The Plough #29
5 March 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) Orde the IRA and the INLA
2) The Left Convention: Letter to The Plough
3) A Response: The Cult of the Individual?
4) The Miners strike
5) Letters to the Editor
6) May Day
7) What's On?
Orde the IRA and the INLA
Looks like the mask has slipped. Orde the Chief Constable of the
PSNI/RUC has reverted to type. His extraordinary outburst about an
INLA/IRA feud shows not a factual knowledge but a wish list. No doubt
the securocrats would love a republican feud. After all there is
extra overtime, more resources called for, and careers to be made.
Unfortunately the reality is different. There has been some community
unrest in Ardoyne - that is obvious and the INLA, we understand, have
taken certain positive measures to rectify the situation. Relations
between republican of different shades are good regardless of
political differences. There is a drug problem in Ardoyne as in many
areas but the INLA are not nor have been involved in drug pushing.
Indeed all volunteers in the INLA know the consequences of drug
involvement. There is no evidence of INLA involvement but that is the
line pushed by certain sections of the media and by some within the
Recently we learned via the Sunday World that the "INLA had been
responsible for placing a bomb under the car of journalist Paul
Williams." Williams' evidence came from the Free State Special
Branch. He did not check with the RSM. We knew that the INLA were not
involved. Williams has since admitted he got it wrong and now blames
some Dublin criminal.
We in the Republican Socialist Movement have little defence against
the constant stream of lies that pour out from the lips of hack
journalists and peelers. Our own defence is that those who work with
us on class politics know our true worth.
The Left Convention: Letter to The Plough
Very difficult to answer to such a chaos. But I would like to clear
up a few points, both as a member of the SEA and as a Communist.
1) your "open letter to the SEA" was sent to a lot of organisations,
the C.P. I. amongst them - but not to the SEA. If you want to send
open letters and indeed if you want an open debate, do it straight!
2) "parties involved in the SEA" who you are looking clarification
from do not exist. We are an alliance which has no other parties
involved in it, that goes for the C. P. I., the SWP, the Greens or
anyone else. Members of the SEA may belong to other parties but we
work out our own policies.
3) If I was in doubt for one minute that the SEA was not clearly
rejecting parties or groups with any kind of paramilitary links, I
would resign from it immediately and we have made this very clear
both in writing and spoken. If you read our stuff, read it right.
4) Not only did Gerry attack Eamonn McCann who he called
partitionist but also the "left" - whoever he defines as that who he
called dishonest (hear hear).
5) I chaired one of the sessions and I want to completely reject the
notion that we favoured people or disadvantaged others. That was not
planned and it did not happen. What did happen was that people got up
and made clear their opposition to the IRSP. For very good reasons as
I would think.
A Response: The Cult of the Individual?
The above letter is a response to an open letter that appeared in The
Plough #27. In one point Hermann is correct. The e-mail was sent
individually to all of the above parties except the SEA itself. That
was a regrettable mistake for which we apologise.
It ill becomes Hermann to talk about open debate. At each of the
sessions of the Left Convention there were invited speakers who
strangely enough were either members of the Socialist Workers Party
or the Communist Party. If I'm wrong in this perhaps Hermann will
list the invited speakers and their party affiliations?
On his second point Hermann is being a little bit obscure. Nowhere in
their literature can I find out the composition of the SEA, or its
constitution. Is he telling us that no parties are affiliated? So
presumably then there is individual membership, a constitution, and a
convention where all their policies and rules were drawn up. So I
presume that it is clearly written down somewhere that the SEA
rejects parties or groups with any kind of paramilitary links. Which
meeting was this agreed at and how many individual members attended
If indeed that position is the position of the SEA why then did they
have in Belfast a member of the Workers Party on their platform.
Doesn't Hermann know that they have paramilitary links?
Perhaps also Hermann is not aware that when the INLA was engaged in a
war against British imperialism the IRSP held meetings with the CPI.
Also during the '81 hunger strike the SWP shared public platforms
with the IRSP and Sinn Fein when both the IRA and the INLA were
killing British soldiers. At those times both the CPI and the SWP
tried to influence the IRSP towards their politics. A correct stance
for any socialist organisation. They did not demonise or isolate
armed republicans. They tried to influence them.
After the Left Convention does anyone really think the SEA will have
any influence with Left Republicans, particularly at a time when the
INLA is on ceasefire and is committed to a total process of
Do Hermann and the SEA really believe that the politics of exclusion
will work or do anything to advance the struggle of working people in
these islands? We in the IRSP don't mind political criticisms but
there were none at the Left Convention only the politics of disdain.
That is also obvious from Hermann's comments above as well.
As regard the failure of the Left one has only to look at the results
of the last Assembly elections. Northern society is polarised into
two sectarian blocs. Members of the SEA who at the Left Convention
talked about the "movement" were and are living in cloud cuckoo land.
The Left has failed and we include ourselves in that failure. Unless
we honestly face up to reality and begin to engage in serious
politics and not pursue the latest in thing the left will continue to
be an irrelevancy.
Now as regards the alleged attack on Eamonn McCann, come on comrades
wise up. I spoke directly to Eamonn McCann and pointed out he had
stood on a partitionist platform in 1969 and it had not worked then
and it would not work now. That was dealing with the politics of the
SEA not the politics of Eamon. God help politics if that is seen
today as a personal attack. The SEA addressed none of the points that
I raised. Instead Eamonn McCann choose to launch one of his usual
from the heart machine gun rapid speeches that totally glossed over
the real differences there. Is Eamonn above political criticism?
Perhaps what the SEA is really about can be gauged from its manifesto
on its website. There are 7 pictures of Eamonn McCann. I rather think
that Eamonn, at least the old Eamonn of the sixties and seventies,
would have been extremely uncomfortable with this pushing of the cult
of Eamonn McCann.
(Gerry Ruddy 5th March 5, 2004)
The Miners Strike
Twenty years ago on March 5, 1984 the National Union of Mineworkers
(NUM) embarked upon the most important class struggle in Britain
since the general strike of 1926. Over the following twelve months of
ferocious battles billions of pounds were spent by the ruling class
to crush the miners' militancy. More than ten thousand miners were
arrested; two were killed on the picket lines and countless others
injured. Decades of so-called consensus were obliterated and the real
and ugly face of British capitalism was exposed for all to see. The
masks of Democracy and the Law, behind which the ruling class try to
conceal the rule of capital, were shattered as the veil of so-called
independence of the courts, the police, and the media was lifted to
show the real role of the state in capitalist society.
The courage and determination of the miners and their families,
struggling to defend their communities from an unparalleled assault
by the ruling class, should serve as an inspiration to a new
generation. The strike is rich in lessons, and we would be doing that
heroic struggle no favours if we did not also try to understand the
mistakes which played an important role in the dispute as well as
drawing inspiration from the colossal resolve and sacrifice of the
Engels once explained that in some periods twenty years can pass as
if they were a single day, whilst, at other times, the experience of
twenty years can be concentrated into just 24 hours. Between March
1984 and March 1985 there were 365 such days.
The consequences of the strike - and its eventual defeat - for the
miners, the coal mining industry, the labour movement, and the
working class as a whole make it our duty to study its many lessons.
The miners were defeated, but contrary to the twenty years of
propaganda which has followed declaring the class struggle to be
finished, two decades have passed quietly only on the surface.
Beneath, wounds have been healed, a new generation has grown up, new
experience has been gained, and capitalism has squeezed and pressed
the working class to the limits of its patience. Far from the miners'
strike representing the end of class struggle, it provides us with a
wealth of lessons to prepare for the new battles, which have already
begun. Twenty years after the miners' strike of 1984-85 new class
battles are today being prepared in Britain.
(PM from Socialist Action)
Letters to the Editor
Having read the edition of The Plough #28 I must comment on a
statement contained in the article on "British state educational and
In the article the claim is made that 75% of the adult prison
population is dyslexic. As a special needs teacher who has worked in
the prison system as an educator, I can categorically state that this
figure is a wild exaggeration and I would love to know how the
research, which arrived at this figure, was carried out. I have met
many inmates who claimed to suffer from dyslexia, but when tests were
carried out it was discovered that they were using the
term "dyslexia" as an excuse for their inability to read and write.
When they were put on a properly structured programme of Basic
Education the vast majority of these inmates were perfectly capable
of learning and were, in fact, very pleased to do so.
I am not saying that there are no inmates suffering from dyslexia,
far from it, but when a statistic such as that contained in the
article is bandied about as fact, it gives many underachieving
inmates, a comfort blanket with which to cover their lack of basic
educational skills and gives them an excuse to avoid trying to learn
In all of the Publications of The Plough, Number 28 was the most
enjoyable read that I have encountered, I am not saying the others
were inferior, I just feel that the articles in this edition shoot
from the hip that they confront our enemies head on. The day of
sitting on the sidelines is truly gone, Fair Play. Keep up the good
Just to say I enjoyed reading the latest edition of The Plough.
The Irish Republican Socialist Party is calling for a united campaign
of protest action against the European Union on Saturday, May 1st
2004, to be held in Dublin on International Workers Day.
The IRSP call on its members and supporters to actively take part in
May Day rallies and protests across the country against what we see
as the anti-working class agenda of the EU.
As the 26 county administration, which currently hold the EU
presidency, will be playing host to the EU signatories in Ireland on
May 1st to formalise entries into the European Superstate.
Other protest events are planned to highlight a weekend of action
from Friday April 30th to Monday May 3rd, as hundreds of other
protest groups, trade unions, anti-imperialists, and others descend
upon the capital. The weekend of action will remain be focused on
symbols of the EU, including from militarism, globalisation, neo-
liberalism, fortress Europe and the EU police state.
Hate Crime in Northern Ireland: request for evidence
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee is requesting evidence for a
new inquiry into hate crime. The Committee wishes to do the
To explore the reasons for the reported increase in crimes and
incidents motivated by hatred within and between the communities in
To examine the effectiveness of measures taken by government and
relevant agencies to tackle prejudice, and to support the victims of
To assess the effectiveness of the existing law and proposed changes
to that law.
Submissions should not exceed six sides of A4 in length. Submissions
sent by email should be followed by a single hard copy, for
verification purposes. It is expected that hearings will take place
shortly after Easter. The Committee seeks views from any individual
or group, which has an interest in this issue. Submissions should be
sent by 25 March 2004 to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee,
Committee Office, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA or email:
The Wall Petition
The Wall Must Fall
Please sign and send to others:
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement and the Irish Republican Prisoners
Welfare Association are holding a picket/protest this Saturday 6th
March in Derry City.
The protest is being held to highlight the on-going Dirty Tricks
campaign currently being waged against Republicans and the corruption
within the RUC/PSNI, the Director of Public Prosecutions and The
British Army. We further wish to highlight the politically motivated
raids against the families of political prisoners and the refusal of
RUC apologist Denis Bradley to comment upon them or the fact that
Irish Republicans have been and continue to be fitted up by the
police force he seeks to legitimise.
Assemble Free Derry Corner 2pm.
Grassroots Gathering - Cork
This Weekend - March 5, 6, 7 - Friday, Sat and Sun
The Grassroots Gathering comes to Cork this weekend! Now in its
eighth gathering, the GG is a meeting space and network for activists
who organise in a non-hierarchical way. The weekend centres around
providing a meeting and participative space for workshops where
activists can talk, discuss and share their experiences and learn
from one another. Below is a general outline of what will be
happening....but there will be plenty of more. Come along and take
part... See you there.
8 pm on...
Social at the LV public house, MacCurtain St, City Centre
Morning Workshops (11.30 - 1 pm) on Pro-Choice, Future of the anti-
war movement, DISSENT (Organising for G8, London 2005), Circus skills
Afternoon Workshops (2-6 pm) on EU presidency/May Day Mobilisation in
Entertainment (8 pm to late) Los Langeros and DJ’s at LV bar,
Workshop/ Talks (11.30 - 1 pm) on The Anti-Incinerator Campaign,
Grassroots Organising – Dublin Experience, Women and
participation in Libertarian politics, Fintan Lane on Prison
Afternoon Round up: Where To From Here and the Next Gathering
If you have any queries, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or
Scooter: 087 9572438
Kevin: 087 6805517
The venue for the gathering is Ennismore House, Middle Glanmire Road
in Mayfield on Saturday and Sunday. To get to the venue, get the No.
8 bus from Eason's on Patrick Street (should have Mayfield or Lotabeg
on the front). Use the map attached to find the bus stop or ask your
friendly bus driver. If in doubt, contact one of the people on the
numbers listed below.
There will be a certain amount of accommodation provided on site at
Ennismore House and more will be provided by your local gatherers. If
you need accommodation, please send an e-mail to
email@example.com. Accommodation will be allocated on Friday
evening (at the LV bar, MacCurtain St., City Centre) and all day
Saturday (at Ennismore House) as required.
The full programme available at weekend
Friday March 12th
Protest against Anti-War activists arrests 4pm City Courthouse
Public Meeting The War, Occupation and Resistance 7.30pm Grosvenor
House (Glengall st next to Europa Hotel) Special Guest speaker Ex-
Labour MP (now RESPECT coalition) George Galloway Panel includes
Eamonn McCann - Journalist - Carmel Gates – President NIPSA -
Jamal Iweida - Belfast Islamic Centre, Anti-Racism Network speaker to
Subject: Fwd: St Paddy's Day Committee
Friends in Belfast, Ireland and across the world, we the St Patrick's
Day Carnival Committee invite you to view our website:
We have continuously tried and failed to get Belfast City Council to
financially back an outdoor event in Belfast that captures the sense
of pride, fun and all that feels good about being Irish, as expressed
by millions of fun-loving people throughout the world. We are asking
that this website is hit by so many people across the globe that
Belfast City Councillors feel compelled to reverse their decision
before St Patrick's Day - the 17th day of March 2004.
ONE MONTH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Saturday March 20th
International Day of Action Against the occupation of Iraq and
Palestine Rally - 2pm Arts College, Belfast For more information
07742 531 617 07748571269
ANTI-RACISM NETWORK EVENTS FOR ANTI-RACISM WEEK
The Anti-Racism Network has organised the following programme of
events for European Anti-Racism Week 20 27 March 2004. The theme
of these events is participation the joint participation by
minority ethnic communities and majority ethnic communities in an
interesting and fun programme of sporting, cultural, and artistic
We are inviting people to take part in as many of the events as
possible. Why not get a team together among your work mates, family
or friends and join in the basketball, it doesn't matter if you've
never played before, it's for fun! Come along and roll your sleeves
up and take part in a fun arts workshop making tiles with a
difference anti-racist tiles! Or if music and dance is your
thing you'll enjoy the Dress for the Dance event, an evening of
traditional costume, world music and dance. We also have a film
screening in conjunction with Cineniversity: "Fear Eats the Soul" by
director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the film is about a Moroccan
guest worker in West Germany who strikes up a relationship with an
older German widow. It explores issues of racism, ageism, sexism, and
Join in Anti-Racism Week By participating in any of these events and
send out a positive message for cultural diversity in our society and
EVENT DATE TIME VENUE
Tile Making Workshop Saturday 20 March 10am -12.30pm Clanmil
House, Waring Street
Basketball Against Racism Saturday 20 March 12 o'clock to
4pm Malone College, Finaghy Road
Fear Eats the Soul Film Screening Monday 22 March 7.30pm
Belfast Exposed, King Street
Dress for the Dance Friday 26 March 9pm Conor Hall, Arts
College, York Street
To register your interest in participating in any of these events
simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
SPEAK UP FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN OUR SOCIETY TAKE PART IN THE EVENTS
Anti Racist Network
Next meeting March 31 Multicultural Resource Centre 7pm
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Republican Socialist Online Merchandise - A website that offers a
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Teach Na Failte Memorial Committees - A new 2004 full colour glossy
calendar is available now on the RSM online shop. 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. This calendar can be viewed online by
clicking the link below.