Fw: [ainriail] Direct action at Shannon shows the way

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Thu Feb 6 02:52:03 MST 2003


----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew" <andy at dojo.tao.ca>
To: <ainriail at struggle.ws>
Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 2:44 PM
Subject: [ainriail] Direct action at Shannon shows the way


>      Direct Action at Shannon shows the way
>
> The coming war is a vast effort for the US and its lapdog Britain as
the
> hundreds of thousands of men and the tens of thousands of tons of
equipment
> they require are transported from bases in the US and Britain to the
Gulf.
> Modern war requires an enormous supply chain to keep all those fuel
guzzling
> tanks and planes on the move.  The modern way of killing using
enormous
> quantities of bullets, bombs and explosives.
>
> In 'Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the
Gulf War'
> General William G. Pagonis revealed that 7 million tons of supplies
had to be
> shipped to the battlefield then.  Winston Churchill said of war:
"Victory is
> the beautiful, bright-coloured flower. Transport is the stem without
which it
> never could have blossomed."
>
> There is often a feeling among anti-war activists that there is
little we can
> do to directly impact on war.  The figures above suggest otherwise,
for these
> supplies move through airports and ports near us, or down road and
rail
> networks near the places we live.  The quantities of supplies needed
to fight
> this war are enormous, in 1991 for instance the 1450th
transportation company
> supplied 7.75 million gallons of fuel to the airforce and tanks
attacking
> Iraq[i].  We are not just talking tanks and infantry here, in WWII
the US army
> depended on over three times as many men to supply the information
and
> transport as were actually in combat[ii].
>
> One airport these supplies are flowing through is the commercial
airport at
> Shannon in the south west of Ireland.  Every day and average of 5 or
6 US
> military planes land here to refuel as they transport soldiers and
supplies to
> the Gulf.  Some of these planes, like the Hercules C130 are
obviously
> military, and can even be used to drop bombs.  Some others are of a
civilian
> type but are owned by the military and have a role in providing the
essential
> support services that allow war to be waged. Most however are
commercial
> airlines charted by the military to transport troops.
>
> Over the last year Shannon airport has seen many protests by those
who oppose
> the war.  These protests have involved Direct Action, it the attempt
to
> directly effect the ability to wage war, on a number of occasions.
The
> numbers involved in these actions have not been huge, perhaps a
couple of
> hundred in all.  But already they are having an impact on the war.
>
> On three occasions individuals or small groups of activists have
succeeded in
> reaching and damaging military planes.  One result of this has been
that one
> of the commercial airliners ferrying troops, World Airlines, have
announced
> that they are going to stop using Shannon, and are diverting their
next 17
> troop transports to Frankfurt airport [iii].  The activists have
also
> succeeded in grounding a US Navy plane, after it was attacked
firstly with an
> axe and days later by five more activists from the 'Catholic Worker'
> organisation with hammers and axes.
>
> Of course if this sort of action only took place at Shannon then,
although it
> has already caused headaches for those shipping supplies to the war,
it would
> not present an insoluble problem.  World Airlines have diverted to
Frankfurt
> for the moment.  But if these actions start to happen everywhere
there is an
> anti-war movement then the war machine is in trouble.  And there is
mass
> opposition to this war in every country in Europe and in the US
itself.
>
> Direct Actions are taking place in other countries already.  Britain
has seen
> well over a dozen with a particular focus on the naval port of
Portsmouth
> where Greenpeace is engaged in a sustained campaign to block the
shipment of
> war supplies.  But as in Ireland it is only a tiny minority of those
involved
> in the anti-war movements who are involved in such actions.
>
> Shannon demonstrates that direct action gets the goods, that even a
tiny
> number of people tacking action can cause hiccups in the logistics
chain.
> What is now needed is that the anti-war movements start to take
themselves
> seriously.  Up to now the political parties that are leading these
movement
> have rubbished direct actions such as the ones at Shannon as
ineffective
> 'individual action'.  Now we have seen that these individual actions
have had
> more of a direct impact on the war then six hundred times this
number
> passively marching though our towns.
>
> The slogan 'Stop the War' needs to be taken as more then a passive
plea to our
> rulers to stop supporting the war effort.  It needs to be seen as a
call to
> action - it is up to us to stop the war.  If 300,000 can be
mobilised to march
> through London then surely 50,000 can be mobilised to shut down
Northwood
> Military HQ also in the London area.  Or 20,000 to march on the
bomber and
> refuelling bases essential to the war that are scattered around
Britain.
>
> Marches have and will continue to have an essential role in building
> opposition to the war and bringing new people into the movements.
But it is
> now clear that we can do more, that we can take action against this
war.  In
> this war our rulers do not need us to fight as soldiers, they would
like but
> do not require our support for the war.  They do however need us to
remain
> passive, for if we turn our disgust at this war into action against
it then
> their war machine will grind to a halt.
>
> Joe Black
>
> More information on the protests at Shannon at
> http://struggle.ws/wsm/shannon.html and www.indymedia.ie
>
> More information on direct actions around the globe at
> http://struggle.ws/stopthewar.html
>
> i  See http://www.millersgulfwar.org/utpage.html
> ii http://search.eb.com/normandy/articles/logistic_background.html
> iii http://www.indymedia.ie/cgi-bin/newswire.cgi?id=27145&start=20
>
>
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