Friday 29 February 2008

The Plough Vol 05 No 02

The Plough Vol 5 No 2
Web Site

February Friday 29th 2008

e-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial:

2) Problems of infiltration

3) Gerry Adams address to Ulster Sinn Fein

4) The Lisbon Treaty: A further erosion of democracy

5) Ruairí Ó Brádaigh on the Belfast Agreement

6) From the Media

Problems of infiltration

It is standard practice for the security forces that defend imperialist interests to infiltrate revolutionary organisations as well as many non-revolutionary organisations. Even Church based organisations have been infiltrated This infiltration usually has a number of key aims; to gather intelligence on what is going on; to pinpoint the key people in the organisation: to spot those with weak spots who can be either blackmailed to work for the security forces or else used to destroy the organisation itself . Their key aims are to infiltrate, undermine, absorb, manipulate, damage and destroy.

Police agents tend to be the ones who advocate extreme and or violent tactics regardless of actual existing conditions. They also promote any kind of faction fight which might weaken or split an organization. When there is an internal split and there are two clearly opposing sides they advocate purges, expulsions and witch hunts

Needless to say such activities actually leads to a demoralisation of the membership Any witch hunt against suspected police agents only demoralizes the members of an organization who start to suspect everyone of being a possible agent. That is why there is a steady but slow drip feed of who worked as informers in Sinn Fein and the IRA(P) The aim is to cause confusion, create the belief that the security forces knew everything and are invincible. It also has the added bonus of causing committed revolutionaries to even question their own past activities.

Recently an iconic republican and socialist freedom fighter, Brendan, the Dark, Hughes sadly died. In an article in the Sunday Tribune, Suzanne Breen quoting from his writings conveyed that sense of demoralisation, defeat and disillusionment that not only Brendan but hundreds more republican fighters have felt at the right wing turn of Sinn Fein and the spate of informer revelations,

The last of the writings he gave me conveyed his inner torment:
"I go to bed in pain, I wake in the middle of the night in pain, I get up in pain. What the f**k was it all about?" (Sunday tribune Feb 24th 2008)
Irish Republicans have always been infiltrated. During the sixties the gardai in the South of Ireland had a highly place agent in the Army Council of the IRA. Republicans and Socialists have to accept that it goes with the territory. In the last ten years the Republican Socialist Movement has uncovered at least three police agents some with a clear agenda to provoke sectarian stife including the burning of Orange Halls.

Also acting on distorted bits of information gleaned by these informers the British and Irish intelligence services have been disseminating black propaganda against the RSM for years.

Just a few examples should suffice.

Stories were circulated almost weekly in cartoon rags like the Sunday World that the INLA was involved in drug dealing. Evidence ? None. For the record the INLA is opposed to drug dealing and no serving INLA member has been convicted of drug offences.

A security force document dated January 1998 PS01-stated that

“PIRA would have
 sanctioned the murder of Billy Wright in the Maze Prison,” .

"... it had at the same time gained a hold over INLA
 whom they could use to carry out PIRA-driven operations
 whilst they were publicly able to maintain their own

“the recent murder of Billy Wright by the INLA
 must have been cleared by PIRA and they would not come
 down on the perpetrators.”(14th Jan 1998)

This information which of course was completely false was then leaked to M15 stooges in the media both to belittle the efforts of the INLA and also as a stick to put pressure on the Sinn Fein leadership then in delicate talks with the British and Irish Governments.

A series of articles also appeared in the cartoon press slandering a leading member of the RSM falsely alleging among other things that ; he was Chief of Staff of the INLA, ; he was fighting for control of the INLA against others; he was feuding with the local IRA(P) ;was drug dealing and doing deals with loyalists in the LVF.

Recently both North and South in response to the steady growth of the IRSP in membership, influence and activity the intelligence services have formulated a clear strategy to destroy the IRSP by affirming clearly that membership of the IRSP also entails membership of the INLA. Already nine comrades have been charged in the South with membership of the INLA before Special Courts where they can be convicted on the word of a senior Garda officer. Party meetings have been raided by the Free State Special branch and party activists repeatedly stopped and harassed carrying out political activity. British Intelligence documents have been worded to give the same impression and also falsely claim that the leadership of the IRSP are also the army council of the INLA.

Irish Republicans have been well used to such activities. Obviously it is best to be wary of those who advocates dangerous tactics that could damage members, supporters or the movement. Those within an organisation who are extremely factional and divisive also need to be treated with suspicion. Those who also take on the mantle of a Joe Stalin and want to launch purges against party members may also be working to a different agenda. A person who combines all three of the above activities may not necessarily be an agent but their activities can demoralise and disillusion other comrades.

The best response is to oppose their arguments, patiently explaining the correct tactics and oppose all efforts to splinter the party. If they are sincere and not infiltrators, their response to such efforts should indicate their revolutionary committment..

But always remember that since revolutionaries by definition can not reject all violence, nor all illegal methods, someone who is advocating violent or even illegal tactics is not necessarily an infiltrator.

The Republican tradition of clandestine military struggle always open it to police infiltration. The same is true for every struggle in which an organization of the left opts for a military strategy, justified or not by circumstances.

The key defence against infiltration for a revolutionary organization is having a set of strategy and tactics appropriate for the conditions, an internal political life that is as democratic as the conditions allow and which learns from the previous experience of the revolutionary movement.

Current circumstances in Ireland, North and South allow for political education, internal democratic discussion, and open political activity. The IRSP have an opportunity to reach out to the mass of working people in Ireland with a clear revolutionary anti-capitalist message. Only with mass political work can we lessen the influence of those who would be provocateurs agents and informers.

With acknowledgement to Anthony Boynton >inThu, 14 Feb 2008

Subject: [Marxism] Infiltration and remedies

(Below we republish, for the benefit of those who still harbour illusions in PSF socialism a speech by a leading member of Provisional Sinn Fein)

Gerry Adams address to Ulster Sinn Fein

Feb 1st 03

Building the Future – Gerry Adams MP MLA

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA addressed the AGM of the Party’s Cúige Uladh – Ulster AGM – in Letterkenny Donegal. The following is an edited version of his speech: In his remarks Mr. Adams stressed the importance of the party’s work to build Sinn Féin. He said:

“We are endeavouring, to the best of our ability, in the Councils; in the Assembly; in Leinster House; in Údarás na Gaeltachta, and in the European Parliament, to ensure that our representatives are pursuing the correct policies, in keeping with our manifesto commitments and our republican objectives. In addition we are very aware of the need to ensure that the republican constituency, and our own organisation, understands what we are doing.

And we are equally conscious of the imperative to communicate what we are doing and our vision of republicanism in the 21st century, and its relevance to everyday life, to the widest section of people and in a coherent and effective manner. “

The Sinn Féin leader emphasised that the party is “not anti-business. We are pro-business.”

Mr. Adams said: “Neither are we a high tax party. Although, we are against the super profits being made by multi-nationals, and the big banks, like the obscene $31.3bn profit announced this week by Shell.

To tackle this a special tax should be applied to profits over a reasonable percentage. Sinn Féin understands the need for a strong economy to provide the essential health and education and other services that citizens have a right to expect in the 21st century. Building the economy is therefore a major priority for our party.

That means developing a new working relationship between our party and those who are trying to build their businesses and economic projects; particularly in the indigenous small and medium sized business sector and the trade union movement.

Sinn Féin also actively supports workers rights, including the right to a fair wage, decent conditions of employment and the right to be part of a trade union. We need to work together to deliver the next generation of jobs that will drive the economy forward and sustain economic prosperity.”

Referring to the Assembly debate last week on the Programme for Government, the Budget, and the Investment Package Mr. Adams spoke of the progress that was made, the attitude of the SDLP and the imperative of securing ‘economic sovereignty’.

He said: “The electorate here in the south is starting to wake up to the way it which it was conned in the recent election. But unless we build a credible campaigning alternative for them to support it will be difficult to make the progress necessary to fully tackle inequalities in our society. An important part of this is the progress made last week in the northern Assembly where we secured agreement on the Programme for Government, the Budget, and the Investment Package. This was a very significant achievement which was widely welcomed. On the other hand the negative attitude of the SDLP was not. The SDLP’s deranged behaviour in the Assembly is proof that it hasn’t recovered from the electoral setback it received last March. It has no coherent leadership and no coherent politics and it obvious that its leadership lives in a little world of its own. Back in the real world Sinn Féin takes satisfaction from the fact that the Programme for Government, the Budget, and the Investment Package were equality proofed. That means that government policy and the money it spends are being scrutinised to ensure that they are being applied and used in the best interests of all citizens. This is the first time this has ever happened. And it is entirely due to the determined approach of the Sinn Féin Ministers and our Assembly team. However we are very mindful that this is only the first Programme for Government, Budget, and Investment Package of this Executive. And we know that there are many problems of disadvantage and poverty, in particular child poverty, in urban and rural areas; there is serious underfunding in our health and education services; in the environment; on cultural rights; in infrastructure; in our agricultural industry and economy; in housing provision, and across many other issues. We don’t have enough money to do what we would like. The reality is that we have to work within an inadequate block grant from the British Government. It is a significant problem that taxation and public expenditure policies are determined in London. The fact is we are on the edge of British Exchequer concerns. That is self-evident in the inadequate block grant, the absence of any meaningful financial peace dividend, as well as London’s refusal to accept the need for a lowering of corporation tax. No British Chancellor – no British government – has ever worried about the impact of their policies on people living in East Belfast, or North Antrim or the Shankill. Lack of economic sovereignty is something that the Assembly and Executive, and unionism in particular, will have to face up to in the time ahead. The current financial structures do not work for citizens in the north. We need greater fiscal independence and an increase in the block grant if we are to deliver high-quality public services, and have a bigger, better, more effective, more efficient and prosperous economy. That means the Executive and the Assembly presenting the British Government with a united position which seeks greater economic sovereignty in the time ahead. It also means all of us, including unionists, building on the economic and business links that exist on this island. I am convinced that sustainable social and economic progress will only occur in the context of a single-island economy. And irrespective of our other differences, none of the parties in the Assembly underestimates the potential for greater prosperity that the all-Ireland political institutions, agencies and bodies can bring in times ahead. “ Gerry Adams also set out some of the calendar of work ahead of party activists, including our party Ard Fheis in four weeks, the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, and a second run of Townhall Meetings that are scheduled for April. He said: “At the end of this month we will be holding our Ard Fheis. In addition, April 10th is the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. To mark that landmark date Sinn Fein will be organising another series of Townhall meetings in April. These events will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the positive gains made in the last 10 years; the positive work that has been done on policing and justice since last January; and to outline our Sinn Féin vision for the road ahead and the achievement of our republican goals.

These meetings will also provide Sinn Fein with an opportunity to report on our stewardship and to explain our strategy and goals for the time ahead. Later in the year we plan to do another series of Townhall meetings throughout the South. This year we also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the civil rights campaign taking to the streets. So, as in 1988 when we marked the 20th anniversary of the Civil Rights campaign, Sinn Féin will be organising a series of events, including public meetings, marches, and debates to commemorate NICRA s unique and important contribution to the last 40 years.

The Cúige will also be involved in the next few months in the campaign against the Lisbon Treaty. Sinn Féin will be the only significant party campaigning against the Lisbon Treaty referendum. It will be a tough and difficult campaign. But I believe that Sinn Féin will be standing with the majority of people on this island who share our concerns about the direction of the EU. “ Concluding Mr. Adams said; “we have a lot of work ahead of us - all part of the jig-saw of activities and strategies which are about building this party; building our electoral support; advancing our republican goals; and building the future.

To succeed we have to take the republican message of hope and change, of progress and equality, to every village and town and city; to every street and parish; to every corner of this island; and to every citizen.

Today we can take great confidence from the reality that republicanism is bigger and more popular than in generations; and is ready to achieve what those previous generations only dreamed of. This is our time to change the course of Irish history.

(Below we reprint an article from Socialist Voice about the coming referendum in the 26 counties around the Lisbon Treaty. Whilst the Plough has serious reservations about the strategy proposed we republish this as a contribution to the ongoing debate on the European Union within republican socialism)

The Lisbon Treaty: A further erosion of democracy

The campaign for a No vote on the Lisbon Treaty or renamed EU constitution (90 per cent the same as the rejected constitution) continues to gather pace.

The struggle for a No vote will be one of David-and-Goliath proportions.
The Irish establishment are pulling out all the stops to secure a Yes vote, even enlisting the support of the French fascist Le Pen, to make it appear that he represents the No campaigners. Those promoting the Treaty from the social-democratic position are to the fore in attempting to present opponents as narrow nationalist or fascist.

The Government plans to hold more than forty meetings of parliamentarians around the country to “inform” the public of the contents of the treaty, while the Forum on Europe plans to hold sixty
“information meetings.” We will be subjected to a massive barrage of supposedly objective information.

This is the means by which the Government hopes to use public money to promote one side and to circumvent previous High Court and Supreme Court decisions about the use of public money to influence the outcome in a particular way.

The two main establishment parties have stated that they intend to spend nearly €2 million in their campaigns. The Irish elite have been attempting to set the terms and the parameters of the debate, in the hope of preventing a wider discussion on its content.

• They will present those opposed to the Treaty as far-leftists or as fascists— people and organisations that no reasonable or sensible person could associate with.

• They will try to control the debate around the mantra that “Europe” has been good for us and that there is no need to discuss the contents.

• They will claim that it is purely a “reform” treaty, with nothing new.

• They will claim that it is not the constitution that was rejected by
the French and Dutch voters.

• The /Irish Times/ has been actively promoting and encouraging
Jean-Marie Le Pen to visit Ireland.

• They are attempting to frighten the voters with dire warnings of the consequences of a No vote.

* This treaty will not be defeated by a narrow “leftist” opportunist posturing but by presenting the case against the treaty from a broad democratic viewpoint. We need to pull together broad democratic opinion into a position of opposition. If the anti-treaty forces fall for the political traps set by the establishment and start attacking other No forces, we will lose before we can get started.*

The supporters of the treaty can be taken on and defeated by exposing the false statements, distortions and lies they are peddling with regard to its content.

We need to present and win the arguments in relation to

• a further significant transfer to the European Union of sovereignty over a wide range of areas affecting Irish people;

• sixty-eight new areas that would be decided by majority votes;

• the loss of a Commissioner;

• the continued and growing concentration of power in the hands of the

• the further weakening of national governments and thereby of democratic accountability;

• the granting of autonomy to the European Commission, accountable only to itself, further eroding democratic control;

• the continued shift away from a union of equals (if it ever was) to one where growing power lies with the big member-states by the use of majority or qualified voting;

• the continued drive to build a centralised superstate with is own military-industrial complex and army;

• the fact that the European Union would become a legal entity in its own right, superior to its member-states, able to negotiate international treaties and agreements in its own name, which it is not able to do now.

We would lose control over foreign policy, as this would be decided by qualified majority voting rather than unanimity.

* This would mean that at forums such as the United Nations, if the
European Union adopted a position it would be binding on member-states and they would have to vote for that position.*

We could have the British and French governments voting on our behalf in the Security Council; or the European Union itself could seek a seat on the Security Council. And the countries of the majority world would be faced with a formidable imperial bloc. The European Union would have its own “high representative” for foreign policy; it would be possible to have its own diplomatic representatives if it so wished.

The treaty would be a self-amending treaty in specific areas. It would
further consolidate the neo-liberal economic dogma within the European
Union. It affirms the priority and superiority of the market.

This is not a complete list of the areas that this treaty would affect or change but only some of the most significant ones.

One of the areas where we need to build resistance is within the trade union movement, which is now feeling the impact that the Services
Directive is having on its members’ jobs and living standards. Elements of the leadership of the trade union movement have been withholding open support for the treaty as a bargaining lever with the Government so as to get legislation relating to agency workers.

The trade union leadership supported the Maastricht Treaty, the Single
European Act and the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties without question, taking the word of the various Governments on the content and the consequences of adopting them in blind faith. That unquestioning position and support meant that they took their eye off the ball, and they are now paying the price.

Trade unionists, like many others, made judgements based on who else was opposing the treaties rather than looking seriously at their content and the possible consequences for them.

* As more and more power is ceded to Brussels we will have less and less opportunity of bringing about change here at home. As the European monopolies, bankers and big corporations concentrate their power and
control in and through the Commission, Irish workers must fight for a weakening of its power and its controlling influence.*


Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President of Sinn Féin Poblachtach on the Belfast Agreement

“The Belfast Agreement of 1998 does not provide for final British government disengagement from Ireland and therefore cannot be regarded as the ultimate settlement.

“This agreement took nine years to become effective and is basically an artificial arrangement to secure British rule in an artificially carved out area of Ireland and to safeguard the future of the vested interests of the 26-County State.

“It has succeeded in creating an “institutionalised sectarianism” that is going to constrain the right of all the people of Ireland to self-determination. In the medium to long-term, this artificiality is bound to collapse. When the Stormont budget was introduced last week there was only the very small Alliance Party to oppose it. There is in effect no opposition.

“The Agreement has succeeded only in subverting former Republicans to act as agents of British rule. Such an arrangement can never be viewed as a long term solution. Meanwhile the nationalist electorate continues to grow as is clear at local council level. However to look forward to a small majority of nationalists in the Six-County area within a gerrymandered Ireland is not the way ahead. With the passage of time the question arises: “Would they still be nationalists?”

From the Media

Tax havens lure super-rich

Sunday, January 20, 2008
Latest figures from the Irish Revenue show the extent to which many Irish high rollers have chosen to base themselves abroad, writes Ian Kehoe.

They are the business elite of Ireland, but many are now opting to pay tax in other jurisdictions. From Malta to Bermuda and from Portugal to Gibraltar, Ireland’s high rollers are relocating to low-tax destinations across the globe.

Although Ireland’s tax rates are relatively low by international standards, an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals are deciding to leave the country of their birth and move to places with more welcoming and forgiving tax regimes.

For years, the Irish authorities knew that many of the country’s wealthiest individuals were not registered in Ireland for tax purposes. However, they were never able to gauge just how many individuals were outside the Irish tax net.

New figures prepared by the Revenue Commissioners finally reveal just how many tax exiles have decamped Ireland for other jurisdictions. According to new figures obtained by The Sunday Business Post, there are 19 high-net-worth individuals who are Irish domiciled but who are legally non-resident for tax purposes.

The figures, from the Department of Finance, only includes individuals whose net worth (their assets less their liabilities) is valued at more than €50 million.

There are estimated to be more than 250 people on the high-net worth list, which is monitored by a special unit within the Revenue Commissioners.

Nineteen out of 250 people might not seem like a high ratio, but it includes the majority of Ireland’s super wealthy. Of the top 20 individuals on the Irish Rich List, at least half are tax resident outside Ireland.

John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish horseracing tycoons, are both based in Geneva, as is Hugh Mackeown, the chairman of the Musgrave Group, the €4.6 billion Cork retail giant.

Michael Smurfit, the packaging magnate, is the honorary Irish consul to Monaco, while dancer Michael Flatley also pays his tax in the principality. Billionaire financier Dermot Desmond officially resides in Gibraltar. A number of these high profile figures have pointed out over the years that their business activities generate millions for the Irish Exchequer.

The 19 names on the list are just the top of the tax exile iceberg, however. According to the Department of Finance, it only includes individuals who filed an annual return in Ireland for the 2005 financial year.

As such, it only pertains to people who generated an income in Ireland or made a gain from the disposal of an asset during the period in question. Therefore, it does not take into account Irish individuals who earned their money overseas and who did not generate an income in Ireland during the year.

It is not just the high rollers who are relocating to tax-efficient economies. According to the Revenue Commissioners, Ireland now has more than 3,000 tax exiles who claim non-residency. Many of these individuals are not in the top 250, but have serious wealth nonetheless.

According to the Revenue, there were 3,050 individuals who claimed non-residency for tax purposes in 2005, the first year that the tax authority was able to discover the actual number of Irish tax exiles.

Press Statement

"Tightened Siege on Gaza Reaches Unprecedented Levels and
Endangers the Life of 1.5 Million Civilians"

Israel has imposed a severe siege on the Gaza Strip since Hamas' winning of the parliamentary elections in January, 2006. Furthermore, Israel has tightened this siege following Hamas military domination over the Gaza Strip in June, 2007 when Israel declared that the Gaza Strip is an enemy entity.

Two weeks ago, Israel has tightened the siege and embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip reaching unprecedented levels. This action included various sanctions such as: cut-off fuel and electricity provisions to Gaza as well as all other energy resources. Israel has also imposed strict closure on all Gaza Strip border crossings, preventing movement of civilians including patients' for medical services. Such procedures led to entire shut-down of the sole energy producing station in the Gaza Strip, two days ago. As a consequence, Gaza is drowning in darkness whereas electricity from all homes, industrial, and health facilities in the Gaza Strip was cut-off entirely.

The electricity cut-off, therefore, has paralyzed all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip as water supply couldn’t reach the homes of Palestinians; elevators in the high-rise towers have not functioned properly; and household electrical instruments have been shut down completely. Nonetheless, what is more critical is the water and sewage systems are about to shut down in addition to electricity generators in major hospitals and sanitation vehicles. All such matters warn of a humanitarian, health and environmental crisis.

Due to the denial of deliveries of vital supplies of food, fuel and humanitarian aids to the Gaza Strip, there has been a crisis in obtaining necessary food supplies for the people in Gaza. This situation added to the already existing crisis due to the fact that 85% of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip depends mainly on the humanitarian aids for securing their basic needs of survival. Furthermore, the stoppage of electricity and fuel as well as flour cut-off have caused even more paralysis in the bakeries in the Gaza Strip, thus preventing the Palestinians from receiving their necessary needs of bread.

All forms and consequences of the siege imposed by Israel aggravate the Palestinians' sufferings in Gaza Strip, coinciding with the economic crisis and high rate of poverty and unemployment. The new procedures of siege have led to significant rise of burdens on the Palestinian civilians and families, as well as an emergence of a new wave of feelings of panic, anger, suppression and helplessness. As a result, the psychological sufferings of people are intensifying in the presence of the economic hardships.

Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is gravely concerned over the continuation of the tightened siege and isolating Gaza from the outside world. Further, GCMHP warns against the critical humanitarian, health and mental ramifications of this siege on the civilians which threaten their life and significantly deepen their suffering. Such consequences are becoming more apparent as reports warning of the death of patients in intensive care units and deterioration of the health conditions of chronic disease patients including cancer and kidney failure.

In this critical time, GCMHP calls upon the international community, human rights organizations and all peace activists around the world to hold their moral and legal responsibilities to end the Israeli inhumane siege and its repercussions that reach the levels of war crimes. Additionally, GCMHP demands the international community not to remain silent towards the Israeli crimes and to immediately intervene and pressure Israel to end its siege and collective punishment imposed on the Gaza Strip that threatens the life of 1.5 million innocent civilians.

Gaza Community Mental Health Programme

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