Tuesday 27 September 2005

The Plough Vol 03 No 03

The Plough
Volume 3, Number 3
27 September 2005

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial
2) The Protestant Question: Some Reflections
3) Loyalism, Republicanism, Sectarianism and the Good Friday Agreement
4) Letters
5) What's On

The Annual Seamus Costello National Commemoration will take place on
Sunday the 2nd of October in Little Bray, Co. Wicklow. Assemble at
1:30pm at the Old Town Hall (McDonalds) for march to Little Bray



This edition carries two personal pieces by two leading members of the
IRSP addressing some of the issues that the recent upsurge in violence
in some Protestant working class districts has posed. We hope these
articles can provoke some response from our readers and we will be
delighted to publish any reasoned response from our readers.



By Liam O'Ruairc

The majority of the Protestant population in the North of Ireland
consider themselves to be British and are deeply hostile to Irish
reunification and any threat to their position. The political
expression of this is unionism and loyalism.

1) Republican socialists are not sectarian and not nationalists. We do
not have a problem with people believing in the Protestant religion or
considering themselves to be British. Our movement does not tell the
Protestants, "You are not British, you are in fact Irish". We believe
that everyone in Ireland has the right to hold on to their own
identity, culture and perceived nationality. For example, there are
Chinese people in Ireland who consider themselves to be Chinese and
are holding on to their language and culture, the same with Polish or
Nigerian people, etc. So if the Protestant people in the North
consider themselves to be British and not Irish, our movement has no
problem with it.

2) There are lots of things in the British culture and history that
republican socialists can identify with, think for example of the
democratic tradition of the Levellers, the Chartists, etc. However one
of the objections our movement has is that many Protestants who
consider themselves to be British only hold on to one
aspect/expression of British identity: the monarchy, nostalgia for the
Empire, etc. Republican socialists would say that there are other ways
of being British, why don't they explore and appropriate for
themselves all the progressive British heritage?

3) Republican socialists distinguish the Protestant tradition from the
unionist and loyalist traditions which call for the British state to
rule the six counties. Our problem is with them. The unionist majority
in the North is not ethnic or religious but political in nature. There
is something circular in saying that partition is democratic because a
majority in the North desires it when partition creates that majority
in the first place!

4) The Protestants do not constitute a nation apart (they never
claimed it), they are either British or Irish, and in both cases
unionism constitutes a political minority. While Unionists are free to
hold whatever opinion they want, they do not have a right to frustrate
the wishes of the majority of the people in Britain (who favour
withdrawal from Ireland) and in Ireland (who support independence).

5) There is no such thing as a unilateral right to union. Those who
say that you can't force one million unionists into a united Ireland
are not disturbed at the idea of forty million people in the British
Isles being denied their wish to see the Britain leave Ireland! Those
who insist that there should be "unity by consent" don't seem to have
a problem with "partition by coercion".

6) Our problem with unionism and loyalism has thus nothing to do with
nationality (we have no problem with people considering themselves
British) or territory (we do not say one island means one state). Our
issue with unionism and loyalism is that they are essentially
anti-democratic in nature. What we are in conflict with is the
unionist veto.

7) Commentators have recently talked about "Protestant alienation".
From a republican point of view it is unfortunate how this crisis has
encouraged so few Protestants to question the relevance of unionism
and loyalism and explore progressive elements of their own Protestant
and British heritage (think of the whole Dissenter tradition for
instance) which provides alterative resources. The problem is that as
long as the British state guarantees that Northern Ireland will remain
part of the United Kingdom, the Protestant and unionist population
have no incentives to question and change their position. Unionist and
loyalist intransigence is proportional to the lack of resolve in
confronting it. That leaves republicans pessimistic about winning over
substantial sections of the Protestant population…

8) In the meantime, there is a deepening crisis in Protestant working
class areas in the North. Apart from poverty and unemployment,
Protestant working class communities suffer the daily brunt of
paramilitary oppression and gangsterism. Yet those in positions of
power and influence show little interest in their plight. The unionist
middle classes have turned their back on the Protestant working class,
preferring their golf courses in Bangor and Helen's Bay. This trend,
hastened by the flight of Protestant middle class children to
university in Scotland and England, is set to continue.

9) It has not been a priority of nationalist politicians to address
the growing alienation of the Protestant working class. In addition,
the British government is trying to give recognition, influence,
status and funding to the worst elements within loyalist
paramilitarism. That approach has underpinned paramilitary power and
helped create the current crisis within Protestant working class

10) Republican socialists can advance some proposals to manage the
decline of traditional communities of Protestant working class, and
enhance what is good and positive about those communities. Because it
should be emphasized that the IRSP believes that there are things that
are good and positive in Protestant working class areas. The IRSP
believes that the emancipation of the Protestant working class should
be the work of Protestant workers themselves. However, the problem is
that working class Protestant communities are characterised by a weak
political culture, and this has had a major effect on its ability to
develop outward and progressive looking policies capable of developing
their positive potential. We believe that there are two spheres of
Protestant civil society in which elements could emerge that could
provide this.

11) Within the working class, a rudimentary trade union solidarity
still remains, residue from the large scale Protestant working class
participation in the manufacturing industry prevalent in the building
of industrial Belfast -- linen, textiles, engineering and
shipbuilding. Every working class district had, until recently, many
men and women who were involved at shop steward or convenor level
within their union, and those organisation skills learnt in the unions
lent discipline to the Protestant community.

12) In most predominantly Protestant districts today, most of the
"social cement" is provided by, or within the sphere of influence of
churches. In many districts over the past twenty years, churches have
acted as intermediaries for government training schemes. The influence
of Protestant clergy in the resolution of community problems has been
noticeable. The Rev. Norman Hamilton, for instance, was to the fore in
helping Protestant paramilitarism to reconsider the wisdom of their
sectarian campaign at Holy Cross School in Ardoyne. Methodist minister
Rev. Gary Mason was paramount in influencing the recent removal of
intimidating wall graffiti across East Belfast. And the Rev. Roy Magee
has had a long-term role in negotiating the loyalist ceasefire. At
their best, the influences of church leaders and the labour movement
were seen in the development of the Northern Ireland Labour Party. At
its height, it had four Stormont MPs in the 1960s.

13) To prevent the worst effects caused by the decline of Protestant
working calls communities, the IRSP demands the development centrally
planned state services aimed at the people in need in the Protestant
community and that these be channelled through universally available
statutory services (e.g. statutory youth centres, reading and writing
schemes in neighbourhood libraries, etc.), established national
charitable bodies such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, Mencap, etc., or
via the two main civilising bodies in Protestant civil society, the
churches (church based influences, women's groups, sporting
associations, etc.) and the trade union movement. The IRSP believes
that as a general rule partnership with these should be encouraged
over schemes or programmes within the paramilitary sphere of

14) Republican socialists are not the only one to advocate such
policies. These were first proposed by Rathcoole Independent Labour
Councillor Mark Langhammer. He recognised that this was the priority.

15) "The step now required is to enable civil society within the
Protestant working class areas -- notably those responsible for
providing social and community services within the sphere of influence
of churches -- to be enabled to occupy a central position in the
public lives of their communities." This is necessary if Protestant
workers are to move forward in their own emancipation.

16) On their own side of the sectarian divide, republican socialists
should develop measures and do everything in their own power to combat
Catholic/nationalist manifestations of sectarianism.



By Gerry Ruddy

When I was growing up, I was conscious of the heroic republican
tradition. My uncle had tried to take part in the 1916 uprising and my
mother's cousin had been sentenced to death for the shooting of a
police officer in Belfast in the forties. So I was well aware of the
800 years oppression from the British. My neighbors were Protestant
and every July for a few weeks they would not talk to their Catholic
neighbors until the Orange marches were out of the way. We grew up
with the simplistic belief that when we had a united Ireland the
unionists would see sense and become good Irish people. We had no
sense of the importance to them of their sense of Britishness.

Republican ideology never really did take into account how to deal
with unionism in the north-east of Ireland. Generally speaking, there
were two approaches taken. One, the benign approach, simply felt that
in the struggle for freedom unionism would be converted by the
non-sectarian republican struggle against an evil British imperialism.
The more malign approach saw the unionists as a 'settler class' or as
planters who either would submit to the 'Republic' or take the boat
from Larne back to where they came from. Parallels were drawn by
Michael Farrell of People's Democracy in the early 1970s with the
French settler class, or Colons, in Algeria.

During the seventies and eighties, most republicans simply dismissed
the loyalists as dupes of British imperialism without any independent
stance of their own. The large number of police agents in the ranks of
the UDA and UVF only confirmed this belief for republicans. Subsequent
revelations about 'republican' agents somewhat tempered this belief.
Individual republicans such as Daithi O'Connell tried to reach out to
Protestants with concepts such as Dail Ulaidh and then the Eire Nua
policy, now the policy of Republican Sinn Fein. However the rising
tide of sectarian slaughter meant that any progressive ideas were not
going to be listened to. In reaction to the military policy of the
loyalists -- ATWD (Any Taig Will Do) -- some republicans committed
sectarian acts which only served to further drive more and more
working class Protestants into the shelter of the loyalist gangs.

Meanwhile some anti-republican socialists saw no distinctions between
Catholic and Protestant working classes and with a narrow economistic
perspective preached class unity while ignoring or downplaying
democratic issues. Nor did they try to grapple with the partition of
the country with imperialism or with the plight of political
prisoners. These all are key issues, which unfortunately divide the
working class. Also the economistic left appealed to past examples of
working class united actions in the North, such as strikes in 1907,
1919 and then during the outdoor relief riots in the 1930s. What they
forgot to mention was how few these were and how the fragile unity was
so easily smashed by the waving of the Union Jack.

Now today in the wake of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement
there has never been a more divided North. Catholics and Protestants
feel safer living in exclusively single identity housing estates.
Every advance towards a more democratic North is perceived to be a
victory for republicans and a defeat for unionism. Hence the recent
call by loyalist paramilitaries, following intense violence on the
streets of Belfast, to end what they call the "suppression and
containment" of Protestants in the North of Ireland. Loyalist gunmen
opened fire on police and soldiers as petrol and blast bombers went on
the rampage throughout the city and other parts of the North. Text
messages to Protestant teenagers helped organise some of the heaviest
rioting in recent years. This was all because the route of a parade by
the reactionary Orange Order was moved away from a nationalist area of
West Belfast. The UDA, whose overall leader Jackie McDonald had only
recently met the Irish President in a loyalist area of South Belfast
said it would not "stand idly by and allow injustice and inequality to
run rife through our community".

There has been a lot of talk about "Protestant frustration and
alienation" as being the reason for the riots. In response the British
direct ruler, Peter Hain, has said that he wanted to embark on a
programme of intensive engagement with elected representatives and
civic leaders of the Protestant community and that more investment
will be directed towards deprived areas. On the same day he also
announced that he was going to take tough financial measures to
extract higher rates and water charges as he claimed the North paid
less per head than the rest of Britain for public services. So what
goes into areas will also come out, as these charges will hit heaviest
on the poorest working class districts, both Protestant and Catholic

At the same time the DUP has indicated that it has no intention of
taking part in early negotiations with Sinn Fein over power-sharing
even now with the IRA(P) having total decommissioned its weaponry.
This is negative leadership from the unionist leaders, saying no to
talks with Sinn Fein and refusing to meet with representatives of
nationalist residents affected by Orange marches. They claim all sorts
of gains for nationalists and how Protestants are being discriminated
against and this only perpetuates sectarian divisions and demoralises
sections of Protestant working class opinions. The unionist
politicians are happy to sit and talk with loyalist paramilitaries
perhaps in the hope of using their muscle to force the British
government to cede to their demands and stop any further democratic

It should not be forgotten that since last April there have been on
average five sectarian attacks a day. These attacks are carried out in
the main by murder gangs under the control of the loyalists. For
example a Catholic man from North Belfast has been viciously stabbed
by a loyalist gang under the direction of a young woman who yelled
"slice the Fenian bastard". The Ardoyne man was stabbed at least six
times in the attack. Also in Longlands in North Belfast a Catholic
home was petrol bombed. A man from the Short Strand was severely
beaten by a loyalist gang of 15 men full of sectarian hate, just prior
to widespread loyalist rioting. A Catholic secondary school in
Portadown was damaged in an arson attack. A blast bomb attack in Derry
caused damage to a house occupied by two pensioners. The device was
thrown into the predominately Catholic Upper Bennett Street from the
mainly unionist Fountain area on a Friday night. The Fountain area
itself has been frequently attacked by nationalist youths.

While the IRSP rightly condemns all these attacks and our comrades
work hard to prevent them, it is a sad fact that these attacks are
just the public manifestation of the sectarianism that lies beneath
the surface of everyday life in the North. The six county state was
built on injustice, inequality and discrimination against Catholics
and nationalists. Believing they were superior many middle class
unionists ignored the socioeconomic deprivation and the
anti-democratic nature of the state or worse still tried to justify
it. Their followers were lulled into a similar mindset and believed
not only that they were superior but also that Catholics were lesser
human beings. Hence the spread of sectarianism through out the body
politic. In 1977 Seamus Costello, founder of our movement, wrote the
following about how the workers have been used:

"In the North the Protestant working class were led to believe that
the only way in which they could preserve the marginal supremacy which
they held over their Catholic counterparts in jobs and housing was
through supporting corrupt unionist politicians and through them the
union with Britain. Their genuine and well founded fears regarding the
preservation of their religious and civil liberties in the context of
a united and clerical dominated Ireland were also exploited by the
same corrupt politicians. At the same time the Catholic working class
were conned into believing that their salvation lay in supporting
green Tory politicians who, while hypocritically advocating the
reunification of Ireland as a guarantee of their ultimate salvation,
completely submerged themselves in corrupt unionist politics in
exchange for favours for the class they really represented, the
Northern Catholic middle class. As history has shown, the working
class, North and South, Protestant and Catholic, have been victims of
the so-called solutions to the 'Irish Question' imposed by Britain and
her subservient native parliaments."

There is no doubt that both Catholic and Protestant working class
areas have a weak infrastructure, according to research (DSD) caused
in the main by

-A failure to invest in community development support;

-The continuing impact of community tensions and paramilitary

-The dominance of local activities by a single agency; and

-Cultural traditions and attitudes that discourage collective and
inclusive activities.

However, recent claims by unionist politicians that their communities
are suffering in comparison with nationalist area is countered by all
the economic evidence. They are perpetuating myths and misleading
analysis about where and why deprivation exists. These leaders are
leading their communities into self-destruction mode. They seem
incapable of recognising the new political realities in the North.
Under the GFA there was to be equality of citizenship. But
unfortunately political unionists while they knew the words of
"equality", they never learnt the tune. The mindset of unionism is
still stuck in the old colonial way of thinking. The few progressive
unionists who began to talk about citizenship and the finer qualities
of British democracy have little or no influence within the unionist
body politic.

The pathetic sight of the Orange leaders doing a Pontius Pilate act
over the violence following their march on the Springfield Road in
Belfast would have been funny if it had not been so sad. Sad because
many loyalist working class areas suffered in the aftermath and the
violence gave the gangsters and drug dealing thugs in the UDA and UVF
the pretence that they were defending their communities from the
police. The violence also has acted as a pole of attraction for many
young Protestant youths who, brought up on a culture of consumerism,
see the drug dealing membership of gun gangs as a shortcut to wealth.
Gangsterism now is in the process of ruining the lives of thousands of
working class Protestants. Criminality is rampant. The greatest threat
to the Protestant working class comes not from republicans, not from
the many IRAs or the INLA, but from their so-called loyalist

The journalist Tom McGurk has compared heartland unionism to "an
American white-trash trailer park". With vicious sectarianism, low
educational achievement, unemployment, a huge increase in drug taking
in all its forms and a failure to face reality, Ulster loyalism is now
"synonymous with poverty, dysfunctionality and social breakdown"
(McGurk). What a comedown for a people who once were proud of their
industrious nature and loyalty to the British crown!

However, republican socialists cannot be complacent. While our
movement will quite rightly help defend nationalist areas from
sectarian attacks we must never forget that the working class --
Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter -- is our class and without the
support of that class we can not build socialism in Ireland. Only
socialism will overcome the prejudices, sectarianism and bitterness
that permeates Northern life.

The Good Friday republicans accepted partition when they signed the
GFA. The organisation of a rally in Dublin to make partition history
as part of their celebration of 100 years of Sinn Fein was pure
theatre; a method to rally the troops while the cement was being
poured over the arms dumps. We recognise that the Agreement in 1998
signalled the end of a phase in the dispute between Britain and
Ireland over the issue of sovereignty. It was and is a moment of
historic importance.

But republican socialists have argued and continue to argue that it is
not a lasting settlement. It was a political compromise. In signing
it, the GFA republicans were working based on a pan-nationalist
consensus that had underpinned their whole peace process.

The Dublin government, the SDLP and the Irish-American lobbies in the
USA were all seen as power points to be directed against the British
government to make it become persuaders of Irish unity. However, when
you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas! The GFA republicans
changed their view of the conflict following their tactical alliances
with 'the great and the good'. They began to manage the conflict and,
in so doing, they then began to reinterpret their republican
principles and goals. That in itself was a tremendous victory for the
British establishment.

Irish republicanism has traditionally seen itself as based on the
principles of the French Revolution and its rally cry of "liberty,
equality and fraternity". All the famous republicans from Wolfe Tone
onwards firmly rejected sectarianism. They regarded sectarianism as a
tool used by the British to divide the people. Instead, Irish
republicanism embraced a universal view of the world. Republicans saw
themselves as citizens of that world, in favour of tolerance and
freedom of thought. Most of the republicans from the past who are
honoured by present day republicans are generally seen as being
radical, universal and on the left.

Sadly that position has now been undermined by the Peace Process. It
has been argued, and republican socialists would agree, that the view
from the GFA republicans is "ethnically-centred" (McGovern).

In essence this accepts that the conflict in the North is the result
of a clash between "two hostile and mutually exclusive ethnic
identities, Irish Catholic Nationalism and Ulster Protestant Unionism"

The benefit of this analysis is that the issue of colonialism slips
off the map. Britain can now be seen, as it always tried to portray
itself, as the neutral referee between two warring sides, which for
historical reasons of geography and kinship Britain had an interest

Instead of the question of imperialism and capitalism being the issue
of discourse we now have "celebrations of differences". All cultures
and identities are to be seen as equally valid and legitimate. This
multicultural approach in the North of Ireland in essence means that
that there are two distinctly recognised traditions, which should be
seen as of equal validity. Tolerance of each other's position then
becomes the norm. Organisations like the Community Relations Council
then have a key role in persuading the community to accept the
multiculturalist approach.

The logic of this approach ends in the absurdity of giving a local
dialect, Ulster Scots, the status of a language on a par with the
Irish language. Cultural parity is all very fine but who ever heard of
Ulster Scots before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement?
Furthermore the issue of parity has been used not for the sake of
justice but as a political weapon against the 'other side'.

So the Orange Order demand that local residents in nationalist areas
recognise, respect and tolerate the Orange Order marching through
nationalist areas while that Order at the same time refuses to
negotiate with the selfsame residents directly. That is certainly not
parity of esteem. Nor can one be convinced by the Loyal Orders' sudden
conversion to human rights and sudden recognition of the existence of
poverty in Protestant working class districts.

What must never be forgotten is that those same districts suffered
poverty deprivation and unemployment during the sixty years of
unionist control of Stormont. However, to complain or agitate for
better conditions was to be labelled as "disloyal", and a "rotten
Prod". Nor should it ever be forgotten that from 1922 until 1972,
every minister in the unionist one-party government of those years bar
one were all members of the Loyal Orders.

Historically the Loyal Orders have been an instrument of the ruling
class, to be used when the lower orders begin to question the system.
From suppressing the United Irishmen to strike breaking against the
Land League to trying to suppress and drive the civil rights movement
from the streets the Loyal Orders have been a reactionary and
sectarian force to keep the Fenians down. But not only the Fenians but
the "rotten Prods" also. Many fine working class militants from a
Protestant background agitated for better social and economic
conditions and came from not only the Northern Ireland Labour Party
but the Communist Party and the pre-1969 Republican Movement. Purges
against these heroic people took place on a number of occasions when
they seemed to pose a threat to unionist hegemony over the Protestant
masses. Unfortunately not only were unionists afraid of radicalised
Protestant socialists. When a contingent of Protestant supporters of
the Republican Congress attempted to march to Bodenstown to honour
Wolfe Tone, right wing republicans attacked them.

Even today, there is an attempt by the reactionary elements within
loyalism and including the DUP to stop all contact by working class
community activists within Protestant areas with working class
nationalists or Catholics. The forthcoming rally by the Love Ulster
Campaign planned for the end of October is just another attempt to
re-unite all from the British tradition around what in essence is a
sectarian mass campaign based on whipping up fears within the unionist
population. But there is also a more insidious campaign taking place
against progressive, radical or left wing activists within Protestant
areas. The DUP are actively campaigning for control of community
funding. They want the politicians to have the final say in which
groups get funding. This would effectively mean that no dissent would
be tolerated in areas under the control of the DUP. It is also in the
community sector that there is a large body of progressive workers
happy to reach out to other communities. If ever a local
administration is restored then there would be a very high risk of
funding under the control of local politicians be re-directed to their
cronies and fellow travellers.

So in effect the multicultural approach would not have the effect of
creating more tolerance but would create a situation whereby a
monolithic view would be imposed on the working class and they would
be forced to identify with competing nationalisms, Irish or British.
In other words no change to what we now have.

If republicans accept the multiculturalism approach then they are in
danger of retrospectively justifying not only the history of Orangeism
but of acquiescing in a form of cultural imperialism. Not all cultures
are of equal validity. Cultures arise out of certain socioeconomic and
geographical conditions. Slavery was once considered as the norm, as
indeed was cannibalism. No one today would defend these two activities
so why today should people in the North of Ireland be expected to
treat the Orange Order as merely a cultural expression of
Protestantism when it is so blatantly not. It is certainly not an
expression of being British today. Few people in Britain could
identify with the Orange Order and its triumphalist posturing. The
days of the Raj are long gone but the Loyal Orders do not seem to have
understood that those days of converting the natives with a bible and
a gun have vanished forever.

Multiculturalism is but another form of post-nationalism and is a
suitable vehicle for the southern ruling class to impress upon the
North, because it helps reduce the northern conflict to ethnic
conflict which can be ameliorated within the wider European context of
the expanding European Union. It also removes the southern
establishment from any concerns about solving the national question.
In the new dispensation of the GFA, terms or phrases like the National
Question, Anti-Imperialism and Self-Determination become obsolete. The
new buzzwords include "equality", and "parity of esteem" and "a Europe
of the regions". Well integrated into the European Union, the southern
ruling class have a clear vested interest in putting the Northern
question to bed. Instability threatens the Celtic Tiger. The southern
bourgeoisie has no wish for that.

Of course, all of this has the attraction of diverting people from
real issues such as who has power and why does oppression continue.
Instead, let's just keep repeating the mantra of the buzz words
"equality", "parity of esteem" and "human rights".

The problem about equality in the North of Ireland is that under the
current economic system, capitalism, to create equality where there
are inequalities means in effect taking from those who have to
redistribute to those who have not. In other words, take from the
Protestants and give to the Catholics. The 50% quota for Catholics to
the PSNI is a case in point. Traditionally the police, prison services
and the military were overwhelmingly Protestant and many Protestants
had a secure career path before them in those services. Now that has
been taken from them. The closure of the traditional heavy industry
which was also a main career path for Protestants has now all but
vanished. Even the major universities in the North have a
predominantly Catholic/nationalist feel to them and many Protestants
feel alienated. Hence, the flight of the Protestant middle classes to
English and Scottish universities. Traditionally, the Protestant
working classes, guaranteed jobs in industry, put little or no
reliance on education and now are in grave danger of becoming an
underclass or "trailer trash" to use McGurk's phrase as the low
educational achievements in Protestant areas leaves working class
youths the option of unemployment, low wages or a life of crime.

Despite over the last number of years all sorts of schemes including
the Belfast Action teams, Belfast Regeneration Office and millions of
pounds and dollars in peace money being poured into Belfast, poverty
is widespread and there is a growing sense of alienation from the
political process growing in Protestant areas. All that has happened
in terms of equality is that now poverty is more evenly spread between
the different communities. Rather than abolishing it, all the schemes
have ever done is cause a slight redistribution of poverty. Not a
recipe for abolishing sectarianism!

The in-built sectarianism of the GFA means that those parties have to
designate themselves as nationalist, unionist or other. So the parties
have an incentive to maximise the vote on their side of the house.
That partially explains why both the DUP and Sinn Fein rose to the
top. They maximised their votes on sectarian lines. However, the IRSP
does not regard them as two sides of the same coin. Sinn Fein is
undoubtedly the more progressive party but they now have limited
options in delivering progressive policies. The problem of power
sharing under the GFA is that any coalition government must deliver
under the neo-liberal agenda and the parties must appeal for electoral
success to only one section of the population.

That is what the whole peace process was about. The peace process was
underpinned by a belief that the conflict was ethnic and so the end
result of the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement,
institutionalised communally based politics. That is not the way
forward for either the Catholic or the Protestant working class.


Costello, Seamus, "IRSP Broad Front Document" (1977)

Department For Social Development (DSD), "Research To Develop A
Methodology For Identifying Areas Of Weak Community Infrastructure"
(September 2004)

Irish Republican News, September 16-19 2005

PLURALISM", Capital and Class Journal no. 71 (Summer 2000)

McGurk, Tom, Sunday Business Post (September 18, 2005)




Students Against Poverty are calling a picket of the shell Garage on
the Falls Road in solidarity with the Rossport 5 this Saturday October
1st. SAP, which recently sent 30 people down to the Shannon Peace
Festival, is a broad alliance of school and university students.

On Sat 10th of September we held a picket of the Andersontown Shell
Garage which was well attended and supported. It was covered by the
The Andersontown News.

This Saturday a national rally to demand the release of the Rossport
Five and the relocation of a potentially dangerous gas refinery will
be held in Dublin.

In solidarity with this action and with the Rosspport 5 we are calling
on organisations to support (press release etc) and attend the picket.
We want to make this as big as possible. If you could circulate this
to IPSC members and email me back.

The picket will begin at 12.30 this Saturday at the Shell, garage on
the Falls Road, Belfast.

In solidarity
Seán Mitchell 07717123462




Wednesday, 28 September

Dispelling the Myths: Refugee Awareness Day
Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
28 September 2005

9 am - 1 pm (followed by light lunch)

Mayo Intercultural Action in conjunction with the Citizens Information
Centre, Louisburgh Community Project, and Kiltimagh CDP are organising
this event to provide an opportunity for service providers, community
and voluntary groups, refugees and asylum seekers, concerned
individuals to gain and to share information on issues affecting
asylum-seekers and refugees in County Mayo.

Three panels will focus on: Why people come here - the reality on the
ground / Rights, entitlements and accessing services / Integration.

There will be inputs/contributions from Government agencies, UNHCR,
Irish Refugee Council, Integrating Ireland, Refugee Information
Service, local statutory agencies, County Council, local community
groups, Mayo Intercultural Action, as well as refugees and asylum
seekers living in direct provision hostels and in the community.

The event will be chaired by Donncha O Connell, Dean of the Faculty of
Law at NUIG and Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts
on Fundamental Rights

To confirm attendance, contact: Teresa O Sullivan, CIS @ 094 9025544
/ Breda Ruane, Louisburgh Community Project @ 098 66218

Creche facilities available


9-16 November

3rd National and International Week Against the Apartheid Wall!

"Through Our Hands, The Apartheid Wall Will Fall!"

This is the call under which dispossessed Palestinian farmers and
communities all over the West Bank will stand together against the
Apartheid Wall and Zionist project of Occupation:

Against destruction of the land and its fruits which have been the
historical lifeline and beauty of Palestine.

Against colonization and ghettoization through walls, militarization,
Jewish-only housing, roads and infrastructure aimed at the extinction
of the heritage and future of our people.

Against the Ethnic Cleansing of Jerusalem - the heart of
Palestine - and the ongoing expulsion of our people from their

The Palestinian People are Preparing Intensified Mass Resistance all
along the Wall's Path to mark the 3rd Year of The National Week
Against The Apartheid Wall.

To read full text please press here.

Mobilize for the 3rd International Week Against The Apartheid Wall
Called for by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
in support of Palestinian popular resistance!

Echo and amplify the voice and determination of the Palestinian
struggle throughout your countries in mass mobilizations!


While the collaborative efforts of governments and international
institutions perpetuate the subjugation of Palestinians, the united
Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel
is shared by over 170 Palestinian organizations inside and outside
their homeland.

The people of the world are rallying in an ever growing movement to
Isolate Apartheid Israel, are targeting complicity with the Occupation
and are calling on their governments to end support to Israel.

Unite and take up this call to isolate Apartheid Israel:

-End the complicity with the Zionist project of occupation, apartheid
and expulsion!

-Enact boycott initiatives!

-Make widespread divestment from Apartheid Israel and companies
supporting it a reality!

-Don't let culture, sports and academy be a legitimating and
supportive force of Israeli crime!

-Pressure your governments to comply with and enact the ICJ decision
and to put effective arms embargos and sanctions on Apartheid Israel
and stop financing and sustaining the ghettoization of the Palestinian

Support the Palestinian struggle for a Free Palestine!

Make Resistance to the Apartheid Wall go Global!

We call upon all our supporters and friends of Palestine to support us
to make the voice of the Palestinian struggle against the Apartheid
Wall known and to ensure the resistance of the people in Palestine
will be strengthened by global action.

Use the activist tools we have prepared to ensure the call for the 3rd
international Week against the Apartheid Wall is known globally and
mobilizations are staged by the people all over the world:

Disseminate this mail as widely as possible among your contacts!

Link to the call from your site!

Print the Campaign call
http://rd.bcentral.com/?ID=3187624&s=87031491 for the 3rd National
and International Week against the Apartheid Wall and disseminate it
in your activities!

Let the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign know
about your action: contact us at Global@StopTheWall.org!

Visit the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign web site.


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