Volume 2, Number 28
13 March 2005
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
Easter Sunday Republican Socialist Commemoration: 12.00 noon,
gathering top of the Donegall Road, Belfast for parade to Milltown
2) Women Unfree Shall Never Be At Peace
3) On Spy Tower
4) Lest We Forget
5) Demand Justice for Palestine
6) Privatising the Iraq War
7) Soweto Like Belfast?
Acres of print have been written about the slaughter of Robert
McCartney and the manner in which the Provisional Republican Movement
has reacted to it. Within nationalist areas a number of families have
begun to speak out about what happened to their loved ones. A man
called Fisher convicted of the manslaughter with a knife of a Derry
man is also strongly suspected of involvement in the murder with a
knife of Mousey Robinson also in Derry. Fisher is now in the
republican bloc in Maghaberry. What he was convicted of had nothing to
do with republicanism but plenty to do with thuggery and criminality.
The arguments flowing from the publication of Richard O'Rawe's book on
the '81 Hunger Strike has caused pain to many involved at the time not
least to the families of the hunger strikers and the other hunger
strikers who lived. Meanwhile politicians from Ireland flock to pay
homage to USA imperialism on St Patrick's Day. Great events taking
place - heated debates on TV and spinning by the manipulators of the
media - does all this really pass for politics on this island?
All of the above happenings can sometimes blind one to the reality on
the ground. Many working class areas in the cities and towns of
Ireland are breeding grounds now for thugs, knife wielding morons and
young people with no social conscience. The health services north and
south are in almost terminal decline and many now dread going into
hospitals for fear they come out dead due to the appalling state of
the hospitals themselves. The Western Health Board in the Republic
build themselves new facilities costing Euro 9.5 million without
permission from the department of health and a 48 million Euro health
centre stands idly and unused in Ballymun for the past two years. The
poor of Eastern Europe flock to Ireland to be exploited by every
crook, gangster and thug that calls himself an employer. It is no
wonder that increasingly independents get elected to the Dail, as
there is growing disillusionment with the established political
parties. Now even the Orange Order has broken with the Unionist
What does all this mean for republicanism? It is clear that there are
three options facing the broad republican movement.
Route one is to follow the Provisional Movement in its headlong rush
into constitutional nationalism and accept the status quo of
capitalism. Be in no doubt that PSF want to manage capitalism in
Ireland and believe they can do it better than the existing rulers.
The IRSP reject that.
Route two is to unify those republicans who reject the Good Friday
Agreement in a joint political and military onslaught on British rule.
Some believe that the "Republican Movement" can be rebuilt around the
re-commencing of the armed struggle. The IRSP reject that.
Route three is to return to the republicanism of James Connolly and to
raise the class questions in every arena, in every struggle, on every
battlefield. For it is only by the working classes in Ireland taking
up the issues that affect them, that the link can be made between the
class and the national question. There is no short cut available. We
face only a long hard slog of persuasion and of hard work. Republican
socialists must reach out to the youth, to the trade union activists,
to the community activists trying to improve their communities. We
need to reach out to other republicans and socialists and together
find a way to implement the visions of Connolly and Costello. For
partition and British imperialism will never be defeated until the
class question comes to the fore. The IRSP accept that.
WOMEN UNFREE SHALL NEVER BE AT PEACE
7 March 2005
Irish Republican Socialist Party, Derry
In its annual March 8th message the Irish Republican Socialist Party
has hit out against the Turkish Regime's state forces, during what can
only be described as a brutal assault on protesters over this years
International Working Women's Day demonstrations, at which least 70
people were beaten and arrested.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the IRSP, Yvonne Dalton, said,
"International Women's Day in one of Europe's newest bedfellows
dramatically turned in to a virtual whirlpool of violent assault on
innocent protesters and onlookers.
"Several hundred political activists from women's groups, prisoner
support groups to human rights organisations participated in the
demonstration through the Turkish capital of Istanbul. The scenes that
followed were brutal, with men and women pushed to the ground, kicked
in the head and sprayed with gas in the face. Many were left crouching
in a ball with their hands protecting themselves.
"Unfortunately this is a scene which is played out on an all to
familiar basis by this fascist regime. Despite what the godfathers in
Brussels would have us believe, Turkey in 2005 is truly in the grip of
patriarchal traditions and violence against women from its westernised
cities to is sunny holiday resorts and it remains a serious problem.
It is something that cannot be overlooked in the powerhouses of the
"Throughout the past four years, the Turkish state has been unable to
break the resistance of the political prisoners and their supporters
in what can only be described as one of the largest a high profile
prisoners campaign for political status since the 1981 hunger strikes.
Despite solitary confinement, torture, arrests, force-feeding of
hunger strikers, brutal assaults, and more, the fight continues.
"As a republican socialist, I would like to pay tribute to those
activists who have taken to the streets and in the prisons of Turkey
to demand equality, justice and an end to this regime. We can clearly
see that once again, Turkey, your terror mask has slipped.
"On March 8th can I state that it is not about middle class coffee or
wine parties or superficial art classes. It is about real class
struggles of the past, present and future struggles of working class
women and the liberation of our class. As a gesture of international
working class women's solidarity on this day, our party call upon all
those who believe in equality and social justice, all those who oppose
fascism, to join us in supporting Kurdish and Turkish political
prisoners in Turkey, and the continued fight against that regimes
campaign of isolation in the prisons, in the homes and on the streets
at home and abroad."
ON SPY TOWER
9 March 2005
Irish Republican Socialist Party, North Belfast
The North Belfast branch of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
welcome the demolition of the PSNI spy tower placed at Oldpark
This is a step in the right direction to normalisation for the people
of North Belfast and is a symbol that "Big Brother" contrivances have
no place in our society. For years now the people of North Belfast
have been monitored and spied on by the RUC and the PSNI in what can
only be described as an unacceptable method of intelligence gathering.
This accompanied by the news that Girdwood barracks is also to be
removed can only be of benefit to the people of North Belfast.
The IRSP welcome all actions of British demilitarisation and removal
from within our communities.
LEST WE FORGET
Sixty years ago, on March 10 1945, the US abandoned the last rules of
warfare against civilians when 334 B-29s dropped close to half a
million incendiary bombs on sleeping Tokyo. On the sixtieth
anniversary of the firebombing of Tokyo Saotome Katsumoto was 12 when
he heard the familiar rumble of B-29 bombers. "It was a midnight air
raid, but unlike anything we had experienced before. The planes flew
in very low, so low you could see the fires reflected in their
undercarriages, and they dropped mostly incendiaries. The fires
started everywhere and we tried to fight them, but there was a strong,
northerly wind fanning the flames. All around me people were on fire,
writhing in agony.".
(From Japan Focus Newsletter)
DEMAND JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE
This is an urgent appeal to Palestinian organisations and solidarity
organisations to endorse the statement below. Your endorsement will
greatly assist our efforts. Please circulate this statement to your
contacts and respond to firstname.lastname@example.org
Demand Justice for Palestine
SHOW ISRAELI APARTHEID THE RED CARD!
On March 26 Ireland is due to play Israel in Tel Aviv as part of the
2006 World Cup Qualifiers. The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
(IPSC) supported by the Movement against Israeli Apartheid is calling
on the FAI and on Irish players & supporters to boycott this match in
protest against Israel's continued refusal to respect Palestinian
rights and International law. Show your support for justice and human
rights by staying at home on March 26 and showing Israeli Occupation
and Apartheid the red card!
While Israeli sportsmen and women travel freely around the world, the
Palestinian team has to surmount a labyrinth of checkpoints and border
crossings just to play their home matches overseas. With no decent
pitches on which to train and a suspended national league, their
success in getting to the preliminary qualifiers cannot be overstated.
Furthermore, Israeli authorities regularly prevent Palestinian players
from attending international games. Last September five players were
prevented from travelling to the World Cup qualifier against
Uzbekistan. Unable to play in Palestine the team travels to Doha,
Qatar, for home games and trains in Ismailia, Egypt, more than 100
miles from the local Gaza players' homes. Israel's labyrinth of
checkpoints makes just getting to and from training a journey fraught
with danger. Players from the West Bank have to circumvent Israel's
Apartheid Wall, take a bus to Amman (Jordan) and then fly to Cairo to
meet up with their Gazan team-mates. Travelling within the Gaza Strip
can take hours because of the checkpoints. For instance, it took
Palestinian players 40 hours to get to Rafah from the Egyptian border
after last year's Uzbekistan match. Despite these hurdles, their
recent success has inspired tens of thousands of Palestinian children
to hope that there can be a future beyond the latest Israeli curfew.
Palestine's future generations and sporting talent is being wasted by
illegal occupation, restrictions on movement and collective
punishment. Since September 2000 Israeli forces have killed over 3,565
Palestinians - 22% of whom were children. In the past year alone
Israeli soldiers have killed 176 Palestinian children. Many more have
been left seriously injured by snipers and tank shells - unable to
kick a football again. Although youth under 17 make up more than 50%
of the population of Palestine, there are few resources available to
them under the occupation. Youth centres have been destroyed by the
Israeli army. For instance, prior to the April 2002 reinvasion of West
Bank towns and cities, the Old City of Nablus had 13 youth
institutions. Now only 5 of these are operating.
Despite the restrictions imposed on them, Palestinian children
continue to defy Israeli curfews just to play soccer in the streets.
Their steadfast resistance to occupation is mirrored in the
determination of the Palestinian team to one day hear their national
anthem played to tens of thousands of cheering supporters in a home
ground in a Free Palestine.
Not only sports, life for the Palestinian people is getting daily more
unbearable. Ghettoised and isolated from each other behind
checkpoints, settlements, Jewish-only roads and the Apartheid Wall,
the Palestinian people is deprived of its land and livelihood or
uprooted as refugees.
Israel today stands in violation of over sixty UN resolutions as well
as many international conventions on human rights. Through its
continued military occupation of Palestinian territories, its policies
of racial discrimination against its Palestinian citizens and its
denial of Palestinian refugees' rights, Israel resembles a 21st
century Apartheid South Africa.
However, despite its refusal to abide by international law, Israel
continues to enjoy preferential trading terms with the European Union
and governments have been cowardly in its refusal to demand sanctions
Palestinian and international civil society is calling for a boycott
of all Israeli goods and services, divestment and sanctions until the
Israel respects Palestinian rights.
During the 1970s and 80s Irish sporting fans showed their opposition
to Apartheid policies by boycotting sporting events with South Africa.
Like the Dunne's stores' workers who refused to handle South African
produce, the Irish people refused to give legitimacy to Apartheid by
boycotting the Springboks tour.
It's time for the people to demand justice for Palestine.
We are calling upon the Irish soccer players ad supporters to stand up
for justice and human rights by boycotting the March and June soccer
matches Ireland vs. Israel.
The Irish people should not allow Israel to use the football field to
represent and assert itself and its occupation and apartheid politics
in front of the international community. Irish football should not
allow players and supporters to be manipulated as political pawns by a
criminal Israeli regime, who show a total disregard for International
Law, and continue to imprison the Palestinian people behind an 8 metre
high Apartheid wall built on stolen Palestinian land, while at the
same time, pretending to engage in peace talks.
Empty seats and a major protest outside need to show the Israeli
Government that there is no place for Apartheid in the 21st century.
To endorse this call please write to: email@example.com
PRIVATISING THE IRAQ WAR
By Geoff Thale
If U.S. officials learned one lesson from Vietnam it was that
opposition at home to U.S. military intervention abroad grew as
American casualties mounted. Now officials have found a way around
this problem -- in Iraq, U.S. contractors are recruiting people from
poor Latin American countries to carry out security tasks.
As U.S. military actions abroad have increased in the last decade, the
Pentagon has searched for ways to fight wars effectively while
minimizing U.S. casualties. Where possible, war is conducted from the
air. In ground combat, U.S. troops are equipped with the latest
high-tech weapons and protected by the best armour.
U.S. officials seem to have hit on a new strategy to minimize U.S.
casualties: recruit people from Latin America to do some of the
A December 9th Washington Post story reports that two U.S. private
security firms, under contract to the Pentagon, are recruiting in El
Salvador to fill security positions in Iraq. And a December 12th
report from El Tiempo in Bogota says that a major U.S. contractor is
recruiting retired Colombian military officers to work in Iraq.
Salvadorans and Colombians are being recruited to guard Embassies and
other public buildings in Baghdad, protect oil and gas pipelines, and
provide security. This is dangerous work that was previously done by
U.S. military personnel.
Reportedly, recruitment efforts in Latin America will expand. U.S.
contractors believe there is a pool of people in the region with
military backgrounds and training, eager to work for the wages
offered. Interestingly, the first recruits came from militaries with a
history of human rights abuses.
In El Salvador, the security firms are said to be pleased with the
candidates, many who served in the Salvadoran Armed Forces. They are
highly motivated, being paid several times what they could earn in El
Salvador, and they are cheap (less than 1/5 the cost of recruiting
The economic logic of this is unassailable. The U.S. military
contracts out security operations to U.S. companies who recruit
relatively low-cost Latin Americans to fill the jobs. The contractors
keep labor costs down, thus helping their bottom line. The Latin
Americans are poor, need the work, and benefit from what are – by
their standards -- high salaries. What's wrong with this?
It's deeply wrong, for both moral and political reasons. Latin America
and other less-developed regions shouldn't serve as a cheap labor for
dangerous jobs because of a U.S. military mission in Iraq. It may be
tempting to pay people from foreign countries like El Salvador,
Colombia, or Chile, so that we don't experience the human cost of
casualties or deaths ourselves. But it's not morally acceptable.
It's wrong for political reasons as well. Whether one supports or
opposes the U.S. war in Iraq, one can agree that the U.S. military
ought to bear the burden of fighting a war that the United States
initiated. Allies may join in, and send their own troops in support if
they so choose. But, U.S. military and government officials should not
be allowed to avoid paying the political cost in the United States of
the war in Iraq by hiring poor Latin Americans to risk dying while
carrying out a U.S. military mission.
In the United States, when a U.S. soldier is wounded or killed in
combat, his or her family, neighbours, and community, feel the weight
of the war in Iraq, and ask themselves, "Is it worth it?" In a
democracy, citizens must understand the burden related to U.S.
military action abroad, feel the impact, and make the judgment about
whether it's worthwhile.
But when those who do some of the fighting and dying are not U.S.
soldiers, not members of allied military forces, not even U.S. private
contractors working for the Pentagon, but private citizens of another
country, whose injuries and deaths will have no impact on the
political debate in the United States, then democracy is being
undermined, and war is being fought without a public weighing of the
Our leaders shouldn't be recruiting Latin Americans (or others) to
stand in our place, or pay the ultimate price in U.S. military
conflicts, to avoid political debates at home.
[Geoff Thale is Senior Associate for Central America and Cuba at the
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a non-governmental
organization that promotes human rights, democracy and sustainable
economic development in Latin America.]
From WASHINGTON OFFICE ON LATIN AMERICA
SOWETO LIKE BELFAST?
8 March 2005
Boom Time for Soweto Property
By Andrew Meldrum
The South African township whose uprising became a turning point in
the struggle against apartheid is enjoying a property boom. House
prices in Soweto rose by more than 35% last year, on top of an average
annual increase of 16% since 2000, Standard Bank reports. Once starved
of development funds, Soweto now has new roads, streetlights, water
systems and transport as the result of 850m rand (£77m) spent by
Johannesburg city council. Crime is lower than in many formerly
white-only suburbs. Electric security fences are conspicuous by their
"Over the past couple of years Soweto has improved dramatically," said
Jerry Gaesale Setlhare, the owner of a transport business. "I am proud
of Soweto. It has more life to it than the white suburbs. When this
house came up, I grabbed it." Mr Setlhare remodelled his house to
include a three-storey atrium, a curving granite staircase, a swimming
pool and a state-of-the-art kitchen. "Property values are increasing,
so we can expect a good return on our investment," he said
"It used to be difficult to sell a property in Soweto, but now we are
able to sell a house within three days because of growing demand,"
said Alex Molomo, an agent for Realty Executives.
But large parts of Soweto remain in poverty, and shacks and shanties
still prevail. "Zola and Emdeni are rougher areas, but even they are
improving," Mr Molom said. "People are buying two-roomed houses and
Retail developers are following the property boom. The new Southgate
and Dobsonville malls are bustling with shoppers. Five more malls are
planned: surveys show that Soweto residents spend 80% of their 4.2
billion rand disposable income outside the township.
The places where violent incidents of racial oppression occurred have
been commemorated as historic sites and the homes of former residents,
famous and infamous, have become tourist attractions, including the
Mandela family home museum, where Nelson Mandela lived and practised
as a lawyer in the 1960s. Nearby is the home of fellow Nobel
prize-winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. "Even now people still remember
that Soweto was the centre of the struggle," Mr Molomo said. "We are
very, very proud of that. We don't want to be bitter. We want to be
relaxed and feel good.
"We want to improve Soweto, we don't want to go away."
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