Thatcher’s brutal prisons regime
Reprint articles by Tony Saunois and Peter Hadden and introduction (Socialism Today, May 2011 issue)
Today, 5 May, marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands, one of seven Irish Republican Army (Provisional IRA) hunger strikers who, along with three Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners, undertook a hunger strike to the death in the then infamous H-block prison in Northern Ireland. These prisoners were protesting about the repression and conditions in the jail, and demanded political status. Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Westminster government refused to make any concessions to the prisoners.
On the first anniversary of the death of Comrade Peter Hadden we republish an article he wrote in 2008 on the 20th anniversary of the killing of three IRA volunteers in Gibraltar and the subsequent events. This article is an important Marxist analysis of these events, but more than that it is a critique of the futility of IRA’s campaign of individual terror, the role of British imperialism and a confirmation that the national question in Ireland can only be resolved through the building of a mass movement for socialism based on working class unity.
The real effects of these cuts can be seen with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service cutting 70,000 hours from front line cover. This will affect people across the North, but will particularly hit those in rural areas that have suffered from years of cuts backs including the closure of several hospitals.