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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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Recent paper

No 1333 27th May 2008


New Labour fraud meltdown and South African poverty violence are major signals of deepening capitalist crisis, as is deepening credit impact. Fake-“left” wailing over defeats of Labour “radicals” like Livingstone shows their utter anti-communist bankruptcy, and continuing illusion-mongering over parliamentary “democracy”. For discussion next issue


"Homophobia" repeat deliberately distracts from growing clear proof of Marxism

The rapid degeneration into abuse, insult and lies of the revived “politically correct” “homophobia” arguments around the fringes of the EPSR gives the exact weight and measure of this seemingly out of the blue campaign, wanting to go back over old theoretical ground.

It has none.

Instead its shallowness makes it prey to precisely the virulent anti-communism which the extreme individualist causes like the “Gay rights lobby”, feminism and “black nationalism” have been carefully nurtured for by capitalism since it spotted their disruptive and diversionary potential in the post-war period, playing on the weaknesses of the super-reformist “peaceful containment” delusions which disarmed the working class struggle worldwide under the influence of the Moscow Stalinist leadership’s retreat from revolutionary perspectives.

Incident after incident has demonstrated that this entire philosophical trend constantly snipes with the most virulent hostility against the spontaneous anti-imperialist struggles in the world, and becomes an increasingly significant weapon played against Marxist and revolutionary understanding as crisis develops, a “last refuge” of anti-communism as the EPSR has many times declared.

Gay spokesman Peter Tatchell, for example, is a central example (and spokesman for) an entire trend of vigorous anti-communism and hostility to the growing Third World rebellion against imperialism, confirmed yet again in recent weeks by vicious, slanderous and insulting attacks on Robert Mugabe’s anti-British colonialism, repeating and embroidering every Goebbels lie which the mainstream capitalist establishment (eagerly implemented by the hated and discredited warmongering New Labour gang) pumps out against the Zimbabwe militants. He even recently called for Mugabe’s killing (under the weasel cover of “I could understand if someone....” etc).

His coordination of counter-demonstrations and hostility to the Palestinians, the most benighted, oppressed and continuously suffering people on the planet who are daily blitzed, strafed, starved, terrorised and humiliated in the concrete hellhole of the Gaza strip, which is little more than an extended concentration camp run by Zionism against these dogged and determined people, is long running and previously documented by the EPSR (issue 1242 for example).

It aims to undermine world support for one of the most important and inspiring struggles on the planet.

This is not some “accidental” reactionariness that just “happens” to be expressed by a gay person “just like you get heterosexuals who are reactionary”. Of course imperialism’s poisonous attitudes and warmongering aggressiveness, driven by its desperate need to plunge the world into yet another (and even greater) World War destruction “solution” to its shameful overproduction crisis, are constantly pumped out to try and brainwash everyone, and succeed across the board.

But the militant gay lobby goes beyond that with an obsessive self-interest which overrides all other issues – insisting that supposed attitudes towards homosexuals be used as the fundamental reference point for all other political and social judgements, thus totally throwing wildly off balance any proper understanding of the entire class struggle and its historical and economic developments.

This totally distorted view of the significance and importance of the gay issue (or oppression of women, or racism) also underpins the deliberately disruptive and reactionary “Hands off the People of Iran” campaign organised by the weirdo academics, Zionist sympathisers and gays of the Weekly Worker CPGB, to sabotage the generalised support around the anti-war movement.

Not only does it deliberately block any battle for Marxist consciousness there but it goes further in criminally misleading the working class with a “left” justification for imperialism’s constant demonisation of the Iranians – certainly near the top of the list of victims for the next escalation of the US “shock and awe” campaign.

The world is heading for war and the leading driver is American imperialism, the most powerful and dominating monopoly power ever seen on the planet by a long shot. It has already forced its “shock and awe” destruction agenda on the world in Iraq and Afghanistan and is lining the world up for far worse.

Imperialism has to go down this path, driven by the inescapable logic of the capitalist profit system and contradictions built into it which will always bring it to the point of collapse, and, as the entire pattern of 800 years of capitalist class rule have shown, with increasing destructiveness and barbarity.

But the horrific scale of the titanic world catastrophe and destruction which the imperialist order is inexorably driving the world to, means nothing to the posturing and pantomiming of the “gay rights” lobby which would happily see the entire nation of Iran slaughtered by a carpet-bombing blitzkrieg 100 times more devastating than that rained down on Iraq, because it has not quite agreed with them that “homosexuality is the same as heterosexuality”.

The mind boggles at such light-minded irresponsibility, and more sinister connotations.

As previously declared by the EPSR, there may be all sorts of progress to be made in societies such as Iran and in the Muslim community generally in overcoming the more backward persecution or punishment of people for their sexuality.

But everything in its place and at the appropriate moment; not as a tool for reinforcing imperialism’s onslaught.

And even when conditions allow, this is a million miles from either insisting on, or expecting to achieve acceptance of, the notion that homosexuality is utterly “normal” and just a “lifestyle choice”, and condemning all who argue otherwise as “super-imperialist” or “reactionary Islamists”.

There is a wealth of past incident involving crimes in children’s homes, and local authorities, which continued precisely because of the protection of individuals by the “anti-homophobe” claque, raising rational doubts in many people’s minds about any such claim.

A completely cautious approach in society to homosexuality therefore, especially around schools and other child centred parts of the community, until a much more advanced communist society can study and comprehend the condition in much better detail, would be called for.

Meantime, the campaign around the EPSR is just as underhand and sly as the HOPI or anti-Palestine movements, entirely in line with its anti-scientific and disruptive intent.

Far from an open debate on the question with argued positions written and presented for discussion, so that a thoughtful and scientific debate can be pursued, and new knowledge be derived from the struggle, there has only been sniping verbal comments, innuendo, and the circulation of past issues of the paper (at some expense) with bits mysteriously underlined without any explanation, and an underhand campaign of e-mails to selected comrades around the party, with outlandish and utterly anti-Marxist comments included.

A deliberate avoidance of the centre, and even a suggestion of setting up a rival publication on the Internet have been mooted.

Some of the notions are so damning that it is worth asking whether any rational argument can be had at all.

To write the following, for example, indicates a complete absence of understanding about the “rational science” the author claims to be pursuing:

“Which is why some of us communists still think we need rational objective science to organise Leninist revolutionary combat against irrational idealist class based subjectivism of every description, including dialectical materialism. Which by the way, I think is only Hegelian subjective idealism (god etc) propped up accidently by some of Engels’s more mechanical materialist speculation.”

Throwing words around in this way does not make a communist.

Just the opposite, it expresses a complete lack of understanding of the entire history of Marxism which is built around the dialectical materialism that is so derided here. It is the philosophy which was developed by Marx and Engels, which informs and structures their entire writings (most especially the work of Capital) and which was studied, developed and explained by Lenin and his Bolshevik party as the crucial philosophy at the heart of their revolutionary leadership.

That is a lot to write off as “subjectivism” and most especially at the moment when its conclusions about the world and the crisis ridden nature of the production-for-profit system are being confirmed like never before, by the rapid transformation of boom into catastrophic depression,

In other words, it is counter-revolutionary garbage.

A single letter which did finally arrive (see page two) does not advance rational discussion either, but essentially repeats the aggressive insistence that homosexuality is normal, and there is no rational reason to make any links with child sex, by the tricky demand of asking for “proof” that things might be otherwise.

But this stands things on their head.

It is the irrational insistence, against all psychological, historical and social observation, both formally scientific and from general experience that homosexuality is “normal” which is the issue, and the mob frenzy provocation that any other position, or even raising the question, constitutes “homophobia”, which makes this a political rather than a simpler societal and psychological matter.

Leading to all the reactionariness above, it hampers the struggle to get to the revolutionary ending of capitalism which alone will remove the divisive, splitting antagonistic contradictions, ignorance and fears in daily life which sustain the more backward aspects of homophobia and much else.

But that is its purpose.

Don Hoskins



With reference to the ‘Letter’ “Revolt against aggressive homosexual indoctrination for kids(!!)” in No 1331, 26th April 2008.

The first and biggest problem for anti-homosexual subjectivism is its inability to prove, in any scientific way, that homosexuality is the same thing as paedophilia, or that homosexuals are more inclined to paedophilia than are heterosexuals.

The second problem they have is to convert their advocacy of subjectively arrived at “family values” into objective, scientific Leninism. And the third snag in the argument is to demonstrate why a socialist state would ever want or need to discriminate against homosexuals by banning them from child care jobs etc.

As for the pro-imperialist ‘gay-rights’ lobby who want to join or even out-do all the many other single issue anti-communist claques in condemning Islamic Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian revolution etc, they are clearly self-indulgent reactionary fantasists to pretend to themselves and lie to others that chauvinist feudal religious sentiment can be overcome by civic reform first, rather than via genuine protracted anti-feudal, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles internationally. But in this delusion and lie they are not alone nor are they deserving of any special attention in Leninist propaganda, they are in fact only one of many oppressed and marginalised groups willingly recruited to capitalist ‘civilisation’ and finding themselves deployed against the other oppressed enemies of imperialism as the price of their acceptance into an abusive and dysfunctional family of capitalist predators. Is any family better than none for a human?

Now is the opportunity for communist experts on these questions to hold the floor and tell us why the sons and daughters of the industrial revolution, the proletariat, the grave diggers of capitalism couldn’t give a flying fuck about rotten abusive feudal and capitalist “family values” which have only ever been an obstacle to the development of revolutionary Leninist social theory and practice.

Jim Dooher


The Letter “Revolt against aggressive homosexual indoctrination for kids (!!) in Bristol…” provokes critics into unbalanced attacks on the EPSR’s Leninist science on the politics of militant gay rights activism. Starting with lying abuse of the author’s intentions and an appeal to bourgeois law, the critics end up denouncing Marxism

The critics from the edges of the EPSR who have attacked the Letter in EPSR 1331 (26 April), which backed a parental revolt against gay rights campaigning in a Bristol primary school, have got to start saying how their criticism differs from anti-communist PC lobbying.

Capitalism’s non-stop counter-revolutionary propaganda machine (the bourgeois parties, parliament, TV, media, universities, etc) has an armoury of weapons to undermine the working class struggle – and came up with “political correctness”, which notoriously started on US campuses in the 1970s with its contempt for Marxist science (dismissed as “the tyranny of dead white males”), precisely to add yet another layer to counter-revolutionary fake “radical” politics.

EPSR 1331 carried eight pages of analysis of the world class struggle, in an attempt at the furtherance of Marxist-Leninist understanding, and yet the critics of the EPSR have seemingly read this entire issue, and only thought fit to become apoplectic with anger against a continuation of over 28 years of EPSR hostility to super-reformist posturing (in this case gay rights activism at a primary school).

The fact that the Letter in 1331 continued that perspective can be gauged from the extracts that followed it written by former EPSR editor Roy Bull - which went in as an article, because it represented the agreed understanding of the EPSR. The Letter was labelled as such not because it was a departure from agreed EPSR policy, but because the author and current editor were concerned that this issue was addressed with the highest concern for science, but could not immediately be deemed likely to reach the same degree of scientific understanding and sensitivity to the issue that was achieved by Roy Bull’s mastery of the issue.

Why don’t the critics overtly take up Roy Bull’s work on this aspect of both the class struggle and the science of human development?

The accusation hurled by one of the critics in shallow snatches of vituperation via e-mail is truly monstrous: that the Letter in 1331 was aimed at whipping up violence against gay people, per se.

“I think that the publication of a ‘Letter’ pages 5 and 6 in the last issue No1331 was as close to an incitement to violence against homosexuals as it is possible to get without explicitly calling for violence. My advice, recommendation and fervent hope is that the editor/s refrain from publishing any more such proactive incitements against homosexuals.”

Truly slanderous!!

The Letter was aimed at an exposure of militant gay rights PC activism -- and explicitly stated that persecuting homosexuals was “barbaric”.

The critics are NOT taking issue with the facts, either, where reports from the ground in Bristol confirm that the Letter in 1331 was spot on about the nature of the conflict in Bristol, and that the real persecution going on was for Islamic and other parents at these two PRIMARY schools facing the wrath of the authorities for daring to challenge the militant PC lobby and a putrid New Labour provocation, intended to split local people along East v West “clash of civilisation” lines, all the better to keep up imperialism’s vicious warmongering atmosphere.

Another e-mail from the critics threw into the EPSR’s face the wording of a House of Lords (!!) statement enshrining the PC lobby’s fondest dream for its pay-off to its services to imperialism, that GUILT for an offense against a person from a minority can be DECIDED by the recipient of the alleged abusive word or statement, and that it should be considered to be dangerously offensive to even suggest, for example, that a correlation, MIGHT exist between homosexual behaviour at a school and paedophilia. The critics are, in other words, throwing the threat of the VIOLENCE of the bourgeois prison system at the merest attempt to put down in words an anti-Establishment Marxist scientific view of the lack of NORMALITY (or fully-rounded human development) observed in homosexual emotional development, and suggesting that the Bristol parents were right to believe that their children were at greater risk to their safe and healthy education if books promoting homosexuality were placed in their schools. And that they were right in their INSTINCT that their kids could easily be in ADDED danger of psychological confusion and sexual exploitation if extra routes to seduction/abuse by paedophiles are opened up by promoting homosexuality in schools, and the notion that homosexual relationships are as NORMAL as heterosexual relationships (see following letter).

But isn’t it self-evident that in a species of two sexual halves, the inability to develop emotionally with a personality that wants as an adult to relate sexually to people of the opposite sex is an impairment, a dysfunction of truly healthy, fully rounded development?

So the critics seem to think two things: that the House of Lords is an enlightened place, dedicated to human betterment. And that decadent, crisis-ridden capitalist society can be absolved of responsibility for such emotional damage to THOUSANDS if not MILLIONS of people who are homosexual, because homosexuality should be declared completely normal, and not a dysfunction at all.

But poverty, dumbed-down existence, rat-race exploitation and alienation, plus drugs and drink soaked culture obsessed by petty individualism are suffered by the great majority of ordinary people in the West.

The psychologist Oliver James gets half-way there in his very useful books, They F*** You Up...and Affluenza, but bourgeois psychology is hardly designed for the OVERTHROW of capitalism, so can have very little understanding of just how truly damaging capitalist society is for humanity, and especially the betrayed and ATOMISED masses of the deeply alienated Western working class, sold down the river by Labourism, revisionism, Trot “left” groups, AND the mind-bending lunatic excesses of the PC lobby.

And as the follow-up article by Roy Bull explained, screaming “homophobe” at any attempt at Marxist science on a complex aspect of the class struggle is the refuge of deranged anti-communism.

The critics don’t want to admit that homosexuality is an impairment – which is as silly as looking at a limbless ex-serviceman back from Iraq or Afghanistan and saying he wasn’t crippled by imperialism either.

Enormously well-paid bourgeois psychotherapists simply refuse to accept that capitalist society is SICK as a whole --- sick with economic crisis, alienation, warmongering and heading towards a Third World War.

The bourgeois “experts” turn out to be as alienated as everyone else – because psychotherapy is a money-spinning profession -- the WORSE their patients get, the more LUCRATIVE couch sessions for them.

Being bourgeois, they even have a vested interest in pretending that homo-sexuality is as NORMAL as heterosexuality, and state all the nonsense the books did that are being shoved at the Bristol PRIMARY school children and their parents – that “there are gay and loving penguins, so homosexuality is NORMAL in the animal kingdom” and ancient Greece (mythic history) and Rome (decadent and tyrannical) – both slave owning societies –– were “relaxed about homosexuality”, as if this is worthwhile evidence for the anti-scientific PC view.

The critics have also gone through reams of EPSR material on gay-rights campaigning seemingly just to highlight those bits where the EPSR wording might upset gays or the PC lobby.

How sterile!! What a giveaway of anti-Leninism!!

Another point is that the critics are doing a LOT MORE than turning a blind eye when they claim that Leninism shouldn’t devote any specific attention to countering the gay rights lobby over its deep involvement in helping the West to set up anti-imperialist countries for sanctions and aerial bombardment blitzkrieg.

The main critic wrote:

“As for the pro-imperialist gay-rights lobby who want to join or even out-do all the many other single issue anti-communist claques in condemning Islamic Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian revolution etc, they are clearly self-indulgent reactionary fantasists to pretend to themselves and lie to others that chauvinist feudal religious sentiment can be overcome by civic reform first, rather than via genuine protracted anti-feudal, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles internationally. But in this delusion and lie they are not alone nor are they deserving of any special attention in Leninist propaganda, they are in fact only one of many oppressed and marginalised groups willingly recruited to capitalist ‘civilisation’ and finding themselves deployed against the other oppressed enemies of imperialism as the price of their acceptance into an abusive and dysfunctional family of capitalist predators. Is any family better than none for a human?

“Now is the opportunity for communist experts on these questions to hold the floor and tell us why the sons and daughters of the industrial revolution, the proletariat, the gravediggers of capitalism couldn’t give a flying f*** about rotten abusive feudal and capitalist “family values” which have only ever been an obstacle to the development of revolutionary Leninist social theory and practice.”

The workerist call is for Leninism to LAY OFF the PC-gay rights lobby, which would be a total capitulation to the PC thought police, and in making it, the critics of the EPSR appear still to be in a special CLOSET of their own making.

Why not say what makes this issue so especially painful for them?

Silence on this question just suggests that far from being CONFIDENT that gay people are NOT emotionally impaired, the critic is ashamed, embarrassed or upset about this issue to the CORE. No wonder Roy Bull’s scientific, sensitive, and deeply humanist views are not directly taken up.

But since the main critic is known to be ready to agree with the West about the “unsavoury” nature of the regimes of socialist China and anti-imperialist Burma/Myanmar, it is not surprising that instead of taking on board the points made (for many years) in the EPSR about gay rights campaigning, he gets more and more intemperate in the e-mail exchanges and ends up raging against ALL dialectical materialism. It then becomes clear that anti-communist LIQUIDATION of the EPSR is his real position.

And sure enough, the next series of e-mails concerns his efforts to get a blogging site going to carry a “freedom of criticism”-style “all views welcome” discussion.

See Lenin on this petty-bourgeois anti-communist abortion of leadership.

Fight for scientific Leninism.

Chris Barratt

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Opposition to teaching four-year olds that “gay sex is normal” is neither homophobic nor an incitement

I’ve read the letter in 1331 a number of times and I can’t see anything in it that would incite anybody to violence. Also, I haven’t read anything that would suggest that any of the protesters were threatening violence. One quote from a parent in the Daily Mail said:

“The agenda is to reduce homophobic bullying and all the parents said they were not against that side of it, but families were saying to us ‘our child is coming home and talking about same-sex relationships, when we haven’t even talked about heterosexual relationships with them yet.”

Other quotes said similar things. The Bristol Bangladeshi Association said:

If you are not already aware Bristol has been the focus of a dispute between parents and schools over the way that homophobic bullying is countered in primary schools. At the centre of the dispute are two primary schools who had volunteered to join a pilot programme to reduce homophobic bullying in the schools.

Many of the parents of children that attend the schools were disturbed when their children came home asking whether it was OK for boys to kiss other boys. They were further disturbed to learn that the children, from the age of four, would be using literature, in all spheres of education, that appeared to promote a gay, lesbian or bisexual lifestyle; as opposed to specific sessions discouraging homophobic bullying as part of an anti-discriminatory/bullying programme.

The parents’ concerns that the rights of the children to be children and retain their innocence from adult matters were being ignored, and their attempts to ascertain if they could opt their children out, as with religious and sex education, were, in their view, met with contempt as they were not allowed to adequately discuss the issues.

Sadly, their ensuing complaint about how they were treated was ‘twisted’ into their being ‘homophobic’, even though they have stated they support the schools in countering homophobic bullying. To make matters worse, objections were blamed on ‘Muslims’ since the majority of parents, though not all, were Muslim (representative of the proportions of the pupils). The media, and other parties, were quick to paint a picture of Muslims being homophobic.

A lot of incorrect information and disinformation has since been passed around, including mis-quotes about what is and isn’t the law. Closer examination reveals that government guidelines have not been followed and that the only party whose rights have not been observed in law are those of the parents, and arguably the children.

Clearly, any form of bullying, homophobic or not, is unacceptable, and we would always oppose perpetrators of such actions. However, in this situation, the actions of some parties who have sought to make this an issue of homophobia and to seek to paint one section of the community as homophobic antagonists is clearly wrong, inflammatory and probably discriminatory; particularly when concerns extent across all communities about the nature of the specific programme being used in these schools.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.

There is nothing in any of this that incites violence. Your Letter reflects these concerns but also points out, correctly, that the “pro-imperialist variety” of gay rights campaigning has aligned itself totally with imperialism.

I would go one further and say that the entire gay rights lobby has gone along with it. I have not read anything from any gay rights campaigner condemning the stunts of Peter Tatchell, etc against Palestine and Zimbabwe, for example. Why were these two schools chosen for this pilot programme if not for the fact that they are majority Islam? Could there be anything more provocative? If there is something different to be said about it, put it in writing, rather than hide behind emotional and procedural criticisms.

1. In a dog eat dog capitalist society in which consumerism and individualism is promoted as the norm, the resulting alienation shows itself in all sorts of psychosexual abnormalities (paedophilia, compulsive masturbators, stalkers, sex addicts etc.), as well as other forms of psychological damage (drug abuse, violence, alcoholism, etc.).

Surely, it is valid to explore the question of homosexuality in this light? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that a homosexual personality arises out the way a child has been brought up (Oliver James, etc). The argument that it is genetic has not been proven. Even if there is a genetic factor, it still does not mean that the person will become gay. It would only signify a greater propensity to homosexuality.

2. There needs to be more study on the links between paedophilia and homosexuality. It seems that members of the House of Lords want to ban this line of enquiry and jail people who ask the question. Why? Could it be because there is a high level of tolerance of homosexuality and paedophilia among the establishment, including the churches. Take Richard Dawkins in his book the God Delusion, for example. He writes:

All three of the boarding schools I attended employed teachers whose affection for small boys overstepped the bounds of propriety. That was indeed reprehensible. Nevertheless, if, fifty years on, they had been hounded by vigilantes and lawyers as no better than child murderers, I should have felt obliged to come to their defence, even as the victim of one of them (an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience).

… it is harder to get redress for floggings than for sexual fondlings… There’s gold in them thar long-gone fumbles in the vestry… The Catholic Church worldwide has paid out more than a million dollars in compensation. You might almost feel sorry for them, until you remember where their money came from in the first place.

It sounds more like a public school boy rite of passage than child abuse. Why weren’t any of these schools investigated? Why did it take so long for the abuse at the institution in Jersey to take place? And why did the Jersey establishment continue to try to cover it up even after it had been published in the national newspapers?

3. Family values are not subjectively arrived at and the working class does “give a f***”. The breakdown of family structures is not because they were subjectively built but because of the same pressures that lead to the same psychological problems mentioned above, as well as the confusion deliberately fostered by capitalism around the roles of men and women. Men and women will always want to have children and bring them up as best as they can - to become fully-rounded men and women.

This is a biological necessity, not subjectivism. The capitalist pressures that break up families are the immediate problem, not the family structure itself.

4. Are all gay people oppressed? Peter Mandelson doesn’t seem to be particularly oppressed, for example. Who is giving them special attention? The bourgeoisie are giving them special attention by placing books in primary schools that promote homosexuality, promoting gayness as a lifestyle choice and shouting “fascist” at anyone who questions this. At no time before in the history of human development has it been deemed necessary to promote homosexuality to schoolchildren. Why start now? Could it be a deliberate anti-Islamic provocation as the Letter in EPSR 1331 stated. And why can’t Leninism comment on it?

5. Is the critic saying that there is nothing wrong in deliberately planting these books in primary schools under the guise of preventing homophobic bullying and without any consultation with parents? Isn’t the pressure of growing up in broken and damaged families hard enough for some children without having these confusing and manipulative messages thrust on them? SW

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Recent web debate

(edited extracts from a recent web discussion by an EPSR reader).



A SECRET decision by a British former Secretary of State to block the public inquiry into the killing of solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989 has been exposed. A decision to halt the proceedings was taken by Peter Hain in 2006 but the Finucane family was never informed.

Pat Finucane was shot 14 times in his north Belfast home on 12 February 1989. The attack was claimed by the Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters.

An ruc Special Branch agent and uda gunman, Ken Barrett, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 for the murder. On his release last year, after serving nearly three years of a recommended 22-year sentence, Barrett was spirited out of Ireland to a safe haven by the British Ministry of Defence.

Another ruc agent, uda quartermaster William Stobie was also implicated in the killing.

Peter Hain’s decision to prevent the public inquiry

Former Secretary of State Peter Hain’s ruling was kept secret not only from the Finucane family but also Judge Cory, the Irish Government and the public at large came to light in early April after a letter from the nio was sent to his widow, Geraldine Finucane.

The letter came from British Secretary of State Shaun Woodward’s senior private secretary, Simon Marsh, and referred to an earlier decision to jettison the inquiry by Peter Hain. “We were not informed of this decision at the time,” Geraldine Finucane said.

In fact the family only learnt of the decision after they contacted the nio to request an update on the progress towards opening an inquiry.

According to the letter, Hain had decided: “It was no longer justifiable to continue to devote public money to preparations for an inquiry which the family would refuse to accept under the terms of the Inquiries Act.”

But Hain’s ruling had been kept a secret not only from the Finucane family but also Judge Cory, the Irish Government and the public at large.

It was Canadian Judge Peter Cory who had recommended an independent public inquiry into the Finucane murder. Cory had been tasked by the British Government to probe a number of controversial killings.

The judge had been appointed with the understanding that his decision would be accepted by the British Government as binding. The judge also understood that if he recommended an inquiry was to be both independent and public it would be just that.

Cory recommended an independent public inquiry in relation to a number of killings, including Pat Finucane in 2004. The British Government’s immediate response to Cory’s recommendation was to rush through legislation to impose restrictions.

By transferring control of the conduct of the inquiry into the hands of British ministers and allowing key witness evidence to be heard in secret, the Inquiries Act undermined both its independence and transparency. .

Judge Cory and the Finucane family objected. Shamefully, Hain cites this objection as the reason behind his decision to block the inquiry.

Geraldine Finucane said: “The letter stated that the decision was taken because my family refused to accept ministerial control of an inquiry under the notorious Inquiries Act 2005.

“They appear to be saying that unless we agree that British Government ministers should be allowed to control what information the inquiry is permitted to examine in public there will be no inquiry at all.”

Despite the fact that the undertaking to abide by recommendations from Judge Cory had been accepted by the both the British and Irish governments at Weston Park, the Irish Government was never informed of Hain’s decision to abandon the inquiry.

Following a meeting with the Finucane family, Taiseach . Bertie Ahern reiterated the Irish Government’s support for an independent public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.

“The Finucane family have travelled a long and difficult road in their search for the truth. I reiterate the Government’s continuing support for a public inquiry into Pat’s murder. That position has full all-party support in Dail Eireann,” Bertie Ahern said.

The Finucane family have asked the Taoiseach to raise the issue during his address to a joint session of the US Congress next Wednesday. Last year, Ahern made reference to the Finucane case and the issue of collusion during an address to the joint Houses of Commons and Lords at Westminster.

Evidence of British state collusion in the murder of a Belfast defence lawyer has not only commanded enduring public attention in Ireland but has also been the focus of widespread international concern.

In light of this, a decision by a British minister to secretly block the inquiry while maintaining the public perception that an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane would take place is more than disingenuous - it is downright deceitful Geraldine Finucane said:

“I have long doubted whether the British Government had any real intention of ever establishing a genuinely independent public inquiry into Pat’s murder. This letter confirms my worst suspicions.

“They have misled my family, the Irish Government and they have misled the European Court of Human Rights.”

A case cannot be taken to the European Court until all domestic avenues of redress have been sought and denied. By maintaining the appearance that an inquiry was in progress the British Government has stalled the involvement of the international courts.

Following a meeting with the Finucane family, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern reiterated the Irish Government’s support for an independent public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane

Sinn Féin mla Alex Maskey has accused the British Government of “continuing their policy of concealment and cover-up”. He added:

“In the years since the murder of Pat Finucane, the British Government have consistently frustrated every effort to get to the truth. They have deliberately sought to cover up the role of British state agencies in this murder.”


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Recent web debate

(edited extracts from a recent web discussion by an EPSR reader).

Water shortages increase pressure on people


ALTHOUGH water is absolutely fundamental for life to exist, over 1 billion people in the world lack safe access to clean water and 25 million people in the world die every year as a result of contaminated waters.

In Latin America, despite having 55 per cent of the world’s total renewable water resources, 100 million people live without access to safe water. Recent waves of privatisation of water in countries such as Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Colombia have often made matters worse, with massive increases in water rates, illnesses and death from contaminated water

This situation has sparked massive demonstrations such as the ‘Water Wars’ in Bolivia and has forced some administrations to rescind the contracts to multinationals that were reaping huge benefits from water privatisation while delivering very poor service or no service at all to the vast majority in want.

However, water privatisation is not only taking place in developing countries, as families living in England and Wales well know.

In the first week in April, activists based in Latin America, Italy and the Netherlands came together for Ireland’s Latin America Week to speak of their experiences of water privatisation as they signalled that the introduction of water charges in schools, hospitals and nursing homes in Ireland is just the first step towards the sell-out of a basic human right: the access to water.

In fact, the principle of liberalisation of services, which is contained in the Lisbon Treaty, and the concept of distorted competition would open the door (if the treaty is passed in the Irish referendum) to privatisation of water in all of the EU as public water services could be denounced as ‘distorted competition’ by corporations. Also, the so called ‘liberalisation’ of services is part and parcel of any trade agreement - or even aid package - being offered by the European Union to developing countries. This approach shows the lack of respect of governments for human life, so dependent on water, and how their policies are not so much about people as about business.


During his stay in Ireland, Enrique Galán, a leading member of ecofond0, a Colombian environmental organisation, spoke about the cultural and spiritual value of water for indigenous people in Latin America.

He told also how the increasing pressure of wrong development models are endangering not only the future of the most vulnerable groups in developing countries that depend so much on their eco system for the production of oxygen and rain.

“Sixty per cent of our body is made of water. Seventy to 80 per cent of our brain is water, and when the human body loses 2 per cent of its water, it loses some of its mental capacities. So imagine what control a company that controls water may have over all of us.”

Galán also criticised a development process based exclusively on profit which is being forced upon Latin America by international financial institutions. “In 2005, 36 per cent of world investment and contracts were directed to Latin America with conditions of privatisation and soaring tariffs imposed on citizens.”

This is why ecofondo is campaigning for access to water as enshrined in the Colombian Constitution, as has happened in Uruguay and Bolivia.


Ricardo Buitrón, from Acción Ecológica, an Ecuadorian ecological organisation with existing links to Ireland, said that in the issue of global water management there is a repetition of the trend towards inequality that keeps international markets ticking over.

“The so-called developed countries consume 80 per cent of the resources of the planet while developing countries fuel this model of development by feeding the North with raw materials and natural resources. This development is destroying the planet.”

As Buitr6n points out, Latin America has 80 per cent of the world’s water but only consumes 10 per cent. In global figures, 12 per cent of the world’s population uses 85 per cent of the water.

“If water was distributed equally among all the planet’s inhabitants, it is possible all of us would have access to drinkable water. But despite holding the biggest water reserves on the planet, we hold 560 million people with no or not enough access to water. Ecuador Only consumes 10 per cent of the water available in the country but 65 per cent of the population has not access to water.”


The resistance to water privatisation has already found its model in Latin America.

Eight years ago, the citizens of Cochabamba, in Bolivia, took to the streets to protest the water rates hikes and end of services for those who couldn’t pay. They managed to expel water corporation Bechtel. Six years after the company left, water supply in the city has improved and more citizens now have access to drinking water. However, the World Trade Organisation’s tribunal, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, is filing a case against the citizens of Cochabamba on behalf of the corporation that deprived and fleeced them of their water!

What really angers Giuseppe de Marzo, spokesperson of asud, an Italian association promoting global solidarity between the global South and North, is the fact that Milan’s public water company finds itself involved in the court case against the citizens of Cochabamba because of the public/private partnership model that the Italian Government is forcing in relation to public services. And the trends of privatisation are always the same: increasing water rates, workers losing their jobs, and poor investment and maintenance of the infrastructures.

asud has also participated in the mobilisation against water privatisation in Italy, where it has collected 500,000 signatures against it and managed to stop the passing of the legislation that would allow privatisation to go through the Italian parliament.

De Marzo states that the privatisation of water and other basic services is a question of democracy and, as such, citizens are entitled to water access and to resist privatisation. And there is no need to look at Italy or Latin America for an example of the effects of privatisation of public services. England and Wales are suffering the ‘benefits’ of the privatisation of water services.


Recent web debate

(edited extracts from a recent web discussion by an EPSR reader).

IRAQ – Five years of outrage

by ELSA CLARO — Granma International staff writer—

SHORTLY before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, one million Iraqis, most of them children, had died from malnutrition and curable diseases. Shortages of food and medicine caused by the 12 years of sanctions instigated by the United States government led to those deadly consequences.

Different humanitarian organizations repeatedly condemned that suffering imposed on the civilian population, a reprehensible act, but what has happened over the last five years of foreign occupation of that country is even worse.

Four million minors require urgent attention, according to Oxfam International, one of a number of humanitarian agencies to have exposed the fact that 70% of the Iraqi people have no access to potable water, because it is no longer being purified and treatment of residuals has ceased.

While medicines were in shortage under the Saddam Hussein government, they are now even more and increasingly so, and there are fewer medical personnel. Some have been killed and others have emigrated. Those who are still in the country cannot cover the demand for health care, and do not have enough resources.

Five years ago, the oil that the country was allowed to sell brought in insufficient income, but enough to ensure minimal living conditions. Today, most Iraqis are dependent on charity.

A recent meeting of the European Commission, which previously issued 800 million euros to rebuild Iraq, concluded that the country does have needy people, and admitted to not knowing where that little sum of aid had ended up.

Lost money and strange utilization of funds are the subjects of many stories in this unjustified war. Paul Bremer, who was placed in charge of the administration of Iraq in May 2003, says in his memoirs that he would make suit-and-tie tours (with work boots and in an armored vehicle, to keep in touch with things) after his morning jog, but he is incapable of reflecting on the no less than $9 billion of the initial $12 billion that he was given (in cash) for restoration work that was never done. Auditors with the U.S. Congress know about other sums that likewise evaporated, and about which they prefer not to speak.

Baghdad is full of barbed wire, dividing walls between communities that used to live in harmony, and among which an. unusual and destructive religious rivalry has been unleashed. That was the work of the occupiers,

who, seeing themselves confronted by domestic resistance, sought to divide the population, and were successful in doing so.

If any “merit” should be noted, it is that which constitutes a disaster for the conquered, but it also may be one for the invaders themselves, who made Baghdad into the most dangerous city in the world, thanks to that policy of setting people against each other by ideology, ethnicity or religion.

While Bush and Cheney —or the extremely mistaken John McCain— affirmed a short time ago that this war is going to be won because security levels have been increased and a load of other nonsense refuted by daily events, there are more than four million displaced Iraqis; unemployment that ranges between 45% and 70%, according to the Iraqi government’s figures; and oil production that does not even come close to what existed before the country was invaded.

From the military standpoint, the group of neo-conservatives that urged Bush into this war adventure believed that everything would be quick and satisfactory; as an economic issue, they believed that one of their goals would be achieved within a short period: convenient control over oil via a national administration subordinated to Washington that would allow them to saturate the market with crude and cause a marked decrease in prices. Nothing better for the world’s biggest consumers of hydrocarbons, who have no plans to change that way of living, no matter how senseless it is.

But it’s one thing to play the guitar and another, the violin. When Bremer landed in Baghdad with absolute powers, he proposed establishing a formal market economy, ordering the privatization of 200 state enterprises, along with resolutions aimed at making it easier for foreign companies to take over Iraqi banks, mines and factories. This was done turning a blind eye to international laws that forbid an occupying force from taking over the assets of a conquered country. Thus, every sale was illegal.

If this proconsul achieved anything, it was to take away jobs from trained officials and personnel. It was the same case in ministries and schools, dismantling basic institutions and the normal course of public affairs in one blow, and even internal order, because he did the same with the armed forces and the police.

For that moment, his short-lived predecessor, retired General Jay Gamer, had witnessed the most shameless dispossession of Iraq’s significant and ancient patrimonial assets. Bremer, however, went further. He oversaw the chaos, waste and corruption, methods that became permanent - the evidence of that is in the fact that from a financial standpoint, there are no controls for justifying the billions spent on this atrocity. (See Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War).

In a commemorative (?!) speech marking five years since the invasion, George W. Bush said in the Pentagon that the war in Iraq is “noble, necessary and just.” For his part, Richard Cheney said, in tormented Iraq, that the invasion was a “successful effort.”

Neither of these two seems to have thought for a moment about the 4,000 dead U.S. soldiers, a figure that does not reflect the mercenaries who are paid but given no honors. Nor the 500-plus soldiers who killed themselves in that war theater or the thousands left mutilated for life. Much less did they consider the one million Iraqi civilians killed, or the one in every four people in that occupied nation who have lost a family member.

The White House began its crusade with lies and is still churning them out. According to Bush, he regrets nothing. In fact, he is disposed to prevent any measure aimed at reducing the number of troops as long as he remains in the Oval Office.

He and his unquestioning court are not going to admit that, oil aside, they sought to reaffirm themselves as the dominant power in the region by annihilating, as a start, one of the Arab opponents to Zionist outrages, particularly against the Palestinians.

Those are not the only geo-strategic motives that produced and have maintained this war, and will probably not be the only evil wrought by Washington in the region. The greatest evidence that things are not going as well as they say they are, is precisely the fact that they have not initiated other aggressions that —even when they deny it once, twice or a thousand times— have been on the verge of occurring.


Contradicting Bush’s assurances about in creased security in Iraq, one of the major oil pipelines was attacked in Basra, a southern city that brings in 80% of income from crude oil sales.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki ordered a curfew in the area and promised to maintain the offensive against newly-insubordinate Shiites. This was after cleric Moqtada al-Sadi decreed a cease-fire last August that ended in the last week of March and could be what analysts say is one of the causes of the relative “tranquility” that Cheney and Bush boast so much about.

Other sources attribute that relative calm, moreover, to orders given by General David H. Petraeus for U.S. troops to leave their protected barracks only in very specific cases, so as to avoid clashes. Even so, there was an attack on the heavily-fortified Green Zone where the new U.S. embassy is located and which, according to witnesses, is about as large as the Vatican State.

Aside from more than 100 people killed and dozens of injured, there were demonstrations in Baghdad demanding the resignation of the prime minister, and calling him a U.S. agent. In the Sadr City district, protestors said that acting prime minister “does not represent the people, he represents Bush and Cheney.”

A major onslaught to contain the explosion in Basra and prevent it from infecting neighboring areas has gone into action. For the moment, it is not known whether the operation by the insurgency was a fortuitous one or if those forces are reinitiating their resistance, but analysts say that the U.S. administration has a “Plan B” for pumping life into something that is obviously not working.


Recent web debate

(edited extracts from a recent web discussion by an EPSR reader).

THE OTHER FACE OF THE WAR - Iraq is dying every day

BY ELSON CONCEPCION PEREZ —Granma daily staff writer—

BUSH ordered the war under the banner of lies, exactly five years ago. The warmongering president sent shrapnel and death to that Arab nation, the cradle of culture and civilization in the Mesopotamian region.

This time the country was invaded and occupied. Previously, in 1991, in the so-called Gulf War, the United States launched 110,000 air attacks on Iraq from its a-10 Warthog aircraft that vomited 940,000 bombs encased in depleted uranium, while its m60, m1 and m1a1 tanks fired a further 4,000 equally lethal missiles.

It was the depleted uranium whose use was prohibited by international conventions or other regulations. But Washington used it in Iraq with the complicit silence of governments that have supported these wars.

Of the 47 days that the Gulf War lasted, plus the subsequent sanctions imposed on that Arab nation, the inhumane policy of the extermination of a whole nation is engraved in the memory.

In 2002, one year before the invasion, the specialized Holistic Medicine magazine, plus reports in international medical institutions, noted the increase of malformations in Iraqi children affected by depleted uranium. One sole example can crush any justification for trying to obviate the genocide: in Iraq in that year, children were being born without eyes at a rate of 20 infants per every 4,000 births, when the world average is one case per every 50 million births.

Republican candidate, John McCain - with the overt support of the current president - has stated and reiterated that not only should the troops remain in Iraq, but that they should be increased. In his latest electoral speeches he affirmed that the United States is winning the war. But actions and data speak differently.

A recent article published on the Spanish wsws web site affirms that, after five years of invasion and occupation, Iraq has been turned into a wasteland of devastated cities and destroyed infrastructures.

According to a number of sources (a study by the Bloomberg School of Public Health attached to the John Hopkins University and articles in the The Lancet medical journal) more than one million people have died and millions more have been left mutilated and traumatized, while two million Iraqis were forced by the war to leave the country, and another two million have been displaced or are refugees in their own land.

Not to mention the economy. What could be argued in that respect within that great chaos, insecurity, imported corruption and instability of every kind?

Specialized UN agencies note that unemployment fluctuates from 60% to 70% of the active population; and that no less than $20 billion is needed merely to stabilize oil production.

Extreme poverty is affecting 43% of Iraqis, while six million people are in need of humanitarian aid. Half the infant population (under fives) is suffering from malnutrition and 11% of newborn babies come into the world with low weight.

Currently, 70% of Iraqi inhabitants have no guaranteed access to potable water and 80% lack sanitary facilities.

Another “contribution” of the occupation is that approximately 2,000 doctors have been killed in the last five years, and half of the 34,000 registered in 2003 - at the beginning of the war - have left.

This critical situation is compounded by the fact that 90% of the 180 hospitals lack essential resources and some of them - according to exposes - have been converted into clandestine centers of detention, torture and murder.

Almost one million school-age children have left their schools and only half of those completing elementary studies go on to secondary ones. According to a recent census, 220,000 minors are refugees in neighboring countries and have had their schooling interrupted as a result.

Both for international analysts and sources based in Baghdad, the so-called reconstruction of the country is synonymous with fraud involving the national authorities and the U.S. command and, of course, its transnationals installed with their sights set on oil riches.

Of the money supposedly set aside for reconstructing what has been destroyed - taken from exported oil -only 4.4% was utilized last year. Five years later, Iraq is producing half a million barrels less than what it produced the day before the invasion.

In addition to being one large cemetery, Iraq is also -thanks to the foreign occupation - one large prison holding an estimated 400,000-plus inmates in 36 installations, mainly under the control of the U.S. army, according to a report from lawyer Shar al-Yaseri, a spokesperson for the Union of Prisoners and Detainees of Iraq.

According to that institution, 6,500 of the prisoners are minors and tens of thousands women, and in almost all cases face no formal charges. In its report at the beginning of 2008, the Union of Prisoners and Detainees notes that torture and rape are being committed in those prisons that, relatively speaking, make Abu Ghraib an enjoyable place to be.