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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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Back issue

No 1377 3rd October 2010

Endless re-invention of the Labourites cannot cover up the bankruptcy of reformism (and the fake-“left” pretend revolutionaries who support them). The 2008 bank meltdown signalled the full breaking of the capitalist crisis which is forcing the hand of the fearful ruling class into class war moves to impose not just the slump but Depression unemployment and poverty as intimidation to demoralise all fightback. “Resisting cuts” is insufficient – the only solution is revolutionary struggle to overturn fascist bullying and warmongering. Leninist science needs building now

The frisson of excitement running through petty bourgeois liberaldom and the endless fake-“left” variants over the election of Ed Miliband as New Labour leader, underlines how desperately shallow these radical intellectuals and “socialists” are – all shades.

The trickery of the fatuous and shallow New Labourite “leadership debate” and even more its outcome should not take in a 14-year old with its half-hearted pretences at being a “new broom”, let alone supposedly deep thinkers, commentators and “revolutionary lefts” all declaring that it is a “positive sign” or a “step forwards”.

But then they are all desperate to cling to the notion of some reformist “challenge” being possible to the capitalist slump collapse that will let them off the hook of giving, and arguing for, genuine revolutionary politics and leadership, the only possible way out of the crisis.

This “even newer” version of “New” Labour is the feeblest of historical jokes yet, barely even making the effort to pretend it will do anything at all except continue its smug, opportunist complacency and lucrative occupation of bribed and corrupt “jobs” and lavish expense accounts in Parliament, local councils, official union bureaucracies, the media and the “public sector” (not to mention the even more lucrative “revolving door” jobs in private companies, corporations and combines the moment they leave office, or even while still there).

Nor will it.

First and foremost of course New Labour, Old Labour and assorted “improved” versions will never say anything to the working class about the devastating breakdown of the capitalist system as a whole which is now unfolding on a catastrophic and historically unprecedented scale into slump and war which will be ten times as bad as any past crises.

Just the opposite. Their “job” is to hide this truth from the working class, as they just did for 13 years of government, (and several governments previously) using the public and private debt, and riding the even bigger paper dollar debt creation of US imperialism, to pay for enough supposed social and public reforms to continue covering up the total impossibility of “constant steady improvement” for workers under monopoly capitalism.

It is a system that will always, inevitably, return to failure and collapse.

Or even more, their job is to oppose and suppress this understanding, if it cannot be kept swept under the carpet in the mass working class by fixed agendas, stitched-up meetings and a compliant press, which silence all attempts to argue for revolution.

It is part of the great ruling class conspiracy (in the broadest of class interest senses) to divert attention from the historic bankruptcy of the profit system which is not just in crisis, but in the worst crisis ever in its 800 years of existence, because the intractable and unstoppable contradictions mounting within it are more rotten ripe than ever before, demanding the revolutionary ending of class rule for good if the world is to move forwards to planned socialism, away from Crash, Depression, trade war, fascist, blitzing, torturing warmongering and its ultimate end point of renewed world war.

Even within the lying and fraudulent framework of narrow bourgeois parliamentary politics, there is not the slightest intention of mounting any real fight at all against the Tories by these charlatans and fat-arsed mountebanks – including the onion layers of “right-on lefties” who prop up the whole edifice while (occasionally) loudly, emptily and hypocritically pretending to “disagree” with it, like MP Jon Cruddas, (who nevertheless voted for the MI5 torture-sanctioning David Miliband), or the disgusting Dianne Abbott’s pointless and deliberately ineffectual “leadership bid”, trading on the single issue anti-racism, feminist and gay rights politics which have been deliberately fostered by the fake-“lefts” (generously encouraged by the bourgeois establishment, TV and press) as a diversion from any revolutionary politics ever being discussed (which is the only real answer anyway to inequalities and societal traumas and alienation, which are constantly re-generated by capitalist antagonisms).

Such tepid “left Labour” noises as are being made at all by these, and others, are only voiced in the safety of knowing that there is not the remotest chance of being able to implement or do anything about them inside the hobbling “rules” of capitalist “legality” and with the sure knowledge that should the Labourites be needed again to keep the ruling class propped up, these “bold” phrases and demands will quickly be forgotten or if necessary outvoted or just overridden.

The Labourites have long been the favoured “B-team” to run imperialism, better able to hoodwink the working class with their reformist promises and pretence of being for the workers (bolstered even now by the fake-“left” Trotskyists like the charlatan CPGB Weekly Workerites, who describe this thoroughly bourgeois institution (as Lenin long ago identified it) as a “workers party” to justify their own opportunism) and not outright ruling class harshness and self-interested greed.

But that “socialism” claim was burnt-out completely through the twentieth century, after the working class put them into power, not once but half a dozen times, only to see their illusions smashed down and capitalism continuing to rule the roost.

Labourism has run every vicious world exploiting aspect of British capitalism for the ruling class, from the time of the supposedly “great” Attlee post-war government, blitzing, napalming and bombing Greek and Malayan communists etc, suppressing the rising tide of Africa anti-colonial struggles, rescuing bankrupt capitalist industries like the railways, coal and power generation with the fraudulent notion they were being “nationalised for the working class” (when they were actually being propped up to help subsidise and salvage private industry), helping escalate the anti-Soviet Cold War with the introduction of the nuclear threat and the formation of reactionary NATO, covering up the great defeats of the Empire in India and Burma and elsewhere with the lies of “granting independence”, etc etc, and many other betrayals (prescription charges e.g.) all in the first full majority term, and with a legacy of anti-union, anti-working class, anti-Irish, war-supporting imperialist interventions by every Labour government since, to match anything the Tories have ever done.

After the disastrous eventual failure of Thatcherite “hard-nut”-ism and its dire Tory follow-through, facing riot-level hostility and growing world financial turmoil and riddled with sleaze and corruption (and the exposure of them) Labour’s “re-invented” Blairite racket of hyped-up advertising spin and slick “media friendly” chumminess, larded with celebrity glitz, was a last ditch patching-up for a decade to keep the old parliamentary racket going a bit longer for the geriatric and incompetent British ruling class, spinning out the illusion (only) of “gains” and “social improvement”.

Bourgeois democracy “representation” now is almost a worked-out seam as the increasing contempt and diminishing positive enthusiasm by the working class (correctly) shows in the ever smaller turn-outs in General elections.

But Blairism’s emptiness got by, despite its fatuous and vicious blame-culture and ASBO suppression of the poorer working class, by ramping up public and private on-the-never-never debt-funded spending to pretend that some social “improvements” had been made, always based on yet more insanely inefficient and expensive privatisations, bureaucratic heavy-handedness, state asset giveaways and sell-offs, and lavish public sector “consultancies” and supply contracts (e.g. the NHS) to feed the fatcat corporations, banks and well-off middle-class professionals, none of whom could otherwise survive a single moment in the laughably named “free market” of cutthroat international monopoly trade war.

But the ever deepening capitalist crisis has ensured that Blairism failed dismally in its turn, tangled in the defeats and setbacks for US imperialism’s “shock and awe” plans to maintain its world domination by blitzing and intimidating the entire world, suppressing rising Third World rebellion and demonstrating its ruthlessness to any potential capitalist rivals, as a means of riding out the Depression collapses that the ruling class has long known were going to break.

Blairism, dutifully keeping moribund and half-senile British imperialism hitched to the back of the Bushite neocon US, as its floundering “best option” for survival in the increasingly desperate inter-imperialist trade and finance war atmosphere, long building up, has been destroyed by the exposés of its lying, torturing, fascist warmongering which it dutifully pushed through for the ruling class in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and shattering cultures and communities.

The world stunning bank failures of 2008, which confirmed completely the long-ignored and derided Marxist understanding and warnings (by the EPSR against the whole 57 varieties of Labourites, Trotskyists, revisionists and “official” trade unionists) that the profit-making system is forever doomed to collapse repeatedly into cataclysmic Depression and destructive disaster, all the way to all-out World War destruction, as in the twentieth century, finally destroyed the last Brown-led remnants of this trickery which had been levered into place by sleight of hand.

Their current (immediate) usefulness to the ruling class is ended.

Despite the thinness of the “nice Tory” Cameron public relations scam, hastily dreamed up as Blairism went down the tubes, the ruling class has clearly decided the unfolding capitalist crisis collapse is so catastrophic and severe that it has to be handled only by direct ruling class slash and cut “disciplining” of the working class however rickety the “Coalition” claims of “winning the election”.

The hugely successful racket of “democracy” which has been used to fool everyone for the last two or more centuries with the illusion of being able to vote for changes, hiding the reality of a class dictatorship of capital, is too valuable to throw away until the last minute however.

But keeping it going is a risky strategy, which has demanded the sacrifice of the Liberal-Democrats to bolster the threadbare pretence of a “democratic mandate”, exposing for all time the ludicrous Liberal-Democrat pretence to be “something different” and “more principled” when their only role, keeping them alive in the post-Victorian (and post-1917 Bolshevik) epoch, has been as an emergency stop-gap for the ruling class in case of disaster (which is why the genuinely anti-war, though still parliamentary opportunist, Charles Kennedy was manipulated out of the way with the nonsense about “alcoholism” (when the drinking culture is universal in the Parliamentary club) and a convenient public school clone was installed instead).

The ministerial career-hungry betrayal of the illusions of the anti-Tory anti-Labour voters (such as they were) who thought they could change things by a Liberal protest vote, only to get more capitalist slump cuts, means that card can only be played once.

It has also threatened to tear apart the ruling class itself whose red-faced Tory colonel wing is outraged and dismayed at the alleged “namby-pambyism” of the Cameron pretences, itching to put the boot into the working class as soon as possible.

More Labourism might yet be needed.

Hence the “re-invention” of Labour yet again with its joke “back to the people” pretences backed-up by the play-acting mock-horror of the reactionary capitalist press, that it is “all too much” and “dangerously left wing” (though with a touch of genuine nervousness at even this sub-threshold “leftism” lest it gives anyone any real ideas).

It is all a bit rich anyway coming from all the same Labour “activists” who campaigned for, and supported, the Blairite epoch, keeping it in place in deed, day to day even if they were posturing around loudly pretending to be “against the Iraq war” etc.

Labour (and the official class collaborating TUC trade unionism which spawned it) has only ever been, and can only be, a tool of the ruling class, a completely bourgeois party pretending to be “for the underprivileged” but insinuated into the working class only to head it away from the one actual answer to ever-recurring slump collapse disasters – complete revolutionary overturn of the capitalist system which is out of time and historically bankrupt.

But just in case its loyal stoogery for the ruling class should be in any doubt at all in the rapidly escalating class war onslaught which the ruling class needs to impose (if it is have any hope at all of surviving the upheavals of the oncoming Slump collapse by pushing massive cuts and speed-up onto workers), Miliband was promptly at the podium to renounce any illusions that he was anything to do with being a “Red Ed” (the tepid innuendo which his campaign had slyly allowed the capitalist media to spread during the contest as part of the latest spin-trickery and lies).

So this shallowest of yet-another spin reincarnation for Labour’s eternally revived and unfulfillable promise that it will “all be different next time” was looking pretty sick, even on the afternoon of the acceptance speech with the “new leader’s” instant denunciation of plans for anti-cuts marches and strikes.

Those calls by the TUC union bureaucrats and Bennite “left”s for “make the bosses pay” actions and manifestations are anyway a totally inadequate responses to the hurricane of economic slump and chaos which capitalism is sliding into, hidden for the moment only by the frantic and unsustainable money printing frenzy of “quantitative easing” which has been used to hold off the complete collapse of worldwide finance.

Without a revolutionary perspective explaining that only the complete ENDING of the capitalist system can now stop its spiralling into the worst Depression disaster ever – already being imposed on hundreds of thousands of workers pushed out of jobs, stripped of pensions, forced into wage cuts and suffering the slashing of public services in Britain, and far worse internationally – none of these “fights” will do anything but lead workers round in circles of pointless protest.

Only if such actions were used to develop a grasp that the working class is in a battle for its very existence which must escalate until capitalism is ended completely can they be of major value, preparing for the all-out struggle to overturn this rotten, greed-ridden, torturing, blitzing, festering class rule.

Of course the working class should use all the methods of protest and struggle it has learned and developed over centuries of fighting for day-to-day survival against the depredations of capital and the relentless exploitation of a system that is interested only in maximising private profit, not organising and developing production and technology for human needs and fulfilment.

And it should do everything possible to make every step of the way for the ruling class as difficult as possible for imposing slump disaster “austerity” and worse on their backs.

Let there be as many general strikes, demonstrations, protests, campaigns, pickets, boycotts as wanted and all possible use of every other avenue to fight back (including parliament too, though only if its platform is used solely to expose class collaboration and the fraud of “democracy” under bourgeois property rule).

But traditional hostility to theory in the pragmatic British working class, relentless anti-communist lying mythology, and the deliberate and non-stop dumbing down drip-drip of consumerism and celebrity-chasing shallowness, is all a bad starting point for the vital clarity and perspectives needed to draw from these battles the great experiences and lessons for understanding the nature of capitalism and its historic disintegration, that alone can develop the revolutionary grasp and depth of leadership that is the only possible answer to the collapse into chaos, poverty and war once more of capitalist degeneracy.

The imperialist super-profit funding of layers of petty bourgeois influence in the working class in the Western rich countries and most deeply of all in once world-dominating Britain (and its inheritor the US), via better-off workers and, particularly in the post-war period, through the provision of “public sector” jobs and “social provision” public wage-supplements etc, has helped stifle its often healthier and highly organised struggles or has failed to draw from the most heroic and powerful battles, like the giant anti-Heath union fights and the titanic 1984 miners strike, the full exposure of reformism and TUC collaborationism and the positive revolutionary development and lessons that could have been made.

Above all, the great vacuum in world communist understanding and leadership, left by the increasing philosophical failures and retreats of Moscow revisionism from Stalin onwards, culminating in the disastrous and pointless 1989 Gorbachevite liquidation of the most powerful and brilliant achievements of the working class in history (and still growing throughout, and to virtually the very end, of the USSR’s seven decades of total working class rule) has not helped, or its reflection in the capitulation of all the swamp of fake-“leftism” to “democratic” and/or “peace struggle” evasions of the need for a crucial class war overturn of capitalism (see three decades of non-stop polemic and analysis by the EPSR) or even the outright petty bourgeois anti-communism of the Trotskyist “opposition” which hates the workers states and the necessary disciplines and rigour of the dictatorship of the proletariat needed to resist non-stop imperialist subversion and sabotage.

(It is no coincidence that the Miliband’s father was from this revisionist tradition even writing a disastrous book on “parliamentary” routes for socialism.)

They all simply help feed the delusions in bourgeois democracy which hamstring the working class’s real fight.

Today even the core of the crucial theoretical scientific socialist understanding which must be built is absent, except for the tiniest remnants kept alive by the struggle for Leninism.

But it will grow as the working class is finally hammered into the ground by the imperialist slump disaster and has to find a new perspective or be driven all the way down.

The demand to “resist” the cuts is not only meaningless without the struggle to build this understanding but is completely misleading.

It will lead to demoralisation and tiredness ultimately, even if the struggles are not first of all shattered by the viciousness and savagery of ruling class civil war moves which it has always used once its rule and supremacy is challenged.

What happens once the police and military violence breaks open and demonstrators are shot down, as the were in Tsarist Russia etc and as happens repeatedly in the Third World, in the recent (tacitly) US-supported Honduras coup and those now attempted in Ecuador, under preparation for Venezuela and Bolivia and Cuba, and which has devastated the entire Middle East, from the routine genocidal runs against the rebellious Palestinians to war destruction from Iraq and Afghanistan, and being hyped up against Iran etc??????

The ruling class will go all the way to try and maintain its class rule and the sweet power and indolent luxury of its existence built on the ruthless appropriation of the value produced by the work done by ordinary people and by the billions of factory, sweat shop and plantation workers held down by fascist and reactionary stooge regimes in near slavery throughout the imperialist exploited Third World.

“Making the bosses pay” and “refusing to accept the burden of the cuts” may be a perfectly sound fighting response to the arrogant speed-up and wage-cutting “solutions” being offered by the ruling class but it amounts ultimately to nothing more than a “super-reformist” perspective on the slump and its unrolling.

It is firstly completely defensive, which means at best it can only hold-off the worst of the slump and its impact on the working class.

But trade union blockades and strikes, and even the most militant action, combined with sit-ins, occupations and other tactics cannot salvage industries and jobs at all, let alone safeguard wages and conditions, when the capitalist slump is now wiping-out not only entire sectors of industries, or even whole national industries, but threatening to take down entire countries, as in the “sovereign debt defaults” potentially destroying Greece, Portugal, Iceland and Ireland, and rumbling in the background for even the most powerful capitalist powers.

These collapses have been held off temporarily with demented levels of even more debt creation (not billions but trillions of paper dollars pumped in) because of the fears of bigger imperialist powers of the impact that uncontrolled bank failure and economic disintegration might have in destabilising their own economies, pulling everything down.

But the relentless pressures of overproduction and constant accumulation of “surplus” goods and finance which have relentlessly built up within the capitalist system and which will continue to do so unstoppably (see Marx and Lenin quotes (EPSR economics box)and volumes of economic analysis in Capital etc) can no more be turned around than could be the sea-tide King Cnut used to demonstrate the limits of wishful thinking and the meaning of reality.

Secondly it is deliberately hobbling the working class within the bounds of a supposedly “legality” which has been created over decades precisely to sap it strength and collective will.

Marching the Greek workers up to the top of the Parthenon, and back down again, or one-day strikes though Europe can only be useful if they are tied to mass education of the working class in the realities of the capitalist crisis.

But the Greek Communist Party, beloved of the revisionists like Lalkar and lauded by them for “rejecting Eurocommunism” actually goes no further than any other of the revisionist leaderships in simply demanding “resistance” and “refusal”.

But the world has hit a watershed moment which is going to, and must transform everything. More “resistance” politics disarms the working class from understanding just what an unstoppable changes has been set in motion.

It is, as the cuttings below demonstrate, something the ruling class knows however and is preparing for with aggressive counter-revolution,

Thirdly the “Coalition of Resistance” and trade union march culture’s perspective is in essence no different to the fraud put forwards by the ruling class that the central question is now that we must “deal with the deficit”.

But the question is not “what is the best way to deal with the deficit”?

The question is why is anyone tolerating the notion that there is a deficit and that it “has to be dealt with” (without touching the fabulous wealth of the ruling class naturally)?

Why is there a deficit at all???

Because capitalism is still the same disastrous, crisis ridden system that generated the need and understanding of communism in the first place – and more devastating, deadly, destructive and chaotic than ever before.

The great fairy story of the “modern” capitalist period is that the old boom-and-bust, and the wars they engendered, are things of the past.

With the alleged “tyranny” of communism allegedly out of the way (the constant Cold War excuse for capitalism’s inherent non-stop fascist warmongering neo-colonialism), there were to be sunny uplands of prosperity and progress.

So why the devastating collapse in 2008??

It cannot be the “mismanagement” of the Labourites as the current Tory mantra lies. Their policies were only a continuation of the wishes of the ruling class fatcats anyway.

While they let credit rip, running tens or millions of ordinary people into debt, and the state too, to cover over the crisis, that was what the whole ruling class went along with, too fearful to do anything but put-off the class-war implications of doing any different.

The Labourite did not even make the key economic decisions, having handed the powers to the Bank of England’s unelected ruling class financiers the moment they took office in 1997, and being totally in thrall to the City and ruling class Treasury “advisers” anyway.

Nor is it the “mistake” of allowing the bankers and currency dealer “bonus culture” run free.

Wide-boy bankers did not cause the meltdown as supposedly “admitted” by Bank of England governor Mervyn King at the recent TUC congress, except in as much as they are part of capitalism and an expression of its rapacious greed and careless, profit-seeking, anarchic, selfish inefficiency.

That speech, eagerly lapped-up by the opportunism of the delegates, is yet another layer of the diversions and feints put round by the ruling class to further distract attention for the glaringly obvious – that capitalism itself has failed and was always going to fail because of the iron laws of its development.

It implies that all that is now needed is to put back in place a few regulations and everything can return to stability.

Of course no “punishments” and penalties will be imposed and the banks are completely off the hook anyway as the bourgeois press reports:

Given what a big deal the collapse of Lehmans turned out to be, you would think that it makes sense for there to be a whole fat book of legislation on the statue books designed to prevent a repetition of the crisis by making banks smaller and safer and more focused on their wider public function. Well, you might have thought that; but if you had, you would have been wrong, because there have been exactly no new laws targeting the causes of the crash. The systemic risks are the same as they were two years ago.

For some time it seemed that the closest thing to genuine reform would come out of the United States. After the Democrats’ defeat in Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, President Obama suddenly and belatedly seemed to get the point about how unpopular the banks were and how widespread was the perceived need to make them reform. He set out proposals to make the banking sector less profitable and less risky – and for a moment it seemed as if real change might be in the air.

By the time his proposals emerged from Congress this June, however, all the meat had been stripped off them. A $19bn levy was thrown away. Rules on trading derivatives were watered down. Talk about splitting up the casino part of the banks from the deposit-taking part was ignored. On the day the new rules were announced, bank shares rose nearly 3%. That tells you everything you need to know: in the view of the markets, the banks had won.

But then, the banks always win. Once the banks got through the immediate post-Lehmans bailout crisis, they launched a fightback that has seen them win every battle since. They are now so confident that they no longer bother pretending to care what politicians or the public think. Last week’s announcement that Bob Diamond is to be the new chief executive of Barclays was a symbolic highpoint of this process: the poster boy for casino banking appointed to be the head of one of Britain’s biggest banks. Paul Kenny of the GMB union is too mild when he say this decision “sticks two fingers up to taxpayers”. It sticks two fingers up, follows it up by a kick to the crotch, does a victory dance, then posts the footage on Facebook.

So the banks won that one. Yesterday’s news that this year Britain’s banks won’t after all have to reveal the exact levels of the bonuses that they are paying out, because the legislation isn’t in place yet? Another win for the banks. (Mind you, they had already won there, because the proposal to name specific bankers’ bonuses had been ruled out – all that was being made public were the “bands” of payout.)

The day before had come the announcement about new international rules on bank capital requirements, which were supposed to make the banks safer by making them keep larger amounts in reserve against their riskier activities. The new level of super-safe capital reserve – “core tier one capital”, as its known – was set at 4.5%, way below the figure for which the British and American governments had been arguing. So yet again the banks won.

That happened on Sunday, and it is a very big deal. The process involved is “Basle III”, named after the town in Switzerland where the Bank for International Settlements – in effect the central bank of central banks – has its headquarters. Basle I and II were the first two sets of rules for international banking. The rules keep having to be changed because of the increase in the complexity of new financial instruments, of the sort that caused the credit crunch. Basle III was supposed to set out new regulations for levels of capital reserves, liquidity and leverage ratios.

The model is Canada, where the banks were forced by law to keep higher than average levels of capital in reserve against a rainy day – and where, uncoincidentally, no bank went under during the crunch. These kinds of rules are unpopular with the risk-taking type of banker, because they tend to make banking less profitable. This is not sexy stuff, but in the eyes of insiders it represented the last great hope for a new system of safer banking.

The latest news is a grave disappointment for everyone who hoped that the collapse of Lehmans, and everything that followed, would lead to real change. Every one of these victories for the banks involves a non-recognition of the dangers involved in their activities. But the banks keep on winning and in doing so, creeping back to the edge of the precipice. That would be fine – if they weren’t dragging us along behind them.

But even if the fantasy of “real controls of the banks” (which the slimy opportunist charlatan, once-darling, of the soft liberal-left, Vince Cable was pretending to the Liberal conference) was by some historical aberration actually to be attempted, it would change nothing because that “bonus and greed” culture is only a symptom of the much deeper underlying contradictions of capitalism which would simply erupt in another form.

All this nonsense, and the Labour variant of “dealing with the deficit more slowly to allow time for growth” is on the same spectrum as “resisting wage cuts”.

It tells the working class nothing about the transformation of history which is now heading for all-out civil war savagery to push them down into the utmost deprivation and penury, the only way the ruling class can now extract extra value from their labour, the only source of wealth in the capitalist world.

It disarms them of the crucial perspective that only revolution can stop this, leaving in place the complacency that “they will always get out of it” and “as long as we pull in our horns for a while we will get back to normal”, the criminally misdirecting LIE of the fake-“left” being punted that “we wait for better conditions when workers are confident enough to struggle again.”

There will be no “better conditions” overall, whatever temporary lull in the slide to Depression and World War is created by insanely inflationary dollar deficit-funding which as even those with the most rudimentary grasp of maths and economics can understand, is totally unrepayable and explosively unstable.

Just the opposite. Only desperate Depression and war can emerge, not because someone chooses it (though the ruling class does consciously do this), but because the material conditions of the way society is structured (though class exploitation with the private ownership of the mean of production) makes it an unstoppable certainty, dictated by iron laws of development.

A tiny taste of the reality where things are going is being imposed on Ireland already for example, as some capitalist press reports are touching occasionally: the smugness of the fatcat politicians “taking a share” of the cuts which they can easily afford, from their bloated salaries and wealth, is classic:

Finance minister of state, Dr Martin Mansergh (who is to give a speech in London next month billed: How to Cut Public Spending), cautions against using Ireland as a role model, and underlines the differences between the countries, most importantly Ireland’s membership of the eurozone, which gives it fewer choices on how to handle the crisis.

Unlike in the UK, he says, there was little dissent among politicians over what needed to be done. “There was never a question of choice.” None of the major parties have proposed a stimulus package as the solution to Ireland’s soaring deficit and unemployment (which has tripled since the start of the economic crisis to almost 14%).

It helps that memories of the 1980s financial crisis in Ireland are fresh: then a slow response led to a protracted and painful recovery. As for the public’s stoicism in the face of such deep cuts, he says: “You can feel anger towards the developers, the bankers, but that doesn’t provide a constructive solution.” Most unions, he says, have advised their members: Don’t rock the boat or we might all sink. “I think the public understand that to protest will make the situation worse,” he says.

The process has been undeniably painful: Mansergh has seen his salary cut by 20% and overseen a 35% cut in the Office of Public Works. “Everybody has been affected but there are a lot of people who are aware that notwithstanding the hit, they are a lot better off than they or their parents were 20 years ago. It is very far from the case that all the gains have been lost,” he says.

It is an argument that offers little comfort to Ireland’s newly unemployed and families on a low income who are feeling the pain of the cuts very sharply. Their accounts should make sobering reading for public sector workers in the UK.

For a taste of what life with heavy public sector cuts looks like, a visit to Dublin is educational.

Take Sarah, a 44–year-old single mother and care assistant in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties. In the space of two years she too has seen her wages drop by around 20%, she calculates, leaving her with a €250 (£217) hole in her monthly take-home pay of around €1,200. As her salary has fallen, she has found that her workload has increased substantially because the workforce of nurses and care assistants at the home has dropped by about 25%.

“We were told that frontline services would not be affected and that jobs would not be cut, but what has happened is that contracts have not been renewed, and people who retire or leave have not been replaced, so we have lost about 20 members of staff,” she says.

In fact services for people with disabilities across Ireland have been badly affected (as charities fear they will be in the UK), and Sarah is witnessing a worsening in the care her patients receive.

The daycare centre next to the care home, on the outskirts of Dublin, has been closed because of funding cuts, so patients no longer have a programme of activities during the day and are left to sit in the unit where they sleep with little to do, and with fewer staff to take care of them. Parents of children with severe disabilities used to be able to leave them at the unit for a weekend every month, for respite care, but these services have been cut back, so that they too are under increased strain.

“The quality of care is suffering, but there is nothing we can do about it. We are struggling as it is,” she says.

At home, she has stopped taking holidays and doesn’t know when she will be able to get her car mended. It has been parked, unusable, outside her house for the past eight months. She shops around for discount items and cannot remember the last time she took her 11-year-old daughter out for an excursion. She has also seen a reduction in child benefit. The only indirect positive from the austerity measures has been that the busy pub she lives next to has seen a huge fall in business (“People are too poor to go out socialising,” she says) so the noise levels have been reduced.

Having less money has affected her pride, she says, although this is mitigated by the sense that she is not alone. On the whole, though, people are too frightened to protest. “People are terrified about complaining. People think ‘Well, I have a job now … maybe if I complain, I won’t have one’,” she says. Anxious about her job security, she asks that her real name is not used.

Outside a busy welfare office in central Dublin, there is more anger at the government, voiced by the newly unemployed queuing to collect their benefits. “We are paying to bail out the banks,” Steve, 23, who also prefers not to give his full name, says. He is a former taxi radio controller who lost his job in the summer. (“Nobody has any money; they can’t pay for taxis.”) His unemployment benefit has been cut by €5 a week. “Five euros wouldn’t make any difference to someone on €100,000 a year, but it does to me. The government needs to stop taking money from the poor,” he says.

At his office in a windy and desolate corner of one of the city’s many half-occupied new glass developments, John Fitzgerald, an economist at the Economic and Social Research Institute, an independent thinktank, again questions the usefulness of taking Ireland as a salutary tale: “It is clear that the world has doubts about the ability of Ireland to survive, in which case you have no choice but to take action. In the UK you are fortunate that with rather worse debt figures and with similar borrowing requirements, the world doesn’t think that the country is a basket case, so you have a choice as to what to do,” he says. He himself has taken a 15% pay cut, but argues that public sector pay had risen to unsustainable levels.

These views are echoed in the office of Philip Lane, economics professor at Trinity College. “We were in such a big hole that we did a lot relative to other countries, but not a lot relative to the gap we have to close.”

Michael Taft, research officer for Unite, Ireland’s second largest union, disagrees. “There has been a very one-sided debate, with no mention of the possibility of a stimulus programme to encourage growth.” Taft likes to take visitors on a walking tour of Dublin’s economic collapse, pointing out startling highlights such as abandoned housing developments and the unfinished carcass of the new headquarters of the troubled Anglo Irish Bank. “Our position is that there should be a major investment programme, pouring euros into the economy to create jobs and restart economic activity.”

This belief is shared by Gerry Adams, who travelled from Northern Ireland to support Sinn Féin colleagues and lead Wednesday’s protest. “What the government is doing here is totally and utterly mad. They’re bailing out the banks and the citizens are going to have to pick up the tab. Public services are going to be sliced, at a time when half a million people are on the dole,” he says.

It is a indication of the limits of Sinn Féin’s nationalism that it cannot turn its heroic and determined revolutionary understanding, which has led the Irish liberation struggle so tenaciously and successfully for decades – pushing British imperialism out of Ireland despite the deliberate prevarication of Westminster to try and hide the reality of its colonialist defeat – into a Marxist grasp of capitalism’s overall world crisis, which is going down the pan whatever “investment” is made.

What the government in Ireland is doing is not “mad” except in the historical sense of the ruling class imposing the insane consequences of a contradiction ridden profit-system onto the great mass.

For the ruling class, desperate and ruthlessly ready to hang on to its power whatever it takes, the moves are completely “sane”.

And the preparations in Britain are along the same lines, and with savage suddenness beyond even the apparent immediate financial needs of the “economy”.

Deliberate economic “shock and awe”, to try and humiliate and intimidate the working class with poverty and unemployment fears is being imposed, a class civil-war move which this recent capitalist press article begins to get a hint of:

in just over two weeks’ time, on 20 October, George Osborne is going to stand up in the House of Commons and announce the results of the comprehensive spending review... the point at which the cuts stop being a topic of mood music and speculation, and become an economic reality... There will, I suspect, be a profound shift in mood. I was in Ireland in the summer, talking about the credit crunch at the Galway Festival, and as I spoke I could sense that there was an odd atmosphere in the room. The vibe was different from that in the UK. When it came time for questions, the reason for that became clear: people in Ireland are furious. The mood in that room was dark, and every single question turned on the issue of blame – who to blame, and how much. Ireland is deep into the third act of its own version of Cuts, and the realities have included 20% pay cuts for the entire public sector. The lead story in the newspapers that day concerned the epidemic of recession-related suicides.

Given this, the first and simplest question people ask is whether any of this is necessary. The short answer, from pretty much every economically literate person in the world, is yes. In the years building up to the crash, the government had accumulated a structural deficit, in other words a permanent gap, every year, between the money it was raising in tax and the money it was spending. (A word about the distinction between deficit and debt. The best description of a deficit is the one given by Dickens’s character Mr Micawber: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” When your annual income is less than your expenditure, you have an annual deficit. Some commentators on the right have argued that the word deficit should be replaced by the more politically charged word “overspend”.

In Micawber’s example, the deficit is sixpence; in the case of the UK, it is £159.2bn – but the principle is the same. As for the debt, it’s nothing more than the sum total of all the deficits accumulated over time.) The structural gap was going to have to be fixed at some point. It was as if the government had gradually and steadily dug a hole that would one day, for sure, need filling. The ideal thing would have been for the government to allow the economy to grow without taking a bigger proportion of it, so the proportion of public spending would gradually, and as it were naturally, shrink. Instead, what happened was the credit crunch, causing a brutal contraction in the economy of 6.9%, the worst and longest decline since the great crash of the 1930s. In other words, having slowly dug itself down to the bottom of a hole, the entire economy then fell into a crevasse.

The upshot of that is that the government’s finances did the splits: the tax take collapsed just as welfare spending shot upwards. This meant that instead of a gradual rebalancing, the government is having to institute a difficult process of cutting to restore the public finances.

In the shorter term, however, the people who had to be placated were the international debt markets. If a government needs to borrow £150bn to meet this year’s bills – which our government does – then it has to look like the kind of government that is going to take the repayment of its debts and the value of its currency super-seriously. If it doesn’t, then lenders will be reluctant to lend to it and will express their reluctance in the traditional market manner by charging it more to borrow money. That can easily lead to a kind of death spiral, in which the government is borrowing more and more to pay back money it has expensively borrowed. It is to avoid this spiral that all the parties were talking the language of cuts – so far, it has to be said, successfully, since the government’s cost of borrowing has not gone up. (We’ll never know if that would have been the same in the event of a Labour victory.)

The necessity for at least some cuts is increased by the fact that the costs of administering the welfare state, especially health and pensions, are set to rise extremely sharply in the decades ahead. We are getting older: the average age of Britons is 39.9, the highest it has ever been, and it is set to rise.

...The new coalition government’s way of dealing with this was initially surprising. They basically said, “Aarhus! You’re all going to die!” They announced cuts of 25% in all “unprotected” departments – ie all departments other than health and overseas aid. Unprotected departments were told to prepare cuts all the way up to a “worst-case” level of 40%. What does that mean? Well, as Rowena Crawford of the Institute for Fiscal Studies pointed out some time ago, “For the ministry of defence, an 18% cut means something on the scale of no longer employing the army.” No spending at all on roads, and closing the majority of courts – that’s the kind of thing we were being asked to envisage. Cuts at these levels are unprecedented and far, far exceed anything Margaret Thatcher achieved. Labour had already announced £52bn of cuts to come by 2013-14; the new coalition added another £30bn on top. No government has ever achieved anything like that reduction in public spending. To put it in perspective, since 1950 there have been only two periods during which public spending was cut for two years in a row. The coalition is proposing to cut it for six consecutive years. This, it seems to me, beggars belief, and I at first struggled to understand why any government would so publicly set out to do something so plainly impossible. The stated target of shrinking the state below 40% of GDP is yet another point on which the coalition is planning to go far beyond the Thatcher government. Why? Who voted for that?

The explanation, I think, is that the coalition – which, in practice, in this instance, means the Tory party – is attempting to create what political winks call an “inflection point”. They want to make a fundamental change of direction in British politics. There have been two of these in the last decades, the first of them Thatcher’s election in 1979 and the second Tony Blair’s in 1997. The election of 2010 wasn’t an inflection point, not least because it didn’t produce a majority government. So the Tories put into effect what was obviously a plan to create their own inflection point through Osborne’s emergency budget. The idea, I think, is to change the British political ecology. Public sector workers, in particular, are supposed to be scared into malleability. The idea is that instead of being grumpy that some of them have lost their jobs, everybody who is still in work will instead be grateful, relieved and suitably cowed. It will be a change in direction for the British state, and will give a clear way forward for the Conservative party as it returns to its traditional identity as the party of the smaller state. “If they can’t do it now,” a Tory friend told me, “when can they do it?” In other words, there will never be a more opportune moment for the party to set out its stall to cut spending. Hence the tearing-off-the-arm eagerness to seize the opportunity.

So the politics of this makes a depressing kind of sense, from a rightwing perspective. What is much less clear is whether the economics of the cutting makes as much sense. Cuts were coming whoever won the election, and the £52bn of Labour cuts would have been agonisingly painful. During the contest to be leader of the Labour party, Ed Balls became the first senior Labour figure to say that he thought the cuts implicit in Labour’s plans went too far – and that is certainly a valid point of view. Balls’ argument is that the cuts make it harder for the economy to begin growing its way out of recession. The coalition’s extra cuts seem to raise that possibility to dangerously high levels. Neutral observers do agree that some cuts are needed, but they increasingly don’t agree about the level of them. Bear in mind that at the June meeting in Canada of the G20 – that’s the world’s 20 biggest economies – a general commitment was made to halve all deficits by 2013, and to “stabilise” debt by 2016. That means that every government in the world is simultaneously trying to tighten their belts. So where is the demand going to come from to restart growth in these big economies? If everyone is cutting up their credit cards, where will growth come from? It’s supposed to be a “production-led” recovery, not like the consumer-led boom we’ve just lived through. Fair enough, as an idea, but production-led recoveries still need someone to buy the stuff you produce. In this vision of a global war on debt and deficit, it’s not clear who the prospective buyers are.

Some observers have said that the prospect of a global austerity drive reminds them of the mistakes that turned the great crash of 1929 into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Governments, instead of stimulating their economies with spending designed to create employment – the policies advocated by Keynes – instead tried to belt-tighten their way out of trouble by behaving as if they were households with a cash flow problem. But the analogy between household and whole economies is imperfect, as subsequent events clearly showed. A coordinated global slowdown in government spending might turn out to be exactly the last thing we all need.

Put all this together, and the unfortunate fact is becoming unmissably clear: the consequences of the credit crunch are going to fall far more heavily on the innocent than on the guilty. A lot of people who did nothing wrong and who are entirely blameless in the credit crunch are going to lose their jobs. The current estimate for public sector job losses to come is 600,000, in addition to the 750,000 (mainly) private sector workers who have lost their jobs already. “Tell us what we did wrong” – I heard the wife of a laid-off firefighter asking that question, and not getting an answer. She is not going to be the last person to ask it. Research is already showing that the people disproportionately targeted by the cuts will be the poor, especially poor women. As this fact becomes not an idea but a reality – as we move into Act Three – it seems highly likely that the basic unfairness of this is going to become more and more evident, and more and more rankling. For the bankers, business is more or less back to usual; in fact, for the remaining banks, business is as good as it has ever been. Since the public sees the bankers as being the people responsible for the credit crunch, and since the credit crunch caused the recession that in turn caused the cuts, there is a brutal contrast here: the guilty parties doing better than ever, the innocent taking all the pain. Again: did anyone vote for that? Does anyone think it is the kind of society we want to be?

A strongly negative trend in British life over the last 30 years, and one that unfortunately continued during Labour’s tenure in office, was the increasingly sharp division between winners and losers. That tendency is set to become even more marked. We are heading back to the bitterly divided politics of the late 1970s and early 1980s, except with our newly sky-rocketed levels of inequality. So 20 October is going to be a hugely important day for Britain. I have in the past predicted anger, as the consequences of the recession for public spending become clear; I think the process of expressing that anger has barely begun.

The cuts and reduction of the deficit are only “necessary” within the assumptions that capitalism is going to continue and is the only possible way to run the world – which is the assumption tacitly made by all the reformists and fake-“lefts”, and used to disarm and mislead the working class.

But it is precisely the watershed transformatory moves being made by the ruling class, which are identified here (if not fully grasped in their historical significance) as an “inflection point”, which should be the guide. Nothing can remain the same now, or be brought back.

A dialectical logic of increasing contradiction will push the urgent need for a revolutionary resolution of the increasingly out of time capitalist tyranny and anarchic exploitation, closer to the surface.

Battles to “resist” will provoke an increasingly violent and fascist dictatorial response from the ruling class which has no intention of giving ground and will be driven all the way in its ruthless intention and arrogant assumption of its “right” to continue its life of privilege and domination for all time, however far down it has to force the working class.

That it has hesitated for so long is because of its fears and worries of the revolutionary upsurge of the working class, and particularly the enormous and historically inspiring victories and gains of the Russian Revolution, and the great wave of revolutions and anti-colonialism post-WW2, after the great Depression.

But the crisis has broken.

The working class needs to think through and reject all the old reformist lies, the foul anti-communism fed to it constantly (including by the poisonous Trot pretend revolutionaries) and the soft headed peaceful road and Parliamentary way delusions of the Revisionists, built from the philosophical retreats from revolution from Stalin onwards, and its eventual liquidation of the Soviet Union.

Leninism is the urgent need and the building of a scientific socialist party and leadership.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

The shamelessness of the United States government prison regime


ONE out of every four prisoners in the world is in a U.S. penitentiary. The composition of these prisoners is profoundly racist: one out of every 15 black adults is incarcerated; one out of every 9 is aged 20-34 years; and one out of every 36 Hispanics. Two-thirds of those serving life sentences are African Americans or Latinos, and in the case of New York state, only 16.3% of prisoners are white.

Every year, 7,000 people die in U.S. prisons, many of them murdered or suicides.

For example, U.S. prison guards routinely use Taser guns on prisoners. According to a recent report, 230 U.S. citizens have died as a result of the use of these weapons since 2001. The report refers to the case of a county jail in Garfield, Colorado, accused of regularly using Taser guns and pepper spray on prisoners, and then tying them to chairs in extreme positions for hours at a time.

It was recently reported that 72 people have died in the last five years in immigrant detention centers.

Cattle prods and other barbaric methods are used in the brutalised and overcrowded prisons of the USA report released by the U.S. Justice Department during W. Bush’s final term in office said that 22,480 prisoners in state and federal penitentiaries were HIV positive or aids patients, and an estimated 176 state and 27 federal prisoners died from aids-related causes. For example, a September 20, 2007 article in the Los Angeles Times reported that 426 cases of death were recorded in California prisons in 2006 as stemming from belated medical treatment. Eighteen of these deaths were considered “preventable” and 48 others as “possibly preventable.” A 41-year-old diabetic patient, Rodolfo Ramos, died after having been left abandoned and covered in his own feces for one week. Prison officials did not provide him with medical treatment even though they were aware of his condition.

In at least 40 of the country’s 50 states, courts treat juveniles of 14 to 18 years old like adults. About 200,000 minors in the United States are subjected to trials in courts for adults, even though it has been demonstrated that this proceeding is wrong.

Juveniles in 13 juvenile detention centers in the United States suffer from high rates of sexual abuse, and an average of one out of every three incarcerated minors report being attacked.

Approximately 283,000 prisoners are mentally ill, four times the number of patients in psychiatric hospitals.

In U.S. state and federal prisons, 4.5% of prisoners have suffered one or more sexual attack, and 2.9% report having suffered incidents involving prison staff. In addition, 0.5% reported having been sexually assaulted both by other prisoners and by prison staff.

Physical, direct forms of brutal treatment and torture of prisoners are endemic to U.S. prisons. A British film released a few years ago, Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons, features footage from prison, security cameras in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, in which guards can be seen severely beating prisoners - even killing some - and using Taser guns and electric prods, attack dogs, chemical sprays and dangerous paralyzing devices.

However, the most harmful effect of this prolonged isolation is that the mental abuse of prisoners affects them alarmingly. Many prisoners go crazy (if they weren’t already mentally ill), or commit suicide, as a result of this inhuman punishment. They are in restricted segregated units, and many of them are also in isolation - but the government does not release that information. The majority of prisoners in the United States who are in isolation have been so for more than five years. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

The Ballymurphy massacre

The children speak out

‘The Ballymurphy massacre is the name given to the murderous rampage in the 36 hours after the introduction of internment in August 1971 when 11 civilians - 10 men, including a local priest, and a mother of eight children - were killed by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment. The same regiment went on less than six months later to gun down 14 civil rights marchers in Derry City on Bloody Sunday.

Was the Parachute Regiment given a licence to kill?

Fifty-four children lost a parent as a result of the Ballymurphy Massacre

To mark the 39th anniversary, Laura Friel spoke to three of the children of victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre. They give an insight into what they have had to live with for almost 40 years and the questions that still need to be answered by the Parachute Regiment, the British Army and the British state. Will they ever see justice?

Briege Voyle - daughter of Joan Connelly

Briege was 14 when her mother. Joan Connolly, was shot dead by British paratroopers. Joan had been looking for two of her daughters on the night she was killed.

Joan had warned her daughter not to go near Springfield Park because “loyalists would shoot you but not the [British) army”. Joan’s eldest daughter was married to a British soldier and Joan had a pass to visit her son-in-law at his barracks.

”I went down to the house and my daddy was there but my other sister wasn’t back and neither was my mummy. An hour later my sister - she was only 12 - came,into the house. We all waited but my mummy never returned home.

As soon as it was light, my eldest sister went around all the centres to see if my mummy was there. She came back crying, she couldn’t find her.

My daddy went to a neighbour’s house and used their telephone to ring the hospital. He asked if a woman with red hair had been admitted and they said, ‘Yes, but she’s in the morgue.’ That’s how my daddy found out.

Our neighbour went with my father to identify my mummy and then they came back home and told us. As you can imagine with six girls and two boys, eight children and the youngest only three, the house was in uproar.”

The youngest children, my sister and I were taken to a refugee camp over the border.

We were in Waterford when a rte news bulletin came on the television and that’s how we learned my mummy had been buried that day. It was like a nightmare. We couldn’t grasp it. We stayed with relatives but cried to go home. We imagined home would be like it always had been but it wasn’t. It was an empty shell without my mummy.

We had already been through a terrible ordeal but it didn’t stop there. The paratroopers continued to torture us. They used to sing ‘Where’s your mama gone?’ outside our door and you couldn’t walk down the street without them taunting you. We were all so terrified.

The soldiers deliberately targeted the families of those who had been killed. But we all tried to get on with life. I went to school with Mr Teggart’s daughter and John Laverty’s sister - the three of us in the same classroom but we never spoke about it: no one spoke about it.

My mummy was standing talking when the soldiers came out of Henry Taggart Fort and opened up.

She managed to nan away but when she heard a young man crying, she left her place of safety. Witnesses heard her say, ‘Don’t cry, son. you’ll be alright. I’m coming to help you.’ She was wearing a skirt, she had a mop of red hair and it was still light but some of the soldiers who shot my mummy claimed they didn’t realise they’d shot a woman.

She took the first shot to the side of her head and she was heard to cry out that she was blind and couldn’t see. Three sisters in a nearby house saw her wandering confused around the field. They knocked the window to tell her to come into the house but when she turned around they saw half of her face was gone.

The autopsy report said if she had been brought to hospital after the first shot my mummy would have survived. But she was repeatedly shot and then left to bleed to death.

The coroner’s report says my mummy was shot, once or twice, in the head, she was shot in the shoulder and the same round came out through her hand and she had multiple wounds at the top of her thigh.

Six soldiers made statements regarding my mummy. Three claimed responsibility for her death. All their accounts contradicted each other. One said he was shooting at someone firing at him from a roof; another at someone crawling in the grass firing at him with a rifle; another says it was a machine gun.

One soldier admitted firing then exchanging guns with another soldier and firing again. I don’t know much about the army but, to me, when a soldier is issued a gun, that’s his and nobody else uses it. It was as if they were trying out different weapons -it was like a sport to them.

If these paratroopers had been held to account there never would have been a Bloody Sunday, or Springhill But they never were. They were given immunity; they gave themselves immunity. My mummy wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s where we lived. You could see where my mummy was murdered from our back window.

Janet Donnelly - daughter of Joseph Murphy

Janet Donnelly was only 8 years old when her father, Joseph Murphy, was shot and brutalised by British paratroopers.

Joseph Murphy was shot by paratroopers who came out of Henry Taggart Fort. A neighbour came to tell Mrs Murphy her husband had been shot. “But don’t worry, he has only been shot in the leg,” he’d said.

My daddy was out with his cousin, Dessie, and both of them were looking for their children.

They were outside the Henry Taggart when soldiers came out through the gates and started firing. The two of them ran for cover but my father was hit. He shouted out. “Dessie, I’m hit in the leg!” My father was shot on August 9th but he didn’t die until the 22nd. He was able to tell my mummy what happened.

My daddy said the British Army came into the field in an armoured personnel carrier and lifted the dead and wounded and flung them in the back of the vehicle - alive and dead just thrown together. They were driven to Henry Taggart and inside the fort they were brutalised even further.

My daddy said they treated the dead as badly as the living, jumping and kicking the bodies. He was taken to a room and the soldiers came in and gave him and others the severest of beatings They fired rubber bullets into my daddy’s open wound, kicked and booted him for hours. There were beds in the room and soldiers jumped off the beds onto the bodies of the dead and living.

My daddy was eventually brought to the hospital and placed under armed guard. Only my mother and other relatives were allowed to see him. That’s when he told my mother what had happened. My daddy had been so badly beaten that the surgeons were afraid to operate on his leg. The doctors told my mother he had a lot more injuries than a gunshot wound.

Within a week his organs were failing and he was being taken for dialysis when a main artery in his leg burst. The leg was amputated on August 20th. My daddy never regained consciousness and died on the 22nd.

My mother always said my daddy died of the beating he got in Henry Taggart and not the gunshot. As a child, 1 found that hard to accept and it always bothered me, I think that was the reason I wanted to find out exactly what happened and got involved with the families of other victims.

We found two men who had been taken to Henry Taggart but survived. One witness told us he had been pulled out of the field into the street by soldiers and shot four times before being taken to Henry Taggart. He said if you couldn’t walk you were trailed along two lines of soldiers who kicked and punched as you were brought through.

He said he was taken to a ?room where soldiers jumped off beds onto the bodies of the dead and wounded. He told me a soldier put the muzzle of a gun into his gunshot wound and tried to lift him up. This confirmed what my daddy had told my mother before he died.

John Teggart - son of Daniel Teggart

John’s father, Daniel Teggart, had been worried about his brother’s family, who lived close to where a 400-strong loyalist mob was attacking the homes of Catholic residents in Springfield Park, which runs onto Moyard Park where his brother lived.

“There had been a build-up of tension throughout the day. Hundreds of loyalists had gathered at Springmartin and everyone was worried there was going to be trouble. My father had asked his brother earlier in the day if he and his family wanted to stay with relatives but my uncle refused. Later that evening, my father decided to go and make sure that his brother’s family were okay. Gerard said they didn’t want to leave their home.

My father and uncle heard the first shots at Springmartin My father ran down to Henry Taggart and my uncle back into his house to make sure his family were alright. There was a lull in the shooting and my father met a group standing on wasteground outside Henry Taggart. He met Janet’s daddy, Joseph Murphy, and Briege’s mummy. Mrs Connolly, was also round about there.

When the Paras came out of the Henry Taggart it was only a distance of 30 to 40 yards. When the soldiers started shooting, everyone ran into the Manse field to take cover between two gateposts. The soldiers were firing indiscriminately.

One soldier was actually firing from the hip. Then there was a bit of a lull and some of those taking cover got up. Noel Philips and my daddy went to run towards Divismore.

Noel was shot first and one witness said my daddy had turned his head when he heard Noel cry out. As he turned, he was shot. My daddy fell down and lay on the ground. About 15 or 16 Paras have admitted they were shooting in that field at the time.

My father was in the field when he was repeatedly shot where he lay out in the open, defenceless. He was so close to the soldiers who shot him that the bullets passed right through his body. He was shot 14 times and eyewitnesses said his body jumped with every bullet that hit him.

My daddy was immobilised but they continued firing at him. It was as if it was target practice. There is evidence that soldiers were exchanging weapons. Most had SLR but one had a .303, which was passed on to an officer and he took a few shots. There was five .303 bullets fired as well. It was very close and a bright summer’s night, you don’t need a telescopic . 303 to hit someone less than 50 yards away.

About 20 minutes later, two soldiers and an officer with a handgun came into the field and began firing indiscriminately again. Noel Philips was lying wounded on the ground when the army officer walked over to Noel and executed him by shooting him behind the ear. There is evidence to confirm this.

Another man was also shot at point-blank range but he survived. He was dragged out into the street by soldiers and then shot four times.

He also spoke about the brutality inside Henry Taggart. He said he was taken into a room with bunk-beds and said soldiers jumped off the top bunk onto the injured.

He also said a naked body was thrown into the room and treated just the same. My daddy was the only one to arrive at the morgue stripped of all clothing.


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