Friday 5 September 2003

The Plough Vol 01 No 04

The Plough
-E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
Number- 4 Date 5th September 2003
1. Loyalists attacks escalate in North Belfast
2. Message of solidarity with Chilean Hunger strikers
3. North East Irish Social Forum
4. The ideas of Frantz Fanon
5. What’s on
Once more North Belfast hits the headlines as the UDA opts the stakes and orchestrated a
series of attacks on Catholic families living on the Deerpark Road. This is a mixed area,
where most homes are owned by families, who choose to live in a mixed area. The
residents in this area want no part of sectarianism. However the UDA have decided
otherwise and launched a series of attacks on homes. One home had its windows broken
18 times since June. The new UDA commander is marking out his territory and having
taken over from small time criminal, Andre Soukri, now snorting heroin in Maghaberry
Gaol, the convicted extortionist is determined to make a name for himself. That name is
‘Bonzo’ John Borland.
Two bomb scares at the Holy Cross Girls Primary School one of which involved a blast
bomb on the school gates occurred on Monday 1st September. When the parents of the
children of the school were walking up the road ‘Mousey Blaney’ shot last year by
Republican defenders when attacking Catholic houses, shouted sectarian abuse calling
the parents “Fenian bastards.”
The next day a gang under the leadership of Mousey Blaney intimidated Catholics in
Deerpark on Tuesday night 2nd September. Blaney then returned on Wednesday attacking
Catholics and forcing at least one family out. As he was doing this both UDA and UVF
leaders turned up in the area with re-enforcements from Tigers Bay area.
At least four families have already been forced out, some of who have lived in the oncequiet
residential street for a number of years. The few remaining Catholics fear they will
be forced to leave soon.
Locals have accused the police of standing back and doing nothing.
“They are afraid of starting major trouble so they do nothing while these thugs are
allowed to do what they want,”
Unfortunately those working in the protestant communities such as Eddie Mc Clean, a
local community worker deny UDA involvement putting it down to drunken youths
coming from outside the area. When similar incidents have occurred in the past that to
has been the refrain of ‘protestant community workers’. They deny the evidence before
their own eyes because they refuse to stand up to the bullyboys.
There is a long list of areas where loyalists to intimidate Catholics have used the same
tactics. Only recently in Maghera an attempt was made to target a Catholic family and
drive them from their home. Catholics can’t walk the main streets in Larne without fear
of attack.
More than five years after the Good Friday Agreement it is clear that the fundamental
sectarianism at the root of the Northern Ireland state has not been exorcised. The failure
of the state forces to tackle sectarianism within their own ranks is glaringly obvious. The
PSNI/RUC recently told the head of a Public Service Trade Union that the Union Jack
was the national flag and could fly anywhere. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive
without attempting to negotiate with the Republican Socialist Movement (RSM) took out
a court order and used the police to smash a memorial to two dead INLA volunteers
despite the fact the RSM had not only gone to every house in the estate to sound out the
residents views where the monument was to be erected but also moved the memorial
from the front to the back of the estate at the residents request.
So much for equality of esteem, freedom from free of sectarian attack and the Good
Friday Agreement.
As Monty Python pointed out “ This is a dead parrot” “The parrot is dead” so also some
one needs to point out that the GFA is dead. The Agreement is dead and we still in the
North live in a sectarian society.
Message from IRSP to the families of the Disappeared in Chile in support of
justice for the families.
“On behalf of the Irish Republican Socialist Party may I send greetings support and
solidarity to the hunger strikers in Chile in the protest against the cover up of the
bloody crimes of the Pinochet Dictatorship.
In 1981 three of our own comrades, Patsy O'Hara, Kevin Lynch and Mickey Devine,
all Irish National Liberation Army Volunteers along with seven comrades from the
Irish Republican Army, died on hunger strike in the struggle for the recognition of
the political nature of the struggle against British Imperialism.
We know the courage required to embark on the hunger strike, we know the
fortitude required to see it through to the end and we share the burning sense of
injustice that sparks a hunger strike.
We know that you have struggled long years for justice. We salute your valour,
courage, determination and thirst for justice.
John Martin-Political Secretary -Irish Republican Socialist Party
Dear John,
Thanks for the quick reply to the request for a statement of support and recognition of the
Chilean hunger strikers. I have forwarded a copy of it to the local Chilean community here.
Exiled members of the Socialist party (Chile) will be holding a number of events around
Sept.11 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the coup. The statement from the IRSP will be
distributed at this event.
In Solidarity,
Mike Quinn
Sskatchewan, Canada
Invites You To The 3rd All Ireland Social Forum Gathering
Cooperation not Competition
Human Rights Not Privatisation
Sunday, September 21st
10:30-5:30, followed by evening social events
Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Rd.
The NEISF is organising a one-day event under the title 'Cooperation not Competition,
Human Rights not Privatisation'. The event will examine issues of privatisation, neoliberalism,
human rights, peace and democracy. The gathering will also discuss the future
development of the Irish Social Forum and its European and World counterparts. This
event is open to all those involved in the evolving Irish Social Forum networks, all those
who are opposed to neo liberalism, privatisation and global capitalism and all those who
believe that 'another world is possible.'
Morning Plenary Discussion: 10.30 - 12.00
Neo-Liberalism - From the local to the global
Communities Against Water Tax (Manus Maguire), Fire brigades Union (Jim Barbour),
ICTU (Alisa Keane), Refugee Rights (Refugee Action Group). Chair (Emily Kawano)
Morning Workshops: 12.15 - 1.45
Workshops on
- Trade justice
- Anti war
- Another world is possible
- Poverty
- Ireland in the global economy
- Consensus facilitation skills
- Ghandi’s
- Open
- Open
- Open
Lunch: 1.45 - 2.45
Food Not Bombs
Lunch will take the form of a public food Not Bombs event at the Venue.
Afternoon Discussion: 3.00 - 5.30
The Future of the ISF
The agenda of this session will not be set until one week before the event. Participants
should feel free to e-mail their suggestions or issues they would like to discuss by
September 15th. Possible elements to the session could be:
- Reports from regional social forums
- Workshops on specific themes such as ISF national structure, priorities etc.
- Open plenary to discuss workshop report backs and decision making on way forward
Social Event: 7.00
Theatre followed by,
World Music Disco, with resident DJ Steve Mc in Crescent Arts Centre
Additional Details
For more information or to suggest topics for workshops or the afternoon ISF
Session contact:
Eoin O'Broin at
John Barry at
Emily Kawano at
If you would like to register for childcare provided on-site, please rsvp to Emily Kawano, or phone 9060 5091. Please provide name and age of each child,
special needs and your contact details. There may be a small fee charged per child
(approx. £3-£5). Spaces are limited, so please reply ASAP.
The Ideas of Frantz Fanon by Liam O Ruairc
Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) was a Martinican psychiatrist and revolutionary who became
involved in the Algerian national liberation struggle during the 1950s. He wrote a number
of books (1), one of which became extremely influential: The Wretched of the Earth
(1961). The writings of Frantz Fanon influenced the thinking of Irish Republicans from
the 1970s onwards (2). That is why it is interesting to examine his ideas.
Fanon's first book, "Black Skin, White Masks" (1952) was a devastating critique of the
psychopathological effects of colonialism. Colonialism has imposed "an existential
deviation"(PN, 16) on the colonised as colonialism creates an inferiority complex in
Blacks and other colonised races.
The analysis that I am undertaking is psychological In spite of this, it is apparent to me
that the effective disalienation of the black man entails an immediate recognition of
social and economic realities. If there is an inferiority complex, it is the outcome of a
double process: primarily economic, secondarily, the internalisation--or better, the
epidermalisation--of this inferiority. (PN, p.28)
He showed how the oppressed tended to interiorise the racist and colonial stereotypes.
This is the "black skin, white mask" syndrome. This inferiority complex in blacks results
in a desire to "whiten the race" or "lactification" (PN, 47). If being black or colonised has
connotations of inferiority, blacks and other colonised people will denigrate their own
race and will want to become "more white than white". One can witness a similar process
amongst many middle class Catholics in the North or with "West Brits" in the south, as
they try to be "more British than the British" and denigrate their own Irishness. That is
the "existential deviation" imposed by the legacy of British rule. Fanon would probably
have called Dublin 4 historical revisionism historical lactification. In 1953, Fanon started
to work in the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria. He saw the limits of colonial
psychiatry. In 1954, for an Algerian population of ten million, there were only eight
psychiatrist and 2500 beds! Fanon's hospital was designed for 971 patients, but there
were over 2000. But more than that, it was the colonial context itself, which made
therapy problematical. In his letter of resignation he wrote:
If psychiatry is the medical technique that aims to enable man no longer to be a stranger
to his environment, I owe it to myself to affirm that the colonised, permanently an alien in
his own country, lives in a state of absolute depersonalisation.
To heal from colonial neurosis, decolonisation is necessary. Frantz Fanon is one of the
precursors of ethno-psychiatry, and his analysis of psychiatry and therapy under
colonialism is highly original. However, some of his conclusions are quite dubious - like
denying the importance of the Oedipus complex for Blacks and colonised people.
In "The Wretched of the Earth"(1961), Fanon's most important work, he continued to
develop important insights into the psychology of oppression of colonial people, as well
as a theory of liberation through violence, and how the revolutionary third world could
create a new human being. Fanon analysed the central place of violence within colonial
society--economic, political, military, cultural and psychic. Colonial reality is
"Manichean"(DT, 33). Its central division is that between coloniser and colonised, and it
is based on force.
"The colonial world is a world cut in two. The dividing line, the frontiers are shown by
barracks and police stations."(DT, 31) Any observer can attest the truth of this sentence
from Belfast to Bogotá. If colonialism is of a violent nature, Fanon concludes that only a
counter violence can eradicate it: "For the colonised, life can arise only from the
decomposing cadaver of the coloniser."(DT, 69)
Fanon is the apostle of violent decolonisation. Violence is the "absolute praxis" (DT, 63).
"The colonised man finds his freedom in and through violence. This rule of conduct
enlightens the agent because it indicates to him the means and the end."(DT, 64) But
Fanon's specific contribution, his originality, lay in emphasising the essentially
pathological nature of the colonial situation, on how neurosis and mental pathologies
developed as a result of the colonial situation. Therefore, he stressed that violence had not
simply a political or strategic function; it has an individual and existential therapeutic
value, as it liberates colonised and oppressed people from colonial neurosis and
inferiority complexes. At the level of individuals, violence is a disintoxifying force. It frees
the colonised from his inferiority complex and from his desperate and contemplative
attitude. It makes him fearless and restores his self respect."(DT, 70)
Fanon may appear "blood thirsty"to many, but there is probably a lot of rhetoric in his
writing. And from reading the chapter on "Colonial War and Mental Disorders", Fanon
was clearly aware of the pathological effects of violence. He provided there ample cases
illustrating such syndromes as homicidal impulses in a survivor of mass murder, the onset
of impotence in a liberation fighter whose wife was raped by soldiers, the continual terror
of a former police inspector involved in torture, the suicidal obsessions of an FLN
member who becomes guilt-ridden for placing a bomb in a public place killing ten
civilians. Perhaps, Jean-Paul Sartre's foreword to Fanon's book is far more extreme:
The native cures himself of colonial neurosis by thrusting out the settler through the force
of arms (&) the rebels weapon is the proof of his humanity. For in the first days of the
revolt you must kill: to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to
destroy an oppressor and an oppressed at the same time: there remains a dead man and
a free man; the survivor, for the first time, feels a national soil under his foot"(DT, 20)
By curing the oppressed from colonial neurosis, violence and the liberation struggle were
supposed, "to set afoot a new man"(DT, 242). What led Fanon to believe this were a
number of phenomenon’s he had observed during the Algerian struggle. Fanon had seen
how armed struggle had changed the place and role of women and youth in Algerian
society through their involvement in struggle, or how for example, petty criminals
transformed themselves into freedom fighters. The film "The Battle of Algiers"(3)
represented very well this process in cinematographic terms. The liberation struggle
indeed tended to temporarily and conjecturally change the role of women, young people
etc in society, but the social nature of the FLN struggle resulted in those changes not
lasting. For example, women's place within independent Algeria has not been the most
progressive. The ongoing political violence in Algeria can testify to the ultimate failure of
the FLN project. Fanon's mystique of violence overestimated its progressive impact.
Postcolonial Algeria has in fact a lot in common with the image given by Fanon of
parasitic native ruling classes and neo colonialism in his chapter on the pitfalls of national
consciousness. This chapter has proved far more accurate than his optimistic voluntarism
about the possibility of the third world creating a new humanism given the degeneration
of African and other postcolonial states into the corrupt neo-colonial instruments of the
IMF and the World Bank. "The Wretched of the Earth" is a document of its times, of the
hopes decolonisation had raised. Its value is perhaps more moral than political. Its
analysis of the social forces and strategies involved in the liberation struggle - the poor
peasantry in particular - is now recognised as being basically flawed (though Fanon was
right to be highly critical of the national bourgeoisie). But Fanon's book is certain to
remain a classic of revolutionary and anti-imperialist literature. Unfortunately the
majority of recent interest in his work comes from so-called "postcolonial studies", which
are trying to bury what was revolutionary in Fanon's thought into the academic quagmire.
It is time for the oppressed to re-appropriate Fanon.
(1) Books referred to: Les Damnes de la Terre (Paris: Francois Maspero, 1961) = DT,
Peau Noire, Masques Blancs (Paris: Le Seuil, 1952) = PN
(2) For example: Freeman Read Memmi, Read Fanon (An Phoblacht 13 February 1976,
p.6), R.G. McAuley Fanon on Algeria: Lessons for Irish Republicans Today (An
Phoblacht-Republican News 13 September 1980, p.10), John Squire Frantz Fanon (An
Phoblacht-Republican News 27 October 1988, pp.8-9). Fanon was widely studied in jail
by Republicans. Bobby Sands was acquainted with his writings. Two recent books have
noted the importance of Fanon for Irish Republicans. Brian Feeney Sinn Fein (Dublin: O
Brien Press, 2002) pp.363-367 quotes Tom Hartley and Danny Morrison on the matter.
See also Richard English Armed Struggle (London: McMillan, 2003) pp.234-235 for a
similar view.
(3) "The Battle of Algiers" (1965), film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. For an alternative
view, see the future theorist of postmodernism Jean-Francois Lyotard La Guerre des
Algeriens (Paris: Galilee, 1989) one of the most lucid and penetrating contemporary
commentators of the Algerian war.
“Crisis In Maghaberry” Meeting in Teachers Club 36 Parnell
Square, Dublin 1 Friday 5th September at 7.30
The Four demands of the Prisoners are
1/ Segregation from loyalist and criminal prisoners
2/ Recognition as a group
3/ The right to have their own spokesmen
4/ A wing of their own
NE I social Forum meeting:
Monday, Sept. 8
One World Centre
Everyone welcome
Belfast Anti-War Movement
Press Release
Public Meeting
Tuesday 7.30pm - September 9th
Queens University Students Union
Conference Room
The Belfast Anti-War Movement is holding a Public meeting to discuss
the question of the US/UK occupation of Iraq.
Ann Fitzpatrick from the Belfast Anti-War Movement said "the
occupation, far from bringing peace and stability, has turned into a
nightmare for ordinary Iraqi’s.” Every day between 15 and 25 Iraqi
civilians are killed. No one is safe. A TV cameraman was shot because
US troops were unable to distinguish between a camera and a rocket
launcher from 50 metres away. A family was gunned down because
they misunderstood a command at a checkpoint," she continued.
She said, "Demonstrations occur daily because the infrastructure has
not been rebuilt and hundreds of thousands of children are without
water or electricity."
"George Bush and Tony Blair lied about the war on Iraq. The Hutton
enquiry is exposing Tony Blair's lies daily. Neither Bush nor Blair has
been able to show a shred of evidence of Weapons of Mass
Destruction," she said.
She suggested, "the effect of the occupation can be felt at home. The
occupation is costing billions of pounds to maintain, while services and
jobs are being cut and water charges are being introduced."
"The millions around the world who marched against the war on
February fifteenth have been proven right. That the war was unjust,
unjustified and illegal," she said.
The Public Meeting will feature John Rees from the Stop the
War Coalition in London, organisers of the 2 million strong
march on February 15th. Jamal Iweida from the Belfast Islamic
Centre will also speak as will Monica Mc Williams from the
women’s’ coalition.
The meeting is part of the build-up to the international day of action
against the occupation around the world between September 25th and
28th. The Belfast march and rally will be on Saturday 27th September.
Please contact Anne Fitzpatrick - 0774 0683767
Subject: Belfast Anti Racist Meeting
For circulation
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Over the past while we have seen the rise of racist incidents and
attacks on ethnic minorities around Northern Ireland. We have also
seen the overt rise of racist material, graffiti and groups springing up
in various areas. This would be of concern to all those progressive
forces that look to seek a socially just and inclusive society. Following
a recent meeting held in the Multi Cultural Resource Centre in Belfast
attended by human rights organisations, ethnic minority support
groups, Asylum seeker lawyers, practitioners, development
organisations, and other interested parties, it was decided a second
meting should be held. This meeting is to discuss any practical and
visible strategies that can be developed to raise awareness and to
tackle this increasing problem. Various groups and organisations are
and have been actively trying to tackle this problem but it was
suggested a broader meeting to discuss all the various strategies and
maybe finding some practical activity together, could be yet another
way of helping to bring this issue to the fore.
The meeting is to be held in the Multi Cultural Resource centre, Sept
17th at 7pm. Address 9 Lower Crescent Bt7. {The street across
from the Empire, and is beside the One World Centre in S/Belfast}.
Those groups, organisations and individuals who would be interested
in attending the meeting are welcome. It will be informal and open to
all to have an input. For further information contact Nathalie at the
Multi Cultural Resource Centre at or alternatively
you can contact myself at, PH 07974632485.
Davy Carlin
Agreed Convener
Robert Emmet
With plans by RTÉ to screen a 'Mint Production' documentary on
Robert Emmet on the anniversary of his execution (i.e. September
20th) people may be interested to know that a commemoration to
mark the 200th Anniversary of the execution of Robert Emmet will be
held in Dublin on Saturday, September 20th next; the procession
will assemble at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square at 1.30
pm and march to St Catherine's Church in Thomas Street, where those
present will be addressed by author Seán Ó Brádaigh.
(From R.S.F.)
International Day of Action Dublin Saturday 27TH
George Monbiot, a regular feature writer in The Guardian, is the author
of Captive State and The Age of Consent.
The One World Centre, The New Ireland Group and The de Borda
Institute have organised the following events:
1 GEORGE MONBIOT The 2nd One World Centre annual lecture,
12 noon to 2 p.m., Thursday 9th October, Room G07, Peter
Frogatt Building, Queen’s University. Everyone welcome.
Further information available from The One World Centre, 4
Lower Crescent, Belfast BT7 1NR, Tel 90241879, e-mail
2 GEORGE MONBIOT “Unionism, Nationalism or
Globalisation?” 7.30 for 7.45 p.m. on Thursday 9th October, in
The Elmwood Hall, Belfast Tickets £5 (concessions £2.50),
includes a free glass of organic wine from the Belfast Food Coop.
Tickets and further information available from either The New Ireland
Group, 7 Slievedarragh Park, Belfast BT14 8J or The de Borda Institute, 36
Ballysillan Road, Belfast BT14 7QQ
European Social Forum Paris, St Denis 12-15 November
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