Tuesday, 21 December 2010

From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come

Following months of discussion, éirígí recently adopted its position paper on socialism - From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come. This is a critical development for the rebuilding of socialist republicanism in Ireland.

When éirígí was established as a campaigns group in April 2006 it did so as an avowedly socialist republican organisation, founded upon the principles of that champion of revolutionary socialism in Ireland, James Connolly.

The activists who ultimately founded éirígí had first asked themselves two questions: Was the objective of a socialist republic still relevant in today’s world? And if so, was there a need for a new political organisation to fight for the creation of that republic? With the answer to both these questions being a definitive yes, éirígí came into existence.

Four and a half years later, the party has reached another significant milestone with the publication of a major ideological policy paper. From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come is not only an important development for éirígí as a political party; it is also an important for the development of socialist republicanism in Ireland.

From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come does not simply reject capitalism in all of its forms; it also sets out éirígí’s vision of an alternative society based upon the public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

Over the course of the last century many Irish republicans have come to the conclusion that an Ireland which remained capitalist post a British withdrawal would not really be free at all. And éirígí is proud to follow in that tradition, to follow in the footsteps of organisations such as the Irish Socialist Republican Party and the Republican Congress and of individuals like Peadar O’Donnell, Liam Mellows, Constance Markiewicz, Frank Ryan and Mairéad Farrell.

However, From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come is not just about éirígí taking its place in Ireland’s revolutionary tradition. It is also about changing the parameters of debate in republican Ireland and beyond. It is about building the theoretical foundations for a powerful movement in Ireland that will be uncompromisingly republican and socialist. A revolutionary republican movement that has class politics at the core of its analysis, a movement that will never again commit the mistakes of militarism, constitutionalism or the pernicious notion that labour ‘must wait’.

The process by which éirígí developed and adopted From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come was itself an example of the type of participative democracy that éirígí wishes to see at the heart of a new socialist Ireland. This process saw an initial draft debated by the entire membership within their respective local Ciorcail (branches). Each individual member was afforded the right to suggest deletions, additions and amendments to the document.

Once the first round of discussion had been completed a second draft of the paper, based upon the feedback received from the membership, was drafted. This second draft was then circulated to the entire membership and again debated within the local Ciorcail. The feedback from this second round of discussions informed the drafting of the third and final draft of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come.

For the first time a dispersed voting procedure was used which saw members voting at meeting of their local ciorcal on whether to adopt or reject the paper. As with all major strategic and policy issues each member of the party had an equal vote. The result of this vote saw the paper being unanimously adopted.

While the process of developing and adopting From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come took a number of months to complete, it was time well spent. éirígí’s unique decisions-making process, as contained within Bunreacht éirígí, places consensus building at the heart of a process of decision making.

Many Irish republican and socialist organisations are based upon outdated and anti-democratic ‘top-down’ models of decision-making. Such models are inherently unstable, leading to leadership cliques and internal divisions. Organisations which use delegate based organisational models, pressure cooker conferences and artificial deadlines to make decisions are invariably corrupted by leaderships who think they know better than their memberships.

Announcing the public launch of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come, cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said: “Ireland today is at a crossroads. We can continue down the path of capitalism and imperialism that has partitioned our country, exploited our population and impoverished our communities or we can strike out for a better future based upon national independence and socialism.

“From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come correctly asserts that the only option that will work for the vast majority of the Irish people is that of independence and socialism.

“There can be no compromise between the exploiter and the exploited. It is a matter of their prosperity or ours – the slave owner and the slave cannot be prosperous together.

“éirígí is under no illusions as to the mammoth scale of the task that has been set out in this document. It is the same task that confronted the men and women of 1916 and it is the same task that confronted the thousands of republicans who fought the struggle over the last 40 years – it is about nothing less than the re-conquest of Ireland by the working people of Ireland.

“We need to start small while thinking big. We need to organise in our communities, in our workplaces, in our places of education, in our homes and on our streets. We need to make the argument with every single person who has no vested interest in the current rotten system that there is a better way and a better destination. There is a system that the working people of Ireland can have a stake in – that system is socialism and the time to start fighting for that system is now.”

To read From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come go here: http://www.eirigi.org/pdfs/socialism.pdf


Saturday, 18 December 2010

PSNI Provoke Riot in Newry

The Derrybeg estate in Newry was once again placed under siege by the PSNI last night [Friday], provoking some of the most serious rioting in the nationalist area in many years.
A convoy of armoured jeeps descended on the working class housing estate yesterday evening and began sealing off the entrance to the area. They also had a large presence in the Carnagat and Parkhead areas, as well as sealing off several other main roads around Newry.

The PSNI claimed they were responding to a bomb alert at the Camlough Road roundabout, which is, in fact, some distance from Derrybeg. However, local residents, éirígí activists and elected representatives were able to walk right up to the roundabout during the ‘alert’, with traffic flowing freely around it.

As expected, the PSNI spent their time goading young republicans who had gathered nearby. Over four hours of rioting ensued as the youths responded to the attempted intimidation with a range of missiles.

As a direct result of the PSNI actions, there was also a car accident, which resulted in a young man being taken to hospital with minor injuries. Despite being in the vicinity, the PSNI did not even respond to the incident and it was left to éirígí activists and local residents to clear the road and remove the damaged car to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

In a blatant attempt to draw young people into further confrontation, the PSNI then decided to enter Derrybeg itself, a tactic which failed miserably.

éirígí activists and other residents remained at the scene for the duration of the trouble and confronted the PSNI as to why they were even in the estate.

After leaving Derrybeg for a short period, the PSNI returned in armoured landrovers in another attempt to stoke tensions.

This time, however, éirígí activists placed themselves in front of the landrovers and refused to let the political police enter the estate. As the activists were joined by other residents, a standoff ensued before the PSNI were forced to admit defeat and, embarrassingly, withdraw.

When a member of the so-called District Policing Partnership arrived on the scene, she informed the residents and éirígí activists that she had been speaking to a senior PSNI officer. She passed on the information that the officer in question told her that “they would be dealing with the people who had surrounded a landrover”. When an éirígí activist challenged her as to what her colleague in the PSNI meant by saying they would “deal” with people and “Did it mean the PSNI would be using violence?”, she refused to answer, stating “I won’t speak to you” before leaving the area.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “Serious questions need to be asked as to why the PSNI felt the need to be anywhere near the Derrybeg estate in the first place, considering the alleged alert was nowhere near the area.

“A pattern seems to be emerging with incidents like this. Several weeks ago, the PSNI used similar tactics in the exact same area, provoking a riot situation. Each time there is an alleged security alert in Newry, the PSNI use it as an excuse to arrive in force to seal off the Derrybeg estate, close roads, antagonise youths and cause riot situations.

“The blame for this situation lies squarely with the PSNI and we commend our activists and the people of Derrybeg who stood shoulder to shoulder and refused to allow the PSNI, who were intent on causing trouble, to enter their area. People across the Six Counties who are suffering due to the unwanted presence of the PSNI should take a leaf from the book of the people of Derrybeg.

“éirígí will fully support any community that is resisting the repressive tactics of Britain’s police force in Ireland.”


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Let the British Government Do Its Own Dirty Work

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has called on the establishment parties at Stormont to let the British government do its own dirty work in relation to the stripping of public services.
Mac Cionnaith was speaking after the Six County executive announced it had agreed a budget after weeks of prevarication.

He said: “If the political parties at Stormont, particularly those who claim to be left-wing, are genuinely opposed to the cuts being demanded by the British government, they should refuse to administer them and join the rest of us on the streets in a campaign of resistance.

“A failure to let the British government do its own dirty work and, worse, deciding where best to implement the cuts can only lead working people to conclude that what has happened over the last number of weeks at Stormont has been nothing but meaningless posturing.

“Despite the spin being put on Stormont’s draft budget, it is clear that the Six County executive has totally failed to challenge the British government assault on working class communities and on the most vulnerable in our society.

“Instead, the Six County executive has acquiesced with the British government in administering massive cut-backs. In essence, all that the Stormont executive has managed to deliver today are further attacks on public service workers and further decreases in household income values for the vast majority of families across the Six Counties as a result of increased domestic rates and the introduction of new stealth taxes.

“It is also clear that essential social care services for the elderly and infirm, such as homecare and occupational therapy, will be extremely vulnerable to further cutbacks.

“Education for our young people is clearly under attack, with the schools’ budget being particularly hard hit, and university students will inevitably face increased fees resulting in many being excluded from third level education.”

Mac Cionnaith added: “Asset-stripping is a main plank of the Stormont executive’s budget, which opens the door to the future privatisation of public services.

“This budget will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has observed the impotence of the Six County executive since its establishment.

“In their Programme for Government 2008-2011, all the Stormont parties agreed to implement £1.65 billion [€2 billion] of cuts in public expenditure. That was followed in March of this year by the announcement of another £360 million [€420 million], bringing the total cuts which Stormont had agreed to £2 billion [€2.4 billion], even before the impact of this present budget, with its additional £4 billion of cuts, takes effect.

“Despite an economic recession affecting greater numbers of people than officially admitted, the Stormont parties continue to collude in concealing both their own ineptitude and the full extent of that crisis from the population.

“On the day that this budget was published, unemployment figures in the Six Counties again rose to 58,500 people. Not included in that official figure are another 40-50,000 people who are also seeking work but are not entitled to Job Seekers Allowance. That means that 100,000 are currently seeking jobs in the Six Counties – a real but unpalatable fact that the Stormont parties will not even publicly admit. In that context, Stormont’s aim to create 4-5,000 jobs barely even addresses the problem.”

The general secretary continued: “Stormont’s economic agenda is clearly designed in Britain and implemented without question by the establishment parties in the Six County executive.

“éirígí has consistently pointed out that, as the British government introduced widespread cuts across all public sector services, Stormont would dutifully follow suit through ‘modernisation agendas’, ‘health service streamlining’ and ‘investment incentives’.

“For working people in the Six Counties, the result of this budget will be a massively negative impact on housing, employment, health and social services, with continued community disintegration and reduced services for the ill and vulnerable and further financial pay-offs to companies through the privatisation of public services to provide jobs with rock-bottom wages.

“Stormont cannot and will not provide any alternative.

“The increasingly obvious signal is that a new political, economic and social order is required right across Ireland to bring radical, meaningful and effective improvement to the lives of working class people. Stormont is a clear impediment to that.”


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Fallen IRA Volunteers Remembered in Newry

On Sunday, December 12, around 70 republicans and socialists gathered at the iconic Egyptian Arch in Newry to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of an ambush in which 3 IRA volunteers lost their lives.

The éirígí-organised event entailed the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and was attended by people from across the district and further afield. It was also fitting to have family members of the volunteers in attendance.

During the event, a PSNI helicopter hovered overhead keeping everyone under surveillance, but they failed in their attempts to intimidate those in attendance.

The plaque was unveiled by Jackie Shields, whose grandfather, volunteer Peter Shields, fought bravely in the Egyptian Arch Ambush and died as a result of wounds he received.

A wreath was then laid and a minute’s silence was observed.

The event was chaired by local éirígí activist Stephen Murney.

Murney spoke about the growth of éirígí in the Newry area and the Crown Forces harassment that has come with it.

“The most recent incident occurred just a few hours ago when myself and a fellow éirígí activist were stopped by the British police in Hill Street after we had just collected this memorial plaque,” he said.

“We were surrounded, forced from the vehicle at gunpoint and made to stand with our hands raised above our heads while we were vigorously searched. The vehicle we were in was also extensively searched and the political police attempted to remove the plaque from the boot of the car. We strongly objected to this and lifted it from the car ourselves.

“After roughly 20 minutes, during which time they made snide remarks about the plaque, they let us continue on our way. It’s ironic that we are here commemorating an event in which the then RIC was one of the targets and, now, 90 years on their predecessors in the PSNI are trying to disrupt us and disrupt our commemorative event.

“Let us make one thing clear: no amount of petty harassment and intimidation will ever stop republicans from honouring our patriot dead, nor will it deter us from our political activities.”

The guest speaker for the event was prominent local republican Davy Hyland.

Hyland explained in great detail the history surrounding the ambush and the funerals that followed, which, according to reports, were the biggest ever seen in Newry, with an estimated 20,000 people turning out to pay their respects.

Hyland asked: “What, I wonder, would volunteers Canning, O’Hare and Shields make of contemporary Ireland 90 years on? As staunch Irish republicans, I doubt if they would be enthusiastic or happy with the current state of play.

“In the south, due to the greed of the banks, developers and the corrupt government itself, they have had to be rescued by the IMF and EU at a cost of €85 billion. In their latest budget, their response has been to once again target the most vulnerable in society, with massive cuts being imposed on the young, the old, the sick, the unemployed and those living on the minimum wage.

“Yet the politicians in Leinster House, along with their big business cronies, who were the ones who actually created the crisis, escape with their own wealth intact with their bonuses guaranteed and with their gambling debts paid off by those who played no part in the fiasco.”

Hyland added: “As republicans, we do have a duty, not only to remember the past, but also to organise for the future in a comradely fashion.

“I would like to thank éirígí for organising this commemoration and erecting this plaque for the Egyptian Arch Martyrs. It ensures that volunteers Canning, O’Hare and Shields will always be honoured and remembered.”


Respect Fallen Freedom Fighters

The following Letter was published in today's Newry Democrat

Since last year éirígí in Newry started planning a commemorative event to remember the 90th anniversary of the Egyptian Arch ambush in which 3 IRA volunteers paid the supreme sacrifice for Irish liberation. For far too long this historic event was largely forgotten about and we felt it would be fitting to pay tribute to the fallen volunteers.

In last week’s edition there was an article regarding éirígí commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Egyptian Arch Ambush.

The title of the article claimed that the Volunteers were part of an “ambush gang”. As the organiser of this commemorative event, and a proud Socialist Republican, i have to say found this description deeply offensive.

I also spoke to relatives of the volunteers and they too shared the disgust and were hurt that their loved one was described as being a member of a “gang”.

The Newry volunteers were soldiers of the Irish Republican Army who took part in a meticulously planned and daring operation involving over 200 volunteers.

Last Sunday people from all walks of life, both young and old, came together with eirigi to pay their respects to these courageous volunteers and the sacrifice made on that cold December night 90 years ago. They didn’t commemorate members of a “gang”, they commemorated soldiers of an army, an army that was to the fore in resisting British occupation. Despite the odds being stacked against them they nonetheless faced the foe with outstanding courage and bravery. The principles by which the organisation stood and for which many of its members paid the ultimate sacrifice remain relevant almost a century later.

Many people would associate the word “gang” with gangsters and criminals. The use of the term in this instance is effectively criminalising the volunteers and their actions. I doubt that was the initial intention but i think a bit more care and consideration should be shown in future when referring to fallen Óglaigh who gave their lives for our liberation.

éirígí Newry

Traitors to Ireland and the Working Class

Sometimes it can give an activist some smug contentment to say ‘I told you so’.
Many left-wing and republican activists have crowed loudly about how they predicted the economic bust and chastised people with memories of their unheeded warnings. While this may help the self esteem of the activist in question, it is a sad reality that this wallowing in self regard does nothing for the cause of revolutionary socialism. Instead, it puts people’s backs up and means that they only hear sneering when they should be being won over with arguments for resistance against capitalism and imperialism and the building of an alternative society.

Sadly, a similar ‘I told you so’ situation exists for Irish republicans and socialists with regard to British armed forces recruitment in Ireland. éirígí has been mobilising since its inception against the continued occupation of Ireland and the thousands of troops stationed here, representing Britain’s military domination of the Six Counties.

Also since its foundation, éirígí has warned against the British campaign to recruit Irish citizens into the ranks of British military organisations. In the last two years it has become clear that this campaign has had some success.

In May 2009, the British Ministry of Defence announced that they were increasing their recruiting targets in Ireland from the average yearly intake of 300 new soldiers up to 500. This target is in addition to the almost 450 people who are recruited annually to the British army’s reserve the Territorial Army. With recruitment suffering in England, Scotland and Wales, a major effort was being made to use the economic turmoil in Ireland as a recruiting sergeant.

This recruitment drive wasn’t to be confined to unionist strongholds and major efforts have been made to increase the numbers signing up in the Twenty-Six Counties. The Irish Times and other sections of the corporate media have played an important role in this in providing regular flattering articles on Irishmen taking part in British ‘adventures’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This recruitment drive has proven relatively successful. Between 2007 and ’08, 10 people with addresses in the Twenty-Six Counties joined the British army; then, in the year from 2008 to ’09, 50 signed on the blood soaked line; and between 2009 and ’10 the figure was 85.

éirígí has made a consistent effort to resist British recruitment. Protests against the RIR march through Belfast city centre and British navy vessels in Irish ports; pickets of British recruitment stalls at universities and job fairs; alongside letters, literature and posters have all made for a vibrant campaign of resistance. The simple truth, though, is that this is an uphill battle. The scale of the economic collapse is stark and the level of resources behind the recruitment campaign is vast.

The message must be got out loud a clear. Young Irish men and women who join the British armed forces are traitors. They are traitors to the memories of the thousands of Irish citizens killed, tortured or imprisoned directly by the British army as part of the occupation of Ireland. They are traitors to those Irish citizens killed by unionist militias who the British establishment resourced and directed.

They are also traitors to the thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians who die each year as a direct result of British imperialism. They are class traitors, for most of these recruits come from working class estates throughout Ireland and they, for a few hundred euro each week, choose to protect the interests of an economic system built to enrich the few.

‘I told you so’ is no answer. Active campaigning is.


Saturday, 4 December 2010

éirígí to Commemorate Egyptian Arch Ambush

Plaque unveiling and commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Egyptian Arch ambush, Sunday 12th December

Assemble at the Arch, Camlough Road, Newry, at 2.30pm

Followed by refreshments & entertainment in the Railway Bar, Monaghan St

Music by Pól MacAdaim

Organised by éirígí


Friday, 3 December 2010

éirígí Ard Fheis Postponed

Due to the hazardous weather conditions across the country, éirígí’s Ard-Fheis 2010, which was set to take place in west Belfast tomorrow [Saturday], has been postponed.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán MacCionnaith said: “Unfortunately, due to the severe weather we’ve been experiencing over the last week, it is not practicable, nor would it be responsible of us, to ask activists to travel from across the country this weekend.

“Some of our activists, including those in Wicklow, Offaly, Sligo, Waterford, Dublin and Donegal are in areas that have been worst hit by the snow and going ahead with the Ard-Fheis tomorrow would probably have entailed holding it without them, something which we were not prepared to do.

“Arrangements are being made at present to reconvene the Ard-Fheis in the very near future, most probably in the early new year and notice of this will be made public as soon as is possible.”

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

éirígí Ard-Fheis 2010

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has announced the details of the socialist republican party’s Ard-Fheis 2010.

The annual national conference is, this year, taking place in Belfast for the first time and will be held in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich cultural centre on the Falls Road on Saturday, December 4.

Mac Cionnaith said: “It is significant that éirígí is holding this year’s Ard-Fheis in Belfast. The birth of Irish republicanism was announced in June 1795 on Cave Hill above the city by Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Thomas Russell, Samuel Neilsen and a number of other United Irishmen.

“Today, the struggle against partition and for Irish independence and reunification continues to be a 32-county one. Equally, the struggle against economic injustice and for socialism in Ireland must also be a 32-county one.

“Our objective is a sovereign, democratic, socialist republic for all of Ireland. The current crisis within capitalism in the Twenty-Six Counties demonstrates yet again the inherently unjust and anti-working class nature of that failed system throughout Ireland and elsewhere. Equally, policies enacted by Westminster and implemented by Stormont demonstrate the colonial nature of that administration.

“At this year’s Ard-Fheis, éirígí will be putting forward our alternative vision for a new independent country with the formal launch of the party’s major policy paper on socialism in Ireland.

“When éirígí was established in 2006, it based its project on building a solid foundation for socialist republicanism in Ireland. The task ahead of us is to bring others to the view that cosmetic tinkering with the two partitionist, economic, social and political systems in this country cannot bring about meaningful change to the lives of working people.

“We firmly believe that that, by launching this document, many others will see that the basis for equality lies in the establishment of a completely new social, economic and political order throughout Ireland.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “At this year’s Ard-Fheis, éirígí will be also laying out its plans for the time ahead and encouraging all republicans and socialists to get actively involved in a rejuvenated struggle for national independence and socialism.”

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Oppose Leinster House Consensus for Corporate Welfare

The establishment parties in Leinster House gathered yesterday [Tuesday] to debate a Fine Gael motion on corporation tax.

In the midst of the most severe assault on the living standards of the working class in the history of the Twenty-Six County state, a cosy consensus emerged in the corridors of power that business profits should be protected at all costs. Companies in the Twenty-Six Counties pay a scandalously low rate of corporation tax of just 12.5 per cent, with companies operating in the Irish Financial Services Centre charged a lower rate of just 10 per cent.

While the most vulnerable sections of Irish society, including the low paid and social welfare recipients; people with disabilities and the elderly face unprecedented savage cuts, the establishment parties were at one in supporting corporate welfare for private businesses.

In the same week that Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation [IBEC] publicly called for a cut in the minimum wage, which is currently just €8.65 [£7.30] per hour, their political representatives in Leinster House combined to protect the interests of the wealthiest and most cosseted sections of Irish society. The bosses are cynically using the current recession and the myth of competitiveness to drive down wages and working conditions, with workers being forced to bear the burden of the recession while bosses are permitted to maintain their profit margins.

Both multinational and native capitalists benefit from the low rate of corporation tax and, during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom, vast profits were made on the back of workers in Ireland; profits boosted by the low rate of corporation tax. IBEC spokesperson Danny McCoy has been a regular feature in the media, arguing that low paid workers should pay for the greed of his cohorts in the banks, while at the same time threatening a flight of capital if corporation tax is raised. There is no evidence to suggest that foreign companies will leave Ireland en masse if corporation tax is raised and the argument ignores the fact that native business also benefit from the 12.5 per cent rate. It is simple scaremongering in an attempt to keep workers cowed: threatening mass unemployment unless the insatiable demands of the corporate world are met.

While there has been much bleating and rhetoric from establishment parties in Leinster House about fighting the IMF, the same very same political parties shamefully bow down in the face of threats from native and multinational companies. The same parties failed to use the opportunity presented by the Fine Gael motion to, not only demand that corporations pay for a crisis of its own making, but also to demand an end to the numerous tax avoidance measures available to corporations.

These tax breaks include corporations being allowed tax write offs against losses; tax exemptions on dividends and distributions out of patent income and patent royalty income, the latter, according to a Twenty-Six County Department of Finance report in 2008, combined to cost the state €46 million [£39 million].

Corporations also benefit from the fact that there are no laws against transfer pricing [corporations operating in the Twenty Six Counties are allowed to declare profits at the low rate of 12.5 per cent through a transfer pricing mechanism] and can also avail of tax breaks on share dividends. Corporate welfare, it seems, knows no bounds.

During the debate on Fine Gael’s motion one political party representative chose to quote from Ireland’s greatest revolutionary leader James Connolly, yet, at the same time, he scandalously supported the continuation of the low rate of tax on corporate profits. As Connolly himself said: “A Socialist would have taught the workers to manfully take their destiny, politically and socially, into their own hands; [he would not have] taught them to whine for capitalists to come and exploit them.”

On the same day that establishment politicians in Ireland fought doggedly to protect corporate profits and promote the continuation of corporate welfare, the New York Times was reporting that US companies had just recorded record profits, at an annual rate of €1.659 trillion [£1.4 trillion], in the third quarter of this year. According to the report this is the highest figure recorded since the US government began keeping records over 60 years ago.

While the working class are being driven into penury and are carrying the burden of private banking losses, the business class is filing record profits. Yet the political establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties refuses to even countenance an increase in corporation tax! Where, oh where, is our James Connolly?

No doubt the corporate world is comforted by the fact that all of the political parties in Leinster House are dutifully defending the interests of capital. The lack of dissenting voices against corporate welfare demonstrates that opposition to the IMF/EU and Dublin government’s class war must come from the streets.

A fitting tribute to Ireland’s revolutionary leader James Connolly would be to follow his actions and not misappropriate his words in order to defend the capitalist system. Connolly was a revolutionary who believed in nothing less than the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist order. It is perhaps timely to recall his words and to take to streets in mass numbers this coming Saturday [November 27]:

“The capitalist, I say, is a parasite on industry; as useless in the present stage of our industrial development as any other parasite in the animal or vegetable world is to the life of the animal or vegetable upon which it feeds.

“The working class is the victim of this parasite – this human leech, and it is the duty and interest of the working class to use every means in its power to oust this parasite class from the position which enables it to thus prey upon the vitals of Labour.

“Therefore, I say, let us organise as a class to meet our masters and destroy their mastership; organise to drive them from their hold upon public life through their political power; organise to wrench from their robber clutch the land and workshops on and in which they enslave us; organise to cleanse our social life from the stain of social cannibalism, from the preying of man upon his fellow man.

“Organise for a full, free and happy life. For All Or For None. Speed The Day.”


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Belfast Honours Volunteers Black & Ryan

Around 150 people gathered in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery on Saturday afternoon [November 20] to mark the 19th anniversary of the deaths of IRA volunteers Patricia Black and Frank Ryan on active service.

Patricia and Frank were killed in an accidental explosion in England on November 15 1991.

Lenadoon woman and former St Genevieve’s Secondary School student Patricia was just 18 at the time of her death. Frank Ryan, who was born in England of Irish parents but later moved to Belfast, lived in Poleglass. Both are buried in Milltown Cemetery.

Saturday’s commemoration, which was organised by the Patricia Black Memorial Flute Band from Glasgow in conjunction with the Black family, included a wreath laying ceremony at the graves of both Patricia and Frank. éirígí’s Rab Jackson gave the oration.

Peter Black, Patricia’s brother, said the family was glad to see his sister being remembered nearly 20 years after her death.

“We as a family are immensely proud of Patricia’s contribution to the freedom struggle and we are honoured that so many republicans came out to commemorate both my sister and her comrade Frank Ryan.”

Peter added: “Patricia was an uncompromising opponent of British rule in Ireland and it is important that the younger generation are informed of the reasons why she and many others like her chose to become involved in struggle.”

Below is the speech which Rab Jackson delivered at the commemoration.

“Nearly 20 years have passed since the deaths of volunteers Patricia Black and Frank Ryan on active service.

“In that time, republicans have experienced much disappointment and turbulence, but those here at this commemoration today and many more people around Ireland have emerged from this period as committed to the struggle for the Socialist Republic as they ever were.

“Indeed, a new generation of young people has become attracted to republicanism. There is little doubt that many more will join the struggle in the time ahead as the economic meltdown wrecks the lives of working class people across the country.

“And it isn’t simply the traditional avenues of republicanism that people are becoming involved in. Through the language revival, sporting and other cultural activities, trade unionism, projects like the Volunteer Patricia Black Memorial Flute Band, many different community initiatives and éirígí, people are again building community pride and cohesion in working class republican areas.

“Our aim at this time must be to build support for the republican struggle in Belfast and further afield, to encourage people, young and old, to get involved in socialist republican politics and, just as importantly, to educate people about the sacrifice that Patricia, Frank and many, many people like them made in pursuance of their beliefs.

“It takes a special type of courage, diligence and ingenuity to be able to take the fight against oppression right into the power base of the oppressor. These are qualities which Patricia and Frank obviously possessed in abundance.

“This is why people like Patricia and Frank are perfect role models for young people in working class communities today. When their community was under attack, their country occupied and their neighbours exploited, oppressed and imprisoned, they didn’t look the other way or keep their heads down. They decided to take risks, to become involved in struggle because they valued the place where they were from and the people who they loved more than anything else.

“This is why it has been such an honour for me to be asked to speak at this commemoration today. I know I am not alone in extending solidarity to the Black and Ryan families and in pledging that the names of Frank and Patricia and the courage they displayed will never be forgotten. But in remembering our fallen volunteers, we must always keep our eyes fixed on what they died for and what remains to be struggled for and achieved.

“People in our communities today, whether that be in Belfast, Dublin, Derry or Cork are still told they are worthless by the great and the good, they are still seen as, at best, expendable and, at worst, suspect, by the people in power. Exploitation and poverty are still the fate of far too many people in working class areas of Belfast and elsewhere.

“However, if we can instill the pride that Patricia and Frank showed in their community, their class and their country then the struggle for national independence and socialism will reach a successful conclusion. Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.”

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Monday, 22 November 2010

Protest Against the Blood Budget

In response to the escalating economic and social crisis in the Twenty Six Counties éirígí is calling for mass public protests, a general strike and a campaign of civil disobedience. The 2011 Blood Budget and the wider neo-liberal agenda of the Dublin government, the IMF and the EU must be fiercely resisted by workers and communities everywhere. Join with éirígí at the protests above and make a stand for yourself, your family, your community and your country

Sunday, 21 November 2010

IMF Will Entrench the Economics of the Madhouse

Introducing the catastrophic €400 billion [£340 billion] blanket bank guarantee scheme in September 2008, Twenty-Six County finance minister Brian Lenihan was keen to offer reassurance to those genuinely fearful of the consequences of such economic recklessness.
“There is,” he intoned, “understandable concern that the exchequer is potentially significantly exposed by this measure. I want to reassure the House and the Irish people that this is not the case.” The arrival this week of International Monetary Fund representatives’ in Dublin amply demonstrates the hollowness of Lenihan’s reassurance.

This was the same minister who, at various points throughout this crisis, suggested that the economy had “turned the corner” was “on the road to recovery” and who offered further reassurances that the bank bailout was “the cheapest bailout in the world”. Reckless incompetence coupled with a stout defence of the interests of Fianna Fáil’s financial backers, the bankers and developers, has been the hallmark of Brian Lenihan’s tenure as minister of finance. It is an office that, in recent times, has seated some notable proponents of crony capitalism: Brian Cowen, Bertie Ahern and Charlie McCreevy.

Well, it seems now that the cheapest bailout in the world has not only cost the Twenty-Six County state over €50 billion [£43 billion] and rising, but has driven tens of thousands of workers onto dole queues, exposed its citizens to the vagaries of international financial markets and has now resulted in the state surrendering its sovereignty to the IMF.

Having already imposed swingeing cuts to the public sector, the Dublin government confirmed last week that it intended cutting a further €15 billion [£13 billion] from the Twenty-Six County economy over the next four years, with €6 billion [£5.1 billion] of these cuts to be implemented in next month’s budget. It is this slavish adherence to free market ideology which has created a deflationary spiral in the economy, resulting in massive unemployment, currently at 13 per cent, and once again raising the spectre of emigration.

In order to save the failed banking system and bail out bankers and property developers, the Dublin government intends driving tens of thousands of households into penury. The McCarthy Report, published in July last year, has provided the template for the Dublin government’s programme of cuts. Right-wing economist Colm McCarthy presented Leinster House with a wrecker’s charter that proposed the effective dismantling of the public sector, the imposition of savage pay cuts on public sector workers, swingeing cuts in social welfare payments, increases in taxes on low paid workers and the privatisation of state assets such as the ESB and Bord Gáis. It is a charter that will be grist to the mill of the IMF, an organisation well versed in the economics of the madhouse.

Originally established following the ending of the Second World War, the International Monetary Fund came about as part of the Bretton Woods Agreement, its primary role at that time to provide short-term loans to states experiencing funding shortages and to manage the gold-standard currency valuation system. However, in recent decades the IMF’s role has been to provide long-term loans primarily to developing countries in return for the enforcement of ‘market discipline’ on vulnerable economies.

Its neo-liberal mania has forced governments across the developing world to prioritise debt servicing and the imposition of savage public spending cuts and widespread privatisation. Its legacy has been the impoverishment of millions and the prising open of economies to allow vulture capitalists to profiteer from the sell-off of state assets.

The neo-liberal doctrine promoted by the IMF played a notorious role in the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s. The IMF encouraged developing economies in Asia to remove capital controls in the early 1990s, a decision which resulted in billions of dollars of speculative investment flowing into the Asian economies. However, when panic hit in the summer of 1997, the absence of barriers to capital control witnessed the outflow of approximately $100 billion from the economies of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea in a matter of weeks. The subsequent imposition of so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes, which enforced public spending cuts, resulted in spiralling unemployment and drove millions deeper into poverty.

In more recent times, the IMF has imposed severe austerity programmes in Europe. The €7.5 billion [£6.4 billion] loan offered to Latvia in 2008 was conditional on the imposition of a significant programme of cuts that included: 20 per cent public sector pay cuts, staff cuts of between 10 and 15 per cent in government departments, the closure of schools and hospitals and an increase in fees for third level education.

Earlier this year, Greece was forced to accept an IMF/EU loan of €110 billion [£94 billion], which again came with austerity measures attached. These measures included an increase in the age of retirement from 63 to 67, swingeing cuts to public spending and public sector pay, alongside the privatisation of public services and state assets. However, the imposition of this austerity programme has driven the Greek economy into a deep recession; it is estimated that the economy will contract by 4.2 per cent this year and by 3.0 per cent in 2011, while unemployment has soared to over 12 per cent. It is increasingly clear that the austerity medicine is actually killing the patient.

This is the scenario facing the population in the Twenty-Six Counties. However, it should be emphasised that the Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition and the so-called opposition parties in Leinster House are willing partners in the imposition of austerity measures; acquiescing in the EU demand for a reduction in the budget deficit to three per cent of GDP by 2014.

A consensus has been reached amongst the political establishment that the working class should shoulder the burden of a global capitalist crisis, one that has been exacerbated in Ireland by the decision to offer a blanket guarantee to the private banking sector. No amount of establishment hand wringing or wailing about the loss of sovereignty should diminish their culpability in the destruction of the economy and the impoverishment of the working class.

That said, the interference of the IMF into the affairs of the Twenty-Six County state is a serious development and should be resisted at all costs. It is an affront to democracy that this organisation, which has wrought misery and devastation upon nations across the globe, should be allowed dictate the affairs of a section of the Irish people. The IMF is an undemocratic and unaccountable enforcer of the neo-liberal doctrines of the small state, of deregulated markets and of privatisation. It has no constructive role to play in the affairs of the Irish people and will simply enhance the dictatorship of the markets.

While the IMF sets about driving the working class into penury, the rich in Ireland will be encouraged to invest their vast wealth into purchasing our public assets. The sell-off of state companies such as ESB will be encouraged by capitalist parasites such as Denis O’Brien, Michael Smurfit and Peter Sutherland, who will seek to make billions on the back of the privatisation of these state assets. There is no doubt but that the economic crisis and the IMF takeover will be used to create a further boon for the wealthy, an elite that continues to control wealth in excess of €120 billion [£103 billion].

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called a rally for Saturday, November 27. It is to be hoped that this is the beginning of a serious fight-back by the trade union movement in Ireland, whose leadership to date has failed utterly to respond to the establishment war being waged on the working class.

A sustained campaign of resistance is required to drive the IMF out of Ireland and Fianna Fáil out of office; to halt the planned savage programme of cuts and to appropriate the vast wealth currently in the hands of a tiny class of pilferers. The calling of a general strike by the trade union movement is a necessary step in commencing the fight back.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

éirígí & Sinn Féin to Debate Socialism

Daithí Mac An Mhaistír
Representatives from éirígí and Sinn Féin will debate the need for socialism in Ireland next week in an event hosted by a newly-formed student society in Queens University, Belfast.

Comhdháil Poblachtach [Republican Congress], which was formed in the university in September, has organised the debate, entitled Is the cure for Ireland’s ills a 32-county socialist republic?, in response to the economic crisis that is currently causing chaos in both the Six and Twenty-Six Counties.

Daithí Mac An Mhaistír from éirígí, who was prominently involved in the campaign against the Lisbon Treaty in the Twenty-Six Counties and international solidarity work, Sinn Féin’s Dublin chairperson Eoin Ó Broin, who is also the author of Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism, and other invited speakers will debate the topic.

Previous public meetings held by Comhdháil Poblachtach have included one on the nature of the Orange Order that was addressed by Garvaghy Road resident Breandán Mac Cionnaith and Lower Ormeau resident Gerard Rice, and another on Palestine that was addressed by the head of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Freda Hughes.

The meeting will place next Thursday [November 25] in the Holiday Inn, University Street, Belfast at 7pm.

Adhamh Ó hEarcáin, the chairperson Comhdháil Poblachtach encouraged as many people as possible to attend the debate.

“Since Comhdháil Poblachtach was established in September, we have attempted to stimulate popular debate on a range of issues that are important to working class people in Ireland and beyond. The attendance at our meetings so far has demonstrated that the demand is there for such debate,” O hEarcain said.

“At this time of economic crisis, we think it is important that people are exploring alternatives to a capitalist system that has failed so drastically. To this end, we have invited éirígí, Sinn Féin and others to address a public meeting on the possibility of a socialist republic in Ireland.”

Ó hEarcáin continued: “We are well aware that éirígí and Sinn Féin may share different opinions on how to respond to the economic crisis and, ultimately, on how to replace the system that created it and this should make for a lively and informative debate. Participation from the audience will be encouraged.

“Anyone who is free next Thursday night should get along to the Holiday Inn and debate the possibilities for the future in Ireland


Thursday, 4 November 2010

éirígí Slams Spin, Lies & Censorship

éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír has slammed the misrepresentation of yesterday’s [Wednesday] student-led demonstration in Dublin.

Around 25,000 people took to the streets of the capital yesterday to protest against the possibility of the reintroduction of fees for third level education in December’s Twenty-Six County budget.

Mac An Mhaistír said: “The coverage of yesterday’s demonstration and the comments of many prominent individuals have completely ignored the violent actions of the Garda, of which there is plentiful evidence.

“Blood flowed on the streets of Dublin yesterday as a result of Garda baton charges, yet the corporate media and establishment politicians have chosen to focus solely on the actions and alleged actions of students.

“What we witnessed in Dublin was the complete inability of the Garda, particularly its Public Order Unit, to deal with any form of protest that is not completely submissive. This has been seen before, in Rossport and elsewhere, where acts of peaceful civil disobedience have been met with violence on the part of the Gardaí.”

Mac An Mhaistír also dismissed claims that éirígí was somehow involved in ‘hijacking’ yesterday’s demonstration.

“éirígí activists, among them students and people from the teaching profession, took part in yesterday’s demonstration as an act of solidarity and in support of the demands for a free and fair education system. To suggest otherwise is a ludicrous act of scaremongering and one that is completely without foundation.”

Mac An Mhaistír continued: “Education, including further and third level education, is a right that should be universally available to all citizens free of charge. The reintroduction of fees, even means tested ones, would be a regressive step towards an education system that, at its higher echelons, provides only for the wealthy in society. This cannot be allowed to happen.”


Don’t Be Intimidated by Garda Brutality

Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has condemned this afternoon’s [Wednesday] Garda assault on a student-led protest in Dublin.

More than 25,000 people marched through Dublin city centre at lunchtime today in protest against the possibility of the reintroduction of fees for third level education in the upcoming Twenty-Six County budget.

In response to the peaceful demonstration, which was attended by a number of éirígí activists, Gardaí unleashed baton charges, injuring a number of people.

Leeson said: “Today's vicious assault on peaceful protestors exposes the reality of the Twenty-Six County state's attitude towards those who are suffering as a result of the economic crisis.

“When faced with legitimate, peaceful opposition to its right-wing policies, the Dublin government inevitably unleashes violence to protect its interests.”

Leeson continued: “Those who took to the streets today are to be commended for taking the initiative in opposing the anti-social program of the Twenty-Six County government.

“People should not allow themselves to be intimidated by this disgraceful use of brute force. In the run up to the Dublin government’s blood budget in December, it is imperative that tens of thousands of workers, students, unemployed people and every citizen who is being hit hard by the economic crisis takes to the streets.

“This Thatcherite government needs to be forced from power by the determined action of a united and angry populace.”

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Sunday, 31 October 2010

éirígí Protest Against PSNI Harassment in Newry

Over 40 republicans took to the streets of Newry yesterday [Saturday] to protest against PSNI harassment in the city.

The protest was organised by éirígí in response to a dramatic upsurge in Crown Forces harassment directed towards party activists in the area in recent months. The harassment has included house raids, stop and searches and, more recently, threats and assaults.

The protesters gathered at Ardmore barracks in Newry, where they erected a banner on the fortified sangar situated at the front of the militarised base. They then proceeded to paste posters exposing the unchanged nature of British policing in the Six Counties on the front wall of the barracks.

For the duration of the protest, those in attendance were kept under constant surveillance by the political police, who filmed and videoed the protesters and even went to the lengths of recording the registration numbers of passing motorists who beeped their horns in support.

As the protest was drawing to a close, embarrassed PSNI officers began attempting to tear down the éirígí posters, demonstrating yet again the political priorities of the force.

Speaking after the protest, rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith thanked all those who attended.

“At a time when the PSNI's intimidation tactics in Newry and elsewhere are going into overdrive, those who took the bold step of attending the Ardmore protest are to be commended,” MacCionnaith said.

“Newry republicans have sent out a strong message that they will not sit back and be intimidated by state sponsored thugs. They will resist this harassment with the support of republicans from across Ireland.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “The task now for republicans and socialists is to spread the message far and wide that the PSNI, like its RUC soulmate before it, is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

“éirígí will continued to stand firm against PSNI harassment. It will take a lot more than the petty tactics of this discredited force to prevent us carrying out our work.”

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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Egyptian Arch Ambush

Sunday, December 12 marks the 90th Anniversary of the Egyptian Arch ambush in which three IRA volunteers, William Canning, Peter Shields and John Francis O’Hare, lost their lives.

The plan was to attack the RIC barracks in Camlough and launch an ambush aimed at Crown Forces reinforcements coming from Newry, who would have to pass under the Arch.

The proximity of the Egyptian Arch to the main garrison town of Newry presented some difficulty to the Newry volunteers from the IRA's 2nd Battalion – to block the road too early would arouse the enemy's attention. So, just as the attack on the Camlough barracks was about to begin, the Newry volunteers quickly cut down the fir trees on either side of the railway embankment and made a roadblock under the arch, cutting the main road that the Crown Forces from the Newry garrison would need if they were to reach Camlough quickly. When the volunteers had finished blocking the road, they moved into firing positions on top of the Arch and waited.

At 11.30pm on Sunday, December 12, a large number of IRA volunteers, estimated at about 200 men from the Camlough and south Armagh area, moved into firing positions around the barracks. The volunteers had commandeered three of the four small houses opposite the barracks and quickly taken up positions at the upstairs windows. About eight volunteers armed with rifles and hand grenades moved into position behind a low wall about eight feet from the barracks on the southern side. On the northern side, the volunteers had the most dangerous part of the operation. They had to insert a long gas pipe through an upstairs window in the barracks. The volunteers at this position were Frank Aiken, the officer in charge of the attack, Tommy O'Neill, the Camlough Battalion OC and Jack McIlhaw. At the western side of the barracks, it was not necessary to have any volunteers as there were no windows.

When all the IRA volunteers had taken up their positions at about midnight, the attack was started with the noise of the pipe breaking the window. This alerted the garrison, who immediately opened fire on the volunteers and sent up flares which lit up the whole area. A fierce volley of rifle fire was directed at the windows of the barrack to pin down any RIC men.The British military garrison in Newry had seen the flares and a large force of 39 British soldiers and RIC personnel in Crossley Tenders and cars were sent to reinforce the Camlough garrison. When the military lorries reached the roadblock under the Egyptian Arch the volunteers on top who had taken up their positions earlier dropped grenades on the Crossley Tenders – two or three found their target but were thrown out before they could explode. Others exploded on the road. As the British soldiers and RIC ran for cover in the fields on either side of the Arch, the volunteers opened up with a fusillade of revolver fire. A British soldier from one of the tenders at once opened fire with a machine gun, raking the top of the Arch. Volunteer William Canning from Ballymaclare, Magilligan's Point in County Derry, who was employed by Cahill Brothers in Hill Street, Newry, was hit in the throat and head and died instantly. It was later admitted by the RIC that his body was thrown from the top of the Arch as "it was the quickest way to get it down".

As the IRA unit was withdrawing, volunteer John Francis O'Hare from Needham Street, Newry, employed as a bookkeeper in Quinn's the Milestone, Hill Street, was badly wounded and captured. He was taken to a British military hospital and kept there until July 15 1921. He died from his wounds on October 5 1921. Also badly wounded in the withdrawal was volunteer Peter Shields from John Martin Street, but his comrades managed to help him to safety. He was taken to a shepherd's hut outside Omeath for a while and then moved on to the Alexian Brothers. Shields died from his wounds on Christmas Day 1920 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Omeath After the volunteers had withdrawn from their positions on top of the Arch, the British army and RIC cleared the roadblock and went on to Camlough where they started raids and reprisals. Over half the village was burned that night.

In December, éirígí will be holding a number of events to commemorate this historic incident. The main event will include the unveiling of a memorial plaque, to be situated at the base of the Arch. This will be a fitting temporary tribute to the brave volunteers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Irish freedom until the permanent tribute of a 32 County Socialist Republic is achieved.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Protest Against PSNI Harassment in Newry

Over the past number of weeks, as reported by éirígí, there has been a notable upsurge in PSNI harassment being directed towards activists from the party in the Newry area.
Many other republicans and nationalists have also found themselves on the receiving end of Crown Forces intimidation and violence in the city during the same period.

This harassment has come in many forms, from house raids to stop and searches, from threats of arrest to vicious assaults. It’s now time take a stand and resist this intimidation.

It’s clear that éirígí activists are being targeted because of an increase in their political activity and due to the party’s steady growth in the Newry area. This is a clear cut example of political policing in action.

While those in positions of power remain silent, éirígí is calling on ordinary people to join us in protest – to highlight, oppose and expose the unchanged nature of the paramilitary police force in the Six Counties.

éirígí will be holding a demonstration at Ardmore PSNI barracks on the Belfast Road, Newry this Saturday [October 30] at 2pm. Bígí Linn.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Protest Against PSNI Harassment

Protest against PSNI harassment
Organised by éirígí
Saturday 30th October
Ardmore PSNI barracks, Belfast Road, Newry, 2pm

For Your Future, For Your Class, For Your Community – Act Now

Osborne gets a pat on the back for his dirty workThat, on the day an ailing Margaret Thatcher was being treated in a private hospital, British Tory chancellor George Osborne was rising at Westminster to wield his ideological axe was highly ironic.

While the woman who wreaked such bloodshed and destruction in occupied Ireland, in British mining communities, in the Malvinas and elsewhere is weak in body, her hateful policies are very much alive and well in the halls of power in Westminster, Leinster House and Britain’s papier-mâché parliament at Stormont.

While British New Labour adopted Thatcherism by stealth, leading the woman herself to claim that party’s reincarnation as her greatest achievement, the current British Tory-Liberal Democrat government has no such qualms about being publicly Thatcherite in its policies.

Osborne & Co have set out a plan that will cripple public services, leave millions in poverty and working class communities in despair.

Among the most significant points of what the British government labeled its ‘spending review’ are: nearly 500,000 public sector jobs to be axed across the British state; an average 19 per cent four-year cut in departmental budgets; £7 billion [€7.9 billion] in additional welfare budget cuts; the retirement age to rise to 66 by 2020, which will impact particularly on low-paid workers who start work earlier in life; the increase of the NHS budget by just 0.4 per cent is de facto the biggest cut since the early 1980s.

In terms of the Six Counties, these cuts translate into: a £4 billion [€4.5 billion] cut in public expenditure over four years, which is effectively a 40 per cent cut in the British government’s subvention; the loss of up to 30,000 public sector jobs, which it is estimated will consequently cost 16,000 jobs in the private sector; the education sector, the health service and social housing will all be hit hard by the mass withdrawal of public money.

The alleged opposition of the establishment parties at Stormont to these viscous attacks on working class people amounts to posturing of the weakest kind. While they have described Osborne’s proposals as “unacceptable”, the reality is that their policy of appealing to the better instincts of a British Tory government has failed completely. A British Tory government does not possess ‘better instincts’ when it comes to dealing with Irish people or workers.

Indeed, some Stormont politicians who should know better had the audacity to feign hurt and offence at the “broken promises” of the British government in relation to what capital it was going to provide in the Six Counties. Any politician, particularly one who claims to oppose Britain’s presence in Ireland, who takes a British government at its word is guilty of breathtaking naivety.

Stormont first minister Peter Robinson and his deputy Martin McGuinness weren’t even in the country to lend their desperate howl of opposition to the British government’s financial holocaust. Instead, they were out with their begging bowl in Washington, seeking the benevolence of another imperial power due to the miserly attitude of the British one.

Britain’s Stormont administrators have two choices in the face of Osborne’s announcement: they can either implement the cuts or they can resign and let the British government do its own dirty work. They can no longer claim the role of opposition while dutifully carrying out the role that Britain designed for them – that of local administrators.

The chances of these establishment politicians doing the right thing and resigning is next to none; they have invested too much of their careers and credibilities in a ridiculous set-up they like to pretend is a real government.

Therefore, it falls on working people to do both the right thing and the only viable thing according to their interests – to actively oppose these cuts and the politicians, both native and foreign, who will implement them. This is the alternative, the only alternative, to meekly bowing down in the face of upper-class Tory ministers whose sole aim is to protect the interests and wealth of the business class.

Starting this Saturday [October 23] in Belfast, people must take to the streets and make it powerfully clear that anyone who dares to implement these cuts is signing their political death warrant.

Public sector workers, the low-paid, the unemployed, community workers, young people, pensioners – everyone who stands to lose in this crisis has a role to play in fighting for a future without poverty and greed.

This is our last chance to ensure that the hateful legacy of Margaret Thatcher and her disciples dies with her – grab it with both hands.

The Irish Congress of Trade Union’s march and rally against the cuts will assemble at the University of Ulster Arts College, Belfast city centre at 12.30pm on Saturday [October 23]. Bígí Linn.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Free Ahmad Sa’adat!

Last Wednesday [October 13] witnessed a number of actions across Ireland in support of the jailed Palestinian revolutionary Ahmad Sa’adat.

Members of éirígí in Dublin mobilised in response to the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat’s call for global days of action in solidarity with Sa’adat. Solidarity events under the auspices of the campaign were planned to occur around the world between October 5 and 15.

Members of éirígí, through their actions, brought the case of the general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] not only to the ordinary people of Ireland but to the doorstep of the Israeli Embassy in Dublin also.

Ahmad Sa’adat has now been in prison for the last eight-and-a-half years, over 600 days of which he has spent in solitary confinement. Sa’adat has spent at least five other periods in prison because of his involvement in the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Palestine.

Sa’adat, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was attending a meeting with Palestinian Authority security officials on January 15 2002, when they abducted him at the behest of the zionist state and imprisoned him in the Muqata’a compound in Ramallah, later transferring him to Jericho.

In March 2006, with Sa’adat having been interned without charge or trial for over four years, the Israeli army laid siege to Jericho for 12 hours. In the siege, two Palestinian prisoners were killed and Sa’adat and five comrades were kidnapped and transferred to Israeli prisons.

Israel finally tried Sa’adat and, on December 25 2008, sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment. He was convicted of membership of a prohibited organisation [the PFLP], holding a post in a prohibited organisation, and incitement, for a speech he gave following the zionist assassination of his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa, in August 2001.

At the protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin, members of éirígí, bearing PFLP flags and a banner inscribed with the words Free Ahmad Sa’adat – End the Occupation of Palestine were warmly received by passing members of the public. As always, the Garda were on hand to try and save the blushes of the zionists, harassing the activists as they brought details of Sa’adat’s plight to the public’s attention.

At the protest, éirígí’s Daithí Mac an Mhaistír said: “éirígí is fully supportive of the campaign to free Ahmad Sa’adat. It is very apparent from the support we have received here today that Palestine and its people have many friends in Dublin. We take this opportunity to call on all other progressive organisations in Ireland to get involved in the struggle not only for his liberation, but for the liberation of all of Palestine on a secular and socialist basis. It is for his stand on the issue of socialist revolution that Ahmad Sa’adat is being tortured in an Israeli prison this very day.

“Judging by the reaction both of Israeli Embassy staff and the police, it is very apparent also that the powers-that-be fear what Ahmad Sa’adat and the revolutionary socialist politics of the PFLP represent. The harassment of éirígí members was designed to try and force us to call off the protest in an attempt to stop that message getting to the people of Dublin.

“They were not successful nor will they ever be, for, as Bobby Sands once said, ‘you cannot put a noose around the neck of an idea’. As much as the forces of reaction would wish it to be otherwise, we will never give up highlighting and opposing the crime of the zionist occupation of Palestine – given its intimate connection with the question of imperialism generally. As Ahmad Sa’adat himself has said, ‘we are not going to surrender. We are going to face our destiny with courage’.”

Other actions included the holding of an information stall at the General Post Office in Dublin’s O’Connell Street. As was the case at the embassy protest, éirígí members were monitored by at least one Israeli official as they distributed thousands of leaflets detailing Sa’adat’s case. A petition demanding his release was also signed by many passing members of the public.

Posters demanding Sa’adat’s release were also erected in many locations across the capital.

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Sunday, 17 October 2010

PSNI Assault Newry Republican

The actions of the PSNI in Newry have taken a sinister and worrying twist as they have now resorted to violence in an attempt to intimidate and harass local republicans.

The latest in a long line of incidents occurred on Saturday night [October 16] as the victim, a lifelong republican, made his way home. Once he reached what should have been the safety of his home, the PSNI immediately sped into the street.

Calling him by his name, they proceeded to assault the republican and threw him against the PSNI car, they then arrested him and took him to Banbridge. Once at the barracks, he was again assaulted and was held there until today [Sunday].

Ironically, an hour before this incident, the victim, a number of whose relatives are éirígí activists, had confided to friends that he had noticed an upsurge in harassment being directed towards him. He told his friends that he felt that it would get worse. Little did he know that, shortly afterwards, he would be on the receiving end of PSNI violence outside his own home.

éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith said: "Just a few days ago, éirígí highlighted the upsurge in PSNI harassment in Newry, with stop and searches being carried out on a routine basis, threats of arrest, house raids and, now, we can add assaults to the list.

"While constitutional nationalist politicians might try to claim that there has been a sea-change in policing in the Six Counties, the reality of ongoing repressive tactics on the ground belies the harsh truth that little has changed. People in working-class communities across the North are only too aware of that fact."