After the Stormont election: the way forward

by John McAnulty

The common assertion arising from the latest election in the North of Ireland is that Sinn Fein now has the upper hand. That reform of the local settlement is now inevitable and Gerry Adams has gone so far as to assert that a united Ireland is now back on the agenda.

However the loss of the overall unionist majority is largely a profound psychological shock rather than a practical issue. The seats are:

DUP SF  SDLP  UUP ALLIANCE OTHER
(inc 2 Green, 1PBP) 
28  27  12  10 8 5

 

So The DUP remains the largest party and would nominate the first minister. The loss of the overall majority relies on the dubious idea that Alliance is not a unionist party – they have in the past designated themselves as unionist to save the assembly and until recently fulfilled a role as lynch pin for the sectarian setup by holding the justice ministry position.

In addition in the coming negotiations Sinn Fein will be facing the British government. They themselves have complained that the pro-unionist positions of the British secretary, James Brokenshire, should make him unsuitable as chair.  They will also be appealing to a Dublin government hostile to Sinn Fein that acts as an agent of reaction in both parts of the Island. 

The settlement in Ireland is not designed to lead to a united Ireland and the issue depends entirely on gaining permission from Britain to hold a vote restricted to the six-county area – permission that will not be forthcoming.  Read the rest of this entry

Rich and poor in Belfast and the six counties

From the latest Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report (#4) (with thanks to Liam O’Ruairc):

•In terms of being endowed with multi-millionaires, Belfast is proportionally banking way above its weight with 35.8 multi-millionaires per 100,000 population, third only to oil-rich Aberdeen (53.0) and London (51.6). Yet as a region, NI has the highest proportion of households with no savings accounts and the highest proportion of households deriving income from disability benefit.

•The “Wallace Park” council ward in Lisburn is the least deprived ward in NI. Whiterock in Belfast is the most deprived. Of the top 20 least-deprived wards, four have switched between the 2001 census and the most recent 2011 census from being majority Protestant to being majority Catholic: “that the four new areas are all in Peter Robinson’s Castlereagh constituency is evidence of a remarkable Read the rest of this entry

What’s happening with blog?

I haven’t been doing much on the blog for some weeks. . .

This is partly because of work on Redline blog and partly the interruptions of life in general.  I was away for ten days and tied up with other stuff and then I had a lot of other things to catch up with when I got back home.

I’m currently transcribing some more more Fintan Lalor stuff to go on the blog and then I just have to do some proofing and correcting on Constance Markievicz’s 1923 pamphlet What Irish Republicans Stand For and I’ll get that up.  It would have gone up long ago except I have a print out that I made of it back in the late 1980s and when me and a friend were typing it up I noticed that several lines were missing at the bottom of a number of pages.  I have had to wait several years to be able to get hold of those lines, but I’ve been able to find and fix them.

Then I have a substantial little body of books I need to review.  It is now several years since most of these books were actually published!!!  However, the stuff I tend to read is material that doesn’t date, so the reviews would still be highly relevant.

I’m still very keen to get other people writing for this site.

Also, Redline would love to run a piece on the anti-water charges campaign and its recent sweeping victory.  But everyone I ask is so busy with actual campaigning, no-one has time.  If anyone who reads this blog fancies taking it on, that would be great.

Email redlinemarxists@gmail.com

Redline is a totally independent site, it’s not aligned with any political organisation or tendency.  So there should be no complications in anyone writing for it.

 

 

Video of the discussion period at Peter Graham commemorative meeting

Martin McGuinness: a political obituary

by John McAnultydownload

Many commentating on Martin McGuinness’s retirement as a public representative for Sinn Fein will not be able to resist the cliché of his journey from IRA commander to central architect of the local peace process. Fewer will draw on the metaphor of his present state of ill health and the parlous state of the settlement that was to be his legacy.

My own clearest recollection of Martin is during the attack by loyalist imagesMichael Stone on the funeral of Sean Savage (in 1988 – PF), assassinated by the SAS in Gibraltar. Two grenades exploded at my back and a mourner beside me was shot in the leg. As I retreated with other members of my family I saw Martin and a group of unarmed young men rush past me towards Stone and drive him back.

McGuinness is an extremely brave and determined man. These qualities mean that he will pursue a strategy to its Read the rest of this entry

Derry’s ‘March of the British Death Squads’ a calculated insult to Bloody Sunday dead

pol-torboid-on-extreme-right-at-recent-event-to-highlight-british-army-recruitment-in-irelandThe following was written before the Brits decided to call off their grubby imperialist parade: 

Éirígí has branded a planned march through Derry on Saturday, March 4 as “deliberately provocative” and a “calculated insult”. It is estimated that 100 serving and former members of Britain’s military forces will take part in the march.  The event is one of a series which will take place across Britain and occupied Ireland in opposition to any prosecution of British soldiers who have committed serious crimes in Ireland.

Commenting on the contentious march, Éirígí spokesperson Pól Torbóid said, “It is absolutely no coincidence that this event on the streets of Derry was announced just days after another very successful march commemorating the deaths of 14 innocent civilians on those same streets.”

“There is no doubt that the organisers of the March of the British Death Squads are being deliberately provocative to generate publicity for their event. This is nothing less than a calculated insult to the dead of Bloody Sunday and their families, as well as all the other victims of British brutality in Ireland.”

He continued, “Let us not forget that the British Army killed 14 civilians and injured another 12 in one afternoon in Derry. Many more have been killed and injured in Derry City and the surrounding areas by Britain’s official and unofficial death squads.  Éirígí is totally opposed to the March of the British Death Squads going ahead and is now consulting its members and others to identify the best way to oppose it.”

Public talk on 1960s Dublin housing action committees, Sat, Feb 25

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Public Housing for All – Dublin Bay North launch, Feb 13

PUBLIC HOUSING FOR ALL –
DUBLIN BAY NORTH CAMPAIGN LAUNCH,
7.30pm, Monday, February 13,
Kilmore Recreation Centre, Cromcastle Rd, Kilmore, Dublin 5.

Speakers: éirígí Dublin Bay North rep Ciarán Heaphey; Dublin Bay North Housing Crisis Community’s Aisling Hedderman. Chaired by Damien Farrell.

#PublicHousingForAll.

Join éirígí Dublin Northeast to help launch the campaign for Public Housing For All in Dublin Bay North area.

The reign of the Landlord, Banker, Developer, Estate Agent and all of the other parasites that use housing to grow rich off the labour of others must be brought to an end.

Please INVITE all of your friends to LIKE this event and join the campaign to turn the Right to Housing from an empty slogan into a reality.

London: talk on finance and the imperialist world economy

Tony Norfield will be giving a lecture next week at King’s College, London, on Wednesday 8 February.

The session is from 6pm to 8pm, and is part of a series of seminars at King’s on Contemporary Marxist Theory.

The seminars are open to the public, but arrive in time to get signed in if you want to attend.

Venue details:
342N Norfolk Building (entrance on Surrey St)
King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Summary:
This paper discusses how the financial system both expresses and reinforces the power of major countries. Developing Marx’s theory by examining bank credit creation, bond and equity markets, the paper shows how what Marx called the ‘law of value’ is modified by the evolution of finance. To understand imperialism today, one has to recognise how financial markets help the centralisation of ownership and control of the world economy. They are also an important way in which the US and the UK siphon off the world’s resources. The question of Brexit and the City of London is also discussed.

Peter Graham – revolutionary militant

Peter holding Young Socialists banner, Dublin 1968

Peter holding Young Socialists banner, Dublin 1968

by Mick Healy

“In 1966 we in Ireland celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion (1916). The writings of James Connolly, which prior to then had been read little, and then only by the older hands’, began to be read more widely. The younger generation found through his writings that he was not quite as the Christian Brothers in school taught – “only the 7th leader’ of 19l6.” They found in his writings Connolly the revolutionary, the worker, the union organiser and Marxist”.
– Peter Graham, Workers Fight, June 1968.

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Funeral of Peter Graham, Dublin, 1971; Tariq Ali at centre

Comrades who have read about the Irish Revolution know something about the contributions made by Nora Connolly O’Brien, Michael Davitt, Liam Mellows and Frank Ryan, but many do not understand the important contributions made by significant but lesser-known figures such as revolutionary Marxist Peter Graham.  Peter came from 46 Reginald Street in the Liberties of Dublin and attended Bolton St College of Technology. Working as an electrician in CIE he was a shop-steward for the Electrical Trade Union.  He joined the Labour Party, but discontented with their lack of radicalism shifted over to the Communist Party.  Disillusioned with their reformism, he left and became involved with Irish Workers Group and then the League for a Workers’ Republic, an organisation openly declaring itself revolutionary and Marxist, identifying with the Trotskyist current of Marxism.

With single-minded dedication he was the Read the rest of this entry