Apr 22 2018

20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT

We are posting this article on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement from Socialist Democracy (Ireland). 

 

CLINTON AND BLAIR CELEBRATE SUCCESS

20th Anniversary of Good Friday Agreement

 

Aren’t we still great

In some Roman societies of late antiquity, after a death the body would remain for a time in the family home.  It would be placed in a sarcophagus and treated as still present in the family.  A rich individual would have a funeral mask painted on the face of the sarcophagus and triumphs and achievements carved in bas-relief around the sides.  Both image and carvings would be enhanced to exaggerate the importance of the individual and his achievements.

This metaphor closely mirrors the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.  Politicians and press dwelt lovingly on the genius of the agreement and its achievements, managing to forget for a time that this particular parrot was actually deceased.  Both the BBC and RTE staged long and self congratulatory historical re-enactments, fading to black when the need for any analysis arose.

The funeral procession was led by Bill Clinton, the US president who broke the tradition of seeking legitimacy through the UN to lead NATO in the carpet bombing of Serbia. In the US he rolled back limited welfare rights and his Crime Bill led to the mass incarnation of young black men on minor drug charges. His partner Hilary played a major role in the destruction of Libya and in the waves of war that have filled the world with desperate refugees.

Clinton was flanked by serial liar and war criminal Tony Blair, and the supporting team was led by Bertie Ahern, the Fianna Fail leader who bankrupted Ireland.

Insofar as there was a narrative it was to persuade us that the deceased GFA was merely sleeping due to a temporary failure of the parties to agree.

The cat was let out of the bag by the dour former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Peter Robinson, who reminded everyone that his party, while filled with enthusiasm for dialogue and discussion, had opposed the terms of the agreement and they still opposed it today.

A further dose of reality was provided by US chief negotiator to the talks, George Mitchell, who openly pleading with Britain to ensure that the settlement survived Brexit. The keystone of the original agreement was British assurances that they had no selfish or strategic interests. Today their position is that they will never be neutral on the question of Ireland and they are heading full tilt towards a hard Brexit and augmented partition.

Every tragedy requires a leaven of comedy, and this was provided just before the celebrations by the Loyalist paramilitaries, who have survived unscathed the decades of “peace.” For the umpteenth time they solemnly assured the public that they would no longer involve themselves in criminality, murder and intimidation. The declaration released £25 million in funds and the long experiment aiming to bribe loyalism to death can resume. The paramilitaries declaration that they would operate within the law was negated by the fact that it is a criminal offence to be a member of the death squads, which will continue in place. As the paramilitaries declared for peace, David Trimble, awarded the Nobel Prize for signing up to the Good Friday Agreement, was threatening paramilitary violence if Dublin pressed for a soft border following Brexit. The most recent leader of unionism, Arlene Foster, was giving evidence of her innocence in an investigation of massive corruption for which she clearly bore absolute political responsibility.

However the loyalists were outdone in hilarity by the local leadership of the Irish trade union movement. While other supporters of the moribund peace gathered in Belfast, the union bureaucracy decided to frolic miles from anywhere outside the sepulchre of the defunct Stormont assembly.

Here they took turns to boast about how fervently they had supported the peace process and how much they had done behind the scenes to support it. They did not boast of, they did not mention, their final sacrifice.The Stormont executive’s last major action was the “Fresh Start” agreement that rolled out public sector cuts, welfare reform and mass austerity. The union bureaucracy accepted the programme, arguing that the workers must sacrifice themselves to preserve Stormont. Stormont fell but the austerity, and the acquiescence of the union bureaucracy, did not falter. Having bowed to a reactionary peace, they now bow to the corpse.

And this is why British and US imperialism and their local supporters are right to wholeheartedly celebrate. The peace process lies dead, but it has buried any serious anti-imperialist and socialist opposition.

The union bureaucracy were never a serious opposition, but in the past they were much more circumspect in their support for local capitalism and imperialism. Sinn Fein, once irreconcilable opponents of imperialism, now support a Belfast Council resolution bestowing the freedom of the city on Clinton and Mitchell. In the background the British make all decisions and write the local budget and Sinn Fein are forced to deny that the period of direct rule demanded by the Unionists is actually in place for fear that their supporters ask what they have achieved in decades of bowing and scraping.

A supporter of Socialist Democracy commented before the peace process was fully established that defeat was complete when the ideology of the oppressor was internalised by the oppressed. Today once vehement opponents of British rule now agree that the war was not fought against imperialism but was between Irish cultures and tribes and that the British play a progressive role in Ireland. When we add that the Irish peace process came from the Oslo accords, the Camp David process and the corrupt South African settlement and that the Irish process in turn became the template for many other settlements, the most recent being the demobilisation in Colombia, we see just how decisively the former rebellion was quashed and how valuable the Irish victory became across the globe.

These are indeed massive prizes for imperialism. However the funerary procession, no matter how triumphant, is still a funeral. Many of the structures of the peace process are decayed with no prospect of revival. The Southern economy, having survived one tsunami of sovereign debt, is now faced with a crisis of private indebtedness around housing and property speculation, with a massive third wave of Brexit soon to break and impacting both the political and economic credibility of the settlement.

George Mitchell was right to warn the British. Having put the Irish question to sleep, it is a big mistake to go on and kick the dog to see if it is dead.

 

13.4.18

 

This was first posted at:-

http://socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/Recent20thAnniversaryOfGoodFridayAgreement.html

__________

Also see:-

THE END OF THE ROAD – THE COLLAPSE OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND EXECUTIVE

 

NORTHERN IRELAND UPDATE – THE IMPACT OF REACTIONARY UNIONISM

 

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THE REALITY OF NORTHERN IRELAND

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Apr 14 2018

FRENCH PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS UNDER ATTACK

We are posting this article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) about the attacks the French Macron government is launching on French rail workers. As the world retreats behind new national state barriers, France inside the EU seeks to pave the way for private capital to match those already achieved by its major competitor the USA, and a new competitor, soon to be outside the EU, the UK.

 

FRENCH PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS UNDER ATTACK

French public sector workers on strike on March 22nd

In France the Macron Government has set in motion plans for the destruction of the terms and conditions of approximately 150,000 workers in the national rail network, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer (SNCF). The level of workers’ anger has produced an impressive response. The major unions involved have been forced into putting forward plans for industrial action and in a show of unity 13 organisations on the left have presented a joint statement of solidarity. Continue reading “FRENCH PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS UNDER ATTACK”

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Apr 14 2018

UKRAINIAN UNIONS UNITE IN MAJOR STRUGGLE WITH GLOBAL GIANT ARCELOR MITTAL

 

UNIONS UNITE IN MAJOR STRUGGLE WITH GLOBAL GIANT ARCELORMITTAL

APPEAL FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

A major dispute is developing in the industrial city of Krtviy Rih in south east Ukraine. Trade unions form both the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) and also the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) have united their demands and held a joint conference to launch the campaign.

Their dispute is with the steel giant Acelormittal, part of the Mittal Steel Company which is a world wide corporation.The workers at Kryviy Riv are calling for international solidarity in their struggle. International support is important and has assisted the Ukrainian unions against the mining company, EVRAZ ,and more recently to defeat the trial of 94 miners for protesting.  Ukraine Solidarity Committee will be publicising the campaign and calls for assistance. We publish below a report by the KVPU on the conference to launch  the campaign.

 REPORT FROM KVPU

Workers at the Arcellormittal plant

 

On March 27, the Conference of the labor collective of the PJSC “ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih” that was announced at a rally organized by nine trade-union organizations on 14 March was held in Kryviy Rih. At the Conference, the representatives of the labor collective of the PJSC “ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih” made requirements to the Chairman and CEO of steel group “ArcelorMittaland” Lakshmi Mittal and to the CEO of PJSC “ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih” Paramjit Kahlon. Continue reading “UKRAINIAN UNIONS UNITE IN MAJOR STRUGGLE WITH GLOBAL GIANT ARCELOR MITTAL”

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Apr 14 2018

SMEARS ROLL ON

Mike McNair ( CPGB-Weekly Worker) examines the ‘anti-Semitism’ smears currently focussed on the Labour Party, and in particular Jeremy Corbyn. He shows the wider political intent behind these for the Right and the Israeli state.

 

SMEARS ROLL ON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Hopkins and Ian Paisley Junior, two well-known ‘anti-racists’ who support Israel

What lies behind the ‘anti-Semitism’ lies? Mike Macnair investigates the strategic issues involved
The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign run by the media and Labour right against the left – with the enthusiastic support of the Jewish Board of Deputies and related groups – rolls on. At the time of writing there are two new pieces of ‘scandal’. First are complaints from rightwing Labour MPs and the ‘Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’ about Jeremy Corbyn attending a passover seder organised by the left Jewish group, Jewdas. (1) Continue reading “SMEARS ROLL ON”

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Mar 21 2018

BOB GOUPILLOT REPORTING FROM THE FRONTLINE OF THE UCU STRIKE

1. BOB GOUPILLOT REPORTING FROM THE FRONTLINE OF THE UCU STRIKE

I have just returned from the UCU picket lines at Edinburgh University. Today was the last day of this round of strike action in defence of our pensions. As I walked across the central campus earlier this morning it was really heartening to see the number of pickets at various entrances with lots of really witty placards and posters. We had earlier agreed to stop picketing at 12.30 and gather outside George Square lecture theatre which is currently being occupied by students in solidarity with our action and against the marketisation of education. Continue reading “BOB GOUPILLOT REPORTING FROM THE FRONTLINE OF THE UCU STRIKE”

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Mar 17 2018

SCOTTISH STAND UP TO RACISM BOWS TO ZIONIST PRESSURE

On  Saturday,  17th March, the organisers of Scottish Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) are organising a march in Glasgow in which the racist Confederation of Friends of Israel, displaying Israeli flags will be allowed to participate. Not  surprisingly this has aroused considerable opposition, not least amongst Palestinians who are victims of Israeli state racist oppression. Tony Greenstein  who lives in Brighton, and is a longstanding Jewish campaigner against all forms of racism, including Zionism, has written The Apartheid Flag of Israel as an introduction to the Statement from Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Organisation. This is followed by a Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Statement on Stand Up To Racism.

 

1. APARTHEID FLAG OF ISRAEL 

 

Putting Anti-racism and Anti-imperialism in Separate Compartments

The SWP’s popular frontism in action

Below is a statement which has been issued by the Secretary of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign.  We, like many Palestinian supporters have been dismayed at the stance of the Scottish SUTR to allow supporters of Israel, the Confederation of Friends of Israel, to take part in Saturday’s anti-racist march in Glasgow, along with the flag of Israel. Continue reading “SCOTTISH STAND UP TO RACISM BOWS TO ZIONIST PRESSURE”

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Mar 07 2018

SCOTLAND’S RATIFICATION REFERENDUM

Below is a leaflet from the ad-hoc Committee of Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party being distributed at the Radical Independence Campaign’s Spring Conference in Edinburgh on March 10th.

Location of Dalmeny Declaration – Out of the Blue Centre, Dalmeny Street, Leith

 

SCOTLAND’S RATIFICATION REFERENDUM

The Scottish Ratification Referendum Act 2018 empowers the Scottish Government to hold a referendum on Thursday 6 February 2019 for all Scottish and EU citizens living in Scotland over sixteen years old. The people of Scotland will be asked:

Do you support the agreement between Her Majesty’s Government and the European Union?

Do you reject the agreement between Her Majesty’s Government and the European Union?

Why should Scotland have the right to vote on Tory Brexit? Continue reading “SCOTLAND’S RATIFICATION REFERENDUM”

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Mar 05 2018

RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN SPRING CONFERENCE

RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN

 

National Spring Conference

City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square

Edinburgh, EH8 9BX

 Saturday, March 10th

Doors are open at 11.00am and the event starts promptly at 11.30pm.

 

Session 1: 11.30 – 12.30

The effect of Brexit on Scottish independence –

Maggie Chapman (Scottish Greens) and Neil Davidson (RS21)

 Lunch: 12.30 – 13.15

There is a cafe in the venue and several excellent places for lunch close by.

 Session 2: 13.15 – 14.15

What now after the Scottish Independence Convention Conference

Lesley Riddoch and Jonathon Shafi 

 Session 3: 14.15 – 15.30

The effect of Corbynism and the election of Richard Leonard as Scottish Labour leader on Scottish politics

Cat Boyd (RIC), Rory Scorthorne (Labour Party), Tommy Sheppard (SNP)

 Session 4: 15.30 – 16.30

International connections Catalunya and Ireland

George Kerevan (SNP,  Gerry Carroll (People before Profit MLA for West Belfast)

 Winding Up: 16.30 – 17.00

(All the speakers are speaking in a personal capacity)

 Everyone is welcome. There is no upfront ticket charge but we ask for £10/£5 on the door.

 

Sign up to secure a place: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/radical-independence-campaign-conference-tickets-43271637633

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Feb 25 2018

THE END OF THE ROAD – THE COLLAPSE OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND EXECUTIVE

 

Socialist Democracy (Ireland) have posted two articles  the following  the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive. These were first posted at:- 

http://socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentIrishSettlementFoundersOnTheRockOfLanguageRights.html http://socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentClassPoliticsVersusModernity.html

 

1. THE END OF THE ROAD 

THE IRISH SETTLEMENT FOUNDERS ON THE ROCK OF LANGUAGE RIGHTS

When Sinn Fein collapsed the Stormont executive in early 2017 they put forward a very simple case. The Irish peace process was based on legal documents and international treaties and on a series of agreements and promises that had constantly been broken. If the process and the institutions were to survive it was time to live up to the existing agreements before moving on. This involved resolving state killings, reducing sectarian provocations, and accepting a level of gay rights such as gay marriage and an Irish Language Act. Continue reading “THE END OF THE ROAD – THE COLLAPSE OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND EXECUTIVE”

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Feb 25 2018

THE RED AND THE GREEN: A PORTRAIT OF JOHN MACLEAN

Gerry Cairns has published a new book,  The Red and the Green: A Portrait of John Maclean. This makes use of new material relating to Maclean’s relationship with the struggle in Ireland. Stevie Coyle posted the following review on Facebook, and there is an edited version in February’s  Irish Voice. Hopefully this informative review will be just  the first review to address the issues that Gerry has raised.

THE RED AND THE GREEN: A PORTRAIT OF JOHN MACLEAN

Members of the Irish community were among those present at the launch of Gerard Cairn’s biography of John Maclean titled The Red and the Green: A Portrait of John Maclean.

The event – organised by Glasgow’s radical bookshop Calton Books and held in McChuills Bar – saw the author demonstrate a passion for his subject and gave an intriguing insight into Maclean the man and the revolutionary, which he interspersed with humour. Continue reading “THE RED AND THE GREEN: A PORTRAIT OF JOHN MACLEAN”

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