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The long march on Farmleigh

category dublin | summit mobilisations | news report author Tuesday May 11, 2004 11:46author by Joe Black Report this post to the editors

5,000 word article on the march by one of the DGN organisers of it. More of an account of the planning, the media and what happened on the day than an analysis of what it all means.

In terms of the development of a libertarian movement in Ireland the march on the EU summit at Farmleigh will probably be seen as a turning point. For the first time the movement mobilized large number of people from outside its own ranks, in a demonstration that was in direct defiance of the Irish governments attempt to ban such demonstrations.

The march was just one aspect of a weekend of activities that had been planned and prepared for over the 6 or so months before the Mayday weekend by the Dublin Grassroots Network (DGN). I intend to write on or link to stories about each of these in due course, as all were worthwhile. Here I concentrate on the march on Farmleigh.

The idea of marching on Farmleigh came up early on in DGN planning meetings. Not everyone thought this was a great idea. Some thought all our actions should involved direct action and others doubted that we could get enough people to go on a march to make it worthwhile. Nevertheless after some discussion the idea of a 'Bring the noise' march on Farmleigh was agreed as one of a number of events for the weekend. As with all the other events the details were left to be worked out by an autonomous sub group of those interested in the march.

The 'Bring the noise' theme was inspired by demonstrations in Argentina in recent years, which were in turn inspired, by demonstrations against the dictatorship in Chile. The core idea is that everyone brings some noisy implement (e.g. pot lids) to make as much noise a possible. We recognized that there was no way the government would allow a march to get within sight of the EU heads of state but we figured we might get close enough for them to hear us.

The plans for the 'Bring the noise' march were released on the DGN web site and included in the 50,000 leaflets DGN published. Thousands of stickers and posters that also advertised the meeting up point at Parkgate street were also prepared and would be distributed in the weeks before the demonstration.

Article continues at http://struggle.ws/wsm/news/2004/farmleigh1may.html

[editors feel free to paste all the text in if you wish, as its already online I've just put the intro in here]

Related Link: http://struggle.ws/wsm/eu.html
author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"A couple of stupid minor scuffles broke out between people on the black bloc and journalists who shoved cameras in their faces. "

I was present when members of the BB came runing out of their block to physically atack cameramen. These cameramen were at least 10 feet away from the BB. over 1,000 marchers had alraedy passed without incident. i and another person put ourselves betwen the BBers and the cameramen on 2 occasions. no way were the cameramen pushing cameras in anyones face on this occasion in o'conel st.

this action by the BB was clearly in breach of the DGN guidelines. at the time i complained about the BB action to 3 of the DGN march organisers but they were unwilling to do anything about it (ie - to go and do as i did and tell the BB that their violent behaviour was in breach of the guidelines & unacceptable.)

Quit the spining. there was no excuse for those atacks.

author by Joepublication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat the bit you seem to be referring to as spin reads

"Right at the start some people let the media know what we had thought of their coverage to date by spraying 'liars' on the side of RTE, the state broadcasters, TV van. This of course made the news; there is no story so important to journalists than one about themselves. A couple of stupid minor scuffles broke out between people on the black bloc and journalists who shoved cameras in their faces. However given the level of media hysteria and the tension of not knowing what the Gardai would do the vast majority of journalists were treated considerably better by us than they were to be treated by the Gardai (who hit some and water cannoned others). And a least one camera man actually punched someone on the bloc after he was pushed to one side as it passed! Some media outlets tried to make a story of this afterwards but it was really a case of 'handbags at 10 paces' rather than any real confrontation. From the point of view of the protest it was not useful and in at least some cases just provided the media with the story they were looking for and seeking to provoke."

This is more about putting some context on what I after all refer to as "stupid minor scuffles" then spin. I know you found that behaviour annoying, and fair enough, but it really was not all that significant in comparison to all that went on and has been a 'feature' of quite a few recent demonstrations. Your sort of trolling at the moment across all the threads on this now, I don't get the point. You know some of the people involved and are more likely to convince them by talking to them then by engaging in indymedia megaphone diplomacy.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i believe this is as god as spin. i reported the atacks in o'conell st at the time to chekov & dermot. ok maybethis wsm author was unaware of those attacks.

but i also told at least 2 other wsm members about the incidents. i discussed it over the phone with a wsm member lastt wek and he said the atacks were unacceptable and had to be slaped down. so i am hardly engaging in megaphone communication.

a significant % of the wsm were aware of these incidents.

the atacks were also reported to a DGN legal observer. some people are intent on pretending that the atacks did not take place. i would hope that the wsm would opose such provocative atacks on the media.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i am not troling. all of my comments on this on the various threads have been in context. some people want to pretend these incidents did not happen.

come on joe, accept criticism. dont come out with leninist responses. teling the truth is not troling.

author by BakuninWatch - The Entropy Clubpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:44author address Cloud Nineauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Well now Mr Joe you know many of the people that you berate day in and day out on this hallowed Website. Why dont you just contact the SWP and the SP instead of your Megaphoney diatribes here. Phone them or drop them a line. It doesnt cost much to keep in touch!

If the Trotskyites had covered up something that took place at the march you would be quick enough to jump in. As you have already done regarding their analysis of the events. Why do you dissemble about the Meeja assaults? Maybe you had a bad experience with a Journo?

author by Joepublication date Tue May 11, 2004 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

By trolling Pat I mean making the same point again and again on a number of different threads. To 'troll' for a response.

Beyond this seeing as I think what went on was stupid I don't see where the cover up comes in. Also what's the point of telling various WSM people about it seeing as none of us were involved. Talk to the people involved, you might win them over, you might not.

Really the same thing happened on F15 in Dublin, at Shannon several times and on other occasions as well. It stems from a rather stupid approach to dealing with an often hostile and provocative media.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 18:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"By trolling Pat I mean making the same point again and again on a number of different threads. To 'troll' for a response. "

Its not trolling for a response, its countering those who are trying to put a spin on what happened.

last week a wsm member described (to me) the denials about the BB atacks on the media as "some idiots trying to put a spin on things", he went on to say that such atacks should be "slaped down immediately".

. "Also what's the point of telling various WSM people about it seeing as none of us were involved. "

the wsm members in question were march organisers. they certainly took it on themslves to address the crowd on other issues. are you saying that march organisers had no responsibility when the BB were breaching guidelines? i was folowing guidelines by oposing unacceptable behaviour. unfortunately those march organisers i spoke to were unwiling to ask the BB to stop atacking the media.

"Talk to the people involved, you might win them over, you might not."

i am talking to the relevant people - those who were some of the march organisers and who took a prominent role throughout the march.

i dont se any point in talking to the BB. at the time one of them who i knew claimed that the media were geting in their faces. that was nonsense. the media didnt move any closer when the BB were passing.

"Really the same thing happened on F15 in Dublin, at Shannon several times and on other occasions as well. "

all the more reason for WSM & DGN to make it clear that such breachs of guidelines are unacceptable.

"It stems from a rather stupid approach to dealing with an often hostile and provocative media."

as i have pointed out, there was no media provocation on this occasion. the BBers in question were the provocateurs.

author by Joepublication date Wed May 12, 2004 11:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat you seem to be under the misapprehension that not having stewards meant that there were secret stewards there. This was not the case. This is what the guidelines said

"It is everyone's responsibility to ensure the march is a safe and successful event. We are a community and we should all work together towards this end and look after each other's welfare. If you see someone that is acting in an inappropriate [manner], explain to them the nature of this march and suggest that if they want to act outside of this that they first leave the march. Don't start shouting at them, just make sure that someone (if needs be you) approaches them and calmly explains that their behavior is not welcome here. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, talk to the people around you. Take responsibility for the safety of yourself and others around you."

I have no certainity as to what was happening in terms of provocation at the events you describe because I had my hands full elsewhere. I do know that provocation was happening elsewhere from early on in the day (Brendan O'Connor being the first obvious example at 12am). I do know that other people have claimed of the event you describe that the photographers were first repeatedly asked to stop photographing people. The same thing happened at the December blockade of Shannon (and is a regular feature of paprizzi / famous people encounters). I do know that later a photographer punched someone in the black bloc and I do know that the cops knocked journalists out, sprayed them with the water cannon and batoned them.

So while I think the behaviour of those in the bloc doing this was stupid and counterproductive, which is what it says in the original article, I'm puzzled as to why you should single this out as a major event on the day.

Beyond all this its worth understanding the historical context of the British anarchists scene hostility to photographers. This comes out of the 1990 Poll Tax riot when a large number of tabloids published many photos of rioters along with the encouragement for people to shop them if they knew them. Some people received 5 year prison sentences as a result of this (and Strangeways and other British prisones saw riots that summer as well over 100 politicised people were fed into the prison system).

In the Irish context in advance of Mayday we had press photographers secretly staking out people's workplaces and tabloids (IoS) publishing pictures of people arriving in work with their work details. This can be read as an obvious attempt to get people fired. We had journalists 'infiltrating' meetings on false pretences and again publishing the sort of personal details linked to all sorts of smears that could effect peoples work situation and which set them up for arrest. We had the arrest and jailing of 3 people on a tresspass charge backed up by a media hate campaign against them. On the night itself we had a PrimeTime camera crew litreally chasing people into toilets while 'doorsteping' them with accusations of 'inciting riot'.

This is not the sort of situation where there will automatically be a cuddly relationship with the media. DGN worked quite hard to take a sensible approach to these problems. There were a couple of stupid actions by individuals, this IMHO was pretty inevitable in the circumstances. But is it a big story? No. Should it be something addressed in future, yes, just as it was something addressed in advance of the weekend and by many, many, people, including yourself on the day itself.

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

Just noticed that some of the BBers are giving their side of the story at http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=64953 and Pat is debating them there. Suggest we move this discussion to there/

author by pat cpublication date Wed May 12, 2004 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i have no desire to get in a tiff with DGN or WSM. in a way you are correct - i was trying to elicit a response. i wanted this issue discussed - but in context. if i had written a seperate article about this incident then it would have been out of context.

my main point is that journos shd not feel at risk from US at these events. i'll go to the other link & add anyrhin necessary there.

author by pat cpublication date Wed May 12, 2004 15:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Pat you seem to be under the misapprehension that not having stewards meant that there were secret stewards there. This was not the case.@


joe, as you well know some people were more equal than others on the march. they were playing a leading role: makinh announcements over megaphones etc. no point in getting into a semantic argument about what these people were. they were showing "leadership".


This is what the guidelines said

" If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, talk to the people around you."

i went to those who had megaphones and were playing a "leading" role. seeing as they were prepared to use their megaphones to issue lots of instructions/suggestions, i think they could also have used their megaphones to ask the BB to cool it.

"Take responsibility for the safety of yourself and others around you."


i did my best, i also tried to get "noncomvatants" to move back from the coplines at the aggro. i stayed with the march back till o'connell st, trying to calm people when the cops moved forward.

author by mepublication date Wed May 12, 2004 16:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i'm from brasil when here the anarchists mayday protests were very few and small. in sao paulo (brasil's largest city) the two federations of labour unions were having concerts of popular bands. these concertes were sponsored by the largest companies of the country.
latter in that night i was watching the news on tv and to my surprise they showed pictures and talked about the irish protest. i got really proud and deeply touched when i saw the red and blag flags and the banner in front of the march. media just said bulshit about it. they said that the march was protesting unemployment. i'm very happy that our irish, and non-irish, fellows were able to do such a great protest.
solidarity!

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