Category Archives: Republican Network for Unity
The bould Shinners have certainly stolen a march, a big one, on both Fianna Fail and the government by announcing their 100th anniversary celebrations of the Rising. And that these celebrations are open to all. In other words, they are effectively acting as if they are the government and the state and the inheritors of the mantle of 1916, all rolled into one.
Their programme begins early – it starts this August by marking the 1915 funeral of Fenian O’Donovan Rossa, one of the events that showed the size and power of the Irish Volunteers (the Citizen Army also took part). And, of course, it was at Rossa’s funeral where Pearse gave his famous graveside oration, culminating with the words “Ireland unfree will never be at peace.”
An exhibition on the Rising, Revolution 1916 Eiri Amach, will run for no less than 33 weeks at the Ambassador Hotel at the top of O’Connell Street. International Women’s Day, March 8, will be dedicated to the role of women in the Rising and the dual fight for the rights of Ireland and of women. (Ironic, considering the Shinners tawdry shilly-shallying on the very basic right of women to access abortion.)
A visual spectacular is planned for the GPO, running the actual 100th anniversary of the dates of the Rising – April 24-29. A 3D video will tell the story of the rebellion, with the GPO itself even appearing to come under shell fire and be engulfed with flames, as it was in 1916.
A number of other events, including a reconstruction of the Citizen Army marching from Liberty Hall to St Stephen’s Green, and events marking the Irish diaspora, are also planned.
Another way in which the wily Shinners have stolen a march on both the Soldiers of Destiny and the government is getting descendants of the 1916 leaders on Read the rest of this entry
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