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(en) Ireland, Working Class Resistance - 1994 PIRA Ceasefire 10 Years On

From Organise Ireland <organiseireland@yahoo.ie>
Date Sun, 19 Sep 2004 14:05:52 +0200 (CEST)

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The recent tenth anniversary of the 1994 PIRA cease-fire marked
what can only be described as a turning point for the republican
movement and Northern Irish politics. While dissident republicans
marked the anniversary in a manner which leaves no doubt as to
their disdain for the political direction of Sinn Fein and the
majority of the republican movement, we must remember that this
cease-fire has not seen a complete ‘cessation of hostilities’
in the north nor the demilitarisation which many working class
people, including Organise!, had hoped would accompany the
‘peace process’.

In fact the 1994 cease-fire was to last only 527 days.
It was broken at one minute past seven on the night of
Friday 9th February 1996 with the detonation of a
massive bomb that claimed the lives of two
working-class Londoners Inan Bashir and John Jeffries.
While a return to violence on the sort we were used to
in the past is unlikely more recent Loyalist murders
have seen, as the breaking of the 1994 cease-fire,
thousands of working-class people take to the streets
to demand an end to the killings.

A new era has been opened up in one sense but in
another sense there is a very real war continuing to
be waged in the north. As well as worsened sectarian
division and tension in our society working class
people are on the receiving end of an onslaught that
fully deserves the description of class war. Job
losses, increased casualisation and insecurity,
running down of public services, running down of
social housing, increased homelessness, privatisation,
cut backs, the scourge of low pay. Child-care is still
limited for those who can’t afford it, many of us are
forced into ‘grey economy’ or low paid jobs. Increased
charges, rates, water tax, increases in the cost of
living, and a bigger gap in earnings are ensuring the
rich continue to get richer while the poor get poorer.
A working class lad from the Shankill only has a 1.8%
chance of getting into higher education. And this has
often deadly consequences: from shipyard and other
workers dead, dying and yet to be diagnosed with
asbestos caused cancers, to building workers who die
year on year due to lax health and safety on site –
those of us killed in pursuit of a wage can rest
assured that what ever the circumstances the boss will
not face a murder rap and our families will be lucky
to get a pittance of ‘compensation’.

The current era is witness to a global assault on the
working class. Across the west the gains working class
people have made over decades are being stripped away.
As we’ve pointed out before the ‘peace dividend’ has
been an illusion for the majority of people. The 2003
report ‘bare necessities’ found poverty to be higher
in the north than the Republic of Ireland or Britain –
over half a million are living in poverty, that
includes over one third of our children. 64% of the
population have an income below the national average
while those in the top four income groups, a tiny
minority, possess 67% of total household income! The
cost of living in the north is higher, there is
greater poverty and wages are 22% lower. This needs to
be pointed out over and over again until we are all
aware what the real – common - issues facing working
class people are. These facts need to be screamed out
until they are eradicated along with the system that
spawned them.

Sinn Fein, and the DUP, may be enjoying a new era of
electoral success with the prospect of power and the
money to go with it hanging tantalisingly before them
should they reach an agreement – but what of it? None
of our politicians are really interested in fighting a
class war. For too long we’ve allowed ourselves to be
divided on the ‘constitutional’ issue of which state
governs us while we are ground further into the dirt
by capitalism. It is time to kick it all over, to rise
up against capitalism and all the rotten states on
these islands and across the globe. The bosses have
not, nor ever will, declare a cease-fire in the class
war – neither can we.


>From the pages of Working Class Resistance* #7, now
available in text and PDF format at:


To distribute in your area, contact Organise! at:


To receive WCR! in your inbox, send a blank email to:

* Of Organise! which is an Irish anarchist group

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