Monthly Archives: August 2013
I don’t usually bother commenting here on the gas-and-water socialists because I figure anyone serious about revolutionary politics, which are of necessity anti-imperialist, isn’t much interested in them or doesn’t have illusions in them. However, the statement by the Republican Network for Unity (see below) raises an especially serious issue in relation to the Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) and its relationship with screws. This also casts a shadow over the Irish SP.
SPEW is the present-day manifestation of the old ‘Militant Tendency’ which spent decades deep in the British Labour Party and developed a weird amalgam of Fabianism and archeo-Trotskyism. Although it initially opposed the entry of British troops into the north in 1969, it soon dumped that position and in the following decades went along with the British occupation. In 1981 it not only opposed the demands of the hunger strikers but within the British trade unions and the Labour Party it staunchly opposed the adoption of any motions in support of the hunger strikers. Having scabbed on the hunger strikes, it then went along with Thatcher’s war in the South Atlantic in 1982. While most of the British left, even many of the Labour ‘lefts’, called for the withdrawal of the British fleet steaming down to the Malvinas/Falklands, these folks totally opposed that demand and called instead for the unionisation of the British imperialist forces.
SPEW’s involvement in the POA, then, isn’t an aberration; it’s part-and-parcel of decades of practice. And, as a mate of mine said to me in July of the SP in Ireland, “they’re not revolutionary; they’re pink Unionists”. Will they distance themselves from SPEW in relation to the POA? Well, if they had an ounce of revolutionary spirit they would. But don’t hold your breath.
RNU have been made aware of the latest twist in the joint campaign by the Maghaberry Prison Administration and the Loyalist ‘Prison Officers Association’ to degrade and break the resolve of Republican prisoners in Roe 3 and Roe 4 of the Gaol. We understand that in the past few days, a regime of particularly strict controlled movement has been introduced onto both landings on Roe House using a ‘staff/prisoner ratio system’ in which the numbers of prisoners allowed out of their cells at any one time is limited depending on staff levels and quoting a fake risk assessment levels as an excuse.
The primary objective of this tactic is to deny prisoners access to fresh air, exercise and shower facilities; it is most commonly used during periods of particularly hot weather when cells turn into virtual sweat boxes.
The tactic has been used many times in the past ten years since the establishment of the Maghaberry Republican wing and is the brainchild of leading figures within the ‘Prison Officers Association’, which claims to represent the interests of Screws in the Six Counties, England and Scotland.
The ‘POA’ objected vehemently to the establishment of Roe House as a Republican wing due to the overtly Unionist political persuasion of its membership and indeed it organised a walk-out of staff when segregation was achieved by the Republican ‘No wash/Dirty’ protest in September 2003.
Since then the ‘POA’ have been central to creating tactics aimed at degrading and severely restricting the lives of Republican Prisoners. On a monthly basis POA-directed screws led by Finlay Spratt sought to create and exploit Read the rest of this entry
What looks to be a very interesting public meeting on the above subject is taking place at 7.30pm, on Thursday evening, September 12 in the Cobblestone Pub, 77 Kings Street North, Smithfield, Dublin 7.
This event will commemorate the Irish left-republicans groups of the 1960s-70s. There have been many, usually distinguished by their small size and anti-imperialist views on the Irish national question and a commitment to workers’ power. Through the politics of the national question, these groups occasionally reached beyond their small numbers, cultivating the tradition inspired by James Connolly who argued that the national question is also a social question.
Alan MacSimoin (longtime class-struggle anarchist and ex-Workers Solidarity Movement)
John McAnulty (former People’s Democracy Belfast City Councillor)
Following the contributions of each of the speakers, there will be a Q&A session. A number of Saor Eire veterans will be in attendance and will take part in the discussion. These include Frank Keane (who was also a former IRA Dublin Brigade O/C), Des Keane and Liam Sutcliffe.
Charlie O’Neill and Simon O’Donnell have also been invited.
I’m having a little break from political reading at present, as I draw up a new reading list for the rest of this year.
The only thing I’m reading at present is the memoir of H.E. Bates, one of my favourite novelists and short story writers. It was originally published in three volumes, but I’m reading the omnibus edition. I’ve finished The Vanishing World (which covers his life from birth in 1905 until his first novel was published in 1925, when he was only 20) and am part-way through The Blossoming World. He ended up a bit of an old reactionary critic of the unions and welfare state but, oddly enough, kept a real humanistic feeling for people and their problems in his novels and short stories.
Listening-wise I’ve had Read the rest of this entry
US radical singer-songwriter David Rovics performs a number of songs about Ireland, as well as Palestine and other causes. Some readers of this blog may be familiar with him. He’s just been prevented from entering New Zealand – stopped at Narita Airport (Tokyo) and asked to speak to New Zealand Immigration on the phone. The immigration official told him she’d been looking at his blog!
While the NZ Musicians Union are trying to get him into the country, gigs in Christchurch (tonight) and Dunedin (tomorrow night) have had to be cancelled.
Anyway, readers here might be interested in the story: http://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/progressive-singer-songwriter-david-rovics-banned-by-new-zealand-immigration/
About 50 people attended a meeting back in March in the Teachers Club, Parnell Sq, Dublin last March to hearing about the crimes of Francosim and the impunity of the fascist criminals to this day in the Spanish state. The event was part of International Solidarity with the Basque Country week.
The audience was addressed by Ahaztuak representative Martxelo (left of photo) and Diarmuid Breatnach (right of photo) translated.
You can watch a video of the meeting here.
On Saturday 3rd August, 2013, republicans and socialists alike gathered at Murlough Bay on the north Antrim coast to pay tribute to the life and sacrifice of Roger Casement – humanitarian, patriot and Glensman.
Chairing proceedings, local éirígí activist Conchúr Mac Cárthaigh welcomed the assembled crowd to the first annual Roger Casement Commemoration, jointly hosted by the socialist-republican party, éirígí, and the Irish Republican Martyrs Commemoration Committee (IRMCC).
Highlighting both the significance of the date and the relevance of the location, Conchúr explained that, “On this very day, 97 years ago, Roger Casement was hanged in Pentonville Prison in England for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916” and that as he climbed the gallows, “we may speculate as to whether he paid more than a passing thought to the very bay in which stand… (his) burial ground of choice, his favourite place in his preferred nation.”
Before observing a minutes silence in memory of the sacrifice of Roger Casement and, indeed, all those who paid the ultimate price in pursuit of Irish freedom, Mac Cárthaigh read aloud an extract from Casement’s eloquent, yet defiant, speech from the dock:
‘Ireland, that has wronged no man, has injured no land, that has sought no dominion over others – Ireland is Read the rest of this entry