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Anarchy in Dublin Against the EU

category dublin | summit mobilisations | opinion/analysis author Monday May 10, 2004 01:02author by Alexander Trocchi - IMC-Scotland Report this post to the editors

A Personal Account

A personal account from a member of the Black Bloc about
the events in Dublin, including anarchist and Irish history and
tactical discussion.

May Day! May Day! Anarchy Against the EU in Dublin

by Alexander Trocchi, CrimethInc Foreign Agent

They've learnt the ropes In Ireland, engaged in civil war, fighting for the ruling classes in their battle against the poor, so Ireland's just an island? It's an island of the mind. Great Britain? Future? Bollocks, you'd better look behind!

Crass "Big A, Little A, Bouncing B"

On May 1st of 2004, the leaders of the European Union feasted behind the towers of the plush Farmleigh Castle in Dublin, while less than a mile away outside the largest protest in recent history in Ireland took place. Inside the castle, under the august beneficence of An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of Ireland, current President of the European Union; Blair, Berlusconi, and the rest of the criminal Presidents and Prime Ministers toasted their new formal allies, mostly their former enemies from behind the Iron Curtain from Slovakia to Estonia. With this expansion of the EU from 10 to 25 nations, the EU is now contains 450 million people, surpassing North America in both capital and population as the world's largest economic and political zone. Outside the gates, protesters locked armed and broke a line of police, only to be beaten back when the Gardai (Irish police) unleashed water cannons imported from the warzones of Northern Ireland onto the crowd. The contrast itself speaks volumes. Inside, the new "democratic" monarchs of Europe congratulate themselves for another round of successful empire-building, outside, peaceful protesters sit down in front of the riot cops and their water cannon while Irish kids throw beer cans and stones at the police. The eerie silence in Dublin after the event as the police drag nearly thirty protesters to jail speaks volumes. And in the words of anarchist August Spies to his judges on a May Day over a century ago, there will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today. Why the struggle? What's the odds? And why the day?

The Roots and Perversion of Mayday

The EU perversely celebrated their expansion on May Day, a day that has since before civilization itself celebrated anarchy and life. Since the dawn of time, the coming of Spring has been celebrated with wild abandon by humanity, as nature, with whom we are so intertwined, comes back to life - from the Celtic festival of Beltane to Italian festival of Floralia, throughout the world Mayday was a rebellious and fertile celebration that have historically served as thorn in the side of power. Peasants selecting a Queen of May, nominating the pagan Green Man as the lord of Misrule, and enthroning an Abbot of Disobedience - and this all was associated with Robin Hood and his Merry Men who took from the rich and gave to the poor! Up to the 17th centuries Puritans disapproved of the wild parties were held in the woods on May Day, where everyone regardless of class and gender engaged in drink and sex with abandon. The church first tried to neutralize it by declaring it a Holy Day to celebrate the saints, but the peasants ignored them, leading to May Day being outlawed by the Catholic Church and being one of the few days without a church service.

In the United States, the labor movement - including many anarchist organizers and agitators - engaged in a massive strikes in the early 1880s, bringing the manufacturing capital of Chicago to a standstill. While an uneasy peace prevailed May Day itself, Chicago police on May Day attacked striking union members at McCormick Reaper, leaving four dead. Anarchists called for a meeting in Haymarket Square to discuss the matter and to arm themselves in self-defense, a meeting that was peaceful until it was surrounded by the police. Someone threw a bomb and seven police were killed, and in the ensuing chaos eight anarchists - including August Spies and Albert Parsons (husband of famed anarchist Lucy Parsons) - were arrested for murder. At their mock trial, they were sentenced to death, and even the judge admitted that they were on trial for their insurrectionary words and for being anarchists, not their deeds on May 3rd as no evidence of them having anything to do with the bombing has ever been found. Many anarchists, such as Emma Goldman, were radicalized by the events. During their funeral procession, hundreds of thousands gathered to mourn them. Ever since Haymarket and May Day have been commemorated as a celebration of working-class resistance against state and capital as well as a pagan celebration of life. In the United States, the government proclaimed a state-sponsored "Labor Day" in the first Monday of September to celebrate their control over the union hierarchy, and rechristened May Day as "Law Day." Despite this historical travesty, anarchists today all over the world, from Korea to the United States, celebrate resistance on May Day. So it comes as no surprise that the European Union would once again attempt, as everyone from the Romans to the United States has, to co-opt May Day into a masturbatory celebration of state power. And as always, resistance returns - this time as a network of Irish activists "who come together to fight for a better future", known as the Dublin Grassroots Network, and who called for protests on May Day. Their call was endorsed by other activists around the world such as the London-based anarchist WOMBLES collective. The perversion of May Day was not going to go unchallenged

The Rise of Fortress Europe

Still, many Irish and Americans regard the European Union as kindler, gentler alternative to a world dominated by the psychopathic military power of the United States, and this myth belies the danger of the European Union, dubbed "Fortress Europe" by its opponents. Many still think of Europe as a land of happy-go-lucky social democracies with free health care and applaud the actions of Chirac and Schroeder standing up to Bush's genocidal war. Little could be further from the truth. If anything, it is the European Union, not the United States, that stands as the most likely example of the next phase of capitalist Empire, as a tightly economically integrated trans-national multi-lingual superpower with expansive borders, a power that prefers the velvet glove of economic exploitation to the iron fist of military power, and a tight division between the ruling class and their wage-slaves, both illegal and legal... all at the service of corporations and unelected bureaucrats. The European Union, while openly protesting Bush's war, struggled to maintain its oil rights more than Iraqi rights and marks its meeting in Dublin as another chance to get behind Bush, as Ireland's formerly civilian airport at Shannon now becomes a pit-stop for Bush's war planes. Instead of free health care and education, the European Union aims to privatize everything Margaret Thatcher style, starting with ending free garbage pick-up last year in Dublin and having everything from pensions (retirement) to college on its rooster for privatization next. If anything, it's the European Union that allows the rich rulers, the bankers and the politicians, of Europe to more tightly co-ordinate their plans for the destruction of local autonomy and human rights, while getting good publicity from the occasional development project or protecting European farm subsidies. In an international context, the European Union gathers its forces to make non-aligned countries such as those in South America and Africa accept the "Argentina plan" of neo-liberalization, as Ireland watches manufacturing companies such as Fruit of the Loom move their factories to Morrocco where union organizers are routinely murdered. The EU supports free movement of capital everywhere, while the free movement of people is restricted. Thousands of people wishing to enter the EU die in inhumane border camps, and those lucky enough to get in are denied all rights and work for below minimum wages in sweatshops and as servants. The Schengen Information System is used in the fashion of Big Brother to track every move of immigrants, and soon...a new database will be made for protesters. It's the people everywhere who will be beneath the star-studded boot of the EU. Yes, welcome Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Isles to the European Union! Ireland may have won their independence from London, but they lost it to Brussels.

Welcome to Ireland

Ireland has a history that is mostly unknown to many anarchists. In the Dark Ages it stood as a beacon of learning and tolerance, until it was brutally conquered by the invading Vikings and English, later made into a "white" colony, where many of the brutal methods used in Africa and other colonies were pioneered and perfected. For example, girls who had become pregnant, illegitimate, orphaned, or just deemed "too pretty" or "unintelligent" were locked up and put to work, without pay, in profit-making laundries for the Catholic Church to "wash away their sins." To this day abortion is illegal in Ireland. Irish were considered sub-human used by England as a source of cheap raw materials and even cheaper labor. When the main crop of potatoes - a monocultural cash-crop approach to farming being currently inflicted across the world by globalization - was hit by a blight the ensuing famine killed over a million, with over another million fleeing in "coffin ships" to the America as greedy English landlords took advantage of this opportunity to seize Irish land. Large amounts of Protestant Scots moved into Northern Ireland at the bequest of the English rulers, particularly Ulster. Ireland has to this day still not recovered its population. As with many colonies, a national liberation movement, often with socialist tendencies, developed, forming the basis of what later became Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its legal arm, Sinn Fein ("Ourselves Alone"). Waged through both electoral constitutional agitation in British Parliament, in 1911 the Liberal Party in Britain through its support behind Home Rule for Ireland, but the forces of the Ulster Unionists and the Conservatives defeated the plans. The British aristocracy and Ulster Unionists began arming themselves to defeat the Irish independence movement, and in the Easter Uprising of 1916 Irish rebels began an armed struggle against Britain - one that was put down through the execution of sixteen of its leaders and the razing of many poor Irish neighborhoods in Dublin. Seeing their legal efforts fail and the immense brutality that the British were ready to use to crush dissent, Irish society rose up in revolt. A wholescale guerrilla campaign against the British began, with some tactics such Tom Barry's Flying Column in Cork becoming examples to guerrillas everywhere. An illegal Irish dual power structure developed, with "British" and "Irish" having separate versions of everything from church to townhall. In 1919 the city of Limerick was taken over after a general strike that was called in protest of the police murder of a Irish rebel. Limerick was then under the control of workers' councils, which ran the city in a co-operative manner for two weeks. After years of war, a truce was declared in 1921 and the subsequent Treaty split Ireland into the Irish Free State and Northern Island. While many Irish sided with the Irish Free State, the IRA reorganized and continued a guerrilla war to reunite Northern Ireland with Ireland, including a bombing attempt that almost killed Margaret Thatchter, and ambushing British soldiers and state-sponsored anti-Irish death squads. These anti-Irish forces such as the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) used violence to put down a non-violent civil rights movement for equal rights in Northern Ireland. Calls for disarmament and negotiations with the British government have led to a relatively peaceful period recently, but currently the British government has dissolved home rule for Northern Ireland and the situation is tense. In the South, the moving of American high-tech companies like Intel to Ireland led to a brief economic boom in which Ireland could be paraded about by EU and neoliberals as its "Celtic Tiger," but a general economic recession and blatant government corruption have soured the picture considerably. Given the long history of tragedy that Irish people have suffered at the hands of the British military and "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, it is not surprising that many Irish people have issues with the dogma of nonviolence and violence, as well as balaclavas. However, it is also clear that Ireland has a history resistance that could prove a fertile ground for uprisings against their new colonial overlords, the multinational corporations and the EU.

Getting Ready to Rumble

The Dublin Grassroots Network has called for a Mayday action, and with nothing particularly interesting happening in Edinburgh, I jumped over to Ireland. When I arrived in Ireland, the only place I could find on the maps given out at the Dublin Mayday website was the Indymedia Centre. Surprisingly, there was no clear convergence centre, and e-mails of my comrades in Indymedia Scotland to Indymedia Ireland had told us not to come early since everything was sorted. When I got to the Indymedia Centre, this was far from the case. First, it was obvious that the spirit of the anti-globalization movement was in the air, with tables set up with groups from the Irish anarchist Workers Solidarity Movement to the Greek Anti-Authoritarian Movement giving out free literature, and free tea being provided. However, the air was tense - and logistics were a mess. After an announcement that the local kids from the council flats (housing for those on the dole, or welfare) were dismantling people's bikes for spare parts, a hoarse Irish activist announced that the squat they had hoped to use as a convergence centre and for housing had been raided by the cops and that the three squatters who were there holding the fort down were in jail. Immediately, there was panic. The police were already arresting people, and now there was nowhere to have meetings or even to sleep.

Perhaps one of the most stunning parts of the build-up to Mayday in Dublin was the tabloid's sensational lies that "Anarchist mobs were going to destroy Dublin" and even a full-spread article on one of the organizers of Dublin Grassroots Network entitled "Teacher by Day, Anarchist by Night." While I'm sure many anarchists would have loved to see a few corporate banks get hit with a molotov, and the windows of a McDonald's broken, the fear-mongering that anarchists were going to destroy ordinary people's property - or as one tabloid claimed, release a chemical bomb killing 10,000 innocent Dubliners - was absolutely unwarranted. As usual, the press was trying to divide the
protesters from the people who are every day suffering under the heel of the very system the protesters are against. While some of the outrageous slander may be attributed to the strange British and Irish tabloid culture - where the lines between legitimate news and tabloids are blurred, clearly this a part of a larger strategy by the global elite to use the media to spread their message and label revolutionaries as terrorists. Thus, the window is open for Indymedia to broadcast the truth. As the tabloids become more and more obviously outrageous in their lies, and as the actions of the protesters were clearly going to prove them wrong, the man and woman on the streets was going to know that their not only was the state-sponsored media lying, but that their rulers of the EU were clearly afraid of something - and that something was popular revolt, not broken windows. Dublin Grassroots Network and Indymedia Ireland, unlike many Indymedia Centres which had long ago given up on even interacting with the corporate media, decided on a proactive media offensive, using the opportunity of the Mayday protests to bring anarchism and the problems of the EU into the spotlight. They did - and although the tabloid media distorted things, anarchists got called on to Irish talkshows, did radio interviews, and even the tabloids generally made it known that the protests were "anti-capitalist" and "against the EU", surprisingly without putting a nationalist slant on things. Everyone in Ireland had at least heard about "anarchy" and "anti-capitalism" in the build-up to Mayday.

However, with no convergence centre and nowhere to go, many protesters began hanging out in the Indymedia Centre, which began causing problems since Indymedia Ireland was using the space under the auspices of the Dublin-based Community Media Network, which weren't too keen on having the space being used for anything other than video showings. This led to a weird situation with Indymedia Ireland members serving as representatives of the shadowy Community Media Network, telling protesters to stop cooking food, making banners, and having meetings in the Indymedia Centre since it was a "media centre", not a "convergence centre," despite there de facto being no convergence centre. This led to no small amount of ill-will between Indymedia Ireland/Community Media Network and many international protesters, who were occasionally locked out of the centre and felt that the Indymedia Centre was prioritizing press conferences with corporate media over housing, food, and even having a meeting to find out what the hell was going on for Mayday. Despite the harsh words, it soon became clear that there was going to be no media event to report on without the protesters, and in between video showings Indymedia Ireland and Dublin Grassroots Network folks managed to pull together a few short planning meetings and tried managed to not get everyone kicked out the Indymedia Centre. There were clearly two tactical problems - one is that a squat should never be guaranteed for something as critical as a convergence centre, and also more open and egalitarian process where Indymedia Ireland and the Community Media Network sat down and talked out the problems with the protesters instead of delivering orders was needed. However, given the stressful situation and occasional harsh word, both sides fundamentally made good out of a bad situation. Outside, an open international anarchist meeting happened to co-ordinate the tactics for the next day, and as one Brit noticed "that the balance of the class war is not fundamentally in our favor" and that the Irish comrades had asked for a peaceful protest, a tactical decision was reached: the protesters would not destroy in property or provoke the police, but if the police tried to stop the march by force the protesters were going to defend themselves, linking arms and breaking police lines if necessary. This tactical stance was quickly accepted by the Dublin Grassroots Network, and everyone went home happy if nervous. At the last minute the Dublin police declared all the anti-EU march illegal and its meeting point off-limits, but people quickly chose to a new location under the strange steel pinnacle in the heart of the busiest street in Dublin - and just a few hours after the meeting we heard the meeting point announced over the corporate news. Also, Dublin experienced it's largest critical mass ever - with over five hundred people - and the tide of despair slowly turned to one of hope. Also, the next day an "undercover" tabloid reporter printed the "Secret Diary of Anarchist No. 214" in which the contents of the tactical meeting were divulged.

Earlier, a jail solidarity march had taken place that surprisingly unmolested managed to block the front of jail with a banner stating that "Our Passion for Freedom is Stronger than Any Prison," and despite rather low numbers managed to attract random Irish children on bikes, who pumping their fists in the air led shouts of "Free Polly Murphy". I might add that while our passion is very strong indeed, being in jail is till an experience I have no wish to repeat regardless of my current passions. After the march, several homeless Irish people came by and asked us what were doing. We gave them some pamphlets, but they told us that they couldn't read. So we sat down for nearly an hour in a park explaining that essentially the EU makes the rich richer and the poor poorer all over Europe, and that poor Irish people have more in common with poor Poles than their so-called leaders and bosses. The homeless Irish folks emphatically agreed, and even got some of their friends to come by to hear the explanation again. Noticing that most people on the street seemed sympathetic despite the media onslaught, my affinity group decided that it was time for last minute outreach to the Irish people. A pamphlet entitled "To the Proud Men and Women of Dublin" outlining the arguments against the EU and for international anarchy was quickly typed up and copied, and within hours our group had distributed a thousand copies to council flats and other poor areas in Dublin. While the city of Dublin went through pains to hide its poor on obscure streets and behind the gates of council estates, we were met unilaterally with interest and support, with one older Irish man telling us to "stick it to the real terrorists like Blair!". The most common misconception seemed to be that we were advocating a "Ireland for the Irish" approach, but after explanation even the town drunk who just a minute beforehand had seemed a tad racist was declaring himself an international socialist. The police, clearly threatened by the flyers, stopped us and searched our bags, searching for "the bleach that anarchists were going to throw in cop's eyes." If the people of Ireland were too smart for the tabloids, it was clear the cops were reading and believing them.

Water, Water Everywhere and not a Drop to Drink

Even though the streets of Dublin were lined with cops and the air smelled of a police state, I sat back in the pub relaxing with a pint of Guinness with an international cabal of anarchists from throughout Europe, one of whom even had a full-page expose of his background as "troubled schoolboy," his taste for wearing "a reinforced baseball cap to escape police beatings," and claimed that his "military-grade battle sense would bring chaos to Dublin." Surrounded by slightly besotted Irish football fans playing pool, as our pictures from the Critical Mass and prison solidarity march came up on the screen, the Irish locals laughed at us and gave us winks. Given the relatively small numbers at the protests and the high police harassment, we were worried, so we chugged one final beer and marched to our meeting spot in front of the GPO on O'Connell Street - and to our delight there was thousands gathering to protest the EU. Due to its open organizing and non-sectarian image, the Dublin Grassroots Network had attracted hordes of Irish people, ranging from union members to punk rockers to protest the EU. It was clear this was going to be the largest anti-globalization march Dublin had ever seen, legal or not.

The march began at a fast pace, as one Irish anarchist noted, the fastest he had ever seen a several thousand march move. Luckily, it was fast enough. The Dublin Grassroots Network had decided, given the police's continual efforts to shut down their march - that they were not going to tell the police any march route, and instead did a few sudden street turns that surprised the police, and for hours the march went on relatively unmolested by police. In fact, it went so fast about half way through a collective break was taken, and the police still didn't catch up! The police, unable to handle a march that didn't follow their directions, let the march go within a mile of Farmleigh Castle, much closer than anyone had expected. While the banner of the march award definitely went to the Irish anarcho-punk women with the huge mohawks and the "One must have chaos within to give birth to a dancing star" banner, other anarchists got in a Black Bloc to prepare for the inevitable confrontation by the police. While a small army of police surrounded a McDonald's, a Volkswagen dealer made of what appeared to be pure glass went undefended, with the Black Bloc smiling as they went by it peacefully. Lots of ordinary Irish people joined in the march, often with a pint of Guinness in hand. Children from council flats we had seen earlier stealing bikes in front of Indymedia and running about dilapidated buildings while handing flyers also appeared in the march. One who recognized me went up to me and asked "When the riot was going to happen," and informed me that he and his twelve-year old friends had made petrol-bombs in preparation! I told him the riot was going to begin whenever the police attacked the march, and to keep cool.

The march soon came to a gateway, and the police, desperately noticing the march was getting without earshot of Farmleigh castle, formed a wall in front of the march. The front of the march, we had been a model of self-restraint and discipline up to this point, in an orderly fashion let the Black Bloc come to the front to confront the police. I had myself been holding one of the banners in the Bloc, and soon found myself in the frontline, locking arms with my fellow black-clad anarchists...quite a few of which had smiley-faces stenciled on their balaclavas. I wasn't sure if that was supposed to be funny for ourselves or the cops. We approached the front of the police-lines, bracing ourselves for the final showdown. Butterflies in my stomach, I admitted to the anarchist I was locking arms with that "I'm not actually sure this is going to work." She nodded likewise, but what choice did we have? We had to do something and we had made an agreement with the rest of the protesters. So, with cries of "Solidarity!" coming up from all sides, we walked up to the line of cops and braced ourselves. We ambled right into the line of cops, who also locked arms. For a few minutes we did a strange dance with the cops, with a horde of people pressing behind on us, the pressure on both us and the cops began reaching the breaking point.

I gasped for air as the crowd pushed against my back, caught like a sandwich between the crowd and cop. The police chief yelled at me "You call this non-violent!", to which I responded that he could simply let us march right to Farmleigh Castle instead of stopping us. The line of anarchists slowly formed a wedge, and in one giant heave the three-deep cop line broke, and anarchists began running straight down the road past the fleeing cops with triumphant cheers. I screamed for people to maintain formation, but it was too late - and riot cops with shields and batons in hand had used the delay to get in formation behind the fleeing line of cops we had just ran through, and within minutes all hell had broken loose as the riot cops began an attack, and the recently triumphant anarchists ran back. Then, as if out of nowhere, a water cannon imported from Northern Ireland appeared and sprayed the crowd. Instead of fleeing, the riot cops stood in amazement as people began running towards the water cannon, dancing in the falling water.

As the water cannon began to move forward surrounded by a squadron of riot police, as another group of protesters began sitting down in front of water cannon, brandishing peace signs in their hands. Confused, the riot cops and water cannon lost its momentum, and the one-two combination of Black Bloc anarchists breaking the police lines and non-violence civil disobedience threw the cops for a loop. As the riot cops beat the protesters that were blockading their new toy from attacking the rest of the crowd, the main part of the march divided into two parts - one part that stood a bit back, and others that rushed the water cannon, including one brave soul that jumped on the front of the water cannon. The one time I have seen a water cannon disabled was when in Quebec City when a courageous anarchist, hockey-stick in hands, jumped on the side windows of it and smashed them in, terrifying the drivers of the water-cannon into backing their cannon up. However, in the streets this time any action of this sort was clearly prevented by lines of riot cops surrounding the water cannon. Quite a few demonstrators noticed that the water cannon couldn't fire very well at targets that were right in front of it, and crowded the riot cops and the water cannon, causing the riot cops to occasionally lash out in panic and stalling their attempted cleaning of the square. Many people, with the majority probably being Irish locals, began throwing their beer cans and water bottles at the police lines, and the situation began resembling a strange Irish intifada in Dublin. A Greek friend of mine in our Scottish affinity group was asked by a Sinn Fein member who had just lobbed a beer can at the cops where he was from. When he replied that he was from Scotland, the Sinn Fein member said he was glad to see a member of the "Scottish Liberation Army" there to help out. Perhaps such an organization actually exists, and in the heat of the moment we had little time to explain the merits of internationalism! One particularly creative fellow even managed to grab a few bricks. Slowly but surely, the crowd was forced back, and as usual with most protests, what had started as an organized and disciplined effort degenerated into a sort of chaotic mass of people after the cops attacked. During most protests a fairly detailed plan for before the cops attack is drawn up, but no endgame for after the inevitable cop attack is ever made. After the march, we were tagged by a undercover cop.

One female police officer was supposedly "given a serious wounding" after being hit by something - of course, the protesters were labeled as violent thugs in the tabloids the next day in the media over this one incident, and no mention was made that the police woman was merely "doing her job," her job being defending the EU leaders who are responsible for the state-sponsored murder of thousands, from Iraq to refugee camps in on the borders of the EU itself. And we protesters are simply doing our job too, a job with its own set of occupational hazards, such as being beaten by the police and thrown in jail. Our job is to stop the murdering bastards, and unlike the police woman, no-one's paying us. Given the situation of being assaulted by riot cops and a water cannon imported from Northern Ireland, we all were having the time of our lives.

Anarchists Plan Street Festival in Revenge!

In the words of one comrade describing Mayday in Berlin, "just as it takes a whole village to raise a child, it seems it takes a whole community to host a sustainable riot." Riot would be a strong word for Mayday Dublin, as it was - besides a some throwing of mostly beer cans - one of the most non-violent and disciplined anti-globalization protests I had ever seen. It was obvious the local communities of activists and many ordinary people were behind us! However, the tabloids were having none of it: "Anarchists plan Revenge Attack Tomorrow!" screamed the papers. Regrouping at the Indymedia Centre, we were forced to have a very brief meeting in between arguments with the Community Media Network about the validity of having meetings in their space. While there was no time for a wrap up, a quick plan was made to do a jail solidarity march with the nearly thirty people arrested at the Mayday demo and then converge back the City Centre of Dublin for a Reclaim the Streets.

Although due to the strange holiday bus schedule and the fact that our affinity group was staying half an hour out of town, we managed to make it to the jail solidarity demo, which again did a impromptu street seizure and again was met with incredulous stares by the few Dublin cops who managed to get their act together enough to try to at least follow us. Joined by local kids on bikes, who raised their fist in the air for a "Free Polly Murphy!", we converged with the Reclaim the Streets. For what seemed to be an excruciating long period of time we sat around, waiting for something to happen. Local children held up an "Expansion = Exploitation" banner with the Wombles, and when they were told that they were holding a banner next to the most infamous anarchists in Dublin, one child said, "You're a Womble? I hate you!", but then kept holding the banner. It was almost too cute.

Finally, the crowd, led a Samba band, took the streets as the police harmlessly watched. Several hundred us, blowing whistles and banging on drums, marched down the street. A cry went up that someone had been arrested, and we rushed to the unmarked van where the cry came from. However, within minutes the van pulled out, and giving a thumbs up, we knew that our mate hadn't been arrested - but had jumped into the sound-system van! The crowd gathered at an intersection in front of a local pub, where locals stared at us like we were mad from the windows, and couples from the flats around us leaned out their windows to see what the anarchist mob was about to do next. The van opened and out came speakers, turntables, banners, and within minutes somehow the record player hit the turn table and the deep bass of a reggae beat to bring down Babylon itself came out. The crowd went wild, and within second a formerly lonely and forgotten intersection in Dublin became a wild dance party that would have done a pagan May Day ceremony proud. The dancers, a strange mix of international and Irish protesters from yesterday mixed with kids who just wanted to dance and everyone began vibrating their hips as one. Out of nowhere Food Not Bombs and large quantities of free beer appeared. Dublin police, who gained some notoriety by brutally suppressing the last Reclaim the Streets in Dublin, just watched. A woman dressed head-to-toe in latex with a baby dressed as an angel started erotically dancing near them, and even the cops smiled. The party was on! It went on for an indeterminate number of hours, till finally we left, well-fed, well-danced, and drunk off both the alcohol and life.

Hindsight is Twenty-Twenty

If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labour movement . . . the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil in misery and want, expect salvation -- if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread on a spark, but there and there, behind you -- and in front of you, and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.

August Spies, at his trial after the Haymarket Massacre

The true measure of a protest comes not from the events of the few days of confrontation it engenders, but from the building of movements in creates in its wake. For a city such as Dublin that has never hosted an globalization summit before, the true success of the Mayday protests will be measured by the growth of the anti-globalization and anarchist movements in Ireland. It appears that in this, Mayday Dublin was a success - for weeks, despite the slanders of the corporate media, anarchists and anti-capitalism was the subject of everyone's chatter. Afterwards, instead of showing themselves to be black flag-waving terrorists, the anarchists - including the internationals - showed themselves capable of restraint and co-operation with locals. There was no massive property destruction against ordinary Irish people. Instead, there was a well-coordinated confrontational approach was taken, that pushed the limits of what the protesters thought they were capable of, and did break police lines. It was clearly the police who reacted with real violence, with batons and water-cannons, making Dublin appear to be Belfast of the Troubles. The build-up and media relations by the Dublin Grassroots Network and Indymedia Ireland got hundreds, if not thousands, of Irish people interested in confronting power and seizing control of their own lives from the capitalist machinery, whether it was based in Brussels or anywhere else. There were no bombs. Instead, there was a popular march that fought back in self-defense and a damn good street party. Ultimately, the message got across, and actions spoke louder than words.

There were clearly some infrastructure problems with the protests, and these are to be expected especially in a place such as Dublin where the first big anti-globalization protest is organized. First, not having a convergence centre made the entire time more difficult. As did the behavior of some members of Indymedia Ireland who acted as hand-maidens for authoritarian dictates of the Community Media Centre. Obviously, the strength of a protest comes through the action on the street, not the amount of people with video-cameras trying to document the action. It's clear that only through open, transparent use of democratic (or anarchistic if you ask me!) consensus should decisions be made, and room should be made for discussion and compromise, as well as last minute adaption. Lots of people who came from out of town, such as myself, were understandably being tailed by undercover cops and having a convergence centre as a safe haven of sorts would have been useful. Large and secure accommodation needs to be secured beforehand, and every Indymedia centre should post-Genoa expect to be raided and try not to let fear run their operations...and having working computers with internet connections helps. Actions such as the no-border action were hindered by protesters being housed far away and having no knowledge of the city layout. Having large spokes-council meetings - as much as people including myself get bored to tears in them - is utterly essential. Even while only the most common-sense decisions usually get made, it's important for people to have access to the information about what's going on. Also, before doing something crazy like marching straight into police lines its good knowing that other people are with you. Strangely, meetings can boost morale. The international protesters also took far too little time to actually talk to local Irish activists, and didn't take the time to fully understand the difficult circumstances and local context they were working in. And many internationals brought beer into the Indymedia Centre, against both common-sense and the wishes of the IMC. Solving these problems is a tall order to say the least - so invite people over early, and take honest stock of the situation before the next globalization summit comes to town, and the fact that the G8 is coming to Britain next year is already on everyone's minds. Lastly, the corporate media will lie about dissent, since that's its whole modus operandi. Lack of good media should never be mistaken for lack of popular support. As our experience flying in the council flats showed, there's hordes of people who agree that politicians are corrupt, that government is useless, and that the real violence comes from the wars of our elites and the expense of the poor, who get poorer as the rich get richer. In fact, this anarchist analysis is common-sense! So go out and talk to your neighbors before the protest, especially people in poor and working-class areas of town, and these one-on-one conversations are more valuable than any website or news report.

The real tactical strength of Dublin came from its creative play of differences, as all good protests do. In all of these anti-globalization summits, it was the combination of forces that always have proved crucial. In Seattle, the combination of the lock-downs and the Black Bloc, with the massive numbers brought about by the labor and environmental alliance, won the day. In Quebec, it was the anarchists who pulled the fence down, only to make room for the Quebecois locals to stage a revolt against the occupying Canadian police. At the anti-G8 protests in Switzerland, it was a combination of tactical burning blockades combined with large marches by civil society that mucked things up for the G8. It does us little good to argue about the One Right Way (tm) to have a protest, and it does us much better to open up the space for a true diversity of tactics. The defining moment of the Dublin Mayday protests was win, right after the Black Bloc had broken police lines, the water cannon appeared, and immediately pacifist protesters sat down in front of it to block its forward motion. Many of those, such as the anarchists that charged the riot cops and the pacifists that lay in the path of the water cannon, are still currently being held in Dublin - so go find an Irish embassy or consulate and protest! A movement is only a strong as it can support its members that are behind bars. And despite the arrests, our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons. For a few moments in Dublin, it was as clear as night and day - on one side stood the riot cops and their water cannons, guarding their leaders who wined and dined in castles, and on the others stood everyone else - children from Council Flat, black-clad anarchists, independent journalists, pacifist in rainbow colors, working-class Irish men and women. The veneer of legitimacy was stripped from the European Union, and it was People versus Power. August Spies would have been proud, I hope. The subterranean fires, the fires of anarchy and freedom, are still burning in our hearts more than century after his execution. And no water cannon is going to put the fire out.

In the socialist world, the first of May is considered the Labor holiday. This is a mistaken description that has so penetrated the lives of the toilers that in many countries that day is indeed celebrated as such. In fact, the first of May is not at all a holiday for the toilers. No, the toilers should not stay in their workshops or in the fields on that date. On that date, toilers all over the world should come together in every village, every town, and organize mass rallies, not to mark that date as statist socialists and especially the Bolsheviks conceive it, but rather to gauge the measure of their strength and assess the possibilities for direct armed struggle against a rotten, cowardly, slave-holding order rooted in violence and falsehood.

Nestor Makno, Dyelo Truda No.36, 1928

For more info:

Indymedia Ireland: www.indymedia.ie
Anarchy in the UK: www.enrager.net
WOMBLES: www.wombles.org.uk
Dublin Grassroots Network: www.geocities.com/eufortres
Workers Solidarity Movement: www.struggle.ws
Anarchist Propaganda by CrimethInc: www.crimethinc.com

author by Mark P.publication date Mon May 10, 2004 05:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What a pompous turd this lad is!

I'm not sure what I liked best. Was it the description of the IMC collective as "acting as hand-maidens of the authoritarian dictates of the Communist Media Centre"? Or was it the hilarious stage Irish descriptions of ruddy faced locals joining the marcn pints of Guinness in hand?

author by BackstreetSurgeonpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 05:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are quite a number of points to be dealt with in this overlong, badly written hogwash.
I am too tired now, but I intend to disect this later today,
bit by bit.
And I will not be using any anesthetic.

author by Flap Doodlepublication date Mon May 10, 2004 07:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the only thing that I didn't like was the line that the person posting above disliked and misquoted
"the behavior of some members of Indymedia Ireland who acted as hand-maidens for authoritarian dictates of the Community Media Centre."
It's not COMMUNIST Media Centre it's COMMUNITY. It's ridiculous to call CMN or their conditions for use of THEIR building "authoritarian".
I don't agree that the author is pompous though and you look like much more of turd because you introduced the insult.

author by pat cpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the Black Block keep avoiding the provocateur style actions of some of their members in O'Connell Street. As the march was starting off, several members of the BB came running out of their "block" to physically assault photographers. These photographers were at least 10 feet away from the BB. More than 1,000 marchers had already pssed the photographers without incident. I, along with another person twice put oursrelves between the BBers and the photographers.

The actions of these BBers were what you would expect from agent provocateurs or morons. In this case I am prepared to give the BBers in question a fools pardon. But the BB must take responsibility for their dumber members. If these BBers were looking for a fight then why didnt they take on the cops (plenty of them around)instead of attacking soft targets?

I certainly didnt want the BBers to attack anyone, gardai or media, I wanted a peaceful march, but the very fact that these BBers attacked photograsphers who did not draw close is telling.

author by Karl Marxpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 12:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dateline: London May 1871

Tells Parisians: ‘Now is a good time to forge alliance with German Working Class. Trust me, I’m German.’

Karl Marx, the self-styled ‘leading theorist of the Anti-Capitalist movement’, issued a call today from his London home for unity among his followers. Amidst fears that extremist Parisians bolstered by foreign agitators will march on Versailles and provoke a coup next Saturday, Mr Marx has urged peaceful protests.

‘We haff seen’, commented the heavily-accented and bearded Jewish foreigner, ‘the tragic consequences when lightly armed protestors try to confront the armed might of the state. Paris 1848 has shown us the futility of small bands of men, unlinked to the general working class, who use violence to make their voice heard.’

These comments were made in the run-up to the controversial Franco-German Summit at Versailles. The summit has angered many sections of the French populace, who see certain provisions of the proposed treaty as infringing on their country’s sovereignty.

‘Now is a golden time to build on this popular anger.’ Mr Marx declared. ‘Our politicians have betrayed us! Jail the corrupt politicians! We must communicate this anger in an imaginative well-policed fashion, rather than meaninglessly provoking the State to violence.’

Mr Marx referred to the fact that the French government has recently been lent several cannons by the German authorities to deal with the anticipated unrest. ‘They will not hesitate to use violence. Our only hope is not to give them the opportunity by steering clear of confrontation. Now that all eyes are on France, Frenchmen must impress the world with their good behaviour. This way, they can truly hope to forge alliances with the German working class, with whom our French friends have had many contacts.’

Mr Marx confirmed that his friends and family would not be deterred by French media hysteria from marching in London to make their feelings known. He urged all members of the French working class to join the march, adding that ‘I do not want to point fingers at crazy anarchist smackheads, but when I reflect upon the possibility of a Civil War in France, I shudder.’


author by Homerpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I stopped reading after his reference to "EU leaders feasting behind the towers of Farmleigh Castle"... but after the comments here, I'd better read the rest for the laugh!

author by JBpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 14:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Lots of ordinary Irish people joined in the march, often with a pint of Guinness in hand."

Of course we did. To be sure to be sure. Tosser.

author by Paddy Mickpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 14:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And I had a pig under me arm.

author by Mark P.publication date Mon May 10, 2004 15:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I do apologise for the typo, to the Community Media people.

That aside I stand by every word I wrote and in particular my description of our Scottish friend as a pompous turd.

Never before have so many words been wasted on such self-indulgent, patronising, rubbish.

author by Evilbullitonpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 18:22author email evilbulliton at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Guiness comment I thought this account was accurate.
the stinging (*cough) criticisms that followed repulsed me.
Explain the pompous remark please.

The author did the CMN/Indymedia justice.
He was articulating what many foreign protestors felt.
He also illustrated what I thought was the main failing of the march. The chaos that erupted when the riot cops gathered.
With more meetings this could have been straightened out.

He made some good correlations between seperate events. Im also impressed that his affinity group got a pamhlet out and talked to people on the streets. This is what affinity groups should be up to. Fair play!

Black Bloc bashing is really starting to annoy me. More constructive discussion of their tactics is needed. Especially how future protests can operate with every type of protestor.

author by student protestorpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 18:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a total waste of space, this is boring self indulgent tripe.

author by bakuninpublication date Mon May 10, 2004 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i'm very sorry to report but the police line was not...repeat...was not broken by the protesters! video footage of the day which i has seen a dozen time shows the police being told to fall back as the riot police move forward shortly after the female guard was hit with a bottle! it may have seemed like it was broken because half the people there could not see what was going on as they were being squashed!

ohhh and leave our scottish friend alone!
he had a good day! and i hope he's back for the bush protests! IMC people and the dublin crowd let down the internationals who travelled over!
lets not make the same mistake for the bush visit!

author by fempublication date Mon May 10, 2004 19:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maybe I didn't read this thoroughly enough but at what does stage does the author suggest he/she is male/female?

Why do some commentors presume the author is male?

author by R. Isiblepublication date Mon May 10, 2004 19:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Alexander. Admittedly "Alexander Trocchi" is known to be the name of a counter-cultutral Scottish writer by some people. But still, it's a male pseudonym.

author by pcpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 00:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i don't think the photographers are all that innocent, they know what there doing they know they get in the way all day i have little sympathy for them they invite people to react to them so they can get a good picture.... ten feet is close enough for me ,, pat c i think your right to question these actions.... but afaik you haven't denide that the camera men etc put thmeselves at risk in being between the police and the bloc up at ashtown.....

ok so not the same people probably but your telling me these photographers weren't annoying and egging on the people dressed in back so they get there shots of riotors all day?

i have't followed the lenghty discussion the center etc here and on uk sites but isn't the cmn funded by the gov , please correct me if im wrong re funding , and they inturn generously let indymedia use the place....
and that some of the foreign bb'ers are so caught up in their own world that they reject forming links with community media, who work with the all hallowed working class, cos they get funding from government

author by selfreliantpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 03:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bakunin said:
"IMC people and the dublin crowd let down the internationals who travelled over!
lets not make the same mistake for the bush visit!"

You anarchists just don't have a clue, do you? I used to thinkt anarchy was about self-reliance and personal responsibility, but now I'm not so sure. I don't think the IMC were obliged to babysit a bunch of arrogant spoiled brats who were incapable of interacting in a civilised way with the local community, or that the IMC is a housing agency for every helpless punk/hippy who wanders from place to place expecting to be fed, watered, and tucked in at night.

I'm a bit concerned about your linking that with the Bush visit. If you visit a foreign country or city you have the responsibility to make your own arrangements re accomodation. It is not the responsibility of the locals to lay it on for you. If I went to London, for instance, I would not expect free accomodation for the duration of my stay.

If some of these "internationals" come here for the Bush visit they should avoid trying to dictate to us how the protests should take place.
And don't go physically attacking journalists. By all means criticise what they say, and counter it as best you can, but don't launch physical attacks on them. By doing so you are putting yourself in the same category as some very dubious people.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Tue May 11, 2004 03:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And how are we to know that your post isn't a delibarate attempt to drive a wedge between Irish activists that welcome and really want to see interational activists turn up for the Bush protests?

There was a small problem with a small number of people. But it's hardly enough for you, whoever you are, to start telling people to stay away. Take the comments with a huge pinch of salt and think about possible motivations my dear international anti-Bush friends.

Here's hoping you turn up to help us tell Fush to Buck Off.

author by selfreliantpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 04:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not telling anyone to stay away, just to be an asset instead of a liability.
I agree, most of the problems were caused by a tiny unrepresentative minority, but they influence local people's perception of other activists.
All are welcome, but a bit of sensitivity to local sensibilities would be welcome.
And dont expect free accomodation!

author by Alexander Trocchipublication date Tue May 11, 2004 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First, as you might have noticed had you read the post - I was very supportive of all Irish people involved in the protest, and was amazed at the popular support the anti-EU protest had despite the media's slander.

Now, I think *everyone* admits there was problems with infrastructure during this protest - and while a large amount of the problem did get dumped on Indymedia Ireland, the behavior of the Community Media Centre, which did not sit down to talk about their issues with us but instead used Indymedia Ireland to deliver "dictates" was immature, just as immature as protesters bringing beer into the context and not understanding or having sympthy for the local context. I point this out as well. Again, infrastructure is difficult!

I also think that had the march not had Black Bloc that at least attempted to break police lines (and yes, perhaps the police did fall back on command, I couldn't tell, cause I was busy being squished up against the police face to face) it would have gone down in history as yet another long and pointless march, i.e. liek the socialist worker party's Another Europe is Possible March. However, I also respect and compliment the behavior of the non-violent civil disobedience. Again, the combination of internationals and Irish, of peaceful protest and direct action - this makes a good protest.

And yes, my writing may be hogwash or pompous - and if so - please write *something* better, or point our particular phrases and sentences you don't like. I'd be happy to re-edit, and am hoping to in the near future. I went out of my way to provide an introduction to the EU and Irish history, to give people context for the whole event. Is that context correct? If you have an ideological, stylistic, or tactical problem with the writing. However, given the amount of badly spelled newswire reports that only give the bare facts, I thought a long essay detailing the whole event might be useful for people who *weren't* there especially.

author by Alexander Trocchipublication date Tue May 11, 2004 11:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well, I saw one photographer forcibly confronted, and it seemed like he was more liable to attack the protesters than vice versa.

Just so everyone knows, the whole concept behind the putting a black mask on is so that the police don't know who you are - a tactic that has worked amazingly well in almost every major protest, and deserves to be used again and again. People who are trying on some level to hide their identity are not liable to want to have their picture taken, and usually after attempting to explain this to a photographer will use direct action to stop them, especially against corporate media sources which routinely print lies about protesters and co-operate routinely with the police. So, if you want a picture of the sexy-looking black mask, just ask people first and explain if you are from Indymedia. Generally, Black Bloc people (who weren't all foreigners I might point out, there was lots of local Irish folks in it) don't like their photos taken but make exceptions for Indymedia.

author by Davidpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 12:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The reason Irish activists attempted to provide a place for international activists to stay (our squat was raided) is because when we travel abroad we very much appreciate the accommodation they provide for us. We invited them over and we felt we had a duty to provide them with some place to stay. This duty was fulfilled through volunteers offering places in their own homes, but prior to this there was a misunderstanding in relation to the function of this particular IMC facility and what role it was able to play.

author by Mediaboypublication date Tue May 11, 2004 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There may have been a misunderstanding but there was also a collossal arrogance on display and not from the Community Media people.

The Community Media Centre did not organise protests and in fact had little or nothing to do with the protests. The fact that they generously let Indymedia use some space does not mean that they had any responsibility at all to travelling protestors. They had no responsibility to house them or provide them with somewhere to meet still less provide them with somewhere to booze. That's not "authoritarian" that's just fact.

The behaviour of anyone who thought that the Community Media people had any responsibility at all to do anything for them was arrogant in the extreme. It is little different from showing up at the facilities of a local theatre group or Friends of the Earth and demanding that they give you meeting space and accomodation, while you crack open a few cans in their reception.

DGN were the people who should have provided somewhere to stay. And they tried to. Not Indymedia and certainly not Community Media.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 16:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i would not defend photograohers who were acting in a provocative manner. at fitz sq i had covered the lens of a phtgrpher who was up close & snaping someone who was carying out an extralegal action. i managed to perform this peacefully, only puting my hands over the camera lens.

the o'conell st incident was completely diferent. over 1,000 marchers had already passed these cameramen. the cameramen did not move any closer when the BB was passing, but several members of the BB came runing out kicking and punching at the photographers. there was no need nor excuse for this. if it had not been countered it could have given the cops an "excuse" to braek up the march at an early stage.

it is crazy to cary out random atacks on the media, it is not going to endear us to those in the media who did not join in the hysteria. it also shows complete indiscipline on the part of some BBers.

author by PAT Cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the BB were all masked so this makes the atack doubly stupid & unecessary. the 1000 who had passed peacefully beforehand were unmasked & didnt feel threatened by these cameramen. no, they just stuck to the DGN guidelines.

are the BB becoming some sort of vanguard who make up 5% of the march but fel they are more important than everyone else?

author by publication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I didn't see any BBer kick or punch any camera people on O'Connell st. I did however see one spray paint the lens of a cameraman.

In the sunday papers there were several references to scuffles breaking out between protesters and media at the police lines at ashtown, but only one paper actually pointed out that it was a member of the media that swung the first punch and incited the scuffle.

I think this report is good but overly positive, there were definately a lot of problems with tactics on the day that still need to be discussed.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well those atacks on the media took place. and as i wrote, pat guerin and myself intervened to stop the attacks. at the time i reported the incidents to dermot s & chekov etc.

author by publication date Tue May 11, 2004 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do we reject all aspects of capitalism or just the ones we don't think we can use for our own needs. 'The masters tools can never dismantle the masters house'? How come so many anti-globalisation groups reject large multinational organisations as irreformable yet the same criticisms which apply to these organisations also apply to the corporate media, although "we" are still willing to engage with it?

One of the problems raised by the internationalists was how space couldn't be made for their needs but it was being made for a corporate press conference. Whereas at previous international summits and events it is normally taken as given that there will be no corporate media allowed. So it may have seemed quite shocking for something assumed as a common prerequisite of an indymedia centre to be so flaunted.

One member of indymedia pointed out at the meeting that indymedias are supposed to be autonomous as a reponse to comparisons and contrasts made by the internationals to other foreign indymedias, it seems that this anti-globalisation buzzword, which also means freedom from as well as freedom to, has been lost on them if they are still willing to engage with the corporate media rather than reject it outrightly and start attempting to create an open and democratic alternative.

author by Chekovpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 18:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think that such attacks are stupid and self-indulgent. However, I didn't see any such attacks. If I had, I would probably have approached the individuals concerned and asked them to respect the guidelines. I applaud your efforts at doing so. I had previously argued at length with several of the internationals not to behave in such a way. When the incident happened at the indymedia centre, I was one of the individual volunteers who stood up for the journalist (although I sadly arrived too late to make any difference) But, the idea that I had a particular responsibility to stop such things isn't really accurate. Although I am part of DGN, I was not part of the march organising group and was acting as an Indymedia cameraman for the day.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 18:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

sorry about that. i thought you were an organiser on the day.

author by black bloc'erpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat you need to relax, it really was a bit of handbag stuff. People in black had repeatedly told the guy not to film them and he kept on doing it - people do have the right not to be filmed (for whatever reasons they have themselves), and if someone doesnt respect that then of course people are going to take exception to it.

Your behaviour either (shouting at them, physically threatening them, you're a big lad!) wasnt exactly defusing the situation. As I recall someone in a black mask who seemed to know you went over to you to calm you down.

If you are worried about future anarchist marches and the behaviour towards corporate media journalists on them, may I suggest you get involved with the planning process for them. More people are always welcome. As far as I know you had zero involvment with the Grassroots Network in the build up to the Mayday weekend, so I dont think its fair that you criticise the WSM or DGN without having put the time and energy in first.

To the author of this piece, if they're still reading the comments - nice one, its very good. Any chance we could use it later on for a fanzine?

author by jacques ellulpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wish to commend the author on a briliantly written piece. The analysis was eloquent and accurate. Our scottish comerade also did something which will have lasting effects on the community which is to get out and talk to people from the area. This outreach ensures that any such mass demo is not ineffectual, but is infact the opposite.

I am interested in the comments being made about black blockers attacking a camera man. As Alexander pointed out many of us don't want our pictures taken. Some even have great fear that they would encounter repression elsewhere if they were linked to any action. Since many BBers are willing to engange in extralegal actions they don't wish to be identified. The particular cameraman was seemingly taking close up pictures of BBers. When asked to stop he got irrate and refused to desist. Certainly the BBers and the photographer may have goten slightly irrate neither is perfect. However, I would like to point out that the cameraman failed to appreciate the wishes of the BBers.

author by pat cpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" People in black had repeatedly told the guy not to film them and he kept on doing it - people do have the right not to be filmed "

this guy was the same distance away as the rest of the photograhers. he did not move closer as the BB passed.

"Your behaviour either (shouting at them, physically threatening them, you're a big lad!) wasnt exactly defusing the situation. "

i was preventing them from atacking the photographers. and i will do so again in similar circumstances.

"As I recall someone in a black mask who seemed to know you went over to you to calm you down."

calm me down? i wasnt the one who was carying out headbanging attacks on the media.

I"f you are worried about future anarchist marches and the behaviour towards corporate media journalists on them, may I suggest you get involved with the planning process for them."

as far as i am aware from the guidelines the DGN wanted a peaceful march. they certainly did not suport atacks on journalists.

"More people are always welcome. As far as I know you had zero involvment with the Grassroots Network in the build up to the Mayday weekend,"

i didnt atend the planing metings but i did distribute leaflets on seceral occasions. who knows what any of the anonymous masked wariors did?

"so I dont think its fair that you criticise the WSM or DGN without having put the time and energy in first."

i did put time in but i guess i could have put in more. i do have the right to criticise both the wsm & dgn when some of them are not acknowledging what realy hapening.

why dont you come out from behind your black mask and grow up? i reckon you're only hiding from your mammy.

you're right its only one incident but the fact that you masked heros feel the need to spin & lie about it says a lot.

author by Ciaronpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanx for taking the trouble to write this. I think we met during the May daze and my hunch is that you are young and not from this part of the world. This comes through in the writing..but hey there's no crime in that!

I think you romanticise violence in the piece but we had that discussion at the time about those issues I think.

I think there are interesting questions about the roles of "guests" and "hosts"....which might actually be interesting to look at another time in the migration debate.....being a white australian we have a pretty terrible track record at both roles as GUEST (genocide, ecological destruction, introduction of animals that threaten the native ones etc.) and as HOST (cheCk out the US run gulags in the OZ outback).

If you're going to invite people to your city, you've got to host them (minimally a space to set up tents to camp) probably the idea of squats was a little optiistic given the lack of tradition and political climate. As a guesty ou've got to accept the boundaries offered by the host or leave (eg not drinking in the indymedia centre that some of the guests seemed to feel wes a some revolutionary act of defiance).

There was quite a bit of adolescent anarchism around in the subculture...but hey it's no crime to be young and most of us grow out of it. Prolonging ones adolescence could be a problem. Maybe it's because I work with alcoholics, but I felt all the drinking on the demonstration was pretty pathetic. When yougo into a confrontation with the state (in this case abandoning the surprise factor) you want to have as many of the wits you've got left about you.

The attack the previous day by the loon masquerading as anarchist on the female journalist from the Independent at the indymedia centre was an assault should have been confronted. People seemed more concerned about their bicycles/property than the dignity of this woman.

Yep good point if you're masked why attack a photographer, get a better mask.

Thanx again for the article. Thought the series of actions and daze was well worth it. Glad to have been a small part of it.

Related Link: http://www.ploughsharesireland.org
author by Keithpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 20:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...i think it's a mistake to call 'em Black Bloc... I took part on this bloc with the masked people and I believe that this is a great way to defend ourselves from the police surveillance.

When I got in the so called BB I discussed with some internationals and they told me that they are anarchists and anti-authoritarians, not BBs

They explained me that they don't like to be called Black Bloc as this is a trait given to them by the police and the media. So I think it's unfair to call them like that.

author by Acidpublication date Tue May 11, 2004 22:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The incident that you are refaring to is slightly more complicated then that. I'm sick and tired of these 'debates' that follow all the posts on indymedia but I was hoping for a chance to clarify what happened.
As the black bloc got closer to the top of O'Connell st, a TV camera man moved into the march and began to walk backwards infront of the bloc just a few short feet away.
He was repeativly told for about 20 seconds to get out of the way for numorous reasons. He did not do so. He continued to film (or pretend he was filming(?)). A number of people at the front of the bloc tried to nudge and gently push ( I use the word gently because it wasnt a violent push!) him to the path. Someone succeeded in moving him over a little but he retaliated by moving even closer to the people at the front of the bloc with a grin on his face.
He did not want to do anything but piss people off. This continued for about another 15 seconds when someone from the bloc moved up heading towards him. The camera man saw the black blocker walking towards him, so decided to move up on the the centre pedestrain area swiflty.
The black blocker took out a spraycan and went in to paint the lense of the camera. The camera man ducked and the spray missed. Other journalists jumped to the cameramans defence and started approaching the black blocker. He seemed angry and annoyed, and seemed to be very defensive of his actions.
At this stage a small number of men (DGN) came in to cool things down and stop it getting out of hand. Thing is they seemed to be more annoyed with the black blocker rather then anything else.

No worries tho. The camera was not harmed and filmed the whole event later that evening.

author by pat cpublication date Wed May 12, 2004 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

maybe we are talking about different incidents. the photographers that i saw attacked were at the side at least 10 feet away from the BB, along with the rest of the media. thats why pat g & i intervened.

i did see this happening and i & pat g put ourselves between the BBers & the media. (unless this was an acid trip on our part)

my main oint is that we shd not alienate the entire media. yeah, some of them are scum but some are sympathetic to us. but if u go around attacking photographers like this then all snappers will see us the enemy.

reminds me of clashs with youth defence. the camerapeople were mostly biased towards the pro-choice side, because they had been attacked by YD so often. the result was that the snappers would usually stand near us. dont make all of the media into your enemies

anyway, i'll leave it at that. what i wanted was to get a discussion going on tactics used against the media. its good to discuss this out rather than pretend there is no problem.

author by Acidpublication date Wed May 12, 2004 16:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

do seem to be two seperate incidents alright. Dont thik I witnessed the one you are talking about.

author by pat cpublication date Wed May 12, 2004 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i think i would have noticed the spray paint. i have probably overblown this but i do think these things need to be trashed out in @public@ at least on indymedia.

dont alienate the entire @mainstream" media.

and i know i'm harping on about it, but if over 1,000 other (unmasked) marchers could pass the media w/out incident, why do the masked BB have such a problem?

author by amandapublication date Wed May 12, 2004 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While I haven't been in all the indymedia centres in the world I was in the one in Genoa in 2001 and the Belgian indymedia centre in Cinema Nova during the EU summit of Dec 2001. Both of those centres allowed access to corporate media, in specific areas in Genoa and at certain times in Cinema Nova. (these conditions were also applied to protestors). No differently to the Irish Imc.
The reason why I believe that allowing access to the corporate media is important is because to make the kind of changes with the world that we want to make we need much bigger numbers of people. And while indymedia can be great, most people don't use it. The corporate media can be duplicitous and utterly self-serving but that does not mean we should not try to use it because sometimes we can get our point across. And the only way we ever will isn't by attacking their journalists but by engaging with them. It may not always work but it never will if you don't try.

author by anne bonnypublication date Wed May 12, 2004 21:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Black bloc is the name of the tactic, not any particular group. a black bloc forms for an action and then, when the action is over, disbands. Black bloc is not a derrogatory title, it's just the term used to distinguish the people using this tactic from all the other anarchists/anti-authoritarians present. the same goes for pink&silver bloc, white bloc/padded bloc etc. The people using that tactic on the day are not "the black bloc", nobody is, and so the people you were talking to have no authority over the term

author by publication date Thu May 13, 2004 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no such thing at this date of the world's history in America as an independent press. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write his honest opinion, and if you did, you know beforehand it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things. And any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allow my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before 24 hours, my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it, and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and the vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks. They pull the strings, and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

a quote found on the Internet, attributed to John Swinden, 1953, then head of the New York Times, when asked to toast an independent press in a gathering at the National Press Club

One day politics as well as all party and daily journalism will come to be seen as the prostitution of the intellect - Friedrich Nietzsche

Isn't the belgian IMC run by a trotskyist group (not that that should matter in the context of this discussion)? And when I was in Evian, both the camps (while not being indymedia centres, do show the perception of the media held by 'activists' and protesters there) in annemasse and lausanne refused to allow any media in after having held meetings and reaching consensus on the day when the camps started to get up and running and protesters had arrived, not decisions made in the run up to the summit, a problem often expressed/faced at many summit type events in the past and one Ireland obviously isn't immune to. You also say it was specific areas? Not that I may even agree with that, but everyone had to leave the irish IMC in order for the press conference to take place.

"The corporate media can be duplicitous and utterly self-serving but that does not mean we should not try to use it because sometimes we can get our point across."

Okay, now instead of corporate media replace it with WTO/IMF/ World Bank/etc.

"And the only way we ever will isn't by attacking their journalists but by engaging with them. It may not always work but it never will if you don't try."

Okay, now change "their journalists" to "the (any of the above mentioned institutions)".

There was a piece in I think it was the last ad busters magazine about how until we start refering to 'our' media as the mainstrem media rather than as the alternative media, 'we' aren't going to get anywhere. I think it was a mainstream journalist, or at least one who was reliant upon the corporate media to pay his bills, that said that.

The masters tools can never dismantle the masters house.

author by Chekovpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"but everyone had to leave the irish IMC in order for the press conference to take place."

Everyone who didn't want to be in the same space as corporate media chose to leave the Irish IMC. It's not the same thing at all.

It is also worth remembering that the IMC/CMN space was never an autonomous space. There was no possiblity of debate about this, it was a case of like it or lump it. This is not the fault of anybody, not IMC, not DGN, not CMN. It was just reality that this was the only space available with a set of conditions that were not up for debate. It was that or nothing. In the end it turned out to be much better than nothing, despite the serious headache that it caused us all.

author by publication date Thu May 13, 2004 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Everyone who didn't want to be in the same space as corporate media chose to leave the Irish IMC. It's not the same thing at all."

How many people 'chose' to stay then?

"It is also worth remembering that the IMC/CMN space was never an autonomous space. There was no possiblity of debate about this, it was a case of like it or lump it."

Why was there no possibility of debate?

author by Chekovpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 16:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Because CMN were the leaseholders of the building. Indymedia had already negotiated exactly as much as we could from the building. Their first conditions were things like "nobody can sleep here"; we all had a choice of accepting these conditions or having nowhere at all. Every time that there was an attempt by Indymedia's guests to question these fixed conditions, CMN saw it as Indymedia acting in bad faith with them and just rolled back on what had been agreed. The attempts to open up debate actually caused everybody to have less access to the space.

author by Joepublication date Thu May 13, 2004 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As far as I'm aware (I'm not involved in indymedia beyond publishing stuff here) the space was owned by Community Media Network who allowed indymedia to use it under certain conditions. The stuff you felt should be debated was against these conditions.

Now it is true a decision could have been made to occupy the space by those who happened to be in it at any time. In anarchist terms you are then getting into a rather complex debate about who should control a space, those who have put the work into creating and maintaining it (and I believe there was a lot of work) or those who are consuming the services offered. In just about all situations I'm aware of the end decision is left with the workers rather than the consumers although efforts are normally made to avoid such a straight forward division of opinion.

This specific situation if of course much, much more complex. For starters it was not the case of rebelling against a landlord but rather against a broad based community media organisation that had offered the space (with conditions) in the spirit of mutual aid. Secondly there was the problem that amongst those who wanted to change the conditions were a number of locals who had the opportunity to put work into creating the space but who choose not to. Obviously the internationals were not in the same position. And thirdly there was the general complete lack of respect shown by a minority who did stupid stuff like bring alcohol in or who launched public attacks on indymedia because the door opened a bit late Friday morning.

All in all I don't think any other decision could have been made without doing a lot of damage to the movement here and to indymedia.ie.

author by Media boypublication date Thu May 13, 2004 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why was there no possibility of debate?

Because the resource belonged to Community Media. An admirable group in many ways but not a group that had anything at all to do with the protests.

They generously made their facilities available to the IMC. They did not agree to make their facilities available to the protest organisers, or as a meeting space or as a boozing place for travelling anti-capitalists.

What some protesters were doing there was no different to turning up at the facilities of a community theatre group or Friends of the Earth, demanding the use of those facilities as a meeting space or an "autonomous space", while cracking open a few cans in their reception.

Community Media had nothing to do with the protests and no responsibility to accomodate protesters. Discussion wasn't possible because they had nothing to discuss with you.

The pig ignorance of some of my fellow protesters never ceases to amaze me. If you have a problem with the lack of organising or sleeping (or drinking) spaces provided TAKE IT UP WITH THE PROTEST ORGANISERS ie the DGN. Not with the IMC and certainly not with an organisation that happened to be letting the IMC use its facilities. All you do is make it less likely that organisations like Community Media will go out of their way to help the IMC ever again.

The DGN did try to make proper facilities available, but unfortunately squatted space was a bit of an unrealistic plan. A lesson for the next time, yes. An excuse to act the dickhead, no.

author by .publication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

cmn allowed imc to use their building for a media festival and as a media centre. in exchange for free use of their building there were some conditions attached. indymedia had the choice to accept this or not take the building. they were their guests.
if a friend has you to stay at their house but they ask you to not smoke inside that is not up for debate. it might seem unfair to you as you would let them smoke in your house if they wanted to but if you are their guest you accept their conditions or you stay somewhere else. that's just the way it is.
the only section of society that behave differently are those living in their parents home, well beyond their teenage years, who refuse to follow any guidelines set to them but are too lazy and irresponsible to move out if they don't like it. who expect to have everything done for them while they give nothing in exchange.
which was exactly the way so many of the "activists" who were beligerently demandind solidarity of imc and cmn behaved.

author by publication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I asked some questions, some of which have been answered in a reasonable and calm manner (not that levels of emotion can be measured over the internet, but I can make some assumptions from your post). Where did I mention anything about drinking or sleeping space? (My argument is mainly concerning the corporate media)
Maybe we should throw in some stereotypes about crusties or hippies, that always seems to be productive around here, and seems to be the way your argument is heading. Joe deals with it in a reasonable manner and relates it to problems that are relevant to anarchist beliefs and relating to use of space.

Where were these conditions posted? It doesn't appear that many of the internationals were aware of these conditions upon their arrival and made alot of assumptions based on their experiences of other IMCs and events, etc. Unrealistic assumptions (?) Maybe, but I still think the question of the media in general and the corporate media in particular needs to be discussed. It seems certain things that are or perhaps should be taken for granted when it comes to the beliefs/views/ideologies espoused by anti-globalisation/anti-capitalist/anarchist/... protestors are not being adheredto. for lack of a better word.



Some of the images of the plan of the centre have rooms with meeting over them, yet you say it wasn't to be used as a meeting space. (?) Or just a meeting space for the corporate media.

How many people chose to stay whan the corporate media were there?

author by Joepublication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Again from the outside there was a communications breakdown with those arriving but this was not so much a problem of indymedia but a problem of the expected convergance space (the squatted space) not existing.

Beyond this it makes sense for indymedia.ie to define its relationship with the corporate media rather than internationals who happen to be in Dublin for a one off event. This I'd have thought was a pretty basic question of autonomy and not trying to define how other people do stuff. What the nature of such a relationship (if any) should be is a subject for ongoing debate but while this may yet be defined by indymedia at the global level it has not as yet and until then its up to each local indymedia to set this for themselves.

I think your getting onto thin ice when visiting individuals decide they can physically re-define such a relationship on the locals. Which is what happened and why people involved in indymedia here seem to be so annoyed. Thats a pretty authoritarian path to travel down whatever way you look at it.

author by publication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is beginning to steer away from what I originally wanted to discuss, the corporate media and 'our' interaction with it. Nowhere do I believe that it's indymedia irelands job to provide sleeping space or accomodation for visiting internationals. And even it's use as a meeting space, I'm not concerned about, Deirdre Rooneys 'Diary of Anarchist no. 214' puts proof to that and the "infiltration" of meetings.

author by publication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must have been typing out that last comment at the same time as you Joe. Now we seem to be getting back on track, I agree pretty much with what you are saying. But I don't think it's a case of being authoritarian, more so a case of consistency with our beliefs.

author by Chekovpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

is that it appears that many of the internationals believe that it is a core principle not to talk to the corporate media. Personally, I don't think that this is sensible or indeed a core part of any set of political principles. I also think that if DGN had not talked to the media at all, we'd probably all be in prison or hospital now.

As far as I know there are no groups in Ireland that advocate not-talking to the media. This is one of the reasons that there was such a breakdown in communication, since the idea was quite strange to many of the locals and it wouldn't have been anticipated that it would have caused such strong feelings among the visitors.

author by Joepublication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think when one section of the movement attempts to physically impose its beliefs on another section with different beliefs than 'authoritarian' is indeed the suitable term.

Now that is perhaps overblowing a minor confrontation that in part arose from a misunderstanding. [IE that the excusion of cameras equalled the exclusion of journalists full stop]. But the 'logical conclusion' of defending what happened with hindsight as anything more than a misunderstanding is indeed authoritarian.

author by sidline viewerpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems to me the DGN/WSM etc make contraversy out of nowhere by arguing about times and specifics of demos to such an extent that they make them a point of principle. Maybe you should critisise the SWP on the content of their politics not on relatively unimportant issues such as when and where and at what time a demo is on at

author by Joepublication date Thu May 13, 2004 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think your in the wrong thread :-)

author by Hurler on the ditchpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think you are right. The poor bunny is caught in the headlights but while they are startled I just can't resist.

"Maybe you should critisise the SWP on the content of their politics not on relatively unimportant issues such as when and where and at what time a demo is on at"

What is the politics of the SWP this week. It changes so quickly that I can't keep up.

author by Alexander Trocchipublication date Thu May 13, 2004 22:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Chekov et al.,
I have noticed a surprisingly amount of touchiness about the subject of media relations in Dublin. You might notice that in my article I say there were mistakes on both sides - DGN for not having a convergence space (It should have been common-sense that the squat was going to get raided, and rarely in high profile protests have squats been used ), the internationals for drinking in the IMC and not understanding the local context), and Indymedia Ireland for not being transparent and allowing discussion with CMN/Indymedia.
We know the problem shouldn't be Indymedia's problem, but given that there was no other space it did become Indymedia's problem, whether we like it or not. I think the spaces should be separate as well, but also think a meeting space is absolutely critical, moreso than a media centre.

I still stand by my last point. It's authoritarian, plain and simple, not to allow open discussion on any point, and that includes points about sleeping space and meeting space. Yes, IMC was stuck in an difficult authoritarian relationship with CMN. However, a discussion would have helped, even if CMN would have continued to not want "meetings" in the space and so on. However, I do think that if CMN had understood the danger we were in, the danger that people were put in by housing some of us (For example, I often have trouble getting into other countries and was followed by Irish police, and since I was staying with an immigrant applying for Irish citizenship we went through extreme pains to not get him in trouble and lose), and sheer necessity of having some meetings they would have possibly taken a softer stance. It is understandable that CMN was *afraid* of that danger, but ultimately a discussion could have raised their morale. It would have also made a confusing situation (I mean, *never* have I been to a place where "meetings" were not allowed, incuding an IMC) clearer and allowed people to come to a common understanding. Because this was not done, some people were upset. As anarchists, many of us strive to make every relationship anti-authoritarian through open discussion, for the benefits of everyone involved.

Second, as I wrote earlier, I do applaud the Irish Indymedia for getting the message out to the corporate media, and I think that's one reason why turn-out to the protests were so good. However, I do think that as the corporate media become more and more centralized, this space will become less and less. That's why many anarchists, like some of those from Italy, have a strict no corporate media policy, and regard them more or less like as cops that maintain the social order. We don't let cops in spaces, do we? Now, I think there's a time and space for anarchists and activists to deal with corporate media, but we shouldn't let that be our main focus, since ultimately they are *on the other side*. I do think flyering and talking to people in working-class and poor areas - who *know* the media is lying anyways - is an equally if not more productive media strategy. My affinity group did that, and would have done it more had their been less housing and meeting problems. Also, don't feel too bad. A member of my affinity group who was in the Black Bloc contigent - once took several punches in defence of allowing some "friendly" corporate media into their convergence center for a media event. Both he and myself have no problems with IMC-Ireland talking to corporate media - but respect is a two-way street, and try to understand that there are valid reasons many people have for not dealing with them at all. It's authoritarian for either side to physically force the other to endorse it's position, and I don't want peace police protecting reporters any more than I want to see protester hurting a cameraman. Corporate cameramen should learn to stay away from Black Blocs or at least ask before taking a picture. Perhaps we should send them a communique? Do tell them this if you see any of them. And I do applaud all Irish activists who participated, and hope to see you in the streets next time! Our quibbles are far outweighed by what we hold in common - the hope for a new world.

author by activistpublication date Thu May 13, 2004 22:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From my personal viewpoint,
It is plain that there were mistakes made by the DGN and this was partly because this was our first ever time organising internationally as a group and we had little idea what we could and could not achieve.

We could have done better, although we did try as best as our resources allowed the lessons we have learned from this demonstration will certainly make our movement stronger in future.

Constructive criticism is as appreciated as it is necessary and the solidarity from the global movement is very much welcomed.

author by Media boypublication date Thu May 13, 2004 23:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No there were not "mistakes on all sides", cozy as such an agreement might seem.

There was a mistake made by DGN in naively hoping to use a squatted building for convergence etc.

There were mistakes made by some visiting activists who tried to impose themselves on the IMC and on the Community Media Network.

CMN's facilities are CMN's to decide what to do with. CMN was not involved in organising the protests. CMN had no responsibility to provide anything for the protesters. Neither did whoever was in the next building down the street or the next building or the next building. That's not "authoritarian", that's just a fact. CMN generously provided a space for IMC to use under certain conditions. That's nice of them but it doesn't impose any extra responsibility on them to do the DGN's job.

Equally the IMC did not organise the protests and has no obligation to protesters other than to provide a place for news and reporting. The IMC does not have a role to play in providing people with somewhere to organise or to sleep or to drink.

So mistakes made? Certainly? By all sides? Not really.

As for people arriving over and deciding to rearrange Irish activists relationship with the mainstream media by attacking journalists? How fucking authoritarian can you get?

author by post modernistpublication date Fri May 14, 2004 01:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

by both the visiting activists and the resident organisers... but this doesn't count as all sides?

maybe the sides that aren't included are those who are resident but didn't get involved in organising... but surely it was a mistake for these omniscient individuals to not become organisers, after all they knew better than everybody else?

wow. it'll take a large scale redefinition of accepted normality to make that work.

probably what the above commentator meant was that if he personally was in charge everyything would have went swmingly

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Fri May 14, 2004 01:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

QUOTE: "I still stand by my last point. It's authoritarian, plain and simple, not to allow open discussion on any point, and that includes points about sleeping space and meeting space"
ANSWER: And it's pointless tokenism to have discussions about things that aren't going to happen. Unless there's something more to this that neither side have shared it would appear to be pointless to ask for a discussion in these circumstances. If the IMC were duplicitous politicians they would have facilitated a meeting that they knew only had two possible outcomes: 1. The repeated refusal of CMN to allow sleeping followed by some sort of occupation of the building (and given the assault, the flouting of the no alcohol etc this is not an unreasonable speculation) and the complete end of any possibility of further co-operation with them; 2. a long discussion followed by refusal followed by having to do something else -- in other words a waste of time.

It's all to do with DGN and nothing to do with IMC.

author by seedotpublication date Fri May 14, 2004 03:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The media centre saw some v. productive meetings – specially on the Fri night where the guidelines for the march on Farmleigh were discussed but also on the Thursday after the whole Independent journalist issue and proposal to squat the centre. On both of these occasions I think the attitude of the internationals was positive once the meetings were happening (and the Friday night meeting was actually pretty amazing).

The big issue with meetings happened on the Sunday – after there had been problems getting the centre opened and tensions were high. After a discussion which was supposed to be a review of the march the previous evening the schedule said there was to be a film on Woomera and then a talk on the baby referendum. The internationals wanted to continue planning the next day, the Irish wanted to continue with their schedule and this is where the ‘no meetings’ idea took hold. There was agreement from IMC that the centre should hold meetings – just a feeling that there was no regard for the interests of the irish organisers and our concerns.

Heightened tensions led to poor communication all around. CMN presence was actually 2 people – both of whom felt quite cowed by the (beer can holding) internationals. In some ways Indymedia Ireland failed both sides by not preparing CMN and by being unclear about boundaries initially with the internationals.

Media relations were another issue altogether which heightened tensions between irish and internationals but actually didn’t affect the space after Thurs. (the fri. press conference was respected all round – and was actually a big example of what wankers the corporate media was as they ran from the room after DGN did their bit – leaving DAPSE and the Greens and Joe Higgins and IPSC talking to an empty room).

Overall – I’ll agree there were mistakes on all sides, think contributions like Alex’s are useful even though I disagree with a lot of what is said and reckon this has been a huge learning experience for all the Irish heads – IMC, DGN, CMN whatever.

author by jacobpublication date Fri Jun 25, 2004 10:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"In the socialist world, the first of May is considered the Labor holiday. This is a mistaken description that has so penetrated the lives of the toilers that in many countries that day is indeed celebrated as such. In fact, the first of May is not at all a holiday for the toilers. No, the toilers should not stay in their workshops or in the fields on that date. On that date, toilers all over the world should come together in every village, every town, and organize mass rallies, not to mark that date as statist socialists and especially the Bolsheviks conceive it, but rather to gauge the measure of their strength and assess the possibilities for direct armed struggle against a rotten, cowardly, slave-holding order rooted in violence and falsehood."

Have you ever done any work yourself?

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