Vol. 4- No 5
Wednesday 21st February 2007
E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) The New Northern Ireland
3) What’s On?
"...Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers' candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled. The progress which the proletarian party will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body."
-- Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
Address Of The Central Committee To The Communist League
The above quotation from Marx and Engels bears some relevance to the Ireland of today. The coming assembly elections in the North are based around identity politics, a fact brought out well in the article by comrade Liam entitled “The New Northern Ireland”. Liam’s argument is highlighted by our Whats’On section, where three separate public meetings on the issue of water rates are advertised.
Three separate campaigns weakening an already weakened and divided working class and socialist movement. But that should not lead to the politics of despair nor to the left sinking back into gas and water socialism. The IRSP have only endorsed one candidate in the coming elections, Peggy O’Hara, mother of dead INLA volunteer and hunger striker Patsy O’ Hara. We urge all our supporters and friends to rally in support for Peggy, who is standing to highlight the fact that not all republicans endorse British police rule and to clearly state that the national question will not go away. Those associated with Provisional Sinn Fein may and do argue what is the alternative?
For the IRSP the alternative is very clearly set out not only in the writings of great socialist republicans and Marxists like James Connolly but in the radical writings of many Marxists. It is certainly not by trying to restart a war against Imperialism. That is the road to despair and defeat. Those who either argue for or try to carry on armed struggle at this time are no friends of the Irish working class
Nor is the way forward helped by trying to recreate the Provisionals agenda only with “true republicans” in the leadership. The failure of the Provo strategy was not leadership based but policy based. And it is only politics and for us that is class politics that will transform this island. The alternative is to build a revolutionary based movement prepared to fight elections in all parts of the island, lead mass struggles win support in the trade unions and energized the youth to see the relevance of socialist ideas and rescue republicanism from its identification with “catholic” politics.
There are no short cuts. The way forward may be difficult and there are many obstacles not least our own inhibitions and lack of political education. But if we remain principled flexible and do the work of winning the working class to socialist ideas and policies then we gradually turn this period of downturn in the overall struggle into the beginnings of a new upsurge in mass struggle.
Re: Peggy O'Hara Election Fighting Fund
Details from the IRSP locally. Call 028 71 353090 or call into Teach na Failte, Unit 14 Lenamore Business Park
Election fighting fund Disco night in McGrath’s Bar, Cliftonville Road, Belfast Friday 2nd March 2007 £4 for Tickets Available from 392 Falls Road Belfast
THE 'NEW NORTHERN IRELAND'
News reports are increasingly dominated by the 'success story' of the 'New Northern Ireland'.
" There is an optimism and realism in Northern Ireland today that is dissolving ancient prejudices and boosting business confidence, the essential underpinning for growth and prosperity. Belfast and Londonderry have been transformed by peace: business parks are springing up in place of derelict shipyards, while restaurants and cafés cater to a more relaxed public culture, and the walls of Derry are attracting tourists who no longer have need to be nervous." (1)
Northern Ireland has been tipped by Lonely Planet as one of the must-see countries to visit in 2007.
"There is no better time to see Northern Ireland than now. Freed from the spectre of the gun by cease-fires and political agreement; it's abuzz with life: the cities are pulsating, the economy is thriving and the people...are in good spirits." Belfast is also mentioned in another part of the book as one of the top ten "Cities on the Rise". (2)
"Many UK cities have been regenerated in recent years but it is doubtful whether any have been transformed as dramatically as Belfast. Its image in the 1970s was of a city dominated by the threat of terrorism; its streets at best bleak and grey, and at worst reduced to rubble after another bomb attack. Today, however, Belfast is emerging as a shiny new metropolis of head-turning galleries, museums, restaurants, luxury hotels - and exciting new property developments." (3)
The Belfast skyline is now dominated by schemes such as Lanyon Place with its £20m Hilton Hotel, £35m BT Tower and £30m Fujitsu building and the Odyssey Complex, a £91m entertainment, leisure and education centre, alongside such massive regeneration projects as Europe's largest commercial and residential waterfront development, the Titanic Quarter.
One of the most visible signs of the 'new Northern Ireland' has been the immigration instead of the traditional emigration. It's estimated 35 000 ethnic minorities have settled in the North and there are another 50 000 migrant workers. Sign of the times, a thousand Poles recently applied to join the PSNI. The 'Troubles' as they were called by the media seem to be largely over. The IRA campaign is over and it has destroyed all its arms.
"The war is over. Let's build the peace" concluded Gerry Adams. (4) With a few exceptions, so-called 'paramilitary prisoners' have all been released on licence between 1998 and 2000 and HMP The Maze is being demolished. The security landscape in Belfast, Derry and South Armagh has changed. By 1 August 2007, British troops will be reduced to 5000 and the number of sites where they are stationed will be reduced to 14 from about 40 while most watchtowers will be demolished, bringing the 35 years Operation Banner -the longest in British Army history- to an end.
"The moves are part of the government's security normalisation plans."(5) Normalisation has been a British state strategy since the mid-1970s. Today is less a post-conflict situation than a successful normalisation. From a Republican perspective, this is hardly a gain. As an IRA leader concluded as early as 1975: "Suppose we get the release of all detainees, an amnesty and withdrawal of troops to barracks, we are still back where we started in 1969."(6)
But from a British state perspective, it is a clear success. As PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde concludes, "there has been (successful) normalisation".(7)
Claims that the North could somehow become an 'Orange Tiger' are totally unrealistic. In the words of Lord Trevor Smith of Clifton, the reality is that the North has "an economy more collectivized than Stalin‚s Russia, more corporatist than Mussolini‚s and more quangoised than Wilson and Health‚s United Kingdom governments." (8)
Conservative writer Alan Ruddock writes:
"Eight years on from the historic Good Friday Agreement, the much-longed-for dividends of peace remain an elusive dream for the province...The province's once-vibrant manufacturing sector has been relentlessly eroded over the past 35 years; its dependence on traditionally labour-intensive industries such as textiles and shipbuilding mean that it has suffered exponentially at the hands of globalisation. More than 100,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1970, and there's no end in sight. Inward investment is sluggish and indigenous entrepreneurialism low-key; employment is now concentrated around a service sector that is an extension of mainland Britain's. The result is an economy that has more in common with the old communist regimes in Eastern Europe than with the dynamism just across the border in the Republic of Ireland, where the Celtic Tiger has delivered remarkable and sustained growth for more than a decade. Public spending by the British government is responsible for 63% of Northern Ireland's gross domestic product, and the state directly employs about a third of all those in work, double the rates south of the border and substantially more than in the rest of the UK. The effect is economic sclerosis, with statistics that point to steady economic growth masking Northern Ireland's suckling dependency on government spending. Last year, Northern Ireland received £5 billion more from the British government than it contributed, a subvention that has been rising steadily each year despite a decade of 'peace', yet the province remains one of the poorest regions in the UK, with GDP per head of population almost 20% below the UK average. Low unemployment figures of 4% conceal the fact that the levels of economic inactivity are far higher than the rest of the UK, with the number of people on incapacity benefit 74% higher than average, while university graduates leave in droves. Even demographics are against it: the province's baby-boomers are some 10 years older than their counterparts in the Republic, while school enrolment has been falling steadily for the past nine years and is forecast to fall by a further 10% in the next nine years. It’s a grim backdrop, made incalculably worse by the dismal politics that have characterised the province since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998." (9)
The performance of private enterprise is "dismal":
"There are fewer than ten plcs; the largest is the privatised electricity board. The province also has the second-lowest level of business start-ups in the UK. In spite of all the various subsidies from Whitehall, the European Union and even money from the Irish Republic, average wages are 20 per cent lower than the UK average, while the large number of people deemed to be "economically inactive" makes a mockery of the "historically low" figure of 36,000 unemployed. The boom, such as there is, has not been driven from within - hence the frustration from Northern Ireland's paymasters."(10)
Jobs have been lost faster than they were created in the North, so much for the 'vibrant knowledge-based economy'. (11)
As for the much-heralded financial package going with the St Andrews deal
"is akin to receiving a pair of Primark socks for Christmas instead of a pair of Gucci shoes." (12)
Despite this, there are claims that Northern Ireland's business growth is booming and employment is rising at a record rate, according to research from the Ulster Bank. The bank found that business activity has gone up for 46 months in a row.(13) The reason for this apparent growth is the housing market.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, found in its European Housing Review 2007 that Northern Ireland experienced a 36% price growth in 2006 -the highest in Europe.(14) This is especially true of areas which were once synonymous with the conflict that are now becoming property hotspots.
In the loyalist Shankill Road, terraced houses rose from £70 000 to £130 000 in a year. (15) House prices in Nationalist West Belfast have increased by 22 per cent in the past three months. There is currently an average of eight people bidding on each available property. Houses that were being sold for £40 000 15 years ago are now going for over £200 000. Property speculators and the growth of the buy-to-let market are pushing the cost of homes out of the reach of people, particularly first-time buyers. House prices are being fuelled by mortgage companies who are giving out 40-year mortgages and mortgages of up to five times one's salary. This can lead to debt and danger for young people and first-time buyers.
The lack of affordable housing is compounded by the serious under-provision of social housing: latest figures from the Housing Executive show that at the end of March last year there were 2 575 people on the social housing list in West Belfast. The result is that thousands of people looking for affordable housing, thousands of people trapped on waiting lists for social housing and spiraling homelessness. (16)
Things are made worse by the fact that the government is not releasing enough land for houses to be built on. Compared to England, twice as many houses need to be built in Northern Ireland. According to Sir John Semple, who was appointed by the Government to look into the housing crisis:
"The very sharp rise in house prices in Northern Ireland has created a new situation here. The market here has changed from a relatively stable one to one where house prices in some areas are ahead of the UK -in a province where earnings are 20% lower."
He said the latest Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show the number of first-time buyers has halved from 60% to 30%. First time buyers are being outbid by investors -70% of new homes are bought by investors. (17) Investors purchase properties in order to let them. A study by the University of Ulster revealed that the buy-to-let sector in NI has grown by 120% over the past 15 years. There is evidence of increasing numbers of vacant properties in the private rented sector. By 2004 there were over 12 000 vacant properties, bringing the total number of private rented properties to 75 000.(18)
With rise in house prices, homeowners have built up over £58bn in equities in their properties over the last ten years. The average homeowner has made £134 000 and many people have become millionaires. This accounts for the growing numbers of new bars, cafes, restaurants, shops and flashy car dealerships. Jas Mooney opened Belfast's first 'style bar', The Apartment, in 2001. Since then his Botanic Inns group opened one trendy drinking spot after the other as there is a growing market for it. (19) The appearance of new life style publications such as South Belfast Life reflect the growth of new money. (20)
This provides the material basis for the collapse of political consciousness of the so-called 'anti-imperialist masses' of the so-called 'most politicised community in Western Europe', namely the republican base. What were once 'war zones' are now a kind of 'Republican Disneyland' for tourists. (21) The famous murals from being symbols of resistance are now totally commodified. (22) To a large extent, prosperity has killed Republicanism "by kindness". It has created a whole class of conservative property owners and small shopkeepers with the most philistine kulak and nepmen mentality.
This can be illustrated by the evolution of the Andersonstown News, a large circulation community newspaper in the Sinn Fein heartland of West Belfast. From being the official voice of the Andersonstown Central Civil Resistance Committee the paper now celebrates the local entrepreneurial spirit and has an extensive property supplement. Some years ago, after visiting Indian reservations in the US its editor suggested opening casinos in republican areas! Its enthusiasm for the South African peace process is fuelled by the fact that there never has been so many black millionaires.
Young people are politically apathetic and morally nihilistic. For many, the 'struggle' is not something contemporary. The population in the North is one of the youngest in Europe. Over 40 percent is aged 29 or less, and nearly 60 percent is under the age of 40.(23) There is a generation gap between those who were involved in the war, many of whom are already grandparents, and people who will first be able to vote now who were ten years old at the time of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
Apologists for the Provisional strategy such as Laurence McKeown and Jim Gibney argue that the peace process has made life better for Nationalists in the North, and that the struggle was successful to the extent that never again will Nationalists be second-class citizens.(24) It is undeniable that life is better for many Nationalists. The 1998 Belfast Agreement copper-fastened partition; yet it also involved the advancing of nationalist communal interest within the North itself. As Suzanne Breen points:
"Certainly the Agreement represents advancement in many areas for Catholics in the North -but within the existing constitutional arrangements."(25)
Material prosperity has gone hand in hand with political apathy. The latest electoral register shows that the number of people entitled to vote is 7% down on last year with 82 000 fewer on the electoral register. Republican areas are "disproportionately affected" by registration shortfalls. West Belfast has been the hardest hit, with "twice as many as any other constituency stripped from the last register". (26) The nationalist community may be dynamic, however "it should be noted that the celebration of a community spirit is not discouraged by the British government. It is part of the process of transforming political aspirations into cultural ones."(27)
It is in the shift towards identity politics that the collapse of political consciousness is most evident. Politics are now about the recognition of the nationalist 'identity' and ensuring its 'parity of esteem' within the North. The shift from politics to culture and sport can be illustrated by debates about the funding of the West Belfast Feile festival, the development of a Gaelic quarter in Belfast and the use and redevelopment of the GAA Casement Park.
Denis O Hearn's political biography of Bobby Sands Nothing But and Unfinished Song has now been readapted as a children story in Irish entitled D'Eirigh Me ar Maidin (I arose this morning). Loyalism has found new legitimacy thanks to the shift towards identity politics. It is now a legitimate identity, which needs 'parity of esteem' rather than a form of political supremacist that needs to be fought.
Orange marches can now be rebranded as aesthetics of percussion rather than sectarian intimidation. The twelfth of July is allegedly the largest carnival in Europe. Re-branded in the language of cultural studies, loyalism has even proved to be very popular with ex-leftwing publishers in Britain like Pluto Press. (Also note that while the media has concentrated on the issue of IRA decommissioning, it has totally failed to make an issue of the fact that not a single UVF or UDA weapon has been decommissioned, and worse they have not remained silent!)
The other symptom signaling the collapse of political consciousness is the shift from political solutions to therapy. The idea is that what is needed even more than radical change or political transformation is therapy, a helping had to 'get over' things. (28) 'Truth body is 'top priority' was the headline of the Irish News (20 February 2007) The Bloody Sunday Inquiry as well as the attempt to set up some kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission for example are based on this idea. As Bernadette McAliskey argued about the Bloody Sunday inquiry:
'This inquiry is like therapy. It has allowed people to tell their stories, it has had a therapeutic effect for many people in Derry - but that is not what an inquiry is about. It is not the function of public inquiries to facilitate people's grieving processes’. (29)
This focuses on individual experience and memory. But in the process, the more political and structural aspects of the conflict are forgotten.
It is true that prosperity has at best been uneven. Northern Ireland's house prices may be rising by £600 a week but less than a mile from south Belfast's most prestigious properties, some residents are living in squalor. (30) If people further up the social ladder have done well out of the peace - the gap between rich and poor is higher than in the rest of Britain. (31)
The poorest members of society in NI, both Catholics and Protestants, are worse off now than 10 years ago. (32) Half of Northern Ireland's population has an income of less than £300 a week, according to a government report. The study found that the number of people living below the average income was high compared to the rest of the UK. Pensioners are particularly affected with over 50% living on less than the national average. (33) According to university researchers, 37.4% of children are growing up in poor households, and the poorest 40% of households have 17% of total household income. The report concluded that 'Northern Ireland is one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.' (34) And the poverty gap is growing rather than decreasing. (35)
Despite the spin about prosperity, the tendency towards deprivation is likely to increase further. An influential think tank, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has warned in a report (Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion in Northern Ireland) that rising rates and impeding water charges will send countless families plunging into poverty. (36)
Apart from economic deprivation, there are also growing symptoms of alienation and social anomy. A study carried out by the University of Ulster and the Department of Psychiatry at the Belfast Mater Hospital found that suicides have sharply risen since the Peace Process.(37) Young men from deprived areas of North and West Belfast have been particularly affected.(38) There has also been a sharp increase in crime and anti social behavior, particularly so in Nationalist areas. (39) A PSNI detective said that in nationalist area of West Belfast, car crime had increased by 48% and burglary by 15%. (40) Gerry Adams stated that the single biggest election issue in his West Belfast constituency was anti social behaviour. It was the only issue people wanted to talk about on their doorsteps.(41) He also said in 2002 that
"We do have a problem with alcohol abuse, with prescription drug-taking, with solvent abuse and with illicit drug abuse such as cannabis, ecstasy, and a growing problem of cocaine use."(42)
This is not to mention the alcohol and binge drinking problem. Those symptoms are an indication that whatever social discontent is now expressed in a criminal or privatised form rather than a collective political one. With a culture of paranoid parenting and the rise of the therapeutical state, it is unlikely that political consciousness might arise from this situation.
Nowhere is this most evident than in the recent campaigns organised against the introduction of water taxes. The fact that oppositional politics are now reduced to what Connolly called "gas and water" socialism is in itself an indication of how successfully normalised the North has become. In a balance sheet of the campaign against water privatisation, Socialist Democracy (ex-People's Democracy) noted:
"The fundamental weakness of the campaign against the water charges was the lack of organised working class opposition. This itself was a reflection of the low level of political consciousness amongst the working class in the North, and related to this, the continuing hold of the dead hand of the bureaucracy on the trade union movement. It also shows that, contrary to the unstated assumptions of the Œwe won‚t pay‚ campaigns, you cannot simply bypass that existing leadership. It has to be challenged. The lack of an organised working class opposition also undermined our own arguments which looked to water workers, and more generally public sector workers, to lead a fight against privatisation. This was emphasised by the lack of reaction to the privatisation of water treatment facilities. The government‚s water reform policy has not been sufficient in itself to provoke the sort of reaction amongst the working class that could translate into a serious opposition movement. This cannot be created by small campaigns such as our own."(43)
Some may challenge the idea that there is a lack of working class opposition and a low level of political consciousness by pointing to the growth of trade union membership in the North. Total trade union membership in the North now stands at 250 948. Members paid a total of £20 million in contributions. 75% of members are affilitated to UK unions, 20% to Northern Ireland ones, and only 5% to Irish unions.
The public sector dominates with over 65% of membership, NIPSA being the largest with 43076 members.(44) With the dominance of British unions and of the public sector (which includes many unionised 'workers in uniform'...) this hardly provides a basis to develop political consciousness; especially since Anglo-Saxon unionism is based on the separation of politics and economics.
The extent of discontent and how much could be mobilised into political protest is unclear at the present moment. It is also too early to know how successful the Provisional movement will be in reforming the Northern state and the extent to which this will reconcile the vast majority of Nationalists to the status quo. However the collapse of political consciousness means that any attempt to build an alternative will be extremely difficult. Objective and subjective factors are heavily weighted against us.
(1) Editorial, Ulster moves forward, the Times, 5 October 2006. See also Editorial, A sign of rising confidence, The Independent 3 February 2007
(2) Lonely Planet Blue List: The Best in Travel 2007, pp.150-151
(3) Ben West, Belfast's ship comes in, The Observer, 8 October 2006
(4) Gerry Adams, Time is Right for Policing Decision, The Sunday Life, 21 January 2007
(5) Troop withdrawal plan published, BBC 28 March 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4853472.stm
(6) Paul Bew and Henry Patterson, The British State and the Ulster Crisis, London: Verso, 1985, p.84
(7) NI murder rate lowest in 20 years, BBC 8 February 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6340825.stm
(8) Lord Trevor Smith of Clifton, Hansard, 20 July 2004 c.152
(9) Alan Ruddock, Northern Ireland - Where is the bright new future? Management Today, 23 March 2006, http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/article/542849/
(10) John Kampfner, Divided in Peace, The New Statesman, 20 November 2006
(11) Jobs lost despite huge investment, BBC 26 September 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5380094.stm
(12) Tom Kelly,'Peace dividend' leaves north short-changed, The Irish News, 6 November 2006
(12) Bank report on NI 'business boom', BBC 12 February 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6353105.stm
Original report: http://www.ulsterbank.com/content/group/economy/ni_indicators/downloads/PMI/NI_UB_PMI_JAN_07.pdf
(13) Alexandra Cochrane, NI house prices rising fastest in Europe -report, The Irish Times, 8 February 2007
(14) Helen Carson, Ulster's latest house price hotspot: the Shankill Road, Belfast Telegraph, 26 January 20007
(15) Roisin McManus, West House Prices soar, The Andersonstown News, 08 February 2007
(16) Helen Carson, Overhaul is only way to solve Ulster House crisis, The Belfast Telegraph, 2 February 2007
(17) University of Ulster News Release, Rental Sector Booms, But Vacancies Grow, 13th February 2007, http://news.ulster.ac.uk/releases/2007/2992.html
(18) Yvette Shapiro, NI homeowners 'paper millionaires', BBC 13 February 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6357637.stm
(19) Carissa Casey, Belfast bar owners toast their success, The Sunday Times, 15 January 2006
(20) Fionola Meredith, Knocking the froth off, The Irish Times, 23 November 2004
(21) For example: Anne Jouan, A Belfast-Ouest, avec les anciens de l'IRA, Le Figaro, 14 Septembre 2006
(22) The contrast is evident between Bill Rolston, Drawing Support: Murals in the North of Ireland, Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications, 1992 and the later Bill Rolston, Drawing Support: Murals and Transition in the North of Ireland, Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications, 2003
(24) Jim Gibney, Spirit of '69 still hindered by obstacles, The Irish News, 21 July 2005
(25) Suzanne Breen, On the One Road, Fortnight, September 2000
(26) Damian McCarney, One in four voters not on the register, Andersonstown News, 7 December 2006
(27) Mark Ryan, War and Peace in Ireland, London: Pluto Press, 1994, p.135
(28) Brendan O Neill, Bloody Sunday: Why Now? http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000002D3D1.htm
(29) 'It has nothing to do with the truth', http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000002D32E.htm
(30) Squalor on shadow of property boom, BBC 7 June 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5053938.stm
(31) Mary O Hara, False Dawn, The Guardian 24 November 2004. (http://society.guardian.co.uk/socialexclusion/story/0,11499,1357823,00.html)
See also publications of the Nothern Ireland anti poverty network: http://www.niapn.org/public/publications/reports.htm
(32) Poor 'worse off now than in 1996' BBC 14 September 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5347392.stm
(33) Report highlights NI poverty rate, BBC 4 May 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4972346.stm
(34) Third of children 'live in poverty', BBC 13 October 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3185348.stm
(35) NI poverty levels 'on increase', BBC 18 October 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4352116.stm
(36) Bimpte Fatogun, Poverty levels in the north will soar, The Irish News, 17 November 2006
(37) Suicides 'lower during troubles', BBC 30 August 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4195544.stm
(38) Belfast Suicides expose despair, BBC 18 February 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3501053.stm
(39) Press Association, More crimes in nationalist areas reported, 2 February 2006, http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=69978
(40) 600 incidents in 'families' feud', BBC, 27 September 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5384000.stm
(41) West Belfast's biggest issue?, BBC 23 May 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/vote2001/hi/english/northern_ireland/newsid_1346000/1346605.stm
(44) David Gordon, Trade Union Membership up by 5400 in one year, Belfast Telegraph 6 February 2007
The evaluation of your bill is in. We already pay for water through our rates. Don‚t pay twice. Come to this meeting to discuss how we can beat the water charges.
Water Charges, Privatisation and Poverty in West Belfast
Bernadette McAliskey speaks at election launch of Pb4profit
7.30pm Wednesday 21st February
Bernadette McAliskey, Civil Rights activist, Youngest ever woman MP, STEP
Sean Mitchell Youngest ever candidate to stand for the Assembly, for Non-Payment of Water
Charges Fiona McCausland Community Worker, Old Warren, Communities against Water Charges
Public meeting on water privatisation with Prof. David Hall
Transport House, Belfast
Thursday 22 February 2007 7.30pm
Communities against Water Charges - public meeting next tuesday
Communities against Water Taxes
Major Public Meeting on Water Charges
“Don’t Pay Twice” speakers include John Corey(General Secretary NIPSA)
Manus Maguire (CAWT)7.30pm February 27th Grosvenor House
“Don’t pay Twice”
On the back of the very successful Communities against the Water Tax (CAWT) meeting held in Derry last week where close to 200 met to establish a non-payment campaign throughout the North West, CAWT will be holding a major public meeting in Belfast on Tuesday February 27th.
The meeting will take place at Grosvenor House starting at 7.30pm and will feature John Corey, General Secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Association, Manus Maguire (Communities against the Water Tax) and other community and trade union speakers.Manus Maguire from Communities against the Water Tax said “We are holding this meeting after the very successful Communities against Water Taxes in Derry last week.”
“Everyone knows what is happening with water charges. We already pay for water through our rates and the government is trying to make us pay twice for water. Here where wages are lower on average than elsewhere, where we have a huge number of people relying solely on income from benefits to charge people twice is a disgrace. It’s even worse than that because the government has lied all along about the fact that we already pay for our water service.”
“This is also about creating a cash flow so that the government can hand the service over to a private company once the charges are established.”“The government is in for a fight and CAWT will be organising a non-payment campaign alongside the Trade Union Movement in every locality across Northern Ireland. There is no way this tax is coming in. It’s that simple. They can find the money somewhere else.”For interviews or further information Contact Manus Maguire (CAWT) on
07748801277 – 02890 749147
Friday 23 February, 8:30–10 p.m.
Gala reopening of Connolly House
▶43 East Essex Street
Connolly House—home of the Communist Party of Ireland, the Connolly Youth Movement, Connolly Books, the New Theatre and the Progressive Film Club, and meeting-place of the Ionad Buail Isteach and other social and cultural organisations—is reopening following its complete renovation. In addition to its previous resources, Connolly House now adds a coffee bar as well as the CPI Archives (under the direction of a professional archivist).
★Address of welcome by the oldest and the youngest member of the party
★Short address by the general secretary of the CPI, Eugene McCartan, and general secretary of the Connolly Youth Movement, Gareth Murphy
★Formal opening by the national chairperson of the CPI, Lynda Walker
★Live music ★Refreshments
All are welcome
Friday 23 February, 8 p.m.
▶National Social Club (Queen Street)
Tickets: £5 (unwaged and low-waged £2.50)
Organised by the International Brigade Commemoration Committee
Further information: (048) 90771491
Belfast Saturday 24 February
Irish-language act now!
March to demand an Irish-language act for the North of Ireland
▶Assemble at the Cultúrlann (Falls Road), 1 p.m
Saturday 24 February, 3 p.m.
Guantánamo Bay events
Speaker: Mozzam Begg (former Guantánamo prisoner). Chairperson: Bernadette McAliskey
▶Rock Theatre, Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education (College Square, East) Belfast
Saturday 24 February, 8 p.m.
“Make Guantánamo history”
Video presentation and music from the world-famous American protest singer David Rovics, with Terry “Cruncher” O’Neill and Barry Kerr. Guest speaker: Éamonn McCann (anti-war activist).
▶Roddy McCorley Club Rooms (Glen Road)
Doors open 7:30 p.m. Admission £5
Saturday 24 February
▶Assemble at Garden of Remembrance (Parnell Square East and North), 2 p.m.
Organised by Shell to Sea
Further information: www.corribsos.com
COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRELAND.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY CELEBRATIONS
International Women’s Day event
Saturday 10 March 2007, 12:15 pm
Women in the Front Line of the struggle for justice and progress
Speaker: Nadia Harb
Palestinian People’s Party
Transport House: Belfast (102 High Street) Organised by the Communist Party of Ireland Organised by the Communist Party of Ireland
Further information: 077 51951785
Saturday 10 March, 12:15 p.m.
International Women’s Day event
Speaker: Nadia Harb (Palestinian People’s Party)
▶Transport House (102 High Street)
Organised by the CPI
Further information: 077 51951785
Thursday 22 March, 7 p.m. International Women's Day event
Doffers and Dockers: Belfast Industrial Struggles, 1906-7
Speaker: Theresa Moriarty
(author of biographies of Delia Larkin of the Irish Women Workers' Union and
Mary Galway of the Textile Operatives' Society of Ireland). Chairperson:
Dawn Purvis (T&GWU). ?Linen Hall Library (Fountain Street)
Organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions
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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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