Jan 10 2020

SECTARIAN INTIMIDATION IN NORTH BELFAST

North Belfast has been a long standing area of sectarian intimidation. Until December 12th it was represented by the DUP’s Nigel Dodds who joined up with the hard core Loyalists at the  ‘Stop the {Brexit} Betrayal Act – Defend the Union’ meeting in Belfast’s Ulster Hall on December 6th. Like Emma Little-Pengelly, his fellow Loyalist paramilitary flirting  DUP MP for South Belfast, he lost his seat. There  is now increased pressure to  reconstitute the Northern Ireland Executive. This article first posted by Socialist Democracy (Ireland) shows how, even if this happens, such sectarian intimidation will just be brushed under the carpet. 

 

SECTARIAN INTIMIDATION IN NORTH BELFAST

 

A frantic drive is on to reopen the local Stormont administration.  The British and Irish governments, the political parties, civic society and the trade union leadership all assure us that this is the road to peace and prosperity.

As talks get underway one issue that will not be discussed is the December attacks in the Ballysillan area of Belfast aimed at intimidating Catholic families who had been allocated homes in the area by the Choice housing association. Windows were smashed, KAT (Kill All Taigs) was scrawled on the wall and a paramilitary flag hung outside a bedroom window.

There was more of a fuss than usual when it was discovered that local Democratic Unionist Party councillor Dale Pankhurst had contacted the housing association to express “concerns”.  Pankhurst said that he had spoken to the association but not to the police because the concerns were not linked to intimidation. Details then emerged of an earlier post by the councillor where he advocated “local homes for local people”.  An associate of the DUP parliamentary candidate Nigel Dodds, a loyalist with a criminal record, later posted a sectarian attack on one of the victims.

The police are looking into the matter.

The thing is, they didn’t take down the flag!

The police have decided that flags are “an ecumenical matter” and won’t touch them even when their real function – sectarian intimidation – is unmistakable.  This incident is the latest in a long line of sectarian incidents where loyalists have declared housing apartheid and enforced it with ethnic cleansing.  Ballysillan estate saw a round of sectarian evictions just a year ago.

There is much to investigate. How did information about the prospective tenants reach the loyalists? In the background the old state housing system is being run down while the new housing associations facilitate both privatisation and the continuance of housing apartheid. Why the open links between the DUP and the loyalist paramilitaries are ignored and why are loyalists able to operate, not only with a great deal of impunity, but often with funding from the state?

The thing is, that’s the way it was when the last Stormont was running. Low level ongoing preservation of loyalist territory was not a problem for the administration nor a source of friction for Sinn Fein. The Good Friday Agreement did not guarantee human rights, it guaranteed communal rights. Sinn Fein’s concern was for equality, that is, that they get a share of housing control and patronage in their areas.

In the aftermath of the general election there are new attempts to form a new Executive in the North. Ending ethnic cleansing is not even an item on the agenda.

This is the reality of the prospective “new” settlement.  This is what the middle classes, business representatives and the trade union leadership demand in the interests of stability. This tacit agreement to ignore ethnic cleansing is what the working class should fight against and is the reason that any new administration will be just as unstable as the last one.

17 December 2019

This article was first posted at:- http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentSectarianIntimidationInNorthBelfast.html

 

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also see:-

“WE ARE THE SACRIFICE”

 

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Jan 10 2020

FROM PRE-BRIT TO EX-BRIT

 Allan Armstrong’s new book From Pre-Brit to Ex-Brit – The Forging and the Break-up of the UK and Britishness is now available online at:- 

https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/from-pre-brit-to-ex-brit-4.pdf

 Below is an outline if the book followed by a table of Contents

 

FROM PRE-BRIT TO EX-BRIT

 

An outline of the book

Today, even the United Kingdom’s most diehard defenders realise their state may not be around forever. This is one of the reasons they are putting up such an intransigent defence. And, as far as the British ruling class goes, their sense of entitlement, following their enrichment over centuries of imperialist plunder and exploitation, means there a few lengths they will not go to maintain their privileged position. Continue reading “FROM PRE-BRIT TO EX-BRIT”

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Dec 09 2019

THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

In the lead-up to the December 12th general election Allan Armstrong updates  his analysis of the drift to the Right populist and reactionary unionist politics in the UK and what this possibly means for the future of the Union.

This is followed by an article by  statement from  the Radical Independence Campaign in Scotland on the general election.

Finally we are posting an article by  Tony Greenstein, expelled Labour Party member from Brighton. He predicted the unexpected rise in support for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, but thinks that Labour’s chances have declined in the run up to the December general election.

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  1. THE CONTINUED RISE OF RIGHT POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM 

IN THE LEAD-UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

 

(A fuller explanation of what is meant by Right national populism can be found in the article:- https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/right-national-populism-16.3.19.pdf

Neither the UK nor Great Britain have ever been unitary states. All forms of unionism are based upon the unionist nature of the UK state, which has recognised England, Scotland, Ireland (later Northern Ireland)  and Wales as constituent units. This has led to the adoption of various forms of hybrid Britishness.

Three key terms used in this article  are:-

Conservative unionism – This acknowledges the unionist nature of the UK state through administrative devolution (or later acceptance of liberal unionist devolutionary measures  which it once opposed, but have become part of the status quo)

Liberal unionism – This also accepts the unionist nature of the UK state but promotes political devolution as a better method of holding the state together

Reactionary unionism – This upholds the UK state and openly celebrates  its most repressive aspects. e.g. the crown powers, the armed forces and judiciary. It is also prepared to mobilise extra-constitutional force to prevent national self-determination, greater measures of political devolution, and reverse political devolution and even some administrative devolutionary measures that have already been accepted.) Continue reading “THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION”

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Dec 02 2019

MOBILISATIONS AGAINST THE CATALAN VERDICT AND THE SPANISH GENERAL ELECTION

 

We are posting this article from Popular Unity Candidacy in Catalunya. It describes the situation in Catalunya, Euskadi and Spain in the aftermath of the draconian prison sentences imposed on those the Spanish state deemed responsible for the  the Catalan Republic referendum. It also describes the situation after Spanish general election held on November 10th.

 

 MOBILISATIONS AGAINST THE CATALAN VERDICT AND

THE SPANISH GENERAL ELECTION

 

 

The popular response against the verdict of the trials, and the state response of this popular mobilization has shown the problem again: the state, the government and the courts. . Continue reading “MOBILISATIONS AGAINST THE CATALAN VERDICT AND THE SPANISH GENERAL ELECTION”

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Nov 24 2019

THE PROBLEMS FACING THE PALESTINIAN LIBERATION MOVEMEMT

Lorna Anderson has been on a recent visit to Palestine. In the first part of this article she reports on the growing realisation  amongst the Palestinian liberation movement that they can not effectively deal with the Israeli occupation without taking on the Palestinian Authority. In the second part she assesses the possibilities of the Palestinian liberation movement adopting a wider transformation strategy.

 

1. THE PROBLEMS FACING THE PALESTINIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT

This article looks at the development of the struggle in Palestine, the nature of the Palestinian Authority and the importance of the political economy of Israel’s occupation for the future of the ‘popular resistance’ movement. It draws on my observations during a recent visit to Palestine. On October 31, Khalida Jarrar, a member of the suspended Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and supporter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was arrested in Ramallah by Israeli troops. Her detention was extended by an Israeli court on November 3, although no reasons for her arrest have been given by the authorities. Like many other Palestinian activists, Jarrar is no stranger to Israel’s jails: she has been arrested twice since 2015 and was only released from prison in February after serving 20 months. At the time of writing her fate remains unclear – will she be accused of a specific offence or simply held without charge in administrative detention? Jarrar’s prominence as a political figure and women’s rights campaigner has drawn international attention to her case, but in many ways what has happened to her is quite typical of the treatment of the over 5,000 Palestinians currently held by the Israeli state. Continue reading “THE PROBLEMS FACING THE PALESTINIAN LIBERATION MOVEMEMT”

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Nov 04 2019

BREXIT MARK 2 – BORIS DISPELS THE FOG TO REVEAL CLASS WAR – an Irish perspective

Many both on the Left and amongst the Irish and Scottish nationalists have welcomed the break between the Tories and the DUP, following Boris Johnson’s perceived cave in before the EU, over the border. They believe that the road to Iris reunification is now open. This article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) argues from a much more cautionary stance.

 

BREXIT MARK 2 – BORIS DISPELS THE FOG TO REVEAL CLASS WAR

– an Irish perspective

 

Boris addresses DUP conference during his now abandoned ‘No Surrender’ days.

 

Over the years of the  Brexit campaign the Tory leadership have been careful to avoid any explanation of the goals of the project. One element,  anti-migrant sentiment and racism, was already in progress following Theresa May’s former leadership of the Home office. For the rest, democracy was defined as never questioning the thin majority of the Brexit vote. For May, “Brexit means Brexit”. Johnston’s mantra was “get it done”. Now the proposals put forward by Boris Johnson are finally beginning to clarify the details of the class divisions on which the process is built. Continue reading “BREXIT MARK 2 – BORIS DISPELS THE FOG TO REVEAL CLASS WAR – an Irish perspective”

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Oct 27 2019

THE FIGHT FOR SCOTLAND’S REPUBLIC 

Below is the leaflet handed out by the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party at the Radical Independence Conference, attended by 500 in Glasgow, on Saturday, October 26th.

 

THE FIGHT FOR SCOTLAND’S REPUBLIC 

Our Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) must not think that IndyRef2 will be a repeat of the 2014 referendum, this time with victory. ‘Brexit’ has changed the dynamic. On one side, the Scottish people voted to remain and will be forced out of the EU against their will. On the other side, English nationalism has become a political force, galvanised through ‘Brexit’, to defend British sovereignty represented by the Crown-In-Parliament.

Once England, Scotland and Wales are outside the single market and customs union a major economic barrier is raised in the minds of voters. A new economic Hadrian’s Wall will frighten or be used to frighten Scottish voters against leaving the British Union. Even if this only affects five or ten percent of voters this  might still make a difference.

Catalonia and Greece have shown that the Scottish people should neither trust nor rely on the EU (i.e. Germany and France with or without the UK). The EU does not support national self determination which would undermine its alliance of states.

With the rise of English nationalism, the Scottish people will have to choose between and ethnic (anti-English) nationalism or civic republicanism. In 2014 the SNP stood on the ‘civic’ side but rejected republicanism or popular sovereignty by calling for Independence under the British Crown (and the Bank of England) with the Queen happily ensconced in Balmoral Castle visited by Alex Salmond.

RIC has to rise to the new situation and be more ‘up front’ and militant in its advocacy of Scotland’s republican democracy. It has to win the nationalist movement and the SNP to popular sovereignty as expressed through republicanism and national self determination. It cannot do this if its hides its democratic republican programme under a bush.

The Tories have signalled their intention to make the next election about the threat to British ‘democracy’ posed by Labour’s support for referenda on leaving the EU and IndyRef2. Labour is a loyal Unionist not a republican party. Although John McDonnell MP said he would accept a decision by the Scottish parliament for IndyRef2 this caused a storm and cannot be relied on.

In 2015 general election the Tories played an English nationalist card about the threat from the SNP which put Ed Miliband on the defensive and clinched Cameron’s victory. Expect the same again. Scotland’s republic cannot rely on the EU or Labour anymore. The experience of the Catalan republic is instructive.

Scotland’s future republic, as represented by RIC, must be built from the ground up in every village, town and city. It must openly advocate building links with republicans in England, Ireland and Wales and importantly the working class movement in England

Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party

Continue reading “THE FIGHT FOR SCOTLAND’S REPUBLIC “

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Oct 22 2019

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

Allan Armstrong sent  this article to Conter, on September 13th, hoping  to open up one of the debates on the Left in relation to Scottish independence, before and during the Radical Independence Campaign conference in Glasgow on October 26th. There has been no acknowledgement of this article by the Conter editor, despite Allan being a member of RISE, Conter‘s main sponsor. This seems to reflect a unwillingness, highlighted at the founding of RISE, to discuss controversial  issues.

However, since then articles have appeared in Conter, or by RISE members writing for CommonSpace, which have been pro-Lexit. Allan’s article was written in an attempt to ensure that a fuller range of Left opinion was addressed on a specifically Socialist site claiming  to promote wider debate. This could then contribute to  the best traditions of RIC, where such controversial issues have been openly debated. A Left that is afraid to debate issues, in a democratic and respectful manner, is doomed to irrelevance.

Fortunately, both Socialist Resistance (http://socialistresistance.org/the-contradictions-underlying-brexit-and-scottish-independence/18211) and bella caledonia (https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/10/24/republican-internationalism-from-below/) have now posted this article. 

 

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

 

To date articles in Conter addressing Brexit have concentrated more on the neo-liberal opposition, and those on the Left perceived to be tail-ending this section of the British ruling class. There has been no real analysis of the aims of the hard right and national populist advocates of Brexit, whether the Boris Johnson-led Tories, or the Nigel Farage-led UKIP and now his Brexit Party. Brexit  has not been adequately placed in the context of the global rise of right national populism, highlighted by Donald Trump’s ‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’, US presidential electoral victory in November 2016.[1] These people are still seen by some on the Left as political outsiders, despite now having their hands  on the US state’s anti-democratic presidential powers and the UK state’s anti-democratic crown powers. Nor have the machinations of such ‘left’ Brexit union leaders as UNITE’s Len McCluskey been addressed.[2]

 

The RIC conference on 26.10.19

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has formed an important arena for discussing such issues.[3] Indeed RIC’s Scottish internationalism is highlighted on its banner – ‘Another Scotland is Possible; Another Europe is Possible; Another World is Possible’. Hopefully, the October 26th RIC conference in Glasgow will extend this opportunity for discussion related to the situation we now face. Understanding the political forces, which the Left is up against, is essential, not only in the UK and wider world, but for us in Scotland, when we consider the future for Scottish independence. Continue reading “THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE”

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Sep 11 2019

SCOTLAND’S SECRET SHAME

The issue of ‘sectarianism’ in Scotland has raised its head again following loyalists attacks on republican marches in Govan on August 30th and Glasgow city centre on 7th September. Whilst the attacks  made by the loyalists were on  legal marches, politicians and the media have  predictably fallen back on the ‘sectarian’ two tribes approach. This attempt to cover-up the central issue, the nature of Northern Ireland’s and Scotland’s relationship with the UK state, has a long history, as shown by the response of  Jack McConnell 

Emancipation & Liberation is publishing an abridged version of an article written in 2006 by the late Brian Higgins, which addresses the issue of ‘sectarianism’. The full version of this article can be seen on the Intfrobel.com website, where it was published for the first time this August.

(https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/scotlans-secret-shame-1.pdf)

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SCOTLAND’S ‘SECRET’ SHAME

 

 INTRODUCTION

The issue of religious sectarianism in Scotland has been raised by Jack McConnell’s 2005 Valentines Day Summit, and by the BBC’s Panorama programme, Scotland’s Secret Shame, on Celtic and Rangers, broadcast soon afterwards.  Tam Cowan has even (if unintentionally!) added impetus to this debate, illustrating the significance of the subject.  He invited Jack McConnell on to his Offside programme (BBC Scotland, 6.3.06,  a satirical rant at Scottish football and the SFA. He questioned McConnell about ‘Scotland’s Secret Shame’ by famously asking him, “What’s secret about it?”  Cowan 1 – McConnell 0.  More seriously, we have UEFA making a bizarre ruling over Rangers supporters’ sectarian behaviour, at the Championship League matches against Villareal.  They initially washed their hands by declaring such behaviour to be “related to a social problem in Scotland”! Continue reading “SCOTLAND’S SECRET SHAME”

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Sep 11 2019

A NATION ONCE AGAIN?

There has been a lot of  talk recently about the inevitability of a united Ireland after a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. This article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) provides a more cautionary note.

A NATION ONCE AGAIN?

Dream and reality in the United Ireland discourse

 

 

What do you learn when Irish nationalist sources start to pontificate about the inevitability of a united Ireland? The first thing you learn is that the forces involved have no new ideas or a new strategy for achieving their aim.  The second is that they urgently want to distract attention from their own sheer incapacity.  The torrent of output about this issue today speaks volumes about the weakness of the various currents. Continue reading “A NATION ONCE AGAIN?”

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