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(en) Ireland, WSM* Workers Solidarity #91 - Riot In Dublin - Celtic Tiger: You reap what you sow

Date Sat, 08 Apr 2006 18:06:48 +0300


A small band of fringe nationalists decided to stop the Love Ul-
ster parade. There is no question but that crowd of loyalists are
sectarian bigots. During a protest against the release of republican pris-
oners as part of the Good Friday agreement, their leader, Willie Frazer,
was asked about loyalist murder gang prisoners.
"They should never have been locked up in the first place," he replied.
Republican Sinn Fein called for the march to be
"opposed" and those who turned up took it on
themselves to decide who could and who could
not march. Let us be clear, this was not about pre-
venting intimidation, this was not about defending
an estate from thugs intending arson and violence.
It was an attempt by a small group to dictate to
everyone else. Simply finding something offensive
is no good reason to ban it, that's the road to au-
thoritarianism.

Hundreds of young men (and it was mostly
young men) spilled onto O'Connell Street. Hav-
ing stopped the loyalist march, they turned their
attention to the gardai. Bricks, bottles and iron bars
rained down. It's a wonder that nobody suffered a
serious head injury.

Eight cars, two mopeds and two bicycles were
burnt. About a dozen shop windows were smashed.
Three shop workers in Westland Row were beaten
by a mob after trying to stop people thieving alco-
hol. A week later they were still off work because
of their injuries. RTE's Charlie Bird was also attacked.
There was nothing progressive in this (though it's extremely hard to get
upset about a table being thrown through the PD's window!). The rioters
had no goal; they were a mixed bag of the angry, the nationalist and the
discontented. Indeed the bulk of the violence happened after most of the
RSF members had left.

There are a lot of working class young men who are regularly harassed by
Gardai because of where they live and how they dress. There are those who
the Celtic Tiger did nothing for, the early school leavers, the unskilled. There
are those who treated the riot like an adventure sport, a bit of excitement
in an otherwise boring life. And there were
those who saw a chance to loot.

It all adds up to a display of how some young
people feel alienated and without any politi-
cal direction. Surrounded by wealth and op-
portunity, they feel left out.

Unfortunately, however, it is very difficult to
turn such destructive expressions of anger
into constructive channels. While some of
the most marginalised elements of the work-
ing class woke up on that Sunday morning
with a new appreciation of their collective
power, they still lack any constructive way of
expressing this and until that avenue presents
itself, it won't lead to any political force that
can bring about lasting change.

Within hours, the state's politicians were
queuing up to express their outrage and
`anger' at the events. But what is the point
of reacting to anger with anger? What use is
anger against people who don't give a fuck
and who don't have anything to lose? At any
rate such expressions of anger totally miss the point. It is the
policies implemented by successive governments that have destroyed
communities and created a layer of disaffected youth.

There is a French anarchist saying that goes "he who sows misery, har-
vests anger". On Saturday February 25th 2006, we saw the first harvest
of our Celtic Tiger and chances are that it won't be the last.
--------------------------------
From Workers Solidarity 91, March/April 2006
PDF file online at http://www.struggle.ws/pdfs/ws/
=========================
* Anarchist federation


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