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)

No comments:

Post a Comment