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(en) Ireland, Anarchist Workers Solidarity #88 - Popular Response to Shell's Pipeline Shows Way Forward

Date Thu, 27 Oct 2005 12:05:14 +0200

Over the Summer in a small corner of Mayo a mass campaign of
non-violent direct action systematically, and in part spontaneously,
shut down a major development being carried out by several
multi-national corporations and the state.
Speeches decrying state subservience to big business were heard at
rallies in Ballina, Castlebar and Belmullet.
Links were made with resistors of so-called "miscarriages of justice"
(aka frame-ups) with Frank Mc Brearty Jnr speaking at the Ballina
rally, and with Paul Hill and Nicky Kelly visiting the Rossport
Solidarity Camp.

The campaign had already made significant international links, with
relatives of Ken Saro Wiwa having previously visited the area to speak
at public meetings, and Erris campaigners having attended Shell
AGMs alongside people with similar problems from around the world.
During the summer people in Louisiana who live beside a Shell
refinery held a solidarity protest with the people in Mayo resisting the
construction of a Shell refinery.

The significance of all this can be seen in the scantiness of a tradition
of popular struggle which this campaign can draw upon. Most
historical references being to events in the 19th century, bar the
occasional brief mention of a tax refusal movement in the 60s.
Moreover this is in an area where according to one local resident the
tallies in his village are usually 99% Fianna Fail. If this campaign is
successful, and while its opponents are formidable its participants are
steadfast and so it stands a good chance of being so, the people the
corporations and state are trying to turn into victims will have no doubt
that they can fight and they can win.

The same is true, although less so, of people watching, in the first
instance people who face similar problems of incinerators or
superdumps or whatever being built next to their homes.

The Grassroots Gathering objectives, the nearest thing the libertarian
left in Ireland has to a common platform, reads in part:

Organise for the control of the workplace by those who work there.
Call for the control of communities by the people who live there.
Argue for a sustainable environmental, economic and social system,
agreed by the people of the planet.

For this to be remotely realisable a lot of people need to be empowered
with a sense of their collective strength and this empowerment comes
about through resisting capitalisms' impositions in our daily lives.

Moreover such practical involvement reveals more profoundly the
truth about the nature of parliamentary politics, the Dail and the courts
than acres of trees spent on subversive propaganda ever could.
Furthermore popular struggle is the process which equips us all with
the skills and organisational forms necessary to control workplaces
freed of corporations, and to control communities freed of the state. If
"anti-globalisation" or "anti-capitalism" means challenging
corporate/state power and means building links with people in struggle
the world over then this summer its Irish wing was in Erris and is
mostly divided into small groups with surnames, rather than small
groups with acronyms.

In an article entitled "Class Struggle Versus Summit Protests" Matti
from libcom.org argues that: "The fact is that summit protests are yet
more disconnecting of politics from the lives of working class people.
They are totally symbolic and for all their radical talk, couldn't even
being to build a movement capable of challenging capitalism. Our
politics are only relevant if we ground them solidly in our everyday
lives and orientate ourselves towards our workmates and neighbours
to solve the problems faced by our class."

The problem is in a generally quiescent society this can besomething
of a major task, the solidarity model employed in the Shell to Sea
campaign, that of solidarity pickets and the solidarity camp, allows
libertarian activists everywhere to swing behind a localised popular

What You Can Do:
Contribute to the Rossport Five Legal Defence Fund: Account Name:
The Rossport Five Fund, Bank: Ulster Bank, Main Street, Belmullet,
Co Mayo. Sort Code: 98-53-14, Account Number: 23987020 Write to
prisoners: Willie Corduff, Philip McGrath, Brendan Philbin, Vincent
McGrath and Michael O'Suighin at Cloverhill Prison, Clondalkin,
Dublin 22, Ireland.

Participate in local Shell to Sea groups and actions, including
picketing, blockading Shell and Statoil garages in your neighbourhood
in order to pressurise the fat cats into moving their operations

by Terry Clancey
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html

We also provide PDF files of all our
publications for you to print out and distribute locally

Print out the PDF file of this issue

You can find out when new issues of the paper come out by joining
the Ainriail list http://struggle.ws/other/ainriail.html

This edition is No88 published in Sept 2005

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