The Plough #33
2 April 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) The Cory Report
2) Updating Capitalist Rule
3) Civil Service Dispute - 16 Weeks and Still Solid
4) Anti-Bush Protest Planned
5) Under New Labour, Under Old Tories
6) Bush Haiku
8) What's On?
The Cory Report
There are a number of key points to note about both the Cory Report
and the reactions to it. Cory's definition of collusion stretches
credibility. To collude means that there are at least two parties in
agreement to do something. The failure of the British government, the
Northern Ireland Office and the prison service to act despite
warnings from the IRSP that placing LVF prisoners beside INLA
prisoners would led to trouble can be described as neglect but
certainly not collusion. The INLA can hardly be accused of collusion
if they simply took advantage of failures on the part of the
It is clear that the Billy Wright killing was only thrown into the
mix on order of the British government to appear even handed. The
failure of the Brits to order an inquiry into the Pat Finucane
killing, the reaction of David Trimble in practically accusing both
Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson of IRA membership and the bleating
from the DUP should show clearly to those who refuse to see that
despite the Good Friday Agreement neither the Brits nor the political
leadership of unionism has changed.
We said at the start of the whole peace process that republicans
should not thrust the Brits. Judge Cory was forced to insert into his
report that it was not his task to make final determination of fact
or attribution of responsibility. Ironically the Brit overlord in the
North then described the Cory findings "as provisional".
In the light of the Cory findings, which shone a small veil of light
on the murky underworld of the security needed to keep the six
counties under British rule, is it not time for republicans to
abandon the attempts to jointly rule an inherently sectarian statlet
on behalf of the British overlords?
Updating Capitalist Rule
By Liam Ó Ruairc
In an article published almost a year ago
(http://lark.phoblacht.net/cveto.html), this author gathered data to
show how people with money have a disproportionate influence on the
political life of the twenty six counties. New facts and figures
recently published in Sunday newspapers make it possible to update
An article in the Sunday Independent revealed that the one hundred
wealthiest Irish people's combined fortune is worth 23 billion Euros.
This is equivalent to one fifth of the 26 counties' GDP. By contrast,
the one hundred richest US citizens are valued at one twentieth of
all US economic activity. "The ten richest people in Ireland are each
sitting on an average fortune of 800 million Euros. The average
industrial worker would have to bank his or her entire 27 000 Euros
salary every year for 30 000 years to amass the same wealth." (Sunday
Independent 14 March 2004) Among those super rich are Sir Tony
O'Reilly (fortune estimated at 1.3 billion Euros), J. P. McManus (790
million Euros), Margaret Heffernan (490 million Euros), Michael
O'Leary (470 million Euros), Larry Goodman, Tony Ryan and Dermot
Desmond. In global terms, Ireland may have the reputation of the
Celtic Tiger, but only two people with links to Ireland are included
in Forbes most recent list of the world's richest people. (Forbes 15
Last year's article noted that of the top 100 richest people in
Ireland, 27 came from the construction and property sectors, 12 from
distribution, 8 from hotel and pubs, 7 from the food industry, and 6
from sport and entertainment. Only 11 came from a manufacturing
background, 5 technology and 5 from finance. This trend hasn't
changed. Among the top 50 private companies in the 26 counties, the
most featured industry is still the property and construction sector
(18 companies), retail (7), builders' providers and services (6) and
car distribution (5). Thirty-one of those companies are either owned
by a family or a couple. (Sunday Business Post 28 March 2004) Is the
Leinster House still "nothing but a committee for managing the common
affairs of the whole bourgeoisie" as Marx wrote of the modern state?
The rich may not govern, but they still reign. Through what
mechanisms? Anthony Sampson noted in the Observer that the rich in
Great Britain "can feel politically more secure": "New Labour has
proved more sympathetic to big business than any post war government
except Margaret Thatcher's. Tony Blair is careful not to mention
inequality, enjoys the company of business leaders and holidays in
the houses of rich friends. Gordon Brown is never publicly critical
of the rich. Wealthy individuals and corporations no longer need
representatives in parliament or governments to safeguard their
interests and swing votes. A few rich men sit in the Commons. Yet
most can rely on lobbyists and pressure groups to push their cases
for reduced taxation, regulation or planning restrictions, while
multinational firms hardly need to make the point that if they are
not granted special terms they can take their money out of Britain.
New Labour is especially mindful of the need to oblige rich
individuals as donors. The explosion of personal fortunes has made
all parties more dependent on a handful of individuals than on
company donations." (The Observer 28 March 2004)
All this could also apply to political life in Ireland, as the Flood
and Moriarty Tribunals have shown. Not a week passes without some new
revelation about the corrupting influence of money in Irish political
life. For example, between 1994 and the end of 2000, tycoon Denis O
Brien gave political parties almost £300 000. Just in 1999/2000,
he gave Fine Gael over £55 000. Few would doubt that the award of
mobile telephone licence to his company Esat Digifone has nothing to
do with this. (Sunday Business Post 28 March 2004) Last week Senator
Martin Mansergh lambasted what he called "unpatriotic" tax exiles,
Irish business people who flee the country rather than paying taxes.
Mr Mansergh should have known better. The capitalist class owes its
allegiance only to its money and self-interest.
Civil Service Dispute - 16 Weeks and Still Solid
After 16 weeks of industrial action there is no weakening of the
resolve of low paid NIPSA members to secure a fair pay increase for
2003. The support from the members for all aspects of the industrial
action has been excellent, demonstrating clearly their determination
to see the dispute through to a successful conclusion. Selective
action over the past week has included members at MOT centres, Larne
Port and the Child Support Agency. The response amongst the selected
groups has been over 80%. The NIPSA Civil Service Executive meets
again on Monday 5 April with a view to escalating the action.
A number of NIPSA members who went sick with stress because of
threats from management over the work to rule have had their pay
docked. All of these members had certificates from their GPs and yet
management have decided to treat their sick leave as industrial
action. This unbelievable action is illegal, and stands, as a further
indication of how far Department for Social Development (DSD)
management will stoop to intimidate and harass union members. It is
understood that DSD Personnel Branch were about to process the pay of
the members involved in the normal way, until the personal
intervention of department director Thomas O'Reilly and personnel
officer Pat Magee imposed the illegal sanction on ill NIPSA members.
(Some readers of The Plough may have cause to recall O'Reilly, as he
was previously employed by one the state's more unsavoury
SUSPENDED NEWTOWNABBEY WORKERS
Two of the six NIPSA members who were suspended from duty for one
week, and then took selective action for one week, were removed from
the payroll by pay branch. However, when they returned to work,
someone "forgot' to put them back on the payroll. As a result they
received only one week's wages for the last month.
STRABANE NIPSA REPRESENTATIVE ATTACKED, AGAIN!
As reported in a few weeks ago a leading NIPSA activist in Strabane
was deliberately driven into by a scab in Derry. Two weeks ago the
same activist was attacked outside a Strabane bar by the brother of
scab Peter Mayse. The attacker was well known local thug Patrick
Mayse. Unfortunately for Mayse, the NIPSA representative got the
better of him in the attack. As a result Mayse, unsurprisingly, ran
off to the shelter of the PSNI and lodged a complaint. It will be
interesting to see of the PSNI lay charges against a man who was
simply defending himself against an assault, when in the previous
incident they found nothing untoward in a scab deliberately driving
his car into the same man on a picket line!
National Conference and Anti-Bush Protest Planned
A new national network and alliance of independent anti-war groups
and activists was initiated at a meeting held in Limerick on
Saturday, March 27th.
The gathering was well attended and included members of the following
groups: Mid-West Alliance Against Militarism and Aggression, Cork
Anti-War Campaign, Fairview Against the War, Grassroots Network
Against War (Galway), Tralee Anti-War Group, Clonakilty Against the
War, Geeks Against War, Peace and Neutrality Alliance, Global Women's
Strike, Gluaiseacht, and the Kilkenny Anti-War Group. Following a
wide-ranging discussion, the following decisions were taken:
1. That we build for a large anti-war conference to be held on May
15th in order to formalise and launch this initiative. All
appointments and structures are provisional, in the sense that it is
this conference that will mark the real beginning of the new
movement, and the focus, direction and structures will be decided
then. The conference will be organised on a democratic and inclusive
basis, respecting the diversity of the movement and seeking to
involve as many people as possible. Venue to be decided.
2. That the network/alliance be known as Anti-War Ireland, but again
this is provisional and open to change at the conference.
3. That two websites be established. The newly formed group Geeks
Against War have agreed to get these up and running ASAP. Anybody
interested in getting involved with GAW can contact them at
4. That Anti-War Ireland organise and build for a large demonstration
at Shannon airport on Friday evening, June 25th, to 'welcome' George
W. Bush as he arrives in Ireland and to simultaneously highlight the
Irish government's complicity with the US war machine.
5. That a convenor be appointed.
6. That two PROs be appointed. These can act as spokespersons, but a
system of deferral will operate whereby the PROs may refer the media
to other individuals in Anti-War Ireland who might possess a
particular knowledge relevant to the inquiry.
7. That Anti-War Ireland hold one more meeting prior to the
conference to discuss practical issues, and other matters, pertaining
to the conference and the new initiative. This meeting will be held
in Limerick on Saturday, April 24th.
A number of issues arose during the general discussion, and among the
most important points made were that this new movement must be
genuinely democratic and inclusive, and explicitly anti-racist and
anti-sexist. The following appointments were made (again, these last
only until the conference):
Convenor: Fintan Lane (phone: 087 1258325).
PROs/spokespersons: Caoimhe Butterly (email@example.com/mobile
phone number later), and Tim Hourigan (phone: 087 9777703).
Anti-War Ireland is initiated and national conference planned by
Fintan Lane - Convenor, Anti-War Ireland
firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 087 1258325
Britian Under New Labour, Under Old Tories
Gordon Brown introducing his budget in late March said that he had
presided over, "the longest period of sustained economic growth for
200 years". The UK is the strongest of any of the top economies and
contrasts in economic terms favourable with its EU rivals.
Part of the reason for this may be as a result of the deregulation
first introduced under the Tories during the 1980s. This led to mass
redundancies in the 1980s pushed unemployment into the millions and
trade unionism disappeared from whole areas of the economy. Wages
were pushed down while profits were restored to levels at which
international capital was happy to re-invest. The right of the Bosses
to hire and fire at will was established giving the kind
of "flexibility" that capitalism strives for. These defeats,
inflicted on the working class by Thatcher, saw a period of dramatic
retreat by the workers' movement.
But New Labour added something to the Tory recipe for growth.
A) There was a reduction in social security spending. The "welfare to
work" agenda was central, aiming to cut the numbers of claimants.
1) first the unemployed,
2) then lone parents, and
3) later those on sickness and disability benefits.
4) Considerable subsidies were given to employers and, via the tax
5) Less subsidies to those moving into work -working families tax
B) New Labour stuck to Tory public spending limits.
1) They piled up surpluses from tax revenues, paying off debt.
2) When the world economy started to falter and recession loomed,
Brown opened the taps of public spending.These policies have proved
remarkably successful: unemployment has fallen to 4.9 per cent, while
employment has risen by 1.7 million.
C). Public spending has grown by 5 per cent above the rate of
inflation since 2000. This massive extra spending by government has
helped sustain the economy through a period of stagnant world growth,
which has seen demand for British goods abroad falter. It has also
fed into wages. While inflation has been running at between 2 and 2.5
per cent since 1997, wage increases have been running at between 3
and 3.5 per cent. Public sector earnings growth has been even higher
at between 4 and 4.5 per cent.
D) These apparently positive figures, of declining unemployment and
rising wages, disguise enormous disparities in income and wealth.
1) The gap between the rich and poor is growing, not diminishing.
2) The government has presided over the most explosive growth of
directors' and executive pay, much of it taxed at minimal levels
thanks to low rates and tax avoidance.
3) It is also a growing polarisation in wages between the skilled and
technical jobs and the unskilled ones.
4) A significant proportion of the working class is condemned to
extremely low-paid and insecure jobs in catering, shops, cleaning,
caring, call centres etc.
5) Mostly non-unionised, often staffed by migrant workers, women and
young people, millions of workers have missed out on the gains of the
6) This highly "flexible" and sackable workforce is the basis of huge
(Adapted from an article by Workers Power)
This is a short poem made up entirely of actual quotations from
George W. Bush. These have been arranged for aesthetic purposes only
by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson.
MAKE THE PIE HIGHER!
I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!
Letters to the Editor
Besides the 'Stalinist Romp', the Particionsit (sic) Eamonn, the
Communists, Greens and other elements which you will certainly have
appropriate labels for, there are a lot of actual people who live in
the real world, have real problems and have noticed that the SEA is
trying to bring together these who want a more real, a more sane and
in the long run a more socialist world in support of the standing of
Eamonn McCann for the European Elections.
Hermann, Communist, SEA member and full of other badnesses but not
prepared to get lectured by people who beat up14 year olds.
Delighted to receive your letter. It is the second such letter from
yourself. Unfortunately you did not answer the questions I posed in
response to your last letter. (See The Plough #29)
I draw the conclusion from that and the failure of any of the
elements that make up the Socialist Environment Alliance to respond
to the questions posed about the SEA (See The Plough #28) and in a
letter directly to those parties (See The Plough #27) that the SEA
are not interested in dialogue but abuse.
You used the term "Stalinist romp" as if I had used such a term. I
did not and try extremely hard to refrain from using abusive terms
about fellow socialists that I regard as comrades. However we in the
IRSP will not allow abuse of our comrades to go un-challenged. Hence
the sharp response to McCann's despicable "guttersnipes with guns"
remark. Moreover it is clear from the tone of the statements from
Eamon McCann, Hermann, Barbara Muldoon and Colm Bryce that they and
the SEA are not interested in dialogue or in building a genuine broad
front of radical and socialist forces in Ireland. That is a pity but
it will not stop those of us who are genuinely anti-imperialist and
socialist from trying to do so.
The days of name-calling should be long gone. Can we not have serious
debate about the issues involved? The IRSP are prepared to debate
with the SEA in public or in private the issues arising from these
exchanges. I take it that Hermann is saying that the editor of The
Plough beats up 14 year olds? A serious accusation, Hermann! Maybe
you should reconsider your choice of language and withdraw such a
statement as soon as possible as it is totally untrue, is slanderous
and beyond the pale. It was a despicable comment to make. For the
record on Friday 16th January the IRSP issued a statement saying
among other things,
"The IRSP, having looked into the circumstances pertaining to the
shooting of a 14th year old in North Belfast, wish to place on record
its disapproval and condemnation of this action. However experience
of such punishments over the years has indicated that they are
counterproductive. We have been working to persuade people that there
has to be alternative approaches to major anti-social and criminal
activities in working class areas. We will redouble our efforts to
move people away from the use of rough justice. Statement on behalf
of the Ard-Chomhairle, Irish Republican Socialist Party, John Martin -
Political Secretary, IRSP.
Independent Workers Union (IWU)
1st annual conference, 9:00 am-5:00pm, 3rd April 2004, Victoria
Hotel, Patrick St. Cork City
Guest of honour...Mick O'Reilly AT&GWU
The newly formed Independent Workers Union (IWU) will be publicly
launched at its first conference in the Victoria Hotel, Cork City on
Saturday 3rd April.
The IWU will not seek affiliation to the Irish Congress of Trade
Unions believing that the so-called Partnership is detrimental to the
interests of Irish Workers and that meaningful partnership with this
Government, IBEC and the ISME is a delusion and no beneficial results
have emerged or will emerge for working people.
This government is:
Pressing ahead with privatisation.
Not implementing a fair and equitable tax system.
Jailing workers for opposing service charges.
Refusing to introduce pro worker legislation.
Tolerating and/or encouraging dismally low wages in many sectors.
And while the current government does this:
Workers are being policed by their own trade unions and the ICTU.
Democratic decisions of trade union members are overturned by the
union leadership and workers are prevented from leaving one Congress
Union to join another.
May Day - Dublin
Sat April 3rd, Open meeting to discuss the organising of events for
Teachers' Club, 36 Parnell Square (West), Dublin, 2 p.m.
National Protest at Belmarsh Prison - Sunday, 4th April, 12 noon
Irish Friends and Comrades, please help us to mobilise for this
demonstration at Belmarsh! We want you to participate with your
banners, flags, bring your friends and supporters! TÁL
Sunday 4th April 2004 12pm
With speakers, live performance & signing of expressions of
solidarity with the detainees being held without trial. 14 men are
currently held in Belmarsh - Britain's very own Guantanamo Bay. These
men are detained under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act
2001, which allows police to arrest people who are not suspected of
actually committing any offences or contravening any laws, on the
basis of secret evidence neither they nor their lawyers are allowed
to see. They are being held indefinitely on the basis that they are
'terrorist suspects' who threaten national security. They were
never questioned by the police and they will not go to trial! Amnesty
International has expressed serious concerns about the conditions in
which the men are being detained.
Come and Protest: let the detainees know they have not been forgotten!
Visit our website at http://www.safp.org.uk/ or contact SAfP for more
information: PO Box 241, Brighton BN1 3UQ or email@example.com or
07815 983022 or 07961579728
NO JUSTICE: The Home Secretary has publicly pledged to fight for
a 'fair deal' for those British citizens still held by the US at
Guantanamo Bay. Yet Britain has been complicit in those ongoing
detentions and it continues to hold 14 foreign nationals who have
never been convicted of, or even charged, with any offence. Most of
them are being held in high security at HMP Belmarsh, in cells
described as 'concrete coffins' and in conditions that are tantamount
to torture. It is cruel and inhuman treatment to keep people locked
up in isolation, without any prospect of release or trial, and
without telling them why they are detained or when they might be
released. The psychological pressure they are suffering is immense
(one detainee is now in Broadmoor).
CAMPACC demands the immediate release of anyone detained under this
anti-terrorism legislation especially those interned without trial.
We demand repeal of all such anti-terrorism laws.
Sussex Action for Peace supports the aims of CAPACC and this Protest.
We are urging people from Sussex to attend the Protest. Members of
SAFP will be meeting at Hove Station 9.40 am to travel to the protest
Speakers include: Gareth Pierce, human rights lawyer; Jean Lambert
MEP; Dr G.Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament; Baroness Sarah
Ludford, MEP; Helen John, a Vice-Chair of CND; representatives from
Liberty, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Peace & Justice in
East London; Paul Donovan, journalist; Gareth Evans, Voices
UK.Performances from: Clear Air Turbulence theatre and Double
Negative music. We will also be writing messages to the detainees,
which will be passed on to them by their lawyers.
Directions & trains: Belmarsh prison is on Western Way, London, SE28,
just north of Plumstead station. Trains leave every half-hour (e.g.
11.01am, 11.31am) from Charing Cross to Plumstead station, arriving a
half-hour later. Trains stop on the way at London Bridge and
Greenwich. From East London, you can connect via the DLR going from
Stratford to Greenwich stations.
Map of Belmarsh can be found by clicking:
Contact: CAMPACC, http://www.cacc.org.uk/ , Estella on 020 7250 1315
or Fahim on 07818 442526.
International Workers Memorial Day on Wednesday 28th April 2004
Calling on all Trade Union Health and Safety Reps all over to promote
the Workers Memorial Day.
163 workers died in 2003.
To show our solidarity and have at least a minute's silence or the
planting of a tree, even the unveiling of a plaque in the work place.
Memorial day usually meets a total Press black out everywhere, so it
is up to the workers to get this point across. Recent reports of a
Chinese immigrant worker dying after stamping the word Samsung on
microwave ovens continuously for 24 hours has brought home the
horrors of overwork.
Working time was one of the key issues in which the unions were first
organised. We are now working longer and harder and the 1998 working
time regulations have had little or no impact.
Now the European Commission is consulting unions in a review of the
working time Directive. We must amend the Directives it offers
workers real protection.
Campaign for the Living
Remember the Dead
Mayday No Borders
Dublin Grassroots Network - Mayday No Borders weekend line-up of
For more information, downloadable flyers, and contact details please
visit the website at http://www.geocities.com/eufortress/
Friday April 30th
CRITICAL MASS began in San Francisco in 1992 and has since spread
around the world. Join us for this celebration of non-motorised
transport, as we take a leisurely tour of the city streets, on bikes,
skateboards, pogo sticks, or just on foot.
Saturday May 1st (daytime)
BORDER CONTROLS STREET THEATRE: Welcome to the official day of the
new Fortress Europe. Warning: You may be subject to stops by one of
the Dublin Grassroots Police Network who will be patrolling the city
in the morning. Experience the full reality of Fortress Europe with
ID & background checks, verbal harassment, intimidation, and possible
imprisonment without trial if you do not measure up to the strict
BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS: During the war on Iraq, many private and state
businesses supported the transport of murderous arms and US troops
through Shannon Airport in Ireland. This action will make the public
aware of who they are by painting the streets and footpaths around
their premises in blood red colour. No war should ever be supported
WELCOME THE BOAT PEOPLE: Many asylum seekers and refugees attempting
to breach the Fortress Europe barrier do so in boats and ships. Upon
detection, they are often sent back to their country of origin. This
time however, the people arriving by boat will be welcomed. No human
being is illegal - everyone should be free to travel and live where
they want without fear of persecution.
HOMES NOT JAILS: Dublin expands, swallowing up the countryside. Rents
skyrocket and house prices are beyond the reach of many with average
incomes. The number of homeless people sleeping on the streets rises
every year without any action by the State. Yet all around the city
are derelict buildings, crumbling into the ground. This action aims
to highlight this appalling situation by occupying one of these
buildings and transforming it into a living space.
PUBLIC BEATINGS STREET THEATRE: Europe is reverting to old-style
policing and jailing policies. Rather than look at what causes crime
and dealing with problems in society, the State increasingly utilises
prisons (often in terrible unsanitary condition) as a way of sweeping
the issues under the carpet. How long before the stocks and gallows
make a return? Today's the day. Come along and watch true medieval
THE POLLUTER PAYS: The message during the recent anti bin tax
campaign was to tax the polluter. Is the public responsible for waste
when companies release their products in layers of unnecessary
packaging? How much waste is produced by heavy industry that is not
recycled? These actions will be encouraging everyone to bring their
recyclable packaging back to the businesses that produce it.
RECLAIM THE CITY: The idea of the "common or public space is rapidly
disappearing from the city, as rich and powerful individuals claim it
for private personal use. This action will temporarily reclaim a part
of private land, and open it to the public for a picnic and games in
the May sunshine.
Saturday May 1st (evening)
BRING THE NOISE! The EU Ministers dine in the opulence of Farmleigh
House on Saturday evening at the expense of the Irish taxpayer. We
intend to march to their doorstep and disrupt their dinner, to show
them that we do not agree with their vision of Fortress Europe! Bring
pots and pans, bells and whistles, horns and drums to generate the
biggest noise possible. May 1st is historically a day for the
ordinary people's wishes to be heard. They have chosen to ignore us
but they cannot keep it up if we scream and shout.
Sunday May 2nd
NO BORDERS, NO NATIONS - NO BORDER CAMP: Join us as we set up a No
Border camp on the 2nd day of the new Fortress Europe. We are not
against the new ascension states citizens coming to Ireland - we
think all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants should be allowed
to travel here, regardless of origin, ethnicity, or background. The
No Border camp will be open to everyone. Activities will include
workshops, discussions, teach-ins, planning for the future, as well
as music and food.
Monday May 3rd
NO BORDERS RECLAIM THE STREETS: The only party worth joining in town!
Reclaim The Streets happens again on the May bank holiday to wind
down the weekend. Unlike the State's street party, everyone from
around the world is welcome to come to Dublin for this, not just
those that satisfy the demands of Fortress Europe. Expect music and
dancing, drinking and face painting, a day for all to come and enjoy
a vision of the Europe that we really want.
The Wall Must Fall
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