A busy year for the anarchist bogeyman

2003 was a vintage year for the anarchist bogeyman. He could be counted upon to appear whenever public discontent reared its ugly head. Thankfully, our politicians and media were eternally vigilant to the threat that he posed and were able to spot his plots and warn the easily-led 'ordinary person' to steer clear of him and his ilk.

In the Spring, as tens of thousands of US troops poured through Shannon airport on their way to beat the crap out of Iraq, things were getting a bit hot for Bertie when people started smacking planes with hammers and threatening to pull down fences. The bogeyman provoked a media frenzy, when he announced plans to protest at Shannon. Apparently these anarchists were capable of such 'violence' that thousands of Irish soldiers and gardai, and even the US military were powerless to resist!

Summer came and the World Economic Forum - the global elite's talking shop - announced that it would come to Ireland. Up popped the bogeyman, threatening to bring thousands of his foreign friends to cause mayhem on our peaceful isle. The brave and enterprising journalists of the Evening Herald managed to infiltrate his movement and splashed the news of a "Sinister" Anarchist plot on their front page. Apparently the bogeyman was planning "to destroy Dublin". It all proved too much for the poor government and they had to cancel the summit in the face of this terrible threat.

Autumn saw the bogeyman busy in the bin tax campaign. This time it was the Sunday Independent that warned the public of the dangers that he posed. As the blockades and protests reached their height, they revealed how anarchists had "infiltrated" the campaign in significant numbers.

Then, with the chill of Winter, he got a few ideas from his cousin, the phantom terrorist, and started posting letter-bombs to European bureaucrats. With Ireland about to take over the EU presidency, the bogeyman was now a real threat to us all.

On virtually every occasion that anarchists were mentioned in the media in 2003, it was in the context of a scare story about threatened violence. The reality of anarchist activity was far, far different. While we were arrested, fined, injuncted and jailed in significant numbers for taking part in peaceful protests, we did not thrown a blow at a single person. Never once were we given a chance to give our side of the story.

However, it's not that much of a surprise that the media paints us in such a negative light. For a start most journalists are lazy hacks who prefer sensationalist scandals to real reporting. More importantly, the handful of rich and powerful people who control the media want to hold onto their power and are extremely hostile to anarchist ideas, which are based on equality, freedom and democracy. This is why we produce our own publications such as this newsletter - to give ourselves a chance to explain what we believe and what we do - and you're not likely to find that in the media.

See also The anarchist movement in Ireland

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This edition is No79 published in Jan 2004

Workers Solidarity 79