approach to politics is to put the interests of the
working class first.
in Ireland, North and South, has long been dominated
by Nationalism and Unionism demanding that other issues
wait until the border question is finally settled.
The result is two states dominated by capitalism and
imposing a corporate agenda---and, within the North,
two communities in competition with one another. Radical
change is needed: we stand for action to bring this
elected, our candidates will declare themselves "Others".
We are for the fullest respect for religious and cultural
expression. But we reject the notion that religious
background and political outlook should be one and
mass opposition to violence repeatedly demonstrated
over the years is betrayed by politicians who cling
to the old sources of dissension.
and Unionist parties are at daggers drawn on issues
to do with "community". But they have a
common agenda when it comes to the basics. Curbs on
public spending, private finance in schools and hospitals,
and lower taxes on business dominate the Programme
for Government agreed by the four-party outgoing Executive.
stand for active resistance to this agenda. We will
encourage and support union action for decent pay
and job security and against privatisation. We will
back campaigns in working class communities for non-payment
of water charges.
are part of and take heart from the global movements
against capitalism and war. We totally reject the
idea that the issues which are convulsing the world
have nothing to do with politics here. We make common
cause with all those across the world who are fighting
for the same things. We wouldn't have taken George
Bush's hand at Hillsborough except to twist it up
his back and run him out the room.
will campaign for the rights of women, including the
Right to Choose. We want to galvanise opposition to
sexism, sectarianism, racism, homophobia, and discrimination
against people with disabilities or on grounds of
age. When we use the word "equality" we
won't just mean Catholics and Protestants having equal
shares of what the current system can offer.
of our candidates elected will accept only the average
industrial wage. What's left will go towards campaigning
on the issues we are standing on. We are out to build
for the future a broad organisation open to all individuals
and organisations who support these ideas and who
agree to work together to make them a reality. Our
overall aim is a socially just and ecologically sustainable
world from which exploitation and oppression have
been cleansed, in which there is peace, and where
the common people are organised to defend themselves
against hatred, want and the abuse of power.
top quarter of earners in the North have 56 percent
bottom quarter have six percent.
doesn't show the true extent of the gap. It includes
only earnings. The super-rich get their real wealth
from property and profits, while those on the bottom
aren't earners at all.
is the most glaring example of inequality in our society.
But the four main parties can argue about equality
for hours without giving it a mention. How can we
understand anti-social behaviour, drugs problems,
crime, violence, etc. without taking this into account?
highlights the reason we have entered the election.
We regard class divisions, not community differences,
as the defining characteristic of our society. We
believe that the higher up the agenda we make class
issues, the less difficult community problems will
are aspects of this beyond the Assembly's remit. But
there are specific things Assembly politicians could
do--- for a start, stop all privatisation and PFI
schemes, and stop promoting Northern Ireland as a
the lower end of the pay scale---particularly for
women---public sector workers are better-paid and
more secure than in the private sector. Any party
serious about equality would declare that it won't
sit in an Executive which proceeds any further down
the privatisation road.
Invest NI website tells potential investors that the
North offers "employment costs that are up to
32 percent lower than in the US and 25 percent lower
than the EU average." This makes a virtue of
poverty wages. A party seriously against poverty would
refuse to operate this perspective in government.
of all children living below the poverty line are
living in families with at least one adult working.
Poverty isn't caused by idleness. Poverty among people
working, especially in one-worker households, is steadily
growing. The way to tell the politicians of other
parties that you want these issues to the forefront
is to vote Number One for Eamonn McCann in Foyle.
RIGHT TO CHOOSE
SEA has the most radical agenda of all the parties
on women's issues.
will work within the Assembly for high-quality, state-funded
care for children, elderly and disabled people. Without
this, women cannot take their full place in public
poverty and low pay will benefit women most, because
it's women who are most likely to be poor.
for a woman's right to choose comes from the same
agenda. We are not out to introduce abortion. Abortion
is already part of life here. Up to 60,000 women from
the North have had abortions in Britain since 1967.
anybody's personal position on abortion, those who
support workers' rights should support legal abortion
on the NHS. Otherwise, it's one law for the rich,
another for the poor.
things stand, women who can get the money together
can travel across the water. But a woman with no resources
delays which result mean women from the North are
three times more likely to have late abortions than
women from Britain. Making abortion available on the
NHS would remove the profit motive and ensure all
terminations were as early as possible
should be forced to go against their conscience on
such an intensely personal matter. And nobody should
be prevented from following their own conscience.
The right to choose also means being able to choose
to give birth. For example, it's only when parents
of children with disabilities enjoy all the support
that can be provided---speech therapy, physiotherapy,
respite care, financial support, suitable education
and employment prospects etc.---that women will be
able to decide in a positive frame of mind to have
a handicapped child.
all of these things require radical economic change
which conservative campaigners can be counted on to
the environment is fundamental to the SEA. It is basic
to both socialists and environmentalists that we should
leave our children a better world than we inherited
from our parents. We have to stop the drive for profit
killing the planet.
is a lot more the Assembly could do. The Department
of Enterprise, Trade and Industry's target is for
12 percent of electricity from renewable sources by
2012. Like the Green Party, we aim for 20 percent
activists were central to the successful campaign
against an incinerator in the North West. Eamonn McCann
will continue that work in the Assembly and will oppose
incinerators proposed in other regions' waste plans.
in waste by businesses using unnecessary packaging
must be stopped.
than five percent of waste is recycled in the North---one
of the worst records in Europe. We need a determined,
publicly-funded strategy to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Politicians who accept that all solutions have to
be "market driven" and "economically
viable" are a hindrance to progress.
must recycling be "economically viable"?
Landfill already costs us--- environmentally, economically
and socially. Incinerators are more expensive still,
particularly in relation to children's health. Why
can't the money spent on landfill be devoted to publicly-funded
blue bins were welcomed because most people want to
help stop incineration and global warming. But many
areas of the city still don't have them. And we have
no kerbside collection of other recyclable material.
There is much more to be done. Eamonn McCann in the
Assembly will help get it done.
month, the government declared that the jobless rate
in Derry is six percent, which is ridiculous.
Thatcher changed the way unemployment was counted
18 times. On every occasion, Labour complained. But
when they got into office they didn't reverse a single
one of Thatcher's measures. The books stayed cooked.
you define as unemployed everybody who has looked
for work but not found any in the past four weeks,
the figure for Derry isn't six percent, but 11 percent.
are other categories, too, missing from official statistics:
those who want to work but have given up looking;
people on a New Deal scheme who would prefer a proper
job; part-time workers who want to be full-time. Include
these and the figure for the Foyle constituency was
24 percent last February and, after Desmonds, ShopElectric
etc., is probably pushing 30 percent now.
yet mainstream party spokespersons talk on television
about how business is booming and Derry is "buzzing."
a town where 6,000 people applied for 250 jobs in
a department store, it's insulting that the unemployed
have to prove they're "actively seeking work"
to qualify for benefit. The merry-go-round of years
of unemployment broken by training-for-nothing is
need politics which puts unemployment back high up
on the agenda. And whether it's the 300 jobs in Desmonds
or the 600 under threat in the Water Service, or the
other job threats to come, we need representatives
who'll encourage a fight to hold on to the jobs we
bus-drivers, post office workers, etc. have all been
recently accused of "wildcat" action. But
the real problem is wildcat bosses.
each case, managements took advantage of what they
thought was a demoralised workforce to renege on pay
deals or impose worse conditions.
this situation, one of the reasons many workers hesitate
to take action is a fear there'll be no public support.
This is because there's no mainstream political voice
clearly putting the workers' case. When a dispute
breaks out, the main parties either back the bosses
or appeal for "both sides to get together."
could the firefighters "get together" with
a management which was kicking them in the teeth?
Or the bus workers, or postal staff?
the parties in Foyle, only the SEA can be counted
on not to back the bosses or take the middle ground
but to stand four-square on the side of workers struggling
for decent pay and the right to be treated with dignity.
other parties don't want issues like this on the political
agenda. They want everything decided on an Orange-Green
basis. We appeal directly to trade unionists and their
families --- this time, give yourself a voice, vote
for a socialist.
horror now unfolding in Iraq was organised in Co.
Down last April, where the SDLP, Sinn Fein, the Ulster
Unionists and others provided Bush and Blair with
sole item on the agenda at the Hillsborough Castle
summit was the post-war governance of Iraq. It was
at Hillsborough that Bush and Blair agreed to cut
the UN out and impose direct US/British military rule.
see the disaster of the invasion on our television
screens every night now. Bush and Blair have given
birth to the monstrous thing they said they were going
to war to prevent.
Northern party leaders seemed oblivious to the implications
and the irony as they arrived immediately after the
war summit, "all to be lectured by the President
and the Prime Minister on the need for a final move
to a full and lasting peace." The only journalist
in the room, Peter Stothard, watched as, "The
human chess pieces arrive, stand in a horse-shoe shape,
and are severally and individually lectured."
and Blair then went outside to greet the 500-plus
journalists who had converged on Hillsborough. Had
even one of the Northern party leaders taken an anti-war
line and refused to greet Bush in protest against
his war-plans, it would have been front-page world
news. This may be the only occasion any of them will
ever have to make a measurable impact on a major global
development. But none of them stepped up to the mark.
the back of a lorry outside Hillsborough Castle the
night before, Eamonn McCann made the final speech
at a rally called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions,
pleading with Trimble, Durkan and Adams even at that
late stage to pull back. But of course they didn't.
was the mandate they'd received at the last Assembly
election which earned the party leaders their places
in the line-up to be lectured. The SEA asks for your
Number One now, to give a mandate to those who lined
up outside, against the war.
are opposed to the constitution in the South, which
enshrines Catholic doctrine and the rights of private
property. We are against the British constitution,
with its hereditary monarchy. And we are against the
constitutional arrangement represented by the Agreement,
because of the way it entrenches sectarianism.
these islands, however, we get on with the business
of organising to defend working class interests, opposing
sectarianism, racism, etc., and fighting for a fairer
society. We look forward to the day when constitutional
arrangements will reflect a new reality.
regularly said by other parties that there's no alternative
to the way things work under the Agreement except
a return to war. What they mean is that they have
no alternative. But we advocate a better way of working.
It's expressed in our campaigning, in our statements
and, briefly, in these pages.
will be strengthened by the people on both sides who
have been left behind advancing together. Peace is
endangered by political elites who have lost touch
with those they came from fighting over which community
is doing better in the share-out of scarce resources.
will work within the Assembly and, even more importantly,
outside the formal arena. We see the future as lying
not in people looking to MLAs to deliver things for
them, but in people organising to change things for
themselves. The main function of a MLA should be to
encourage the marginalised and done down to mobilise
and fight back.
party leader spoke for the SDLP, the DUP and Sinn
Fein when he wrote last month (Derry Journal, October
17th) : "Ryanair...find it more cost-effective
to fly larger planes...The airports servicing these
flights must be able to accomodate them...Hence, Derry
City Council has an urgent decision to make."
the main parties in Foyle stand shoulder-to-shoulder
in favour of a new slab of concrete being slammed
down on the countryside, flattening homes. Because
Ryanair says so.
because everything has to be done according to Ryanair's
time-table, alternatives from the Donnybrewer residents
councillors won't publish the various reports they
say the runway decision was based on---the Pricewaterhouse
Report, the Robertson Technical Feasibility Study,
the Logue Report into the last Ryanair-City of Derry
whole process has been characterised by shiftiness
future of the airport, and the jobs of airport workers,
has been put into the hand of Ryanair, which will
have a role not unlike Marks and Spencer's in relation
is a microcosm of what's happening globally. The Donnybrewer
issue is tiny compared to millions in India being
driven from their homes so dams can be built to service
new industry, or social services slashed in Latin
America as structural adjustment programmes are clamped
onto country after country. But deep down it's the
unaccountable big business telling us we can have
economic development on their terms, or not at all.
Any party with even a dim spark of radicalism left
would see that, and stand up for the people whose
homes stand to be demolished. But when it comes to
facing corporate power, they are all conservatives
want the books opened---all studies, reports, documents,
minutes of meetings and correspondence with Ryanair
etc. published. We want an informed public debate
before any bulldozer moves in. The people have a right
to know who's doing what in their name.
development dictated by big business which has created
an ugly vista along the most beautiful river in Europe.
These people are philistines and vandals who appreciate
nothing except the profits column on a balance sheet.
Eamonn McCann in the Assembly will amplify opposition
to their agenda.
it comes to people with disabilities, there is no
reform of the 11-plus suggested in the Burns Report---commissioned
by the outgoing Executive---completely ignored children
with disabilities. It's a remarkable fact that not
one of the Executive parties commented on this shameful
equality legislation, discrimination against people
with disabilities remains legal. Exam boards aren't
obliged to make "reasonable adjustment"---large-letter
papers, for example---to give disabled people an equal
result emerged in last year's NI Labour Survey. People
with disabilities are twice as likely as others to
have no qualifications---44 percent compared to 20
percent. Only 12 percent of disabled people have a
higher qualification, compared to 23 percent generally.
This is a disgrace. And it's a greater disgrace that
it's not regarded as a disgrace.
with disabilities suffer inequality, too, in health
provision, access to employment, transport and appropriate
things affect relatively small numbers. But the people
they do affect are affected hugely. But issues like
this don't fit into the conventional framework of
politics here---one of the reasons for voting for
a different set of priorities.
sudden closure of ShopElectric exposed the fraud of
shops were part of the old Electricity Board. They
were bought out from the public sector by a management
group in the 1990s. This group then sold them on to
a three-partner consortium--which in turn flogged
them off last June to Northern Retail. Now they're
gone, leaving customers and workers in the lurch.
How much money was siphoned out of ShopElectric in
these deals into the pockets of private individuals?
Why hasn't this information been made public? Why
havn't the main parties made an issue of this?
the time of the magement buy-out, we were told that
the dynamic private sector would guarantee a bright
future. The fuddy duddy state sector had no future,
the propagandists insisted. But like the railways
etc., etc., privatisation has proven a disaster for
everyone---apart from the fat cats who have run off
with the cream.
shows the need to turn the tide on privatisation,
which under the four-party Executive has also affected
our schools and hospitals and transport and water
seems every single party is opposed to water charges.
But water reform was discussed in Assembly committee
prior to suspension. No party unequivocally ruled
out water charges then---not one.
Executive parties say now they'll support non-payment.
The test is this: Will they say they won't remain
in an Executive which brings in water charges?
of them has given this pledge.
SEA can be counted on 100 percent to oppose water
charges and help build community-based campaigns of
non-payment. And we'll blow the whistle at the first
opportunity on any proposal of this sort in future.
We won't sing dumb and then rediscover our radicalism
when an election looms.
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