Sunday 23 May 2004

The Plough Vol 01 No 40

The Plough #40
23 May 2004

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Tax Dodgers
2) Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
3) From the Bogside to Basra
4) The Cost of Getting Elected
5) The Socialist Understanding of the National Question
6) Giap: US Doomed to Failure in Iraq
7) Malcolm X
8) Letters
9) What's On?



In the 26 Counties, according to tax records issued by the latest
Revenue Commissioners, over 44,000 people had a gross income of
between 100,000 and 250 Euros in 2002. Nearly 7000 people had a
declared pre-tax income of 250,000 to 500,000 Euro. Fifteen hundred
people took home a gross pay packet of 500,000 to 750,000 and 573
earned between 750,000 and one million Euro. At the top, 400
individuals had a gross income of over one million Euros. Revenue
figures show that one in two of the top 400 earners in 1999-2000 paid
less than 5 percent of their income in tax.
(Sunday Tribune, 9 May 2004)



The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) organised a symbolic
protest outside Belfast City Hall at 11.00am on Saturday 22nd May to
protest at the continuing slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.
Approximately 50 people from all and no political organisations
turned up at short notice. People brought their own placards,
banners, and Palestinian flags. Members of the IRSP brought the flag
of the Irish working class, the Starry Plough, to express the
solidarity of Irish workers with the Palestinian people. What is
happening in the Middle East is wrong. Those who turned up were
registering their opposition to a complacent Western world, a world
that continues to prop up and subsidise an apartheid system in
Palestine, which has wreaked untold misery on millions of human

Apartheid Wall

Maren Karlitzky, responsible for the outreach in Europe of the
Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, has been for a
week touring Ireland in order to raise awareness about the horrific
crime the Israeli government is committing by building the Apartheid
Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territories reinforcing the occupation
and its dire consequences on the Palestinian people. She came to make
the Palestinian national grassroots struggle -- the Anti-Apartheid
Wall Campaign -- better known to the Irish public and activists, to
strengthen existing ties with Irish solidarity groups and to create
new ties with Irish social movements.

She participated in the press conference called for by the IPSC and
the ECCP (European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the question of
Palestine) in occasion of the summit of the foreign ministers and the
handover of hundreds of thousands of signatures asking for economic
sanctions as long as Israel continues its human rights violations and
namely the construction of the Apartheid Wall, held in Dublin on the
4th of May. The press conference followed a meeting with the Irish
Ministry of Foreign Affairs who declared that economic sanctions
would deprive Europe of "its capacity to exert influence on Israel"
echoing thus the Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom's warning
that "Europe would lose its role as mediators if they were to take
the Palestinian position." It would have been interesting to
understand in which ways Europe is exerting influence on Israel today.

She has further been meeting with various activists, trade unions and
exponents of political parties in Dublin and Belfast. During the
meeting with the IRSP she explained the reality of the Wall --­ an
over 600 kms long wall that will annex circa 50% of the West Bank
territory, and will expel half a million of Palestinian farmers and
residents from their homes and lands. The Wall, which is not built on
nor hardly ever close to the Green Line (the armistice line of 1949),
will close the majority of the Palestinian West Bank population into
three ghettos, isolate Jerusalem completely from the West Bank and
annex almost all relevant water resources of the Occupied Palestinian
Territories. Economic, social, cultural and political life inside
these Bantustans will be almost impossible. Many villages are left
without almost any fertile land; access to hospitals, schools or
other infrastructures is either very difficult or impossible. To give
only one example, Qualqiliya, once a prosperous commercial centre in
the West Bank is now completely surrounded by an 8-meter high
concrete wall and access is restricted to one check-point controlled
by the Occupying forces. Today, 2/3 of the city's population is
living from humanitarian aid and over 4000 residents have been forced
to leave the city. Qualqiliya has been target of Israeli aggressions
since 1948 and has been completely destroyed in 1967, yet the
population has resisted any Israeli attempt to conquer the city, so
today Israel tries to annihilate Qualqiliya turning it into an open-
air prison.

The Palestinian population living in the West Bank territories that
ends up outside the Apartheid Wall is facing an even harder fate:
half a million of Palestinians find themselves in a "military closed
zone" and are hence forced to obtain regularly renewable permissions
from the Occupation forces in order to access their lands outside the
Wall or to continue to stay in the villages where they have been
living for generations. This permit system applies only to
Palestinians and not to Jews from Israel or any other place of the
world that are instead encouraged by government subsidies to settle
the Palestinian lands. Sadly enough, Palestinians already have clear
examples of the real aim of these "permits": In Dar al-Milah, the
permits for the residents expired in mid April simply haven't been
renewed and since then the residents have been literally imprisoned
in their own village as occupation soldiers would not allow them to
leave or return to their village. The "gates" that are built in the
Wall are evidently not a means to let Palestinians pass but rather to
let the Israeli army cross the Wall for raids and incursions. They
further serve to oppress the Palestinian people through a permit
system aimed at "punishing" whoever dares to oppose the Israeli
Occupation and the Wall, they serve for collective punishment as they
are regularly closed for days after demonstrations and they are
another place where Palestinians get humiliated, beaten up and shot

The Palestinian population is not prepared to live in the cages built
for them and, as one of the farmers struggling in the Anti-Apartheid
Wall Campaign said, "we will not lend our hands to the occupation
forces through the razor wire of the Apartheid Wall." Since the
beginning of the Wall's construction and the inception of the Anti-
Apartheid Wall campaign dozens of local committees and three
Emergency Centres have formed all along the Wall's path in order to
resist the Wall and to face the problems and needs arising from yet
another Israeli war crime. In June the first national popular
conference of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign local committees is
planned and is seen as an important step in the struggle against the
Apartheid Wall and Israeli Occupation.

The committees and Emergency Centres are the central locations in the
affected areas where people can organise, obtain and provide
information, communicate needs and priorities to the Campaign, and
seek support both in mobilisation and in tending to lands in order to
safeguard them. Day to day resistance, demonstrations and protests
aimed at driving the soldiers out of the villages and lands and
blocking the construction/destruction works are organised. The
Palestinian population is paying a high price for its determination
to remain on their lands and the demonstrations are almost always met
with military brutality. The Campaign needs to mourn already four
martyrs killed during demonstrations. The Campaign promotes
demonstrations of solidarity among the Palestinian population in
order to overcome the isolation of the communities enforced by the
checkpoints, roadblocks, the Wall and to strengthen the feeling of
unity and determination to continue the struggle until the Wall falls.

A unity that links all the populations in the Middle East struggling
against Occupation and for freedom and justice. "When we see the
images of Baghdad, Najaf, Fallujah, Nassiriya, Mosul and Kerbala we
see Rafah, Jenin, Nablus, Hebron, Tulkarem and the refugee camps. We
recognise the same brutality, humiliating checkpoints, massive house
demolitions, the same attacks on civilian cars and ambulances. We
know the pictures of murdered children, of snipers, tanks, war
planes, siege and ghettos built with razor wire erected around the
residential communities, we see the same tactics of collective
punishment when they destroy homes of the families of suspected
resistance fighters, we recognise the soldiers opening fire on
demonstrators and we dread US death squads that the Israeli military
is training to kill the Iraqi people. We both live the assassination
policies that seek to undermine our organization, leadership, and
steadfastness; the threats on Muqtada Al-Sader have the same roots as
the assassinations of Sheikh Yassin and Dr. Rantissi," says the
letter of solidarity in which the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
addresses the people moving the Iraqi Intifada.

The design of the allied forces is clear: while they are trying to
make the final step in the occupation of Palestine by enclosing the
Palestinian people in walled-in ghettos and forcing hundreds and
thousands of them to leave their homes and land, they want to expand
their control, imposing the occupation on Iraq. We know that
the "Coalition" occupying Iraq is the same that is responsible for
the ongoing occupation in Palestine and the expulsion of its people
from its land. As Israel and its colonialist occupation has been the
bulwark of the West in the Middle East since over 50 years, this new
drive of colonialism extends the occupation from the Jordan to
Baghdad and highlights the complicity of Israeli, US and European
politics oppressing the Arab people in order to control the strategic
area of the Middle East and to exploit its resources.

The struggle of the people, as well as their plights, are hardly ever
heard and seen in Western media. It is the people of the world that
are listening to the voice of the Palestinian struggle against the
Apartheid Wall and are amplifying it. The people in Palestine know
about the importance of international solidarity that supports and
strengthens its struggle on the ground pressuring the government of
their countries to take clear steps against the Apartheid Wall,
Israeli Apartheid and Occupation.

The void condemnations expressed by the political leadership of the
Western world will not stop Israel from implementing relentlessly its
longstanding policies of land grab and expulsion of the Palestinian
people. Concrete economic, political and cultural sanctions are
instead unequivocal means that show Israel that it has to pay for its
colonialist and racist policies. Continuous mobilisation on the
ground organised by hundreds of solidarity groups and supporters of
the Palestinian struggle shows the strength of the solidarity with
the Palestinian people and puts pressure on the governments world
wide to stop their complicity with Israeli Apartheid and Occupation.

On Saturday 15th, in London the annual rally for Palestine this year
dedicated to the struggle against the Apartheid Wall took place.
Jamal Juma', the coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign,
evoked in front of the crowd of 10,000 people the history of the
Palestinian struggle against an the Zionist project and its ongoing
crimes since the Nakba, the "catastrophe" of the Palestinian people
in 1948, that is commemorated all over the world on the 15th of May.
He remembered the tragedy of the refugees, the full occupation of
Palestine in '67, the massacres of Sabra and Shatila, the first
Intifada, Oslo and today's crimes and Apartheid projects.
However, "nobody and nothing has stopped the determination of the
Palestinian people to struggle for their rights." He called upon the
British people to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people to
Tear Down the Apartheid Wall! Stop Israeli Occupation and Apartheid!

There are many ways to support the Palestinian struggle. To know more
about the Wall and the Campaign see: and
in order to participate at the activism list for international
solidarity with the Palestinian Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign you can
subscribe at:



A Solidarity Vigil was held on Friday May 21 at 12.30 at Guildhall
Square, Derry to show solidarity with Iraqi families who have had
loved ones murdered by the British Army over the past year. The vigil
was organised by Derry families who have lost loved ones in similar
circumstances; the Pat Finucane Centre; and the Coalition of the
Unwilling representing individuals opposed to the war in Iraq. A
number of relatives from Derry read out short testimonials recalling
the circumstances of their own loss and the details of an individual
killed at the hands of the British Army over the past year in
southern Iraq. The theme of the vigil, 'Getting Away with Murder --
From the Bogside to Basra', drew the links between the horrific
stories coming out of Iraq in 2004 with the reality in Derry, Belfast
and elsewhere for so many years. Whether the victims were 11-year-old
boys in Derry in 1982 or 8-year-old girls in Basra in 2004 the story
has changed little. British military spokesmen claim that 'gunmen
opened fire', the Military Police cover up the murder and the British
government stress that 'our boys are operating under very difficult
circumstances'. And the killing...of men, women and children... goes
on and on.

The British invasion of Iraq was led by General Mike Jackson. As a
captain and unit press officer in the Parachute Regiment Jackson was
present in Rossville St on Bloody Sunday. Jackson did not recall any
soldiers 'firing their weapons' according to his statement to the
Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He is overall Commander of those soldiers
guilty of murdering, torturing and raping Iraqi civilians today, 32
years on. Jackson also decided that the two Scots Guards who murdered
Peter Mc Bride in Belfast could remain in the British Army. Then they
were sent to Basra. The Bogside was Basra. Basra is the Bogside. The
British Army murdered people in the city of Derry...and got away with
it. Now they are murdering people in Iraq...and getting away with it.
Stop the killing-prosecute the guilty! (From The Pat Finucane Centre:
00 44 28 71 268846)



Political parties and independent candidates will spend up to ten
million Euros in the local and European election campaigns over the
last four weeks, the largest expenditure ever in an Irish election.
Fine Gael is out-spending Fianna Fail for the first time, spending
1.3 million Euros on the two campaigns. Fianna Fail is spending over
one million Euros. Labour is spending 350,000 Euros, the Progressive
Democrats about 100,000 Euros. Individual candidates usually spend
between 5,000 and 20,000 Euros on their campaigns. 3,000 Euros will
get 100 posters and two leaflets printed. (Sunday Business Post 16
May 2004)

Are elections then more about the force of money rather than the
force of arguments?



Throughout history, nationalism has taken (1) many different forms
(conservative, radical etc), (2) has/is supported by many different
social groups (bourgeoisie, working class, etc), (3) has very
different political effects (reactionary, progressive). When dealing
with nationalism, it is necessary like Marx, Engels, Lenin and
Connolly to reject an abstract and timeless theory of nationalism. It
was always historical and concrete.

The fundamental point is that their analysis of nationalism was
always put in terms of (a) the strategic interests of the working
class, and thus always emphasised (b) the relation between
nationalism and democracy. Marxists have to understand simultaneously
the social roots of national struggles and the national content of
the class struggle.

It is a commonly held misconception that Marx and Engels did not
understand the importance of nationalism. They are famous for writing
in the Manifesto that "the workers have no country". Does that mean
that they have no interest in the nation? In fact, Marx and Engels
understood very well the importance for nationalism for working class
politics. In the same Manifesto, they write that the
proletariat "must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must
constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national, though
not the in the bourgeois sense of the word."

The question of the leading class of the nation is of extreme
importance. Societies are divided into classes, so the "national
interest" must be represented by one of them. The most progressive
class in society would be truly national in so far as it was able to
take the whole society forward, even while it was promoting its own
interest. If it is not that of the proletariat, the nationalism will
be that of the ruling classes that conceive their own interest as
those of the entire nation. That capacity to represent the interest
of a particular social class as those of the entire nation is very

Similarly, they have been accused of intending to abolish national
differences. However, what Marx and Engels foresaw was not the
complete disappearance of all national distinctions whatever but
specifically the abolition of sharp economic and social differences,
economic isolation, invidious distinctions, political rivalries, wars
and exploitation of one nation by another. In the case of Ireland and
Britain for example, they advocated "the transformation of the
present forced Union into an equal and free Confederation if
possible, or into complete separation if necessary" (255). The Irish
question was decisive in the formation of the Marxist analysis of the
national question.

For Marx and Engels, there was nothing intrinsically progressive
about Irish nationalism; the right of a nation to self-determination
is not absolute. Marx and Engels were clearly aware that the relation
between England and Ireland was one of oppression. But, Marx's
support for the Irish struggle was "not only acted upon feelings of
humanity. There is something besides." (404) His support for
Ireland's right to self-determination was based on a class analysis.
In the 1840s and 1850s, Marx and Engels believed that Irish freedom
would be a by-product of a working class revolution in Great Britain.
But in 1869, he wrote: "Deeper study has now convinced me of the
opposite. The English working class will never accomplish anything
before it has got rid of Ireland. The lever must be applied in
Ireland." (398) Why? Marx thought that the English aristocracy
maintained its domination at home through its domination of
Ireland. "A nation that oppresses another forges its own chains."
(255) This is why "to accelerate the social revolution in Europe, you
must push on the catastrophe of official England. To do so, you must
attack her in Ireland. That's her weakest point. Ireland lost, the
British Empire is gone and the class war in England till now
somnolent and chronic, will assume acute forms." (404) Thus, for
English workers, "the national emancipation of Ireland is no question
of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment, but the first
condition of their own social emancipation." (408) Therefore the task
for socialists was everywhere to put "the conflict between England
and Ireland in the foreground, and everywhere to side openly with the
Irish." (408) Their position on Ireland was analysed in terms of the
European and British revolution. The situation was assessed in terms
of its impact on the balance of forces between classes in Europe,
Britain and Ireland and how it would increase the class struggle.

Regarding the class struggle in Ireland, they arrived at the
conclusion that the land question, "is not merely a simple economic
question but at the same time a national question, since the
landlords there are its mortally hated oppressor." Marx saw the
relation between the national question and the class struggle in the
following terms: "In Ireland the land question has hitherto been the
exclusive form of the social question, because it is a question of
existence, of life and death, for the immense majority of the Irish
people, and because it is at the same time inseparable from the
national question." (407) The solution advocated by Marx was "What
the Irish need is (1) self-government and independence from England,
(2) an agrarian revolution, (3) protective tariffs against England."
(158) It was in the interests of the class struggle that the Irish
should give a central importance to the national question. In an 1882
letter to Kautsky, Engels wrote that the Irish "have not only the
right but even the duty to be nationalistic before they become
internationalistic", "they are most internationalistic when they are
genuinely nationalistic." (449) To the idea that workers of oppressed
and oppressor nations should somehow put their national differences
behind, Engels replied: "If members of a conquering nation called
upon the nation they had conquered and continued to hold down to
forget their specific nationality and position, to 'sink national
differences' and so forth, that was not Internationalism, it was
nothing else but preaching to them submission to the yoke, and
attempting to justify and perpetuate the dominion of the conqueror
under the cloak of Internationalism. It was sanctioning the belief,
only too common among the English working men, that they were
superior beings compared to the Irish." (419)

What was true of the relationship between Britain and Ireland, in the
later part of the 19th century was mirrored all over the world with
the imperialist stage of capitalism. Imperialism is a worldwide
system of colonial oppression and financial domination of the
overwhelming majority of the world by a small number of capitalist
countries. A handful of imperialist countries obtain high profits of
the exploitation of oppressed people worldwide. Imperialism thus
divides the world into oppressed and oppressor nations. Lenin, after
Marx and Engels, developed the most advanced Marxist understanding of
the national question. For Lenin, the focal point in the socialist
programme "must be that division of nations into oppressor and
oppressed which forms the essence of imperialism." (CW21, 409) If one
confronts the reality of imperialism, the first fact is that the
world is now divided between oppressor and oppressed nations, and
that national oppression has not only been extended, it has
intensified. Imperialism has also the effect of dividing the working
class. The super profits are able to "buy off" a layer of the working
class in the oppressor countries.

Lenin wrote "The policy of Marx and Engels on the Irish question
serves as a splendid example of the attitude the proletariat of the
oppressor nation should adopt towards national movements, an example
which has lost none of its practical importance." (CW20, 442)
Socialism for Lenin "will remain a hollow phrase if it is not linked
up with a revolutionary approach to all questions of democracy,
including the national question." (CW21, 413) Within their ultimate
aim of socialism, communists support "every revolutionary movement
against the present social system, they support all oppressed
nationalities, persecuted religions, downtrodden social estates etc.
in their fight for equal rights." (CW20, 34) He wrote this important
statement: "Increased national oppression under imperialism does not
mean that Social Democracy should reject what the bourgeoisie call
the 'utopian' struggle for the freedom of nations to secede but, on
the contrary, it should make greater use of the conflicts that arise
in this sphere, too, as ground for mass action and for revolutionary
attacks on the bourgeoisie." (CW22, 146) Nationalism is a potent
mobilising agent and the necessary framework for the transition to
socialism in societies dominated by imperialism. Lenin was keenly
aware of nationalism as a catalysing agent. His analysis is based on
distinctions between oppressor nations and oppressed nations,
bourgeois nationalism and revolutionary nationalism. In so far as the
oppressed nation fights the oppressor "we are always, in every case,
and more strongly than anyone else, in favour, for we are the
staunchest and the most consistent enemies of oppression." (CW20, 411-
412) "The bourgeois nationalism of any oppressed nation has a general
democratic content that is directed against oppression, and it is
this content that we unconditionally support." (CW20, 412)

Consequently, Marxism must take both tendencies of nationalism into
account by advocating "firstly the equality of nations and languages
and the impermissibility of all privileges in this respect (and the
right to self-determination); secondly the principle of
internationalism and uncompromising struggle against the
contamination of the proletariat with bourgeois nationalism, even of
the most refined kind." (CW20, 435) The task of the socialists is not
simply to tail the bourgeois nationalism. Democratic demands, Lenin
argued "must be formulated and put through in a revolutionary and not
a reformist manner, going beyond the bounds of bourgeois legality,
breaking them down, going beyond speeches in parliament and verbal
protests, and drawing the masses into decisive action." (CW22, 145)
Real revolutions do not take a "pure" form, with a "pure" working
class. Responding to Socialists who had dismissed the 1916 rising as
a nationalist revolt, Lenin replied: "To imagine that a social
revolution is conceivable without revolts of small nations in the
colonies and in Europe, without the revolutionary outbursts of a
section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without the
movement of non-class conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian
masses against oppression of the landlords, the church, the monarchy,
the foreign yoke, etc- to imagine that is tantamount to repudiating
social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says 'we are
for socialism', and another somewhere else lines up and says 'we are
for imperialism' and that will be a social revolution! ... Who ever
expects a 'pure' social revolution will never live to see it. Such a
person pays lip service to revolution without understanding what
revolution is". ("The Discussion of Self Determination Summed Up",
CW22, 355-356) The role of nationalism and national question is
crucial for the socialism: "The dialectics of history are such that
small nations powerless as an independent factor in the struggle
against imperialism, play a part as one of the ferments, one of the
bacilli which facilitate the entry into the arena of real power
against imperialism, namely the socialist proletariat." (CW22, 357)

The rising failed, but Lenin nevertheless defended its
validity. "The misfortune of the Irish is that they rose
prematurely, but only in revolutionary movements which are often
premature, partial, sporadic, and therefore unsuccessful will the
masses gain, experience, acquire knowledge, gather strength, get to
know their real leaders, the socialist proletarians, and in that way
prepare for the general onslaught, in the same way as separate
strikes, demonstrations, local and national, mutinies in the army,
outbreaks among the peasantry, etc, prepared the way for the general
onslaught in 1905." (CW, 358) The 1916 Rising was also significant
because it took place in Europe. "The struggle of the oppressed
nations in Europe, a struggle capable of going to the lengths of
insurrection and street fighting, breach of military discipline in
the army and martial law, sharpens the revolutionary crisis in Europe
infinitely more than a much more complete rebellion in a single
colony." (CW, 357) The stance of Marx, Engels and Lenin on Ireland
and the Irish question are the model for the socialist understanding
of the national question



Legendary Vietnamese general, who defeated French, Americans, warns

By Ben Rowse - HANOI

Vo Nguyen Giap, the legendary general who masterminded Vietnam's wars
of independence against the French and American armies, warned the
United States that it faced defeat in Iraq.

The diminutive 92-year-old, whose only military lesson came from an
old encyclopaedia entry describing the mechanism of hand grenades,
said Washington would fail in its bid to impose its will on the Iraqi
people. "Any country that wants to impose its will on another nation
will certainly fail and all nations fighting for their own
independence will be victorious," Giap told reporters.

"Everyone in the world should acknowledge that each country has the
right to independence and sovereignty. Nothing is more precious than
independence and freedom."

The general, dressed in a white military uniform, and wearing a
solitary gold-starred medal, said he was unable to comment on the
effectiveness of tactics used by Iraqi resistance fighters against US
forces. "I haven't had a chance to go to Iraq and to study the
specific tactics there," he said.

However, Giap, who is second only to Vietnamese Communist Party
founding father Ho Chi Minh as the most revered figure in the
country's recent history, stressed that "aggressors" would not
prevail. "All attempts to oppress the people of other nations, all
plots to encroach on other nation's sovereignty and independence will
be defeated," he added in his "message to the world's young people".
His comments came on the 29th anniversary of the fall of the US-
backed Saigon regime to communist forces and ahead of next week's
celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of victory against the
French at Dien Bien Phu.

In a 90-minute rambling and often repetitive monologue, a relaxed-
looking Giap recounted the tactics he employed during the battle that
precipitated the collapse of France's colonial rule in Indochina. In
particular, he dwelt on his critical decision to call off the attack
against the French military garrison in the remote mountainous valley
in northwestern Vietnam that had been planned for January 25, 1954
because he did not feel his peasant army could secure an outright
victory. "I think that was the most difficult decision I had to make
in my military career," he said.

The fighting began on March 13 and 56 days later, on May 7, shell-
shocked survivors of the French army hoisted the white flag to signal
the end to one of the epic battles of the 20th century.

Around 3,000 French troops were killed or reported missing while some
10,000 Vietnamese died. The defeat led to the signing of the Geneva
Accords on July 21, 1954 that split the country into North Vietnam
and South Vietnam. "It was a benchmark in the history of Vietnam and
it is the first time a weak colony has defeated a powerful
colonialist power," Giap said. "Dien Bien Phu was not only a victory
of the Vietnamese people but for many other countries around the
world. It proved that a nation with enough determination could win
against foreign aggressors no matter powerful they are."

Giap also recounted his many conversations with his fellow
revolutionary and mentor Ho Chi Minh, who told him the day after the
battle that "the victory was just the beginning."

"Only a person like Ho Chi Minh could say such a thing," Giap
said. "He embraced me and congratulated me but added that 'we will
still have to fight against the Americans'."

That "American War" lasted until 1975 and resulted in the deaths of
around three million Vietnamese.



May 19 is the 79th anniversary of Malcolm's birth; these quotes give
some idea of the force of his oratory, his uncompromising politics,
and his sense of humour:

"No, I'm not an American. I'm one of the 22 million Black people who
are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million Black people
who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.
So, I'm not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a
patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver, no, not I. I'm speaking
as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the
eyes of the victim. I don't see any American dream; I see an American
nightmare." April 3, 1964

"Revolution is never based on begging somebody for an integrated cup
of coffee. Revolutions are never fought by turning the other cheek.
Revolutions are never based upon love-your-enemy and pray-for-those-
who-spitefully-use-you. And revolutions are never waged singing 'We
Shall Overcome.'...Revolutions are never based upon that which is
begging a corrupt system to accept us into it. Revolutions overturn
systems. And there is no system on this earth which has proven itself
more corrupt, more criminal, than this system that in 1964 still
colonizes 22 million African-Americans, still enslaves 22 million
Afro-Americans." April 8, 1964

"We are in a society where the power is in the hands of those who are
the worst breed of humanity." Feb. 16, 1965

"But since the white man, your friend, took your language away from
you during slavery, the only language you know is his language. You
know, your friend's language. So you call for the same God he calls
for. When he's putting a rope around your neck, you call for God and
he calls for God. [laughter] And you wonder why the one you call on
never answers you." Feb.14, 1965

"Elijah believes that God is going to come and straighten things out.
I believe that too. But whereas Elijah is willing to sit and wait,
I'm not willing to sit and wait on God to come. If he doesn't come
soon, it will be too late. I believe in religion, but a religion that
includes political, economic, and social action designed to eliminate
some of these things, and make a paradise on earth while we're
waiting for the other. I believe in brotherhood, but my religion does
not blind me to the fact that I am living in a society where
brotherhood cannot exist." Feb. 3, 1965

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace
unless he has his freedom." Jan. 7, 1965, New York City

"We're not Americans, we're Africans who happen to be in America. We
were kidnapped and brought here against our will from Africa. We
didn't land on Plymouth Rock - that rock landed on us." "It is
incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a radical
conflict of black against white or as a purely American problem.
Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed
against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter." Columbia
University, Feb. 19, 1965

"The only way we'll get freedom for ourselves is to identify
ourselves with every op pressed people in the world. We are blood
brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, ... Cuba -- yes
Cuba too." June 10, 1964

"The same rebellion, the same impatience, the same anger that exists
in the hearts of the dark people in Africa and Asia is existing in
the hearts and minds of 20 million black people in this country who
have been just as thoroughly colonized as the people in Africa and
Asia." March 7, 1962

"We declare our right on this earth . . . to be a human being, to be
respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being
in this society, on this earth, in t his day, which we intend to
bring into existence by any means necessary." June 28, 1964 at the
OAAU Founding Rally

"As long as we wait for the Congress and the Senate and the Supreme
Court and the president to solve our problems, you'll have us waiting
for another thousand years." Feb. 16, 1965

"It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the
system of capitalism need some blood to suck.... It used to be strong
enough to go and suck anybody's blood whether they were strong or
not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it
can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world
free themselves, then capitalism has fewer victims, less to suck, and
it becomes weaker and weaker. It is only a matter of time in my
opinion before it will collapse completely." Jan. 18, 1965 interview

"We're not against people because they're white. But we're against
those who practice racism. We're against those who drop bombs on
people because their colour happens to be of a different shade than
yours. And because we're against it, the press says we're violent.
We're not for violence; we're for peace. But the people that we're up
against are for violence. You can't be peaceful when you're dealing
with them." Feb. 16, 1965

"It is the system itself that is incapable of producing freedom for
the twenty-two million Afro-Americans. It is like a chicken can't lay
a duck egg. A chicken can't lay a duck egg because the system of the
chicken isn't constructed in a way to produce a duck egg; and the
political and economic system of this country is absolutely incapable
of producing freedom and justice and equality and human dignity for
the twenty-two million Afro-Americans." Interview with Robert Penn
Warren, March 1964

"For one, when a white man comes to me and tells me how liberal he
is, the first thing I want to know, is he a non-violent liberal, or
the other kind. I don't go for any non-violent white liberals. If you
are for me and my problems, when I say me, I mean us, our
people, then you have to be willing to do as old John Brown did."
Jan. 7, 1965

"You think you can win in South Vietnam? The French were deeply
entrenched. They had the best weapons of warfare, a highly
mechanized army, everything that you would need. And the guerrillas
came out of the rice paddies with nothing but sneakers on and a rifle
and a bowl of rice, nothing but gym shoes and a rifle and a bowl of
rice. And you know what they did in Dien Bien Phu...." Feb. 11, 1965

"I don't want you to think that I came here to make an anti-American
speech. [laughter] I wouldn't come here for that. I came to make a
speech, to tell you the truth. And if the truth is anti-American,
then blame the truth, don't blame me." Feb. 11, 1965

"(If America were non-violent), America couldn't continue to exist as
a country. Is American non-violent in the Congo, or is she non-
violent in South Vietnam? You can't point to a place where America's
non-violent. The only people that they want to be non-violent are
American Negroes. We're supposed to be non-violent. When the world
becomes non-violent, I'll become non-violent." Interview with Claude
Lewis, December 1964

"Back during slavery, when Black people like me talked to the slaves,
they didn't kill 'em, they sent some old house Negro around behind
him to undo what he said.... There were two kinds of Negroes. There
was that old house Negro and the field Negro. And the house Negro
always looked out for his master. When the field Negroes got too much
out of line, he held them back in check. He put 'em back on the
plantation. "The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived
better than the field Negro. He ate better, he dressed better, and he
lived in a better house. He lived right up next to the master,in
the attic or the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and
wore his same clothes. And he could talk just like his master, good
diction. And he loved his master more than the master loved himself.
That's why he didn't want his master hurt. "If the master got sick,
he'd say, 'What's the matter, boss, we sick'? When the master's house
caust afire, he'd try to put the fire out. He didn't want his
master's house burned. He never wanted his master's property
threatened. That was the house Negro. "But then you had some field
Negroes, who lived in huts, had nothing to lose. They wore the worst
kind of clothes. They ate the worst food. And they caught hell. They
felt the sting of the lash. They hated their master; oh yes, they
did. "If the master got sick, they'd pray that the master died. If
the master's house caught afire, they'd pray for a strong wind to
come along. This was the difference between the two. And today you
still have house Negroes and field Negroes." Feb. 3, 1965

"Any time you throw your weight behind a political party that
controls two-thirds of the government, and that party can't keep the
promises that it made to you during election time, and you're dumb
enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that
political party, you're not only a chump but you're a traitor to your
race." April 12, 1964

Malcolm: "You have to wake the people up first, then you'll get
action." Q:"Wake them up to their exploitation?" Malcolm: "No, to
their humanity, to their own worth, and to their heritage." interview
in Village Voice, Feb.


"I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the
oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will
be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for
everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.
I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think
that it will be based upon the colour of the skin." Jan. 19, 1965
television interview

Claude Lewis: " When you get old and retire..." Malcolm: "I'll never
get old." Lewis: "What does that mean?" Malcolm: "Well, I'll tell you
what that means. You'll find very few people who feel like I fell
that live long enough to get old. I'll tell you what I mean and why I
say that. When I say 'by any means necessary,' I mean it with all my
heart, and my mind and my soul. But a black man should give his life
to be free, but he should also be willing to take the life of those
who want to take his. It's reciprocal. And when you really think like
that, you don't live long. And if freedom doesn't come to your
lifetime, it'll come to your children. Another thing about being an
old man that never has come across my mind. I can't even see myself
old." Lewis: "Well, how would you like to be remembered by your black
brothers and sisters around the world, twenty years from now?"
Malcolm: "Sincere. In whatever I did or do, even if I made mistakes,
they were made in sincerity. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong in sincerity. I
think that the best a person can be, he can be wrong, but if he's
sincere you can put up with him. But you can't put up with a person
who's right, if he's insincere. I'd rather deal with a person's
sincerity, and respect a person for their sincerity than anything
else. Especially when you're living in a world that's so
hypocritical." Interview with Claude Lewis, December 1964

James Baldwin, from a 1972 essay (reproduced in "Malcolm X: As They
Knew Him," ed. David Gallen, 1992): The others were discussing the
past or the future, or a country which may once have existed, or one
which may yet be brought into existence, Malcolm was speaking of the
bitter and unanswerable present. And it was too important that this
be heard for anyone to attempt to soften it. It was important, of
course, for white people to hear it, if they were still able to hear;
but it was of the utmost importance for black people to hear it, for
the sake of their morale. It was important for them to know that
there was someone like them in public life, telling the truth about
their condition. Malcolm considered himself to be the spiritual
property of the people who produced him. He did not consider himself
to be their saviour, he was far too modest for that, and gave that
role to another; but he considered himself to be their servant and,
in order not to betray that trust, he was willing to die, and died.
Malcolm was not a racist, not even when he thought he was. His
intelligence was far too complex than that; furthermore, if he had
been a racist, not many in this racist country would have considered
him dangerous. He would have sounded familiar and even comforting,
his familiar rage confirming the reality of white power, and
sensuously inflaming a bizarre species of guilty eroticism without
which, I am beginning to believe, most white Americans of the more or
less liberal persuasion cannot draw a single breath. What made him
unfamiliar and dangerous was not his hatred for white people but his
love for blacks, his apprehension of the horror of the black
condition and the reasons for it, and his determination so to work on
their hearts and minds that they would be enabled to see their
condition and change it themselves.




Dear Friend

Tools For Solidarity and the Black Youth Network are commemorating
African Liberation Day outside the Bedford St offices of the BBC on
Tuesday 25 May from 5-6pm. We will be asking the BBC when it is going
to start reporting the 22 ongoing forgotten wars of Africa. There
will be some street theatre from 5pm and at 5.30pm and there will be
a 3-minute silence for the forgotten dead. People are asked to wear
something black as a mark of respect for the dead.

Estimates of the war dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo
(formerly Zaire) are 4 million since 1998, the worst casualties in
any conflict in the world since the 2nd World War. Despite peace
deals this war continues in the east of the country and under the
smokescreen of war, western based multinational corporations loot
precious minerals essential for the running of our economy.

According to "", African wars in January 2002 to
June 2003 received less than 5% coverage in UK TV news programmes.
Of this limited coverage only 4.4% is about the worst conflict in the
DR Congo because British TV focuses on bombs in Kenya or the
situation in its previous colony Zimbabwe. Wars without the direct
involvement of the western nations do not seem newsworthy and the
little coverage given only focuses on the brutality of the conflict
and not on possible solutions.

But we are involved because proxy on behalf of western commercial
interests fights the wars. Rebel and government armies trade
diamonds, hardwoods, oil, coltan, (used in everything from mobile
phones, play stations to space stations) with western corporations.
Western and east European arms companies sell everything from AK47s
to helicopter gunship. UK exports £400m of arms to Africa annually
and companies receive export credit guarantees. Tanzania, one of the
poorest countries on the earth, bought a £28m air defence system
from UK when there exists no real Tanzanian air force or real enemy
from the air. Allegedly this was a sweetener/bribe enabling Tanzania
to reach HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Country) status and thus qualify
for some limited debt relief. British companies sold arms to both
rebel and government forces in Sierra Leone and to all principal
protagonists in DR Congo war. The ordinary people receive no share of
the wealth looted by African elites and their masters in the west. On
the contrary they flee their villages, abandon their fields of crops
and hide in the "bush" to avoid rape and torture.

Tuesday 25 May commemorates the founding of the OAU, Organisation of
African Unity, which set about under the inspiration of visionaries
like Nkrumah (Ghana) and Nyerere (Tanzania) to liberate the African
continent economically and politically from the European colonies.
Nkrumah was deposed in a coup when he tried to use the country's
diamonds for the benefit of his country. Lumumba, the first elected
PM of the Congo was assassinated with the collusion of the Belgium
government & CIA when he tried to do the same.

Thus while there are now independent, political African states with
flags and anthems, economically the African continent is still
controlled by western governments or institutions (World Bank/IMF)
and corporations controlled by western governments.

This is why Africa needs liberation and why it is important that we
get fair and decent reporting of the events taking place. Similar
events are taking place in London and across the African continent.
Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Yours in solidarity
Hamish Arrowsmith
TFS Secretary

Sources: - New Internationalist (May 04), 2003,
Wars in Africa (African Liberation Support Campaign, London, April 04)


What's On?


Monday 24th May

North Antrim

Next Meeting Monday 24th May 7:30 p.m.

Rasharkin Women's Group 22/23 Bamford Park Rasharkin


Tuesday 25th May 2004

Spring Seminar: Sport, a force for good on the island? A discussion
about sectarianism in sport.

Tuesday 25th May 2004 6:30-8:30pm The House of Sport, Upper Malone
Road, Belfast


Dr Alan Bairner Reader in the Sociology of Sport, Loughborough

Peter Quinn, Former President of the Gaelic Athletic Association and
member of GAA's Motions Committee.

Jimmy Boyce, President, Irish Football Association.

For more information contact Paul Mc Erlean, President of the Irish
Association, 02890339949,

The Irish Association is grateful for the support of The Sports
Council for Northern Ireland in the organisation of this event


Wednesday May 26th 1:10PM

"Women In Ireland" a talk by Dr. Myrtle Hill, Director of the Centre
for Women's Studies in Queen's University Belfast. An account of the
role of the role of women in the shaping of modern Ireland. Place:
Lnenhall Library, Belfast.


Thursday May 27th ­7:00-9:00pm

"The European Elections." Open only to IRSP members and affiliates.
If interested contact John Martin.


Anti-Racism Network
Public Meeting
'How Communities Can Defeat Racism'
Thursday 27 May 7:30pm

Transport House, High Street
Speakers: Rosanna Flynn - Mark Grehan : Residents Against Racism
Lekan Abasi : Anti-Racism Network
Other speakers -to be confirmed


Friday 11th of June

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.


Wednesday 7th July, 2004

Professor Arend Lijphart

The de Borda Institute has invited Professor Arend Lijphart, a well
recognised protagonist of consociationalism and a patron to The de
Borda Institute, to conduct a seminar on voting procedures in The
Linenhall Library at 10.30 - 12.00 on Wednesday 7th July, 2004.

All welcome on a first-come-first-served basis, but places are
limited. Further details from The de Borda Institute:


August 2-7-2004

1) Resistance and Hope ­ Assisi, August 2-7
Call for the Anti-imperialist Camp, Assisi, Italy, August 2-7

Mankind is travelling in fear on a train towards the abyss. This
abyss is the mercilessly waged global war. The train is steered by
the United States of America, to be precise, by a group of
adventurers dreaming of a dead and mute world with one single God,
the dollar; with one single banner, that of stars and stripes; with
one single language, that of American oppression.

These adventurers are driven by a vision which neither admits
compromises nor half ways: the clash of civilisations not only with
Islam but also with anybody who believes in the co-operation between
the peoples and who consider peace as the holiest of all values. They
have given a name to their doctrine: "permanent and pre-emptive war"
which not only displays the warmongering character of the North
American regime but also the idea that the US were a superior nation
with a special mission namely to exercise the global predominance at
any cost. The alibi, which this doctrine builds on, is the terrorist
threat. Those who employ indiscriminate force against defenceless and
innocent civilians, those who consider a person guilty if it does not
believe in their God, might believe to be on a straight way to
paradise but surely contribute to the transformation of this world
into an inferno without hope. The only remaining hope of the world is
the Resistance, the struggle of the peoples for freedom and self-

The American aim is not only to subjugate the poor and oppressed
nations but also those who still enjoy some liberty. The Patriot Act
and the anti-terrorist Black Lists show that the most elementary
democratic rights are at stake also in the West and particularly in
the United States. Virulent racist and chauvinist crusades attempt to
criminalise the anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces as well as
the organisations of immigrants. They even want to silence the peace

The anti-imperialist Resistance has indestructible roots and dates
back to the very beginning of the imperial North American ambitions.
Where there is oppression there will always be revolt as well, where
there is dictatorship there will always be the struggle for
democracy, where there is injustice there never will be peace.

Today the Iraqi people is testifying for the Resistance keeping up
their heads against the American war criminals and their paranoid
designs to Guantánamise the world. The Iraqi resistance has taken
the way paved by the Palestinian Intifada. By building a united front
of all the fighting forces it will gain further strength transforming
itself into a national liberation war. This front, the embryo of a
future government of a liberated Iraq, will be able ­ once the
invaders are driven out ­ to call upon the Iraqis to elect a
democratic constituent assembly exercising the full and undivided
sovereignty of the Iraqi people.

The future of humanity depends on the outcome of the battle raging in
Iraq. The heroic town of Falluja, having chased away mercenaries
armed with the most sophisticated weaponry, shows that the Iraqi
people are able to win as the Vietnamese people won. The decisive
factor ­ in war even more than in peace ­ is not technological
superiority but what motivates the people to fight.

We have to unite with the Resistance of the Iraqi people to help
mankind to liberate itself from the North American menace.

The future of the world depends on the victory of Iraq!

2) Iraqi presences and programme of Assisi

This year's Anti-imperialist Camp will have its focus on the Iraqi
resistance. The Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) will present its
efforts to build a common political front of all forces struggling
against occupation. For the Iraqi Democratic Communist Current, which
is a component of the IPA, Ahmed Karim will be present and for the
Iraqi Communist Party (cadre) Nori al-Moradi.

A global meeting of all the forces and committees in open support of
the Iraqi resistance is scheduled. The preparation of the
international day of action for the resistance scheduled for
September 25 will be one of the topics on the agenda.

The preliminary programme:


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