Monday 7 February 2005

The Plough Vol 02 No 23

The Plough
Volume 2, Number 23
7 February 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial
2) Breandán Ó Brolcháin
3) National and Women's Liberation: The Iraqi Resistance and the
Blackmail Campaign of "Iraqi Women Organisations"
4) Letters
5) What's On



There has recently been some disquiet expressed by members of the
Republican Socialist Movement at some of the content of a recent
Provisional IRA statement. Indeed it has been mentioned on discussion
sites on the World Wide Web.

The relevant section is here in italics.

"Progress will not be sustained by the reinstatement of Thatcherite
criminalisation strategies, which our ten comrades died defeating on
hunger strike in 1981.

We will not betray the courage of the hunger strikers either by
tolerating criminality within our own ranks or false allegations of
criminality against our organisation by petty politicians motivated by
selfish interests, instead of the national need for a successful
conclusion to the peace process."

Some comrades took offence at the word "comrade" in reference to the
ten dead hunger strikes. Perhaps it was the intention in the statement
to portray them as all members of the IRA. Maybe it was, maybe it
wasn't, but no one should be in any doubt that there is a bond that
binds all republicans to those ten dead volunteers. Seven were members
of the IRA and three were members of the INLA, but during their ordeal
they were all comrades together in a struggle all republicans then
could identify with: the struggle against criminalisation.

In 1981 we all identified with that struggle. The blanket men and
women, the prisoners in struggle, and those who went on hunger strike
were all our comrades. That's why thousands marched on the streets and
republican volunteers stepped up the armed struggle.

Major concessions were won and de facto political status conceded.
Unfortunately these were later bargained away.

The really important part of the statement which deserves criticism is
not the word "comrades." It is the part that says: "by the
reinstatement of Thatcherite criminalisation strategies, which our ten
comrades died defeating on hunger strike in 1981."

As a consequence of the Good Friday Agreement, the gains made as a
result of the '81 hunger strike were lost for political prisoners.
Indeed, members of the organisation associated with the Provisional
IRA said there were no more political prisoners and criticised and
demonised their own members who supported the campaign by Real IRA and
Continuity IRA prisoners for better conditions inside Maghaberry
Prison. The GFA criminalized other republicans who lost what had been
paid for with the deaths of the ten hunger strikers. The IRSP do not
support either RIRA or CIRA and believe their armed struggle is wrong
at this time, nevertheless we clearly recognise their prisoners as
political prisoners.

Those who act as if they are the only "real," "true," or "the only"
genuine republicans perpetuate an elitist form of politics. This leads
to a mindset that spawns arrogance, dismisses other republicans as
non-people, and eventually leads to a contemptuous attitude towards
the people on the island. That road will not lead to a republic, to
the ending of partition, nor to improving the social and economic
conditions of the working class. It simply leads to believing that you
are indeed the legitimate government of Ireland.

To all republicans we say a little bit of humility would go down well.


(Brendan "Brad" Bradley)

Former Comrade & POW
Died Suddenly
31 January 2005

A great loss to the working class.

His unselfish endeavours in tackling working class and cultural issues
will be greatly missed.

From your friends and former comrades in Teach na Fáilte,
Socialist Ex-Prisoners.

Breandán Ó Brolcháin
(Brendan "Brad" Bradley)

Former Comrade & POW
Died Suddenly
31 January 2005

Remembered with pride.

A tribute to one of life's true socialists.

From your friends and former comrades in the Irish Republican
Socialist Movement.



Below we publish an article on women in Iraq. We feel it is extremely
relevant as we believe the issue of women is being used by the Bush
Administration to build up support for an attack on Iran. Huge amounts
of money have been spent on getting people to Paris for a confernec
eon the situation of women in Iran. We don't support the regime in
Iran but we will not provide cover for an attack by imperialism on the
people of Iran.


By Nada Al-Rubaiee, Member of the Central Committee of the Iraqi
Patriotic Alliance (IPA)

During Bush's campaign to invade Iraq, issues concerning Iraqi women
were raised on several occasions. Part of this "feminist" hoopla was
carried out by a few Iraqi women who promoted the invasion as a means
of "liberating" Iraqi women from male and state repression. After the
desired "liberation" of Iraq was accomplished, some of these same
women were appointed to 'prestigious' positions in different
occupation institutions of the "New Iraq" like the Iraqi Governing
Council (IGC) and the Interim Iraqi Government of Iyad Allawi (Prime
Minster). Others started operating openly inside Iraq under the banner
of foreign-financed so-called NGO's, as well as human rights and
women's organisations.

In November 2003, a delegation of Iraqi women visited the White House
to personally thank Bush for "helping" Iraq and to ask him not to
withdraw his troops allegedly because "Iraq still needs them". Several
months later, on the very special occasion of International Women's
Day on the 8th of March 2004, Colin Powell unleashed two initiatives:
Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative, and the U.S.-Iraq Women's Network.
Powell, henceforth, allocated $10 million to cover the first
initiative, and $27 million dollars more to cover the second!

Many fundamental questions arise here by default: why is the US
administration shedding millions to promote women's democracy in
occupied Iraq, while other basic and essential human needs, like water
and electricity, are not being minimally satisfied yet? Why is the
issue of women so important for the occupiers? And how can we
understand spending money in the name of democracy for the sake of
women, while humiliating, torturing, and killing thousands of men and
women also in the name of democracy? Finally, what role do those
newly-established Iraqi women's organisations play in this scheme?

Many of these organiaations – if not all of them - have started to
raise very controversial issues in a country still reeling under
occupation. Their slogans are not limited to calls for more "private
and sexual freedom of Iraqi women", but are strongly directed against
the Iraqi resistance. It is true these organisations say the Iraqi
people should be rid of the occupation. However, they only do so while
calling at the same time for the rejection of "the current terrorist
resistance"! Moreover, they have taken upon themselves the additional
responsibility of "resisting Islamic terrorism...".

But, aren't these the same lines pushed by Rumsfeld and Bush? There is
no doubt the rhetoric of these women's organisations borrows heavily
from the terminology of the occupation.

Thus, it is only rational to ask ourselves whether there is a link
between such calls 'to liberate Iraqi women', on one hand, and the
concomitant anti-resistance slogans, on the other hand? What is the
common denominator between the occupation and these women

Many dishonest and cheap accusations were directed both by the
occupation and those organisations against the heroic Iraqi resistance
in cities like Fallujah for example. Both accused the resistance of
committing heinous crimes, such as kidnapping and killing Iraqi women
'for wearing jeans or walking without a scarf', and even raping girls
'before the occupiers rape them'?

This latest accusation was openly made by the Organisation for Women
Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) against the Fallujah's Shura Council, a
religious council that served as spokesperson for the heroic
resistance against the brutal aggressors during the siege of Fallujah.
Thus, OWFI made the absurd charge that the Shura Council had issued a
fatwa (religious decree) stipulating "Mujahideen fighters should rape
girls starting at the age of 10 before they are raped by Americans".

Such bizarre accusations are completely baseless, but they do unveil
the real face of organisations that were created merely to blackmail
the resistance and lengthen the occupation. While distracting
attention away from the real criminals, those organisations do not
miss a chance to conjure up hatred for the resistance.

Back to Fallujah again, in a letter "in defence" of the people of a
city destroyed during the latest (continued) aggression of the
occupiers, OWFI addressed the following point: "The terrorist
Islamists are seeking to implement their medieval laws through fear
and horror".

In fact, not only does OWFI accuse the resistance of committing
horrifying acts, it is also dismissing it as a cast made up of
outsiders who "have come to Iraq holding signs of swords dripping with

Naturally, we cannot ignore that there are crimes and injustices
perpetrated against women in Iraq. But who is behind those crimes?

For example, in the southern provinces of Iraq, whole families have
been threatened after their men and women attended pro-resistance
solidarity meetings, or what the occupying forces call
'anti-occupation, anti-coalition, or anti-government meetings'. Many
families are hence forced to leave their homes to avoid the jailing or
killing of mothers and daughters.

But rather than accusing British occupation forces of giving cover to
these threats, or accusing the collaborationist Badr Brigades of
terrorizing families, 'Iraqi women's organizations' accuse resistance
fighters of committing atrocious acts against women! To them, the
resistance is always guilty of "killing any creature moving on the

In northern Iraq, the case is slightly different. According to an
Iraqi newspaper, there were around 30 girls kidnapped in one week in
the city of Kirkuk alone, most of them snatched on their way to
school. Beside criminal groups kidnapping girls for ransom, there's as
well the active involvement of the two Peshmerga's militias trying to
force Arab families out of Kirkuk believing it is their historical
right as Kurds to govern the city.

In the meantime, Iraqi female scientists [1]
doctors, and university professors are being systematically kidnapped,
jailed, and killed. The same crucial question arises here too: who
benefits from liquidating these women? And why are Iraqi female
scientists still languishing in the prisons of the occupation?

Most likely, these actions are part of the strategy of occupying
forces and their cronies to eliminate the basic elements needed to
rebuild the former charismatic Iraqi state. That is, they are part of
the effort to invent the New Iraq: a weak dependent Iraq.

Evidently, the Iraqi resistance has no interest whatsoever in
attacking those women. On the contrary, those highly educated women
are needed to intellectually lead and support our struggle against the
Zionist-Imperialist occupation of our country, to regain our liberty
and independence, and to write our constitution.

In fact, Iraqi women get arrested and tortured by the US regime. And
THAT is the real way that the US is "working" for women's liberation,
by torturing women and torturing men and turning them all into the
Resistance. One case in point is the well-known example of Fatimah in
the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison who was gang-raped repeatedly by
American jailers. Another well-known case is that of a woman killed
while trying, under US fire, to retrieve the body of her son, a
Resistance fighter, in ar-Ramadi.

Iraqi women, furthermore, have taken an active part in the resistance
on many occasions. To cite examples from the early part of January
2005 alone, women fighters were reported in Mosul in northern Iraq on
2 and 3 January 2005. One week later, a religious leader issued a
fatwa urging women in the city to carry weapons and fight. And there
was a funeral there of a female martyr who was killed in the fighting.
Her husband and sons attended (also fighters). Women in al-Jazirah
village near ar-Ramadi encouraged fighters 11 January 2005. Women in
al-Mushahadah in Baghdad area threw stones at US troops in Humvees 9
January 2005. Around the same period, women in ar-Ramadi were seen on
rooftops with weapons when it was anticipated that the Americans were
coming. These are the REAL changes, the REAL liberation of the real
local women, not wealthy ones who fly to London for manicures, or fly
to Washington to meet Bush.

To clarify the matter further, we emphasize the fact that the Iraqi
resistance has both Islamic and secular elements, with a mainly
anti-imperialist general profile, and a top priority given to fighting
the invaders and their stooges.

To these women's organisations we have a clear message: women
liberation is a noble aim, but this cannot be reached unless coupled
with the (armed) struggle for national liberation and for an Iraqi
constitution written by the Iraqis themselves.


Huda Salih Ammash and Rihaab Taha have both been in US custody since
May 2003, without any charges. This while keeping in mind that these
two scientist were accused of playing a role in the WMD and
chemical–biological program of the Iraqi former government. Now,
there is no single proof that the former Iraqi government maintained
such programs on the eve of the invasion of Iraq; nevertheless, these
scientists and many others remain in jail.




Dear Editor,

Thank you for your statement on sectarianism and war crimes in The
Plough Vol. 2 - No 22. I too thought Mary McAleese's words were
clumsy. Unfortunately they were also offensive, although from her
subsequent comments, it is clear that it was not Mrs. Mc Aleese's
intention to offend.

Poor Mitchell McLaughlin, it was not his intention to offend either.
With his claim that the murder of Jean McConville was not an immoral
act due to the privileged status, which he thinks the Provisional IRA,
holds in the history of human endeavor, he was simply exposing himself
as a shallow-minded ideological fanaticist. Militant ideological
fanaticists - people with the view that killing and/or dying in the
name of their chosen belief is enough to prove that they know better
than the rest of us about what it means to be human - tend not to have
a developed awareness of when they are being offensive. Lets face it;
they start from a position of thinking they know better than the rest
of us anyway.

I could be wrong, but it seems, from where I sit, that in order to
grow and maintain the big green chips on their shoulders which provide
the fuel their ideological fanaticism, Irish Republicans like Mitchell
McLaughlin must not let human sensitivities like awareness, compassion
and forgiveness into their lives. Indeed, it seems like 'Irish
Liberation' has been a self-indulgent revenge fantasy from the start.

In my view true Irish Liberation will be marked by at least, an end
to child abuse, economic inequality and systematic disrespect for
people who are physically, mentally, sexually or culturally different.

I have never been able to see how shooting squaddies was ever going

Dugald McCullough




Unions and Communities unite to.....

...Rally Against Water Charges

Sat. 12th Feb 2005 Assemble @ 12 noon, Art College, York Street —
March to Belfast City Hall Coalition Against Water Charges Coalition
members include: Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of
Trades Unions [90247940], Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network
[90244555], Communities Against Water Tax [90749147] and many others.
Organised by: Coalition Against Water Charges Coalition members
include: Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trades
Unions [90247940], Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network [90244555],
Communities Against Water Tax [90749147] and many others.


"Did the elections bring democracy to Iraq?"

Hani Lazim came to Britain in the '60s, having won a scholarship to
study overseas from Iraq's oil ministry. His family were poor and had
a background of involvement in radical politics. He returned to Iraq
to visit them in 1968 and found himself in the middle of the Baathist
coup. Several members of his family were arrested but he eventually
managed to get out and return to Britain. Since then he has been
politically active with other exiles that organised against Saddam.
They organised against the first Gulf war led by Bush's father. They
also organised against sanctions, the recent war and now against the

Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation (IDAO) is formed by a group of
progressive Iraqi activists who have been involved since 1991 in the
of IDAO followed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 Iraq. IDAO campaign
in solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle to end the
illegal military occupation and to build a free, democratic and united
Iraq. IDAO are in close contact with progressive forces resisting the
occupation in Iraq.

Hani Lazim - Speaking Tour dates:

Belfast - Monday February 7th at 7.30pm, Belfast Exposed gallery,
Donegal St.

Derry - Saturday February 12th at 4pm, Sandinos.

UCD - Tuesday February 8th at 1pm

Waterford - Tuesday February 8th at 8pm, ATGWU, Keyser St.

UCC (Cork) - Wednesday February 9th at 1pm, Room S3, Connolly

Tralee - Wednesday February 9th at 8pm, Abbey Gate Hotel.

Galway - Thursday February 10th at 8pm, Town Hall Theatre.

Dublin - Friday February 11th at 8pm, ATGWU Hall, Middle Abbey St.


Tuesday, 15 February at 7pm

The next meeting of the West Against Racism Network will be on
Tuesday, 15 February at 7pm in the Grosvenor Community Centre. The
WARN is launching a Welcome Pack for Black and Minority Ethnic
Communities on Monday, 21 March, international day against racism, in
the Royal Hospital, more details closer to the date.


Tuesday, 8 March

Rural Community Network are currently organising our second annual
event for International Women's Day for Tuesday, 8 March. This will
take place in Omagh (venue to be confirmed) and the theme is again
centred on diversity in rural areas. If you wish further info or
would like to participate please contact Marion Weir or Anna Clarke at


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