Anti-war Demos in Ireland

D OC donaloc at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 21 03:13:49 MST 2003


>The reason I commented on the lack of a Sinn Fein
presence on the last Dublin anti-war demonstration, as
well as the Shannon demo wasn't to have a go at
Domhnall.

Perhaps it seemed as if I took it personally. I didn't but it always amazes
me how groups on the left (particularly those taking their lead from British
mother groups) can have excellent positions on imperialism abroad yet be
very quiet on defending our own country against the same stuff on our own
doorstep.

>A few days before the last Dublin demo there was a
smaller demonstration against the budget organised by
the Socialist Party, the Workers and Unemployed Action
Group and some others. SF showed up in some force with
at least 30 people and multiple banners. That made it
all the more striking that a few days later on a
demonstration with maybe four times as many people on
it that they were nowhere to be seen.

I think the RM hasn't been too focussed on this for a variety of reasons. At
the same time, our Northern people are very focussed on getting 200,000
people on the electoral register - this is the equivalent of 20% of the
voting population. Having said that, I know that there is a broad agreement
at all levels that we have to engage with the antiwar stuff much more
effectively. I hope to be organising a bus for students/activists down to
Dublin for the next march from Leitrim/Fermanagh/Monaghan as I feel that its
up to individual local groups to push this as far as we want. Irish
neutrality is very much at the core of Irish Republicanism (its even rising
a few 'green' FFers) so I think things will grow with time quite naturally.

>It seems that SF are indeed not making campaigning
against the war or the American use of Shannon any
kind of priority at the moment.

SF's political analysis is prioritised on the achievement and defence of
Irish national democratic rights. The US using Shannon as a stop off for its
imperialist ambitions is just one factor in that. It might be interesting to
consider the value of having a national antiwar demonstration in Belfast??

John O'Neill wrote:

>I don't think so. Martin Ferris is a member of SF who happens to represent
>them in Dail Eireann (the National Parliament in the Republic). I think its
>contrary to Domhnalls professed marxism to argue his attendance is enough
>to indicate wholehearted SF commitment to the anti war movement. If so, why
>didn't we all stay at home and just send a delegation of public
>representatives?

Your demands for mass participation appear ignorant of the contours of the
RM. In any case, I don't even think that the thing was well advertised. I
didn't know anything was happening and I'm on a variety of lists. There was
no mention of Shannon on this list. Unlike Feb 15th, An Phoblacht wasn't
carrying ads for it for weeks before. Some of that is our own fault but some
is the fault of the way this thing is organised - if the antiwar protests
are going to work - there need to be networks for information to spread out
- particularly outside Dublin and Shannon. I was at a party conference on
Agriculture last Saturday pretty oblivious to the whole thing.

>The whole point of these demonstrations is to show MASS opposition to
Shannon being used as a part of the War and general Irish opposition to the
War. There is an onus on Sinn Fein to get as many of it's members involved
as possible if it is serious about the campaign.

I would like to see mass protests against British occupation of the North
but its hard work organising them. I agree about the need for large-scale
demonstrations and I think the RM will get more focussed on this.

>I look forward to participating in your protest outside the Military
fortification in your village when it happens although travelling 100 miles.
I'll expect more than just a pint.

We have 2 big anti-militarisation demos a year on average although it can be
dangerous stuff - they are mostly for youth but have to be managed by the
'old hands'. Aside from the pint, you'd have a good bit of craic.

D.







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