The Plough #43
13 June 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) "Socialism Doesn't Work?"
3) 60th Anniversary of D-Day
4) Saving Private Ivan
5) NIPSA Strike Strong as Ever
6) NIPSA Watch Committee
7) US Nationwide Irish American Rights Group to Hold Convention in
8) What's On?
Regarding the comments of the Health Secretary for Britain, John
Reid, one fact should be noted. Smoking is the biggest cause of
preventable death in the UK, responsible for 120,000 premature deaths
a year. Now think of that world wide!!!
"SOCIALISM DOESN"T WORK?"
People are accustomed to hear that "socialism is impossible" or that
"socialism doesn't work". The London Guardian recently carried (27
May 2004) an extraordinary article entitled: "Chinese Lesson in How
to Put Food in the Mouths of Millions: World Applause for Beijing's
Record Achievement in Creating and Spreading Wealth". Since 1978,
Socialist China has accounted for three quarters of all the people in
the world lifted out of abject poverty. According to the World Bank,
the number of Chinese people subsisting on a dollar or less a day
(the World Bank's definition of poverty) has dropped from 49 percent
of the population (490 million in 1981) to 6.9 percent (88 million in
2002). Average life expectancy has increased from 35 years in 1949 to
71.4 years today. From 1978 to today, the country's GDP has increased
more than eightfold (from 362.4 billion dollars to 11.9 trillion
dollars) and it is expected to double again in the next ten years.
For more information, visit the following UN link:
60TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY
On the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the Plough would like to remind its
readers of a few facts ignored during the official commemorations.
Things have to be put in perspective. Who paid the highest price in
the struggle against fascism? 14.5 million Soviet soldiers died
during the Second World War:
* 9.5 million on the Eastern front and in Europe
* 2 million in Asia fighting the Japanese
* 3 million in concentration camps
Among civilians 7 million Russians died, 1 million of them Jews.
Contrast this with the other casualties: Germany, 2.85 million
soldiers and 2.3 million civilians died; The UK lost 271,311 soldiers
and 60,595 civilians; France, 210,000 soldiers and 400,000 civilians,
240,000 of them in camps; USA 292,100 soldiers; Belgium: 9,561
soldiers and 75,000 civilians; The Netherlands: 13,700 soldiers and
236,300 civilians; Italy: 279,820 soldiers and 93,000 civilians;
Japan: 1.5 million soldiers and 300,000 civilians; China: 1.3 million
soldiers and 10 million civilians.
(Source: Grand atlas de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, Larousse -- The
Times, 1990, p. 205.)
Who played the biggest role in the military defeat of the Nazis? Out
of the 783 Nazi Divisions, 607 -- more than three quarters -- were
destroyed on the Eastern front. In contrast, Anglo-American troops
faced a total of 176 Divisions. On the Soviet front, Nazi Germany
lost a total of 77,000 planes (70 percent of all lost), 48,000 tanks
(75 percent), 167,000 artillery pieces (74 percent). The Wehrmart
lost on daily basis 7,055 men, 55 planes, 34 tanks and 118 artillery
What did the contemporaries say?
Franklin Roosevelt, President of the USA: "It is difficult to ignore
the simple fact that the Russians killed more enemy troops and
destroyed more enemy material than all the 25 allied nations put
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister: "...It is the Russian Army
that broke the back of the German war machine..."
General Charles De Gaulle: "Les Français savent ce qu'a fait la
Russie soviétique et ils savent que c'est elle qui a joué le
rôle principal dans leur libération!"
Dwight Eisenhower, Chief of Staff of allied armies in Europe and
Africa: "The campaigns of the Red Army played a decisive role in the
defeat of Germany."
Bernard Montgomery: "We, the British people, will never forget
The Plough proudly remembers the Soviet Union's decisive contribution
to the defeat of fascism. (LOR)
SAVING PRIVATE IVAN
11 June 2004
By Mike Davis
Remember Normandy's heroes -- but also that the Red army played the
decisive role in defeating Nazi Germany.
The decisive battle for the liberation of Europe began 60 years ago
this month when a Soviet guerrilla army emerged from the forests and
bogs of Belorussia to launch a bold surprise attack on the mighty
The partisan brigades, including many Jewish fighters and
concentration-camp escapees, planted 40,000 demolition charges. They
devastated the vital rail lines linking German Army Group Centre to
its bases in Poland and Eastern Prussia.
Three days later, on June 22 1944, the third anniversary of Hitler's
invasion of the Soviet Union, Marshal Zhukov gave the order for the
main assault on German front lines. Twenty-six thousand heavy guns
pulverised German forward positions. The screams of the Katyusha
rockets were followed by the roar of 4,000 tanks and the battle cries
(in more than 40 languages) of 1.6 million Soviet soldiers. Thus
began Operation Bagration, an assault over a 500-mile-long front.
This "great military earthquake", as the historian John Erickson
called it, finally stopped in the suburbs of Warsaw as Hitler rushed
elite reserves from western Europe to stem the Red tide in the east.
As a result, American and British troops fighting in Normandy would
not have to face the best-equipped Panzer divisions.
But what American has ever heard of Operation Bagration? June 1944
signifies Omaha Beach, not the crossing of the Dvina River. Yet the
Soviet summer offensive was several times larger than Operation
Overlord (the invasion of Normandy), both in the scale of forces
engaged and the direct cost to the Germans.
By the end of summer, the Red army had reached the gates of Warsaw as
well as the Carpathian passes commanding the entrance to central
Europe. Soviet tanks had caught Army Group Centre in steel pincers
and destroyed it. The Germans would lose more than 300,000 men in
Belorussia alone. Another huge German army had been encircled and
would be annihilated along the Baltic coast. The road to Berlin had
Thank Ivan. It does not disparage the brave men who died in the North
African desert or the cold forests around Bastogne to recall that 70%
of the Wehrmacht is buried not in French fields but on the Russian
steppes. In the struggle against Nazism, approximately 40 "Ivans"
died for every "Private Ryan". Scholars now believe that as many as
27 million Soviet soldiers and citizens perished in the second world
Yet the ordinary Soviet soldier -- the tractor mechanic from Samara,
the actor from Orel, the miner from the Donetsk, or the high-school
girl from Leningrad -- is invisible in the current celebration and
mythologisation of the "greatest generation".
It is as if the "new American century" cannot be fully born without
exorcising the central Soviet role in last century's epochal victory
against fascism. Indeed, most Americans are shockingly clueless about
the relative burdens of combat and death in the second world war. And
even the minority who understand something of the enormity of the
Soviet sacrifice tend to visualise it in terms of crude stereotypes
of the Red army: a barbarian horde driven by feral revenge and
primitive Russian nationalism. Only GI Joe and Tommy are seen as
truly fighting for civilised ideals of freedom and democracy.
It is thus all the more important to recall that -- despite Stalin,
the NKVD and the massacre of a generation of Bolshevik leaders -- the
Red army still retained powerful elements of revolutionary
fraternity. In its own eyes, and that of the slaves it freed from
Hitler, it was the greatest liberation army in history. Moreover, the
Red army of 1944 was still a Soviet army. The generals who led the
breakthrough on the Dvina included a Jew (Chernyakovskii), an
Armenian (Bagramyan), and a Pole (Rokossovskii). In contrast to the
class-divided and racially segregated American and British forces,
command in the Red army was an open, if ruthless, ladder of
Anyone who doubts the revolutionary elan and rank-and-file humanity
of the Red army should consult the extraordinary memoirs of Primo
Levi (The Reawakening) and KS Karol (Between Two Worlds). Both hated
Stalinism but loved the ordinary Soviet soldier and saw in her/him
the seeds of socialist renewal.
So, after George Bush's recent demeaning of the memory of D-day to
solicit support for his war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, I've
decided to hold my own private commemoration.
I will recall, first, my Uncle Bill, the salesman from Columbus, hard
as it is to imagine such a gentle soul as a hell-for-leather teenage
GI in Normandy. Second - as I'm sure my Uncle Bill would've wished --
I will remember his comrade Ivan.
The Ivan who drove his tank through the gates of Auschwitz and
battled his way into Hitler's bunker. The Ivan whose courage and
tenacity overcame the Wehrmacht, despite the deadly wartime errors
and crimes of Stalin. Two ordinary heroes: Bill and Ivan. Obscene to
celebrate the first without also commemorating the second.
* Mike Davis teaches American history at the University of California
at Irvine and is an editor New Left Review; his latest book is "Dead
SIX MONTHS IN NIPSA STRIKE STRONG AS EVER
This week marks the 6th month anniversary of the beginning of
industrial action by civil servants in the north. At NIPSA's annual
conference last week the left improved its position on the union's
Civil Service Executive, and delegates confirmed without dissent
their determination to see the action through to a successful
As the dispute continues the words and actions of civil service
management have become more provocative by the day. On Thursday, 4
workers in the Rates Collection Agency were suspended without pay by
management for refusing to cover the work of absent colleagues. As a
result a mass walkout of RCA workers took place in Belfast and
Craigavon. In addition, partly spurred on by this attack on their
colleagues, MOT workers yesterday decided to continue their strike
indefinitely. When the strike of NIPSA members at the DSD's flagship
Pensions Centre in Derry is taken into account, at present over 500
workers are currently withdrawing their labour.
Totally oblivious to the counterproductive effect of his statements
Brit Minister Ian Pearson has called on NIPSA members to "take their
heads out of the sand" claiming that they have "little public
sympathy." This may well be the case in Pearson's Dudley constituency
(where he might be better advised to spend more time, if his party's
election fiasco on Thursday is anything to go by), but as been made
clear in countless demonstrations over the past six months, it is
clearly not representative of the working class of the six counties.
NIPSA WATCH COMMITTEE
As NIPSA's industrial action enters it's seventh month, the courage
and sacrifice of the vast majority of members is ever more threatened
by the actions of a selfish few. This is clearly illustrated by the
current situation in Derry's Pensions Centre, where a skeleton
service is being by a tiny number of scabs, in the face of massive
support for the ongoing strike by their colleagues.
Such actions cannot be allowed to continue with impunity. Those who
put private greed before general welfare must be shamed before their
working class neighbours. Therefore, for the record, those scabbing
in the Pensions Centre last week were: ? Lindsay (Ballynahinch), ?
Smith (Newcastle), ? McPolin (Falls Road), ? Orr (Ballymoney), ?
Litter (Lurgan), ?McNally (Lisburn), ? Murphy (Andersonstown) and ?
US NATIONWIDE IRISH AMERICAN RIGHTS GROUP TO HOLD 2004 CONVENTION IN
Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) National Board members, Carol
Russell and Dr Fred Wilcox, booked into a South Belfast guest-house
last week, ahead of the IAUC's November convention in Northern
Ireland to evaluate costs and assess suitable neutral venues for the
The IAUC's 2-day program in Ireland is the organisation's first
convention to be held outside of America and when asked why, Russell
said, "The IAUC is discouraging any political party rhetoric during
the Belfast convention. We hear Irish Politicians regularly in
America she said, and our organisation wants to hear from the people
on the ground and obtain their recommendations for positive movements
Russell said, "The IAUC is inviting all community groups to contact
us. We are encouraging participation from the fullest local spectrum
to what she described as "an IAUC from the heart program". Our goal
she said, is to provide an opportunity for people from all sections
of the community and political opinion in Northern Ireland to speak
openly at an open forum."
The Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) advocates "the end of
British colonial occupation" and the peaceful reunification of
Ireland describe the program's agenda as "focussing on the
implementation of all the elements of the Good Friday Agreement and
Further details or enquiries Contact Carol Russell
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jim Gallagher by e-mail at
(JimGall98@juno.com) or by telephone via the IAUC 1-800-947-4282.
IAUC Convention, Belfast: November 12-14, 2004
IAUC web site: http://www.iauc.org/
(Sean McAughey -- 31 May 2004)
Thursday, June 17th
The Refugee Action Group is launching a new report on imprisonment of
asylum-seekers. The launch of 'Measuring Misery: Detention of Asylum-
Seekers in Northern Ireland: A Statistical Analysis, 2002-2004' will
take place on Thursday, June 17th, at 12.45 in The Exchange Place, 23
Donegall Street, Belfast. Speaking at the event will be Les Allamby,
director of the Law Centre; Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland
programme director for Amnesty International; and a female asylum-
seeker from Zimbabwe, previously detained in Maghaberry jail. Short
presentations will be followed by questions/discussion, and
refreshments including Fairtrade wine (courtesy of the Co-op). Anyone
wishing to attend should contact Cornelius Wiesener at
June the 19th
The Anti Racist Network is to hold a protest at the immigration
offices at Belfast International Airport we are asking those with
cars who can attend to contact the ARN as so to give lifts to others.
Details to follow. Picket at the Immigration Office (Belfast
International Airport) on Saturday 19th of June at 2.30 against
current immigration policy
Could people please email ARN or Nathalie (90 244639) if they
need/can provide transport to the International airport.
Finally as more and more community and trade union organisations as
well as individuals are joining us, the ARN therefore is to hold
meetings in several towns in the short time ahead to establish new
groups, anyone wishing to establish a local ARN group can again
contact us at email@example.com.
19ú Meitheamh/June 2004
Cumann Ceoil An Chaisleáin The Castle Folk Club
Singer and Songwriters Festival
(in The Unemployed Resource Centre, beside The John Hewitt)
11.00-12.30 Rosie Stewart and Patricia Flynn
2.00-3.30 Brian Moore
2.00-3.30 Dermot Rooney Slide Guitar
2.00-3.30 Caoimhín Mac Ghiolla Cháthain (Bréag)
5.00-7.00 Traditional Session in The John Hewitt
9.30-late Concert, Ceolchoirm Mhór Halla Dessie Wilson, Conway
Mill, Belfast: Starring Rosie Stewart, Patricia Flynn, Brian Moore,
Caoimhín Mac Ghiolla Cháthain, Dermot Rooney and friends of
Cumann Ceoil An Chaisleáin
20ú Meitheamh/June 2004
11.00-12.30 Mary Anne McCracken Historical Walk with Jane Cassidy and
Maurice Leyden (meet at the John Hewitt)
5.00-7.00 Errol Walsh Roots Music Club
9.00-12.00 Cumann Ceoil An Chaisleáin, The Castle Folk Club in The
John Hewitt: Starring Roisin White, Francie McPeake and friends of
Cumann Ceoil An Chaisleáin
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:
Friday 9 July
Honouring anti-fascist fighters
A monument to the eleven Waterford men who fought in defence of the
Spanish Republic, 1936-38, will be unveiled at the Mall, Waterford.
The work of the acclaimed artist Michael Warren from Gorey, it will
be unveiled by the International Brigade veterans Michael O'Riordan
and Jack Jones.
Aoine 9 Iúil
In onóir trodaithe frithfhaisisteacha
Nochtfar leacht i gcuimhne ar an aon fhear Port Láirgeach déag
a throid i gcosaint Phoblacht na Spáinne, 1936-38, sa Mheal, Port
Láirge. Saothar de chuid an ealaíontóra mholta Michael
Warren as Guaire is ea é, agus is iad Michael O'Riordan agus Jack
Jones, seansaighdiúirí de chuid na Briogáide
Idirnáisiúnta, a nochtfaidh é.
[from CPI website]
Upcoming STOP BUSH meetings and other events -- check out
US military is still landing in Shannon and Baldonnel. Ahern and
Cowen will fall over themselves to welcome the warmonger Bush in
June. We must show them up for the war criminals and liars that they
are. The majority of Irish people oppose the visit and want to
protest against it. It is up to us to get that opposition organised
and make sure that tens of thousands march on June 25th at 7pm and
then at 10am in Dromoland Castle, Co Clare. Wherever you are get a
Stop Bush meeting going, put up posters, distribute leaflets etc. The
potential is there to make these demos as big as the Feb 15th 150,000
that marched last year. Its up to us to get organised to make sure
that potential is fulfilled. For posters, info, etc contact Rory at
STOP BUSH PROTESTS:
* Friday June 25th -- STOP BUSH Demonstration, 7pm Assemble Garden of
Remembrance Parnell Sq, Dublin contact 086 1523542
* 7pm Galway: Assemble at City Hall and then Father Burke Park --
contact 086 8343667
* 7pm Waterford: Meet Red Square, contact 0863274015
* 7pm Tralee: Assemble Brandon Hotel, contact 087 6176009
* 7pm Sligo: Assemble Town Hall, contact 086 303 9787
* Saturday June 26th -- Demonstration & March, 9-10am Assemble
Dromoland Castle, Co Clare followed by a march to Shannon, (To book
buses to Dromoland phone: 086 1523542/087 6187680)
Don't miss the When Bush Comes to Shove gig -- with Christy Moore,
Damian Rice, the Revs, Mary Black, Kila, Katell Keineg and comedian
Barry Murphy -- June 19th Point Theatre. All funds raised to go to
IAWM and STOP BUSH CAMPAIGN. Contact us about tickets or check out
Friday, July 30th
Democratic Dialogue is organising a seminar, in conjunction with the
Institute of Governance at Queen's University Belfast and the de
Borda Institute, on 'The Difficulties of Democracy Building, Identity
Formation and Ethnic Nationalism in the Balkans'. The seminar is to
be led by Rory Conces, an assistant professor of philosophy and
member of the International Studies faculty at the University of
Nebraska at Omaha, who is also editor of the International Third
World Studies Journal and Review. The event will take place on
Friday, July 30th, at 11.00am in room 101 Lanyon North (first floor,
Lanyon Building), at Queen's (directions from the porter's lodge at
main entrance). Prof Conces has lectured in China, Croatia, and
Kosovo; as well as having been a Fulbright Scholar in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Approaching issues of ethnic identity from a political-
philosophical standpoint, his talk will be of considerable resonance
to Northern Ireland.
Further information from firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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