Dublin Grassroots Network
Activists from the Dublin Grassroots network are calling for a European day of action in Dublin on Saturday, May 1st, as the highlight of a weekend of action from Friday April 30th, to Monday May 3rd. These days of action will focus on symbols of all that is wrong with the EU as it currently stands: militarism, neo-liberalism, fortress Europe and the EU police state. We are inviting people from all over Europe, and the world, to join us in Dublin on Mayday to show our leaders that their agenda for EU integration, driven by the wealthy and powerful, will face resistance. We will also be using the days of action to highlight local issues and campaigns which are linked to the broader problems of corporate globalisation and the EU.
The Irish government is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU. After almost a month of the presidency, we have a pretty good idea of what it is going to mean for us. The two ministerial meetings that have taken place so far have both been characterised by extraordinary and expensive police operations, paid for by the public and aimed at keeping the public as far away as possible from the decision makers. They have also revealed the sinister side of EU security. A well-known anti-war activist, Eoin Rice, was arrested for protesting during the EU ministerial meeting in Galway and was brutally beaten in custody. In Dublin, Indymedia reported that an independent cameraman was forcibly removed from the vicinity of Dublin castle and had his camera damaged by police. Obviously the EU leaders aren't too keen to allow critical public scrutiny of their deliberations.
The government has announced that Mayday is going to be Bertie's big day out as EU president. This is the date - traditionally workers' day - when the EU will formally expand to incorporate 10 new states, mostly from Eastern Europe. The government plan to hold street parties and other 'celebrations' for the population, while the 25 heads of state of the enlarged union are wined and dined in the plush surroundings of Farmleigh house. However, the government's celebrations to 'welcome' the accession countries are a fraud.
We anticipate that an unprecedented police operation will be put in place to ensure that the public are kept far away from the decision makers. Also, while the leaders of these countries might be welcome in the EU (along with their farms and sweatshops), most of the current EU countries will remain closed to the people of the accession states for the next 6 years. Worse still, at the same time as the EU leaders talk about international co-operation and openness, they are actually implementing a 'fortress Europe,' a closed EU from which the inhabitants of the third world, the majority of the world's population, will be ruthlessly excluded. It is instructive that the first 'achievement' of the Irish presidency was the establishment of a 'repatriation fund,' to allow the wealthy countries to share the costs of deporting people to poor countries.
We are not at all opposed to international integration. We do not seek to defend our national sovereignty. We do not oppose the accession of new countries to the EU. We do not think that a sovereign Irish government will represent us any better than a EU government will. However, we are completely opposed to the direction that the EU is currently taking. In particular, we are opposed to the militarisation of the EU, as embodied by the Rapid Reaction Force and NATO/Partnership for Peace. We are opposed to the capitalist agenda of the EU, driven by multi-national corporations, as embodied by article 133. We are opposed to the creation of a fortress Europe, which forces borders to open for capital and builds walls against people. We are opposed to the police state that the EU is becoming, where protestors are criminalised and brutalised and EU co-operation focuses on co-ordinating spying on the public, as exemplified by the Schengen Information System. That is not the EU we want.
In opposition to the current EU of the rich and powerful, we propose a grassroots Europe. A Europe united through empowered communities taking decision making power back into their own hands. A Europe without borders, internal or external. A Europe where wealth is equally shared and everybody has the same opportunities. A Europe where our resources are spent on education, health and sustainable development rather than war and capitalist profiteering. This Europe cannot be formed from above, but needs people to stand up for themselves and say 'no' to our corrupt and greedy leaders. The time to start is always now.
Also see IMC Ireland Special EU Section:
Irish Government EU Presidency Official Site:
NB On Sunday 16 November 2003 in the assembly of the social movements at the Paris European Social Forum, two main calls for action were agreed. On March 20, a date proposed by the american anti-war movement, there will be widescale mobilisation against war. Actions against the European constitution will centre on May 9 as the European mass action day for a different Europe.