The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Socialist Environmental Alliance
Convention of the Left
Saturday February 14th
Verbal Arts Centre, Derry
Eamonn McCann and Marion Baur (SEA candidates in the Assembly Elections)
• 25 January 2004

We are writing to invite you to a Convention of the Left to be held in Derry on February 14th 2004. The purpose is to discuss a united left slate in the June 2004 European Election. The SEA sees it as imperative that there should be a left alternative in the field in June. If no one else is willing to come along with us we are minded to go on our own. In that circumstance, Eamonn McCann is willing to stand. However we realize that a broad alliance covering Northern Ireland would be hugely preferable. We are open to argument from others as to how best we can jointly achieve this.

We envisage an electoral alliance of different parties campaigning groups and individuals offering voters a radical, anti-sectarian alternative to parties based on one or other of the two communities. The results of the SEA interventions in Foyle and East Londonderry by Eamonn McCann and Marion Bauer make it plain that a credible, united left campaign can attract a level of support, which cannot be derided or ignored. Without such an intervention the European election will amount to yet another “dual referendum” to determine who will champion each community vis-à-vis the other. It will take a united broadly based campaign to make a left intervention credible.

The issues bringing together socialist, environmentalists, defenders of the public sector, anti-racists, women’s rights campaigners and anti-war groups in other countries affect us here to. Millions of Europeans rallied to these issues in 2003, particularly in anti-war demonstrations on February 15th. Our convention marks the first anniversary of those huge protests, which saw one of the biggest ever marches in Belfast that did not reflect sectarian divisions. We must break out of the circular argument, which holds that Northern Ireland is so polarized along communal lines that there’s no point trying to seriously challenge its communal politics. A June campaign would offer a chance to link up day-to-day concerns to major issues being fought out on a European level. Issues of water charges and environmental protection cannot be understood other than in a European perspective. The rise in racism on our streets is connected to the “Fortress Europe” project. Local civil rights issues now arise in parallel with the crackdown across Europe associated with the “War on Terror”. Privatisation schemes in our schools and hospitals are entangled with European directives on freeing market forces.

It is only in the context of the fight for a Social Europe and against the neo-liberal Europe that we can pursue these issues in Northern Ireland. The notion that a better Northern Ireland and a better Ireland is possible is an element of a broader notion that another Europe is possible. As to when and by whom a serious political effort is to be made to bring about this about – if not now, when? If not us, who?

The convention will be held at the Verbal Arts center, located in the Derry Walls at Bishop St, Derry. A crèche will be provided. A more detailed agenda will be issued shortly.













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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

27 January 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


A Land Fit for Heroes or a Party Suited to Peelers?
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Rest in Peace
Brendan Shannon


Shooting the Fenians

Anthony McIntyre


On the Theme of Forgiveness: An Open Letter to Victor Barker
Karen Elliott


A Response to Victor Barker

Liam O Ruairc


TV Times
Eamon Sweeney


Eamonn McCann and Marion Baur


“All bureaucrats are equal but some are more equal than others”
Peter Hadden


Airport Workers Reply
Gordon McNeill, Madan Gupta, and Chris Boyer


20 January 2004


Demise of the Dinosaur?
Eamon Sweeney


The Price the Working Classes Pay for a Pedestal These Days
Mick Hall


The One Eyed Observer

Anthony McIntyre


The Spark in Jeffery
John Fitzharris


Anti-Racism Rally

Davy Carlin


32CSM Condemns PIRA Shooting of Republican Activist
Andy Martin


Semantics of Empire
M. Shahid Alam




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