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ISF Carnival 4 Change Cancelled!

category national | irish social forum | press release author Tuesday October 07, 2003 23:20author by Niav - on behalf of the ISF Carnival Working Group Report this post to the editors

The Irish Social Forum’s Carnival 4 Change due to take place on Sunday 19th October in Smithfield Market Square, Dublin has been cancelled.

The Irish Social Forum’s Carnival 4 Change due to take place on Sunday 19th October in Smithfield Market Square, Dublin has been cancelled.

Due to the high cost of public liability insurance (6.5 million euros) and various other expenses, the ISF Carnival 4 Change has unfortunately been cancelled. We would like to apologise for the short notice but due to lack of funds available to us we have no option but to cancel the event. We would like to thank everyone for the support we have received over the past six months and we appreciate all the time and effort that groups and individuals have put in.

The ISF demonstration due to take place on Sunday 19th October will go ahead as planned. Assemble at the Central Bank, Dame Street at 1:15.

The ISF Summit of Co-Operation and Solidarity will be taking place from the 17th – 19th October. For more details about plenaries and workshops see

For more info about the Irish Social Forum:

Related Link: http://www.irishsocialforum.org
author by Ringopublication date Wed Oct 08, 2003 11:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How much was the insurance in the amount of €6.5 million going to cost? What is the purpose of the demonstration, where's it going, what's it doing?

author by Joepublication date Wed Oct 08, 2003 14:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I remember a couple of years back the council proposed to introduce a requirement that anyone organising a demonstration in the city centre should HAVE to take out a similar level of insurance. At the time this was protested against because it was rightly seen as an attack on the freedom to protest. This collapsed after a large protest at city hall, see http://struggle.ws/wsm/news/2001/demo_ban_apr.html

Now I might be wrong and if so would welcome correction but the above reason for the cancellation looks a lot like the ISF have accepted council 'rules' that were defeated a few years back by the very people you'd expect to go along to the ISF. Why?

author by Leonpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2003 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I remember taking 2 kids to the Carnival Against Captalism a few years back.

One of them starting to cry and said 'This is the worst carnival ever'.

She was right.

Would this have been better?


author by pcpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2003 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the march was fine no insurance needed for any sorta demo march but the carnival idea was slighlty seperate and to be held on smithfield market therefore insurance etc.,

what could have been tried was having the carnivalising the march and avoiding having to organise the insuracne stage etc

but the main factor to the lack lustre response to the isf here in ireland is the fact that the wef was cancelled so people lost interest

so people didn't have something to react to so

politics and campaigns in ireland are still reactive wow what a surprise ont the fault of the isf

author by lishpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2003 17:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i reckon taking on insurance scams needs to be done & suggest holding parties & random events wholesale without insurance & fight it out in court if necessary. anyone got a legal angle?. this is the second non-corporate sponsored event i've seen cancelled this year due to crippling insurance costs.
as far as i know there are still 2 benefit gigs that weekend 17th-19th october, details to be announced. the stalls can be in ucd instead, the march can be carnivalised & a street party is possible if anyone feels like it. may be just as well in spite of all the effort cos this was going to be expensive, potentially freezing & people who weren't involved would have whinged about it not being good enough. be your own carnival dammit.

author by Niav - on behalf of the ISF Carnival Working Grouppublication date Wed Oct 08, 2003 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The quote we received to cover the 6.5 million euros was 3000 euros. (Which we can't afford)
For an event of this nature it is necessary to get the permission of the council, the residents association etc... This wasn't a protest. Legally, you have your right to assemble etc... but to try and organise a carnival/concert/market you have to comply with the rules and regulations. An event management plan had to be submitted to the council. We also had to comply with strict health and safety regulations - portaloos, fire extinguishers, flood lights etc...
We had to obtain public liability insurance because we are personally named in documents relating to the carnival event as safety officers, event controllers etc... making us personally liable if little johnny fell and hurt his leg. I personally can not take the risk of being personally liable if anyone sues and I don't think other people should have to either. Would the event have been any good? Well it would have involved a fair trade alternative market, vegetarian and vegan food vendors, kids area, boucing castle, main stage and performance area etc etc.... It could have been fantastic or it could have pissed rain and been crap. Apologies if i sound ratty I'm pretty pissed that five months of work has gone down the drain and other members of the group are getting earfuls of abuse from performers, stall holders etc... Anyway as Liz said the march can be carnivalised. If the march can't come to the carnival then we can try and bring the carnival to the march but to do that we need people to do their bit. So jugglers, fire breathers, dancers, clowns, musicians, poets, cheer leaders, everyone....

Central Bank 1:15 Sunday 19th October!

author by Paulpublication date Thu Oct 09, 2003 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For anyone trying to get public liability insurance for a festival event there is a relatively cheap way to do it. I don't want to plug the names of commercial organisations but the reduced insurance rates have resulted in two events going ahead this year that would otherwise not have happened. If you register your event with AOIFE (Association of Irish Festival Events - they have a web site) you can get a much reduced rate of insurance from a crowd called PJT Insurances in Swords. Should cost 1000 to 1500 depending on the event. It's still a rip-off but there ye go, if you start dealing with the local authorities they're going to insist on insurance to scratch your ass.

author by Joepublication date Thu Oct 09, 2003 12:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think the technical explanation that has been given addresses my original point. I'm not sure how much point there is in labouring this but perhaps I should have been clearer first time around. I'll try again.

Part of the neo liberal project is 'fencing off the commons'. That is turning the remaining public spaces into spaces that can only be used once you have shelled out cash to do so. This is not simply about suppressing 'protest' it is also about destroying the last reminants of 'free', collective culture.

In Britain we saw this around the massive effort to destroy the new age traveller encampments under Thatcher that climaxed in the 'Battle of the beanfield' when the cops smashed up the vehicles and beat the crap out of hundreds of people. The new agers were no sort of political threat except that they offered an example of a life style that was not simply about eat-work-consume-sleep-eat-work-consume-sleep. Then in the 1990s' similar methods were used to smash up the free party rave scene, again something that was no explicit threat in political terms.

Here the most obvious example of the same forces at work is the tresspass act aimed at making the traditional nomadism of Irish Travellers impossable. But the councils attempts to make 'us' pay for the use of public space is another example of this.

Now I accept that the carnival organisers have put in a huge amount of hard work and that probably the carnival could not have gone ahead in its planned form without jumping through the neoliberal hoops. But it could have gone ahead in some form as an assertion of our freedom to use public spaces like Smithfield. RTS demonstrates that this can be organised by even small groups of people in a party form. And I may be wrong but my impression is that the return of the horse market to Smithfield on the first Sunday of every month is on the basis of giving two fingers to the councils requirements.

I guess part of the problem is that there has been very little (perhaps none) discussion of these space issues on the Irish left beyond when they impinge on 'free speech' or the 'right' to protest. So maybe the carnival organisers didn't think of WHY they should have to jump through the neoliberal hoop in order to hold an anti-neoliberal event.

But it is part of an unfortunate pattern with the ISF. I lost interest when it decided it could take no position on the bin tax because I (rightly) guessed that the council would be moving on us around now. And there is something a little ludicrous in talking against neo liberalism while being unable to support those being jailed for actually fighting it beside you. This is a problem with the WSF model itself and as Barry points out the one requirement for involvement in the ISF is acceptance of the WSF rules.

I still commend those who have put the work into organising the events, I'll go and I'd encourage others to attend. But we REALLY need to question a model that ends up with us accepting the rules and logic of neoliberalism while claiming to speak out against it.

author by lishpublication date Thu Oct 09, 2003 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the isf can't "take a position on the bin tax" it's not an organization so it can't take a position on anything. a forum is a space for people to discuss. there's no one line anyone has to take. loosely everyone involved in the isf isn't keen on war, neoliberalism, trashing the environment & stomping on minorities. everything else is up for grabs. look, the isf isn't anybody & isn't being taken over by anybody it's whoever shows up on a given day. no more no less. there'll be pro & anti bin tax people there & hopefully there'll be a bit of debate instead of the usual preaching to the converted. this stuff needs to be hammered out with a little maturity & mutual respect instead of easy labelling, well you're just a liberal, stalinist, anarchist reformist etc.

author by lishpublication date Thu Oct 09, 2003 17:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i'm all for reclaiming space, in as many ways as possible, rts, parties, etc. & i know what you mean, i was uncomfortable with the hoops too. depends on what kind of event you're trying to put on & i reckon there's room for all of them. this was to include immigrant groups & traveller groups & ngo's & bands & if they're going to put effort into setting up stalls & a stage it's not a really mobile event that can be shut down & move on & can't include people who aren't into confrontation.
i'm actually relieved it's not happening cos now we can concentrate on the summit & benefit gigs. there are plenty of people willing to do temporary autonomous zones. go for it.there is no us & them though, no if you do this kind of event you can't also do another kind, me i'll do em all, between us we can cover all the bases. assuming people have sold out or failed a revolution can be so divisive.

author by Jafarpublication date Fri Oct 17, 2003 15:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is dissappointing that we have to pay to use public space and I know a lot of people that were looking forward to this. I do however understand the considerations raised above. As a performer I'm more than familiar with the burden of public liability insurance and how restricting it can be. I'll be trying to bring as many jugglers as I can convince anyway and if anyone fancies going to smithfield afterwards, I'll be there.

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