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Why we pushed through police lines

category international | summit mobilisations | opinion/analysis author Wednesday May 05, 2004 15:26author by Report this post to the editors

This article was posted and appeared several hours ago but has been taken off from the newswire!! Can IMC ireland explain this?
Anarchist confrontational Bloc
Anarchist confrontational Bloc

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 JBpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 15:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most people had some sympathy for the aims of the marchers and the right to protest until Saturday night when your real reasons for "protesting" became clear. The gardai were attacked first. Pure and Simple. End of discussion. You sad pathetic losers. Life moves quickly, I suggest you all get one fast.

author by article movedpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 15:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the IMC editors regularly move threads around, but I think this one deserves to be left on as an article rather than a comment

author by Kamipublication date Wed May 05, 2004 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

JB,

How do you know the guardai didn't attaked first?

Were you there at the front line to tell?

You don't have any credibility.

Actually, I realize that I shouldn't even fall into your provocation. It's just like theirs.

author by redflaremistpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 15:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If there are any sites where there are Mayday photos that are not Indymedias, can people please post the links up? Thanks.

author by Snore.publication date Wed May 05, 2004 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wednesday, you are coming across like a tunnel - visioned miserable robot. What attracts me to anarchism is its openess to many ideas, possibilitys and views - its avoidance of absolutes. You sound about as broad minded and inspiring as a traffic cone.
Zzzzzzzz.

author by JBpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So much for free speech. I make one personal observation and it immediately draws a stream of paranoia and abuse. "You don't have any credibility" says Kami. Oh really? And do tell me why. And quit the pathetic "front line" "I was there man" bravado. Like I said, it's pathetic.

author by Griffithpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 16:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While not an anarchist I was at the March and to say the Gardai were "attacked" is a complete lie. Maybe you could get a job with the Irish Mirror. I can only think that your resentment of people who believe enough to protest is more a reflection on yourself than on them.

author by linapublication date Wed May 05, 2004 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"While not an anarchist I was at the March and to say the Gardai were "attacked" is a complete lie"

so all the footage on the mainstream news of bottles , cans and stones being hurled at the Gardai was made up , was it ? and the female Garda who got hit in the face was pretending ? get a life .

incidentally , none of this footage seems to of turned up on Indymedia . why is that ?

author by its all about marketingpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a quick note, those balaclavas (i suspect my spelling is iffy), they have a long history of association with paramilitiary violence and make you look like a terrorist who has escaped from a 1980's training video, now i know the 80s retro thing is important to young fashionistas but i hadnt though such things concerned you. They provide the media with a perfect image to demonise the protestors. Baseball caps and scarves, masks, t-shirt wraps, particulate filters and almost anything else do not carry the same cultural weight in jolly ireland and are a far better choice. Also if you are stopped before or after a march and searched, a baseball cap and spare t-shirt in your bag are far less suspect and give guards less reason to suspect or detain you than a creepy balaclava. but thats just me shiting on

author by JBpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well said Lina. Becaue like the "corporate media", such footage of innocent, cuddly marchers throwing bottles wouldn't look to good for Indymedia, would it? But then again, maybe we weren't like, on the "frontline" man. The TV people were, but then again, maybe the TV pictures were somehow doctored by evil executives to make it look like the gardai attacked first.

author by Joepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually the footage on the media shows things like flags and empty cans being thrown. I've also seen the footage of the Gardai who was hit on the head being taken out of their line. Whatever hit her obviously wasn't very hard as there was no blood and her cap was still on (or maybe it was a glancing blow). Even the mainstream media report this as a minor injury.

If as you claim any number of bottles or stones had been thrown at the unprotected Gardai then there would have been at least some serious injuries. These would have been shown by the Gardai as justification for their use of batons and water cannon. They haven't been so the only reasonable conclusion is that no substantial missles were thrown in any number at the unprotected Gardai.

One or two missiles may have been thrown but who knows by who. Both cops disguised as demonstrators and people who had drunk a little too much were in the crowd. This is why DGN in advance of the day warned about the danger of Gardai over reacting to isolated incidents, perhaps even an incident they had engineered.

As to the statement I think its very good in explaining why some of the anarchists present felt that an attempt to push through Gardai lines was the right thing to do. Other anarchists had other opinions, mostly for tactical reasons, but we all remain in solidarity with each other in the face of state repression. Others on the left could learn from this, it is not necessary to agree 100% with someone in order to know whose side you are on when there is a conflict between the state and a section of the left.

author by a womblepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The only problem I had with people throwing beer cans was that it was a good waste of beer! For fuck sake people, this is a social war, are we really going to cry if people throw a few rocks and bottles - I'm sure i'm not!

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

Cops disguised as demonstrators might have thrown the missiles....the female cop didn't look like she had too much bleeding..the missile that hit her wasn't that hard.....

Bloody hell, wake up would you? How stupid do you think people are that they'll swallow this bull? Get over it. The so-called "marchers" triggered the clashes - nobody else.

And you slag off the "mainstream" media for making stuff up? Jesus wept...

author by dudepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I welcome the original text which explains what the anarchists are for

at least we can see that they have thought about why they are taking action and have explained what they would like to see

author by Kamipublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

JB,

I was not in the front line, and I don't think that's being bravo either. Never said that, so don't play with my words.

You ask why you don't have any credibility?
Because you say that police was attacked first, and you weren't even there to have seen.

I say again, to me it just looks like you are trying to provoke.

p.d- At the end it will be that we are all paranoids!

author by hmmpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

so none of that footage has turned up or been linked to then has it, jesus if you want to troll at least do it properly and dont tell lies that can be so easily disproved, try something a bit harder to verify. You lot arent even fun anymore. Also your taking the piss out of people who were there seems to be missing the point, it means that they were witness to something you were not, merely watching it on tv does not make you a witness, what you have seen is secondhand, ( your crap analysis no good in court even if you wish it was, boo hoo) edited, not touched up but do you think rte would show the whole event, of course not only the bits that excite and illustrate their perception of events. Stop being bottlefed and go to at least one march and make up your own mind, then again maybe we are all better off if you stay at home all passive under the spell of the cathode rays.

author by how stupid can we be?publication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do you remeber that a child is dying in Africa every two seconds. How many space does the media spend on that? Do you ever see it in the front page?

author by A black bloc erpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was consensus not to throw things from behind the front lines simply because the protestors in the front were likely to be the ones that get hit by them. There is nobody i talked to who didn't feel pissed off at the cowards lobbing bricks from behind the safety of the black bloc

author by XZBarcalowpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Black Bloc/ anarchists/ whatever made a choice to confront the police. They knew full well that this could result in violence -which it did. Therefore, whether or not they all threw things, or whether or not they INTENDED anyone to be hurt, they are at fault.
If I throw a rock into a crowd and it hits someone, its my fault. Likewise, if YOU are standing there in the crowd shouting and daring me to throw the rock, it is also partially your fault if someone gets hurt.

These people always talk about individual freedom. What about individual responsibility? Why don't they take some responsibility for the people who got hurt, because regardless of WHO exactly threw what, or who hit who, the people who made a decision knowing full well what could happen as a result of that decision, are also responsible.

The person who wrote the statement today about why he and his group chose to confront the police says he doesnt believe any one group could tell another group what to do, and that he and his friends had had a meeting earlier and decided to push past the gardai.

So i suppose that if I were to have come into THEIR MEETING with a marching band playing loud music and singing at the top of my voice, they would have let me? Of course not, because that would have been unfair -i would have been disrupting their meeting.

Get my point? By deciding to have a confrontation with the police, these people were completely interfering with our attempts to have a peaceful protest. That showed no respect whatsoever for our tactics or goals.

When will these people learn that no freedom is absolute? I would have shown them enough respect not to come charging into their meeting playing a trumpet because it would have gotten in the way of their planning. So why could they not have shown the same respect for the vast majority of people whose attempts to have a peaceful protest were spoilt by their complete disregard for us?

By insisting on their tactics, and refusing to take others' views into account, they were displaying fanaticism and closed-mindedness, as if THE ONLY THING that mattered was their right to do whatever they wanted without considering others' views.

author by Adampublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:33author email afterglow82 at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

first, a round of applause to grassroots for their organisation of the weekend, and for the way it was carried off.
But i do agree that the decision to go forwards towards the police lines, rather than stopping where grassroots stopped, was the right one. We CANNOT be quietened. We must show that whatever they do, whatever they try to throw at us, we will not be stopped that easily. We will not give up without a fight. And we will not allow people to be beaten while we stand there and do nothing. While we do not go out to cause violence, we WILL defend ourselves and those around us.

One thing i was very pleased to see is that every year, the number of people who blindly believe every word they read in the papers is growing smaller and smaller. More and more people are questioning what they read in the tabloids (and the broadsheets) and see on the television, and deciding to make their own minds up. And when the mainstream media is reporting "skinhead thugs rioting in dublin" (where the hell did that come from?), this can only be a good thing.
See you all next time!

No barriers, on our lands or in our minds.

author by Adampublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:38author email afterglow82 at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

You obviously weren't there or you would know what actually happened. So you saw it on the news. I saw the same thing. And i can admit from the way they showed their footage, and the order they aired the clips they had, it did look like the garda were attacked. But when you see the full continous, unbroken video, then come back and tell me they were attacked first. Open your mind before you open your mouth

author by Adampublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

we have all seen the footage. just because you haven't doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It was screened at IMC on sunday evening, and will be available soon. So shut up yeah?

author by Anonymouspublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why not wear Bush Masks the next time!!?? At least that way "the public" will find it both amusing, associate their dislike of you & George Bush together, and if violence breaks out all they will see is George Bush’s face running around and will again strengthen their association of Bush & Violence!!

Rather than wearing that ugly, dark, black, threatening, associative violent garb that ye wear.

author by Anonymouspublication date Wed May 05, 2004 20:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all full respect to all members of the black bloc to the extent that I admire your desire and efforts to make this world a better place and to try and help the most vulnerable and beleaguered people of the planet.

But my problem, as with so many others, is in your method:-

Author’s quote:-

“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.”

Property damage is still surely a violent act?? Yes it is a million times smaller than killing someone, but is it still not a violent act?? If America goes out and kills a million people, and I go out and kill one – this could also be seen as being a million times smaller. Does this make my murder an “irrelevance?”

I have not a problem with facing up face to face with police lines in an effort to get to a destination in which you wish to protest so long as the actions do not involve violence (as so often they do around the globe)


Authors quote:- “We believe it is neither possible nor desirable to tell others how to behave on a demonstration”

Do you think it desirable to “advise” others and to debate with others on how to behave on a demonstration?


Authors quote:-

“Violence comes from the state”.

Violence comes from everywhere. From the state, from YOU, from ME. Yes the state has a heavy responsibility but it is not the only one with responsibility.

Best regards,

author by Kevin Dpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 20:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Black Block made a great contribution to march on Farmleigh House on Saturday night... I'm sure its not an issue but in case it is I think they were fully vindicated by the turn of events... Well done comrades!

author by clear consciencepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As far as I'm concerned the reason the block (and myself) marched on towards the Gardai on Saturday night was because the march was stopped before the agreed point. Perhaps if they hadn't banned the original plan all the violence, arrests and inconvenience could have been avoided. All that was being done that night was legal protest.

author by CommonSensepublication date Thu May 06, 2004 00:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank yourselves lucky that you don't live in other countries.

Some countries would shoot you on the spot for such disregard for law and order.

author by stupublication date Thu May 06, 2004 01:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi all,

just wanted to add some comments about saturday. firstly i was present in the black bloc and agreed with the decision to continue the march to the furthest point possible, in the spirit of 'no borders', peaceful civil disobedience and public space.
to the poster who says that police were attacked first, that is quite simply incorrect. heres the sequence of events that i participated in: when the march reached the roundabout, it stopped about 200ft from the police lines. here it split in two (to either side of the road and the blockbloc stayed in the road and linked arms behind the banner as described by the wombles above. we then slowly began to move toward the police lines. I would like to point out two facts at this point: firstly, as we had all linked arms, it is not possible that a member of the bloc threw anything or attacked the police in anyway. secondly, as the crowd had split quite far back from the police and we walked slowly, im not sure why anyone who did not want to be in that confrontation, became close enough to the police to either be hit with any projectiles or by the police. however i would like to agree with the thanks expressed by the wombles for the solidarity showed that people did stay with us. anyway, upon reaching the police lines, we moved into them and (still with linked arms) began to push against them. this cannot be described as either an attack or as violent. it was calm and collected. when the police line broke, we tried to maintain our formation, however a few people rushed forward and found themselves attacked by riot police, we pulled back whoever we could and backed up to avoid being battered. simply for moving two feet beyond a position which police had decided was the limit of our protest, on a public road, we were violently attacked and driven back by water cannons. the first 'attack' was this act by the riot police. after this most protester (having decided to not attack police in the previous nights meeting), moved back and switched between attempting to continue our methods of calm and peacful civil disobedience and simply trying to avoid being hit by riot cops. there were some, (not just black bloc) who were throwing cans and sticks and i actualy disagreed with this action, i also disagreed with the people who began kicking riot shields (although this was a VERY small minority, maybe two or three people) simply because this was breaking consensus. i also believe this may have been down to levels of alchohol in these individuals. I would like to add that members of the bloc (myself included) joined with the chants of 'peaceful protest' and the showing of peace signs. In relation to the post about balaclavas, i agree. whilst i respect and agree with peoples wishes to mask up (for various reasons) i do feel that the balaclavas were a bad choice. it also seemed that at least one of these people was an infiltrator as during the march he repeated chanted slogans about al-aqsa and some rubbish about 'smash, smash, destroy,destroy'. he was either a cop or an idiot. anyway, i would appeal to the wider activist populations to not seperate us into right and wrong protest, capitalist policies affect all of us in different ways and we all have the right to dissent in our own ways. lastly congrats to everysingle person who protested over mayday and the people at RTS who rounded things off so well on monday.

author by Supporterpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 03:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was at the march and am a strong supporter of the grassroots network. They did really great work around this march.

BUT...I don't really grasp why, if a protest is legitimate and there is nothing to hide, you would feel the need to wear a scarf/mask/balaclava over your face. It might be relevant if you're a revolutionary fighting right-wing guerillas in certain areas of Latin America at certain periods in recent history. However, a crowd of protestors walking down the Navan Road with face scarves and balaclavas in Ireland of 2004 (flawed and all as our government is), chanting "Fuck the police state" just seems, um, slightly overdone to me.

author by disident_ppublication date Thu May 06, 2004 04:04author email disident_p at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

what if MLK had turned around when the police opened the water cannons? what if Ghandi left when the british military threatened him? the issues that are the most pressing have always demanded a higher level of commitment, and a determination to push against repression even more.

This becomes even more important when the state tries to manage and control protest so heavily - the point of a protest is to cause a disruption and gain attention for a cause. if the roads are officially closed, the marchers herded, and the route dictated then the whole process loses any credibility and we start to look ridiculous in the mainstream. think about how the sun-readers think of activists - i'm a barman and everyone i serve think's they're a drain on the economy, and 'don't even know why they march'....a willingness to disobey the authorities shows a commitment to a cause and inspires trust.

only by showing that we are wiling to stand our ground when the teargas is clouding our eyes and the batons are striking bone can we prove that we are serious and expect to be taken as such. only by cheerily going off to jail, safe in the knowledge that in the highly unlikely event of severe prosecution there are literally hundreds of video-records of the protests, and solidarity networks to publicise your case. think how important the discovery of blatant state repression is in turning neutrals into activists. not even mentioning legal precedent like McLibel and the GM activist trial (i forget the names) which show that the system can be defeated in court. we can see that the judiciary support most of our actions (the GM case involved protestors ripping up crops, and the prosecution was thrown out on the basis that the activists acted like 'any rationally thinking human being' and 'in the good of the people') and will not ignore our civil rights in the way that government and its apparatus can.

Basically i personally think that breaking police lines is essential in showing that the more they try to silence our voice, the more of us there will be willing to shout. i've never known a time where so many people new to the activist scene are so willing to break the law, and to feel no fear, shame or guilt for doing so. perhaps we are the beginnings of a new wave of protest - those of us arrested these few years will look back on the UK's presidency of the G8 as the start of activism in britain. our vietnam, so to speak - a war that we didnt want, and proof that it was not only unjust, but known to be, and lied about. these are issues of significance that justify defiance of authority.

as for missile throwing, i wasn't at that particular action, but have seen with my own eyes two-way exchanges of missiles at standoffs. nobody really gets hurt, the police try to intimidate the protesters who get indignant and try to exert force back....they throw a few light missiles (cans etc - nothing dangerous like "big metal screws" - who carries those around??), which get thrown back. the missiles are simply not a significant factor in any decision - for riot police to say that baton charges are an appropriate response to beer cans is an obsenity, and to justify water cannons on any peaceful protest (breaking police lines can be peaceful - its about not agitating and being passive yet determined) is impossible.

author by disident_ppublication date Thu May 06, 2004 04:15author email disident_p at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

if you don't think there's a reason to protect your identity on protests then you need to think about why so many cops have video-cameras these days, and what kind of spin the media will put on your actions....do you really want your face to be used in some activist-bashing story? or maybe you want to be on the profile photos that police get shown of 'outside agitators' - think about the (i think) Indymedia guys who were arrested and detained - they like to take away the vocal members of our group, and if they get to know your face, they will see you as a target.

as for the need for masks rendering a protest illegitimate i think you're way off base. i reject the idea that the police can be expected to act rationally, competently nor fairly - we have seen protesters being repressed for centuries, why think it'll stop now? and the point of the matter is that it doesnt matter who is under the mask - everyone's voice matters just the same - protest isnt about who you are, it's about what you believe.

author by reasonpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 11:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ok, so some people from behind the lines threw bottles. Does that mean they started it? Is it not an attack on free speech if a demonstration is stopped in a public street? Is it not an attack on the freedom of oppinion if a fully armed line of police blocks a public street? Is it not an attack on democracy if euro-leaders meet behind closed doors to decide on how we should lead our lives, how borders must be closed, public spaces commercialised?

To those who think a bottle thrown into a police line is the beginning of an attack: You are wrong. The attack has started long before that, and certainly not by a bunch of infuriated demonstrators.

author by a womblepublication date Thu May 06, 2004 12:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

just to clarify, 'why we pushed through police lines was not just written by wombles, but also by non-wombles who participated in the bloc. It was then shown to as many people as we could find who participated in the bloc, in the short space of time to see if they wanted any changes made.

author by Indy Reporterpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:57author email billhickslives at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would just like to echo what the anonymous contributor had to say in "Violence to resist Violence is surely not the way????" - with a few modifications.

Whatever about "Violence" (or more accurately "damage") to property (which can be justified in certain circumstance, say under the Geneva Convention, in the case where the damage to property was done in order to prevent harm to human life) - violence towards persons needs to be condemned unreservedly. Whether the violence is done by the state or any other group or individual, it is NOT the way to achieve constructive change. Actions appropriate in type and scale in self-defence to prevent harm to persons is another matter. That distinction is important, and self defence of oneself and others as a response to "terror" (state or otherwise) needs to be reserved by all of us.

Well done to Grassroots on Saturday. I was witness to the practical steps they took to keep the protest peaceful, offering decentralised leadership at many points and in many ways. There were tense moments, the level of state intimidation was the highest it's probably ever been. Let's be frank, some individuals could have lost their heads in such a stressful situation (metaphorically, and then from a cop's baton) - the security forces had made it deliberately very provocative.

In the build up to the protest all concerned emphasised that we wanted it to be peaceful. Unlike so much of the media and government we didn't scare-monger. I believe that the majority of people there wanted to provide firm determined resistance to an unjustified road blockade - yet do it within non-violent parameters. A fine line to tread sometimes, but we did it! We should congratulate ourselves on that. It was to show the cops and the government that we would not stoop to their level of bullying and intimidation and we wouldn't swallow the effluent from the propaganda machine either.

author by chrispublication date Thu May 06, 2004 17:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"this cannot be described as either an attack or as violent. it was calm and collected."

Oh, please. That is violence, full stop. Trying to push someone out of your way, trying to force your way through them - that is violent. You were calm and collected? Great. I bet there are lot of fighter pilots and snipers around the world who are very calm and collected while they're killing people. This has nothing to do with the content of their actions.

If the situation were reversed, the protestors would be complaining about police violence. That is, if protestors had formed a line, and the police tried to push through them. Then we would be reading stories on indymedia about the police reacted with violence - pushing - to the protestor's non-violent action.

In other words: If blockading something - ie, standing in front of a Top Oil - is a non-violent tactic, then how can pushing those people also be non-violent? Well, it can't. If protestors try to block a road and the police push them off of it, is that non-violent? If someone is pushing, and someone is being pushed, well then one of those two people must be doing something of force. It's not the person who's just standing there.

Get of this fucking high horse of "We're non-violent!!". If someone tried to push me out of their way when I was just standing there, I sure as hell would call that violent, and would probably push them back.

chris

author by anne othapublication date Thu May 06, 2004 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
Some 'movement' this is! Formed 'the night before' - you piggy back on other people's hard work, (not unlike the SWP) then destroy it with your pseudo-militancy while posing for the Corporate Media. Congratulations, you succeeded.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
And therefore act irresponsibly toward others and claim no responsibility for your own actions. You have endangered other peoples safety and health by provoking an incident that, lucky for you, did not become 'too violent' - do you feel any responsibility for those who were harmed during the Ashdown street fight?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
We also reject the media division of demonstrators
into “violent” and “non-violent”.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
The distinction clear to everyone but you.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
You justify your own violence with the violence of 'the capitalist system.' How clever!
Stalin, Mao and many others have said the same - so what makes you so different?

And the rest of us? Are we just 'collateral damage' in your jihad, justified because you want to 'smash capitalism'?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~

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.

|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
First, violence comes from many sources, not just the state - including pseudo-anarchists. Second, your attempt to hide behind a broad banner of the Left to disguise your own violent tendencies is sickening to all who do not want a violent political movement. It is your small group of friends who try to dictate to the rest of us how we should act and what we should do. There is nothing 'democratic' nor 'non-hierarchical' about this strategy. And third, it sounds as if you are protesting against your fellow protesters more than the state, are sure you know why you were protesting Saturday night?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
'consensus decision of the meeting'? You really mean you couldn't work with others (DGN etc) in consensus so you broke consensus by forming your own splinter group of like minded fools. Obviously you are clueless about what consensus means.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
Demonstrations where people are herded from one place to another,
miles from where decisions are being taken, can be ignored.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
But you followed the 'herd' anyway, didn't you? Why didn't you protest somewhere else? Certainly there are miles and miles of fence around Farmleigh House you could have done your actions at, no? Perhaps you only wanted to show off in front of your friends or maybe the Corporate Media?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
I am not aware of anyone applying for a permit to have a protest at Farmleigh House, so who are you preaching to other than yourself?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
Fair play! I hope to see you also confronting all the borders of the state, will you offer a home to the homeless, cooking food for the poor, defend a Traveler who wants a pint in a pub, or vote for a candidate that wants to provide an alternative to FF? A list of things to do make change in this world are endless. Your small group of friends seem to hold themselves back by their own lack of creativity - instead of creating new forms of resistance you offer division and violence. Not very creative.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
'they should experience the same fear'
It is nice that you admit your politics are based on creating fear. Fear and violence.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~


----reply---|
'Dignity' must mean showing off for your friends and the Corporate Media.

The Dignity that day was created by providing a space where people could come on to the street by the thousands and having fun together and being the alternative we seek to create. Out of such manifestations true solidarity and movements emerge.

Also, what is so 'dignified' about hiding behind a mask?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~

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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
This is your imaginary version of history. People were attacked and not only did you do nothing to defend them you were powerless to do so. Your tactics caused people to be hurt, do you understand this? Please do not pretend to defend people when you were the spark that caused the violence. Politics based on fear defends no one and appeals to no one.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~

----reply---|
Yet you helped to create a situation of fear, chaos and violence and then pretend you are innocent. Have you no shame?
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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.
|~~~~quote~~~~~


----reply---|
Please stop with the 'holier than thou' pose. ('despite their decision to stop and not confront the police') Solidarity is something one gives and is also earned. You do not earn it by endangering people's lives.
----reply---|

|~~~~quote~~~~~
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!
|~~~~quote~~~~~


----reply---|
Your little group is 'here today - gone tomorrow'. A political movement is a set of ideals, ideas demand and solutions. What does your small group of friends have to offer the world and why should anyone share solidarity with you again?

Do you have an email address? A phone number? A Post box? A website even?! Can anyone join you in your next action? Or do we have to be in the in-crowd to know how to be involved? Without these, you are not even a political organisation let alone a 'movement'.

You led people into a violent situation of your own planning. People came on to the street for the first time attracted to the positive energy of the March to Farmleigh, NOT because they wanted to be put in danger by the violence that you planned and provoked.

Your little group of friends are predictable and boring - you fed the Corporate Media want they wanted and the only resistance to the state you offered was ill-prepared and tactically impotent.

'Resist state violence' you say? You provided practice for the state to crush us all harder this 11 June when Bush comes.

It doesn't matter if you call yourselves 'Anarchist confrontational Bloc', Wombles, Black Bloc or 'the Real Black Bloc' (as you seem to imply, w/ Balaclavas!) you are worse than useless to the larger movement, you are a danger to it.

author by Deirdre Clancy - personal capacitypublication date Thu May 06, 2004 17:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would agree fully with what the Indy reporter said above. I think overall the protest was a great success and that the grassroots network did a wonderful job. I am glad to see they are doing some really good media work now too, because the general population need an antidote to the scaremongering that goes on around such protests.

I agree with those who made the statement that started this thread that violence in the world is in the main State violence (and it's corporate too - economic policies can be very violent in nature in their disregard for human life). I do wonder, though, about attempts to neutralise disucssion about what is violent and nonviolent on protests. As someone accused of 'criminal damage' to a US naval plane (in my view military death machinery), I'm well aware of how frustrating it can be to be called violent without regard for the context of your actions, when you've done no harm to a human individual, and when you're willing to be held accountable for your action(s). I'm also well aware of hierarchies of respectability within the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements in Ireland - those least willing to disrupt business as usual appear to command the most respectabiltiy in many cases. However, I feel that unless we enter into dialogue with one another about what constitutes violence from an activist point of view and what is acceptable to whom, then we are just in denial of the diversity of opinions that exist. I admire the people who chose to stand firm on Saturday last. But I would like to see a situation where dialogue was acceptable and not rendered utterly irrelevant, not just for ethical reasons or not so that some can adopt a holier-than-thou attitude, but for tactical reasons also. I know, for instance, that many people who would run a mile from a demo at the sight of balaclava-clad people, because among other things, the connotations of that in our country (and in some others) is of violence. I know others who would really question the need to wear face masks and such, when you are facing down the Guards. Without meaningful discussion of these issues, people just get turned off activism and activists, regardless of their political views.

The question of defeding the march is something I witnessed raised before the march took place by certain folks querying the grassroots guidelines. I do feel people are entitled to their own tactics (within reason, because I would have serious issues anything that endangered human life or caused harm) but having said that, I also feel those on the march are entitled to decide whether they actually *wish* to be defended. I didn't really feel the wish or the need to be defended. The chant of "Fuck the police state" was one that I could empathise with if I was protesting in/about Columbia or Palestine or assorted other countries, but my awareness of these relative situations just made it seem anomalous while marching through Cabra to the strains of that chant. I feel it's not me who needs defending on a global level at the moment, when there are people who get shot for merely leading trade unions or expressing their opinions. It's all relative I know, but that's my view. Semantics are important at times in expressing degrees of repression and honouring the fact that there are people who put their lives on the line in other parts of the world.

Overall, my main regret was not about the wombles and black bloc, but about the morons who were throwing beer cans from behind the front lines. This is a cowardly and silly tactic, albeit one that didn't in any way merit the reaction that came the police. It was only about half a dozen people. As I said, standing firm in the notion that we had a right to protest at Farmleigh is something that I support. But I don't support the notion that because State violence is a reality, there is no need for self-examination and disucssion of tactics within activism.

author by anarchistpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 18:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What violence was there on Saturday from the protestors?? People threw stuff after the riot police decided to wade into people and breaking peoples fingers and arms!! And these weren't just bystanders but people in the anarchist bloc.

I think we were very responsible, if we weren't then it would have been a much bigger riot with more people being injured and arrested. As it turned out, the only people I saw being arrested and brutalised by the police were the pacifists making themselves a target by sitting down on the ground or dancing in the watercanons. Being unprepared for the violence of the police, even if you have no intention of being confrontational is very dangerous on saturday we saw that.

DGN stopped their march and warned people that if they go further that they can't guarentee the protest to remain peaceful. This was annouced over the megaphone to draw a clear distinction of what people should be prepared for. If people wanted to stay back or leave - AS THE DGN MARCH WAS DECLARED OVER - then they could do.

We organised ourselves into a coherent politically motivated bloc to confront the police, we showed this by having a meeting the night before with many people, agreeing by direct democracy our behaviour on the day.
To assume that we are no more than just a "group of friends" is very inaccurate. Many of us are in groups. I'm involved in WOMBLES, we run a community social centre in North London, we have a website www.wombles.org.uk, we have open public meetings every week for people to be involved, some of us have been involved in the anarchist movement for 20 years. We have and always continue to be responsible for our actions, maybe if we were allowed to organise a public discussion before hand then our intentions might have been better communicated. But I can't help thinking that whatever we do to answer your criticism or to clarify our position, people like you will always be against this form of action. You will continue praising violent resistance in palestine, in south america or wherever but when it's on your doorstep challenge your safe political world then you will just become another preaching reactionary.

author by Joepublication date Thu May 06, 2004 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Deirdre there was in fact a fairly extensive discussion of tactics in advance of the demonstration. This agreed that there would be no property damage or initation of attacks on the police but that people could defend themselves from police attack. But that was a dialogue between those intending to go on the march who both trusted and respected each other (despite earlier rows). The discussion here is something very different and as a result liable to entrench people in positions they already hold.

I think overall what was remarkable throughout the day was the strong and voluntary discipline of 99.99% of those who took part in the protests. Some 1200 people marched by an IFSC protected by less that a dozen uniformed cops, some 3,000 marched by a McDonalds protected by even less. 1,500 people who had been sprayed by high powered water jets and batoned and who had seen their mates arrested for nothing marched by a huge glass fronted BMW showroom (and McDonalds again). Jounalists who had written the most posionous lies wandered through the crowd all day, often trying to provoke people with almost no response (after 4 or so hours yer man from the Star finally got his story when someone poured a can of coke over him, Brendan O'Conner had to make up his).

A few drunks threw cans, some of them might even have been cops. This is non - news for any part of Dublin on a Saturday night! The real story here in terms of organisation is the remarkable self-discipline of the crowd despite the alarmist predictions coming from various quarters, including the 'revolutionary' left in advance of the event.

There was a disagreement over tactics when we reached the police lines so we seperated, did our own thing, and marched back together. Overall a very powerful day that bodes well for the future. Perfect, well nothing is perfect, but while lessons can be learnt just about all involved can be proud of their actions.

author by anti-warpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 18:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have seen riot police in Ireland turn their heels twice in ireland in the last year and a bit. On both occasions it was because of sit downs which were created by consensus on the spot from majorities of those present. no minorities set the pace on either occasion.

author by Conor - SAucdpublication date Sat May 08, 2004 22:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Although i diddnt take part in the bloc, Id broadly support them (only 1 reason then being that im chicken shit).

Where we see on other indymedia threads how, for instance the swp enters alliances with non secular groups, etc ,all in the name of broad fronts, its really great to see people like these have the courage not only to take on the forces of state, but the courage to take their anarchism seriously, and not play any media game, not build broad fronts, just say what they think and do what they do.

if the corporate media only pick up on the fact that this "block" reacted to the huge state sponsored violence over that weekend, and not the wider issues being planned behing the ashtown gates, or the amount of cops in front of it, then thats their problem.

i also thenk the DGN did a great job. back behind the ruck at the truck, the swp seemed keen to fuck off back into town, while the DGN and other heads stuck around. that counts for a lot in my book. the DGN also did a great job leading up to the weekend. i dont think its fair to criticise them for not leading everybody up to the line (thats the l word).

author by Deirdre Clancypublication date Sun May 09, 2004 03:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a bit late in the day to be responding to this, but I just idly took another look at this thread just now. Just to clarify: I was mainly referring in my comments to the statement above which indicates that dialoguing about violence becomes irrelevant in the face of state violence, etc. I never said that the bloc were violent on mayday and did not equate them with the people throwing stuff. Yes, I did feel in a sense that I didn't want to be defended at the time of the discussion of tactics, but that was a minor issue compared to the commonalities that exist between all the parties. The diversity of the movement is something I respect. I just think that it's also something we should not be afraid to disucss openly.

I also didn't say there was violence on the march from any specific anarchist groups - I didn't see any anyway. My main argument was based around the idea that dialoging about violence was irrelevant, as put across in the statement. The praxis was actually good on the day, and I do respect the diversity of the movement and admire those who defended their right to protest. I just wanted to set the record straight, as I feel that I was being misunderstood a little.

author by pat cpublication date Sun May 09, 2004 23:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

as far as i am concerned the BB did not initiate any violence at the police lines. those who threw cans & rocks were idiots some were doing it from far back and were putting the BB & other protesters at risk.

But...

In O'Connell St as the march was beginning members of the BB came running out and attacked photographers who were at least 10 feet way from them. this was a dumb & provocative act. The BB may say they have no leaders but they must maintain some discipline in their section.

i twice put myself between BBers and photographers, as did another person. i am not afraid of the BB and will take the same action if provocative fools launch such attacks at future events.

the BB have a responsibility to ensure that their members do not act like provocateurs.

author by bb participant.publication date Mon May 17, 2004 21:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cant we all just get along? :(

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