Category Archives: Republican Network for Unity

Speech by RNU’s Paul Crawford at July 3 Newry anti-internment rally

13393911_1728270154112192_6645445412543553767_n“I’d like to begin by thanking the organisers of today’s picket for asking myself to represent the Republican Network for Unity and our POW’s department Cogus here this afternoon. It’s a privilege and an honour to address you all.

“The fact that we are here for the 3rd year in a row is evidence that Internment as a tactic to disrupt political activity is very much alive but also that our opposition to Internment is equally alive.

“In order to oppose Internment we must first understand what it is and what it is used for. In many ways the word has been over used and as such has lost much of its impact and meaning. There are those who would say that everyone incarcerated by the British or the Free State are interned. There are those who would state that while all internees are political prisoners, not all political prisoners are internees.

“For our purposes, however, it is enough to state that the original definition of internment is correct. Those who are detained without charge for the political expediency of the state. People like my comrade Tony Taylor, a perfect example of internment by the state to prevent and hamper legitimate political activity.
Tony, like Martin Corey before him, has been remanded in custody at the behest of the British secretary of state. No semblance of a trial, no pretence of a trial. Secret evidence that can’t be disclosed and won’t be disclosed because it doesn’t exist.

“We have miscarriages of justice like the cases of the Craigavon 2, men who have been deliberately framed on the word of informers and Walter Mittys. Set up by the dirty hand of the British security apparatus and practically ignored by the political elite despite a growing realization that these men are innocent across the board. Read the rest of this entry

Maghaberry prison administration steps up aggression

13567179_1025555037513181_8802081204186951436_nStatement by prisoners, July 1, 2016:

Yesterday the naked aggression of the Maghaberry administration toward republican political prisoners was once again exposed. The day of sinister events began at 11am when the notorious riot team raided three cells on Roe 3 occupied by Cogús republican prisoners. The three political prisoners concerned were not present in Roe House during this lockdown raid due to parole, court and visiting arrangements.

The day’s events then culminated during the evening lockup when once again the riot team entered Roe 3 and forcibly removed political prisoner and current internee Tony Taylor from Roe House and moved him to the jail’s punishment block – the SSU.

The prison administration and particularly security governor Brian Armour and Ciaran McGuinness over recent months have been overt in their attempts to fuel conflict through introducing red herring arguments to deflect possible resolutions to the main issues and systematically playing Machiavellian games.

Yesterday’s events can only be seen as a plan to further intensify tensions in Roe House. Cogús republican prisoners will not stand idle and let such antagonistic actions go unchallenged, though in contrast to the bigoted reactionary forces, we will meet their provocations in a disciplined and an organised manner, employing an intelligent and practical strategy to ensure our rights as political prisoners are won.

Cogús POWs
Roe 3, Maghaberry
1/7/16

Remembering Tony Catney

13615001_155651058171983_3820937480077872542_n

Gay marriage referendum

I’ve written a feature-length article about this for another blog.  Because it’s written for a mainly non-Irish audience, it explains things that wouldn’t need explaining to Irish readers, but hopefully is still well worth a read by this blog’s readership.

You can find it at: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/irish-society-and-politics-and-the-referendum-on-gay-marriage/

 

 

Shinners seize the moment – socialist-republicans need a serious alternative

While the new Bourgeois Sinn Fein tries to wrap 1916 around itself, socialist-republicans urgently need a co-operative strategy

As the new Bourgeois Sinn Fein tries to wrap 1916 around itself, socialist-republicans urgently need a co-operative strategy

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

A Fianna Fail/Fine Gael coalition? – A socialist-republican response

Mass protests against austerity are forcing the southern ruling elite to rethink politics and unite; our side needs to match them

Mass protests against austerity are forcing the southern ruling elite to rethink politics and unite; our side needs to match them

Turbulent times often bring about new political alignments.  This is certainly very true of Ireland.

In the north the turbulent times of the armed conflict brought about a coalition between the Paisleyite DUP and Sinn Fein.  In the south, the turbulent times produced by the economic meltdown and the implementation by Fianna Fail and then Fine Gael/Labour of Troika-imposed austerity has shaken up politics too.  The result has been the rise of Sinn Fein and, to a more modest extent, the Trotskyist left.

The ruling class in the south are now faced with something of a dilemma.  Do they agree to bring Sinn Fein in entirely and make them part of the establishment circle because they’ll need them in government to ensure stability and carrying the austerity programme through to its conclusion?  Or do they throw their weight into bringing together Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, the two traditional parties of the 26-county ruling elite?

Although political differences between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail narrowed a long time ago – after they came to power in 1932 the Read the rest of this entry

1916, 2016: them and us

This first went up on the site back on April 28 this year; I’m putting it back up on the home page because it remains relevant.  I’ll be highlighting it continuously as long as I need to!

indexOne of the products of the end of the Provisionals’ armed struggle in the six counties and their signing up to, and enthusiastic participation in, an internal settlement there is that the kind of historical revisionism that was officially-backed from about the mid-1970s until the end of the 1990s has become outmoded.  The kind of nonsense delivered up by the likes of a would-be Sebastian Flyte such as Roy Foster is now surplus to requirements.

Instead, there is a new war over ‘1916 and all that’.  The southern establishment is much more relaxed about recognising and celebrating the importance of 1916 than they have been at any time since the explosion in the six counties at the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s.  On the other hand, the establishment is vitally keen on tying the 1916 rebellion and subsequent war for independence into its own history.  They want to present the events of 1916-21 as finding their natural and logical conclusion in the establishment and development of the 26-county state.

Moreover, they want to show that this state and its population, or certainly its ruling elite, have ‘matured’ to the level of putting the old ‘enmity’ with England behind them.  ‘We’ can now recognise the ‘sacrifices’ made by Orangemen in the First World War and also commemorate men from nationalist Ireland who joined the British imperialist army and died on the slaughter fields of that war.  It’s all just part of Ireland’s rich and diverse Read the rest of this entry

Exchange with Sinn Fein

Much to my surprise I received an official email from Sinn Fein inviting me to join their on-line supporters’ group.

I replied to it as below. I could’ve said a lot more, but there’s no point in sending them a tirade of abuse (which was what was going through my head when I opened their email!) or trying to convince them of the error of their ways.

Here is my response; below that is their original email (I guess I got it because at some point I read AP/RN on-line or I ordered something from their on-line shop):

 

To: New Sinn Fein

I received your email with interest.

Since Sinn Fein has abandoned not only socialism but also, eventually, republicanism, I will not be taking up your offer to become an on-line supporter of New Sinn Fein.

Instead, I have joined Clann éirígí as I wish to give my support to the struggle for a 32-county socialist republic.

The Provisional leadership, or the main part of it, opted for an internal settlement in the north and is helping the Brits in running the six-county state, including administering capitalist austerity and hobnobbing with the parasites who sit atop Read the rest of this entry

Videos of talks from September 14 Dublin meeting against the new internment in the north

Below are the speeches given at the successful Dublin meeting on the new internment in the north.  Although the videos say the meeting was on September 16, it was actually on Saturday afternoon, September 14:

Dee Fennell, independent republican activist and chair of the new Belfast-based Anti-Internment League, on the new internment and campaigning against it:

Pauline Mellon, independent Derry activist, campaigner for Marian Price, on the Good Friday Agreement and the new internment:

Clare Daly, independent socialist TD in the southern parliament, on the Marian Price case, the new internment and campaigning against it:

John McCusker of éirígí on the internment of party activist Stephen Murney:

The ‘Socialist Party’ and the screws

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.

N+Ireland+News+8-1RNU statement:

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