News - November 2000


25th November 2000

If judged against the editorial policy of other weekly publications of rival organisations, Weekly Worker is exemplary. For not only does it acknowledge the existence of other formations but even invites them to contribute lengthy articles, espousing their (often turgid) views within the publication.

In addition, it sometimes devotes up to twp pages to accomodate the views of it’s readership, by no means the majority Communist Party Great Britain members. Criticism is, it would appear, not censored but welcomed. Up to a point anyway.

For it has recently come to our attention that Red Action contributions to the letters page appear to be systematically modified at an editorial level is such a way as to exclude either the central point or the conclusion. This interference was particularly marked around the refugee debate, when some points deleted by the letters editor due ‘due to space’, it was presumed, were then referred to as politically significant omissions in triumphant replies from other CPGB members in the same letters page the following week!

Below we print the most recent example, which appeared in Weekly Worker on November 16th.

The concluding paragraph, marked in bold, was cut by the Letters Editor prior to publication.

“In his Party Notes column (Weekly Worker Oct 26) Mark Fisher makes the point that the SWP reporting of the Socialist Alliance meeting in Coventry on September 30, was entirely "dishonest", and indeed had to be, in order to fit in with the SWP pretence of the SA's nationally being made up of 'former Labour Party members who are keen to join the left'. "In truth" as Fisher puts it "the SWP has a fantasy 'united front' template in its' head for the SA's and is determined to report activities in that light. It simply cannot reconcile this model with the reality of the SA as overwhelmingly a converging bloc of revolutionary organisations."

Fair enough, everyone can see the point he is making. However the report by Anne Murphy: 'Hackney Labour-Tory bankruptcy' in the same paper, makes an equally valid, but contradictory observation.

"It is ironic, but not surprising that Mike Marquesse, ex-Labour Party member and apparently the type of 'social democrat' that the alliances must make a comfy home for, has come out far to the left of both the SWP and the SP". This comment in reference to the SP and the SWP both being leery of demanding 'the council stand down'. The SWP have instead called for the 'Council to Fight!'

Seeing as they are responsible for the mess residents find themselves in 'fight who'?

And she goes on: " We have been told time and time again how we must not make ourselves too revolutionary because we will scare away the reformists that we all want to win from the Labour Party. It sometimes makes me wonder who the real reformists are."

Why wonder? As the record shows practically all the components parts of the SA were up till recently, either part of the Labour infrastructure, or in the case of the SWP and smaller Trotskyite sects, determinedly loyal factions, just outside of it. Talk of winning away working class members/voters with 'illusions in Labour' was always eyewash to justify this loyalty. Indeed it only when the working class itself abandoned Labour that the 'vanguards' referred to, found the courage to do so.

So far from being the most radical elements in Hackney, they are in reality not even the most radical elements within the LSA. For four decades they have operated as an effective brake on any form of genuine working class independence from Labour. It follows therefore that their instinct remains a conservative one, even within an LSA formation, organisationally independent of it.

So by routinely referring to them as 'revolutionary', the CPGB is accepting them at face value. The danger here is that because the CPGB sees the SA as important politically, (and the SWP as a core component), the inclination is to be bend over backward to make life inside the LSA 'comfy' for the them. Evidently the CPGB fears that if things become too fraught, the SWP might just up and go. In truth they need the SA as much as the CPGB believes the SA needs the SWP. Meanwhile the problem is the more comfortable the SWP becomes inside the LSA, the less use the structures will be in dealing with objective reality outside of it. For instance after getting 134 votes in the Wick by-election, the LSA claimed it was now 'the third party in Hackney'. Presumably such propaganda is deemed necessary to maintain the morale of SWP members weaned on the vainglorious politics of 'fresher fairs', but such indulgence runs the danger of making a laughing stock of the LSA in the political mainstream.

[Worse it effectively conceals just how much the LSA will have to change, if 'third political party in Hackney' is ever to become fact.

Already the SWP are attempting to set a conservative agenda by attempting to steer the SA back toward Labour, and consequently away from the working class who have abandoned it. By routinely referring to them as 'revolutionary' the CPGB is inadvertently providing them with political cover, even as it criticises them for attempting to do so. 'Fantasy templates' are evidently not the exclusive preserve of the SWP.]



17th November 2000

The following is the full version of a letter sent by a member of Scotland AFA to The Big Issue. An editted version of the letter was published which read that in the GLA elections the BNP received 90% of the votes of Ken Livingstone, rather than 10% as stated in the original. The Big Issue have been contacted about the mistake, although a correction is yet to appear.

With regard your article "Fresher Pressure" (issue. 293) I would like to comment on the section regarding The Far Right.

Firstly, the amount of coverage given to Combat 18 is totally unwarranted. This organisation has been built up as some large, well-organised and extremely violent organisation purely on the back of a media who seem determined to promote them at all times. Anti-Fascist Action have on every occasion when the opportunity has arisen physically prevented them carrying out either meetings, marches or stewarding. The image as the "superior Aryan warrior" is a total myth. The reality is that C18 are a state sponsored group who were used to gather information on loyalist terrorist groups but more importantly, bring militant anti-fascists into violent confrontations for the purpose of arrest and prosecution. For the NUS spokesmen to claim that Leeds University had 25 members when there are only a few hundred in Britain shows a total disregard for political realities.

Secondly, and more importantly, the comment about the British National Party (BNP) having "plans to reclaim support from left wing groups.." has a more solid base than at first might seem appropriate. Currently the BNP are gaining 23-26% of the vote in some working class areas (Tipton, West Midlands and Burnley as examples) and recently defeated the Tories in to 3rd place (Bexley, South London) at the same time as Hague was playing the race card over the Refugee issue. Also where they are contesting areas with left wing groups they have been disposing of them in a manner that should be of concern to anyone who is opposed to their political views. Recently, in the Greater London Assembly and local elections in a direct head to head with the London Socialist Alliance (a group comprising the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party, Workers Power, Independents etc) the BNP took 46670 votes to the LSA’s 27073 in the top up lists. Furthermore, the BNP received 78906 votes for their majoral candidate, which was just short of 10% of the votes that Ken Livingstone took. All this was achieved with approx 33% electoral turnout.

It clearly shows that, as has happened in Europe, where the rise of the Far-right has gone unabated for 5-15 years, culminating in parties in National and Regional Government in a host of major countries - France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy and others - and 11+ million votes for far-right parties in the last Euro-elections, there is a constituency for these politics.

It is now our turn to experience these events and we cant sit back and wait until someone takes the upper hand i.e. Austria, where protest happens once the fascist party gain electoral support. The reason AFA feel this has occurred in areas in Britain is that a vacuum has occurred due to Labours abandonment of the working class and with a failure to present an alternative in working class areas, the only alternative becomes the right wing one.

In Scotland the progress the BNP have made has not been as successful as some areas in England due in part to AFA preventing them building a organisation in the early 90’s and as they enter community politics there is an alternative in the SSP in some areas. This is not to say that they are not possibly gaining through leaflets distributed in areas such as Croftfoot, Sighthill in Glasgow, areas of Falkirk and cities such as Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

The only path which will prevent them making gains is for the vacuum to be filled on working class estates with either an alternative to the main stream parties who continually supply poor housing, welfare cuts, unemployment and poor local services or preferably, these areas organising for themselves, standing councillors etc and reclaiming their areas for themselves. For more info contact either web site or address supplied.

Matt Ross
Anti-Fascist Action
Po Box 180
Glasgow G4 9AB


17th November 2000

Danny Morrison (Reproduced from Ireland On Sunday, 12th November)

I have long wanted to confront an Ulster Unionist on the party's double-standards and hypocrisy, specifically on the issue of guns. The current crisis has arisen because, in order to see-off a challenge to his leadership, David Trimble adopted an anti-agreement strategy and made six new demands of both governments and Sinn Fein, otherwise he would pull the plug on the institutions in January and the agreement would collapse.

He flew off to Spain "in the middle of a crisis", and, upon his return, refused SDLP and Sinn Fein calls for an emergency meeting of the Executive.

Trimble's main demands are that the IRA engages with the International Commission on Decommissioning before January and that there be a moratorium on the implementation of police reform.

The problem for Trimble is that the IRA has already recently said it would re-engage with John de Chastelain. Trimble knew that his deadline demand, which infuriated Republicans, would thus make such a re-engagement unlikely or impossible.

Furthermore, this very same issue was resolved in negotiations at Hillsborough last May. Frank Millar, a former general secretary of the UUP and now a journalist, wrote: "That May deal does not require Sinn Fein to deliver IRA decommissioning within any prescribed timetable"

I want to ask a leading Unionist if he really believes this issue is about guns rather than the fact that unionism (though, obviously, not all Unionists) cannot cope with reform and the sharing of power.

Unionists have been looking for pretexts to disguise this untenable position which derives from a basic sectarianism at the heart of the Northern Ireland state ("A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People" syndrome).

UUP deputy leader, John Taylor, has in the past had a few interesting things to say about guns and violence. Here are just some: "There is far too much talk about the handing in of guns. The time has come when the Loyalists of Ulster must not give in to the campaign by Harold Wilson and the SDLP to disarm the law-abiding citizens of this province," - Vanguard rally, September 1972.

"We should make it clear that force means death and fighting, and whoever gets in our way, whether Republicans or those sent by the British government, there would be killings," - Tobermore, October 1972.

On the sectarian killings of Catholics he had this to say in September 1973: "There is in particular amongst the Catholic community now, increasing fear of paramilitary activities. And in a perverse way, this is something which may be helpful because they are now beginning to appreciate more clearly the fear that has existed within the Protestant community for the past 20 years." When the talks leading to the Good Friday agreement recommenced in 1998, David Trimble was flanked by representatives of the political wings of the UFF and the UVF as they walked into Castle Buildings.

Last June, UUP councillors, including Arts Minister Michael McGimpsey, voted for Frank McCoubrey of the Ulster Democratic Party (political wing of the UFF) as deputy lord mayor of Belfast.

A few weeks later, McCoubrey sat on a platform while masked UFF gunmen had a ball, firing rifles into the air to applause from the crowd.

Currently, there is a mini-civil war on the Shankill Road involving the armed wings of the Progressive Unionist Party and the UDP, yet not only has the Ulster Unionists not sanctioned any of the culprits, David Trimble only two weeks ago nominated UDP leader Gary McMichael to the Civic Forum, despite the fact that the UFF is shooting people every week and refuses to engage with de Chastelain.

Yet over the issue of silent IRA guns, Trimble refused to endorse Sinn Fein Minister Bairbre de Brun meeting her southern counterpart last Friday. Are these not double standards?

Against this background, how can anyone be convinced that the issue of IRA guns is a moral one for the Ulster Unionist?

When the IRA called its first ceasefire in August 1994, the response of Unionists was churlish, to say the least. The ceasefire was the greatest threat to the union in 70 years, declared UUP leader James Molyneaux, who, along with John Major adopted every possible stance they could to exclude Sinn Fein from all-party negotiations.

What David Trimble has done now was merely an extension of that old strategy. Something that his party cannot explain in Dublin, London, Belfast, or Galway.


14th November 2000
The following article is taken from the Scottish Sunday Herald on 12th November. Although it starts off as a piece about Tommy Sheridan possibly going to jail, this appears to be a cover for a story about the SSP merging with the SWP. The claim that the SWP has 1200 members is suspect considering that a grand total of 120 SWP members recently attended an ALL-Scotland membership aggregate to discuss joining/affiliating to the SSP.


By Douglas Fraser

Tommy Sheridan, the MSP and leader of Scotland's hard left, faces the prospect of up to a fortnight in jail when he attends Helensburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday - but at least his party is expanding fast.

Charged with breach of the peace and resisting arrest during a protest at the Faslane nuclear submarine base last February, he is expected to plead not guilty and to conduct his own defence. But if found guilty, the Glasgow MSP and convener of the Scottish Socialist Party says he will refuse to pay a fine, automatically earning up to two weeks in jail.

Sheridan has already been threatened with jail over this case after he failed to turn up for a hearing at the sheriff court while he was attending parliament in Edinburgh. A warrant for his arrest was issued.

Sheridan's party currently looks set to expand, with t he Socialist Workers' Party planning to join forces with the SSP at a conference next February. After decades of vicious ideological in-fighting between groupings on the far left, the electoral success and prospects of the SSP is bringing them together. In talks between the parties, the SWP has secured promises that it would be allowed to maintain an identity within the SSP .

According to the parties, the SSP claims to have around 2500 paid-up members while the SWP has roughly 1200. With Sheridan gaining a breakthrough place on the top-up list for Glasgow in last year's election, and with a steady 5% in national opinion polls, the joint group hopes to increase its presence in 2003. According to Willie Black, "a leading comrade" in the SWP, the factions have long felt the need to fight each other, but the vacuum on the left created by Labour's shift to the centre ground is an opportunity for a socialist breakthrough.

"The splits in the left have put people off," he said. "Unity is a good recruiter . The advantage is not to the SWP as such, but to the organised left, to socialism and to the working class."


13th November 2000

The founder, director and spokesperson of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau, Vincent McKenna, 37, was convicted today of sexually abusing his daughter Sorcha over a period of eight years, between 1985 and 1993.

He was named publicly following the court case today after 18-year-old Sorcha waived her right to anonymity. The abuse was said to have happened when the family lived in Monaghan.

A jury of seven men and five women found McKenna guilty of the charges after two hours of deliberations, and following a three-day trial in County Monaghan.

The accused was remanded in custody to a court sitting in County Cavan in the Irish Republic on 21 November when he will be sentenced.

McKenna was a leading spokesman for a number of years for Families against Intimidation and Terror (FAIT), a British Government-funded group for the victims of paramilitary violence before it was wound up following in-fighting and financial irregularities.

His claim of having been a "reformed IRA terrorist" was disputed as fantasy by republican sources. However, the US TV magazine news show, 60 Minutes, invited McKenna to testify on their feature show about punishment beatings in Northern Ireland.

Following the closure of FAIT, McKenna launched the one-man Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau, which international media widely confused with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission set up under the Good Friday Agreement.

Fr. Joe McVeigh of the Human Rights Center in Belfast said he no doubt that McKenna's so called Human Rights Bureau was "a contrived attempt to undermine the peace process". "It exists solely to disparage Sinn Fein as a political party and to take the focus away from the RUC and British government abuse of human rights here. There is no doubt in my mind that McKenna has undercut the work of the Human Rights Commission and devalued the Good Friday Agreement," said McVeigh.

Meanwhile, a senior Irish police officer, who had been working on the case said that Garda officers were "astounded" at the amount of publicity that Vincent McKenna has generated and garnered for his personal crusade against the IRA.

"One could have their suspicions about where this publicity is being generated from and there are many directions you could look for that," the officer said. "In this case, I think we all know where this is being generated from and directed from."


November 13th 2000

Anne Cadwallader (Reproduced from Ireland On Sunday, November 12th 2000)

AS HE awaits sentence on 31 counts of sexually abusing and assaulting his own daughter, Sorcha, Vincent McKenna can look back on the glory days when a thousand people gave him a standing ovation at a "save the RUC" rally in the Ulster Hall, Belfast.

He was there with other campaigners against reform of the RUC and shared the limelight with the former RUC Chief Constable, Sir John Hermon, and the editor of the anti-Good Friday-agreement Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore.

What the audience particularly loved about McKenna was that he claimed to be a reformed IRA man.

But there was something that didn't quite add up, something that seemed glaringly obvious to some journalists but strangely hidden from others.

On another occasion, McKenna appeared at a joint press conference at Stormont, to publicise the work of his one-man show, the grandly titled "Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau", alongside the Ulster Unionist Party leader and First Minister, David Trimble.

He has featured in normally high-integrity US television documentaries like CBS's 60 Minutes and been copiously quoted by virtually every newspaper in Britain, Ireland and much further afield.

Few journalists who interviewed him and reported on his campaign against punishment beatings and paramilitary shootings bothered to ask too much about the plausible young man who claimed to have left his IRA past behind him.

Those few who did, including the BBC's Spotlight programme, the British Independent on Sunday, the Irish Voice in New York and, of course, Ireland on Sunday, soon discovered there was another, disturbing, side to Vincent McKenna.

In a remarkably short period, the highly televisual and articulate McKenna had catapulted himself from being a nobody to a media star who was regularly called on to comment as an expert on republicanism.

He was violently opposed to the peace process, which he referred to as merely an attempt to appease the IRA. Claiming to be an ex-IRA man himself, he now said he recognised republicanism as essentially sectarian and fascist, dedicated to the ethnic cleansing of Protestants.

As a "converted terrorist" who had seen the error of his ways, he was the subject of adoring double-page spreads in the British tabloids. He could safely be relied on to slam the peace process. Mo Mowlam came in for particular abuse.

When the news first began leaking out about the sex abuse charges, he claimed to be the victim of a republican propaganda campaign to discredit him. He even began libel proceedings against Beatrix Campbell of the Independent on Sunday.

His downfall began in January 1999 when he appeared at Monaghan family court to apply for access to his children. He had checked before he crossed the border that the gardai did not intend to question him.

But, having failed to gain access to his children, he was arrested by the gardai outside the court and questioned for 20 hours. He insisted in public that his arrest was a set-up, "some kind of deal", an arrangement between the gardai and the IRA.

A few days after his release, he said Browning machine guns were "found" at Scotstown in Monaghan. He claimed the guns were voluntarily handed over to gardai by the IRA in return for his arrest.

McKenna told a different story to the Andersonstown News - this time that the IRA had tried to set him up as an "informer" by handing over the guns soon after his release from Monaghan garda station.

A senior IRA source, who has known McKenna for many years, said at the time: "If anybody thinks we'd hand over a spent bullet, never mind perfectly good carbines, to set up Vincent McKenna, they're crazier than he is."

After his arrest, McKenna insisted he was interrogated by special branch officers, not about child abuse but on "intelligence issues" and the peace process.

McKenna denied the allegations about child abuse but, even so, it was surprising that his arrest and interrogation did not trouble more of the high-profile political figures who continued to appear in public with him.

McKenna left Aughnacloy in his late teens and moved to Monaghan where he worked in a local poultry factory. He was arrested in 1981 on a charge of "endangering life" and remanded to Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast.

A republican prisoner who knew him there says he "tried to ingratiate himself with us but we knew even than that he was a wrong 'un".

He was, surprisingly, given bail but absconded across the border where, he claims, he was asked to do intelligence work for the IRA, "monitoring our own people".

McKenna eventually found a home in the now-defunct Families Against Intimidation and Terror, and it was as its spokesman that he began to assume media stardom.

Veteran FAIT board member, Sam Cushnahan, however, became alarmed when McKenna began making openly political speeches hostile to then Northern Secretary Mo Mowlam and aligning himself with politicians who were fiercely opposed to the Good Friday agreement.

Following a series of rows, McKenna left FAIT to set up his Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau on May 1, 1998.


13th November 2000

Robin Livingstone (Reproduced from Ireland On Sunday, 22nd October 2000)

THERE WAS a time when the sight of masked men in combat uniform, firing weapons into the air as a final salute to a fallen Republican would provoke whoops of approval and defiance the length and breadth of West Belfast. But the final salute fired by the so-called "real IRA" in memory of Joe O'Connor seemed almost comically incongruous and faintly ridiculous. In truth, the images triggered more deep, tired sighs than lusty cheers. The smell of gunsmoke hung heavy in the Ballymurphy air, but so, too, did a deep and wearying sense of utter futility.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the "real IRA" and those noisily proclaiming their right to continue the fight, is not in taking on the military and political might of the British establishment in Ireland, but in discrediting those former comrades who have decided that it's time to take their struggle onto another plane.

How, one wonders, is it possible for these faceless super-Republicans to question the credentials or motives of, say, Gerry Kelly, a man who has spent his life fighting the Brits inside and outside prison walls?

Here's a man who enjoys huge respect among that large constituency, republican and nationalist, which fervently hopes that the Good Friday agreement will work but is horrified at the prospect of the IRA tugging its forelock and saying it was wrong all along.

For the majority of Nationalists who never swore an oath or fired a shot, he's an able and articulate politician. For the considerable rump of serving and former IRA members discomfited by certain aspects of the Good Friday agreement, Kelly has the necessary gravitas to calm their frazzled nerves.

To provide sufficient water for their nascent movement to swim in, the "real IRA" and its supporters need to convince large numbers of Nationalists and Republicans that men like Kelly are collaborators and quislings.

Given his military and political CV, that's not going to be easy for them to do - but they won't fail for lack of trying. Given the delicate state of the peace process at the moment, the threat of a potentially bloody spat with the "real IRA" is a distraction that the republican movement could well do without. But if the leadership of Sinn Fein and the IRA are honest, they will have to admit that they have made a rod for their own backs. Unrest among the grass roots took hold and spread, not because of any real sense of unease over the direction that the movement was taking, but rather because nobody knew what that direction was.

Throughout the years of the long war, when questioned about the direction of the conflict, Republicans would respond with a wink and a breezy thumbs-up. Post-1994, that irrepressible optimism turned to palms-up shrugs because, quite simply, nobody was telling them anything.

So widespread was the sense of disconnection and uncertainty, that the wonder is that more didn't sign up to the "real IRA", Republican Sinn Fein and the rest. That, amidst the feud fears and bickering, is the good news for the republican leadership. But there's little room for complacency if Sinn Fein is to maintain the electoral advances essential for the political plan they didn't bother telling any of their supporters about and (more importantly for the rest of us) if they're to thwart the people behind the Omagh bomb.

Part of Gerry Adams's problem is that while publicly he maintains that it's not his job to keep David Trimble in office and that the peace process should not live or die on the political fortunes of one man, he's loth to say anything that's going to give ammunition to Trimble's opponents as they gather for their latest attempt to unseat the UUP leader. His "well done, David" message to Trimble after a previous UUP gathering was manna from heaven for the anti-agreement Unionists and the Sinn Fein leaders have since been coy about saying the things that large sections of an uncertain base are pining to hear.

Should Mr Trimble survive the Ulster Unionist Council vote, and Seamus Mallon is betting that he will, the Sinn Fein leadership will have to start being more open with its supporters - in public and in private.

All material © Ireland on Sunday Ltd.


12th November 2000

The three articles below are reproduced from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.


Konrad Schuller (November 3rd 2000)

A neo-Nazi march planned for Berlin on Saturday had police braced to again play their difficult and often-thankless role as a buffer between the right-wing extremists and the left-wing foes eager to do battle with them.

Loyal followers of rightist groups have been kept posted through the daily "briefings" flickering across various websites. Those with the proper equipment and software could even hear the throaty slogans: "Here is the national resistance," was typical.

"On Nov. 4, " announced the website of Kameradschaft Germania (the Germania Brotherhood), "thousands of National Socialists are going to march on Berlin." It promised a "struggle for the streets."

For followers without an Internet connection, a recorded message could be heard by calling the "national info-telephone."

The demonstration will be the third by neo-Nazis in Berlin this year, following marches past the Brandenburg Gates in January and March. Passersby are likely to encounter the frightening, if surreal, sight of skinheads with grimly frowning eyebrows and tattooed skulls ("Blood and Honor," in Gothic lettering) walking in formation, trying not to shiver in the cool temperatures expected for Saturday; in younger neo-Nazi circles, marching in anything more than a T-shirt and leather bomber jacket is considered a sign of weakness. A few older sympathizers among them, however, usually dress more sensibly, in hats and rubber-soled shoes.

Group leaders with all the charisma of mid-level administrators lead the way. When the marchers assemble, one of them, usually amid blaring loudspeaker music, orders the crowd control team brought along for the occasion to parade front and center: "First troop, five steps forward! Second troop, one step! Hands out of the pockets! Germany demands discipline! There will be no smoking here! There will be no drinking!"

Extensive preparation has gone into Saturday's march, which is bound to attract even more attention than usual, given the high prominence an apparent resurgence of right-wing extremism in Germany has been given at the political level. Berlin municipal officials, perhaps wary of giving the neo-Nazis a small propaganda victory if they were again rebuffed by the courts in an attempt to prohibit a neo-Nazi march, had not as of Friday afternoon made any attempt to ban the gathering. Instead, as is customary with any large demonstration, they called a "sponsor's meeting" to which the police and the organizer, the former National Democratic Party (NPD)executive board member Steffen Hupka, were invited.

Mr. Hupka is currently facing dismissal from the NPD because the party -- apparently frightened by the federal and state governments' intention of asking the Federal Constitutional Court to ban it -- has ordered members to lie low for the time being. A march through central Berlin cannot be considered keeping a low profile, but Mr. Hupka does not care; he belongs to the particular faction of the extreme-right scene which believes that caution, even for tactical purposes, is cowardice.

It is this faction which has put the demonstration machinery in gear, using the underground, decentralized structures of the German neo-Nazi scene. The Internet and recorded telephone messages of the semi-underground networks have been updated, and travel routes and arrival times coordinated.

As of Friday night, the police deployment has not been announced, but it was expected to be huge: An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 of them were put on the streets for a neo-Nazi march in Dsseldorf last weekend. They are required by law to protect the rights of even extremist demonstrators, and will have to "greet" the neo-Nazis as they arrive by the busload on the outskirts of the city and then accompany them to assembly points being kept secret from the public and counterdemonstrators.

At this point, the police will surround the neo-Nazis, forming tight, heavily protected groups as they ride S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains into the central city. At some point -- no one knows exactly when -- stones and other dangerous objects will inevitably rain down.

Asked how he feels about having to protect neo-Nazis, a policeman shrugs.

"Anything else would be insanity," the officer explains. "The leftist anarchists are lying in wait for these gentlemen. If we let them into Berlin on their own, their bald heads wouldn't stay so buffed for very long."

Still, while police officers know they have a duty to prevent all-out clashes in the streets, and to protect the constitutional right to free assembly even of a group committed to destroying the democratic constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, the work can take an emotional toll, not least from the verbal abuse they suffer from the other side.

"German police protect the fascists," is the endlessly repeated chant of the counterdemonstrators. Police try to ignore it -- all the while hoping that no one will recognize them behind their helmet visors.

But if the leftists complain that the police protect their foes, the neo-Nazis do not see it that way: March leaders need fiery chants and slogans which will get their xenophobic followers truly fired up against foreigners, but are well aware that the police are just waiting for an excuse to declare an end to the march -- which they can do if anyone slips over the line into out-and-out Nazi propaganda, the dissemination of which is a crime in Germany and can lead to immediate arrest.

The neo-Nazis have already been forced to make plenty of compromises over the years: Much of their propaganda effort must be carried out underground, and the original Nazi symbols have been off-limits for public display for many years because swastikas and SS runes belong to an index of banned symbols in Germany. The extended-arm Hitler salute is also taboo.

If the police see any of these, they can stop the march. If they have probable cause beforehand to suspect that they will be used, they can secure a ban on a march -- even a last-minute one -- from the courts.

Further cramping the style of the neo-Nazis, the symbols of their banned organizations are illegal. And so is the wearing of uniforms.

One result is a perpetual game of cat and mouse over various symbols between police and justice officials on one side, and neo-Nazis on the other: the neo-Nazis are constantly bringing new ones forward, but as they become accepted in the movement officials move to have them banned as anti-constitutional. The same for flags: one banner seen at the January march is now illegal. Torches and drums have also been banned, because they were used in the huge marches organized by the Nazis.

Even the use of certain numbers, which can be used as code to share Nazi greetings or send a Nazi message, can lead to arrest. One that police are always on the watch for is 130, a reference to the paragraph in the German penal code which makes it illegal to deny the Holocaust.



Some 1,200 right-wing extremist sympathizers marched through central Berlin on Saturday behind a banner calling for "Meinungsfreiheit" (freedom of speech), a reference to the federal and state governments' effort to secure a ban on the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party.

A huge number of police were deployed to keep between the extremists and leftist counterdemonstrators, who clashed with police at several points while trying to stop the march. Police officials finally did stop it at Alexanderplatz after deciding that they could no longer protect the marchers, but they could not prevent a later series of battles between the extremists.

There were about 115 arrests, but no serious injuries were reported. A demonstration against right-wing extremism is planned for the city on Thursday.


Johannes Leithuser

BERLIN. Parliamentarians from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Alliance 90/The Greens coalition parties on Friday called on the government to release material gathered in support of a ban on the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party (NPD).

However, the Greens have rejected a move to make changes to a law on telephone surveillance -- the G-10 Law -- that would strengthen the admissibility of some information obtained about the NPD through phone taps.

The SPD parliamentary group is now drawing up a proposal to formally process the NPD ban application in the German parliament, the Bundestag. The parliament would then ask the internal affairs committee to evaluate the material presented by German Interior Minister Otto Schily. The committee would then make a recommendation to the full parliament on how to proceed.

The SPD's internal affairs spokesman, Dieter Wiefelsptz, said on Friday that employing the internal affairs committee in this way would leave open the question of whether the Bundestag would lodge its own application for a ban with the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. Or it could merely agree to the application brought by the government and the Bundesrat, the chamber representing Germany's states at federal level.

The legal affairs committee should join in the deliberations on the material gathered in support of an NPD ban, Mr. Wiefelsptz said, expecting the Bundestag to vote in favor of a ban sometime at the end of November. The federal cabinet plans to make a decision on the matter next Wednesday. It had been agreed, Mr. Wiefelsptz said, that Interior Minister Schily would inform the Bundestag internal affairs committee of the decision immediately afterwards.

The NPD material supporting a ban, which was gathered by a special panel of experts, can only be viewed in a special security room in the Bundestag at present. However, Mr. Wiefelsptz said talks were in progress with the Interior Ministry to allow the material to be handed out at least to the senior internal affairs committee members from the different parliamentary groups. A 70-page summary of the contents of the material had already been sent to all members of the committee, Mr. Wiefelsptz said.

Christian Strbele, a senior Green deputy in the Bundestag, on Friday opposed changes to the G-10 law to remove doubts about the use of NPD material gathered by the intelligence services. The law allows the use of telephone taps to solve "crimes that threaten the democratic order." But it is unclear whether such methods may be used to gather material as a preventive measure with a view to a ban application.


10th November 2000

Gary McMichael (Reproduced from Ireland On Sunday)

THIS WEEK'S vicious haemorrhaging within loyalism has been a depressing addition to the pressure that the peace process is already under. When the process seems to be lurching deeper into crisis by the day, as if on cue, another coal has been thrown on the fire. One would be forgiven for becoming paranoid. But then, as the joke goes, just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they are not plotting against you.

It has been disclosed through the media, that a truce in the Shankill feud was imminent, and I can say with some confidence that if things had not erupted in North Belfast, there would have been a formal ceasefire in place today.

For weeks, efforts had been under way to resolve the internecine fighting that had decimated the Shankill community, involving direct talks between the UDA and UVF. I was not involved directly in any of this but from what I have been briefed about, there had been a great deal of energy put into reaching a formal truce and setting out a process to rebuild relationships between the groups.

It should also be said that the UVF was more difficult to convince than the UDA, that there should be a truce, and I will come back to this point shortly. Despite what was an arduous process, the talks had reached a point where a truce could be formalised but the murder of David Greer scuppered that.

David Ervine asked a question the other day and put his finger on the fundamental point that bothers me about this murder. With the knowledge that the leaderships of the UDA and UVF were about to sit down and make peace with each other, why did the UVF in North Belfast, when faced with a minor local scuffle, choose what should always be the last resort as their first course of action? Why did the guns come out immediately, when they must have known what was at stake? In my view, the answer is in the question.

I am becoming convinced that there are people who do not want the feud to be resolved and that there is, and has been for some time, an uncontrollable, malignant element in the UVF in that area that does not want stability.

I feel that the same people are opposed to the peace process. They have identified the destabilising effect the feud has had on confidence in the wider community at this crucial period in the peace process and are intent on manipulating this to the full. When the UVF murdered its second victim, Tommy English, it did so in the territory of yet another UDA brigade. So we now had three of the six UDA brigades involved in a feud that had, up until then, been limited to West Belfast. I think there was method in this.

There is yet another aspect to the current feud which gives me great concern. The current round of killings has centred on Billy Hutchinson's electoral area, tying him emotionally to the feud. There has been speculation for some time that Billy is opposed to a truce and certainly his comments up to this point have done little to dissuade many people of this.

Ireland on Sunday reported recently that Billy had told the UVF that if they agreed to reform a Combined Loyalist Military Command-type structure with the UDA, then he would resign. He also refused to sit at the top table at his party's conference last month, in protest at the leadership's position on resolving the feud.

I have had a public run-in with him this week, and challenged him to call on the UVF to end the feud, which he has refused to do. Anyone who knows me will verify that it is not my form to get into slanging games with people, but I think there is a very important principle at stake here.

It is irresponsible for those of us in a leadership position to send signals that could be interpreted as support for those who want to continue this madness. If we fail to call for this feuding to stop, then there are people who want to interpret that failure as a green light.

Just to be clear about this point, I do not for a second believe that Billy supports the position of the rogue element which is behind this campaign. Billy's motivation is quite different but I do think he is playing into the strategy set out by others.

I am convinced that one of the reasons the UVF has been reluctant to sign up to a ceasefire on the Shankill, is precisely because of the implication of Billy Hutchinson's threat to walk away. Stability between the UVF and UDA is important to both leaderships but the UVF is balancing this against losing half of its representation in the Assembly and, of course, the exposure of internal division that would result.

The rogue element in North Belfast has exploited this and has now brought the feud into Billy Hutchinson's back yard. Billy has been touched directly by the violence and he is a very emotional person.

It is his personal involvement that makes him so belligerent about reconciliation and now he has been craftily manoeuvred into being an even greater obstacle for the UVF leadership than when the feud was restricted to the Shankill. It is easy to get personally involved and I recognise Billy has lost friends in the course of the feud but so have I. There is an agenda at work and we must resist it.

I have focused on the role of the UVF, principally to expose the fifth element within its ranks, and have not even touched on the issue of right and wrong when it comes to the feud, because I think that goes without saying. I do not believe either the actions of the UDA or the UVF can be justified.

The murder of PUP man Bertie Rice is as despicable as that of my friend Tommy English and all the others who have been killed. People with a diabolical agenda have drawn the UVF and UDA into this swan dance. They must recognise this and order the killing to stop.

All material © Ireland on Sunday Ltd.


9th November 2000

Tim Pat Coogan (Reproduced from Ireland On Sunday)

THE REALLY serious issue which the country should be contemplating this weekend is that of global warming but we, not our grandchildren, are faced with a more immediate threat through David Trimble's recent initiative, if initiative it can be called.

Trimble says that his veto on meeting Sinn Fein ministers is not in itself dangerous, it is the response to it which carries the threat. This is like Hitler saying that it was not the invasion of Poland which led to World War II, it was the response to it by the Allies.

Is the republican slogan, "800 years of British oppression", being exchanged for one of "800 members of the Ulster Unionist Council- induced depression"?

While we are being lectured by unionist spokespersons like the ex-B Special and UDR member Ken Maginnis on "democracy", the fact is that we are witnessing a prime example of the reason why democracy, ie, the will of the majority, cannot work in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Unionist Council contains a block vote of over 100 members of the Orange Order. These could be Paisley supporters for all anyone knows, they're there as Orangemen, not members of the UUC, not democrats.

The fact that Seamus Mallon would deliberately flout his first minister to go to the Enniskillen meeting with Bairbre de Brun and Micheal Martin is an indication of the seriousness with which he views the threat to the Good Friday agreement which he did so much to bring about.

The question has to be faced squarely. Is the real agenda of the Unionists the destruction of this agreement? Citizens of the Republic should remind themselves that this far-reaching and fundamental treaty between two sovereign governments, as well as the Northern parties, commits the Republic to fundamental changes.

Is David Trimble and/or the 800 members of the Ulster Unionist Council to be allowed to abort that development?

I have become convinced that there is no centre to unionism which can, or wants to, deliver on the Good Friday agreement.

The time has come to look in more detail at the background to Trimble's veto than many people may feel comfortable in doing.

On the one hand, we have the continuing loyalist feud which, if it takes the course all too often seen in the past, of escalating to include the murder of Catholics, then a retaliation from the Provisionals cannot be ruled out.

The growing disillusionment in the republican community at this ever- increasing danger is mirrored in the corresponding growth of the "real IRA".

The "real IRA" has a simple analysis: The Unionists will never work the Good Friday agreement. When it comes to the crisis, the British will not force them to and, in any event, the British have no right to be in Ireland anyhow and the only remedy is physical force.

New volunteers have been coming forward in answer to this slogan - some as young as 14 years of age - and indications of dissatisfaction in the ranks of the Provisionals, who have hitherto so steadfastly upheld their ceasefire in the teeth of unionist provocations and prevarications, has began to manifest itself in various ways.

One was the significant sight - given the importance of funerals in republican theology - of some well-known figures associated with the Provisionals openly participating in the recent O'Connor funeral and, of course, Mr O'Connor should not have died as he did.

Another indication is the debate over whether the Provisionals have objected to Sinn Fein issuing condemnations of "real IRA" activities.

There was a rather muted response, to say the least of it, to the attempted murder of an RUC man this week in which the unfortunate policeman lost a leg. (There is, of course, a possibility that the Republicians suspect that the explosion was the work of Loyalists).

Such incidents are to the Irish peace process what the Islamic Jihad's car bombings are to the Middle East equivalent.

Moreover on the political side, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee has a number of articulate, competent spokespersons. Bernadette Sands McKevitt, Michael McKevitt, Francis Molloy and Joseph Dillon, for example, all have a certain presence and carry weight with those who think like them.

The question has to be asked: Is the combination of British securocrats and Unionists of influence deliberately trying to pursue policies aimed at furthering the growth of these not inconsiderable forces to the detriment of the Good Friday agreement?

Increasingly, we are seeing the policies, not of the Good Friday agreement's aspirations, but of Jeffrey Donaldson and the rest being implemented. There is a contemptuous disregard for the work of Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisaari, the international arms inspectors. They have stated publicly that the Provisional IRA is serious about the peace process and that its dumps are secure. Can one say the same for the weapons held in unionist hands which we are not supposed to talk about?

Donaldson has said that General de Chastelain has wasted over £2million of Northern Ireland taxpayers' money to no avail. On the "moderate" wing of the unionist party Michael McGimpsey has said that the effect of David Trimble's initiative is to place Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun in "detention" where they will stay, like naughty schoolchildren, until such time as they force the IRA to decommission.

The use of such arrogant language by both men tells us a great deal about the unionist mindset. The British taxpayers are the ones supporting Northern Ireland's wretched economy, and they - not the Northern Ireland taxpayers - are providing the money for de Chastelain's excellent endeavours. The British annual bill is £9-£14billion annually.

The Sinn Fein ministers cannot be placed in "detention" (or interned) by any Unionists. They are democratically elected representatives.

Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen is clearly having a hard time trying to get his opposite number, Peter Mandelson, to understand these basic realities. But it is obvious that Dublin is giving the effort to save the peace process its best shot.

Before shots of a different nature begin to ring out, Tony Blair should have another of his famous pints of Guinness with Bertie Ahern and Cowen and follow up by telling the Unionists that his taxpayers want value for their money.

If he does not, I'm afraid that the contemporary developments may render even the joint sovereignty option nugatory and it would be an absolutely cast iron, slogging disaster for Mandelson to implement one of the rumoured contingency plans now being considered, under the "Help David Trimble" banner, ie, to postpone next year's local government elections.

The one major factor still remaining in convincing wavering Provisionals not to support "real IRA"-type policies, it is the very well grounded belief that these elections will show significant gains for Sinn Fein and its peace policy strategy.

To abort these elections in the wake of Trimble's damaging blow to the North/South bodies would be a catalyst for war.

All material © Ireland on Sunday Ltd.


6th November 2000

At one stage a little over ten years ago Militant had 10,000 sub paying members. Now there is approximately 5% left. This is a crisis, not just for the now renamed Socialist Party but for Trotskyism itself.

"In some ways the crisis gripping the SP is repeated in just about every other group on a the left at the present time" writes Harry Patterson in this weeks Weekly Worker.

"There is a certain cultural commonality. However in our particular case there are specific reasons for the extreme form that the crisis has taken" he suggests.

Below we produce the most interesting excerpts from his article and comment and on the conclusion.

"Crick in his book Militant, notes that this common culture, at its most ludicrous, even took the form whereby a minority of comrades, in order to emphasise supposed proleterian credentails would try to speak with a horrible amalgamn accent which was a cross between East End London and Merseyside."

"Because of the way comrades are educated inside the Socialist Party, we are not trained to think independently over a wide intellectual terrain. Comrades are only expected to learn certain core notions. So when you have doubts, when you have problems, when comrades arrive at what they feel is going to be a theoretical disagreement with the leadership, your first response is to think, 'Damn I've missed something.'"

"The crisis in the Socialist Party can be linked to a wider crisis of Trotskyism. Speaking as somebody who has come from that tradition, I would suggest that possibly one of the biggest disservices that was ever done to Trotsky was the creation of 'Trotskyism'."

"Although the intention was to win the workers to revolution it eventualy became clear that the opposite was happening. When we detached ourselves from that host organism [Labour], the effects of institutionalism were unmistakable. There were lots of comrades wandering about outside the Labour Party post 1992 like ex-cons, not knowing what to do."

"For people like me, who have been members for a decade or more, during the days when we thought we were the revolutionary organisation in Britian. the 'open turn' came as a shock. Suddenly we discovered that we were reformists. It literally fell out of the sky for a number of us: despite all the lip service that we pay to be a "Marxist" organisation, we are a reformist party. The 'open turn' and the name changes were moves which helped open my eyes. The shock is all the greater when you realise that what we have got here is not just a mistaken term or mistaken tactic: we have got a political catastrophe."

"In my opinion the general election is going to make or break the Socialist Party in terms of any remaining influence it has got."

"If the kind of sectarian stance we saw during the GLA campaign is replicated throughout the country, it could trigger the Socialist Party's final slide into micro-sect status, along with Gerry Healey's old Workers Revolutionary Party. Scargills' Socialist Labour Party etc. The organisation does already have all the hallmarks of a sect."

Patterson conludes by asking what lessons can be learnt that can prevent the crisis engulfing the Socialist Party engulfing the whole left. His solution?

"I believe the answers are to be found in authentic Leninism."

Nice try Harry but no cigar.

In 1990 Red Action predicted, that the collapse of Stalinism was not as the SWP (who flooded into Russia bearing translations of Trotsky texts!) maintained 'a vindication of Trotskyism' but it's death notice. For all the pretence to the contrary the essential differences in approach between Stalin and Trotsky in Russia between 1918-1928 were insubstantial. Almost a matter of personality over substance. Both claimed a loyalty to Lenin. Neither lied. Thus, ultimately 'the greatest disservice Lenin ever did the working class was to invent 'Leninism'.

It took the left decades before it turned it's back on the monstrosity of Stalinism, only to emabrace Trotskysim which maintained, and still does, that the Eastern Bloc countries, where the working class did not even have a vote, were in fact 'workers states'.

From the collapse of Soviet Communism it has taken a decade to wring a public admisssion from within the heart of Trotskyism that it is not simply a matter of a 'wrong term or a wrong tactic' but a full blown catastrophe. Trotskyism does not work either. If it takes the Left another ten years to admit that Leninism is the actual culprit - it may well be too late. Already the likes of the BNP are five and maybe closer to ten years ahead of the conservative Left in re-inventing themselves politically and organisationally. Yet another reality the Left refuse to come to terms with.


4th November 2000

The following three articles are reproduced from RM Distribution


The loyalist paramilitary UVF has been blamed for shooting dead a young man in north Belfast after a clash with the rival loyalist UDA.

John White, of the UDA-linked Ulster Democratic Party, claimed that the UVF shot dead 21-year-old David Greer, after a "fracas" between the feuding groups.

Mr White has said that the victim was a member of the UDA. Greer, from Robena Court, was found with a single gunshot wound to the chest at Mountcollyer Street less than 500 yards from his home shortly before 10pm on Saturday.

White alleged that a team of UVF men pulled up in a car and shot Mr Greer in a run-down part of the staunchly loyalist Tiger's Bay area.

Rows of houses are boarded up and occupied houses have wire mesh protecting the windows. 'UFF' has been crudely painted a number of times on the footpath close to where Mr Greer was found.


Rivarly between different loyalist groupings in North Belfast spilled over into bloody feuding as three men are killed in four days bring the number of loyalists killed to six while over 200 families have been forced to flee from their homes.

Tommy English, a prominent member of UDP, the political party closely associated with the loyalist paramilitary UDA, was shot dead just hours after the shooting of rival loyalist Herbert Rice.

It is believed that Rice -- who worked for the PUP, the party which represents the paramilitary UVF -- was targeted in retaliation for an earlier killing. David Greer, a 21-year-old UDA member, was shot dead in North Belfast last Saturday night. The UVF was blamed for his death.

Mainstream media reports on the Greer killing suggested that the death was not linked to the ongoing feud which has largely been played out on the Shankill but subsequent events, most significantly the two fatal shootings in North Belfast belied those assesments.

Tommy English was shot three times in the chest as he lay on the sofa in the livingroom of his Ballyfore Gardens home at around 6.30 pm on Halloween night. His wife, who attempted to shield her husband was also attacked by the masked gang. English died shortly after arriving at hospital.

A few hours earlier 63 year old Herbert Rice, who works at PUP Assembly member Billy Hutchinson's Shore Road office, was beaten with base ball bats before being shot dead at his Canning Place home. He died shortly after recieving emergency surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Four days earlier the body of David Greer had been discovered in Mountcollyer Street with gunshot wounds to the chest after reports of a disturbance among UDA members in nearby Mileriver Street.

Describing Tommy English as a party officer in the UDP and part of the UDP's team at the multi party talks, Gary McMichael accused the UVF of reigniting the loyalist feud and being "hell bent on keeping it going."

"This self styled people's army is nothing less than a fascist movement intnet on enforcing its will within the loyalist community regardless of the consequencies," said McMichael.

Speaking of the revenge attack on Herbert Rice, Billy Hutchinson said that the UVF was being drawn into further conflict. "It only means the situation will get worse," said the Assembly member. Describing Herbert Rice as a 'soft target' Hutchinson said, "The UFF have put it up to the UVF in North Belfast and that is a serious mistake."


A 26-year-old man, reported to be a member of the UVF, was shot dead in Newtownabbey last night. It was the fourth shooting in in less than a week connected to the reignited loyalist feud and the second in the Newtonabbey area.

The victim, Markie Quail, was killed at his home in Rathcoole, shortly before 6.30pm on Wednesday evening.

Two masked gunmen wielding sledgehammers smashed their way into the victim's first floor flat and shot him a number of times in the head.

Paramedics arrived at the house within minutes and tried to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim's girlfriend was in the house at the time of the murder but was not injured.

It is understood the man's father, who lived next door, heard the shooting and rushed into the flat to find his son lying dead. A young couple also narrowly escaped injury when a number of bullets passed through the floor into their ground-floor flat.

The latest killing came hours after the funeral of UDA member David Greer, the first to die in the renewed loyalist blood-letting this week. John White, of the UDP, which is aligned to the UDA/UFF, said dialogue was the only way to break the wave of tit-for-tat killings. However, he laid the blame on the UVF for sparking off the fresh spate of murders.

"They're bound to know that if you kill members of a rival organisation, they're bound to retaliate," he said.

Billy Hutchinson, of the UVF-aligned PUP, warned of further bloodshed in the wake of the latest murder.

"Obviously, he was shot because of his sympathies. I would imagine the UVF would want to strike back for the murder," he said.