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Agents Provocateurs

category dublin | summit mobilisations | opinion/analysis author Tuesday May 04, 2004 17:40author by Brian Report this post to the editors

We all met them on Mayday, we might not have noticed but we did. So lets reveal them.

On May 1st we all met Agents Provocateurs. At the bring the noise demo i saw two and spoke to one.

What did they want? The two i saw appeared to be provoking infighting between protesters, running into people, pushing people and what not.

The one i spoke to wanted to know if i was "involved with the riot", apparently he had "just seen it on his television". This wasnt during the clashes, this was halfway into town after the police had fallen back. He asked other strange questions like, "What did i plan to do once i got into town", go to bed was my answer. How did i know he was a cop, he came out of nowhere as three to four strange cars followed us up the road towards mountjoy. They had lights off or dimmed with four-five passengers, a garda helicopter appeared above. We were in a crowd but if we were alone who knows what could have happened.

This guy was strange though. He spoke in a wicklow accent (hardly a crime, but he certainly didnt travel up from wicklow after seeing the 'riots' on TV). He had an ear piece in his ear which he actively tried to hide, he wasnt interested in what our opinion was regarding the outbreak of the clashes nor what we thought of the cops, in fact he seemed to side with the cops when pushed on this. He was only interested in finding out what we had done, were planning to do and where we were going.

He didnt seem happy with our answers and he made a phone call and excused himself. He walked over to other protesters at the back with us but then seemed to fade into the line of cars coming up the rear of the protesters.

This i am sure is not a unique case. Im sure people on this site came across this guy as well as others on the march.

What is important now is proving to the media and people that these agents provocateurs were in the crowd. Which got me and a good friend of mine thinking, remember a while back RTE played some footage of Riot Police training in templemore or wherever they were training. In this footage was about 20-25 riot cops and 30 or so rioters. The footage was used on the joke publicity/propaganda video that was posted to Indymedia before Mayday and which made the examiner frontpage.

If the makers of that video or for that matter anyone with footage of that RTE report could post images of the 'rioters' in that RTE report to indymedia again then perhaps we could start comparing photo's of supposed agents provocateurs with this footage. Im fairly sure we may find that some of the 'rioters' in that footage were the agents provocateurs we all met on May 1st.

Makes sense, if the state were training Riot Cops then would it not make sense to train their agents provocateurs at the same time?

author by readerpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 17:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps we can start a website of alledged undercover gardaí with their photos?
Obviously after we attempt to 'eliminate them from our inquiries' first.
Our freedom to protest without fear and spying is vital and this may be our only way of ensuring it.

author by Brianpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

if the gardai hold files on us and use agents provocateurs to break our ranks then perhaps we should have files on them to stop the from breaking our ranks.

author by readerpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 18:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We need to figure out:
1)How to 'eliminate them from our inquiries'
and
2)Where to host it without fear of reprisal

author by BONZOpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Also on the way back from the navan road a middle aged guy with a bage leather jacket was being very confrontational calling us all middle class students born with silver spoons etc.. urging us to go back and fight the gardai. Someone in the crowd claimed he recognized him as a cop and then the crowd all began to shout "cop Cop Cop" at him. At which point he grabbed one of the crowd by the throat. There was a minor scuffle to separate him and then this guy disappeared. Very strange indeed.

author by neilpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As far as I can see, that's only going to help anyone who wants to demonise protestors. Imagine the headlines if they find that there are files on the Gardai...

Imagine how the Gardai will feel...they're not all idiots. Some of them are just trying to do their job.

author by IsKpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When the water cannons had long started showering people I noticed a wide shoulder man on his middle thirties who started grabbing stones and throwing them to a police van. That was at the back of the wet crowd where everyone was just expectative and waitng for the people in front to come back. I saw that as a clear provocation and went to him trying to dialog: "please stop throwing stones, you are only creating more confusion..." at that point he went completly berzrk and accused me to be a police informer and just let go a punch in my face. Wheather he was just a psycho or a cop I can't be 100% sure, but I'd put my hand in the fire that he was just a cop.

author by from a blog i foundpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

THE FEATURE -- In the highest rated article in 2004 on The Feature, Howard Rheingold outlines reasons why cameraphones should be used as a "inverse surveillance" tools. "They could create an opportunity for the public to snoop on the snoops and watch the watchers." Rheingold is on message and attracts a host of equally pointed commentators appended to his essay. His theme echoes Steve Mann's ideas of citizen "sousveillance" from 10 years ago.

[ go to website for more links ]

Related Link: http://irish.typepad.com/irisheyes/2004/05/inverse_surveil.html
author by neilpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 19:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Would an undercover cop really throw stones at his colleagues? Surely the point of being undercover is to blend in. Does it make sense for an undercover copper to seemingly provoke protestors into violence?

I don't think so. Whatever your political leanings, I doubt any Garda, undercover or not, would try to deliberately create extra trouble...

Just my two cents.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Tue May 04, 2004 20:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's a good video documentary about doing this on one of the UnderCurrents videos (#7 perhaps? see http://www.undercurrents.org.uk/), where some animal rights and eco-activists got discovery of heaps of records from the police which showed how much the state was spying on them and violating their civil liberties. If activists arrested at the DGN Mayday protest plead 'not guilty', they could have a chance to seek Garda records relating to the protest and undercover agents provoking violence. If it works, please pass on your info to Indymedia. I noticed plain clothes police, but they stood out a mile and I didn't see them doing anything subversive.

author by IsKpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 20:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Would an undercover cop really throw stones at his colleagues? Surely the point of being undercover is to blend in. Does it make sense for an undercover copper to seemingly provoke protestors into violence?"

That isn't the first time I see that. That van was empty and it is a perfect way to create caos and disperse people, breaking the demostration and making it easier for cops to arrest people and charge. Plus the nescesity to justify their millionaire preparation.

author by joy divisionpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 20:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i was followed nearly all the way up and back down the navan road by a guy in a long black leather jacket. i taught it was my imagination at first but when we arrived back at o'connell street he was there standing across from me . as if this was not bad enough when i went back up o'connell street and turned up by the londis there he was again walking behind me! so i made a run at him and he ran for all he was worth across the road and started talking to a copper!!!!!!!

he was wearing navy pants a black leather jacket and had black short hair he looked like a bloody 13 year old i.e very young looking skinney etc.

author by Jamespublication date Tue May 04, 2004 20:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This kind of talk detracts from any political point you are trying to make.

If you want to win hearts and minds, can you not see that this level of paranoia just makes your entire group seem like raving lunatics?

What evidence do you have that plain-clothes Gardai were actively trying to provoke a riot? With all the media around, with all the personal cameras among the marchers, where is your evidence?

With my own eyes, I saw the responsible protesting groups move back from the Garda blockade, and then small group of die hard violent protesters, augmented by a bunch of louts out for a bit of craic, achieve exactly what they set out to do - kick a few riot shields and get themselves on TV.

Great heros. I'm sure they had fun. Of course, all it did was alienate the middle ground, as does making ridiculous, baseless accusations, like you are on this website.

Where is the evidence?

-- James

author by ha ha hapublication date Tue May 04, 2004 20:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i think james is a cop!!!!! did we blow your cover old boy!!! getting a little aggro there!
better luck next time copper

author by readerpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 21:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We cannot accuse -everyone- who doubts us as being a Garda. This proposed website is for our own safety and not for 'revenge'. We must find a way to confirm that the pictures which will be taken are proved to be of genuine infiltrators. Building up a databse of genuine protesters isn't the answer as this can obviously be used against us. There are older protesters who may get accused of being a garda. It would be devastating to be falsely accused!

I would appreciate people's suggestions as to how we achieve this.

author by rehashpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 21:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

undercover cops are sometime provocateurs, sometimes just evidence gatherers, sometimes spotters for snatch squads etc.

to the person who says undercovers would not seek to provoke violence, well just look back at the well documented cases at many anti-globalisation protests of the last years to see a pattern of police dressing as demonstraters and instigating violence...

from undercover police attacking macdonalds in prague, to police dressed as protesters starting fights in the crowd in the barcelona cancelled world bank rts party (this was even filmed and dennounced by reteurs journalists who captured these guys climbing out of a police van before causing a ruck which was used as the trigger point to attack the crowd with tear gas and baton charges etc etc etc)

it might be worth pulling all of the examples from the last few years together with the help of amnesty and statewatch and publishing them online so a simple link can be used as prior proof evidence when people say you sound like paranoid loons!

however I do find that this subject does often cause arguement and cloudy issues after the protests, and such states of paranoia only serve the authorities and has the risk to turn people into people police who may focus attention on anyone who takes a confrontational attitude - so this kind of thing must be approached with severe caution.

at the mayday noise demo i did see two blokes trying to make the crowd stop at a cerrtain point on the march back to town - at the point where a small road to the right was sealed by full riot gear troops, and to the left was around 40 yellow jacket gardai standing on a small wall that ran around the corner.

now it struck me that this was perhaps the most stupid place to possibly stop, unless you wanted to create a confrontation and escalate the by now pretty calmed situation...

but just because that was my conclusion does not mean that these guys were undercover police types, they may just have been people who themselves wanted to see confrontation.

...either way it was stupid.

in the event the crowd argued back and kept moving.

author by Jamespublication date Tue May 04, 2004 21:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not a member of the Gardai.

I don't doubt that police forces have been used in the past to instigate violence - only someone with a completely naive view of the world would think otherwise. I'd like to see such a website as rehash mentions, giving firm evidence of such incidents, which his/her post pointedly does not do.

My point is, that there is no evidence that the IRISH police used Agent Provocateurs in the march last weekend. None what so ever. And if you want to stop sounding like nut-cases, you should stick to the issues you are trying to promote.

Nobody has provided a stick of evidence that such incidents took place.

Do you believe comments anonymously posted on a website? You do? Good - would you like to buy a bridge from me?

The riot (if one can call it that) occured in plain view of TV cameras, with plenty of journalists present. All it achieved was to alienate the political middle ground.

-- James

author by Brianpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 23:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I described in detail the character who was talking to me. I used my name, I didnt use my second name but thats perogative.

What do sort of evidence would you be happy with?

- an admission of guilt by a gardai (doubt thats gonna happen)

- more photo evidence (doubt you'll believe them)

Your just going to have to take peoples word on this. THERE WAS AGENT PROVOCATEURS IN THE CROWD. SIMPLE AS THAT!

author by readerpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 23:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are witnesses who can tell you what the undercover Gardai said and did. There are descriptions and photographs of these undercover Gardai.

If you are convinced that this is not proof then you must be seriously deluded. If you believe that the Gardai did not conduct secretive actions against the protesters then that is your opinion. You do not need to help us and there is no need to hinder us. We will do all we can to hinder government intelligence about our actions.

If you are happy to let the state collect photographs and information about who you are and what you believe in, send them a photograph and a letter before you go on the march.

author by ?publication date Tue May 04, 2004 23:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

what type?

author by neilpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 23:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I take your point.

But,I also think people are too eager to assign some neo-liberal,capitalist logic to the actions of others, be they Gardai, fellow protestors, or even the media.

author by mad macpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 00:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can understand that you and others may think we are being overly paranoid, but I'm assuming you did not witness what others did. Many of us are all too aware of similar tactics used by police forces on the continent. We have a right to be suspicious when our own safety and freedom are at stake. Don't you agree?

author by toneorepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 02:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You people really flatter yourself with "Agent Provocateurs (R)*". You're irrelevant. There are NO Agent Provocateurs, just your own deluded sense of self-importance insists on promoting this notion as a way of absolving yourself from the responsibility for a) a pisspoor turnout of cronies and b) being fellow travellers of violent elements.
Are you seriously telling me that there are members of the Force who sign up for this crap?


"Sarge, Sarge, can I be Crusty Lecturer Agent Provocateur again on Saturday? Please please. Ah no, not shaggin' lapdance club raiding party again. It's not fair".

Or how do your get promoted as "Agent Provocateur" in the Force.

Super: "Well Agent O'Hara, did you do your duty on Saturday?"
AP: "I did, super. I drank twelve cans of cider, used the word "eurofortress" 437 times and asked me oul fella for 1500 euro to buy a digital camera so I "could be the media".
Any chance of Croke Park duty for the All-Ireland?"
Super: "No. You made the mistake of washing".

Give me a break. Go study for your exams, my children.

"Agent Provocateurs" is a registered trademark of the irrelevant.

author by longdistancewalkerpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 04:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dont know about any of the other posters, but toneore/cabhog is a cop and a troll. Dont just take my word for it, read and compare all the toneore and cabhog postings over the past four or five days

author by Crumbspublication date Wed May 05, 2004 10:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, there probably were undercover cops in the crowd, but those scumbag anarchists in black started the riot, pinkos!

author by Isk. Student.publication date Wed May 05, 2004 14:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Toneore, James,...

If you like we are paranoid. But you are 99% cops. I agree with one of the comments abouve: It's our freedoom and we have the right to be aware of possible risks. Experience talks as well.

Whoever you are guys, you ar4e not convincing at all.

Now I'll go back to study, yes, with your permission or without.

author by Cop onpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To suggest that the gardai would put plainclothes lads in the crowd to provoke trouble is so far from reality it's not even worth comment.I think someone was watching "enemy of the state" too many times.
While there may well have been lads gathering intelligence,spoting for known troublemakers etc.
If your looking for dark shadowy figures in leather jackets trying to provoke trouble paddy power is giving even money on the shinners,i wonder who started the "ruc out out out " comments !????hmm.

author by la lapublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One thing was very clear from Monday. The undercover police were NOT throwing stones, or urging people to fight. They were doing the opposite. It was undercover poliuce that were urging people to sit down in front of the riot police - so they could be more easily arrested. It was undercover police that were arguing with and physically preventing people from defending the protest. It was undoubtedly undercover police at the end urging people to 'stop' , to not break up into small groups but to keep to the main march where the police were able to assert more control.

If you want to spot a copper, look for the man who's telling you to be passive, offer no resistance, and disrupt the momentum and dynamics of the protest.

Forget the romantic image of the agent provocateur. The cop is there just to make his colleagues job that bit easier, and to maintain control

author by C.publication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was with the black bloc and masked up on Saturday.

On the way up to the march there was a broad shouldered guy with a balaclava on and an English accent, who walked with the black bloc. At the street to which the Mater Hospital is to the right of, he started talking about various shit, smashing things, etc. Nobody knew him so we asked him where he was from. Maynooth he said. He wouldn't say who he knew in the black bloc or in general at the protest, and when he was questioned he first got very aggressive and then disapeared.

After the cops started battoning people a different guy in slacks and a leather jacket with his face masked and a camoflage cap on with his hood up came up to me and started gesturing to a pile of rubble and stones. "Here, what do you think?" he asked. I said "I dunno, what do you think?". He said "lets get the cops", so I replied "who are you?". He said "I know you, you're a mate of Ash's aren't you". I said "no, where are you from" and he backed off and disapeared.

It's fucking obvious there were agent provocateurs there. A number of people threw rocks and shit at the cops subsequent to the baton-charge/water-cannon deployment. I and many others have no problem with that, when it's in reponse to state violence I say go for it, but not to provoke it, only to retaliate and slow them down. If it's not for you, fine, same for black bloc tactics -it'll take everything we have to bring them down. While I'd prefer if everyone was willing to put themselves on the line like the black bloc do, I respect that not everyone agrees with that -each to their own. If, however, you try and stop me, well then I won't have that. There were others who certainly weren't agent provacateurs who attempted to stop me fighting back the police and so on and tried to video me doing so -just misinformed socialists, etc. But also there were definitely agent provocateurs.

author by Drbinochepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would seriously doubt if the Garda had undecover guys throwing rocks in the crowd, I would imagine it was more a case of some over zealous gits thinking that it would be cool. Notice its always people at the back who start throwing the shit, they are closer to the area to run to.

Now you guys wanna start a website showing pics of so-called undercover cops, might I point out how idiotic this would be.

When the Mainstream media gets their hands on this idea, they would paint and even worse picture of you guys which half of dubin would swallow. You basically make it look like you are actively targetting the Garda, which does not bode well with most dubliners. But more importantly, you wanna set up a site exposing the undercover Garda and not realise that if they are undercover in your group, they could be doing further undercover work i.e. Drugs, organised crime etc. So now you have provided Photos and rough descriptions on the net of em, and along comes a garda infiltrating a drugs gang. It hasn't happened yet, but I am sure it could eventually become a possibility, now you guys have blown his cover and he could end up assaulted or killed by the gang. So essentially you have helped kill him. You are talking about removing the Gardas ability to do their most basic of tasks.

If the above scenario happened, however unlikely it actually is, you still have to assume that it is a possibility, the public find out about it and that is any hope you guys have of holding a proper march again gone out the window.

How would you feel if the Garda opened a site where your emplyoers could browse through and find out if you were involved in the marches or not. They haven't done it yet, but if they did it would not be tolerated.

Some of you claim the Garda have done stuff like this, where they have told your employers this kinda stuff before, well please provide evidence.

author by Robpublication date Sat May 08, 2004 03:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nice to see you guys wasting your time accusing the Gardai (and everyone else) of all sorts of underhand deeds. It keeps me from having to read any sort of discussion about the so-called issues that prompt ye to take to the streets in the first place. Way to waste a useful forum, keep it up ... muppets.

author by Morrissey Fanpublication date Sat May 08, 2004 08:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anyone you don't agree with you call a "cop". Isn't that an Americanism? Shame on you, but at least it's more relevant than that chuckee "peeler" drivel. Tell me boys and girls of the streets, have you got your J-1 to work in the US this summer yet?

The only cops around here are the crusty Stasi heads like yourself.

author by Sizzlechestpublication date Sun May 09, 2004 02:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

to all of the people that are so convinced that the idea of Agents Provacetuer at the May Day shindig is so absurd, i realize how it sounds absurd, paranoid, brainwashy even. I also understand how me telling you it's the fault of the mainstream media (and your own apathy) sounds the same way.
but the trend i've noticed is that the people on this message board that believe it are the ones that were actually there and actually aware of this stuff. the ones who think it's absurd it seem to be on the armchair side of it all, and haven't quite learned everything about the nature of the State, the corporate media, and together the lengths they will go to quell dissent.
History is FULL of examples, especially recent history. Look at the American COINTELPRO program for an extreme example, look at all the CCTV in London, BE THERE in the frontlines and see the older guys going up to you and saying suggestively, "hey, see all those rocks over there?" or "hey, were you throwing any missiles?" (happened to those in my affinity group). how about the assholes who were standing in plain clothes with the yellow coats as the arms-linked front line advanced, and moments before pushing the lines they ran thru the front to disrupt our chain? ask some of the people whose flats and squats were raided in the days prior about how the police admitted they had been watching them for a week.
this shit is real. the people in power are not willing to give it up, and although our movement is young, they're eager to nip us in the bud.
you think we're nothing, but we're everything. we, the "hardliners," the "extermists", the ones who actually have the conviction to stand up for what we believe in and against police repression (kicking riot shields? you call that violence? while they beat us with batons? in a fight THEY provoked??).
i know this sounds terribly elitist, but you should open your fucking eyes. Stop worrying about alienating the "mainstream," lead by example, show your community that you CAN resist, and your best weapon is to be aware of everything they're doing to us.

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