Saturday 22 March 2008

The Plough Vol 05 No 04

The Plough
Web Site
Vol 5-No 4
Saturday 22th March 2008

E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1)Easter 1916-2008

2) IRSP Easter Commemoration 2008 Speech

3)RSYM Easter Statement

4)Billy Rat Inquiry

5)The China Question

6)Free Tibet?

Irish Republican Socialist Movement

Easter Commemoration

Easter Sunday, 23rd March 2008

Dunville Park, Belfast

Assemble 11am

March to RSM Plot, Milltown Cemetary

All Republicans and Socialists welcome

Easter 1916-Easter 2008

Every Easter since 1916 all over Ireland and in some other parts of the world homage is paid to the men and women of 1916 who on Easter Monday went out to do battle with the then greatest Imperialist power in the world. The Easter Rebellion was crushed the leaders executed but a spark had been lit that inspired oppressed peoples throughout the world to believe that freedom and independence from Colonialism and Imperialism was possible.

Easter 1916 has international significance but unfortunately many of the republicans who gather all over Ireland will not see the international dimension of the 1916. Irish bourgeois nationalists began soon after 1916 to revise the history of 1916.

It became a glorious sacrifice by pure minded Irish nationalists like Padraigh Pearse to redeem the soul of Ireland who by shedding their blood just like Jesus Christ at Calvary reasserted Ireland’s manhood and justified the creation of a bourgeois state.

The actual class conditions that motivated the likes of James Connolly and the trade unionists who set up the Irish Citizen’s Army to battle capitalism were written out of history. Radical ideas were demonised and the heroes of 1916 elevated into almost saint like status with no politics but a pure love for Ireland and of course totally identified with the Roman Catholic Church. Connolly’s Marxism was airbrushed from history. Liam Mellow’s call for republicans to appeal to the men and women of no property was demonised as anti-catholic and communistic. Rome spoke and the people listened! Censorship, piety poverty emigration and intellectually sterility became the order of the day from the twenties to the fifties.

During that period those few active republicans in Ireland were generally speaking non-drinking non-cursing and upholders of catholic morality. They survived in a stifling environment channelling all their revolutionary energies towards yet another armed uprising or establishing a guerrilla campaign against British interests in Ireland. They had no time for social protest, saw class struggle as alien, and had no understanding of the position of the majority of the protestant working class. This is not to condemn them for they were in a sense prisoners of history caught in a time warp where intellectual freedom was frown on, censorship all controlling and clergy particularly in the partitioned 26 counties almost looked up to as next to God!

But not all conformed. There has always been class-consciousness within republicanism and the story of the role of the left within that fine revolutionary tradition has not yet reached wider layers of the working class.

Only in the late fifties and early sixties did the radical ideas of Connolly and Mellows and the class nature of the struggle for liberation begin to re-surface within Irish Republicanism. That republicanism had gone through many stages since 1916.

It had fought a sustained war of national liberation that ended in partition and the splintering of the Republican forces. It had embraced physical force and the exclusion of any political activity. It had swung to the far left in the thirties and at the bidding of the bishops rapidly abandoned that left radicalism. It flirted with fascism and Nazism in the late thirties and early 1940’s. It began to look to the left when yet another armed campaign, Operation Harvest 56-61 ended in dismal failure with many ex-prisoners demonised, ignored and neglected within areas of Belfast that later became known after 1969 as “republican areas”. Older republicans referred to the newcomers as 69’ers

That swing to the left of course raised issues of policy. The divide between those who argued for a step-by-step approach; first democracy, then national independence and then finally a struggle for socialism, and those who argued for both socialism and independence began. But while that debate was simmering there was also the international explosions of 1968 world -wide when revolution looked to be possible.

Those heady days convinced many that success was just around the corner. Ireland would be united, socialism would reign supreme and the world would be a better place. Yes indeed! The Provos emerged believing that all this talk of socialism was nonsense and was indeed an alien ideology and only direct military action such as bombing the shit out of the 6-counites would yield success. They got it wrong and ended up re-establishing British rule in the north on a firmer basis and without any of that nasty socialism they had so despised in 69/70

And the left including all the different sections of the republican left?
Sadly yet another failure-too introspective, politically sectarian and some were seduced into believing that the rattle of rifles was the sound of revolution. Others believed that they had the way, the truth and the light and so looked down with contempt on others of the left or else launched either verbal or physical murderous assaults on those who failed to share their world-view.

Hopefully all those of a left orientation within the broad family of republicanism will study the barren years from 1916 until 2008 and learn the simple basic lesson that republicanism without socialism is a dead end and that unless and until Left republicans embrace the totality of the international class struggle the prospects of success are nil. Back to Connolly, back to Marx and forward to the liberation of the Irish working class as part of an international victory of the world proletariat.

(Gerry Ruddy)

IRSP Easter Commemoration 2008 Speech
Sunday 23rd March
Republican Socialist Plot
Milltown Cemetary
12.00 Noon

Delivered by Paul Little (Ard Comhairle)
Republican Socialism will not be bought, will not be sold and will not be deflected from its revolutionary path.

Comrades, supporters and friends, on the 92nd anniversary of the Easter 1916, we assemble to commemorate the courageous actions of Irish Republicans and Socialists as they strove to light the revolutionary touch paper that would rid Ireland of British occupation and capitalist control.

We recall with pride the courage and tenaciousness of Comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for a 32 County Irish Socialist Republic.
Today we honour our fallen Comrades of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Irish National Liberation Army.

We pay tribute to their families and friends, your sacrifice has been permanent and long term and often goes unacknowledged, we acknowledge your courage, your steadfastness and your pain. It is only through the pursuance of the revolution, the continuance of working class struggle and the attainment of our goals that we can truly commemorate our fallen comrades.

We send revolutionary greetings to our POW’s in Portlaoise and Maghaberry, your continued incarceration is testament to the arrant failure of those who purport to represent the interests of the Irish working class, whilst swigging champagne and playing happy families with our oppressors.

Across the world, global imperialism runs rampant, we send solidarity to all those who struggle against occupation, exploitation and genocide in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. ‘Western Democracy’, far from being a tool for liberation and empowerment for oppressed peoples across the globe, is in fact the weapon of the oppressor.

It corrupts and divides the oppressed and disenfranchised, replacing the natural solidarity among our class with division, suspicion and poverty. Western democracy dissipates working class unity; it promotes sectarian and racist division that enables it to exploit countries and peoples in the pursuance of greed and profit.

In each and every decade there have been a generation of Irish men and women who have been prepared to step up to the mark and ensure that the noble aim of an Irish Socialist Republic that recognises and cherishes the worker as the central pillar of revolution from which all else is possible.

The Republican Socialist Movement has come under attack by the forces of capitalism in both the six counties and the 26 counties, over the past year our membership and supporters have come under a sustained and draconian assault from the Free Staters. Arrest, assault and detention of republican socialists have become commonplace.

It is important to put these detentions in their political context, The IRSP is experiencing measured growth, this growth of membership is due in no small part to our involvement and support of civil rights campaigns across the Island.

Whether it is the fight against occupation, against unjust wars, against racism, against unfair taxes, against the exploitation of workers or against the rape of our national resources, the IRSP seek no compromise and make no apology for our revolutionary actions. We will not take any lectures from the corrupt and internationally discredited Dublin administration in regards to how we organise.

In 2008 in Ireland we are witnessing a prolonged and sustained attack by the reactionary forces of global imperialism and national capitalism on the Irish working class. Whether it’s our people ravaged by poverty due to economic recession, unemployment, ill health, and poor education or imprisoned in their own homes frightened of the drug barons and their hooligan thugs.

This week we have witnessed the brutal murder of former republican prisoner Bap McGreevy in West Belfast attacked by thugs, crazed by drink and drugs. Many of you here today will remember Bap McGreevy, not just here in Belfast where he was a friend and neighbour, but also those who met Bap in Long Kesh, an innocent man sentenced to life imprisonment by a corrupt British regime. He bore this grave injustice with great courage and dignity, he deserved better than being kicked to death in his own home.

Unfortunately, Bap’s murder is not isolated, each week across Ireland, in Dublin, Derry, Limerick, Cork, we learn of such attacks. These conditions exist because of exploitation. Poverty and hardship, they are not an innocent symptom or a side effect of capitalism; capitalism requires the exploitation of workers to make excessive profit.

To paraphrase Seamus Costello when talking about the Republican Socialist Movement he said, ‘a movement that cannot defend itself has no place talking about defending and representing the Irish working class’. I would like to extend that sentiment.

A working class movement that cannot defend, protect and nourish the interests of the Irish working class has no place calling itself a revolutionary movement.

Our aim is oust imperialism, oust capitalism in all its guises and end the occupation and exploitation of the Irish working class. To our oppressors we state; you will not criminalise the Irish working class or our struggle for emancipation.

Let no one here today have any doubt about our intentions we intend to prosecute revolution in Ireland, we will achieve revolution through organising mass agitation and civil disobedience, remember comrades if the working class refuses to be governed by what passes for democracy in Ireland, it will not be governed. That has to be our starting point for rebellion.

We remember fallen Irish revolutionaries of past liberation campaigns on the anniversary of Easter 1916, we remember them with pride and a determination to succeed.
You are today’s revolutionaries
Be a revolutionary in the home
Be a revolutionary in the community
Be a revolutionary in the workplace
Refuse to conform in an unjust society.
Together we can conclude the unfinished business of Easter 1916 in this new millennium.

RSYM Easter Statement
Comrades and friends,

Ten years ago, the Good Friday Agreement was signed. The struggle was declared over, something that was a “relic of the past” according to the ruling class. This ruling class was content and confident enough to assume that history was to end in 1998 and everything since then would strengthen and uphold their positions. This is true for the nationalist parties who uphold British rule in Ireland but it is not true for Republicans.

But Republicanism needs to be relevant and we need to be relevant. There is nothing revolutionary about calling oneself a Socialist but not working for the empowerment of the working class. There is nothing revolutionary in itself about having a secret army up your sleeve for a rainy day. There is nothing revolutionary about the wink and nudge attitudes. It’s the form we take as an organisation, the decisive and strategic political line decided collectively that will be the ultimate deciding factor. We are faced with two options, to sink or to swim.

Back to James Connolly, back to Seamus Costello should be our method over the coming years. We need to return to our roots as an organisation if we are to advance. The politics and ideas of men like Connolly and Costello are not fossilized relics; they are not to be quoted selectively at political opponents and comrades to prove one point or another, the real intention of which is to often silence people for daring to disagree with revered figures.

We should regard the teachings of Connolly and Costello as scientific processes which give us the tools, along with the classics of Marxism, to analyze the motive and class forces at work in society. Why do we neglect this? If the fundamentals are not grasped the potential is there to sink amidst a sea of dogmatism and its partner – Stalinism – as we tail the long forgotten politics and slogans of yesteryear to an indifferent working class and youth.

Ten years from the Good Friday Agreement there is still no viable vehicle for the Irish working class to see the attainment of its goals and to assert itself, let us set the task of building a party of the new type. It is duty of all Republican Socialists to set the task of rebuilding the movement politically.

It won’t be easy and there will be pitfalls, traps and sabotage along the way. But it is in our interests and the interests of the working class to continue to forge an organisation that can guide and give leadership.

Ta Power once said

“It is only by strengthening ourselves ideologically, inculcating in ourselves the values and ideals of the struggle and building up the ranks of the revolutionary party that we will make it.”

Comrades, that is the way forward for the IRSM.

Billy Rat Inquiry

Over the past few months journalists have been releasing tit-bits of information relating to the Rat Inquiry in articles that are at best misleading at times. Not so long ago Alan Murray released an article in the Sunday Life claiming that John Kenneway was a Special Branch agent during the period of 1996-97 and this was exposed during evidence at the Inquiry.

This was a malicious and misleading claim which was not true, and never said at all during the Inquiry, as was previously pointed out in an article I posted in response to Murray's claims. I backed up my article with facts and what was really said verbatim at the the Inquiry in relation to that matter. Other journalists were in contact with me in relation to Murray's article and agreed, after I quoted the Inquiry word for word and told them how to access the facts, that Murray's article was indeed misleading. Only Murray can say why he wrote that this was said during the Inquiry when in fact nothing of the kind was said.

I believe over the next number of months we can expect more misleading information in both the press and internet and that is why I believe members and supporters of the Movement should follow the Inquiry themselves, study it carefully, study some if not all of the testimony several times, do not jump to conclusions and remain focused so that all claims can be viewed from an informed position.

By doing so this will prevent comrades from being misled by a mixture of truths, half truths, lies and innuendo that we constantly hear about in some of the gutter press from both lazy journalists and those with a malign agenda. It will be more than interesting for all, particularly members of the Movement and prisoners during that period. For those who have not been following the Inquiry I would advise them to go to the very beginning and take it in chronological order which will take some time, probably a few months, to get to the present day rather than jump to the more 'juicier' testimonies.

For example it is very tempting to jump to the testimonies of MI5, Special Branch or even the Security Governors(some of their evidence is indeed laughable) but by doing so some of the context can be missed.

Do not take as Gospel some of the 'conclusions' that the Inquiry are stating-for example the Inquiry Panel, barristers for the PSNI and Security Services(MI5), Special Branch and MI5 have all stated that the Ard Comhairle 1997 were in fact the Army Council of the INLA. These claims are outrageous and malicious lies as any member of the Movement, particularly Ard Comhairle members at that time can attest to. At first this particular claim was funny in the extreme but when examined more closely it can be viewed as quite sinister in its implications and possible consequences.

Another good laugh is one of the themes that the INLA were 'in fact' subordinate to the Provisionals and it was the Provisionals who were behind the Rats execution. Apparently many in the Provos spread this yarn around themselves in the immediate aftermath of the killing for reasons best known to themselves.

The Inquiry have indicated that they will be requesting/summonsing Crip and Sonny to attend. They have sent them a list of questions they are demanding answered and if they refuse to answer all questions listed they have threatened to hold them in contempt and imprison them.

Some of the questions listed are
: who brought the weapons into both Maghaberry and Long Kesh? How were they brought in?
Who authorised the killing outside the prison and
who promised Crip and John admission to the INLA wings on April 1997?
At this stage we are unsure who in the IRSM will be called to give evidence but we are requesting that any member, past or present, who is summonsed to attend immediately get in contact with the Movement for advise and direction in relation to getting proper legal representation. We also believe that if there were any agents connected to the Movement (RUC, MI5, British Army, Prison Service) they will be exposed and identified during the Inquiry.

This has already been discussed by the leadership and it has been indicated to us that if there are any agents, past or present, then they should present themselves to the Movement and give a full account of their activities and no harm will become of them. My advise to anyone who was/is compromised is: you know the drill, come forward to the Movement with a solicitor or priest or whoever you trust to act as a guarantor and your safety will be guaranteed before its too late for you and you become exposed. Anyone, of interest to the Movement, who is summonsed to the Inquiry and fails to contact us about it could be assumed to have something to hide therefore its important that all do get in contact.

Whilst on the subject of agents the press recently focused in on a part of evidence given by a MI5 officer who had the designation of 'Witness Agent Handler' who stated that he received information from an informant in April 1997 that prisoners in the Kesh would kill Wright by injecting poison through a syringe if he was moved to the INLA Block. What the press didn't print was suggestions that this agent was 'low level' and who was on the ''periphery, edges'' of the INLA who reported 'second and third hand gossip' to his handler. Nor did they print in their articles that further evidence during this MI5 officers testimony suggested that this agent was viewed as 'low level and unreliable'.

To date most members of the Movement who are of 'interest' to the Inquiry have been given various designations such as Ard Comhairle member 1,2,3,4,5........etc or INLA member 1,2,.....or (the fictitious labels of) Chief of Staff, 2nd In Command. (I think everyone and their granny, except Special Branch and MI5, know that the last Chief of Staff was Gino Gallagher).

Other designations are Maghaberry prisoner 1,2, 3...and there may be, though not mentioned yet, designations for some prisoners who were in the Kesh at the time. All those who have been given designations have not been named at the Inquiry ''at this stage'' which suggest that that may come at some other stage during the period of the Inquiry.

When accessing the Inquiry website there are a number of links on the left hand side such as 'transcripts' and 'time tables' which deal with oral evidence given at the Inquiry and as I stated earlier it will take quite some time to navigate all the links and evidence given so far. Anyone who comes across anything they believe is of important interest should contact the Movement.

(Willie Gall)

The China Question?

Once again the national question has raised its head this time not Ireland but in Tibet. It is no coincidence that the outbreaks that have occurred happened only months before the Olympic Games are due to be held in Beijing.
Those who believe that politics have no part in sport sadly are delusional. Soccer in the North of Ireland was always closely identified with unionism despite large nationalist participation. Cricket was seen as the sport of the military garrisons. Gaelic sport has always been identified with the nationalist movement and indeed was re-invented in order to bolster Irish nationalism. During the seventies and eighties the Olympics were used by both Washington and Moscow as weapons in the cold war. And of course there was the shame of the Berlin Olympics in 1936 used to propagandise Nazi culture and power.
So be assured the 2008 Olympics will also be used to score political points. Irish socialists and republicans need to see beneath the surface and not be taken in by the bourgeois media in its one-sided presentation of the events in Tibet.
One of the reasons for unrest is not just down to suppression of the monks but the consequences of the rapid industrialization of China itself. An industrialization itself, which could impact on the Olympics itself due to the extremely poor environment that surrounds Beijing.
Chinese industrialization is developing at breakneck speed. That is causing a process of uneven development. There are specific designated capitalist zones that contrast greatly with the old state owned industrial areas. This is part of a process that will eventually, unless halted, lead to the dismantling of the planned economy and the restoration of capitalism in China.
Millions are flocking to the industrial and urban areas away from the low wages, and lack of facilities in many of the more isolated rural areas of China. This is causing mass polarization and huge social inequalities. The top richest 10% in the cities own 45% of the wealth. There are over 200 million unemployed and the poorest 10% of the population own only 1.4% of the wealth. Many of the rural poor flood into areas where there are national minorities and earn relatively high wages fuelling discontent within the national minorities who see themselves as disadvantaged. These national minorities number over 100 million and include Tibetans, Turkmen, Mongolians and Uighers.
There is an in-built tendency within Irish Republicans to immediately side with any people struggling to achieve independence. Our own long struggle to complete the national question has tended to blind us to aspects of independence struggles, which can be reactionary. Would Irish republicans be happy to support Tibet’s independence if that meant the restoration of the serfdom that existed there 60 years ago?
Of course the development of industrialisation affects national minorities but it also affects the vast majority of the Chinese people themselves and not always in a good way. For example although China produces 30% of the world’s coal its’ miners suffer 80% of the deaths in mining world wide. Health and safety standards seem ineffective when over 80,000 workers were killed in work related accidents in 1991. Rapid industrialisation and the introduction of capitalism has shot that figure up to 440,000 in 2003. Suicide is the number one cause of death for those between 20-35. Every year nearly 3 million people attempt suicide and about 250,000 succeed.
Those who argue that China is still a socialist state will point to the improvements in the life of the working class. But rapid industrialization under capitalism also improves social conditions for some elements of the working class. Today only 1/3 of production comes from the state sector.
The Chinese Communist Party has over 70 million members. Over 30% of that membership comes from the capitalist sector. The Chinese bureaucracy and the capitalist class have a joint interest in dismantling the gains of the Chinese revolution and want to integrate the Chinese economy into that of world capitalism.
But in doing so they are creating a huge working class in China, which at the end of the day is the only force that can resist the capitalist road and unite all working class people regardless of ethnic origins in solidarity and socialism.

Free Tibet?
This was first published in the The Plough Vol 1-41 on the 30 May 2004.Given the recent upsurge in Tibet we re-publish.

In Western countries, the movement to 'free Tibet' from Chinese occupation is very popular among the 57 different varieties of liberals and human rights campaigners. The media generally presents a very positive image of Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is hailed as a modern saint, and an idealized image of Tibet before the Chinese take over is given. However, it is worth examining what sort of place Tibet was before the Chinese intervention, who benefited and who lost from it, and who the people campaigning for 'free Tibet' are (1).

In Tibet, prior to the Chinese take over, theocratic despotism had been the rule for generations. An English visitor to Tibet in 1895, Dr. A. L. Waddell, wrote that the Tibetan people were under the "intolerable tyranny of monks" and the devil superstitions they had fashioned to terrorize the people. In 1904 Perceval Landon described the Dalai Lama's rule as "an engine of oppression" and "a barrier to all human improvement." At about that time, another English traveler, Captain W.F.T. O'Connor, observed that "the great landowners and the priests . . . exercise each in their own dominion a despotic power from which there is no appeal," while the people are "oppressed by the most monstrous growth of monasticism and priest-craft the world has ever seen." Tibetan rulers, like those of Europe during the Middle Ages, "forged innumerable weapons of servitude, invented degrading legends and stimulated a spirit of superstition" among the common people (Stuart Gelder and Roma Gelder, The Timely Rain: Travels in New Tibet, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1964, 123-125). In Tibet, slavery was the rule.

The following account was written by Sir Charles Bell, who was the British administrator for Chumbi Valley in 1904-05: "'Slaves were sometimes stolen, when small children, from their parents. Or the father and mother, being too poor to support their child, would sell it to a man, who paid them _sho-ring_, "price of mother's milk," brought up the child and kept it, or sold it, as a slave. These children come mostly from south-eastern Tibet and the territories of the wild tribes who dwell between Tibet and Assam.' (Charles Bell, Tibet: Past and Present, Oxford, 1924, pp. 78-79. Taken from

In 1953, six years before the Chinese takeover, the greater part of the rural population (some 700,000 of an estimated total population of 1,250,000) were serfs. Serfs and other peasants generally received no schooling or medical care. They spent most of their time working for the monasteries and high-ranking lamas, or for a secular aristocracy that numbered not more than 200 families. They were in practice owned by their masters who told them what crops to grow and what animals to raise. They could not get married without the consent of their lord or lama. A serf might easily be separated from his family should the owner send him to work in a distant location. Serfs could be sold by their masters, or subjected to torture and death (for more details see

Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese in Tibet after 1959, they did abolish slavery and the serfdom system of unpaid labor. They started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They built the only hospitals that exist in the country, and established secular education, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. They constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa. They also put an end to floggings, mutilations, and amputations as a form of criminal punishment under Buddhist rule. Chinese rule in Tibet has often been brutal, however its extent has often been exaggerated.

The accusations made by the Dalai Lama himself about Chinese mass sterilization and forced deportation of Tibetans, for example, have remained unsupported by any evidence. Both the Dalai Lama and his advisor and youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal, claimed that more than 1.2 million Tibetans are dead as a result of the Chinese occupation. This figure is more than dubious. The official 1953 census, six years before the Chinese take over, recorded the entire population of Tibet at 1,274,000. Other estimates varied from one to three million. Other census counts put the ethnic Tibetan population within the country at about two million (Pradyumna P. Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet: The Impact of Chinese Communist Ideology on the Landscape, Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1976, 52-53). If the Chinese killed 1.2 million then entire cities and huge portions of the countryside, indeed almost all of Tibet, would have been depopulated - something for which there is no evidence. The Chinese military force in Tibet was not large enough to round up, chase, and exterminate that many people even if it had spent all its time doing this.

It is worth examining who is behind the 'Free Tibet' movement. The former elites lost many of their privileges due to the Chinese takeover. The family of the Dalai Lama lost no fewer than 4000 slaves! It is thus not surprising that feudal lords should campaign against the social gains of Maoism. Their campaign has found an international echo thanks to the CIA. Throughout the 1960s the Tibetan exile community received $1.7 million a year from the CIA, according to documents released by the State Department in 1998. The Dalai Lama's organization itself admits that it had received millions of dollars from the CIA during the 1960s to send armed squads of exiles into Tibet to undermine the Maoist revolution. The Dalai Lama's annual share was $186,000, making him a paid agent of the CIA. Indian intelligence also financed him and other Tibetan exiles (Jim Mann, "CIA Gave Aid to Tibetan Exiles in '60s, Files Show," Los Angeles Times, 15 September 1998; and New York Times, 1 October, 1998). Today, mostly through the National Endowment for Democracy and other conduits that are more respectable-sounding than the CIA, the US Congress continues to allocate an annual $2 million to Tibetans in India, with additional millions for "democracy activities" within the Tibetan exile community (See Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 2002, for example).

Also, while presenting himself as a defender of human rights, the Dalai Lama supports more than dubious causes. For example, in April 1999, along with Margaret Thatcher and George Bush senior, the Dalai Lama called upon the British government to release Augusto Pinochet.

While Chinese rule is resented by many in Tibet, people are also afraid to loose the social gains of Maoism. A 1999 story in the Washington Post notes that the Dalai Lama continues to be revered in Tibet, but
"few Tibetans would welcome a return of the corrupt aristocratic clans that fled with him in 1959 and that comprise the bulk of his advisers. Many Tibetan farmers, for example, have no interest in surrendering the land they gained during China's land reform to the clans. Tibet's former slaves say they, too, don't want their former masters to return to power. "I've already lived that life once before," said Wangchuk, a 67-year-old former slave who was wearing his best clothes for his yearly pilgrimage to Shigatse, one of the holiest sites of Tibetan Buddhism. He said he worshipped the Dalai Lama, but added, "I may not be free under Chinese communism, but I am better off than when I was a slave." (John Pomfret, "Tibet Caught in China's Web," Washington Post, 23 July 1999)

(1) This article has benefited greatly from much of the information contained in

Liam O Ruairc • 12 May 2004

Fact file

189,485 people were unemployed in the 26-Counties in February 2008 up 30,000 on February 2007. This represents 5.2% of the workforce and is the highest figure in 8 years.
There was a 10% fall in the construction industry in January compared to January 2007.

From the Media

What’s On

5th April
Protest Against Water Charges

The We Won't Pay Campaign has called a protest in Belfast against the Northern Ireland Assembly Executive's decision to introduce water charges in April 2009.

1pm Saturday 5th April Castle Place
The We Won’t Pay Campaign has announced that the unexpected threat of water bills increasing by 15% next year is a warning of what will happen year after year unless the charges are defeated. Pat Lawlor, secretary of the anti-water charges campaign, said
“We have continuously warned that once water charges are introduced, bills will escalate year after year which will financially cripple thousands of households. We have seen the experience already in Britain, where water charges soared by 50% in the first four years of the introductionof water charges. This year, bills will increase by 18% on average in April, some areas will see water bills go up by 25%.”

The We Won’t Pay Campaign also attacked the
“political parties who claimed to oppose water charges when seeking election to the Assembly but are now clearly preparing to stab the people in the back by imposing charges next April.”

The group also demanded that the “water service be brought fully back into public ownership and democratically run in the interests of the public, and not as a potential source of profits as the directors of Northern Ireland Water Ltd. want.”

30 April 2008

Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council, conference invitation:
Racism: Moving Beyond Denial?
A major conference examining the present acknowledgement of racism, its manifestations and what should be done to tackle it.
Wednesday 30 April 2008
Dungannon Campus: South West (nee East Tyrone) College
Community Relations Week - EU Year of Intercultural Dialogue

Keynote speakers:
Arun Kundnani, Institute of Race Relations
Bernadette McAliskey, South Tyrone Empowerment Programme
Dr Robbie McVeigh, Independent Researcher

Political Parties Q&A Panel:
Chair: Benedicta Attoh (independent practitioner)
Dolores Kelly MLA (SDLP), Richard Watson (UUP), Alex Maskey MLA (Sinn Féin), Naomi Long MLA (Alliance party)
DUP spokesperson TBC

Workshops and Closing Plenary:
Workshops on the topics of: models for the public sector, racism in the workplace, racism faced by Travellers and on the role of the Assembly.
A spokesperson from OFMDFM will provide government input.

Full details of conference, speakers and a booking form are attached:
Completed booking forms to be sent to: Ligia Parizzi, Anti Racism Officer, Dungannon Council or fax (028) 87728650.
This conference is specifically targeted at all persons with an interest in this area of work in all sectors including local government, community and voluntary sector NGOs, statutory agencies, Trade Unions, government departments, researchers and others with an interest in anti-racism.

The Council gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Peace II extension programme through the South Tyrone Area Partnership for its anti-racism programme and the support of OFMDFM for its racial equality work.

There is no charge for the conference. We would anticipate considerable demand and would urge early booking.

Kindest regards,
Ligia Parizzi

Anti-Racism Officer

Tel: 028 8772 8603

Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council

Comhairle Dhún Geanainn agus Thír Eoghain Theas

Rathgannon Sooth Owenslann Burgh Cooncil

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