The Plough #25
6 February 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. UVF Leader Removed Over Racism
2. Workers on Strike
3. IRSP Anti-Racist Meeting
4. What's On?
UVF Leader Removed Over Racism
The paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force has "stood down" a leader in
South Belfast. The move follows a recent spate of racial attacks in
the area where Chinese and Pakistani families, including pregnant
women, have been forced to leave their homes. Last week, David Ervine
of the Progressive Unionist Party, which is linked to the UVF, said a
small number of that organisation's members might have been involved
in the racial attacks. Senior paramilitary figures linked to both the
UVF and the Ulster Defence Association have said the ethnic
communities in South Belfast are not under any threat from them.
However, one source said community issues, including housing, had to
be addressed. This is of course a reference to the fact that the UVF
won't allow any more Chinese families to move into Donegall Pass.
Police statistics show 226 reported incidents of racism in the six
counties in the 12 months up to March 2003. These include graffiti,
verbal abuse and attacks. But 212 incidents took place in just nine
months between April and December last year. Only three people had
been arrested over racial incidents with one person charged.
The sight of the leaders of the UDA and of the UVF turning up at an
anti-racist rally recently in Belfast was enough to turn many sick.
These are the same individuals who give cover and succour to the
murder gangs who petrol bombed Catholic homes, drove large number of
Catholics from mixed areas, and engaged in a sustained murder
campaign against Catholics in an effort to destroy republicanism.
Workers on Strike
Civil servants in the North have been involved in a pay dispute for
almost a year. For the last two months they have, through their union
NIPSA, been involved in industrial action. NIPSA is the largest union
in the North, and represents more low-paid workers in the 6 counties
than all other unions put together. Today, (Fri 6th Feb) there was a
massive response to the strike call following on Thursday spontaneous
walkouts following threats of sanctions by the management side.
The basis of the present dispute is that all previous agreements with
management, which include a yearly increment (the basis of all future
pensions), have been unilaterally abandoned, equal pay issues for
lower grades (who are predominantly women) have been ignored, and the
net rise for all employees (after inflation) amounts to 0%.
Inevitably even the reformist-bureaucratic leadership of NIPSA
refused such an offer. As a result it has been imposed by management.
In this, civil service management have made a massive tactical
mistake, in that they have awoken a sleeping giant.
The following is a quote from a NIPSA member at a mass meeting: "The
fact is evident for all to see that this is nothing in terms of an
actual pay rise and; when compared to all other public servants who
got their pay step plus at least a 3% rise in rates of pay, it shows
how badly treated the 20,000+ civil servants involved actually are.
Worse still, this treatment is on the back of the fact that the
Senior Civil Service awarded themselves an ample pay rise of up to 9%
inclusive of bonuses of £3,000 and £6,000 in their June
salaries. Yet they didn't bother getting round the table for formal
talks on our pay until 12th August.
"This is a legally balloted industrial action, yet today we have had
a circular from management threatening staff with Temporary Relief
from Duty (TRD) without pay (i.e. suspension) if they go along with
"They are further attempting to mislead and intimidate staff by
insinuating that the actions called by NIPSA are unlawful. This
action is now being stepped up via selective strike action in certain
areas including Strabane SSO and the Industrial Tribunals Office,
along with further rallies of support and an all out strike on 6th
February. We shall not take this lying down!"
The full-time Belfast NIPSA activist Brian Crawford summarised the
dispute as follows: "The bottom line is that these people on very
ample wages need to be reminded that they get those monies on the
back of the work WE DO. In some cases they have awarded themselves a
yearly pay rise inclusive of bonuses that is MORE THAN THE TAKE HOME
PAY OF 30% OF WORKERS IN THE NORTH!!"
NIPSA activists seek the support of all the working class, and their
political representatives, in the north and throughout Ireland. This
battle is our version of the 1980's UK miner's strike. If we, as a
class, lose this, there may be little way back!
(Next week we will carry amore detailed account of this industrial
IRSP Anti-Racist Meeting
The IRSP held a very successful meeting on racism in West Belfast
last Tuesday where over 30 people heard a very interesting discussion
on racism in Ireland. Unfortunately the invited speaker, Davy Carlin
from the Anti-Racist Network, carried off sick (we were delighted to
see that Davy had recovered sufficiently to attend the ARN meeting on
In Davy's absence a member of the IRSP Ard-Chomhairle led the
discussion. He pointed out the links between sectarianism and racism
and traced anti-Irish racism back to the 12th century. He drew out
the racism behind the attitude of the British ruling class during the
Great Famine and explained how one of the driving forces behind the
Ulster Unionist case against Home rule was racism and how some
unionists regarded the "Irish" as inferior beings to the white Anglo-
The notion that republicans and nationalists could be smug about
racist attacks in loyalist areas was strongly knocked on the head.
All of us could be liable to racist attitudes and republican
socialists needed to start challenging sexism, anti-gay prejudice and
racism in their daily lives. We had to live our personal lives by
practising our beliefs and challenging prejudice wherever we find it.
But we also needed to engage in mass political action against racism
and so we should be standing shoulder to shoulder with all those
under attack from the low-life reactionary storm troopers.
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.
Murder in Colombia
Blood on the hands of Coca-Cola
Why we should support the boycott
Peter Froggatt Centre
Queen's University Belfast
Tuesday 10th February 2004
The Socialist Forum is hosting a meeting on the role of Coca-Cola in
the murder of trade unionists in its Colombian bottling plants and
the world-wide boycott campaign that has been launched in response.
The speaker will be Gearoid Ó Loingsigh of the Latin America
Solidarity Campaign (LASC) in Dublin, who was active on the campaign
to have Coke products banned at UCD. It is hoped that the meeting
will be the launch of a similar campaign at Queen's.
Reminder: Dublin Grassroots EU Public Meeting
Meeting to prepare for the Grassroots Mobilisation for Mayday's EU
2 pm Saturday February 7th, Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin
1. Public Meeting Open to all.
This meeting is an initial organising meeting for a grassroots day of
action on May 1st, traditionally workers' day, when the EU leaders
all come to Dublin to celebrate the accession of the 10 new member
countries. We also intend to have a celebration!
There is now a WSM page on the EU and the summit at
Convention of the Left - Derry February 14th 2004
Socialist Environmental Alliance
Convention of the Left
Saturday February 14th
Verbal Arts Centre, Derry
We are writing to invite you to a Convention of the Left to be held
in Derry on February 14th 2004. The purpose is to discuss a united
Left slate in the June 2004 European election. The SEA sees it as an
imperative that there should be a left alternative in the field in
June. If no one else is willing to come along with us we are minded
to go forward on our own. In that circumstance, Eamonn McCann is
willing to stand. However, we realise that a broad alliance covering
the North would be hugely preferable. We are very open to argument
from others as to how best we can jointly achieve this.
We envisage an electoral alliance of different parties, campaigning
groups and individuals offering voters a radical, anti-sectarian
alternative to parties based on one or other of "the two
communities." The results of the SEA interventions in Foyle and East
Londonderry by Eamonn McCann and Marion Baur make plain that a
credible, united left campaign can attract a level of support, which
cannot be derided or ignored. Without such an intervention, the
European election, for practical purposes, will amount to yet another
referendum" to determine who will champion each community vis-a-vis
the other. It will take a united, broadly based campaign to make a
Left intervention credible.
The issues bringing together socialists, environmentalists, defenders
of the public sector, anti-racists, women's rights campaigners and
anti-war groups in other countries affect us here too. Millions of
Europeans rallied to these issues in 2003, particularly in anti-war
demonstrations on February 15th. Our Convention marks the first
anniversary of those huge protests - which saw one of the biggest
ever marches in Belfast that did not reflect sectarian divisions.
We must break out of the circular argument, which holds that Northern
Ireland is so polarised along communal lines that there's no point
trying seriously to challenge its communal politics. A June campaign
would offer a chance to link day-to-day local concerns to major
issues being fought out at European level. Issues of water charges
and environmental protection cannot be understood other than in a
European perspective. The rise in racism on our streets is connected
to the "Fortress Europe" project. Local civil rights issues now arise
in parallel with the crackdown across Europe associated with the "war
on terror." Privatisation schemes in our schools and hospitals are
entangled with European directives on freeing market forces.
It is only in the context of the fight for a social Europe and
against a neo-liberal Europe that we can pursue these issues in
Northern Ireland. The notion that a better Northern Ireland and a
better Ireland is possible is an element in the broader notion that
another Europe is possible. As to when and by whom a serious
political effort is to be made to bring this about---if not now,
when? If not us, who?
The Convention will be held at the Verbal Arts Centre, located on the
City Walls at Bishop Street, Derry. A crèche will be provided. A
more detailed Agenda will be issued shortly.
Marion Baur and Eamonn McCann
(SEA candidates in the Assembly Elections)
From: Irish Anti War Movement
Subject: Families of US Soldiers speak in Ireland against Iraq
occupation and use of Shannon airport
Date: Fri, 06 Feb 2004 15:00:31 +0000
Families of US Soldiers speak in Ireland against Iraq occupation and
use of Shannon airport
A representative of Military Families Speak Out will be speaking in
Ireland in February.
Stephen Cleghorn is the stepfather of a serving US soldier who is
currently deployed in Iraq. He is a Vietnam veteran himself and was
court martialled for objecting to that war. He is presently the
deputy executive director of the Community Partnership for the
Prevention of Homelessness in Washington. Military Families Speak Out
is an organisation of about 1,000 families and loved ones of US
Their mission statement states "as people with family members and
loved ones in the military, we have both a special need and a unique
role to play in speaking out against war in Iraq. It is our loved
ones who are, or have been, or will be on the battlefront. It is our
loved ones who are risking injury and death. It is our loved ones who
are returning scarred from their experiences. It is our loved ones
who will have to live with the injuries and deaths among innocent
Stephen Cleghorn will be highlighting the use of Shannon airport to
transport US troops to the war zone. Last year, 125,000 US troops
flew through Shannon making it a major hub in the transport of US
troops to Iraq.
The details of the tour is as follows:
Sunday 15th February: Drogheda: Connolly Hall, 8pm
Monday 16th February: UCD Arts Block, 1pm; Waterford Connolly Hall,
Tuesday 17th February: Cork venue to be confirmed, 8pm
Wednesday 18th February: Trinity College, 1pm; Maynooth College, 5
pm; Liberty Hall, 7.30 pm
Thursday 19th February: Queens University Peter Froggatt Centre, 1pm;
Belfast Unemployment Resource Centre, 8pm
Friday 20th February: Magee University, 1pm; Derry venue to be
Saturday 21st February: Galway venue to be confirmed
CHRONOTOPIA is a photographic exhibition documenting Simon Norfolk's
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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Just in time for Christmas and the New Year this calendar can be
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