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(en) Who remembers the workers? Wildcat AF/ASF (Ireland)

From AFIASF <afi_asf@yahoo.com>
Date Sat, 19 Oct 2002 06:30:04 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Who was it that said a week is a short time in politics?

For those of us used to the quagmire that is the ?peace process?, recent shenanigans in the north come as no surprise. How can it be otherwise when sectarianism itself, at
the heart of all this mess, is enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement itself? So the IRA has an ?alleged? spy ring in the Northern Ireland Office, (as if the UDA etc?were
never handed the odd document now and again!) and so, by extension, Sinn Fein can no longer be trusted. As a result, the Assembly will be suspended (to save it from
collapse), we?ll wait a few months, and then the merry-go-round will start again. 

Men in suits

But maybe not. In the last few years, the electoral politics of the north have shifted greatly. The anti-agreement DUP have steadily increased its share of the vote. Five
MPs in the last general election to the UUP?s six, while at a local level they have narrowed the gap on their Unionist rivals to just two percent (UUP 23%: DUP 21%). 

Meanwhile the pro-agreement PUP have also lost considerably ground to the DUP in recent months, and is unlikely to survive at all. Its own warped socialist rhetoric, a
direct result of growing social and economic deprivation in working class protestant areas, has not found a home with the Protestant working class. Nor have the revamped
Ulster Political Research Group (UDP that was) which will make as much an impact as its predecessor-strange when you consider UDA support in interface areas, but not
surprising if it continues to shed its more important members -the sun finally set on John White?s career in the group in the last few weeks. 

Meanwhile Sinn Fein, reinforced by increased membership in the Dail, have made, and will continue to make, headway into the SDLP?s share of the vote. After all, outside of
whether or not to sit on the new PSNI commission, there?s no real difference between the two parties, and when there?s little perceived difference on a party-political
level, personality and flair come to the fore. Suffice to say, Mark Durkin doesn?t have much of either. 

So what can we expect? -a polarisation of our communities yet again, but this time, perfectly reflected in the extremist politics of Sinn Fein and the DUP. And what has the
?peace process? done for us? Not a lot, but it?s been a bonanza for the Shinners and the Paisleyites . 

Men in balaclavas

But enough of the men in suits. What about the men in balaclavas? The UVF have lost ground to the UDA in the territorial scramble for influence in interface areas. The
UDA/UFF itself has had a busy few weeks in the news. A bout of tit-for-tat shooting with the LVF has led to a bitter division in the ranks of the inner council, with Johnny
Adair being ejected from the organisation because of his close links with the mid-Ulster group. And then you have the IRA, and ?decommissioning?, and you begin to wonder
what you would do if you actually organised things for yourself, took control of your own life. 

And the workers?

Apart from anything else, you mightn?t be on the dole now. Hidden away in the media on the day the Assembly tottered was the apparently less important news of more
redundancies at Harland and Wolff. But why should now be any different than before? Once again, the real problems that face us -i.e. having a wee bit of money jangling
around your pocket when you go down to the local supermarket on a Saturday afternoon -are swept aside because of the ?bigger picture?. 

265 workers lost their jobs at H&W this month reducing the workforce to 121. Since being privatised in 1989, the company has been on a slippery slope. The only people not
affected by the latest redundancies are the ship designers and naval architects who will no doubt find a home working their way through the new MOD contract H&W are taking
on after January 2003. H&W?s troubles are a result of the same globalisation patterns that have shaped the world?s economy for decades now. Their parent company, Olsen
Energy, based in Norway has no interest in what happens to one of its subsidiaries. From their own lips?

"When market forces were more conducive, it will pursue marine and offshore contracts when they are compatible with the resources of the company." 

So that?s that. And this is the same economic agenda that both the DUP and Sinn Fein push. You see there are some things they do agree on.

As anarchists, the Anarchist Federation and Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation propose an anarchist alternative to Stormont, direct (London) rule or Dublin rule, one based on
you, me and the woman next door having confidence in our own abilities, taking direct control over our own lives at a local level, and ridding ourselves of the parasites in
power. Let?s face it. You couldn?t make a bigger hash of it than our so-called politicians.

>From the bulletin 'Wildcat', a joint initiative by the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation and the Anarchist Federation (Ireland). To comment on any of the articles in this bulletin, email the AF and ASF at: afi_asf@yahoo.com

AF(Ireland) -http://www.afireland.cjb.net    contact@afireland.cjb.net

ASF- anarcho_syndicalist_federation@hotmail.com

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