The Plough #50
30 July 2004
E-mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
2. Hands Off Aberfan Memorial!
3. Death of Bobbie (Robert) Heatley, Belfast
4. Nurse Murdered in Bucarmanga/Colombia Solidarity Campaign
5. What's On
Visitors to Belfast very quickly learn how to distinguish areas where
the population is from the loyalist/British/Protestant tradition.
Areas are marked out with bunting, colours, flags and slogans. The
colours red, white and blue predominate. Although there are tasteful
murals in some places there are also crudely offensive murals and
slogans that encourage hatred not only of Catholics but also any
outsiders who are different. So currently gays in Derry fear not only
being beaten up on the streets by reactionary homophobic nationalists
but also fear being burned out of their homes by right wing loyalist
paramilitary gangs. In Belfast many non-white residents suffer abuse
in the Donegall Road/Sandy Row/Village areas from right wing racist
loyalists who support Combat 18, a neo–Nazi British organisation.
We know that many of the ordinary Protestant working class residents
abhor this racism but feel helpless in the face of loyalist
paramilitaries. The failure of the police to seriously deal with
racist attacks mirrors their failure to deal adequately with
anti-Catholic attacks. This a partially a reflection of the inbuilt
right wing culture that predominates in military type state
organisations but it also reflects the institutionalised racism and
anti-Catholic culture of the RUC/PSNI.
The IRSP maintain that sectarianism is inherent in the very existence
of the six-county state and it has permeated through the body politic
so much that even reasonable rational people accept it and see nothing
wrong with it. The British government, the Irish government, and all
the main political parties here negotiated or accepted the basis upon
which the Good Friday Agreement was based, i.e. that there are two
distinct communities here in the North of Ireland.
Let us be clear and unambiguous -- the IRSP reject that concept in its
entirety. It leads to communities determining who lives in their areas
-- it introduces concepts of group rights which are balanced against
the rights of the other group thereby intensifying competition and
jealousies between the two groups. It forces people to define
themselves by religious faith, it allows for segregation, apartheid
and ensures that ordinary working class folk will never have the
opportunity to reach out in class unity with one another.
So long as the premise upon which the Good Friday Agreement was based
is maintained then so long will the bitter division exist between
Northern people. It is no coincidence that sectarian attacks have
rocketed since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. We now have
more "peace" walls than we had during the armed conflict. These
"peace" walls have gone up because unscrupulous and sectarian
politicians have whipped up sectarian fears about the advantages that
the other community has got, thus provoking sectarian clashes between
two groups of poor working class communities. As the walls have risen
people on both sides of those walls have taken to talking about "my
community," i.e. Catholic or Protestant. Researchers at the Ulster
University have revealed that instead of playing "Cowboys and Indians"
kids are now playing "prods and taigs."
Areas are now to be claimed the exclusive property of one or other of
the two major religious factions. "Sandy Row is Sandy Row" meaning it
is exclusively for White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. No blacks or
Catholics need apply for houses there!! The clashes that have taken
place over parades, over flags, etc., merely reflect the marking out
of territory by one or other grouping. The allocation of housing, the
awarding of government building contracts, the location of new
businesses, the building of leisure centres and so on have all been
influenced by the necessity to placate one or other of the sectarian
As republicans who believe in uniting Catholic, Protestant and
Dissenter under the common name of Irish people, this growing
apartheid is unacceptable.
As socialists we reject the two-community approach. There is one
community and a divided working class. Only by the clear class-based
approach to politics is there any chance of overcoming the bitter
divisions that exist among the Northern people. Those who pander to
the two-community approach or who whip up sectarian fears or engage in
"whataboutery" in relation to resources have nothing in common with
socialism and nothing in common with republicanism!
HANDS OFF ABERFAN MEMORIAL!
Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association want to destroy the Aberfan
Memorial and the Playground paid for by the people of Coventry. At
9.15am on October 21st 1966 144 people died when a coal tip collapsed
onto a primary school in Aberfan, South Wales. 116 of the victims were
children. The pictures from the time were truly horrifying. After the
disaster the people of Coventry paid for a memorial playground to be
built as a lasting memorial to the dead. Now, the disgraceful Merthyr
Housing Association plan to destroy the playground to build houses.
THEY ARE LIKE GRAVE ROBBERS IN THE NIGHT.
An online petition to stop this development has been launched, please
sign at http://www.petitiononline.com/aberfan/petition.html
These plans cannot be allowed to happen. For the sake of the memories
of the children I urge you to sign the petition and inform everyone
that you know to do the same. Please get the petition listed on any
websites you may have access to and lobby all MPs and members of the
Welsh assembly in Cardiff. Also send an email to Merthyr housing
association and tell them of your disgust. Let them know what you
Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association Lobby
by telephone Mon-Friday 9-5pm (please ring often, especially on
00 44 1685 352 8000
Information about the Aberfan Disaster
DEATH OF BOBBIE (ROBERT) HEATLEY, BELFAST
Tuesday 27 July 2004
I am writing to tell you the sad news that, as you may already have
heard, our old friend and political colleague, Bobbie Heatley, died
yesterday afternoon in Belfast after being ill for some time.
Bobbie's partner, Hilja, requests that in lieu of flowers, donations
should be sent to the Irish Democrat at 244 Grays Inn Road, London
WC1X 8JR, a political paper that, as Hilja says, "was very close to
Any messages of condolence should be sent to Hilja via Bobbie's e-mail
address at firstname.lastname@example.org or to their postal address at 35
Jude's Crescent, Belfast BT7 2GW.
Bobbie Heatley, who was born in East Belfast of Protestant background,
became a left-wing Republican as a young man. He was a prominent
member of the Connolly Association, London, in the 1960s. On his
return to Belfast he was active in the Civil Rights Movement and in
such groups as the Campaign for Democracy that sought to continue the
civil rights tradition in the 1970s and 1980s. A profound and
insightful political thinker, he wrote regularly on Northern political
affairs over the years, particularly in the Irish Democrat, to which
he contributed some acute analysis of the current Northern situation
in recent issues. He spoke regularly at the annual Desmond Greaves
Summer Schools in Dublin. He worked for many years as a College
lecturer in economics in County Down.
His many political friends and associates in Belfast, Dublin and
London will be very sorry at this bad news and will extend their
sympathies to Hilja and Bobbie's children.
(Committee Member, Desmond Greaves Summer School)
NURSE MURDERED IN BUCARAMANGA
The wave of terror and extermination against the union movement does
not stop, receiving new victims.
We record with indignation the murder of compañera CARMEN ELISA
NOVA HERNANDEZ. She was an officer of the Clinics and Hospitals
Workers Union of Santander SINTRACLINICAS. The assassination happened
last night in a street of the district Provenza, Bucaramanga,
Santander, by two hired assassins that were on a motorcycle DT125.
They were of dark colour, and apparently had been waiting for their
victim from the 7:00 p.m., in a zone bordering to residential zone
The compañera leaves orphan to a girl of five years. The CUT
expresses our deep condolences to the family of compañera CARMEN
ELISA, and calls on the national and international union organizations
to express their solidarity and maintain the fight in defence of the
life and the right of association.
We energetically reject this execrable crime and we demand that the
government makes a quick investigation, and that it equips the leaders
of SINTRACLINICAS with the pertinent safety measures, since they are
already being harassed and now face being murdered.
The CUT will continue in the defence of the interests of the workers
and of a real State of Social Right. For this reason we call on our
leaders to participate in the SOS OF WORLD TRADE UNIONISM AGAINST THE
ANNIHILATION COLOMBIAN TRADE UNIONISM SINDICALISMO, that we hold in
Bogotá, between the 15th and 18th of September 2004, and also to
enthusiastically prepare for a NATIONAL STOPPAGE against government
measures, in the last week of October.
Bogotá, D.C., 16th July 2004
CARLOS RODRIGUEZ DIAZ
Colombia Solidarity Campaign adds:
This latest news is particularly sad since members of our Campaign met
Carmen on their recent visit to Bucaramanga as part of the
If you would like to help in this case, and others like it, we hope to
be able to send delegates 15-18 September in response to the CUT's
call. You can either send a delegate, or contribute finances to
sending a delegate on your behalf.
If you prefer, send a welfare donation, which we will pass on to
SINTRACLINICAS, marking your cheque "CARMEN ELISA."
Send all responses to Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446,
London N17 6NZ.
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: email@example.com or ring Dominic at 90
Thursday 5th August
The Empire Music Hall in Belfast will host an anti-racism gig on the
night of Thursday 5th August. The gig is being promoted under the
umbrella of Love Music Hate Racism, the organisation that grew out of
Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League of the 1970s. Also
involved is the Anti-Racism Network (ARN), which coordinates the
activities of local community and anti-racist groups.
This will be the first of a series of gigs promoting a culture of
anti-racism and anti-sectarianism and will lead, hopefully, to a major
outdoor event in 2005.
Music is one of the many tools that have been used in the past to
raise awareness of social issues and this is one further aspect of how
music and musicians can aim to bring communities together.
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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