The May bank holiday saw the annual Rossport Solidarity Camp gathering, this year across the road from the new Shell compound at Arghoos in Erris. As has become traditional the gathering combined a direct action with workshops and socializing. On the Sunday most of those present went to the launch of fisherman's Pat O'Donnell's new boat. There was a constant Garda presence around the camp throughout the weekend but despite the destruction of some 60m of Shell's bog road no arrests were made.
As Gardaí go door to door in central Dublin trying to intimidate any residents who might be tempted to protest against the visit of the British queen, their colleagues in Britain have mounted raids on social centers and squats across London. Five social centers were raided this morning in London and over 60 anarchists have been banned from the centre of the London on the day of the wedding of Liz's parasitic offspring. Cops used battering rams to raid 3 further houses in Hove.
On March 26th it quickly became obvious that the TUC anti-cuts demo was going to be nearly as big as the 2003 anti-war march. It was an impressive show of numbers – not strength, though, as there was no coherent call for turning words into action. That is why getting our message of direct action (strikes, occupations, etc.) is key. The notion that “peaceful” and “dignified” walking from A to B will change policies was, surely, put to rest for this generation when Blair took us into Iraq?
I left Ireland in 2007 at the height of the economic boom there, the unemployment rate was under 5%1, house prices had gone through the ceiling and the head of state had suggested that anyone who thought there might be an end to the boom should go and kill themselves. I passed through Philly in March 2008 and the news from back home was not so good as the international banking collapse was having its impact. That June I moved back to Ireland, and from then on the economy went into free fall, pushed over the edge by property speculation, which had grown exponentially in the previous decade.
An editorial in Thursday's (April 7th) Irish Times titled "Loose talk or malice?" accepted the interpretation that the Gardai recorded on the Corrib video were simply making a private joke about rape. The editorial found that unacceptable but less serious then previous "corrupt and illegal actions by a small number of its members." The attitude of the Irish Times that all that is at issue is some off colour joking has been reflected by other commentators. Some like Kevin Myers can be dismissed as pro-Shell loons but others who have taken this line seem genuine and therefore must not have given much thought to the context these remarks were made in. The context being both the circumstances these particular women found themselves in (in the power of the Garda concerned) and the general pattern of Garda repression of protest around the Corrib project.
Shell to Sea held a well attended press conference today (7 April) at which it was highlighted that the video recording of Garda discussing using rape threats as part of an interrogation was symptomatic of the policing of the entire Shell Corrib project. Local resident John Monaghan revealed that another Garda sergeant made abusive sexual remarks to him at a previous protest. ULA TD Joe Higgins added his support to the Shell to Sea demand for an independent international inquiry into both the behavior of Garda and of the controversial private security company IRMS at the Corrib protests over the last decade.
Garda in Mayo took revenge for the publication of the Corrib cops rape threat video yesterday (4th April) by attacking Shell to Sea campaigners during another protest near the site where the women were arrested. Alongside this there are clear indications of a dirty tricks campaign being waged by the Garda Press Office. The fact that Garda from the same division felt confident attacking the friends of the women only hours after the so called investigation had been announced by the Garda Press office demonstrates exactly how serious they expected such an investigation to be. These actions confirm that the rape threat as an interrogation method discussion captured on the video is not simply an issue of the Garda directly involved on the video but indicative of the brutal nature of policing in the area where individual Garda continue to expect to have a free hand in attacking campaigners.
Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you” - the words of a Garda Sgt as he discussed with at least two other Gardai how they were going to interrogate one of two female Shell to Sea campaigners they had arrested and who were being brought to Belmullet Garda station. Just second earlier while they were discussing how to interrogate the women one Garda suggested they threaten her with deportation. The Sgt responds with the addition of the rape threat which he repeats before another so far unidentified Garda chimes in with “hold it there, give me your name and address there, I’ll rape you” prompting the Sgt to repeat it one last time as “or I’ll definitely rape you.” [Listen to the 2 minute audio] [Spanish translation]
The ConDem’s are continuing the grand tradition of all governments in proving anarchists right. Our so-called representatives are able to ignore their manifestos, are free to break their solemn pre-election pledges and vote as they like – all in the interests of capital.
As discussed in “The Symbols of Anarchy” in An Anarchist FAQ [AK Press, 2008] anarchists at first used the red flag as their symbol of choice, with the Black Flag slowly replacing it over a period of many decades from the 1880s. Both flags, however, had their roots in working class struggle and protest, both were anti-capitalist symbols raised by working class people in revolt against exploitation and oppression.
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