Kilkenny shows Youth Defence the door


Saturday 22 July and Youth Defence, the real bottom of the barrel of the anti-choice campaign, brought their roadshow to Kilkenny. They have embarrassing historical ties with neo-nazis and plenty of shady American dollars to pay for their slick corporate stall, glossy flyers and huge banners, mostly featuring mangled foetuses and scare tactic slogans.

Kilkenny may be a small town, but it still put up resistance to open misogyny, misinformation and intimidation. Faced with over a dozen Youth Defence activists, a small handful of Pro-Choice activists staged a silent protest in front of their stall.

They were directly confronted and shouted abuse by Youth Defence, but they held their ground and the community came out to support them. Locals were so shocked by the images used in the Youth Defence propaganda the gardaí were called and some of Youth Defence's more graphic images were confiscated by plainclothes officers. Apparently Kilkenny was the first time somebody took away their death porn.

We don't support the intervention of the gardaí here. The state, with its legal monopoly on use of force, interfering in a political dispute or protest is not on the same level as a group of normal people doing so. In this case the state happened to act against the interests of some bigoted people who represent the current religious political establishment and aim to destroy freedom. But in the vast, vast, majority of cases the state acts to defend to protect the establishment (that's what it's for) and limit our freedom.

So resorting to state intervention like this is a real Faustian bargain. The way around it is to take responsibility ourselves for political contests as a civic duty, rather than outsourcing that responsibility to the same institution which put people in jail for trying to stop the Iraq War. It takes more effort in the short term, but it leads to far more positive social change than calling on Big Brother.

In any case, fair play to the strong women in Kilkenny, and we are with you when you say:
Shame on YOUth Defence!