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(en) Workers Solidarity #84 - Anarchism in 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 12 Mar 2005 09:33:10 +0100 (CET)

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Last year the Workers Solidarity Movement celebrated its 20th
Birthday. It was also a year of firsts.
On May the first, Dublin Grassroots Network had the largest
libertarian demonstration ever seen in Ireland. As the EU leaders met
in Farmleigh house, over 4,000 people occupied Fitzwilliam Square,
had a party on Gardiner Street and marched against the right wing
agenda of the new EU. The media hype that preceded the event had to
be seen to be believed. In the month preceding the event the press
carried bizarre and fabricated stories about dangerous anarchists intent
on burning Dublin to the ground.

In another first, the Late Late Show featured anarchists explaining why
they intended to march. The look on Pat Kennys face when he realised
the woman he was interviewing was actually an anarchist caused many
of us to chuckle.

A month later, we were on the go again, this time heading down to
Shannon (some of us cycled!) to protest at the arrival of George Bush.
Unfortunately, though the majority of the Irish people are against the
war, Shannon airport is still being used by the US military on their way
to Iraq. It wasn't our first time at Shannon, and neither will it be the
last. As long as the US persists in its occupation of Iraq, we will oppose
the use of Shannon airport as a military base.

Before the Bush visit we took part alongside the Campaign Against the
Rascist Referendum (CARR) in campaigning in the citizenship
referendum, and were disappointed but not too surprised when a huge
majority of the Irish population accepted this racist proposal. The rise
of intolerance and racism is perhaps the most ugly side of Irish society

In June there was another first, we rented an office in Dublin. The lack
of meeting space is a major problem for any group trying to organise
itself and although the office costs us a lot, it makes political activity
much easier. In the next year, on the first Sunday of each month we
will be showing political films and documentaries there, as well as
using it for our normal discussions and meetings

In October, we spoke at the Irish Social Forum and later that month,
again as part of the Dublin Grassroots Network, we helped organise a
demonstration against the Less Lethal Weapons Conference.

This year some of us, unfortunately, had to spend time attending court
cases. There is a definite trend to criminalise protest, with more and
more protesters being arrested often on spurious charges. Just before
May Day three English anarchists were arrested near an abandoned
building. Two of them were forced to stay in Dublin for six months
while they waited for their trial. Happily the case was thrown out for
lack of evidence, but in a sense thanks to the truly draconian bail
conditions, the activists had already been punished. This use of the
court system is cynical in the extreme. On another pessimistic note, all
but one of the police who were shown on RTE news beating Reclaim
the Streets protesters were, astoundingly, found by a jury to be not
guilty of assault. The mind boggles. We were delighted that Mary Kelly
did not have to serve prison time for her action against the US military
machine in Shannon. The other Shannon defendants will be facing the
courts again shortly, as will some of those arrested after the May Day
demonstrations on the Navan road.

The year wasn't all hard work. We attended two Grassroots
Gatherings, one in Cork and one in Belfast. The next Grassroots
Gathering is in Dublin so those of us living in Dublin will be busy
helping to organise that. During the summer some of us went to the
Anarchist Summer Camp, for a gentle weekend of relaxation by the
beautiful mountains of Mourne.

Last year was quite busy and this year probably will be as well. One
development we really like is the 'seomra spraoi' initiative (see article
elsewhere). A year ago it would have been hard to see this coming
together, let's see what happens by this time next year!

This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
for you to print out and distribute locally
This edition is No84 published in Jan 2005

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