The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Address given by IRSP Ard Comhairle Terry Harkin to Fringe Meeting of the Scottish Socialist Party

Terry Harkin • 10 May 2004

Comrades, let me first thank you for this invitation: It is an honour for us to be invited to address this meeting organised by the SRSP-one of the few socialist and republican groupings left who actually conform to standards legislation by meaning what they say on the packet. Let's face it; if we lived in a society governed by advertising standards there would be more than the British Labour Party in the dock for false advertising.

But, we don't, we live in a society where a governments only reason for being is to provide fodder for big business and novo-imperialism. Fodder to be used, exploited, exported, burnt out, degrade and tossed away.

Comrades we live in a world where, if governments do not provide that fodder cheaply enough then it's no problem, other fodder can easily be obtained from other governments who will willingly sell the children of their land into servitude for a pittance in tax such is their lack of pride.

India, one of the largest and naturally richest places on the face of the planet is reduced to selling it's children into sweat shops and call centres because it's natural resources have been systematically raped for centuries by colonial imperialists who retained their assets and paid little or no reparations on "disengagement".

South Africa, where the diamonds and gold under an ANC government should be the property of the people of South Africa. Yet we see the mines still in the hands of multinationals and the people of that nation still enslaved and still digging their own resources from their own land for strangers.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the story is much the same. Although in these nation states the novo imperialists have the decency to come with painted faces, Bull Pup's or M 16's at the ready. Here they come as mercenaries in the pay of high capitalism, resplendent in their traditional tribal garb.

In Ireland and Scotland we know these scenarios well, it is the way of the bully, the rule of the bigot and thief. It is the conquerors way and we too have drunk from this cup. We understand it, however what I can't understand is why? Why do we let it happen? Not you and I here today comrades, but we as a society. Why? The answer seems to be simple; we let it happen because it's easy to. It's easy (but not cheep) to dress your kid's in trendy brands even though you know for a fact they were put together for a pittance by children and other exploited workers in some far flung place you will never see and know the pain of.

So you're content to spend the equivalent of the average national wage on a top, jeans and trainers for just one of your kid's. It's easy to let your kid's spend your money on Westlife CD's even though you know that your putting money into the pockets of those who sold their birth write to sell records by endorsing little red paper flowers to remember with "pride" the fallen of an army that levelled large parts of their home town (in living memory) and who tied one of the greatest labor leaders of all time to a chair and shot him. Like I said before it's easy.

When I was young the brother of comrade Patsy O' Hara then on hunger strike once told me an undeniable truth during a conversation. He said "Just because you have a bit of carpet and a colour TV in your living room it doesn't mean that you're not being oppressed".

Things have changed of course, wooden floors, PC's, FST's and DVD's now festoon our living rooms but in essence we are more oppressed than ever and in our unwillingness as a society to grasp this nettle we oppress others. Who made your shirt? How much were they paid? How much did you pay? What was the profits margin? These are questions every one should be asking but only a few socialists are.

Lets extrapolate that to include the world and Irish questions, The Ronald Regan New World Order exploits of Tony and Bush jnr have reduced the world to a war zone in waiting. The hypocrisy used as a justification to get us to this point are as frightening as the situation it's self. It seems to work something like this. First Britain and the US sell you what they call WMD; you go off and use it for its intended use. Then, the UK and US invade your land and thieve your oil because you used the weapons they sold you. That's nice work if you can get it. It's true; it's cool to be Tony and Doublya. No one, not even the UN can stand against you. With the media moguls in your pocket (or is that you in their pay) you can say what you want and their hirelings will sanitise it and dumb it down or sex it up for a population devoid of the ability or will to question the obvious reality gaps.

In Ireland the same tactics are employed, no one questions the government and Pro Good Friday parties. No one seems able or willing to look beyond the hype coming from these groups they can't get passed worrying where the next pair of Reebok is coming from and that is the only thing that is keeping the GFA alive.

I mean come on, what is it for? Who does it serve and just why in the name of god are the American novo imperialists involved? I don't even pretend to know the answers to these questions but I do know this. It is not for the working class in Ireland North or South Prod or Taig. It is not the instrument of reunification it has been touted as. It has, copper fastened partition, enshrined in law sectarianism to a point never dreamed of by Carson and Craigavon at the formation of the Orange State. It has deprived the indigenous (and I do not use that word out of context) population of the North of what little cover offered by Articles II/III of the Republic's constitution. It serves no one other that the artificially planted Ascendancy and their artificial state. The reality gap on the loyalist side is very glaring in Ireland they can't decide what to worry more about their Britishness or the next pair of Nike's.

The English, as the Scot's and Irish know well have a decidedly funny take on democracy. First they invade you, killing as many as they can at the start to terrorise the others. Then they splash a bit of money about, buy who they can, kill or forcibly evict those they can't. Move their own people on to the land then call an election, blacken all those who stand against them terrorists and enemies of democracy. Sound familiar? Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever next. It's the English way, the American way, the Old Colonial and Novo Imperialist way. The beauty today is the same as it always been, because you own the media or it owns you, you get to regurgitate all the old lines and spoon feed them to the people in the sure belief that 90% will swallow it whole. Why, again I ask why? And this time I'm not talking about society I'm talking about us.

Comrades we are the other 10%, and we are shared, marginalised, compartmentalised and demonised. All by our own hand. Sectarianism, elitism and sheer inability to work with other groups and groupings within the left has handed victory to the enemies of the working class time and again.

At times like this I always remember my first encounter with the SWP some 20 years ago at Speakers Corner. It was a Bloody Sunday March that was just forming up to move off to Kilburn High Road. Back in those days the march went to Kilburn and the call was Troops Out and Self Determination for the Irish people. I miss the old days, but anyway. The NF attacked the march as it was forming up and comrades from Red Action and the Socialist Federation ran out to defend the crowd. It was then that the SWP chose to "slog anise" "hold the line" they said "chant slogans they shouted as 200 fascists advanced and two female comrades were beaten to a pulp in front of them. I left that day with a bitter, bitter hatred of all those on the left who stood on the sidelines and sloganeering and recruiting while a few comrades fought every one's fight just yards away.

Fast-forward to the eve of the first Gulf War and a meeting in Conway Mill in Belfast. Eamon Mc Cann, the SWP's Ireland guru is holding forth on how socialists should be supporting Sadam in the coming war. Come on Eamon, the guy gassed the Kurds who were involved at that time and still are involved in a legitimate liberation struggle of their own.

In the last few years the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement has sat down and talked to governments who have ordered the deaths, imprisonment, torture of it's membership and exclusion of the IRSM over the last three decades. I've sat down with loyalists, unionist politicians and Presbyterian clergymen and all in an effort to move the Peace Process on beyond the GFA. In all that time only one group, no not the loyalists that the INLA hit harder than any other Group during the late war. Not the Governments the IRSM had sought to over throw. It wasn't even the Unionists; of all people it was the Socialist Environmental Alliance! Colin Brice, an SWP stalwart stood up at a recent meeting of this group an announced to the world "while the INLA is in existence we will not work with the IRSP". Now, I don't know who ate the cream off this comrades bun when he was a kid but for a man who claims to be a revolutionary to stand up and make a statement like that it must have been bad. The GFA is up the creek, the air is not fit to breath, people are going to be charged for water and oh yes, there's a world war starting. So, what do people like this do? They get all chauvinistic about who they are going to talk too. Echoes of Spain during the Civil War or what?

Revolutionaries like that comrades, they make me weep! That's the SWP for you again. Let's face it comrades I don't like these guy's I find them elitist arrogant hurs who systematically target, acquire and then proceed to burn out the brightest most promising socialists of each generation for no perceivable gain. Don't get me wrong comrades their great folks if you want to get your placards seen in the media but I've never met one in the house of someone who's just been "Pipe Bombed". I've never seen them with their placards when loyalist mobs are carrying out pogroms in N. Belfast. Most of them are nice people personally but I'm glad-when I sleep over in N. Belfast-that it's Connolly's son's and daughter's who hold the line at night.

However, I see the need to work with them, and god love me I probably will have too one day I'm using them as an analogy because of personal experience but the process of political exclusion of other left comrades they embody is transferable to us all at times.

I'll tell you this comrade's, we are it, we are the 10% there is No One Else. The Excrement is on the blades of the air conditioner and we have one hand of cards to play and we must play them between us. Regan's New World Order as interpreted by Doublya and Tony is coming and it is brining with it a war that's casualty figures will dwarf those of the American Civil and World Wars I and II combined. Global Capitalism is marching to war and it's dragging us and the entire working class with it.

We have no Connolly we have no Mc Lean. We comrades are it. And we had better be up to the task. Sectarianism within the left is worth A million paid informers to those who benefit from our disunity. It is their way of controlling and nullifying us. It is time for us to put away childish notions, pick up our collective cross and walk on. Get in there tomorrow comrades and push your motion but do not be despondent if it fails by the hand of the slackers. Their small minds will count it a victory but they'll know full soon that their fence is on fire and that watery lefty politics can't cut it any more when Iraq is in flames as it will be with more and more young Scot's being sent to fight Tony's folly. Hate them for their actions despise them for their ineptitude but never, ever turn your backs on them. Let us go from here with unity in our minds and strive to build that unity before it's too late.







Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

10 May 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


War Crimes
Anthony McIntyre


Address given by IRSP Ard Comhairle Terry Harkin to Fringe Meeting of the Scottish Socialist Party
Terry Harkin


A Guiding Light Falls on Ramallah
Sam Bahour


An Occupation That Creates Children Willing To Die
Leah Tsemel


Dave Hann,
co-author "No Retreat"
Connolly Books

AFA Ireland


7 May 2004


Sectarianism and the DUP
Sean Fleming


It's A Dirty Job
Brian Mór


Let Them Eat Fake
Anthony McIntyre


The 10 Year Merry-go-round
Michéal O'Donnaigh


Needle in a Haystack
Will Hardiker




The Blanket

http://lark. phoblacht. net



Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices

To contact the Blanket project with a comment, to contribute an article, or to make a donation, write to:

webmaster@phoblacht. net