Grassroots gathering

The Grassroots Gatherings

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In practice, the Grassroots Gatherings – and groups linked to them – have become the main (and the only continuous) networking of the “movement of movements” in Ireland. To date 10 gatherings have been held between 2001 and 2005. In keeping with the goal of autonomy and decentralisation, there has been no central committee; at the end of each gathering a group of activists has offered to host the next one in their own area and has got on with organising it in their own way, around an agenda set by themselves and with sometimes very different structures and themes.

The Dublin EU Mayday protests of 2004 - The Ghost of Mayday Past

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Compared to many other European countries May Day demonstrations have always been small in Ireland, even in the 1980's when the Stalinist left was much more influential and the unions were much more powerful. By the mid-1990's, with the old left in complete disarray and the union bureaucrats more focussed on partnership with the state and the bosses rather than workers' rights, May Day had become a fairly underwhelming event.

So, given this dismal tradition why were the explicitly libertarian May Day events in 2004, comparatively speaking, such a success? Of course there was the impetus of a major European Union summit but to understand why anarchists were in a position to organise big May Day events calls for a brief examination of the development of libertarian ideas and practices in Ireland over the past few years.

Grassroots Gathering held in Cork - Organising In Challenging Times

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The Grassroots Gathering is a twice-yearly coming together of anarchists and libertarian socialists who are active in political groups and campaigns up and down the island of Ireland. The second of 2008's Gatherings was held in Cork on 14th-16th November. The 90 or so attending, combined with the quality of the discussions, left its organisers very pleased with the weekend. It showed that there's a lot of life left in the Grassroots Gathering as a show-case for trends and thinking among Ireland's libertarian left.

Grassroots Gathering and capitalist crisis - audio from Cork

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Last weekend saw the 12th Grassroots Gathering held in Cork. The event was pretty successful I'd guess there were at least 80 there on the Saturday. It's good that after its two year interruption the Gatherings seem to be getting back on their feet.

Learning from May Day: Organisational Problems

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A look at some of the problems faced and mistakes made in the organisation of the Dublin EU Mayday summit protests in 2004.

Learning from May Day: Anti-Capitalist Strategy direct action, militancy and building the movement

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The experience of May Day brings up us back to some of the perennial questions thrown up by counter-summits protests: how do we broaden our movement and what role do direct action and confrontational tactics have in that process. These are, of course, the issues that have been mainstay of Red and Black Revolution debates over the past few years but have been usually viewed through the prism of events outside of Ireland. The following article is a personal account of the Dublin Grassroots Network's approach to such issues in relation to May Day and goes on to argue for increased tactical flexibility from anarchists within the anti-capitalist movement.

What is the World Economic Forum?

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This October some 400 industrialists and assorted hangers on will descend on Dublin for the European summit of the World Economic Forum. The city centre will be brought to a halt as the sort of globalisation demonstration we have seen in Seattle and Prague occurs in Dublin. So what is the World Economic Forum? In its own words "The Forum provides a collaborative framework for the world's leaders to address global issues, engaging particularly its corporate members in global citizenship.i" That is from the WEF web page and despite the careful spin should be worrying to anyone reading it carefully.

Grassroots Gathering 5 - the birth of a movement

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The Grassroots Gathering is a weekend series of meetings and social events which brings together anti-authoritarian left wing activists. This summer saw the fifth one in two years and with over 165 people registering for this one (27th-29th June, Dublin) we can finally say that there is a movement of libertarian activists, a movement that has rejected hierarchical ways of organising. The previous Gathering had happened in Limerick in the middle of the fight against the war and suffered as a consequence.

The March 1st 2003 action against the Iraq war at Shannon airport

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If you were anywhere in Ireland in the last week of February you can't have missed the hype ahead of the March 1st direct action called at Shannon by the Grassroots Network Against the War (GNAW). Suddenly every politician, reporter and even bishop in the country was joining the queue to denounce the planned 'violent' protest. The morning before the protest irony died on its feet when Sinn Fein announce it was pulling out of the unrelated Irish Anti War Movement protest at the airport for fear of violence.

Grassroots Gathering 4 - A sun kissed weekend in Limerick

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The fourth Grassroots Gathering happened at University of Limerick on the St. Patrick's bank holiday weekend. It was a glorious weekend of weather and once again I came away from the experience of meeting fellow activists with renewed vigour for the struggle. The Grassroots Network has succeeded in creating a space for non-hierarchical libertarian groups and individuals to gather and share information and conduct workshops on various tactics used.

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