Sunday 2 May 2004

The Plough Vol 01 No 37

The Plough #37
2 May 2004

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial
2) Irish Citizenship
3) Ulster Unionist Party Sectarianism
4) World Total of -----
5) Letters
6) What's On?



This week marks ten years of ANC rule in South Africa. The South
African 'transition' is often hailed here as an example of a
successful 'peace process', a model for our own 'conflict

But, should we really be looking at South Africa as an example? Who
are the winners and losers of the South African 'peace process'
and 'transition'? According to the Chronic Poverty Research Centre at
the University of the Western Cape, the average income of black
households dropped by 19 per cent from 1995 to 2000, while over the
same period the average white household income grew 15 per cent.
Absolute poverty levels increased from 20 per cent in 1995 to 28 per
cent in 2000. 45 per cent of the population of South Africa survives
with less than two dollars per day. In ten years, social spending has
increased by 35 per cent, while interests and dividends of foreign
investors have grown fourfold over the same period.

While the incomes of the black majority have been reduced, the
corporate sector has been on the gravy train. Corporate tax rates
were cut from 48 per cent in 1994 to 30 per cent by 1999. The
official jobless rate grew from 16 per cent in 1995 to 30 per cent
last year. However, when discouraged job-seekers are added in, the
actual unemployment rate now stands at 42 per cent nationwide and
more than 80 per cent in some rural areas.

The process was accelerated from 1996 when the ANC adopted a World
Bank plan for South Africa's economy which, among other things,
involved commercialising and privatising government services. Many
millions of blacks have now lost access to essential services, such
as running water, electricity and telephones, because they cannot
afford to pay the charges set by the private corporations. (sources:
Le Monde, 27 April, New Zealand Herald, 20 April)

It is not the hopes of South Africa's impoverished black majority
which have been fulfilled by 'democracy' but those of South Africa's
corporations, global investors and the white minority thanks to the
fact that the ANC had adopted 'pragmatic politics' towards the
business elite. Not only that:

"A new black elite has emerged in South Africa, mostly from the ranks
of the liberation movement -- people who were able to use their
political pedigree and connections to amass vast amounts of wealth.
Trade union leaders have become instant millionaires, setting up
business consortia in the name of union members but then reaping all
the financial benefits at the expense of the workers." (New York
Times, 27 April)

Now why is this relevant here? Because the local version of the ANC,
Sinn Fein, is adopting similar stance. Recently, the Irish Times
described Gerry Adams' presence at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce
business breakfast in the Burlington Hotel in the following terms:

Displaying the more complex colours emerging in Sinn Fein's attitude
to business, Adams's background message was that his party
understands the need for pragmatism. Asked about public-private
partnerships, he acknowledged that Martin McGuiness had reluctantly
accepted the need for private investment while in power in Northern
Ireland. "Well, we are against them" he said. "Having said that,
Martin McGuiness, as education minister, faced the reality that he
would either have no schools or an involvement in a qualified way
with private finance, went for it. So I suppose you could argue that
that is the emergence of pragmatic politics." Equally, Sinn Fein's
acceptance of service charges in Sligo was justified by Adams,
despite all of the party's railings nationally against such
bills. ... "Our position is against it. But in terms of the actual
practicalities of working out those matters, as part of local
government, the party made compromises on it", he told the gathering.
On taxation, Adams offered soothing words that meant little: "I am
reluctant to say that we would do A or we would do B. We are not in
principle against tax increases, but we have no plans to introduce
them. We just think that there should be a far, far better way of
doing business." (The Irish Times, 24 April 2004)

That is pure Thabo Mbeki speak from our own Nelson Mandela.

The point here is not to fire cheap shots at the Provisionals, but to
be prepared for the nasty consequences of 'pragmatic politics'. The
end of racial apartheid, without drastic economic changes only
resulted in social apartheid. More than a century ago, James Connolly
warned that pure political changes without radical social and
economic reorganisation of society would only be 'national
recreancy', the efforts of Republicans would be 'in vain'.

Organisations are now beginning to emerge in the black communities
across South Africa to challenge the ANC. Typically they are
organising around community service issues, such as housing, water
and electricity, and are often met with the same repression the white
minority once used against black activists. If Stormont once again
goes up and running, similar struggles can be expected here around
issues such as water rates or PFI. Rather than unconstructively
complaining about "sell out", serious activists should concentrate on
preparing themselves to wage those coming battles and learn from the
South African experience.



The Plough is sure that its readers will agree with Vincent Browne's
views in the Sunday Business Post (25 April 2004):

"As for that citizenship anomaly, how is it that McDowell and his
accessories are so discomforted by an anomaly that allows a few
hundred desperate mothers from the Third World to exploit a loop hole
in our citizenship laws on behalf of their infants, and they are so
not discomforted by the plethora of mega-anomalies that abound?

--The anomaly that allows the richest in Irish society, many of them
singled out for special additional enrichment by the state, to avoid
paying any tax at all here by living abroad.
--That anomaly whereby the richest 400 that remain here pay a far
smaller proportion of their income in tax than almost everyone else.
--The anomaly whereby a quarter of all households live on weekly
incomes that wouldn't pay for the wine bills of friends of the PDs.
--The anomaly whereby 40 percent of elderly Irish people live in
--The anomalies whereby the poor are targeted for the rigours of our
criminal justice system, while the criminal rich are largely ignored.
--The anomaly whereby somebody earning a weekly income of over 138 00
or a family with an income of over 250 Euros are denied a medical
card. Is the anomaly on citizenship, exploited on behalf of a few
hundred African babies, really more serious or urgent than these
other matters?"



There is little to be said about the protests in Sandy Row, Belfast
by some residents against the alleged presence of Catholics in a
block of flats in the district. This follows a series of racist
attacks in the wider area. It is sad to see the evil of sectarianism
and racism grip the minds of working class people. But that was
always the intention of those who set out to break the Six Counties
from the rest of Ireland at the turn of the last century. It is still
the intention of those who dominate unionism today.

The failure of a former Lord Major of Belfast and a member of the
Unionist Party to condemn the anti-catholic hysteria is symptomatic
of the sectarianism inherent in the Six County state. We remain
convinced that no amount of tinkering with an internal settlement
will ever overcome the bigotry in the North.



The UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public
Information Shashi Tharoor states: "We know the media prefers to
focus on 'hard threats' -- such as acts of terrorism or dangers posed
by weapons of mass destruction. The 'soft threats,' such as extreme
poverty and hunger, endemic or infectious disease, or environmental
degradation that afflict millions of people, rarely made the
headlines. But we cannot afford merely to echo the media's
priorities. We have to constantly strive to keep the big picture on
the media's agenda, reminding the world that there are other critical

Let's have a look at the proportions:
--Occupation military force war deaths in Iraq 800+
--Iraqi military deaths 8,700-45,000 (lowest estimate 500)
--Confirmed Iraqi civilian war deaths 8900-10,800 (high estimate
--Total Iraqi war deaths minimum 56,000 and maximum 85,000
--Occupation military force wounded in action 3,800+
--World total of deaths from hunger per year 25,000,000
--World total of deaths from ischaemic heart disease per year
--Total deaths of Jews killed by German imperialism 1933-1945
--World total of deaths from cerebrovascular disease per year
--World total of deaths from lower respiratory infections per year
--World total of deaths from HIV/AIDS per year 2,800,000
--World total of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
per year 2,600,000
--World total of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases per year 2,000,000
--World total of deaths from tuberculosis per year 1,600,000
-World total of deaths from childhood diseases per year 1,300,000
--World total of deaths from cancer of trachea/bronchus/lung per year
--World total of deaths from road traffic accidents per year 1,200,000
--World total of deaths from malaria per year 1,100,000
--World total of deaths from hypertensive heart disease per year
--World total of deaths from stomach cancer per year 850,000
--World total of deaths from suicides per year 850,000
--World total of deaths from cirrhosis of the liver per year 800,000
--World total of deaths from measles per year 745,000
--World total of deaths from nephritis/nephrosis per year 625,000
--World total of deaths from liver cancer per year 616,000
--World total of deaths from colon/rectum cancer per year 615,000
--World total of deaths from attacks with small arms per year 500,000
--World total of deaths from influenza every year per year 400,000
--World total of deaths from sleeping sickness per year 400,000
--World total of deaths from yellow fever per year 30,000
--World total unemployed or underemployed 1,000,000,000
--World total of undernourished people 800,000,000
--World total of working poor living on US$1 per a day or less
--World incidence of females who have undergone genital mutilation
every year 100,000,000
--World total of unemployed (fulltime) every year 180,000,000
--World total of people living with HIV/AIDS 40,000,000
--World total of avoidably blind people every year 35,000,000
--World total of epileptics without access to treatment 35,000,000
--World total of people exposed to arsenic concentrations above 0.05
mg/l 28,000,000-35,000,000
--World total of people affected by leishmaniasis 12,000,000
--Estimated number of humans who ever lived on the earth
--Estimated number of humans who died in the 20th century from all
causes 4,100,000,000
--Estimated number of people killed by other people in the 20th
century through political conflicts 167,000,000
--Total military deaths in the 20th century 33,500,000
--Total civilian war deaths in the 20th century 54,000,000 and
80,000,000 associated deaths
--Total deaths in the 20th century from famine 44,000,000

Addressing the opening of the Committee on Information's annual
session on 26 April, scheduled to meet through 7 May, Tharoor said
that, although the UN suffered in 2003 rumblings about its fading
into irrelevance largely from the debate surrounding the war in Iraq,
there are signs that, a year later, the Organization is slowly
regaining its indispensable role in global affairs. The Committee
makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the policy and
activities of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

"To millions of people affected by poverty, environmental
degradation, HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases, the United Nations
remains the best hope -- often the only hope -- for survival and for
a better future. Of course, the United Nations has not solved all
problems the world faces. But if we want to see them solved --
including such problems as the turmoil in the Middle East, the
question of Palestine, the questions concerning Cyprus and in West
Africa -- we need the UN more than ever."

"We don't find it healthy to do that. We had instances,
unfortunately, in Vietnam where there were incorrect numbers being
furnished." -- Brigadier General Pat Stevens, Riyadh briefing, quoted
in USA Today, February 1, 1991.

"If it costs 500 [lives], that's OK, or 5000, OK, or 50,000, that's
OK with me. I, for one, will do whatever has to be done in order to
be damn sure that our grandchildren and their grandchildren and their
grandchildren and generations far from being born have the same
rights as you and me." -- Retired General Tommy Franks, presentation
at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet in Salina, Kansas, 2004.

For further reference:



Campaign to Stop Killer Coke - adds

Dear Campaign Supporters:

1. Yesterday, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke successfully
demonstrated at Coke's annual shareholders' meeting in Wilmington,
Delaware. The protest generated extensive media coverage - a few
samples are linked below. A highlight of the Washington Post article
describes that Coke CEO Douglas Daft suppressed an independent
investigation of the charges regarding Coke's abuses in Colombia (if
you do not get a "hot" link, copy and past the web addresses below):

Washington Post:

Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Atlanta Business Chronicle:

2. In addition, the following link will bring you to a radio piece
produced by Workers Independent News Service. This requires an MP3
player and is best heard on a high-speed Internet connection:

3. We have added several photos of the demonstration to our Protest
Pics section.

Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
(212) 979-8320





Cuireann POBAL i láthair
Ródseó na Gaeilge 2004
Mórcheiliúradh ceoil agus fhilíocht na Gaeilge le
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin agus Steve Cooney
Louis de Paor agus John Spillane
Luan 10 Bealtaine
Halla na Cathrach, Béal Feirste
Beidh fáilte agus fíon ar fáil ar 7.00
Déanfaidh an t-Ard Mhéara Martin Morgan
Ródseó na Gaeilge 2004 a láinseáil ar a 7.15 i.n.
Sólaistí ar fáil
Tá saorchead isteach chuig an ócáid speisialta seo
ach ticéad a chur in áirithe roimh ré

Deán teagmháil le Sinéad nó Micí ar 028 90 438132


POBAL presents
The Irish Language Road Show 2004
A celebration of Irish language music and poetry with
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin agus Steve Cooney
Louis de Paor agus John Spillane
Monday10th May
Belfast City Hall
There will be a wine reception at 7.00 p m
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Martin Morgan will launch the Road Show at
7.15 p m
There is no charge for this special celebration but we ask people to
book their admission tickets early

Contact Sinéad or Micí on 028 90 438132


The Human Rights Centre Visitors

The Human Rights Centre will be welcoming a visitor to the Human
Rights Centre Law School on 10 May 2004. Everyone is welcome to

Jon Benjamin of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Human Rights
Unit will give a lecture on the role of Human Rights in Foreign
Affairs on Monday 10 May at 1.00pm to 2.00pm in Room LT121, Lanyon
South. For more information contact Dr. Rory O'Connell, Human Rights
Centre Law School, Queen's University Belfast, BT7 1NN, Tel: 028 9097 3459, ext: 3459,


The School of Politics and International Studies

The Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict In conjunction with the
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) presents a one-day
conference: 'Interpreting ongoing crises in the Northern Ireland
peace process: International dimensions'

Professor David Schmitt (North Eastern University)
The US War on Terrorism and Its Impact on the Politics of
Accommodation in Northern Ireland.

Dr Christopher Farrington (Queen's University Belfast)
'We're not quite as interesting as we used to be': Conflicting
interpretations of the international dimension among Northern Irish
political elites

Professor Paul Arthur (University of Ulster)
The American-Irish Dimension: Have the dynamics changed?

Dermot Nesbitt MLA (Ulster Unionist Party)
The Northern Ireland problem in the 21st Century European context

Professor Elizabeth Meehan (Queen's University Belfast)
>From the EU in NI to NI in the EU

David Russell (Democratic Dialogue)
The unintended consequences of power-sharing: A compared exploration
of the Belfast Agreement and Lebanese Ta'if Accord.

Professor Adrian Guelke (Queen's University Belfast)
The lure of the miracle? The South African connection and the
Northern Ireland peace process

Eoin O'Broin (Sinn Féin)
Sinn Féin and Batasuna: Fact and fiction in an evolving

Professor Michael Cox (London School of Economics)
'Bringing in the international' Revisited

Places will be strictly limited. If interested please contact
Christopher Farrington, School of Politics and International Studies,
Queen's University Belfast, , 028 9097 3231.


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