Monday 1 May 2006

The Plough Vol 03 No 24

The Plough
Vol. 3- No 24

May 1st 2006

E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) May Day Message

2) What is National Liberation?


4) What’s on

May Day statement of the IRSP.

The Irish Republican Socialist party sends May Day greetings to workers world-wide. May day is a time to celebrate the achievements of the working class movement. We applaud the struggles for liberation and socialism taking place around the globe. The swing to the left in South America gives hope for a revival of the message of socialism. The growing revulsion at the continuing occupation of Iraq by the Imperialist forces of the USA and Britain shows that people are no longer prepared to accept at face value the lies spewed out by the leaders of the occupying nations.

Here in Ireland opposition is growing to the slavish toeing of the USA line by the right wing Coalition. But the failure of the so called official left of the Labour Party and Sinn Fein to lead any serious opposition to either the acquiescing in the Iraq war or lead a serious fight back against the creeping policy of privatization shows how far those organizations have drifted from their verbal commitment to socialism. Nobody should be under any illusions that both parties if they enter a coalition Government they will implement the neo liberal economic agenda of privatization

Furthermore, the prospect of a coalition government in the North established under the discredited Good Friday Agreement and controlled by the right wing DUP of Ian Paisley does not auger well for northern workers. Neither direct rule nor coalition nor power sharing will ease the growing burden on workers.

Already rate rises are cutting into the living standards of the most vulnerable in society. North and South thousands do not benefit from the wealth produced by the workers. Those on the margins are ignored or else demonized by the gutter press. Economic deprivation feeds into sectarianism and racism.

However, the fundamental contradiction in Ireland is the continuing partition of the country and the control exercised by the British Government over the six counties. No tinkering with the Northern statelet nor appeals to tolerance respect, cultural diversity and multiculturalism can hide that basic contradiction. The interests of all workers no matter what background they come from, whether British or Irish, Catholic or Protestant, Unionist, Nationalist, or Migrant Worker, are best served by the reunification of Ireland and the establishment of a society based on socialist universalist principles. Workers of the world unite .You have nothing to lose but your chains.

What is national liberation?

Failing to resist the burgeoning onslaught against it sovereignty, the Irish people seem to be turning away from the concept of National Liberation. The modern and increasingly generic "westernised culture" is making it more and more difficult to distinguish between a working class youth in an inner city Dublin estate with his counterpart in Manchester and in doing so has not only marginalised the concept of radical separatism but those who espouse it. Separatism is much more difficult to sell than the more instantly accessible and glamorous consumerist culture.

There are of course those on the left who balk at the very mention of National Liberation, condemning it as a divisive concept that retards the development of progressive class politics. Such short termism and contradictory positions are elucidated in the writings of Connolly who placed National Liberation in its proper context alongside Socialism.

Whilst our ability to apply our politics is to some extent victim of the tide of economic and social circumstance, we must accept some responsibility for our failure to fully adapt and emphasise the importance of National Liberation.

Our own analysis is confrontational to the status quo yet this has failed to manifest itself in confrontational political actions. Moreover, our failure to move beyond the stance of confrontation and condemnation has marginalised us further. Resting on the laurels of a good analysis of the failings of the Belfast "Agreement" is not enough for the growth of the Movement or socialist politics on the island of Ireland. The Republican Socialist Movement is at the minute repositioning itself as a movement primarily of ideas, which is a move of some realism and integrity, yet it places a burden of responsibility on the membership to show more imagination and ambition in analysing our society’s ills in a Republican Socialist basis and suggesting ideas for its remedy. At all times placing those ideas within a short-term context and the long-term context of National Liberation.

Having said that, we must expand on what National Liberation means. We believe that National Liberation is not just the changing of the administration of one set of bourgeoisie to another but the Liberation of its people and the land and resources for the collective benefit of its people.

The dust kicked up by the billions of euros worth of military hardware at the Easter rising is now settling on Irish citizens protesting on a wide range of issues, one of which being better health welfare. The space exists within that issue for us to further our analysis and the necessity of National Liberation.

The current political makeup of the island of Ireland makes the design and implementation of adequate health care policies impossible as the framework of competence and legislation are imposed by the bourgeoisie British and Irish administrations preventing their development. For this reason the Irish people are finding themselves selves in a situation where we have to defend systems that, although theoretically based on equality, universality and fairness, are increasingly submitted to the dictates of neo-liberal economic policy.

Other groups are campaigning for the right to farm on their land in Mayo, the nationalisation of natural resources for the benefit of the Irish people, the cessation of the use of Irish airspace and airports for US imperialist exploits in the east. The RSM should be among these people engaging with these people with its positions and ideas, juxtaposing the failures of Irish society with the virtues of an all Ireland Socialist Democratic Republic, i.e. National Liberation.

The de-industrialisation of the Irish and British economy and its replacement with a virtual debt consumerism based economy has been disastrous for the working classes here. The RSM should not only use confrontational political propaganda against this but also travel beyond that and suggest a Venezuelan model of community-based economies built on collaborative planning, ownership, and management in both industrial and agricultural sectors. At a national level, we should call for the creation of a strong National Economic Ministry that would explore the Venezuelan model of "cogestion" or Worker/Government co-management as an intermediate measure towards nationalisation in every sector of the Irish economy.

The RSM would be foolish to believe that it can achieve this on its own. Confidence in our own politics is positive yes; blinkered self-righteousness only restricts our own ability to influence. A broad front policy needs to pursue at an accelerated rate. The Movement for the fifth Republic has shown what a broad front can achieve for its people. We must engage with all shades of republicanism, progressive trade union groups and grass roots organisations in a spirit of deference and with a parity of esteem so that the radical position of the RSM is prevalent in an agreed collective strategy for National Liberation.

As I mentioned above, our ability to apply our politics is subject to an extent to the socio-economic tide, this is also true of other progressive groups who are finding themselves in a similar position as ourselves and are, I believe, more susceptible to the idea of progressive National Liberation.

Whilst globalisation has marginalised the notion of National Liberation in the consciousness of the Irish people, it has also paradoxically made necessary for the future progression of the Irish people. The burden is now with us to articulate this.
Tomas Gorman 1st May 2006

From the newspapers.

Letter to the Village

Village reporting - Liz McManus not so innocent
So the shrill Liz McManus gets irritated when she is called "Lady Wicklow". That makes her as thin-skinned as her potential coalition partner Michael McDowell, assuming he gets re-elected.

But that is all just political amusement here in Co Wicklow. What I find more worrying is Village's lapse of editorial rigour. In your article about Liz McManus (Village, 6 April), your reporter writes, "she knew nothing about the 'special activities' – murders, beatings, armed robberies, counterfeiting and other criminality". That is quite a bald assertion made by your reporter Emma Browne. And it certainly does not withstand the kind of scrutiny Vincent Browne normally applies in his journalistic endeavours.

In the Irish Times of 15 December 2004, Vincent Browne wrote, "Later that year the Official IRA went on what it called a 'cease-fire', but over the next decade and a half at least – ie well into the late 1980s, during all of which time Pat Rabbitte was a member of its political arm – the Official IRA murdered scores of people, terrorised areas in Belfast, shot people in the legs and beat them with crow bars."

Vincent Browne also said that "On 5 October 1977, the Official IRA was responsible for the murder at North Strand Road, Dublin, of a leader of a rival political and military organisation, Séamus Costello, president of the newly-formed IRSP and leader of the paramilitary organisation, the INLA." Liz McManus was first elected to Bray Urban District Council (UDC) in 1979 as a member of Sinn Féin The Workers Party. Costello was chairman of Bray UDC at the time of his murder by the Official IRA, the military wing of Liz McManus's Workers Party. How could she know nothing?

I do not accuse Lady Wicklow of any involvement in any of this criminality. But surely she knew Costello was murdered by the Officials! She also stayed on as a member of the Workers Party during a particularly active Official IRA period. They got off lightly because, as Vincent Browne wrote, "... RTÉ didn't probe into this area then or, come to think of it, subsequently – I wonder why." That is why the current Labour Party run by Pat Rabbitte, Eamon Gilmore, Lady Wicklow and other former Official sympathisers has made a cottage industry out of Shinner bashing.

The current Labour leadership – all former Official IRA politicos – "rely on the youth of much of the electorate" or "rely on the amnesia of the rest of the electorate" to have a go at Sinn Féin, according to the Irish Times' introduction to Vincent Browne's 2004 column. The rest of us rely on the very few sources of informed journalism in Ireland. Looking up those quotes above took no great length of time on the internet. Please do not let Village become part of the lazy journalistic pack.

Cllr John Brady, Bray, Co Wicklow

BASF · Sign the petition against censorship
The German transnational corporation BASF - heir to IG Farben - is world Number 1 in the chemical industry. In Antwerp (Belgium), this giant has been disturbed in its tranquility by Comrade Joris Van Gorp, who is in charge of the Workers' Party of Belgium in the area: BASF has brought a suit against him for "harassment, calumny and attack to the honour" of the BASF employers. The affair is to be brought before the magistrate's court. According to the media, "it is the first time in Belgium that distributing political leaflets is considered to be harassment".
The VOKA, the Flemish Employers' organisation (Belgium) has explained the reasons for the attack against Joris : "Due to the fact that several organisations, like the WPB, pillory the employers and depict them as one-armed bandits devouring money, the gulf between workers and employers remains very wide."
The employers demand organic unity between themselves and workers, like in the thirties at the time of corporatism.
Antwerp is the second-biggest chemical complex in the world and the fourth-largest port.
In addition, the Vlaams Belang, the fascist party, is powerful there and is financed by an impressive number of big employers.
Joris Van Gorp was a BASF worker between 1977 and 1987.
The undersigned demand:
. freedom to make political propaganda against the dominating profit logic at the entrances to factories.
. that all recourse to judicial procedures concerning calumny and harassment be forbidden in the framework of the struggle of political and social idea.
the dropping of all legal proceedings against Joris Van Gorp.


c/o 7 Bloom Lane, Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1

12-14 May
An internationalist celebration of the life and struggle of James Connolly
(1868-1916) on the ninetieth anniversary of his execution.

12-14 Bealtaine
Ceiliúradh idirnáisiúnach de shaol agus streachailt James Connolly
(1868-1916) sa nóchadú bliain i ndiaidh a bhásaithe

Friday 12 May, 8 p.m.

James Connolly Memorial Lecture
The Life and Legacy of James Connolly
Speaker: Eugene McCartan (general secretary, CPI)

Ireland Institute (27 Pearse Street)

Organised by the James Connolly Education Trust

Aoine 12 Bealtaine, 8 i.n.

Léacht Chuimhneacháin James Connolly
The Life and Legacy of James Connolly
Cainteoir: Eugene McCartan (ardrúnaí, CPI)

Institiúid na hÉireann (27 Sráid an Phiarsaigh)

Á eagrú ag Iontaobhas Oideachais James Connolly

Saturday 13 May,

from 10 a.m.

All-day conference and workshops on the ideas of James Connolly to mark the
ninetieth anniversary of his execution

Ireland Institute (27 Pearse Street)

10-11:30 a.m.
Socialism or barbarism?
Can the world afford capitalism any longer?

Paul O'Connell (Trinity College, Dublin)
Patricia McKenna (Green Party)

11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Workshop 1:
Niall Cullinane (CPI, Galway)
Frank Keoghan (People's Movement)

Workshop 2:
Brian Keenan (Belfast)
Frank Cammock (CPI, Belfast)

2-4:30 p.m.
Socialism and national liberation
The working class in the struggle for national freedom
Guest speakers: David Granville (Britain), Noel Carrillo (Cuba), Avtar Sadiq
(India), Jerónimo Carrera (Venezuela)

4:30 p.m.
Panel discussion

Satharn 13 Bealtaine, ó 10 r.n.

Comhdháil lae agus ceardlanna ar smaointe James Connolly le sonrú a chur sa
nóchadú bliain i ndiaidh a bhásaithe

Institiúid na hÉireann (27 Sráid an Phiarsaigh)

10-11:30 r.n.
Socialism or barbarism?
An acmhainn don domhan an capitleachas a thuilleadh?

Paul O'Connell (Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath)
Patricia McKenna (Comhaontas Glas)

11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ceardlann 1:
Niall Cullinane (CPI, Gaillimh)
Frank Keoghan (Gluaiseacht an Phobail)

Ceardlann 2:
Brian Keenan (Béal Feirste)
Frank Cammock (CPI, Béal Feirste)

2-4:30 p.m.
Socialism and national liberation
The working class in the struggle for national freedom
Aoichainteoirí: David Granville (an Bhreatain), Noel Carrillo (Cuba), Avtar
Sadiq (an India), Jerónimo Carrera (Venezuela)

4:30 i.n.
Plé phainéil

Sunday 14 May, 8 p.m.

to celebrate the life and ideas of James Connolly on the ninetieth
anniversary of his execution

Liberty Hall (Eden Quay)

Adrian Dunbar and his band
Pzazz: "Connolly's Daughter"
Drama Group: extract from The Plough and the Stars
Jimmy Kelly and Friends

Plus traditional singers and musicians.

Sponsors: James Connolly Film Project and Communist Party of Ireland

Tickets: EUR10, available at Liberty Hall and at Connolly Books (7 Bloom
All proceeds go to the James Connolly Film Project and the International
Brigades Memorial Fund, Belfast.

Domhnach 14 Bealtaine, 8 i.n.

le saol agus smaointe James Connolly a cheiliúradh sa nóchadú bliain i
ndiaidh a bhásaithe

?Halla na Saoirse (Cé Eden)

Adrian Dunbar agus a bhanna ceoil
Pzazz: "Connolly's Daughter"
Grúpa Drámaíochta: sliocht as The Plough and the Stars
Jimmy Kelly agus a Chairde

Urraithe: Tionscadal Scannán James Connolly agus Páirtí Cumannach na

Ticéid: EUR10, le fáil ó Halla na Saoirse agus ó Connolly Books (7 Lána
Ná fáltais ar fad á dtabhairt do Thionscadal Scannán James Connolly agus
Ciste Cuimhneachán na mBriogáidí Idirnáisiúnta, Béal Feirste

Sunday 14 May, 3 p.m.

Annual James Connolly Commemoration
Arbour Hill Military Cemetery (behind Collins Barracks)

Wreaths will be laid on the grave of James Connolly by representatives of
the Communist Party of Ireland, Communist Party of Britain, Communist Party
of Cuba, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of Venezuela, and
Connolly Youth Movement, followed by a short oration.

Domhnach 14 Bealtaine, 3 i.n.

Comóradh Bliantúil James Connolly
Reilg Mhíleata Chnoc an Arbhair (taobh thiar de Dhún Uí Choileáin)

Leagfar bláthfhleasca ar uaigh James Connolly ar son Pháirtí Cumannach na
hÉireann, Páirtí Cumannach na Breataine, Páirtí Cumannach Chuba, Páirtí
Cumannach na hIndia, Páirtí Cumannach Venezuela, agus Ógra Uí Chonghaile,
agus ina dhiaidh sin tabharfar óráid ghearr