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Lessons From The Anti War Movement, Labour Party, Socialism in Scotland....

category national | miscellaneous | press release author Thursday July 03, 2003 00:55author by James - Socialist Alternative Report this post to the editors

New Catalyst Out Now.

The latest issue of Socialist Alternative's Free news sheet is on the streets now (demos, books upstairs, the hidden book and record store, it will oon also be avilible as a PDF frrom our site, which is due to be updated very shortly. The articles appearing are availible below, feel free to reproduce them as you will.

All previous Catalyst issue are avilible for download at


According to a recent poll, Labour are now the main opposition party, having overtaken Fine Gael. This has provoked much excitement in certain quarters. Before rushing to praise the genius of Pat Rabbitte, we should first give credit where it’s due. Since the retirement of Garrett Fitzgerald more than a decade ago, Fine Gael have been led by a succession of mediocrities ever further along the road to oblivion. Totally devoid of ideas or inspiration, they must have a good claim to be the most useless, irrelevant political organisation in the western hemisphere. After losing most of their leading members in last year’s electoral wipe-out, Fine Gael had no option but to hire a few stale cadavers from the Royal College of Surgeons, which were then brought to life by a second-rate magician they found in the Yellow Pages. The most photogenic of these corpses is called “Enda” and can reportedly bore a man to death at thirty paces. If you can imagine the video for “Thriller” with music by Joe Dolan, that’s Fine Gael’s front bench.
Anyway, Rabbitte has managed the awesome task of out-performing this drab bunch of fools. The relevant question is, should anyone care? Should the prospect of a Labour-led government have us all quivering with anticipation? Well, to be blunt, no. The 2002 election wasn’t just a disaster for Fine Gael; it also discredited the strategy of the Blairite faction which has dominated the party without any challenge since Dick Spring defeated the Labour left in the eighties. 1992 saw the highest ever share of the vote for Labour. Rather than take the difficult but ultimately rewarding path of aiming to replace the conservative parties as the dominant force in Irish politics, which would have meant a spell in opposition, Spring entered a coalition with Fianna Fail. One tax amnesty later, he paired up with Fine Gael. There was no significant opposition from within the party to either move. In 1997, Labour were deservedly punished for their cynicism and lost half their seats.
Ruari Quinn then spent five years imitating Tony Blair. That the success of the British Labour Party might have owed more to hatred of the Tories than to any enthusiasm for Blair was never even considered. Along the way, Democratic Left were absorbed into Labour. Although DL’s activists might have been generally to the left of Labour, its leading figures fitted comfortably into the party’s establishment. Last year’s election put Quinn’s strategy to the test; it failed. Although Fine Gael had the decency to collapse, years of moderation and respectability did Labour no good; they didn’t win a single extra seat. To their left, Sinn Fein, the Greens and independent socialists all made gains. There was a minor revolution in Irish politics, but the Labour party was completely by-passed. Any fool could now see that a new approach was called for.
Or so you’d think. In fact, while many if not most of the Labour members who voted for Rabbitte expected nothing less, he’s offered more of the same as the solution to all problems. At the recent party conference, Rabbitte urged Labour to focus on winning middle-class support; the implication being that under Quinn’s leadership there had been too much focus on the council estates and not enough on the suburbs; an interesting notion, to say the least. Rabbitte has been heard to bemoan the fact that electoral abstentionism is unusually high within Labour’s “natural constituency”, the urban working class. This is, of course, a mysterious phenomenon, totally unrelated to, say, the behaviour of the Labour party over the last decade. Why Labour has the right to consider workers its natural constituency, when Sinn Fein or the Socialist Party put far more effort into organising in working-class areas, is never explained.
In terms of policy, a watered-down Thatcherism is all that can be expected. In his conference speech, Rabbitte insisted that it doesn’t matter whether services are provided by the public or the private sector. Since he can hardly have felt the need to calm fears that Labour wants to nationalise the financial sector, this can only mean that Rabbitte has cast his eye on Tony Blair’s infatuation with the privatisation of public services, and likes the idea. “Social partnership” remains a sacred cow, at however high a price for organised labour. While the odd mention will be made of the Swedish model, Labour and its comrades in the Socialist International abandoned social democracy a long time ago. Rabbitte even objected to a clause in the new party constitution describing Labour as a “democratic socialist” party.
Labour certainly has no ambition to challenge the sway of neo-liberal dogma over political discourse; while Sinn Fein and the far left parties are all capable of producing a regular newspaper, the Labour party is content to rely on a private media dominated by Rupert Murdoch and Tony O’Reilly to pass on its message to the voters. If they had any serious reforming ambitions, they would certainly rule out coalition with a Fine Gael party shorn of its liberal wing, let alone Fianna Fail; this Rabbitte has pointedly refused to do. And needless to say, Labour will remain an electoral machine, not a campaigning organisation.
If all sorts of contingencies fall into place at the right time, the next election may well turn Rabbitte into the first Labour Taoiseach. If so, we can expect little more than a repeat of the experience of the centre-left across Europe in recent years: cowardice, deceit and failure.


Thatcher’s inane slogan “There Is No Alternative!” has been adopted by politicians in the Blairite mould to bully their critics into silence. Blair repeats insistently the mantra: you can either have me, or the Tories. Anything else is utopian. Opinion polls showing popular support for policies well to the left of anything Blair would contemplate (the re-nationalisation of the railways, for example) have long since demonstrated this view to be false. But it’s only recently that political organisations willing to challenge the Third Way have made an impact.
Last year’s presidential campaign in France was a missed opportunity. The combined vote of candidates to the left of Lionel Jospin was almost as high as the vote for the National Front; had there been a joint candidate of the hard left, Chirac could have been challenged by a radical socialist in the second round, not a fascist, and deprived of his artificially high majority. But the recent Scottish Assembly elections led to a major breakthrough for the Scottish Socialist party, with 6 MSPs elected; this is the strongest vote for a party to the left of Labour in decades.
The SSP began in the late eighties as Scottish Militant Labour, a group of activists expelled from the Labour party for involvement in the anti-poll tax campaign. This struggle defeated the tax, a victory for the hard left which helped finish off Thatcher - more than Labour’s conservative leadership could manage. They then set up the Scottish Socialist Alliance, leading to the formation of the SSP, which contains the vast majority of active socialists in Scotland. Tommy Sheridan was elected as its first MSP in the last Assembly elections; he became one of Scotland’s best-known politicians, introducing an act which led to the abolition of warrant sales (one of the most unpopular forms of punitive legislation used against working-class people), and another act to establish free school meals for all children (malnutrition is a serious problem in deprived council estates in Glasgow). Although its conservative critics deride the SSP as loony and utopian, it has in fact developed many practical policies which could be implemented overnight if the political will existed, while retaining the ultimate goal of a democratic socialist republic. This is why it’s been successful - and why the establishment regards it as such a threat.
After the local elections held simultaneously in England led to a relatively minor advance for the British National Party, there was a huge fuss in the media. Teams of reporters descended on Burnley, where 5 BNP candidates were elected; BNP voters and activists were interviewed. Its leader Nick Griffin was ubiquitous. Nobody was willing to ask the awkward question: how much have mainstream journalists and politicians aided the extreme right with their endless, lying propaganda about the “asylum threat”? But at any rate, it was agreed that the BNP were successful because democratic parties had neglected poor, working-class areas in favour of the well-heeled electorate. The SSP had been kind enough to provide a perfect example of how a democratic, anti-racist party can appeal to a disaffected working-class audience. Only the incurably naive could be surprised by the reaction: deafening silence. There were no teams of reporters descending on Glasgow to meet SSP voters.
One of the few exceptions to the media black-out was an article in the Guardian, which praised the SSP in a condescending manner, but urged them to abandon their ghastly Marxist shibboleths and concentrate on goals that are “modest and just”. In fact, the radical left has always supported such goals; after all, what were Karl Marx’s demands in the Communist Manifesto for the abolition of child labour and free primary education but “modest and just”? The real question is whether achieving those aims is obstructed by a long-term vision of transforming society or if, on the contrary, that vision is necessary to achieve even limited objectives. All the evidence supports the latter view. The Labour party abandoned Clause 4, which committed it to public ownership of the means of production, when Blair became leader. Far from allowing it to concentrate on practical reforms, this was the cue for Labour to abandon any idea of social reform, however modest.
The SSP, along with their co-thinkers in formations such as Rifondazione Communista in Italy and the Left Bloc in Portugal, are entering uncharted waters; it’s been decades since the far left had a serious electoral presence in Europe. The pressure to conform will become intense as more progress is made. But it’s better to accept this danger, while taking all steps possible to avoid it, than to remain in sectarian isolation, like so many far-left groups more concerned with theoretical purity than practical activism. So far the development of the SSP has been very encouraging. While it shouldn’t be regarded as a model that can be applied to Ireland without any modifications, the Irish left should still take it as a challenge to pose a real alternative to Thatcherism, something neither Labour, nor Sinn Fein, nor the Greens can be relied upon to do.

February 15th was without any question the most impressive demonstration Ireland has seen since the aftermath of Bloody Sunday. Yet the government went ahead with its support for the American war effort, and now, according to a poll in the Irish Times, 52% of the electorate think it was the right decision. Now, the same percentage of those polled also believed that allowing the US military to use Shannon did not affect Irish neutrality; evidently the capacity for self-delusion and the denial of reality is not reserved for Bertie Ahern alone. So in that sense the poll should be taken with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, it shows that the political victory of the anti-war movement wasn’t as clear-cut as we might have believed in February. The plain fact is, despite bringing 100,000 people onto the streets, we weren’t able to stop the government’s craven support for Bush. We have to ask ourselves why.
First of all, one thing became clear as the campaign progressed: it wasn’t possible to take a determined stand against war without questioning Ireland’s political and economic subordination to American capitalism. The message from the establishment was clear: whatever the formal position might be, we are Washington’s ally (“gimp” would be a less flattering but more accurate term). When they say jump, we say how high. We were constantly reminded of the great debt we owe to the United States: everything from computer factories to receptions at the White House. The only way to deal with this claim was to tackle it head on. It may be nice for Bertie and his minions to have a shin-dig in Washington every March, but it’s hardly a matter of life and death to the Irish people. It may flatter the national ego to believe that George Bush considers peace in the North worthy of his attention; but if we can’t reach a peaceful settlement without the aid of that fool, we don’t deserve to.
Most of all, the question of multinational investment had to be dealt with. Mary Harney, who puports to understand what the word “capitalism” means, spoke as if American corporations were a sort of trans-national version of the St Vincent De Paul. We needed to hammer home the argument that foreign companies are not here out of the goodness of their hearts. They come to Ireland because it’s profitable. Hibernophile sentimentality is neither here nor there. If they can find somewhere else as attractive as Ireland with lower production costs, off they’ll go. One final point needed to be made: Fianna Fail and the PDs align themselves with the Bush administration out of choice, rather than necessity. It wasn’t the prospect of losing investment that they feared (or even losing the opportunity to get rat-arsed in the White House and shame the republican tradition they claim to represent by acting like gormless leprechauns in front of the whole world); it was the thought of losing the admiration of American conservatives whose occasional words of praise allow Charlie McCreevy and Mary Harney to preserve the fantasy that they are figures of great international significance, not grubby trolls. Needless to say, this is a point that can only be made from the left. So opposition to war and opposition to neoliberalism are two sides of the same coin. Since the link between the two issues was handily made by our opponents, the main thing now is to show that neoliberalism is a bad thing and build practical opposition to it, especially in the unions: otherwise the anti-war movement will be hamstrung in future.
Anyway, despite the strength of Thatcherite ideology, we were able to win majority support in February and organise the biggest demonstration for decades. This wasn’t enough to shift a government committed to supporting the Bush administration, for reasons outlined above. So we needed more. What was forthcoming from the political tendencies represented in the anti-war movement? Well, Pat Rabbitte, Trevor Sargent and Gerry Adams had a simple answer. If the government ignored our demo, we should keep our anger warm for the next four years, then vote them into government. In the meantime we should ... well, scratch ourselves, I suppose. There’s no point getting angsty about this useless behaviour. Rabbitte, Sargent and Adams are conventional parliamentary politicians with no concept of extra-parliamentary action. Rabbitte was heard to whine about the leading role played by Trotskyists in the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM); it never occurred to him that this might not be the case if his own organisation shifted its arse now and then and did some proper work.
More serious was the failure of the hard left to offer any other strategy. The Socialist Party and the SWP had opposed direct action at Shannon before February on the grounds that it was “premature”; the immediate task was to build the “broadest possible movement”. This argument had a certain plausibility, even if it was mixed with feeble claims that activists involved in the Grassroots Network against War (GNAW) were “elitist” and “undemocratic”; it also ignored the fact that direct action at Shannon had been what forced it onto the political agenda for the first time. But after February 15th, it was clear that the “broadest possible movement” had already been built. We couldn’t have asked for a bigger demonstration, but the government went ahead. So what did the Leninist groups propose we do? March some more. Several more demonstrations were held in Dublin, attracting a diminishing crowd of demoralised protesters. No doubt this is the most convenient way for them to recruit new members and sell their paper; but it made damn-all contribution to stopping the war.
The only group to offer a serious way forward were the GNAW. Their demonstration at Shannon on March 1st had the potential to cause real trouble for the government. Unlike earlier actions at the airport, March 1st was conceived as a mass protest, but with a sting in the tail; GNAW rejected the false dichotomy between “mass” and “direct” action. It offered a constructive outlet for all the protesters frustrated by the arrogance of the government, its refusal to listen to the popular will. Unfortunately, the GNAW had no real public platform to explain what they were doing, so were vulnerable to scaremongering by the conservative media. The only people who could have challenged this and made the case for non-violent direct action as a legitimate form of protest were the IAWM; after February 15th, they had a serious media profile and the opportunity to argue for the necessity of a more radical approach.
This is what you might have expected from self-professed revolutionaries. Instead, rather than alienate their friends in the ICTU bureaucracy and the reformist parties, they hung the GNAW out to dry. The IAWM organised its own march in Shannon, well away from the GNAW. Richard Boyd Barrett, Joe Higgins and others made dismissive remarks in public about the activists willing to challenge the state by storming the fence. So much for their radical pretensions. You didn’t have to be a revolutionary to support direct action at Shannon; Labour Youth offered their backing, after all. But you certainly couldn’t oppose it while making that claim.
Of course, direct action is not the be-all and end-all of radical tactics. Strike action by the workers at Shannon would have been even better. But there’s something dodgy about expecting other people to take action without being prepared to do anything yourself. There were a few cases of working-class action against the war effort across Europe. This is certainly the ideal tactic. But if we want to achieve something like that in Ireland, first of all we have to rehabilitate the idea of militant working-class action for the sake of workers themselves, never mind anything more ambitious. Which just points us back to the need for grassroots opposition to Thatcherite policies.
The Bush administration being what it is, we can expect another war before too long. In the meantime, every serious activist should be studying the experience of the last campaign and digesting its lessons. Defiance in defeat is all very well, but we need to start winning these things.

Related Link: http://www.socialistalterantive.cjb.net
author by jppublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 03:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i thought you would all have graduated now and returned to wherever came from,must get lonely at your "meetings"

author by Red 1913 - SPpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They backed a Social Democrat rather than support the Revolutionary Socialist candidate for President in UCDSU.

author by Interestedpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thelast two postings show what sometimes goes wrong with this site. They do not deal with the issues raised in the original article, but throw out a coupole of insults - all of which have been rehashed endlessly on other threads already. Anyobody interested, and I am not one of them, already knows the arguments about who supported who in a UCD student election. It is NOT germane to this thread, so keep it out for God's sake. You are not furthering your argument, your cause, clarity or debate by cluttering up sites with material either irrelevant to them, or already discussed extensively elsewhere. Grow up! This sort of nonsense only serves to put people off left wing politics. Is this what you want?

author by johnpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 14:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for both articles, this is what Indymedia should be all about. Concrete analysis of current events with an opportunity to engage in discussion. Not the follow up posts that are completely unrelated and make no sense whatever to the subjects posted. I look forward to more from SD and other groups that have something to say.

author by johnpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 14:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apologies, should have read Re SA rather than SD

author by Dr. Freudpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 14:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Such insult and polemics serves only to highlight the narcissistic tendencies of so-called opposition groups, because by insulting one group they position themselves on an imaginary superiority pedestal, therefore maintaining a social stratification system that is so often condemned by themselves...
May no retinas fall on such rubbish again...

author by Jim Monaghanpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Scottish experience shows what could be possible if the far left pulled together for a period and left the hatreds outside the door.TRhe next election will have the same old choiuce facing the electorate.The Greens, Sinn Fein and otherts will come under ferocious pressure to "save" democracy as the bourgeoisie know it by backing either Enda or Bertie.In return for a merc or two and a bit of patronage (Oh and maybe a grant or two for a deprived area al a Gregory) they will go the road of Clan na Phoblachta and others who swallowed the myth of realistic politics, the politics of the possible.
If the far Left SWP, SP, Healy et al created the beginning of an alternative they would make it a bit difficult for a sell out to occur and maybe see a real alternative to the status quo emerging.
Groups like Socialist Alternative have a role in pushing for such an alternative to emerge.By all means criticise but the aim should be to cause change not condemn.There is too much debate? which consists of proving that one or other groups has committed the equivalent of mortal sin for which there can be no forgiveness or recovery.
We have a little time before the next elections, it is probably to late for the local and European ones.
A platform should not be difficult to put together.
No to military alliances
No coalition with the right in either of its guises.
No to Privatisation.
Right to choose.
Free non denominational education

Yes I know I have forgotten some obvious ones but thought I should leave something for others to do.
Jim Monaghan

author by Tom Lubypublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The North! The SP still think that the Jaffas should be able to march through Catholic areas. Dont give me any crap about subject to talks, they know the Jaffas wont talk to the residents. How could any party support the right of an organisation like the Orange Order, whose rules forbid membership to anyone who has even one Catholic grandparent, to march rough shod over taigs and still call itself Socialist?

If that part of the OO constitution was about Blacks or Jews would the SP still feel the same?
Elsewhere on indymedia we have seen how the SP refuse to honour Pat Finucane because it would be Sectarian!

Jim I am disappointed in you. I never thought you would be one to ignore Imperialism and Sectarianism in the North. you can try and ignore the National Question but the National Question will not ignore you. That was shown all to well in Yugoslavia.

author by Mark Farrellypublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's clear that the main purpose of the SWP during the war was not to stop the war. Otherwise why be hostile to other anti-war groups? They consistently refused to allow GNAW representatives to speak at their initiatives or even to announce events, attacked them in the corporate media, and so on. How is this useful to stop the war? I could go on and on. The main purpose for the SWP was to recruit members. It'd be interesting to know how many people they recruited duirng the war? Has the organisation grown? I suspect not, and they are in a big crisis. If they failed to recruit when there were 100,000 people in the streets, how can they convince their members that it will happen the next time?

author by Anonymouspublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 15:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ref "Interested" -

To follow up on your point on a few things wrong with site.

You mention that insulting, idiotic and vulgar treatening posts are often made on this site. THESE SHOULD BE DELETED.

Rather Indymedia Ireland chooses to delete comments such as mine, which rather than the above are genuine, action provoking in a humanitarian sense, and I would imagine of some interest, to at least some people anyhow.

I refer in particular to a recent posting of mine which referred to a petition on another independant media site, Mathba.net,


The petition refered to an attempt by some 100,000 good minded people (and heck knows how many people will have signed it by the time it finishes) to try and stop Bush & Blair receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

I tried publishing this as an article, and took a bit of time to do it up right.

This was subsequently deleted.

I disagree with this but it was the subsequent action by Indymedia which really got to me.

Following its deletion I added it as a "comment" at the end of another article. The comment was no more that a few lines giving the appropriate links. No big deal, and people could choose to read it or not. No big deal, one might think. But no, Indymedia thought it was and deleted it.

I proceeded to post as a comment again and once the editor could trawl through all the comments and find it he deleted it again.

Mathba.net - an alternative independant media site, see fit to have this important and widely circulated petition on the FRONT PAGE of their website.

Yet Indymedia Ireland not only do not see it fit to be a posting, they don't even see fit to have it as meserly litte comment.

And rather they choose to leave up many insulting, vulgar and threatening comments made by morons.

I think Indymedia Ireland are doing a great job and I will continue to support and promote them wherever I can.

I mean this as constructive criticism, but I am very dissapointed at the editorial attitude that these actions have demonstrated.

(I dare not put in a link to the petition again for fear this comment will be deleted!!)

author by jack white - wearing my editorial hatpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

petieions are pretty much deleted on sight, espicially so if they are posted to stories with a completely different topic. Personally i think that some of the comments undrer this story amount to abuse, but if they're on topic and don't break any rules then i leave them alone jack white

author by Black Rodpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is something to be aspired to but not at any cost. There are such things as principles. My experience in IAWM suggests that such are alien concepts to the SP, SWP, Green Leadership and Labour Leadership, SF Leadership. (In the GP, LP and SF individuals went against the party line.)

The Pat Finucane, Bloody Sunday, State collusion with Loyalist Death Squads are not going to go away. No matter how much the SP would wish so.

The SP would be best served if they were to address their previous disgusting behaviour in relation to the murder of Pat Finucane.


Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=60232&results_offset=10
author by Andrewpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Which is already happening and makes more sense then you might think. What we need is a new left, not a re-grouping of the old.

author by Jim Monaghanpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 17:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom Luby writes that I ignore the national struggle, this in the midst of a tirade against the SP.
I think that a fully developed revolutionary program would have as it's aim a 32 county Socialist Republic.In nominal terms that aim is shared by Sinn Fein and some of the Left groups, but not by others. The Workers Party probably state it as an aim when they are not calling the Provos names.
The SP are weak so say the least on the question. A simplistic quest for workers unity has lead them to some strange (from my viewpoint) positions.I recall a Official IRA leader saying that when and if the British shot at Loyalists they would intervene against the British.This ignores that the loyalist mob was probably trying to cleanse nationalists. So ignoring the real sectarianism that exists can lead to some strange positions.
But I have to accept the fact that there is a lot of confusion out there on the national struggle.Imperialism and it has to be said mistakes (Omagh, Bloody Friday, internecdine fuding, etc.) has laid the basis or reinforced for this.
So how do we achieve a clarification or advance on the current level of conciousness that exists on the Left and reflects similar levels in the population as well.
Lubys way (at least as I see it) seems to be a constant denounciation of the SP etc which convinces those who already share his ideas.
My way ( albeit very unsuccessful) is to try for a dialogue including everyone who claims to be on the Left and is striving for social change. And amidst this let a 100 flowers bloom in the hope that the masses (e.g. like the 100,000 who marched against war but who probably did not share much of the Lefts other ideas but at least for a time were open to change)will distinguish between the weeds and the flowers.
The elitists, cultists on the Left are paradoxically happy being isolated. They do not want to engage with the struggle for ideas.
We have to reach out. The bulk of the membership of all the Left parties (I include the WSM amongst them even if they do not describe themselves so) are composed of decent people sacrifing time, careers etc in the struggle.Right some will retreat, and some are so sectarian and live in self imposed isolation with the elite few like the De Leonists, afrid that popularity meand adultratiuon of the holy grail of correctmness that they carry with pride.
The truth of the matter is that nothing is proved and so sacrosant in our beliefs and analysis of anything, the North, Leninism, Trotskyism, Socialism itself that we can have the luxery of not debating and convincing others.
The big turn off is the slagging and invective around the place.Remember that scene in "The Life of Brian".
Tom why not an article on the Garvaghy Road. Explaining its importance. Using arguements on say civil liberties and other grounds. Patiently explaining that pushing a sectarian march down the road would lead not to peace but to other sectarian triumphalism.Forget Haddon in this but write for those who in their quest for the grail of workers unity swallow his spurious argument.Patiently explain, just like your Fenian namesake wiould have done.

author by Tom Lubypublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 18:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You claim to be a Socialist republican but you cannot wait to link up with the Pro Loyalist and Oro Imperialist SP. Whats the point in writing an article about the Garvaghy Road? It would get me nowhere with the SP.

Look at what happened in the debate about a Federation of Ireland, England and Wales. Anyone who disagreed with the SP was either a Nationalist or understood nothing about politics.

Maybe you should write an article on why you want to get into bed with people who think it is sectarian to name a Bursary after Pat Finucane.

author by Another dudepublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 18:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hey dude, you airbrushed the peace camp, Dubsky, Kelly and the Catholic Workers out of your little history lesson there. The folks who chased three U.S. corporations transporting 50,000 combat troops trough Shannon out of Ireland!

Stalin dies but Stalinism doesn't.

Nice talking shop...two U.S. warships in Cork this week, nothing. Brit pilots who trained Indonesian pilot to bomb in East Timor, West Papua, Aceh and flew missions over Iraq in Galway this weekend, let's see what repsonse in mustered.

author by Anonymouspublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ref. Jack White

Thank you for your reply. Without going into the details of what you said, which I disagree with and some of which I think misses the point, can I ask you 3 things:-

1. You say "petieions are pretty much deleted on sight, espicially so if they are posted to stories with a completely different topic".

The only reason I had to post it as a comment to a story with a different topic is that you would not allow me post it as an article in the first place! Surely your comment above should read "especially if they are posted as an article"?

I really do not see the big deal of having a few line comment following an article, even if its off the point. Sure most articles dont even raise comments, or if they do, just one or two!!

2. An alternative independant news site to yours
is http://www.mathaba.net/home.shtml

How come this site saw fit not only to have this petition in a better place than just as a mere "comment", even in a better place than an article - but rather, considered it important enough to put on the "front page" of their site?

3. Probably the most important point.
100,000 people right around the planet have already signed this petition. Heck knows how many more people will have signed it by the time it finishes. By not allowing this no space whatsoever on your media site, you are denying in essence & in real terms the rights of these 100,000 people. Surely does this not amount to a breach of democracy, a denial of free opinion - and ultimately undemocractic censurship - the very thing which I thought Indymedia is trying to counter in the right-wing dominated, agenda biased, press.

Best regards....

author by Gaz - independent libertarian socialistpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2003 20:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the link at the end of the first reply should be http://www.socialistalternative.cjb.net

author by Magnetopublication date Fri Jul 04, 2003 11:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is what your mates in the SP had to say about Pat Finucane and the Loyalist picket at Harryville Church.

"you're talking to yourselves...
by hs - sp Thursday, Jul 3 2003, 5:51pm

we're not hard to find lads if you want answers get off your computers and ask us.

For my own part i'm not a catholic and don't have any religious affiliations to anyone. Just so you can start from somewhere. "

So, the murder of Pat Finucane and loyalists attacking Harryville is only of interest to Catholics.

The SP have got some real vermin in their ranks.

author by Jim Monaghan - I feel like Groucho would I join one that would have mepublication date Fri Jul 04, 2003 12:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom Luby writes
You claim to be a Socialist republican but you cannot wait to link up with the Pro Loyalist and Oro Imperialist SP. Whats the point in writing an article about the Garvaghy Road? It would get me nowhere with the SP.

Never mind the SP leadership if you figure they cannot be converted. What about their rank and file and supporters. Many ordinary people down here are confused so say the least. Good articles explaining the nature of Orangism are needed. Especially to counter the naievite sponsored by the Right ( that it is a cultural org not a variety of Klu Klux Klan). Again the SP position is stupid and naieve it is not explicitely Loyalist. The number of people with a worked out program combining the class and national struggles is a small minority.Unless we engage with and combat in a constructive sense the varieties of ideas that exist we are doomed to stay small.
Tom writes
Look at what happened in the debate about a Federation of Ireland, England and Wales. Anyone who disagreed with the SP was either a Nationalist or understood nothing about politics.

Jim replies
I am for a United Socialist sates of Europe. A federation that gives genuine rights to minority nations and nationalities, which cherishes diversity of culture and is not a lowest denomination melting pot.Where chauvenism in whatever guise has no place. I think for this to occur the oppressed nations have to have seperation and should not be insulted by being told to wait. In fact the breakof of the large states is probably a necessity for this to occur.
The SP position is probably based on a false premis of workers unity and it is on this basis it should be combatted.I know it should be a truism but being an Irish Socialist Republican automically means be in support of workers and oppressed struggles elsewhere.
Tom writes
Maybe you should write an article on why you want to get into bed with people who think it is sectarian to name a Bursary after Pat Finucane.
Jim replies
Alas, some well meaning people wrongly think this because of the weight of Imperialist propaganda. Even in the North some republicans see no problem disengaging say the march issue in Derry from Garvaghy. A version of Republicanism in a single city.
Tom, we have to win people not satisy ourselves on our correctness. We have to admit the mistakes of the past which in part allowed confusion to develope. A lot of the armed campaign rightly horrified people and alienated them from the national struggle.We would agree that this did not mean that it made it invalid.Let us get out of our ivory towers and explain and do it patiently.I say this as someone who would not have a reputation for tolerating fools gladly. But if we are to build something that can make a difference that is what we have to do.Sectarians are happy if history grants tham a footnote on how correct they were. I would like to think that we could be called a beginning rather that just that.
Calling the SP (Haddon and co) names does not hurt them. They can write you off as an incurable sectarian. But a rationale and well argued case on Garvaghy or Pat Finucane now that is a different matter.
Similar comments can be made on our attitiude to the rest of the alphabet spaggetti on the farv left. Proving to our own satisfaction the mortal sins of our opponents gets us nowhere. Let us have a real debate and dialogue so we can develope and hopefully grow.

author by Pat cpublication date Fri Jul 04, 2003 12:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firstly I think the Tom Luby criticism of you is unfair in tone and some of the content. You have proved yourself as a revolutionary many times over. Indeed you were a well seasoned activist when I first got involved and you tolerantly suffered my ultra-leftisms. (Perhaps you feel things have not cxhanged!)

However I think you are wrong when you say there is a rank and file of the SP which is different from the leadership. The most reactionary positions expressed on Indymedia come from ordianary members of the SP like hs, Mark, Oisin & Finghin Kelly, Red Dawn -1917, Brian Cahill. Basically you are dealing with a cult.

The SWP are not much better, their one saving grace being their opposition to loyalism and British Imperialism.

I think you look too much towards the old left and this blinds you to the new alliances being formed which are making the SP and SWP redundant.
Anyway, I know you are genuine unlike the fake revolutionaries, so I guess we will agree to disagree.

author by Jim Monaghanpublication date Fri Jul 04, 2003 13:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its another debate. I asume you are refferring to Gnaw. I respect the WSM, a serious organisation with good people. I dont know whether they are fuilly dealing with their own differences over what is Direct Action. I was sent a perceptive essay by Alain McS on the different tendencies amongst anarchists which I thought very good. It is from a Wexford gathering. It is worth re issuing, but I dont like doing that without permission as positions can change.Alain discusses the various positions which describe themselves as Anarchist.
It remains to be seen if GNAW can develope and avoid the various pitfalls. It and the WSM have to a degree proved themselves to be a factor that cannot be ignored. They have done good things and raised necessary debates. I regard them as a serious organisation. Incidentally without admitting it they are groping towards tackling the question of organisation which the Leninists/Trotskyists have grappled with in the past with a variety of answers, some at least contradictory.I consider Victor Serge and Guerin as 2 of the most interesting revolutionaries that Trotskyism and Anarchism to a degree share.

author by Pat Cpublication date Fri Jul 04, 2003 13:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is plenty to learn from Guerin and Serge for trots and anarchists. Actually, imho , Guerins book "Class Struggle In The First French Republic, 1793 - 1795",really clarifies what was going on at the most critical phase of the French Revolution.

This is an English translation (Pluto Press) of an original 3 volume work in French which covered the period 1789 - 1797.

As regards the new left, I also meant Grassroot Gathering, I missed the recent Dublin one due to illness. But no doubt you have read the report on Indymedia.

author by lenny carrotpublication date Sat Jul 05, 2003 02:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat C you are the reactionary. Your blind nationalism means that youe see English workers as enemies and not allies.

Pat, get of you keyboard get active in the workers movement and get active in your union please.

author by Curious.....!!publication date Sat Jul 05, 2003 17:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Socialist Voice May 2003
Editorial: Stevens' Report

THE PUBLICATION of the Stevens’ Report “reveals” what nearly everyone already knew – that the British state utilised loyalist paramilitaries in their war against the IRA.

The Report has turned up compelling evidence of day to day collusion between middle ranking members of the RUC Special Branch, MI5 and army intelligence and key figures in the UDA. Hundreds may have died as a result including high profile victims as Pat Finucanne.

Only 15 pages of the Report have been published however and thousands remain hidden. Nothing has been revealed about the role of the upper ranks of the various security organisations or the role of politicians, including those at the very top of government such as Douglas Hogg. Hogg issued what was effectively a threat to solicitors who he saw as being too close to the IRA a few weeks before Finucanne’s death.

The British state has a long record of going well beyond the bounds of the “law” in defence of its interests. In the early days of the Troubles internment without trial was introduced and Bloody Sunday was only the worst of a whole series of incidents in which innocent civilians were shot down on the streets. In the mid-1970s, the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four were imprisoned by an establishment that clearly knew they were innocent.

In the late 1970’s suspects were routinely tortured to produce confessions in Castlereagh and other holding centres. These confessions were then presented in non-jury Diplock courts. In the early 1980’s hundreds were locked up on the word of super grasses and in the late 1980’s a clear policy of “shoot-to-kill” was introduced and dozens of IRA and INLA members died.

For the establishment the “rule of law” and democracy are means to an end. In the absolute sense that end is the protection of private property. The IRA campaign never threatened the rule of private property (the capitalist system) in any real sense but it did seriously destabilise Northern Ireland and certainly damaged the profitability of capitalist companies. The use of extreme measures is not confined to Northern Ireland or the poorer countries of the world. The United States, looked upon as an important ally by the republican movement in the peace process, has a grim record of repressing its own citizens. The radical Black Panthers were viciously attacked in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. More than 50 were killed in shootouts with the police. Hundreds were imprisoned, often on trumped up charges, and some remain inside.

Today the US has abandoned any pretence of the rule of law in its so-called war on terror. Torture, assassinations and internment are seen as legitimate weapons in this war.

The end of the IRA campaign does not mean that the issue of state repression has been consigned to the history books in Northern Ireland and Britain. The British state has also used repressive measures against trade unionists and left wing activists. Thousands of
police were mobilised to take on the NUM during the miners’ strike. Tony Blair has considered banning fire fighters from taking industrial action in the recent period. During the struggle against the Poll Tax, Margaret Thatcher canvassed opinion on the option of banning Militant, the organising force behind the anti-Poll Tax Unions.

In the future serious campaigns on social issues will come up against similar measures, especially if the system appears to be under threat.

What should happen now? As a starting point the full proceedings of the Stevens’ Inquiry must be published. There must then be a full independent public inquiry into the collusion between the state and loyalist paramilitaries that leaves no stone unturned. Ordinary working people from the communities most affected by the Troubles, and trade union activists who stood up against both state repression and the paramilitaries, should form the majority on the inquiry panel.

Such an inquiry must not become another gravy train like the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, which is likely to satisfy few beyond the dozens of lawyers who will become millionaires on the back of it. Questions must be asked at the highest levels, all the evidence must be in the public domain and the guilty must be brought to book.

author by Pat Cpublication date Sun Jul 06, 2003 20:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They cany deal with political arguments so, they shower their opponents with abuse. What I hate is the attatchment the SP have to British Nationalism hence their call for a Socialist Federation of the British Isles. Dont give me any bullshit about the SP supporting Self Determination for Wales , Scotland and Ireland. SP members constantly talk about a federation with a Socialist Britain.

The Anglo Centrism of the SP leads them to come up with their project of Federation whicj would put the Welsh, Scots and Irish back under the English Yoke. That where the Anglo-Centrism of the English leadership of the ends up.

author by Pat Cpublication date Sun Jul 06, 2003 20:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Such an inquiry must not become another gravy train like the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, which is likely to satisfy few beyond the dozens of lawyers who will become millionaires on the back of it"

The UUP, DUP etc use almost th exact same terms to criticise the tribunals.

Now lads, you are supposed to be socialists.

author by pat cpublication date Sun Jul 06, 2003 20:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am not involved in the PSEU because I dont see how my time could be well spent in that organisation. I have more than years experience as a shop steward. When Lenny and the other anonymous SP/SY clowns have a quarter of that I will listen to their whinings.

As for the SP record in the PSEU, judge for yourself.

Garda Inspector George Maybury , the former General Secretary of the AGSI has been appointed as Assistant General Secretary of the PSEU. This has occurred on the watch of Michael O'Brien the SP leader who is on the Executive Committe of the PSEU and who leads the PSEU left Group.

Its one thing having ICTU as a policeman in the unions. Its far worse to bring the Cops into the unions themselves.

Yes, Lenny I would really be spending my time well as part of a group who lets a Cop be recruited as a Trade Union Official. And who then do nothing to organise opposition to the move.

Hail the glorious SP leadership of militants in the SP!

author by pAt cpublication date Sun Jul 06, 2003 22:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is the General sec elected??

author by apublication date Sun Jul 06, 2003 22:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am curious, do people think that residents in Nationalist/catholic areas should talk to the orange order about marches? If so what should be discussed?

author by Road to....publication date Sun Jul 06, 2003 22:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here pat c are you a union member?

author by pat cpublication date Mon Jul 07, 2003 12:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am a member of the PSEU. I was active as a branch secretary, branch committe member, executive ctte member (7 yrs) etc in the CPSU for almost 20 yrs. I was also secretary of the ICTU Youth Ctte, was a delegate to the Dublin Council of Trade Unions for 10 yrs and was on the DCTU EC for 3 yrs. After 2 yrs as an activist in the PSEU I felt I was wasting my time.

When the anonymous fools who attack me have a fraction of my TU record then I will listen to them.

A Union which appoints a cop as a trade union offical is definitely not worth being involved actively in. I think the SP should explain how this appointment came about and how their great leader Michael O Brien let it happen.

Why dont the SP answer questions instead of sending out anonymous fools to make juvenile attacks?

author by only 1 lenny carrotpublication date Mon Jul 07, 2003 17:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

a socialist england would not oppress the people of ireland, scotland, wales etc. a capitalist england has done this.

national oppression was due to capitalism, it's not something that is genetic in the blood of all englishmen.

a socialist federation would not mean oppression of national minorities by the 'english yoke'

author by pat cpublication date Mon Jul 07, 2003 19:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i disagree with your idea of federation. you shouldnt swallow every line thats handed down to you by the english leadership of the cwi.

author by Road to ....publication date Mon Jul 07, 2003 19:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat what has you so uptight. It was only a question, I was genuinely suprised that you where a union member. Perhaps you mentioned it somewhere else and I missed it?

author by pat cpublication date Mon Jul 07, 2003 20:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Their great and glorious leader Michael O'Brien and his PSEU group fdid nothing to stop a cop getting the job as assistant general secretary of the PSEU.

The SP were obviously hoping no one would notice. Now they are so upset they have send fools out to spread red herrings.

author by Road to......publication date Tue Jul 08, 2003 00:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So let me get this right, patc, you are a PSEU member but you are not active in your union?

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jul 08, 2003 16:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yes, its a yellow union, theres no point in being active in it.

the sp thought different.

the net result of their effort is that a cop ends up as assistant general secretary.

i think i'llgojoin the independent workers union.

author by Road to........publication date Tue Jul 08, 2003 20:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

pat I reckon you are just right, it does seem to be a difficult fight to move PSEU to the left.

author by VBpublication date Wed Jul 09, 2003 03:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat how can you blame Michael O'Brien for him being in a reactionary union? THe left are not in a majority and could not have stopped the appointment of a cop.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jul 09, 2003 11:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If its legitimate for you to raise me not being active in the PSEU then its legitimate for me to raise Maybury getting the job despite SP activism.

This would never have been an issue here if you had not trolled about me and the PSEU.

I think the matter should be dropped. But if you continue trolling then I will continue raising the Maybury issue in response.

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