confrontation", they had it practiced, it was a great spot to get pictures (instead of around the corner of the roundabout to the left nearer the Blackhorse Avenue gate).

The media gets its pictures of the simulacrum of a riot, and this also serves the State's purposes (justifying ludicrous military spending and hype about violence from protesters) where in reality it was handbag stuff. The bloc should have gone back into town and trashed the IFSC - there was a wealth of ammo at the Luas works in front of Store St Garda Station/Busaras.

On the other hand, we got our simulacrum of resistance - and it is more than just a fake image. It means that we are willing to do more than what we are told. The chances of us getting through more than one or two lines were zero, but I think the attempt galvanises people into realising that protesting is not just all about walking around with placards and chanting - that you can confront the Gardai.

There'll definitely be another black bloc down in Shannon for the Bush visit, as there was on Dec. 6th last year. In the atmosphere of increasing state repression (the run up to Mayday was INSANE) it is all the more reason to hide your identity from the people who would rather see us dead.

I'm looking forward to crossing the line of Garda again as we welcome Bush here. We respect the right of groups who want to do other methods of protest - and they should respect ours. That is what a proper movement is about. Disrespecting or deriding our tactics will only cause division among us, exactly what the state wants.

author by bonzpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

one good thing that has come from the anarchist confrontation with the cops is that there was massive publicity

the media loves violence, confrontation and drama

it loves to shock

the public talk about this stuff when it happens and the media want to have the images to show

the media were very embarresed at last years RTS when indymedia had all the footage of the event

at the second RTS the media waited all day for some violence to happen

nothing did happen and there was hardly any press coverage compared to the 1st violent RTS where the cops went nuts

I dont think violence is the way forward but in terms of the media's reaction to violence - its like flies round shite

if the water cannons hadnt come out and if there were no arrests then there would have been very little reporting of the protest. People wouldnt be wondering why people are protesting against the EU

I agree that the anarchist action tarnishes the whole march but what can you do?

Drunk locals who decide to throw bottles is another thing that is hard to control

People who come on a march should be able to do what they want really

author by CJpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"At anti-summit demonstrations around the world, States have shown the extent of military force and violence they are prepared to use against people who question and confront their “democratic” regimes."

So what exactly would have happened had you gotten through. As you say "We have no leaders and we reject authority" and "We believe it is neither possible nor desirable to tell others how to behave on a demonstration". So if you did get through and the inevitable chaos did happen, then what? Elements of the crowd certainly would not have shown dignity, because there will always be a minor element succumb to Mobrule.

Then the response would have been to scorn the efforts of the Gardai/State/'The Machine (Man!)' with "couldnt organise a ....". If you did get through, we would now be the laughing stock of Europe - "unable to protect their own guests from an over-excited confrontation-oriented attention seeking mob".
Furthermore, Ireland was on a World stage last week, welcoming in the Accession Countries and our reaction was guaged as the first face of European welcomes. Most protesters and Gardai acted with the required dignity and we can be proud of that.

However, the confrontation, such as it was, was peurile, misguided and utterly ineffectual.

Three cheers to those who protested with pride and dignity.


author by Bite The Handpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, we were marching to Phoenix Park, so we marched as far as we could. Some of us don't believe in only going as far as the cops say we can but in going as far as we know we're entitled to.

Secondly, there's many of us who aren't happy to hold token protests and who believe in showing the cops that we do not accept their authority and WILL challenge it.

Thirdly the black bloc gives us, and certainly gave me, the confidence and solidarity to confront the police and their violence. It also removes boundaries of gender, race, age to a certain extent (not obviously on close examination but in the midst of a riot or push on police lines) from regular protest tactics -about a quarter of the bloc were female.

Fourthly there would have been a hell of a lot less attention paid to the whole thing and the police would not have shown their true faces (batons, water cannons and violence) had the bloc not attempted to continue their march through police lines.

There are plenty of other reasons. The sooner the Pathetic Left wakes up to the fact that there's more tactics then just theirs, the sooner we'll get real work done.

Funniest thing I heard all weekend: SWP morons in mutually-masturbatory conversation about how they were going to "wrestle to the ground" anyone engaged in property damage.

Gimme a break you authoritarian fools!

author by pat cpublication date Sun May 09, 2004 19:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

let me give an example of black block behaviour: in o'connell st on may day as march was approaching o'connell statue, photographers were on the sidelines at least 10 feet away from the black block. members of the black block came running out without provocation and physically assaulted photographers. on 2 occasions pat guerin (IRC) and i put ourselves between BBers and the photographers.

there is no justification for this type of crap. those who carried out the attacks were either provocateurs or morons - i'm prepared to give them a fools pardon. the BB should exert more control on their more cretinous adherents.

author by ben - nopublication date Sun May 09, 2004 20:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For me the costumes are a little strange. Its not just any old rags thrown on either, definitely time spent in front of the mirror! The stuff matches to well and is just too photogenic!
Even the lingo is cool, "masking up" and all that!
Nothing wrong with it in itself except the fact that the media spent weeks trying to portray anarchists as mad violent weirdos, and then some turned up in costume and put on a little show for the cameras. And lets be honest here, you didn't "break through the police lines" or anything close to it. They chose the time and the place and you walked right into it. Gave the media lots of coverage and justified 4 million euro for bertie.

author by stevepublication date Sun May 09, 2004 21:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Although not part of the black bloc (only because i'm anti-fashion ho ho) I think their presence is necessary. All action shouldn't be about brown-nosing the mainstream press - especially in light of the pre may day scare nonsense. I would question what they had intended by pushing through police lines only because I would like to know what would happen when they get to the other side - will they disappear it a mist or will they make some statement or vocal stand.........

I experienced some real black blocness in berlin on may day - and I stand by the fact that the Irish BB are a relatively harmless bunch but they are necessary.

author by pat cpublication date Sun May 09, 2004 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

its nothing to do with brown nosing the mainstream media. this was an attack on journalists in o'connell street. the photograghers were at least 10 feet away from the BB. the BB cannot take it upon themselves to attack journalists at a whim. this was totally against the ethos of the march.

this provocative action had to be countered, otherwise it would have given the gardai an excuse to disrupt or even stop the march at its very beginning.

i am not afraid of this masked bunch and will intervene again if they launch any provocateur style attacks on journalists at future events.

if they were looking for a fight on o'connell street then why didnt these brave commandoes launch an attack on the gardai???

i wld have been totally against any such attack, i wanted a peaceful march. but it makes me wonder why these BB members went for soft targets.

if the BB is to be takenb seriously then it must control headbanging members.

author by stevepublication date Mon May 10, 2004 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I didn't witness that incident so I would't try and comment on it - although it does sound like typical idiocy. By brown-nosing I meant the continual sense of needing the mainstream media on your side - many of the public are intelligent enough to see through what the papers tell them and make up their own minds - and if you have faith in your cause you will persue it regardless of that mornings headlines. And although I am 100% peaceful I do spend a lot of time questioning the need to find legitimacy in my actions from those that I am making a stand against..............

hope that clears it up.

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