Dublin pickets of Starbucks as part of global day of action


On July 5th 2005 the IWW in Grand Rapids and the CNT in Seville called for a world wide day of action on Starbucks restaurants. We know people have many issues with Starbucks from their flagship role on Capitalist Globalisation to their overpriced cup of froth laughably posing as coffee. This day of action, though, set out not to attack the company per se. Our aim was to encourage workers within it to get organised and unionised or, at least, to start thinking about it. Specifically we were supporting the call for solidarity for Cole Dorsey fired for organising workers into the IWW in Grand rapids in the USA and Monica: organising for the CNT in Seville Spain.From 12 pm a small group of us decided to leaflet inside some of the other Dublin Starbucks preliminary to the main demonstration on the one in Dame Street. We started upstairs in BT2 Grafton Street – some leaflets were got into the hands of staff behind the bar – but a BT2 security guard is hot on our heels snaffling and crumpling paper as he goes. No security or management presense at all in Dawson street where we get a more leisurely stroll and distribute a good number of leaflets – staff and customers read with interest. Similarly in a fairly deserted Starbucks in the IFSC.

Finally we get back to Dame Street and do another quick run around inside. A minute later we are greeted by Irene; district manager of Starbuck’s Dublin. She is icely and formally polite informing us that we are welcome to protest peacefully but not to leaflet inside the premises and to check in any time for refreshments . We decline the offer. Then she turns paranoid asking us if we are recording her (though we have neither the equipment or the inclination!)– turns back in and is not seen again.

The crowd in Dame Street quickly swells to over 30: with WSM members and many other activists; mostly but not exclusively libertarian. The atmosphere is cheerful through out and people manage to engage with workers on several occasions. Encouraged we head back to Dawson Street and again up to 30 people throng around it; a very strong presence at a quite small entrance.

Overall 650 leaflets distributed by 40 to 50 people over the entire day. Perhaps some seeds were sown and, at least, some of the workers inside might not see anarchists as coming complete with horns and tails.

Starbucks recently announced the closure of 500 restaurants across America with the loss of over 12,000 jobs. As the recession begins to bite there has surely never been a better time to get organised.