Vol. 3- No 25
Wednesday June 14th 2006
E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) Economic fallout unfold in working class communities
3) Chicago Hunger Strike Commemorative Film
4) Immigrant Detention Centres
5) Statement of the Israeli Communist Forum (19/5/2006)
6) Massacres In Iraq
7) International Justice Day
8) What’s on
Much has happened since the last edition of the Plough; a young catholic beaten to death in Ballymena, a Unionist leader who finally admits that political unionism nurtured loyalist paramilitaries, DUP politicians who gloss over or deny sectarianism, the raging debate over the Richard O’Rawe allegations about the 1981 hunger strike, workers sacked for holding a union meeting and of course the farcical goings on in Stormont. Meanwhile in the South of Ireland the ongoing rush towards privitisation continues under the banner of outsourcing and the last remaining vestiges of Irish neutrality are whittled away by defence minister Willie O’Dea. On the international stage the ongoing occupation of Iraq has intensified sectarian divisions and is increasingly unpopular in both the USA and Britain. The attempt by the USA to make political capital out of the tragic suicides of three prisoners of war in Quantanamo shows the utter callowness of the USA administration.
The forces of the revolutionary left in Ireland are weak and small. There is not much that we can do about the so-called big issues other than encourage people to turn out on demos and pickets. But as the recent public meeting in Dublin on republicanism showed there is a desire for a realignment of revolutionary forces out there.
The IRSP has always worked towards a broad front with other forces. But a major difference we have with the Pan nationalist front that Sinn Fein, the Irish Government and the SDLP built is that we advocate in any alliance, the leading role of the working class. That is central to our approach, our policies and our philosophy.
The failure of the armed struggle waged to achieve a united Ireland has to be looked at objectively, analysed and lessons learned from that struggle. The failure to put the needs of the working class to the front of that struggle is we believe the fundamental reason that the struggle failed. Why should the vast majority of working people put their faith trust and belief in republicans if those same republican only deliver slightly sexier polices than the previous generation of politicians?
Be assured that what Sinn Fein is now advocating is in essence no different from what both Unionists and Nationalists advocated in the past. The end result of their policies has been to carve up the North of Ireland into various sectarian homelands where unscrupulous property developers smarmy business people and profiteers make hay while the sun shines. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), the arm of the British ruling class in Ireland, assidulously prepares the ground for the further erosion of public assets and their sale to private interests. In the meantime many of the former foot soldiers who fought the war are discarded onto the scrap heap and kill the pain of defeat by dependency on one drug or another.
But simply because the armed struggle did not achieve its objectives does not mean that one simply gives up and retires to private life as many former ex-combatants have done. Rather we must turn to the working class to form the bed rock of the struggle.The forging of an alliance between republicanism and the labour movement would create a mighty weapon for struggle.We urge all republican to turn towards the working class movements, get active in the unions and raise issues that while relevant to the immediate interests of working also form a bridge towards more radical and revolutionary demands..
Economic fallout unfold in working class communities
‘Underbelly of 26 Counties Exposed’ - 10/06/2006
Republican Socialist Youth Movement – www.rsym.org
The figures recently released by the Combat Poverty Agency in the 26 counties make worrying reading but are not at all surprising to those that have been watching the economic fallout unfold in working class communities on the back of the Celtic Tiger economic boom over recent years.
The underbelly of the state has been exposed, we see it clearer now than ever before. While the media heralds these times as times of opportunity and investment, it is clear to us that working class estates and inner city areas have been long forgotten about by the Leinster House
While the inner city is overshadowed by the heightening Dublin skyline, there are severe social and economic problems that are ignored. Through poor state social planning, there is a considerable lack of facilities for young people which could prevent them from getting involved in crime
and anti-social behavior.
Between 1996 and 2004, the state seized 6,919,780 Euro in criminal assets. The state should be made accountable as to why this desperately needed money is not channelled back into the working class communities to whom it should rightfully belong
Chicago Hunger Strike Commemorative Film
On 29 April, republicans and republican socialists of the Irish Freedom
Committee (IFC), Concerned Group for Republican Prisoners (CGRP) and Irish Republican Socialist Committees North America (IRSCNA) gathered as the Chicago Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee (CHSCC). The CHSCC hosted a film showing of the movie by ex-RS POW director Terry George.
The film is a harrowing depiction of the ordeal the Ten went through, as well as those who survived the strike. The film also depicts the suffering by the mothers, family and comrades on the outside in a convincing way.
Several people were moved to tears by the film.
Following the film a discussion was held by the committee. The audience
asked many questions and were given reports by the IFC, CGRP and IRSCNA spokespersons regarding their respective prisoner situations. The IFC and CGRP detailed the conditions in the prisons, and how a tragic repeat of the hunger strikes could be possible due to the de facto loss of political status. The IRSCNA representative was pleased to announce the recent release of Dessie O’Hare, and explained how the struggle today with the RSPOW's is not just in the prisons, but also with the ex-POW association Teach Na Fáilte who are targeted as ‘criminals’ by the British authorities despite lack of evidence.
There was talk of how the support networks in the USA can help lead the
way to more broad front work, and united action on such issues as the
As well as educational and motivating, the film showing was a successful
Fund-raiser, and many copies of republican literature, including the Starry Plough were distributed.
The Chicago Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee’s next activity will be a punk rock show fundraiser in late July, before the actual commemoration of the ten in August.
Immigrant Detention Centres
Detention centres are essentially prisons where immigrants who don't have the correct documentation can be locked up indefinitely. In Dungavel in Scotland, children have been locked up in these centres for more than a year. The UK is the only place in Europe that imprisons immigrants. Apart from the obvious denial of civil liberties involved, detention centres have been criticised for promoting an idea that immigrants are criminals.
The role of the immigration squad will be to "act on information" where they believe that immigrants are here without papers or are involved in criminal activity. They will do this by carrying out raids on homes, workplaces and colleges.
One South Belfast family has recently experienced the appalling way in which these immigration teams work when their one year old child's birthday party was raided by a visiting team of immigration officers. The team consisted of several immigration officers and a number of PSNI from the vice squad. They broke down the door of their home and burst into a house full of children. They proceeded to interrogate and search the adults in the presence of the terrified children while other officers surrounded the house. The operation was conducted in the full view of the family's neighbours. Afterwards the papers reported the operation as a joint sting by immigration and the vice squad and named the address. What they failed to mention was that no criminal activity had been taking place there, quite clearly leaving the family open to attack.
From the South Belfast Anti Racism Network
Statement of the Israeli Communist Forum (19/5/2006)
New Government, Old Policy
The new government of Israel was created at the beginning of this month, headed by the successor/continuator of the previous PM, Ariel Sharon (still hospitalized in severe condition). Headed by Ehud Olmert, the “Kadima” Party continues the same basic policy lines which characterized the Government of Israel in recent years. The main principle is the refusal to conduct serious peace negotiations with the Palestinian side. Instead, the Olmert Government intends to take steps whose aim is the de-facto annexation to Israel of large parts of the Occupied Territories. For example, the Jordan Valley has recently become an area almost completely closed to Palestinians. Extension of the settlements goes on all over the West Bank. Construction of the “Separation Wall” goes on apace. Mistreatment of Palestinians at roadblocks and checkpoints continues, with various old and new limitations. And to top it all, there are increasing instances of the criminal “liquidations” of Palestinian leaders, in the course of which more and more civilians are hurt, including women and children.
In order to achieve international support for the intended annexation moves, Olmert speaks of certain Israeli unilateral steps, which would include the evacuation of certain settlements in the occupied West Bank (as a continuation of the previous “Disengagement Plan”, which included mainly the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip). But with the creation of the government even this option – of some kind of partial withdrawal from some additional small parts of the Occupied Territories – seems more far away than ever. According to a recent Olmert statement, if it takes place at all it will only be two years from now... In any case, the way to promote a comprehensive and lasting agreement is not through any kind of unilateral act, but through talking to the legal elected leadership of the Arab Palestinian people, and
reaching an agreement with it on the basis of withdrawal from all the Occupied Territories, until the June ’67 borders. The Government of Israel must recognize the elected Palestinian government, headed by the Hamas. It is unacceptable to demand the holding of democratic elections and then not to recognize the results.
The Hamas victory in the Palestinian legislative elections is being used a pretext to repeat the old mantra about there being “no partner to talk to”. This, precisely when the Hamas leaders make many declarations indicating a tendency for moderation and willingness to reach a compromise on the basis of Israeli withdrawal to the June 1967 lines. Unfortunately, also the Labour Party leader made inflammatory statements following the Palestinian elections – as did even the Meretz leader Yossi Beilin.
It is highly worrying that Ehud Olmert made an effort to include in his cabinet also the
extreme-right party "Israel Our Home” – even though in the end this party remained outside the cabinet. Avigdor Lieberman, leader of this party, is one of the most extreme racists in Israel. In the Knesset debate on May 4, Lieberman effectively incited to murder the Arab Knesset Members, when he compared them to the Nazi war criminals executed following the Nuremberg Trials. Of course, in reality the arch-Fascist Lieberman is himself far closer to being defined as a Nazi, and it is very regrettable that his party increased its electoral strength in the recent elections.
Kadima’s main coalition partner is the Labour Party, which for its part did not completely rule out being in one cabinet with Lieberman. The new Labour Party leader conducted a campaign in which the social issues were emphasized and raised several conspicuous social demands (such as raising the minimum salary to the equivalent of 1000 dollars per month). In the end, however, he gave up nearly al of these demands, and surprisingly chose to take up the Ministry of Defence rather than any socio-economic portfolio. It is no surprise that in its very first days the government already announced its intention to considerably increase the prices of basic foodstuffs and of public transportation. This is a direct continuation of policies enacted by the previous government.
In the present political situation, we face a complete absence of a perspective for a political and diplomatic process and an increase in the power of racist nationalists who support ethnic cleansing. In face of this, unity in struggle should be increased between the political forces active among the Arab population in Israel, and especially together with consistent Jewish peace seekers. In our view, it would have been much better had such understanding been achieved already before the elections. But also now it is still highly important. It is of paramount importance to promote a unity in struggle of all political organizations which struggle for the dismantling of all settlements and for complete withdrawal from the Occupied Territories; who confront the threat of “transfer” and ethnic cleansing made against the Arab
Population in Israel and against its continued discrimination in all spheres of life; and who struggle for a fundamental change of the present socio-economic policy.
The Israeli Communist Forum
Tel-Fax number: 972-3-5168032
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Massacres In Iraq
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Condemns the International Community's Silence Regarding the Massacres Being Committed Against Palestinian Refugees In Iraq
The Palestinian people, who for years have lived as refugees in Iraq, are the target of a chain of unprecedented, bloody, organized crimes.
The criminal actions, threats, expulsions from their homes and limitations of their movements carried out by death squads have intensified daily with the objective of forcing the Palestinian to leave Iraq.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) vigorously condemns the silence of the international community regarding the massacres committed against Palestinian residents in that country since 1948, the year of Al-Nakba, and rejects the racist ethnic cleansing that has become an inseparable part of the daily policies of the criminal bands.
The DFLP calls upon Iraqi institutions and national forces, the Arab League, international organizations and those committed to human rights to stop the massacres that are being carried out against our people.
Central Information Office of the FDLP
June 5, 2006
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE DAY
Every June 15, cleaners, security officers and other property service
workers around the globe mark International Justice Day. The day was
first celebrated in 1990 in the U.S. as "Justice for Janitors Day" after
cleaners who cleaned office buildings in Los Angeles were beaten by
police during a peaceful demonstration against a multi-national cleaning
company, ISS. The incident provoked a public outcry in the U.S. and
abroad. Pressure from ISS cleaners who belonged to unions in other
countries led ISS to agree to recognize the cleaners' desire to form a
union in Los Angeles. In remembrance of that day, cleaners and security
workers take action every June 15 in cities around the world.
To mark International Justice Day 2006, LabourStart is working together
with Union Network International, a global union uniting more than 900
trade unions in 140 countries with a combined membership of over 15
million workers. We're launching an unprecedented triple campaign --
simultaneously targetting three different corporations in the property
service sector, worldwide.
We know it will take more than the usual few seconds for you to
participate in all three campaigns, but we know we can count on you to
take a couple of minutes to do this, and to spread the word. Please
click here now:
German cleaning industry:
The CGRP in the Central, Eastern, and Western offices of the US send their solidarity to the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM), following the recent harassment their members have received from the PSNI/RUC in Derry.
The attempts to criminalize Republican should and will be challenged at every turn. We salute all Republicans who are constantly under attack because they continue to organize and resist the Normalization and Criminalisation policies of the British and Free State forces. We pledge our support to all our Republican Comrades in the forefront of this fight.
The forces of Occupation seem to have stepped up their efforts to criminalize Republicans. This is also true in the Free State, where recently members of the CGRP were arrested and their civil rights violated.
They will fail as they have failed in the past, We will not be silenced and
we will continue to grow.
We urge all Republicans to stand together and oppose these attempts to
CGRP Central Office Coordinator
Teach Na Failte have received many messages of support, like the one above, from a wide range of organisations including ex-political prisoner groups from both loyalist and republican backgrounds. The police actions were driven by the political desire to put our movement out of exixtence. Needless to say they found no evidence of money laundering and no evidence linking Teach na Failte to criminality.)
Subject: re: Bobby Sands
”The following letter was sent by our Canadian Comrade, Mike Quinn to a Canadian newspaper in response to an article by one of its reporters commenting on a successful celebration of the 1916 Uprising and the 25th anniversary of the Hunger strike.”
Dear Editor/Ms Kennedy
Had Bobby Sands grown up in a society where multicultural mutual respect is cherished and fostered there would have been no Icon, no hunger-strike, no incarceration, Civil Rights Campaign, no Diplock courts, no Special Powers Act, no Emergency Provisions Act, no Flags and Emblems Act, no Internment, no H-Blocks, no Castlereagh Interrogation/Torture Centre, no Bloody Sunday…. the list is endless. THIS…. is the society which Bobby Sands found himself a ‘prisoner’ long before he ever entered the conveyor belt to the Maze Prison (Long Kesh)
He grew up like me, in Rathcoole housing Estate, North Belfast. His family evicted by thugs from our community, bad as that may be, some were killed not because they were Republicans simply because they were catholic. By 1972, ethnic cleansing was well under way. The Sands family through intimidation and threat moved to Twinbrook, West Belfast, there at least there would be less threat from loyalist thugs, but regardless, the politicization of Bobby Sands had begun.
Regardless of how or why Sands became an icon is not for me to explain. Many historians and journalists have undertaken this task to great length. More recently, a biography written by Denis O’Hearn “Nothing but an Unfinished Son” The author a professor of social and economic change at Queens University, Belfast and in the sociology department at Binghampton University in New York. Sands himself recorded much of prison life including the early days of his hunger-strike this point almost mocked by columnist Kennedy.
Successive attempts to reform the northern state (6 counties) were met with the same legal apparatus of paramilitary institutions from Internment to Special Powers to imprisonment. The central issue in all of these ‘campaigns’ was the classification of status of those who were imprisoned or interned. In the recent ‘campaign’ 69/98 the hunger-strike/s in 1972 by Belfast republican Billy McKee insured that the policy of criminalization would yet again have to be confronted by the only means available to Republicans in Belfast Prison, Crumlin Road….Hunger-strike. McKee’s actions and victory over the policy meant that those republican and republican socialist POWs entering the legal/prison system, entered as “Special Category Prisoners”
In March 1976 this ‘status’ was once again arbitrarily withdrawn and again the age–old struggle had to be confronted again. Britain’s rational, if they could criminalize the prisoners then the logical conclusion is that the 800 year struggle against colonialism and domination must also be criminal. In short, Sands led this first hunger-strike as negotiator in 1980 as O/C of republican prisoners followed by another hunger-strike in March, 1981 when Britain withdrew the original settlement. Sands himself going on hunger-strike as the first republican prisoner and followed by six other republicans representing the Irish Republican Army and a further three representing the Irish National Liberation Army starting with Patsy O’Hara from Derry City. A point not acknowledged by Ms Kennedy.
On April 8, 2006 we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger-strike here in Regina, Saskatchewan. We are proud to have undertaken this task. It was never our intention to embarrass any part of our community, nor to ‘open old wounds’ and whip up the type of rhetoric I read in the columns of the Ottawa Citizen as presented by Janice Kennedy. Our audience was Canadian, Irish, English, Scottish, Chilean and from the Kashmir community. And a whole host of people who just wanted to be with us in solidarity as we remembered two dates in Irish history with the dignity and respect they deserved.
New from Socialist Productions for May 2006 www.socialistproductions.org
* In celebration of the 70th anniversary inspiring fight against
fascism by the Spanish people and the international volunteers we
have reproduced a International Brigades enamel badge and t-shirt
visit the website to check both items out!
* We have a number of DVDs in stock including 'Paradise now' -
about two young Palestinian suicide bombers, H3 fictional account
of the 1981 hunger strike up to the death of Bobby Sands MP
written by a former hunger striker, Laurence McKeown and POW Brian
Campbell, Chomsky - 'Rebel without a pause', Howard Zinn - 'You
cant be neutral on a moving train', Malcolm X documentary based on
Just some of the new items on the new look website, not all pages are
currently available, but we are working on it!
From the newspapers.
Llibertat! ˆ Saoirse! E-news service of the Catalan Solidarity: Ireland Committee
To obtain this regular eservice Llibertat! ˆ Saoirse!, forward „SUBSCRIBE‰ to the following e-mail: email@example.com
InterNATIONAL BRIGADE COMMEMORATION COMMITTEE
Spanish Anti-Fascist War 1936-39
(Symbol of the International Brigade)
c/o 45-47 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2FG
First of three
Public Seminars on
The Island of Ireland and the Spanish Civil War 1936-39:
The People Unite Against Fascism
A Common History Seminar
Saturday 17th June at 11.00am
In the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre
45/47 Donegall Street
Organised by: The Belfast & District Trades Union Council,
The Fellowship of Messines Association,
The International Brigades Commemoration Committee.
Supported by Community Relations Council.
The next meeting of the James Connolly Debating Society will take place on Thursday 29th June at 7.00pm in An Chultúrlann on the Falls Road.
The topic of this discussion will be the question of engaging with unionism, and the Reverend Bill Boyd, a Gaeilgeoir and the last Presbyterian minister to serve in the church that is now An Chultúrlann, has agreed to come along and take part in the debate. This will also be the final meeting before the summer, and considering the importance of the issue, we hope as many people as possible are able to attend.
I hope to see you here.
Ádh mór, Ciarán
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