Thursday 13 March 2008

The Plough Vol 05 No 03

The Plough

Web Site

Vol 5-No 3

Thursday 13th March 2008

E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party


2)State Repression

3)Statement from Eddie McGarrigle

4)Suicide and drugs

5)The Power of Protest

6)Raytheon Media Gag

7)Republican Socialist Murals

8)From the Media

i.Can the US today really compare with Czechoslovakia in 1975?

ii.Provisional Sinn Fein Ard Feis

iii.I did smash Sinn Fein - Paisley

9)Fact File

Irish Republican Socialist Movement
Easter Commemoration
Easter Sunday, 23rd March 2008
Dunville Park, Belfast
Assemble 11am
March to RSM Plot, Milltown Cemetery
All Republicans and Socialists welcome

The detention and vicious assault of five IRSP members in the 26 County -state should be cause for alarm for all radicals and left wing activists throughout the state. Whilst obviously an attempt to kick down the moderate growth of the RSM is the south, it should also be seen by others as a shot across the bows; that they too can be arrested, stripped and beaten in the street, be smeared in the media and condemned by a senior Gardai officer on politically motivated, false charges.

Whilst some political groups rallied to support the 5 victims of state brutality, others were astoundingly indifferent to the situation. In a country where most know the price of everything yet the value of little, it is unsurprising that the general public didn't react, but the question needs to be asked; where was the CPI, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party etc during all of this? Indeed some individuals showing their political sectarianism, have sided with the state, in online blogs, citing the dubious smoke and fire principal.

The democratic contradictions of Capitalism and Imperialism are being faced by us all in Ireland. In Mayo we campaign against multinational appropriation of our resources, in Shannon against our participation in global imperialist adventurism, across the country against the de-lapidated welfare system, in the North against imperialist partitionist domination. It is time that left groups around Ireland began to see the links in all of these issues and that an attack on one group within this framework of resistance sets a precedent for the treatment of all.

The admission of Bertie Ahern that the southern state faces a tough economic future because of the US economic downturn echoes the reality in Westminster where Darling has fashioning his latest Budget with the restrictions opposed by Capitalisms latest slump. It also reaffirms our opposition to reckless and erratic Globalised Capitalism and its system of market forces that inevitably peak and slump.

Should the world sneeze when the US catches cold? We need to challenge our place in the global world order and begin to push for alignment with progressive states such as Venezuela, Cuba and Libya for example. Ireland’s position, internationally, is one of sub-ordinance and dependence on savage imperialist capitalism.

Failure to question and resist this is as reprehensible as the silence of those who turn the other cheek when 5 Republican activists are arrested, brutalised and framed by corrupt state forces.

State Repression
Comrades from the IRSP appeared in court on Friday 29th of February charged with membership of the INLA. They were 42-year-old Edward McGarrigle, John McCrossan, 46, Gareth Dunne, 22, Gerard Kelleher, 26, and Neil Myles, 53

Those are the only charges leveled against our comrades. However when they were arrested in a blaze of publicity all sorts of allegations appeared in the media.

UTV news item on the 23rd of February when they were first arrested said;

“Six suspected dissident republicans were being questioned by police today.
“the arrests were as a result of a prolonged investigation targeting serious crime and terrorist activity in the Cork city area.”

“Gardai refused to detail the circumstances of the arrests and what the men had been doing - but it was understood a number of weapons were seized during the operation”.

RTE on the same day reported;

“a number of weapons and paraphernalia are understood to have been recovered during the operation.”

On the day they were charged the BBC said they were arrested

” as part of an operation against an alleged kidnap plan.

The three-judge Special Criminal Court heard that, when charged, McGarrigle replied:

"I believe this is an unjust and unwarranted charge based on a Draconian law. I'm innocent of any charge which will be brought against me."

When the men appeared in court on the 29th of February Detective Superintendent Diarmuid O'Sullivan of the Garda Special Detective Unit carried on the propaganda war against the RSM. As the Irish Independent reported (Saturday march 1st 2008)
“A kidnap and €1.6m extortion plot was masterminded by a wheelchair-bound INLA chief, Disabled Eddie McGarrigle, from Co Tyrone, orchestrated the botched ransom bid on a businessman in Cork last weekend which gardai foiled after a seven-month surveillance operation, the court was told.

Opposing bail O’Sullivan claimed that

“he feared the suspected INLA men would flee the country, intimidate witnesses and continue INLA activity if freed”

Now as the men were charged with INLA membership only and as all that is required is for the judges to believe the word of a Garda officer what witnesses could be intimidated? Surely not a garda officer?

And then how could they intimidate if they have already fled the country?

Seven months of alleged surveillance and the only charge they could come up with requires no evidence except one Garda’s word.

Bail was granted to our comrades but with massive civil liberty restrictions intending to limit any political activity

These charges are reminiscent of those brought by the brits during the seventies and eighties with the use of draconian powers which removed political activists from the streets by interning them in prison or remanding them on bail with such massive civil liberty restrictions that they cannot move from the house without fear of their bail being revoked.

The use of special powers by the Free State against Republicans is nothing new. However it is clear that a clear pattern is emerging in the 26-county state. Republican political activists are being demonised and harassed. Media frenzy is wiped up against those who do not conform to the aims and aspirations of bourgeois nationalist Ireland.

Precisely because of the political analysis and political activity of the IRSP and not the alleged activities of the INLA (whose ceasefire is solid) bourgeois nationalists fear the growth of those who utterly reject the capitulation to British Imperialist interests as represented by the Belfast and St. Andrews’s Agreements. More and more republican political activists who had bought into that ‘peace process” pushed by the provisional leadership now are realizing that they were sold a pup!

The obvious pole of attraction for those working class militants is towards those who consistently correctly analysed the capitulation by nationalist Ireland and put forward a radical socialist alternative. That is why bourgeois Ireland wants to crush the IRSP.

Statement from Eddie McGarrigle
"Do not be influenced by the tripe you read in the right wing media regarding our recent arrest and subsequent charge of membership. In all the hours of questioning that we endured never once was it mentioned to us about tiger kidnapping, weapons etc. This tripe reported in the media should be viewed for what it is, an attempt by securocrats working to a political agenda to demonize, criminalize and demoralize the membership of the IRSM. No charges have been laid against any of us, which includes the two Dublin lads (who were released on bail), in connection to the lies planted in the media.

I want to put on record that the treatment that we all received whilst in custody was nothing short of torture. The Irish Government speak out and condemn human rights abuses in faraway places such as China and Iran, whilst their political police in the free state can carry out such acts without impunity, such hypocrisy. I myself was thrown out of my wheel chair onto the ground a number of times by a number of special branch interrogators, who took great delight in stamping, punching and slapping me in the head and body, whilst making sure that they had the camera turned off in the interrogation room. All the other lads suffered the same and more at the fists and boots of our torturers.

Eventually we were charged with membership of an illegal organization namely the INLA and remanded to Portlaoise Internment camp (The Irish Free States, Guantanamo Bay). A charge frequently used by the free state to intern Republicans-Republican Socialists. At our bail hearing in the Diplock Special Criminal Court, the state fiercely opposed bail to all of us.

Superintendent Dermot O'Sullivan was the main objector to bail, swearing under oath that the accused were involved in a conspiracy to extort money for the INLA from a businessman in Cork. When our legal team objected to O'Sullivan's evidence on the basis that none of us before the court were charged with any offence connected to evidence submitted by O Sullivan, one of the three judges quipped that he would allow the superintendent to continue with his evidence solely because

"The state was alleging that the accused were members of the INLA and it was reasonable to ascertain that you don't join the INLA and do nothing. I like many others have read the newspapers in regards to reports of tiger kidnappings and seizure of weapons".

How can anyone one of us expect any kind of justice when one of the judges on the bench comes out with such tripe?

Thankfully after a number of legal objections and arguments by our legal team, the three Judges in the Diplock Court set bail with stringent conditions and hopefully myself, John and Neil will be released in a week or so.
(The above statement was released on 2nd march All the comrades have since got bail)

Suicide and Drugs!!
In some areas of West Belfast, almost half of the people are being proscribed anti-depressant drugs. This revelation, published in a local newspaper came to light around the same time it was revealed that the manufacturer of the drug Seroxat withheld evidence that the controversial drug increased the likelihood of suicide amongst teenagers.

Suicide is a major issue not only in West Belfast but also amongst working class communities throughout Ireland, north and south. It’s imperative and the interest of the general public that the government establishes the direct link that exists between anti-depressants and suicides before more communities, families and lives are ripped apart by suicide epidemics.

Depression is an issue many people suffer from but often when treatment
is sought they are given a proscription for quick fix anti-depressant drugs rather than real treatment. The IRSP have said for years on end this was not the way forward in tackling depression and suicide in working class communities.

The suicidal tendencies that Seroxat exacerbates are so great that Seroxat cannot be proscribed to anyone under the age of 18. In nine tests conducted by the drug’s manufacturer and pharmaceutical giant Glaxo-Smith-Kline (GSK) between 1994 and 2002 the drug was found
in-effective in treating depression in children.

3.4% of children on the drug experienced mood changes, tried to harm themselves or thought of committing suicide, compared with 1.2% on placebo pills.

The new Stormont budget will see a cut in funding for those suffering mental illnesses with 500 workers set to lose their jobs in Community Health Care under the auspices of increased efficiency.

This is a crisis waiting to explode.

Sean McGowan,
Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Power of Protest
On January Dasa Kacova was sacked by the management of Delaney’s restaurant for refusing to remove her jumper on a very cold day. Her case was then taken up by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in Belfast. A written appeal by Dasa was ignored. Letters written on her behalf by trade unionists seeking re-imbursment for loss of earnings and holiday entitlements were ignored. Dasa is a migrant worker. Many employers have blatantly disregarded workers rights when the workers are migrants. This exploitation has the added benefit for the employers of turning some disgruntled local workers against migrant workers. Racism in effect becomes the tool of the employers in the daily class struggle. On Thursday 6th march the Belfast Trades Council organised a picket on a busy Thursday evening outside Delaney’s restaurant. Over forty comrades from a wide range of groups including the IRSP, the Socialist Party, An Eirígí, and rank and file trade unionists picketed for two hours. No one crossed the picket line and there was widespread support from the general public. Two days later a similar picket was held on Saturday afternoon. Almost immediately Dasa’s demands were conceded following a mangement decision to negotiate with the unions.
Dasa thanked all involved in the campaign of solidarity with her.
Direct action works and all of the left need to get their fingers out and join all protests against exploitation and oppression regardless of who organizes the protests. The bulk of working class people have no time for the political sectarians who puffed up with their own importance see themselves as the sole revolutionary vanguard and look down with disdain on all others.

Raytheon Media Gag
There is a ban in the north of Ireland on the media mentioning anything to do with Raytheon, the third largest manufacturer of missiles in the world. The company employs nearly 80,000 people world wide.

The ban was imposed by the Derry Recorder, Judge Philpott on the 10th of December 2007. This follows the occupation by nine republicans and socialists of the Raytheon plant in Derry in protest at the Israeli bombing of Lebanon when missiles guided by Raytheon technology killed, among others 14 children in Quana on the 30th July.

The Derry Plant of Raytheon was ironically opened in 1991 by joint Noble Peace Prize holders John Hume and David Trimble. They claimed that the arrival of the arms industry factory to Derry was a first installment of an Irish peace dividend!!

The Derry Nine were charged with criminal damage. The British Crown Prosecution Service asked for and got the trial moved from Derry to Belfast on the grounds that protests in Derry could influence the jury. No media outlet has reported this transfer of a trial to Belfast.

All sections of the left republican and socialist need to give its full solidarity to the Derry comrades.

Republican Socialist Murals

Origionally published in An Glór newssheet of the RSYM
An Glór recently caught up with former INLA Prisoner turned artist Gerard Foster to discuss the striking murals that have appeared over the past two years in Belfast and Derry. The murals, sporting communist inspired red stars against a yellow backdrop have been unprecedented and have broken the traditional mould of what a Republican mural should constitute.

The idea originally came to fruition as the 25th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike was approaching. Gerard said “People everywhere referred to this event as an IRA hunger strike, with the three INLA members who died effectively being airbrushed out of history.” It was against this backdrop that a group of former prisoners and current IRSP members came together and decided to erect a series of murals to reclaim what appeared to be a forgotten piece of history.

Gerard and a group of others initially set about erecting a mural to Derry born Hunger Striker Patsy O’Hara in Belfast. Gerard commented “We knew so little about painting murals we started in February.”

Debate raged around the composition of the mural – distain was expressed from some quarters at the red star, a communist symbol, finding itself on a Republican mural. Those painting the mural were not sure themselves at first but Gerard says “There is also another forgotten piece of history, many have forgotten the reasons for the IRSP splitting from the Officials and why we exist today.”

The idea for the stylised red star was inspired by political art from Cuba and has now become the hallmark of IRSP commemorative murals throughout the country.

The first mural of Patsy O’Hara had such an impact that debate raged in the local press, people were traveling from afar to see and photograph it and people were discussing it – for the first time in many years the IRSP now had a mural it could call its own.

It wasn’t long before the group found themselves invited to Derry to paint another mural commemorating Patsy O’Hara shortly before the unveiling of a newly erected monument to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Patsy’s death. The Derry mural was completed in similar style to its Belfast counterpart but just as Gerard and the others were placing the final touches a car pulled up.

One of Patsy’s nieces came over and said her aunt was here to see the mural. Gerard recalls the nervousness felt as Peggy stood there gazing at the mural and he stood looking at her, trying to read her face for any sign of disapproval. She said nothing and continued to look at the mural. Her first words to the group were “I am glad you put INLA on it, Patsy died for more than the five demands he died for the INLA also”.

Speaking on plans for the future Gerard said a few ideas were currently being worked on, including a mural emphasising the anti-sectarian nature of Republicanism and the fact that many Republicans have came from the Protestant community.

From the Media
Can the US today really compare with Czechoslovakia in 1975?

This article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday March 13 2008 on p2 of the Comment & features section. It was last updated at 10:34 on March 13 2008.

Nine-times Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova has retaken Czech citizenship, which she lost when she defected from the former Czechoslovakia as an 18-year-old. Although she intends to retain her US citizenship, last year she told a Czech newspaper that she was now as ashamed of George Bush's America as she once was of the communist regime of her homeland. "The thing is, we elected Bush," she said. "That is worse! Against that, nobody chose a communist government in Czechoslovakia."
Strong words, but can one really compare the Czechoslovakia of 1975 with the United States of today?

Czechoslovakia, 1975: Despite widespread discontent with the oppressive Husak regime, a 1974 study finds active support for the government in 15% of the population, identified as pensioners, party bureaucrats, careerists, "parasites", extremist ideologues and persons involved in the Stalinist repression who fear that liberalisation might force them to account for their crimes.
US, 2008: George Bush's approval ratings generally hover around 30%, although one recent poll put it as low as 19%.

Czechoslovakia, 1975: Free healthcare available to all citizens.
US, 2008: 47 million Americans (16% of the population) have no health insurance. Another 16 million are "underinsured".

Czechoslovakia, 1975: Despite an increased standard of living and the widespread availability of material goods, consumerism is failing to placate a population fed up with draconian political controls.
US, 2008: Despite a rise in the cost of living, consumerism continues to placate a population largely oblivious to the curtailment of its freedoms.

Czechoslovakia, 1975: Growth of "net material product" is at an annual average of 5.7%, exceeding the target rate of 5.1% set out in the fifth Five-Year Plan. Full employment.
US, 2008: Energy Information Administration this week predicted negative growth in the two forthcoming financial quarters, the official definition of recession. 101,000 private-sector jobs were lost in February alone.

Czechoslovakia, 1975: The granting of visas to foreigners is "arbitrary", with denials justified under the "defence of national security", according to dissidents.
US, 2008: The American government uses the Patriot Act to bar entry to foreign visitors on the basis of ideology, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Czechoslovakia, 1975: Torture, though not officially sanctioned, has become a covert tool of state policy.
US, 2008: Torture officially sanctioned.

Provisional Sinn Fein Ard Feis
Delegates also hotly debated the place of socialism in the party constitution though, in reality, this is essentially the argument about ‘‘modernisation’’.

One speaker pointed out that socialism was associated, not with political utopias, but with repressive regimes; speakers who extolled the party’s socialist credo were far more numerous.

‘‘Adherence to socialism will maintain our policy advantage,” insisted one, evoking the inevitability of the socialist republic.

How would this come about? Another speaker had the answer: ‘‘Our unrivalled republican socialist ingenuity.” The motion calling for the constitution to be amended to drop the socialist aspiration was overwhelmingly defeated. (Sunday Business post Sunday March 2nd 2008)
I did 'smash' Sinn Fein - Paisley
Outgoing Northern Ireland first minister Ian Paisley claims he did achieve his pledge to "smash" his republican rivals Sinn Fein.
Speaking on the BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, he said Sinn Fein could no longer be "true republicans" because they were "in part of the British government". ....

Andrew Marr asked Mr Paisley how he could reconcile working with Sinn Fein, the party he wanted to "smash".
"I did smash them because I took away their main plank," he said.
"For their main plank was that they wouldn't recognise the British government. Now, they're in part of the British government."

Fact File

US National Debt

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 11 Mar 2008 at 01:22:13 PM GMT is: $9,400,154,447,537.56

The estimated population of the United States is 303,602,664 so each citizen’s share of this debt is $30,962.03.

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.69 billion per day since September 29, 2006!

The U.S. is in recession. The U.S. lost 63,000 jobs last month, the biggest drop since the start of the Iraq war over five years ago, and the latest in an increasingly gloomy trend. The private sector has now shed an average of 47,000 jobs every month over the past three, with no pick up in sight.
“The 63,000 decline in US non-farm payrolls in February is the clearest and most reliable indication yet that the economy is now in recession”, said Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. There was a decline of 101,000 in private sector payrolls last month compared to a modest 26,000 drop in January.

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