Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Resist the Tory/Stormont Cuts

With savage cuts on public services on the way, éirígí are urging people to fight back and build opposition to the inevitable onslaught. As the British Tory government prepares to introduce widespread cuts to public sector services, Stormont will dutifully follow suit through ‘modernisation agendas’, ‘health service streamlining’ and ‘investment incentives’

éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said: “At a time when many people and communities are already suffering severe hardship, if these cuts are implemented it would make matters much worse. These cuts will leave working class people bereft of adequate healthcare provision, access to quality education and denied the community infrastructure and resources it took so long to build. “

“In the Newry area, those cuts have already resulted in a serious lack of social housing. The far-reaching impact of that social housing shortage can be seen locally through the fact that, last year, Newry was chosen to “pilot” a private landlords scheme – further proof of Stormont’s underlying agenda to privatise public services.”

“Also In the Newry and Mourne area, official statistics show that there are now roughly 3,722 people, or 5.9% of the population, currently unemployed. However, if one adds in the “hidden” unemployed who are locally seeking work but don’t meet JSA criteria, then the figure for the Newry and Mourne area rises to almost 6,000 people looking for work. Young people are being particularly hard-hit with up to 30% of the total unemployed aged under twenty-five.”

Murney continued: “The policies being pursued by the Stormont executive will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has observed the impotence of that body since its establishment. Stormont’s economic agenda is clearly designed in Britain and implemented without question by the establishment parties in the Six County executive.”

“People need to remember that it will be the Stormont parties who will be enforcing these cuts upon us at the behest of the British government. Some Stormont politicians claim to have our best interests at heart and claim to be opposed to the cuts yet they will be the very people enforcing them. They need to be resisted and opposed.

“The reality for people in the Six Counties will be a massive, negative impact on housing, employment, health and social services, continued community disintegration and housing shortages, and reduced services for the ill and vulnerable. Stormont won’t be able to provide any alternative.”

“If the establishment parties in Stormont particularly those who claim to be left-wing, genuinely care about the already deprived communities and are 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.”

Stephen concluded “For our part, éirígí will stand shoulder to shoulder with the working class people and disadvantaged communities who will be on the receiving end of these vicious attacks. Stormont and those who inhabit it can provide no answers to the problems facing working class people. “

“They have failed miserably and this is clear proof that Stormont isn’t working.”

Thursday, 24 March 2011

éirígí Newry: Oppose Royal Visit

éirígí in Newry are asking local people to mobilise in protest against the upcoming state visit to the Twenty-six counties by the head of the British state and commander-in-chief of the British armed forces, Elizabeth Windsor, in May.

éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said: “Some commentators are treating this visit as if it is some sort of celebrity affair. This visit is a clear attempt to normalise relations between Ireland and Britain and copper fasten the ongoing occupation. Our society is far from normal and won’t be normal until the occupation ends”

“If this visit went unopposed it would be disastrous and would give the illusion that the cause of conflict in Ireland no longer exists, and that isn’t an option for Irish Republicans.”

“The basic necessities of being a socialist republican means actively opposing the ongoing occupation, British imperialism and monarchy in all its forms. Given the fact that Mrs Windsor is the head of the British state that continues to occupy 6 Irish counties and is also the figurehead for British troops who maintain that occupation are the main reasons why we are calling for people from Newry and indeed all over Ireland to mobilise in protest at the visit”

Murney added: “Unlike others, éirígí certainly won’t be shying away from our duty to vigorously oppose this visit and we encourage all republicans, socialists and other progressives to do likewise. We will assist with getting people down to protest in any way we can"

”Let’s give Windsor the only welcome she deserves.......a hostile one!”

Monday, 21 March 2011

PSNI Harassment: Did Someone Mention Manners?

Despite éirígí continually highlighting and exposing a relentless campaign of PSNI harassment in Newry it seems there is no end in sight for local republicans.
On Friday night [March 18], a republican activist, who happens to be a supporter of éirígí, was walking in the centre of Newry when he was surrounded by the PSNI in three cars and an armoured landrover. The heavily armed officers decamped from their vehicles and proceeded to detain and question the activist under section 24 of the British government’s Justice and Security Act.

They held the young man for over half an hour before allowing him to continue on his way.

The activist in question has been stopped and searched roughly sixteen times since January, during these incidents he has been assaulted, arrested and threatened. On one occasion, the PSNI unsuccessfully attempted to recruit him as an informer.

All these incidents have been logged with the victims’ solicitor.

The following night éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney along with two friends suffered a similar ordeal.

éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said: “Myself and 2 friends were stopped and searched under section 24 on Saturday night [March 19]. I was threatened with arrest after I gave my details, they claimed they weren’t the right details despite the fact that I have been stopped on numerous occasions. We were then searched for ‘ammunition, transmitters and wireless apparatus’.

“My Two friends were each given a blue search record slip, but I was handed a small card and told to present myself to the barracks. One of my friends asked why was I getting one of those and not a blue slip the officer replied, “because he’s special.” I believe they are issuing these generic cards in an attempt to isolate republicans in the confines of a barracks.

“Then as a parting shot one of the officers said that we ‘better get used to it because we’ll be seeing them a lot more often’. If anything, the levels of PSNI harassment and intimidation have got worse in recent times. Where is the accountability we were promised? Where are the manners we were told would be put on this force? Judging by the harassment that has taken place this weekend, it’s getting to the stage where local republicans are unable to venture into the centre of their own city.

“Given that these experienced human-rights abusers maintain all the apparatus of counter-insurgency at their disposal, including tens of thousands of plastic bullets, access to draconian legislation and CS gas, the nationalist and republican population should treat them with nothing but the hostility they deserve.

“In the past few weeks, éirígí in Newry has been inundated with complaints from people who are being harassed and intimidated by these thugs in uniform on a regular basis. It’s clear that the reason these victims are coming to éirígí for assistance is because they know that constitutional parties are unable or unwilling to speak out against it and can do nothing about it.”

Murney added: “We again call on the constitutional nationalist parties to withdraw their support for this unaccountable force. The function of any police force is to uphold the legitimacy and authority of the state it operates in, it is ridiculous to be of the opinion that any involvement in British policing structures will change that.

“éirígí will continue to stand up for the victims of these human-rights abusers and to campaign against political policing.

“The repressive actions of the PSNI are constantly proving that éirígí’s analysis of British policing in Ireland is correct.”


NATO, War, Lies and Business:The US Concern in Libya has Never Been About Human Rights

In his latest reflections on the situation in Libya, Fidel Castro highlights the real reason for foreign military interference in the country and the utter hypocrisy of the imperialist powers. Read on...
As some may be aware, in September of 1969, Muammar al-Gaddafi, an Arab Bedouin soldier of a peculiar character and inspired by the ideas of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, promoted in the heart of the armed forces a movement overthrowing King Idris I of Libya, a country almost completely covered by desert and having very little population, located in northern Africa between Tunisia and Egypt.

Libya’s important valuable energy resources were progressively being discovered.

Born to a tribal Bedouin family of nomadic desert shepherds in the region of Tripoli, Gaddafi was profoundly anti-colonialist. It is affirmed that his paternal grandfather died fighting against the Italian invaders when Libya was invaded by them in 1911. The colonial regime and fascism changed everyone’s lives. It is also said that his father was imprisoned rather than make his living as an industrial worker.

Even Gaddafi’s adversaries assure us that he stood out for his intelligence as a student; he was expelled from high-school for his anti-monarchic activities. He managed to enroll in another high-school and later graduated in law at the University of Benghazi at the age of 21. Then he enrolled in the Benghazi Military College where he created what was called the Secret Unionist Movement of Free Officers, concluding his education later on in a British military academy.

This background explains the notable influence he wielded afterwards in Libya and on other political leaders, whether today they are pro-Gaddafi or not.

He had begun his political life with events that were without question, revolutionary.

In March of 1970, after massive nationalist demonstrations, he managed to have British soldiers evacuated from the country and in June, the United States vacated the great air base near Tripoli, handing it over to military instructors from Egypt, a Libyan ally.

In 1970, several western oil companies and banking companies having the participation of foreign capital were affected by the Revolution. At the end of 1971, the famous British Petroleum had the same fate. In the agricultural sector, all Italian properties were confiscated, and the colonists and their descendents were expelled from Libya.

State intervention was directed to the control of the great companies. Production in that country came to enjoy one of the highest levels in the Arab world. Gambling and the drinking of alcohol were prohibited. The traditionally limited legal status of women was improved.

The Libyan leader got involved in extremist theories that were opposed both to communism and capitalism. It was a stage when Gaddafi dedicated himself to theorizing, something that doesn’t have any place in this analysis, other than to point out that the first article of the Constitutional Proclamation of 1969 established the “Socialist” nature of the Great Socialist People’s Libya Arab Jamahiriya.

What I wish to emphasize is that the United States and its allies were never interested in human rights.

The hornet’s nest taking place in the Security Council, at the meeting of the Human Rights Council at the Geneva headquarters and in the UN General Assembly in New York was pure theatre.

I completely understand the reactions of the political leaders involved in so many contradictions and sterile debate, given the tangled web of interests and problems they must look after.

We all know very well that the character of permanent member, the power of veto, the possession of nuclear weapons and quite a few institutions are sources of privileges and interests imposed by force onto humankind. One can agree or not with many of them, but one can never accept them as fair or ethical measures.

The empire now wants to see events revolve around what Gaddafi may or may not have done, because it needs to intervene militarily in Libya and strike a blow at the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world. Up to now, not one word was said; they kept their mouths shut and carried on with business.

With the latent Libyan rebellion being promoted by Yankee intelligence, or by Gaddafi’s own errors, it is important that the people don’t let themselves be deceived, since very soon world opinion shall have enough elements to know what to expect.

In my opinion, and that’s what I said from the very first instant, we must denounce NATO’s war-mongering plans.

Like many Third World countries, Libya is a member of NAM, the Group of 77 and other international organizations, through which relations are established separately from its economic and social system.

As an outline: the Revolution in Cuba, inspired by Marxist-Leninist principles and those of Marti, had triumphed in 1959, 90 miles away from the United States which imposed on us the Platt Amendment and owned the economy of our country.

Almost immediately, the empire promoted the dirty war against our people, counter-revolutionary gangs, the criminal economic blockade, the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, watched over by an aircraft carrier and their Marines ready to land if the mercenaries were to gain determinate objectives.

Just a year and a half later, they threatened us with their nuclear arsenal. A nuclear war was on the point of breaking out.

All the Latin American countries, with the exception of Mexico, took part in the criminal blockade which is still in place today, with our country never surrendering. It is important to be reminded of this, for those lacking historical memory.

In January of 1986, using the idea that Libya was behind the so-called revolutionary terrorism, Reagan ordered economic and commercial relations with that country to be broken.

In March, a force of aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Sidra, inside what is considered to be Libyan national waters, launched attacks that caused the destruction of several naval units armed with missile launchers and coastal radar systems that that country had acquired in the USSR.

On April 5th, a Berlin disco that US soldiers went to was the victim of plastic explosives; three persons died, two of them American soldiers, and many were wounded.

Reagan accused Gaddafi and ordered the Air Force to retaliate. Three squadrons took off from the Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers and bases in the United Kingdom, attacking seven military targets in Tripoli and Benghazi with missiles and bombs. Around 40 people died, 15 of them civilians. Warned of the bombers’ advance, Gaddafi assembled his family and was abandoning his residence located at the Bab Al Aziziya military complex to the south of the capital. The evacuation was in progress when a missile made a direct hit on his residence; his daughter Hanna died and two other children were wounded. The occurrence was broadly condemned: the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning violation of the UN Charter and International law. So did NAM, the Arab League and the OAU, in energetic terms.

On December 21, 1988, a Pan Am Boeing 747 flying from London to New York disintegrated in mid-air after a bomb exploded; the remains of the plane fell over Lockerbie and the tragedy tolled 270 lives, of 21 nationalities.

At first the US government suspected Iran acting in retaliation for the death of 200 persons in the downing of an airbus from its state airline. According to the Yankees, investigations implicated two Libyan intelligence agents. Similar imputations against Libya were made for a French airliner on the Brazzaville-N’Djamena-Paris route, implicating Libyan officials that Gaddafi refused to extradite, for facts he categorically denied.

A sinister legend was fabricated against him with the participation of Reagan and Bush Sr.

From 1975 up to the final stage of the Reagan government, Cuba had devoted itself to its internationalist duties in Angola and other African countries. We were aware of the conflicts developing in Libya, or around it, because of reading material or eye-witness accounts written by people who were closely connected to that country and the Arab world, as well as because of the impressions we had about various personalities from different countries with whom we had been in touch during those years.

Many well-known African leaders with whom Gaddafi had close ties tried to seek solutions for the tense relations between Libya and the United Kingdom.

The Security Council had imposed sanctions on Libya that were starting to be overcome when Gaddafi accepted to put the two people accused for the plane downed over Scotland on trial, with certain conditions.

Libyan delegations began to be invited to inter-European meetings. In July of 1999, London initiated the re-establishing of full diplomatic relations with Libya, after some additional concessions.

In September of that year, the European Union ministers accepted withdrawing the restrictive measures on commerce that had been taken in 1992.

On December 2nd, Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema of Italy made the first visit of a European head of government to Libya.

With the USSR and the European Socialist bloc gone, Gaddafi decided to accept the demands of the United States and NATO.

When I visited Libya in May of 2001, he showed me the ruins caused by the traitorous attack with which Reagan had killed his daughter and had been on the point of exterminating his entire family.

At the beginning of 2002, the State Department informed that diplomatic talks were going on between the US and Libya.

In May, Libya had been included again on the list of states sponsoring terrorism even though, in January, President George W. Bush had not mentioned the African country in his famous speech on the members of the “axis of evil”.

As 2003 began, because of the economic agreement on the compensations reached between Libya and the suing countries, the United Kingdom and France, the UN Security Council lifted the 1992 sanctions against Libya.

Before 2003 drew to a close, Bush and Tony Blair informed about an agreement with Libya, a country that had handed over to United Kingdom and Washington intelligence experts documentation on the non-conventional weapons programs such as ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometres. Officials from both countries had already visited various installations. It was the result of many months of talks between Tripoli and Washington as Bush himself revealed.

Gaddafi fulfilled his promises of disarmament. In a few months Libya handed over five units of Scud-C missiles with a range of 800 kilometres and the hundreds of Scud-Bs whose range surpassed the 300 kilometres for short-range defensive missiles.

From October of 2002, the marathon of visits to Tripoli began: Berlusconi in October of 2002; José María Aznar in September of 2003; Berlusconi again in February, August and October of 2004; Blair in March of 2004; Germany’s Schröeder in October of that year; Jacques Chirac in November of 2004. Everybody was happy. Mr. Money is a powerful gentleman.

Gaddafi triumphantly toured Europe. He was received in Brussels in April of 2004 by Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission; in August of that year the Libyan leader invited Bush to visit his country; Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco and Conoco Philips finalized the re-establishing of extracting crude by means of joint ventures.

In May of 2006, the United States announced the withdrawal of Libya from the list of terrorist countries and the establishment of full diplomatic relations.

In 2006 and 2007, France and the US signed agreements for nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes; in May of 2007, Blair once again visited Gaddafi at Sidra. BP signed an “enormously important” agreement according to statements, in order to explore for gas fields.

In December of 2007, Gaddafi made two visits to France and signed contracts for military and civilian equipment for the total of 10 billion Euros; and a visit to Spain where he met with President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Million-dollar contracts were signed with important NATO countries.

What is it that has now caused the precipitated withdrawal from the embassies of the United States and the other NATO members?

It’s all extremely odd.

George W. Bush, father of the stupid anti-terrorism war, stated on September 20 of 2001 to the West Point cadets that:

Our security will require [...] transforming the military you will lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment of notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and [...]our lives.

We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries[...]Along with our friends and allies, we must oppose proliferation and confront regimes that sponsor terror, as each case requires.

What will Obama think about that speech?

What sanctions will the Security Council impose on those who killed more than a million civilians in Iraq and on those who every day are killing men, women and children in Afghanistan, where in recent days the enflamed population thronged into the streets to protest the massacre of innocent children?

An AFP dispatch from Kabul, dated today on March 9th, reveals that:

“Last year was the most deadly for civilians in nine years of war between the Taliban and international forces in Afghanistan, with almost 2,800 dead, 15% more than in 2009, a UN report indicated on Wednesday, underlining the human cost of the conflict for the population.”

“…the Taliban insurrection intensified and gained ground these last few years, with guerrilla actions further from its traditions bastions to the south and east.”

“With exactly 2,777 the number of civilian deaths in 2010 increased 15% as compared to 2009, indicates the annual joint report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan...”

“President Barack Obama stated on the 3rd of March his "profound condolences" to the Afghan people for the nine dead children; US General David Petraeus, commander in chief of the ISAF and Secretary of the Defence Robert Gates made similar statements.”

“…the UNAMA report emphasizes that the number of civilian dead in 2010 is four times greater than the number of international forces soldiers killed in combat in that same year.

“The year 2010 has been by far the most deadly year for foreign soldiers in nine years of war, with 711 dead, confirming that the Taliban guerrilla has intensified despite the sending of 30,000 US reinforcements last year.”

For 10 days, in Geneva and in the UN more than 150 speeches were made about violations on human rights that were repeated millions of times by TV, radio, Internet and the printed press.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez, in his speech on March 1st before the Foreign Ministers meeting in Geneva, stated:

“Human conscience rejects the deaths of innocent people in any circumstance and in any place. Cuba fully shares world concern for the losses in civilian lives in Libya and wishes that their people attain a peaceful and sovereign solution to the civil war happening over there, without any foreign interference, and ensuring the integrity of that nation.”

Some of the final paragraphs of his speech were noteworthy:

“If essential human rights are a right of life, is the Council ready to suspend the membership of states that unleash war?”

“Will it suspend states that finance and supply military aid used by the receiving state in massive, flagrant and systematic violations on human rights and in attacks on civilian populations, such as what is happening in Palestine?”

“Will it apply that measure against powerful countries that carry out extra-judicial executions on the territory of other states, using high technology such as smart bombs and unmanned planes?

“What would happen with states that accept on their territory illegal secret prisons, facilitate secret flights carrying kidnapped persons or participate in acts of torture?”

We fully share the courageous position of the Bolivarian leader Hugo Chávez and ALBA.

We are against the internal war in Libya, in favour of immediate peace and full respect for life and the rights of all citizens, with no foreign intervention that would only serve to prolong the conflict and NATO interests.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Leeson Affirms Commitment to Anti-Royal Protests

Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has reaffirmed the socialist republican party’s intention to organise protests during the upcoming state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties by Britain’s head of state Elizabeth Windsor.

He has also called on Sinn Fein to “do the right thing” and mobilise its supporters in opposition to the visit.

Speaking from Dublin, Leeson said: “The upcoming Windsor visit has sparked a very welcome debate across the Twenty-Six Counties. For the first time in many years, people are now talking about the British occupation and the nature of British interference in Irish affairs. A whole new generation of Irish people are now debating, perhaps for the first time, the nature of Britain’s relationship with Ireland. This debate may not have been intended by those who have organised the Windsor visit, but it is happening nonetheless.

“For our part, we in éirígí are taking the opportunity of this debate to promote the central tenet of Irish republicanism, namely the right of the Irish people to decide our own future free from external interference. Our position is that of Tone, of Pearse, of Connolly and of Sands. Britain has no right to occupy any part of Ireland. For as long as that occupation lasts it must be consistently and vociferously challenged.

“The upcoming visit by the commander-in-chief of Britain’s armed forces has one purpose and one purpose only – to copper-fasten partition and the British occupation of the Six Counties. By extending an invite to Britain’s head of state, the Dublin government claim that they are attempting to normalise relations between the peoples of Britain and Ireland. There can be no normalisation of those relations until Britain completely withdraws, militarily, economically and politically, from Ireland.

Leeson added: “While this state lurches from one economic catastrophe to another, the political establishment have decided to invite a reigning British monarch to banquet with them in their great dining halls. It may not be possible to prevent this visit from going ahead, but we can at least make sure that Windsor and her Irish apologists hear the voice of protest as they are ushered into Dublin Castle and Farmleigh House.

“Republicans, socialists and other progressives across Ireland are duty-bound to energetically oppose this British royal visit. To fail to do so will further entrench British rule in Ireland. A failure to mobilise against this visit will stand as a black mark against our generation for many years to come.

“In recent days it has become increasingly clear that the Sinn Fein leadership are shying away from their obligation to actively oppose the Windsor visit. And today it has been reported that Martin McGuinness is calling on others not to protest either. In this he, and the rest of the Sinn Fein leadership, are playing straight into the hands of the enemies of Irish republicanism. I am calling on the Sinn Fein leadership to reconsider their position and to join with the millions of Irish people across the globe who are opposed to this visit.

“This visit can and should be met by the angry voices of thousands of Irish citizens united in their opposition to everything that the British crown stands for. éirígí will be doing its utmost to ensure this happens, Sinn Féin should do the right thing and do likewise.”