Wednesday 20 April 2005

The Plough Vol 02 No 33

The Plough
Volume 2, Number 33
20 April 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial: On Criminalisation
2) The History of the ISRP
3) Migrant Workers in Ireland
4) Health Patients Dying to Know the Answer
5) Direct Action is Needed, Not Lip Service
6) Letters
7) A Stick to Beat Cuba
8) Colombia 'Will Not Try US Troops'
9) What's On



Throughout our proud republican history we republicans have never
accepted the designation 'criminal' for taking part in the political
struggle for self-determination for the Irish people. From the time of
Wolfe Tone to the time of Bobby Sands and Patsy O'Hara, republicans
have proudly resisted all attempts to criminalise their struggle.

Is there any person with historical knowledge who now asserts that
Wolfe Tone, John Mitchell, Fintan Lalor, O'Donovan Rossa, James
Connolly, Liam Mellows, Peadar O'Donnell, Cathal Goulding, Seamus
Costello, and many others, were common criminals? No one can make
criminals of them. Their political credentials are assured.

So it was with surprise we noticed posters and slogans appearing in
Belfast linking the 10 hunger strikers of the 1980s with a so-called
campaign to criminalise republicans. Nobody, neither Brit nor Free
Stater, can make a criminal of neither Kevin Lynch nor Micky Devine.
Their place as political prisoners is historically assured.

But those who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement also signed up to
the proposition that after that date there were to be no more
political prisoners in Ireland once all those convicted before that
date were freed under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Indeed
one leading member of the Provisional Movement is on record as saying
there were no political prisoners in Ireland. Those who signed up to
the GFA indeed by their actions have tried to criminalise those
republicans who used the same methods that lead the Provisional
Republican Movement to the talks process in the first place.

Like them or loathe them, those in jail for offences committed as
members of the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA are political
prisoners. Dessie O'Hare and other members of the INLA still
imprisoned are political prisoners. Nothing anyone outside jail,
whether as members or non-members of the 5 IRAs or the INLA can do,
will make criminals of them.

So why all the campaigning about criminalisation? Is it to divert the
republican grass roots base from thinking about the implications of
the Bart Fisher conviction or the slashing to death of Robert
McCartney? Is it to rally support for candidates from Provisional Sinn
Fein? We don't know.

But this we do know, that amidst the moving testimonies from
ex-republican prisoners who suffered dreadfully for their part in the
anti-imperialist struggle at a rally in the Europa Belfast called by
Coiste, a support group for ex-Provisional IRA volunteers, against the
so-called criminalisation policy, a jarring note was voiced by Bik
McFarlane. Prior to his outburst there were ex-political prisoners on
the stage speaking intensely on how the Brits tried to suppress and
silence republicans over the years, a tactic that they agree is still
being employed today.

Then McFarland called on republicans to "slap down," "stomp on," and
"meet it face on" those who from within "our own communities" dared
breathe the word criminal. Now this was not in relation to the Brits,
Free Staters, unionists, or the media, but to be used against people
from "our own community". "We well not take this from within our own

Our own areas? Where are those areas? The Catholic areas of the North
where Sinn Fein get votes? Protestant areas of the North where Sinn
Fein get votes? Is that statement an open acknowledgment that the
Provisionals control areas or is an open acknowledgement and
acceptance of the division of the North in sectarian and controlled
ghettos? So that is what republicanism - provisional style - was and
is about?

It's not what republican socialism is about.



Radical Politics in Modern Ireland - The History of the Irish
Socialist Republican Party 1896-1904

David Lynch

To Be Published March 2005 | 192 Pages Irish Academic Press 0716533561

The Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP) was a party of seminal
importance in the history of radical politics in modern Ireland. The
party was the forerunner and ideological springhead for a political
tradition that has had a significant impact on radical Irish politics
ever since. The ISRP was the first experiment with that powerful,
dynamic, yet sometimes very confused cocktail of traditional
republican politics and socialist principles.

The party produced the first regular socialist paper in Ireland the
Workers' Republic, ran candidates in local elections, represented
Ireland at the Second International, agitated over issues such as the
Boer War and the 1798 commemorations. Politically the ISRP was before
its time, putting the call for an independent "Republic" at the centre
of its propaganda before Sinn Fein or others had done so. This is the
first full length study of this important organisation. Using the
primary sources available this study delves into the internal politics
and personalities that brought life to the organisation. The political
significance of the organisation led by James Connolly is also viewed
in both the international and national sphere.

The legacy of the ISRP was to have an impact on the left wing and
republican movements in Ireland for many decades following its demise
in 1904.

[David Lynch is a journalist who lives in Dublin. He has done work for
such publications as Magill, Leinster Leader and The Irish Times.]



For far too long now migrant workers in Ireland have been used as
forms of cheap labour. This has, on occasions, created tensions within
the workforce, which has, again on occasions, led to divisions in the
ranks of the proletariat, which should in theory remain strong in the
face of capitalist opposition. These splits and divisions among the
workers only benefit the bosses, whose sole role in industrial
relations is to divide and rule, thus creating divisions within the
ranks of the organised working class.

Migrant workers have been, and indeed still are used, to undermine the
pay and conditions of the indigenous workforce, thus creating straw
men to blame while ignoring the real enemy, the bourgeoisie
(capitalist class). Migrant workers are often blamed for working under
price thus suppressing wages of the indigenous workforce. This is of
course absolute nonsense and it is the job of the native workforce to
ensure that the bosses cannot get away with this exploitation and then
scapegoat migrant workers as the cause of low wages. While migrant
workers are being blamed for the pay and conditions at places of work
those directly responsible, the domestic and trans-national
bourgeoisie are laughing all the way to the bank and continue to
relentlessly amass huge profits while the workers are fighting among
themselves. The message of socialists is simple: Irish workers must
stand by and support their migrant brethren.

At the time of writing the embryo of such support and solidarity is
already in evidence on the streets of Dublin. Turkish employees of
Gama Construction are taking action in their legitimate pursuit of
wages owed to them by the employer. On April 11, 2005, Turkish workers
employed by Gama Construction protested outside the four courts in
Dublin. Inside the court were the employers, representing Gama
Construction, who were attempting to suppress a report regarding the
employees' wages and conditions from being published. In this report
it is strongly suggested would be the question of where the missing
wages of the Turkish workers are. Their wages, it has been reported,
have been lodged in Dutch bank accounts by the employer. These reports
have not as of yet being denied by the employer.

The company now claims that some of the 800 Turkish staff has been
given access to the Dutch bank accounts, which are holding their
wages. The company has so far declined to say how many employees have
been given access. Earlier this month the Gama Construction were
granted a temporary injunction preventing the publication of the
report. No doubt they will be using the fact that some of the workers
now have access to these Dutch bank accounts as justification for
another injunction, temporary or otherwise.

On April 12, 2005, the time of writing, Turkish employees of Gama
Construction demonstrated outside Leinster House in Dublin demanding
that the Free State government take action to ensure that the workers
have access to their wages presently held in these Dutch bank
accounts. However the government may claim that under laissez faire
economics they cannot intervene. To this the answer, if it arises, is
nonsense. Of course they can intervene, they are the legislators, the
custodians of human rights, one of which must surely be the right to
access ones wages.

Irish workers were also present in the ranks of demonstrators outside
the Dail, which is an encouraging sign. SIPTU and ATGWU banners were
present as these are the two biggest unions involved. The workers are
also demanding, rightly so, job security and better terms and
conditions, though it is hard to imagine worse than when workers don't
get paid, bad as the wages are. Remember this is the capitalist system
we are talking about, a system based on maximising exploitation of the
working class.

What is happening to the Turkish workers at Gama Construction
epitomises the legalised robbery which takes place on a daily basis by
the employing class against the working class. Normally this robbery
is masked into the hourly rate or monthly salary under the guise of
the going rate for the job. Surplus value or profits are masked as
being part of the wages. For example ten people make ten motorcars,
each vehicle costing 1,000 euro so there is 10,000 euro. Each worker
gets paid 100 euro thus amounting to 1,000 euro. Where then does the
other 900 euro go? A very crude and simple example and perhaps an
exaggeration as far as the discrepancies go but the principle of
exploitation is plain to see. Workers are daily robbed of the full
fruits of their labour power as a class, and what is happening at Gama
is a blatant public expression of this robbery.

The Turkish workers are absolutely correct to strike, as many of them
have not received a cent in wages for months. One reason for this is
because their wages are lodged in Dutch bank accounts amassing
interest for the employers. Perhaps this incident will at last raise
the trade union leadership out of their slumber and prepare to fight,
prepare to fight in the same way as the Turkish workers are doing.
However I would not hold your breath. Surely the ICTU (Irish Congress
of Trade Unions) cannot rule out the possibility of a general strike
if these workers do not receive their wages. Remember it is Turkish
workers today, it could be you tomorrow. AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN

Kevin Morley



Irish Republican Socialist Party, Dublin

The Irish Republican Socialist Party fully supports and welcomes the
Irish Nurses Organisation's decision to organise a number of protests
to highlight the disgraceful overcrowding in our hospitals' Accident
and Emergency Departments.

Dublin IRSP spokesperson John Murtagh stated, "The anger felt by
nursing staff at the unacceptable levels of overcrowding on hospital
wards and corridors, plus excessive workloads, has clearly lead to
this direct action being made. How long will this be allowed to
continue as such a working environment not only affects nursing staff
within A&E units but ultimately patient care, which will continue to
suffer as a result of these shortfalls in patient care.

"The Irish Republican Socialist Party calls on the Minister for
Health, Mary Harney, to fully deliver at the earliest opportunity her
administration's own health strategy which includes the provision of
more acute beds in hospitals, the recruitment of nurses and the
creation of extra care facilities. Health patients, particularly the
seriously ill, are dying to know when will they deliver on their
pre-election promises?"

Mr. Murtagh concluded by saying that "the IRSP applaud the support and
goodwill of individuals and business men who have been so sickened by
the state of our health service that they have pledged to provide, fit
out, and service pre-fabricated cabins at a number of city hospitals."


Irish Republican Socialist Party, Dublin
PO Box 10081, Dublin 1, Ireland
Telephone: 0876 320 323



Irish Republican Socialist Party, Dublin

The Irish Republican Socialist Party is demanding that the Irish
government formally recognise the indigenous Irish sign language by
incorporating it into the Constitution as its third official language.

Today Irish Deaf Society member and IRSP activist Seamus McLaughlin
stated: "Today marks the beginning of Irish sign language awareness
week, which intends to highlight the language and culture of the deaf
community. There are 40,000 people, including deaf people, their
families, and friends, who use sign language every day.

"The European Parliament, of which Ireland is a member, have twice
passed resolutions (1988, 1998) calling on all member states to
recognise their respective national sign languages, unfortunately this
appeal has not been acted upon by the Irish government. The official
recognition of the Irish sign language will bring full access and
participation of deaf people into mainstream society where it would be
a progressive step in eliminating discrimination in areas such as
employment and education."

Mr. McLaughlin concluded by saying, "the right to one's language is an
important human rights issue. Like all linguistic minorities, members
of the deaf community have varied degrees of access to the majority
language of the wider community. Deaf people should be able to enjoy
the same linguistic rights afforded to the hearing community. I call
on the Irish government to stop playing lip service to the concerns of
deaf people and formally recognise the Irish sign language."


Irish Republican Socialist Party, Dublin
PO Box 10081, Dublin 1, Ireland
Telephone: 0876 320 323




From Cuba Support Network Derry Branch
Spokesperson Marion Baur
Tel 02877742655

April 16th 2005-04-16

Dear Member of Parliament,

I wish to draw your attention to a film launch, which I am involved

The Cuba Support Network is hosting the Irish Premiere of the new
documentary film 'Mission Against Terror'.

The two directors (and writers of the script) Bernie Dwyer and Roberto
Ruiz Rebo will be coming over from Cuba to attend the showings and
answer questions by the audience.

As you have probably seen in the press the two showings in Northern
Ireland are Belfast on Friday, April 22nd at 7pm in the Unemployed
Resource Centre, Donegall St., Derry City, April 23rd at 7pm in the
Gas Yard Café, Lecky St.

This film contains pictures and interviews which have been unreleased
to date and give evidence of a war of terror against Cuba which has
killed more than 3000 innocent people – as many as the trouble in
Northern Ireland. One of the godfathers of this war of terror, Luis
Posada Carriles, is at present walking the streets of Miami and has
applied for asylum there.

He escaped from jail in Venezuela after being convicted of bombing a
Cuban airline, which resulted in the death of 73 innocent people.
At the same time 5 young Cubans who went to Miami to try and stop the
campaign of terror (and informed the US authorities about it) are
serving long prison sentences, their convictions being based on
'evidence' given by terrorists.

My questions to you are:

-Are you going to use your influence as an elected representative to
bring this unbearable situation to the attention of the US government?

-Are you going to talk to the film makers who have done outstanding
and very brave research on the war of terror against Cuba, which is in
many ways connected to terrorism elsewhere?

-Are you supporting our claim to free the Miami Five?

I have attached a letter by the Irish Campaign to free the Miami Five
to the Republic's foreign minister Dermot Ahern. So far there has
been no answer.

-Do you think politicians in the North can do better?

I am looking forward to your answer and I can assure you I will do my
best to publish it as widely as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Marion Baur



London Guardian
15 April 2005

A Stick to Beat Cuba
By Ian Gibson

Kofi Annan last week told the UN Human Rights Commission it needed
reform. Its loss of credibility, he warned, was harming the UN. Human
rights groups such as Amnesty International have argued that the
manipulation of the commission by member states for political purposes
is damaging its ability to serve the millions who suffer appalling
abuses. There is no more striking example of this than the way in
which the US annually uses the commission as a platform to attack Cuba
- and then uses its condemnation to justify the continuing blockade of
the country. This year more than 4,500 intellectuals, including
Mikhail Gorbachev and five Nobel prize winners, have signed a letter
calling on member states to reject Washington's resolution on Cuba
when voting takes place in the next few days.

This is not to suggest that Cuba is a paragon of virtue. There are
significant human rights problems in Cuba and it would be ridiculous
to pretend otherwise. The question is whether concerns about Cuban
human rights merit the treatment they receive at the commission - and
whether the US has any moral authority to impose its will.

Cuba is the only country in the world subjected annually to a
resolution condemning its human rights record. Despite the fact that
Cuba's record is exemplary compared with, say, US allies such as
Colombia or Saudi Arabia, these countries are not subject to
US-sponsored condemnation. So biased is the tactic that in order to
get the resolution passed, the US ritually resorts to economic
blackmail. By threatening to withdraw aid, by offering loans, or by
bullying, the US bends countries to its will. Even so, last year the
resolution only squeaked through by one vote. To its shame, Britain
has been one of only five other countries that has always co-sponsored
the US resolution and is accused by Cuba of using blackmail to help
its ally. In 2001, there was evidence that Britain had threatened to
withdraw support for an anti-AIDS project in Kenya if it failed to
abstain on the vote.

Such tactics turn the commission into a stick with which rich
countries beat developing nations while avoiding being held to account
for their own abuses. This year, the issue has become even more
serious in the wake of revelations about the US treatment of prisoners
in Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantánamo, and by Britain in Belmarsh.
While the EU is expected to support the US condemnation of Cuba, there
is widespread cynicism about the chances of a similar resolution on
the US treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo. Last year, after it
became obvious that the US had browbeaten enough countries, the Cuban
government withdrew its resolution on Guantánamo. The same thing is
expected to happen this year. So while the commission will most likely
condemn Cuba - where there has been no verified case of torture since
1959 - it will not even debate the situation in the US prison on the
same island, where torture has been extensively documented, or Abu
Ghraib, where it has been photographed.

The disproportionate and vindictive treatment of Cuba must be stopped.
And the way in which the rich countries manipulate the commission
needs to be addressed. The Bush administration will use another
ill-gotten resolution to defend its continuing blockade, itself
condemned by the UN as illegal. It is this greater crime that is being

[Dr. Ian Gibson was chair of the Cuba group and Labour MP for Norwich
North in the last parliament.]



7 April 2005

A group of US soldiers arrested for alleged cocaine smuggling cannot
be allowed to stand trial in Colombia, Washington's envoy to Bogota
has said. Colombian senators have been calling for the men, who were
based in the country, to be extradited from the US.

But US ambassador William Wood said the soldiers are immune from

More than 200 Colombian citizens have been extradited to the US to
face trial for drug trafficking, under a bilateral deal between the
two countries.

Colombian politicians have asked the government to push for the US to
hand over the men, arguing that the extradition agreement works both

"In practical terms, these military personnel committed the alleged
crime in Colombia, and according to the extradition treaty, which is
bilateral, they should be tried here," legislator Gustavo Petro said.

President Alvaro Uribe, who is visiting China, has said he will review
the issue "very carefully".

The US ambassador in Colombia has said the men cannot be extradited
because of an agreement between the two countries signed in 1974.

He also argued that the men were working for US embassy staff in
Colombia and therefore qualify for diplomatic immunity.

He sought to assure Bogota that the soldiers, who are thought to be in
military custody somewhere in the US, would not escape justice.

"We do not tolerate corruption," he said.

The whole affair has been extremely embarrassing for the US, which
supplies Colombia with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to fight
drug trafficking, says the BBC's Jeremy McDermott.

However, he adds that the Colombian authorities are unlikely to insist
upon the extradition because they depend on the US aid.

Five US soldiers were arrested at a US military base in Texas after
they stepped off a flight from Colombia on 29 March.

They are suspected of attempting to smuggle 16kg (35 lb) of cocaine on
a US military aircraft.

According to the Associated Press news agency, one of the men was
later released.

The agency also reports that three of the five suspects were initially
detained on Colombian soil - a point Colombian senators say supports
their demands for extradition.

The US has more than 1,000 soldiers and civilian contractors working
in Colombia as part of a plan to combat a 40-year-old Marxist
insurgency and one of its major revenue sources - the cocaine trade.

Colombia is the third biggest recipient of US military aid, after
Israel and Egypt.






Latinoamerica Unida is a cultural and community association in the
north of Ireland. One of our aims is to raise awareness of cultural
diversity while promoting Latin American arts, culture and language.


TUESDAY, APRIL 19th @ 7pm
An Chultúrlann (216 Falls Rd, Belfast) FREE
Introduction by Denis O'Hearn. Professor of Social and Economic Change
at Queens University. Discussion to follow films.

PAPER PEACE (England/1997/12 mins)
The film is about the current situation in Guatemala, the failure of
the Peace Accord and the Peace Process.

WHAT IN THE WORLD – GUATEMALA (Ireland/2004/26 mins)
Fairtrade and hope.

THURSDAY, APRIL 21st @ 4.15 pm
Queen's University, (Peter Frogget Centre., Rm. 209) FREE
Speaker: Adriana Pumarejo, antropologist, shares her research on the
revival of the Kankuamo culture (The Kankuamos are an indigenous group
living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern Colombia).

THURSDAY, APRIL 21st @ 7.00 pm
An Chultúrlann (216 Falls Rd, Belfast) FREE
Speaker: Jaime Arias. Kankuamo leader discusses the social struggles
his community is facing. Presented by: Catriona Rouane. Human Rights
Activist. Sinn Féin Councillor

FRIDAY, APRIL 22nd @ 7pm
Crescent Arts Center (University Road and Upper Crescent. Belfast)
Cultural Journey through Latin America using photography, dance, music
and art. COST: £5.00/person includes a glass of wine or
non-alcoholic drink. Children free. Snacks available.

123-137 York Street – Philip House Belfast BT15 1AB
Phone: 028 9031 9963 Email:


Saturday, April 30

Comrades - The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign is inviting all
interested parties to join us for a strategy meeting re the June
Ireland/Israel soccer match on Saturday April 30th, probably in the
Teachers' Club. Time TBC, but probably around 12.30.

In solidarity - Raymond Deane, Chair: IPSC


Saturday, April 30

National May Day Demonstration - Solidarity with Migrant Workers

Republican Socialist Contingent

Assemble: Saturday April 30th 2pm, Garden of Remembrance,Parnell
Square, Dublin.

This year's May Day trade union demonstration will take place on
Saturday April 30th meeting at 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance in
Parnell Square.

The demo will march to Liberty Hall and is on the theme of solidarity
with migrant workers. The march itself has been called by the Dublin
Council of Trade Unions.

Bring Your Work Mates, Friends, Family, Flags (Starry Plough/Red) and

Irish Republican Socialist Party, Dublin
PO Box 10081, Dublin 1, Ireland
Telephone: 0876 320 323


Sunday, 1 May

May 1: May Day Rally for Jobs, Not War - Bring the Troops Home Now!
Union Square (New York City), 1pm.

Join us May 1 to say, "Jobs, Not War!" Thousands of working people,
trade unionists, veterans, youth, and antiwar activists will take to
the streets on May Day - International Workers Day - to
demand jobs, housing, and education, not war and occupation.

On March 19, thousands of activists, students, veterans, and community
organizers joined in a historic march from Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park
to Central Park to demand an end to the illegal occupation of Iraq.

The turnout for this demonstration confirms that the antiwar movement
has entered into a new phase of organizing against the war. It
confirms that the greatest attention must be paid to reaching out to
communities most impacted by the war and by the policies of the Bush
Administration. These communities are the targets of the budget cuts.
They are also targeted by military recruiters, who exploit economic
hardship with false promises of opportunity. As a result, the children
of these communities are dying disproportionately in Iraq, paying the
ultimate price for a policy of greed and empire.

On May 1 the Troops Out Now Coalition and the NYC Million Worker March
are calling for a Jobs, Not War!

Bring the Troops Home Now! rally in Union Square, NYC.

May Day grew out of the struggle of working people in this country
more than 100 years ago for an 8-hour workday with a full day's pay.
All over the world, working and poor people march on May Day to send
the message that workers are united and have the right to a job, a
living wage, health care, housing and education. Workers have a right
to pensions and social security. Immigrant workers and the unemployed
should have the same rights. On May Day 2005, let's bring back that
fighting spirit.

This is an important opportunity to link the struggle against the war
with the struggle for jobs, healthcare, and education here at home.

Now, more than ever, the antiwar movement needs to be in the streets
to oppose the Bush Administration's agenda of endless war. Two years
ago, George W. Bush took the U.S. into war under the pretense that
Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Now, his Administration is
claiming that Iran and North Korea possess weapons of mass
destruction. It is important that we expose any talk of removing the
threat of nuclear weapons as just another justification for a
pre-emptive war against the people of Iran and Korea.

As the Bush Administration gears up for new military adventures,
working people at home are under attack, as budgets for education,
housing, and healthcare are slashed, the cost of living rises, and
jobs are disappearing.

For more than 100 years, May Day has been a day for working people to
be in the streets, united in the struggle for jobs, healthcare, and
housing. Join us in the streets, May 1 in Union Square!

What you can do:

1) Endorse the May 1 Rally:

2) Help get the word out. Download flyers at:

3) Donate:

4) Organize transportation from your area:


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