Friday 3 October 2003

The Plough Vol 01 No 08

The Plough
-E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
Number- 8 Date 3rd October 2003
1. A Proposal For Left Electoral Unity
2. Loyalist watch
3. IRSP Reiterate Support for Polisario
4. Poverty In The North Of Ireland
5. Irish Anti War Movement News
6. What’s On
The following proposal came from a meeting held in Belfast on Wednesday 1st
October 2003 involving a number of left wing groups and individuals.
A1. We stand for a radically different approach to politics, putting the interests of the
working class first. For at least four generations, politics in Ireland, North and South, has
been dominated by nationalism and unionism, which have always demanded that ‘Labour
must wait’ until the question of the border is decided once and for all. All that is on offer
at present are two states, equally dominated by the interest of capitalism, both of which
are relentlessly imposing the agenda of corporate globalisation. We are opposed to the
sectarian head-count mentality that suggests that a change in the status of the border
depends on 50 per cent plus one of the populations of either religion. We stand for a
break from this pattern. We will bring working class issues to the fore in the sure belief
that this will create the best conditions in which to resolve all other questions on the basis
of trust, solidarity and co-operation. We believe only the full participation of the working
class can achieve this change.
A2. If elected, all our candidates will declare themselves ‘others’ for the purposes of
votes in the Assembly. We stand for the common interests of working people. We are for
the fullest respect for and freedom of religious and cultural expression. However, we
reject entirely the notion that religious belief and political outlook are, or should be, one
and the same. This is the heart of sectarianism. Sectarianism creates an artificial division
in the working class. We campaign for working class unity.
A3. The mass popular opposition to continued violence, demonstrated on countless
occasions in the last 10 years, has decisively demanded an end to the Troubles. It is a
betrayal of the desire for peace that leading politicians in Northern Ireland have clung to
the old sources of dissension.
A4. Beyond the disputes between the main nationalist and unionist parties, lies a shared
commitment to advancing a neo-liberal economic agenda in Northern Ireland. All of the
main planks of what has become known as ‘corporate globalisation’ - cuts and
privatisation of the public sector, reducing corporate tax rates to attract multinational
companies, and so on, are the dominant feature of the Programme for Government agreed
by the four parties that make up the Executive in the Northern Ireland Assembly. This is
the agenda, which lies behind the introduction of the Private Finance Initiative to schools,
hospitals, universities and other public sector workplaces, and the introduction of water
charges. We stand for resistance to this agenda, by trade unions and working class
A5. We take as our reference point the international movements that are opposing
corporate globalisation and war. We stand for trade union rights, more funding and
greater democratic control over public services, a society driven by human need not
private greed. We believe that there is an alternative to the global, unregulated free
market and that wealth should be used in society to meet people’s needs. We aim to
galvanise mass opposition to the injustice, inequality and environmental damage which
the market causes and to replace it with a popular socialist system, based on democratic
common ownership and democratic control of the key sectors of the economy, a system
based on social justice and ecological sustainability.
A6: Our intention is to build a broad organisation, through the (title of organisation),
based on accepted principles and open to all individuals and organisations who support
these and who agree to join in working together in non-sectarian, co-operative and
positive ways.
A7: Our overall aim is actively to help create a socially just and ecologically sustainable
society. This is one in which social justice is defined as incorporating:
· the political organisation of society in the most open, democratic, participative and
accountable manner practicable;
· maximum freedom of the individual commensurate with the freedom of others;
· fight against and ultimate abolition of sectarianism, sexism, racism, homophobia,
discrimination against people with disabilities and on grounds of age;
· the ultimate abolition of all forms of economic exploitation and social oppression, in
such ways as to secure for the people the full return of all wealth generated by
industries and services of society, by means of common ownership and democratic
· the promotion of peace, nationally and internationally, and of a system of justice
which gives defence from tyranny, prejudice and the abuse of power;
· the promotion of only those social, economic and cultural structures which may be
sustained indefinitely without causing any form of irreversible damage to the global
· guaranteeing and, where necessary, restoring such biological diversity as is essential
to the viability of both global and local ecosystems.
A8: The () at all levels should aim to be representative of the gender, ethnic, age and
religious background in the population. We also recognise the desirability of balance and
inclusiveness for political trends within the () at all levels of the organisation. All local ()
as well as individual members attending conferences are encouraged to take this into
account in electing officers, steering committees and selecting candidates.
1. That if elected we register as “Others” to advance a class-based political orientation
as opposed to the communal basis of politics in Northern Ireland.
2. We will oppose all forms of privatisation.
3. We will oppose all cuts and closures within the NHS and the public sector generally.
4. We will oppose militarism and para-militarism.
5. We will oppose closures and job cuts within manufacturing industry.
6. We will campaign for a minimum wage of £7 per hour with no exceptions.
7. We will campaign for integrated, comprehensive education and a proper system of
modern apprenticeships.
8. We will campaign for the extension of the 1967 abortion act.
9. We will support the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements.
10. We will campaign for the legalisation of cannabis.
11. We are in favour of lowering the voting age to 16.
12. We will campaign for an increase in investment for public housing, and an increase in
housing benefits.
13. We are in favour of recycling and opposed to waste management policies that include
14. We will campaign for the abolition of tuition fees and the reintroduction of student
15. We are opposed to racism, sexism and homophobia. We will campaign against the
criminalisation of asylum seekers, for equal pay and for equal rights for gays and
16. We will campaign for greatly improved benefits including the abolition of the social
fund and the restoration of a system of direct grants.
17. We will campaign for the abolition of all anti-union laws.
18. We will campaign for high quality state-funded care for children, elderly and
disabled people
A follow up meeting will be held in the Unemployed Workers Centre, Donegall
Street Belfast on Thursday 9th October at 7.00pm.
Joke of the week has to be the Sunday World’s Hugh Jordan ‘exclusive ‘ on “INLA
targets David Blaine”. This pathetic story alleged that a maverick section of the
INLA was planning to murder some fruitcake who is in a see through plastic box
over the River Thames. Articles from the likes of Jordan should be treated for what
they are –cartoon stories.
Sectarian Watch.
Friday 26th Sept. A number of pupils of the Girls Model School had to be taken to
hospital after their bus was stoned by nationalist youths on the Crumlin road.
Friday 26th Sept Loyalist paramilitaries attacked four cleaning workers removing
sectarian graffiti from an apartment block on Sandy Road/Donegall Road junction.
The workmen’s van had its windows smashed and was then set on fire.
Sunday 28th Sept. Nine petrol bombs were thrown at houses and property in the
Protestant Fountain area of Derry City.
Monday 29th Sept. Six cars were burned out and others damaged when loyalist youths
petrol bombed teachers cars in Our Lady of Mercy secondary school in the Ballysillan
area of North Belfast.
Tuesday 30th Sept., Norman Boyd of the Northern Ireland Unionist Party said
‘It was a scandal that the nationalist community could take over the Carnmoney cemetery
on Cemetery Sunday and intimidate Protestants.”
Note the way that “nationalist” is used to label what is purely a Catholic religious service.
Thus do politicians use labels to whip up sectarian tension.
Tuesday 30th Sept., An attempt was made to burn down the predominantly Protestant
Ligoneil Primary School in North Belfast.
Thursday 2nd October. Loyalist gunmen opened fire at three adults in a house in
Coleraine forcing the family to leave their home. It was the second attack on the house in
three days. On Tuesday loyalists pulled down the Tyrone flag the family had hung out to
celebrate that county’s All Ireland victory and wrapped it around a brick and through it
through the window.
IRSP Reiterate Support for Polisario
The Irish Republican Socialist Party welcomes the UN Security Council unanimously
having passed resolution 1495, at the end of July, as the deadline for rolling over their
UN’s peacekeeping operation in Western Sahara arrived. The resolution affirmed a
commitment to facilitate self-determination for the Sahrawi people and helped to restrain
Moroccan efforts to enable their colonists in the region to participate in determining the
territory’s future. The IRSP recognises that, as is true of the Zionist settlements in
Palestine, the Moroccan settlers in Western Sahara are in violation of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, which prohibits the transfer of civilians onto territories seized by military
force, rendering these settlements illegal.
In the fall of 1975, the International Court of Justice rejected Moroccan claims to
Western Sahara and ruled that the Sahrawis were entitled to self-determination. Morocco
invaded the territory that same year, when the region was scheduled to gain independence
from Spain. The Moroccan invasion forced most of the indigenous Sahrawi population
was forced across the border, into refugee camps in Algeria and a guerrilla war has
continued since that time, led by the guerrillas of Polisario (the Western Saharan People’s
In response to the invasion by Morocco, the UN Security Council passed resolutions 379
and 380, which called for Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara. Since then,
however, the United States and the French have ensured that the Security Council remain
unable to enforce these resolutions. In addition to thwarting the UN from acting, the US
and France have supplied major military aid, including training and equipment for
counter-insurgency efforts to Morocco for use against Polisario. In addition, the two
nations assisted Morocco in constructing a wall, to keep the Sahrawi populace out of the
territory, much like the ‘apartheid wall’ being built in Palestine today by the Zionists.
A cease-fire between Morocco and Polisario was concluded in 1990, which was to have
been followed by a UN supervised referendum on the status of the territory. The
referendum identified eligible voters on the basis of the 1974 Spanish census of the
territory, but Morocco sought to include Moroccan settlers who could trace their ancestry
to tribal groups from the region in the distant past. Polisario appropriately rejected these
demands, but the US and France stepped in to keep the UN from compelling Morocco to
comply with the original agreement, leaving the situation in a stalemate.
In an effective, but unusual, shift of tactics, Polisario aligned itself with the recent US
resolution before the UN, which forced the Moroccan government to oppose the US on
the issue, thereby causing a rift, which deprived Morocco of one of its staunchest allies.
Ahmed Boukhari, the Polisario representative to the UN said of this tactical ploy:
“We are in the weakest position, so of course, they always want us to compromise,
regardless of the law.”
Recognising their precarious position, the guerrilla movement opted for a pragmatic
approach and the gamble appears to have been effective.
Polisario has widespread diplomatic support, with their government-in-exile of the
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic having been recognized by over seventy countries
around the world. In addition, the Sahrawi republic holds full member status in the
Organization of African Unity. Polisario has created effectively functioning democratic
institutions in the self-governing refugee camps in Algeria over the years and maintained
its struggle to regain their homeland.
Whether the United States will remain at odds with Morocco is far from certain, however,
as the imperialist power has long seen the Moroccan monarchy as an important regional
ally, first during the Cold War and now in their campaign against militant Islamicists.
Many suspect that if Morocco were to lose the referendum on Western Sahara, the result
would be serious instability for the regime. Beyond this, the primary reason for Moroccan
and western imperialist interest in the Saharan territory stems from its considerable
mineral wealth, much of it still unexploited and, recently, the Moroccan government
awarded an oil exploration contract to the US corporation Kerr McGee, which is one of
the corporations with strong ties to the oil-related interests within the Bush
administration. These contracts have, however, prompted the Security Council to ask for
a legal opinion from the UN Under Secretary General for Legal Affairs. In response,
Under Secretary Hans Corell issued a devastating report, from the Moroccan perspective,
though it ultimately upheld the legality of the contracts. The report also reminded the
Security Council that the Moroccans occupation was being maintained in defiance of
rulings by both the International Court of Justice and the Security Council itself.
France, the primary imperialist ally of Morocco even attempted to proclaim a new
diplomatic principle in response to the report, claiming that the Security Council cannot
impose its decisions on parties if the parties disagree with those decisions. It is dubious
that the French will succeed in having this newly minted ‘principle’ accepted, but as an
Irish diplomat on the Security Council, who had miraculously retained enough clarity on
attempts by imperialists to disregard the will of the indigenous populace, said:
“The original draft was utterly one-sided in its approach: it was in violation of
international legal principles, and had already been rejected by one party to the dispute. It
was also clear that the movers could not muster more than six or seven votes in the
Council, so they could not get a majority for it.”
Accordingly, the US returned with the revised proposal, passed at the close of July. This
version provides for a degree of autonomy for the five-year interim stage to a much
greater extent that did the earlier draft and includes stronger international guarantees
against Moroccan interference. The resolution, as passed, ensures that only Sahrawis
could vote for the interim authority, though it leaves open the question of the Moroccan
colonists voting in the final referendum.
We in the IRSP believe that Morocco has been allowed to disregard the agreements
previously concluded with Polisario for far too long and denounce the actions of the
United States, France, and Morocco to shore up the occupation and deny selfdetermination
to the Saharawi people. We applaud the Algerian government and the
government of Libya for the consistent assistance they have provided to the Saharawis
and Polisario, and especially the Algerians having permitted the Saharawis refugees to
maintain a system of self-government in their refugee camps, rather than attempting to
impose Algerian law on these embattled people.
We believe that it is essential that the Saharawis and the Saharawis alone be enabled to
make known their wishes regarding self-determination and once a plebiscite has taken
place, we call upon the Security Council and especially all of its permanent member
states to ensure that Morocco immediately honour the expressed will of the Saharawi
As with Palestine and Puerto Rico, imperialist machinations have too long impeded the
will of the international community and the indigenous people of Western Sahara. We
salute the heroic campaign of Polisario against a formidable alliance of the reactionary
Moroccan monarchy and its imperialist allies and express our solidarity with Polisario’s
struggle for national liberation and social justice.
392 Falls Road
Belfast, BT12 6DH
Tel. 028 90 321024
Fax 028 90 330786
55% families living in low income households are Catholic while 45% are
Protestants. 37% of all children live in low income house-holds. Children in single
parent families without full time work have the highest risk of being in low income
households at 88%.There are 55% of low income households which have at least one
adult with a disability or long term illness. (Figures from the OFMDFM)
The minimum wage is now £4.50 an hour.
Irish Anti War Movement News
Saturday's demonstration showed that the anti-war movement has not gone away with
2,500 people demonstrating in Dublin. Many turned out in disgust at the possibility of
Irish troops being sent to Iraq to bolster the US occupation. At the AGM on Sunday we
agreed to continue to organise demonstrations against the government's support for war &
occupation and to campaign against the use of Irish facilities by belligerent powers. We
also agreed to support a demonstration organised by the Tralee Anti--War Group at the
Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in Killarney on Saturday October 11th. Full AGM details will
follow later. Details of the bus to Killarney are posted below.
Aoife Ní Fhearghail
Outgoing Secretary
11 October - Demonstration at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in Killarney
a.. US Military out of Shannon
b.. No Irish troops for the occupation of Iraq
c.. Drop all charges of civil disobedience
This is our chance to bring it home to FF party members that we hold Bertie Ahern, Brian
Cowan and the government accountable for the Irish participation in the US war effort in
Iraq. We reject the escalation proposed by Ahern that Irish troops are sent to reinforce the
brutal US/UK occupation of Iraq. We demand instead that the Irish government
drops all charges against those activists who committed acts of civil disobedience and/or
non-violently disarmed a US warplane at Shannon.
Time and date 2 pm, Saturday, 11 October 2003
Location National Events Centre
Gleneagles Hotel
Muckross Road
Co. Kerry
Directions When reaching Killarney follow signs for Kenmare N71. The Gleneagles
Hotel is approx. 1.6 km (1 mile) from the town centre on the left hand side.
Bus from Dublin will leave the city centre at 8am. YOU MUST BOOK A SEAT IN
ADVANCE. The bus will return to Dublin by approx. 11 pm
Return bus fare •20 (waged) or •15 (unwaged)
Places in bus must be booked and confirmed to
Colm at 087 294 7100 by 12 noon, Wednesday, 08 October
The Annual Seamus Costello Anniversary Commemoration will take place on
Sunday 5th of October, Assembly Point Old Town Hall Little Bray. March and
Rally with Band and Colour Party. Main Speaker will be Ex Political Prisoner and
Blanket man, IRSP Ard Comhairle Member, Paul Little.
Seamus Costello Remembered
26th Anniversary Commemoration
Organized By the IRSP Commemoration Committee. Contact and Transport
Details, Contact Daithi on 0877570109 or All Welcome.
"I Owe My allegiance to the Working Class" Seamus Costello
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
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 Co-op.
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
Subject: Talk on Guyana
Speaker: Michael Mahadeo
Venue: One World Centre (4 Lower Crescent, Belfast - off Botanic Avenue)
Date: Wednesday, 8 October 2003
Time: 7.30pm
Everyone Welcome
.....................................Stephen McCloskey
One World Centre for Northern Ireland
4 Lower Crescent
BT7 1NR 028 9024 1879
Anti Racist Network, from Davy Carlin
The second meeting of the Anti Racist Network is to be moved to Oct 15th and is to be
held at the Chinese Welfare Association at 7pm. The change has been suggested by a
number of persons due to George Monbiot speaking in Belfast and persons had asked
would it be possible not to clash with this. A proposal will be put forward for a visual
representative action to be held in the near future. Such as various parties, organisations,
trade unions etc with their banners outside city hall showing a collective stand against
Racism where the media can be invited along.
Amnesty International Annual Lecture 2003
Xanana Gusmão,
President of East Timor
Peace, justice and reconciliation
Queen's University Belfast, G06
Thursday 16th October, 7pm
All welcome
Admission free but by ticket only
Supported by QUB Human Rights Centre
To book tickets, tel 028 9064 3000 / email:
James Byrne Commemoration Committee >
1st November 2003-09-11 Monument Unveiling & 90th Anniversary
Assemble 2pm Main Entrance Deansgrange Cemetery, Deansgrange, Co. Dublin, Ireland.
The newly-commissioned monument over the grave of Trade Union >Martyr, James
Byrne, District Organiser, ITG&WU, who died on 1st November 1913 following a
hunger & thirst strike during the Great >Lock-Out 1913 will be unveiled by Des
Geraghty, President, SIPTU. All trade unionists, political activists and members of the
Public >welcome!
[No Party Political Banners, please!]
The James Byrne Commemoration Committee has organised the erection of a fitting
memorial over the grave in Deansgrange Cemetery [Co. >Dublin, Ireland] of James
Byrne, a trade union martyr who died on >1st November 1913 as a result of the effects of
a hunger and thirst >strike during imprisonment for his role in the Great Lock-Out of that
year. James was District Organiser of the Irish Transport & >General Workers Union and
held leadership roles in both Bray and >Kingstown [Dún Laoghaire] Trades Councils.
In the course of James Byrne’s funeral oration James Connolly said:
”James Byrne truly died a martyr as any man who ever died for Ireland”
The Committee believes that the monument is a fitting tribute to >James Byrne and hopes
that his grave may become a place of >pilgrimage and source of inspiration for trade
unionists and >socialists in the future. We are particularly pleased that the descendents of
James Byrne are fully supportive of the work of the >Committee.
Jason Mc Lean. PRO- James Byrne Commemoration Committee.
European Social Forum Paris, St Denis 12-15 November
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