Category Archives: Scabs
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