Volume 2, Number 20
16 January 2005
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. Bosses Must Not Escape
2. Community Acceptability Vs Anti-Social Activity
3. Tsunami Relief as a Subterfuge?
4. Cuba Tourism Up
5. What's On
BOSSES MUST NOT ESCAPE AS MIGRANT WORKER LEFT FOR DEAD
The Irish Republican Socialist Party representative John Hogan hit out
at the way in which a young Ukrainian woman living rough on the
streets of Coleraine in Co Derry had both her legs amputated after
turkey factory bosses sacked her.
In a statement Mr. Hogan said, "The news of this tragedy is one of
utter horror and disbelief. Unfortunately it is now common knowledge
that many migrant workers are used and abused by bosses behind closed
doors, of what can only be described as shabby sweatshops right across
the country. The young woman in this case, a 27-year-old Ukrainian
worker with very little English, was said to have been laid off by
bosses at a local turkey factory following the Christmas rush. After
living rough in sub-zero temperatures on the streets of Coleraine she
was met by fellow migrant workers who were so shocked at her overall
state of health that they took her to hospital. Sadly the woman's
trauma didn't end there as she had both legs amputated after being
found suffering from extreme hypothermia and frostbite.
"This incident itself was just a tragedy left waiting to happen as
migrant and temporary employed workers are seen in many ways as
disposable by employers. A terrible plight for hundreds of workers
that the trade union movement continues to ignore. However the way in
which this story unfolded clearly shows that bosses must not escape
untarnished here, both wages and conditions must be put under the
spotlight. In saying that I would like to state that the increasing
number of temporary employment agencies clearly need to be exposed for
what they really are, modern day slave drivers and slave traders whose
only interest is in the pursuit of profit. It is a concern of every
member of our class both employed and unemployed that all the issues
involved in this case urgently needs to be tackled once and for all."
Mr. Hogan concluded: "The thoughts of our party and I'm sure the
thoughts of many hundreds of workers held in similar circumstances
goes to the young woman involved who is currently recovering in
hospital. I would like to offer our support and solidarity in the hope
of a speedy recovery and to her friends working in the six counties."
COMMUNISTY ACCEPTABILITY VS ANTI-SOCIAL ACTIVITY: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
By Charlie Clarke
The last year in North Belfast has been a difficult if not nearly
impossible one for the republican working class communities throughout
the area, as we have watched a dramatic rise in anti-social activity
and crime, drugs and death driving taking over our areas. The working
class have found themselves under increasingly unbearable pressure
from these elements that are destroying the very heart of society and
have been left feeling powerless and abandoned in their plight. Whole
communities have been rendered powerless by the will of these tyrants,
leaving them with a free reign to cause unwarranted destruction and
mayhem in their wake. The elderly, the sick, and the children of our
communities are no longer safe from the evils of this select few.
Lawlessness is the authority in North Belfast.
Republican socialism recognises the working class have the right to be
protected from those who would try to destroy and steal from them what
is rightfully theirs. They have the right to be safe in their homes,
in their workplace, in their schools and their playgrounds, and in
their retirement years. We have a duty to protect the vulnerable
sections of our community, to defend those unable to defend
themselves. We have an obligation to secure a safe environment for
our children free from the evils and dangers of drugs and death
driving. We have a responsibility to protect the human rights of the
working classes and to ensure that they are not breached or trampled
upon by any other. How do we successfully do this, and just exactly
who is responsible for it? How can we prevent the human rights of one
individual holding those of an entire community to ransom? These two
questions hold the answers to the problems facing our society today.
Our society is not normal. We have faced some of the most horrendous
and bloody years of the conflict in this island of Ireland. Casualties
and fatalities resulting from the conflict are phenomenally high here
in proportion to the rest of the island. North Belfast was a burial
ground for thirty years of loyalist and state forces murder. We had
no police force to protect us; rather, we had an extension of the
loyalist murder squads to facilitate their assassination attempts
against our community and who provided them with safe entry and exit
as well as the intelligence to do so. How could we call that
normality? The very statutory agencies put in place, supposedly for
our welfare and protection, were involved in a cold war of attrition
against us. Our people were brutalised, imprisoned, slaughtered and
murdered at the hands of these police impostors. Our community was
under attack from all fronts.
So, in the absence of a substantial and impartial police force
empowered to protect our community, it was left to republicans to
somehow fill this void created by the British state. Military minds
were forced to undertake a complex situation and make it right,
resulting in the implementation of martial law throughout our areas.
Quick fix solutions were favoured rather than long term settlements.
The absence of a suitable and acceptable police force of the working
class had its own detrimental consequences upon our community. Would
be and aspiring criminals saw a loophole in the system that would
enable them to procure their wealth without the interference of
unwelcome law enforcement. Anti-social activity increased
dramatically in the years to follow, as well as the need for martial
law. The essence of our community was being flushed down the drain.
When we look at the new lows of anti-social and anti-community
behaviour rife within North Belfast today, it is understandable how a
whole community can feel abandoned and helpless. The perpetrators of
these attacks against the working class seem to be getting away with
it! Martial law and physical force punishment are being repressed by
the desire for non-violent approaches to this problem. More and more
people are speaking out against such actions and we are faced with a
society who claims that punishment shootings and beatings are no
longer acceptable in this day and age.
We have apologists for the criminals within our communities also, who,
despite the actions of these individuals and the devastating
consequences inflicted upon the working class by these thugs, refuse
to accept that there is a problem. Rather, they prefer to castigate
the very people who are trying to resolve such matters.
Then there are the parents or guardians of these thugs, some of whom
refuse to accept that their offspring would be capable of such things,
others have just simply given up and fail to deal with the problem
directly as responsible parents should. Dysfunctional families are
popping up all over North Belfast, with the children telling the
parent what to do, absent parents who drink heavily every night,
parents who have been taken by the addiction to drugs and prescription
drugs, all of these have a major role to play.
Then of course there is alcohol and drugs! Children can so readily
receive these potent, addictive and destructive substances whenever
they wish. Underage drinking is rife in North Belfast, as is the
taking and experimenting with concoctions of illegal and prescription
drugs. The amount of bars and social clubs that encourage the
underage client is devastatingly high. Late bars, rave and techno
music, the accessibility to the premises without the producing of
verifiable I.D., the availability of alcopops and secluded, dark
corners that are essential for the illusive drug barons to conduct
their trade, enable the underage client to become vulnerable to the
impressions and advancements from the leeches that we should be
protecting them from.
Fuelled by a deadly cocktail of drink and drugs, and on a dangerous
high, these youths are thrown out onto the streets in wild and highly
impressionable packs. The young male trying to impress, or the
rebellious teen hell bent on destruction and mayhem are icons for
those who are under the influence of these highly potent concoctions.
The need for these drugs becomes increasingly higher as the addictive
qualities take control of the user. The average user in North Belfast
is between the age of 15 and 25, often with no prospect of work or
income. A source for the purchasing of these drugs is vital. This
often leads to the user turning to crime to accumulate the money for
their purchase. As we have recently experienced in North Belfast, the
practice of strapping the drugs to the individual with the benefit of
Buy Now, Pay Later is another way to procure these substances. These
credit agreements are regulated by no one and often lead to either the
threat or use of violence against the individual. If no money can be
produced, then the bad debtor is forced to rob, steal and eventually
deal to pay off the debt owed to his lender.
Consumerism is another factor in this maze of causes. The definition
of this is: con·sum·er·ism (k n-s m -r z m)
1. The movement seeking to protect and inform consumers by requiring
such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product
guarantees, and improved safety standards.
2. The theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is
3. Attachment to materialistic values or possessions: deplored the
rampant consumerism of contemporary society.
Society today enforces peer pressure upon our class. It dictates what
is fashionable and what is not. What to wear eat and drink and what
isn't cool to be seen with or in. This pressure to our impressionable
youth is immense. You need to be wearing the right trainers, jeans,
shirts. etc., you need to have the right labels on your clothing and
accessories, society says so! How do the poorer youth acquire these
products and items of fashion? How do they clothe themselves in the
right attire so that they can be cool on the streets? If they don't
work, then where do they get the money? Theft and anti-social
behaviour. They rob homes, shops, steal money, electrical items, and
jewellery, sell drugs and stolen goods. It is a downward spiral that
few can come off.
The eventuality of all of these activities is that they will come into
contact with the police. Normally in any society, when caught by the
police for committing a crime you go to jail. In areas like
republican North Belfast however, this is not the last port of call
for the criminal elements within our community. Instead, these young
men and sometimes teenagers, are lured deeper into the world of
deception, (threatened with the prospect of being imprisoned and faced
with the potential to do whatever they please), by becoming agents for
the British state forces and informing on the whereabouts and
activities of republican activists within their areas. This amnesty
and green light to do whatever they desire without fear of reprisal
from the PSNI is the catalyst for the anti-social activity in the
north of Belfast.
The community needs to take back ownership of its streets. It needs
to empower itself to tackle the ever-growing problem of anti-social
activity. It needs to rise to the challenge and refuse to waver. The
days of hiding behind closed doors in these areas are over, fooling
oneself with the lie that "it isn't at my door so it's not my
problem." It is all our problems. True, the problem may not be at
your door tonight but who knows what will happen tomorrow? Ignoring
the problem isn't going to make it go away, all that will do is to
ensure it’s growth. So what do we do?
Do we leave it to the community watch groups?
Do we leave it to the republican groups?
Do we leave it and hope that the PSNI will deal with it?
The answer to these questions is NO!
I refer back to my previous questions:
How do we successfully do this, and just exactly who is responsible
for it? And;
How can we prevent the human rights of one individual holding those of
an entire community to ransom?
One answer to these questions is this: that we join together as a
community, a whole community and refuse to bow to the pressures and
threats of these thugs. We are all responsible of permitting this
problem to spiral out of control within our areas, one way or another.
Whether it be being an apologist, ignoring the problem, refusing to
get involved, failing to parent our children, covering for others in
their guilt, buying alcohol for those underage, buying or supplying
drugs to others, selling run-around cars to those without licenses,
etc., we all have a responsibility to tackle this problem head on we
have all contributed to the causes. Do not be disillusioned either,
there are good decent children in these areas too, in fact the
majority of the children are just that, and we need to ensure that we
do not punish them for the offences of a few.
However, the human rights of these anti-social elements are just as
important as those within the community, and we cannot allow our anger
or frustrations to infringe upon their rights. We need to draw a
balance. It is by ensuring that we do not infringe upon the rights of
the perpetrator that we prevent them from holding our rights to
ransom. Any actions that we may take as a concerted community must
not mirror the wanton destruction that has been leveled at us.
We need to come together and support the initiatives within the
community, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of
adversity and refuse to back down. We need to work together to tackle
the problem and not to shy away whenever it becomes too tough. We
need to speak up for one another when others try to tear down.
Punishment for persistent offenders has to be calculated and
effective, and should be met with silence! The community cannot
persevere with those who continually refuse to be part of us. It is
by being a true community that we will break this oppressive burden
that is poisoning our society. It is by regaining our voice that we
can be heard.
TSUNAMI RELIEF AS A SUBTERFUGE?
The Pentagon Scrambles to Re-enter its Old Air Base in Thailand
Is the tsunami aftermath a "window of opportunity" for bolstering the
Pentagon's presence in Southeast Asia? The Thai people reject the
proposed build-up of the American military at Utapao air base and in
the Gulf of Thailand. The tragedy of the natural catastrophe in the
Indian Ocean should not serve as a pretext for strengthening the U.S.
military presence in the region.
The Pentagon has announced it is returning to its old Vietnam War
haunts at Utapao Royal Thai Naval Air Force Base 90 miles south of
Bangkok on the Bay of Thailand. In this clear escalation of the
American military presence in Southeast Asia, the ostensible plan is
to set up a "command center" for the tsunami emergency relief effort.
Utapao air base will serve as a staging base for U.S. military and
rescue aircraft. The emergency relief operations appear to provide a
windfall opportunity for beefing up the American military presence in
Southeast Asia, part of the expanding Pentagon strategy of "forward
positioning," establishing sites, so-called "air cargo hubs," where
American forces can stash equipment and enter and leave as desired.
During the Vietnam War, Utapao functioned from April 1967 as a major
staging base for B-52s carrying out bombing raids over North Vietnam,
and KC-35 stratotankers of the Strategic Air Command. Many American
GIs served there .
Despite Thailand's neutrality on the war in Iraq, Thai Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra allowed Utapao to be used by American warplanes
flying into combat in Iraq last year, and into Afghanistan earlier.
There is also speculation that Utapao, with its infamous facilities
for 'sophisticated interrogation' (a holdover from the Vietnam era),
is probably where various al-Qaeda suspects have been secretly
The command center will be largely operated by the 3rd Marine
Expeditionary Force. The naval air base, also now functioning as a
local airport, is located a short drive from the tourist mega-center
of Pattaya, whose roots also go back to the Vietnam era. The U. S.
Navy is also dispatching the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group
and the USS Bonhomme Richard expeditionary strike group to the
immediate area offshore .
Is all this military redeployment to bolster 'humanitarian aid'
efforts? The Thai people reject a build-up of the American military at
Utapao air base and in the Gulf of Thailand. In this hour of calamity,
they are grateful for all support -- but not when tethered to a huge
reentry by the Pentagon onto Thai soil. The tragedy of the present
havoc in the Indian Ocean should not serve as a pretext for
strengthening the U.S. military presence in this disaster-striken
 For sites on Utapao air base and the American military, see
http://amer-thai2001.tripod.com/id30.html ; http://www.utapao.org/
(Utapao Alumni Association) ;
 See "Hundreds of Americans Missing,"
DESPITE US LIMITS, CUBA TOURISM UP
9 January 2005
Tourism to Cuba increased 8 percent in 2004 compared with 2003;
despite new U.S. restrictions sharply cutting back on how many
Americans visit the island.
More than 2 million tourists visited the Caribbean island, the largest
number ever, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero announced.
Last year, about 1.9 million foreigners visited Cuba. Canadians top
the list of tourists, followed by Europeans, primarily from Italy,
France, Germany and Spain.
Marrero told reporters tourism now represents 41 percent of Cuba's
foreign exchange income -- a leap from just 4 percent in 1990.
Few of those now visiting Cuba come from the United States.
By mid-September, visits to the island, primarily by Cuban-Americans,
had dropped 25 percent since the United States implemented new travel
restrictions June 30 cutting the number of authorized family visits to
Cuba from once a year to once every three years.
Sunday 23rd January 2005
YOU ARE INVITED TO A PUBLIC MEETING
"The Anti-Imperialist Struggle in India!"
Speaker: Dr Darshan Pal, President Of The All India People's
VIDEO SHOW on the Struggle in India
Q & A + Open Discussion
Time: Sunday 23rd January 2005, 2P.M.
Place: Room S75, St Clement's Building, London School of Economics,
Houghton Street, London WC2 Nearest Station: Holborn
Though the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian rulers in
1947 raised some hopes initially among the people of India for end of
tyranny and oppression and for the betterment of their lives, it did
not take long for them to realise what the new Congress rule was all
about. The naked reality that the Indian masses, especially the
workers and peasantry had to face was that the forces that took over
the reins from the British were, in fact, the big capitalists,
bureaucrats and the big landlords, serving the interests of
All India People's Resistance Forum (AIPRF) is a general democratic
organisation, which takes up the fighting tasks against imperialist
domination, the grinding backward exploitation by the semi-feudal
system and the anti-people policies of the ruling classes of India.
The AIPRF takes up the tasks of building, intensifying and
coordinating the anti-imperialist struggles in the country. It has
taken up the task of mobilising the people in democratic struggles on
a broad based way to raise a united voice of resistance against the
stooges of imperialism, the ruling classes of India.
Rally at Hyderabad
During the process of people's struggle, the Democratic forces could
muster the support of the people for the democratic rights of the
masses and create a new wave of mass political mobilization across the
whole country and involve the masses in the political battle on a wide
scale; they focused on the problems faced by the various sections of
the masses and propagated the politics of new democracy. Come to the
Meeting and hear for yourself the heroic Struggle of the hundreds of
millions of Indian People, who since the phoney 'independence'
continue to Struggle for a new democratic system. Lets build a Mass
anti-imperialist Movement as part of our Internationalist and
democratic duty with all Oppressed People's fighting against the
imperialist system on our planet!
World Peoples Resistance Movement (Britain)
Fight Racism Fight Imperialism LSE Student Society
Indian Workers Association (GB)
Launch of North Belfast Profile by Rights Project
Dear Friends, date for diaries, this will take place at 1.00pm at the
NICVA building on the Duncairn Gardens in North Belfast on the 26th of
January and will finish at 3.00pm.
This will be an up to date profile of the area and will include
statistical information and comment and been compiled by the Rights
Coalition to highlight issues and the continuing need for a rights
based approach to community development.
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