Archive for August, 2013

The Achilles Heel of Unionism

Posted in Ireland, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSM, IRSP, James Connolly, Seamus Costello, Sectarianism, Unionism on August 31, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

“If Northern Ireland ever comes to an end, it will be because the Protestants started fighting the British

(Lord Craigavon, ‘Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister, 1922)

The veteran Irish columnist and Falls Road born “father of Irish journalism”, James Kelly, described Derry during the the de facto Stormont one party junta era as ‘Unionism’s Achilles’ Heel’.  Kelly, who’d visited Dublin as a child in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and wrote his last opinion piece at the ripe old age of 100, just prior to his death, had spent a lifetime chronicling  Unionist supremacism, it’s hard-wired sectarianism and indeed it’s use and abuse of it’s own deferential working-classes.


Times may have changed in the likes of Derry where the supremacist notion of a Maiden City has long been penetrated very publicly by a Nationalist middle-class whose trophy-like Haciendas stretch along the city from the outskirts of Killea to the likes of Culmore Road and well beyond with not a Stad sign in sight.

The days of the blatant Tammany Hall-like graft of the local Derry Unionist  political Burghers who could blatantly discriminate in allocating a lowly paid municipal post to some barely literate Loyal Order member whilst sending some Bogside candidate applying in vain  for the same job (who may even had the temerity to achieve a degree courtesy of The Education (Northern Ireland) Act 1947) back to the street corner “post” where the then be-sashed City Fathers believed disloyal ‘Taigs’, even those with a few letters after their names, belonged.  Gerrymandering (which perhaps in later times may well be referred to as ‘Derrymandering’) may now be a thing of the past  but observers of politics in the noth east of Ireland are undoubtedly getting a high definition view of Unionism’s 6 county wide Achilles Heel being  exposed again and again on 24 news loops globally.  Of course, for the working-classes, in Derry for example, the political colours of those in a position of patronage may have changed but like any ‘changing of the guard’ where Capitalism is concerned, the lot of the proletariat never changes and cold facts confirm that there has been no significant shortage in the queues at Asylum Road, during or beyond ‘Derrymandering.’


Belfast is not Derry, yet, but the supremacist frustration amongst Unionism is clear to see, as the Orange Statelet is just not what it used to be.  The ticking clock of demographics aside, even the 2013 Census starkly points out that nearly 6% of Catholics are unemployed, compared to 3.9% of Protestants despite Catholics being significantly better educationally qualified.  It is worth noting that when Western Europe’s largest supremacist sectarian paramilitary marches are annually given an hour+ coverage, much of it during primetime on both local TV channels, including the BBC, who still continue to propagate the myth of “Orangefest” then it is difficult to really say that the Orange State has been really smashed.


The forced ‘normalisation’ at gunpoint of the first Stormont regime’s 50 years eventually proved to be it’s real Achilles Heel and the forced ‘normalisation’ of the contemporary Stormont mini-parliament, the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Accord have done little but create a facade of democracy as unreal as the fake shops created in Fermanagh for the benefit of the G8 war criminals.  The manufactured hope of a progressive working-class leadership for the Protestant working-classes has been exposed as, at best, a type of neo-Strasserism.  The Loyalist working-class are proving as pliable as ever by leaders who live in areas where flags and bunting would be frowned upon less they lower property values in the leafy lanes of the stockbroker belt, let alone the Condos of Florida!  The Achilles Heel of Unionism in times of uncertainty shamelessly uses and exposes the Protestant working-class to the latter day poison arrows of Paris.

Class Solidarity: The Only Solution

James Connolly’s observations on the north of Ireland at the turn of the century in The Reconquest of Ireland are relevant, considering that those who have use the Protestant working-class as canon-fodder for centuries in vain attempts to cover up the Achilles Heel of Unionism care not one iota for them and will parcel them back into their respective estates, just as soon as their muscle is not longer needed:

  “The majority of the poor slaves who work under such conditions and for such pay, as also the majority of the mill and factory workers amongst whom consumption claims its most numerous victims are, in Belfast, descendants of the men who “fought for civil and religious liberty at Derry, Aughrim and the Boyne”.

If those poor sweated descendants of Protestant rebels against a king had to-day one-hundredth part of the spirit of their ancestors in question, the re-conquest of Ireland by the working class would be a much easier task than it is likely to prove.

But into the minds of the wisest of both sections there is gradually percolating the great truth that our common sufferings provide a common basis of action – an amalgam to fuse us all together, and that, as we suffer together we should fight together, that we may be free together. Thus out of our toil and moil there arises a new Party – the Party of Labour – to

Tell of the cause of the poor who shrink
Crushed grapes in the wine press,
While rich men drink
And barter the trodden wine,
And pray.

(James Connolly: The Reconquest Of Ireland; Chapter 5: Belfast And It’s Problems)

Only a united working-class, irrespective of what church, if any, one attends, has no Achilles Heel and history, however briefly, has proven this to be the only real credible threat to the Status Quo.  Ironically, a united working-class is the only certainty that Protestants and indeed Catholics workers in the north are not to face economic exploitation in a Gombeen state where the harp sans crown is as viciously anti-proletariat as the Big House Unionism of Craig, Brookeborough et al.

National liberation and Socialism

This is why, for instance, that the Irish  Republican Socialist Movement’s  aspiration of National Liberation and Socialism has attracted members and indeed leaders from both sides of the divided and ultimately irreformable 6 county statelet.  It is also tragically why the IRSP has faced the most vicious repression from both the Leinster House regime and the British military industrial complex. Is it any wonder that Noel Browne stated of the IRSP’s tragically murdered co-founder, Seamus Costello, that:

“They will have to shoot him or jail him or get out of his way but they certainly won’t stop him”.

Needless to say, those repressive tactics may remove individuals but not the collective ideology of a movement that has yet to be ‘stopped’ in nearly 40 years of existence.

Alex Mcguigan.


Repatriate Michael Campbell Whiteline Picket Dundalk 29th August

Posted in activism, Human Rights, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSM, IRSP, Michael Campbell on August 28, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

The IRSP and the Repatriate Michael Campbell Campaign will be holding a white-line picket in Dundalk on Thuursday 29th August at 2pm in Clanbrasil Street, Dundalk.

Please give an hour of your time to help bring him home!


IRSP PRO Interviewed By Catalan Publication Diagonal

Posted in Anti-IRSP revisionism, Catalonia, Community, Diagonal, Internationalism, Ireland, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSM, IRSP, Joan Mas Autonell, Seamus Costello, Solidarity, The founding of the IRSM with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

(Alex Mcguigan, IRSP PRO and Joan Mas Autonell reporter for the Catalan Newpaper ‘Diadonal’ at Costello House, Belfast today)

Joan Mas Autonell, a reporter from the Catalan publication ‘Diagonal’ visited Costello House to conduct an interview with the Irish Republican Socialist Party.  After formal introductions and meeting some of the Teach na Failte full time staff, the interview got underway.

The IRSP PRO outlined the politics of the party stressing the Marxist and Connollyite ideology of the party, that national liberation and the struggle for Socialism were of equal importance and at the core of the party’s raison d’etre.

 Other issues covered during the interview were:

. The failure and counterproductive nature of the Good Friday & St Andrews Agreements

. The current economic situation

. The current ‘austerity’ measures designed to screw working-class people to despair

. The fact that over 5000 British troops are still stationed in the north of Ireland

. The continued repression of Irish Republicans and the use of selective internment of those who  challenged the status quo

 . The IRSP’s recent involvement in electoral politics after a 30 year gap from fielding candidates

Other issues relating to the proud history of the Republican Socialist Movement were discussed and in the room the interview took place where framed pictures of Gino Gallagher, Seamus Costello, Ronnie Bunting are displayed amongst others, it was explained to  Joan Mas Autonell that at every juncture in our movement’s history out most able and articulate leaders have been assassinated by pro-British death-squads, which is a fair indication that our politics have always been a serious threat to the ruling classes in both the 6 counties and indeed the Leinster House regime.

It is hoped that yet another link of solidarity will have been forged and that Diagonal will have a much clearer understanding of the politics of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.



Here is a link to the Diagonal website, there is an option to translate the content to English or any other language:

Read more:



Media Interest In IRSP Support For Michael Campbell

Posted in activism, Ireland, IRSM, IRSP, Michael Campbell, Political prisoners on August 22, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

Belfast Media Group’s Francesca Ryan’s interview with IRSP on their support for Michael Campbell’s Repatriation


Illegal Scramblers & Quads – A Plague on Our Streets

Posted in anti social behaviour, Community, Uncategorized on August 21, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

If you live in an urban working-class area like ours, whether it be in Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork or Galway, there is every chance, especially with the good weather, that you are facing the daily hazard of underage scrambler or quad drivers speeding through our residential areas.  Many of these neo-death-drivers, often carrying pillion passengers, go without helmets or even the most basic of protective clothing.   Speed limits or one way streets in our built up areas mean nothing to these anti-social elements. During the school holidays our streets are often highly populated with younger children playing on the pavements outside their homes.   It is only a matter of time , until tragedy in the form of serious injury or even worse is visited upon our children.


Parents who buy their young children these scrambler motorbikes or quads in the full knowledge that they are being used dangerously in urban settings are every bit as guilty, if not more so, than the kids who use them. Recently, a scrambler driver and pillion passenger, neither wearing  a crash helmet  passed our car travelling well in excess of 30mph!  A potential head-on collision with an unsuspecting vehicle would have seen  these young  thrill seekers facing the almost certainly fatal prospect of an accumulated 60mph collision!

Stolen Motorcycles and Quads

The use of stolen off-road vehicles of this nature has also become a significant problem in West Belfast, and no doubt elsewhere in Ireland.  When discussing the issue with a highly respected West Belfast Community worker of many years experience, it was unsettling to hear of cases where not only do some parents turn a blind eye to their teenage children’s use of stolen scrambler motorcycles but actively help them hide the stolen vehicles!  One would be easily forgiven for believing that these particular parents are much more to blame than their children.


Obviously targeted community education has an important role to play in significantly reducing this potentially fatal behaviour.  The urban users of these off-road vehicles are quick to point to the distinct lack of nearby suitable facilities and their grievances must be listened to.  However, in the short term, if we are to prevent the almost certain tragedy occurring in our community that this risk taking behaviour will inevitably lead to, the answer lies within the community, but ultimately the responsibility lies with the parents of these young children, who are obviously at best turning a blind eye to their children’s behaviour and in many cases enabling it.

Alex McGuigan

Michael Devine INLA Hunger Striker

Posted in Human Rights, Hunger Strikes, IRSM, IRSP, Long kesh, Mickey Devine, Richard O'Rawe on August 20, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

Irish National Liberation Army volunteer Mickey Devine was the tenth and last Irish Republican POW to give his life in the tragic Hunger Strike of 1981.  Mickey Devine gave his life for the right to be treated as a political prisoner and he was also the third and last of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners to die on Hunger Strike.

Mickey Devine’s nickname was ‘Red Mick’ due to his red hair but it was also indicative of his Left-wing beliefs as he was a founding member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) in his home city of Derry.  The arms procurement operation that Mickey Devine was arrested for and for which he received 12 years imprisonment in the H Blocks also involved his Derry INLA comrade and fellow Hunger Striker Patsy O’Hara, who had given his life just a month before Mickey Devine commenced his fast.  Ironically, it has been said that the INLA unit in Derry to which both Mickey Devine and Patsy O’Hara were attached, were in dire need of weaponry not just to prosecute the guerrilla struggle but also to protect members of the Republican Socialist Movement from attacks from hostile elements within the leadership of the Provisional IRA in the city who were centred around the current Deputy Prime Minister of the Stormont partitionist assembly, Martin McGuinness.

Mickey Devine began his Hunger Strike on the 22nd of June 1981, his INLA comrade Kevin Lynch from nearby Dungiven died some 6 weeks later on August 1st. There have been numerous accounts of Mickey Devine’s life, his last days on Hunger Strike and all of them bear testimony to his tremendous courage in the face of death and his willingness to make the supreme sacrifice against the massive resources waged against him by the imperialist enemy.

David Beresford’s ‘Ten Men Dead‘ which many viewed erroneously, as recent events have uncovered, as the definitive account of the 1981 Hunger Strike, was not particularly kind to Mickey Devine’s memory in it’s pen portrait of his life.  Richard O’Rawe, whose book ‘Blanketmen’ controversially exposed the existence of a ‘deal’ which could have saved the lives of perhaps up to 6 of the Hunger Strikers including Mickey Devine’s.  Richard O’Rawe in both his bestselling publications, Blanketmen and Afterlives maintain the life-saving deal offered by the British government via a neutral conduit, was rejected by the Provisionals outside leadership for reasons of political expediency.  A recent Irish Republican Socialist Party inquiry completely vindicated Richard O’Rawe’s version of events and accepted the existence of a deal.

Mickey Devine was described by Richard O’Rawe as follows:

“this poor man – like his nine comrades – was blessed (or damned) with the heart of a lion. He had told Pat Beag that he thought all was lost, yet he chose to forfeit his life rather than end his hunger strike. What naked valour! He had one life, and he gave it for us.

It goes without saying that Mickey Devine, just like his 9 Hunger Striker comrades before him was one of the bravest of the brave! Mickey Devine’s last fight against British imperialism, and the system that sought unsuccessfully to criminalise his actions, ended on the 20th of August 1981. He was only 27 years of age. He was survived by a daughter, Louise and a young son Michael who bore his name. Within 6 weeks, the Hunger Strike was officially ended with no further loss of life.

Mickey Devine died as he lived, a proud Irish Republican Socialist and volunteer in the Irish National Liberation Army.  In this the 32nd year since his death, the ideals for which Mickey Devine died, National Liberation and Socialism are still pursued by the party he helped to found in his hometown of Derry, the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Thúg sé a beo ag troid ar son Saoirse agus Muintir Na hEireann. I measc Laochra Na nGael go raibh a Anam

Alex Mcguigan.

White-line Protest Belfast Saturday 17th August – Repatriate Michael Campbell

Posted in activism, campaigns, Human Rights, Michael Campbell, Political prisoners on August 15, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars


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