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Irish Dissent; Tuesday Report

category international | summit mobilisations | news report author Tuesday July 05, 2005 13:55author by sovietpop - dissent/wsmauthor email sovietpop at hotmail dot com Report this post to the editors

This report comes from the Indymedia centre in the Stirling campsite.

Yesterday the Irish Barrio emptied as people headed either to Faslane or to Edinburgh. Throughout the days, reports and rumours indicated the the protests were been dealt with in very different ways. The Faslane protest proceeded without the expected mass arrest, while in Edinburgh the RTS-type activity was shut down before it even began.
Irish Barrio Change of Plan
Irish Barrio Change of Plan

In a particularily sinister move, the police targeted in particular the Medics and the Legal Teams, with a number being detained, beaten and arrested. One member of the Irish dissent group is unaccounted for an presumed arrested (though the police have not confirmed names or nationalilites of those arrested).
Throughout the afternoon protesters returned with stories of being penned in and chased by extreemly heavy handed police action.

In the camp, however, attention turned to organising the next days actions. At seven o'clock a Spokescouncil debated different proposals for blocades. Similutaneously throughout the campsite barrios and affinity groups met. Periodically thoughout the Spokescouncil meeting, representatives were sent back to the barrios for feedback and reactions to the unfolding plan. Slowly, bit by bit, a consensus emerged. Concerns were raised. Logisical issues identified. The meeting ended at 10.00, and immediately different working groups convened to tease out the many different problems that had to be solved.

As I walked through the camp last night, I could see small circles of people dotted here and there, discussing which actions to take. Althought many related stories of considerable harrassement during the day, there wasn't a sense of defeat, or even particular paranoia within the campsite. We sang (badly) around our campsite, we took our turns at the front gate, we talked about the days events and what we were thinking of doing in the future.

There was a brief flurry of activity after one o'clock when the site alarm went off and a call went out that the police had entered the site. Sleepers were quickly woken, people gathered at their barrios, sending delegates to the front gate to find out what was happening. Luckily it was a false alarm, although some police had turned up, they left without seeking entry.

In an earlier report I should have mentioned that the Irish Barrio held a site wide meeting on Sunday to inform others of the shell situation. This lead to a decision to carry out a solidarity action while here in Scotland. Early this morning many left the campsite to participate in that.

Those who stayed in Stirling continued to plan for the blocades. This morning, as I walked through the campsite, I kept passing small groups of people staring intently at opened maps.

Finally I am happy to report that the Bitchin Kitchen/Sudden Death Vegan Cafe are up and running. Whatever else, we have to eat.

irish barrio meeting about shell
irish barrio meeting about shell

Advice for dealing with the police
Advice for dealing with the police

Indymedia Centre
Indymedia Centre

The writing's on the wall
The writing's on the wall

author by 1984publication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 14:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sounds like newspeak to me.

author by Joepublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 14:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Spokescouncils - delegate based decision system which came to prominance in Seattle protest. Affinity groups mandate a delegate to give their views at a decision making gathering of such delegates. If their is space the affinity group may even be sitting in a cone behind the delegate. Name is also a play on the spokes of a bicycle wheel

Barrios - Latin Ameriacn term for districts/neighboorhoods. Not sure where its use arose in Europe but in this case describes how the concrete organisation of the campsite is based on districts/barrios grouped around a kitchen.

As anyone who has actually read Orwell will be aware in Homage to Catalonia he is very enthusastic about how Barcelonia is run by similar systems of delegate based democracy.

"The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud. Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of the town where crowds of people streamed constantly to and fro, the loud-speakers were bellowing revolutionary songs all day and far into the night. And it was the aspect of the crowds that was the queerest thing of all. In outward appearance it was a town in which the wealthy classes had practically ceased to exist. Except for a small number of women and foreigners there were no 'well-dressed' people at all. Practically everyone wore rough working-class clothes, or blue overalls or some variant of militia uniform. All this was queer and moving. There was much in this that I did not understand, in some ways I did not not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for"
http://flag.blackened.net/liberty/spunk/Spunk198.html

author by sovietpop - wsm/dissentpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 15:44author email sovietpop at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The campsite is divided into 'Barrios' or 'neighbourhoods'.These are groups of people, camping together, usually with a kitchen. There is an Irish barrio known as 'spaos sproi', our next door neighbours are called 'Common Matilda' and come from leeds and sheffield, and on the other side is a New Zealand barrio. As people come to the site they are allocated a barrio to join.

The barrio sends delegates to the various meetings on sites, for example every morning at nine there is a meeting to organise the running of the site (the toilets, the compost etc). They also send delegates to the Spokescouncils, which can be on various issues. Last nights one was on organising actions. At a Spokescouncil those who have been elected as delegates from a barrio are given priority in the discussion, though anyone can attend. This means that although there can be about 500 people in the tent, most of the discussion goes between the 25 or so representatives of the barrios. At times the representatives will turn to the others from their barrio to consult.

This is how the meeting worked last night.
First the three facillitators introduced themselves. They made a call for translators. People shouted out in their own languages 'if you need translation come to me' and so people grouped together in various language groups. Then they explained the Aims of the Meeting. The aim of last nights meeting was to get agreement on specific proposals. Then they outlined a group agreement (that is we would listen to each other, respect each others views etc). Then they explained the process of the meeting, that is how consensus works. (very briefly because I am hungry and have another meeting to go to)
1) a proposal is stated
2 ) there are clarifying questions
3) Concerns are identified ... possibly leading to an amended proposal to answer the concerns
4) the proposal is restated. The facillitors then ask for
-reservations
-stands asides (people who disagree in part but are willing for the proposal to go forward)
-blocks (people who disagree so strongly they want to kill the proposal if it is blocked we go back to 3)
-consensus.

Then the agenda was drawn up and each item was worked through using the procedure outlined above.

The facillitators also outlined various hand movements that were used to move the discussion along.

At times the facillitors would stop and discuss themselves how best to procede, and take turns among themselves facillitating the process. Last nights meeting took about 3 hours, and although it was a long meeting and at times meandered, I do feel that by the end of it the decision that was reached was one that satisfied the people at the meeting and was on that they all felt confidant with. I was very impressed with the process.

now to eat.

author by 1984publication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 16:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
- George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

Orwell admired the anarchist's governance of Barcelona but despaired of the factionalism of the popular front.

The lesson I would draw from Homage to Barcelona is that it's difficult to achieve a better world by organising a campsite and declaring one's self above grubby compromise.

author by Joepublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The words 'barrio' and 'spokescouncil' represent deeds - as SP explains above.

Nor are they terms that can easily be substituted for with a more instantly understandable word (the general heart of Orwells criticism of political language).

author by Chekov - 1 of Indymedia Irelandpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

pictures by SovietPop. (thanks for all the work in documenting this - youse are doing a great job).

author by 1984publication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When words are used to tie one into a straitjacket view of the world, they become newspeak. That is what I see happening to the dissent protests in Scotland.

The righteousness of the views held take precedence over the goals to be supposedly achieved.

Setting up camps and running councils allows politics to be put in practice on a small scale, but is it going to put an end to the G8? Or will it merely justify opposition?

How does this form of righteous opposition and fervent self-belief differ from the neo-cons?

How much has language closed off reality?

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 21:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"When words are used to tie one into a straitjacket view of the world, they become newspeak. That is what I see happening to the dissent protests in Scotland."

What is the straitjacket view of the world that you are referring to? How are words tying people to this view? You really need to elaborate your point and back it up with some evidence. As far as I can see, the words 'barrio' and 'spokescouncil' are very unlikely to lead to mind control. I don't see how on earth they are connected to Orwell's newspeak either. If you recall, newspeak terms in 1984 were designed to disguise the reality of things (ministry of peace for ministry of war and so on). The words that you have picked upon can't possibly be accused of doing this.

"The righteousness of the views held take precedence over the goals to be supposedly achieved."

Evidence? Any at all?

"Setting up camps and running councils allows politics to be put in practice on a small scale, but is it going to put an end to the G8? Or will it merely justify opposition?"

Bizzare. How will setting up well organised councils "justify opposition"? Are you expecting newspaper headlines to read "Anarchists disrupt G8 but set up a really great camp" - personally I doubt it. Furthermore, nobody sane believes that anything that happens at the G8 protests is going to put an end to it, criticising people for using the protests to build constructive projects is a little odd.

"How does this form of righteous opposition and fervent self-belief differ from the neo-cons?"

What fervent self-belief? Even if this was accurate, the answer is easy - they come from an entirely opposed concept of humanity and society.

"How much has language closed off reality?"

From your very odd line of argument, I'd guess that there is far more than language that separates most people from your reality.

author by 1984publication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 22:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Chekov, the protests of today and yesterday have short circuited things back to 1999. Seattle was one of the most inspiring events of my life, but what happens next?

The original post in this thread gave me a depressing sense of deja vu. 200,000 odd people took to the streets in Edinburgh, the world's biggest luvvies professed their love for Africa. This is the biggest development since Seattle, the next chance to change the Western consensus for the better.

But what happens on the indymedia left? Campfires are lit, MPH is criticised as pro-capitalist, and the consensus is that the G8 must be overthrown.

Fine and good, but where is the discussion on how to get from A, imperfect society, to B, perfect society? I don't see any. Travelogues, like the above example, do not constitute healthy debate. All I see here are the circling of the mental wagons and simple dichotomies between capital, authority, government (bad) and oppressed protester (good). I see newspeak. The reality is more complex.

Where is the discussion of Africa? Can its problems be cured by the overthrow of capitalism? Even if this is so, how is this to be done between the end of the G8 and the next opportunity to light a campfire?

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 22:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr 1984, I think that you would be much better off to present your own answers to the above questions if you want to start a debate, rather than just criticising the presumed motivations of others. It would at least allow myself and others to undestand where you are coming from. As it stands, it seems pretty obvious to me that you have made up your own mind about these matters, but without knowing what conclusions you have come to, your critique just comes across as odd.

"The original post in this thread gave me a depressing sense of deja vu. 200,000 odd people took to the streets in Edinburgh, the world's biggest luvvies professed their love for Africa. This is the biggest development since Seattle, the next chance to change the Western consensus for the better."

Which is a point of view that many others don't share and just because they don't share it, doesn't mean that they don't have their own point of view. For example, I think you are quite wrong in your analysis of the significance of MPH and the luvvies and would see it more as potentially the final nail in the coffin of the movement that erupted onto the television screens at Seattle. In my view the most probable (although far from certain) outcome of the G8 summit is that the charities and NGOs will have effectively been bought off by the fundraiser of the century and they will keep schtum while the world's media applauds the humanity of the G8 leaders while they give Africa another good kicking. The only real chance of this cosy feel-good deal being upset is the anarchists and assembled scruffbags, although they seem woefully underprepared to pull it off.

"But what happens on the indymedia left? Campfires are lit, MPH is criticised as pro-capitalist, and the consensus is that the G8 must be overthrown."

If you disagree with this point of view, why not argue your own?

"Fine and good, but where is the discussion on how to get from A, imperfect society, to B, perfect society? I don't see any. Travelogues, like the above example, do not constitute healthy debate. All I see here are the circling of the mental wagons and simple dichotomies between capital, authority, government (bad) and oppressed protester (good). I see newspeak. The reality is more complex."

Firstly, I don't think that you'll find it too difficult to find such discussion if you look for it - it exists on this very website virtually every day of the week. We host long debates about all the minutae of political theory and practice.

Secondly, the above account is a report of what is happening, not a debate piece. If you don't have the information, you're not going to have a very good debate.

Thirdly, I think that if you look through some of the reports on this very site, you'll find huge amounts of internal criticism and reflection from the protestors. The reactions to the events of Saturday with the black block and Monday's carnival are anything but good-bad binary. There are debates going on, maybe they just come to different conclusions than you do?


"Where is the discussion of Africa? Can its problems be cured by the overthrow of capitalism? Even if this is so, how is this to be done between the end of the G8 and the next opportunity to light a campfire?"

Once again, even on this site you will find some fairly in depth debates about africa and its problems. Since we are so far away and so few of us have been there, it's not really that surprising that it doesn't figure more often.

To answer the second question, not on it's own, but it is a necessary step.

It is impossible to answer the third question since no matter how clever an answer you come up with, you have to face the fact that Africa solving its problems might take a little longer than the next campfire.

author by newsnig8tpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 03:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

there you have it - the sum contribution of anarchy - to "upset" people. utterly useless. one more campfire, one more flagon, one more slogan....

" The only real chance of this cosy feel-good deal being upset is the anarchists and assembled scruffbags,"

author by 1984publication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My criticism of these Edinburgh protests is for the exact reason that they do not present answers - useful ones at any rate - to the problems confronting us. Society changes when people can be persuaded towards a different consensus. A coterie of intellectuals shouting from the margins will not alter social consensus until they can grasp the popular imagination. Coming in from the margins is not about selling your soul. It is about sharing your vision so everyone can believe in it.

I have in mind the gramscian description of hegemony building as the construction of a medieval cathedral. When an 11th century bishop decided to commission a cathedral, 200 years might pass before it is finished. The original patron and the first generation of artisans are long dead. Architectural blue prints did not exist in 11th c. Europe, so the task of envisaging the cathedral passed from the bishop to the various craftsmen working on its walls and statues and so on. While the finished building was probably very different from the one imagined from the bishop, it was still a cathedral.

My problem with the far left in Ireland is that it is obsessing about the details of one gargoyle in the corner of the cathedral and ignoring the walls rising around it. In planning to build a just world - our cathedral - we have to realise this need for cooperation. We have to be prepared to work with those who share our final goal but who might have different ideas on the means of construction. Otherwise capitalism will convert the place into a shopping mall.

To blow off MPH as a "nail in the coffin" is to forget the role that Seattle played. The protests there touched off a nascent disquiet about globalisation and the lack of accountability in big politics. MPH harnessed the West's guilt and anger over the screwing of Africa. The goal it presents is vague, as was the vision created in Seattle. It is up to you - us - to flesh out that vision.

To go back to the gargoyles, you said, Chekov, that the "minutae of political theory" is discussed in depth, but Africa is too far away to inform. I have seen very little on Indymedia's discussion fora to suggest that these minutae are being considered in terms of the problems faced by the global south.

Why debate political theory at all if not for the purpose of society? Why is there no consideration of the meanings of the three causes of MPH - trade, debt and aid? You don't need to visit Africa to get the necessary briefings. The so called corporate media has given prominent coverage to Africa over the past weeks. The Irish NGOs are staking out their respective agendas. More radical British groups like ActionAid and World Development Movement post analyses of the issues on their sites.

Instead of protest, instead of uninclusive political visions, the Indymedia left has to absorb wider political opinions if it is going to stay relevant. I am tired of visiting this site and seeing the same old gargoyles.

author by Chekov - Indymedia Irelandpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But I have to say that "a coterie of intellectuals" is the strangest description I've yet heard of the direct actionists in Edinburgh and apart from that I still don't know what you're really getting at. You seem to disagree with the opinions of the mythical homus indymedianis but I can't fathom what you are saying in practice, beyond the idea that it's up to me to "flesh out" the vision of MPH. I think it is extremely improbable that anybody would let me within a million miles of defining the vision of MPH.

author by Dissenterpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I too am tired of coming on to Indymedia and seeing the same old gargoyles. Only thing is that I view 1984 as a gargoyle. One of those 'social democratic' types that tell us how useless we are while they stand over privatisiation, service charges and are nowhere to be seen when householders are sent to gaol by multinationals.

-------------------------------------------------------------

The First Embedded Protest - Guardian
repost | 20.06.2005 11:05 | G8 2005 | Analysis | Globalisation | Social Struggles | Scotland

Two Dissent! activists manage to get a decent criticism of MPH into the mainstream media.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1509192,00.html

Shortly after Bob Geldof called for a million people to converge in Edinburgh for the opening day of the G8 summit, Midge Ure, the co-organiser of Live 8, was asked if he was worried about the events being hijacked by anarchists. His response was that Live 8 was, in fact, hijacking the anarchists' event. There is more than a little truth in this statement. What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that Blair and Brown, in turn, are trying to do something similar with the Live 8 and Make Poverty History campaigns.

The spin surrounding the summit is beginning to appear as little more than a cynical attempt to buy off a section of what is commonly called the "global justice" or "anti-capitalist" movement by feigning serious engagement with some of its core issues: global poverty and ecological crisis.

This is the first G8 summit in the UK since the battle of Seattle, an event which brought the contemporary anti-capitalist movement into the spotlight and succeeded in breaking both the "there is no alternative" spell of neoliberalism and the "one size fits all" dogma that had plagued the old left.

This was a leaderless movement that began to talk about building diverse communities of self-determination, direct democracy and ecological sustainability. They declared: "Another world is possible." A world, of course, free of poverty, but also one free of the G8, whose raison d'etre, after all, is to manage a system that prioritises the pursuit of private profit over people and planet. In other words, they talked about a world without capitalism.

Blair and Brown do not want a repeat of Seattle, or Genoa, or any of the other summits that have been accompanied by mass acts of disobedience. They want a stage-managed, benign spectacle, and so they play along with Live 8 and Make Poverty History, creating the world's first "embedded" mass protest.

Blair's wearing of the Make Poverty History wristband and Brown's presentation of a modest new debt-relief programme (one, we might add, with stringent conditions attached) were carefully manipulated spectacles designed to obscure the fact that the G8's policies are at the very core of the world's problems.

While the coming together of hundreds of thousands of people for the Make Poverty History and Live 8 events certainly should be understood as a genuine expression of human solidarity, if we are serious about wanting to change the way in which the world works it is essential that we do not make poverty of history in attempting to do so.

In other words, we need to ask ourselves: who have, historically, been the agents of change? And, importantly, who has the ability to change the way in which the world works today? The answer, of course, is not Bob and Bono. But neither is it Blair and Brown. It's ordinary, everyday people. It's us. It's you.

Those who have the power to not only make poverty history but to make history itself are the same as they always have been: ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

The contemporary anti-capitalist movement, born in the tear-gas-filled streets of Seattle, belongs to an ongoing history of struggle: the Haymarket martyrs who fought and died for an eight-hour working day; the anti-fascist fighters of the Spanish civil war; South African townships refusing to pay extortionate water bills; the ecological direct activists who resisted the UK road-building programme of the 1990s; the workers of occupied factories in Argentina; the Skye islanders who reclaimed their right to free movement; the indigenous of Bolivia fighting the privatisation of natural resources. History is made by people who refuse to play by the rules, who refuse to politely ask for the powerful to throw them a few crumbs.

If on July 6, when the summit opens, the multitude who converge on Edinburgh decide not to play their allocated role in power's spectacle but to join together with those from around the world taking direct action by blockading the summit, while demonstrating real alternatives to the way in which we currently live, then perhaps history will have made one of those leaps that happen only a few times in a generation - a leap that restores our faith in our own power to change things.

Adam Jones is from Brighton Dissent! Kay Summer is from The Common Place Social Centre, in Leeds; both are involved with the Dissent! Network, promoting radical resistance to the 2005 G8 Summit

author by Anarchists Are Fuckin' Loserspublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So why don't you cover what's going on at Indymedia Scotland?



So now my hometown of Stirling is being wrecked in the name of protest?

What the F has going down a residential street putting in peoples windows and wrecking their cars got to do with G8 protest?

For your information on this website who advocate "free speech" on the one side...My 10 year old daughter is in Stirling Royal Infirmary this morning with 18 stitches to a head wound due to some anti whatever putting a brick through her bedroom window as she peacefully slept.

Hope your all proud of yourselves. The Scottish people don't want you lot roaming our streets!
...

To those that choose not to believe the comments of individuals living in and around Stirling, please keep your comments to yourself until you know the facts. We are all aware of how the media can hype the stories of protests and vandalism, and how the media can also choose to ignore certain things. If I did not live in Stirling I would've never have believed the level of disorder that has occurred in the last 24hrs. These people are thugs, vandals and very low intelligence human beings. Burger King was attacked, a franchise operation that employs local people, contributes to the local community (charitable donations etc) and sources 95% of its goods from within the UK. Please someone tell me what is wrong with all 3 of these points? Somehow I think the replies will lack any degree of evidence. Please leave us alone.

author by Oh yeapublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 18:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for evidence of these claims - some of them would be big media stories if true.

author by DV8publication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 18:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and the BBC and RTE and the IT. Can't find your reports mate.

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