Damn their youthful enthusiasm and misplaced punctuality
History, they say, is written by those who show up. Well today I can confidently say that not only was I not its author, I barely even managed to be its ghost writer.
That Mr Fawkes guy is back, and it appears he brought some friends.
Anti-ACTA March, Kildare Street, Dublin, Saturday 4th February
It is an unwritten rule that Dublin marches start at 2pm. 2pm outside the Garden of Remembrance. 2pm outside the Garden of Remembrance, with time for a few speeches, a wee spot of chanting, then setting off for the Dáil sometime after 2:30, arriving at the Dáil between 3:00 and 3:30pm depending on the size of your march, 4pm if you've really bused the crowds in.
Unfortunately nobody told the kids that, the kids that organised today's anti-ACTA march (ACTA being the EU's version of SOPA). They got the general idea right, gather at the Garden of Remembrance before marching to Kildare Street, they even set up a Facebook page. Well done, gold star, go to the head of the class. However for some reason they decided that 1pm was a good time for marching, and by all accounts that meant they actually left the Garden of Remembrance pretty much bang on time at 1pm.
I say "by all accounts" because I, of course, was nowhere near Parnell Square at that time, for who ever heard of a march being organised for 1pm, let alone leaving on time? Sometime closer to 1:50, as I sat on a bus approaching O'Connell Street, I decided to double check the Facebook page, and the sound of my resulting "Oh, bugger." could be heard the length and breadth of both decks of the bus, even over the bell I was frantically ringing to stop the bus and let me escape before I got carried further away from wherever it was that the march actually was by then. I'm pretty sure the bus driver was less-than-amused by my panicked bell-ringing, but no-one could mistake the "oh my god, I am such a moron" look of anguished embarrassment on my face, so I think he just took pity on me and let it pass.
By the time I made it up to the Dáil the march was long over, but according to folks I talked to there were maybe 250-300 folks there at the start, which had dwindled to maybe 50 by the time I arrived. One thing worth highlighting though was the demographic of those who remained, almost overwhelmingly under 21, in fact a sizable number looked like they weren't even out of school yet. This was interesting because over the last few months the number of young people (a phrase impossible to write without hearing Pope John Paul II's silken tones wrapped around it, as in "Young piples of Aye-a-land, aye laaahv you") participating in the various protest movements has been depressingly small, so obviously all we need to do is show them how the Government paying €1.25 billion to unsecured Anglo bondholders will affect their ability to illegally download My Chemical Romance tunes and we'll have them on the streets in their thousands.
Or dozens, judging by today's effort.
So what have I learned from today? While young piples are not as apathetic as I thought, they are, however, far more punctual. Their heady mix of hormones and faux-jaded-weariness-hidden-under-eyeliner-and-stupid-haircuts also means that they move faster on their stumpy little legs than you would imagine, Parnell Square to Kildare Street in less than 30 minutes is possibly a record (maybe there was a Jedward signing at 3 that they all wanted to get to?). It is also worth mentioning that just under four thousand people said they would attend on Facebook, and not even 10% of those showed up, I'll let you draw your own conclusions on the effectiveness of Social Media in promoting actual activism.
ACTA is a serious issue (I've written about ACTA and other similar copyright protection/net censorship legislation before), and everyone involved in today's march is to be commended, especially those who have never been involved in any sort of a protest before. Now if only we can get them to care about things in the Really Real World as well...
... and I'll try to make it to their next march on time.Tweet