I found this video of a BBC Documentary when I was putting the video of the Ballymurphy Time for Truth march together. As my viddler account  got deleted, probably due to lack of attention from myself, all the links I had put up to the video had become obsolete. I have since found out, after opening another free account with viddler, that they only hold videos on their servers for 30 days. Now I don’t know if it means they are completely deleted or whether they stay on until some other files that users saved on the server are then written over your video files. Much like your hard drive doesn’t completely delete a file until it’s written over again unless you use software that completely wipes the files from your hard drive. Whatever the case it means I’ll have to keep going back and uploading the videos each month until I can find a more permanent solution. Youtube is out because you have to chop the video into 10 minute clips.

In fact, it very well may have been a youtube up-loader that I have to thank for this video because there are parts of the video that seem to lose a bit of sound and have distorted vision for a second, suggesting that I may have put the video together again after it had been chopped. Now I don’t remember where I got it for sure. I forgot I had it until this week. I thought all my videos lost when I had to re-install windows. I’ve only got the entire avi file so if I downloaded it from youtube there would be flv files of it lying around but there isn’t. Wherever I got it from, sincere apologies for forgetting about you, and if you know who you are then thanks.

There are many points in history where you can point to and say that is where this all started from. Then you can debate it till the cows come home but in the end, there are mostly more than one defining moment that leads us all to where we are. It’s almost always impossible to pinpoint an actual event in history that has been solely responsible for the following forty years of history. To me it is a mixture of actual events and the spirit of the time that pushes and pulls us all to the state of affairs that follow. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself too on account of the human race being slow learners. Genocide continues to occur, whether it’s called ethnic cleansing, or a war on terror, despite the warnings that fascism gave us in the early part of this century or the inquisitions of the early part of the 2nd millennium. This video re-affirms for me the belief I have always felt that the main cause in starting what became known as the “troubles” was fear and ignorance. All of the protagonists had a fear of the other due to ignorance. That allowed for things to develop the way they did. But ultimately, the unionist fears were that they would lose their status and that Catholics were just ready to reap bloody revenge from them at the first opportunity. The catholic and indigenous community feared that the unionist community was going to finish them off. The rhetoric from Ian Paisley and his Ulster Constitution Defence Committee was inflammatory and they had open links with Gusty Spence’s newly re-created UVF. They were set up three years before. Any observer would be forgiven for thinking the catholic and indigenous community were on the verge of being driven out of the orange statelet by any and all means necessary. For them, the fear was very, very real and tangible. For the unionist community the fears had already been shown up as based on false information and so now were irrational.

They initially had the unionist working class protestants believe that the IRA were planning an uprising in the run up to the 50th Anniversary of the Easter 1916 rising. They even had some conservative Catholics fearful of it. The fact that the IRA were nothing much more than a recreational club who studied politics and were heavily influenced by Marxism and who were positively against any kind of sectarianism or racism whatsoever, was lost on them. That fact only served to worry the already duped conservative Catholics more so. They had no arms to speak of and those that were hidden after the border campaign (1956-62), couldn’t be found because those that hid them had ether died since or had simply forgotten where they had stashed them. Any that could be found were in such a state of disrepair due to corrosion and neglect that they were useless. In total, they could only muster 3 hand guns and a Lee Enfield rifle. Besides, they didn’t want to get involved with a sectarian conflict so much that, they were reluctant to even involve themselves in defending catholic areas and communities during and after with the rioting that blew up all over the six counties in support of the bogsiders. This in turn led to graffiti appearing in catholic areas that read “IRA = I RAN AWAY”. In Belfast, loyalists burned out Bombay Street and 7 people were killed in rioting that had erupted there, to take the pressure off the bogsiders by dragging the RUC and the B-specials’ full attention away to stretch their resources.

This was all in response to a year of violence perpetrated by loyalists against the Civil Rights movement. It’s stressed that the Civil Rights Movement were campaigning for civil rights for all the six county citizens and not just  the Catholics. Evidenced by the presence in the movement of moderate protestants, such as Ivan Cooper the SDLP MP for Derry, as well as Catholics and non Christians. For the whole of 1968, the movement had been subject to harassment by the authorities, violent attacks from loyalists backed up by the B-specials and regular RUC, culminating in the attack at Burntollet Bridge (see google video), near the end of a civil rights march from Belfast to Derry that set out from Belfast on the 1st January 1969. If the catholic community or any independent observer were in any doubt about the legitimacy of the civil rights movement and the nefarious intentions of the Unionist community’s leaders and loyalists, then those doubts evaporated then.

So here’s the video of the Battle of the Bogside…

If the embedded video is missing, please contact me either through the comments or other means and, I will be able to fix it. Thanks.

Justice did not prevail and the league title did not find it’s way home to Paradise. As Lennon said though “This is not the end, this is only the beginning”.  Next year I really believe we will add the league to the Scottish Cup. We’ve never been too good at bothering much with the League Cup and I reckon that is anybody’s up for grabs. You never know though, the treble would really get it right round them. That would be good.

Despite the disappointment of being cheated out of the treble this year, I and many other, Celtic fans will be walking around with satisfied looks on our mugs. Finishing the season on a high by winning the Cup returned a bit of pride to Celtic fans. Absolutely no disrespect to Motherwell, they came and had a go and made a good account of themselves. They will have a good season next year but I’d like to know where all the Motherwell fans appeared from? They struggle to get 2000 at fir park and yet managed to get nearly 10 times that at Hampden. Another thing, these new ‘Well fans will have to find their voices if they hope to give their team any encouragement. I only heard them sing three songs the entire match despite that wee short guy they have for a manager dancing around trying to encourage them to get behind the team. I can’t blame them though.  I was talking to one Motherwell fan who was there right up at the back of the Motherwell end and he said he actually felt the stadium bouncing when the Celtic fans where “doing the huddle”… He said even he felt intimidated by the sheer volume and atmosphere coming at them from the Celtic end. It wasn’t a threat of violence or anything remotely like that but simply the atmosphere created by the Celtic supporters. I want to see that next season more and more against all the teams in the SPL. No team in the SPL deserves any less respect. They are all capable of beating us on their day and it is up to us, as Celtic supporters, to make sure that clubs no longer relish the chance to come and have a go at Celtic Park or even at their own grounds. Opposition fans and players alike have to  be overawed when they play Celtic, not just because of the Celtic team, but because of the atmosphere created by Celtic supporters. I remember when it was intimidating and almost always worth at least a goal start. Or the clichéd 12th man.

So next season, let’s get behind the team. If Celtic want to besmirch the team’s top with a pro war political symbol again, let them. Just walk out in protest or if attending an away fixture, simply don’t go in and watch the game on the telly in the pub. Do it quietly and with dignity and then around 2-3 weeks later, near St Andrews day, have a Saltire day, where we bring in our Saltires and wave them around like Nicola Sturgeon on heat. (Sorry Nicola, sexist comment and uncalled for, but we have had to endure Anti-Irish racism from since before the plantations.

You see the Huns are right when they say that immigration from Ireland, especially the North, didn’t start and end with An Gorta Mor or the Great hunger. It started with the Plantations started by James the 6th of Scotland when the two crowns joined under his Kingship. Some Scots King he turned out. Traitorous bastard relinquished his right to the throne as soon as he moved his court to London. He renounced his nationality, his religion and his self-respect. Sorry, I digress.

In Glasgow, around this time there was actually more Anti Catholic organisations than there were Catholics. That’s why in 1745 during the Jacobite rising the Jacobite rebels or rather the rightful Scots Army under the rightful king, got no truck in Glasgow. Prince Charlie was too catholic for their liking. Maybe they were right but replacing the Roman pope with a London pope was no answer but they done it. Except for the Presbyterians who went along with it just for pragmatic reasons. Of Course when taxation of the entire population through church tithes by the London pope or established church, no matter what church you did or did not belong to, this caused a bit of a schism in the church in Scotland and kicked of a revolution in Ireland led by the great protestant United Irishmen in the North of Ireland. They had three main aims, a kind of quickly drawn up manifesto;

  1. That the weight of English influence in the Government of this country is so great as to require a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance which is essential to the preservation of our liberties and the extension of our commerce
  2. That the sole constitutional mode by which this influence can be opposed is by a complete and radical reform of the people in Parliament
  3. That no reform is just which does not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion.

These three aspirations are as true to Republicanism today as they have always been since the fathers of republicanism at that first meeting, who became known as the United Irishmen, drew them up. The men that were at that first Republican meeting were all protestant, two were Anglican and the rest were Presbyterian. They were Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, (who were the two Anglicans) William Sinclair, Henry Joy McCracken, Samuel Neilson, Henry Haslett, Gilbert McIlveen, William Simms, Robert Simms, Thomas McCabe and Thomas Pearce. These brave men supported the Catholic Committee and Lobbied for Catholic emancipation and to repeal the Penal laws. But most of all, what really united them with Catholic and Dissenter were the tithe laws. Their Ultimate aim as is the aim of modern republicanism is to secularise the state and replace Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter with the name Irishmen. To separate religion from politics. The Brits saw this and sought to mint a coin of sectarianism to divide Protestant from Catholic and Dissenter from them both. This was in fact a racially motivated ploy. To bring in Scots and give them the best land and in doping so, kick the indigenous catholic and non protestant off the best farmland that were found in the northern Counties.  They had tried with the Elizabethan Pale but they could not go further than Dublin county itself with impunity. Divide and Conquer was the order of the day and has continued without much break ever since. There were valiant attempts  at organising the workers on a class based union but they suffered defeat because of the racist policies of the British government. Scots Protestants were  given control which they freely accepted. Why wouldn’t they? Self interest is a good enough persuader. The Irony was that the protestant movement was an attractive one until it became infected with bigotry. The idea of democracy and freedom of worship as one pleased, directly with God however one pleased was appealing to socialists. The Irony is that if they had not been driven by greed and a lust for power, they may have converted many Catholics freely to their ideas.  But their brutality in land-grabbing from the indigenous Irish and denying their own Celtic heritage put paid to any assimilation and working class unity there might have been.

So there we have it. Ignore the sectarian red herring and see it for what it is. Racism.

In the years of Apartheid in South Africa it became common practice to boycott South African goods, sport and basically anything that came from South Africa. Those companies that broke the boycott were picketed until it became financially non-viable to stock South African goods. Sports teams, most notably the Springbok rugby team, were heavily obstructed from playing anywhere outside SA. Direct action among other tactics to stop matches going ahead were employed. The worst that happened was that the match might manage to go ahead but with huge media coverage of the protests that at the very least helped to highlight the issue. The best that might happen would be some volatile and violent encounters with those charged with the job of protecting the renegade events. In my opinion, more could have been done, such as using explosives or incendiary devices to flatten the proposed venue before the event could even start. Always hit them in the pocket, that’s where it hurts these people most. Apartheid in South Africa could have been brought to an end much sooner had more militant action been used to enforce the boycott. That’s why boycotts do work and direct action against those that might try to break the boycott is not only acceptable, it is necessary to make it work. It should be noted that if Apartheid was in some way acceptable, then boycotts would never have worked no matter how militant the the tactics used to uphold the boycott were. Take for example the embargo the US has employed against Cuba. They have failed in their aim to cripple Cuba for over five decades. Tactics have included invasion, CIA assassination and support for Anti Cuban terrorism as well as blackmailing other nations into backing the embargo. Still Cuba survives and the US are now realising the futility of their petulant embargo. That’s because of the fundamental right of Cuba to assert themselves among the nations of the world.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea for anyone who has worked out that the illegal and anti-humanitarian Israeli occupation of Palestine is immoral and must be opposed by any means and at every opportunity possible not to discount any actions. No action can be off-limits. We must make sure it’s not profitable for companies in our countries or wherever we are to stock Israeli goods. Wherever their sports teams play throughout the world, they must be, if not stopped, made most unwelcome. Remember, almost every citizen of Israel is at the very least a reservist soldier for the IDF. I find that throwing eggs and flour is not quite effective. Petrol bombs are far more effective. Guns and mortar bombs should not be dismissed. All options must be given careful consideration.

Some people may think that I am advocating violence against boycott breakers and indeed sports players and other performers. Well that’s not the case. I am merely saying what I believe is the only effective way to make the boycott work. Now the boycott started it’s humble beginnings in Ireland…

I quote from Wikipedia because it’s correct:

The word boycott entered the English language during the Irish “Land War” and is derived from the name of Captain Charles Boycott, the estate agent of an absentee landlord, the Earl Erne, who lived in Lough Mask House, in County Mayo, Ireland, who was subject to social ostracism organized by the Irish Land League in 1880. In September of that year, protesting tenants demanded from Boycott a substantial reduction in their rents. He not only refused, but also evicted them from the land. Charles Stewart Parnell, in a speech in Ennis proposed that, rather than resorting to violence, everyone in the locality should refuse to deal with Boycott. Despite the short-term economic hardship to those undertaking this action, Boycott soon found himself isolated — his workers stopped work in the fields and stables, as well as in his house. Local businessmen stopped trading with him, and the local postman refused to deliver mail.

The concerted action taken against him meant that Boycott was unable to hire anyone to harvest the crops in his charge. Eventually 50 Orangemen from Cavan and Monaghan volunteered to harvest his crops. They were escorted to and from Claremorris by one thousand policemen and soldiers—this despite the fact that Boycott’s complete social ostracism meant that he was actually in no danger of being harmed [Well there’s no proof of that to be honest]. Moreover, this protection ended up costing far more than the harvest was worth. After the harvest, the “boycott” was successfully continued. Within weeks Boycott’s name was everywhere. It was used by The Times in November 1880 as a term for organized isolation. According to an account in the book “The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland” by Michael Davitt, the term was coined by Fr. John O’Malley of County Mayo to “signify ostracism applied to a landlord or agent like Boycott”. The Times first reported on November 20, 1880: “The people of New Pallas have resolved to ‘boycott’ them and refused to supply them with food or drink.” The Daily News wrote on December 13, 1880: “Already the stoutest-hearted are yielding on every side to the dread of being ‘Boycotted’.” By January of the following year, the word was being used figuratively: “Dame Nature arose…. She ‘Boycotted’ London from Kew to Mile End” (The Spectator, January 22, 1881).

Clearly as the name came from this episode, then a boycott is considered a last option before ultimately resorting to a more direct and militant approach, if it were to fail. As I understand it, those that did deal with the thoroughly despicable Earl Erne and his overseer, Captain Boycott extended the Boycott to those that dealt with them. No one broke the Boycott and it was a success.

In the case of Israel, we are not dealing with one or two individuals, we are dealing with a very powerful country operating beyond it’s means. They are able to do this because of financial and other more sinister aid being given by mainly the US but backed by many western states that have been engaged in a war against democracy for the last 50 years. (In fact, Israel was so supported that they were able to defy the boycott of South Africa by giving it nuclear and other military help.) It’s no surprise that they [US] generally only give aid to non democratic states in the Middle East (Iraq before GWI, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Pre 9/11 Afghanistan,  Jordan and Pakistan as long as they stay allies. Forget the rhetoric that comes from some of these states. They have been bought. The US have been shovelling aid to ultra right-wing regimes in South America and they have funded right-wing military coups since before the United States were united and certain right-wing governments in Africa, but only if they were good old-fashioned dictatorships. A clear example of their war on democracy is their embargo against Cuba. Their hatred of democracy went so far as accepting Cuban criminals as refugees and giving gangsters and criminals shelter from justice just so they could use them as a publicity stunt to show how evil democratic Socialism is.

In the face of this onslaught on human rights, however indirectly, it’s not by any means extreme to suggest that direct militant activism is a justifiable response to it. That must start by boycotting Israeli produce, especially that which they produce in illegal Zionist settlements. It must also be backed up with the boycotting of any countries that seek to break the boycott. If that includes your own country, as a duty, who must boycott your own countries goods.

An idea of what to boycott will be found here. This must only be considered a starting point. If you see Israeli goods being sold in your local shops and supermarkets, then a letter telling them of their actions amounting to being an accomplice to crimes against humanity, is the first step with as much signatories as possible. If that fails then phase one of direct action must be put into place. That is picketing and publicising the issue. If that fails then you have to decide the best course of action for phase three. It will be different for each occasion but will most likely need to involve militant direct action aimed at making it impractical, economically, to continue to aid rogue states in their crimes against humanity.

Boycott Israeli Goods Image

End Apartheid

Ken O’Keefe was a US marine who renounced his US citizenship in favour of more deserving nations of his citizenship. As his story unfolds, it becomes clear that could and, in my opinion should, have killed three Isreali Commandos. It is my belief the killing  of any Zionist supporter of Israel, whether they support them through arms, money or words, should be killed. They will never understand the nature of what they are doing. There is no possibility in negotiating with them. I am utterly convinced of the sheer futility of gaining human rights for Palestine and the Gaza strip through dialogue. I’m afraid the last resort is the only one available. Israel must be disarmed of nuclear weapons and conscription must be stopped. They are an aggressive nation. They must have no standing Army. They must dissolve their regime and allow Palestinians and their descendants to their homeland. Then, with full franchise, they must have fair elections and whomsoever wins that election shall run the country. That is the single state solution. The only one that can possibly work.

In his own words:

I have for many years understood that we, people of conscience, are the true holders of power in this world. Frustratingly however we have largely relinquished that power and failed to reach our full potential.  Our potential to create a better world, a just world.  Nonetheless I have conspired with others of like mind to reveal and exercise our true power.  In 2002 I initiated the TJP Human Shield Action to Iraq because I knew that the invasion of Iraq had been planned well in advance, that it was part of a ‘Global Spectrum Dominance’ agenda as laid out by the Project For A New American Century.

I knew that protests had no chance of stopping the invasion, and that largely these protests were just a way of making us feel better about the coming mass murder; by being able to say I protested against it.  With that understanding I argued that the only viable way to stop the invasion was to conduct a mass migration to Iraq.  A migration in which people from around the world, especially western citizens, would position themselves at sites in Iraq that are supposed to be protected by international law, but which are routinely bombed when it is only Iraqi, Palestinian, generally non-white, western lives who will be killed.  I felt 10,000 such people could stop the invasion, or at the very least, expose the invasion for what it was from the start, an act of international aggression, a war crime and a crime against humanity.

When our two double-decker buses travelled from London to Baghdad through Turkey, it was ever clear that the people of Turkey also could sense the power of this act, and they were the biggest participants in it.  In the end we did not get the numbers required to stop the war, with at least one million Iraqi’s dead as a result, but I remain convinced that it was within our power to prevent the invasion.  A massive opportunity lost as far as I am concerned.

In 2007 I joined the Free Gaza Movement with its plan to challenge the blockade of Gaza by travelling to Gaza by sea.  From the moment I heard of the plan I knew it could succeed and ultimately I served as a captain on the first attempt.  The Israeli government said throughout our preparation that we were no better than pirates and they would treat us as such.  They made clear we would not reach Gaza.  And still I knew we could succeed.  And we did.  Two boats with 46 passengers from various countries managed to sail into Gaza on August 23, 2010; this was the first time this had been done in 41 years.  The truth is the blockade of Gaza is far more than three years old, and yet we, a small group of conscientious people defied the Israeli machine and celebrated with tens of thousands of Gazans when we arrived that day.  We proved that it could be done.  We proved that an intelligent plan, with skilled manipulation of the media, could render the full might of the Israeli Navy useless.  And I knew then that this was only the tip of the iceberg.

So participating in the Freedom Flotilla is like a family reunion to me.  It is my long lost family whose conscience is their guide, who have shed the fear, who act with humanity.  But I was especially proud to join IHH and the Turkish elements of the flotilla.  I deeply admire the strength and character of the Turkish people, despite your history having stains of injustice, like every nation, you are today from citizen to Prime Minister among the leaders in the cause of humanity and justice.

I remember being asked during the TJP Human Shield Action to Iraq if I was a pacifist, I responded with a quote from Gandhi by saying I am not a passive anything.  To the contrary I believe in action, and I also believe in self-defence, 100%, without reservation.  I would be incapable of standing by while a tyrant murders my family, and the attack on the Mavi Marmara was like an attack on my Palestinian family.  I am proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with those who refused to let a rogue Israeli military exert their will without a fight.  And yes, we fought.

When I was asked, in the event of an Israeli attack on the Mavi Mamara, would I use the camera, or would I defend the ship?  I enthusiastically committed to defence of the ship.  Although I am also a huge supporter of non-violence, in fact I believe non-violence must always be the first option.  Nonetheless I joined the defence of the Mavi Mamara understanding that violence could be used against us and that we may very well be compelled to use violence in self-defence.

I said this straight to Israeli agents, probably of Mossad or Shin Bet, and I say it again now, on the morning of the attack I was directly involved in the disarming of two Israeli Commandos.  This was a forcible, non-negotiable, separation of weapons from commandos who had already murdered two brothers that I had seen that day.  One brother with a bullet entering dead center in his forehead, in what appeared to be an execution.  I knew the commandos were murdering when I removed a 9mm pistol from one of them.  I had that gun in my hands and as an ex-US Marine with training in the use of guns it was completely within my power to use that gun on the commando who may have been the murderer of one of my brothers.  But that is not what I, nor any other defender of the ship did.  I took that weapon away, removed the bullets, proper lead bullets, separated them from the weapon and hid the gun.  I did this in the hopes that we would repel the attack and submit this weapon as evidence in a criminal trial against Israeli authorities for mass murder.

I also helped to physically separate one commando from his assault rifle, which another brother apparently threw into the sea.  I and hundreds of others know the truth that makes a mockery of the brave and moral Israeli military.  We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos.  These boys were at our mercy, they were out of reach of their fellow murderers, inside the ship and surrounded by 100 or more men.  I looked into the eyes of all three of these boys and I can tell you they had the fear of God in them.  They looked at us as if we were them, and I have no doubt they did not believe there was any way they would survive that day.  They looked like frightened children in the face of an abusive father.

But they did not face an enemy as ruthless as they.  Instead the woman provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive.  Able to live another day.  Able to feel the sun over head and the embrace of loved ones.  Unlike those they murdered.  Despite mourning the loss of our brothers, feeling rage towards these boys, we let them go.   The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murderers, we are the defenders, and yet we fought.  We fought not just for our lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity.  We were right to do so, in every way.

While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect.  Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted.  Access to food and water and toilets was denied.  Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs.  We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands.  We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really.  We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out… and I was beaten again while in my cell.

In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards… and yet I also see my brothers.  Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them.  Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.

In conclusion; I would like to challenge every endorser of Gandhi, every person who thinks they understand him, who acknowledges him as one of the great souls of our time (which is just about every western leader), I challenge you in the form of a question.  Please explain how we, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are not the modern example of Gandhi’s essence?  But first read the words of Gandhi himself.

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour. – Gandhi

And lastly I have one more challenge. I challenge any critic of merit, publicly, to debate me on a large stage over our actions that day.  I would especially love to debate with any Israeli leader who accuses us of wrongdoing, it would be my tremendous pleasure to face off with you.  All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns, so I am ripe to see you in a new context.  I want to debate with you on the largest stage possible.  Take that as an open challenge and let us see just how brave Israeli leaders are.

The original video of Ken’s interview had been removed from youtube so I found another more up to date interview with him…

This is the most important Westminster election since 1979. We do not want a repeat of that. For all that I despise the Labour party, Jack McConnell and Frank Roy in particular, we must not be fooled into voting the Tories by their scaremongering about a hung parliament. The more they argue against a hung parliament, the more I feel we need one. “A strong Government we need” they say. So they can attack countries who have the misfortune of having our oil beneath their sand? So they can take from the poor and give to the rich? So they continue Nu Labour’s policies but with more gusto and with more dire consequences? So they can expand Trident or worse, replace it with a more devastating and costly alternative. We don’t need the bloody things, a fool can see that.

But I don’t need to remind Scottish voters of what damage the Tories will do. It takes a lot to erase the memory of what that party done to Scotland and Ireland in the 80’s. People still remember Cromwell over 350 years later. They still remember The Butcher’s Apron that Marshal Wade and the Duke of Cumberland marched under as they butchered wounded Highlanders after the Battle of Culloden and then moved through the countryside murdering any Scot, young or old, who they believed had favoured the Jacobite cause.

Well apparently I do, The Unionists who think we should wrap ourselves in the Butcher’s Apron and be proud to be North Brits need reminding and those that follow and support them. Although I will be arguing that Scots vote SNP in the Westminster Election, I do so because I feel they offer the best opportunity to represent Scottish needs more than anyone else at this time.

Labour men tell us of the dangers of Nationalism. I know full well of the dangers. But Scottish Nationalism is not the same as British Nationalism, French Nationalism, German, American, Israeli or any other Nationalism that has its own nation. Nationalism without a nation is National Liberation. This article explains it better and has some great photos. Like Basque Nationalism, Corsican Nationalism and other Nationalist Freedom movements, Scottish Nationalism has a progressive socialist colour to it. I would like nothing better than a pan Celtic/British Isles Socialist Republic but it’s not going to happen. English people are different from us. They vote differently, they speak differently, they have a completely different culture to us. They have different needs and desires. Fair play to them and good luck to them. I have nothing against them and I don’t really believe they have anything against us. I am of course generalising here. But there is no way we are going to get social reform under a Westminster government, it is as simple as that. Devolution has shown that we can produce those social reforms through free care for the elderly, Free Prescriptions for all, though not yet implemented, it will be soon, we have at least reduced the cost of prescriptions and extended free prescriptions to those that need it most. This among many social improvements for Scots introduced by the current administration at Holyrood, despite being a minority government proves some very important points, mainly that we can run our own affairs far better than Westminster and that hung parliaments can work. Yes I feel it would have been better if the SNP had a clear majority but despite the fact they have had to compromise to get policies through, they have managed to do more for Scotland in less than one term than the Limp Dems and Labour managed in 13 years.

There is nothing to fear from Independence bur fear itself. Labour want you to be scared. They need your vote to stay in power. But what thanks will they give you? More Thatcherite policies, that’s what. Make no mistake, the Labour Party of 2010 bears no resemblance to the Party of Keir Hardie. The Labour party was a movement run from the grass-roots. Now it is run from the top down. Is there anyone out there that can deny that? They have become more  and  more like the Tories to such an extent that the Tories have no policies of their own, Labour has stolen them all. More importantly, they have stolen their Ideology and Identity.

The Tories are left to try to change their image to make them look more cuddly. More environment friendly. More palatable to middle England. That is where the battle ground is between these two chameleons. I beg the people of Scotland to let them battle it out. I beg those in  England to vote for the Lib Dems. Again it is only fear itself you have to be scared of.

As I have shown, the Labour Party members think nothing of brushing off their constituents with blatant lies. I found out Frank Roy, my own MWP (Member of Westminster Parliament) lying on record. I published the evidence in this very blog. I also noted that he would be proud to represent the Labour Party, rather than, I suppose than representing his constituents.

Lets not be naïve in Scotland either. Over the years since devolution we have become more savvy when it comes to tactical voting. I don’t believe for one minute that a vote for the SNP is a vote for Independence. It’s a vote for a better deal for Scotland in Westminster, that pit of snakes that needs another 20 SNP, Plaid Cymru, and Independents to shake those bastards up and force them to actually earn their wages.

Be Sensible, In Scotland Vote SNP, in England Vote Lib Dems. It will probably be the most important thing you do in your life. For generations to come, people will judge this generation for the choice we made this polling day. If we fail them like the “I’m all right Jack” mob did when they voted in that nasty bitch Thatcher, our kids will never forgive us. And rightly so.

Our esteemed chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling, is going to announce his pre-budget report today and the pundits have it that he’s going to reduce VAT from 17.5% to 15% in an effort to encourage us to spend. He’s got his head in the clouds if he thinks that’s going to get us spending. For a start, shops, in my experience, will not pass on the tax drop to the customers, or at least they will not pass it all on. But that’s the by and by. What’s really getting my goat is the way it’s now become something bad or shameful about seeking to tax the rich. The Tories are saying that Labour wants to tax the rich as if that in itself is reason enough not to vote Labour. Surely it should be the other way around.

Apparently, those of us who earn more than £150,000p.a. will have their tax raised from 40% to 45%. Frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with taxing anything over 100 grand, 55% and anything over 150 grand, 65%.  On top of that, I’d tax anything over 300,000p.a., 80%.

With regard to VAT, I would drop it completely for home fuel and make sure it’s passed on to punters. I’m told that he intends raising the threshold for basic tax which stands to reason really. There is absolutely no reason for anyone who earns less than £25,000 to pay any more for this country’s economy. In fact, they should pay less. It’s the ones who benefited from the boom years who should bear the brunt of the bust years. It’s really that simple. If someone earns more than £150 grand they are not going to miss anything they earn above that. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that anything over 50 grand a year is surplus to requirements and should be liable to huge taxation. But I suppose that’s something to be ashamed of. 🙄

From December 5th linky


Editorial: So What’s The Alternative?

In many of our activities as a Party we in the IRSP are often asked, occasionally in a hostile manner, but more often in a resigned but curious way,


So What’s your Alternative to the Good Friday Agreement?”


Often as not the question is posed by supporters of the Provisionals or by ex members of that movement who simply walked away in disgust at the direction their movement had taken. It is a genuine question. It is one that requires a serious answer. And it is not a question to be answered in pubs and social clubs as former ex-combatants reminisce over a few pints and ask where did it all go wrong? That’s when the mixing can be begin and as the drink flows in so does the wit flow out.


Those who now are in the ascendancy – those who now walk the corridors of power when once they walked the streets in protest, can feel secure in the knowledge that there is no serious opposition to their hegemony.


The Administration At Stormont (TASS) has no serious parliamentary opposition. The pathetic little Alliance party is desperately trying to get the Ulster Unionist Party to give up the fruits of office and join them in opposition. But any opposition based on the Alliance or unionist perspectives would be a false opposition because they all fundamentally accept the prevailing economic policies pushed by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the USA Government.


Of course there will be minor differences within TASS. The two main nationalist Parties PSF and SDLP will place more emphasis on “social justice” and “equality” while the unionist parties will emphasise issues s such as “law and order” and “economic stability” and “prudence.” When elections loom both sides will then revert to banging the big drum of nationalism of unionism to stroke up the sectarian flames and bring out their voters.


It is also most unlikely that a coherent electoral opposition could be established before the next elections to create a new TAAS. Any such opposition would have to be built on clear opposition to the economic and social policies of the current TASS. It would have to be socialist, have some prospects of success to generate support and have no illusions that there really is a parliamentary road to socialism. No organisation now existing would seem to have these credentials. Nor would there necessarily be agreement that such credentials would be essential. In other words all those on the left would soon find reasons to fall out with each other and denounce the SWP/SP/CPI/ etc as traitors to the class struggle.


So in the sense of parliamentary opposition it is true there is no alternative to the GFA.


But generally the question is not posed in terms of economic or social alternatives but in republican terms and is posed in such terms that really only two alternatives are allowed for – the continuation of armed struggle or settling for TASS.


Armed struggle in Ireland has a romantic tinge about it, particularly when posed in terms of heroic sacrifice or in terms of the heroism of the Easter Week uprising. Indeed it has almost achieved such status that to question its efficacy is akin to blasphemy. During the period of the seventies and eighties few dared to raise their voices within republican circles about armed struggle. To do so would be to invite all sorts of insults such as “sticky” or “peace lover” Ironic is it not that some of those most passionate about denouncing “Stickies” are the very ones who stole the “Stickie’s” clothes and now implement their policies!!!


So armed struggle was the tactic used to achieve the goal. Oh yes the goal! What exactly was that the armed struggle was for? Simple! The Socialist Republic! What does that mean? Don’t worry we will sort that out when we achieve it !! At least that was what the volunteers were told.


Yes indeed. There was in reality a lot of sloganising, a lot of passion, a lot of violence but little long term thought. Those who began to question, who raised awkward questions either about the armed strategy or the direction their leadership was going were sidelined, dismissed or killed in action. Consequently when the strategy of the long war began to look more and more threadbare and experienced volunteers became disillusioned there was little appetite for resistance to the new direction. Action had been all theory nothing. So when the action stopped Republicans were left bemused


On the issue of the validity of armed struggle in the present day there is much argument but little clarity. Let us state clearly that as long as there is a British claim to sovereignty over any part of the island of Ireland there will always be republicans who regard it as perfectly legitimate to use force to resist that claim. That is a given.


However the question republican socialists would pose is it a viable tactic to use at this moment in time? Does it have any possibility of success? Are the balance of forces both nationally and internationally favourable to the pursuit of armed struggle. Are the forces of resistance well armed, trained, freed from informers and agents and capable of sustaining a campaign that would win popular support from the people of Ireland and be capable in the long run of forcing the British and Unionists to the negotiating table to hammer out a deal for better than the current deal encapsulated by the GFA and the St. Andrews agreement? The answer is obviously no.


Some may think that the unification of the various republican forces such as the INLA and the varying IRA’S could create a strong armed group capable of taking on the Imperialists. Not so. The political differences and analysis are so wide that it could not happen. Currently it is nearly impossible to get agreement on mounting pickets. No chance of agreement of running a war.


Also it needs to be stated clearly that the Republican Socialist analysis is such that it precludes a unification with others forces with very different approaches and policies. Our analysis is simply put. The class and national question are so intertwined that to pursue one without the other is to invite almost certain defeat. Following the defeat of the republican armed struggle and the temporary stabilisation of the six county state with its shaky TASS and coalition of four neo-liberal parties republicans must take a different direction. And clearly that direction is back to the class –the working class- for the James Connolly approach is as relevant now, if not more relevant than, when he was alive.


For at least the past 12 years we have been saying that the liberation of the working class is the task of the working class itself- that there can be no liberation without socialism. We have consistently argued against an elitist approach to the revolutionary struggle firmly basing our positions not only on Connolly and the great Marxist writers but also on our founder Seamus Costello and of course our fallen comrade Ta Power.


But of course if you read the writings of some of the “real” or “continuity” Marxists you would never know this. Take this piece of writing


“We have just come through a quite savage conflict. It seems to us that at a very minimum a new movement would have to offer some critique of the militarist strategy that led to defeat and also to have some orientation to the working class and at least initial expressions of class hostility to the Irish capitalist class and its role in advancing the imperialist offensive.”-


A major problem over the past decade has been the reluctance of even quite sharp critics of the republican leadership to leave the republican family. “

Socialist Democracy 2nd April 2007

The IRSP have offered a critique of the militarist strategy. We have clearly articulated our class position in our newspapers, our public meetings in this e-mail newsletter and in public conferences. A cursory search of our web site will confirm that.


And as regards the so-called reluctance to “leave the republican family” we have also a very clear position on that. We deny there is any such thing as a republican family. Nor is there any such thing now as the “republican movement” What we say is there are differing republican traditions. We are the republican socialist tradition and we recognise there are other traditions such as the provisional republican movement and so on .We make no claim to be the republican movement. Such claims bear no relation to the class forces in Irish society or take account of the reality of capitalism or imperialism.

In the above-mentioned correspondence it is unclear if Socialist Democracy favour a break with Republicanism or see a new form of resistance arising from a break with provisionalism. There is however no room for ambiguity in the Socialist Workers Party’s guru Eamon McCann. Writing recently in the “radical Marxist revolutionary” newspaper, The Belfast Telegraph McCann in a critique of Gerry Adams speech at Edentubber gave his clear position

“Within the parameters of republican thinking, they have a point. And there’s the problem. Republicanism. 

The problem is republicanism.”

Sadly for Eamon and the Socialist Workers Party and all the other “real” socialists and Marxists, Irish republicanism for all its faults, (and we in the IRSP have been critical of those faults) is a revolutionary tendency that cannot be ignored or dismissed. We believe that it can form the core of any new revolutionary upsurge of the working class in Ireland against both imperialism and capitalism. Building such a movement is the real alternative to the Good Friday agreement. Join us in building that alternative.

An Fíníneach says…
I broadly agree with this. My support for Sinn Féin is now only electoral but electoral success should never be regarded as a mandate, as my attitude shows. Many people will vote Sinn Féin simply because there is no better alternative on the ballot paper. Some say that even participating in elections is a betrayal of of the republic or even revolutionary politics. I don’t agree.

If irps or any one else for that matter is prepared to put their manifesto to the test then the functions are available to them. That doesn’t mean that the arguments put forward are somehow de-legitimised however, because they have no electoral presence or success. The arguments put forward by irps must be listened to and if they are disregarded then it is at the peril of those who choose to turn a deify.

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