Monday 21 March 2005

The Plough Vol 02 No 29

The Plough
Volume 2, Number 29
21 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

1) Solidarity with Basque Hunger Strikers
2) Statement from the Family of Mark "Mousey" Robinson
3) New Dublin IRSP Website Launched
4) The Path is Socialism
5) Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
6) Human Right and Cuba
7) What's On



Micky Óg Devine
P.O. Box 1981, Derry,
BT48 8GX, Ireland
02871 262999

March 18th

A Chara,

I would like to draw to the attention of your readers as we enter into
the twenty-fourth year since my father, Irish National Liberation Army
(INLA) Volunteer Micky Devine, and his comrades died on hunger strike
in the gulags of Long Kesh. At a time when we as republican socialists
and republicans look back on the significance of that struggle news
has broke of a similar pain and sacrifice currently unfolding in the
prisons of France and Spain. Following an announcement on the 16th
March 2005 by the Basque Political Prisoners' Group (EPPK), it is now
estimated that 720 young men and women have begun an indefinite hunger

Following protest after protest within gaol, Basque political
prisoners, united for the first time ever through the EPPK have begun
an indefinite hunger strike to demand nothing more than recognition of
their political status, so that those incarcerated for political
activities and that of their people be given a voice within the
political arena with which to make their case.

Their struggle, in many ways resembles and even mirrors that which my
father and his comrades embarked on twenty-four years ago this year in
the struggle against a policy of criminalisation, however this is the
criminalisation of the entire Basque population by both France and

As someone who has been personally affected by such a high profiled
hunger strike during the early eighties as a child, I would like to
extend my support and solidarity as an Irish republican socialist to
the families, friends, loved-ones and comrades of each and every
political prisoner involved.

To this day, I am deeply conscious of the fact that our own family and
that of the families of other INLA and IRA men on hunger strike back
in 1981 received widespread support from the people of the Euskal
Herria (Basque Country). Thousands came onto the streets to protest
across that country in anger at developments here in a gesture
international solidarity with their demands and in sympathy with the
families as lives were eventually lost.

However what gave my family and that of the other families and
relatives of 1981 the strength to carry on was the daily support and
solidarity from their communities. The action groups and international
committees who made sure that we were not alone in the fight for

The political prisoners and the people of Euskal Herria are not alone
in their fight for justice. It must also be made clear that both
French and Spanish authorities have an obligation to the hundreds of
political prisoners they hold. They must dispel themselves of their
perpetual arrogance towards the people of Euskal Herria as this has
been the trigger for recent developments and those of the past. They
have a duty to immediately open up channels already in existence, to
meet with the prisoners representatives and enter into dialogue so
this situation can be brought to a successful conclusion before any
lives are lost.

It is with this in mind that I would encourage everyone, republican or
otherwise to play their own small part in a gesture of solidarity with
the political prisoners and the people of Euskal Herria at this time.

You can write a letter of protest to the French and Spanish Embassies
in Ireland to immediately enter into dialogue before lives are lost.

Demand that these governments respect the human rights of all
prisoners and call for them to end the continuous torture and
punishment meted out against Basque political prisoners.

You can actively participate in the Basque-Ireland Committees and the
solidarity activities which are currently being organised. I call upon
both France and Spain not repeat the mistakes of the British
government in dealing with the just demands of Irish National
Liberation Army and Irish Republican Army prisoners in the past, which
led to the death of my father and his comrades on hunger strike in

In solidarity with the Basque Hunger strikes,

Micky Óg Devine,

Letters Of Protest Should be Sent to:

Spanish Ambassador to Ireland
Mr Enrique Pastor de Gana
Embassy of Spain
17A Merlyn Park
Dublin 4

Tel 1: +353 (0)1 2691640
Tel 2: +353 (0)1 2692597
Fax: +353 (0)1 2691854

Spanish Prime Minister
Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Presidente del Gobierno
Complejo de La Moncloa
28071 Madrid

Frédéric Grasset, French Ambassador
French Embassy in Ireland
36 Ailesbury Road
Dublin 4
Tel. (01) 277 5000
Fax (01) 277 5001



Re: Fisher Family Has Suffered Also But Must Realise That Bart Has
Brought Attention on Himself.

Thursday, 10 March 2005

We wish to put on public record our view that the family of Bart
Fisher have suffered as a result of his actions and the recent media
coverage involving their son and brother but their anguish pales into
insignificance compared to the hurt that our family has suffered in
the four years since Mark's brutal killing on a dark pathway in the
dead of night. It gives us no pleasure to issue this statement but we
feel we have a duty to fight for justice for our son and brother. We
have remained silent for too long and it is our desire to get justice
for Mark. It is not our desire to, in any way, put any further strain
on the Fisher family. We haven't done that in four years and we do not
intend to do it in the future.

The person responsible for bringing this media attention is Bart
himself, not the families of his victims.

Bart Fisher is a convicted killer who has openly boasted of killing
our son and brother Mark. This begs the question why would an innocent
person do something like this? We received the following answer when
members of our wider family circle asked members of the Provisional
Movement, we were told that because Bart was being accused of it so
much he admitted it. Some logic?

If Bart felt he was being accused in the wrong then why didn't he
contact our family, even through intermediaries, to discuss the
allegations against him? He didn't.

Instead he openly boasted in the street about how he plunged a knife
into Mark, in fact he shouted it out for all to hear, he didn't care
who heard. His admission of guilt was heard by Margaret Devine, wife
of Derry hungerstriker Micky, who has already described what she was
confronted with when she returned from work one evening and even had a
gun put to her head by Bart's comrades in the PIRA.

The Provisional IRA has so far failed to contact the family to discuss
our concerns despite it being public knowledge for four years that
rogue members of their organization were being accused of this brutal
knife killing within weeks of the killing happening.

Our family has suffered the indignity of a whispering campaign of
innuendo that was engineered by people associated with Bart and the
PIRA in a vain and desperate attempt to cover up and divert attention
away from his crimes. The clean-up operation, similar to the clean-up
in the McCartney case, began immediately. Evidence was destroyed and
witnesses threatened.

Mark's killers and their associates launched a vicious character
assassination campaign against a dead youth who could not defend
himself. This campaign of lies and innuendo is not going away lightly
but we as a family have the will and desire to bring this to an end
and for the truth to be brought to light.

There is a lot of talk at yesterday's Fisher family press conference
about due process and the courts, no such luxury was afforded to Mark.
Instead he suffered the indignity of being attacked from behind whilst
walking home from a friend's home late at night. He, like DeDe
McGinley and Robert McCartney, was killed in a knife attack by

We welcome the statement from the IRPWA that criminals should not be
housed in the segregated wing of Maghaberry prison. Bart Fisher is a
criminal, convicted of a criminal offence, he was tried and convicted
in a criminal court and it is an affront to the men and women inside
and on the outside who campaigned for political status that the
prisoners are being forced into an an unacceptable situation. Members
of our family stood on the pickets during the last number of years in
support of the prisoners in their fight for political recognition and
for separate accommodation within the prison. It is unfortunate that
criminals such as Bart Fisher have been able to twist the system
within Maghaberry and discredit that hard fought campaign. Bart Fisher
should immediately be removed to the criminal section of Maghaberry
prison to serve out the remainder of his meagre sentence.

Bart's family, despite being fully aware of the allegations against
him for the last four years since May 2001, have never once shown any
concern for our family and our plight. Do they even know the details
of what happened to Mark on the night he was attacked? He was attacked
from behind in the dead of night. He had an iron bar rammed into the
back of his head and had a twelve inch dagger plunged into his leg
with such force that it actually broke his thigh bone. This knife was
brought down on Mark's leg from a height as Mark was lying on the
ground after being attacked from behind with an iron bar as he walked
home on a dark lane. He was then left to die in a dark pathway in the
dead of night. These certainly weren't the actions of upstanding
pillars of the community.

One member of our family was told by a representative of the
Republican Movement, a former Blanketman who is now involved in the
security industry, in the days following the attack on Mark and before
there was any evidence of PIRA involvement, that the PIRA had indeed
launched an investigation into his brutal knife killing. Indeed so
repulsed by the attack on Mark that this person actually said that
whoever killed Mark, in his words: "Should be put down a hole."

We are now calling on the PIRA to furnish our family with the results
of their own investigation into the killing.

Yesterday's claims that there is CCTV footage exonerating Bart from
being near the scene of Mark's killing is a lie. We are aware of
information that proves otherwise. The PSNI have informed us that they
are not aware of CCTV footage exonerating Bart being in existence.
Dodgy CCTV evidence, mentioned after four years, is the latest
desperate attempt by those associated with Bart Fisher to cover up for
his vile crimes against Mark and against this community.



In a statement issued by Dublin IRSP, a spokesperson for the Dublin
Cumann said: "The IRSP in Dublin have launched a new web site. The new
site is very impressive and is a credit to all involved. Please pass
these details on to anyone interested."

An introduction to the website stated, "We, in the Irish Republican
Socialist Party in Dublin, are proud to announce the launch of our new
website. This site will hopefully add to our growing presence in the
capital. In this city which saw so many battles in the struggle for
National Liberation and Socialism there has always been a strong
Republican Socialist tradition.

"As far back as the late nineteenth century to the present, ordinary
working class people from this city have been to the forefront of many
struggles, all of which has contributed to the liberation of the
working class. Since the very first demonstrations against the
imperialist first World War to the present campaigns against
imperialist war in Iraq.

"From the factory lockouts to today's struggle against globalisation,
bin taxes and privatisation, Republican Socialists will always be
there. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the working class!

"This website is just another tool in our arsenal against the
parasites of native capitalism and foreign imperialism!"

The spokesperson concluded by stating: "Since its launch the site has
received hundreds of hits from around Ireland and as far away as
Wellington, New Zealand. The site can be viewed by clicking on to:"



Speaking on his television program, Hello President on February 27,
Venezuela's popular pro-poor president, Hugo Chavez, explained: "I am
convinced, at this stage of my life - I am now 50 years old -
after six years as a president, after nearly 30 years of political
struggle...after many readings, debates, discussions and many travels
around the world, I am convinced, and I think that this conviction
will be for the rest of my life, that the path to a new, better and
possible world, is not capitalism, the path is socialism." The studio
audience cheered.

These comments, like Chavez's comments to tens of thousands of
participants in the World Social Forum (WSF) in Brazil in January, are
part of increasingly overt agitation for socialism by Chavez.

In his WSF speech, Chavez insisted that "capitalism could not be
transcended from within capitalism itself, but through socialism".
This message, delivered by a political leader with enormous respect
across the Latin American continent, is among the most radical calls
put to a mass WSF audience.

Chavez, whose government has led a process known as the Bolivarian
revolution aiming to eradicate poverty, made it clear in the WSF
speech that he stood for "democratic socialism", differentiating that
from the model existing in the Soviet Union. He stated: "We must
reclaim socialism... but a new type of socialism, a humanist one,
which puts humans and not machines or the state ahead of everything."

On February 25, addressing the 4th International Conference on Social
Debt in Caracas, Chavez re-emphasised the point. He declared "if not
capitalism, then what? I have no doubt, it's socialism", according to
Pascal Fletcher's account for Reuters, which Fletcher titled: "Defying
the US, Chavez embraces socialism".

Then, two days later, came the Hello President program, where Chavez
said: "I am convinced that the way to build a new and better world is
not capitalism. Capitalism leads us straight to hell".

In a March 1 article or the Hands Off Venezuela website that discussed
the television program, Jorge Martin claims that Chavez has urged the
start of an ideological discussion about socialism amongst those
supporting the Bolivarian revolution, including Chavez's own Movement
for a Fifth Republic.

Chavez's presidency is based on popular support and mobilisation.
Pro-Chavez forces have won nine national elections in the last six
years, including a referendum on whether or not to recall Chavez from
the presidency.

A key part of the Bolivarian revolution has been organising the poor
majority into institutions of power so they can directly control their
lives. Chavez argued that the "tools for building socialism" were
these popular organisations already constructed as part of the
struggle to create "participatory democracy".

The uprising in Venezuela is part of a continent-wide revolt against
harsh neoliberal policies pushed upon Latin America during the 1980s
and 1990s by the institutions of imperialism, the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in particular. The resulting wealth
disparity in Venezuela was staggering. While the country is the fifth
largest supplier of oil in the world, 80% of Venezuelans were living
in poverty by 1998.

By then, only 20% of the state-run oil company's revenue was getting
to the government, the rest remaining in the hands of a wealthy
management clique, while foreign companies extracting Venezuelan oil
paid extremely low royalties.

In 1989, the Venezuelan government, at the behest of the International
Monetary Fund, increased the price of basic goods and services out of
the reach of the poor.

This provoked a spontaneous uprising known as the Caracazo, which was
brutally put down by the military, with some reports putting the death
toll as high as 2000. Inspired by the bravery of the poor and repulsed
by the use of the military to repress the people, thousands of young
officers and soldiers led a rebellion to overthrow the government in
1992. The rebellion failed, and its leaders were jailed. But as the
central leader, Chavez became a popular hero.

Riding a wave of anti-neoliberal fury, Chavez swept the 1998
presidential elections on a platform of redistributing the nation's
wealth. While it immediately encouraged self-organisation of the
people, Chavez's government didn't break decisively with the
capitalist system. It did, however, introduce some good reforms.

In a series of laws passed in 2001, the government significantly
increased royalties levied on foreign oil companies, made 100% of oil
revenue go to the government and allowed for expropriation of large
land-holdings to be redistributed to landless peasants, amongst other
measures. Also, the rich were taxed for the first time and a program
of building homes and public works for the poor implemented.

These measures provoke bitter opposition from the capitalist class. In
April 2002, the business elite organised a US-backed military coup
that briefly overthrew Chavez and installed the head of the Chamber of
Commerce in power. The coup was overturned by a working-class
uprising. In December 2002, the capitalists again tried to overthrow
Chavez, this time by means of economic sabotage, with bosses shutting
their factory doors and locking out their workers. In the oil
industry, which the government depends on for 30% of its income, the
pro-capitalist management clique locked-out the oil workers and
sabotaged the industry - hoping to bring the country to its

Instead the oil workers mobilised to take the company over and get it
up and running under their control. Chavez sacked the entire upper
management - bringing the company under true government control.

In the process of defending the government through these fights,
Venezuela's people have become more organised, radicalised and
confident in their ability to make a better, fairer society
themselves. This means that the government is in a much stronger
position to introduce measures that directly shift wealth to meet the
needs of the majority, and out of the pockets of the capitalist

Funded by the oil wealth, the government launched a series of
"missions" that have: brought free health care to the poor for the
first time, eradicated illiteracy, lowered unemployment, created
popular markets that sell cheap goods among other gains. The
government also introduced a law that banned bosses from sacking
workers, and Chavez has encouraged workers to take over factories if
the boss tries to lay them off.

According to Martin, Chavez stated on Hello President that when first
elected he was hoping to create "a third way, capitalism with a human
face, trying to give the monster a mask". But he concluded: "this mask
has fallen to the floor shattered by reality".

["Chavez steps up calls for socialism" by Stuart Munckton; Green Left
Weekly; March 13, 2005]



From: Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign PRESS RELEASE

March 14th, 2005

Despite Occupation Checkpoints and Blocked Gates of the PNA Compound:
Over 5000 Protestors Refuse to Accept the Apartheid Wall Making Their
Voices Heard in Front of Kofi Annan

Contact: Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign:
+972-22-401-946; Health Working Committees: + 972 22 407518; Jamal
Juma' (Campaign Coordinator): +972-52-285-610 Email:

Ramallah (West Bank), Palestine - While villagers were delayed, and in
many instances barred entry at Occupation Checkpoints throughout the
West Bank, a huge crowd of over 5000 thronged the streets of Ramallah
to protest at the gates of the Muqata', the compound of the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA), where Secretary-General of the
UN Kofi Annan was holding talks with Mahmoud Abbas. The crowd
assembled at al-Manara Square in the morning, with numbers swelling as
they marched through the city to the Muqata' to deliver a memorandum
to Kofi Annan, issued by the National Committee To Resist The
Apartheid Wall. In front of the barred main gates of the PNA Compound
locking out the people and their demands, rallying speeches from the
representatives of the local committees to resist the Apartheid Wall
buoyed the crowd. Slogans and chanting condemned the Secretary-General
for the UN policy that fails to apply pressure on Israel to abide by
the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision that the Apartheid
Wall is illegal, and must be torn down. Anger was directed at the
latest UN report on the Wall, published in February, which regards the
Apartheid Wall as a matter of compensation, funding and humanitarian
aid, and not as a political issue intrinsic to the whole colonial
settler-based project which Israel is escalating in the West Bank. The
UN report even goes so far as to adopt and give legitimacy to the
Israeli position which calls the Apartheid Wall a "security" measure.

Deep hostility has been created by Annan's refusal to visit any areas
of the Apartheid Wall, or any of the refugee camps which had invited
him. These claims were also expressed in the memorandum and the
various political press releases and letters sent by local committees
against the Apartheid Wall to President Abu Mazen. In spite of
protestors being locked outside the gates of Muqata', Annan could not
have been deaf to the demonstrators that pounded the main gate,
threatening to break it down, and their cries of "Annan, Annan - Don't
ignore The Apartheid Wall!" which reverberated through the streets.
As tensions grew, Annan was forced to cut short his media conference
and meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, leaving swiftly via the back entrance.

The demonstration was attended by thousands affected by the Wall; the
local committees of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign from the
districts of Hebron, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Salfit, Jenin, Qalqiliya,
Jordan Valley, Bethlehem and Tulkarem; together with the
representatives from the different parties and grassroots
organizations which make up the National Committee To Resist The
Apartheid Wall. The UN's apparent complicity to the Wall, and failure
to work within the mandates of international law, draws the fate of
the Palestinian people perilously close to the final solution that

To see the memorandum to Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United
Nations see:

For More Pictures Click Here:

Visit the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign web site.



From March 14th to April 22nd,2005, the 61st session of the UN
Commission on Human Rights will take place in Geneva, where once more
the US government will try to pass a resolution against Cuba.

It is a manipulated and selective treatment of the topic to justify
the intensification of the policy of blockade and aggressions by the
greatest power on the planet against a small country, in violation of
International Law. The

Commission must represent every United Nations member State and ensure
respect for the rights of all men and women worldwide. It is
significant, however, that within the Commission, during the last year
sessions, it was not possible to evaluate, not even to debate, the
atrocious violations of human rights taking place in US prisons in
Abuh Ghraib and Guantanamo.

The US government has no moral authority to set itself up as a judge
of human rights in Cuba, where there is not a single case of missing
persons, torture or extra judicial killing and where internationally
recognized health, education and cultural levels have been reached
despite the blockade.

We request the countries represented in the Commission not to allow it
to be used to legitimize the Bush Administration's anti-Cuban
aggressiveness, when the current war-mongering policy led by
Washington makes predictable an eventual escalation of very serious
consequences. We also call on journalists, writers, artists,
professors, school teachers and social activists to address their
governments and express by every possible means that this dangerous
maneuver stop.





Wednesday, 23 March

Stop Deportations Belfast Solidarity phone:
0774 327 5533

Weds 1 pm @ Irish Tourist Board

Stop The Deportations

Wednesday 23 March 1 p.m.

Irish Tourist Board, Castle Street, Belfast

Please bring banners/ placards and noise!!

Speakers: Mick O'Reilly, TGWU; Davy Carlin, Chair ARN; Jon Glackin,
Co-Ordinator Street Seen; Paddy Hughes, Dep. Pres Queens University

Co-inciding with protests occurring in Dublin, London and Amsterdam
against Deportations


Thursday, March 24

Building an Island of Equals: The Left, Socialism & Sinn Fein

March 24th 8pm Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2

Public discussion with Brid Smith, a member of the Socialist Workers
Party (who was imprisoned as part of the Bin Tax Campaign) and Eoin O
Broin (Sinn Fein Director of European Affairs). The evening is being
hosted by the SWP.

All Welcome

Everyone has seen the media and mainstream politicians unleash a
ferocious and hypocritical attack against Sinn Fein. What does this
all mean fo Sinn Fein and republicanism? Will it push Sinn Fein
towards accommodatin with the establishment or will they present an
alternative to the real criminals in FF and FG? & if the move towards
the establishment is to remain on the Sinn Fein agenda how within this
context can the party bring about an island of equals for the working
classes throughout the island and does the fight against global war
and poverty fit into the party's perspective?

This discussion is aimed to build trust amongst the left, trying to
identify common goals and strategies within our different politics,
with the hope that we can get closer to the 'another world' we are all
fighting for.


Wednesday, 6 April

Public Meeting - The Fight to Make Poverty History

Speakers: Angela McCormick, Anti-poverty activist, G8 Alternatives
Committee, Scotland; Goretti Horgan, Chairperson of the Northern
Ireland Anti Poverty Network

7.30pm Wednesday April 6th, Room 302 Peter Froggatt Centre, Queens

Poverty is one of the central issues of the age with nearly half the
world's population surviving on less than $2 per day and over one
third living on less than a dollar per day.

In Northern Ireland, one of the poorest areas in Europe, 170,000 (25%
of the population) exist solely on benefits. Wages here are at least
25% less than they are in Britain and over 30% lower than in the US.
Homelessness is increasing and the availability of public housing is
shrinking. The introduction of Water Charges will impoverish many more
people in Northern Ireland when they are introduced. On that basis the
Make Poverty History mobilisation is of crucial importance.

The Public Meeting is intended to raise awareness of the central
issues, how various groups are fighting to alleviate poverty and most
importantly to raise awareness of the mobilisation in Scotland on July

For more information please feel free to call Gordon Hewitt, Campaigns
and Information Officer at the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty MTG on
07742 531 617 or 0845 120 3771.


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