The Plough #49
25 July 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. Commission Highlights High Number of British Troops in NI
2. Eyewitness to Ardoyne Siege
3. Racism Stretches from Cork to Belfast
4. Derry "No Pasaran!" Project
5. What's On
Commission Highlights High Number of British Troops in NI
The Independent Monitoring Commission has highlighted the ongoing high
number of British soldiers stationed in the North.
In a report on British demilitarisation, the commission said troop
levels in the North were at just under 15,000. This is larger than the
number of British troops in Iraq
This number was supposed to be reduced to 5,000 as part of Britain's
commitments under the Good Friday Agreement.
The IMC also said today that the British military had demolished 10 of
its 19 watchtowers in the North, while the number of British bases and
installations had fallen from 32 to 24 and the use of military
helicopters had fallen by 33% in five years.
It also said that, by September of this year, British soldiers would
be guarding just 12 police stations, compared to 20 in 1999.
The figures show the continuing occupation of the North by the British
military. The theft of security documents by RIR soldiers from
Castlereagh and the subsequent handing over of them to the UDA shows
the continuing close contact between armed loyalism and the British
Six years after the GFA in terms of troop levels and collaboration
nothing has really changed. Surely it is time for republicans,
socialists, radicals and anyone else who cares to come together and
say loud and clear- the Good Friday Agreement does not work and
Northern Ireland as a political entity does not work.
Eyewitness to Ardoyne Siege
The 12th July parade passing through Ardoyne was always going to be
contentious -- in fact it is the most contentious of all the marches
in Belfast at present. Massive security operations, open-air prisons,
police/army brutality against the community are all part and parcel of
the day's events for the residents of Ardoyne.
Shopkeepers are refused the freedom to trade, and the public are
refused entry and exit from their area. A pretty dire concoction of
circumstances where frustration and anger are rife.
As a republican socialist comrade from this area I know only too well
the ramifications that accompany these situations and the aftermath
that the district suffers every year. It is dreaded.
A few months ago Teach Na Failte in North Belfast concluded that it
needed a contingency plan to help counter the interface violence
brought on by sectarian marches through the area. The management
committee made approaches to various different groupings set up within
the communities as well as being invited into some other cross-party
negotiations to tackle the problems of interface violence. These had
for some years been deemed to be controlled by one section of the
Teach Na Failte was welcomed onto the Parades Dialogue Group in
Ardoyne and listened intently to the position and policies of the
group. It was agreed after some intense in-house debate that Teach Na
Failte could have a positive input into the response of the community
to the contentious sectarian march that loomed over the area.
Teach Na Failte had great influence and were able to bring some
element of change and present the republican socialist perspective to
the group. Teach Na Failte were involved in every aspect of the
determination of the group and influenced the final decisions made.
It was agreed by all that there would need to be a protest in response
to the parade and after a few weeks debating the form of protest was
established. Teach Na Failte agreed completely and also helped
finalise the formation of the protest. It was also debated strenuously
that as there was a protest, that protest needed to be stewarded in
order to keep the protest peaceful and keep the focus and onus on the
real cause of the problem -- the Loyal Orders and their coat-trailing
hangers on. Teach Na Failte recognised their responsibility to steward
the protest as they had helped formulate and supported the protest
from the inception.
It was made clear from the very beginning that Teach Na Failte would
steward the protest but refused to police their community. It was also
stated that in previous years there had been a heavy-handed approach
to stewarding from individuals from other republican traditions and
that Teach Na Failte would not tolerate or be part of any such
dealings. If in any instance this occurred, then Teach Na Failte
stewards would remove themselves from the protest and their
involvement would cease. Further it was stressed that if the Parades
Commission or the PSNI reversed the decision then Teach Na Failte
would render the agreement void and would withdraw from the protest.
This was accepted and the group were left in no illusion as to Teach
Na Failte's position.
Teach Na Failte provided a number of stewards for the day and kept in
close contact with all through a radio network operated by T Na F. The
morning's parade passed peacefully and dispersed within 15 minutes or
During the course of the afternoon, Teach Na Failte were made aware
from members of the community of a sinister presence of British Army
land rovers around the Duncrue Industrial Estate -- around 240 to 260
in total each bearing the presence of at least four soldiers on board.
This was further backed up by an estimated total of 150 PSNI/British
Army land rovers along the length of the Shankill Road. Teach Na
Failte believed that these were to be deployed to Ardoyne and that the
PSNI were planning to force the parade and their hangers on up through
the area. This was a very worrying development and quickly provided
the potential for serious violence.
The area was sealed off at approximately 4pm and a massive presence of
British Army and PSNI were put into place. Possibly the biggest
presence in some years. It became apparent to all the intentions of
the PSNI and everyone prepared for what was to happen next. The parade
was pushed quickly through, followed in quick succession by a
cavalcade of buses carrying bandsmen. Around 15 minutes later the
residents of Ardoyne were met with a thunderous applause and cheering
from what proved to be around 400 UDA/UFF volunteers being escorted
through the area by the PSNI. These UDA/UFF henchmen were notoriously
known to the residents of Ardoyne as they had instilled fear into the
hearts of the people for years, some of the residents losing loved
ones at the hands of these evil murder squads.
All hell broke loose: loyalists began throwing bottles into the crowd
and was reciprocated from the angry and betrayed youths from the
Ardoyne area. It was at this point that the Teach Na Failte stewards
removed themselves from any such protest as agreed.
What followed next was a severe heavy-handed approach from the British
Army and PSNI towards the community resulting in serious head injuries
and various other bruisings. The local priest Fr. Gary Donegan
(present throughout the Holy Cross blockades) was beaten to the ground
by paratroopers deployed to the area. At this point the community
reached its breaking point and responded with a venom that no one was
expecting. Men, women and youths began to fight back against the
vicious beatings they were receiving from the PSNI and Brits, leaving
utter chaos for a further hour and a half.
Brits had trapped a section of the community and forced them towards
loyalist Glenbyrn, refusing them entry back into the community were
they proceeded to baton at will against the defenceless and desperate
crowd trying to reunite with their friends and family. This brought
things to a crescendo and what transpired were the scenes witnessed by
all of Brits running in retreat. The people of the community had had
enough and vented their full wrath upon the Brits and PSNI -- causing
us to witness some of the worst street violence and hand to hand
fighting in 20 years.
Teach Na Failte commend the bravery and courage shown by all that day,
in their resistance of attack from the state forces. Attempts were
made to calm the situation by republicans from another tradition, some
proving unprepared for what happened and resorting to other not so
amicable means of negotiation with the community. Albeit their
attempts were futile amidst the anger and hurt being manifested from
Brave as it was though, Teach Na Failte along with others realised the
reality of the situation -- retreating and beaten Brits were ordered
to load their weapons, volatile and isolated, crying like children and
in control of lethal force. Thankfully the chaos subsided after a time
and there was no excuse for the Brits to do what they were placed
there to do -- use live ammunition upon the residents of this
community. That was a very harsh reality.
The other sad fact is that men, women and youths from this area are
now facing lengthy prison sentences for their actions provoked by the
heavy-handedness of the state forces. People from this community are
going to continue to suffer, wives without husbands, mothers without
sons and children without fathers. The sad harrowing reality of the
situation is the Loyal Orders need to march through working class
republican areas and their green light of approval to do so by the
British state forces.
Two further marches are due on August 14th and 28th and this community
waits in dread for that time.
I hope this has proved to give an insight into what exactly happened
in Ardoyne on the 12th July 2004.
[Teach Na Failte is the organisation of republican socialist
ex-political prisoners and is a part of the Republican Socialist
Racism Stretches from Cork to Belfast
Members of TASS (Traveller and Settled Solidarity) picketed a hearing
at Cork District Courthouse on Friday 16 July in support of a
traveller woman Mrs. Harty who was summonsed by the Gardai under the
Trespass Act for failing to obey their instruction to vacate an empty
site at Brocklesby Courton Seminary Road on Cork's Northside. The
woman's solicitor explained that she and four of her children were on
the corporations waiting list and had occupied the site after
returning from Wales as they had nowhere else to go. Photos were shown
in Court to demonstrate that the area was well kept and had not been
abused. Mrs. Harty had vacated the site on receiving the summons.
The judge applied the Probation Act because it was the woman's first
time before the court and she was pleading guilty. The case
demonstrates the nonsense of the Trespass Act as here was a family
seeking accommodation in Cork which has over 4,000 applicants on its
waiting list the act simply persecutes those in desperate
circumstances and keeps them jumping from one site to another trying
to keep ahead of the law whilst pursuing accommodation. In the first
six months of 2004 78 housing applicants were accommodated by Cork
Also in Court that day was a Liberian asylum seeker being prosecuted
for failing to carry his ID card. He was stopped by two detectives and
arrested by them when he had not got his card. Despite pleading to be
taken home so he could show his ID they took him to Mayfield Garda
barracks and held him over night for the court sitting, again the
Probation Act was applied provide he produce his ID to the court. The
Garda had already discovered he was legitimate on their computer
system but still brought him to court. His solicitor told TASS
activists afterwards that this was his fourth case of this nature in
the last two months. Clearly a policy by Gardai to harass and
prosecute asylum seekers in Cork City.
From James McBarron
Ireland's 'Traditional' Racism Remains
An interview with Mrs. Ellen Mongan, a Traveller with seven children.
It's 2004 and close to 1,000 Traveller families are still living on
the roadside without access to basic facilities-water, sanitation or
Travellers Fighting Back: The History of Irish Travellers' Struggle
for Civil Rights and Ethnic Recognition
Their struggles have much in common with those of indigenous people
worldwide and with the struggles of Native Americans and Australian
Aboriginals and also with the struggles of Gypsies, Travellers and
nomads against racism and oppression.
Two racist attacks in loyalist areas in the past two days in Belfast
show that there is a strong connection in the North between racism and
sectarianism. We call on all to support the anti racist campaign and
stand with the marginalised and demonised.
Derry "No Pasaran!" Project
North West Spanish Civil War 1936-193
No Pasaran is an historical and educational group dedicated to the
memories of those men from the Derry, Donegal and Tyrone who with
thousands of others from all over Ireland and around the world.
Volunteers who came together in a foreign land, sacrificing their
lives for an ideal in defence of the Spanish Republic from 1936 to
Historically on the world stage this was to be one of the largest
impassioned showdowns between democracies and evil, it was known as
the Spanish Civil War, their call was "No Pasaran!" (They Shall Not
How you can help?
Our project would like to hear from anyone from the North West who had
a family member, a brother, an uncle or a grandfather etc who took
part in the international resistance to share their stories and
information to pay tribute and to honour their memories.
We also welcome anyone who would like to assist us by creating further
information for the project to please get in touch. Please do not
hesitate to contact the project (via email) if you would like to
assist corrections, give additional information or material from
stories, photographs or newspaper clippings etc.
From the North West there were names such as, Thomas Traynor (via
Toronto), John Murphy (via London), Eamon McGrotty, George Gorman,
Jack Flynn, James Donald, James Campbell, Hugh O'Donnell (a stoker),
Paddy O'Daire, Paddy Roe McLaughlin, Paddy Glacken, Phil Boyle, and
Contact address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Saturday 31 July
As part of the discussions and debates at the West Belfast Festival
there will be a event about Racism, featuring prominent speakers.
Date: Saturday 31 July
Venue: St Mary's University College
Time: 2.00pm 3.45pm
"Anti-Irish Racism and the Experience of Belfast's Ethnic Minorities
Today: Making the Connection"
Chair: Fr. Des Wilson
Dr. Robbie McVeigh, The Experience of Anti-Irish Racism
Claire Hackett, Falls Community Council's Dúchas Oral History
Video presentation on the Belfast historical experience of
sectarianism and discrimination.
The Experience of Ethnic Minorities Today
Armie Cerezo, Filipino Nurse
Jamal Iweida, Belfast Islamic community Anti-Racist activist
Bernadette McAliskey, Civil Rights, Ireland and the USA: Making
Sunday 1st August
Cumann Ceoil an Chaisleáin/Castle Folk Club
John Hewitt Bar. 9-00pm. Sunday 1st August.
Continuing with a theme set during our very successful Singer Song
writers' festival the Castle Folk Club is delighted to welcome back
Jane Cassidy and Maurice Leyden for an evening of music and song on
Sunday 1st August. Jane and Maurice have made a unique contribution to
the folk music scene in Belfast and further a field over a long period
but have not been performing as often as we would like lately so it is
a pleasure and delight that they have agreed to be with us this time.
Tá meas forleathan ag Maurice agus Jane measc ceoltóirí in
Éireann agus thar lear ach ní minic go leor go cloistear iad
anseo i mBéal Feirste. Bígí linn.
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:
Tuesday 3 August
"Palestine -- What Future?"
Speaker: Diana Buttu (legal advisor to the PLO)
Introduced by Martin McGuinness, Head of Sinn Fein Negotiating Team
7.30pm-9.30pm St Mary's University College, Belfast
[Biog: Diana Buttu is a Canadian/Palestinian lawyer and peace activist
who has worked as a legal advisor to the Palestinian Authority's
negotiating team. The child of Palestinian refugees, she holds a
doctorate from Stanford University on refugee issues and is a
recognised authority in this field and in the field of international
law. She has participated in many speaking tours in Canada, the United
States, Europe and the Middle East.]
Wednesday 4 August
St Mary's University College, Belfast
11.00am - 1.00pm
The Media and the Middle East
Film: "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land," (including Noam
Chomsky, Robert Fisk and other prominent media experts, on the Middle
This will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Prof. Bill
Rolston, involving prominent media personalities. (We are trying to
get the Glasgow Media Group who recently published research on the
media's coverage of Israel.)
Discussion: "Children of Palestine: No Past, No Present, What Future?"
Chair: Paddy Kelly, Children's Law Centre
Speakers: Oisin Coghlan, Christian Aid;
Brian Dooley, Amnesty International;
Naomi Wayne, Jews for Justice for Palestine.
Followed by the official West Belfast launch of new charity
Hosted by Tim McGarry of BBC TV fame, and a member of the infamous
Hole in the Wall Gang.
Belfast premiere of the film: "Arna's Children".
This highly emotional and dramatic documentary film released last year
follows the lives of children in Jenin, Palestine, over a number of
years, from their involvement in a youth drama theatre to resistance
and death on the streets of Jenin.
Thursday 5th August from 11am to 3p.m. -- Belfast
Intercomm and Greater New Lodge Festival are organising a
Multi-Cultural Sports Day on Thursday 5th August from 11am to 3p.m.
Sports Day will be held in Waterworks Sports Complex at junction of
Antrim Road and Cavehill Road. Activities will consist of street games
as well as traditional sports such as soccer, Gaelic football and
Parents are asked to bring along their children for a day of fun craic
and diversity. Everyone is welcome but especially those from ethnic
minority communities who are aged from 8 to 14.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Dominic at 90
Saturday 7th August
5pm at Conway Mill, Conway Street, West Belfast
Organised by the World People's Resistance Movement in co-cooperation
with Feile An Phobail/The People's Festival (West Belfast Festival).
"5in Réabhlóid i Neipeál Muileann Mhic Con Midhe. Le
haoichainteoir ó Neipeál. Socraithe tri Ghluaiseacht
Fhrithbheartaiochta Mhuintir an Domhain."
-Video of Mass Rally in Katmandu
Since 1996 the masses of Nepal have carried out an anti-monarchy
anti-imperialist revolution under the leadership of the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist). This revolution has advanced with an amazing
speed. During recent months the party has successfully led several
countrywide strikes involving millions achieving total shutdown! Most
of the countryside is under the people's power-red base areas. The
People's Liberation Army advances and the masses of people exercise
new political power, engage in a new economy in the interests of the
masses and enjoy a new rich culture. People's power is growing, the
old state and its imperialist backers are shivering and hopefully soon
people of the world will have their first red base country to advance
their world revolution.
Come to this Meeting to hear and to discuss the Revolution in Nepal
and to watch a video of a Mass Rally in the Capital of Katmandu!
How to get to Conway Mill
Go to Castle St Black Taxi rank in underground car park next to
Iceland supermarket. Take Black Taxi up Falls Rd. Past Divis Tower on
left. Carry on up to Garden of Remembrance -- you'll see the tricolour
flag + monument -- Conway St. is exactly opposite. Large red brick
building on right behind dole office. Go to rear entrance through
gates + car park).
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