Web Site http://theploughblog.blogspot.com/
Wednesday April 8th 2009
E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) Failed state
2) Visteon -IRSP Accuses Politicians of Evading Responsibility
3) Collapsing all around -Some recent headlines
It has not gone away. If anyone thought that the issue of partition was concluded and peace made, they are mistaken. Recently two British soldiers and a PSNI officer were shot dead. Their deaths were a tragedy for their families and regrettable.
The attacks were followed by the usual security response. House raids, arrests, rioting the demonisation of individual republicans and the use of extensive anti terror laws to imprison and interrogate suspects. A media campaign was launched to denounce not only those organizations alleged to be involved in the attacks on the British army and police but all those republicans who desist from giving allegiance to the new institutions of the northern State. Accusations of drug dealing criminality etc and terms like terrorists, fanatics traitors etc were uttered by former republicans who in the past had the same terms used against them. The media went into overdrive denouncing the “terrorists”.(See The Plough vol 6-3 for the definitive position of the INLA on these matters)
All the superficial changes ushered in by the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements were and are not, enough to hide the glaring contradictions inherent in those agreements. Those agreements centre on the mistaken notions that Britain is neutral between two divided communities that the issue of sovereignty is irrelevant and that sectarianism is the central problem, They are based on the old imperial notion of “divide and conquer”
Sectarianism is not a quaint notion confined to the strange inhabitants of the north of Ireland. The passions angers and hatred in the Shankill and Ardoyne, to name but two areas, are shared across the globe. In many cases the existing divisions between tribes, races and religions became an extremely useful tool for the imperialist powers to exploit and turn neighbour against neighbour.
For centuries the sub-continent of India existed in comparative peace. Under British Imperial rule differences were emphasized and eventually faced with the power of the Indian National Congress the British decided to partition the sub-continent. Today sectarian violence spreads through the whole Indian subcontinent, Pakistan is a failed state in turmoil and Bangla Desh is one of the poorest countries in the world. These are the bitter fruits of Imperialism
The Irish Republican Socialist Party has set its face firmly against sectarianism. Our comrades in many areas intervene, sometimes daily to dampen down sectarian feelings and incidents and prevent the spread of sectarian violence. We make a conscious effort to reach out to those within protestant working class areas to explain our ideas our views and our beliefs. Such outreach work in no way lessens either our socialism or our republicanism. We are resolutely anti-imperialists. Those activities have the unanimous support of our leaderships.
British control of the north is now as strong if not stronger than before the launch of the Provisonal IRA campaign. That may be a unpalable fact for many but it is nevertheless true. The British spend more on intelligence in the 6 Counties than is spent on Islamic terrorism. Relationships between the ruling classes of Britain and Ireland have never been stronger. Britain can continue to recruit and train British soldiers in a part of Ireland. The PSNI has increased recruitment from the catholic population. The state institutions are reasonably stable and there is certainly little appetite for a return to armed struggle.
All of this is not to say that the Northern State is stable. On the contary it is still a failed state just like Pakistan. In every decade from its foundations there have been armed revolts against this state. People have been driven into sectarian mindsets and poverty used to divide people. Symbols such as flags and banners have been used to taunt and provoke people into rioting on a regular basis and every year precautions are taken to prevent sectarian marches provoking even greater rioting. No “Northern Ireland “ is not a stable state and no matter how many times it is said by the media “Windsor Park, home of Linfield FC is not a “national stadium”
Easter time is when Republicans march to honour the republican dead and in a sense renew their commitment to the broad ideals of republicanism. This year the multitude of republican organizations and the ritual denunciations of those who may have deviated the slightest from some form of “pure republicanism” will no doubt confuse and alienate those who republicanism should be attracting to its banner, i.e. the working class.
Irish republicanism historically has always been based on the urban and rural poor That is its natural base. Of course there have been leaders from different classes some of whom went on to forsake their republicanism. Others have used their republicanism to ingratiate themselves into the elite ruling classes. And as always the poor urban or rural have remained poor.
So it could be argued that at this critical point Irish Republicanism is at a cross roads. The recent upsurge in violence would indicate that there are those who want to maintain armed struggle as the main vehicle to attain republican ideals. History teaches us all hard lessons. Only fools refuse to learn the lessons of history. The armed struggle waged by a variety of organizations including the PIRA, the INLA and the OIRA failed to achieve their objectives.
It is no good re writing history to pretend otherwise. It was the mass struggle of the civil rights movement that achieved limited bourgeois democratic objectives – not the PIRA campaign. It was the sound of march feet that undermined the old unionist ruling class. It was something else that gave us first Paisley and now Robinson as first Minister administering British rule. So lets not pretend otherwise.
At the same time the IRSP works hard to unite the republican base and we have engaged in joint talks and political activities with other republicans while at the same time advocating our own views and perspectives.
The working classes are divided. The schools are separated, lives are divided, even the graveyards are segregated. In Belfast, there is a wall that separates one section of working class from another section of the working class. No radical, no republican no socialist no revolutionary can be happy with this set up.
Having benefited from the Celtic tiger and the economic benefits following the ceasefires many are now for the first time enduring economic misery as unemployment soars and redundancies gather apace while the Irish Government imposes massive attacks on the working class. Some how the blame for this is allocated to world conditions or the greed of bankers and investors.
The blame rests with the system that predominates –capitalism. That is the message that needs to be hammered home. No amount of tinkering nor reforming will change the fundamental nature of capitalism. It is a system based on the over-production of goods will change that basic fact. The IRSP have always said in the spirit of James Connolly that the class and national question are intertwined and now is the time for republicans to lead the class struggle.
The occupation of the West Belfast site of Vistion by workers is an example of a class fightback by the workers. The Belfast factory is divided roughly fifty fifty between those from a catholic of protestant background but staffed 100% by working class who are leading the resistance to the shutdown. The Belfast workers set an example taken up by fellow workers in in Enfield and Basildon. If management get away with this, 600 workers at the three plants will be sacked and left on the minimum statutory redundancy pay. Statutory redundancy pay is paltry. Even workers with 30 years’ service are only entitled to £9,000 and most will get far less.
So it is clear that there is a commonality of interest between workers in Ireland and England and of course world wide. Capitalism respects no borders loves no nationalities, destroys native cultures and imposes a consumerist culture in order to maximizes its profits.
In the struggle for national independence in the early 20th century Eamon De Valera famously told the labour leaders “Labour must wait” and that bourgeois unification must come first. Well Labour is still waiting unification is still on the long finger and the workers are still getting screwed. There are too many fake “socialists “ out there trying to fool the workers in order to get and maintain power
No more waiting. No war but the class war.
Visteon -IRSP Accuses Politicians of Evading Responsibility
The IRSP last night accused local politicians of rerouting responsibility regarding the investment and manufacturing crisis in the North of Ireland.
The IRSP Employment spokesperson Sean White, told activists last night that it was easy to blame a global economic crises or credit crunch rather than blame the companies and bankers who intentionally created the crises; crises created in the interest of profit.
The current economic situation may be global; but the loss of jobs locally is a consequence of the Stormont Programme for Government with its dependency on inward investment. Job losses are the result of policies in favour of the employers whilst ignoring the needs of workers.
The long-term needs of the workers were known at Visteon UK's when Stormont was subsidising the profits of its directors.
Sean White went on to say; “there is no “natural” order to the economy. There are no innate, static laws overriding economic behaviour. It is a myth to say nothing can be done. What is termed the “economy” is the way people work, to produce goods and services, and then decide how, where when to sell or use what they produce. People decide rightly or wrongly. It is people who make success, make mistakes. It is people who gamble for profit. It is people who exploit other people. We must move away from treating the economy as if it is a fluke in the weather”
All economists know that recessions and inflation just don’t happen. They are caused. The Banks deliberately restricted the flow of currency; that is a fact, a fact not disputed by the Bankers. Bankers were aware that a restriction of currency gives way to a recession.
The Banks responsible for investment have so far ignored the pleas from the First Minister Peter D. Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness. On the 16th December 2008 The First Minister Peter D. Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness and their Executive colleagues Nigel Dodd’s and Arlene Foster today met with the Chief Executives of local banks to explore further initiatives to ease the impact of the present economic downturn on consumers and businesses. To date there has been no response.
Who governs? The Banks or the elected representatives?
The IRSP are asking whatever happened to the billions investment promised to create new jobs in current industries. This time last year $750million was promised for investment in current industries. The investment was announced on the 7th April 2008, by William C. Thompson Jr. Comptroller of the City of New York, who is Chief Investment Advisor of the New York City Pension Funds which currently hold assets of $110billion
A small number of people made decisions regarding how this money was used or if it was used. The IRSP believes that the Irish people deserve answers
Companies are downsizing or closing as a consequence of poor investment.
Of course there is the immediate response car sales are down by an average of 33% but remember in generic terms profit averages 40%. Decreases in profit are compensated with job losses and cuts in labour; in turn increasing the workload on workers. There is no evidence of any major investment outside of construction. But there is evidence that the Banks responsible for investment paid increased bonuses to their Directors
Trans National Companies here are not facing unreserved profit loss. TNCs require extensive returns; not marginal profit.
The reported losses of Visteon UK's are per centage falls in profit. However such profit is not great enough for TNC investment
Visteon UK's reported losses totalled £669m. However in the West Belfast section of the company administrators found no evidence of any losses. According to the IRSP spokesperson there is not a single component produced by Visteon that we cannot match in terms of a nationalised industry.
Different members of the Stormont Government have come out with statements in support of workers who face job losses. But they place no blame on the employers.
There is an illusion that Stormont cannot and does not to interfere in free-market capitalism. An illusion partly created by the first and second ministers when they visit the US with their begging bowls and partly the Programme for Government. They over emphasise no government interference.
In fact, without Stormont with its inward investment policies, TNCs could not exist at all. Government actions and programs have tended to reinforce and stabilize the basic relationships of all Trans National Companies here; guaranteeing private property rights, supplying British and US business (including Fords and later Visteon UK's with needed inputs (like reliable infrastructure and skilled, disciplined workers), expanding markets, and managing social relationships in a way that promotes both stability and profitability. If Stormont can interfere on behalf of the Bosses, it can interfere on behalf of the workers
What was not considered by our MLA’s waltzing about in Stormont and should be, is that workers continue to produce the said components for Ford or any other car company. The Assembly has already stated that
“we are a Growing a Dynamic, Innovative Economy, in a position to invest and build our own infrastructure with a highly trained workforce.”
The factory should be nationalised under workers control. But that would be too radical a step for any of the parties in Stormont already committed to administering the neo liberal economic policies of the pro-business Brown Government in Westminister.
Collapsing all around Some recent headlines
200 bank jobs to be lost in North of Ireland------
Hughes Christenson Belfast 90 Redundancies
Thousands could go in cull of civil service jobs-----
Staff face axe in £200m cuts plan--------
29 workers are to be let go by Arntz Belting in Derry
Wrightbus, has announced plans to make 235 staff redundant.----------
Northern Ireland teachers face compulsory redundancy-----
Translink to axe 75 jobs----------
Further redundancies FG Wilson.------------
Visteon in Belfast 210 workers sacked
Almost 1,000 jobs to go at Bombardier in Belfast--------
Nortel has made 87 people redundant at its plant in Newtownabbey.-----------
One-third of services firms cut jobs in March
Grove Turkeys to lay off 75 staff in Monaghan--------
-SR Technics to implement first wave of 600 lay-offs -------
2% of NI manufacturing base lost in four days---
Central Bank predicts 7% economic decline this year
400 architecture jobs go in year
Government expects economy to shrink 8%
Most severe Budget in decades