Monday 14 February 2005

The Plough Vol 02 No 24

The Plough
Volume 2, Number 24
14 February 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Belfast Anti-Water Rates Rally
2) European City Of Culture 2005 Nothing But A Bloody Farce!
3) Hands Off Venezuela
4) Letters
5) There Will Be No Middle East Peace Without Justice
6) What's On



The Irish Republican Socialist Party marched with hundreds of others
in the anti-water charges demonstration in Belfast. Party comrades
carried an IRSP banner as well as the red flag and the Starry Plough
flag. The IRSP's clear policy of non-payment and working class unity
is the only way to beat water tax and job cuts through privatisation
of public sector jobs. But overall the turn out was disappointing. The
mass of people have not yet become mobilised yet it will be the
working class again who will bear the brunt of any introduction of
water taxation. Perhaps sectarian divisions inhibited people from
participating but this is one issue that transcends sectarian borders
and hits all communities. It should be possible to create some form of
unity among the working class on this issue. After all taking part in
the march were members of the Communist Party of Ireland, Sinn Fein,
the Workers Party, the IRSP, the Socialist Party, Socialist Democracy,
the Socialist Environmental Alliance, the Irish Congress of Trade
Unions, and diverse socialist and republican elements. Also attending
was unionist Robert McCartney and UUP member Reg Empey. Of course some
politicians were there for opportunist reasons. They must not dominate
this campaign nor take it into safe areas such as lobbying respectable
politicians. The campaign must be militant, class based, and clearly
opposed to privatisation and to favour non-payment by all our class.
This is not a small local based issue. This is part of a world wide
neo-liberal agenda driven by US imperialism that favours the
privatisation of state resources.

We face mounting economic attacks on our communities and on our places
of work. We face the destruction of public service jobs and the
wholesale privatisation eventually of our water service. We face the
destruction of services to the low paid and those on welfare payment.
Saturday's low turnout should spur us all on to greater efforts to
mobilise support for the campaign.



With thousands on the dole or hidden on government schemes, Cork Irish
Republican Socialist Party say that:


As celebrations got underway by the River Lee, Cork IRSP condemns all
the hype surrounding European City Of Culture in the rebel city. Cork
European City of Culture 2005 is a total and utter farce designed only
to coax more tourists into this city and thereby increase profits for
those wealthy few involved in the growing hotel and tourist industry.
It also provides local bosses and the middle class with another excuse
to party and enjoy themselves at our expense as witnessed by the their
fireworks display on the opening night of City of Culture 2005. The
working class of Cork will have to foot the bill at the end of the day
for the various lavish elitist banquets and other celebrations playing
host to this and that so-called dignitary from near and far. All of
this is being carried out in a time in our history when factories are
closing down all over Cork city and county. Well over treble the
amount of those government statistics released are subjected to a life
of unemployment and poverty pay in the city alone. Cork and the entire
surrounding region is one of Ireland's unemployment black spots but
all of this will be hidden from view as the middle class sing of

In 2005, if you're to listen to rubbish the media pumps out, Ireland
is now said to have the lowest level of unemployment within Europe and
they also paint a picture that the city can only but benefit from

However the EU administration, whose fat cat representatives are
currently being questioned for creaming off millions of euros into
their own pockets, seem to adhere to that old con trick of shuffling
numbers in order to hide the truth of how low life really is behind
their facts and figures. Cork European City of Culture 2005 is nothing
but another carriage in the bosses' gravy train assisted locally by
the puppet 26 county administration and big business corporations.

We believe that it is an insult to the working class of Cork, who've
been particularly hit hard with many hundreds of lay-offs and factory
closures during the past number of years. Due to globalisation,
promoted by the European Union, our class have been forced out of work
as the local bosses closed ranks and shifted entire plants to Asia to
increase profit margins by paying buttons for wages.

Today in Cork poverty and hopelessness is taking a firm grip, despite
the fly-by-night European investments and poverty wages their jobs
create. The growth in T.E.A. (Temporary Employment Agencies) locally
is an eye opener or an example of how unemployment is concealed and
for many this is classed as a job these days.

Labouring along side others on the same shift, doing the same type of
work yet receiving a fraction of the wage as the agency takes their
slice of the cake and more often than not it normally the largest

Working on a temporary contract. The reality for many in Cork is that
the debt crisis amongst our class has hit an all time high from banks
to loan sharks choking many households. Drug and alcohol abuse is
widespread, so too is the chronic health and social problems that come
with it from domestic violence, street thuggery, burglaries, and
so-called 'joyriding' affecting people of all ages. But who benefits
from all this? Certainly not our class! It is true that the nite-clubs
and the off-sales owners are without doubt making a killing.

Whilst the Gardaí and the city 'fathers' benefit from CCTV coverage
within the city centre, this is exclusively for the protection of
their profits. They fool no one, as these spy cameras are little
comfort to those of us who feel threatened by the spiralling levels of
city centre violence.

Behind the façade and the gloss of legoland high street shops and
developments the city is falling apart at the seams. This is a
reality. Since the days of the Celtic Tiger very little in reality has
changed. We've all seen who benefited from this!

In terms of building social housing, the city's politicians have
ignored the city's housing crisis where our class have been unable to
enter the housing markets as houses in their own communities remain
out priced and out of reach.

During Cork European City Of Culture 2005, the ruling elite of Cork
has decided to waste money on lavish celebrations and functions from
which the ordinary people of the city are excluded.

This, as we have already stated, is an insult to the people of Cork
and we intend to focus in on this throughout the coming year. European
City of Culture 2005 is a total farce!



The meeting of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign held in the offices of
the AT&GWU in Dublin was the biggest meeting on Latin America ever
hosted there. These were the words of the brothers and sisters of LASC
(Latin American Solidarity Centre). 115 people attended the meeting to
hear Ricardo Galindez speak.

Richard Gott, former Latin American correspondent for The Guardian,
was present at the meeting and explained the events that have unfolded
since the very first electoral victory of Hugo Chavez. He pointed out
that even then a strategy to oust him was being prepared. The British
journalist said he had been to Venezuela and that he had witnessed the
development of the social programmes known as "misiones," and
explained how beneficial they were for the ordinary working people.

Mick McCaughan, the author of "The Battle for Venezuela," was also at
the meeting. He briefly spoke about the position of the Venezuelan
revolutionary process in the context of the general struggle taking
place across the whole of Latin America, where important struggles and
movements have been developing in countries like Bolivia, Peru and,
Argentina amongst others.

Ricardo Galindez explained just how important the revolution in
Venezuela is. The ability of the Venezuelan masses to mobilise and
organise themselves has been demonstrated through the formation of the
Bolivarian Circles, UBEs (Electoral Battle Units), the social
programmes, and the creation of new trade unions and the UNT itself.
What this shows is that the revolutionary process is on the ascent.

Galindez stressed the need to develop solidarity with the revolution
because international solidarity can be a powerful weapon in the
struggle against US imperialism and the transnational corporations
that are attempting to isolate the revolution.

He also explained that the leadership of Hugo Chavez has been
evolving. Chavez began his presidency on the basis of democratic
demands and by standing against "neo-liberal capitalism," and has now
moved to an anti-imperialist position. He recently pointed out that
the root cause of the problems of the Venezuelan people was
capitalism, and that the only solution to these problems was the
establishment of a socialist society – a genuine socialist

An anti-globalisation activist also took the platform and gave a first
hand report of her experiences at the World Social Forum where Chavez
met with activists and trade unionists from all over the world.

The interest in what is happening in Venezuela was so big that even
after the meeting was officially over the discussion continued. At the
end of the meeting a number of those present came up to the speakers
to carry on the debate. They asked further questions about the
revolutionary process in Venezuela and wanted to know a lot more about
what is really happening.

This short trip to Ireland showed that the Irish workers have a keen
interest in what is happening in Venezuela. Links with important trade
unions were forged and the ground has been laid for future solidarity
activities in Ireland.




(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following leter was sent to the Andersonstown News
but was severely cut when published. It is a newspaper that carries
advertisements that say "No DHSS need apply." Is that legal? Is that

A chara,

I read recently about the young homeless woman who lost her legs with
frost-bite. The spokesman for the Housing Executive commenting at the
time said that no one should be sleeping in the street and no one
should be discriminated against being housed. The only newspaper that
I buy is the Andersonstown News. I see that most of the paper is taken
up with adverts from the capitalists, landlords and moneylenders. They
offer us with their help in solving our money problems. These are the
very same people that were chased from our areas when the war for
freedom and equality began. These same people held our mother's
pension books for security on their repayments. The landlords
squeezing large families into single rooms and charging large rents,
and threaten them with the bailiffs if they fell behind with eviction.
Then they put in their adverts to day, rooms to-let "No DHSS need
apply". One of the reasons why my ex-comrades and I were imprisoned
and others died for fighting against. Come on you people of West
Belfast don't let these capitalists ruin our people again and leave us
with young homeless families again.

Is mise,
Joe Curley


Dear friends,

Here is an important event that has been requested to be forwarded to
the network. I would urge people to support this important

Cheers Davy Carlin.

Protest: Saturdays 3pm GPO Called by GR

On April 18th 2005, new foreign students studying English in Ireland
will no longer be able to work part time for 20 hours per week.
Students already here before that date will only be allowed one more
year. This will affect people from outside the European Union-
Chinese, Asian, Russian, and Latin American students amongst others.

These students pay their tax and contribute to the building of the
Irish economy. They often work the hardest and lowliest paid jobs.
Many Irish friends believe they should be treated better, and that
they should be allowed to keep their right to work. Otherwise, the
only people who will be able to study in Ireland will be the very

Please join the picket at the GPO this Saturday. Organise your school,
workmates and friends to come. Make banners and placards- we will
continue to meet every Saturday for an hour at the GPO to make sure
our voice gets heard- there are over 50,000 students affected. If we
organise more schools and students every week, the Irish government
will have to listen to our voice.




BERTIE AHERN and Irish Education representatives recently travelled to
China to make business deals and encourage Chinese students to come
and study here in Irish Universities. But just before Christmas the
Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell removed the right to work for
students from outside the European Economic Area who are attending
part-time courses under one year duration. This affects English
Language courses. Thousands of students, particularly Chinese (who
make up almost 80% of students in these courses) will not be able to
afford to do such courses if they cannot work. They will be forced to
return home due to economic pressures. It also puts the jobs of up to

English Language teachers under threat.

The Chinese government issued a warning at the start of this month
against students considering English language study in Ireland.
Enterprise Ireland excluded representatives of the English Language
sector from the education forum in China.

The Irish government instead wants to attract wealthy Chinese who will
pay up to euro 20,000 in fees to attend universities and thus be cash
cows for the funding crisis in Irish universities.

Ahern expressed concerns about human rights in China yet here at home
he is removing the right of students to work and putting in danger the
jobs of English Language teachers.

Students and teachers of all nationalities will unite and protest for
the right to work on Saturday April 16th, two days before the decision
is expected to be enforced. There will be a picket and organising
stall every Saturday until then at the GPO from 3pm to 4pm.


From J Sean Burns
32 County Sovereignty Movement (International Department)

Statement on the 9th Anniversary of the People's Revolution in Nepal.

Mo Comrades,

It is with great joy and inspiration that the 32 County Sovereignty
Movement sends its message of solidarity to the Communist Party of
Nepal (Maoist) and its revolutionary fighters on the 9th anniversary
of its successful uprising.

We say without reservation that the People's War in Nepal now stands
alongside some of the greatest and most noble struggles in history. It
has become a beacon of hope that shines throughout the world and gives
strength to all those who wish to throw off the bonds of tyranny and

It is for these very reasons that the international capitalist class
feel so threatened and attempt to sustain the despotic Nepali regime.
It is for similar reasons for instance that, during the Spanish Civil
War, Western governments denied aid to the Spanish Republic and
actively supplied the Fascist reactionary forces with the materials to
defeat it. It became obvious that if the Spanish revolution had been
successful, it would have sparked similar struggles against those very
same governments.

In this sense, it is right and correct to make the assertion that the
victories scored in favour of the Nepali revolution are indeed a
victory for all of us.

The coming months and years will no doubt be full of hardship and
further struggle in Nepal as the dying elements of the monarchy and
their backers lash out in desperation and the bosses of global
capitalism attempts to save them. But what haunts their nightmares is
the certainty that an oppressed people, united in their determination
to be free, are unstoppable.

They will tear down the walls of the palaces and raise their banners
over the ruins of the old order.



London Independent
9 February 2005

There Will Be No Middle East Peace Without Justice; At No Point
Yesterday Did Anyone Mention Occupation
By Robert Fisk

So, the Palestinians will end their occupation of Israel. No more will
Palestinian tanks smash their way into Haifa and Tel Aviv. No more
will Palestinian F-18s bomb Israeli population centres. No more will
Palestinian Apache helicopters carry out "targeted killings" - ie:
murders - of Israeli military leaders. The Palestinians have promised
to end all "acts of violence" against Israelis while Israel has
promised to end all "military activity" against Palestinians. So
that's it, then. Peace in our time.

A Martian - even a well-educated Martian - would have gathered that
this was the message, supposing he dropped in on the fantasy world of
Sharma el-Sheikh yesterday. The Palestinians had been committing
"violence", the Israelis carrying out "innocent" operations.
Palestinian "violence" or "terror and violence" - the latter a more
popular phrase since it carried the stigma of 11 September 2001 - was
now at an end. Mahmoud Abbas - who told a close Lebanese friend this
year that he wore a suit and tie so that he would look "different" to
Yasser Arafat - went along with all this. Just which people were
occupying the homes of which other people remained a mystery?

Silver-haired and wisdom-burdened, Mahmoud Abbas looked the part. We
had to forget that it was this same Abbas who wrote the Oslo Accords,
who in 1,000 pages failed to use - even once - the word "occupation",
and who talked not of Israeli "withdrawal" from Palestinian territory,
but of "redeployment". At no point yesterday did anyone mention
occupation. Like sex, "occupation" had to be censored out of the
historical narrative. As usual - as in Oslo - the real issues were put
back to a later date. Refugees, the "right of return", East Jerusalem
as a Palestinian capital: let's deal with them later. Never before
have we been in such need of the caustic voice of the late Edward
Said. Settlements - Jewish colonies for Jews, and Jews only, on Arab
land - were not, of course, discussed yesterday. Nor was East
Jerusalem. Nor was the "right of return" of 1948 refugees. These are
the "unrealistic dreams" that were referred to by the Israelis

All this will be discussed "later" - as they were supposed to be in
Abbas's hopeless Oslo agreement. As long as you can postpone the real
causes of war, that's OK. "An end to violence," that has cost 4,000
deaths - it was all said yesterday, minus the all-important equation
that two-thirds of these were Palestinian lives. Peace, peace, peace.
It was like terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. It was the sort of stuff
you could buy off a supermarket shelf. If only.

At the end of the day the issues were these. Will the Israelis close
down their massive settlements in the West Bank, including those which
surround Jerusalem? No mention of this yesterday. Will they end the
expansion of Jewish settlements - for Jews, and Jews only, across the
Palestinian West Bank? No mention of this yesterday. Will they allow
the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem? No mention
of this yesterday. Will the Palestinians truly end their "intifada" -
including their murderous suicide bombings - as a result of these
non-existent promises?

Like the Iraqi elections - which were also held under foreign
occupation - the Israeli-Palestinian talks were historic because they
were "historic". US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, "warned"
Palestinians that they must "control violence" but there was, as
usual, no request to "control" the violence of the Israeli army.

Because the sine qua non of the equation was that the Palestinians
were guilty. That the Palestinians were the "violent" party - hence
the admonition that the Palestinians must end "violence" while the
Israelis would merely end "operations". The Palestinians, it seems,
are generically violent. The Israelis generically law-abiding; the
latter carry out "operations". Mahmoud Abbas went along with this
nonsense. It was all too clear in the reporting of yesterday's events.
What was on offer, said CNN, was "an end to all violence" - as if
occupation and illegal colonisation was not a form of violence. The
American Associated Press news agency talked gutlessly about "towns
that, for now, continue to be under Israeli security control" - in
other words, under Israeli occupation, although they would not tell
their readers this.

So Mahmoud Abbas is going to be the Hamid Karzai of Palestine, his tie
the equivalent of Karzai's green gown, "our" new man in Palestine, the
"tsunami" that has washed away the contamination of Yasser Arafat,
whose grave Condoleezza Rice managed to avoid. But the tank-traps
remain: East Jerusalem, Jewish settlements and the "right of return"
of 1948 Palestinians to the homes they lost.

If we are going to clap our hands like the Sharm El-Sheikh
"peacemakers" yesterday, we'd better realise that unless we are going
to resolve these great issues of injustice now, this new act of
"peacemaking" will prove to be as bloody as Oslo.

Ask Mahmoud Abbas. He was the author of that first fatal agreement.




Monday Feb 14th

Jewish socialist and long term anti-Zionist campaigner John Rose will
speak in Belfast on Monday 14th February. He has written many articles
on the Palestinian Isreali question and has recently authored the
"Myths of Zionism."

He will speak on "The Holocaust, Palestine and Zionism."

Room 210 Peter Froggatt centre 1pm - Monday Feb 14th

Bookfinders Bookshop - 7.30pm - that evening for more info call Gord0n
on 07742 531 617


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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