(en) Gerry Adams: a man you can do business with

Dr Groove (dr_groove@geocities.com)
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 11:39:55 +0000


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

This article is from the Irish Anarchist Paper =

Workers Solidarity, No 51 Summer 1997 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2724/anpubdx.html

Gerry Adams a man you can do business with

The latest meeting between the Confederation of British =

Industry (CBI) and the Sinn Fein leadership took place on =

March 25th. The CBI represents Britain's industrial parasites. =

Following the meeting, Bill Tosh of the Northern Ireland =

section of the CBI had this to say: "It (Sinn Fein) had a =

constructive role to play in economic regeneration." [1] =

Sinn Fein's Mitchell McLoughlin described the meeting as a =

"useful and constructive exchange" and added "Our =

discussions centred on a number of issues including the =

growth challenge, inward investment and unemployment" [2] =

Strange bedfellows for a party of, and which claims to =

represent, the working class. Does this mean that Sinn Fein =

now sees it's function as the attraction of multinational =

investment? Does the radical rhetoric of 'An =

Phoblacht/Republican News' mask a conservative reality? It =

would seem that so far this has nothing to do with the =

political expediency of the peace strategy. Whatever the Sinn =

Fein leadership and the CBI are constructing together it's not =

part of a path which leads to a united socialist Ireland.

United Ireland ?

The shaky alliances formed between Sinn Fein and American =

imperialists, green Tories and religious bigots under the =

banner of pan-nationalist consensus are justified by left-wing =

republicans on the basis that only after the birth of a united =

Ireland could working class solidarity across the sectarian =

divide develop. Why?

It is not as if the Protestant section of the working class =

constitute a privileged labour aristocracy sitting on top of the =

Catholics - material differences between Catholic and =

Protestant workers are marginal. Workers from both sides of =

the bosses' divide have come together around issues of =

common concern on countless occasions in the past; the 1919 =

Belfast engineering strike, the 1932 Belfast Unemployed riots, =

the 1980 half day general strike against cutbacks and =

unemployment, etc. Why should this not happen again in the =

future?

Furthermore there is no reason to suppose that Protestant =

workers subjected to a Catholic capitalist government from =

Dublin will have a sudden 'road to Damascus' style =

conversion to socialism. It is possible that Irish unity (on this =

basis) would only serve to entrench loyalism or even to =

launch a bloody civil war.

But, of course, a united Ireland is not even on the agenda, =

with every single D=E1il party in support of the unionist veto. It =

seems that the pan nationalist consensus includes many who =

aren't even Nationalists. Truth is, the Southern establishment =

wets itself at the thought of having to govern "the six =

counties". =

What will be on the agenda if Adams and Co. finally make it =

to the talks table is a few meaningless reforms - Irish street =

names, a cross border body in charge of tourism and another =

in charge of investment attraction; and, maybe, a devolved =

government with a power sharing agreement: Sunningdale =

MK II.

If peace is delivered Unionist and Nationalist politicians will =

be in competition over where the American or Japanese =

corporation builds its factory. If anything more substantial =

then a few crumbs off the master's table and the exploitation =

we're supposed to be thankful for are to be won, an anti- sectarian working class movement which unites Protestant =

and Catholics must be created. This is a task measured in years =

rather than months but then building with stone always took =

longer than building with sand.

Job Seekers Allowance

The strength of Unionism is testament to nothing more then =

the lack of a political challenge to it. If mainstream Sinn Fein =

had any commitment to the working class then it would not =

address itself exclusively to the concerns of the "nationalist =

community". For instance, one issue of common concern to =

both Protestant and Catholic workers is the Job Seekers =

Allowance (JSA). =

The JSA is the British government's new benefit scheme, in =

effect since October 1996, under which they plan to cut =A3410 =

million from their social security bill within two years. Under =

the JSA, the unemployed must prove that they are looking for =

work or accept a place on a training scheme, or they will lose =

their benefit. Benefit is also now means tested after 6 months =

rather than a year. The JSA is a general tightening of the =

screws aimed at pushing the unemployed into low wage =

employment and thereby reducing workers' wages.

Sinn Fein's contribution to the campaign against it has been a =

two page article in AP/RN and complaints to the Derry Social =

Security Agency over the wording of one of their JSA =

information leaflets! Given that the JSA aims at cheap labour =

and given that sectarian divisions weaken the working class =

and result in lower wages, and finally given that the Sinn Fein =

leadership's new pals include American bosses and the CBI =

whose only interest in Northern Ireland is cheap labour, =

should we be surprised when Sinn Fein do nothing about it?

Terry Dunne =

1 The Guardian, March 26th. Page 9

2 Ibid.

*****************

What's another (Irish) life?

An interesting letter to The (London) Times on April 7th may =

have escaped our readers' attention. Two very senior British =

Army officers suugested that British soldiers are in Ireland to =

shoot Irish people It was written by Generals Murray Naylor =

and David Scott-Barrett of the Scots Guards, the organisers of =

the campaign to free Scots Guards James Fisher and Mark =

Wright, who are serving a sentence for murdering an =

unarmed teenager from Belfast's New Lodge, Peter McBride.

Fisher and Wright "both acted in good faith, in pursuit of an =

operational policy laid down by the government" said the =

generals. "To be condemned to to an interminable period for =

carrying out orders seems to be grossly unfair." Peter McBride was shot in the back.

*****************

Northern Ireland tops list of scrooge bosses

Paddy Logue, a spokesperson for the Derry-based Campaign for =

Decent Wages, has called for renewed efforts to have a =

minimum wage established in Northern Ireland. Speaking at =

the AGM of the Campaign he pointed out that "It is a sad =

reflection of the depressed state of the local economy that the =

figure =A34.29p considered a minimum wage in London, would =

be considered generous by many local workers".

Paddy Logue's comments were reinforced by the publication of =

a report published by the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty =

Action Network entitled 'All Work and Low Pay: the case for a =

statutory minimum wage in Northern Ireland'. The report =

shows that one in four people in Northern Ireland stand to get =

a pay rise if a minimum wage is introduced. The report also =

shows that in Northern Ireland workers earn on average 20% =

less than their British counterpart even though some basic =

essentials, like electricity, cost more.

Indeed the report suggests that the north is significantly worse =

off than Britain in many respects. For example, 25% of =

Northern Ireland homes have an income of less than =A3125 a =

week compared to just over 20% in England. Weekly earnings =

for men and women are the lowest for any region of the UK.

------------------------------------------------ This article is from the Irish Anarchist Paper =

Workers Solidarity, No 51 Summer 1997

The whole issue and previous issues can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2724/anpubdx.html

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