Monday 8 January 2007

The Plough Vol 04 No 01

The Plough
Vol. 4- No 1
January 8th Monday 2007

E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial

2) Dying days of the Good Friday Agreement.

3) The Need for an Anti-Imperialist United Front

4) One Left United Front.

5) Statement from the DHKC (Revolutionary People's Liberation

Front) from Turkey:

6) From the media

a. People United Saving Hospitals

b. Cuba's infant mortality rate is lowest in Latin America


First revolutionary greetings to all our readers as we enter 2007.

This edition carries a number of articles on the necessity for a coming together of anti -imperialists. Our first article by Gerry Ruddy warns of the dangers of getting carried away by the whole debate on policing which could simply descend into mindleass provo bashing. The second article by former Sinn fein activist Philip Ferguson calls for fraternal and comradely debate and dialogue between anti –imperialists, a call The Plough is happy to endorse. The third article is a timely remind to all of us of the necessity to win over the masses in the struggle for without the unity of the masses the struggle cannot succeed. So we need to create eventually a vehicle that can bring together all those who consider themselves republican sand socialists to win a majority of the people to socialist ideas

We also carry a statement from the DHKC on the hanging of Saddam Hussein. It is clear he was executed because the Imperialist s feared that he would reveal details of how the Imperialists used him in the 1980s to strengthen their influence in the Middle East. His crimes were their crimes. The brutal suppression of the Kurds, the gassing of villages, the wiping out of communists in Iraq were all events applauded by the imperialists who supplied the technology, the expertise, the training and the weapons to carry out these crimes. We shed no tears for Saddam. His fate shows just how easily the imperialists can use and abuse their allies.

Dying days of the Good Friday Agreement.

When the Good Friday Agreement was reached in early 1998 the IRSP was not in a strong position politically. We had just come through a two years of internal turmoil as the rank and file of the organisation fought to restore the party to its core principles, which had been abandoned by a militaristic and suspect leadership. In the process we had lost Gino Gallagher who laid the basis for the implementation of the revolutionary principles for republican socialism as laid down by Ta Power. We had just held our first Ard-Feis for over 12 years. But while numerically small and considered by other republicans to be “one man and a fax machine” we had a republican socialist analysis of the politics of Ireland that has been totally vindicated by the events of the last nine years.

We said that the Good Friday Agreement would not succeed. It would not end discrimination, it would encourage sectarianism by institutionalizing it and that it copper-fastened partition. We called for a no vote in the subsequent referendum. We encouraged the INLA to call its ceasefire as that referendum had made clear the wishes of the vast majority of the people on the island was for peace.

We argued face to face with them that the Provisional Sinn Fein organisation did not have to take part in the power-sharing executive. Instead they could have provided a solid republican opposition to both the continued existence of partition and also lead the fight back against privatization and neo-liberal economic policies. We referred to that approach as the McCann option-named after veteran socialist Eamon McCann, who had first put forward that option.

However the provisionals rejected that approach, adopted a communal approach( the antithesis of a republican position) claiming to represent the nationalists (and the nationalists only) and sought power. As a consequence they decommissioned all their weapons, entered Stormont, worked British rule in the North, implemented privatization policies, bowed the knee to USA war lord George Bush, colluded in the doing away with the political status gained by the heroic deaths of 10 hunger strikers and belittle and demeaned other republicans who rejected their reformism.

Now as they ponder the prospect of supporting the Police Service of Northern Ireland chickens are coming home to roost. Many of their members who swallowed without protest the long procession of u-turns now have reached the point of no return. A group of Concerned Republicans (which the IRSP are involved in) has held two public meeting on the issue of policing. For the first time in years Sinn Fein have been forced to justify their position in public before other republicans. Prominent members have resigned and are now considering standing as independent republicans if an election is held in March 2007. While some republicans and socialists may enjoy the spectacle of seeing Sinn Fein in difficulties they also need to take the long view. Short term provo- bashing will not win people to a principled position but only alienate possible future allies in the struggle against Imperialism

An important aspect of the policing debate is that it is almost entirely a Provisional Sinn Fein matter. The basic question posed is do Sinn Fein republicans implement British justice and policing? As a consequence of the Good Friday Agreement it was always going to come down to this. The leadership of Sinn Fein has answered that question in the affirmative at their last Ard-Comhairle meeting. The IRSP, Republican Sinn Fein and 32 County Sovereignty Movement all reject the Sinn Fein (provisional) position

If a Sinn Fein Ard Feis endorses the PSNI it is the price they are paying so that arch bigot, and hater of Catholics, Ian Paisley can become First Minister. Paisley in fact has now got a veto over whether there will be power sharing in the North. People should never forget that many years ago Paisley was a strong supporter of direct rule from Westminster. So even if Sinn Fein accept positions on the Policing Board and local district partnerships, the DUP still hold the winning cards. They can now have Paisley as First Minister or prevent Sinn Fein from sharing power by forcing Britain to a long period of direct rule. Either way they can claim success to their followers.

Some success for the peace process, some success for Sinn Fein's strategy.

What we are now witnessing in the North of Ireland is the dying days of the Good Friday Agreement. Nine years after its acceptance it still has not been implemented and has now been superseded by the St. Andrews Agreement which neither Sinn Fein nor the DUP signed up to.

The IRSP has held its position consistently over the past ten years. In all the excitement generated by the policing debate and the fall out from it, it would be a major mistake for the IRSP to abandon its clear principled republican socialist party building approach for short-term electoral advantage. Of course we should support whole-heartedly those who have a similar position to ourselves. But before supporting other candidates we need to remember the long term position of the Irish working class will not be advanced by unprincipled alliances.

The Need for an Anti-Imperialist United Front

In a November 23, 2006 article entitled, "Not Too Late for a United Front", Mick Hall noted "There is little doubt that former members of the Provisional Republican Movement now make up one of the largest political factions within northern nationalism"


As well as all the people who have left as individuals over the past decade, there is Republican Sinn Fein, the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, the IRSM, Socialist Democracy and independent socialist-republicans such as Bernadette McAliskey and the people grouped around The Blanket and Fourthwrite. Outside Ireland there are also friends of Irish freedom who have been discarded by, or had already seen through, the Adams cabal atop New Sinn Fein.

Indeed, the number of what could be described as genuine anti-imperialists is quite impressive and significant. Mick Hall also rightly noted, however, "Yet their inability to come together to combat their nemesis, even in a small way, has all but left the playing field clear for the opportunistic politics of Gerry Adams' SF."

Indeed, I think it could be argued that the divisions amongst the anti-imperialist opponents of Adams' Surrenderist politics are the biggest single thing that New Sinn Fein has going for it.

What is urgently needed is open, comradely discussions among the anti-imperialist forces with the aim of forming some kind of united front. No-one need abandon their particular views and there could be full freedom of action and expression for each group within such a united front.

One of the first challenges of such a united front could be to pose an alternative to the Surrenderistas of New Sinn Fein in the next Stormont elections. I cannot see why it should not be possible to put together an impressive abstentionist argument, political platform and candidates posing a convincing critique of New Sinn Fein on every level – its policies on the national question and on social and economic issues. Although Mick Hall favours taking seats in Stormont, most of the forces which could be united for an anti-imperialist platform should have little trouble agreeing to run on an abstentionist basis.

Within a basic set of points which everyone in the united front could agree upon, each current would be free to raise their own specific

The way to form such a united front for be for representatives of the anti-imperialist organisations to begin meeting and discussing working towards establishing such a front, agreeing a basic, minimum platform which was consistent with everyone's principles and then organising an open conference with the aim of attracting as many people as possible. The platform would be circulated and discussed publicly before the conference and presented for endorsement, along with any additions or amendments, which groups or individuals attending the conference wished to put forward.

The conference as a whole could also either select candidates for the

Stormont elections or the participating groups could agree to a slate, with each group selecting its own candidates, and additional places on the slate being left open for nominations from the floor at the conference.

Elections in the South are due around mid-2007. Discussions between the components of the anti-imperialist left could also take place about an approach to these elections, although agreement might be much more difficult as some groups have an abstentionist principle in relation to Leinster House and others don't. If agreement could not be reached on the anti-imperialist left regarding a platform for Leinster House, then each group would have to 'do its own thing'. However, that is no reason why collaboration should or could not be fruitfully pursued in relation

to the northern elections and at least discussions take place about possibilities for collaboration in the 26 counties.

Philip Ferguson

Ex-Sinn Fein; former organiser, Irish Anti-Extradition Committee

(now resident in New Zealand)

One Left United Front.

I think Gerry Ruddy is right (The Plought vol 3-40) In relation to the debate on policing it is useful for republicans to remember what the function of the police in a capitalist society is. It is to ensure capitalist social order. But, every single person is different from the other. So there is a chance of arguing even with an enemy to make him see your point of view.

I don't deny the militant struggle, I think our only way to a united socialist Ireland is by being militant-with words and our emotions, with a general strike, with the power to the people movement-not with guns. We have to get 51% of the population ready for a new struggle in which everyone has his or her place, because we believe in the unity of the masses.

I think that even our mothers, fathers, sisters, friends are part of the capitalist society till we talk to them to make them see the truth. A minority can't win the battle, that's why I would say : Win the Police, Army, Lawyers, Students, etc like the Movement in Nepal has done. Even we know they have not established a new system, but all these named people in these jobs were won in the struggle of the Nepali People against exploitation and Separation. The whole Nation has fought for Democracy and Justice not only a few revolutionaries who are violent. No, there were peasants-sisters and staff officers as well included.

I do not say vote. I do not say vote for G. Adams. All I say is that the struggle for a united Social Ireland can only be won in a process of connecting to all other parties who call themselves Socialist or Communists. Only in strong unity we are able to talk to different people from different views to connect them with our Republican Socialism. Take the SWP and all other Left Movements into a United Left,-

one movement instead of 45 different movements.

One Left United Front with the democratical Centralism as a guidance can be effective

Thank you very much for your Time,

Manu Kumar Loganey

(Alles für Alle/Todo para todos/Everything for Everyone)

Statement 366 from the DHKC (Revolutionary People's Liberation

Front) from Turkey:

Date: December 31, 2006

Saddam's execution is not the victory of imperialism but its defeat. With a new year for the world, with the Muslim peoples preparing for the Feast of Sacrifice, American imperialism confronted humanity with the sight of a legitimate head of state hanging from a gallows.

The Head of State of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was condemned by an American puppet court and executed by a puppet government. The images of Saddam on the gallows were not only of the execution of an individual, they were a picture of justice and law being drawn to the gallows, with the occupations being carried out and imperialist banditry pursued with announcements of "lists of terrorist groups"and "axes of evil".

This picture tells the peoples of the world that they must not believe in fantasies.

Saddam Hussein's murder on the gallows contradicts all the false reasoning about "democratic imperialism", all the claims that American imperialism has "brought Iraq democracy".

We live in a world without justice and law; we have no road otherthan to resist and fight for law and justice. The peoples of the world need bread and water; so it is clear that even these will not be guaranteed while in the shadow of the imperialist occupiers. The imperialist bandits are making this clear to us personally.

The imperialist banditry, which rains bombs from the skies, runs Abu Ghraib, turns villages and markets into lakes of blood and finally puts up a gallows, shows that: THERE IS NO LAW UNDER OCCUPATION!

The law of the occupation is tyranny and massacres. There is no law or justice under an occupation. In no way was it a "legal judgement" as has been claimed, nor could it be. The judgement was illegitimate in itself. If an occupation is illegitimate and unacceptable, then it follows that the courts it establishes are the same.It is sophistry to claim that Saddam was judged by an "Iraqi court" and "executed by Iraqis".

To legitimise an execution and the occupation and cover up the crimes of American imperialism is simple, coarse and humiliating demagogy.

Saddam Hussein's judicial killing is illegal, outside the law and illegitimate. Those who killed Saddam are collaborators and partners in crime of the occupying forces and the occupation.

The meaning of the gallows in Baghdad is clear: not to openly come out against the murder of Saddam, not to curse without hesitation those who brought him to the gallows, to use sentences with "but" and "however" in them is to legitimise the execution and do the work of imperialism.


Imperialism is being defeated in Iraq. For all their mighty military forces, they cannot make a resisting people submit. All their military and political plans are being frustrated by peoples in resistance. By executing Saddam they are trying to turn defeat into victory. But they will not succeed. Because the peoples

of the Middle East are in a great, historic and mass resistance, not

limited to one person or one organisation.

Iraq's Head of State Saddam Hussein did not give in to imperialism from the very start of the occupation, he showed respect for the peoples' will to resist and was a part of the resistance. Saddam also committed crimes against his people, but the imperialists and their collaborators could not judge him. The court the imperialists set up to judge Saddam was a court which sought to legitimise imperialist interests. Saddam behaved at that court in the way a head of state of an occupied country should, and maintained his courage and held his head high on the gallows.

All the world knows that Saddam's execution was not a sign of imperialism's power but its powerlessness; The court set up to execute Saddam was a comedy and an image, not of justice but of injustice. Imperialism will not gain strength from it. On the contrary, every new massacre of imperialism, every new illegality

will turn Iraq into an even deeper swamp for it. Collaborators with

American imperialism are being defeated as they sink in this swamp. Now special commissions are being set up to find "the least harmful" way of withdrawing from Iraq. They will not find it! Because the Iraqi people and the peoples are continuing to resist, despite the provocations, torture and massacres, despite the gallows...

Wherever they are in the world, victory will belong to those who resist tyranny by whatever means!



"A victory in any country over imperialism is our victory; just as any

country's defeat is a defeat for all of us."

Cuba Update News

It is the official govt response to the annual UN resolution re the economic blockade.

"Report by Cuba on Resolution 59/11 of the United Nations General Assembly"


From the Media

Cuba's infant mortality rate is lowest in Latin America

Havana.– In 2006, Cuba had the lowest infant mortality rate in its history and of all Latin America, putting it in second place behind Canada for the Americas as a whole, according to a health ministry report.

Cuba's infant mortality rate was 5.3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2006,compared to 5.8 per 1,000 in 2005, making it "the leader in Latin America "in the category, said the report quoted in the official newspaper Granma.

"Within the Americas, only Canada had a lower rate than Cuba," said the health ministry, stressing that Cuba "is among the world's 30 nations with the lowest death rate for children between birth and one year of age."

Since 1995, Cuba's infant mortality rate dropped by 43.6 percent, Granma said. In 1960, at the start of Cuban leader Fidel Castro's Communist Revolution, the infant mortality rate stood at 37.3 per 1,000.

The health ministry attributed the current low rate to three new types of medical exams that detect health-threatening genetical abnormalities and

advances in pediatic medicine and pre-natal care.

Force TUC to call NHS demo

People United Saving Hospitals holds national meeting

PUSH (People United Saving Hospitals), an umbrella organisation made up of Keep Our NHS Public groups and anti-privatisation campaigns, has called for a national demonstration in London on 3 March to show the opposition to the NHS “reforms” being carried out by the Labour government.

PUSH was formed by the Nuneaton Peoples Protest Group and seven other anti-privatisation groups to bring together different anti-privatisation campaigns in order to share information and experiences, deliver solidarity, and put pressure on the TUC to call a national demonstration against NHS privatisation, cuts and closures. Push held its.

At the first national meeting of PUSH, held in Coventry on 10 December, many speakers highlighted the need for a co-ordinated national fight-back against privatisation. They also listed the enormous numbers of ward closures, staff and budget cuts being forced through by Labour and the NHS Trusts tasked with carrying out their neo-liberal reforms.

There was strident criticism of the trade union bureaucracy from all the attendees, who regarded the TUC’s failure to organise action against the crisis facing the NHS as a criminal betrayal of the health service and the working class, which depends upon it.

There was widespread agreement about the need for a national demonstration to act as a focus for all the local campaigns and to bring the reality of NHS privatisation and workers’ anger against it home to the Labour government. The need for a national demonstration will be a crucial weapon to help organise communities to oppose privatisation, and will provide a focal point for those working class areas that do not yet have a local campaign.

(from Workers Power 18/12/06)

What’s On?

We Won't Pay Campaign - No to Water Charges - No to Water Privatisation

Upcoming Meetings

North Belfast

Public Meeting

7.30pm Indian Community Centre

Wednesday 10th January

Ormeau Rd - South Belfast


7pm Ballynafeigh Community House, Ormeau Rd

Thursday 11th January

West Belfast

Public Meeting

7pm Conway Mill 5/7 Conway St, off the Falls Rd

Thursday 11th January

More meetings are being organised in Cregagh Rd, Tullycarnett, Markets & Lower Ormeau, Belvoir, Newry, Lisburn Road, Finaghy and Rathcoole for January. Details will be sent out as soon as venues are confirmed.


An event in Dublin for your diary. Caoimhe will also speak in Belfast, Cork, Galway and Derry. More details later.

Caoimhe Butterly to Speak in Dublin on 20th January

dublin miscellaneous news report

Report-back on her months in Lebanon

Caoimhe Butterly, who has spent the past five months in Lebanon and who experienced the results of Israel's onslaught last year, will be back in Ireland briefly at the end of January. During her visit, she will speak on her experiences in Lebanon (in both Beirut and the South) and will be highlighting projects that she is currently involved with (including a film project about life in the wake of the Israeli bombardment and invasion).

Her first talk will be in Dublin at a public meeting jointly organised by Anti-War Ireland (AWI), Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) and the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). The meeting will be chaired by Raymond Deane of the IPSC.

When: Saturday, 20th January at 2pm

Where: Teachers' Club, Parnell Square, Dublin

This should be a very interesting meeting and should people some sense of what the Lebanese people have suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of Israeli imperialist aggression.

Admission is free and all are welcome!

In addition, Caoimhe will later speak at Anti-War Ireland public meetings in Belfast and Cork; at a Derry Anti-War Coalition meeting in Derry city; and at a public meeting in Galway hosted by the EcoSoc of NUI, Galway. More details on these meetings will be posted later.

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It is the policy of the Plough to acknowledge information and articles from other sources.

The Republican Socialist Youth Movement have re-launched their website.

It can be viewed at

An Glór / The Voice

News sheet of Belfast Republican Socialist Youth Movement

January 2007

Circulation: 400

- Brit police never acceptable

- Maghaberry Prison protest continues

- Assets Recovery Agency, a question of money

- Support the Turkish death fast

- Ard Fheis rejects any move towards INLA decommissioning

- Volunteer Davy McNutt RIP

The Republican Socialist Youth Movement have produced a short video on the situation concerning Shannon airport and its continued use by American troops and the CIA. The video can be viewed at

Subscribe to the bi-monthly “The Starry Plough/An Camchéachta”

P.O. Box 1981, Derry, BT48 8GX, Ireland.



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