Volume 2, Number 4
12 September 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. Death Threats
2. South Africa: Stop Telkom Retrenchments
3. Anti-Racist Rally
4. White Line Picket
6. What's On
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9 September 2004
Irish Republican Socialist Party
The IRSP condemn outright the recent UDA/RHD death threats against two
voluntary workers in North Belfast, who work tirelessly with the
republican socialist ex-prisoner community.
These men have played a pivotal role in trying to negotiate
non-violent solutions to the interface problems that plague North
Belfast working class communities, through mediation and conflict
resolution procedures. The irony that whilst continuing with their
peace-building efforts, these men have now been placed under threat
from loyalist extremists who resist all attempts to bring progression
to the current situation.
One of the men involved, along with other republican and community
groups, has been actively engaging in discussions with unionist and
loyalist representatives to explore possible solutions to the parades
and interface problems that have been witnessed within North Belfast
these last few years.
These sectarians, masquerading as the UDA/RHD and as protectors of
the Protestant working class, do little to achieve anything other than
death and destruction.
The IRSP recognise that the Protestant working class communities are
as equally plagued by these drug-dealing thugs. Recent attacks that
have been witnessed in North Belfast by these death squads, attempted
abductions of teenagers in Mountainview, the attempted mass murder of
patrons and staff in a local public house, and now the recent spate of
threats against republicans are placing the Republican Socialist
Movement under extreme pressure to respond. The IRSP have urged
Over the past few months we have been working on the interfaces to
ensure that they didn't explode into an orgy of violence. We have
taken risks in reaching out. As socialists we wish for the unity of
all sections of the working class, but a low level war of attrition is
being waged against a section of our fellow workers. These attacks
must stop now as they damage future prospects of cross-community
SOUTH AFRICA: STOP TELKOM RETRENCHMENTS
Telkom workers in South Africa are facing a new wave of retrenchments.
The telecommunications giant plans to shed another 4,181 workers in 3
years, despite its record R4.592 billion profit for the 2004 book year
-- in a country with an unemployment rate of 42%.
In 1999 Telkom employed 61,237 workers. This number has almost been
halved to 31,624 by 30 June 2004. The company is planning a further
30% cut in personnel over the next three years, in order to achieve a
reduction in operating costs from the current 22.6% to 17%.
Meanwhile, Telkom chief executive Siswe Nxasana receives a
remuneration of R11.1 million, which translates to a daily income of
R30,410. Telkom also rewarded its directors with bonuses worth a total
of R48 million for the past year. In 2003 the Telkom Directors
received R60 million.
The three trade unions in Telkom -- the Communication Workers Union,
Solidarity and South African Communication Union have formed a joint
pact to fight these retrenchments.
The lesson from South Africa is that unless a national liberation
struggle transforms its struggle into one of national liberation and
socialism then economic power is simply transferred from one elite to
another while the vast majority of the workers find little change in
their economic or social position.
WHITE LINE PICKET
There was a very successful white line picket on the Falls Road, near
Broadway, Belfast in support of the Palestinian Hunger Strikers.
Tuesday 7th September between 16.30 and 17.30, members of the IRSP
joined with the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign in supporting
Palestinian political prisoners who recently went on hunger strike for
basic human rights in Israeli jails. More than 4000 Palestinian
political prisoners out of 7,500 in Israeli jails supported the hunger
strike begun on August 15th.
They demand improved conditions, the rights to visits from their
families, the right to access to education while in jail. The
Committee for the Families of Palestinian Political Prisoners is
calling for solidarity from the international community to put
pressure on Israel to respect human rights. Leaflets were given out
and many expressed their support for the prisoners. You can help by
writing a letter of support to Palestinian prisoners.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 00 353 1 928 752 8355. These
will be forwarded to the prisoners' families and by joining the
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign and help us build solidarity for
the Palestinians. You can contact the IPSC at email@example.com or
visit our website http://www.ipsc.ie/
Despite it absolutely pouring down with rain on Friday 10th September
over 100 persons attended the local South Belfast event. The local
event was held at Shaftsbury Square in South Belfast and saw local
residents joined by representatives of between twenty and thirty
locally based organisations. Community, women's, human and equality
rights organisations, stood shoulder to shoulder with all the main
minority ethnic organisations who where represented from the local
area, trade unionists, community activists and students also showed
solidarity for the South Belfast ARN call to attend.
Despite the horrendous weather, the atmosphere was very spirited with
music and continuous hoots and waves of support from passing cars and
buses as we stood in the centre isle of Shaftsbury Square to highlight
our stand against racism and in solidarity with the minority ethic
Placards where drawn up by participants in different languages, with
also a huge sign of Say No to Racism drawn up on individual cards,
which was then lined facing onto the Road. The local South Belfast ARN
group is also to host an Anti Racism gig in the very near future in
the locality. So thanks to all who attended.
Regarding your article in the Plough (Vol. 2, No. 2) on the campaign
to keep water services in the North of Ireland public, I cannot
emphasise enough the importance of winning this battle. It is the
policy of Blair's government to privatise all public services and the
people of the North will find that they will soon be paying water
charges to Utility companies, whose priority will be enhanced profits
at the expense of those least able to afford it i.e. the working
classes. There will also be a huge decrease in the number of direct
staff and huge amounts of maintenance and other work will be
sub-contracted to private firms whose only reason for existence is
Here in England we have seen charges rise year on year and "fat cats"
creaming off huge salaries and pensions, all at the expense of the
consumer. This is a matter of record and, if you do not want the same
thing happening in the North of Ireland, it is vital that you do not
lose the battle to keep water public. When the shareholder becomes
more important than the consumer, services suffer and your right to
affordable water and sewage services will become a distant memory.
I'm writing to inform you all of my own personal disgust with any sort
of support for a "FREE PALASTINE" "PALASTINE" in a proper Muslim world
would eradicate the IRSP as well as all enlightened "Western Thought".
Support for suicide bombers who have no care for human life
what-so-ever is at least foolish and quite frankly embarrassing for a
"Socialist" party that in all honesty is riddled with a dreadful drug
trafficking history and so-so Revolutionary Republicanism. Now having
said that I was referring to the INLA. I am intrigued and do support a
Socialist Irish State Free of the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church.
Which brings me back to my point. Organized religion, be it Christian,
Jewish or Islam ALWAYS DIVIDES PEOPLES! Case in point-Northern
Ireland. I support the IRSP and wish them and Republican Seen Fein all
the best. As a "proddy" I do still hope that Northern Ireland remains
British, but honestly the days have been numbered since 1974. The UDA
strikes should have brought the full backing of Westminster but did
not. Socialist parties need to spread the truth about religion
Organized or just blind faith. Religion divides people and drives them
in some clouded mis-guided belief that their own personal actions for
GOD or ALLAH or who ever will give them a life in eternity of peace,
bliss etc. Mate we're all worm food in the end. Keep up the posts with
the Starry Plough. And may Ireland truly be a Socialist bastion one
day. I have no problem learning a bit of Gaelic. Separate that Church
and all churches from political life, including Ian Paisley's poison
Thanks for your letter. You make a number of points. Last week's
Plough Vol. 2, No. 3 gave information about the plight of Palestinian
prisoners and some information of how to express solidarity with them.
At no stage have the IRSP taken a position of support for a Palestine
under Islamic fundamentalist rule nor have we ever expressed our
support for suicide bombers. So we cannot understand your first two
sentences. As regards the backhanded swipe at the INLA with mention of
drug trafficking we have made our position very clear and so has the
INLA. We utterly oppose drug dealing. We have publicly asked for the
evidence of INLA involvement in drug dealing. Journalists who have
made this accusation have refused to meet us and show us their
evidence. No member of the Republican Socialist Movement is in jail
for drug dealing but there are drug dealers who have used the name in
the past. We understand a number who did are now, as you so elegantly
put it, "worm food."
As regards your comments on religion I don't think too many in the
IRSP will disagree with you. The Republic we struggle for is one that
is socialist, secular and respects differences. We hope you can assist
us in that struggle.
That was a good piece on Torrens. (Plough Vol. 2, No. 3) We should
also remember that this move out of Torrens by some Protestants was
supposedly managed and it has been known at a community level that
this move was on the cards for about 9 months. (I remember discussing
this earlier this year regarding a request from residents to the IRSP
to assist them with forming a community association). There is no
evidence that these families were intimidated, outside the same
anti-social behaviour and low level vandalism that occurs every
weekend in areas like Ardoyne, Cliftonville and the New Lodge. The
manipulation of the media on this point has angered the Cliftonville
community as we had tried to support the residents in Torrens over the
years and certainly the area would not have got a community centre
without the active support of the rest of the community as the
population was so small and basically unsustainable as a single
identity community. The way forward was integration, which was
happening until the same down trodden residents supposedly intimidated
last month intimidated Catholics out of their homes in 1995/96. The
question that no one is asking is; in an area of acute housing need
there are nearly 2000 families on the waiting list, 83% of which are
Catholic. How did these 10 loyalist families prevent the allocation
for over ten years of over 200 houses in the area to those in need?
The focus needs to be on the statutory agencies, in particular the
housing executive who facilitated this discrimination. There are still
a number of Protestant families who wish to remain in the area and the
local community support this, there is an opportunity to allocate
housing on the basis of need and build a community that is based on
needs not sectarianism. I am the community development worker for the
area and we are calling a meeting for next week with the residents to
discus the way forward. The worst thing that could happen is that we
consent to the building of a new ghetto. Lets send out the right
message, pull down the walls not erect new ones.
The unionist community believe that there is a hit list of areas that
will green the north of the city. These include Glenbryn, Lower
Oldpark and Tigers Bay. (DUP / UDA position) All these areas are
suffering from blight and poverty with over 700 empty houses. I am
unaware of any such hit list or intention. But there is very little
doubt that these areas are suffering from official neglect and are
allowed to decay. (A PUP analysis)
Saturday September 25th 1-6pm
What sort of anti-racism do we need?
A day of talks and discussion, organised by the WSM, with speakers
from anti-racist and immigrant groups Saturday September 25th 1-6pm
Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin
30 September 2004
Senate Room, Queen's University Belfast
Queen's University Belfast, The School of Politics and International
Studies, The Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict, in conjunction
with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), present a one
day conference: "Interpreting Ongoing Crises in the Northern Ireland
Peace Process: Civil Society Dimensions."
Speakers include: Professor Rupert Taylor (University of the
Witwatersrand), Dr Feargal Cochrane (Lancaster University), Robin
Wilson (Democratic Dialogue), Dr Christopher Farrington (QUB), Dr
Cathal McCall (QUB), Michael Potter (Training for Women Network),
Roisin McGlone (SICDP), Debbie Watters (Shankill Alternatives), Cllr
Mark Langhammer (Labour Party).
Places will be strictly limited. If interested please contact
Christopher Farrington, School of Politics and International Studies,
Queen’s University Belfast, C.Farrington@qub.ac.uk, 028 9097
Saturday, 9 October 2004
Young Women Talk Participation and Power
Call for Participants and Facilitators To a Young Women's Political
St Columb's Park House, 4 Limavady Road, Derry/Londonderry, Northern
What it is about:
The event will provide the space for you...
To meet and share your experiences of being a young woman interested
in local and global issues.
To discuss the barriers that prevent you from participating in public
and political activities.
To explore the different methods employed by organizations and
political parties throughout the world to promote the inclusion of
To identify and develop strategies to achieve the full participation
of young women.
To put forward practical proposals to decision makers to achieve this
Who will be there?
Will be aged between 16 and 30.
Will come from minority ethnic communities and the majority
Will be lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or heterosexual.
Will have a disability or not.
Will have children or not.
Will share an interest or an involvement in political activism,
community work, NGOs, local and global issues.
Female elected representatives who share, listen and want to support
younger women into leadership and decision-making.
What does it cost?
NOTHING -- the event is free of charge and includes lunch. We will
subsidise travel expenses and childcare/care allowance. There is a
bus going from Belfast to Derry/L'Derry.
Are you interested in volunteering your skills to facilitate small
group discussions in the afternoon?
We invite young women who enjoy facilitating discussions and who have
some experience in this to please tick the appropriate box in the
attached registration form. We will get in contact with you for
Interested in participating?
Please return attached registration form to St Columb's Park House or
contact Charlotte, Tel: 028 7134 3080, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Carola, Tel: 028 9024 3363, Email: email@example.com.
10.30am: Registration, Tea and Coffee
11.00am: Welcome by Carola Speth, Women into Politics
11.15am: 'Women in Decision-Making: An Overview of the Situation in
Europe,' Cecile Greboval, European Women's Lobby
11.25am: 'Quotas & Votas: Engender's Role in the 50/50 Campaign,'
Lorna Ahlquist, Engender Scotland
11.35am: 'If you can't see a space for yourself, build one of your
own,' Barbary Cook, Queer Activist
11.45am: Question & Answer Session
12.00 noon: WORKSHOPS
2.00pm: Feedback from workshop groups
2.25pm: Discussion and Dialogue, Chair: Susan McReynolds, Presenter
on BBC Radio Foyle
3.25pm: Evaluation and Action Points
3.55pm: Closure by Charlotte Cox, St Columb's Park House
Who we are.
Women into Politics (WiP) is a cross-community project which actively
encourages the full participation of women in public and political
life by providing and promoting dialogue, advocacy and training. WiP
is independent of all political parties and works with women in all
their diversities. The project is based on feminist principles and
grounded in a community development ethos.
St Columb's Park House runs a number of projects promoting peace-
building, political dialogue, active citizenship, political literacy
and human rights. The Political Youth Forums programme brings
together members of political parties and youth wings aged 18-30
from across the UK and the island of Ireland to discuss policy issues
of common concern.
Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the Community Relations Council NI
via Peace II and Atlantic Philanthropies.
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