The Plough #44
20 June 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) It's Good to Talk
2) A Renewal of the Republican Dream
3) Letters: US Nationwide Irish American Rights Group
4) What's On?
IT'S GOOD TO TALK
The election results were a disappointment for those on the left.
In England, Respect, an opportunist creation of the Socialist Workers
Party, crashed to a humiliating defeat. Respect was trumpeted as the
spearhead of the radical left's revival. It was to have mobilised the
votes of the millions of people who opposed the Iraq war, and its
leaders confidently boasted they would win seats and "give Blair a
bloody nose" on June 10. But reality checked in. In the European
elections, it averaged a mere 1.67% of the vote in the nine English
regions. The other radical left party, the Greens, polled nearly four
times more, notching up 6.19%. As well as being annihilated by the
big three parties, UKIP and the Greens, Respect was also eclipsed in
the European ballot by a motley collection of minor fringe parties,
including the BNP, English Democrats, Seniors, Independents and the
In the North of Ireland, the Socialist Environmental Alliance
candidate, Eamonn McCann, who based the bulk of his campaign on
opposition to the Iraq war, polled a disappointing 9 thousand odd
votes, just over 1% of the vote. The manner in which the SEA
established itself, chooses its candidate and conducted its campaign
is an object lesson in how not to build a socialist alternative.
Remember the SEA claimed to have support from environmentalists,
trade unionists, etc. In reality the Green Party stood their own
candidate, the Workers Party supported the independent, Gilliland,
(no politics) and some trade unionists refused to back McCann because
of his stance on the IRSP. At the end of the day McCann had the
support of only some members of the CPI, the SWP and some very
dedicated socialists and trade unionists. We take no pleasure in the
low vote for McCann. We warned the SEA that by placing the emphasis
on calling for imperialism out of Iraq they were making a fundamental
mistake. To oppose Imperialism far away while deliberately ignoring
its presence in Ireland and refusing to tackle the fundamental
contradictions at the heart of Irish politics the SEA were
opportunist and dishonest. Because of the national question the vast
majority of workers voted for the party that they believed could best
protect what they saw as their national interest. Hence the huge
votes for both the DUP and Sinn Fein. As republican socialists we may
regret the workers' choice as it seems to set worker against worker
but we will not ignore where the workers consciousness is. The SEA's
stance of appeals to an abstract class-consciousness while ignoring
the real consciousness of the workers was an ultra leftist error. It
is relevant to recall the remarks made by Jack Bennett in an
introduction to "Freedom the Wolfe Tone Way" by Sean Cronin and
Richard Roche 1973 when he wrote,
"The socialists of the O'Brien School hold that it is not permissible
even to talk about territorial unity and political independence
because they say a million Protestants in the North don't want those
things. It is quite all right however to blether away to your hearts
content about 'socialism' even though five million Irish people, at
the moment at any rate do not want socialism. How come? What's the
difference? Simple. It is a hellavalot safer to blether about
socialism. It gets you nowhere. It keeps the cosy status quo
comfortably intact. And it does not bring you too closely to the bone
of the real politics."
The relative success of some socialists in the 26 county elections
shows the importance of sustained political work on the ground. There
is no shortcut to support for socialist policies other than by
sustained long term work within the working class and that work is
political, economic socials and cultural as well as electoral. Sinn
Fein's populist approach paid off in electoral terms. The strategy of
broadening their base by appealing out from the traditional
republican base towards the wider radical, environmentally conscious
and educated youth has reaped its reward. Sinn Fein is now in the
process of challenging for the support of the traditional Irish
Labour Party supporter while at the same time winning over the more
republican minded grass roots Fianna Fail supporter. As its support
grows we can confidently see an even more shift to the centre away
from any concept of socialism.
The IRSP is a small republican socialist party that considers itself
internationalist. We have members mainly residing in nationalist
working class areas in the North and with strong roots among some
working class communities. We were prepared to consider working with
other groups on a principled basis to see if agreement could be
reached for agreed political platform for the last election. The
opportunism of the SEA prevented that. Nevertheless we will continue
to have an open door to those who wish to talk about developing
socialist/socialist republican ideas, policies and programmes.
If the left and the republican left can not even talk to each other
why oh why would the bulk of the working class population even give
us the time of day? It's good to talk.
A RENEWAL OF THE REPUBLICAN DREAM: EXTRACTS OF SPEECH BY DENIS MURPHY
AT JOHN MORRIS UNVEILING
The death of John was a loss to his family and to the Republican
Socialist Movement. John joins a long list of republicans since 1922
gunned down by the forces of the so-called Free State. We republicans
have long memories. We recall the murder of Harry Boland, the
executions of Mellows, Barrett, O'Connor and McKelvey, and the
bitterness with which the so-called 'De Valera republicans' hunted
down, murdered, tortured and beat those republicans who stood by
their principles in the thirties and forties.
We don't forget that in the last round of the armed struggle against
the presence of British troops in Ireland, all sections of the Free
State establishment rounded up republicans, banned us from the
airwaves, handed our men over the border to the British imperialists
and did everything physically possible to destroy republicanism in
Ireland. They did not succeed. Our presence here today to honour our
fallen comrade is a testimony to the enduring power of our
But, comrades and friends, it is important to stress that our
republicanism is not some sterile abstract ideology, divorced from
the everyday realities of peoples' lives. John Morris and many others
like him are proof that our republicanism is rooted in the everyday
reality of working class life. John was a member of the INLA. While
politically he saw the need for a working class party that stood for
the marginalised and dispossessed, he realised that the rich and
powerful, the supporters of the imperialists, could not relinquish
their power without a fight hence the necessity for a cutting edge to
the struggle. And in that struggle he fell.
Of course the full forces of the establishment have united to
denigrate his and the sacrifices of others. Through the judiciary,
the media, the Gardai and the political elites, barriers are erected
to prevent the full truth coming out. The paid perjurers of the press
have mocked, lied and distorted the truth. Sections of the media have
denigrated us as drug dealers. We are not. No member of the INLA is
involved in drug dealing. No member of the IRSP is involved in drug
dealing. The IRSP have challenged those journalists who have made
these allegations in the past to produce the evidence. We are still
waiting for the evidence.
We are however aware that a small number of pseudo-gangs, and former
members of not only the INLA but other republican armies, are engaged
in extortion, racketeering and drug dealing using the name of the
INLA. We know who they are, for some of these gangs are operating
obviously with the full approval of the so-called security forces.
Those who descend into extortion and racketeering have no right to
call themselves republicans for they besmirch the very name.
By repeatedly linking this movement with drug dealing, the
establishment hope to belittle the sacrifices of volunteers like
John. But the truth is simple. John Morris was a victim of a shoot to
kill policy because he was a republican socialist. The same policy
adopted by the British in the North is the same policy carried out by
the Gardai in the South. So long as we remember this, the crumbs from
the table of the rich will not seduce us nor the slanderous lies of
the media halt us.
Friends, it would be easy from this platform to make an inflammatory
speech about our enemies and to spew out the anger we all feel at the
injustice not only of John's murder but at all the injustices we
see around us. But that would be anger misdirected. We need to channel
our energies into positively building up the self-confidence of
working class communities. It is those communities who can tackle
injustice. To do that, we need to redouble our political work and
redouble our commitment.
Our republicanism, our republican socialism, has to become relevant
to the lives of the people we come from and are part of. We recognise
that there is a huge amount of work to be done. We need to make not
ourselves angry but our class. We need to help arouse our class to
the corruption endemic in this Free State, to the poverty, to the
racism, to the exploitation of the low paid, to the whittling away of
what remains of Irish neutrality. We need to make our class angry
that the Irish government has invited the war mongering oil baron
George Bush to our shores. Everyone here today should take to the
streets when Bush comes to town. Yes, the war in Iraq is important.
We make no apology for calling for the defeat of the Coalition forces
in Iraq. We stand today as republicans in defence of the right of the
Iraqi people to self determination, just as we support the right of
self determination of the whole of the people on this island to
determine our own future without interference.
But we need to point out to those people who say that the issue of
Iraq is the main issue that there are only 8,500 British troops in
Iraq but 13,500 in the North of Ireland. Unlike some so-called
leftists, we oppose imperialism both at home and abroad.
Meanwhile the facade of what passes for politics in the North
continues. Do we really think that the elections will change
anything? The political process that produced the Good Friday
Agreement is fatally flawed. So long as the political parties,
including Provisional Sinn Fein, play the tribal card then no
progress can be made towards the Republic we all want. It may gain
support for an internal settlement but it will not deliver the
We in the Republican Socialist Movement have made it clear time and
time again that the only Republic worth fighting for is the Socialist
Republic as envisaged by James Connolly. It is not part of our
republicanism to administer British rule in Ireland and say that it
is a stepping stone to the Republic. It is not. That may be what
Irish nationalism is about. It is not what Irish republicanism is
It is clear that there needs to be a renewal of the republican dream
-- a dream based on the realities of the peoples' lives today. We
call for all republicans regardless of background to engage in this
renewal. We will play our part in renewing republicanism, bringing
into it our class analysis and our republican desire to create a
state that truly encompasses not only Catholic, Protestant and
Dissenter, but all who have for whatever reason sought refuge on our
shores. Our Republic will be multicultural, democratic, inclusive and
socialist, and will be a fitting testament to our class politics.
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
(email@example.com) 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)
Sunday 27th June
At 2.00 in Sallins
Wolfe Tone Republican Socialist Commemoration
Activists to cycle across Ireland
Ireland's next Critical Mass bicycle rally will be longer than usual
-- six days long, in fact. Activists from the Dublin Grassroots
Network will set off from Dublin by bicycle next Saturday, June 19th,
on a 176-mile trip to Shannon Airport to protest against the visit by
US President, George Bush.
Bush is due to arrive at Shannon on Friday, June 25thfor an EU-US
Summit at Dromoland Castle on June 26th. The cyclists will be
arriving at Shannon in time to participate in the demonstrations
organised by AmBush2004 and Anti-War Ireland. Dublin Grassroots
Network spokesperson Dermot Sreenan said: "The Critical Mass bike
ride is just one of the many events organised to show our opposition
to the continuing occupation of Iraq and the Irish government's
complicity in the war by allowing Shannon Airport to be used by the
US military." We will be stopping in towns along the way, encouraging
others to get involved and to join our entourage. Everyone is welcome
to join us!"
CRITICAL MASS ROUTE:
Leaving at 5.00 from the Department of Justice, St Stephens Green on
Saturday 19th June - Dublin to Straffan, via Baldonnel, Newcastle and
Sunday 20th June - Straffan to Kildare. via Clane, Prosperous,
Kilmeague, Allen, Milltown.
Monday 21st June - Kildare to Aghaboe, via Crosskeys, Vicarstown,
Tuesday 22nd June - Agaboe to Roscrea, via Ballybrophy, Knock.
Wednesday 23rd June - Roscrea to Killaloe, via Shinrone,
Cloughjordan, Lisgarode, Nenagh, Ballina.
Thursday 24th June - Killaloe to the Shannon Peace Camp.
We expect to be at our final destinations by 7.00 pm each day.
To find out where we are on route ring Dermot at 08-7627-7606
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
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]
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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