Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Red Plough Vol. 3-7

The Red Plough

Vol. 3-No 7

1/A Different Departure For Working Class Emancipation: 
2/ Fascism The Problem Child Of Capitalism:  

3/Plus ca change-Ardoyne

This edition carries two articles, one on the One Big Union concept, known as syndicalism and the other on the role of Fascism. They present interesting arguments for those of us on the left particularly here in Ireland. Workers are divided into different groupings, such as catholic, protestant, migrant loyalist irish british or republicans. Many see these labels as their main badge of identification rather than their position in the class  structure. This makes it difficult to organise workers as workers and to see  that their class interests transcend their identity issues. That is one of the ways that capitalism is able to survive. One other way is, when it is under immense pressure, to unleash the forces of reaction and utilise far right movements such as racism and fascism. The comrade KM is correct to point out that those who wrongly identify right wing trends with fascism certainly do no service to the working class movement. For a deeper understanding of fascism and how it came to dominate the European stage in the 1930's  a good read of Trotsky on fascism is well worth while. 
We also carry a letter from republicans in Ardoyne. It speaks for itself.

A Different Departure For Working Class Emancipation: 

Over the years many theories have being adopted by various political parties and organisations, many who consider themselves revolutionary Marxist in the political sense, advocating the liberation of the working class from the chains of capitalism. The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) have tried many approaches to this road using their very appropriate maxim, “for national liberation and socialism” which is as relevant today as it was around the time of the party’s founder Seamus Costello back in 1974. It also runs parallel with the party’s late Thomas (TA) Powers document which states unambiguously 

“there can be no national liberation without socialism” and “there can be no socialism without national liberation” 

in Ireland. As the working class make up the majority of the population until they liberate themselves from the bondage chains of wage slavery under capitalism, Irish or otherwise, there can be no true national liberation. This would be equally applicable to any other country under occupation in part or whole. Palestine springs to mind. This simple yet thorough analysis applies throughout the 32 counties of Ireland as a single unit and not be mistaken with any one party gaining local governmental power in the six counties, via some kind of assembly, and seeking full state governmental control, through the Dail, in the 26 counties.

There are of course other political parties and organisations, not only in Ireland but across the planet, who also claim to be in pursuit of socialism and a socialist system of government and commerce. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) who once (and perhaps still do) considered themselves revolutionary Marxists are now, it would appear, trying the parliamentary road towards socialism, a strategy they spent years telling everybody could not work! 

“No Parliamentary Road To Socialism” was once their headline but now how things change.  It now appears the SWP have re-invented themselves as People Before Profit, a very fitting name, and are attempting to inform the people that the parliamentary road can work. Who knows maybe it can, time may tell. People Before Profit are part of a broad alliance along with the Socialist Party, formerly Militant, styling themselves, along with Seamus Healy (Tipperary Unemployed), the United Left Alliance. The ULA have 5 elected TDs in  Dail Eireann.
Sinn Fein (provisional) are also now practising reformist parliamentary politics. They now speak of 
“The New Republic”  and very little is mentioned of the previously oft spoken “Socialist Republic” as they embark on a completely new departure towards Irish unification. Will it work? Time will tell!, if it does socialism will, it appears, be well down the list of priorities if at all.
What none of these parties and organisations may not have considered is that in pursuit of socialism before political unity can come about what is needed is industrial unity in the workplace. Socialism as a political ideology can not come into being without the participation of the working class, blue and white collared, and certainly can’t exist alongside capitalism. Certainly not for  any length of time. These are points which James Connolly recognised a long time ago.

In his pamphlet The Axe To The Root he argues logically that “industrial unity” is paramount to the achievement of political unity. While in the USA he charges that

 "The real truth is that workers do not unite industrially but, on the contrary, are most hopelessly divided on the industrial field, and that their division and confusion on the political field are the direct result of their division and confusion on the industrial field. It would be easy to prove that even our most loyal trade unionist habitually play the game of the capitalist class on the industrial field, just as surely as the Republican and Democrat workers do it on the political field".

 Connolly was arguing the syndicalist theory of One Big Union as opposed to many smaller ones organised along craft, skilled and unskilled lines. He sets out to provide proof and causes of these divisions. Connolly continues

 ’Quite recently we had a great strike of the workers employed on the subway and elevated systems of street car services in New York. The men showed a splendid front against the power of the mammoth capitalist company, headed by August Belmont, against which they were arrayed. Conductors, motormen, ticket choppers, platform men, repairers, permanent way men, ticket sellers- all went out together and for a time paralysed the entire traffic on their respective system‘.
‘The company, on the other hand, had the usual recourse to Jim Farley and his scabs, and sought to man the trains with these professional traitors to their class. The number of scabs was large, yet small in proportion to the men on strike yet the strike was broken‘.

‘It was not the scabs, however, who turned the strike against the strikers in favour of the masters. That service to capital was performed by good union men with union cards in their pockets. These men were engineers in the power houses which supplied the electric power to run the cars, and without whom all the scabs combined could not have run a single trip‘.

The above strike briefly described by Connolly is as applicable today as then back in the early part of the 20th century. If we examine the factors which helped the Thatcher government and their agents defeat the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the 1984-85 coal miners strike we can see similarities to the situation described by James Connolly. The strike itself was essentially against pit closures and was conducted in line with the NUM rulebook. However there were a large number of scabs, particularly though not exclusively, in the Nottinghamshire area. Similar to the situation described by Connolly 

“the number of scabs was large, yet small in proportion to the men on strike”, 

unfortunately on this occasion the scabs were card carrying union members. Coupled with the scabs in the coal industry itself the failure of the Dockworkers leaders to bring their members out in which case no imported coal would have been unloaded the miners, after one bitter year went back to work. Without imported coal the scabs could not have produced enough to keep the power stations burning, even though it was a mild winter. However scab labour or none if the pit deputies union, NACODS (National Association of Colliery Overseers, Deputies and Shotfirers), had come out in support of the NUM as their ballot had mandated not a coalmine in the land could have opened, under health and safety a pit deputy must be present down the mine for any production to begin. Therefore “all the scabs combined” could not have dug one nugget of coal. The parallels to Connolly’s example are stark.

The working class in today’s world of post modernity still suffer these divisions in the workplace. For example if say the tellers in the banking and finance industry were out on strike and the employers employed scab labour to do the work of the strikers where would these class traitors be without the security workers opening the premises or, more importantly, delivering cash? Or, equally, if the computer programmers were out on strike in sympathy and the system crashed then what? The same argument applies.

Workers in all industries should organise not on craft, skilled or unskilled lines, not on blue and white collar identities but on class and only class affiliation. They are after all everyone of them working class. The employers organise as a class and have done historically since wage slavery came into being, around 1750.

Once unity is achieved in the workplace, every workplace blue and white collar, public and private sectors then there is a chance of achieving political unity. The working class of the 21st century may find the need for a, or a number of, political parties to run society obsolete. They may find that through One Big Union and democratically elected workers councils that the  modern proletariat can run society in an organised democratic, in its full meaning, way. 

Production through industry for the needs of the people as opposed to the greed of a handful of them. Syndicalism is the historical name given to this method of replacing capitalist greed with social need. The overthrow of capitalism and the installation of socialism leading to true communism. One Big Union with every worker out on strike obliterating divisions forever. 

Of course the bosses would fight back but once the means of production, distribution and exchange are in workers hands and under their control the capitalist class must resort to force, which they would do, to regain their former privileges and positions of control. They could no longer impose pay cuts or threaten people with dismissal because such actions would no longer be their prerogative. The question must be asked how many agents of force, military, police etc would remain loyal to the old regime, the capitalist system? Let us assume that the majority do remain loyal to the present state of affairs, then what? Well use the imagination! If somebody is forcing you at the point of a gun to do something against your will what do you need in order to resist? If this somebody then becomes an army of somebody’s then what is needed?

Perhaps all these would be, or formerly, revolutionary parties and organisations should  re-examine their positions. With the enforced revolutionary downfall of the capitalist system of exploitation would a political party, any political party, be needed? On the other hand as all the present parties appear, at least on the surface, to have failed in their quest for revolution and with the means of production, distribution and exchange under working class control could a new political party be born out of the workers councils to work in conjunction with the democratically elected bodies to run national affairs? Magnify this theory to a global level and we see a possible new departure!         


As most rational and sane thinking people will probably agree, if they are honest, the economic system we live under and governed by a political ideology misleadingly referred to as “liberal democracy” is not a stable way for the majority of us to hold our affairs in trust to.

The majority of people, the working class, have no say whatsoever in the daily running of affairs of state and those in government are there to govern the interests of and on behalf of the capitalist class, the bourgeoisie. 

This instability is reflected daily by people who live in constant fear of becoming unemployed, homeless or both, of marriage break up and other calamities which the system pours down on us in order to maintain itself and the beneficiary class. Coupled with these fears capitalism installs other safeguards and insurance policies in the form of fears such as racism,  xenophobia and homophobia leading to prejudices and divisions amongst the working classes. 

The economist John Maynard Keynes recognised the flaws within capitalism even though he was a supporter of the system, with a few alterations and safety nets. He once stated:“Capitalism is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous and it does not deliver the goods”. 

Some of these changes he advocated were reflected by the economic policies adopted by most Western European governments and the United States of America immediately following the Second World War. These policies were known as Keynesianism. One major aspect of Keynes economic theories was in times of “economic slumps” the government would pump money into the economy and in times of “boom” they would take money out. Taxation, for example, would be increased during the times of plenty and reduced, increasing spending power, when poorer times approached.  

The capitalist system needs from time to time manageable situations magnified by their media into a crisis as a means of control over their respective populations. These problems created within the system are often called “economic downturns, slumps, recessions” etc and are used again as a means of control, politically and economically. 

They frighten an already dubious electorate not to vote for any party which may, no matter how slight, upset the apple cart. In the twenty six counties currently in recession,, the establishment parties try to discourage voters from casting their first or even second preference votes for Sinn Fein, who are hardly, hard line revolutionaries of the Marxist camp or, for that matter, any other. They are simply offering a different set of ideas on how to manage the capitalist economy which may perhaps be kinder to the poorer sections of society and the unemployed, single parents etc. 

These “manageable” situations occasionally get out of control, hence Keynes’s apt description, and the Wall Street Crash 1929-30 would be an example of such instability. This led to panic all around the global capitalist system and the rise of reactionary movements, which in the case of Italy had began several years earlier.

In Germany  inflation was rampant and  was a breeding ground for the most evil form of fascism, Nazism. Adolf Hitler used the situation in Germany, much magnified by the humiliating terms of the Treaty Of Versailles after the First World War, to promote his violent racist, ultra nationalist, anti communist and populist (among many other traits) party titled the National-Socialist German Workers Party” (NSPAD). 

This title was very misleading and false to say the least, particularly the inclusion of the word “socialist” as the big backers of this organisation were the biggest exploiters of these same “workers” large German capitalist companies.

Defendants at the Krupp Trial, from left; Alfried Krupp, Ewald Löser, Eduard Houdremont, Erich Müller, Friedrich Janssen, Karl Pfirsisch and Karl Eberhardt.

Krupps the armourments company, Thysens, Siemens, and I.G. Farbens, among many others, all massive companies and all backed the Nazis both economically and politically. Economically because of the hyper-inflation which was rampant in Germany at the time and politically because they lived in fear of communism, particularly after the failed revolution led by the communists in 1919-20. They were also, later on, provided with slave labour from the concentration camps and obviously paying no wages profits increased dramatically. Hitler and his henchmen using the crisis within global capitalism and exploiting nationalist sentiments after Versailles created a situation in Germany built exclusively on fears and prejudices. He blamed the communists, and was believed, for burning down the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933 adding more ammunition to his anti communist campaign. 

At this point all opposition parties were banned. Hitler was very popular, certainly in the years between 1933-39 before the outbreak of war, this was despite the fact that during these “good years” thousands of Germans were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered at the hands of the Nazi thugs which infested the Gestapo and SS in concentration camps. The fact that hundreds of thousands of German Jews were systematically persecuted and murdered was apparently of little importance to most citizens in comparison with the economic and policy successes of the regime. 

What changed a once “civilised” and advanced people into a population who would support, or at least not oppose, such barbarity? Fear, prejudices and hopelessness prevalent in the pond of poison called international capitalism is one answer. No doubt there are many accompanying ones. Hitler exploited already present prejudices in some people by creating the “Jewish conspiracy” scare throughout Germany. After all the Jews were easy targets, they were apparent and had a history of persecution so it could be presented as perfectly normal behaviour to have another pogrom against them! What many Germans did not realise was that this economic miracle was no such thing because the economy was geared towards one outcome, war. Little wonder the likes of Krupps arms manufacturers supported the NSAPD!

One Marxist definition of fascism as characterised by Dimitroff at the seventh Congress of the Comintern in 1935 is “the most open terrorist dictatorship of the most  reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”
Institutionalised terrorism is one tool of the fascists in maintaining control as the brief above picture of Hitler’s Germany certainly highlights, thus making the short definition very appropriate.  The term fascism is often misused in the mouths of some modern radicals to describe anyone who is simply right wing in their views. 

The governments of Margaret Thatcher from 1979 until the 1990s in the United Kingdom were certainly right wing and reactionary, perhaps the nearest politics has come in the UK to fascism but they were not fascist. If they had been there would not have existed any opposition inside or outside parliament and trade union reforms would not have happened because there would have been no trade unions-fascism and trade unions do not mix. The unions would be made illegal and leaders imprisoned. 
To continually use the term “fascist” to describe anybody you may not agree with deems the use of the word meaningless. 
It could well be argued that many Western liberal democratic governments, including those of Thatcher, have used “para-fascist” tactics particularly regarding policing.

During the 1984-85 miners strike in Britain freedom of movement was curtailed, curfews enforced by the police and aggressive methods of policing adopted on picket lines. Such actions are described by Roger Griffith in his book The Nature Of Fascism as “para-fascist”. Extremely aggressive methods of policing have/are being adopted by the RUC/PSNI against nationalist and republican protestors in the six counties and potentially could have reached, with the correct political manoeuvrability unbridled, full and open fascism but they did not. As bad as the RUC/PSNI were/are they never reached the evil standards of the SS and Gestapo. Long Kesh concentration camp for example never had gas chambers despite being a draconian centre managed by an austere  regime.

Some of the most popular themes making up fascism, Italian or any other, are anti-communist, ultra-nationalist, a strong leader, a single party state which tolerates no opposition and anti trade unionism.  Trade unions and union activists in Italy and Germany were attacked by armed fascist thug,s financed and supported by large industrialists. Corporatism is another contributing factor in defence of capitalism using aggression towards these aims along with draconian dictatorial laws. As briefly touched upon above Hitler in Germany used the Jewish conspiracy plot to frighten Germans into anti Semitism and racism. 

However in Italy Mussolini’s variant differed. It could be argued that the Italian variant was slightly less barbaric, though perhaps
 Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian communist party, would not see it that way when he was dying in a fascist prison.
Antonio Gramsci

Italian fascist roots can be traced back to Mussolini’s inaugural meeting of the Fasci di combattimento in 1919 before the structural damage done to Italy’s liberal institutions by the war (First World War) could be assessed. Mussolini played greatly on Italian ultra nationalism  based on the renaissance in Italy. Despite being on the victorious side during  W.W.l Italy felt robbed of territories it felt should have gone to them. They felt to some extent robbed and humiliated with similarities with Germany through the Versailles treaty though they could never claim to the same extent. Italian fascism differed from the later model in Germany in respect to anti Semitism. Mussolini was not, at least initially, an anti-semite and in the early days of the 1920s and 30s Jews were amongst the ranks of the Duce ( all these fascist movements believed in one strong leader el Duce in Italy, Fuhrer in Germany and Caudillo for Franco in Spain) which began to change after Mussolini’s association with Hitler developed. 

One of Mussolini’s ambitions was to create an empire along the lines of that created through the blood of others by ancient Rome. In this quest he picked on the East African country Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and in 1938 Italian troops invaded the ill equipped for war country. Even so the Abyssinians put up, albeit, token resistance and the industrialised might of Italy deemed it necessary to use poison gas bombs to suppress a country whose army still depended largely on spears. Albania was another target of the duce in his quest to emulate his Roman predecessors. Like Abyssinia Albania was in no position to put up any serious resistance to the Italian forces and succumbed in a relatively short time. Mussolini then, after Hitler had taken the most of Europe, decided to have a crack at Greece in the Balkans. Greece fought back and successfully repelled the Italian forces in a humiliating fashion. Mussolini’s forces also suffered heavy defeats in North Africa at the hands of the British and eventually Hitler had to intervene to save the duce’s face. The Germans too were eventually beaten in North Africa but not without a hell of a fight. Mussolini had proved, unlike his Nazi counterparts, that if Italian troops fought against any force armed with anything more than spears they may get a good hiding. In a nutshell Mussolini was no Cesar Augustus and the Italian army were not the legions of ancient Rome.

Having very briefly looked at some of the conditions pertaining at the time which gave rise to fascist movements in Italy and Germany modern Europe and events within the European Union and the economic area using the single currency, the Euro zone, should be examined. Today, as in bygone days, we are witnessing a crisis within the capitalist system. The so called Euro zone is in an economic mess which has repercussions for the European Union (EU) as a whole. We are witnessing in some EU countries the erection of straw men as a means of diverting attention away from the root problem, the capitalist system itself.

 The most proficient among these false bogey men are the Muslims. Not dissimilar to Hitler’s “Jewish conspiracy”, which did not exist,  were to blame for Germanys problems the EU, or large parts of it, have installed this fictitious Muslim threat. Far right fascist groups in various countries have been quick to jump on this band wagon after their anti black campaigns were running out of steam. This does not mean the use of skin colour is no longer used as a means to fuel peoples prejudices it has, for the time being, been superseded by the Muslims. Anti-immigration as a whole is still a priority whole for organisations like the British National Party, English Defence League, Combat 18 in the UK and sister organisations abroad such as the French National Front and various Neo Nazi organisations in Germany to mention but a few. 

Immigration control generally always appear to be a vote winner for politicians of all countries. Immigration is to blame for unemployment the wise men and women of various parliaments constantly tell us which is why controls are necessary. This apparently easy solution to the problem diverts attention away from the central and perhaps only question, the ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. If an employer purchases and therefore owns new technology then, immigration or no immigration, somebody will be out of work because their former job is being carried out by a machine, not an immigrant. If sections of these immigrants have a different religion to that of Christians and can be blamed for carrying out bombings in the name of that religion then the task becomes easier and easier. It is certainly true that there have being a number of devastating explosions, the events of September 11th 2001 the most notable, but the main question is who masterminded them. This has echoes of Hitler blaming the communists for burning the 
(inside the burnt Reichstag)
 down in 1933-34 when it may well have been masterminded by the Nazis themselves using an uneducated backward youth to carry the task out! 

Every time a newspaper prints something suggesting Muslim involvement in any crime, let alone genocide, then prejudices in an ever increasing number of people are ignited. If it is not Muslims then it is a black person or a “Chinaman” then comes Lithuanians, Poles   and the old historical scapegoat the Jews. 
Today Jewry is not as prevalent in the scapegoat stakes as it once was in the media because today many newspaper owners are themselves Jews. One reason it would be thought not to encourage such prejudicial rubbish by these people who should know better.

Anti -socialist, anti=communist, legislation is prevalent within the European Union. For example the very mention of a planned economy and nationalisation of industry away from the private market is almost illegal. Even the thought of Keynesian economics is severely discouraged. Corporatism, a feature of fascism, and what is termed “perfect competition” is all the leaders of the EU appear to talk about. Capitalist profit by any means is the reason for the existence of the EU and no matter how far to the right the political pendulum swings is irrelevant in this pursuit. After all the problems faced are all the Muslims and non EU immigrants fault! Aren’t they?

Recently leading footballer John Terry was found not guilty in the magistrates court of racially insulting fellow professional Anton Ferdinand despite calling him a ‘F------ Black C---’, according to various media reports. What kind of a message does this verdict send out to the terraces where, in many instances, racism and fascist ideas are lurking just below the surface? This instance on its own does not signify a sinister move towards the fascist right but couple it with other examples and maybe a picture begins to appear. 

In France anti-Muslim legislation banning women from wearing full face veils has being passed, despite this constituting part of their religion. Back to the UK on Sunday 15th July 2012 on the television programme Sunday Morning Live a poll asked the question “should racial insults be illegal”? over 60% of respondents answered “no” suggesting a trend towards dignifying racist insults in peoples minds. Measures such as stop and search of Muslims and black people are supported by large swathes of a frightened UK population, much the same way as Irish people were made scapegoats for the introduction of such laws as the Prevention of Terrorism Act. 

Unemployed people of all colours creeds and religions are blamed for not “wanting to work” and many people would support forced labour as a means of reducing the unemployment figures similar to what happened in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. Recently in Norway a far right wing nut case named “Anders Behring Brevik” killed eighty five, mainly young people, at a labour party summer camp in his campaign against International Marxism and Muslims. This neo Nazi also planted a huge bomb near government buildings in Norway’s capital, Oslo killing a further seven people. Brevik was/is active in the right wing racist “Peoples Party” the second or third largest party in the country. Brevik also tried to form a Norwegian branch of the English Defence League which as ambiguous as it sounds is about ideology, in this case hatred of Muslims, not geography. Prior to the recent European Football Championships a Polish branch of Combat 18 displayed their banner which means this Neo Nazi organisation has spread its tentacles outside of Britain. Put all these events together and we see an ugly picture developing, not only in the strategies adopted on behalf of the European ruling classes but also and more sinisterly the way some people are starting to think. The two can not be divorced! 

The question must be asked is a form of embryonic fascism entering Europe through the back door in order to defend capitalism? No invasions of Abyssinia or Poland or annexations of Austria this time round. On the other hand are these measures and catalogue of events and legislation introduced by the representatives of the ruling classes of Europe a form of what Griffith, as outlined earlier, describes as para-fascism to keep the genuine article out? If this is the case and it does not work the same mentioned ruling classes would not flinch from giving their backing to those fascist organisations aforementioned. They have done it before and would do it again even if it is, in most cases, a second option to liberal democracy.  

The European workers movements and socialist/communist organisations must start fighting back against what appears to be an accelerating trend across Europe. It would appear to be at two levels. Firstly at official European political level on behalf of their industrialist masters and then on the sports grounds, on the streets, developing negative thoughts in some peoples heads leading to shooting and bomb attacks. Once fascism gets a foot hold, a strong one, and should it become the dominant political ideology across Europe it will not go away. Frightening food for thought.                              
Kevin Morley       

Plus ca change- Ardoyne

Below we reprint a letter sent to the NBN independent republicans about the current situation in Ardoyne.  Despite the Good Friday Agreement or because of it the repressive powers of the British  remain as the always have,  and so do their actions-plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

The following is the text of a letter sent to the North Belfast News today regarding their reports of "threats" against community worlers last week. Please copy and share

7th August 2012 
To the Editor,

We, the undersigned, would like to respond to last weeks edition of the North Belfast News and a number of articles detailing alleged “threats” to community workers employed in the Ardoyne area. 

As individuals and Republicans from the area we would like to point out that we speak for no particular group from the area, nor are we aligned to any political party within the area, nor do we speak for them. Political parties can speak for themselves in our opinion. We are Independent Republican Activists.

With regards to the letter handed in to the Ardoyne Community Centre, we think it is important to point out that the majority of staff within the Centre have contacted or made representation to individual Republicans, including a number of former POWs, expressing their opposition to the presence of the PSNI within the Centre, and the heavy military presence that accompanies PSNI attendees, for Interagency Meetings. It is a fact that, following advice from Republicans, staff informed their line managers and trade unions to highlight the negative impact on the running of the Centre and the restrictions that the accompanying “security” operation places on accessibility to the Centre and playground. In fact staff and volunteers from almost all the community groups in Ardoyne currently engaging with the PSNI have approached local Republicans stating their opposition to having to work with the PSNI in any way other than compulsory matters, e.g. Child Protection issues.

Inside the Centre, Naiscoil Ard Eoin (now Nai-Ionad Ard-Eoin) operates, not beside the Centre as last weeks NBN stated. For around the last year, both Alan Lundy and Dee Fennell have had to remove their four year old children from the Naiscoil within the Centre on each occasion that the Interagency meetings have taken place. This is due to the traumatic effects that the PSNI presence has had on their children. This includes nightmares, begging not to go to school and associated evidence of emotional trauma that we do not wish to disclose. It is important to point out that these children have been present during stop and searches that are designed to humiliate and demonise their fathers, stop and searches carried out by heavily armed men that obviously causes distress to young children. In Alan’s case his children have also been present for numerous house raids, during which his partner and two youngest children have been trailed from their beds and had property and toys seized. In addition both Dee and Alan have had warnings that they will be “put away, “stiffed”, or “snuffed out” in the presence of their children, not a threat to be taken lightly when you consider the RUC involvement in the murder of Alan’s father and Alan Jr’s internment, again on the word of one of the three officers who attend these Interagency meetings. These threats have been issued by the very same personnel that attend Interagency meetings, meaning that while children are supposed to be in a safe and secure learning environment, they are in fact feeling under threat. These issues were raised, to their credit, by the Naiscoil committee and forwarded on to meeting organisers. One of these, Sean Mag Uidhir of CRJI, a fellow Naiscoil committee member, was also confronted directly by Dee Fennell and asked to ensure meetings would no longer be held where children are present. Other parents also find the presence of the PSNI, who are on the premises up to two hours before the 1pm start time of meetings on occasion, totally unacceptable, yet are fearful of speaking out lest they be labelled as “dissidents.” We find the insistence of the organisers of Interagency meetings to continue, over a twelve month period, to contribute to the trauma of children an absolute disgrace. Especially considering that many of the same people attending these meetings took the correct stance of opposing the Holy Cross blockade by loyalists, based on the effect it had on the pupils there, including other relatives of ours who attended that school. This is one of the reasons why Ardoyne Community Centre received a letter asking them to desist from hosting the PSNI. No other armed men or women would be tolerated in any community facility or Church grounds, and rightly so. Why should the PSNI be any different? And why should our children be any less entitled to a safe, neutral learning environment than other children?

As CRJ book the room for these Interagency meetings, as well as inviting the PSNI into our area on a daily basis, they also received the same letter. Nowhere within either letter is there anything that could possibly be construed as a threat, in fact when the letter to CRJ was delivered it was made abundantly clear at the time that any future action in opposition to these meetings would be “peaceful and radical” in direct response to a question asked by a male CRJI member of staff. With the abundance of recording and CCTV equipment at the entrance of the CRJI Ardoyne office, we are sure this would have been picked up easily. Within six separate articles in last weeks NBN around this story there are no mentions of any specific threat, despite the sensationalist headlines. As well as this we had a photograph of a number of people who the North Belfast News described as “Political, religious and community leaders”, and it would be wrong to pretend that those in the photograph are not involved in community work within the area. None of those pictured have attended any protests opposing political internment of Alan Lundy and others, while at least Gerry Kelly was honest when he said he and his party would do nothing to support the Lundy family, when he met his brother Daniel, sister Clare and partner Danielle. Some have tried to justify non attendance of these protests to Alan’s mother by stating that they “would not feel comfortable standing with” some of those protesting, yet the very same people recently featured in a UTV Tonight report where they attended a residential in Bangor with senior members of the North Belfast UDA, including it’s self styled Brigadier. It is also noteworthy that of the 25 pictured, at least 15 are members of Sinn Fein while the majority of the remaining 10 work for SF at election time, a political party that is fully in support of the PSNI and to the fore of pushing forward a normalisation agenda regarding policing. At least 17 are paid community workers who work for organisations that again support the PSNI normalisation agenda. However only 6-8 of those pictured actually live in Ardoyne. 

The peaceful handing in of letters of opposition, or for that matter delivering of newssheets or leaflets in order to highlight injustices and denial of rights by the state militia that is the PSNI, is a totally legitimate form of peaceful political expression. From talking to staff and voluntary workers from a number of the organisations engaging with the PSNI, it is apparent that their main concern is the highlighting of these links as opposed to any alleged misinformation. As individuals, our opinion would be that it is vitally important that the community is fully aware of the nature of relationships and information sharing between community facilities and the PSNI. However what we find unacceptable are leaflets that personalise the issue by naming people that work in the community and makes allegations against them. It is counter productive and only serves to take away from the main issue which is the normalisation agenda in regards to the PSNI. What are even more unacceptable are attacks on the homes and property of local people, such as local Councillor Gerard McCabe and others. These people have families, and to attack anyone’s home for their political opinions is unjustifiable and we condemn it outright. Each of us has had our homes attacked in the past, either by anti-social elements, loyalists, or indeed the PSNI themselves. It is wrong and those doing it should stop. We cannot emphasise this enough.

In the last week one hundred or so Residents again protested at the presence of the PSNI within our community, this time at an Interagency Meeting in Ardoyne Hall. Several also entered the meeting, and read a statement asking those in attendance to cease their involvement in a campaign to make the PSNI acceptable within our community. What was particularly disheartening, especially for the Lundy family, was seeing supposed friends and neighbours walking into this meeting with PSNI officers, including the officer who has falsely identified Alan Lundy and led to his internment in Maghaberry Gaol where he is currently on dirty protest and smearing his excrement on the wall as a Republican Political Prisoner. Also present were officers who were in attendance when Ta McWilliams was arrested with no evidence against him and his partner and children held and harassed for a number of hours. This protest is an example of the peaceful action that people within Ardoyne, fed up with harassment, house raids, passing of details to loyalists, death threats, plastic bullets, facilitation of Loyal Order parades, etc will be taking to oppose their presence within our community. 

In recent days we have also witnessed a well respected 57 year old Republican former Blanketman, who has served over 16 years in jail and on Life Licence, trailed off to Antrim Serious Crime Suite in front of his partner, children and infant grandchild. He has suffered from a life threatening brain tumour and recently underwent life saving triple heart bypass surgery. This again highlights the need for local opposition to a unionist militia that, despite the words of others, has failed to have manners put upon them. They remain the armed protectors of the state and as such should be opposed by all Irish Republicans, while PSNI human rights abuses should lead to all those with an interest in this field to speak up and have their voices heard.

Dee Fennell 
Alan Lundy (Roe House, Maghaberry Gaol)
Aidan Ferguson
Daniel Lundy
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A Descriptive History Of The Irish Citizen Army [Kindle Edition]

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Marxist Education 
The Red Plough is an independent Republican Marxist Internet publication
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We welcome political comments and criticisms. If you know of anybody who might wish to receive the Red Plough please send his or her e-mail address to

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