The Plough #15
21 November 2003
E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. Getting It All Wrong Again, Paul Williams!
2. INLA Deportees
3. Anti Racist Network
4. Health Workers on Hunger Strike
5. Sinaltrainal in Ireland
6. Remember the Revolutionary Contribution of Kwame Ture
8. What's On?
Getting It All Wrong
By Liam O'Ruairc
Crimelords by Paul Williams (Dublin, Merlin Publishing, 2003)
£9.99, ISBN 1-903582-51-2
Paul Williams is an "investigative journalist" working for the Sunday
World tabloid. He wrote his latest book because over the last few
years in Ireland "organised crime has seen a dramatic upsurge which
seems certain to continue." This alarmist book presents 21st century
Ireland as some kind of 1930s Chicago. In fact in the 26 counties the
level of crime for the last 17 years has remained virtually static,
and by international standards the murder rate is not high: in the
year 2000 the homicide rate was 1.48 per 100 000 of the population
compared to 1.97 in Sweden, 2.11 in Scotland and 5.64 in the USA.
(Sunday Business Post 9.11.2003)
The book exagerates, but does not investigate the roots of this
alleged upsurge in crime. The author does not investigate whether
there is an intrinsic connection between the neo-liberalism of the
Celtic Tiger and criminality, or whether drug abuse has something to
do with social and economic marginalisation. Williams does not
explore the structural causes of criminality. Instead he proposes
an "evil individual" theory of crime. The "Pimpernel", the "Viper",
the "Colonel", the "Westies" and other godfathers around which the
book is centered are blamed for crime.
How good is Paul Williams' investigation of the Irish underworld? A
look at his treatment of the INLA paramilitary organisation (which
occupies about the quarter of the book) should raise some scepticism
as to the overall value of his journalism. For Williams the INLA is
nothing but a "criminal rabble" with no cohesive approach to anything
apart from criminal activity, a "flag of convenience for a collection
of dangerous thugs". The point his investigation is trying to make is
that its members are "intrinsically involved in organised crime" and
are using Republican Socialism as a cover for this.
The chapters on the INLA are full of factual inaccuracies, some of
them quite astonishing. According to Williams, the founder of the
organisation, Seamus Costello "styled the organisation on European
Marxist terror groups such as the Red Brigades and the Bader (sic)
Meinhoff" (93). There is no evidence of this.
Anyone with a mininal knowledge of the history of the IRSP/INLA knows
that Costello wanted to build an organisation in the Left Republican
tradition to which groups like the RAF are totally foreign. Williams
comes with a most bizarre theory when blaming the killing of Costello
on Belfast-based members of the INLA who wanted to seize control of
the movement (93, 96). In fact, it is beyond doubt that he was killed
by Jim Flynn, of the Official IRA.
For someone who presents himself as a serious investigative
journalist, Williams makes serious factual mistakes. He makes the
astonishing claim that in the post 1987 period "over thirty INLA
members were murdered by former friends and associates" (106) Paul
Williams should then supply the reader with a list of those thirty
plus names, because they are nowhere to be found (in doubt check the
most recent edition of Lost Lives).
The author also writes that during the 1996 INLA feud "most of the
old GHQ faction remained loyal to 'Cueball' Torney" (119). Once
again, he gets the facts wrong, because apart from a couple of
individuals, the movement remained unified behind Cueball's
opponents. Williams should go and check the official statements which
were issued by the various people involved then.
When not getting the facts wrong, Williams sometimes simply invents
them. He writes that when Veronica Guerin was assassinated "an
official circular from the IRSP declared that Veronica Guerin had
effectively got what she deserved. They also sent a direct threat to
other crime journalists in the country stating that they would
receive the same treatment." (121) If this is the case, then he
should produce this 'official circular', because there has never been
such a circular issued by the IRSP.
The same goes for his statement that one year after their 1998
ceasefire, "in August 1999 the INLA declared that their war was
officially over." (125) Again, there have never been any such
statement either by the IRSP or the INLA.
On top of that, many minor details reveal the book to be sloppy. For
example, Williams writes that in 1998 the former leader of the IPLO
was twenty eight years old while born in 1960, and systematically
spells "expatriate" "ex-patriot".
Finally, Paul Williams' prose is as crude and vulgar as his political
analysis. For example Williams writes of a certain criminal that "he
considered the INLA to be his own police force and if anyone wanted
to fuck with him (sic) then they would be answerable to the thugs and
thieves in the 'movement'." (114) Such language and the fact that
Williams gets basic facts wrong should create doubt as to the value
and validity of his general argument. Compared to serious
investigative journalism, such as for example Vincent Browne's
investigations of the Workers Party and the Official IRA in Magill,
Paul Williams' book constitutes good sensationalism but not very
As to the actual remedies to organised criminality, Paul Williams is
implicitly and explicitly calling for more resources for law
enforcement agencies. The author notes that in 21st century
Ireland "law enforcement is in a state of crisis", not because the
the erosion of civil liberties while evidence grows about members of
the Garda abusing their powers, but because the government forgot its
promises of more officers and more resources.
His book reinforces the media climate encouraging more drastic laws
and tougher policing by exagerating criminality. It is interesting to
note that, as Vincent Browne reminds us, "by far the greatest piece
of organised crime we have seen here in decades and which won for the
perpetrators of that crime huge proceeds was entirely ignored by the
Criminal Assets Bureau. This was the mega Dirt Tax fraud perpetrated
by the big banks." (Sunday Business Post, 9.11.2003)
Yet, Paul Williams remains entirely silent on these "crimelords". And
the panic measures he calls for can only deepen the injustice and
intensify the alienation on which crime grows.
(This first appeared in the Blanket -
McAllister family on brink of deportation
Malachy McAllister, a former INLA member, is facing expulsion from
the U.S. after an immigration court denied his appeal against
deportation. McAllister and his family fled Belfast a little more
than 15 years ago after loyalist gunmen fired shots into their home.
They have lived in New Jersey.
One of his children, 26-year-old Gary, is married to an American
citizen, but despite this, he has also been included in the
deportation order. The courts recently ruled in favour of the
deportation of another former INLA man, John Edward McNicholl, and
refused to hear an appeal to suspend McNicholl's deportation.
McNicholl was arrested and deported within days of the court's
decision. His wife, a U.S. citizen, and two of the couple's three
children, also citizens, were forced to follow McNicholl to Ireland.
Is it a coincidence that two former INLA men are being victimised in
this way? Is this because we don't support the Good Friday Agreement
and oppose Bush and Blair's so called "war on terrorism?"
ANTI RACIST NETWORK
The Anti Racist Network which comprises of various political
organisations, minority ethnic support groups, trades unionist and
trades union councils, law firms and asylum practitioners amongst
others have drawn up a list of questions which we seek to have
answered by the various political parties and their candidates
standing in the forthcoming elections. We feel such 'real' issues are
vitally important and call on the political parties to address these
questions both as a party and through their candidates in the course
of the debates and discussions during the elections.
1) What is your party policy on racism, asylum, Travellers, migrant
2} If elected what will you and your party do to actively seek to
combat the rise in racism and racist attacks?
3} Will you and your party work to end the detention of asylum
seekers held in prisons, which in effect is criminalizing persons
whose 'crime' is to seek asylum?
4} Will you and your party ensure that language will not be used that
will cause offence or can be used by others to attempt to increase
5} Will your party actively support events that promote good race
relations and seek to forward the race equality agenda
For further details contact Valery or Nathalie in MCRC on 90244639
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or David Carlin on 07974632485
Health Workers on Hunger Strike
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 16:22:53 -0000
11 Colombian health workers have declared themselves on hunger
strike. They are amongst the 138 workers who are engaged in a
peaceful occupation of the offices of the Ministry for Social
Protection. After three days of protest during which time minister
Diego Palacios has systematically denied any talks with leaders of
ANTHOC, the health workers union.
"The minister maintains that he will not enter talks with us until we
end the occupation, but that is what they told us a year before we
took this action and they still haven't done anything to solve the
hospital problem", said a union leader for the Social and Political
Front which has been accompanying the workers in defence of public
services. "The situation that the State has kept the hospitals has
generated a humanitarian crisis. We do not understand how the
Government can intervene with measures to save the finance sector
every time it goes into crisis, as was the case earlier this year,
but it does not do the same for the problems of health and public
education, that are not private businesses but fundamental rights as
guaranteed in the Constitution", the Front's National Executive
Committee argues in a political declaration.
"In this country there are talks with armed groups that have
committed crimes against humanity, massacres and forced the
displacement of more than three million of our people, but they
refuse to listen to the demands of workers who are defending the
rights of Colombians to a dignified health. And besides, the workers
are owed 14 months salary", declared one of the protesters.
The Social and Political Front demands guarantees for those inside
the Ministry offices, and those who have embarked on the hunger
strike, as well as an immediate solution to ANTHOC's demands. The
Colombian people can see that every day more hospitals are being
closed, while public funds are going to pay off the debt and to pay
Even when the Colombian people have, by defeating the Referendum,
shown themselves opposed to the neo-liberal policies of this and
previous governments, pronouncing themselves in favour of the State
paying the social debt that it has to the people through a strong
social investment to guarantee social justice for all Colombian men
Social and Political Front
17 November 2003
SINALTRAINAL in Ireland
The tour of Ireland by Luis Eduardo Garcia on behalf of SINALTRAINAL
was a great success.
Monday 11th November 2003 (Derry)
The tour started at Sandinos Bar in Derry, and was supported by Derry
Trades Council. There were 25-30 people in at the meeting and
Sandino's officially announced that it would be supporting the
Tuesday 12th November 2003 (Belfast)
Royal Victoria Hospital - we met with about 30 members of UNISON, who
were very interested in the boycott. They agreed to speak to the
management of the hospital and try to get Coca Cola withdrawn from
the hospital premises.
Cultúrlann - (an Irish language cultural centre). We met with
40 people who were extremely supportive of the boycott. Cultúrlann
announced that it would no longer be selling Coca Cola, and Luis was
presented with a book about the Murals in the area.
Unemployed Resource Centre - again a well attended meeting about 40
people. The reception given to Luis was extremely good. At the
meeting the John Hewitt Bar announced officially that it would be
supporting the boycott and that it has withdrawn coke cola from sale.
Letters in support of the boycott were also read out from the Falls
Road Women's Centre and the Double Joint theatre group. The chief
librarian of the Linen Hall Library, John Gray, gave a letter stating
his personal support for the boycott.
Wednesday 13th November 2003 (Dublin)
University College Dublin - Students meeting
The meeting was well attended with over 120 students. There were a
number of good questions after Luis spoke and the students gave him 2
standing ovations, (including whistles cheers foot stamping etc). The
president of the union announced that the student union exec was
firmly behind the boycott. There is a small group calling for a
second referendum in the university to overturn the referendum, which
approved the boycott. They appear to be quite small and only 1 of
them asked any questions. Luis very politely managed to make him look
Coke also had their own campaign going with a dinner in a plush hotel
for invited students.
SIPTU - a bilateral meeting with the trade union representing Coca
Cola workers in Ireland.
An excellent meeting of about 30 people. After a short introduction
from Luis the meeting was taken up with discussing ideas for action
in support of the boycott.
Luis did 2 interviews in the North, one for an Irish language
publication and one for an on-line magazine called the Blanket (this
article has already been published) In the South he was interviewed
by 2 of the most popular TV channels and both interviews went out on
the 8 -9 o'clock news bulletins and he did 2 interviews with
journalists both of which seemed very sympathetic. This was combined
with the publicity achieved by Gearoid in Ireland who did a live
radio debate on Tuesday morning with Rafael Fernandez Garcia, Coca
Cola's Director of Communications in Latin America who had been flown
in from Coke's Atlanta HQ. Coke's Irish representative and students
from UCD and Trinity College also joined in the debate. This
programme is regularly listened to by over 300,000 people.
Trinity College are collecting signatures with a view to holding
their own referenda and join UCD in the boycott. UCD have a second
referendum this week (watch this space).
Supporters of Sinaltrainal campaign are working on fundraising
activities on International Human Rights Day, 10th December.
Remember the Revolutionary Contribution of Kwame Ture
Comrade John W. represented the Irish Republican Socialist Committees
of North America at an event hosted by the All-African People's
Revolutionary Party in Los Angeles, on November 19th. John read a
statement from the Irish Republican Socialist Party's International
Department, honouring Pan-African Socialist Kwame Ture on the
occasion of the fifth anniversary of his death.
Other solidarity statements were made by representatives of the
Native American movement and the IRSCNA. A representative from Guinea-
Bissau gave an excellent talk on Kwame Ture, Pan-Africanism, and the
need for unity among all oppressed peoples.
The A-APRP, as ever, gave the IRSM a warm welcome to their event,
demonstrating once again their internationalism and high level of
"Let us look to a higher motive than praise or profit - to promote
truth and labour together, as Irishmen, bound by love of country,
which is far higher and stronger tie than any human obligation." -
This is a short reply I did to the question where do we go from here?
I would be interested in feedback. slan, Pol.
In Search of the Revolutionary Grail!
By Paul Little (20/11/03)
It is clear the current political strategy of the IRSP is
contradictory. As to why this is appears complex, however the fact
that it is complex should not put us off the search for an effective
Any revolutionary strategy should be focused on achieving the
successful conclusion of the Republican Socialist project, not bogged
down in the historical dogma and procedural dead ends of our own
past, failed strategies.
Some of the 'old certainties', tactics, rational and dogma of the
Irish freedom struggle need to be challenged as to their purpose and
usefulness to future struggle. We have had enough of the nearly,
religious ritual defeat of our project, that is excused with the
embarrassing but correct assertion that "we fought the good fight and
lost and it's up to the following generation to carry on." What
hogwash! It is the duty of today's revolutionaries to be positive in
our formulation of a revolutionary strategy, determined in its
execution and persistent for its successful conclusion,
Whilst there maybe no singular, parliamentary road to socialism, that
does not mean that we cannot couple, education, agitation and the
effective organisation of the working class, within the finest
democratic principle, that of complete, human social equality.
The garnering of the grassroots working class into a revolutionary
community, spreading the precious gospel of discontent, and resisting
those who seek to restrict human equality by oppression, economic
sanction, exploiting the fine tradition of human independence and
individuality, under the banner representing benign 'western
democracy' as the saviour of mankind from ourselves.
When exploitation, coercion, misinformation and stealth fail, it has
no compunction in launching malign "western democracy'. Causing fear,
mistrust and division as a means of controlling the working classes.
They introduce and impose 'western democracy' as an imperialist
antidote to global/local human suffering, Usually through the
barrels of its weapons of mass human destruction.
We have to struggle by using whatever effective tactics at our
disposal, including the highest revolutionary & democratic principles
that are the backbone of Republican Socialism.
Not withstanding the equality restrictions contained within
parliamentary democracy, Republican Socialism needs to be in the
business of challenging, exposing, disrupting and eventually
overturning the rule of the 'Western Democratic Exploitation Front'
>From another political tradition that has turned into what we now
recognise as Republican Nationalism, once said, and I paraphrase;
'Who here would object if we seized power in Ireland with a ballot
box in one hand and an armalite in the other?"
For Irish Republican Socialists our mantra should be; we don't care
who objects to "the working class ceasing power in Ireland, with a
ballot box in this hand and the collective capacity of human
consciousness, intellect and resourcefulness in the other. Not
withstanding, the other tactics we require to achieve success,
stuffed into our empty pockets!"
Out weapon of choice should be REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY.
"My appeal is to the working class. I appeal to them exclusively,
because they, and only they, can bring about the time when the whole
world will be one brotherhood, on a sound economic foundation. That,
and that alone, can be the means of bringing about a reorganisation
of society. That can only be obtained when the people of the world
get the world and retain the world." - John McLean
In the Cause of Labour: A History of British Trade Unionism
There are many narrative histories of the struggles of British
workers. However Rob Sewell's book is different. The purpose of
this history of British trade unionism is not only to recite the wrongs
inflicted on working people, or simply to describe their heroic
struggles. It is an attempt to draw out the lessons of the events
that helped shape the Labour movement, and made it what it is. This
is a book that sets out from the proposition that the interests
between capital and labour are incompatible and takes sides in the
war between the classes.
12.30pm Wednesday 26th November Justice for Colombia Reception hosted
by Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM-First Minister of Wales at Conference
Rooms A&B, Assembly Rooms, CARDIFF
10am - 1pm Saturday 29th November TUC Congress House, Council Chamber
(5th floor), Great Russell Street, LONDON WC1 (nearest tube Tottenham
Other speakers: Brendan Barber (TUC General Secretary and Justice for
Colombia President); Isabel Hilton (The Guardian); Jeremy Dear
(National Union of Journalists General Secretary); Dr. Angela Roger
(Association of University Teachers Vice-president). Chair: Mick Rix
(Justice for Colombia Vice-Chair).
Places are limited, so please ensure you book in advance:
email@example.com 020 7794 3644
Fri-Sun, 28-30 Nov.
TCD, Dublin, Organised by SWSS
Marxism 03 is one for discussion and debate on the Irish left. It
brings together speakers from the Irish and international movements
against war and neo-liberalism.
International speakers include Mike Davis (US author of City of
Quartz); Alex Callinicos (Prof. of Politics at York), plus socialist
speakers from the Middle East and Africa. Other speakers include
Eamonn McCann (Author and Journalist), Ivana Bacik (Reid Prof. Of
Law, TCD), Patricia McKenna (MEP, Green Party), Richard Boyd Barett
(Chair IAWM), Nuria Mustafa (Iraqi exile), Ronit Lenotin (Campaign
against Deportations), Andy Storey (AfrI) and many more.
NI Anti-Poverty Network Invite you to attend our
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Followed by seminar/speakers and workshops on
WATER INEQUALITY - THE HUMAN COST
On Friday 28th November 2003 at NICVA, 61Duncairn Gardens, Belfast,
BT15 2GB From 9.30am - 1.00pm
AGM followed by guest speakers on privatisation and the introduction
of the Water tax and how this will affect every section of our
On low income, in receipt of benefits, if you are a householder you
will have no relief from Water tax.
Frances Dowds NI Anti-Poverty Network (NIAPN)
Manus Maguire Communities Against the Water Tax (CAWT)
Jim Welsh NI Public Service Alliance (NIPSA)
Alisa Keane Irish Congress of Trade Unions NI (ICTU NI)
To Register Fax back to 028 9087 5011 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by
21st November 2003.
Saturday 29 November 12.00-2.00pm
National demonstration to close Campsfield House
National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
1 Delaunays Road Manchester M8 4QS tel: 0121 554 6947
Saturday 29 November
Kurdish demonstration For Peace and Democracy
Assemble 1.30pm at Lincoln's Inn Fields
March to 10 Downing Street
December 2003 Events
Friday, 5 December and Saturday 6 December
Oxfam, War on Want, World Development Movement
Worldfair's Fair Trade Xmas Market
Book your selling space at Worldfair's Fair Trade Xmas market before
10 October and get a 10% discount on the price of your stall. Unit 6,
Canonbury Yard 190a, New North Road, London N1
Tel: 020 7354 4231
NETWORK FOR PEACE CONFERENCE
Working for a peaceful future: Campaigning for peace against a
context of the never-ending "war on terrorism".
5-6 December Venue: Friends House, Euston Road, London.
Info and/or to book a stall contact: Network for Peace - tel: 020 72783267
Friday 5 December 4-8pm
Saturday 6 December 11am-6pm
World Fair at the Conway Hall
Red Lion Square, WC1
Sat, 6 December U.S. TROOPS OUT OF SHANNON!
Blockade the Warport Assemble at 2 pm at Lidl Carpark in Shannon
Town. More details on IAWM website Buses will be organised from
Dublin (contact Aoife at 087 795 5013), Cork (for more details
contact John at 086 300 4573), Galway (details later).
All Anti War groups are requested to hold public meetings, if
possible in the weeks coming up to this protest. The public meeting
should be used to build for as large a protest at Shannon as
Saturday 13 December 1-4pm opposite Downing Street
Public Rally Justice for detainees now!
Afghanistan.Iraq Belmarsh prison in the UK....with speakers and a
petition calling for an end to imprisonment without trial! For
details contact CAMPACC on 020 7586 5892
Saturday, 13 to Monday 15 December
Major Women-only demonstration and blockade, Menwith Hill
THE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM AGAINST ISOLATION - CONFERENCE ON
It is an INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POLITICAL PRISONERS and is being
held on Dec. 19th. 20th and 21St.WHERE: The symposium will take place
in Palazzio Vecchio in Salone Duecentoda.
COMUNE DI FIRENZE,
Palazzo Vecchio Pzza Signoria
50122 - FIRENZE
HOW: The order is speakers is divided geographically. So, for
instance, the first day speakers from Asia, America, Africa will
speak, the next day from Europe and the final decisions will be made.
WHO: A list of organisations and persons, who have so far confirmed
their participation in the symposium:
* Ahmet Kulaksiz, he lost his two daughters Canan and Zehra during
the death fast in Turkey
* Ex-political prisoners from Turkey (and Europe)
* Wainer Burani, a lawyer from Italy, who will speak about the
prisons in Italy and the Anti-Terror-Law
* Gianfranco di Maio, a doctor from Italy, who will speak about
the force-feeding measurement
* Mohammed Safa, a representative of the Al Khiam Rehabilitation
Centre for Torture Victims, he will speak about the Lebanese
prisoners in the Zionist prisons.
* Ibrahim Mahajna, a lawyer who lives in Ramallah and is member
of the Palestinian Human Rights Commission. He will speak about the
situation of the prisoners at Ansar 3.
* Marcella della Donne, professor at the La Sapienza University
* A representative of the Cuban Embassy in Rome and probably a
lawyer who is the brother of one of the "Cuban 5", who are imprisoned
* Representatives of the Austrian Committee "Free the Cuban Five"
* Haidi Giulani, mother of Carlo Giulani, who was killed by
police during the demonstrations in Genoa
* Representatives of Behatokia, the Basque Observatory for Human
* Rote Hilfe (red help)
* A representative of the London-based Irish Political Status
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Call 0031-20-675 09 26
or 0032-2-280 2228;
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