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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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No 1371 24th June 2010

State massacre admissions on Bloody Sunday are another landmark in the long snail’s-pace withdrawal from Ireland forced on British imperialism by defeat against revolutionary struggle. Returning to armed suppression would be impossible as galloping monopoly capitalist crisis and more defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq pile up problems for the desperate ruling class. Vicious Slump budget aims to force crisis onto workers and poses the need for revolution ever more sharply. Leninist perspectives and leadership needed

The British imperialist establishment’s grovelling and apologies for the cold-blooded Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry 1972 is another major exposure of the opportunism and futility of the fake-“left”.

Defeatist Trot nonsense that the Irish national liberation struggle has either been suppressed or out-manoeuvred by imperialism is utterly discredited.

British state massacre of 14 peaceful civil rights protestors n occupied Ireland's Bloody SundayThe failure of the revisionists (the alternative wing of the multi-shaded opportunist fake-“left”) to expose this demoralising poison from the Trots, on top of years of their own wrong-headed “peaceful road” and “peace movement” hostility to revolutionary struggle at all, is also utterly discredited.

The unequivocal outcome of the Saville report, accepting that the 13 dead and over a dozen wounded civil rights protesters were unarmed and shot in unprovoked murderous onslaught by near berserk “shock troop” British Army Paras shows just the opposite; that the long slow process of withdrawal and disconnection from the Occupied Zone continues and gathers pace.

The ruling class has been forced to eat humble pie, (or pretend to) in order to make sure it does not upset any further the steady pull back and orderly retreat from the unsustainable and unwinnable occupation of Ulster (which it was once able to impose at bayonet point, ignoring the democratic wishes of the overwhelming majority of the Irish population in 1918 for a unified independent Ireland and pumping up the “no surrender” shouting, fascist supremacy of the colonialist Orangemen).

The 100% climb-down on this pivotally important incident (because it was state slaughter) symbolises more than anything else the total defeat of the imperialist mentality and its out-of-time colonialist arrogance and repression, no longer tenable in the modern world and especially by the burnt-out British ruling class desperately floundering in the teeth of the worst crisis ever of the capitalist system.

It is the latest step in a long slow British pull back, achieved and won by dogged and determined revolutionary national liberation anti-imperialist struggle, initially through the armed fight of the IRA and now the continuation in peaceful political form made possible by the victory of the heroic IRA/Sinn Féin campaign.

It should be repeated; it is a defeat imposed by revolutionary struggle, 40 years of dogged armed, political and community resistance led by the Provisional Sinn Féin/IRA, proving itself completely un-beatable by the very worst that could be thrown at it from brutal massacre to concentration camp round-up, death-squads, torture, assassination, military terrorising and street thuggery.

The transformation of that heroic, individually costly and necessary revolutionary armed British imperiolaism slaughtered 14 on Bloody Sunday in occupoied Irelandconflict by a tiny active part of a small population against one of the largest economies and military forces on the planet, the imperial British army and fascist Orange policing, into the current form of peaceful political struggle, was the result of a successful fight; the fruit of victory in the long battle with, firstly, the establishment of the most basic right even to have its side heard against complete censorship on TV etc and the Nazi Lies of the British Government (such as the previous deliberate whitewash lying Widgery With the right to speak and continue the battle by peaceful means all sides understood that, however fudged and veiled the progress that was made, there was no turning back and the endpoint would finally arrive.

Steady progress of the Irish re-unification would unfold, however much it was spun out (and also “spun” to pretend that only because of “disarming” by the republicans would there be progress forwards).

The genuine joint-power arrangements of Stormont, and the continuing and growing electoral ascendancy of the Sinn Féin republicanism, are now set to deepen and move forwards, with only the wider world capitalist crisis able to throw a spanner in the works.

But all the indications are that the world imperialist order is even more keen to get the issue off the agenda because of the crisis, and the urgent need to deal with growing upheaval and rebellion everywhere else (Athens eg), throughout the Third World, and increasingly right into the heartland of the rich imperialist countries.

Stirring up the Irish armed struggle again is the last thing wanted by a harried British ruling class when its political, military and physical resources are stretched to the limit by onrushing catastrophic failure of the monopoly capitalist system.

But assorted Trot groups have constantly poured out their theories to try and show the exact opposite, claiming that “powerful” US imperialism was systematically dealing with rebellions round the world such as occupied Ireland (like the ludicrous “hot spot” theories of the bizarre Weekly Worker-ites) or that “nothing had been achieved” in Ireland through “failure” of the struggle or, alternatively and foully, that its leadership somehow “sold-out” in an about-turn compromising failure (after decades of determined fighting).

Workers Power constantly ridiculed the notion that the British army was pulling out at all for example, sneering that “they still have all their watchtowers” along the border etc etc. and even now declaring that somehow nothing has changed, and “the army is still there” (when it patently has been pulled back and is invisible on the streets).

All the Trots in various ways denounced the struggle, writing it off as “just petty bourgeois” or fatuously as “not socialist” (fatuously because it never aimed to be “socialist” as such, though a left current in its anti-imperialism would put to shame many of the fake-“left” “revolutionaries”),

The supporters of the EPSR paper had to battle repeatedly with this misleading and demoralising rubbish from the FISC-ites, the CPGB and other Trot entryist factionalists in the Socialist Labour Party, as well as the complacency of old style Trade Union bureaucratism running it, including the smug arrogance of Scargill and his immediate acolytes sneering to the republicans that they would “never have settled for a compromise” after the Good Friday Agreement, for example.

As Lenin said, there are compromises and there are compromises, meaning accepting defeat or giving up, or being bought off is one thing, but knowing your own strength and manoeuvring tactically and diplomatically and stepping backwards here and there to get a better footing for further struggle, is another.

The Sinn Féin for years have swallowed buckets full of arrogant imperialist duplicity, political trickery, persecution and endless shuffling prevarication by the colonialists, giving up all sorts of formal republican “principles” to move things along, not because they were selling their fight short but because they long understood that the overall momentum was on their side, and the historic victory ultimately coming their way.

Their bottomless patience, willingness to remove any side obstacles to overcome reactionary posturing, and refusal to be provoked, reflects a deep and powerful political understanding of the struggle.

It has been staggeringly difficult and at times demanded almost the impossible, such as the acceptance of PSNI police authority, but carefully treading a path that continues to move forwards, refusing to give the die-hard dog-in-the-manger destructiveness of the most reactionary of the colonialists any excuse for disrupting things.

Some republicans have found it too difficult to grasp, rejecting the Sinn Féin and threatening to provoke new and unnecessary conflict.

But the Scargills of this world can be asked “whose ‘compromise’ is clearly making all the headway now??”

Certainly it is not the failed reformist and class collaborating “protest” politics of the Trade Union and “old” Labour movement, which have got nothing to say even now the devastating Slump catastrophe of capitalism is unfolding everywhere, except to whine ineffectually “please don’t cut quite so many jobs and reduce the workers wages too much” to the ruling class.

What a commentary on the reformist promises of a steadily better world which for so long have been used to put down revolutionary argument and theory!

Not a word escapes them all now that history poses the questions with acid-etched clarity, to explain the shattering crisis disintegration of the capitalist Slump disaster and the aggressive class war onslaught on workers which the ruling class has to turn to in order to survive (as the vicious job cutting, benefits cutting and wage cutting workhouse Budget has just demonstrated (and only as the first shot across the bows in openly brutal civil war moves on the working class)).

Not a word about the urgent need for socialist revolution to overturn the failed and historically bankrupt monopoly capitalist order and the urgent need for revolutionary politics and understanding to achieve that, comes from any of them.

Or if it is tacked onto the end of their “analyses” it comes purely as a formal afterthought with no connection or linkage to unfolding events.

Just the opposite. The revolutionary perspectives of the EPSR (or whoever will say what is needed), continue to be ignored or suppressed in meetings and rallies.

The Irish issue has been bound up in this anti-revolutionary, anti-Marxist hostility from the beginning, just as it was in the SLP when the newly and properly (and overwhelmingly popularly) elected vice-chairman Royston Bull (now deceased) was expelled by an old-style trade union stitch-up (with fake-“left” collusion) because he refused to stop writing the revolutionary truth as editor of this EPSR Marxist discussion paper (which was his job, independent of the SLP).

Specifically the eventual issue over which he was instructed to stop publishing, in an outrageous act of anti-working class censorship, focused directly on the storming Irish national struggle progress around the Good Friday Agreement and the enormous significance of this defeat for the moribund British ruling class for workers, so long held back by Empire-fed notions of “superiority” over other workers, throughout the colonies and most of all over the Irish.

Without overcoming this self-deluding chauvinism (once more being whipped up by Tory and Labour alike – and Scargill little-Englander-ism – over “our boys” warmongering, immigration, British jobs, etc, etc) British workers would remain forever tied to the ruling class and led by the nose into constant further exploitation, it was understood from the beginning by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels whose writings on Ireland and its struggle take up a thick volume in their works.

Here is a tiny part of the Roy Bull understanding which the SLP wanted to suppress:

Negative references to the joke imperialist ‘New World Order’ supposedly imposing a settlement on Ireland in favour of the Union-Jack waving colonial fascists and one which IRA/Sinn Féin did not want but were powerless to prevent (SN 12) are just hopelessly WRONG and have the effect of the supposedly anti-imperialist SLP actually HARMING the anti-imperialist struggle thereby spreading this biased anti-Irish propaganda to demoralise the heroic fight by Sinn Féin/IRA and demoralise its supporters in Britain.

And even though one strongly pro-Sinn Féin article was printed, nothing has been done in a tiny party like the SLP to keep this debate alive and ongoing so that the party is up-to-date on this issue and cementing better relations with Sinn Féin all the time, one of the most outstanding anti-imperialist parties on earth at the present time, and one with some of the greatest potential for becoming a ruling party (in all-Ireland) with more socialist content and intentions than any current ruling party in the West.

Now all of this may still be some distance away, but the May/June 1998 SN [SLP Socialist News] stance was entirely in the wrong direction. It lazily adopted the widespread Trot-defeatist cynicism which has insisted (Weekly Worker and elsewhere) that the imperialist order was imposing a settlement on IRA/Sinn Féin which the Republicans hated but were capitulating to, — abandoning the armed struggle and allowing Adams & Co to pursue opportunist bourgeois political careers.

For the gist of this defeatist nonsense to have appeared in Socialist News is a tragedy, especially if it remains uncorrected.

And if it is to lead the working class in Britain, the SLP must become a party which can reach conclusions and take a stand in the further interests of the international defeat of the imperialist system, of which Blair’s is the stooge representative government in Britain.

The Trots are wrong. Only the EPS Review has come remotely near the truth, and has printed it loudly and clearly throughout. The national-liberation struggle has not remotely been abandoned, and the IRA is nowhere near capitulating.

This, from 15th December 1998 (EPSR 979) was the continuation of a Marxist scientific understanding that alone had long grasped and explained that British imperialism took a decision to pull out of Ireland decades before, at the time of the hunger strikes and Thatcher’s Anglo-Irish Agreement, covering this by more than the usual trickery and pretences of insisting on “democracy” and “proper ways” that have been used to pull back from Empire all around the world in the teeth of revolutionary nationalist struggles from India to most of Africa.

It was a “snail’s pace withdrawal” that would be spun out for decades to avoid admitting to defeat and with lardings of preposterous demands for “disarmament” etc etc., attempted humiliation of the republican movement and constant to and fro-ing caused by the resistance of the die-hard Empire reactionary wing of the ruling class and concessions to the fascist colonialist supremacy to keep it on side.

But it was a withdrawal that the British ruling class needed, finding the usefulness of Ireland strategically, militarily and industrially, to have gone in its post-Empire period and the economic burden of the remaining occupied zone (artificially ripped out and maintained by military violence, ignoring the “democracy” that capitalism so loves to posture about) to be increasingly a drain.

It also increasingly faced a determined resistance that also threatened terrible political and economic damage led, in the absence of revolutionary Marxist leadership, (because Moscow led revisionism had abandoned militancy for delusions of “peaceful parliamentary roads”) by a revolutionary nationalism.

It was a festering sore too for the rest of imperialism which wanted this grotesque fascist-colonialist throwback and the potentially infectious armed struggle it was causing, to be cleared up for its own post-WW2 “democratic” “end of colonialism” pretences, and most of all by American imperialism with additional problems with its own large Irish diaspora population.

The entire spectrum of the fake-“left”, Trot and revisionists, including those flavours who profess to “sympathise” with the “right of self-determination of the Irish struggle”, have always failed to understand or bring out the storming revolutionary significance of the Irish republican fight and its crucially important context of the long-term crisis decline of British imperialist domination in particular and of the world capitalist crisis in general.

But the movement towards eventual handover of all of Ireland to its own people is now glaring to all but the wilfully blind, who remain foxed and fooled by the pretence of imperialism that it remains in authority in the Six Counties.

Landmark developments have taken place in the last three months which show just the opposite.

Most important has been the transfer of police control authority to the Stormont shared power government in Belfast, a move of such profound importance that the Orange colonialists, and their reactionary sympathisers in the British imperialist bureaucracy, the more backwoods of the Tory establishment, the secret services and the notorious BBC hierarchy, had been digging their heels in about it for three years despite their final admission of historical defeat and acquiescence by all the colonialists to power sharing in the St Andrew’s Agreement in 2006 (after years of prevaricating foot-dragging and reneging on the 1997 Good Friday Agreement).

The heart of ruling class power is the state, as Lenin so profoundly analysed and spelt out in one of his greatest works, the State and Revolution.

In that he said the ruling class would abandon and hand over almost 99% of what they “possess” if they thought it necessary, when under extreme pressure and revolutionary onslaught, as long as they could hold onto the levers of state power, by which means they would hope and intend to take everything back as soon as they were in a position to re-establish the dictatorship reality of their rule.

Bloody counter-revolutions have proved the point over and over, from the Paris Commune to the torture horrors of General Pinochet in Chile.

The state is bodies of armed men, ostensibly neutral and above classes, risen historically to mediate otherwise inevitably non-stop disruptive class conflict but effectively an instrument of ruling class domination, maintaining order (even with maverick elements of the ruling class like fraudsters) but primarily using direct violent force of the police and army, and the indirect violence of prison and courts, to suppress outbursts of rebellion, and increasingly so in crisis times.

Its function was nowhere more glaringly expressed than in the fascist sectarian intimidation and harassment by the RUC of the republican Irish population to maintain the colonialist exploitation and domination of Ireland in the ripped out Six Counties, even after the Irish nationalist struggle had long since forced the British back in the south.

One of the critical movements in Westminster’s repeatedly obscured OZ pullback was the Patten report and, despite much more prevarication and stubbornness by the Orange colonialists, watering down its recommendations, the eventual disbandment and re-branding and re-structuring of the RUC as the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The republicans rightly distrusted this as possibly nothing more than a cosmetic change, but after swallowing yet more forced humiliation (accepting the authority of the new PSNI) have finally won hugely significant local formal control of police matters.

The handing of police control to Stormont and the ability to influence what its structure is, (including universal rather than sectarian recruitment) is a handing over of a part of the core of state power.

Even at the last minute the die-hards were attempting to stymie this, with the Tories opportunistically attempting to do a deal with the UUP to withdraw the transfer in return for votes in Westminster (because the Slump collapse and discrediting of Parliamentary sleaze has almost bankrupted their ability to manipulate the “parliamentary democracy” racket to put in the Tory A team for the cuts savagery to come).

It took massive Westminster arm twisting, and then US imperialism stepping in, to ensure the move went through, with not only Hilary Clinton involved but an astonishing and unprecedented public statement by George W Bush who has otherwise said nothing at all in world matters since the Obama election:

Northern Ireland’s leaders have been rewarded with the promise of a new US investment programme after securing a historic deal today which saved power sharing.

Gordon Brown and his Irish counterpart, Brian Cowen, flew into Northern Ireland to put their seal of approval on the agreement that will create a Department of Justice, gives unionists concessions on the issue of Protestant parades and overall saves the power sharing executive from collapse.

Brown said the achievements over the longest period of unbroken negotiations since the peace process began 16 years ago were inspirational. “This is the last chapter of a long and troubled story and the beginning of a new chapter after decades of violence, years of talks, weeks of stalemate.”

Later Hilary Clinton announced that she had invited Peter Robinson, the first minister, and Martin McGuinness, the deputy, to Washington to discuss ways to build on the Hillsborough Castle agreement that has put the final piece of devolution in place.

The US secretary of state said the agreement between the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin was a “shining example to other parts of the world locked in religious and ethnic conflicts”.

She said that as a result of the deal: “The people of Northern Ireland are poised to build a thriving society on this stronger foundation.

“Our economic envoy Declan Kelly will continue to help Northern Ireland reap the dividends of peace, including economic growth, international investment and new opportunities. In the near future, Declan and I will host first minister Robinson and deputy first minister McGuinness here in Washington.”

The taoiseach said the agreement reached “presents a real opportunity to renew the partnership which is the life blood of the devolved institutions. The people of Northern Ireland yearn for this constructive partnership to deliver tangible outcomes that improve their lives.”

Referring back to the Belfast agreement of 1998 Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin president, described today’s agreement as “yet another good Friday.”


former US president George Bush has made a direct plea to David Cameron to support the Northern Ireland peace process, amid widespread concern in the US about the Tories’ new electoral pact with the Ulster Unionists.

In his most active intervention since leaving the White House, Bush took the rare step of calling the Conservative leader to ask him to use his influence to press his unionist partners to endorse the final stages of the 15-year search for a settlement.

The intervention by Bush, in a telephone call last Friday, appeared to have failed last night when the Ulster Unionist party confirmed that it would vote against the devolution of policing and criminal justice powers to Belfast.

The unanimous decision by the party executive means that the once mighty UUP, which governed Northern Ireland until direct rule was imposed in 1972, will be the only member of the four-party power sharing executive that will vote no today. The Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein, which brokered the agreement on policing last month, will join the SDLP in voting for the deal.

The decision by the UUP to oppose what London describes as the final piece in the jigsaw of the 1998 Good Friday agreement will come as a blow to Cameron and will cause alarm in the US. The Tory leader supports the devolution of policing powers to Belfast but appears to have failed to persuade his political allies in Northern Ireland to follow his lead.

Amid alarm in the US at the prospect of a UUP no vote, Bush telephoned Cameron last Friday to ask him to plead with the UUP leader, Sir Reg Empey, to endorse the deal. While the UUP does not have enough votes to scupper the deal, political leaders in the US fear a no vote from the UUP could undermine support for the settlement within the DUP and among the wider unionist community.

The Guardian understands that the White House is so concerned that the US economic envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, persuaded Bush to intervene.

“There was a feeling that a conservative to conservative conversation was the right way to go about this,” said one source familiar with the transatlantic negotiations. “This conversation was borne out of the concern that Empey is holding out.” Another source familiar with the contact said: “This is the most active thing George W Bush has done in his post-presidency period. He has been incredibly restrained and diplomatic since leaving the White House. He has maintained radio silence.”

One source familiar with thinking on Northern Ireland on both sides of the Atlantic added: “The fact that George W Bush has decided to intervene is really significant.

All this is still a way from unification and the complete withdrawal but is a major and crucial step, alongside the final ending of the “No surrender” bombast of the colonialists and the dropping of all pretences about “never supping with the Devil”, etc in 2006.

And there is a residue of last ditch efforts of the most reactionary of the colonialists to provoke disruption even at this late stage, by playing on the frustrations of a few nationalists who been unable to grasp just how much progress has made by their own struggle (which confusion the Trot nonsense helps to feed) and therefore have tried to continue with the now unnecessary, and even counter-productive, armed conflict

But the relentless withdrawal continues.

The long drawn out Bloody Sunday inquiry, is another and the greatest yet in the devastating admissions which the ruling class has allowed to dribble out about the reality of its dictatorship impositions, as said before:

This fashion of the British authorities belatedly holding their hands up to admit here and there tiny fractions of their past colonial-fascist wrongdoings and tyrannical methods is all part of the process of letting go of empire, finally accepting that the colonial domination was murderously wrong and is now out-of-date, and of preparing the minds of the British public to accept that Britain was in the wrong and that Sinn Féin and the IRA might have been right after all, - - all basically traumatic reappraisals which always get handled in these devious, roundabout, cautious ways because of their unexploded-bomb potential to disrupt all other relationships which keep British ruling-class society together but which are not yet up for demolition themselves but, on the contrary, are wanted for keeping it secure and ongoing.

So that when Britain’s own past lies and rotten attitudes have to be exposed as such, and brought to justice, as it were, - the GREATEST care is always taken that the admissions of past colonial rottenness do not come out too bluntly or shockingly; and the fact that the British public has been LIED TO by its own side must not be allowed to destroy too much trust between people and government; and the fact that the entire past policy of fighting a 30-year war against Sinn Féin and the IRA is now confessed to have been an entirely WRONG policy and a completely destructive waste must not he turned into cynicism about ALL government policies ALL the time, etc.

Hence this appalling admission that British secret Army intelligence terror-bombed a British secret police investigation in order to keep the public in the dark about yet further fascist-nazi crimes being committed in the name of ‘justice’ and ‘democracy’ and ‘law-and-order’, etc, - joins an ever-lengthening list of other British-state confessions of wrongdoing and injustice towards the Irish national-liberation struggle, and confessions of disinformation brain-washing against the British public about these vicious criminal tyrannies, - - - the Bloody Sunday massacre; the legal frame-ups to keep in jail for half a lifetime the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Maguire family, and scores and scores more of just token Irish political prisoners simply locked away to rot behind bars just to demonstrate British imperialist ‘firmness’ and ‘determination’, etc, over a colonial policy now being completely abandoned; the official death-squad killings of unarmed national-liberation struggle suspects such as the Gibraltar Three and dozens more; the murder of leading nationalist lawyers Finucane and Nelson which the RUC pretended it ‘could not prevent’ and subsequently ‘could not solve’, etc; the Patten Report itself into the RUC effectively damning it and condemning it to total reorganisation out of its incurable sectarian tyranny and bigotry; and many many more such snail’s pace admissions of colonial-fascist dictatorship which now have to come out as part of the British imperialist establishment’s longstanding acceptance that the game is up in Ireland, and that a snail’s-pace total WITHDRAWAL from colonial involvement and domination of any part of Ireland’s affairs has been the clear necessity for some time.

But even here, it is British imperialist overall weakness, muddle, and dog-in-the-manger spitefulness which still gets the better of any real honesty or resolve to make amends, and the still-self-deluding British capitalist-class press reports still cannot openly face the collapse of British colonial intransigence in the ‘Unionist’ colonist community, OR the feeble FAILURE of the London string-pullers themselves to get the whole shoddy failed-colony mess off the agenda once and for all.

Reading between the lines, it is outside pressure (from scornful other imperialist powers, chiefly Washington) which has finally banged heads together, called the Orangemen’s ‘no surrender’ bluff, and forced the Good Friday Agreement at last into implementation to allow the start of a completely new Ireland with all the rottenness of the vicious and discredited colonial Partition to be steadily disposed of. [EPSR 1022 24-11-99]

The huge ostentatious expenditure of the Saville inquiry and the exceptionally long drawn out hearings (with numerous delays in actual publication) are all part of the same process.

So too is the hasty “let’s all move on and put it behind us” implied sweeping of any further discussion under the carpet, - par for the course from an arrogant and tricky ruling class, which has deliberately stalled and prevaricated for years on admitting its guilt.

Its sleight of hand pretence of impartiality and due process hopes to pretend that such incidents were just a one-off, “unfortunate” aberrations by over eager soldiery, rather than part of a systematic fascist colonial torture and terror which has gone on non-stop for centuries. A few capitalist press accounts have tackled some of the disingenuous “bad apple” excuses:

Over 36 hours between 9 and 11 August 1971 – six months before British paratroopers were deployed to Derry with tragic consequences – the Parachute Regiment shot dead 11 civilians in the west Belfast housing estate of Ballymurphy. Those who were fatally wounded included the local priest and a 45-year-old mother.

Now, in the wake of the Saville report on Bloody Sunday, the relatives of those killed 39 years ago in Belfast have called for an international investigation to determine whether the same soldiers were involved in the “Ballymurphy massacre”.

John Teggart’s father, Daniel, was shot 14 times while fleeing an area close to a joint army-police station on the Springfield Road during the violence. Teggart said his father had been visiting his sister’s house when the shooting started. An inquest later found that most of the bullets entered Daniel Teggart’s back while he was lying on the ground after being wounded, his son said.

“This was a massacre on the same scale as Bloody Sunday, although it was forgotten,” said John Teggart.

The shootings occurred during a mass arrest operation in the period of internment, when security forces detained hundreds of nationalists across Northern Ireland without trial. Teggart, however, stressed that there has been no evidence that any of the 11 who fell were armed or carrying explosives. “The paras just went berserk,” he contended.

Teggart said the families of those killed now want an independent international inquiry to establish if any of the same soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday fired fatal shots in Ballymurphy.

“We have been able to establish that among the 500 paratroopers deployed from 8 August, 1 Para – the same unit sent into the Bogside in Derry – was on our streets. It was the same type of operation as the one in Derry on Bloody Sunday. The paras went in hard, they fired incoherently, they shot people lying on the ground. We need an inquiry to establish if those doing the shooting in Ballymurphy were the same ones who opened fire six months later in Derry.”

The parallels between what happened in Ballymurphy and in Derry are uncanny, Teggart said. The death of the local parish priest, Fr Hugh Mullan, recalls the way another priest, the future Catholic Bishop of Derry, Fr Edward Daly, tried to help the wounded on Bloody Sunday.

“The world saw the television pictures of Fr Daly waving a white handkerchief towards the paras in Derry as he tried to save a wounded man being carried through the streets,” said Teggart. “Fr Mullan had telephoned the army base to tell them he was going out to help those wounded in Ballymurphy. He came out waving a piece of cloth, walking towards a field where one of the men shot by the paras lay dying. Fr Mullan was shot as he tried to help a local man and he fell down as he prayed over that man’s body.”

Teggart said the evidence the campaign group have gathered undermines one of Lord Saville’s key conclusions regarding top military officers. The Bloody Sunday report said it could “not criticise General Ford for deciding to deploy soldiers to arrest rioters...” Saville also concluded that General Ford “neither knew nor had reason to know at any stage that his decision would or was likely to result in soldiers firing unjustifiably on that day.”

But the Ballymurphy massacre campaign group said that what happened six months earlier was a clear warning that the paratroopers should not have been deployed against unarmed civilians.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who is the local MP, has called for an “international, reputable, neutral and dependable agency” to be brought in to investigate the massacre. SDLP leader and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie last week asked David Cameron to launch an inquiry. The families are expected to meet Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson over the next few weeks.

All this is in marked contrast to the whipped up posturing and hypocritical “righteousness” which go on for days of double-page spreads at a time in the capitalist press on the thinnest of invented pretexts or outright lies against Iran, Sudan, Serbia, and other demonised victim states, needed for imperialism’s war atmosphere as the crisis brings inter-imperialist destructive trade-war, currency and eventual world war back on the agenda. These comments have been rapidly glossed over:

My political analysis had until then discounted any real belief – despite the long history of Anglo-Irish conflict – that the British government would countenance killing the people in order to suppress the protests...

The key impact of Bloody Sunday was that a whole generation made a similar analysis and this fuelled some 25 years of violent political conflict, at least tolerated by the majority of the “minority population” and actively pursued by a significant but sustainable minority. It is responsibility for this legacy that sets Bloody Sunday apart from subsequent atrocities on all sides.

As a member of parliament at the time, I was denied the right to give parliament an eyewitness account. The home secretary, Reginald Maudling, lied to the House and the media willingly collaborated in uncritically repeating the government misrepresentation. In what was considered gross overreaction and disgracefully violent behaviour, I crossed the floor of the House and hit him.

I did not call for a public inquiry, did not welcome the Saville inquiry and only testified to respect the wishes of the bereaved families. I regret none of those things, but challenge the view that it was an expensive waste of time, energy and money. Had Bloody Sunday been no more than a violent and disgraceful overreaction or unlawful behaviour on the part of a few “squaddies” or overzealous commanders, it would not have required the British government and its military to create the complicated labyrinth of lies and deceit which has taken hundreds of testimonies, thousands of pages, millions of pounds and 38 years to unravel.

The Bloody Sunday Trust and the bereaved families have shown great stamina and courage in their quest for disclosure and truth. Respectfully, however, Bloody Sunday isn’t just about the families or how the 13 individuals lost their lives that day; the 14th dying later of his wounds. It is about whether the British government committed a war crime in 1972 and in so doing started a war. It is the British government, not their anonymous and brutalised soldiers of their alphabet army who should be in the dock, at the international court of justice at The Hague.

Well, that might make more sense if the Hague court was anything in itself but a giant fraud, which Bernadette Devlin McAliskey’s non-revolutionary and ultimately opportunist (with its self-aggrandising showmanship) politics fail to point out. But the war crime hypocrisy is worth highlighting, and not just for Bloody Sunday.

The more thoughtful of the bourgeois commentators are well aware that the harrumphing and outrageous comments elicited by the reactionaries at the BBC from assorted generals, that “republicans should be prosecuted too if the soldiers are”, as if there is any comparison between state massacre and the resistance of the oppressed minority, do not hold water. But in conceding the point a more tricky defence is put up, broadening the “bad apple” theory to include politicians and the press of the time. But the sly reactionary Nick Ross does not say, in this edited piece, that the same people, the same capitalist ruling class, and their inheritors are still there, and still doing the same things or worse, in Afghanistan, and Iraq and Pakistan and Somalia and throughout the Third World.

Or that the unfolding catastrophic slump failure is leading to much worse anyway, as capitalism’s worldwide tyranny turns once more towards universal inter-imperialist warmongering, (to “solve” its desperate crisis problems) hesitating only because it has been set back by defeat so (as Afghanistan is again showing strongly in the latest US military presidential rows):

But it would be another huge mistake to prosecute the squaddies who pulled the triggers. (!!!!)

Yes, what collectively they did was tantamount to murder. Yes, some then engaged in a cover-up. But to charge them would not resolve the matter. It would raise the temperature in Northern Ireland where, had there been a wider truth commission, hundreds of paramilitaries would have been exposed too. But above all, prosecutions designed to bring closure would sweep away the real issues. Because the real culprits were much higher up. To focus on these men would be to misunderstand key lessons in soldiery – and would put more British troops’ lives at risk in the future.

The blame for Bloody Sunday lies squarely with the rotten politicians of the day, inept senior civil servants, corruption in the judiciary and stupidity by some (but by no means all) of the military brass and jingoistic journalists whose reluctance to criticise “our boys” half-blinded independent scrutiny.

In the months before the disaster, one or two cabinet ministers made little secret of their disdain for the Irish, allowing for an atmosphere of racism. After Bloody Sunday, it was they who set the cover-up with the Widgery inquiry, a scandalous establishment sham for which Lord Widgery and the judicial process were never criticised. The civil service was little better. It had so failed in its duties that when the violence erupted only one man could be found in Whitehall who had responsibility and he had rarely visited the six counties. The mandarins were so ignorant they handed control of the British army to the biased and insular politicians in Northern Ireland whose intransigence had caused the crisis in the first place.

The soldiers who were sent in to keep the peace were trained to fight a full-scale war against the Soviet empire and had little experience of acting as policemen. Several of the regiments were superb, but most were average and some were brutal.

Journalists, who had neglected to cover Northern Ireland before the troubles and so lamentably failed see that it was a tinderbox, now flocked into action and, on the whole, saw the events through the army’s eyes. Their editors in London took up a patriotic stance, refusing to believe that British soldiers could behave dishonourably.

Before Bloody Sunday, I interviewed a colonel whose troops had so badly beaten a boy that he had been admitted to hospital, but after a string of flat denials I was told the lad had been hit by a swinging door. I saw it as an important story because an ill-disciplined regiment like his would then move on and a new bunch of soldiers would arrive – most valiant and civilised – and would be bewildered at why so many local people hated them. But the BBC was more appalled at my investigation than at abuse of prisoners in custody. I was summoned before a furious and very senior executive who told me my researches were tantamount to treason.

I had got to know Northern Ireland over several years. As an English boy arriving at Queen’s University in Belfast, I had been astonished at the repressive laws and practices which kept Catholics out of almost all key jobs. I joined the early civil rights movement along with many students from England, Scotland and Wales, most of us secular. We simply wanted people to have the same freedoms we enjoyed at home. The IRA was history: the first republican graffiti I ever saw was when angry Catholics who’d been unprotected from a mob of Protestants chalked up: “IRA=I Ran Away”.

Little wonder that the first British troops who marched in to save the Catholics were greeted with cheers. They were seen as impartial. What happened on Bloody Sunday is the epitome of how the British establishment helped to stoke up the problems it was there to address.

...With the RUC marginalised, their place began to be taken by fledgling paramilitaries. Unionist politicians simply couldn’t see that the problem was one of unfairness and civil rights. In their narrative, the problem was, as it always had been, republicanism. Four months before Bloody Sunday, they pushed through an incendiary decision to introduce mass arrests without charge or trial on the basis of thin and one-sided intelligence.

Internment was the precursor to Bloody Sunday and unleashed a tsunami of outrage, violence and, yes, recruitment to the IRA.

It was in this nasty atmosphere of political failure, sometimes crude army tactics and anti-Irish prejudice that the civil rights march in Londonderry took to the streets in January 1972. The Parachute Regiment will have been told to take no nonsense. They will have been led to believe the people they faced were dangerous. Their commanders had swallowed the idea that the cause of the trouble was anti-British sentiment and that the place would bristling with the IRA. The way the army reacted was to turn those small truths into big ones. The clique of itchy and bitter jingoists such as Martin McGuinness could hardly have believed their luck. The republican insurrection that followed was a self-fulfilling prophecy, fomented by the incompetent British ruling classes of the day.

That is why it would be wrong now to take the junior ranks and make an example of them. The really bad judgments were made by high-ups. The trigger-happy atmosphere was created by people far removed from the streets of Londonderry.

These foul end comments are just as “prejudiced” of course, right now.

And what should be done? How will the “higher ups” be removed Nick Ross?

Or those who collude and collaborate in running the great capitalist media empires and their stream of non-stop lies and demonisations, and above all anti-communism, which has been poured out for decades to hoodwink and mislead the working class with lying unsubstantiated rumour and outright fabricated allegations of supposed “totalitarian atrocities” against the Third World regimes and any struggles which take a stand against imperialism, however inadequately, and above all against the great workers states like North Korea, and Cuba, and China and the entire 70 year long history of the giant achievements of the Soviet Union.

The “higher-ups” run the world because they control all the wealth and the power that goes with it, accumulating ever greater amounts at the expense of the billions living in poverty, lack of education, and unsanitary shacks (and not always that) while they desperately sweat their lives away in the factories and plantations of the wealthy US empire (and the other Western powers), to produce that wealth.

Streams of posturing condemnations of alleged crimes and repression are poured out constantly and never more so than when the West is covering up the real abuses in the world which it carries out and is entirely responsible for.

It may be that the Irish Republican movement, for valid tactical reasons of stable forward peace process in Ireland, may not want to force the issue of prosecutions around Bloody Sunday or war crime trials, (which are show-trial Western parodies anyway, as with the recent travesty of bent and manipulated “evidence” around the alleged “massacre” in Srebrenica – which needs further analysing – and war crime verdicts on Serbian fighters).

That would not necessarily be wrong (and it remains to be seen anyway) in the immediate Irish national-liberation context where it has already won its core victory.

But for a Marxist understanding of the world it is crucial to continue to expose such crimes and the monstrous nonsense of bourgeois “democracy” which for all its threadbare condition is still causing mass confusion across the planet.

It goes on constantly. Quite deliberately to divert attention in the weeks before the Irish inquiry findings, a stream of carefully timed and utterly specious stories filled the press about “Burmese scientists are pursuing nuclear research” to “threaten the world”, about alleged press censorship “repression” in China (which was nothing more than the usual difficulties faced by investigative journalists anywhere), and the insane notion that the North Korean workers state is suicidally keen to launch war on South Korea and its massive US (nuclear) military bases there, for no good reason at all suddenly torpedoing a South Korean ship, with the only “evidence” being some rusting and encrusted fragments of torpedo that could not possibly have been recovered within just a few weeks of the incident.

Most all there has been the continuing nonsense of an alleged “fixed” election in Iran, for which the only “evidence” now cited is the capitalist press’s own accusations a year ago, and the support it gets from the capitalist bourgeois wing within Ayatollahocracy which vies for influence with more overtly anti-imperialist elements.

Reams of the Guardian in particular were taken up recently with yet more supposed witness accounts of abuse and torture by the Iranian government from “on the run” dissidents, (all quoted at length with no evidence, no context or circumstances, and even the admission that “it is impossible to verify these accounts”) and yards of gush about the alleged continuing “green” democracy movement (with the now infamous colour symbolism which the CIA has used to trigger a stream of manipulated “peoples’ movements” of the petty bourgeoisie in east Europe and the Asian republics to install pro-American reactionary fascist regimes or just to keep the area off balance and vulnerable as current turmoil in Kyrgyzstan is doing).

One astonishingly was even interviewed in a hide-out in Bangkok without a word being mentioned of the well-witnessed anti-democracy slaughter there.

Massive subversion and BBC World Service and Voice of America provocation managed to push the Tehran petty bourgeoisie on the street last year and whip up a violent atmosphere around entirely unverified allegations that the Ahmadinejad presidency had “fixed” the election, provoking eventually what the West was itching for, a “martyr” killed knows.

But all that was entirely false as an occasional admission makes clear like this press letter:

I was visiting Iran about a year ago, at the time of the run-up to the contentious elections. I drove thousands of miles around Iran, not specifically visiting large cities like Tehran and Tabriz but staying within my comfort zone and talking to my type of person. (I have passable if basic Farsi.) The opinions of these people were almost universally in support of the establishment. I had been warned to stay clear of politics and religion, but it was these subjects that people wanted to talk about and those of my type that I talked to held these established views. My type of people are my type of socialists. Mucky-handed, hard-grafting socialists who are as far removed from the intellectual ideal as the Guardian is from the Daily Worker. If we feel the need to bang the drum of democracy and universal suffrage then we must be prepared for the occasional disappointment.

The highly vocal and media-savvy opinion of the academic and intellectual is worth exactly the same as the opinion of a farmer or truck driver who does not have the opportunity or the inclination to seek out an audience for his opinion. Iran, outside Tehran, is a safe country with high morals and a code of civil conduct that we must admire and respect and may in fact be envious of. I don’t know what the legitimate government of Iran should consist of, but in the light of our own recent experiences I really doubt that we should be listening only to the loudest voices.

Richard Hardisty, Appleton-le-Moors, North Yorkshire

The pumped up anniversary anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations fell flat on their face despite the best efforts of the “liberal” anti-communist Guardian.

The constant hysteria around Iran, presented ludicrously as a “threat to the world”, (as Saddam was before etc), a confusion unfortunately fed by revisionist Beijing’s just-made idiot agreement to go along with Western economic strangulation sanctions in the US controlled United Nations (thinking thereby that it can somehow “limit” the impact by minimising the extent of the sanctions, and “not rocking the boat” by challenging imperialism as Iran is doing) is in stark contrast to the silence by the West on the death-squad resurgence in “democratic” Honduras (with a stitched up election after least year’s bloody coup), the bloody slaughter of Thailand’s democracy protests (four times as many as on Bloody Sunday and, again, after an un-protested coup 18 months ago - no UN sanctions there), the gunning down of the unarmed poor in Kingston’s poverty ridden neighbourhoods in Jamaica, the still devastated mess of Iraq and the war blitzing in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The biggest diversion that all this whipped up pseudo-human rights protest aims at, is covering the non-stop bullying massacres and siege torture of the Palestinians by the illegal occupiers of their country, the fascist Jewish-Zionists, and the recent Nazi killings on the peace flotilla.

The nuclear threat to the world is far greater from increasingly unstable and crisis threatened imperialism, including from these secretly and illegally nuclear-armed beserkers in fascist Zionland, (subject to endless UN resolutions which are completely ignored) who more than most would be willing to initiate and use “smiting violence” to maintain their domination.

Against that ever present danger why should Iran, or anywhere else, not develop the best defences they possible can? (As China, sensibly, already did long ago).

Revisionist delusions continue to stifle world understanding with such capitulation to Western pressure which gives imperialism above all credence for the pretence that its “war on terror” and “nuclear non-proliferation” is anything but a lying Goebbels fraud.

The Iran posturing is also in stark contrast to the complete suppression of actual electoral manipulation elsewhere when it is carried through by Western stooges, like the puppets installed in Ethiopia after Western organised overthrow of the Mengistu socialist regime which had thrown out Haile Selassie, and which have been used recently as a tool for putting down the Islamic Courts movement in Somalia, to keep this potential focus of anti-imperialism in scorched earth turmoil.

Capitalist “press freedom” pretences still demand token reports are made, but always buried inside the “heavies”:

[Ethiopia’s prime minister] Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, in power since 1991, and its allies won about 97% of parliamentary seats, assuring it another five-year term. Opposition groups were decimated. With most results in, the eight-party Medrek (Forum) coalition, the All Ethiopia Unity Organisation, and the Ethiopian Democratic party took only two seats between them, despite fielding candidates in most constituencies.

The comprehensiveness of Meles’s victory seemed to take even the government by surprise. It quickly recovered. “Logic dictates that the party was bound to succeed. In democracies a government with a sound track record remains in power … There is therefore no room for anyone, be it the contesting parties or the international media, to reiterate alleged irregularities and rigging of votes,” an official statement said.

Berhanu Kebede, Ethiopia’s ambassador in London, said voters had rewarded Meles for his achievements.

He dismissed concerns expressed by EU poll observers about the lack of a “level playing field” and accused Human Rights Watch, an independent human rights advocacy organisation, of pursuing a hostile agenda and relying on “hearsay”.

In a hard-hitting report this week, Human Rights Watch said the government “intimidated voters and unlawfully restricted the media” prior to the polls and employed “repressive legal and administrative measures” to restrict freedom of expression. Its findings echoed complaints by Medrek during the campaign that its candidates had been harassed, some had been jailed, and three members had been killed.

Government critics claim the opposition’s poor showing is a product of a crackdown that followed the last polls in 2005, when about 200 people died in post-election unrest, opposition leaders were jailed, and the then main anti-government alliance, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, later broke up in disarray. The hope of political change was stifled during that period, it is argued, and has yet to revive.

Though still unwelcome to the government, European and US criticism has been muted, reflecting a mutual interest in maintaining counterterrorism and other co-operative ties with Meles, who is widely seen as the sort of African leader the west can do business with. “While the elections were calm and peaceful and largely without any kind of violence, we noted with some degree of remorse that [they] were not up to international standards,” Johnnie Carson, the top US diplomat for Africa, said.

But Carson hastened to add that Washington valued its relationship with Ethiopia and “appreciate the level of collaboration we receive”. The US views Ethiopia as crucial to maintaining stability and countering Islamist extremism in the Horn of Africa, notably in neighbouring Somalia. Like other western countries such as Britain, a major bilateral aid donor, the US is highly unlikely to take any action over election irregularities, real or imagined.

Hard-nosed calculations of this type inform western approaches to other African “one-party democracies”, an attitude that could be said to encourage the trend away from genuine multiparty systems, thereby undermining the drive for good governance.

...In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni, once hailed as an African democratic role model, appears, Mugabe-style, to have installed himself in office for life. In Burundi and Rwanda, the runup to elections this summer is following a familiar pattern: alleged increased ruling-party repression and intimidation of opponents, media restrictions, and reduced access for independent observers and NGOs. Even in South Africa, self-styled continental showcase, political life is dominated by one party, the African National Congress. It is difficult to envisage conditions in which the ANC would voluntarily relinquish power.

In Congo, meanwhile, observers suggest mounting official pressure on the UN peacekeeping force to withdraw is linked to the government’s wish to avoid too close international scrutiny of next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. “The consolidation of democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo is stalled on almost all fronts,” a recent International Crisis Group report warned. “Civil liberties are regularly threatened and key institutional reforms … have made no significant progress.”

This supposedly even-handed analysis with its arrogant “imperialist master” tone, deliberately feeds the confusion at the end, by its background assumption that the target and means to achieve mankind’s aspirations is “democracy” instead of exposing it as a giant fraud.

It is the class basis of a regime that is significant, and whether it is sheltering behind the lying nonsense of bourgeois “freedom and democracy” like Rwanda and Uganda, or struggling against Western domination, or as part of a national-liberation fight like the Congo.

Of course the ANC should not “give up” power to a Western manipulated election after fighting so bitterly against the domestic colonialism of apartheid (and its network of Western imperialist backing); if its rule is changed at all it will either be through an (unlikely) counter-revolution or through the growing demand for revolutionary transformation to socialism and the common ownership of the means of production, which is the only future for South Africa or anywhere else.

Mugabe is hated by the West, and endless “tyranny” stories poured out, because the ZANU-PF has not only refused to capitulate to Western demands but has pursued a policy of restoration of colonially plundered farmland (outrageously declared to “belong” to white farmers).

Against a communist movement of course the ANC petty bourgeois continuation of capitalism should stand aside in an instant rather than continue with a system that solves nothing for the poor and desperate (as many a report from the poverty townships of the country have shown during the World Cup) who will be devastated as the world imperialist crisis deepens everywhere.

Socialist movement will need to understand the crucial importance of establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat, the only defence against constant Western capitalist subversion, within which a fair socialist planned economy can be built and rational society, gradually drawing more and more of the masses into self-governing and rule (suppressing the old bourgeois counter-revolutionary minority).

Mass rule via the dictatorship of the working class is the only democracy that can ever be genuine, and only to the extent that the more it develops, the less it is needed, until communist society will simply drop it altogether, since rational advanced humankind will manage itself without the need for domination and rule, even by a fair majority.

The confusions and difficulties of the constant “human rights” campaigning of the fraudulent West are added to by the liberals and fake-“lefts” who mostly go along with the capitalist horror stories and lying distortions about the workers states or other struggles, with either no class based understanding of these struggles and overall perspective of a world dominated by monopoly capitalist exploitation and tyranny, or a completely opportunist capitulation as shown by the 57 varieties of fake-“lefts” in the wake of the 9/11 events and their “condemnation” of the Third World’s growing “terrorism” fightback.

Only by developing a complete world revolutionary perspective can the working class of the planet disentangle the confusion and lies around all these matters – and that is precisely what they are not getting from the fake-”lefts”.

They do not get it from the Sinn Féin either which has fallen on the wrong side in a number of these demonisation issues internationally.

Neither do they get it from even those fake-“left”s like the Lalkar/Proletarian CPGB-ML who ostentatiously posture around in uncritical support of insurgencies around the world in order to cover over their past history of mistakes and failure to develop revolutionary perspectives, and layers upon layers of cover-up for Moscow’s disastrous revisionism, all of which is a piece with philosophical retreat from constant polemical battling for understanding in which all mistakes need to be considered and re-appraised.

Declaring China to be a workers state and describing its social and economic progress achieved by development of an overall planned economy (which remains the overall framework despite the large-scale use of capitalist economic development mechanisms within China) is one thing; uncritically shouting “all hail the Chinese” without a word to warn the working class of Beijing’s dire revisionist failings is another.

“Hailing the peace convoy martyrs” (more hailing) is mere posturing if the shortcomings of peace protest and the need for revolution are not spelled out and even worse if a past history of urging the always unachievable and disarming two-state solution for Palestine is slid quietly off to one side along with the disastrous mistake of backing first the petty bourgeois compromiser (wrong kind of compromise) Arafat and then the CIA stooge Mahmoud Abbas.

“Hailing” the Hamas leadership now is even tricksier, covering up those deep errors with not a word of explanation and then making more mistakes.

“Victory to” this or that insurgency is not what Lenin ever called for. “Defeat for” imperialism is the Marxist understanding, which stands back from creating any illusions in ideology or understanding which is not scientific and revolutionary.

What is an ostensibly Marxist group like Lalkar/Proletarian doing building world illusions in the religious ideology of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, or the Taliban in Afghanistan, however defiantly they fight imperialism and however much those leaderships carry for the moment the anti-imperialist hatreds and revolutionary energy of a world exploding with frustration and anger at the exploitation and oppression it suffers ?

By all means it can be understood that the militancy of Hamas in Gaza represents and leads a growing competence, organisation, determination and combativity by the Palestine struggle.

But Marxism also needs to be telling the world that only the clearest perspectives, battled for by the methods of Marx, Engels and Lenin will solve the world’s problems.

Lalkar’s latest “left kudos” piggy-backing comes precisely from an uncritical support for the Irish struggle, and a gushing statement about the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

That it equally fails to point up the shortcomings of the Sinn Féin is only part of this particular deviousness.

For a start when it mattered most, before the Occupied Zone handover was so clear and the fake-“lefts” were in full throat denouncing Sinn Féin and belittling its national struggle, the Lalkarites were still within the SLP where they not only failed to take up this crucial Irish issue, and failed to take up the monstrous expulsion of the EPSR over it too, but actually aided and abetted the kangaroo court joke “hearing”, with one of their own people sitting on the “tribunal”.

They remained there for another six years saying absolutely nothing to clarify the working class on the importance of the struggle in Ireland, or to expose the SLP’s defeatist line and the opportunism of its “condemnations” of “world terror” (in which the SLP joined every other fake-“left”) or the anti-communist dross which poured from Scargill on all other subjects.

Now they say nothing about the Sinn Féin which for all its heroism falls equally flat on such issues (“condemning” the Madrid bombing for example, and going along with imperialist provocations on issues like Sudan or supporting the petty bourgeois disruption of the Tamil Tigers against the national independence of the Sri Lankans, which was completely the opposite to the Lalkar itself which correctly took an opposite position!).

At least the astonishing national liberation achievements of the Irish republican movement never claimed to be Marxist (nor show any signs of becoming so now).

That was not an issue in pushing back British imperialism which was an achievement for all class struggle irrespective, including the fight for revolutionary socialism.

But the economic disaster at the heart of monopoly capitalism is exposing SF shortcomings more than ever.

SF has nothing more than “left” reformism to offer and protest over extreme cuts when it comes to dealing with the crisis. The latest Martin McGuinness statement (on the aggressive and savage British budget) is only a possibly more sincere and robust version of the “anti-cuts” protesting of the long Trade Union tradition:

“The British government had an alternative. They could have ended their illegal occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They could have chosen not to pump an estimated £100bn into replacing Trident. They could have chosen instead to invest in job creation while protecting the incomes of low paid workers and those on social welfare. I said this directly to David Cameron two weeks ago in London.

“There is a way out of this. We need an all-Ireland economic recovery plan under the auspices of the NSMC. It needs to contain an national job creation strategy. The Executive needs fiscal powers in order to allow us to do everything in our power to tackle these savage cuts and to protect public and private sector jobs, front line services and the incomes of low and middle income families.”

Well and good to be against cuts but what “way out” is there even if the ruling class had any intention of abandoning its armed might (which it never will)?

The crisis is built into the capitalist system and will re-emerge with a vengeance, because of the iron laws of overproduction and the falling rate of profit understood and analysed by Marx (see p6).

It always ends in war and destruction, its only solution.

Economic “recovery” is achievable at best for a short term only at the expense of driving the working class into the ground (and therefore increasing the rate of exploitation) as the Irish mainland has been already forced to swallow as this capitalist press account describes:

When Ann Moore returned to have breakfast with her family after a 12-hour night shift at a nursing home, she found riot police and bailiffs outside her home of 16 years. She and her husband, Christy, and their three children were being evicted. Despite climbing a ladder to the top of the house for six hours in a desperate attempt to thwart the bailiffs, the distressed care worker was eventually coaxed down and taken to hospital. Her home in the southern suburbs of Dublin was promptly boarded up.

The Moores were badly in arrears, owing the council €10,000. For eight months, Ann had been paying back €50 on top of her €100 weekly rent. But in a country where 300,000 homes lie empty, the authorities decided to make the Moores homeless and punish them for their perceived fecklessness. Yet it is the politicians, bankers and developers of Ireland who have been rather more feckless.

Ireland is, per capita, the most indebted country in the EU. Its budget deficit of 14.3% is higher even than in Greece. For a decade, the “celtic tiger” economy was the poster child of free-market globalisation. Now, this bedraggled alley cat of an economy is neo-liberalism’s favourite example of how to cut your way to recovery. Ireland’s government has slashed public sector spending by 7.5% of gross domestic product with a series of drastic cuts this year: public sector pay by 15%, child benefit by 10%, unemployment benefit by 4.1%. Another €3bn will be removed next year, a total of 10% of GDP over three years: these measures are equivalent to the British government slashing its budget not by the £6.25bn planned by George Osborne in 2010, but by an incomprehensibly gigantic £150bn.

Yet despite the cuts, dubbed “masochistic” by the Financial Times, Ireland’s debt is still growing, thanks to the desperate bailing out of its banks. Irish critics fear this economic death-spiral could lead to a decade of grinding austerity, a generation lost to unemployment and, worse, the return of a spectre that has haunted Ireland for two centuries: mass emigration.

At first glance, the Irish appear to be tackling their plight with a wit that is self-deprecating and ever so slightly proud. “We never really believed the boom. During the celtic-tiger period we were like, jeez, look at us, this will never last,” says Lorcan, a father-of-two from Limerick, where Dell closed its Irish operations last year with the loss of more than 5,000 related jobs. “Irish people were used to shit homes, shit education, shit hospitals. In England, there is a cultural memory of things working. ”

While ghost estates of new, unsaleable flats stand empty across the land, 170,000 people are struggling with negative equity. Ireland has the fourth highest unemployment in the EU (13.4%), with 432,500 people on the dole; one in three of the working population under 30 is unemployed. And unemployment would be even worse were it not for the return of emigration.

Ireland is scarred by memories of the half-a-million who fled in the 1950s, and the hundreds of thousands – many highly educated – who left in the 1980s. The loss of dynamic young people helped ensure Ireland’s economy stagnated for decades. But critics say it has also been a useful tool for governments, keeping unemployment down and exporting opposition to the Irish establishment. Nearly 20,000 Irish nationals emigrated in the year between April 2008 and April 2009, and research suggests a further 100,000 will leave this year and next.

In the 1990s, a stagnant agricultural economy was transformed into a highly skilled post-industrial playground. Computing and pharmaceutical jobs were garnished by a turbo-charged property sector. In 1986, Irish GDP per head of population was two-thirds of the EU average; by 1999 it was 111% of the average, and significantly higher than in the UK. Between 1985 and 2006, Irish house prices rose by almost 250%, far higher than in Britain. Emigration became immigration, as Poles and others rushed to share the Irish dream of a self-confident Euro-Atlantic nation, emancipated from the shackles of Catholicism and colonialism.

While the boom-time billionaires enjoyed an unfettered freedom to build and borrow, O’Toole argues that Ireland’s prosperity in the 90s was not simply the triumph of the free market. For most of the 20th century, no other European nation recorded such sluggish national growth; a spurt in the 1990s was Ireland finally catching up. And the global boom of that time saw an unprecedented growth in US investment abroad: much came to Ireland. Ireland pocketed IR£8.6bn from EU structural funds between 1987 and 1998.

What went wrong? Almost everyone in Ireland points their fingers at an unholy trinity of politicians, bankers and developers for turning this boom to bust. The government blew up a demented property bubble by offering huge tax breaks on new buildings. Construction swelled to account for one fifth of Ireland’s economy. Prices, mortgages, wages and costs soared. Unregulated banks went on a lending spree. By the time of the global banking crash, Ireland’s banks held a terrifying amount of debt (by 2008 the Anglo Irish Bank held €73bn of loans, half of Ireland’s GDP) and the country was the first in the eurozone to enter recession.

Throwing people on the street while thousands of new surplus houses rot is the essence of “want in the midst of plenty” capitalist slump logic.

The obvious answer is take them over and put the homeless into them.

But that means abandoning private ownership; that means socialism and rational planning; that means revolutionary takeover.

And that means Leninism. Build it. Don Hoskins


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
See next issue

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