Report on May day 2001 protest in Dublin at the Stock Exchange

May Day (2001) saw a very successful and well attended demonstration that forced the Dublin Stock Exchange to shut early. Some 300 protesters joined a demonstration called by Globalise Resistance which blocked the street outside the exchange.

The door of the stock exchange

Outside the stock exchange

The demonstration was non-confrontational with a brief flurry of excitement as the Gardaí moved in to prevent a protester climbing the front of the Stock Exchange in order to hang an anarchist flag over the door. Otherwise this protest contrasted sharply with similar protests elsewhere in the laid back approach of the Gardaí with not a riot shield in sight. If the Stock Exchange had tried to stay open things would have been different as the police would probably have dragged people away from the entrance and arrested them.

Anarchist flag

Speakers were from organisations that included Trinity College Students Union, Latin American Solidarity Centre, Workers Solidarity Movement, ATTAC, Socialist Workers Party and a French trade unionist. Below you will find the approximate text delivered by Andrew, the WSM member.
LASC speaker

The spirit of the demonstration was very good with enthusiastic chanting of the various slogans of the international movement. At about 5.30 we marched to the Daíl via Grafton Street, the major expensive shopping street in Dublin. The Gardaí hurriedly blocked off access to the Daíl with a row of barriers, which was further down Molesworth St then usual. (Possibly this was so that the barrier was thus beyond a large pile of empty bottles!).

On the megaphone

At 19:00 a meeting was held in the Ed Burke theatre in Trinity College that again attracted about 300 people. Maybe 150 of these had taken part in the earlier protest. Again this is a very good turn out for a Tuesday night meeting in Dublin. Several hundred copies of Workers Solidarity were distributed at the protest and the meeting itself.


-Approximate text of speech delivered at protest by WSM member


What we are doing today is not simply protesting about the abuses of capitalism. We are also part of a growing global movement that is starting to build a different world, a different way of doing things.

As anarchists we believe that the means we use today in fighting the abuses of capitalism will play a large part in determining what sort of different world we build. It is sometimes argued that in fighting capitalism we need to adopt the methods that work for capital. We disagree. What may be efficient for the bosses will not and can not achieve the society we need.

Eat the rich

The movement we need to build will be Self-managed

Self - management is not a word common in Irish radical circles which in itself says something. It means that struggles, union and ultimately work places should be run by those involved in them through assemblies or where necessary elected and recallabale delegates.

We need to break with the authoritarian system that sees our organisations run by professionals, elected or otherwise who make the key decisions. This includes 'professional revolutionaries'. There may be times where full time administrators are needed but such positions should have no decision-making roles.


The movement we need to build will use direct action as a method of struggle

Direct action is sometimes misunderstood to mean anything the media might label 'violent'. This isn't what it means, it means the people that are affected by something taking a form of action that will directly reduce or eliminate whatever it is that is oppressing them. So for a community that is effected by a busy road threatening their children Direct Action might mean blocking the road.

Potential trouble maker

The movement we need to build will be will be opposed to capitalism, authoritarianism and all forms of domination.

Are we simply struggling against the bad decisions of the corporations and the global economic and political bodies (WTO etc)? Or we struggling against the system, capitalism, that gave birth to them. I think the later, which is why we are fighting to abolish rather then reform, the World Bank, WTO and similar organisations.

But our movement must also fight other forms of authoritarianism and domination including those based on sex, perceived 'race' and geographic location.

Nike and sweatshops

The movement we need to build will involve itself in every day life

We need to be active not just on the issues of globalisation but also on all the issues that effect people in their day to day lives. This also means being active in whatever organisations working people have created to organise themselves. Where they exist the trade unions are a starting point for organising resistance in the workplace. The campaign against the bin charges in Dublin is a good way to involve yourself with the community where you live

It's important to say I am not calling for the creation of a single political organisation. The movement that needs to exist is already coming into existence; it is up to us to make sure it delivers freedom rather then a new set of masters.

Cop and flag


Platform at meeting
Crowd in Ed Burke
Above a section of the audience at the Globalise Resistance meeting in the Ed Burke, to the left a view of the stage

Faslane banner
At the Stock Exchange; a banner from last months blockade of the Faslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland

First published May 2001 on WSM site

WORDS Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )


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