Vol. 4- No 2
Saturday 20th January 2007
E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) The Policing Debate
3) Housing Crisis
4) From the media
a. Housing problem "at worst for 20 years
5) International news
a. Venezuela Recovers Social Property
6) From the media
a. Future of Iraq: The Spoils of War
In this edition we carry the speech of Comrade Eddie McGarrigle in Derry at a packed meeting of Republicans. We also reprint in full a section of the 2007 Northern Ireland The Policing (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 which deals with the police powers to examine and remove any documents which they so choose without having any knowledge that a crime may have been committed. Despite major terror attacks in Britain recently such powers have not been introduced into any other part of the British isles. The assurance from British Minister Goggins that;
"In the process, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that having examined those documents he may have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place. "The police can't go around willy-nilly seeking documents, there has
to be a rationale here.”
is not worth the paper it is printed on. Since when in the whole history of the Northern state has the police force been either reasonable or conscientious about their legal responsibilities? Teach na Failte has already suffered the seizure of documents 18 months ago and harassment of members despite no evidence that a crime had been committed. Those documents were held for far longer than under the new legislation despite the fact that the raids produced absolutely no evidence of crime or of Teach na FaIlte linked to crime. It was a clearly politically motivated police assault designed to put Teach na Failte out of business and hinder the growing spread of republican socialist ideas.
While in order to facilitate the so-called peace process the British Government reduce occupation forces to the level they were in 1969 before the “troubles” dismantle forts that did not exist in 1969 and repeal legislation that did not exist in 1969 they have also introduced more repressive legislation and brought MI5 into the North big time.
We also reproduce an article on the situation in Venezuela and all comrades should note the basic demand that Chavez has called for-to renationalise that which has been privatized. That demand if used here in Ireland would soon sort out the so-called socialists both North and South quite happy to introduce privitisation measures. It should be a central demand for everyone standing for election who calls him/herself a socialist
The Policing Debate
Tonight's debate is to be welcomed. It’s not too often that such a wide representation from within republicanism gather in debate. Having attended two previous debates, which were at times acrimonious, I would hope that tonight we at the least act in a courteous manner and debate in a comradely and progressive fashion.
We have all gathered here tonight to debate and discuss whether or not the acceptance and endorsement of the Policing and Justice system in the North of Ireland by S. F. is a Bridge too far for republicans. This issue has caused alarm within republicanism such is the magnitude of such a decision. It is an emotive and sensitive issue and one which deserves and demands full and open clarity on the strategy of those who propose that it is the right thing to do. The objective as stated by Sinn Fein is the ending of political and partisan policing and the establishment of a democratically accountable policing service in the North of Ireland. The IRSP do not believe that this is possible, we do not hold the position that republicans can change the policing and justice systems from within and we do not believe that it is in any way realistic to believe that the RUC/PSNI will be or a non-partisan non-political policing service.
That is the Republican Socialist viewpoint and I will outline the reasons why we have this position. Ultimately it is down to the membership of Sinn Fein. It is their decision. The consensus amongst all republicans is that we all profess to want an end to British rule in Ireland and an end of political policing in Ireland. There are obvious disagreements as to the strategies deployed
This issue has come about as a natural consequence of Sinn Feins acceptance of the G.F.A. For the record our analysis of the G.F.A. is that it copper-fastens partition and encourages sectarianism by institutionalizing it. We do not view it as a transitional stage nor as a stepping stone to a united Ireland. This is a major point on of division within republicanism. We view the Belfast Agreement as being based upon an acceptance of the unionist veto and therefore the continuation of British rule. Institutions of this statelet such as the policing and the justice systems are tasked not only with upholding and maintaining the constitutional status quo but also the upholding and maintenance of Britain's National interests. The primary function of all police forces is to defend the authority & legitimacy of the State and to serve the interests of those in power.
Despite our position on the GFA we argued face to face with Provisional Sinn Fein that they 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 such as the water tax.. Oppositional politics where they would not have to "play by the rules" would in our opinion would have been a more successful strategy.
I want to nail on the head the perception by some that (1) that because we were anti-GFA that somehow we want a return to war, we do not view armed struggle as a viable tactic at present to achieve republican objectives. ((2) That all republicans who oppose the endorsement of the RUC/PSNI along with The Criminal Justice system want or desire a return to armed conflict, that is false. As Bernadette Mc Aliskey said "The wars over and the good guys lost".
It is our opinion that, given the position adopted by the Sinn Fein leadership, that there was never any doubt that the outcome of embracing what we consider to be a reformist strategy was always going to lead them into the acceptance of the British policing service and structures.
It would appear that the perception of a growing number of republicans is that the outcome of years of negotiations have resulted solely in a restructuring and updating of British rule in Ireland. The view that process of negotiations as one which can be best summed up and characterised by a series of hoops that S.F. republicans have had to jump through before their opponents accept the validity of their electoral mandate.
However we are not here to analyze the merits or shortfalls of the G.F.A. As I stated at the beginning we are here to discuss whether or not republicans should endorse and implement policing and justice within the parameters set out by the British government and within the framework of the GFA and St. Andrews Agreement. We should confine our debate to this and not cloud the core question by engaging in a discussion which centres on a narrow "law and order" perspective. We need police because we have crime, etc. Public endorsement of any police service does not by the way automatically mean a reduction in crime, just look at the situation in the Free State.
Crime, punishment and policing in society are all matters worthy of debate but we are not here to discuss these matters nor are we here to be here to be sidetracked into issues such as who has or hasn't the best strategy of achieving the republican objectives of a 32 county socialist republic, to allow this debate to be sidetracked away from the core question under debate will only muddy the issue and further divide republicans.
I accept that many genuine republicans within Sinn Fein who have dedicated their lives to republicanism differ from this view and believe in their hearts that they will change the system from within and that the road they have taken will lead to a united Ireland. They are mistaken. Both the G.F.A and the St. Andrew's Agreement have inbuilt safeguards to neutralise any attempts to 'change the system from within'.
In previous policing debates Declan Kearney outlines the Sf position as one in which policing and the justice system are solely sites of struggle in which the objective is to change the system from within, he maintains that by doing so SF will get rid of political policing and deal with issues such as collusion. Those of us who quite simply do not buy into this are advised to live in the real world and to take the long term view, however I have yet to hear from Declan or anyone else in SF as to how exactly SF are going to reform from within state institutions such as the RUC/PSNI. Never mind their strategy in moving beyond the GFA. No amount of party spin or honeyed words escape from the fact that the British Government have ultimate control in relation to policing, in the real world by signing up to and endorsing the policing structures republicans will not make the law, they will administer it, it will be British law. This is not the local council we are talking about nor is it the Health or Education Boards.
Primarily what tonight is all about is about providing a platform for open and honest debate, it is not about listening to carefully constructed political rhetoric cantering around vague and potentially misleading aspirations which talk about the so-called long term view. Tonight's core question gives to Sinn Fein the perfect opportunity to reassure those Republicans prepared to just say no to any vote of approval for the British constabulary, tonight Sinn Fein have the opportunity to enlighten all of us and to assure all republicans that all of the legitimate objections and disagreements could be answered. If Stormont and the endorsement of both the British constabulary and the Criminal Justice system were truly some form of purgatory to be suffered briefly before entering a united Ireland then tonight we need to hear exactly what their strategy is in relation to circumventing existing frameworks and legislation, spell it out without the usual spin-doctoring which characterised previous submissions from Sf in Conway mill and Toomebridge. Failure do so will reinforce the obvious fear which is that endorsing the PSNI would be a final step in their objectives of Ulsterization, criminalization and normalization.
Much has been made of the role of M15 in the north of Ireland. So much for Brookes statement about Britain having no strategic or selfish interest in Irish affairs, instead of wasting energy on so-called negotiations on whether or not M15 would have a role in with the RUC/PSNI. Sf should have demanded that it is not acceptable for M15 to be here at all. Sine. The prize of political power seems to have blinded some to the reality of what MI5 and political policing is all about.
SF are bizarrely, claiming a victory of sorts after Tony Blair's statement in the House of Commons when he stated that MI5 and the PSNI would be two separate entities.
(1) MI5 is taking over and getting primacy for intelligence led political policing;
(2) It covers so-called domestic terrorism as well as international; and
(3)The Police Ombudsman will not be able to investigate what MI5 are up to.
Gerry Kelly has stated that Sinn Fein wanted to "stop MI5 having any role in civic policing here" and that Blairs' proposals will "go a long way towards achieving that objective."
We are told by Blair and agreed by SF that there will be "No secondment of PSNI members to MI5" This is misleading. Blair states that "police officers who act in a liaison capacity with the Security Services will be PSNI Headquarters staff."
We are told that arrangements will be made that the Ombudsmans Office will have access to information held by MI5 where this is necessary to the discharge of her duties." Who decides this? The Police Ombudsman is promised no statutory power to access information MI5 hold. All that is said is that MI5 can agree to give her documents. But the bottom line is they don't have to if they don't want to. How Sinn Fein can claim this as a success. So what really has PSF achieved during these negotiations to end political policing and is it possible for all of us to shift through all the spin, half truths and lies that we are being bombarded with by both the British government, the leadership of PSF and the PSNI and come to the real truth on the end product of these negotiations. SFs stated negotiating position was that MI5 had no role in Ireland whatsoever but later dropped that position to demands of no MI5 role in civic policing, which PSF now claim to have achieved. But have they really? MI5's role and remit can be extended as the British Government expands the definition of national security ever wider.
MI5 will affect how political policing is carried out by the PSNI. But MI5 will not have to account to the Police Ombudsman for their effects on policing – because she can only investigate the PSNI
Where are republican principles in all of this? Undoubtedly MI5 are a malign unaccountable political force who will have a close a working relationship with the PSNI, after all they are two sides of the same coin who serve the same master - the British establishment and its interests. Mainstream republicans are being asked to endorse, legitimise and fully co-operate with the PSNI who in turn will be fully co-operating with MI5 in the targeting, arresting and imprisonment of anyone judged to be detrimental to the interests of British national security, in other words Irish republicans. Provisional republicans are also, bizarrely, being asked by their leadership to endorse the judicial system, Diplock courts and the unaccountable Public Prosecution Service. Tinkering with these institutions does not amount to having control of them,
Limited devolved policing and Justice powers to Stormont will not give us independent accountable, civic policing and justice. To claim that they will is nothing more than political spin and is a lie.
If republicans endorse these institutions they will be endorsing PSNI operations on so-called 'dissidents' and also their investigations into past republican activities. What then will the position be in regard to the Historical enquiries Team findings? Will it be similar to the public advice given to 4 members of the Provisional movement in the Bobby Tohill case? "Give yourself up lads"
There is a consensus amongst those on this platform that policing in the North under its present form is unacceptable for various reasons. Where the speakers differ is what is to be done about it. There are two strategies. The first, embraced by Sinn Fein, is to attempt to change the policing and justice system from within. The second is to create pressure for change from without. Experience shows that once you attempt to create change from within, the parameters of the system create constraints which prevent political actions to transform it. Once you are in, you have to play by the enemy's rules - it is not the system which will have to obey Republican rules. Accepting and endorsing the policing and justice system is not a Republican strategy - it is a British state and Unionist demand. They have already determined the rules of the game. DUP politicians such as Gregory Campbell and James McAllister have already made clear that the ultimate test for Sinn Fein will not be formal recognition of the policing and justice system, but the party's willingness to act against former colleagues and against anyone the British State view as a past or present threat.still. Attempts to change the system from within will only result in Republicans being stuck on the other side of the barricade. Experience demonstrates that it is far more effective to apply pressure from without.
IN CONCLUSION, an alternative needs to be built for a joint strategy between Socialists, Republicans and other progressive forces to create pressure from without not from within.
I believe that the only viable alternative to endorsing the RUC/PSNI and the Criminal Justice System is that republican activists from all shades of republicans need to build bridges with each other and begin a process which will formulate a comprehensive strategy aimed at building a principled republican and socialist alternative to the Belfast Agreement.
(The above speech was delivered by IRSP member Eddie McGarrigle at a policing debate in Derry attended by over 400. Neither Sinn Feins (provisional or republican wings) sent speakers.)
Recently the Housing Executive revealed that there are currently no more plans to build any further social housing in the Shankill area. This is despite the fact that local people want more social housing. Like many other areas of Belfast both nationalist and unionist areas there is growing concern at the growth in the private (landlord) rented sector. The H.E. claim there is no need for social housing. This is at a time when landlords from all over Ireland and Britain are buying up property as an investment and then letting them out to people with no stake in the area. This can then lead to anti social behaviour as young people, who like to party, are placed beside families and old aged pensioners.
Without social housing many working class families are placed into the hands of the landlord class who exploit their power by evicting people in order to raise the rents. With the rise in rates and the introduction of water charges in April the landlords will pass on the increases to the tenants.
In the lower Shankill area, which has plenty of open spaces, the lack of social houses means that locals are being then forced to move into other areas. Eventually then the land will be released to speculators to build massive apartments blocks for the gentrified workers in the city centre.
The landlords are granting short-term leases to some tenants so that they can then raise the rent every six months or so. Meanwhile the Housing Executive’s waiting list grows longer and longer as the rise in interest rates forces young couples out of the market to buy new homes. More and more of these in areas are been snapped up by speculators for the rental market. Unfortunately some of these people are former republicans who once claimed to stand for some kind of socialism.
From the Media
Housing problem "at worst for 20 years" - Dove House
The housing problem in Derry is at its worst for 20 years and it's not getting any better, according to Kathleen Bradley of Dove House.
By Laurence McClenaghan
She said a full-scale crisis is on the way because so many young and single people can't get housing.
Kathleen told the 'Journal' that she is advising 140 people a month on the issue at the Bogside Centre.
She said it was past time for local politicians to become active on the problem.
"If the Brandywell stadium can go to the top of the political agenda, then the need for somewhere to live should be at the forefront of political debate locally and that is where we at Dove House aim to put it," she said. "What good is somewhere to play football if people do not have their own homes to return to?
"Single people with no disabilities or no children can not get off the bottom of the housing list. They simply can't access social, affordable housing. The Housing Executive list is organised in such a way that single people are not given any priority.
"I have queried the new system as it has single people looking for one bedroom flats on the same list as people with a family looking for three bedroom homes, people who need wheelchair access and so on. They are not looking for the same properties so why are they on the same list?"
Mrs. Bradley also hit out at politicians who she believes have not done enough to combat the shortage of social housing.
"I started petitioning on the issue a few years ago but the politicians never came near me. I would advise people to ask more of the politicians who will be campaigning and canvassing at the doors soon."
Kathleen feels so strongly about the issue that she has formed a focus group in a bid to lobby local politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections.
"People in this town do not have £110 per week to pay in rent charges. Young people should have a right to independent living.
"On average I advise eight people every day on housing rights, housing benefits and how long they can expect to wait on a housing list. People want to know their options and realistically they only have two - buy or rent from a private landlord. £80,000 of debt for a one-bedroom flat is not an option.
"We are calling for the creation of a focus group at Stormont to address the problem as it is at its worst in 20 years.
"We advise everyone to sign on the housing list as soon as the are 18 years old but the issue is at crisis point and I am calling on our politicians to generate some movement on the problem. We in the community sector are dealing with the consequences from the failure to deal with the problem."
09 January 2007
The Policing (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern
Ireland) Order 2007
Police powers to examine documents or records
13.⎯(1) A constable who performs a lawful search of any premises or person—
(a) may examine any document or record found in order to ascertain whether
it contains information relating to the commission or proposed
commission of serious crime; and
(b) if necessary or expedient for the purpose of sub-paragraph (a), may
remove the document or record to another place and retain it there until
the examination is completed.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not permit a person to examine a document or record if
he has reasonable cause to believe that it is an item subject to legal privilege.
(3) Where the document or record examined under paragraph (1)(a) is stored in
any electronic form, the constable may require it to be produced in a form in
which it can be removed under paragraph (1)(b) and in which it is visible and
legible or from which it can readily be produced in a visible and legible form.
(4) Subject to paragraphs (5) and (6), a document or record may not be retained
by virtue of paragraph (1)(b) for more than 48 hours.
(5) A police officer who is of at least the rank of chief inspector may authorise a
constable to retain a document or record for a further period or periods.
(6) Paragraph (5) does not permit the retention of a document or record after
the end of the period of 96 hours beginning with the time when it was removed
for examination under paragraph (1)(b).
(7) Where a document or record is examined under this Article⎯
(a) it shall not be photographed or copied, and
(b) the person who examines it shall make a written record of the examination
as soon as is reasonably practicable.
(8) The record shall—
(a) describe the document or record,
(b) specify the object of the examination,
(c) state the address of the premises where the document or record was found,
Policing (Miscellaneous Provisions)
(d) where the document or record was found in the course of a search of a
person, state the person’s name,
(e) where the document or record was found in the course of a search of any
premises, state the name of a person appearing to the person making the
record to be the occupier of the premises or to have had custody or control
of the document or record when it was found,
(f) where the document or record is removed for examination from the place
where it was found, state the date and time when it was removed; and
(g) where the document or record was examined at the place where it was
found, state the date and time of examination;
(h) identify the constable by whom the examination was carried out by
reference to his police number, and
(9) Where a person makes a record of a search in accordance with this Article,
he shall as soon as is reasonably practicable supply a copy—
(a) in a case where the document or record was found in the course of a
search of a person, to that person, and
(b) in a case where the document or record was found in the course of a
search of any premises, to a person appearing to the person making the
record to be the occupier of the premises or to have had custody or control
of the document or record when it was found.
(10) In this Article⎯
“item subject to legal privilege” and “premises” have the same meanings as in
the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989(NI 12)).
“serious crime” has the meaning given by section 85(2) and (3) of the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c.23);
“document or record” includes a document or record stored in any electronic
Life in Britain today
In 2006 living standards fell, not rise.
Inflation is outstripping average wage rises for the first time since 1995.
Mortgages have risen by 13 per cent
Electricity by 27 per cent,
Gas bills by 38 per cent. For 1.4 million pensioners surviving on less than £5,000 a year, it could mean hypothermia.
Debt - on credit cards and overdrafts - has risen to a staggering £8,592 per household.
1.71 million are unemployed.
Mortgage failures are up: 34,626 homes were repossessed in the last three months. Nearly 100,000 people are officially homeless, while the charity Crisis reckons a further 380,000 are sleeping rough or "sofa surfing".
£8.8 billion in City bonuses was handed out this year. This is on top of an average wage rise for FTSE 100 top directors of 28 per cent.
Three one-day strikes, followed by a two-day walkout secured an extra £1 an hour for 272 GMB union members at JJB Sports Wigan depot .
The TGWU general union's Justice for Cleaners campaign of direct action has forced the biggest cleaning contractor in the world to recognise the rights of 20,000 London cleaners.
(source Workers Power e-News ISSUE #15)
Venezuela Recovers Social Property
Chavez announces radical measures against capitalism in Venezuela
By Fred Weston
Tuesday, 09 January 2007
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela during the swearing in ceremony of his new cabinet gave a fiery speech in which he announced a series of radical measures. If carried out they would be a serious blow against the power of the oligarchy and imperialism in Venezuela. The proposals he made reflect the sharp turn to the left in the country as a whole. They reflect the real mood of the masses and their desire for radical change and an end to capitalism in the country.
In December he won a massive victory, the biggest ever since the Bolivarian Revolution began. The balance of forces is now weighted very heavily in favour of the Venezuelan masses. Chavez has absolute control of parliament and massive support among the population. The conditions exist for snuffing out capitalism once and for all.
The list of measures announced by Chavez would mean striking at the very heart of Venezuelan capitalism. It is not by chance that an article that appeared in the Washington Post yesterday, commenting on his speech, appears under the title "Chavez accelerates Venezuela's socialist revolution". The title encapsulates very well what is happening in Venezuela. The serious bourgeois analysts understand what the Marxists understand. Capitalism could be eradicated in Venezuela quite easily.
In his speech Chavez emphasised that Venezuela has entered a new phase, which he defined as the "National Simon Bolivar Project of 2007-2021", which would aim to build "Bolivarian Socialism". Tomorrow, Chavez will speak again at his own swearing-in ceremony, where he says he will outline in more detail what this project will consist of, but already he has pointed to five main points, five "motors" of the revolution: a special "enabling" law, further constitutional reform, popular education, reconstruction of the organs of state power, and explosion of communal power.
The enabling law is the main plank of his proposals. It would allow Chavez, over the coming year, to push through a series of decrees. He specifically pointed out that a central part of the law would include the nationalisation of key industries that had been privatised by past governments, such as the Venezuelan telecommunications company CANTV (privatised in 1991) and the electricity industry. Earlier this year he had already threatened to nationalise CANTV if it did not adjust its pension payments to come in line with the minimum wage.
He was very clear about what needs to be done. He said, "All of that which was privatised, let it be nationalised", which received a big applause. He added that the aim was to establish "social ownership over the strategic sectors of the means of production."
He also plans to increase state control over the oil industry. At present there are four Orinoco Oil Belt projects that the state runs as joint ventures with the US companies Exxon Mobil, Conoco, and Chevron, France's Total, Britain's BP, and Norway's Statoil, but the state has a minority share in these. Now Chavez proposes taking a majority share, thus strengthening the state's control over these important projects which account for 18% of the country's oil production.
He announced that the text of the law is ready and would soon go to the National Assembly.
He also proposed new constitutional reforms. He did not specify what kind of reforms he is proposing but in his speech he said he would base himself on the "popular power, the true combustible", referring to the need to base the revolution on the grassroots, the people that have consistently supported the revolution. He added that, "We're moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela, and that requires a deep reform of our national constitution... We're heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it."
One specific reform he did mention was that of establishing greater control over the Central Bank. The Bank is presently independent. Chavez wants to remove this. As he pointed out, this independence makes it an instrument of "neo-liberalism". This is a correct decision. The central bank directors have systematically put up opposition to Chavez's policy of using state funds to alleviate poverty and carry out genuine reforms. They have used the independence of the bank to defend the interests of the unelected oligarchy that wishes to maintain its control over the fundamental levers of the economy.
Other measures he outlined included that of setting up a "Bolivarian popular education." He explained that this would "deepen the new values and demolish the old values of individualism, capitalism, of egotism."
He stressed the need to give a greater say in running things to the poorer areas of the country, clearly indicating the need to shift power to the masses that support the revolution. He said that what needed to be done is to "dismantle the bourgeois state" because all states "were born to prevent revolutions." This is to be done by giving more power to the newly set up Communal Councils and by developing them from the bottom up with the aim of creating a new state based on these Communal Councils.
Before his speech he had already taken a firm decision not to renew the broadcast concession to the RCTV, a TV Company that has consistently supported all the undemocratic manoeuvres to remove Chavez. It supported the 2002 coup and the sabotage of the oil industry. Chavez has been attacked for this by the Opposition and imperialism. They want the freedom to manoeuvre and plot against the democratically elected government of Venezuela. Imagine if in the USA a private TV channel supported a coup attempt to remove Bush. How would the Republicans react? That TV station would not survive one day longer.
Another measure that had already been announced, and that can be seen in the same light as the ones announced yesterday, is the removal of Vice-president Jose Vicente Rangel and his replacement by Jorge Rodriguez. Rangel had come to be seen as a representative of the most moderate elements within the Bolivarian leadership and he specifically had opposed the expropriation of the Caracas golf courses announced by the mayor Barreto at the end of August last year. At that time Rangel said the government was fully for the respect of private property.
Marxists cannot but give full-hearted supported to the measures announced by Chavez. We have consistently argued that the Venezuelan revolution cannot stop halfway. Either it moves forward to the expropriation of the commanding heights of the economy, thus breaking the power of the oligarchy and imperialism, or the process could unravel, with the oligarchy using its control of the economy to carry out acts of sabotage and wear down the revolution.
The massive victory in the December elections was a clear signal that the masses want to move on and take on the oligarchy. Chavez's speech reflects this situation. It explains why he stated that, "Nothing or no-one will be able to push us off course in our pursuit of... Venezuelan socialism, our socialism." During his speech he specifically referred to the ideals of Marx and Lenin.
The reaction of the bourgeoisie internationally has been as could be expected. Alberto Ramos writing for Goldman Sachs has commented that, "These disconcerting policy announcements represent a clear turn into deeper nationalist and interventionist policies, which can lead to further erosion of business confidence and the country's macro and institutional fundamentals." Richard La Rosa, an equities trader at Activalores Sociedad de Corretaje CA said that, "We all expected some radical announcements after his swearing-in, but this took markets completely by surprise. We never imagined that he would name a company specifically. It left all of us in shock." He added that, "The big question in the marketplace is how are we going to be compensated? No one doubts of Chavez's intentions at this point." Many are making the comment that Chavez could go down the road that Cuba took back in the early 1960s, when Castro nationalised the bulk of the economy.
Chavez is to be sworn in tomorrow as President. This will be his third term in office and would take him up to 2013. The bourgeoisie in Venezuela and internationally is mounting a rabid hate campaign against Chavez as he moves further and further to the left. This is not by accident. Their real material interests are at stake here. If Chavez goes all the way he will receive the enthusiastic support of the Venezuelan masses. In the recent period Chavez had spoken about making the revolutionary process in Venezuela "irreversible". There is only one way of doing that: expropriate the bourgeoisie and build a revolutionary state based on the working class.
When he says that it is necessary to "dismantle the bourgeois state" he is absolutely right. The present state is riddled with agents of the old regime. The big majority of civil servants and top state officials is still made up of people appointed in the past to serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. They cannot be trusted. Every day, every minute they are manoeuvring to block any progressive reform. They are trying to slow down the revolution, hoping to wear it down and prepare the ground for a return of the old regime. Chavez has often referred to bureaucratism and corruption at all levels that are blocking the revolutionary process.
What is needed is to shift the centre of action to the masses themselves. The only force that Chavez can really trust is that of the Venezuelan working class, the peasants and the poor. Now is the time for committees to be elected in all the factories and other workplaces, in the working class neighbourhoods. These should elect delegates to higher bodies, eventually leading to a national body. This would be the instrument that could "dismantle the bourgeois state" and build a "revolutionary state".
It is to be noted that one of the few companies specifically mentioned as being up for nationalisation is CANTV, where workers and former workers have been fighting for their rights and demanding nationalisation for the last few months. This will surely provide a new impetus to the struggle of workers at Sanitarios Maracay for nationalisation under workers' control.
The UNT should take the initiative of calling immediately a National Workers' Conference to discuss these measures and take concrete steps of the workers in key sectors of the economy to organise themselves the struggle for nationalisation under workers' control and pre-empt any attempt of the bosses to sabotage them or strip them of assets or valuable information. Such a Conference should also call for a national day of action of factory occupations in which the 800 companies already mentioned by Chavez a year and a half ago should be taken over and with them all strategic sectors of the economy should also be occupied by the workers.
Chavez sees the need to "deepen" the revolution. He understands that the revolution cannot stand still. It must move on. He can see that every time he tries to push the process further, the bureaucracy comes up with a thousand and one obstacles. He feels that he cannot make this state machine do what he wants. The only road is therefore to break this machine and build a new one based on the workers.
In the next few days we will provide a more in depth analysis of what is happening in Venezuela, but what is clear is that an acceleration of the whole process is taking place in Venezuela. If the Venezuelan revolution were victorious in the coming period it would be seen as a beacon by the masses of the whole of Latin America and beyond. It would usher in a new period of revolutions. That is why all genuine socialists, communists, cannot but be enthused by the new turn of events and give their full-hearted support to the revolution. The bourgeoisie is lining up internationally, using all it has, its control of the media, the economy and so on, to strike blows at the Venezuelan revolution. It is our duty in all countries to counter this with all our might.
(from In Defence of Marxism- www.marxist.com/index.php)
From the Media
Future of Iraq: The Spoils of War
Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days. The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972. The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010.
"So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said. Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq's oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise. But it will operate through "production-sharing agreements" (or PSAs) which are highly unusual in the Middle East, where the oil industry in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world's two largest producers, is state controlled. Opponents say Iraq, where oil accounts for 95 per cent of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty.
Proposing the parliamentary motion for war in 2003, Tony Blair denied the "false claim" that "we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues. He said the money should be put into a trust fund, run by the UN, for the Iraqis, but the idea came to nothing. The same year Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, said: "It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil." Supporters say the provision allowing oil companies to take up to 75 per cent of the profits will last until they have recouped initial drilling costs. After that, they would collect about 20 per cent of all profits, according to industry sources in Iraq. But that is twice the industry average for such deals. Greg Muttitt, a researcher for Platform, a human rights and environmental group which monitors the oil industry, said Iraq was being asked to pay an enormous price over the next 30 years for its present instability. "They would lose out massively," he said, "because they don't have the capacity at the moment to strike a good deal." Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Salih, who chairs the country's oil committee, is expected to unveil the legislation as early as today.
"It is a redrawing of the whole Iraqi oil industry [to] a modern standard," said Khaled Salih, spokesman for the Kurdish Regional Government, a party to the negotiations. The Iraqi government hopes to have the law on the books by March. Several major oil companies are said to have sent teams into the country in recent months to lobby for deals ahead of the law, though the big names are considered unlikely to invest until the violence in Iraq abates. James Paul, executive director at the Global Policy Forum, the international government watchdog, said: "It is not an exaggeration to say that the overwhelming majority of the population would be opposed to this. To do it anyway, with minimal discussion within the [Iraqi] parliament is really just pouring more oil on the fire." Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman and a former chief economist at Shell, said it was crucial that any deal would guarantee funds for rebuilding Iraq. "It is absolutely vital that the revenue from the oil industry goes into Iraqi development and is seen to do so," he said. "Although it does make sense to collaborate with foreign investors, it is very important the terms are seen to be fair."
(By Danny Fortson, Andrew Murray-Watson and Tim Webb
The Independent UK Sunday 07 January 2007)
ANTI-WAR IRELAND NOTICE
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.
East Down Migrant Workers Support Group
Sveiki – Olá – Cześć / Dzień dobry – ЗДраствуй
The newly formed EDMWSG would like to invite you to their afternoon launch in the
Down County Museum
Thursday 1st February
guest speakers in attendance followed by a light lunch and refreshments.
For more information-see press release below.
RSVP to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
07919137349/07801189971 by Friday 26th January
The last number of years has seen a welcome increase in the numbers of migrant workers coming to Down District to play an increasingly important role in meeting the labour needs of local businesses and industries. Unfortunately they have at times met various levels of exploitation, prejudice and indeed physical attack.
In response to the above The East Down Migrant Workers Support Group seeks to tackle the exploitation and prejudice faced by migrant workers in the Down district and where possible to offer assistance in accessing local services, offering advice on employment and trade union rights and assisting then in playing an active role in local communities.
A spokesperson for the group commented, “I am very pleased to announce this hands-on project for the betterment of all the community. The migrant community provide a rich cultural addition to our area and it is our duty to provide practical support to them wherever necessary”.
The EDMWSG is comprised of community activists from across the political spectrum, migrant workers themselves and trade unionists. The EDMSWG is being launched at the Down County Museum on the 1st February at 1pm. All are welcome, especially migrant workers, political representatives and civic leaders. A guest speaker will be in attendance, followed by lunch and refreshments.
For further information contact 07919137349/ 07801189971
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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
- 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
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