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Protesters gather in the sun at Shannon.

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Saturday November 13, 2004 15:17author by An Púcaauthor email flannbui at yahoo dot comauthor address An Clár Report this post to the editors

A crowd of about 100 people have gathered in Shannon town centre to begin the protest against the use of Shannon Airport by the military.

A crowd of about one hundred people have gathered in shannon town centre to protest against the against the use of Shannon Airport by the U.S. military. The Garda helicopter is hovering overhead monitiring proceedings while there is a strong Garda presence on the ground. 14 uniformed Gardai, members of the mounted unit and two paddy wagons are present. Squad cars are patrolling the area and unmarked special branch cars have also been spotted. Gardaí have taked the registration numbers of cars in the Lidl car park that have anti war posters displayed.

Members of the peace and neutrality alliance and the anti war movement will be calling on local houses handing out leaflets which explain the cost of the U.S. military presence to the Irish tax payer in security arrangements and landing charges. The mayor of Shannon is also attending the protest with a handfull of locals. The road to the Airport has been blocked by Gardaí at the Dromgeally flats. The protest march should be getting underway about now.

Is Míse
An Púca

author by eeekkkpublication date Sat Nov 13, 2004 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and what will their faces tell them
when they look in the mirror
when they look on their dressers
and see the pieces of metal
they were given for killing us
in our own homes, in own cities, in
our own mosques and churches,
what will their eyes say,
what will they say when their twisted
lies are uncovered, when the rest of the
world speaks of their massacres of
women and children, of old men, of
bombing hospitals, what will they
do when they see the smirking face
of their presidents, their senators, their
leaders who have allowed them to do this,
have ordered them to do this

Related Link: http://www.todaysalternativenews.com/index.php?event=link,150&values
author by katepublication date Sat Nov 13, 2004 20:26author address cork/louthauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Wasn't aware that this was going on today, was it held at shorter notice or am i just completely out of the hoop since i moved up north. I hope things haven't gone all insular in the anti-war scene (que torrents of abuse). as a regular traveller to shannon we would have rallied the usual Fermoy troops and travelled, we're not members of any anti-war group though. the pre-protest publicity and discussion is almost as important as the turn out on the day. but like i say i could have had me eye off the ball for this one.

author by Danpublication date Sat Nov 13, 2004 20:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

About 120 turned out. Good crew from Anti-War Ireland, PANA, and IAWM/SWP. No civilians.

author by Paul - LYpublication date Sat Nov 13, 2004 21:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the dwindling numbers at the shannon demo ask serious questions about the direction of the movement.

Todays demo was poorly advertised and the support is now down to a few core members, mainly from the mid/south west.

Protests and campaigning should now focus on the main cities and towns with a build up to the anniversary of the war.

The decision to break up the march today for a 45 min canvass of local residents was a misjudgement, there is clearly a lack of direction and a loss in objectives within the movement at the moment.

author by Eoinpublication date Sat Nov 13, 2004 23:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm glad I went. On a point of principle if nothing else. Hopefully fresh ideas can be put into the movement to get prepared for the march demo.

author by mepublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 00:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Was as the march today and would like to reply to dan first

to state "no civilians" what the hell do you mean.. There was people from a varitey of other group than u mentioned - Green Party, Labour Party, SF etc also there were just ordinary people who are not aligned. This crap of stating misinformation is not helping

I agree with Paul, the move to the canvassing the estate was a mistake.

As kate said and many others there today it was a badly advertised event.

Am disappointed and disollusioned seemed more like electionnering than a protest

author by Francis - D.C.W -definately writing in a personal capacitypublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

120 people. I'd say that the I.A.W.M is in serious difficulties if that is the extent of the support it could muster. Especially since the Peace Vigil on halloween attracted 23.

I would dare to suggest there are 2 main reasons for the low turnout:

1. people generally don't give a damn about the war because they do not see it as affecting them.

2. Of those who do, a large majority are put off I.A.W.M because they see it as a front for the S.W.P(whehter it is or not is irrelevant, perception is everything).

author by Lizpublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 13:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That comment about there being no civilains said it all. Really the people who went to the protest should have been there to protest aginst the war in Iraq and the use of Shannon Airport, and not to walk under the banner of any groups or organisations.

An attitude like this may indeed explain the low numbers, as ordinary people like myself might not feel comfortable marching alonside people who seem to need to know who they're representing. Surely it's enough just to be against the war.

I did go along yesterday, and I was horrified by the show of Gardai, more than I've ever seen in my life I'd say, all gathered there to save the airport from 120 protesters...it was ridiculous and intimidatory, especially the helicopter that hovered overhead for most of the event.

The move to canvas the housing estate was a bad one, as it itself appeared intimidatory and made protestors look ramshackle and disorganised.

The speeches however were good and served to make the gardai look uncomfortable. If we can get people to question themselves and their motives then that's a good start.

author by Joepublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 14:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What exactly did 'canvassing the housing estate' consist of. Reaching out to the locals seems like a good idea, what were the problems with the way this was implemented so that future attempts avoid this problem?

Also while 120 is a poor turnout in comparison with 18 months ago it is still almost twice the number who turned up at the protests there during the Afghan war. Given the lack of publicity its not significant less that the 300 or so who showed up 15 and 13 and months back.

author by eeekkkkpublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 15:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

People knocking on doors of local residents (the same local residents that turned out in some force to protest Bush) were being shadowed by Gardai standing at the gates/front walls of the homes. Now that sounds very very unlike something that would happen in a healthy democracy.

So when are the Irish Times/MRBI going to do a poll on the Irish Populations attitude to use of Shannon by USMIL? Last one they did (and the only one ever that showed a slim majority for the status quo at shannon) was when we were all '30 minutes from an attack by WMD' and being subjected to psychwar in the form of 'mushroom clouds'. I reckon majority opinion is again against the use of Shannon but it is a silent and silenced majority.

A piece on Shannon which was to feature S(l)ick Willie (minister for Homeland Security) versus a respected Anti-War activist was pulled from Primetime last week at very very very short notice to discuss McDowell and the Judge instead. Now which issue do y'all think was on more peoples minds this week?

I mean US military use of Shannon was on the agenda of Swedish TV this week.

Go Figure!

And when you have go ask RTE why they have NEVER filmed a single foot of footage of the reality of what is happening at shannon - US Troops in large numbers passing through - going to inflict illegal collective punishment on Iraqi towns and cities.

author by Terrypublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The I.A.W.M. is smothered in conservatism, while the more radical wing of the anti-war movement is smothered in disorganisation, leading some to ask what is the point?
You need a movement open to peoples' involvement and a strategy to win (as opposed to let's have another protest), in order for people to get involved, and hence for it to be sustainable.
Though as Joe says the recent events at the airport are miles ahead of what went on during the Afghan war.
I would say the potential is still out there among the general populace to be mobilised on an anti-war basis, but the level of organisation in existance ain't up to the task.

author by slugfoodpublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 16:32author email slugwoman at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was drumming up people to go down to shannon, NEXT weekend, having no idea it had just happened... Am on a couple of e-lists but if I read about it, it wasn't recently?
Would be very interested in more concerted effort there, soon? anyone else?

author by Joe P.publication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 19:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SWP have run the antiwar movement into the ground - that is the real story here. The IAWM should disband now and those involved (the SWP) should get together with the Anti-War Ireland people, PANA and the NGO Peace Alliance and collectively work to organise a joint antiwar convention to start a new movement. What about the planned Anti-War Ireland conference? Perhaps that could serve as a focus if the other groups threw their weight behind it.

Something has to be done.

author by Observerpublication date Sun Nov 14, 2004 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...that the 'no civilians' comment was meant to indicate that the demo was made up almost entirely of hardcore anti-war activists. That's a problem.

author by Timpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The original plan to leaflet the town was very good. To do it the day before the demo, with more time to organise and distibute the information, and talk with the residents.
We've done this before at the town shopping centre and had no interference from the Garda Siochana, and some good responses from residents.

Stopping the march halfway to Drumgeely took a lot of the energy out of it, and of course, there was a load of cops following the march, who then followed the leafleters.
and quite a few of them got lost in the labyrinth of the estate.

Even on the day, it might have been better if the leafletting was done just prior to or directly after the march, that way the cops would have no excuse to follow people.
It doesn't look good when your knocking on a door, and there's a Garda standing at the gate.

I think the turnout of 120 wasn't bad.
It could have been put to better use though.
Francis mentioned the smaller demo at Shannon two weeks earlier.
That had quite a good impact with less than 30 people. It didn't march up the old road, but up the new dual carriageway. That way ALL the traffic in and out of the airport saw the funeral procession, coffin and the banners.

I hope that in the next IAWM march they will not march up the closed off section of road near Lidl, where hardly anyone will see or hear them except the Gardai.

author by Roger Cole - Peace & Neutrality Alliancepublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 14:10author email pana at eircom dot netauthor address author phone 01-2351512Report this post to the editors

The National Executive of the Peace & Neutrality Alliance agreed to hold a protest at Shannon airport on Saturday 13th of November a month before the elections in the US to show that as far as PANA was concerned, no matter who won the US election PANA would continue to advocate that the use of Shannon in this illegal imperialist war be terminated. We contacted all our affiliated groups and individual members and asked them to mobilise to take part in the demonstration. PANA does not accept that a demonstration should not be held, just because only a few people will turn out. For example, PANA was one of the first organisations to call a demonstration in Shannon in May 2002. How many people turned out on the 13th of November, however largely depended on the effort the affiliated groups made to moblise their members.
We also contacted the Irish anti-war movement and the NGOPA to participate in the protest and they agreed. We also sought a meeting with Anti-war Ireland, but they were unwilling or unable to meet us. We are still seeking to have a meeting with them to discuss future co-operation in opposing this war.
We, together with the IAWM, the NGOPA, Sinn Fein, the Green Party and the Labour Party held a joint press conference to promote the conference.
We did not organise a poster campaign because, as everybody should know at this stage, posters are torn down by corporation officials.
We, however, expected a small crowd, not only because of the lack of media coverage but because as my 10 year old son said last year after yet another march, "what's the point Dad, Ahern is not paying any attention, he is letting the US troops use Shanon? And of course, he is right. The vast majority of the 120,000 peopel that marched against the war on the 15th of February, do not see any point, since if Ahern did not pay any attention to the largest anti-war march in Ireland, he is not for turning, and he welcomed the Bush victory. This attitude is also held by the members of the affiliated groups and others.
PANA has being saying for some considerable time that the US planes will not be removed from Shannon, until Ahern is removed from power, and that the only people who can decide that are they Irish people by voting in a General Election. This is why we decided to combine a canvas with the protest march. We intend to work with the IAWM, the NGOPA and any other groups that want to in holding public meetings, exclusively peaceful and democratic protests, leafletting and canvassing etc, until such time as Ahern and the US planes are no longer with us.
If you want to help you can join PANA be completing the form on our web site, www.pana.ie

PANA has consistantly argued will would meet anybody in pursuit of our objective of a United Independent Irish Republic, with its own Independent Irish Foreign Policy, with Irish neutrality enshrined in our Constitution, and a reformed United Nations thorough which to pursue that policy. So you can always contact us via e mail at ; pana@eircom.net

Related Link: http://www.pana.ie
author by Watcherpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 14:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

PANA have no credibility in the Anti War Movement. They condemned Direct Action at Shannon. Cole couldnt even get himself elected to Dun Laoire Council, that says something about his level of support.

author by PANA is okpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

PANA does have a good repuation - they may not have the pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric and fashion accessories for sale that most on the Left have, but they speak from a position that many would agree with.

author by Watcherpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They have condemned Direct Action at Shannon. They have stabbed Mary Kelly and the CWM in the back. PANA is used by Roger Cole as a (not very successful) vehicle for his electoral ambitions.

author by Antiwar Activistpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Labour party is planning to go into Coalition goverment with the Fine Gael party.
Fine Gael is pro war and pro NATO.

WIll the Labour party pledge in writing to not participate in any goverment that does not remove the US empire from Shannon?

If it does not the Labour party and SInn Fein must be ejected and shunned within the antiwar movement, not given a platform to talk nice talk to confuse the people. The same goes for SInn Fein and the greens. Both parties say nice things. But they must choose. Peace or War. They want to sit on the fence, but we must get them off it.

QUOTE We intend to work with the IAWM, the NGOPA and any other groups that want to in holding public meetings, exclusively peaceful and democratic protests, leafletting and canvassing etc,

On this quote what exactly do you mean by the term "Democratic" The IAWM is clearly not democratic as the members are excluded from any decision making structures. The IAWM is the SWP and the SWP is 5 or six people, and full well you know.
I have never been on an IAWM protest that was democratic. So who are the people who are not democratic ( maybe there are none )
but the tone suggests that the people who are not "peaceful" are not "democratic" either. Can you tell us who they are?

What protests were not peaceful Roger?

Is pulling down a fence and sitting down on the grass such a violent act that you were willing to bad mouth the 250 peace activists who did it . What a victory for the right in Ireland!! Music to their ears! I respect your opinion , but the public condemnation was a disgrace and lowers your credibility. Who were you pandering to when you did this???

The civil disobedience which you condemned was a brave act. Damaging a fence to stop the killing of thousands of people being killed is not violence.
You want to get support from the Irish people but your position of condemning civil disobedience shows what many suspect that when you are forced to take sides between the peace movement and the State in future we know where you will stand.

YOU say AHERN colludes. I say your party will collude also !!! By going into goverment with the PRO war Fine Gael.
But if these parties dont say in advance what their intentions are then we will presume they will sell the movement down the river as not signing gives them a more likely shot at power. So the peace movement must shun them before they get to use their "antiwar" position for getting votes or left credibility. ( Putting participation in power before neutrality is not being antiwar at all )
If we dont and allow the greens and Sinn Fein and Labour to sit on the fence then WE ( non party people ) lose our credibility also and can expect no support from the people.

Talking the talk is not enough.

Will you make this statement to your party Roger ??? Or will YOU sit on the fence also??

You will not use this movement to get a platform unless you make clear and public your objection to your party making a deal with Fine Gael under any circumstances except the stopping of the use of Shannon. Since you dont seem to mind making statements against antiwar activists for cutting a fence surely you can condemn Labour publically for sitting on one !

As for the Poster ban, in Dublin, well its a Labour + Sinn Fein controlled council. Will you help to campaign to get this attack on freedom of expression lifted ?

Regardless of any differences on policy Roger does great work in the antiwar movement and should be commended
Cheers and keep up the good work

author by Watcherpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I should add that I have nothing but scorn for the role played by the SP and SWP, I am not just out to get Labour. The SWP and SP also attacked DA at Shannon, whipping up hysteria in the media around the events of 1 March 2003.

Joe Higgins of the SP even called the GG activists "Virtual Warriors", this at the exact same time that the GG activists (including some LY members) were face to face with the cops. Ten of the "Virtual Warriors" were n on-virtually arrested.

Boyd Barrett of the SWP just used his position in the IAWM to raise his profile and also to help him get elected. But like Cole he also failed. The people of Dun Laoire have better sense than to elect 2 conmen like Cole and Boyd Barrett, a modern Rosencratz and Guilderstein double act.

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 18:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

QUOTE: "The vast majority of the 120,000 peopel that marched against the war on the 15th of February, do not see any point, since if Ahern did not pay any attention to the largest anti-war march in Ireland, he is not for turning, and he welcomed the Bush victory. This attitude is also held by the members of the affiliated groups and others.
PANA has being saying for some considerable time that the US planes will not be removed from Shannon, until Ahern is removed from power, and that the only people who can decide that are they Irish people by voting in a General Election."

ANSWER: Or it could be that the vast majority of people know that Bertie's replacement isn't going to have the guts to do anything either. Whichever leader is elected he'll face two pressures: one from the USA and it's associated business interests in Ireland; the other from the Roger Coles of this world. If all the Roger Coles are going to do is march and wait for the next General Election I'll let you decide which pressure is going to prevail.

If a leader is campaigning with a specific promise to immediately end the passage of US troops and munitions through Shannon then they might be worth supporting.

I do not see that candidate.

Perhaps Roger could tell us where she is.

If Roger's electoral appeal logic is to be believed then PANA shouldn't be wasting resources protesting at Shannon. They can reach a much larger section of the electorate in Dublin.

On the other hand, if his logic is seen to be false and that what's been proven is that appeal to politicians are fruitless and what's needed is to monkeywrench the war, then being at the center of the problem (Shannon), with the intention to disrupt Murder Business As Usual is what should be done.

author by Michaelpublication date Mon Nov 15, 2004 19:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Roger Cole has said to heaps of people how he feels about the high-risk nonviolent direct actions which people have done at Shannon Airport. He's not a fan, it's no secret. He's into Irish independence, there's no doubt, but I can only guess how he would have reacted to the 1916 Easter Rising if he had lived in that era.

The good thing is that we're a peace *movement* and therefore don't all have to share the same tactics. Rather than spending time here complaining about how useless lobbying and other such tactics are compared to NVDA, activists might like to try *being* the difference and do some more autonomous actions at Shannon.

I have the feeling with this website and with the left generally (it's been said before)... when all is said and done, much more has been said than done.

author by Statin' the Obviouspublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 09:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Roge Cole's proposal to elect the Labour Party to make an anti-war imapct

-see the Australian Labor Party elected 1983
*reversed it's postion on uranium mining & export
*reversed its position for thhe independence of East Timor
*trained Inodnesia Kopassus deth squads
-welcomed US nuclear warships
-hosted U.S. bases for crusie missile targetting etc etc

-see British Labour Party elected 1996
*deputy dawg for U.S. imperialsm etc etc

author by Timpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apparently is to sit around having a go at each other on indymedia?

author by Watcherpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The good thing is that we're a peace *movement* and therefore don't all have to share the same tactics."

Right on. But Cole is stabbing other activists in the back by using the capitalist media to build up his own reputation and to whip up hysteria against DA.

author by Statin' the Obviouspublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tim it is important to act and reflect and critique actions....unfortuanetly for the lack of debriefings in rwal time with real people this public cyber forum seems the only one available.

The moderate and authritarian left oppose nonviolent direct action...

1) because it is phenomenon of a grassroots decentralised peace movement that they can't control and represent.

2) their leadership aren't available to do it, so they are concerned about not appearing "as militant as thou" to their rank and file eg. they aren't willing to lead form the front in a politics of confronting state power where risk is involved.

Whatever your personal crucmstance and avialbility for taking risks - marginalising the small amount of nvda that has taken place/is taking place (Haloween banshees in Ennis court this Wednesday) in Ireland against the war is bad form.

author by Michaelpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Roger's views on direct action aren't important. Carry on without him, and without bitching about him on Indymedia. A campaign of nonviolent resistance to the US military at Shannon Warport could work. It won't depend on Roger Cole's opinion, or whether "the capitalist media" are for it or not. It depends only on how much we're prepared to put into it ourselves (including probably our liberty for a while, think about that). It's worth it. We can do this!!

author by Watcherpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If Cole is going to post comments here then he is going to be responded to.

author by Tom Smithpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 18:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the swp,sp,sf,labour,greens and iawm are to blame for what is going wrong,this pious attitude from the likes of the catholic workers and anti war ireland(cawc) that they are not at fault is a load of nonsense,we all remember after the feb 15th at shannon when the *hardcore* decided to go against the grain and go and do some nvda,the result?3,000 turned up at shannon when it should have been 1000s more,it was the prospect of violence that turned these people away,that was the moment it all started going wobbly,the splits and the sectarianism all started after this and now we are left with a non existant mass anti war movement that the irish far left is going to talk about for years but never be able to replicate,so instead they will bitch,bitch about the swp/iawm,bitch about grassroots & bitch about everyone but themselves,in the process what has happened is that the oppurtunity has been lost to radicalise lots of new people,what we need is a bloody purge of the creatures who inhabit the dark world of the irish left and start afresh,but sometimes i wonder do the people of the left in ireland really want to live in harmony or work with others,all these splits and groups make a lot of people feel very important and there is no nothing better then having a go at those whose politics are closest to yours(rant over)

author by Roger - peace & neutrality alliancepublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 18:32author email pana at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I entered the site because PANA had called the protest, so it seemed reasonable to enter into the discussion.
PANA is not, nor has it ever claimed to be, THE ANTI WAR MOVEMENT . It is only part of a movement in which, as is rather obvious, there is a diversity of opinion.
PANA was established in 1996 because we believed the Republic of Ireland was being integrated into the EU/US/NATO military structures. Since Northern Ireland was already integrated, it would have meant all of Ireland was to play its full part in the resource wars of the 21st century. Shannon is now, de facto, a US airforce base, and if the EU Constitution is passed the process of integration will have been completed, Irish Independence will have come to an end, and the Irish Army would become part of an EU "Battle Group" actively engaged in the oil wars, or "humanitarian wars" as the establishment media will call them.
However, just as the Act of Union did not destroy the desire to establish a United Independent Irish Republic, neither will the process of integration into the EU/US military structures. The debate within those of us who are opposed to the growth of war capitalism, as made flesh in the Bertie/Blair/Bush axis is how to respond.
PANA believes all power derives from the people, and they express that power through voting in a secret ballot via election or referendums. We see it as our function of putting our case to them by all exclusively peacefull and democratic means available to us, such as public meetings, marches, leafletting etc. We advocate a United Independent Democratic Irish Republic, with its own Independent Irish foreign policy, with Irish neutrality enshrined in our Constitution, and the promotion of a reformed United Nations as the institution to pursue that policy.
Since, at this point in time, the clear majority of the people vote for the DUP, the UUP, Fianna Fail. Fine Gael, and the PD's who explicitedly reject Irish Neutrality and support the use of Shannon in this illegal war, it seems obvious PANA has a great deal of convincing to do.
As Chair of PANA, I see part of my function, especially after helping to organise a march/canvass in Shannon, to enter into a debate on the march. As such I would like to make it clear that I do not in any way speak for the Labour Party, and indeed, many of the attitudes of PANA, particularily in regard to PANA's opposition to the militarisation of the EU, they are not in accord with the leadership of the party. PANA would be convinced, however as Ireland is integrated into the neo-liberal/ war agenda of the EU that many members of that party that now are enthuastic "Europeans" will change their minds, as will we believe, the decisive majority of the Irish people.

author by Ppublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 19:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maybe you forgot, but the March 1st demo was billed as a non-violent direct action protest. But the media decided to report it as a violent protest. A big difference. And so the hysteria followed.

All those groups and parties hitched up to the idea of parlimentary elections of representatives (rather than direct democracy) were too frightened in the ensuing media hysteria to refute the media lies as they instinctively knew that the State was not amused and no mercy would be shown to those who wanted to continue as being recognised as 'mainstream' by the public. So one by one, on public TV and radio they all fell into line.

Since amongst all this hysteria the real message that it was to be NON-VIOLENT got lost, combined with the images of troops, riot-cops, trenches, and razor wire, the propaganda campaign by the State succeeded in convincing most of the population that it was going to be violent and thereby convinced them to stay away.

And the State, in keeping with being afraid of direct action type activity, the Catholic Workers and Mary Kelly have been consistently hounded by the agents and instutions of the State, who clearly do not represent the interest of the citizens in this particular instance.

The same type of media hysteria, slander, lies and propaganda was repeated for this years May Day protests, but on an far bigger and longer scale. And again with much success on their part.

author by Ppublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 19:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Roger, your goal is admirable, but I think you should consider the following where you state:

'PANA believes all power derives from the people, and they express that power through voting in a secret ballot via election or referendums.'

How by having an election every few years can all the power derive from the people, if the multitude of thousands of poltical and other decisions are condensed down to essentially a multi-choice question of picking political party candidate A, B, C or D (or maybe even F and G)

That is one of the problems of elections, they condense the tens of thousands of future decisions down into a simple multi choice box of 3 or 4 options. It's mathemtically impossible to derive information from a few small inputs like that to being expanded up into driving tens of thousands of decisions.

What you claim is people power, is simply not. And to be fair you are certainly not the only one advocating that. The bulk of the population is fooled into it too.

PS: For the critics. 500 years ago most people thought the world was flat. Yes it is possible for the bulk of the population to have false beliefs in their head, especially when the powers that be (think the Church at the time, and the State, Elite and big Media now) drummed those beliefs into their heads everyday.

author by Joepublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 20:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom the problem with the 'March 1st caused the decline' theory is that Irelands anti-war movement followed the same trajectory both up and down of the anti-war movements in Britain and the USA. Neither of these had a 'March 1st' so you'll have to look elsewhere for a reason why people stopped coming out on one march after the other.

author by Michaelpublication date Tue Nov 16, 2004 23:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I couldn't make it to the March 1st demo at Shannon Airport myself, but having followed it closely on mailing lists and discussions with participants before, during and after, I'm left with the feeling that the problem was tactics, not media hysteria. At least 500 people came to engage in nonviolent direct action.

Hundreds more came with a view to protesting and perhaps engaging in some civil disobedience too. That's heaps! Well done to all the organisers, supporters and promoters!!

Rather than preparing days and weeks in advance for a leaderless, spread-out day of action though (spread out over space -- the fence -- and over time during the day and night), almost everyone walked to that small stretch of the airport perimeter with the greatest concentration of cops and soldiers.

Had you broken up into affinity groups -- 5 to 20 people in each -- and spread out you could have taken down the fence in at least one or two places, maybe even more.

I'm not saying this cause I like to say "I told you so". My point is just that you were SO CLOSE. The darkest hour is just before the dawn...

author by Ciaron - Pit Stop Ploughsharespublication date Wed Nov 17, 2004 14:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

March 1st was my first day out of jail after the Pit Stop Ploughshares action at Shannon. I had stayed in a B &B in Limerick on my first night of release and was required to sign on in Dublin on the afternoon of March 1st in Dublin. And daily until conditions were changed 9 months later.

My room at the B & B was raided (he didn't knock and was invited in) by Special Branch. He threatened to arrest me and went for back up and I legged it to Dublin. So yes the heat has been on for the last 18 months. That our imprisonment was not mentioned form the platform on Feb 15th. exposed that there would be little link between those managing the protest movement and the embryonic nonviolent resistance movement in relation to Shannon.

Rretrospect is 20/20 vision. I think it was a tactical mistake to become obssessed with repeating the fence pulling down action. The road could have been blockaded without passing the riot police and degenerating into a tussle rather than achieving the nvda objective. But fair play to all who resisted and for those who raised money for finnes and the like of Fintan Lane who did jail time for the earlier fence action.

From memory of watching the build up on teev in Limerick Prison the protest leadership contributed to the hysteria of possible violence on March 1st. rather than countering it. This was duplicated without foundation for May Day 2004.

It is true that the Western peace movement has been in sad shape since it failed to stop the war from occuring. (It's probably in better shape in England than Ireland because of thelegacies of the '60's anti-Vietnam War and the '80's likes of Greenham Common anti nuke wr scene and the '90's Faslane Gahnadian/Ploughshares crossover campiagn.....such legacy is absent in the Irish context. There is alot to leran from Faslane that could be applied to the Shannon campaign.

This general sad shape duplicates what happened in the first Gulf War-(and points to the mistake of the Day X strategy wainting for the war t start to unleash your nvda). The peace movement disappeared fom the streets 3 weeks into the bombing campaign.(I was in jail in the US at this stage so that's the context of this perspective) Following Gulf War 1 the moderate peace movement wasn't around to support the military resisters or civilian resisters facing trial as a consequence of their actions against the war. It wasn't around when the nature of US war on the people of Iraq morpehed into the genociadal sanxtions that claimed up to a million children under the gae of 5 in Iraq. This opposition was left to a prophetic minority throughout the '90's like Voices in the Wilderness and the like of Dennis Halliday.

Solidarity witht he Banshees going to court in Ennis Thursday 10.30 am. The resistance continues.

Related Link: http://www.ploughsaresireland.org
author by Andy Wilson - Libertypublication date Wed Nov 17, 2004 14:18author address author phone 098 26281Report this post to the editors

I was at the Shannon demo on 13 November. Those of you there may recall our 'Close Shannon to US Terrorists' banner at the front of the march.
My feeling is that protests of this nature achieve very little. The gardai made sure we didn't get anywhere near the airport and we were routed along closed off roads where no one would see or even hear us. This is not the way to gain attention. The national media totally ignored us. There were no TV cameras and few if any representatives of the mainstream press.
If we look back over the last eighteen months at Shannon, it is apparent that the protests have achieved little if anything. More US planes are using Shannon than ever before. Our Government contiues to facilitate this illegal war and occupation in Iraq.
If we are serious about drawing attention to the situation in Iraq and our opposition to US military use of Shannon, then we have to get serious about our protests. Our aim should be to cause maximum disruption to the running of the airport, until such time that the US military are banished for good. Protests should continue to be non violent but should focus on breaching airport security and blocking access roads, being highly visible and making as much noise as possible.These objectives are not difficult to achieve. The main obstacle would appear to be the intransigence of some of the protest groups about engaging in some meaningful action.; I would like to see an action take place in the run up to christmas. While some intending travellers will be inconvenienced by our protests surely this is a very small price to pay compared to what is being done in Iraq by the occupying forces. If we continue to do nothing for fear of upsetting a few people at home then we might as well forget about the war in Iraq.
A few hundred people could easily bring the airport to a standstill. The resulting publicity may not always be favourable but let us not forget that a very large number of people in this country are opposed to what the US are doing, and they will support us.
By allowing the US military to use Shannon our Government is giving the message to the world that Ireland supports what the US is doing. No wonder then, that appeals made by the Irish government on behalf of hostages with Irish background fall on deaf ears. Having Blair or Ahern appeal for the release of such hostages is basically a kiss of death.
Anyone interested in getting involved in fresh protests at Shannon should contact Liberty , e mail swellos @eircom.net or phone 098 26281

author by Mepublication date Wed Nov 17, 2004 14:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to Andy,

I was there on Saturday also, and yes it was a big waste of time, we achieved nothing except get some cops a lot of overtime, no one saw us or heard us. As for local reaction, I bet the people of shannon were thrilled to see the SWP enter the estate followed by most of the cops in CLare, on foot, in cars and vans, in the air on horses and with dogs. Nice way to get our message across. Also that element of the protest was hijacked by RBB and the SWP, nobody mentioned that at least 50 protesters didnt bother with the canvass and walked to the airport insstead. Also we were sent down a small road closed off from the public, the cops did a good job there.

Local youths hurled abuse from the flats telling us "to f,,k off home ye bastards." then out of the vinicity of the airport came the chant "all we are saying is give Bush a chance" thats the only local reaction I saw apart from disgruntled individuals who had hassle coming and going to the airport.

All in all it was a masterful fuck up that achieved nothing except to pararde the SWP banners all over shannon.


Well done RBB

author by Terrypublication date Wed Nov 17, 2004 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There is alot to leran from Faslane that could be applied to the Shannon campaign."

Well Ciaron but the British peace movement hasn't exactly been too successful - indeed if the reactive anti-war movement that erupted and died there did die, and was dominated by conservative elements, surely this is a failure of the peacenik Faslane types?
No matter how good someones tactical suss or determination it's fuck all use if they don't engage large numbers of people when the opportunity presents itself.
On the March Ist score this had Adam as a spokesman - he doesn't look or sound remotely threatening or intimidating.

author by Ciaron - Dublin Catholic Worker-personal capacitypublication date Wed Nov 17, 2004 20:30author address author phone 087 918 4552Report this post to the editors

Faslane is a succesful popular campaign in Scotland. After a large blockade with hundreds of arrests - a mainstream Scottish newspaper did a poll where over 60% of the general public support nonviolent civil disobedience to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland.

The Church of Scotland adopted the position of supporting nonviolent civil disobedience to remove nuclear wepaons from Scotland.

Compared to the campaign to remove the U.S. military from Shannon the Faslane campaign has high morale, a good relationship between older activists and the young, a good track record for support for those arrested & imprisoned for nonviolent resistance to the Faslane base. A peace camp whose beginningspreceed the TP2000 campaign has been there for over a decade.

People from all sorts of faith and political philosphies working together in mutuality and solidarity not bogged down by sectarianism. And with a lot less burn out and cycnicism.

Yep there's a lot to learn from the Faslane campaign (it can't be totally transplanted). It ain't perfect (I'm no Ghandian/mass movement operater) but there is lots to learn from it. It's nearby, accesible and a lot of good refelction has been published on it.

Related Link: http://www.geocities.com/dublincatholicworker
author by Timpublication date Fri Nov 19, 2004 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with Ciaron on this one.

The Faslane Peace Camp & Trident Ploughshares approach is a very good one.

Terry, I think your comment that it is a failure to the Faslane peaceniks is ill-considered.
Considering the plans and resources of the UK govt, these guys have done quite a good job.

They have done a very good job of undermining public support for the base, (given that most Scottish people don't want the nukes there) of informing the public, and on a simple level of keeping their campaign going.
The media in Scotland does not have an easy option of dismissing the TP campaign as a tiny handful of people. There are lots of them, they have respect from the community, and some of them travel all the way from the south of England or Finland to do their actions.

(Meanwhile in Ireland we allow a large section of the public to believe that the US is hardly using Shannon much any more...
and try getting people to come from Dublin to Shannon for an overnight camp!)

TP facilitates a range of tactics... from standing with a banner, beating a drum, sitting in the road or swimming in to do direct action on a sub.
AND on top of that, they have fostered an environment where it is OKAY for people with diverse approaches to work together.

(In Ireland the plane smashers, fence jumpers, boycotters, speech makers, megaphone-hogging attention grabbers seem to be in totally different camps)

TP reach out to other groups and talk to them, constructively, even when not planning an action, they help to stengthen bonds, and maintain morale, so that when an action does happen, there is an informed and ready support network.

(Meanwhile in Ireland groups outside the IAWM's rigid control, don't appear to work with each other all that often, or keep each other up to date)

TP provides training in NVDA for people who want it, they give legal briefings, they share research, they have legal observers at demos and a support line for people who get arrested in demos, as well as a court support and prisoner support operation.

(Adam, who came to Ireland from TP, helped set up similar things here, but of course less people got involved. Too few people appreciate the difference it makes in a demo to know that if the cops nick you for sitting in the road, that someone will know who arrested you, and what station you went to, and what time you should be released or taken to court, that someone will take notes for you in court, so you have a record of what happened, or that you can look at the notes of previous cases so you have an idea of what may happen... otherwise, you can just be picked up, isolated and dragged through the system on your own... the system operated by TP doesn't let this happen. The IAWM would never get into this because it's difficult, it takes time, effort and money and actually requires you to stand by people, rather than spout rhetoric and get some media time... which is all very safe.

At the last demo RBB made some waffle about 'some groups not being as active as before' - and he's right, but this is coming from the chair of the IAWM who, while claiming to want to build a mass movement will not even talk to groups that have different tactics or perspectives, and simply labels them as "hostile to the IAWM"

It is possible for groups to work together without having to merge, or be subject to iron-clad dictats from a central committee.
We don't have to agree on everything, or co-operate on everything, but there is plenty that we could work together on...

Research, public awareness, court and prison support, training for NVDA can be pooled between groups without any dilution of principles.
So what's the great reason not to?

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Fri Nov 19, 2004 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ditto. :-)

TP has it's problems too, of course. Still I think Ciaron and Tim are right (and I've been saying it since day 1 on this site) -- there's heaps we can learn from those people and that campaign.

Though the Trident Ploughshares campaign is radical in heaps of ways (see the handbook on their website: http://www.tridentploughshares.org/ ), something which only hit me after a year or so knowing about TP is there's this understanding that complete nuclear disarmament might not happen in our lifetimes no matter how hard we campaign. It's not that they want change "in due time" -- nuclear weapon systems *should* all be disarmed immediately -- TP aren't "moderates"! But movements to abolish terrible wrongs like nukes take ages.

author by Terrypublication date Sun Nov 21, 2004 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't get me wrong lads I'm not saying Faslane et al are shite - I'm in no ways qualified to have an opinion on it for good or ill.

The point is there was what Ciaron would call a reactive anti-war movement in Britain it was very big, but mostly conservative...right? and it died away ...right?

Now what if anything did the likes of Faslane, TP, etc... do to intervene in this movement and radicalise it? (a question)

Cause if the point in the second paragraph is true then it represents a failure for ALL - not just something which can be blamed on conservative elements.

The point of the exercise is to consider what we could do better rather than blame whatever Swapper front it is this week. Oh and a lot of the stuff Tim says is spot on.

author by Michaelpublication date Sun Nov 21, 2004 18:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

TP is more mobile than the Faslane Peace Camp, though as a campaign it also has quite a specific area of work: nonviolent nuclear disarmament.

It's effect on the general antiwar movement, and on other movements (even the local police!) happens by people working together and taking their experiences with them to try elsewhere.

Heaps of people who participated in peace camps, weapons inspections, and disarmament actions at Fairfort and other bases in the UK (and Ireland!) picked up some of those ideas from working in/with TP and the FPC.

TP, Nonviolence News, INNATE and other newsletters and networks helped keep people informed of what peace camps and action were happening throughout the last few years.

To be fair to people in Britain who opposed the war, I wouldn't say that the peace movement there was "conservative". Train drivers refused to drive weapons cargo, church leaders and even whole churches denounced the war, civil servants deep in the heart of power walked off the job (whistleblowers in spy agencies, top government lawyers pulling out), and people of all ages got involved in protests in every part of Britain. There were smashed planes, broken fences, blocked runways and roads, and damaged refueling trucks.

Have you heard of a single person in Ireland refusing to do something for which they'll be paid on the grounds that it would be supporting the war if they did it (e.g. Top Oil refuelling, Shannon policing, etc...)?

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