RTE outrageously reports 10s of thousands at so called 'March for Life'

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  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:4:{s:4:\"head\";s:0:\"\";s:3:\"css\";a:0:{}s:2:\"js\";a:0:{}s:6:\"output\";s:2224:\"<div class=\"view view-audio view-id-audio view-display-id-block_1 view-dom-id-2\">\n \n \n \n <div class=\"view-content\">\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/isis-jihadism-and-imperialism-post-arab-spring-period-anarchist-analysis-audio-video\" title=\"ISIS Jihadism and Imperialism in the post Arab Spring period- an anarchist analysis ( Audio &amp; Video )\">ISIS Jihadism and Imperialism in the post Arab...</a></span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-2 views-row-even\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/networked-individual-kicking-everywhere-paul-masons-discussion\" title=\"The Networked Individual in Why its Kicking Off Everywhere - audio of discussion on Paul Mason&#039;s book\">The Networked Individual in Why its Kicking Off...</a></span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/content/interview-former-black-panther-ashanti-alston-ireland\" title=\"Former Black Panther Ashanti Alston in Ireland - audio interview\">Former Black Panther Ashanti Alston in Ireland -...</a></span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-4 views-row-even\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/content/what-anarchism-audio\">What is anarchism audio</a></span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/chomsky-meets-irish-anarchists\">Chomsky meeting with Irish anarchists in Dublin</a></span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-6 views-row-even views-row-last\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/content/palestine-womens-rights-audio\">Palestine &amp; womens rights audio</a></span>\n </div>\n </div>\n </div>\n \n \n \n \n<div class=\"more-link\">\n <a href=\"/anarchism/audio\">\n more </a>\n</div>\n \n \n \n</div> \";}', created = 1503147494, expire = 1503147794, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:output:03059a089fc96f467ca62d2a142a74bc' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8499\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:46:\"Elections: Shouldn\'t We \'Fight on All Fronts\'?\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1445:\"<div data-contents=\"true\">\r\n <div data-block=\"true\" data-editor=\"c9jab\" data-offset-key=\"cfk4-0-0\">\r\n <div class=\"_1mf _1mj\" data-offset-key=\"cfk4-0-0\">\r\n <span data-offset-key=\"cfk4-0-0\"><span data-text=\"true\">Anarchists are in favour of grassroots organising rather than engaging in electioneering. <span data-offset-key=\"cfk4-0-0\"><span data-text=\"true\"><em><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/strike.png\" style=\"width: 400px; height: 321px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;\" /></em></span></span>Some crticise this position, stating something along the lines of:<br />\r\n <br />\r\n &#39;<em>But what about social housing, free education, and an increased minimum wage? That&#39;s change which will make a big difference to people&#39;s lives. And electoralism and grassroots organising aren&#39;t mutually exclusive. We shouldn&#39;t concede that ground to the right, we should fight on all fronts&#39;.</em></span></span><br />\r\n <br />\r\n <span data-offset-key=\"cfk4-0-0\"><span data-text=\"true\">Social housing, free education, increased minimum wage - there are worthwhile reforms which might be achieved by a left wing government, or might not, but they&#39;re fairly beside the point. It&#39;s worth remarking though that the best way even to achieve reforms through the state is by having strong social movements which can apply pressure to politicians.</span></span></div>\r\n </div>\r\n</div>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1497286800\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8470\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:73:\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 1 - Class Struggle and Leadership of Ideas\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:778:\"<p><em>&#39;1. Anarchism will be created by the class struggle between the vast majority of society (the working class) and the tiny minority that currently rule. A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. Our role is to make anarchist ideas the leading ideas or, as it is sometimes expressed, to become a &#39;&#39;leadership of ideas&#39;&#39;.&rsquo;</em></p>\r\n<p>We&#39;re usually told that class society is a thing of the past. After all, aren&#39;t we all middle class now? But this is false, and there still very much exists a severe division between people based on property and work, a hierarchy which is a basic fact of the economic system known as capitalism.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1491552000\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8471\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:51:\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 2 - Power Structures\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:560:\"<p><em>&#39;2. We reject the idea that society can be changed through &#39;good people&#39; gaining control of the power structures. This means we reject both the electoral strategy of the social democratic and green parties and the &#39;revolutionary&#39; strategy of the various left groups.&#39;</em></p>\r\n<p>The WSM is working towards a free, equal, democratic society. We believe the only way to achieve this is by people taking their destinies into their own hands, forming grassroots mass movements, and creating new truly democratic institutions.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1491552000\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8472\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:50:\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 3 - Platformism (1)\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:495:\"<p><em>&#39;3. We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the &quot;platformist&quot;, anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism. We broadly identify with the theoretical base of this tradition and the organisational practice it argues for, but not necessarily everything else it has done or said, so it is a starting point for our politics and not an end point.&rsquo;</em></p>\r\n<p>The WSM practices a form of anarchism which strives to be highly organised and coherent.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1491552000\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8473\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:50:\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 4 - Platformism (2)\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1238:\"<p>&#39;<em>4. The core ideas of this tradition that we identify with are the need for anarchist political organisations that seek to develop:</em></p>\r\n<ol>\r\n <li>\r\n <em>Theoretical Unity</em></li>\r\n <li>\r\n <em>Tactical Unity&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </em></li>\r\n <li>\r\n <em>Collective Action and Discipline&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </em></li>\r\n <li>\r\n <em>Federalism&rsquo;</em></li>\r\n</ol>\r\n<p>Federalism is an organisational structure based on &ldquo;the free agreement of individuals and organisations to work collectively towards a common objective&rdquo;. It is finding the best balance between independence and coherence. All decisions are made by those affected by them as opposed to centralism, where decisions are made by a central committee for those affected by them. This means, for example, that while all WSM branches are united under a common national policy, they are also autonomous, i.e they can make their own local decisions. It also means that we have no leaders or officials with higher authority than others. Rather, we have &#39;officers&#39; who are delegated temporary authority to perform certain tasks as mandated by the membership (for instance, to be treasurer).</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1491552000\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8474\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:57:\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 6 - (Other) Mass Movements\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1309:\"<p><em>&#39;6. We also see it as vital to work in struggles that happen outside the unions and the workplace. These include struggles against particular oppressions, imperialism and indeed the struggles of the working class for a decent place and environment in which to live. Our general approach to these, like our approach to the unions, is to involve ourselves with mass movements and within these movements, in order to promote anarchist methods of organisation involving direct democracy and direct action.&#39;</em></p>\r\n<p>While the workplace is of course a critical site of political activity, there is a much broader terrain on which to strive for our liberty. Ultimately, we want a world where people are free and content. So, everywhere that we are ripped off, suppressed, attacked, sidelined, or degraded, is a place for us to fight back and band together with others. In a social order which thrives on us keeping our heads down and being passive, resistance in its many forms is to be encouraged and supported. Whether or not that resistance is as radical or as &#39;pure&#39; as we&#39;d like we should engage, of course with our anarchist heads screwed on. While being a purist sect on the sidelines can feel satisfying to the initiated, ultimately it is a redundant way to make change.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1491552000\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:1539;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:6;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1503147494, expire = 1503147794, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'wsm_only:block_1:results:692e0a14e0b7ab966d18830fa49232e2' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:4:{s:4:\"head\";s:0:\"\";s:3:\"css\";a:0:{}s:2:\"js\";a:0:{}s:6:\"output\";s:3309:\"<div class=\"view view-wsm-only view-id-wsm_only view-display-id-block_1 view-dom-id-4\">\n \n \n \n <div class=\"view-content\">\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/elections-shouldnt-we-fight-all-fronts\" title=\"Elections: Shouldn&#039;t We &#039;Fight on All Fronts&#039;?\">Elections: Shouldn&#039;t We &#039;Fight on All Fronts...</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">\n\n\n Anarchists are in favour of grassroots organising rather than engaging in...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-2 views-row-even\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/wsm-point-unity-1-class-struggle-leadership-ideas-anarchism\" title=\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 1 - Class Struggle and Leadership of Ideas\">WSM Points of Unity Explained: 1 - Class Struggle and...</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">&#39;1. Anarchism will be created by the class struggle between the vast majority of...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/wsm-point-unity-2-power-structures-state-anarchism\">WSM Points of Unity Explained: 2 - Power Structures</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">&#39;2. We reject the idea that society can be changed through &#39;good people&#39;...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-4 views-row-even\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/wsm-point-unity-3-platformism-1-especifismo-anarchism\">WSM Points of Unity Explained: 3 - Platformism (1)</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">&#39;3. We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the &quot;platformist&quot;,...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/wsm-point-unity-4-platformism-2-especifismo-anarchism\">WSM Points of Unity Explained: 4 - Platformism (2)</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">&#39;4. The core ideas of this tradition that we identify with are the need for...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-6 views-row-even views-row-last\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/wsm-point-unity-6-mass-movements-resistance-anarchism\" title=\"WSM Points of Unity Explained: 6 - (Other) Mass Movements\">WSM Points of Unity Explained: 6 - (Other) Mass...</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">&#39;6. We also see it as vital to work in struggles that happen outside the unions and...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n </div>\n \n \n \n \n<div class=\"more-link\">\n <a href=\"/all\">\n more </a>\n</div>\n \n \n \n</div> \";}', created = 1503147494, expire = 1503147794, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'wsm_only:block_1:output:1b6bdc458dfffb7fd6fd165c992f4d81' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8496\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:78:\"An Anarchist Response to “Anarchists, It Is Our Duty To Vote In Elections”\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1313:\"<p dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;\"><span style=\"background-color: transparent; text-align: justify; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;\">As the title suggests, this article has been written in response to this <a href=\"https://troubleandsqueak.com/2015/04/25/anarchists-it-is-our-duty-to-vote-in-elections/\">article</a> </span><span style=\"background-color: transparent; text-align: justify; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;\">which was written over two years ago just before the last UK General Election and as Hillary Clinton was beginning her campaign for US presidency. Coming from my own knowledge and beliefs on voting I was surprised when reading fellow anarchist Paddy Vipond&rsquo;s article that he omitted major anarchist arguments against voting. In addition to serving as a response to Vipond&rsquo;s piece I will discuss what he left out under his headings and address some issues that have become apparent during this current election campaign particularly with the hope that Corbyn&rsquo;s Labour has sparked among the UK electorate and indeed further than that among the international electoralist left.</span></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1497358019\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8488\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:58:\"Yes Duplicity: Irish State, Give Queer Chechens Asylum Now\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:702:\"<p>Will the Irish state offer asylum to queer men in Chechnya (and, in fact, all queer people there) who are enduring a state-lead cam<img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/chechnya100%20asylum.jpg\" style=\"width: 400px; height: 251px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;\" />paign of terror and persecution of the gravest nature, or are queer people&#39;s lives another vote-catcher?</p>\r\n<p><br />\r\n We described both what is happening in Chechnya and the Dublin counter-demo <a href=\"http://www.wsm.ie/c/dublin-protests-chechnyas-queer-concentration-camps\">in detail here</a>, as well as warning against these atrocities being seized upon for an anti-Muslim agenda.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1493712000\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8450\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:47:\"An account of how #Strike4Repeal went in Dublin\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:547:\"<p>Andrew spent the day of March 8th 2017 recording #Strike4Repeal and has edited this 20 minute video account of how the day went down in Dublin. &nbsp;Below you will also find a &nbsp;text transcript of his account.</p>\r\n<p><iframe allowfullscreen=\"\" frameborder=\"0\" height=\"315\" src=\"https://www.youtube.com/embed/uwINNvCclew?rel=0\" width=\"560\"></iframe></p>\r\n<p>I headed into Dublin early on #Strike4Repeal day because a little birds had told me of&nbsp;the plan to cover up and alter some of Dublin&rsquo;s statues in the early morning.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1490711109\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8448\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:34:\"Intersectionality - A Basic Primer\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1074:\"<p>The WSM&rsquo;s politics are fundamentally intersectional. &lsquo;Intersectionality&rsquo; is a fancy word for some rather basic ideas. You can think of it as &lsquo;overlap-ism&rsquo; instead. There are three main points, <strong>1)</strong> that each person needs to be seen as a whole, <strong>2)</strong> that no power system exists in isolation, and <strong>3)</strong> that all forms of oppression and exploitation should be uprooted at the same time.</p>\r\n<p align=\"center\"><img alt=\"\" height=\"312\" src=\"/sites/default/files/intersections.PNG\" style=\"border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;\" width=\"500\" /></p>\r\n<p>The first point refers to the fact that real people aren&rsquo;t cartoons. We are each complicated and multi-dimensional. For instance, a person is not just &lsquo;working class&rsquo;. They also have a gender. In general, life for a working class woman will be significantly different than for a working class man, not only because a woman is oppressed by sexism but because class itself is experienced differently.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1490482800\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8435\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:87:\"Hitting Tesco where it hurts: Strike sees sales fall more than 80% leading to back down\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1393:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/TescoPowerOfStrike.jpg\" style=\"width: 400px; height: 402px; margin: 3px; float: right;\" />Tesco agreed Friday to suspend its attempt to impose a worsening of pay and conditions on its long term workers and to return to the Labour Court, leading to the suspension of the strike.&nbsp; Monday&rsquo;s Irish Times carries a report on just how hard Tesco have been hit by the strike action, the Finglas superstore saw a massive 80% decline in takings.&nbsp; These leaked figures stand in stark contrast to the attempt by Tesco PR to suggest the strike was ineffective and unpopular.</p>\r\n<p>The figures reveal that even those stores which had not yet voted to strike, and which subsequently did not have pickets, saw a decline of 30% in sales.&nbsp; According to <a href=\"http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/tesco-sales-fell-significantly-in-picketed-stores-during-strike\">Conor Pope&rsquo;s report</a> in Tesco Clearwater on the Monday before the strike <em>&ldquo;sales were &euro;165,901, while a week later they were under &euro;35,000, a drop of &euro;130,916 or nearly 80 per cent&rdquo;</em> and <em>&ldquo;The fall between the two Mondays across 29 stores of all sizes totalled &euro;827,896. .. A daily loss of that scale would suggest the cumulative impact of the 11-day strike came close to &euro;50 million&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1488278536\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8429\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:96:\"A critical look at the Women’s March on Washington and coverage from Dublin solidarity protest\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:482:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/WomensMarchDublin.jpg\" style=\"width: 400px; height: 405px; margin: 3px; float: right;\" />Saturday 21st January saw 1000s take part in a Women&#39;s March against Trump in Dublin, a local solidarity march with the Women&#39;s March on Washington. It&#39;s estimated that 1% of the US population took to the streets to protest the Trump presidency that day with solidarity protests in dozens of cities around the world including Belfast.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1486462807\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:727;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:6;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:2;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1503147494, expire = 1503147794, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'not_wsm:block_1:results:6f171fd0922b167e997398452392a596' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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Date:

Saturday saw the annual anti-choice parade and yet again RTE reported a grossly inflated figure of the number marching.  They headlined it as ‘tens of thousands’ and in the body of the article quoted the organisers claiming 70,000 without further comment, appearing to endorse it.  As we are going to show below at the very least that’s a tenfold exaggeration, in fact by our count about 5300 people took part.  And while that estimate might be out by 10 or even 20% its physically impossible for it to be out by up to 1500% as that would require ten people too fit into a one meter square space.

We use the same counting methodologies (see below) for almost every demonstration that takes place in Dublin, from huge anti water charges protests to smaller but still significant ones on a huge range of issues.  We do these sorts of counts more than a dozen times a year.  We don’t always publicise the numbers we reach - organisers always tend to overestimate somewhat, most often guessing a figure that is twice what actually attended.  Generally we agree with what the demands of a demonstration are so we don’t want to appear to undermine it by publicly providing real numbers.  But we do count, we do use those counts internally in the WSM and we often communicate them directly to organisers. 

Why do we do this?  Because if you want to have a sense of how strong a movement actually is you need to have an idea of the real numbers it can mobilise.  That means we work hard to be as accurate as possible, to do otherwise would defeat the purpose of counting in the first place.  In the case of the campaign there are other, grimmer reasons that we discuss at the end of this piece.

Methodology

With smaller demonstrations of 5,000 or less its quite easy to count the entire demonstration, not by counting every single person but by standing at a point and counting blocks of 10 people as they pass.  With more patience the same method works for larger demonstrations although you need multiple counters as its hard to keep attention for that long but a method that works almost as well is to count how many people pass in one minute, do that every ten or so minutes, calculate the average per minute and then multiple by the time it takes the march to pass that point.  Videoing this has the advantage that the video will record the time it took to pass and you can also look back at the count - in comparison with the wild range of guesses you hear after protest marches you can make really quite precise calculations.

The counts & calculations for Rally 4 Life

With the Rally 4 Life we recorded the entire march passing the counter protest.  That video is 43 minutes and 29 seconds long, let's generously round up to 44 minutes to make the calculations easier to follow.  When you watch the video you’ll observe the march grinds to a halt a few times, and there is a period of minutes where their own pipe band restricts the flow to a trickle.  We could reasonably take a few minutes off to account for that time - a bit like extra time in a sports game - but we are again going to be generous and not to do.  And we are hardly even going mention that some people - in particular that pipe band - circle back and march past twice!

Our photographer stood still and counted four segments each of one minute duration on the march.  They did the 4th count out loud as they realised that would be audible on the video, this count has been uploaded as a separate video so you can make some sort of judgement about how accurate that count seemed.

The 4 counts of one minute each returned the results below
110
120
100
150

With each of these we were careful to count a segment that had no buses or lorries (as this would be a lot fewer people) or large gaps between blocs, long periods of not moving.  These allowances will again tend to make for a over estimate of numbers, we are again being generous.  In other words the figures bellow are probably a little too high.

The maths
110+120+100+150 = 480
480 / 4 = 120 average per minute
120 * 44 = 5280 people passing

5280 is of course too precise for the mythology, we should probably round it up to 5500 (again being generous).

Before we countered the last bloc our photographer had the idea of doing the count out loud so it would be audible on the video and anyone could those see if it seemed reasonable.  We’ve uploaded that as a separate shorter video at https://youtu.be/vnxubaHCq0g and would invite you to look at this and see if 150 seems reasonable for that bloc.

You might think there are slightly more people who pass in that minute.  You might think there are slightly less.  For the sake of being generous (once more) lets imagine you think that they undercounted quite badly, that there are really 175 people passing. And lets be generous and say they got all the other blocs wrong and those should also have been 175 people.  How close to the organisers 70,000 or RTEs ‘Tens of thousands’ would that get you.  The maths are easy as the time the march took to pass is very definite so its 175 * 44.  That gives you 7700 people, both these other claims remain almost as ludicrous. 

Lets imagine RTEs admittedly vague 10s of thousands was only intended to imply 30,000 - how many people would need to be in that one minute segment for this to be reasonable.  Again the maths are easy enough 30,000/44 = 682 people.  Watch the one minute segment again, can you see any way of imagining there are 682 people passing, or even half that number.  Finally what about the organisers 70,000 claim, how many would need to be passing for that to be true.  This time its 70000/44 = 1591 people per minute.  Not just in that one minute segment but in every one minutes segment of the entire march!

We asked both teachers and parents what would be a reasonable age to expect someone to be able to understand the maths here.  It varies but kids seem to be taught this sort of maths by 10 or 11 and certainly the average child could do it by the first year of secondary school.  One parent rather generously got their kids to sit down and go through the maths, reporting back that it was “really obvious to the 12yo, a bit hard to follow for the almost 10yo.”

It certainly should not be beyond a RTE journalist or the organisers of the march.  The journalist might well have the excuse that they weren’t there or that they didn’t count so when the organisers claimed 70,000 they decided to save themselves the hassle of orchestrated complaints to their boss and go with what sounded like a safe ‘10s of thousands’.  If that’s the excuse though we’d wonder what exactly they imagine journalism is?  We also wonder if RTE will correct or even comment on their initial report and explain what led to such a massive error in reporting. Don’t worry, we won’t be holding our breadth.

It’s harder to make any sort of reasonable excuse at all for the organisers who claimed 70,000 or almost 1600 people a minute were streaming past the spire.  Nor for the multiple politicians and personalities who all tweeted this figure around the same time as the march ended, no doubt to try and influence media reporting.  In treating the media, the general public and even the march participants as complete fools - 80k was announced from the platform! - they are revealing rather too much about just what they think of the bulk of the population.  This is something to remember as the referendum approaches and all sorts of claims are made.

Why does this matter?  We expect that we have a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment next year.  Under this amendment two young, and therefore raped teenage girls have been sectioned rather than provided with the abortions they have requested in the last month.  Women who have been refused abortions have died, and this has happened at a much greater rate with migrant women.  Under the amendment pregnant people lose control of their bodily autonomy as soon as it is known they are pregnant, at that point the 8th Amendment allows doctors to dictate many many aspects of their many aspects of their pregnancy and birth, not just whether it continues. 

Thousands of people have obtained illegal abortions in Ireland through the use of pills ordered off the internet.  While the procedure is relatively safe all of these people are technically guilty of an offence under which they and anyone aiding them could be jailed for 14 years.  This isn’t a law from the last century but one passed a couple of years back by the then Labour Party / Fine Gael government. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have had the considerable expense and hassle of having to travel to Britain or beyond to get the medical treatment they should be able to access at home.  In some of these cases there was no chance of the foetus they were carrying surviving either to birth or more that a few minutes beyond birth because it has a ‘fatal foetal abnormality’.  On a more general level the 8th amendment is deep patriarchal, a mechanism to infantilise women, rob them of independence and keep them under the control of men at the most fundamental level of denying bodily autonomy.

What will matter the day of the referendum is how people will vote, and we are very confident that if we are giving the clear choice to get rid of the 8th amendment this will be overwhelmingly passed.  But there will be a campaign to try and prevent the 8th amendment being removed, the main slogan of the so called Rally for Life was ‘Keep the 8th’.  And the reason it was essential to the march organisers to be able to make a credible claim to such hugely inflated numbers is the level of abuse and shaming they can use at part of that campaign is dependent on their ability to claim legitimacy as the voice of a lot of people, and not just a deeply regressive tiny minority of religiously motivated bigots.  When the 8th amendment was passed in 1983 those who cared campaign against it were not only abused and shamed they were frequently physically attacked.  Some had animal blood thrown at them.  Many had their workplaces and homes targeted. 

To repeat these tactics this time around the anti-choice bigots have to have the shield of numbers to hide behind. Their activists, the people they were trying to trick with their 80,000 estimate have to believe they are some sort of moral majority heroically fighting a media conspiracy to become that sort of fanatic who loves all sense of compassion.  They don’t and won’t have that shield in the cities but they will be hoping to engage in shame and abuse methods in rural towns and villages in the mistaken hope that enough rural votes can defeat the large margin the cities will pass the referendum by.  Making it clear they represent no one but themselves and there are few of them at that is essential in making such methods socially unacceptable everywhere during the campaign.
 

Words, videos & calculations: Andrew Flood (follow Andrew on Twitter)

Updated: Recording of RTE News report that sounds like its a press release from anti-choice march

Reactions and replies

A very hostile comment from under our Youtube video  reads "You're a lying bastard, I was there and it stretched from Parnell sq to Eden quay and beyond. You piece of shit." Another person adds "and it was 80,000."

WSM: So the length is neither here nor there in terms of numbers - if only 5300 people passed a single point than only 5300 people marched. But for the sake of argument what does the claimed space covered by the march tell covered us?  Well 80,000 people in ranks of 8 spaced 1m apart and marching in perfect formation with no spaces at all would actually cover 10km. Roughly the distance from Parnell square to the distant suburb of Blanchardstown.  The distance from Parnell square to the end of Eden quay is 850m. 850 * 8 would put a maximum limit of 6,800, no where near 80k, 70k or even 30k but pretty close to 5300.

Didn't the 2016 March for Choice end at the same point?

WSM: Comparisons have been made with the 2016 March for Choice. The March for Choice platform was at the opposite end of the same street (i.e. Dail end) but otherwise both used the same street for the final rally and the same route to get there. 

The March for Choice actually filled the street and we called that 20k (possibly a little generous, the space can cram in 17k).  The video from the Rally posted by Rally4Life shows a pretty spread out crowd at the mid point of the street which along with the stage location confirms a figure in the region of 5-6k.

BTW Google 'Find wally attempt Dublin' and you will find video and pictures of exactly how much space 3,657 take up on Merrion square (west) when packed in together for that 2011 record attempt.  While the 80k figure is clearly a ludicrous lie people do tend to honestly over estimate crowd sizes by a factor of two or even three so the 'Find Wally' photos are a very useful reference for an exact crowd count.

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