Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Red Plough Vol. 4-5

The Red Plough
Vol. 4-5
April 2013

1/ A Protracted Crisis

2/ Free Marian  Price

3/ Good F-----G Riddance

4/ Speaking ill of the dead!

A Protracted Crisis

See theres foxes in the henhouse
And theres cows out in the corn
The unions have been busted
And their proud red banners torn

But if you listen to the radio
They'll tell you all is well
But you and me and Cisco know
Its goin straight to hell

So come back Emma Goldman
Rise up old Joe Hill
The barricades are goin up
They cannot break our will

Come back to us Malcolm X
And Martin Luther King
Were marchin into Selma
While the bells of freedom ring

"With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorised that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.
A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right."

The above words are usually what  we read in the many publications of the world wide left. Ever optimistic, many of the left have engaged in  subjective wishful thinking about the ever coming "revolution". Of course such predictions have not been in the tradition of Marx himself. 

But for once the above quotation is not from a left publication but from the  Time magazine section on the economy and business section. It comes at  at a time when even the working class working in the public sector in the South of Ireland  have cast of the dead weight of the union bureaucracies and voted against the Croke Park Agreement part 2. 

Their vote has left the Labour Party reeling  as they had banked on their close relationships with the full time trade union leaders to deliver. Those leaders  who were in favour of acceptance of the deal, now find their own position undermined.  The cosy consensus between Government, Employers and Trade Union leaders has been smashed after 35 years. 

This resistance is  at a time when the  spectre haunting all of Europe is  permanent mass unemployment. Both Ireland and Greece have experienced  a similar financial crisis. Unemployment in Ireland is 14%. and the number of jobs has fallen by 15%. When one looks at the figures for Greece job losses have been 22% but the unemployment rate is a staggering 27.2% Why the differentiation? Approximately 50% of the reduction in job loss is directly attributed in Ireland to emigration.  Emigration is once more the only option facing our young people. They are leaving for work in the USA , Australia or wherever they can make a living. That is one reason why opposition to austerity has been so muted in Ireland up to now. 
Greece has had 21 general strikes in the past few years.   In Spain 200.000 people greeted striking Spanish miners when they arrived in Madrid at !! Portugal  there were mass demonstrations even bigger than in 1974 when the dictatorship was overthrown.
In Britain unemployment rose, as they buried Thatcher,  to 7.9% and the total number in employment also fell. The anger shown in the former industrial heartlands of Britain to Thatcher and the ruling establishment shows the flames of class struggle.

Class struggle is on the agenda all over Europe as capitalism tries to lower the living standards of the workers.  Those gains made by the class such as pensions, health care free education and a reasonable standard of living  now are in the process of been eroded. Using reformist leaders both within left parties and the unions throughout Europe capitalism had hoped to win back those gains. But the reformist lefts when in Government now find that they have few concessions to offer the working class.

So opportunities now exist all over Europe for the advancement of socialist ideas and workers solidarity and unity. Only in the North of Ireland  is such solidarity and class s unity prevented by the conscious use of both flag waving and  armed sorties by those who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo.  The use of nationalism, racism sectarianism and identity politics to maintain divisions among the workers  has always been used. History teaches us that it is only in times of great turmoil and unrest that those divisions break down.  

Objective factors are now creating the conditions for the left to make gains throughout Ireland. Is that left  capable of seizing the opportunities.  Can we learn the lessons of past failures? Can we overcome both political and religious sectarianism? Or will small groups of republican elitists and so called Marxist elitists hinder the way forward?

Currently  there are at least four republican  socialist groupings which oppose the Good Friday Agreement all doing their own thing. The reality is that Irish Republicanism is in deep crisis searching for a way forward and afraid to let go of the failed weapons of the past. 

The "non republican left" (for want of a better phrase) is equally divided. In the north it is practically non existing, confined to the usual suspects, but making no serious inroads into the consciousness of the mass of working people.  In the South the bitter divisions within the United Left Alliance,  combined with the Labour Party's leadership commitment to coalition and austerity, has  left a vacuum on the left.  Sinn Fein, having absorbed most of New Labour's ideas looks best placed to fill that vacuum. 
But like the left reformists all over Europe they will fail to deliver for the working class. 
So what is the answer? How can a serious alternative be built? Perhaps it is time for all on the Irish left to do as the Time magazine has done  and re-read Marx with a fresh eye. In the Communist Manifesto he wrote

"The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. In France, the Communists ally with the Social-Democrats(1) against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution.
- Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.
Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. "

Are there lessons there for the Irish Left?


Marian Price must be released from her prison hospital. What crime exactly has she committed or alleged to have committed? This woman is being held without charge despite suffering from a deteriorating health problem which can only be described as draconian to say the least. Is this not a breach of habeas corpus, is the detention lawful? By this criteria it would appear that any person attending a commemoration, able bodied or otherwise, can be arrested and held in custody without charge. It appears her only crime was just this, attending a commemoration! Perhaps selling left wing and/or republican literature will in future suffice for a spell of detention! Detention such as this would have being expected in Fascist Italy, Pinochte’s Chile or Nazi Germany, before the introduction of the Death Camps, therefore very dangerous precedents have been set.

What have Sinn Fein (provisional) got to say on this matter? They are being conspicuous by their silence it must be said. They are part of government in that part of Ireland aren’t they? Well if that is the case why don’t they do what they were elected to do and govern? That’s what governments do, isn’t it? Except the government of the six counties is no such thing in real terms. It is little more than a large inner London authority, Islington for example, with perhaps a little less power. What about the twenty six county government? They too appear silent on the issue! Why? Given the fact that Marian Price was a republican POW in the early 1970s, around the time the present First Minister in Stormont was allegedly involved in the military side of republicanism, then surely Sinn Fein owe her something, don’t they?   

The case of Marian Price is perhaps only the tip of the ice burg in the modern world where detention without trial or, in this case, charge are common place. With the United States self proclaimed “war on terror” in response to the unknown assailants on the World Trade Centre back in 2001 resulting in the tragic deaths of thousands the USA have set a trend closely followed by the lesser powers such as Britain and France. Britain’s record in the six counties particularly on human rights  has being abysmal to say the least but now they see fit to take people into custody for no real reason at all. This precedent, set by the USA and followed by the UK appears to be going largely unopposed by the so called revolutionary and constitutional left as a whole. It is true to say that the SDLP have added their voice to the small chorus of condemnation over the Price affair though their reasons are dubious to say the least.

The United States are still holding political prisoners on the Caribbean island of Cuba at Guantanamo Bay. A strange place to have a detention centre is Cuba, particularly when the forces of right wing oppression were overthrown by the Cuban revolution in 1959. The problem is that an agreement was reached very early in the 20th century between the then Cuban government and that of the USA granting this facility to the Americans. Only when both governments agree to its closure can this happen. Needless to say the Cuban government want this chamber of horrors off their island however, under the aforementioned agreement this is not possible unless the White House agrees, which they won’t. This is a dilemma which the Cuban government of Raul Castro are struggling with. How to force the USA out of Cuba, with no longer having the Soviet Union to support them. Even with the old USSR given the fact that the pre-Castro agreement leasing the facility to the USA is recognised in international law removing the Americans would still pose a problem.

The issue of political prisoners and their well being is a global problem. Groups like Amnesty International, laudable as they are, merely put non binding pressure on the offending governments, which the UK is one. Such organisations are tolerated by the ever rightwards shifting capitalist governments as a shining beacon of democracy. These governments can point to such organisations, powerless as they are, and make such statements as “you could not object through groups such as Amnesty International if we didn’t allow free speech” thus justifying the democracy part of Liberal Democracy. The truth is if these pressure groups became a serious threat to the system through mass support they would close them down. It’s a bit like voting, if it changed “anything they’d abolish it” as Ken Livingstone once said. The hard fact is that Marian Price along with many other prisoners/hostages around the globe should not be there. In the North of Ireland we were unreliably, as its turned out, informed that such issues as detention without charge or trial would come to an end with the Good Friday Agreement. Just like Good Friday there appears very little good about it! All serious and sane minded people socialists, republicans even fair minded liberals should demand an end to this incarceration.       


“Our paths crossed and she(Margaret Thatcher) came up to me and she said ‘I’ve got one thing to say to you my boy… you can’t trust the Irish, they’re all liars’, she said, ‘liars, and that’s what you have to remember so just don’t forget it’, and with that she waltzed off,” he (Peter Mandelson) said.

As we are all probably aware former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, has finally been buried. She died of a stroke which, like many of the strokes she pulled, must have being horrific. Perhaps when she was dying the pain of ten Irish republican hunger strikers, over three hundred Argentine mariners and countless coal miners would have being experienced. If so Good! What we had forced down our throats was perhaps the largest insult to working class communities, the families comrades and friends of the hunger strikers along with those of the crew of the Argentinean cruiser, the General Belgrano, an ageing battle cruiser of the Argentine navy sunk by a torpedo from the British nuclear submarine, Conqueror on Thatcher’s orders. The battle cruiser sank during the Falklands/Malvinas islands conflict sailing back to port and well outside the British imposed exclusion zone was, under international law illegal. A state of war did not formally exist between Britain and Argentina. 

Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in 1925 the daughter of a Greengrocer, at least that was his official title. He was also reportedly a war time spiv, profiteer, black marketeer during WW II at a time when everybody else was fighting fascism and Nazism in Europe. Her fathers philosophy based on greed was to rub off on her politically in the future. If you were short “Roberts could supply” for a price. When she was Minister for Education she became infamous for stopping children's school milk, a source of calcium and protein which was given out free in all state schools until the early 1970s. She became known as “Thatcher the milk snatcher”. This act should have shown signs of what kind of person, let alone politician she was to become. Thatcher was UK prime Minister from 1979 until 1990 when even her own gang of crooks in the Tory party had had enough of and booted her out. During her tenure of office many crimes were committed not least against the working class of England, Scotland and Wales.

Her first criminal act occurred in 1981 which will be remembered by most Irish people as the year of the hunger strikes. Then Irish republican political prisoners, seven from the IRA and three from the INLA (perhaps reporters should  remember this fact when reporting the event), went on hunger strike for political recognition among other issues. Her behaviour and attitude towards the hunger strikers was “shameful” to say the least. It has been reported that Thatcher never forgave Irish republicanism after the execution by the INLA of her close friend and confide right wing MP Airey Neave. Did she allow this emotional event to cloud her judgement during the hunger strikes? Not for one minuet! To concede that losing Neave may have had an emotional affect on her would suggest that the woman was capable of feelings and emotions when it came to other people. The truth is that her actions during the hunger strikes would suggest her personality was devoid of any perceived weakness like humanity. The loss of Neave must not be allowed to muddy the waters and let her off the hook for what can only be described as murder, for which she never showed an ounce of remorse. The Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams said she was guilty of “covert and overt military operations against Citizens” in the six counties, an understatement perhaps Gerry!

In 1984, at the Conservative party conference in Brighton, the IRA made an attempt on her and the Tory cabinets lives which was unfortunately unsuccessful. Many people, Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh and Cornish, republican and otherwise, socialist or liberal were “sorry they missed”.

In 1982 the Falclands/Malvinas island crisis broke out. This event occurred when the Argentinean dictator, General Galtieri, ordered his forces to re-take the supposedly British territory. Galtieri and Thatcher had much in common and both their political careers were in turmoil. The pair of them had domestic problems, strikes, the economy, unemployment and poverty to name but a few so for the Argentine dictator re-taking the islands was a perfect deflection from the more important issues. Likewise for Thatcher who allowed the invasion to take place despite warnings weeks in advance from the Royal Naval Ice Breaker, The Endurance. These warnings went unheeded by Thatcher. She too needed a diversion away from the mess her policies had got Britain into. The train drivers were on strike at the time  poverty and unemployment in cities such as Liverpool were ripe, in fact inner city decay was rampant from Glasgow to Manchester to Birmingham and so on. Yes Thatcher needed a diversion as much as did Galtieri be under no illusions about that. It was in this conflict, a state of war was never declared, that the aforementioned Argentine cruiser, General Belgrano, was sank with the loss of many lives. A state of the arts British nuclear submarine, Conqueror, sank the ageing war ship which was on its way back to port. It must be pointed out that these acts carried out by Thatcher brought her great admiration particularly from the right wing of her own party and the fascist right. She was often termed a GREAT Prime Minister! This title afforded to her should say something about those who said it certainly in mentality. 

Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister responsible for the butchery and murder of Britain’s nationalised industry, the family silver if you like sold off to her friends in private business. Richard Branson springs to mind buying huge swathes of former British Rail and particularly the Western lines from London to Glasgow, Manchester and various other destinations. The railways were nationalised, like coal and steel to name a few, as among other reasons a reward to the workers in these industries for the effort they put in defeating Nazi Germany on the home front.  Privatisation, insecurity and unemployment was their reward from Thatcher. The Steel Industry under the Chairmanship of Ian MacGregor took on the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (ISTC)  union over privatisation of British Steel. MacGregor was then moved over, by Thatcher, to chair the National Coal Board (NCB) with the sole purpose in mind of closing down collieries and paving the way for privatisation. The first serious confrontation between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Thatcher’s henchman MacGregor came over the closure of Cortonwood colliery in March 1984. Cortonwood was to be the first of many coal mines to be closed supposedly because they were unprofitable, a claim disputed by the union. What should be remembered is that nationalised industries were not about being profitable at all. Their purpose was to provide goods and services funded through general taxation, it was not necessary to make a profit. Even a small loss could be sustained. However NUM figures proved that Britain’s deep mined coal, that used for power stations amongst other uses, was the cheapest in Europe. Thatcher and MacGregor were not interested in this at all. Thatcher had never forgotten or forgiven the miners union and, in particular Arthur Scargill for humiliating the previous Conservative governments led by Edward Heath. She was in Heaths last cabinet defeated in 1974.

In 1972 Arthur Scargill was the area President of the NUM in Yorkshire, Britain’s largest coalfield. He led thousands of “flying pickets” down to Saltley Gate Cocking Plant near Birmingham. He demanded, and received, support from other trade unions, noticeable the Engineering Workers, in support of the miners. He successfully closed the gates of the plant thus starving the power stations of fuel gaining the miners a victory. In 1974 another miners strike was highly instrumental in bringing down the Tory government of Ted Heath which Thatcher never forgot. Even though Joe Gormley was the National President of the NUM in these years it was Arthur Scargill and the left wing of the NUM who Thatcher remembered for being the cause of the Tories humiliation.

Choosing to close Cortonwood pit she knew would force a confrontation with the NUM of which Arthur Scargill was now National President. The pit was not exhausted, the face still had at least five years reserves of coal, this pit was chosen because it would force the miners into a fight in the Springtime. No coal miner would choose to fight in the spring for obvious reasons. During the strike, which lasted for one year, there were actions of police brutality against the striking miners, their children and wives perhaps not witnessed in these islands since the Dublin Lockout of 1913. Many parallels could be drawn! The treatment meted out to miners and their families is not forgotten. David Hopper, former President of the Durham Miners, said of Thatcher’s death: 

“For the union this could come soon enough, I imagine we’ll have a counter demonstration when they have their funeral. Our children have no jobs and the community is full of problems”. To anybody who is familiar with former coal mining areas it is understood what the former NUM official is saying. These areas were once the pride of working class communities and militancy. Everything revolved around the coal mine, schools, public houses, clubs, shops bus routes etc. They are now in many cases ghost towns where the drug barons have moved in, undesirables who would not be tolerated in the days of the NUM. The union had a massive say in how areas were ran and organised. David Hopper, now 70, added “I’m glad I’ve outlived her”.

Thatcher’s demise was brought about by her introduction of the Poll Tax in the late 1980s. Millions of people refused to pay this tax and the second “peasants revolt” began. One could have imagined the ghost of Watt Tyler appearing. Mass demonstrations which could have led to all out revolt took place across Britain and were successful in bringing it and Thatcher down. Even her own gang of crooks in the Tory party had had enough of her, she had to go. On leaving Downing Street she was near to tears but this should not be confused with guilt. She had no remorse for causing the suffering to millions her emotions, if that’s the correct term, were only for herself. Margaret Thatcher will be remembered as the Prime Minister who divided Britain, was responsible for mass unemployment, the selling off of council houses without restocking, the murder of ten Irish republican political prisoners and the unlawful sinking of the Argentine cruiser. General; Belgrano. It is not possible to list all her crimes here as it would be too voluminous for this space, suffice simply to say “GOOD F-----G RIDDANCE”.  

Kevin Morley
Speaking ill of the dead!

Here are what Daily Mail readers said when Labour Leader Michael Foot died .

"“I have rarely laughed so much at a poor old man’s passing”

"One less communist hoon, time for a party"

"Pity the red lunatic fuckers can only die once, I could watch it all day."

"Fuck off Foot and rot in hell."

"Foot was either a moron of truly epic proportions or he was an evil, evil man. Either way, I see no need to mourn the treacherous bastard"

"Good riddance. One by one the socialist stalwarts are kicking the bucket ... C,mon Hattersley you fat fuck, choke on your own dribble."

"Fuck off Michael – I won’t miss you at all."

"Anyone know where the traitorous quisling shit is buried so I can dance on the hoons grave?"

"Just another dangerously wrong-headed utopian Lefty of no use to Britain."

"One more communist dead."

"After a pretty piss poor week, this is good news at last."

"Of all the socialist traitors that have stained the UK ... he is perhaps one of the most evil, I hope he rots in the deepest pits of hell"

"What took him so long…? Typical sponging leftie, screwing the actuaries to take more out of the pension scheme."

"If any Labour supporters are reading this blog right now with a tear in their eye may I just say to you... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!"

"So. A 96 year old traitor has popped his clogs. So F****** what."

"I also laughed my fucking socks off when Tony ‘fluffy foxy woxy’ Banks died."

"Foot was a communist killer like Stalin he was possibly the most treasonous man in British political history. Lord Haw Haw did less damage".

(Taken from facebook-Stewart Kirk)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Red Plough Vol. 4-4

The Red Plough
Vol. 4-4
April 2013

1/Vile odious woman!

2/ The Falklands/Malvinas.( A Flock Of Sheep, Pair Of Welly Boots And Oil  )

3/ Put Your Money Under The Bed!  

Vile odious woman!

The death of Margaret Thatcher has provoked sickening images of odious politicians praising her role in British politics. She put the “great” back into “Great Britain” it is claimed. 
 On the other hand there were public celebrations in some parts  of Britain (and private celebrations all over Britain) and public expressions of joy in working class nationalist districts in Belfast and Derry.

Irish Republicans have many reasons to hate Thatcher. It was her public role that we hate. On a private level one can sympathise with a family on the death of a frail, mentally impaired old lady of 87. This writer normally would, believing it is usually best not to speak ill of the dead. After all it was Che who wrote

“Let me say at the risk of seeming ridiculous that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”
However there are exceptions.  Margaret Thatcher was one such exception. Both on a personal and a political level she was a vile odious creature devoid of empathy with other human beings, a bully, a power monger, a woman who despised feminism and adopted the worst of machismo. She had no redeeming features except for those who worship at the altar of Imperialism Capitalism and the God of Mammon 
Thatcher’s role in Ireland was to suppress by any means possible the demand for national independence of the whole island and the undoing of the partition of the island. In that she is no different from all other British Prime Ministers. It has always been the case that in the interests of the British ruling class that Ireland needs to be controlled so that there can exist no threat to British interests.
Pitch capping a United Irishman

That has been the case since the Normans first came to Ireland. Throughout the centuries through conquest, plantation, plunder, torture, pitch capping, bribery, religious intolerance, ethnic cleansing, land clearances and  repression the British ruling class  have  maintained a foothold in Ireland with the help of the descendants of the plantations and the willing collaboration of nationalists happy with the half loaf that they were bribed with. 

Thatcher when she came to power saw only one solution to the ongoing  armed resistance by republican forces in Ireland-repression. Under the previous Labour Government a process had begun to criminalise Irish republicans. This had begun under Roy Mason and had led to the so called dirty protest by many republican prisoner eventually leading to two major hunger strikers in 1980 and 81. In1981 Bobby Sands on hunger strike was elected to Westminster as the MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone. Despite this political endorsement by the electorate Thatcher allowed Sands and nine other brave hunger strikers to die in pursuit of demands which were granted but only after their deaths. 

The Dirty Protest
She showed callous disregard for their plight, labelling then criminals ands ignoring the demands of nationalist Ireland. She also approved  the selective assassination of leading H-block leaders utilising both British murder squads and loyalist sectarian hit squads. She give the go ahead for shot to kill policies by both the RUC and the British Army and allowed 3 loyalist paramilitary groups to collude with the Apartheid state in South Africa and import thousands of weapons later used to kill hundreds of  Irish republicans and innocent catholics

So there are plenty of reasons for Irish republicans to despite and hate Thatcher. 

But Irish republicans have always been used to  the tactics of British repression. What was different about the Thatcher regime was it it used similar tactics against its own working class. From the end of the 2nd world war there had been a general consensus that the role of the state was to assist those most in need and that the state needed to control major utilities such as power transport etc. Partially this was because the labour movements reforms and establishment of the welfare state proved so popular that even during a previous period of 13 years of Tory rule the conservatives had felt unable to pursue their normally laissez faire capitalist economics to benefit their own elitist supporters.

Thatcher was an instrument of the liberal economics of the likes of Friedman which was in essence the remove of any restraints to  the so called “free market”. Thatcher unleashed the so called green grocer economics on the British working class. Back to the monetarism of the 1930‘s.
Monetarist Guru Friedman

This involved, deregulation of the financial markets, tax awards for the rich, privatisation of public amenities anti-trade union legislation and the full force of the state against their opponents just as in Ireland.

Backed by the Murdoch’s press and whipping up nationalist fervour Thatcher went to war over the Malvinas and authorised the sinking of the Belgrano well outside the conflict zone. This at a time when the Tories were well down in the polls meant she was able to use British nationalism to gain power in two subsequent election.

During this time she then declared war on the enemy within and broke the NUM. Paramilitary police smashed into working class mining districts.
Paramilitary police attack workers.

The north of England was  de-industrialised as engineering, the steel industry including the decimation of Corby,with its30%unemployment, mining and shipbuilding were stripped bare. The plight of Geordie workers having to emigrate to Germany to work parallels the Irish experience of emigration,

We had no way of staying afloat
We had to leave on the ferry boat
Economic refugees
On the run to Germany
We had the back of Maggie's hand
Times were tough in Geordie land
We got wor tools and working gear
And humped it all from Newcastle to here
Why aye man, why aye, why aye man
Why aye man, why aye, why aye man

We're the nomad tribes, travelling boys
In the dust and dirt and the racket and the noise
Drills and hammers, diggers and picks
Mixing concrete, laying bricks
There's English, Irish, Scots, the lot
United nation's what we've got
Brickies, chippies, every trade
German building, British-made

(Mark Knopfler “Why aye man”)

Thatcherism denied there was any such thing as society thereby giving carte blanche to ‘the greed is good’ philosophy that swept the financial centre of London and other cities eventually leading to the drastic austerity that we have today.

During this period many Irish Republicans came to recognise an affinity with the be-leagued British working class  and solidarity with the miners was well expressed. This empathy with fellow workers in Britain contrasted with the attitude of previous generations of Republicans who adhered to an old slogan- 

“Burn everything British but their coal”

While there had always been a stream of republican socialism who adhered to the internationalism of James Connolly the struggles of the British working class against Thatcherism  in the 1980‘s inspired more republicans to look to international solidarity between all workers. 

Even today when Irish republicanism is split and sundered,  the majority of the republican factions all proclaim their internationalism. That is a far cry from the narrow nationalism of the 1940, 1950’s and1960’60.

The class war never goes away. In Thatcher’s day she openly proclaimed it with her" us and them" approach and open contempt for the lives of working class people, her decimation of the industrial north and the unleashing of brutal force against miners , Irish, Argentines and all who opposed naked capitalism.

Today in the midst of a world recession and with austerity the watch word of the ruling classes now “we are all in it together” Whether in Britain, Ireland , north or South or across Europe  the class war continues but without the stridency of Thatcherism but still with its methods. Now rather than smash the Unions the new Thatcherities try to incorporate the labour bureaucracies  through deals like Croke Park 2, into voluntary giving up even more of the gains gained through centuries of struggle; gains such as in trade union rights, education health care and employment.

 It matters not the identity of our rulers, Irish or British, Catholic or Protestant, it is what they are now doing, that must be resisted. Trade unionists, socialists, republicans, catholics, protestants and all other religions or non, and working class communities throughout the British Isles, all have a common interest in resisting the austerity programme that blames us, the workers for the excesses of the bankers money lenders and gamblers of the financial institutions

North and South East t and West, workers resist austerity, throw out the coalitions in the British Isles and put in power only those empowered with a socialist programme to act in the  interests of the working class.
 Now that Thatcher is dead let us smash Thatcherism! On the day of her funeral let us all wear red in memory of all workers who suffered under her policies.


         The Falklands/Malvinas. A Flock Of Sheep, Pair Of Welly Boots And Oil  

Imagine being part of a people with no real identity which wishes to be part of another people based 7,000 miles away with no real idea as to why. To older people of the Falklands/Malvinas islands who have long outgrown the meaning of logic the question might pose no barriers or problems. However to an ever increasingly curious younger generation certainly in years to come the question may be very relevant. For the time being however the question for the people of the Falkland/Malvinas islands has been answered in a recent referendum. The outcome of this referendum was 98% in favour remaining British as opposed to Argentinean. This is despite the fact that the islands lay 7,000 miles away from Britain and only a few hundred away from Argentina. 

It can now be argued that “the people have spoken” and they did not choose Argentina. By this criteria does this mean that if, for some reason, the people of the Isle Of Wight chose to be part of, let’s say, Portugal then this wish would be granted? I very much doubt it! The occupants of the Falkland/Malvinas were, until 1982, largely forgotten by Britain in fact they did not even receive a vote in British elections. The islands were neglected as were their people giving the impression that Britain, or the British establishment, could not care less about this outlying area in the South Atlantic.

Up until 1982 the nearest and dearest companions of many islanders were their flock of sheep. Perhaps the most important piece of survival equipment for many a lonely sheep farmer would be their Wellington Boots for the use of! One could be forgiven imagining these boots amounting to the islands largest import, after all there are a lot of sheep out there and per capita a large number of sheep farmers, sheep farming particularly in inclement weather prevalent in the South Atlantic winters is dirty work!! Again up until 1982 the people, majority of, England had never heard of the “Falkland Islands” let alone the people who live there. I use the description “England” as opposed to Britain because in real terms that is the correct one as in terms of population and therefore electorate it is the major country. Scotland, the other country which constitutes Britain, is holding a referendum in 2014, the 700th  anniversary year commemorating the Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn in 1314 to decide on Independence, is only of any relevance to the English ruling class when it comes to the natural resources off the Scottish coast in the North Sea. 

Wales which lies to the West of England is considered by the establishment to be merely a Principality. Scotland and Wales have administrative centres, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, similar to the Legislative Assembly for the Six Counties. For the record both these countries ideally should be independent socialist republics living in harmony and equality with the English socialist republic. The people of the Falklands/Malvinas could not, perhaps until 1982 say with any certainty what the constituency of Britain was/is but still feel fit to consider themselves part of it.
The year 1982 was very important for the islands because this was the time when Argentina decided to invade and take the islands by force. The Military Junta, led by General Galtieri and his right wing butchers,
which ruled Argentina with an iron grip, was facing massive social and economic problems along with a wave of strikes by workers. Repression was the strategic order of the day adopted by the Junta which was not working. No matter how many, chiefly working class, people disappeared the protests continued unabated. What could Galtieri do? Answer, bring on the national question, the flag, the pride in the nation Viva La Argentina La Malvinas! (or something like that). This strategy has a historical high rate of success in various crisis ridden countries as the people, stupidly, rally to defend the interests of their tormentors and exploiters. The Argentinean people felt very strongly about the Malvinas and the Junta knew it. They also knew how to exploit this feeling amongst the population, even if it did mean hundreds of these same people or their off springs, spouses and relatives meeting premature deaths. An invasion of the Malvinas would divert attention away from the real issues like poverty faced by the population. Maybe Argentina had a lot of frustrated sheep farmers in waiting! Argentina would invade and take back the islands by force thus solving two problems for the Military Junta and prolonging their rule. It was logic!

In Britain the government of Margaret Thatcher was, like her Argentinean counterparts, facing similar problems.
She had managed to make herself the least popular Prime Minister certainly since the Second World War and her government were also facing industrial action including strikes by some trade unions. Perhaps the most prominent of these actions was the strike by train drivers led by ASLEF (Association of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) and their leader the late Ray Buckton. 

Thatcher’s political future was at this point in the balance and she was worried. Perhaps this is why she ignored warnings from the Royal Naval ice ship The Endurance that an Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands was imminent! These warnings had been coming in for months which would have allowed the British to garrison the islands and perhaps repel any Argentine attempt to capture them. Such a move however would not have suited Thatcher’s purpose. She needed an incident, not dissimilar to Galtieri, to divert attention away from the real problems the population were suffering due to her policies. It could be reasonably argued that had Thatcher been in charge of Argentina she may well have done exactly the same as did Galtieri! A Royal Naval Task Force was assembled destined for the Falklands and the rest is history.

Suddenly the hitherto unheard of and perhaps unwanted people inhabiting the Falklands/ Malvinas became an important factor in this game played out by Galtieri and Thatcher. In fact as far as Thatcher was concerned these people were a consequential reason as opposed to the real motive for defending these long forgotten islands. Apart from her social and economic problems at home the far more important issue of OIL had reportedly come to the fore.
Various reports claimed that oil deposits and reserves had been discovered in the South Atlantic and around the Falkland Islands. This, coupled with the British and Argentinean governments domestic problems would be a very worthy prize to fight for. 

According to some reports up to fifteen countries laid claim to the oil around the Falklands/ Malvinas and the last thing the British needed was for one of them encamped on the islands themselves. Of course this could never be publicly admitted by either government, the argument would not carry the weight of pride that the national sovereignty question would especially given the cost of the operation. The British side lost “255 British dead and 777 wounded” In addition, six British ships were sunk”. The cost for the “defence of the islands” was £5 billion, a lot of money in 1982. The cost to Argentina, certainly in terms of life was far higher. Their chiefly conscript army mainly consisting of otherwise unemployed teenagers were no parity for the elite of the British Army, Para’s, Marines etc. The money spent on saving Thatcher’s political standing on this campaign could have eased the economic burden suffered by working class people every day in Britain. This money could have been far better spent rebuilding crisis torn Britain. The result of the war - “brought on to a significant extent by the Governments own diplomatic failings - enabled the Prime Minister to claim: Great Britain is great again” (Source Contemporary British Politics; Bill Coxall and Lynton Robins: P. 33). The exercise served Thatcher’s purpose, many people forgot about their own problems and Thatcher was once again popular.
The population of the Falklands/Malvinas after the success of the British Task Force in 1982 now get a vote in British General elections. This is of course an incidental consequence of the conflict and anybody who thinks the British government of the day sent troops and marines seven thousand miles to fight out of concern for these peoples voting rights are living in cloud cuckoo land. The Argentinean invasion of the Falklands/Malvinas designed to save Galtieri and his Junta had in fact the opposite affect. It was Margaret Thatcher who benefited and the British people, misled as they may have been, who suffered.

Murdock's vile Sun
Finally it should be stated that Thatcher as an individual was no better than was Galtieri. There was very little between them in their personal policies be under no illusions about that. It was more an accident of birth rather than political ideology that it was not Thatcher who invaded the islands and Galtieri sending out a Task Force!Finally it is prudent to mention the island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. This small island was invaded by the United States of America in 1983 despite being a British 

“Commonwealth realm”. Needless to say when this American country, from North as opposed to South America, invaded there was no British task force steaming ahead to retake the islands. This was despite the United Nations General Assembly declaring the invasion a “violation of International law” and verbal objections from the British Government. Has anybody any ideas why a task force was deemed appropriate when one American country invaded British territory but not when another did? 

Kevin Morley

Put Your Money Under The Bed!  

As we have recently witnessed the small island of Cyprus is in deep economic turmoil. The banks were closed for a number of days and people, customers, were told how much of their own money they could withdraw and when. This was to prevent people drawing all their savings out thus leaving those who had caused the crisis, the capitalist class and their system, in a not very nice place.

 So much for the rights of the individual so often preached to us by those custodians of the status quo, the bourgeoisie. Cypriots, when the banks finally opened on Thursday 28th March 2013, were limited to €300.00 per day. Cyprus is the latest victim of the economic joke referred to as the “Euro zone”, the coming together of a single European monetary unit, the Euro, by a number of countries, though not all states, within the European Union. Unfortunately Cyprus was one of them!

It must be remembered that these people were not asking the Cypriot banks for loans, no not at all, they simply wanted their own money before the banks lost it all for them. This money was in many cases wages which had been worked for. However the Cyprus government needed this money, the workers money, for themselves to secure a “bailout” or loan from the ECB, EU and/or IMF (European Central Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund). This would save the capitalist class and capitalism in Cyprus, at least in theory. Once again the mess this system has produced must be paid for by the dispossessed proletariat. 

Not so long ago various capitalist countries, the United States and other non-aligned bourgeois blocks began introducing laws demanding workers have their wages paid into banks. This new efficient system replaced the old pay packets, which workers looked forward to at the end of the week and reduced staff in wages offices,  Salaried or monthly payments were always paid either by cheque or into bank accounts but now everybody was forced to accept this method. After the Cyprus experience we now know that governments can, if needed, confiscate these monies to bail out the business classes and themselves in times of economic crisis, a precedent hitherto unheard of  has been set. It could now happen in any country which operates this unstable economic system.

In larger countries governments can, and do, use peoples monies to fund such enterprises as going to war (or committing genocide) for oil. Normally these projects are funded out of taxation but this is not a sacred cow. Not any more! Libya would be a recent example of a group of countries murdering for oil. Led by Britain and France a gang of lesser NATO thugs backed a few hundred right wing rebels in Libya. 

Their excuse for war was to “bring freedom” and “save lives” in the country. They used air power second to none against a country with barely an air force worthy of the name. Of course Libya was/is not in the same league as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait in the oil stakes but the latter of these are the property of the United States and the former large investors in the US economy. These countries are out of bounds for NATO's second eleven, former US President George W. Bush made this abundantly clear, who have just being mentioned. 

However Libya with, of course, US approval was fair game. The question must be asked is how long before instead of purely peoples monies paid in taxation being used for such ventures, their savings and wages are used as well to fund them? Obviously governments can if they wish take peoples money without their consent so why not for pursuing the profits from oil? After all who would stop them? Has the time come to revert back to the days when savings were kept in a brief case under the bed? It may be safer because in these days of high technology it only takes the pushing of a switch to prevent people getting to their own money if a government feel fit. The message here is don’t trust them or their system, the evidence is there to see! Of course keeping thousands of pounds, dollars or euro under the bed is not the answer. A different economic and political system is needed to replace this flawed entity. How to achieve it is the question!