US AND British military chiefs have been quick to label their July offensive against the Taliban in south east Afghanistan a “success”. In reality the main achievement of the British “Operation Panther’s Claw” and the US “Operation Thrust of the Sword” has been to refocus the attention of an increasingly sceptical public at home on the military quagmire and political impasse that is present day Afghanistan.
The significance of the Thomas Cook occupation cannot be overstated. At the time of writing the issue of redundancy payments is not resolved but already the struggle has exposed the pro-big business nature of the courts and the Gardai. Crucially it was a victory of the spirit of the workers and showed the extraordinary ability of people to fight to defend their rights.
Twenty-eight workers arrested and dragged through the courts in scenes more common in far away dictatorial regimes. The Thomas Cook occupation showed that “social partnership” does not exist. It also illustrated the anger that working class people feel at being made pay the price for the crisis through job cuts and attacks on rights. When told that the company was going to close with immediate effect the workers occupied the building.
The three nights of heavy rioting which took place in Ardoyne in North Belfast over the Twelfth showed how the main parties in the Assembly are being challenged by more hard-line sectarian forces on the ground. The decision of Sinn Fein to organise a token protest against the Orange Order marching past the Ardoyne shops effectively gave the green light to the PSNI to ‘deal’ with dissident republican groups who had prepared in advance attacks on the Orange Order and the PSNI.
While the bailed-out banks continue to pay out millions in bonuses to the fat cat executives, it is a very different story for working class people.
A record 1,000 people are expected to declare bankruptcy this year in Northern Ireland. The Land & Property Services (LPS) which collects rates on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly Executive has dragged a staggering 46,611 people before the courts in the last financial year because they could not afford to pay rates.
Our origins We have been active in Northern Ireland since the start of the Troubles at the beginning of the seventies. At first we were known as Militant and then as Militant Labour. We became the Socialist Party in 1997. During the difficult early decades of the Troubles we were […]