The Plough #24
30 January 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
2. IRSP Meeting
3. Facts on Primary School Education in Ireland
4. Prison Protest Looms
5. Anti-Racist Rally
6. Genocide Against the Colombian Trade Unions
7. Report on Rally at London Hunger Strike Tent, January 24
8. Convention of the Left - Derry February 14th 2004
9. Stop Killer Coke Campaign
10. What's On?
The IRSP wish to express our deepest regret at the sudden and
unexpected death of Josephine Kelly, a former member of the Ard-
Chomhairle of the IRSP and a staunch supporter of the Republican
Socialist Movement. She was buried today Friday in the City
Cemetery and her funeral was attended by leading comrades from the
The Ard-Chomhairle of the IRSP was represented by Gerry Ruddy, who
expressed sincere condolences to Josephine's brother Vincent, an
active member of the Party.
Josephine was buried just a few yards from the grave of Maura White,
wife of a former leading member of the IRSP, Johnny White. Maura died
in 2003. We can ill afford to lose such comrades and supporters. May
they rest in peace.
There will be an IRSP meeting in Culturlann on the Falls Road at
Broadway next Tuesday night, 3rd February, when Davy Carlin from the
Anti Racist Network will give a talk on racism in Belfast. The
meeting is open to all with an interest in republicanism-socialism
and/or racism. Meeting starts at 7.00pm
Facts on Primary School Education In Ireland
Ireland spends less on primary education than all EU countries except
Spending on Irish primary education is only 70% of that at second
level and only 30% of that at third level.
Average class sizes in Ireland are higher than any EU country except
On average there are ten extra pupils in every Irish primary
classroom compared to Luxembourg.
Over 5,000 special needs pupils are waiting nearly a year for a
response to their resource applications.
About a thousand pupils do not even transfer to second level schools
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds come to school cold, hungry
and poorly dressed.
Children are brought to school on clapped out busses.
(Taken from INTO press release)
Prison Protest Looms
Many republicans will have been disgusted at the recent turn of
events involving the UDA. Their prisoners rioted in Magilligan and
tried to kill a republican prisoner they perceived to be an INLA
prisoner. They failed. They brought Belfast to a stand still with a
series of bomb alerts and attempted to kill nationalist youths with a
bomb at a GAA ground. They were then rewarded with meetings with the
British Security Minister Jane Kennedy and they then travelled to
Dublin to meet with Bertie Ahern. Are we to take from this the
lesson that violence pays? That surely can be the only conclusion to
be drawn from that series of events.
The prison protest itself has to be seen against a background of the
Prison Warders Union the POA, deliberately provoking the loyalists in
order to strengthen their hand in negotiations with the British
Government. As long as there is tension in the jails then the riot
squads will be on standby and huge amounts of overtime clocked up by
the warders. Cynical or what? It works. They already have forced the
British Government to spend £28 millions on personal security for
the screws - something they never did for the RUC during the whole of
the troubles. More trouble is brewing in the jails itself. The
proposals for separation are infringements of the human rights of the
prisoners. Indeed those who accept separation will have worse
conditions than the rest of the prison population.
The power in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill, which is shortly to
become law, gives the British Secretary of State the right to
transfer remand or sentenced prisoners to Britain from prisons in the
Six Counties. The new power is intended to "prevent slippage" from
the proposed separated regime for Republican and loyalist prisoners
in Maghaberry to the H-Block style Special Category Status which was
introduced after the 1981 hunger-strikes and then scrapped by the
1998 Stormont Agreement.
A spokesperson for the IRSP, Willie Gallagher, said that they would
be seeking to work closely with other republicans to highlight the
political status issue. Worsening conditions and exiling prisoners is
not new. The sentenced 1916 Rising prisoners were dispersed to
various jails in England. Terence Mac Swiney died on hunger strike in
Brixton jail, London in 1920. In 1922 imprisoned Republicans were
sent to Peterhead jail in the north of Scotland and were not released
until 1926-27. In the 1940s Republicans were jailed in Parkhurst and
Dartmoor. In the 1970s Parkhurst in the Isle of Wight was where Irish
Republican prisoner Michael Gaughan died on hunger strike. His fellow
Mayo Republican Frank Stagg died on hunger strike in Wakefield
The rally was a brilliant success with up to 2000 people in
attendance on a freezing cold lunchtime at the end of January. Many
top politicians and community leaders attended. As did also many
trade unionists, with banners from trades union councils and trade
unions, such as that of NIPSA, FBU, UNISON and NAFHE etc. Banners
also came from local communities from around Belfast and from student
and human rights organisations. With also many, many attending from
minority ethnic organisations and support groups. To organise such a
rally in such a small space of time given the fact that we are not
funded etc is a credit to all those involved and to the activist
based Anti Racist Network. (ARN) We sent out a visual and united
voice to the world against the racial attack. The next meeting of
the ARN is next Wednesday and details will be sent shortly.
CONTINUOUS GENOCIDE AGAINST THE COLOMBIAN TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
72 CUT members were assassinated in 2003
The social, political and human rights situation in Colombia worsens
daily, which shows that the solution is not to increase war and
violence. The state-government and the armed groups (insurgency,
paramilitary and armed forces) have evaded the United Nations’ 27
recommendations for human rights policy. The Colombian state has
completed none of the recommendations; it is clear that President of
the Republic Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez is applying the policies of
There have been massive detentions in which the government does not
fulfil codes and international treaties, illegal raids and 72 union
leaders were murdered last year. The concern today is all the
greater; now that an antiterrorist statute has been approved which we
are sure will not be applied to terrorists. On the contrary, this
whole policy is directed to hit and to put an end to the
organizational processes of the social movement that generate
opposition to the policies of North American imperialism and the
government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
On 17th January 2004, RICARDO BARRAGÁN ORTEGA was murdered as he
was leaving his place of residence. He as an activist and member of
the Cali Municipal Corporation Workers Union - SINTRAEMCALI - CUT.
The comrade was on his way to the Navarrese Centre Operations Yard to
play a soccer game with his work mates when he was intercepted by two
motorcyclists who shot him five times in the head. One of the
assassins who participated in the comrade Ricardo¹s murder was
captured by the police as he tried to flee the place of the crime. He
was transferred to Guabal Neighbourhood Police Station.
The comrade had been characterized by his technical contributions to
the proposal to save EMCALI, and he had made ingenious contributions
to reduce the costs, to increase the revenues and to optimise human
resources. And he had been active participating in the protest days
of the workers to defend EMCALI EICE ESP from privatisation.
On 13th January 2004, an envelope with a condolence card [standard
form of assassin threat] was left in the offices of the Atlántico
branch of ANTHOC [health workers union]. It was addressed to the
Committee of this organization, citing the names of GILBERTO
MARTÍNEZ (member of the National Committee), CARMEN TORRES (member
of the Departmental Committee, ÁLVARO MÁRQUEZ (member of the
Departmental Committee), JOSÉ MERIÑO (member of the
Departmental Committee) and ANGEL SALAS (member of the National
Committee). It was apparently from the AUC (United Self-defences of
Colombia) [paramilitaries] and is signed with the letters Antonio
Uparela Castro at the end.
On 16th January 2004, a death threat arrived at the electronic mail
of the CUT (United Workers Federation of Colombia). It was from
someone calling themselves "Major Rigoberto Zarate Ospina Cell 18" of
the Block Calarca of the AUC e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and in which death threats against union leaders in Risaralda are
confirmed. It was necessary to take these leaders out of the country
last October in the face of the siege and death sentence passed by
this paramilitary unit.
In this sentence the paramilitaries condemn not only the social work
of the "Social Pastoral of Colombia [church] but the State of CHILE
for giving refuge to criminals of little worth as are the union
leaders of the CUT in Risaralda; and they point out that their armed
units are already placed in Chile awaiting the order to begin
locating the whereabouts and then the execution of those called civil
On 21st January 2004 once again the national and local leaders of
ANTHOC are the objects of death threats. [This time] by the Peasants
AUC of Magdalena's Medio who have declared as targets JESUS ALFONSO
NARANJO and MARIO NEL MORA PATIÑO representatives of the Human
Rights Department and Medical Mission. This is for making accusations
against administrative corruption and rising national and
international protest actions against the constant and repeated
threats, forced displacements and assassinations of health officials
and especially of their members. The paramilitaries claim in their
note that the two leaders are not human rights defenders, but
guerrilla fighters infiltrated in the union movement, for such a
reason they will be eliminated in any part of the country.
The government intends to apply a plan in the department of the Cauca
in the south west of the country like the plan it has applied in
Arauca. In Arauca the government persecuted, harassed and imprisoned
the leadership of the social movements. In Cauca massive detentions
have been carried out in the last year. There are populations
(municipalities) that are closed off by the National Army and others
by the paramilitary groups violating the most elementary rights and
even international treaties. For example they control the entrance of
food to the peasants and they don't allow them to take out their
products, which of course deteriorates the quality of the civil
population's life. In the union movement the Executive Committee of
the Subdirectiva CUT Cauca and the Executive Committee of unions have
been threatened recently. Several comrades have been forced by the
circumstances of threats to abandon their region where the right to
association right and union freedoms are palpably being violated.
The government presents Cartagena as the paradise of the Americas.
Cartagena is the capital of Bolívar Department where,
unfortunately the social movement has registered around 350 illegal
detentions in the previous year.
It is clear that in Colombia respect for the freedom of expression
does not exist and hence silence covers acts infringing human rights.
For this reason, we demand real guarantees on the part of the State
to exercise the union freedoms in Colombia.
DOMINGO TOVAR ARRIETA
Director Human Rights Department
Bogotá, D. C. 23 January 2004
TRABAJAMOS POR LA UNIDAD DEL SINDICALISMO COLOMBIANO
Calle 35 No. 7-25 P.9 PBX y FAX 3237550-3237950 Bogotá, D.C.
Email: email@example.com - firstname.lastname@example.org
[Retranslated from original Spanish by Colombia Solidarity Campaign]
Report on rally at London hunger strike tent, January 24
The protest rally at Seven Sisters took place on the 34th day of the
hunger strike there. First of all, placards bearing the pictures of
those who have died in the prison protest in Turkey opposing
isolation imprisonment were attached to a long cord, which was then
strung from one lamp-post to another, forming a kind of banner. Then
Ayfer Yildiz, one of the three people on 45-day hunger strike, read
out a press statement in English in which she described the reasons
for the protest. It touched on the December 2000 prison massacre in
Turkey and the ongoing hunger strike and related protests in which a
total of 107 people have lost their lives. The statement said, "The
political prisoners have sacrificed a great deal so far for their
demands, and they have resolved to make further sacrifices." The
statement also called on Europeans to criticise their governments'
support for the repression practised by the Turkish government.
Ibrahim Yalcin, another of the 45-day hunger strikers, read out a
shorter statement along the same lines in Turkish. Well-wishers who
were not from Turkey or Kurdistan added a few words of support. Then
the rally ended with the dancing of a halay (a kind of round dance
popular in Turkey) and the playing of some folk music. Some
representatives of the media attended - a cameraman and reporter from
ITV London Tonight, a reporter from the Press Association, a
freelance photographer, a reporter from an alternative radio station
called Resonance Radio and a representative of the London Turkish-
language press. The Press Association reporter was given an
interview, as was the reporter from Resonance Radio. Ayfer did a
short interview to camera for London To night.
The hunger strike is continuing and will end on the 45th day,
(From: "Stephen Kaczynski" http://www.seaderry.co.uk/
Stop Killer Coke Campaign
From mid-November through the end of the year, there was a lot of
good news to report in the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke. Over the
Nov. 22 weekend, thousands of religious, Labor and peace activists
led by Father Roy Bourgeois marched against the School of the
Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Hundreds of our protest signs
were carried and thousands of our brochures and petitions were
The following Tuesday, some 5,000 signed "Unthinkable! Undrinkable!"
petitions were delivered by a group of supporters to Coke's
headquarters, led by union carpenter Ken Little, our Northwest
Campaign Co-ordinator who is also the labor liaison to SOA Watch.
Quite a few participants who received our literature at the SOA
demonstrations and the FTAA demonstrations in Florida contacted us to
ask how they could support the Campaign.
On December 7, Ray Rogers addressed a meeting of United Auto Workers
Local 22, the largest General Motors local in Detroit. The attached
article in The Steward, the Local 22 publication, describes the
terrific response of the membership and leadership of the local: "Now
the Coke machine in our union hall has been disconnected and the
president made calls to the bottler telling him we no longer need the
Coke machine and Coke products. We are going to try to do the same in
all our plants." Also present at the meeting was UAW International
Vice President and Organizing Director Bob King, who stated: "This is
a campaign that everyone should support and has to be won."
Local 22-newspaper editor John Martinez is a Campaign Co-ordinator in
the Detroit area. Attached is his letter to the editor of La Prensa,
which is widely distributed throughout greater Detroit and northern
Ohio. The last four paragraphs contain the kind of message that we
want to communicate to the Latino community. John is working with
several universities, labor and Latino groups in the Detroit area to
organize a large rally in mid-April.
The United Hebrew Trades Division of the Jewish Labor Committee has
endorsed and is active in the Campaign. In November, the organization
sent out our "Colombian Coke Float" petition to all its members with
the following message: "United Hebrew Trades joins in supporting this
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, and urges all members and affiliates to
choose beverages not bottled by Coca-Cola. This is an ongoing
campaign which will need a lot of support."
Many students from coast to coast and internationally are requesting
Campaign materials and advice. They’re asking how to place
pressure on college and university administrators to sever, not renew
or not consider contracts with Coke. On Dec.5, students on many
campuses protested on the anniversary of Isidro Gil's murder. We
expect to be well represented at the United Students Against
Sweatshops conference in mid-February in Atlanta.
Betsy Guerra, a teacher at Lyon Elementary School in Washington
State, was so moved by Juan Galvis's presentation and our literature
that she took the issue to the school's principal and its social
committee. As a result, the Coke machine in the faculty lounge was
replaced with a Pepsi machine. Betsy says, "This is only costing Coke
20 cases a month, but now I'm working to get other friends,
colleagues and faculty unions to spread the word and do the same."
Her friends are now asking for rum and Pepsi in bars.
Atlanta's main business publication, the Atlanta Business Chronicle
(11/24/03), covered student protest in Ireland and in the U.S. as
well as other aspects of the Campaign in a front-page story. (Read
the article, "Students Call for Coke Boycott," on www.killercoke.org
in the News section.)
On December 24, in its annual article recommending worthy causes for
activists and philanthropists to support, entitled "The Magnificent
9," the national newsletter Counterpunch listed the Campaign to Stop
Killer Coke as one of the nine worthiest. Counterpunch is co-edited
by investigative journalists Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.
In Canada on Dec.13, more than 30 labor, student and human rights
activists led by Campaign Coordinator Larry Wells of the Oakville and
District Labour Council distributed thousands of "Coke Float"
petitions to fans entering a hockey game between the Toronto Maple
Leafs and the New York Rangers. A Canadian version of the petition
highlighted Coke board member J. Pedro Reinhard and his presence on
the board of the Royal Bank of Canada. In late November, Bill
Saunders, president of the Vancouver and District Labour Council,
distributed our literature to 800 delegates at the British Columbia
Federation of Labor’s policy convention. Both Bill and Larry are
working with us to broaden support among labor unions and on campuses
Enterpriserisk, a business magazine in London, has published an
article on the International Labor Rights Fund in its Dec.-Jan.
issue. It will also publish a full-page piece on the Campaign to Stop
Killer Coke in the February issue.
Forbes magazine (12/4/03) ran an article entitled: "Coke's Sinful
World," in which they state what we already knew: "The biggest
bottlers aren't subsidiaries of Coke, nor are they completely
independent. Coke effectively controls them by maintaining big equity
stakes and a heavy presence on their boards, and by providing their
main source of business. Yet it keeps its stakes in the bottlers
below 50%, thereby avoiding getting hit with their piles of debt and
any unpleasant liabilities."
On Jan. 9, a fact-finding delegation of unionists led by New York
City Council member Hiram Monserrate left for Colombia. If they
conclude that the allegations against Coke have merit, the next step
could be a move to bring the issue before the City Council. Public
sector unions in New York have hundreds of millions of dollars of
public pension funds invested in Coke.
Please visit http://www.killercoke.org/ for updates and new material.
We would appreciate any photos of activities in which you are
involved. We will soon send you a report, "How Credible is Coca-
Cola?" describing many of Coke’s abuses around the world. Since
Coca-Cola consistently fails to live up to the standards
for "corporate responsibility" as set out in any "code of conduct,"
this report should be helpful to students, faculty and others seeking
to rescind, not renew or not consider contracts with Coke.
Peace & Justice,
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
Corporate Campaign, Inc.
Republican Socialist Prisoners of War
Declan Duffy [9 years-20 August 1973-Armagh/Dublin-April 2008]
Dessie O'Hare [Life-N/A-South Armagh-No Fixed Date]
Number 2, The Grove
Castlrea, Co. Roscommon
Gerry Burns [5 years-7 October 1962-Dublin-May 2005]
Cathal Gartland [4 years-N/A-Dundalk-May 2007]
Kevin McLaughlin [4 years-13 November 1965-Belfast-August 2004]
Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Letters, cards, birthday greetings, and so forth are welcome.
IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
Subject: BIRTHDAY CARDS – JOHN BRADY
John Brady - January 31st, 1969
Birthday cards to John will be greatly appreciated even if belated.
John was released under the 1998 "GFA" Treaty. Following his
recent arrest in Derry, his license was revoked and he is now held
under a resumed Life sentence.
Upper Ballinderry Road
Lisburn, Co. Antrim
BT 28 2PT
North of Ireland
More Birthdays listed here:
WRITE TO IRISH POWs
IFC POW DEPT
To all Party members, associates and friends
Donations or standing orders/direct debit to the Party can be paid
into: First Trust Bank
Account Name: Irish Republican Socialist Party
Branch: Andersonstown Belfast
Account Number: 70490-21
Sort Code: 93-84-75
BLOODY SUNDAY COMMEMORATIONS
Saturday 31 January
Pilots Row, 12noon - 4.00pm. Film Screening: A series of short
programmes, including the 1969 broadcast of Panorama focussing on the
Battle of the Bogside.
Pilots Row, 2.00pm - 4.00pm. Update on the progress of the Bloody
Gasyard Centre, 11.00am 4.00pm. The Impact of the Article 2
Judgement in the North. Organised by The Pat Finucane Centre.
This seminar will focus on the implications of the European Court of
Human Rights Article 2 judgement of May 2001 in the case of Jordan,
McKerr, Shanaghan, Kelly & others. The aim of the seminar is to
provide a comprehensive update on the ongoing implications of the
Article 2 judgement and will provide an opportunity for legal
practitioners, NGOs and relatives to share information ideas and
strategies. Advance registration only - limited spaces available.
Calgach Centre, 7.30pm - 9.30pm. "The Truth about Truth
Commissions". Would a truth commission be a help or a hindrance to
those bereaved or hurt by the conflict? Panel discussion organised by
the Pat Finucane Centre. See press for details of speakers.
Solas Arts Centre, Gt James St, 8.30pm. Beidh an dara Oíche cheoil
agus siamsaíochta Tír Chonaill/Doire a chur i láthair in
Ionad Ealaíne Solas, Mórshráid Shéamais, Dé Sathairn
31 Eanáir, ag tosnú ar a 8.30i.n. Beidh scaifte as Gaeltacht
Thír Chonaill ag teacht go Doire do mhórshiúl
chuimhneacháin Dhomhnach na Fola, idir Baill de Bhuíonta Cheoil
Rann na Feirste agus Gaoth Dobhair agus ceoltóirí agus
amhránaithe den scoith. Beidh Cór Cholmcille ag coinneáil
cuideachta leo ar an ardán. Beidh táille de £5 ar an doras
agus thig libh bhur gcuid dí féin a thabhairt isteach libh.
Once again as part of the Bloody Sunday Commemorative Weekend,
singers and musicians from the Donegal Gaeltacht will join with
friends from Derry, including Cór Cholmcille for a concert in
Solas Arts Centre. Come along and enjoy a great evening's
entertainment. Doors open at 8.30 p.m. Admission £5.00, bring
Gasyard Centre, 9.00pm - till late. Bloody Sunday Weekend fundraiser,
with Cruncher O'Neill, Decky McLaughlin, The Shambelles and others.
Admission £5.00, bring your own. Organised by the Gasyard Wall
Sunday 1 February
Bloody Sunday Monument, Rossville Street, 11.00am. Wreath laying
service. Please join the families as they lay wreaths and offer
prayers for those killed and injured. Creggan Shops, 2.30pm. 32nd
Commemorative March and Rally. Speakers from Sinn Féin and the
SDLP and a representative of the deceased and wounded. Soup and
sandwiches will be available free in Sean Dolan's GAC, Creggan,
before and after the march. Sandinos after the march. Soup,
sandwiches, music and craic. Revolutionary tax £2.00. All proceeds
to the Bloody Sunday Weekend Committee.
CHRONOTOPIA is a photographic exhibition documenting Simon
personal vision of the war-ravaged landscape of Afghanistan.
The exhibition opened on 24 January 2004 and will end on 27 February
2004 at Belfast Exposed, The Exchange Place, 23 Donegall Street,
Belfast. Admission is free.
Gallery opening times are: Mon-Fri 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and Sat 11.00
am to 5.00 pm. For more information, contact Belfast Exposed on tel:
028 9023 0965 or website: http://www.belfastexposed.com/
Grassroots Gathering - an alternative gathering of libertarian
socialists, anarchists and activists of the direct action persuasion
will take place in Cork at the beginning of March. Further details
on agenda/ venue soon.....
Convention of the trade union left. Speakers include Billy Hayes,
Mark Serwotka, Bob Crow, Paul Mackney and Geoff Martin. Saturday 7th
Feb, 121 Merrow Street. Email email@example.com for more
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The new Republican Socialist Forum from Derry IRSP:
A new 2004 full colour glossy calendar is available now on the RSM
It celebrates the brilliant work undertaken by the Teach Na Failte
Memorial Committees this past year throughout the six counties with
full colour photographs on each page.
Just in time for Christmas and the New Year this calendar can be
viewed online by clicking the link below
Republican Socialist Online Merchandise - New Website
A new website that offers a central place to go on the Internet to
find good quality items with a distinct Republican Socialist theme.
Proceeds from sales from this effort go towards the IRSM and it's