Dé Sathairn, Iúil 30, 2011

 International Brigades Remembered on 75th Anniversary of Spanish Civil War
It was standing room only as almost 200 people packed into the hall of the Teachers’ Club in Dublin on Friday 15 July to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War.
On 18 July 1936 General Franco, supported by the Catholic Church and wealthy landowners, led a fascist revolt against the left-wing Popular Front government. Backed domestically by powerful institutions, Franco was also supported by the international fascist states of Germany and Italy.
Support for the Spanish Republic came from thousands of volunteers who joined the International Brigades, including over 200 from Ireland who joined the international fight against fascism. The éirígí-organised event celebrated the role of the International Brigades, remembering their sacrifice and honouring their struggle.
The meeting was opened by éirígí’s Siobhán Curran who commenced proceedings with a quote from Dolores Ibárruri’s farewell tribute to the International Brigades as they departed Barcelona in 1938:
“For the first time in the history of the peoples’ struggles, there was the spectacle, breath-taking in its grandeur, of the formation of International Brigades to help save a threatened country’s freedom and independence… Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Republicans – men of different colors, differing ideology, antagonistic religions – yet all profoundly loving liberty and justice, they came and offered themselves to us unconditionally…
“Comrades of the International Brigades! Political reasons, reasons of state, the welfare of that very cause for which you offered your blood with boundless generosity, are sending you back, some to your own countries and others to forced exile. You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of democracy's solidarity and universality in the face of the vile and accommodating spirit of those who interpret democratic principles with their eyes on hoards of wealth or corporate shares which they want to safeguard from all risk. We shall not forget you; and, when the olive tree of peace is in flower, entwined with the victory laurels of the Republic of Spain – return!”
The meeting was addressed by historians Emmet O’Connor, author of Reds and the Green, a fascinating insight into the role of the Communist International in its attempt to establish an Irish communist party in the early decades of the twentieth century, and Harry Owens, who co-authored Brigadista with the late Bob Doyle. Both men provided fascinating accounts of the political conditions in both Ireland and the Spanish state in the mid-1930s. Emmet focused on conditions in Ireland and the profile of the Irish who joined the International Brigades while Harry Owens detailed the political situation in Spain and how the war progressed.
The meeting also heard an account of the very full life of Frank Ryan by éirígí members Ursula Ní Shionnain and Joe Keegan. Delivered in both Irish and English, the two éirígí member outlined his life as IRA volunteer, Irish language activist, radical journalist and socialist republican leader who led approximately 80 Irish volunteers as part of the Connolly Column, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of democracy. Ryan was a founding member of the Republican Congress, many of whose members joined the International Brigades.
Prior to their departure to Spain, Ryan outlined the reason why they were travelling –“It aims to redeem Irish honour besmirched by the intervention of Irish fascism on the side of Spanish fascist rebels. It is to aid the revolutionary movements in Ireland to defeat the fascist menace at home, and finally, and not the least, to establish fraternal bonds of kinship between the Republican democracies of Ireland and Spain.”
Those fraternal bonds remain strong and several dozen people from various parts of the Spanish state joined Irish republicans, socialists, anarchists, communists and anti-fascist activists on an evening that proved to be a fitting tribute to the memory of the International Brigades and the struggle against fascism.

Dé Céadaoin, Iúil 27, 2011

Minihan Slams ‘Bank Welfare Tax’ and Calls for Campaign of Non-Payment
Louise Minihan
éirígí Cllr Louise Minihan
éirígí Dublin City councillor Louise Minihan has slammed the new Twenty-Six County household tax and called on people to join a mass campaign of non-payment.
Speaking from her Ballyfermot constituency this morning, Minihan said: “Yesterday, the Dublin government confirmed its intention to introduce another regressive tax, which will once again hit working families the hardest. Instead of calling it a household charge, the Dublin government should come clean and call it a Bank Welfare Tax because that is exactly what it is.
“In any normal society, taxation is used as a means to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor but, in this state, it does the direct opposite. Millions of people are being forced to endure very real hardship to fund a welfare system for the private banks. This generation and generations to come are being asked to pay hundreds of billions of euro of debt to protect the golden circle that has ruled the Twenty-Six Counties since the foundation of the state.”
Highlighting the unfair nature of the new household tax, Minihan added: “Phil Hogan’s new tax is being introduced at a flat rate, regardless of the financial status of a household or the value of the property in question. So a low-income family in Ballyfermot will be expected to pay the same amount as a millionaire banker living on Shrewsbury Road. Then, the revenue raised will be used to fund an unjust bailout of the private banks. Everything about this tax is unfair and unjust.
“The household tax, along with the other austerity measures that are being foisted upon us, will further widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this state. A just and stable society cannot be built upon such fundamental injustice and inequality.”
Encouraging people to refuse to pay the new household tax, Minihan said: “We in éirígí are encouraging people to resist the new household tax. The people of Greece have shown that organised mass resistance can produce results. We in Ireland need to take our lead from them and get onto the streets to challenge those who think they can impose endless austerity measures without sanction or resistance from the people.
“Unlike the previous tax hikes or cuts to public services, people have a very effective means of resisting this new tax – they can refuse to pay it. If sufficient numbers of people join the campaign of non-payment, the Dublin government will have no choice but to scrap the whole idea. Over the next few months, éirígí will be working with other progressive groups and within working class communities to build a mass campaign of non-payment of this tax.”

Dé hAoine, Iúil 15, 2011

Wicklow Says No to Water Tax


On Wednesday [July 6] éirígí activists from Wicklow staged a “No to Water Tax”demonstration at the Father Murphy 1798 remembrance statue at the Parade Ground, Arklow.

No Water TaxThe protest coincided with the visit to Ireland of the ‘Terrible Troika’, which is made up of officials from the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank [ECB]. The troika arrived in their capacity as dodgy money lenders and to spearhead more cuts to public services. They are also here to push ahead with more austerity measures such as domestic water charges, taxes on homes and to implement around €4 billion [£3.6 billion] in severe cuts in the next Twenty-Six County budget in December.
Speaking after the demonstration, éirígí Cill Mhantáin activist Adrian O'Reilly said, “éirígí will be upping the pressure on the FG/Labour 26-County government on a ‘No to water and home taxes’ platform as the communities across Wicklow are being asked to continue to pay for the greed of bankers, developers and foolish politicians.”
Adrian continued by stating, “The protesters received enthusiastic support at Wednesday evening’s protest. Many people complained about the promises that were made and then rolled back on, and the policy U-turns that this government has made. A lot of working people highlighted the fact that the USC [universal social charge] is crippling their households, while others called for a decent chance of employment and to get off the depressing 400,000 lined dole queues.
“éirígí will continue to organise with the local communities in County Wicklow and further afield to fight against the Troika of the IMF, EU and the ECB, and the Thatcherite poll taxes they and their lap-dogs in FG/Labour will try to implement.
“What we need to see is all strands of our community step together in a ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ campaign. These stealth taxes affect all walks of life and what is clear is that the working and unemployed people in Wicklow are being placed on the rack yet again while the rich 1-per-cent elite get away scot free.”
Adrian concluded, “It must be continually stated that 1 per cent of the population of the Twenty-Six Counties control up to 40 per cent of the wealth. These leeches swan about in top of the range cars and new helicopters while the majority of the Irish people are forced to bail out the rich elite’s business partners and friends. The time to get organised and to act is now.”

Dé Máirt, Iúil 12, 2011

 Newry Protest Against Harassment
Once again republicans have been forced to take to the streets to stand up against MI5/PSNI harassment in Newry.
Over 70 people took part in the July 2nd protest at Ardmore PSNI barracks in Newry, in direct response to a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation directed towards republicans in the area by the PSNI.
The protesters were met with a large presence of PSNI thugs in several cars, armoured landrovers and on foot around the barracks, obviously fearful of éirígí’s intentions. For the duration of the protest the PSNI videoed and recorded everyone, including children, some of whom were stopped and searched last weekend.
Protest against MI5/PSNI harassment
Speaking at the protest éirígí’s Stephen Murney thanked all those who attended.
“Just a few months ago we were forced to come to this barracks to protest against harassment, now here were are again with double the numbers. At a time when people are being persecuted by the PSNI and MI5 it’s heartening to see so many people, young and old coming here to confront the thugs responsible for harassing them. Last week we announced that we would intensify our Different Name, Same Aim campaign, this protest is only the start of things to come,” Murney said.
The main speaker at the protest was rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith.
Breandán Mac Cionnaith addresses the protest
In his speech Breandán highlighted the unchanged nature of the force.
“In November 2001, amid much fanfare, the British government re-branded the discredited Royal Ulster Constabulary with a new name. And with that new name, the occupying power promised ‘a new beginning’ to policing in the Six Counties.
“Almost a decade later, it is now abundantly clear that, instead of delivering a ‘new beginning’, the PSNI has simply continued with the same failed anti-working class and anti-republican agenda of the RUC and Royal Irish Constabulary before them. The lie of ‘community-based’ policing has been exposed by the reality of increased draconian legislation, harassment and brutality,” he said.
Protest against MI5/PSNI harassment
Mac Cionnaith continued, “éirígí activists in Newry are no strangers to Crown Force harassment. Our activists, along with other republicans are being stopped under the draconian British Justice and Security Act. It’s clear that our activists and supporters in the area are being singled out for special treatment because of their political activities.
“The PSNI are only proving by their own actions that they are an unchanged, unaccountable paramilitary force. The PSNI remains a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British occupation.
“No amount of PSNI harassment, in Newry or anywhere else, will prevent éirígí activists from continuing the work of rebuilding the republican struggle.”
Breandán concluded, “Despite what those constitutional nationalist parties who sit in Stormont may claim, that move has neither affected the function or the form of the PSNI. Nor has it placed manners on them, as one prominent apologist for British policing once claimed.
“The PSNI remains a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British state. Like police forces across the capitalist world its primary aim remains the protection of the state and the protection of the interests of the ruling class; interests which run in direct contradiction to the interests of the working class and of republicans.”
Republican Newry will be seeing a lot more actions in the coming weeks and months and we urge all those who oppose British policing to join us in our struggle.

Dé Sathairn, Iúil 02, 2011

Coolock Says No Water Tax
The No Water Tax campaign message was brought to the streets of Coolock last Saturday [June 25] as local éirígí activists gathered at Northside shopping centre to distribute leaflets and collect signatures for a petition against the tax.
There was a hugely positive response to the idea of building a local campaign against the proposed water and home taxes. Almost 300 people signed the petition, with many pledging that they could not and would not pay the tax.
Activists met a well of anger as local people expressed both their disgust and dismay at once again being asked to pay for the gambling debts of bankers and developers. There was strong opposition to the idea that households should be charged for their water supply and a determination amongst many not to pay this unjust tax.
One local woman contrasted the fact that bankers had got away scot free while ordinary people picked up the tab and were being burdened with job losses, pay cuts, extra taxes, and cuts to public services. Another compared the proposed new taxes with the poll tax in Britain, which hastened the end of the Thatcher’s rein of power in the early 1990s, while many remarked somewhat caustically that “they’ll be charging us for the air we breathe next”!
Speaking afterwards, Ciarán Heaphey, cathaoirleach of the local éirígí ciorcal, said, “Today marked the launch of our local campaign against the water and home taxes. Over the coming weeks and months we intend working with the local community here in Coolock to build a solid campaign of opposition to these unjust taxes.”
He continued, “Many of the people we met today rightly posed the question “why are we being asked yet again to pay for the greed of bankers and developers?” During the course of this recession hundreds of local people have lost their jobs, while those in work have been forced to pay additional taxes, including the punitive Universal Social Charge. At the same time local services are being run down or closed. This crisis is not of our making and we cannot and should not be paying for it.”

Concluding Ciarán Heaphey commented on building a campaign of opposition, “If the parasites of the IMF/EU/ECB think they can continue to suck the life out of proud working class communities such as those in Coolock, to pay the gambling debts of bankers and developers, they are gravely mistaken. Today we met hundreds of local people who expressed their determination to fight the imposition of these unjust taxes. This is tremendously encouraging as the process of building the No Water Tax campaign commences. The local éirígí ciorcál here in Coolock intends playing an active role with both the local community and our colleagues in the No Water Tax campaign in building a vigourous campaign of opposition to these unjust taxes.”