Archive for February, 2015

Class Struggle Growing in Ireland!

Posted in Class Solidarity, Ireland with tags , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


With every week passing, there are a growing number of workers’ feet on the streets in Ireland, angry with the excesses of Capitalism.  The increasing draconian so-called Austerity Measures, whether it be the despicable screwing of ordinary folk by enforced Water-charging, vile evictions, workfare slavery, health care cuts or the deprivation of welfare provisions from the most vulnerable of people.  The Irish people are on their feet, rightfully angry and they will not be forced down by Monopoly or Gombeen Capitalism’s lackeys whether they be corrupt politicians or the armed heavy squads of the ‘police’ in their role as zealous defenders of the wealthy elite.


Workers are becoming more class conscious on a daily basis and correctly view the long departed, supposed Celtic Tiger as having a very sharp tail.  There is a growing awareness that even if there was another boom, there would inevitably be another cyclic crash and more misery ad infinitum.  The only answer for ordinary working-class people is to take control of the means of production and exchange to negate the spiral of misery based on profit known as Capitalism, a system that rewards the few and punishes the vast majority by it’s dynamic.


Increasingly, Irish working class people, whether they be in employment, under-employed or unemployed, through harsh lessons have come to understand the true insidious nature of Capitalism.  If Capitalism was personified as an individual, it would be undoubtedly diagnosed by psychiatrists as a dangerous Psychopath, devoid of empathy or conscience.  This diagnosis also says a lot about the individual Capitalists, corporations and their tamed or bribed politicians who do their bidding both above and more often, ‘under the table.’


It is the view of The Plough and The Stars that Irish Republican Socialism in the form of the politics of the IRSP can provide an acceptable, proactive alternative to the politicians who have miserably failed us all and build on the justifiable anger at Capitalism’s abject failures as a socio-economic system.  Unlike ‘ring road’ socialists who ignore the impact of Imperialism in Ireland or one-dimensional nationalist parties, the Irish Republican Socialist Party in the tradition of James Connolly and it’s co-founder, Seamus Costello, view the class struggle and the fight against Imperialism as inseparable and have been at the forefront of the fightback against the victimisation of the Irish proletariat.


Join The Fightback!




Alex McGuigan

Volunteer Hugh Ferguson Commemoration Oration and Report

Posted in Commemoration with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


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Several hundred people braved wet and windy conditions to attend the 40th anniversary march and commemoration of Comrade Hugh Ferguson, chairperson of Whiterock IRSP and Volunteer in the Peoples Liberation Army. The first fallen martyr of the INLA.

Led by a colour party (made up of his old comrades and Belfast RSM veterans) Hugh Ferguson’s family kindly participated as wreath bearers, closely followed by the James Connolly Republican Socialist flute band from Derry City.

Following a march around the narrow streets of the Whiterock estate, those assembled came to a halt at the Ferguson/O’Niell memorial plaque, where under the misty slopes of the black mountain, a commemoration service was held by the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Ferguson family, Staff & Volunteers of the INLA, the IRSP Ard Comhairle and Whiterock/Ballymurphy IRSP.

Following a memorial speech and tribute from Gerard Foster of Befast IRSP, the lowering of the flags commenced in line with a lament.

The commemoration concluded with the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann.

Below is the full text of the speech delivered by Gerry Foster of Belfast IRSP:

“Friends and Comrades, first of all I would like to thank everybody who has gathered here today to remember our Friend and Comrade Volunteer Hugh Ferguson.

I would also wish to extend a special welcome to Hugh’s family who are also here as I am sure this is a difficult time for them. It has been forty long years since that fateful day in February 1975 when Hugh was murdered, and I am sure occasions like these can bring back sad and painful memories for them all.

Standing here today I am sure that each and every one of you who knew Hugh have your own sad but good memories of our comrade before he met his untimely death as he was a person whose personality was infectious.

Fergie was a young man in his prime, vibrant and full of life, but with ideals and beliefs that others looked up to. Ideals that with his untimely death, only spurred others on to believe in and to further ostracise those who ended his short life so callously.

Growing up at his home in Whiterock Parade, Hugh joined Na Fianna Éireann in the first years of the conflict aged only 14. Possessing what was both a rare and keen insight into the root causes of the Irish freedom struggle, he also developed a passion for community work, assisting and organising initiatives aimed at empowering local people and engineering a sense of self-worth amongst the disadvantaged youths of West Belfast.

A hard worker, Hugh Ferguson could turn his hand at construction as well as a mechanic; he often worked at the nearby Maguires garage as well as from home and in the streets around which he grew up.

Recognising the link between the struggle for Irish Freedom and the struggle for Working Class emancipation, Hugh became both a committed Socialist and a Volunteer in the IRA. He soon gained confidence and skills as both an activist and as an orator within the early Republican Clubs and at street level.

And following the now well documented and vital debate within the Official Republican Movement, Hugh Ferguson sided firmly with the tendency that recognised an urgent need to physically confront British imperialism in Ireland. Standing by this belief – and along with fellow comrades – he helped to form the Irish Republican Socialist Party with Seamus Costello in 1974.

He soon became the chairperson of Whiterock IRSP, and an unapologetic member of the ‘Peoples Liberation Army’, the forerunner to the Irish National Liberation Army pledged to defend the party of Connolly from physical attack.

Hugh Ferguson was a young man of vision when he was gunned down by his former comrades in the Official IRA. He was murdered simply because of his membership of the Republican Socialist Movement. There is no way of knowing what the future would have brought for Hugh but at the time in 1975 he was a firm believer in the values and beliefs of Seamus Costello, the founder of the RSM who himself was to be assassinated a few short years later by that same group that murdered Hugh. Little did the RSM know that in the following few months they would lose another two comrades in circumstances similar to that of Volunteer Hugh Ferguson simply because they were members of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.

For the people who did not know Hugh, he was a young man of values and a credit to his local community.

Because of his beliefs and that of the sacrifice he made, his memory will always live on.

As I have mentioned previously Hugh died forty years ago simply because of his membership of The IRSP. His death was part of a pogrom that was intended to stifle, hinder and ultimately destroy any progress that Party was to make in the Political Arena. The very fact that we are standing here today proves that the RSM is still here so therefore that pogrom failed.

Hugh was a prodigious worker for the local community but he also lived, dreamed and worked for the establishment of a Socialist Republic.

Through times may change, and others may change to adapt, may wear the clothes they once rejected or my grace the corridors of power, I think it would be true to say that Hugh would not have deviated from the Revolutionary path. Today may require different tactics but not different principles.

Hugh epitomised the revolutionary spirit of the Irish Working Class from selling papers, organising, talking, persuading and cajoling comrades into giving even more to the Revolution.

It is particularly right and fitting that local people have come out to honour Comrade Hugh Ferguson, who stands as an example to all radical thinkers and in particular to the youths of the Whiterock area here, who can be rightfully proud of one of their own, who, in the unselfish tradition of Revolutionary Irish Republicanism, gave up his life for a higher ideal.

I am proud to say that even after all these years the name and memory of Hugh Ferguson is still proudly remembered by everyone here today, and long may it be so.

Before I finish with the National Anthem I would just like to thank the James Connolly Band who travelled down from Derry, The Colour Party, Wreath Layers and to Hugh’s old comrades from this area who organised today’s event. Thanks to the family of Hugh and to the people who kindly allow us to commemorate Hugh’s memory at this plaque. Again thank you all for attending here today to honour a brave comrade as the sacrifice he made shall never be forgotten. Thank You”



Source: IRSP News!

Capitalism Contains The Seeds Of It’s Own Destruction – Class Struggle

Posted in Historical Materialism, Karl Marx with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


Marx’s theory of ‘Historical Materialism’ (including the wider ideology known as ‘Marxism’) is not and was never intended to be the preserve of academics in their ivory towers or the ‘latte socialist socialites’ we have all encountered who use Marxist terminology as if it were a type of exclusive code.  Primarily ‘Historical Materialism’ is meant to be understood by ordinary workers, who, Marx ably demonstrates have always been the real makers of history, not the ‘great men of history’ or by some obscure divine unseen hand.  Certainly there were great inventors, especially during the Industrial Revolution but it was ordinary workers who sweated to make these ‘instruments of production’ work and improve upon them throughout history.  Marx referred to them as the ‘moving forces of society.’

These moving forces within Capitalist society created a minority, the exploiters, and the majority, the exploited, in plain words ‘bosses’ and ‘workers.’  Marx defined all history as that of the progress of the various modes of production that he identified as:

  1. Primitive Communism (where communal co-operation was the only means by which early peoples could survive)
  2. Chattel slavery (the creation of slave states, for instance, ancient Egypt)
  3. Feudalism (where absolutist Monarchs; the Church hierarchy were the ‘ruling class’ with the vast majority of people being ‘serfs’ or at best artisans or merchants who paid taxes to Kings and nobles)
  4. Capitalism (the owners of the means of production ie Capitalists became the ruling class and the majority, the workers aka the Proletariat being the exploited ‘wage slaves’)
  5. Socialism (the Proletariat ie the working class gain control, where society, inventions, and industry are used, not for profit and exploitation like Capitalism but for the good of the vast majority ie the working class

Marx demonstrates, and history vindicates, that within each exploitative society/mode of production, the seeds of it’s own destruction are contained, for instance, the growing capitalist class during the French and American revolutions overthrew Feudalism.  Of course, the ordinary serf or worker supplied the muscle power (like all wars) but gained very, very little except a semblance of ‘democracy.’  Although far from seamless, Capitalism came to be the dominant mode of production world wide but contradictions within this system , in other words, the seeds of it’s own overthrow were created, ie, the Proletariat aka the working class  grew in size becoming the majority but still the most exploited class.

So if Capitalism’s downfall is historically inevitable, why bother with the Class Struggle?

Chiefly because as mentioned above, ‘history’ and historical change do not make itself!  Naturally enough, despite advances by the working class like the right to join trades unions, the right to holidays, welfare provisions, universal suffrage, etc (which were all achieved through bitter class conflict) the Capitalist class will fight to the death to retain it’s primacy and privilege.  As THE current ruling class it is not going to roll over or just ‘throw the towel in’ motivated by any sense of morality.  To quote another Marxist, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, who lived in the century following Herr Marx,

“Revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.”

In other words, only a politicised and revolutionary working class represented by militant trade unions and of course a revolutionary party can overthrow the hegemony of the Capitalist class.  We must be clear that all reformist elements like social-democrats and liberals can never achieve this change via liberal-democratic parliaments or ‘vote’ Socialism into power.  Global lessons such as what happened in Chile, Grenada, Italy, etc, etc reinforce this for revolutionary socialists.  Thomas ‘Ta’ Power, an Irish Marxist theorist and INLA guerilla, stated plainly and clearly:

“There is no parliamentary road to socialism”

(In years to come Lenin built on the scientific socialism of Marx and Engels, building a revolutionary party but that requires much more space than a blog article.  Hopefully, this very much condensed article above may go some small way to de-mystify aspects of Marxism for ordinary people like myself.  Of course any mistakes, omissions or philosophical errors are solely the author’s fault who is far from being a Marxist ‘scholar!’)

Alex Mcguigan

Ta Power Quote On Prison Politicisation

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars


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