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(en) Ireland, Anarchist WSM - Report on Dublin protest against visiting British warship HMS Ocean

Date Mon, 03 Jul 2006 14:07:06 +0300


Report on Dublin protest against visiting British warship HMS Ocean
by Joe and Alan - WSM And text of WSM speech given at protest
ust over 150 people marched down to HMS Ocean to protest the
presence of this British warship which was involved in the invasion
of Iraq in Dublin port, Thursday June 29. Although some will be
disappointed with this turnout in reality it was a significant number
for a wet mid week demonstration. Also on the positive side there
was a real effort to overcome some of the divisions that have
characterised the anti-war movement in Ireland.
Ciaran O'Reilly spoke for the Pitstop Ploughshares 5 whose third
trial begins July 5th. They disabled a US warplane that was refueling
at Shannon airport in the west of Ireland. He was given a warm
introduction by Richard Boyd Barret of the SWP.

As the march formed up a small boat from the ship checked us out
from the river. There was also a strong Gardai presence, over 40
were visible at one point and fences had been built across the road to
prevent us getting closer than a couple of hundred meters to the
ship.

Below is the text of the speech Alan MacSimoin from the WSM
gave.

-----

On behalf of the Workers Solidarity Movement I want to thank the
IAWM for inviting us to speak, and more importantly I want to
thank all of you who turned up this evening.

"On February 15th 2003, 100,000 people marched through this city
to demand that the Irish government not co-operate or facilitate in
any way the invasion of Iraq. Every opinion poll taken at that time,
and since, has shown a large majority opposed to the war.

"What was the response of the government to that massive public
demonstration by the people they claim to serve? Over 500,000 US
troops have been allowed to pass through Shannon airport since
2003. There has been full co-operation with the CIA’s so-called
‘rendition’ flights, where suspects are kidnapped and taken
to third countries for questioning with the use of torture.

"And to give us all an additional slap in the face, Bertie Ahern tried
to claim that the 100,000 who marched did so in support of
government policy.

"This does not mean that there is no point in taking to the streets.
Large marches are good, they bring us together, they publicise our
views, they show that there is mass opposition to the war. But on
their own they are not enough – our rulers will continue to ignore
us if they think they can get away with it. That’s what they have
done with the health crisis, with gridlock, with spiralling house
prices.

"We can plead with them, asking that they do things we know they
have no intention of doing. Or we can take action ourselves.
Thousands of people at Shannon airport, peaceful but determined to
enter the grounds and stop the warplanes would bring far better
results than any number of polite petitions and appeals.

"There is nothing new in this. Back in 1911 James Connolly wrote:
“Direct Action is not liked by lawyers, politicians, or employers.
It keeps the two former out of a job, and often leaves the latter out of
pocket. But it is useful to Labour, and if not relied upon too
exclusively, or used too recklessly, it may yet be made a potent
weapon in the armoury of the working class.”

"In 2003 when small numbers broke through the fence at Shannon,
when Mary Kelly and the Pitstop Ploughshares 5 disabled a US
warplane – there was an almost instant response. Within a
month, three of the four companies contracted to ferry US troops
and weapons had left Ireland. They only returned when they no
longer felt under pressure from the anti-war movement.

"If we want to stop Ireland’s participation in the war, rather than
just protest about it, mass direct action at Shannon needs to be a
central plank of our campaign. Let us begin discussing such a
strategy, and begin planning for effective mass action.

"Let us also begin taking concrete initiatives to assist the
progressive, secular and trade union forces in Iraq who oppose both
the occupation and the terrorism of the anti-woman and
anti-freedom religious bigots.

"Finally, let us not forget that next Monday the Pitstop Ploughshares
people are back in court, after two failed trials the state is dragging
them in for a third one. If you are free, you can join them at the Spire
at 9am and walk to the court with them. Show that they are not on
their own. As we say in the trade union movement “an injury to
one is the concern of all”.

Pictures: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3340
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