Monday, 31 January 2011

éirígí: The Educational Cost of Stormont Rule

A sustained series of attacks are under way in the Six Counties. They are attacks that will be targeted at the vast majority of the population, that will have no result other than to drive people into despair and misery and, yet, will be justified by their proponents through the avenue of every single major media outlet.

The attacks began with the publication in late December of the Six County executive’s budget proposals, alongside a four-year spending plan. The attacks mean that working people will face massive job losses in the public sector, repeated attacks on their employment conditions, a significant reduction in the level of public transport provision and the slashing of much of the funding for social and sports projects.

The message that came off the pages of Stormont’s budget was couched in politically correct, environmentally friendly bureaucrat-speak, but none of this could hide the real intent of the document.

A look at the proposals from one department is enough to expose the nature of the budget – the Six County Department of Education, run by Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane.

Probably the most shocking statistics of all are from the department’s proposals in relation to the capital section, which incorporates expenditure on school building, repair work and some maintenance requirements.

In the original December budget, Ruane signed up to capital expenditure cut backs to the tune of £42 million [€49 million], a reduction of 24 per cent on the previous year. This percentage figure would have meant that a Sinn Féin minister would have been presiding over cut backs of only marginally less than those proposed by the much-criticised Fianna Fáil-led administration in the Twenty-Six Counties. The Soldiers of Destiny drafted cutbacks of just over 29 per cent in its own capital budget in the education sector.

Shocking as this already is; this month, with the Six County Department of Education publishing its own detailed proposals for 2011-12, it now stated that another £41 million [€48 million] is to be sucked out of the capital budget to cover day-to-day costs of running schools. This means that Ruane has agreed to slash the capital budget by almost half.

In the same document where the cuts are proposed, she acknowledges the following: “The schools estate of over 1,200 schools has accommodation with an asset valuation of over £4 billion. The education estate has suffered from a lack of investment over a prolonged period with a maintenance backlog currently estimated at £300m and a backlog of minor works projects currently estimated at around £100m.

“There is a legacy of many old and deteriorating schools which are, in some instances, insufficient to meet the needs of the curriculum. In any year, there is investment needed in essential capital works to meet statutory requirements such as disability access, essential health and safety issues and to deal with crises such as the flooding resulting from the recent cold weather.”

The bottom line is that, in the coming year, no new school building projects will be started and only those that are already underway will be finished, with large numbers of already approved building schemes now to be put on the long finger.

The bad news for schoolchildren in the Six Counties doesn’t end there. A quick perusal of projected spending over the next four years shows that very few school building projects will be started in the medium term.

In his recent speech attacked the Dublin government’s blood budget, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty asked the Fianna Fáil minister: “When was the last time you visited a school made entirely out of prefabs with 30 kids squashed into a classroom with one teacher?”

Clearly, from the above figures, Caitríona Ruane could be assailed in a similar fashion.

Behind all the talk in the British-inspired budget about equality, good educational outcomes and raising standards for all, many more vicious attacks are hidden in the Six County Department of Education’s proposals for the next four years.

Over £50 million [€58 million] is to be cut from the ICT budgets of schools; free school transport is to be significantly cutback, with the budget reduction of over £20 million [€23 million] meaning many students will now be unable to reach their schools on public transport; over £100 million [€117 million] is to be ‘saved’ by the short-sighted measure of closing schemes providing professional support to teachers; and the figure of £3 million [€3.5 million] is be gouged from school meals provision.

Classroom assistants and teachers will see many jobs lost on top of the hundreds already cut. The department also hopes to save money by attacking the right of teachers to appropriate sick leave and will be reducing the rates paid for substitute teachers.

What we are witnessing across Ireland is a vicious assault on public services and the living conditions of working class people, regardless of the claims of those who wish to be, temporarily at least, the party of protest in one state and the party of ‘power’ in the other.

The blueprints for the social and economic destruction of working class communities in Ireland have been carefully drafted by right-wing ideologues in the IMF and a British Tory government. Those tasked with implementing these blueprints, especially at Stormont, had a simple choice to make; either resign, challenge the wreckers to do their own dirty work and join the rest of us on the streets or meekly accept the diktats of the real power brokers. They chose the latter.

It now falls upon the working people in both states, those who have no vested interest in the set-ups at Stormont and Leinster House to build a genuine, powerful opposition to the anti-social cuts, from whichever direction they come.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Bloody Sunday 2011

Yesterday marked the 39th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre in which 14 innocent civilians were cruelly shot dead, in the town they loved so well, by the British Army's barbaric Parachute Regiment.

Like every other year thousands turned out to commemorate and remember the events of that day which was one of the most, if not the darkest day in our troubled history.

This was the first march since the Saville report was published during the year and people from not just Ireland but from all over the world participated in the march.

Some people have been wrongly claiming that this was the last march. From listening to some of the families it seems that it most certainly isn't going to be the last one.

The Nash family have stated that SF have always controlled the march and that they stopped it, we can only guess their reasons for doing so.

If just one family want to continue to march for truth and justice then i and many others will proudly stand with them.

On another note the PSNI attacked people returning by train from the commemoration. They boarded the train at Coleraine and proceeded to beat passengers with batons and spray everyone, including children as young as the age of 3, with CS gas. One passenger said
"I just took my kids to see the last ever Bloody Sunday march. I'm 31 full time single dad.and i took my 2 young kids aged 3 and 5. The horror an suffering they endured on that train home will effect them forever .CS gas in there faces..daddy getting pushed to the ground while they could hardly see. It was unreal......that was our very first ever time stepping foot on a train ever, me and my kids .and by sure it will be the last!"
Isn't it just ironic that people returning from commemorating those murdered by the British forces in 1972 are beaten and gassed by the British forces in 2011

I look forward to seeing you all at the 40th anniversary march next year

Saturday, 29 January 2011

éirígí Ard-Fheis Visitors Harassed

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has condemned the police harassment of a number of Scottish activists upon their return from last weekend’s party Ard-Fheis.

The men had taken the ferry from Belfast to Stranraer in the aftermath of the annual conference on the Falls Road but, on their arrival in the Scottish port, they were accosted by several police officers.

They were questioned about their reasons for being in Belfast and had their belongings searched before one of them, Ian Lynch, was detained for further questioning.

Mr Lynch had all his personal possessions, including his wedding ring, confiscated before being placed in a holding cell. He was then questioned for one hour and 40 minutes about éirígí, party literature he had in his bags, who he had met and where he had stayed during his time in Belfast.

After they had finished their highly political line of questioning to no avail, the Scottish police released Lynch without charge.

Mac Cionnaith said: “It is par for the course that éirígí-organised events receive the unwelcome attentions of both the British and Twenty-Six County state police forces. However, this does not make the harassment of activists returning from open political events any more acceptable.

“Given the presence of several PSNI vehicles, including two cars containing Special Branch officers, outside our Ard-Fheis venue throughout last Sunday, it is obvious that the PSNI had contacted their Scottish counterparts in relation to the presence of several Ard-Fheis visitors from Scotland.

“Given the line of questioning to which these men were subject to, it was obvious that the Stranraer police knew the men were returning from a legitimate political and public event organised by éirígí.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “The powers that be should be aware that no amount of harassment will deter éirígí and its supporters from building further links between progressive organisations in Ireland and Scotland, England and Wales.

“Actions by both the PSNI and Scottish police merely underline the unchanged nature of British political policing and the hostility with which those forces have for Irish republicans and members of the progressive left in Scotland.”

Friday, 28 January 2011

When did Informing Become the Right Thing to do?

Choking on cornflakes in the mornings is fast becoming a regular occurrence in the Newry Republican household.

The cause of this latest airway blockage came as a result of comments made on yesterday mornings Nolan show by none other than Carál Ní Chuilín.

The topic being discussed was the recent aborted bomb attack(s) in Belfast. As usual we had the condemners out in force, speaking about no support, no mandates etc ( you get the picture).

Caral was wheeled onto the show to give her and her party's view on the incident. As expected she condemned it, but then she went a step further.

The plump presenter asked :

"If you knew Caral, would you turn them in?"
To which she replied with a stern

(this is the exact point i choked on my cornflakes)

Now as regular readers are aware i don't support armed struggle at the moment. But i also dont think that informing on Republican volunteers is right either. It was wrong in the past and it's wrong today!How many Republicans have ended up in early graves because of people informing? And now SF are not only telling people to do it but are doing it themselves even if it means volunteers being killed or imprisoned !!!!

Caral has a very short memory as she was in jail on an explosives charge, that was back when she was involved in the Republican struggle.

Caral also has a history of informing to the establishment authorities. During the summer she endorsed touting to the Housing Executive and social services to have people evicted from their homes. I suppose it comes naturally considering her movement was and still is riddled to the highest level with highly placed agents, many of which have been exposed over the years. But how many remain undetected and continue pulling the strings?

Informers have been a scourge on the Republican struggle as far back as the 1700s. There are always those who would indulge in such treacerous acts for their own selfish reasons.

I notice that one thing Caral forgot to mention was the underlying cause of the conflict........British occupation. It's simple, if Ireland wasn't under foreign occupation, there wouldn't be any bombs or guns attacks. Caral and her fellow constitutionals rarely mention the word "occupation" these days.

After Caral spoke, a delightful woman by the name of Sheila came on the show, what a mighty woman she turned out to be !!!!!!

Here's a wee video just to show much these people have turned

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Persecution of Newry Republican

In recent months, éirígí in Newry has been to the fore in exposing and opposing the unchanged nature of British policing in occupied Ireland.
As a result, party activists and supporters in the area have been at the receiving end of PSNI assaults, intimidation, stop and searches, house raids, threats and provocation.

Activists have highlighted this harassment by organising protests and leaflet drops, erecting banners, stickers and posters and actively challenging the PSNI on the streets when they are engaged in such behaviour.

One example in particular is indicative of the level of harassment the PSNI has been engaged in over the last few months. éirígí in Newry were recently contacted by a local republican who was concerned at the amount of unwanted attention he has been receiving at the hands of the British police force.

The victim has been stopped and searched no less than 62 times over a period of just 7 months by the PSNI, using various forms of repressive British legislation.

He has been stopped 36 times under the so-called Justice and Security Act, during which he was searched for “wireless apparatus, transmitters and munitions”, while he has also been stopped 26 times under the British government’s ‘Terrorism Act’.

On one occasion, the man’s 14-year-old child was also stopped under Section 43 of the ‘Terrorism Act’. All of these incidents have occurred while the local republican has been going about his normal, daily business.

As well as being stopped and searched on a regular basis, he has also had his house targeted in a dawn raid, with the PSNI presenting a warrant claiming to be searching for firearms. Not surprisingly, nothing was found.

The latest incident in a litany of politically-inspired harassment occurred on Saturday [January 22] when the victim was stopped an astonishing three times in a two and-a-half hour period in the Kiln Street, Mill Street and Sugar Island areas of Newry.

The day previous he had been stopped in the city centre, where he was given a generic contact card instead of the written record the PSNI is required to fill out during instances of stop and search. The card advised the recipient to contact the local barracks for a full record of the harassment. It is possible the PSNI is now using this procedure in an attempt to isolate republicans in the confines of a barracks.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “While it’s astonishing that so much harassment is being directed towards a single individual, there are many more republicans in the Newry area and across the Six Counties who are suffering persecution at the hands of the PSNI.

“Is this the ‘new beginning’ to policing we were promised? Is this the civic, accountable police service the establishment parties desperately tried to sell to working class nationalist communities?”

Mac Cionnaith added: “While the PSNI’s cheerleaders tell us there are only ‘a few bad apples’ within the ranks of the force, it is situations like this man’s that rubbish their claims. It is clear that the PSNI is accountable to no-one other than the British government whose presence in Ireland it is duty bound to protect.

“The British police force in Ireland was rotten to the core when it was called the RIC, it was rotten to the core when it was called the RUC and it is rotten to the core under its current guise of the PSNI.

“It’s time for people to take a stand and make our voices heard loud and clear that we will not sit back and let these pro-British paramilitaries continue with their repressive actions. Those in positions of responsibility should withdraw their support for the PSNI and stand by the people they claim to represent rather than silently watching them being, once again, labelled a suspect community.

“éirígí will continue with its Different Name, Same Aim campaign in an effort to highlight the unacceptable nature of the PSNI.

“We commend the Newry republican in question for remaining steadfast in the face of this intimidation and we encourage anyone who is suffering similar treatment to contact a local éirígí activist and to have the incidents logged with their solicitor.

“éirígí will stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims of Crown Forces harassment. All those with an interest in human rights should do likewise.”

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Election Fever

Recently there has been a lot of discussion in Republican circles about the upcoming local elections. We recently heard that éirígí made the bold move and will be contesting the upcoming local elections, so I thought I'd give my views on not just their decision but on elections in general.

Republicans know only too well the dangers of contesting elections. In the past everyone thought it was great idea, but it ended up resulting in certain people becoming obsessed with power and the amount of votes they have. Ultimately it meant the abandonment of the Republican struggle and the transformation into constitutionalism. These parties became election machines with egos at heart rather than revolutionary organisations with the interests of the working class in mind. Rather than exposing and challenging the corrupt system, they very much became part of that corrupt system. The fact remains that Republicanism suffered a massive defeat and this was a major factor in that defeat.

Participating in council elections will not change this society, revolutionary actions on the streets will create change. But it will mean that the status quo can be challenged while at the same time representing the interests of the working class by promoting an alternative socialist system.

I'd also like to say that it isn't just about "getting a seat", there's a bigger picture. This will give Socialist Republicans the opportunity to engage with thousands of working class people on the doorsteps and listen to their concerns at first hand. It will give them the opportunity to put forward their analysis of where we are today and where we need to go. It will help highlight various campaigns and at the same time bring home the socialist Republican argument.

The question is, can contesting local elections help promote resurgent socialist republicanism?

The answer is yes it can. Obviously people have learnt from past mistakes and are unlikely to repeat them. Current revolutionaries must keep those previous mistakes in mind.

If Republican candidates are successful it will also smash the myth that there is "no support" for militant Republicans. There is clearly more support than some people claim.

It's also clear that the working class are crying out for an alternative voice. Social deprivation is on the rise, unemployment levels are going through the roof with levels of unemployment not seen since the 80s, fuel poverty has worsened with over 1,000 people died last winter because they couldn't afford heat , benefit cuts are being enforced despite 30% of the population relying on them to survive.

The constitutional parties in Stormont are powerless to tackle any of the above, they will also be responsible for enforcing savage cuts upon the already disadvantaged and vulnerable in society at the behest of their masters in Westminster.

It's time for an alternative voice to come forward and show the working class that it doesn't have to be this way, there is a better way.

Collusion is not an Illusion- Letter From Maírtín Óg Meehan

A Chara, 

On Friday (21/1/11) afternoon, my sister, niece and I were travelling along Belfast’s Antrim Road when I noticed a friend being questioned at the side of the road. He’s frequently harassed by the British Police; therefore I stopped my car and walked a short distance to find out if he was alright. I was informed that the unreformed RUC were seizing his vehicle because they claimed he had no insurance. The person in question is a legitimate Taxi driver and has been for a number of years. So it was plain to see that the Peelers were intent on preventing him from working that particular day.

Seconds later, two heavily-armed RUC/PSNI members surrounded me in a hostile manner and demanded to search me under ‘anti-terror legislation’. At that stage, my friend was speaking on his mobile phone to his insurance company. He assured me that he was fine, so I returned to my car where a third Peeler was questioning my sister. I climbed into the driver’s seat and was attempting to close the door when a handcuff was suddenly placed around my wrist and my arm was dragged. I was then ordered to leave the vehicle as I was under arrest for assault?

After I got out, my two wrists were cuffed before I began receiving a number of kicks to my legs and ordered to lie on the ground. I was also being choked and punched repeatedly at the time by a second RUC/PSNI member. When I fell, they dragged me to their armoured Land Rover, parked a short distance away. Before three Peelers threw me onto the floor of the Jeep, were one kept punching me in the chest. Leg restraints were also placed on me despite protesting that I suffered from a serious heart condition. My sister and niece were outside telling them the same thing. It was then I demanded for medical assistance because at that point, I was finding it difficult to breath.

Eventually Ambulance staff arrived and helped treat me, they asked that I be brought immediately. However, the RUC/PSNI refused their pleas and took me to Antrim Road Barracks in Belfast. After being fingerprinted and photographed, I was taken to an ‘interview room’, where two Special Branch men were awaiting. The Spooks ‘notified’ me that a Loyalist killer Gang had been actively tracking my movements for sometime.

The British Intelligence Agents further alleged that they would end the targeting, if I ‘helped’ jail three Belfast Republicans, who they named. They also claimed that I would receive a ‘substantial financial reward’ if I agreed to ‘cooperate’. If not, they would pass on his details to the gang. When they left I demanded from the desk Sergeant who they were and who allowed them to speak to me, but I was ignored. This disturbing development yet again exposes the nefarious tactics used by British Crown Forces to frame Irish Republicans for lengthy imprisonment and death.

Is Mise,
Martin Og Meehan

Monday, 24 January 2011

éirígí Ard-Fheis Decides on Electoral Intervention

The socialist republican party éirígí held its Ard-Fheis on Belfast’s Falls Road earlier today [Sunday], at which the membership voted in favour of contesting upcoming local elections in the Six Counties. Candidates will definitely stand in Belfast, with names to be announced in the very near future.
The Ard-Fheis, which was held in the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich cultural centre, was attended by more than 200 people and was addressed by speakers from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Latin American Solidarity Centre, the Independent Workers’ Union, FEE, as well as cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson and rúnaí ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith.

Messages of solidarity were also sent by the Cuban ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Regarding the decision taken by the party membership on the Six County local elections, Brian Leeson said: “Five years on from the formation of éirígí, the party feels the time is right to make an electoral intervention in order to further promote a resurgent socialist republicanism.

“éirígí has no illusions about the nature of electoral politics in the Six Counties and, indeed, across Ireland. The Six Counties is an irreformably corrupt, sectarian state. No amount of elections to local councils, assemblies or foreign parliaments can change that fact.

“We believe there is a real appetite for a radical voice to emerge from working class communities that will forcefully challenge the British occupation and economic exploitation and deprivation.

Leeson added: “Ultimately, the cuts that are being implemented by the British government and its puppet administration at Stormont will have to be defeated on the streets, in our communities and in people’s workplaces. éirígí will be making the case for this course of action throughout the forthcoming election campaign.”

For a full report on the Ard fheis click this link

Friday, 21 January 2011

Mairtin Óg Meehan Severely Beaten and Arrested by PSNI

Once again the PSNI has shown it's ugly unchanged ways. The latest incident came in the form of a vicious assault and arrest of Ex-POW and former combatant Mairtin Óg Meehan.

Mairtin is no stranger to such attacks against him and i have covered similar incidents in previous blog posts, including the time he was sprayed in the face with CS gas.

Mairtin descibed the latest incident as follows:
I stopped earlier to ask a friend how he was on the Antrim Rd, as the Peelers had him pulled over. He's a regular victim of harrassment and as such I was concerned for him. As I approached and asked him, two RUC men searched me under the 'justice act' etc. Once I'd asertained he was okay, I walked back to my car. My sister and neice who were in my car were being questioned by a third scumbag. As soon as I got back into my car my right wrist was cuffed and I was ordered out of the car because I assaulted a Peeler? They eventually trailed me from the car cuffed both hands and literally trailed me into the back of the jeep, were they punched the head, chest and legs of me. Two leg restraints were then put around my legs and at that stage I couldn't breath. My sister had told the driver (Peeler) that I'd had two heart attacks in the past and she phoned an ambulance. I was then taken to the barrcks, where after seeing the Doctor was released
Sadly there are those amongst us who think that endorsing and supporting these unaccountable thugs is the right way to go. They think that informing on Republicans, getting them dragged through British courts and incarcerated in British prisons is the right thing to do. They should hang their heads in shame

When will it end?

To be honest it will never end, not until we achieve a Socialist Republic and secure a 32 county police service that's in full control of the Irish people. Anyone who thinks that supporting a British partitionist force made up of these British terrorists is the answer they are seriously deluded and are only isolating themselves from Republicanism and the struggle for Irish freedom.

Knowing the type of person Mairtin is i have no doubt he will take this on the chin. But that doesn't excuse the brutality being inflicted upon Republicans on a regualr basis.

Republicans in Newry send their best wishes to Mairtin and his clann.

Most PSNI members were in the RUC

An interesting find by the Andersonstown News that over half of the PSNI served when the force was known as the RUC.
Through information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it has been revealed that as of last December, 4,331 former RUC officers, including full and part time personnel, are now on the beat as members of the PSNI, the current strength of which stands at just over 8,000
This rubbishes the constitutional claim that "80% of PSNI officers were not RUC members". That's something that's always spouted by supporters of British forces when they try to fool people (including themselves) into believing that the PSNI has changed.

It recently came to light that a serving PSNI officer would not be investigated for his alleged role in the UVF Loughinisland massacre.

The fact that this officer is still serving in the PSNI is evidence that this unaccountable force is completely unworthy of support. It is just one of many instances where the PSNI has been proven to be culpable in the activities of unionist death squads. Political and sectarian policing remains a reality in the Six Counties, this has been highlighted many times recently by éirígí in the Newry area with the PSNI resorting to tearing down posters erected by the party, a perfect example of their political priorities. The malign influence of PSNI Special Branch, which is still staffed by its RUC veterans, is a worrying issue. In the run up to the policing debates we were told that the “old hands” would be gone, yet many of the RUC detectives who went into early retirement have since been re-employed by the PSNI. The increased involvement of MI5, who themselves have a disgraceful history of aiding and abetting unionist death squads, can only make a bad situation worse.

Indeed there is clear proof that the PSNI continues to collude with unionist death squads, in 2007 a PSNI employee was in court for passing the personal information of 70 nationalists to an alleged senior UVF figure in Antrim. The PSNI employee walked free after receiving a suspended sentence.

People are not fooled by these lies about a "few bad apples". Indeed just this afternoon a close comrade of mine, Mairtin Óg Meehan was severely beaten and arrested by the PSNI in Belfast. The only change in this force is the name and badge.

PSNI cheerleaders don't have to worry about being stopped and searched in front of their kids, getting trailed out of cars at gunpoint, getting accused of being "Terrorists" whilst having assault rifles pointed at them and having their front doors kicked in. That is something that has always happened to Republicans so maybe they should ask themselves why it isn't happening to them?

The "lick of paint" approach we have seen to date will achieve little. Meaningful progress on the issue of policing can only be achieved in the context of a British withdrawal and the establishment of truly democratic policing structures on an island-wide basis

Maybe in future those who left the Republican struggle, and abandoned the working class, should research their statistics before embarrassing themselves.

Who's the Neanderthal?

To be honest there was little surprise from any republican about the condemnations following the IRA attack in Derry recently. There is a media ebb and flow in relation to the current campaign and the printed responses have gained an almost hysterical nature in their attempts to outdo each other in vitriol. Although occasionally humorous in their contradictory analysis, I particularly enjoy the oft repeated "no support" line which is followed quickly by "minority support", these statements can give us some insight into the mindsets of those issuing them. Martin McGuiness however managed to take the top prize for inventive language by lambasting republicans, from a Tory party podium as being "conflict junkies and Neanderthals". The sdlp, no doubt still smarting from the provisional movement snatching the mantle of constitutional nationalism, chose instead to label them as "born again provos". No doubt these sound bites were rehearsed well in advance and they were waiting with baited breath for the IRA to strike so that they might be deployed! But it may be a useful exercise to analyse the terms themselves which I think not only highlight the lack of real insight into republicanism today but also display a not inconsiderable concern that republicans are making real inroads in the six counties.

McGuinness has consistently shot himself in the foot with his abuse of republicans, in particular during the notorious "traitors" press conference which seemed to take even Hugh Orde by surprise in its sheer hypocrisy and stupidity. There is an air of near paternal outrage about martin when he starts mouthing off on the topic of the IRA. He has all the mannerisms of a disgruntled parent dealing with a difficult child. I think that analogy does in fact sum up his view of republicans. He is most annoyed, not at our refusal to submit to British rule but our refusal to submit to provisional rule. The personality cult surrounding the provisional leadership was not put in place overnight but rather grew over a period of many years. The cult of leadership was wielded as a weapon to suppress dissent. Unfortunately for martin his authority has no credibility amongst republicans in Derry. It is this cold hard fact that nags at his ego. And it is this fact that drove him to use the term "Neanderthal". Martin isn't an anthropologist so I think it's safe to say that he was intent on depicting "dissidents" as backwards, politically unsophisticated and stupid.

The truth however is that republicanism since the Good Friday Agreement has been forced to undergo an even greater degree of political turmoil that has led to a greater questioning of its role as an ideology and that has led to lengthy debate and discussion about its future. Constitutional nationalism on the other hand has merely retreated to its most comfortable and its original stance, that of a pressure group for middle class Catholics.

Any student of history can point to movements such as the home rule party as being largely representative of the nature of nationalism in Ireland. That is to say moderate, and more often than not seeking to build a broad coalition of powerful institutions to argue for internal reform rather than revolution. In the past this usually focused on the Catholic Church as seen in the structuring of both the GAA and the Home rule movement along parish lines. Thankfully the Catholic Church does not wield the influence that it once did but this hasn't fundamentally altered the tactics of nationalists. The relationship with the Irish-American lobby is a good example as it shows how political elites are recruited as allies to try and gain a sympathetic ear whilst Martin begs for crumbs from Cameron.

Republicanism on the other hand is fundamentally a revolutionary tradition, the only tradition on this island with the longevity and historical and social importance that is capable of enacting radical change. With the changing of circumstances republicanism too has undergone reality checks and it would be most unwise to pursue any revolutionary agenda on this island that did not seek to fundamentally change the economic and power structures currently in place. This message is gaining ground, whilst the provisional's are forced into populist left-nationalist rhetoric whilst sitting in coalition with a reactionary and sectarian party. The so-called Neanderthals it would seem are the ones developing their political analysis and seeking to transform rather than reform their country.

Martin couldn't resist painting republicans as war mongering either, ironic given his party's contention that it was the IRA who made their ideal peace agreement possible! Calling republicans conflict junkies was no doubt designed to portray us as those with no agenda other than mayhem. But how does that square with reality?

A bomb timed to cause maximum political capital and directed against a capitalist target is not a tactic wielded by individuals ignorant of sophisticated political thinking. Rather it is the product of a strategy designed to cause maximum disruption to an uneasy settlement that is and always has been predicated on lies. There are those in the media who contend that republicans have no strategy other than chaos, this is untrue. The strategy is clear. They may not like it, or agree with it but it is undeniably effective. The New Zealand government issued travel warnings to its citizens travelling to the six counties recently. The myth of tranquillity is being blown apart in the so-called city of culture! The message being sent around the world however is not necessarily what's worrying Martin most, rather it is the message that is being listened to by increasing numbers of people in the Bogside and Creggan. For it is from communities such as these that his own movement was born and sustained and he knows it! His compatriot in the SDLP also cast some interesting light on the conflict within nationalism. His use of the term born again provos makes little actual sense in any historical way. It is common knowledge that the IRA has within its ranks the majority of those who in 1997 rejected fundamentally changing the raison d'être of the IRA.

Therefore it is in fact the provisionals who have been evangelized to the church of constitutional reform. However it was as much a jibe aimed at Sinn Fein as it was one against republicans. For the stoops have not forgotten that not so long ago it was they who stood alone condemning republican actions whilst Martin defended them. They resent the fact that PSF stole their language and their voting base. So they seek to remind what is left of their voters that these people are hiding behind a carefully constructed façade, a narrative of deceit. Unfortunately for them it will do them little good. The provisionals successfully ditched republicanism whilst deluding many republicans into following them. Having achieved that they began to seduce the nationalists who did not have the stomach for fighting the brits but were more than happy to have the republican rhetoric without the armalites to back it up!

And so whilst our one time comrades seek to condemn and cajole republicans we can sit content in the knowledge that if they are that worked up about us, we must be doing something right.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Letter from Maghaberry POW Gerard McManus

The following letter was received from Republican POW Gerard McManus. He asked for it to be seen by all Republicans on the outside so they can see the brutal torture that is still inflicted upon the POWs on protest in Maghaberry Gaol. There are parts of the letter you can understand i won't publish on here but below are the most important parts of the letter from the Republican POW.

A Chairde how are you? I'm just writing here to keep in touch with you a chara. Ive been so busy with the ongoing protest and my case that i didn't get the proper time to write to you. I actually started this letter several weeks ago but had to stop due to what is currently going on here.

As you probably know by now that the screws have broken the agreement and with only 6 of us keeping to the original deal that was agreed. We 6 are subjected to repeated and very violent strip searches as we come to and from the court and even all the time when we come back from visits. I personally have been stripped numerous times along with my co accused Kevin Barry Nolan. Our friend from Lurgan Colin Duffy is getting special attention from the screws all the time he is getting done more than the rest of us.

Not to long ago when i was on my way back from visits i was violently battered and forcefully stripped because i refused to open my mouth 8 to 12 strong riot team battered me with helmets and shields i near passed out. I was then dragged of to the punishment block where i was dragged handcuffed with my hands behind my back all the way over from the wing. Thankfully my chairde were alerted and were all out in force shouting abuse at the screws and encouragement to me which really lifted my spirits as what i was going through.

What happens when they strip search you is that they first of all give you verbal orders to strip which of course we refuse to do which leads them to threaten to forcefully strip you they then give you about 30-45 mins to think it over. After that 3 of them come at you head on all dressed up in riot gear there is one of them with a shield he comes for your face while the others go to left and right and grab your arms.They then put a lock on your arms and wrists which is incredibly painful then forcing you to the ground. After this they put further locks and twists on you and then forcefully rip your clothes off the whole time you are in extreme pain.

Our friend Colin Duffy this happened him a total of 8 times in 4 days no-one else has went through as much as this man has with the lengths of pain and suffering a chara. Our friend Harry Fitzimmons from Belfast was the first of us forcefully stripped searched during this protest. Damien Mc Laughlin from Ardboe in Tyrone also has suffered a lot a chara. Even after being dragged to the punishment block and getting violently and brutally stripped searched i had my mouth forced open and a torch rammed down my throat to see was there anything there.

This what you don't see on the news or read in the papers. People in certain quarters would prefer that incidents like this were brushed under the carpet.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Upsurge in Raids

Over the past week or so there has been a notable upsurge in raids directed against Republicans right across the country.

In Belfast workplaces and homes were raided by the British Army and PSNI, as pointed out in a previous blog post. Since that incident more homes have been raided in the New Lodge, several other areas in Belfast, Derry, Lurgan and Munster.

In Kildare a number of men were arrested on a farm by Free State forces who claimed to have found mortars. Then they said they found components. This could mean anything from bits of tubes to milk churns. These items can be found on any farm in Ireland.

In Derry a good comrade of mine had his home raided. a small convoy of our new civic police force arrived at the house whilst it was unoccupied. They soon ordered the son of the said person to contact his father after he arrived on the scene. They rampaged their way through multiple rooms, damaging furniture and rummaging through personal belongings.

So insistent were our reformed police force on ensuring that there was no threat, they took his daughter into a side room, removing her trousers and hand-searching her bra, the same tactics employed by British screws to degenerate women in Armagh gaol. Had such an act been committed by persons who were not in British uniform, it would have been deemed sexual assault and plastered across local media. Other family members where then searched, whilst other officers watched TV and chatted casually, not even attempting to pretend that violating human rights and family homes is not part of their day job.

While this incident is deplorable, the said person is no stranger to having his family targeted. Over the Christmas period whilst the RUC where in full harassment mode, another daughter, a minor, was forced to stand outside a vehicle which was being searched. Stood in freezing conditions for a lengthily period, in full view of the public, she was refused when she requested to sit in the vehicle for heat and a full body search was conducted on her person.

Yesterday morning in Lurgan 3 Republicans were arrested after their homes were raided by the Crown Forces
Raids, harassment and arrests are on the increase both North and South. They are being carried out by the British Army, British Police and their lackeys in the Free State forces.

As per usual this is nothing new, raids are always being carried out, but its clear there is a marked increase and as usual its met with a wall of silence.

If they think they will break Republicans by using such desperate repressive tactics then they can think again

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

'Spooks' engineer arrest of 32 CSM member.

The Ard Comhairle of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement have urged republicans to be vigilant following the arrest and subsequent approach by British security services to one of its members from South Armagh.

On the evening of Sunday 9th January, the Ard Comhairle member was driving in Forkhill when he was pursued, stopped and detained by an RUC/PSNI landrover and marked car. The RUC/PSNI members informed the republican that this was a routine stop and proceeded to check his car. He was informed that his headlight was 'dim' and that the wall of his tyre was unsuitable for the cold conditions. He was then asked for his address and when he gave it the RUC man told him he didn't believe that was his address and as he did not have indentity to prove it he was arrested and taken to Banbridge RUC station. An RUC/PSNI member drove the republicans car to Banbridge also.

The 32 CSM member who is originally from the 26 counties was asked on arrival at the reception area of the barracks if he wanted them to contact the Irish embassy in London to inform them he was in custody in the United Kingdom. The republican also noticed that a large welcome sign in the station was translated into 20 languages, needless to say Irish was not one. The man was held for 3 hours before being release on five hundred pounds bail.

When leaving the reception he was approached by two men who asked him to "go for a drink and have a chat with them". The republican recognised as the same two men who had made an earlier approach to him. On that occassion the 32 CSM member, who is an building contractor, was rang up concerning an extention and arranged to meet the caller at the B&Q car park in Newry. The person he meet asked him to follow him and took him to isolated and derelict farm buildings in the Mullaglass area of Newry. Here two other men stepped from out houses and the republican, sensing something was not right locked the doors and refused to get out of the car. One of the men came forward with a set of plans but immediately produced a large sum of money and stated that there was no job but that they wanted to talk about the 'political situation', they were told to 'go away' in less polite terms and the republican left and notified his solicitor and the 32 CSM.

Likewise on this occassion the spooks approach was again rebuffed. When the republican went to retrieve his car from outside the station it was torn apart and he was given a docket stating that the car was searched because he 'associated with suspected dissidents'.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement utterly condemn this arrest and state that it was clearly engineered at the behest of RUC special branch in order to facilitate an approach by them in conjunction with MI5. The movement urge anyone who is subjected to such an approach to make contact with their solicitor immediately and we again call on republicans to be vigilant and aware of the wide variety and methods used by the MI5 led British security apparatus currently operating in Ireland.

Monday, 10 January 2011

British Army Involved in Raids

Once again the foreign occupier has shown it's imperialist face, this time on the streets of Belfast where a number of properties and workplaces were raided, the RUC/PSNI also participated in these acts of repression.

One of the targets of these raids was, prominent Belfast Republican, Carl Reilly who had his workplace raided.

The PSNI seized Christmas cards sent to POWs from the USA, which included in them small donations in US dollars to a number of Republican POW's children, Carl protested that the money was for POWs children and that there was no need to take it as it was a relatively small amount of money. They proceeded to make jokes at the expense of the POWs whose names were on the envelopes, including Colin Duffy who they said "be in a simmer frame before he sees daylight "and they made racist comments about Republican POW Willie Wong by making kung-fu sounds, This attack on POWs and their children was done directly across the street from the local Coiste office, who despite gathering to watch what was happening, never enquired into how anyone was, including Carl who is an ex-pow himself....also just as worrying is the fact that men in black combats entered the workplace and scanned the walls for "hides" when challenged by Carl as to who they were, he was informed that they weren't police but that he couldn't say who they were. At the end of the search it was revealed that TSGs from Mahon Rd and New Barnsley PSNI stations were involved and the numbers of the others were given alongside a footnote saying they were from a regiment of the British army. Once again British soldiers on the streets of west Belfast targeting ex-POWs and current POWs and there clanns, suffice to say as with ALL raids on Carls home and his workplace NOTHING was found except for the prisoners envelopes !

The RUC/PSNI also raided five pensioners flats next door to Carl's workplace, simply because he shares a black-bin entry with them.

This isn't the first time that British soldiers have taken part in recent house raids, there have been numerous similar incidents over the past year. Some people are happy enough that the British army are "confined to their barracks" and are "off the streets" but for Irish Republicans thats unacceptable, they should not be in Ireland in any shape of form whether we can see them or not.

I wonder what the cheerleaders of the PSNI make of these joint operations? They are quick enough to condemn Republican operations aimed at the foreign occupier so will they also condemn British Army operations in occupied Ireland?

No doubt severe manners will be put on them at the next DPP meeting

I predict this will be met with a wall of silence

Resistance is Not Terrorism

Over the past few years various phrases and terms have been used to describe Irish Republicans. Many of these terms have been conjured up by the media and British establishment in an attempt to demonise and criminalise Republicans. Some of them have also been used by former Republicans who have short memories.

Republicans have been labelled "Terrorists","Criminals","gangs","Micro-groups", and more recently "traitors", "neanderthals" and "conflict junkies".

This is nothing new, anti-Republicans have always sought to demonise and criminalise the liberation struggle and those who participate in it. The only difference is that some of those who were once on the receiving end of such vilification have now joined with the various anti-Republicans in their attacking rants.

We have the media who will do anything to damage Republicanism. Indeed in a recent article in a local paper they described fallen IRA volunteers as a "gang", thankfully éirígí corrected them on that in an excellent letter in the following edition. Then we have the SDLP,they have been collaborating and endorsing the Crown Forces long before anyone else, indeed they even congratulated the RUC/PSNI when they executed a local IRA volunteer in a shoot to kill operation. Then we have their constitutional chums in Sinn Féin they were once on the receiving end but are now dishing it out more than anyone. Who can forget the image of Martin McGuinness standing alongside the Chief of the British police and call Republican insurgents "Traitors". Recently he labelled them as "conflict junkies" from the comfort of the Tory conference. It's a recurring theme that any time an act of resistance is launched they wheel out McGuinness and he starts foaming at the mouth. I'd say they're actually worse than the SDLP, we're all used to the SDLP being anti-Republican. But it's a new thing for the, once proud, Provisional Movement. They should know better than anyone what happens when people inform yet they endorse it and tell people to pass information to the Crown Forces, even if the end result means imprisonment or even death for Republicans including those who had once proudly served in the ranks of the Provisionals but unlike them they remained on the Republican path. How long will it be before former comrades start congratulating the RUC/PSNI on their "successful operations"?

A new derogatory phrase has been unveiled in recent times. The term"Residual Terrorist Groups" has been created by the NIO to describe Republican revolutionaries, though it doesn't seem to have caught on.

Resistance is not terrorism and those who carry out acts of resistance are not terrorists

Do the British establishment and their lackey's not realise after all these years that their feeble attempts to vilify and criminalise the liberation struggle has failed and always will?

This isn't confined to the Irish struggle for liberation, revolutionary resistance movements across the world are on the receiving end of similar derogatory attacks from their opponents, from the Popular Front for the Liberation  of Palestine (PFLP) to Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) have all suffered the same vilification. They have been portrayed as psychopathic terrorists, yet revolutionary groups across the world use the age old phrase that "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter"

I'll end by quoting on of Ireland's best known revolutionaries who sacrificed his life so the Irish struggle for liberation would not be criminalised or demonised

They call us cons to right the wrongs
They do it with a pen
They call us crims to suit their whims of politics my friend
But they can call us all they want
For the people call us men
-Bobby Sands

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Man at The Helm But Same Old Bigotry

It seems the sectarian cult, known as the Orange Order has chosen a new leader, Edward Stevenson. No sooner had he taken up the post he showed his colours ( not that anyone was surprised). He stated that he wouldn't be meeting with any nationalist residents groups yet at the same time he claimed he wanted "to find a fresh way to resolve marching disputes".

How will he resolve them when his organisation refuses to meet with the very people affected by the sectarian marches forced through their areas?

Will he use telepathy?

Residents groups such as the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective have been to the fore in opposing such sectarian displays of bigotry. At the same time they have made numerous requests for dialogue, as well as proposing an alternative route and also carrying out a survey in which 1100 households took part.

Its clear there is no short term solution to the issue of contentious sectarian parades. The chain of events that surround these unwanted marches is only all too familiar at this stage, Ardoyne is a prime example.

The British appointed Parades Commission grant them permission to march through nationalist area, when nationalist residents and their supporters peacefully protest against these coat-trailing exercises they are brutalised and beaten off their own streets by the British police who then force the unwanted march through the areas leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Then in the ensuing riots the PSNI fire plastic numerous lethal plastic bullets leaving many people injured. In the following days former Republicans then inform the social services and the Housing executive as to the identities of the nationalist youngsters involved in the rioting and attempt to have them evicted from their homes.

This cycle will continue as the Orange Order along with the PSNI, parades commission and former Republicans continue to ignore the wishes of the residents.

And given this "new" appointment of Edward Stevenson it seems there is no end in sight

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

éirígí New Year Statement

éirígí extends New Year greetings to its members and supporters across Ireland and beyond and thanks them for their tireless efforts on behalf of the socialist republican struggle in 2010.

As 2011 begins, éirígí remains fully committed to the struggle for a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-county socialist republic.

The last year has been a devastating one for working class communities across Ireland. The Dublin and London governments, aided and abetted by Britain’s puppet parliament at Stormont, have commenced unprecedented attacks upon public services, jobs and benefits that will condemn generations to come to a life of exploitation and poverty.

The budgets unveiled at Leinster House, Westminster and Stormont in recent weeks have deliberately ring-fenced the profits of the wealthy while driving the rest of the population into misery and despair. In this regard, the ruling class are simply accelerating the rate of implementation of the same neo-liberal policies which created the current economic crisis in the first place.

The last 12 months have also seen the first, welcome signs of mass resistance to the policies of the right-wing coalitions in Belfast, Dublin and London. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets demanding that working people are not made the sacrificial lambs for the failure of capitalism.

In 2011, workers and communities across Ireland need to come together in the building of a coordinated campaign of uncompromising opposition to the slash and burn agenda of those in power. If this fight back is to be successful it will need to move beyond occasional street protests and angry rhetoric.

éirígí firmly believes that a period of intense popular resistance in the form of mass street protests, general strikes and acts of civil disobedience has the potential to stop the cutback agenda of the ruling political parties in its tracks.

The organised labour movement, with its unequalled organic and financial resources, represents the most obvious vehicle for the organisation of such a campaign of resistance. If the current trade union leadership is incapable or unwilling to take the necessary actions, then it must be replaced by one that is.

Now is the time for actions that will force those administering the cuts to reflect upon their own anti-social actions. éirígí will not be found wanting in this regard. In the year ahead, éirígí will be stepping up its own socio-economic campaigns across the country, both independently and through working with other progressive individuals and organisations.

While recognising the importance of the politics of protest at this time, éirígí also recognises that protest alone will not deliver the type of society that the people of Ireland deserve. Opposition without a viable alternative will not address the underlying causes of injustice and inequality in our society. Those organisations which oppose the agenda of the right have an obligation to explain what they would do differently were they in power.

For its part, éirígí recently published its From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come policy paper. This document sets out succinctly the malign role of capitalism and the need for a humane, socialist system to replace it. éirígí will be promoting the politics contained within From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come throughout 2011.

As it has done since its foundation, éirígí will continue in 2011 to highlight the inter-related nature of the socio-economic struggle and the struggle for national independence.

éirígí has consistently taken the demand for a British withdrawal onto the streets and into the faces of the occupiers, the year ahead will be no different. The presence and activities of the British army, the PSNI and MI5 in Ireland, the mistreatment of republican prisoners and British royal visits to Ireland are but some of the issues which éirígí will be actively campaigning on in 2011.

In doing so, éirígí will also work within working class communities in the occupied Six Counties to unlock the great potential of people power in challenging the occupation.

The building of the cultural revival, the popularisation of the Irish language, the promotion of Gaelic sports, along with the emergence of alternative social and economic structures within working class communities can radically alter the nature of the relationship between Irish citizens and the British state.

Working people themselves can potentially destabilise Britain’s Irish colony and shake the occupation by moving their lives outside the remit of the state. By refusing to speak its language, interact with its police force, or recognise the state’s legitimacy, the people can advance the re-conquest of Ireland by the working people of Ireland.

The British government has invested a massive amount of energy and money into its normalisation agenda over the last two decades. However, normalisation has now peaked. It is time to roll back that agenda.

Through the coordinated use of national, social, economic and cultural struggle throughout 2011, major progress can be made towards the achievement of the socialist republic.

We must do this together as one class and one people. Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.