Thursday 8 December 2005

The Plough Vol 03 No 10

The Plough
Volume 3, Number 10
8 December 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) The Irish Ferries Dispute
2) The Hard Edge of Our Apathy
3) Solidarity with Political Prisoners
4) Beyond Bars Conference
5) Press Statement: Groups Oppose Proposed Legislation
6) From the Newspapers
7) Letters
8) What's On



The Irish Republican Socialist Party fully support the day of action
against Irish Ferries called for on Friday 9th December. We also call
for a boycott of Irish Ferries in solidarity with the workers. These
workers are currently locked in a dispute, which goes to the roots of
what the Trade Union Movement is all about. The dispute began back in
September when Irish Ferries announced it was looking to replace 543
Irish workers with foreign agency staff, who would be required to work
longer hours for much lower wages. This is known as out-sourcing and
is just a part of the overall economic liberal agenda that also
includes free trade and the wholesale privatisation of all publicly
owned assets.

The dispute escalated on November 24 when so-called security personnel
employed by Irish Ferries escorted Eastern European seafarers onboard
the 'Isle of Inishmore' in Pembroke and the 'Ulysses' in Holyhead,
Wales, leading to protests on both vessels.

Irish Ferries has put into action a deliberate plan to smash the
unions and give itself a free hand to ratchet up their profits over
the coming years at the expense of workers' livelihoods and working
conditions. Irish Ferries is valued at €228m. It made profits of €26m
in 2004 and has projected profits of €20m this year. The plan is being
spearheaded by Managing Director Eamonn Rothwell who took home
€687,000 last year alone! No low pay for him!

Furthermore, Irish Ferries intends to go ahead with the redundancies
regardless of talks. It has also stated its intention to re-flag its
vessels under the flag of Cyprus, which would mean it would not be
bound by 26 County laws to pay its employees the minimum wage. Bertie
Ahern, leader of the 26 County government, has said he cannot do
anything to prevent this despite that fact that article 91 of the UN
Law of the Sea states that a company using a country's flag must have
a link with that country.

The stance of Irish Ferries and the government is backed up by the
Independent group of newspapers owned by media mogul Tony O'Reilly.
This is the same group of newspapers that supported Dublin employers
during the famous lockout of Dublin workers in 1913 when the workers
were led by Jim Larkin and James Connolly. William Martin Murphy,
leader of the Employer's Federation who staged the lockout, called for
the execution of James Connolly after the 1916 uprising. His wishes
were granted.

"The group's industry correspondent, Gerry Flynn, was taken off the
Irish Ferries story after the ferry company denied a report he wrote
in the November 26 edition of the Irish Independent. The paper also
decided not to publish a column critical of Irish Ferries written by
staff journalist, Justine McCarthy. She was also told her weekly
column was to be dropped." (Saturday November 26, 2005, The Guardian)

Alf McGrath is the human resources director for Irish Ferries.
Coincidentally he is former director of human resources at Independent
Newspapers. There are other connections between the two companies.
Bernard Sommers is a director of Irish Continental Group (ICG), Irish
Ferries' parent company, and is also on the Independent's board.
Independent Chief Executive Vincent Crowley is a brother of ICG
director Peter Crowley. In addition, the Chairman of UTV is John B.
McGuckian who is also a non-executive director of Irish Ferries.

There is no doubt that this dispute is a defining moment for the Irish
Trade Union Movement. What is happening now is an attempt to roll back
the hard fought for rights and working conditions won by Irish workers
in the years since 1913.

This is a challenge that must be met head on. The stakes are high; a
victory for Irish Ferries would give the green light for wholesale
exploitation. What we are witnessing is the playing out of the
globalisation agenda, a world where the most vulnerable, in this case
migrant workers, are exploited and used to set one section of the
working class against the other. This is not simply an attack on the
workers of Irish Ferries but is an attack on the pay, conditions and
working time of every worker in Ireland.

(Sources: The Guardian / Global Newswire)


By Tomas Gorman

"What luck for rulers when men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler

Mr Hitler, I'm sure, would feel incredibly lucky if he was to witness
the level of political apathy manifest in today's Ireland.
Particularly here in the North where politics have been freshly
branded in the old sectarian way by the failed Good Friday Agreement.
Whilst new dynamics have been formed in the political landscape for
new elites to benefit, the ordinary working person is turning away
from what is essentially 'more of the same'. Whilst new, younger
voters are unexcited and perhaps even embarrassed about having to
identify themselves with either of the two opposing nationalistic blocs.

Sean McAughey's analysis, ("Those voting outside of the box are
overall winners" The Blanket 11-05-05) highlights the growing apathy
with which the 6 county population views the electoral representation
model of democracy. This revolt could be viewed as progressive if the
population were then in turn actively organizing for a participative
democracy model but this, sadly, isn't so. The 'apathetics' conscious
or sub-conscious decision to ignore the dark warning from Hitler
surely comes at a cost as its shadow casts not just over electoral
realms but rather permeates throughout our entire society as well as
most of the "developed world".

Ideally, democracy is about participation and being involved in what
goes on around us. So when ASDA-WALMART opened a store in West
Belfast, one would ideally expect that the local population would turn
their nose up at a supermarket chain that routinely exploits its own
workers as well as their suppliers (see Joe Zacunes piece on ASDA in
on ZNet

On the contrary, people continue to pack its aisles in search, many
out of necessity, for bargains. The local population are allowing the
corporatist nightmare permitting the worst forms of managerial
authoritarianism to creep in through the back door in return for lower

This insular culture of self-preservation, which is a direct result of
market economy, has made itself felt in many facets of our society;
for example, the escalating problems relating to our youth.

Belfast and Derry are experiencing a rapid growth in behavioural
defects amongst their youth that was witnessed in urban areas of
London, Middlesbrough and New York where a culture of community was
scarce. Back home, our communal culture is eroding rapidly in
conjunction with the rapid growth of an insular consumerist mindset,
which could be a cause of our youths' social ills. Meanwhile tabloids
such the populist Andersonstown News cries out in indignation about
these thugs/scum, etc. whilst devoting roughly 50% of its pages to
commercial advertising.

What is it going to take to jolt the local population and encourage
them to re engage with political issues that directly affect them?
History has shown that the only way to do so in capitalist society is
to affect the financial well being of the population. We are quite
plump in an economic sense hence there is no real scope for radical
political movements to gain a foothold in the public consciousness.
The various groups raising the crucial issue of water privatisation
have struggled to galvanise an organised response from ordinary
working class communities despite the huge ramifications of the
government's proposals. It is generally felt amongst the anti-water
tax groups is that the major reaction will take really place when the
first bills hit the front doors. Meanwhile the groups prepare as much
as possible in the face of this "last minute mentality".

Which is perhaps what the rest of us on the left can realistically do?
There is a general feeling amongst the IRSP that its role is to push
the radical socialist agenda as much a feasible whilst preparing the
next generation for the next turbulent era of the ongoing struggle.
In order to do fulfil the former duty the party along with other
groups require a media platform from which to espouse its analysis and

Fortunately for us all there seems to be taking place what John Pilger
describes as a "News Revolution"
( as a result of
which many of those wishing to seek credible "subjugated knowledge"
are turning to unrestricted and uncontrolled web based news and
comment sites for our information on local and global political
current affairs. The growth of these sites is tantamount to the
progress of radical political remedies for our societal rot and I long
for the day those groups like Indymedia, ZNet, etc. expand onto other
media realms such as the printed word and/or broadcasting. Until then
it is up to the left to do what we can to plea with our communities,
at a grass roots level as well as national and international level, to
prepare for the worst rather than have to deal with the worst when it
hits us hard.

The unsustainable beast of neo-liberal capitalism has those who
benefit most from it sweating anxiously about the predictions of a
global economic slump because of diminishing natural resources being
unable to prop up rickety oil based global economy. Financial experts
are predicting that oil production will peak in around 30-35 years
time and after that oil will simply rocket in price until its too
expensive for all of us to use and in turn the world economy, without
a replacement, will simply collapse causing extreme financial hardship
amongst the have nots throughout the entire world. What luck for
themselves if people actually did think and do something now before
our next generation suffers the hard edge of our apathy.



On behalf of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, the Irish
Republican Socialist Committees of North America issues the following
statement in support of the First International Day of Solidarity with
Political Prisoners. We send our greetings to all of the solidarity
events being held today as well as to all progressive or revolutionary
political prisoners.

Over the thirty-one years the IRSM has existed, members of the Irish
Republican Socialist Party and the Irish National Liberation Army have
been imprisoned by the British imperialist state and its lackeys in
the partitionist regime of Dublin for their role in the struggle for
national liberation and socialism in Ireland. They took part in all of
the prison struggles, from the blanket protests to the dirty protests
to the hunger strikes. Three members of the INLA -- Patsy O'Hara,
Kevin Lynch, and Michael Devine -- gave their lives on hunger strike
in 1981, along with seven members of the Provisional Irish Republican
Army, protesting the removal of their status as political prisoners of

Whether they're imprisoned in America, Britain, Ireland, France,
Spain, Iraq, or anywhere else, Irish republican socialists stand in
solidarity with those progressives or revolutionaries imprisoned
because of their political beliefs or their politically motivated
actions against oppressive, imperialist states, recognising that those
struggles against oppression and imperialism are part of the same
struggle for human liberation that we're engaged in.

We would like to take this opportunity to call further attention to
the hunger strike being undertaken by Spanish political prisoners in
France. We stand with you, comrades, and we call on all progressives
and revolutionaries to also stand in solidarity with you.

We again call on the Dublin regime to free our comrade, Dessie O'Hare,
who is a qualifying prisoner under the early release scheme of the
Good Friday Agreement. According to the terms of the GFA, he should
have been released no later than 2000, yet he remains a hostage of the
Dublin regime. We say free Dessie O'Hare now!

In conclusion, as the IRSM boldly goes forward in our struggle for
socialism and the liberation of humankind from the shackles of
capitalism and imperialism, we stand in solidarity with progressive or
revolutionary political prisoners and prisoners of war and we condemn
the oppressive, imperialist states, which have them imprisoned.

Saoirse Go Deo! Freedom Forever!



Danielle Ni Dhighe, a member of the Irish Republican Socialist
Movement who serves on the coordinating committee of the Irish
Republican Socialist Committees of North America, attended the Beyond
Bars conference at Fairhaven College in Bellingham, Washington State,
USA on Saturday, December 3rd. She led a workshop on Irish national
liberation and prison struggles and participated in a panel discussion
later in the day. Following is her report:

"I arrived at the conference after a 100 mile (160 kilometer) car
trip. The first event of the day was a play staged by former prisoners
showing what a normal day in the life of a prisoner is like. After the
play, various workshops were held in different rooms.

"The workshop I led examined the history of the Irish struggle for
national liberation, in particular the struggle of Irish political
prisoners within British prisons. It also covered some other
international prison struggles, such as the ongoing hunger strikes by
political prisoners in Turkey and France. The workshop was
well-attended and the participants seemed engaged with the subject
matter. At the end there was a Q&A session with the participants.
Afterwards, several participants thanked me for my talk and wanted
more information about the Irish struggle and the IRSM.

"Then I attended a workshop about the case of Chris McIntosh, an
anarchist and an environmentalist whom the US government charged with
an arson attack on a McDonald's Restaurant, an action that was jointly
claimed by the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front.
Despite there being only some property damage to an empty restaurant,
the US government initially charged him with terrorist offenses with a
penalty of a minimum thirty year sentence in a federal prison. Those
charges were based on the testimony of two known police informers.
Faced with that, Chris pled guilty to lesser charges with a penalty of
eight to ten years. The IRSCNA will issue a statement about his case
in the near future.

"After lunch, which was provided by the local chapter of Food Not
Bombs, I attended a workshop about colonisation and the current issues
of Native American prisoners. The workshop was led by Chrystos, a
Native American writer and lesbian activist, and her talk was very

"I finished up the conference on a panel with four other people,
including two former political prisoners -- Mark Cook, a former Black
Panther who served twenty-four years for his alleged participation
with the George Jackson Brigade, an underground leftist paramilitary
that operated in the Seattle area in the 1970s, carrying out at least
eleven bombings of government agencies and corporations (a local
police chief said at the time, "Is Seattle in for a Northern Ireland
episode?"); and Amin Odeh, a Palestinian who lived most of his early
life in a refugee camp near Bethlehem in the Israeli occupied West
Bank and was imprisoned in an Israeli military prison during the first

"The panel discussion brought home the reality that the struggles of
revolutionaries in and out of prison are ultimately part of the same
struggle for human liberation and building a mass struggle is of great
importance for enacting revolutionary change both locally and
globally. The panel as a whole also defended prisoners who committed
politically motivated violence in response to an audience question
about whether prisoners who committed violence should be considered
political prisoners.

"All told, it was an excellent conference and I thank the organisers
for inviting me to participate. I hope my talk gained further support
for the Irish struggle and that more people will support political
prisoners in general."



Joint statement from Justice for the Forgotten, Relatives for Justice
and the Pat Finucane Centre

30 November 2005

A number of groups, which support victims and survivors, have spoken
out against the proposed NI (Offences) Bill. Relatives For Justice,
the Pat Finucane Centre and Justice for the Forgotten* have called on
the Secretary of State "to go back to the drawing board and
drastically rethink these proposals which show no consideration
whatsoever for the rights and needs of families who have lost loved
ones. This proposal is a complete non-starter."

The groups listed a numbers of concerns with the legislation which is
intended to make special provisions for all those accused of having
committed serious crimes before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

No allowance has been made for international involvement, as was the
case with prisoner releases, policing reform, decommissioning and the
talks process;

No proper provision is made for the involvement of relatives;

Decisions on what if any information should be provided to families is

The Secretary of State (SoS) will have the power to direct that all
information surrounding a certificate application be withheld from

The SoS will have the power to direct that an individual who applies
for a certificate should remain anonymous;

The members of the Special Appeal Tribunal and the Special Prosecutor
will all be appointed by the SoS and are thus open to political

The SoS will have sole power to appoint the certification commissioner
who is thus open to political interference;

An applicant must supply any information or document required by the
commissioner but the SoS can direct that the PSNI withhold documents
and information from the same commissioner;

The SoS can also withhold information from the certification commissioner;

Speaking today RFJ spokesperson Mark Thompson said, "Together these
groups represent hundreds of families who have lost loved ones from as
far back as 1969 and as recently as last year, from throughout the
North, in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, in the Murder Triangle and
in hundreds of other individuals incidents. We are all united in
opposition to the present legislation. Let no-one be fooled; the
principal beneficiary is the British state. They drew up the
legislation and it is they who are pushing it through their
parliament. Two principles must apply.

"The rights and needs of families must be at the core of any proposal.
Relatives have a right and need to know the truth. This legislation
makes no allowance whatsoever for a truth recovery process linked to

"The only truth recovery process that will enjoy cross-community and
cross border support is one that has international involvement from
the outset. The NIO, security forces, prosecution service and
judiciary have been part of the problem and cannot be allowed to
determine the process alone. We need respected international figures
to be involved in making appointments and deciding procedures. We also
need respected international figures who themselves can be appointed."

Speaking on behalf of Justice for the Forgotten Margaret Irwin said,
"The Northern Secretary withheld documents and refused to give
evidence to an inquiry led by a former supreme court judge, Justice
Barron, in this jurisdiction. In doing so the NIO showed unbelievable
contempt for a senior judicial figure. How can we trust a process
totally determined by the Northern Secretary and the NIO? It's not
rocket science to figure out that the NIO will use the 'national
security' clause to close down anything that might embarrass them on
the Dublin and Monaghan bombings."

In a similar vein Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre argued
that, "This legislation is a dream come true for the spooks at
Vauxhall Bridge (MI5 HQ). Had this legislation been in place in 1992
the Secretary of State could have withheld the name of Brian Nelson,
directed that the RUC, FRU and MI5 withhold evidence from the
prosecution and withheld all information regarding charges and
eventual prosecution from the Finucane family. The NIO cannot be
allowed to determine this process. It is part of the problem.

"We have seen the use of Public Interest Immunity Certificates,
anonymity rulings, evidence from behind screens and so called
'national security' in order to cover up the truth. If this
legislation goes through it will have profound implications for the
criminal justice and policing institutions for decades to come. A
chance to deal with the past honestly and fairly will have been lost."


Contact RFJ @ 02890 220100
PFC @ 02871 268846
JFTF @ 003531 855 4300

*Justice for the Forgotten represents the families of those killed and
injured in the 1972 and 1973 Dublin bombings and the 1974 Dublin and
Monaghan bombings.




London Independent
8 December 2005

Primark is Named as Least Ethical Clothes Shop
By Martin Hickman

Primark, the discount clothing chain beloved of bargain hunters, has
been rated the least ethical place to buy clothes in Britain.

Primark scores just 2.5 out of 20 on an ethical index that ranks the
leading clothing chains on criteria such as workers' rights and
whether they do business with oppressive regimes. Mk One and Marks &
Spencer were ranked second and third worst for ethics by Ethical
Consumer magazine.

Jigsaw and Matalan scored the highest ratings but researchers said
ethical standards were so low among the 27 high street clothing chains
surveyed that none of them could be recommended to shoppers with a

Primark has become a fashion success story in the past two years and
now operates more than 120 stores in Britain and Ireland. During a
high street slump, it has built a reputation as a seller of
extraordinarily cheap garments and shoppers have besieged its new
stores, some of them bought from the collapsed Allders chain. Profits
soared by 30 per cent last year to £1bn, despite the retailing downturn.

Ethical Consumer, in its January/February edition published next week,
criticised the company for not having a code of conduct, selling
leather goods and "environmentally-damaging" PVC products and for
operating in an oppressive regime -- China.

The firm also scored badly because its owner, Wittington Investments,
performed poorly for environmental reporting and owned other companies
with negative ratings, such as the London department store Fortnum &
and Mason, which sells foie gras. Wittington Investments, owned by the
secretive Weston family, also owns Littlewoods.

"If people shop in Primark because the prices are low then they must
be aware that they are low for a reason," said Ruth Rosselson, a
spokeswoman for Ethical Consumer. "And they must start asking
questions: 'Where is this made? How do I know that this was made under
good conditions?' Then the companies will realise that people care."

Primark robustly defended its record and said there were a number of
inaccuracies in the assessment. Primark did have a code of conduct for
suppliers which was independently audited abroad, a spokesman insisted.

He said: "We buy our clothing from pretty much the same range of
suppliers and countries as everyone else on the high street. We do buy
a lot of clothing from China and that's something we do and everybody
else does as well."

The magazine said that, in general, fashion retailers seemed to be
locked into a "race to the bottom" by selling increasingly cheap
clothes made in low-wage economies with scant regard for workers'
conditions. It said the one positive development in the past three
years had been Gap's decision to provide details of any labour rights
violations in its supply chain.

The magazine said in an overview that there was far too little
accountability about from where and how clothes were produced.
Researchers toured the aisles of the shops to check labels and found
the origin of garments was missing at French Connection, Moss Bros and

"The chances are that the goods on sale in high street shops will be
coming from less than desirable conditions," said Ms Rosselson.

"Companies often say that they are responsible but we want independent
auditors to go into factories and check. It's very unusual for us not
to recommend a company in the table but we have been unable to say
that any of these high street stores are an ethical place to shop".

The magazine suggests shoppers buy from charity shops, try vintage
clothing and seek out organic cotton. Conventionally farmed cotton is
treated with 10 per cent of the world's pesticides, which the
Pesticide Action Network estimates causes 20,000 deaths in the Third
World every year.

The magazine lists an alternative clothing directory that includes
firms such as Patagonia, Traidcraft, Natural Clothing and Footprint.


Searchlight Information Services
25 November 2005

Searchlight Acts to Stop Tesco Sale of Nazi Books
By Gerry Gable

Tesco, Britain's leading supermarket, has promised to stop selling
Nazi books following representations by Searchlight.

A Searchlight investigator was surprised and horrified to find a wide
range of hardcore Nazi and antisemitic literature for sale on Tesco's
website. The books included The Protocols of the Learned Elders of
Zion, a 19th century forgery that purports to prove that Jews plotted
to take over the world. The Protocols was one of the main weapons in
Hitler's propaganda campaign against the Jews, which laid the
groundwork for his "Final Solution".

The book is still a principal propaganda weapon of Nazis and other
antisemites and is normally only distributed by groups such as the Ku
Klux Klan, outright Nazis, a few Islamist groups and Holocaust
deniers. Tesco has a choice of three different editions.

Another staple text of Hitler's Nazis and modern antisemites is Henry
Ford's The International Jew. All its four volumes were on sale at
Tesco in a list of 22 books from the US far-right publisher Liberty
Bell. Other authors included George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the
American Nazi Party until he was shot dead in 1967; Revilo P Oliver,
who was a US racist writer; Corneliu Codreanu, pre-war leader of the
Romanian fascist Iron Guard; and Harold Covington, a notorious US Nazi
and racist.

Britain's Nazis were over the moon when they found their favourite
books openly on sale. Posting a link direct to the Liberty Bell list
on Tesco's website, the administrators of the Nazi Blood and Honour
guestbook tried to justify buying from what Nazis see as a Jewish
company. "Great stuff," wrote "Admin", "so what if it's a yid firm,
we'd starve to death if we didn't put some money some yid's way at
least once in a while, who makes the profits on petrol for instance?"

Hardly able to believe their eyes, "Admin" continued: "These are all
NS [national socialist] books, besides the Henry Ford, RP Oliver
titles and those by Commander Rockwell, there's also Germany's Hitler
which shows his war record and why the Fuhrer REALLY won the Iron
Cross twice, because of his bravery on the battlefront and not the
Hollywood version. Worth buying and who cares if a kike is flogging
it. Amazingly they sell the Protocols as well!!!"

When Searchlight challenged Tesco, a spokesperson explained that any
book published in the UK was automatically listed. However the company
was taking this very seriously and was particularly concerned by the
link from the Nazi website. Later she told Searchlight that the
decision had been made to remove all books by Liberty Bell because of
the nature of their content.

We can perhaps pass over the fact that Liberty Bell is a US not a UK
publisher. But can Tesco be so naïve as to think it is acceptable to
sell any book that is published without any regard for whether its
content contravenes the law or is offensive?

Further research by Searchlight threw up a list of 106 books from
Steven Books. This British-based publisher and book distributor is a
front for Keith Thompson, the man who ran the elite hardline Nazi
group, the League of St George. Thompson also operates the booklists
for a number of far-right organisations including the November 9th
Society, whose leader, Kevin Quinn, was convicted at the Old Bailey in
November for possession of material likely to incite race hate.

The Steven Books list includes works by John Amery and William Joyce,
nicknamed "Lord Haw Haw". Both men were hanged a few months after the
end of the war for making radio broadcasts for Hitler –- Amery also
for recruiting British prisoners of war as volunteers for the British
SS unit the Legion of St George.

Three books are by Arnold Leese, the pre-war British Nazi leader, who
was imprisoned in the 1930s for his antisemitic writings and again at
the end of the war for aiding escaped SS POWs.

There are several books by Sir Oswald Mosley, the British fascist
leader, and titles by Jeffrey Hamm, who was interned during the war;
Kerry Bolton, a New Zealand Satanist; the American Nazis William
Pierce and Edward R Fields; A K Chesterton, founder of the National
Front, and even the lunatic Nazi Kenneth McKilliam. We could go on -–
all 106 books are hardline national socialist including many Nazi
classics. Most of them are so extreme that even the British National
Party does not sell them.

When Searchlight drew Tesco's attention to the Steven books list, the
spokesperson said the company would look into it as well. But despite
the company's assurance on Thursday afternoon that the books would be
removed, and an email to Andrew Gilligan of the Evening Standard at
5.30 on Friday morning stating that the books were no longer on sale,
at 11.00 this morning, three days after Searchlight brought the matter
to Tesco's attention, online shoppers were still able to place them in
their baskets.

The internet makes it very easy for businesses to sell a much wider
range of goods, which they buy in when orders are placed. Most of
these books are marked "Special order usually dispatched within 4-6
weeks", a reflection of the unreliability of the Nazi suppliers. At
this time of year the book entries are also tagged, "We cannot
guarantee delivery in time for Christmas", which may leave a few Nazis
disappointed when they open their Yuletide stockings.

But the nature of internet trading does not absolve a company from
responsibility for what it sells. And selling Nazi, racist and
antisemitic books is unacceptable and inexcusable.

Mark Gardner, Director of Communications for the Jewish Community
Security Trust, said: "It is inexplicable and shameful that Tesco is
selling hate literature. We expect that when they examine this
offensive material they will remove it from sale immediately."

Searchlight does not know exactly how these books got onto Tesco's
book lists. Perhaps there was a concerted effort by Nazis to order
these titles, which prompted Tesco to fulfil a perceived demand.
Whatever the case, Tesco and other internet book retailers must take
these books off their websites now and make sure they and similar
literature never reappear.

Tesco is not the only offender. Amazon is carrying material by Arnold
Leese as well as the Protocols. Steven Books appears to have cornered
the market in republishing some of the worst hate material that has
been around since the First World War. While these major and
respectable companies have allowed the sale of these books to tarnish
their image, Thompson is laughing all the way to the bank.

Meanwhile the BNP has been going bananas on its website over a
campaign to stop it trading via Paypal. The party claims it receives
thousands of pounds a month in donations, sales of merchandise and
membership dues through the international internet payments system.
Searchlight fired the first shot in this campaign some weeks ago when
we wrote to Paypal asking the company to enforce its code against
dealing in racist and offensive material.


The Register
23 November 2005

Lancaster MP Joins Debate About AUP
By Tim Richardson

Tory MP Ben Wallace has written to the boss of PayPal Europe over
concerns that the online payment service is being used to raise funds
for the British National Party (BNP).

The MP for Lancaster & Wyre was reacting to a campaign set in motion
by his local branch of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) which claims that
the BNP's extremist views breach Paypal's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
which states that "You many not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of
items or support of organizations that promote hate, violence, or
racial intolerance."

Activists want e-Bay-owned PayPal to pull the plug on the BNP's
account in a bid to dry up funding for the political party.

Lancaster UAF has already gained support for its campaign at a grass
roots level and is now turning to the net to help boost awareness.

"We've been busy emailing the universe at large about the campaign
against Paypal's support of the British National Party," said a
posting on its blog.

"Mails have gone out to the Campaign for Racial Equality, the Campaign
Against Racism and Fascism, the Board of Deputies, the Moslem Council
of Great Britain, Ken Livingstone and over two hundred MPs and MEPs
(all the ones we can find email addresses for, in fact) plus numerous
other organisations.

"Ben Wallace, MP for Lancaster and Wyre, has written to say that he's
written directly to Geoff Iddison, the Chief Exec of Paypal, asking
for his response to the concerns we expressed. Good stuff, Ben. We're
all looking forward to Iddison's reply."

Asked to comment a spokesman for PayPal said: "PayPal has no evidence
that the BNP is in breach of its acceptable use policy. However, as
with any organisation, were we to receive evidence this wasn't the
case or a breach had been made, we would review the situation."

A spokesman for the BNP dismissed the campaign saying: "We're supposed
to live in a democracy yet these people are not tolerant of a legally
registered political party."

In 2004 Barclays and HSBC closed the accounts of the BNP following an
undercover documentary by the BBC into the actions of the party. ®




Dear Comrades,

Visit 1/888 T&G Branch Website at

We are a lorry drivers branch and have set up a 9 nation 8 Trade Union
international organisation for truck drivers to get together face to
face to fight the threat of cheap labour in a way that also fights
prejudice and national chauvinism. You will see the material on our
website. The unions are from Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia,
Sweden, Germany, Rep. of Ireland and the UK, (the T&G are proud to
have members in the 26 counties + the 6 counties + the UK). We haven't
yet decided on a name although we have had 6 meetings in Lithuania,
Denmark, Sweden, the UK and Latvia. At the moment it is called "the
Baltic Drivers Project" because the Danish (3FS) (ex SiD) union raised
some money from the EU. I know it is doubtful if England is a "Baltic
Country" and Ireland is definitely not, but we are doing the work,
drivers meeting face to face to fight cheap labour, even if we haven't
decided on a suitable name!




Friday, 9 December

National Day of Protest against Irish Ferries

ALL WORKERS, REPUBLICANS SOCIALISTS should support the day of protest
on Friday, 9 December. The marches will take place in the following

Dublin - Parnell Square, 1.30pm

Cork - Connolly Hall, 1.30pm

Limerick - Mechanics Institute, Hartstone Street, 1.00pm

Galway - Cathedral Car Park, 2pm

Sligo - Blue Lagoon, 2pm

Athlone - Golden Island Shopping Centre, 2.30pm

Waterford - Waterford Industrial Estate,1.15pm

Rosslare - Rosslare Harbour, 1.30pm


Friday, 9 December


Demonstration in solidarity with workers in Irish Ferries And Against
the exploitation of migrant workers.

1.00pm on Friday 9th December

Rally outside the UTV offices

Havelock House, Ormeau Road, Belfast.

The Belfast and District Trades Union Council (B&DTUC) with the ICTU
have arranged a solidarity demo in Belfast for 1.00pm on Friday 9th
December outside the UTV offices, Havelock House, Ormeau Road, Belfast.

This venue has been chosen because the Chairman of UTV is John B
McGuckian who is also a non-executive director of Irish Ferries.

The issues at the core of this dispute are very serious and relevant
to us in Belfast. Overpaid Irish ferries directors are attempting to
exploit and abuse vulnerable migrant workers by using them to break
the union organisation and drive down rates of pay and conditions.
Please attend and circulate as widely as possible.


US delays response to wife's seventh visa request

Olga Salanueva is married to René González, one of the Miami Five. She
and her daughter, Ivette, have been denied access to the United States
to visit René for the past five years.

Olga and Ivette will be in Ireland in early December for a series of
meetings with Irish politicians and human rights activists, at which
Olga will give an account of the recent developments in the case and
seek support for her five-year campaign to be allowed to visit her
husband. It is hoped to combine this event with the showing of a film
on the Miami Five.

(from SOCIALIST VOICE, a monthly publication of the Communist Party of


Saturday, 17 December

The Dublin IRSP annual fundraiser for current POWs' dependents which
will take place on the 17th December at 8.30 in Saints and Sinners
Public House Dublin. Guest speaker Eddie McGarrigle of Teach Na Failte.


Saturday, 29 January

Bloody Sunday Commemoration
Glasgow 2006



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Sunday 27 November 2005

The Plough Vol 03 No 09

The Plough
Volume 3, Number 9
27 November 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial
2) Hunger Striker's Son Demands Human Rights Intervention
3) Republican Socialist Youth Movement Statement
4) IRSP Press Statement 15th November 2005
5) Urgent Solidarity: Spanish Communists Begin Hunger Strike
6) O'Hara Family Solidarity Statement
7) No to the Farce Trials Against the Spanish Communists!
8) From the Newspapers
9) Letters
10) Marxism and the Venezuelan Revolution: A Book Review
11) What's On



This edition of The Plough deals in the main with affairs outside of
Ireland. This is not because there are not enough issues of concern in
Ireland. On the contrary there are many issues of concern to working
class activists not least the current situation concerning Irish
Ferries and their attempt to import cheap labour onto the ferries and
smash Irish trade unionism. However Irish republicans are also
internationalist in outlook and do see the fellow worker in other
countries as our comrades. In this edition the son of Michael Devine,
one of three INLA hunger strikers, adds his voice of solidarity with
political activists facing trial in France. There is also a statement
from the RSYM condemning the murder of a Russian anti-fascist.

These statements by our younger comrades contrasts favourably with the
actions of Ogra Sinn Fein, who in a blatant piece of political
opportunism have produced a recruiting poster for their organisation
featuring the 10 dead hunger strikers from 1981 with the slogan "10
good reasons to join Ogra Sinn Fein". Needless to say neither the
Republican Socialist Movement nor the families of the three dead INLA
hunger strikers were consulted on the issue of their image for party
recruiting purposes. We call on Ogra Sinn Fein to withdraw the posters

Other issues covered concern chemical weapons including mustard gas
dumped around the shores of the USA with unknown consequences for
future generations. We also carry a damming indictment of ASDA–WalMart
whose sharp practices now come to West Belfast. We also carry a
critical but sympathetic review of Alan Woods' book on the Venezuelan



The son of a Derry INLA hunger striker, Micky Og Devine, has added his
voice for the release of the nine political activists who have been on
hunger strike for the last three weeks whilst awaiting trial in
France. On November 16th the trial commenced in a Paris court room
against activists of PCE (r) [Communist Party of Spain reconstituted]
an underground political party and GRAPO [First of October
Anti-Fascist Revolutionary Group] and SRI [International Red Aid].
The French state aided and commanded by the Franco's Spanish Civil
Guard is collaborating in a so-called 'anti-terrorist campaign'.

In a statement released on behalf of the Devine Family, Micky Og
Devine, has called on human rights organisations to "bear witness" the
unfolding events, requesting them to "step into the arena before
deaths occur due to high levels of brutality and systematic torture"
by French & Spanish State authorities. In the statement he also called
for an "immediate cessation of the continuing 'Show Trials' against
the political activists".

"I and countless others around the world have been following this
latest round of injustice which has been simmering over the past
number of years in both French and Spanish goals. In the last few
years the Spanish state has illegalized dozens of social-political and
cultural organisations of the left which all are non-armed, under the
anti-terrorist laws. Basically it's erasing out of the equation all
those politically opposed to the establishment.

"The Spanish authorities have been attempting to link PCE (r) and
GRAPO as one sole organisation for the last 25 years without success.
Now they are seeking assistance from neighboring France for it to
arrange new laws that will permit, or to achieve their agenda.

"Isolation, torture and abuse have been relentless ever since their
capture and imprisonment. They will try anything to break them down.
I would call on those who monitor human rights violations to bear
witness to what has been developing both in France and in the Spanish
state, step into the issues involved here before deaths occur due to
high levels of brutality and systematic torture. Greater solidarity is
needed at this time for those incarcerated.

"We are now in the era of mass pacification, where anyone who attempts
to stand up against injustice and oppression, protests or struggles
politically against the establishments rule, are likely to be silenced
and that is clearly a matter of fact.

"We don't need new laws or further regulations to justify internment
by state forces without trial, torture and even murder. The state is
already carrying these activities out without hesitation or hindrance.
And this is not an isolated occurrence against political activists in
France, in the Spanish State, or in the hellholes of Turkey as it is
an unwritten policy alive and well in the occupied six counties.

"I am reminded of the miscarriage of justice victim, Tyrone man John
Brady, a republican activist who has been held in goal since his
detention back in June 2004 with not a single charge against him. That
was until trumped up charges appeared in September 2005 concerning the
murder of a British soldier in 2002, the case itself is remarkably
similar to that of Derry republican Seamus Doherty, now freed
following widespread protests by his family, friends and neighbours
against a host of false charges.

"In order to fulfill their pursuit the imperialist states are going to
do anything they can to silence any voices of resistance by locking
them up in isolation, torturing them, denying them basic rights, such
as communication with one another as political prisoners or defence of
themselves. That's why the nine communist, anti-fascist and prisoner
solidarity activists that the state wanted to put away in order to
diminish any political opposition in the region (France or Spain), had
to carry out a hunger strike.

"A scene, only too familiar to that of my own family and that of other
families of former political prisoners as we draw near to the 25
anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike.

"This may be seen by some as an isolated issue however you can be sure
that other states are watching very closely at these unfolding
developments just as many did whilst my father and his comrades and
our class fought back against British imperialism during 1981 hunger
strike. It is now policy of the imperialist states to hunt political
activists that can be seen as a threat for any involvement in the
building of a successful working class resistance movement.

"On behalf of myself and the Devine family, I would like to offer our
heartfelt support and solidarity in your struggle, and the strength to
stand against continuing oppression and unremitting brutality. You are
not alone in at this time, the whole world is watching!"

Stop The Show Trials!
Stop The Torture!

Micky Og Devine



The Republican Socialist Youth Movement condemns unreservedly the
savage murder of twenty year old Russian anti-fascist Timur Kacharava
by Russian Nazis on the evening of November 13. Timur and a friend
were standing in the street when they were set upon by a Nazi gang,
Timur died after being stabbed multiple times in the neck. His friend
survived the attack but is still in hospital, despite being stabbed
five times.

Timur was active in the Russian punk community, playing lead guitarist
for the band 'Sandinista!', he was active in the anarchist circles and
was involved in active confrontation with Nazis on the streets as well
as the Food Not Bombs project.

We call upon all anti-fascists and leftists both at home and abroad to
maintain vigilance and to unite and organise in opposition to fascism
which ultimately must be smashed through a broad campaign headed by
the working class.



The IRSP in Belfast condemn death threats that have been issued

The IRSP in Belfast condemn death threats that have been issued
through the PSNI/RUC to a number of our party activists in East Belfast.

Party spokesperson Paul Little said, "The issue of state sponsored
murder and British security force collusion has long been recognised
as a core part of British security policy in Ireland. It has been used
with some effect against republicans of all strands, the IRSP view
with concern that Britain still is employing these tactics in the new
millennium, transferring a few British troops out of Castlereagh
hardly constitutes justice where you have members of the British Army
conspiring with others to murder Irish republicans post-Good Friday

The IRSP are cautioning anyone who received death threats that they
have little choice only to take them seriously given the past history
of collusion between sections of Ulster loyalism and British forces.



What follows is the translated text announcing the beginning of an
indefinite hunger strike by Spanish Communists on October 28th 2005,
all of whom are currently imprisoned and awaiting political 'show
trials' in Paris France.

Solidarity protests are already underway in France and others are now
being planned in a number of other countries.

Please forward this information text as a gesture of international
solidarity and where possible create similar solidarity information
pickets or protests.

It is vital at this time, in this current climate of fear and
increased oppression that political prisoners in France, Spain, Turkey
and Ireland are not left isolated in the face of injustice, further
isolation, torture and the risk of certain death.

Stop The Brutality!

Political Status Now!

Freedom For All Political Prisoners!

Eighteen days of indefinite hunger strike & Political Show Trials

On October 28th the political prisoners of SRI (International Red Aid)
and GRAPO (First of October Anti-Fascist Revolutionary Group) and the
PCE(r) (Spanish Communist Party reconstituted) currently jailed in
France began an indefinite hunger strike for the respect and for the
right to have a judicial defence who are now facing a political show
trial that starts on November 16th. The trial will last for nine days
until mid December and the prisoners won't stop the strike until it is
recognised the international right to a fair judicial defence.

They are denied any form of information or vital documents regarding
what they are being put on trial for. The information received to
date is only in French. Their communication is restricted from the
outside and with their lawyers and their most recent visitors have
been refused admittance. This is clearly a political show trial.
Therefore their only weapon left open to them has been to embark on a
hunger strike.

Today is the eighteen day (November 18th 2005) of the hunger strike.
We must remind ourselves that they are political prisoners who already
lack vitalities after having been imprisoned for over twenty years and
having suffered torture and isolation as well as other hunger strikes.

By what little news we receive from the inside, we know that Josefina
García Aranburu has had to end her part in the hunger strike as she is
suffering serious health problems. As a supplement measure, she
refuses prison food and she has decided not to leave her cell. We are
also aware of the physical complications that Maria Angeles Ruiz Villa
is suffering. Another three prisoners Fernando Hierro Chomón (24 years
in jail), Xaquin Garrido (23 years in jail) and Marcos Martín Ponce,
have already felt serious health problems. 430 hours of hunger on the
bodies that have already been ill-treated are already affecting them.
And the protest continues.

On Wednesday 16th they will be moved to the 'Palace of Justice' with
already three weeks of hunger strike on their backs. In previous
trials, (the Paris 7 in 2003) several of these communist militants
were assaulted and beaten in transport, so the treat is more than
real. Let's not allow the silence. Solidarity is not just a weapon
to condemn but also of tenderness and of human and political dignity.
There is a solidarity picket on Wednesday 16th of November in Paris
outside the court room. At the moment it has been confirmed the
presence of the Barcelona, Galiza, Madrid and Rome SRI, as well as the
SRI in France. In France itself they count with the support of DHKC
and TAYAD. They have also received the unconditional support of the
IRSP and of the republican socialist prisoners in Ireland.



The family of 1981 INLA Hunger Striker Patsy O'Hara have expressed
their concern at the ongoing hunger strike taken in protest by several
political activists in the Fresnes Prison, France by issuing a direct
statement to those involved.

"We the family of Irish Republican Socialist Hunger Strike Martyr
Patsy O'Hara who died in Long Kesh on 21st May 1981 send heartfelt
solidarity wishes to the POW's on Hunger Strike in Fresnes Prison and
their families. We are deeply saddened that once again Political
Prisoners are forced to Fast to the death in an attempt to achieve
justice and humanitarian treatment from the French Government that has
incarcerated them in the first place. We wonder if this will be the
benchmark of a new form of Internment to be adopted by all the EU
countries, especially France, Spain, Germany and England who have an
atrocious record of human rights abuse, especially when it comes to
Prisoners. We call for an end to the Solitary Confinements, End to the
Torture and degradation, End to the show Trial and a return to Justice."

Tony O'Hara



International Red Aid
November 14th 2005

On November 16th in Paris started a new trial against militants of the
PCE(r) (Spanish Communist Party reconstituted) and GRAPO (First of
October Anti-Fascist Revolutionary Group).

Almost simultaneously there will also be another trial in the National
Audience in Madrid against more members of the PCE(r) and GRAPO as
well as members of the SRI (International Red Aid).

There also continues the criminalisation of anyone who will oppose
resistance against the exploitation, oppression and militarism of the
monopolists and the imperialists.

Such repression has had a special impact on our party for its relevant
role at the vanguard of the Anti-Fascist Resistance Movement within
the Spanish state and as a reference for all those that are struggling
for socialism.

These trials have been preceded for more than three years of
in-communication and no possibility of defence for these political
prisoners. There has been a permanent harassment against the moral and
political integrity of these communist and anti-fascists, constant
humiliations and beatings. There should be no surprise when looking at
such cruelty, as both the French and Spanish state defend the
interests of the oppressive ruling class when there is the slightest
hint of struggle, especially when facing a party, the PCE(r), that has
spent more than 30 years defending the present and future interests of
the workers, orienting the working class in its struggle against the
rotten capitalist system and for socialism. It has always condemned
the permanence of fascism in this state in spite of the "Reform",
walking at the front of workers demonstrations against it, at the same
that it defends and supports the legitimacy of armed struggle means
used by the Anti-Fascist Resistance Movement.

Within these three decades, our militants have been harassed,
arrested, tortured, imprisoned and murdered. This has been, as it
couldn't be otherwise, when talking about class enemies, the treatment
that the fascist Spanish regime has dispensed upon our party as it is
doing now their French accomplices.

These governments will try to disguise their state terrorism when
talking about "dialogue and negation", however the facts will clash
with their words as we see in every performance of the state when
dealing with the fair demands of industrial workers, miners,
immigrants, fishermen, and other workers and as we can confirm with
the permanence of the anti-terrorist laws and the political repression
dictated by Aznar's party with the active support of the PSOE leading
to farce trials as the ones which have now taken place.

Our trust, as always, can only be put on our class, the working class,
and on all those democrats and anti-fascist, in their resistance
against oppression, and in the strength of their organised struggle to
achieving their fair economical and political demands that today we
need. Therefore we make a call to all those, especially the workers,
to show their active support for these communists and anti-fascists
who are to be tried in France and Spain and to organise support
pickets against the long sentences which they are going to be received.

Amnesty For All Political Prisoners!

For Full Political Status!

Join The Resistance!

PCE(r) November 7th 2005




US Weapons of Mass Destruction

The US Army now admits in reports never before released that it
secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard gas agent into
the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and
rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste either tossed
overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels.

These weapons of mass destruction virtually ring the USA, concealed
off the coasts of at least 11 states: six on the East Coast,
including New Jersey and Maryland, two on the Gulf Coast, and in
California, Hawaii and Alaska. Few, if any, state officials have been
informed of their existence.

The chemical agents could pose a hazard for generations. The Army has
examined only a few of its 26 dump zones, and none in 30 years.
The Army can't say exactly where all the weapons were dumped from
World War II to 1970. Army records are sketchy, missing or were

More dump sites probably exist. The Army hasn't reviewed records from
the World War I era, when ocean dumping of chemical weapons was common.,0,3545637.story


InterPress Service
November 10, 2005

Viet Cong Advice for Iraqi Resistance
by Aaron Glantz

HANOI, Nov 10 - Is Iraq another Vietnam? Tran Dac Loi should know. The
Secretary-General of the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation grew
up in Hanoi dodging bombs dropped by the United States Air Force,
while his father fought in the successful guerilla war in the
country's central highlands. Three decades later, Tran, now an
important figure in the ideological wing of Vietnam's communist
government, has some basic advice for the Iraqi resistance.

"Our struggle was well organised. We had an address and official
contacts, but with Iraq you never know who the resistance is and what
their objectives are," Tran said in an IPS interview.

"Sure, the fighters all want the Americans out, but there's no
unifying political programme," Tran said, pointing to what he sees as
a serious flaw with the Iraqi resistance.

In Iraq, the insurgency's appeal flows primarily from the pain of the
occupation. Much of its support comes from regular Iraqis who have
relatives who have been killed or imprisoned by U.S. forces and they
want to get even. "This kind of resistance leads nowhere," he said.
"Resistance has to have a clear objective. Ours was independence and
socialism; not reaction but revolution."

Some of the occupation's opponents in Iraq do have developed
organisations, complete with spokespersons and ideological programmes.
But, Tran says, because all of them are built on ethnic or religious
lines, they'll never succeed in their objectives. The movement of
Muqtada Sadr, for example, appeals primarily to poor people in the
country's numerous Shi'ite slums. It provides services in poor Shi'ite
neighbourhoods, while advocating an Islamic state. Such a plan of
action has helped Sadr amass millions of supporters, but has also
caused him to be unable to attract a following outside his core base.
According to Tran, the same can be said of Sunni fundamentalists. The
hardline Association of Muslim Scholars may have spokespersons who
appear regularly on the Arab satellite channels, but their appeal is
limited even within the country. Tran thinks that the lack of a
pan-ethnic political programme can cause minority groups to ally with
the occupier in order to ensure that their cultural rights are
protected. In Iraq, this has caused the Kurds, and their more than
100,000 'peshmerga' guerillas, to side with the U.S. "The absence of a
clear political programme is in the interest of the U.S.," Tran said.
"Then, they can go above you and pretend like they're solving the
problems between you, when really they're lording over you."

While the occupying forces took care to ban the secularist Ba'ath
Party--which continues to function through independent cells within
Iraq and through exiles in Syria and Jordan--it has not been able to
earn the trust of minority groups. It is a classic case of divide and
rule. Indeed, from the start of the occupation, the U.S. government
actively encouraged the Iraqi people to organise themselves along
sectarian lines. The U.S. administration even hired a company,
Research Triangle Institute (RTI), and charged it with selecting local
governments, based solely on the ethnic make-up in each of Iraq's
regions. In March 2003, RTI was awarded a contract worth 466 million
US dollars to create 180 local and provincial governments in Iraq and
obtain wide public participation in a new political process but
irregularities were pointed out by government auditors.

As a communist, Tran suggests a programme in Iraq similar to Vietnam's
revolution which was based on a single political party, aimed at
throwing out the aggressor, defending the unity of the country and the
country's economic and political sovereignty. The particular ideology,
he said, is not the key. More important is something everyone can
believe in, regardless of religion or ethnic background, said Tran,
who, among other things, coordinates the country's delegations to the
annual World Social Forum, usually held at Porto Alegre in Brazil.

Iraq, he said, needs a unifying political figure like Ho Chi Minh.
"You need a political figure who can introduce a long-term objective
that's in the basic interest of the majority of the people." Tran
doesn't think any of Iraq's current crop of political leaders fits
this mould. Moreover, he says the fighters' regular killings of
innocent civilians are sickening and counterproductive. "They behave
more like random rebelling groups," he says. "When we fought, we only
fought against the ones who fought us. Civilians were never our targets."

Given the Iraqi resistance's bloody tactics and lack of a unified
political programme, Tran doubts it will be successful in forcing the
Americans out--at least in the short term. He compares the Iraqi
resistance to the many aborted attempts to end French colonisation of
Vietnam before World War II that were led by small groups of the
educated elite. "They were all patriots but they were all suppressed
because they could not appeal to the masses."

[IPS reporter Aaron Glantz is author of the book, "How America Lost
Iraq" (Tarcher/Penguin). Ngoc Nguyen also contributed to this report.]



We received the following article from a reader.

(Dear Editor,

I thought this attached article might be of interest given the
opening of ASDA at the West-Link centre in Belfast. Jim)

Asda Wal-Mart: Cutting Costs at any Cost
by Joe Zacune

Wal-Mart is the world's largest retail company and is more familiar in
the UK as the supermarket chain Asda. Wal-Mart has built a global
empire of supermarket stores on an image of 'always low prices'. This
obsession with prices has led to poverty wages, ever-worsening
sweatshop conditions and the destruction of local businesses and
communities. These policies are well known but now new evidence has
emerged on how Asda senior management are planning to deliberately
"chip away" at workers' rights and working conditions in the UK.

War on Want has seen a leaked document titled "Warehouse Chip Away
Strategy 2005" that outlines how Asda senior management are planning
to drastically undermine labour standards. Asda management plan to
breach these rights despite openly acknowledging the risks of trade
union opposition and health and safety violations.

Work breaks are to be cut, grievance mechanisms removed and health and
safety conditions weakened. The document also proposes removing the
right to take individual grievances to external arbitrators. Asda
management plans to include "single man loading" despite the fact that
their own "risk assessment says 2 men (are) required for loading".
Line managers are advised to "lead by example, not taking all the
breaks that hourly paid colleagues get" in order to "take credence
away from breaks".

Of the ten richest people in the world, four are members of the Walton
family, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune. Wal-Mart documents released in
April 2005 reveal that the company's CEO Lee Scott was paid over $17.5
million in total during 2004.

Not content to pay its employees wages that are on average 20% lower
than the industry standard, Wal-Mart seeks to cut costs through the
routine violation of workers' rights. Wal-Mart requires that labour
costs be kept to less than 8% of each store's sales. In addition,
managers must reduce the labour costs at their stores by 0.2% each
year. This drives managers to stretch their workforce to cover chronic
staff shortages, and to break the law by employing children and
undocumented migrant workers.

One internal audit of 25,000 employees in 128 Wal-Mart stores in the
USA found 1,371 violations of child labour laws, including minors
working too late, too many hours a day and during school hours. It
also found 60,000 instances where workers were forced to work through
breaks, and 16,000 where they worked through meal times. Wal-Mart's
model is fast becoming the industry standard, as other firms slash
employee wages and benefits in an attempt to compete with the retail

Wal-Mart is vehemently anti-union. Its anti-union policy is a central
part of its obsession with minimising costs. Wal-Mart provides
managers with its infamous 'Manager's Toolbox to Remaining Union Free'
that states: "Staying union free is a full time commitment. Unless
union prevention is a goal equal to other goals and objectives in the
organization, management will not devote the necessary day in, day out
attention and effort." If there is any evidence of moves towards
unionisation, managers are ordered to phone the Wal-Mart Union Hotline

In the UK too, workers at Asda have come up against Wal-Mart's
anti-union culture. Following Wal-Mart's 1999 take-over of Asda, the
company has sought to restrict the role of general union GMB. After
four years of negotiations, a new agreement between Asda and the GMB
came into effect in 2004, which does not provide for collective
bargaining. In the words of GMB senior manager Harry Donaldson, "We
believe that, since the take-over, Wal-Mart has tried to stifle union
activity at Asda." Managers at a unionised Asda distribution depot
offered workers a new terms and conditions package which included a
10% pay increase and the requirement that workers give up collective
bargaining representation by the GMB. When workers rejected the
proposal, Asda withdrew the 10% pay increase.

Wal-Mart's ability to slash prices at its retail stores is based on
its power to drive down wages and working conditions at the factories
which produce its products. As the largest retail corporation in the
world, Wal-Mart has immense power over suppliers and uses this to
dictate everything from prices to precise delivery schedules.

Wal-Mart is leading the race to the bottom by relentlessly squeezing
cost efficiencies out of the supply chain. Wal-Mart frequently
requires its suppliers to open their books for Wal-Mart inspection and
tells them exactly where to cut costs. When national labour or
environmental standards create a barrier to cost cutting, suppliers
are encouraged to relocate to a labour market that will enable them to
produce at the low price Wal-Mart requires.

Even where wages are rock-bottom, Wal-Mart insists that its suppliers
drive prices ever lower. Qin, a factory worker in China, explains: "In
four years they haven't increased the salary." Isabel Reyes, a
garment worker in Honduras, tells the same story: "There is always an
acceleration... the goals are always increasing, but the pay stays the

In August 2002, Asda sparked a banana retail price war with lasting
effects on the banana industry and banana workers worldwide. Asda
specifically targeted key items such as milk and bananas as part of
its strategy to brand itself as Britain's low-price supermarket. In
the end, consumer prices were lowered by 25%. Asda's exclusive deal
with Del Monte, contracted at what industry experts describe as a
"ridiculously low price", means that it is supplied with bananas grown
and harvested under the worst labour and environmental conditions in
the world.

Independent growers in countries with adequate worker and
environmental protection, such as Costa Rica, can no longer sell to
Asda and other British supermarkets without making a loss.

War on Want is encouraging Asda employees in the UK to contact GMB if
they wish to find out about their rights or start a union. More
generally we are calling on the UK government to support a binding
framework of corporate accountability to regulate the activities of
corporations such as Wal-Mart.

In the global economy huge multinationals are only accountable to
their shareholders. If we are concerned about workers' rights
throughout the world, corporations like Wal-mart need to be reined in
and unions need to be strengthened.

For more information and to join War on Want's campaign to rein in
global corporations go to: or email



SOCIALIST VOICE: Marxist Perspectives for the Workers' Movement #56 ­
November 11, 2005

Alan Woods. The Venezuela Revolution: A Marxist Perspective London:
Wellred Books (, 2005.

Reviewed by John Riddell

TORONTO, CANADA - Can a small Marxist current hope to influence the
course of events in times of a revolutionary uprising, or are they
condemned to an existence of sideline critics, never to influence the
broader working class movement?

A new book by British Marxist Alan Woods puts that question to the
test in a most challenging way -- in the midst of the unfolding
Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Revolution: A
Marxist Perspective consists of 14 articles written by Woods between
the failed pro-imperialist coup of April 2002 and the Bolivarians'
turn to socialism in early 2005. Published earlier this year, the book
has much to teach us about the role of Marxists in a revolutionary

Many revolutionary-minded groups or parties in the world have been
skeptical and standoffish toward Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution. It
confounds their self-conceived truths: much of the Bolivarian
leadership came unexpectedly from the officer corps; the Bolivarian
program was not openly socialist in its beginning stages; its course
of action corresponded to no one's blueprint. President Hugo Chávez
was pegged by most of them as a radical bourgeois figure.

By contrast, the current led by Alan Woods, the International Marxist
Tendency (IMT) (, grasped the importance of the
Venezuelan uprising soon after the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998. It
has devoted considerable resources to building an international
solidarity campaign, Hands Off Venezuela (

The IMT understood early that Marxists in Venezuela should support the
Bolivarian movement and be part of it, rather than stand back and
criticize it from the sidelines. They have worked with energy and some
success to influence the Bolivarians, gaining favorable mentions from
Chávez himself.

Expropriate capitalist property

Alan Woods' main point, reflected in each of his articles, is that the
Venezuelan revolution cannot stop half way, leaving the U.S.- backed
right-wing oligarchy in control of decisive sectors of the economy and
state apparatus. "The counterrevolutionary forces are not reconciled
to defeat," Woods states. "They are increasingly desperate ...
determined and violent."

Venezuelan working people must expropriate capitalist property and lay
the basis for socialism, he argues. "Either the greatest of victories
or the most terrible of defeats." (Pages 110, 133)

This basic premise of Marxism, confirmed at each stage of the
Venezuelan struggle, has won an increasing hearing among the
Bolivarians. Chávez now ridicules the notion that Venezuela can find
liberation within capitalism.

Learning from Chávez

Another key lesson is not stated explicitly, and may be unintended.
Woods articles show how Marxists can learn from a living revolution.

In the opening chapters, written from London and Buenos Aires just
after the 2002 coup attempt, Woods is close to dismissive of
Bolivarian leader Hugo Chávez. At that time, Woods wrote that Chávez
is "inclined to be inconsistent" and has "often displayed indecision."
He "temporized and attempted to conciliate the counter-
revolutionaries" which was "a fatal mistake." (Pages 16, 20, 43)

The book then breaks off: there is a gap of 16 months before the next

Then, in April 2004, Woods attended an international conference in
Caracas in which Chávez, displaying his characteristic cordial
generosity, set out to forge a link with Woods, one of the most
prominent international solidarity activists. Woods learned that
Chávez was not only keenly interested in Marxism but was familiar with
the British Marxist's own writings. "He told me he was not a Marxist
because he had not read enough Marxist books," Woods commented. "But
he is reading them now." (Page 62)

The next part of the book is a treasure: two slashing polemics against
sectarian attitudes toward the Venezuelan movement.

"For the sectarian mentality, a revolution must conform to a pre-
established scheme," Woods writes. The sectarian "establishes an ideal
norm and rejects anything ... that does not conform."

Woods ridicules those who would build the revolutionary party by
proclamation. "Three men and ... a drunken parrot gather in a café in
Caracas and proclaim the Revolutionary Party." And if the masses do
not join, the sectarian says, "Well, that's their problem." (Pages 65,
83) These ideas are not new, but coming to us from the battlefields of
a living revolution, they ring with great authority.

In the pages that follow, Woods writes with warm respect of Chávez,
"the man who inspired this magnificent movement and provided it with a
leadership and a banner." (Page 162)

Crucial omissions

Nevertheless, the Marxism advanced in Alan Woods' book remains

CUBA: The Venezuelan Revolution condemns U.S. attacks on Cuba, but not
a word can be found in this book of Cuba's role in the Venezuelan
revolution. Yet Cuba's revolutionary leaders have had a much stronger
influence on Venezuela's Bolivarians than all the smaller Marxist
currents put together.

The political alliance of Hugo Chávez with the Cuban Marxists began a
few months after Chávez was released from prison in 1994, when he went
to Cuba for discussions with Fidel Castro. Since Chávez' first
election to president in 1998, Cuba has contributed tens of thousands
of volunteers to deliver health, educational, and recreational
services to Venezuelan working people. The two governments have a
close diplomatic, economic, and political alliance. The book's silence
on this important alliance creates a highly misleading picture of the
Bolvarian revolutionary process. It raises a crucial question: does
the author view Cuba's role in Venezuela as positive or negative?

ANTI-MPERIALIST ALLIANCE: And what about ALBA? The Bolivarian
Agreement for the Americas (ALBA) is the Venezuelan government's
proposal for non-exploitative economic cooperation among Latin
American countries. It was advanced in 2003 as an alternative to
imperialist-directed "Free Trade of the Americas" fraud. Cuba endorsed
ALBA in its December 2004 treaty with Venezuela.

ALBA's appeal and relevance was made astonishingly clear at the recent
summit meeting in Argentina of political leaders of the Americas. The
imperialist "free trade" proposition was proclaimed dead on arrival by
the masses who rallied there and, not coincidentally, gave Chávez a
hero's welcome.

Woods does not mention ALBA. Does he perhaps have it in mind when he
warns Venezuela against relying on "friendly relations" with
Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. (Page 119) The international, anti-
imperialist dimension of the Venezuelan revolution is simply
disregarded throughout the book

DEMOCRATIC TASKS: Woods does not take up the ongoing democratic tasks
of the Venezuelan process. Such struggles as that of Venezuela's
people of color for equality; that of women pressing into political
life and demanding their rights; that of workers in the "informal
sector" striving for a secure livelihood; that of the oppressed
indigenous peoples to which the Bolivarians have given such close
attention -- all are neglected. Nor does Woods acknowledge Chávez's
role as a defender of the world's ecology against capitalist

Woods also fails to give clear support to the struggles of peasants
who wish to divide up the great estates, arguing instead that the
estates should operate as collective farms. (Page 172)

All these questions are crucial to forging the revolutionary alliance
necessary to overturning capitalism in Venezuela. By omitting them,
the book displays a limited understanding of the complex dynamics of
the Venezuelan revolution.

nationalize capitalist property in a purely administrative way. "For
the immediate expropriation of the property of the imperialists and
the Venezuelan bourgeoisie.... An emergency decree to this effect must
be put to the National Assembly," Woods wrote soon after the failed
coup in 2002. (Page 17)

But working-class nationalization -- as opposed to a capitalist
transfer of formal ownership -- can only be carried out by a mass
movement of working people who have become convinced through
experience that there is no alternative and who are ready to assume
management responsibility. Provided the workers are not forced into
premature action, they must prepare for the challenge of managing
production. Otherwise, for example, their expropriation of foreign-
owned companies may lead to their immediate shutdown for lack of raw
materials, technical inputs, and customers.

There is a sameness in The Venezuelan Revolution: the articles span
three years but advocate an identical course of action -- immediate
expropriation -- at every turn. The book displays no sense of tactics,
no sense of when to advance, when to pause, when to sound out the
enemy's willingness to compromise, when to form alliances.

On all these points, The Venezuelan Revolution fails to convey key
lessons of the Bolshevik-led revolution in Russia, lessons that are
well understood by Cuba's revolutionary leadership.

Woods sees in Venezuela a dichotomy between two currents: on the one
hand, petty-bourgeois revolutionary democracy, led by Chávez; and on
the other, Marxism, represented in his view above all by the IMT's own
Revolutionary Marxist Current. (Page 93)

But on the key challenges facing the Venezuela revolution, the record
of the Chávez leadership is stronger than the course proposed by The
Venezuelan Revolution. The Bolivarians' course has led not to defeat,
as Woods warned, but to victory after victory.

Toward a revolutionary party

Judging by this book alone, the political line of Alan Woods and the
International Marxist Tendency is inflexible, one-sided, and veers off
course. Yet the IMT, as Chávez himself has acknowledged, has made an
undeniable contribution to the broader Bolviarian movement of which it
is part.

Surely there is a lesson here for all of us in the splintered and
fragmented international socialist movement.

The revolutionary party for which we strive will be built through
living processes like those we see in Venezuela today or in Cuba
before it. Under the impact of an upsurge of struggles, new leadership
forces will converge with the best forces in existing currents to form
a unified movement. All existing currents will be challenged to
subordinate their prized separateness to a broader purpose.

It is to the credit of Alan Woods that he and his current have been
able to travel at least a part of that road together with Venezuela's
revolutionary Bolivarians.




Saturday, 17 December

The Dublin IRSP annual fundraiser for current POWs' dependents which
will take place on the 17th December at 8.30 in Saints and Sinners
Public House Dublin. Guest speaker Eddie McGarrigle of Teach Na Failte.


Saturday, 3 December - Tuesday, 6 December

Belfast Shell to Sea

Upcoming events - Please support the Belfast Shell to Sea Activities

Saturday 3rd December, 11.30pm

White Line picket at the junction of the bottom of the Whiterock Road
and the Falls Road. We'll try to raise money to support the campaign
and again raise awareness of the case.

Tuesday 6th December, 7pm

Micheál Ó Seighin will be launching an art exhbition in the Cultúrlann
on the Falls Road, featuring the work of Tadhg McGrath - a member of
the Shell to Sea campaign in Dublin. This will be an informal
gathering but it will be an opportunity for people to meet Micheál and
his wife Caitlín and to find out more about what's been going on. This
event is open to all.

Information on the exhibition is available on Indymedia..


US delays response to wife's seventh visa request

Olga Salanueva is married to René González, one of the Miami Five. She
and her daughter, Ivette, have been denied access to the United States
to visit René for the past five years.

Olga and Ivette will be in Ireland in early December for a series of
meetings with Irish politicians and human rights activists, at which
Olga will give an account of the recent developments in the case and
seek support for her five-year campaign to be allowed to visit her
husband. It is hoped to combine this event with the showing of a film
on the Miami Five.

(from SOCIALIST VOICE, a monthly publication of the Communist Party of


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Monday 14 November 2005

The Plough Vol 03 No 08

The Plough
Volume 3, Number 8
14 November 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial
2) IRSP Commemoration March in Strabane
3) Political Policing
4) What's On



This edition of The Plough is solely devoted to the speeches delivered
at an IRSP commemoration in Strabane for dead INLA volunteers from the
Strabane area. The main speech was delivered by former POW Paul Little
and deals with the lack of honesty from today's batch of politicians
in Ireland. It totally refutes allegation about RSM involvement in the
internal affairs of Republican Sinn Fein. It calls for unity among the
republican left and clearly spells out the republican socialist
position on the politics of the day.

The second speech is by veteran republican socialist Willie Gallagher
and is his definitive account of the machinations of British
intelligence to turn republican against republican. As Willie makes
clear, the relationship that republican socialists want with other
republicans despite our differences is the relationships, respect and
solidarity shown by IRA/INLA hunger strikers during that heroic period
in prison history.



Sunday, 13 November

Comrades, on occasions like this it is customary to pay respect to our
dead comrades, and we do for no one can gain say their heroism,
determination and steadfastness to the republican ideal.

However, speeches also on occasions like this need to be more than
just respect for the dead. Nor do we need to issue a few platitudes
about perfidious Albion, treacherous England and the fake tan of Peter
Hain. No, comrades and friends, if we are to learn from our past if we
are to give meaning to the sacrifices of our comrades then we need to
speak frankly openly and honestly and learn from our history.

Now there is a word that stands lonely and sorrowful in today's
politics. Honesty! Lets look at the practice of today's politicians.
Take Peter Hain, and, oh, we so wish someone would take him out of
Ireland. This once radical street politician has not only sold out on
his youthful beliefs, he has also sold out on any principles that the
British Labour Party ever had. To hear this patronising Brit lecture
us on how to behave is just nauseating. Not only is his tan fake but
so also are his words for his leader, Blair, the master of spin
doctoring has elevated the art of lying to a new level and called it

No wonder more and more people are sickened with what passes for
politics today. Does anyone here today believe a word that comes out
of the mouths of the leaders of the four main political parties?
Paisley? No! Adams? No! Empey? No! Durkan? No!

Paisley has built a career on the big lie! Playing on the fears of the
Protestant masses, he has incited violence, sectarian hatred and gets
his reward with three seats in the British House of Lords! He has
played a blinder for British imperialism. Sectarianism and British
imperialist policy walk hand in hand.

Adams has managed to sell a major defeat for Irish republicanism as a
victory to his followers. He tries to sell us the idea that
capitulation in the form of total decommissioning is an act of
statesmanship. Smell the coffee, Gerry! Raids on republican homes by a
reborn and revitalised RUC! Restrictions on visits to the USA for fund
raising! No power sharing in the North! Unionism united under Paisley!
Direct rule from Britain continues and loyalism has been rewarded for
its years of sectarian slaughter on behalf of its masters! Politics
based on a sectarian headcount! Some statesmanship!!

And as for Empey and Durkan, they both vie to outdo their main rivals
in the two sectarian tribes by flag waving and appeals to their own
form of nationalism. Reg believes Orange marches are the big issue and
Mark, like a frightened rabbit caught in the glare of headlights,
doesn't know which way to jump, into Fianna Fail or merge with the
Irish Labour Party. As for the Alliance Party and the Women's
Coalition, membership of these seems to be but a stepping-stone to a
big cushy job in a quango. Principles go out the window when the offer
of that big job comes along.

And as for honesty, lets now talk about the IMC reports. Facts. Nah!
Hold on! Don't let facts get in the way of a good big report. One has
only to look at the mad staring eyes of our own wee Lord Alderdice
presenting his fairy tale reports to know that the lunatics have taken
over the asylum (with apologies to those genuinely suffering mental
illness). The IMC reports are a excuse for every embittered Special
Branch man and gossip gathering and lying journalists to spin their
stories and see them end up in print to damage genuine republican

Hence the recent assaults and raids on our comrades in the republican
socialist ex-prisoners organisation, Teach na Failte. Of course TnF
are not involved in money laundering. The RUC know that, the Branch
know that,­ but the truth you see does not matter. The spin counts.
Associate TnF with money laundering and criminality and you can then
discredit the efforts that TnF have made to genuinely engage with all
others within and across the sectarian divide.

And here is now an important piece of honesty. British imperialism
does not fear guns as much as it fears people. Yes, people! For when
people begin to think for themselves and then to act on the thoughts,
then and only then does imperialism begin to tremble. Who turned Greek
against Turk in Cyprus? The British ruling class. Result: partition of
Cyprus. Who turned Jew against Arab? The British ruling class. Result:
partition of Palestine and apartheid. Who turned Muslim against Hindu?
The British ruling class. Result: partition of the Indian
sub-continent, wars and perpetual poverty. Who turned tribe against
tribe in Africa? Imperialism, including British imperialism. Result:
massive partitions, hunger starvation and genocide. Who turned
Catholic against Protestant in Ireland? The British ruling class.
Result: partition of Ireland and sectarian violence.

The British ruling class along with USA imperialism are currently
occupying Iraq and dividing up the spoils of war. They are assiduously
turning Shia against Sunni against Kurd. They fear the power of united
Iraqi people.

The tools of imperialism include lies, deception, division,
repression, bribery, flattery, the arming of murder gangs and the
attempted criminalisation of political opponents. But the first item
on their agenda at all times is to set brother against brother, sister
against sister, comrade against comrade and Catholic against Protestant.

Comrades, don't fall for their machinations, lies and deceptions. Only
in the last few days a so-called nationalist paper ran a story that
implicated the Republican Socialist Movement in a plot to remove the
president of Republican Sinn Fein from the leadership of his party. It
also implied that the INLA was on the brink of decommissioning. The
journalist who wrote this fairy tale was not in contact with the IRSP.
His so-called sources have no connection with this movement. For the
record the IRSP have the highest respect for Ruari O'Bradaigh and have
not nor will not attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of any
other republican or socialist organisations. We lay our position out
openly and clearly before the people. If you want to know what we
think, ask us, for we tell it like it is. No lies, no spin doctoring,
no bullshit.

This movement is by no means perfect. Far from it. We have openly and
publicly acknowledged errors, mistakes and wrongs committed in our
name. And internally we will continue to develop as an organisation
worthy of claiming the support of the working class. We are not so
arrogant to think that we have the way the truth and light. We are not
the true, the real or the only republicans. All that we claim is that
we are republican socialists doing our best to live up to the ideals
of James Connolly.

We are not interested in the spin doctoring around personalities, we
are only interested in the political consequences of the politics
pursued by the personalities who dominate their own political

So we say to everyone here today look at the consequences of the
failed politics pursued by the other so-called mainstream parties with
mandates. Sectarianism has never been as prevalent or malevolent as it
is today. Huge areas of working class estates north and south,
unionist or nationalist, are under the sway of drug gangs or low life
thugs. 250,000 children live in poverty in the so-called Celtic Tiger.
Hospitals north and south are overcrowded, underfunded and dirty.
Wealth north and south in made from a low wage economy. That means,
friends, you work for low wages while fat cats cream off the top.
Migrant workers are exploited ruthlessly while government policies
north and south actually encourage racist attacks on our new citizens.
And while all this and much worse goes on we are all encouraged to
turn a blind eye, retire to private life, and leave the public arena
to our betters in the great and the good.

Well, friends, that is not for us. Republican socialists put the
public good before private profit. We can not and will not be silent
when we see injustice, exploitation and discrimination. Nor will we
distort history and pretend that the republican struggle has
succeeded. It has not. Britain still rules us and we are in for a
prolonged period of direct rule, which will see massive charges
imposed on ordinary working class people. In the South, Meanwhile, a
craven subservient government has bargained away every last vestige of
sovereignty by allowing USA secret agents permission to question Irish
citizens, and by throwing away Irish neutrality.

And Bertie Ahern now has the gall to reinstate celebrations of the
1916 revolution. Of course, not out of conviction but only to head off
electoral losses to Sinn Fein. How those gallant men and women of 1916
must be spinning in their graves. Was it for this accursed partition
island, subservient to Yankee imperialism and licking the boots of the
British overlords, that they fought and fell for?

Of course not. The republic that James Connolly, the outstanding
figure of the revolution, fought for was a socialist republic. To make
that a living reality requires people who think for themselves and act
on those thoughts. And we include in our concept of people all the
people on this island regardless of how they view their own
nationality. Yes, we still adhere to the old republican concept that
is still relevant today, a unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

It is our task, comrades and friends, indeed it is your task too, to
persuade in these changed times others of the wisdom, nobility and
relevance of our ideals of a socialist republic. Yes, note the
importance of the word relevance. Slogans and abstract dreams do not
in today's world have relevance for the majority of people. Most of us
are too busy trying to survive in today's cutthroat world to have time
for idly dreaming. Make republican socialism relevant to the everyday
lives of people in their workplaces, homes, communities and then and
only then will we have realistic possibilities of building a society
that all of us can be proud of.

To that end we repeat our call for all who claim to be socialists
and/or republicans to climb off your high horses and come down and
talk to other republicans and socialists to plot a way forward for the
Irish working class to take what is rightly fully theirs, their own
country back. Building a broad front of the republican left would be a
start in a fightback from the position we all are now in. But if
others want to sit in splendid isolation pure and unsullied by not
talking to the Irps well all we can say to them is history will pass
you by and judge you harshly. We will continue to grow, build and
educate ourselves in class politics and revolutionary struggle. For
when we view what is happening all around the world then we are only
confirmed in our view that capitalism cannot be reformed from within.
It must be smashed.

Ask yourself this question what have I done lately to help build a
just society? What part have I played or will play in making the
Republic a reality? Answer these questions positively and then we will
begin to be in a position to make the sacrifices of our dead
volunteers relevant. And then we can proudly walk away from this
commemoration knowing that while the road ahead may be rocky and there
will be setbacks and defeats, our actions, beliefs and words will in
the future build a world that we all can be proud of.


By Ex-INLA POW Willie Gallagher

On Thursday 27th October 2005 a series of raids directed at Teach na
Failte, an ex-INLA prisoners group, began at 11.00am. A total of 40
PSNI land rovers, 25 armored PSNI cars, 8 4x4 jeeps and 12 vans were
used in the operation. A total of 23 homes, 2 business premises and
the TnF office were raided in Strabane. The TnF office in Belfast was
also raided. One third of the homes had their doors sledged in and
several houses were in effect trashed. Most of the homes but not all
belonged to members and workers from TnF, past and present. Most of
the warrants were similar in laundering, financial
documents and computer equipment. Computers and files relating to
hundreds of participants who partook in courses to enhance their
employment prospects were seized. Confidential details of articipants,
which had absolutely no bearing to the stated reason on the search
warrants, were also seized. Telephones, fax machines, CVs,
certificates of achievement, job applications and funding applications
were also taken. Some of the people who haven't worked for TnF for up
to 3 years and who through the assistance of TnF gained long term
employment also had to endure the painful experience of having their
homes broken into. The PSNI stated that money and cigarettes were
seized during the raid giving the impression that these items were
taken during the house raids. None of these stated items were found in
any of the homes, offices or business premises that were searched but
were in fact seized from a person who drove his van into a cul-de-sac
where one of the raids was taking place.

My home was one of those raided by the PSNI who stated that they were
looking for evidence of money laundering, firearms, munitions and
scanners. The CID officer in charge told me that they knew they would
find nothing and apologised for the raid. Despite moving my computer,
which they told me they were seizing, from one side of the room to the
other they forgot to take it with them. The raid had only begun when
Channel 9 news phoned me asking why I was getting raided. Twenty
minutes later a press photographer was taking photographs of my home.
He quickly left the area after being confronted about his actions. The
PSNI took a credit union book, which they seized last year after my
arrest for the Ulster Bank robbery, as well as all photographs
and post cards I had from a trip to Cuba and other documents relating
to Cuba and Teach na Failte. The PSNI personnel involved in raiding my
home were unusually polite and apologetic unlike during the vast
majority of the raids elsewhere where they were aggressive, abusive
and in one case assaulted a man knocking him to the ground from his
wheelchair. They left just after two hours from their invasion. The
whole PSNI operation lasted for just over 12 hours and was directed
against TnF.

I have no doubt that this State operation was a part of a strategy
outlined last year in the Belfast Telegraph by 'security
correspondents' who stated that there was going to be "an
unprecedented attack on those believed to be involved in the Ulster
Bank robbery and this attack was going to manifest itself in various
manners". I also have no doubt that it was a propaganda exercise, just
like the Spotlight programme titled Border Bandits, in order to
further demonise, criminalise, isolate and marginalize anti-GFA
republicans. Six weeks before the raids TnF went through a government
audit, which, like previous audits, went to their satisfaction. If the
PSNI were really interested in TnF and its activities, it¹s all on
record with the NIO except for actual participants and their
confidential files which has led some to believe that the PSNI
operation was an intelligence gathering exercise though I believe it
was much more than that. I further believe that those behind this
assault on TnF are pissing in the wind and will fail in their objectives.

The PSNI and their political masters have in effect closed TnF down
with 6 full time workers and 8 part time workers now being forced onto
the dole queue or find employment elsewhere. One would be forgiven for
thinking these job losses did not happen as elected representatives
have uttered not one word of condemnation. Had 14 workers attached to
an English or American multi-national company been made redundant in
such a manner I am sure the same politicians would have had a lot to
say. Perhaps the MPs and MLAs were too busy counting their huge
expenses and salaries they receive for sitting on their fat arses
doing nothing whatsoever for the people. Maybe some of them were too
busy talking to their dogs in the street. Whatever their reasons the
message TnF has been receiving from hundred of past participants
is very clear: "business as usual and we just aren¹t going to go away
you know".

Many commentators have stated that this PSNI operation was the largest
in the history of the North West and one of the most aggressive, yet
Sinn Fein, the so-called champions of an Ireland of all equals, had
nothing to say. Personally this comes as no surprise as equality and
human rights is not on SFs agenda for anti-GFA republicans. It also
comes as no surprise due to the fact that the leadership of the
Provisional Republican Movement know that a number of individuals
connected with them in the Strabane area have been involved in a
demonisation campaign for years against Strabane IRSP members in
particular. For over a decade now since my release from Long Kesh
after serving a total of 18 years I and other IRSP members have been
on the receiving end of a black propaganda campaign in order to
demonise, criminalise, isolate and marginalise us. This campaign was
waged by individuals connected to the Provisional Republican Movement,
some of whom I believe are also working for agencies of the state.
This began after I rejected several requests from them to join their
movement just after my release. This campaign at times had sinister
elements to it: i.e. physical attacks on other local IRSP members
which usually resulted in the assailants coming of worse, planting
false and malicious stories in the media, attacks on property and
conspiring to kill individual members of the IRSP. Down throughout the
years I have received several written death threats delivered by
gloating PSNI officers stating that there was going to be "an imminent
gun attack on me by PIRA for unspecified reasons" as well as some
coming from loyalist paramilitaries. Did these people behind this
campaign expect me to run and hide or was their purpose to create a
bloody feud in which the only winners would be the state? Regardless
of what their intentions were I was never going to allow myself to be
intimidated from my political position or from my outspoken views
against injustice within the community or from my unapologetic support
for the INLA. Let me state quite clearly I believe it is wrong and
immoral for any republican to turn their guns on fellow republicans.
Likewise it is equally wrong and immoral to conduct campaigns of
character assassination against fellow republicans.

Of late some of these individuals I have already talked about have
been pumping out into the community, knowing that it will be picked up
by the PSNI, rumors that IRSP members in Strabane "own multiple
houses, pubs, taxi depots and blocks of flats" which they claim has
been funded by robberies, drug dealing, extortion, etc., etc. All of
us here know that Britain has been involved in dirty tricks and black
propaganda over the centuries and have used their agents within our
communities to do their dirty work. How many more Beano Caseys do we
have living in Strabane? So all of this demonisation from the state
comes as no surprise, after all, our movement has been constantly
attacked since its inception with many of our leaders being
assassinated by the state. Now the order of the day is character
assassination, spin and black propaganda against those who are
regarded as subversives. Well I am certainly not ashamed to be labeled
as a subversive as I will never accept this corrupt state. I am not
surprised at the silence of all the main constitutional parties as
individual members belonging to them are partially culpable for the
raids. However I do acknowledge and welcome the apology in relation to
the latest attempts by some of these individuals to smear and demonise
the IRSP in Strabane.

I have often been accused of being anti-SF/IRA, though I was never
sure exactly what this meant so I would like to put on record, a fact
many would acknowledge, that despite this vicious nasty and sinister
campaign, I have maintained many deep and long-lasting friendships
with many IRA ex-prisoners, both locally and nationally, to the
present day. All of whom I have a deep respect for and admiration for
their own personal struggle. It is somewhat ironic that on the day the
latest smears were being delivered to the leadership of the IRSP I was
involved in combating a threat against Provisional Republican Movement
members in County Derry by criminal elements who believed they were
untouchable and who used a firearm in an attack on a republican,
missing him. It is also ironic that despite the fact that I was
deeply involved in assisting others in bringing about an INLA
ceasefire, in which I had the honor of declaring, and of currently
engaging with other anti-GFA republicans in relation to them also
calling a ceasefire that I and other comrades are coming under attack
by the pro-GFA forces. The relationship I would like to see among all
republicans, despite political differences, is the relationships,
respect and solidarity shown by IRA/INLA hungerstrikers.

Ironically a week later after the Strabane raids SF had plenty to say
about a handful of raids in Dungannon and Killcoo in which they
rightly condemned as political policing. But when is political
policing not political policing in Sinn Fein speak? Obviously when it
is directed against anti-GFA republicans.


Willie Gallagher

[A first draft version of this speech, circulated among party
comrades, was inadvertedly posted on the Internet. The above version
is the final and definite version and is the speech delivered by
Willie Gallagher.]




A date for your diary, Thursday 10th November 2-4pm, Policing Debate
in Conway Mill, Belfast. Panel will include Sinn Fein and the SDLP.


Invitation - Sex, Love and Homophobia: the exhibition

You are cordially invited to the Millennium Forum to attend the launch
reception for Amnesty International's new exhibition, Sex, Love and

We believe the exhibition is powerful, prejudice-challenging and
timely. Based on the book of the same name, which Archbishop Desmond
Tutu called "a bright light on the path to justice", the exhibition
features a wealth of images and information about the human rights
abuses faced by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) community around the world. The exhibition is part of Northern
Ireland anti-homophobia week.

As you will be aware, homophobic prejudice and violence is a
significant and growing problem. This exhibition aims to raise
awareness of these abuses and show support for those who have been
victimised because of their sexual orientation.

The launch reception will commence at 3.30pm on Friday 18th November
at the Millennium Forum. Speaking at the event will be Mayor
Councillor Lynn Fleming, John Harkin of Amnesty International Foyle
Group and a representative from the Rainbow Project.

We would like to ask you to join with us at this event to demonstrate
your support for human rights for all and to stand in solidarity with
the local LGBT community.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Corrigan
Programme Director, NI
Head of Nations & Regions, UK
Amnesty International
397 Ormeau Road
Belfast BT7 3GP
t: 028 9064 3000
f: 028 9069 0989


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