Monday, November 30, 2009

EUROFACTS ... 30 November 2009


The Lisbon Treaty, which has 99% the same legal effect as the EU Constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, comes into force on tomorrow, 1 December.

The European Union Act 2009 was published at the end of October. This Act implements the second Lisbon Treaty referendum result by amending the European Communities Act 1972 which has made European law applicable in the State up to now. The new Act makes the laws, acts and measures of the European Union "established by virtue of the Lisbon Treaty" part of the domestic law of the State.

This is a constitutionally different European Union from what we call the European Union at present, which was established by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, although its name is the same. This post-Lisbon EU replaces the European Community which Ireland joined in 1973 and which made supranational European laws up to now, and takes over all its powers and institutions. From Tuesday therefore we will all be endowed with an additional citizenship to our Irish citizenship - a real EU citizenship with associated rights and duties, something quite different in its implications to the purely notional or symbolical EU citizenship that we are assumed to have possessed up to now.

The article below explains the constitutional revolution in the EU and its Member States which has been brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and which will formally culminate on Tuesday. This is something that scarcely figured in what passed for "debate" on the Lisbon Treaty in our Lisbon Two referendum. The statutory Referendum Commission completely failed to explain the constitutional significance of Lisbon to Irish citizen-voters, even though that was its prime duty under the Referendum Act establishing it - something the Government and Yes-side interests must be very grateful for.


The People's Movement, whose chairman is former MEP Patricia McKenna, will protest against the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty and the undemocratic manner in which it was pushed through, in Ireland and across the EU, for half an hour outside Dail Eireann in Kildare Street from 1 to 1.30 p.m. on tomorrow, Tuesday. Interested people are invited to come along with appropriate posters, slogans etc.


Baroness Catherine Ashton is the new EU "Foreign Minister" under the Lisbon Treaty - properly titled "The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy". The Irish media have so far been remarkably reluctant to give this lady her proper title. The Irish Times refers to her as "Ms Ashton". Is it not curious, this reluctance to give a member of the House of Lords, which the Baroness remains, her proper designation?

Baroness Ashton will receive an annual salary of ¤350,000 and have a chauffeured car, a housing allowance and a staff of 20. She will have control of the new EU External Action Service, starting with 5000 staff already engaged on "external relations", based on EU delegations in 130 countries - and the service is expected to grow rapidly. Current EU foreign policy boss Javier Solana has said the service would become "the biggest diplomatic service in the world". It is estimated to cost some ¤50 billion between now and 2013.

This EU foreign service is not open to democratic scrutiny, is likely to develop a life of its own and come to undermine the foreign policies of EU Member States.

The Sunday Times has noted that staff in overseas EU offices typically work a 4-day week, are entitled to first-class travel to and from their posting, as well as private health insurance and an allowance of up to £1,700 a month to spend on school fees.


Agence France Presse reports that in a question-time session in the European Parliamen a week ago, European Commission President Jose Barroso said he would look at the idea of raising direct EU taxation. Asked if he agreed with Herman Van Rompuy, the new EU President, that there should be EU taxes, he said: "I intend to look at all issues of taxation in the EU. We have to look at this, we have to look at all resources of the EU. We have promised it to the Parliament, the programme with which I was elected was to look at possible 'own resources' and this is in the programme that was adopted by this European Parliament."

Denouncing the situation in Honduras

Denouncing the situation in Honduras

The World Federation of Democratic Youth expresses its most energetic condemnation for the shameful elections taking place in Honduras, that have been imposed by the coup government with the support of the north American imperialism and representing a worldwide shame, in which 65% of the people has decided not to participate.

US imperialism, together with its servants of Colombia, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica and Israel, sending observers from fascist organizations like USAID, NED, UnoAmerica group, the Cuban-American Foundation and the Zionist and criminal government of Israel, expresses its despise for all that have struggled for the poor, humble, for the young people, children and women, and reaffirms that unique intention in Latin America is to bring back the violence, the military dictatorships and the end of the change processes going on right now, following the wishes of the bourgeois and fascist oligarchy that is indeed behind the ruling forces of USA.

Today, more than ever, the Latin American young people have to be conscious that the only alternative is to struggle together to secure the achievements of their countries and to stop the progress of the fascist right wing. It is then necessary to condemn in all possible places the coup d’état in Honduras, as imperialism will keep trying other actions of this kind. It is necessary for the Latin American youngsters to understand that the moment they are living demands more than ever to
continue the struggle because “It is necessary to win”, as once said José Félix Ribas.

On behalf of all its member and friend organizations and the progressive youth of the world, WFDY reaffirms its strong rejection and its total condemnation to the manipulated and illegal elections in Honduras and calls upon all the young people of the world to express its condemnation in all possible places, struggling for a better world.

WFDY, Budapest

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to fix a rich but unequal country

If the top earners paid 43 per cent of their income in taxes and levies, a further €3.2bn could be raised, writes VINCENT BROWNE

JUST A few random facts, not that facts are much in use nowadays. Certainly not facts that contradict the line of the economic and political establishments.

Fact One: Ireland is a very rich country, one of the richest countries in the world. Even allowing for a deeper contraction in the economy here in 2009 than elsewhere in the EU, our per capita income is still at least 10 per cent above the EU average. We are better off than countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece and very much better off than all the 12 new member states.

Fact Two: There are only 10 countries in the world richer than the rich counties of the EU. They are three oil sheikhdoms (Qatar, Kuwait and UAE), and Liechtenstein, Switzerland, USA, Norway, Luxembourg and Japan. Perhaps now Australia and Canada are richer than Ireland, but, excluding the tax havens and the oil sheikhdoms, Ireland is probably the 16th richest country in the world. Ireland is 110 times richer than the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the per capita annual income is less than $298 (€199). The latter data is from the 2009 United Nations Development Programme report.

Fact Three: Ireland has one of the lowest tax takes – as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in the EU. In 2007 our tax take was 32.5 per cent of GDP, as compared with an EU average of 40.9 per cent. Only Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia were lower than us. Denmark had a tax take of 49.5 per cent, Sweden 48.9, Belgium 46.1, France, Italy 43.3 and Germany 40.8. Even with the levies, our tax take now would be among the lowest in Europe. (Data from Eurostat.)

Fact Four: It is true, those earning over €100,000 (this includes couples who file their taxes jointly) pay almost 50 per of all income tax revenues. This is not surprising since this cohort, who comprise only 6 per cent of all earners, get 28 per cent of all income.

Fact Five: Those who earn less than €30,000, who comprise 46 per cent of all earners, get on average less than €15,000 a year and they take just 15 per cent of total income. So 6 per cent of all earners get almost twice the income share as 46 per cent of all earners. (All this basic data on income and tax is available from the Revenue Commissioners, the analysis is mine.)

Fact Six: The 168,627 earners getting more than €100,000 per year got a total income in 2009, according to the Revenue Commissioners, of €32.3 billion. This works out at an average income of €189,770 per year. They are projected to pay a total of €8.7 billion in income tax, which is just 27 per cent of their income.

Fact Seven: Assuming that these top earners (those earning over €100,000) pay the levies that were announced for 2010, they will pay a further 6 per cent of their income in tax. This will bring their total income tax and levy to 33 per cent of their income.

Fact Eight: If the top earners were obliged to pay 43 per cent of their income in taxes and levies, a further €3.2 billion could be raised in income tax and levies (this is a simple calculation: 10 per cent of €32.3 billion).

Fact Nine: Even if the double earners who earn less than €160,000 were excluded from these additional taxes and levies and were allowed to contribute at a lower rate, the additional taxes could certainly net €2.5 billion.

Fact 10: 44 per cent of all public servants earn less than €30,000 (this information was supplied in a written answer to a Dáil question on November 3rd and the data relates to the income tax year 2007).

Fact 11: 75 per cent of all public servants earn €50,000 or less. Since these income figures come from the Revenue Commissioners and apply to total earnings, they include all allowances and bonuses.

Fact 12: Ireland is one of the most unequal societies in the developed world. The OECD calculated in its report Growing Unequal that Ireland was the 23rd most unequal of 29 developed countries.

Fact 13: A consequence of this inequality is that over 5,000 people die prematurely here every year because of this inequality (see the report Inequalities in Mortality by the Institute of Public Health).

Fact 14: Research on inequality, drawn from around the world and, in particular, the US, shows that the more income inequality there is in societies, the more prevalent is an array of social problems from obesity to imprisonment rates, violence, poor health, welfare dependency and low literacy.

Reflection: The Government, aided and abetted by the main Opposition parties and the hordes of economists, refuses to see any relevance in any of the above in devising policies to fix the hole in the public finances.


Spanish Civil War Memorial


Saturday 5th December 2009

The IBCC cordially invite you to the unveiling of a memorial to Brigadistas
Jack Jones (former General Secretary of the T & G) and Bob Doyle (GPMU - Activist)

International Brigade veteran Jack Edwards will to be
in attendance along with relatives of the Brigadistas


We would particularly draw your attention to the:

Unveiling of Memorial @ Unite the Union’s, Offices, Antrim Road Belfast - 2:00pm

Wreath laying @ the Statue, Writers Square, Donegall Street - 3:30pm


Unite Offices - Antrim Road, Belfast

Lecture by with Daniel Gray (Author of Homage to Caledonia)


Unite offices - Antrim Rd, Belfast

Unveiling the Memorial


Writers’ Square - Donegall Street, Belfast

Laying of wreath at the Statue

CPI Public Forum


Finglas, Dublin

Monday 30 November, 8 p.m.
Public Forum

There is an alternative

Discussion of the economic crisis and presentation of the CPI publication An Economy for the Common Good.
West Finglas Tenants’ and Residents’ Association Hall (Mellows Road)

Luan 30 Samhain, 8 i.n.
Fóram poiblí
There is an alternative
Fionnghlas, Baile Átha Cliath

Plé ar an ngéarchéim eacnamaíoch agus cur i láthair An Economy for the Common Good, foilseachán de chuid an CPI.
Halla Chumann Tionóntaí agus Cónaitheoirí Fhionnghlais Thiar (Bóthar Mellows)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eleventh International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

Address by Eddie Glackin

National Executive Committee, Communist Party of Ireland

20 November 2009


First of all I would like to express our Party’s thanks to our hosts, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India, for organising this Conference. The struggles of the peoples of India and Ireland have been intertwined for many years by our common struggle for independence from British Imperialism. Almost 90 years ago when British Imperialism and its Irish allies imposed partition and ultimately Civil War on the Irish people, one of the first working class fighters in Britain who leapt to the defence of the Irish Republic was the outstanding Communist Member of Parliament Shapurji Saklatvala.

To read the full speech click on:

CPI Finglas Meeting

Monday 30 November, 8 p.m.

Public meeting

There is an alternative

Discussion of the economic crisis and presentation of the CPI publication An Economy for the Common Good.

West Finglas Tenants’ and Residents’ Association Hall (Mellows Road)

Communist Party of Ireland

A new living arts space


A new living arts space.


Sunday Nov 22nd 2009

Tommy Tiernan and Hector O’Heochaghain are hosting a night to kickstart ‘The Complex’ by appearing in a fundraiser on Sunday November 22nd in Vicar St (8pm). The line up includes Jarlath Regan, Apres Match, David O’Doherty, Jape, Jeremy Hickey (RSAG), Maria Doyle Kennedy, the North Strand Kontra Band and others.

‘The Complex’ will be a new open plan live arts space in Smithfield Square for theatre, run by a group of professional theatre artists who have seized an opportunity that will benefit Smithfield, a part of Dublin that is fast deteriorating. In the last six months, the majority of hotels and bars in the area have closed and the plaza is empty except for the humming of the youth courts. Last February the group produced a new play called 'Complexity' in this prominent space overlooking the Square. It became a cult show and brought life to the area that combined theatre-going people with local residents, with whom they had been working over the last five years through outreach programmes. This part of Dublin has the highest density of mixed cultures amongst its people and yearns for a focal point that in some way celebrates the variety of people's backgrounds. There is no better catalyst than a theatre and with this in mind, an approach was made to the owner who has extended their stay indefinitely.

Many local businesses have donated services and gifts to 'The Complex' but the cost of equipment for the basic infrastructure to get it up and running cannot be avoided. Capital funding for the arts is currently frozen. This is an empowering enterprise where artists are changing the fate of building development, something that would never have existed before the crash. Just one night will get it started.

Tickets @ €28 available from Ticketmaster: tel 0818719300

Saturday, November 21, 2009

About the International Communist Review

The publication of the first issue of the “International Communist Review” expresses the necessity of cooperation among theoretical and political journals of Communist Parties that have common positions on a series of fundamental theoretical and ideological issues. This necessity has matured through the assessment of the period of retreat of the international communist movement, following the victory of the counterrevolution in the USSR and the East and Central European countries, as well as through the issues set before the communist movement by the development of modern class struggle.

This is why we assess that parallel to the continuation of the cooperation and coordination of Communist and Workers’ Parties, such as their yearly international meeting, it is necessary to enforce the cooperation among the theoretical Marxist Leninist journals on a theoretical level. We do not forget that the main condition for the formation of a revolutionary party is the mastery of the revolutionary theory, which was the focus of the III Leninist Communist International, whose 90th anniversary we celebrate this year. Already from the first issue of its theoretical journal “The communist international” Comintern outlined its organisational principles and its theoretical positions.

The “International Communist Review” continuing the traditions of Lenin is a publication with a clear ideological-political character. It is a journal with a point of view and does not merely record theses of the Communist Parties, besides, the latter process is served by other corresponding publications, such as the Information Bulletin of the international meetings of Communist and Workers’ parties, as well as other parties’ publications. Our goal is to contribute to the popularisation and development of the Marxist Leninist theory through the ideological analysis and political positioning on modern developments in capitalism and the issues of class struggle. We believe that the enforcement of the Marxist Leninist orientation within the international communist and labour movement is a precondition for its necessary reorganisation.

The theoretical and political journals of the CPs that cooperate for the publication of the “International Communist Review” came together based on our common view on major issues of the international communist movement, the defence of the principles of Marxism-Leninism, of proletarian internationalism, of the necessity of a socialist revolution, of the dictatorship of proletariat and of the construction of a socialist society.

We rally our forces to contribute to the theoretical and ideological reorganisation of the international communist movement on a stable Marxist-Leninist basis, despite our different approaches to tactical and strategic issues.

To expressly highlight the vanguard role of the working class in the revolutionary process, in conditions when a series of forces dispute the Marxist-Leninist criteria of belonging to the working class, consequently, its leading position in the struggle for social progress and in the revolutionary transition from capitalism to socialism as well.

To defend the Leninist principles on the party, in conditions of rising pressure on the communist parties for incorporation into the capitalist system.

To show the necessity of struggle against the imperialist unions, such as the IMF, NATO, the EU etc.

To defend the historical experience of the international communist movement, surely, without rejecting the necessary critique and the scientific conclusions that will help the modern international communist movement to take a step further. We think it is necessary to follow the path of the revolutionary traditions of the Paris Commune, of the October socialist revolution, of the Communist International and the socialist experience of the USSR and of the other countries.

We deemed necessary to devote the 1st issue of the “International Communist Review” to the current world economic crisis of capitalism, which discloses the historic boundaries of the capitalist system and accumulates explosive material that can contribute to revolutionary processes in the following years.

The editorial board of the journal consists of representatives of the following publications: «Etudes Marxistes» (Workers' Party of Belgium), «Communistiki epitheorisi» (Communist Party of Greece). «Szabadsag» (Hungarian Communist Workers' Party), «Sotsialist Latvii» (Socialist Party of Latvia), «Zeitung vum Letzebuerger Vollek» (Communist Party of Luxembourg), «El Comunista» (Party of the Communists, Mexico), «Propuesta Comunista» (Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain), «Sovietsky Soyuz» (Russian Communist Workers' Party), «Genelek» (Communist Party of Turkey), «Debate Abierto» (Communist Party of Venezuela).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Public Forum in Cabra, Dublin


14th November

The Communist Party of Ireland has begun holding a series of open forums
to provide people with an opportunity to come together to discuss their
opinions and their solutions to the growing economic crisis. The CPI
will present its analysis of both the global and the national nature of
the crisis and put forward some of its ideas about possible solutions
and for a different way forward. These meetings are not for lecturing
but for listening and learning, from people and their experiences.

*The second meeting is on this coming Monday 16th November on the north
side of Dublin and will take place in Cabra in St Fionnbharr's GAA
Club, Faussagh Road at 8-00pm. All welcome. *

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Berlin Wall celebrations mask reason it was built

article taken from the Irish Times.

The wall defused a dispute that could have resulted in nuclear conflict in the heart of Europe, writes VINCENT BROWNE

THE CELEBRATIONS in commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago have masked the events which propelled the construction of the wall and the reasons for the divisions of Germany and of Europe after the second World War.
The wall defused a dispute that hung over from that war, a dispute that could have resulted in far worse consequences, possibly a nuclear conflict in the heart of Europe. The background to that is significant.

It was not the combined forces of the Allies that liberated Berlin in 1945 from Nazi rule; it was the Red Army of the Soviet Union. The devastation caused by the second World War was not borne equally between the Allied forces; it was borne massively by the Soviet Union and, were it not for the Soviet Union, all of Europe would have been under Nazi tyranny, possibly for decades.

France lost an estimated 567,000 of its people in the war. The UK lost an estimated 450,000 lives; the United States lost an estimated 418,500 lives. Poland suffered a greater loss of its population in percentage terms than any other country (about 16.5 per cent). And other countries also suffered massive losses: French Indo China (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) more than one million; India an estimated two million, Japan an estimated 2.5 million, Germany between 6.5 and 8.5 million.

But the Soviet Union lost 14 per cent of its population in the war – an estimated 24 million people – and had it not been for the heroic success of the Soviet Union in repelling the German attack on itself and then its brilliantly conducted campaign in eastern Europe against the Nazi regime, Germany very probably would have won the war.

It had been agreed among the Allies that Germany would be occupied by the Allied powers after the war, to prevent rearmament and the emergence of a resurgent Germany. It had been further agreed that Berlin would be controlled by the four powers and that a demilitarised and occupied Germany would be united, a Germany that would be required to pay massive reparations, predominately to the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union adhered to an accord to have Berlin occupied by the four powers, although initially it alone was in occupation of the city. It exacted punitive reparations from the eastern part of Germany, while, in what the Soviet Union saw as a breach of faith, the western powers remilitarised western Germany and gave it massive subsidies, through Marshall aid.

The impending descent of an Iron Curtain across Europe was not apparent for some years after the war. Stalin deferred to the western Allies in urging the communist movements in Italy and France to participate meekly in coalition governments. In many eastern European countries, occupied by the Red Army, right-wing parties shared government with communist parties. But the position was changed radically by the announcement from the new American president, Harry Truman, on March 12th, 1947, that the United States would support any nation resisting the rise of indigenous communist movements. The commitment arose from the civil war in Greece where a royalist government, massively backed by Britain, was unable to resist a communist insurgency. Truman would not “allow” Greece to succumb to communism.

The Soviet Union was alarmed by all this, alarmed particularly by developments in western Germany, and that was the background to what became the Berlin crisis. The spark for the first crisis was a divisive monetary regime imposed by the western powers on the western part of Germany, without the approval of the Soviet Union, which retaliated by imposing a blockade on Berlin in an attempt to take control of the whole city. The West responded with the Berlin airlift, which lifted the blockade and, for four decades afterwards, Berlin was at the centre of the cold war.

The repressive character of the East German regime, plus the disparity in living conditions between East and West Germany, caused thousands of highly qualified East Germans to flee to the West in the following years and, in response to this leakage, and in the midst of another cold war crisis over the city, the infamous Berlin Wall was constructed in August 1961. There is reason to suspect the then US president, John F Kennedy, may have agreed secretly with the construction of the wall as a way of defusing the crisis, which threatened confrontation between the Soviet Union and America. Kennedy remained curiously silent when the wall went up.

The wall became a symbol of the tyranny of communist eastern Europe, and its fall 20 years ago was seen as an emblem of victory for the “free world”. But residents of the eastern parts of Germany today are very much less euphoric about the triumph of that “freedom” than in 1989. They suffered greatly in economic and social terms from the massive dislocations caused by the liberalising of the economy, and the rapture for western “democracy” has faded as evidenced by the striking declines in voter turnout at elections.

The wall was the symbol of a tyranny, but its fall was not the liberation it promised.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

EU Direct Taxation

A leaked document from the European Commission contains proposals that the EU budget should in future be funded through direct taxation, rather than by the present model under which member states' contributions are based on their Gross National Incomes (GNI).

The document suggests that money for the EU budget should be raised through levies on phone calls, flights, financial transactions or carbon emissions - despite assurances given during the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign that control of taxation would remain in the hands of the Irish government.

In his preface, Mr Barroso writes that the report 'presents the Commission's vision for the EU budget reform'.

Peoples Movement

The true intentions behind the US-Colombia Military Agreement *

AN official document from the Department of the US Air Force reveals that the military base in Palanquero, Colombia will provide the Pentagon with "…an opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America…" This information contradicts the explanations offered by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the U.S. State Department regarding the military agreement signed between the two nations this past October 30. Both governments have publicly stated that the military agreement refers only to counter-narcotics and counterterrorism operations within Colombian territory. President Uribe has reiterated numerous times that the military agreement with the U.S. will not affect Colombia’s neighbors, despite constant concern in the region regarding the true objectives of the agreement. But the U.S. Air Force document, dated May 2009, confirms that the concerns of South American nations have been right on target. The document exposes that the true intentions behind the agreement are to enable the U.S. to engage in "full spectrum military operations in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies…and anti-US governments…"

The military agreement between Washington and Colombia authorizes the access and use of seven military installations in Palanquero, Malambo, Tolemaida, Larandia, Apíay, Cartagena and Málaga. Additionally, the agreement allows for "the access and use of all other installations and locations as necessary" throughout Colombia, with no restrictions. Together with the complete immunity the agreement provides to US military and civilian personnel, including private defense and security contractors, the clause authorizing the US to utilize any installation throughout the entire country - even commercial airports, for military ends, signifies a complete renouncing of Colombian sovereignty and officially converts Colombia into a client-state of the U.S.

The Air Force document underlines the importance of the military base in Palanquero and justifies the $46 million requested in the 2010 budget (now approved by Congress) in order to improve the airfield, associated ramps and other installations on the base to convert it into a U.S. Cooperative Security Location (CSL). "Establishing a Cooperative Security Location (CSL) in Palanquero best supports the COCOM’s (Command Combatant’s) Theater Posture Strategy and demonstrates our commitment to this relationship. Development of this CSL provides a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies, anti-US governments, endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters."

It’s not difficult to imagine which governments in South America are considered by Washington to be "anti-US governments". The constant aggressive declarations and statements emitted by the State and Defense Departments and the US Congress against Venezuela and Bolivia, and even to some extent Ecuador, evidence that the ALBA nations are the ones perceived by Washington as a "constant threat". To classify a country as "anti-U.S." is to consider it an enemy of the United States. In this context, it’s obvious that the military agreement with Colombia is a reaction to a region the U.S. now considers full of "enemies".


Per the U.S. Air Force document, "Access to Colombia will further its strategic partnership with the United States. The strong security cooperation relationship also offers an opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America to include mitigating the Counter-narcotics capability." This statement clearly evidences that counter-narcotics operations are secondary to the real objectives of the military agreement between Colombia and Washington. Again, this clearly contrasts the constant declarations of the Uribe and Obama governments insisting that the main focus of the agreement is to combat drug trafficking and production. The Air Force document emphasizes the necessity to improve "full spectrum" military operations throughout South America – not just in Colombia – in order to combat "constant threats" from "anti-U.S. governments" in the region.


The Air Force document explains that "Palanquero is unquestionably the best site for investing in infrastructure development within Colombia. Its central location is within reach of…operations areas…its isolation maximizes Operational Security (OPSEC) and Force Protection and minimizes the US military profile. The intent is to leverage existing infrastructure to the maximum extent possible, improve the US ability to respond rapidly to crisis, and assure regional access and presence at minimum cost. Palanquero supports the mobility mission by providing access to the entire South American continent with the exception of Cape Horn…"


The document additionally confirms that the U.S. military presence in Palanquero, Colombia will improve the capacity of espionage and intelligence operations, and will allow the U.S. armed forces to increase their warfare capabilities in the region. "Development of this CSL will further the strategic partnership forged between the U.S. and Colombia and is in the interest of both nations…A presence will also increase our capability to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), improve global reach, support logistics requirements, improve partnerships, improve theater security cooperation and expand expeditionary warfare capability."

The language of war included in this document evidences the true intentions behind the military agreement between Washington and Colombia: they are preparing for war in Latin America. The past few days have been full of conflict and tension between Colombia and Venezuela. Just days ago, the Venezuelan government captured three spies from the Colombian intelligence agency, DAS, and discovered several active destabilization and espionage operations against Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela. The operations - Fénix, Salomón and Falcón, respectively, were revealed in documents found with the captured DAS agents. Approximately two weeks ago, 10 bodies were found in Táchira, a border zone with Colombia. After completing the relevant investigations, the Venezuelan government discovered that the bodies belonged to Colombian paramilitaries infiltrated inside Venezuelan territory. This dangerous paramilitary infiltration from Colombia forms part of a destabilization plan against Venezuela that seeks to create a paramilitary state inside Venezuelan territory in order to break down President Chávez’s government.

The military agreement between Washington and Colombia will only increase regional tensions and violence. The information revealed in the U.S. Air Force document unquestionably evidences that Washington seeks to promote a state of warfare in South America, using Colombia as its launching pad. Before this declaration of war, the peoples of Latin America must stand strong and unified. Latin American integration is the best defense against the empire’s aggression.

*The US Air Force document was submitted in May 2009 to Congress as part of the 2010 budget justification. It is an official government document and reaffirms the authenticity of the White Book: Global Enroute Strategy of the U.S. Air Mobility Command, which was denounced by President Chávez during the UNASUR meeting in Bariloche, Argentina this past August 28. I have placed the original document and the non-official translation to Spanish that I did of the relevant parts relating to Palanquero on the web page of the Center to Alert and Defend the People "Centro de Alerta para la Defensa de los pueblos", a new space we are creating to guarantee that strategic information is available to those under constant threat from imperialist aggression.

Taken from Granma website

Monday, November 9, 2009

Democracy, East Germany and the Berlin Wall

Democracy, East Germany and the Berlin Wall

Written by Stephen Gowans, What's Left

The GDR was more democratic, in the original and substantive sense of the word, than eastern Germany was before 1949 and than the former East Germany has become since the Berlin Wall was opened in 1989. It was also more democratic than its neighbor, West Germany. While it played a role in the GDR’s eventual demise, the Berlin Wall was at the time a necessary defensive measure to protect a substantively democratic society from being undermined by a hostile neighbor bent on annexing it.

For the complete article click on the below:

Support Shell to Sea


Please sign the below petition to support the calls of the Shell to Sea campaign for a suspension of work on the Corrib Gas Projec pending a full independent investigation into the economic (the oil and gas giveaway), environmental, human rights and safety impacts of the Project

Shell to Sea!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Get Up Stand UP

ICTU estimate 150,000 march at 8 different locations in Ireland as part of its campaign for a better fairer way out of this crisis.

Tackle the Jobs' Crisis

Almost 450,000 out of work and Government has no plan to tackle the crisis. All they've come up with so far is €54 billion for top bankers and cuts for low and middle income earners.

But in least eight other European countries governments have intervened to support and protect jobs threatened by the crisis. In Germany, for example, an additional 1.4 million people have been kept at work as a result of one such initiative. International commentators have noted that where such schemes exist, the recession is less severe and jobless rates are being kept down.
In terms of employment creation, Congress has long advocated setting up a National Recovery Bond that could be used to fund badly needed social infrastructure - new schools, clinics and public transport. This would help prevent a complete 'wipeout' of our construction industry and stop depletion of the national skills' base.

Stop Cuts to Peoples Incomes

Cutting incomes in a recession is both unfair and economic folly. Lower and middle income earners - much less those on social welfare - played no role whatsoever in causing this crisis and cannot now be asked to 'pick up the tab'.

Equally, cutting incomes guarantees only one outcome: more jobs lost and more people dependent on social welfare. Jobs are being lost because spending in our economy is down - almost €8 billion over the last 12 months. And savings have also risen, as people worry about an unsure future. Even bodies such as the ESRI concede that taking money out of the economy will cause further 'deflation' and set back any potential recovery.

If there is less spending there will be more people out of work.That means less tax revenue and more people dependent on social welfare. What does Government do then, impose more cuts?

Protect Vital Services

With more people out of work - 200,000 since 2007 - there is increased pressure on public service provision.

To cut service provision now makes no sense and could, in the longer-term, fatally undermine vital services such as health and education. It is arguable that our health service has never recovered from the corrosive effect of the savage cuts imposed in 1980s, when hundreds of beds were taken out of the system. It is likely that if cuts of that order were to be imposed again, it could simply collapse our vital services.

Equally, it is understood virtually everywhere around the globe that in times of recession you invest in people and in future growth through investment in upskilling programmes and further education.

Safeguard Peoples' Homes

Last year, 138 people had their homes repossessed. But the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan SC, predicts that 2010 will see an "avalanche" of claims before the courts.

Already, an estimated 14,000 homeowners are behind in their mortgage repayments and the ESRI estimates that could rise to 35,000 in the coming months. Government has applied a great deal of ingenuity and €54 billion in resources to ensure that banks undermined by the 'property bubble' do not go under. It has done nothing for homeowners faced with the same problem. In the US, authorities recognise the injustice and social chaos that would result from wholesale evictions and have moved to help homeowners. Equally, it is pointless repossessing homes only to board them up and let them become derelict.

In Ireland, the shaping of the NAMA legislation provides the perfect opportunity to put in place proper and appropriate measures to protect homeowners from eviction, including a moratorium on evictions of at least three years and the writing down of loans which cannot be repaid or were recklessly given.

Make the Wealthy Pay their Fair Share

In April, the Finance Minister announced that the December budget would address a deficit of €4 billion - through a combination of spending cuts and tax rises.

In the intervening months, the Minister's story has changed dramatically. He now says that the deficit will have to be made up from cuts alone, the argument being that there is no wealth left in the country and people at the top already pay enough tax. This is untrue.

Until 1999, a rate of 48 percent applied to those on higher incomes. Its abolition was opposed by Congress and is one of the reasons the state now faces a severe revenue shortfall. If, as the current Finance Minister insists "we are in wartime conditions: we have to raise whatever money we can raise now," then there can be no argument against the introduction of a third, higher tax rate, for those on higher incomes.

Equally, it is estimated that those central to the property bubble - landowners and developers - made profits of almost €45 billion: some €34 billion for the latter, with landowners amassing at least €11 billion. Not all of that money has been lost on the stockmarket. And that massive figure does not take into account the massive profits made elsewhere in the economy, during the boom years. If resources are in such short supply that Government is being 'forced' to contemplate social welfare cuts, it is incumbent on them uncover the true extent of wealth in Irish society and tax it appropriately.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

National Day of Protest - ICTU

Get Up Stand Up!

Show your solidarity - march with us on November 6th

Tomorrow we are taking to the streets to demand that the Government takes account of the needs of people as it plans a response to this crisis. So far, they have failed to do so. There is no action on the jobs crisis and we've just been handed a bill of €54 billion to pay for the reckless behaviour of others. And now they want more.

Its time to Get Up Stand Up and its time to put the needs of people before the needs of the markets. Join the demonstrations taking place today in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, Tullamore, and Dundalk. Full details available here.

Remember, this will not be the end of the campaign, we are planning further action and details will be made available on this website.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Interview with former President of the GDR

Interview given by Egon Krenz, former president of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), to Zeitung vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek, daily paper of the Communist Party of Luxembourg.

(Translated from German.)

Was the opening of the border spontaneous?
No, the events leading up to the opening of the borders are ignored today. On the 1st of November 1989 I met Gorbachev in Moscow. We had talks lasting four hours, during which I asked him what place the GDR would have in the “European House” he was propagating, and whether the Soviet Union would continue to honour its fraternal commitment in relation to the GDR. He told me that German unity was not on the agenda. The USSR and the GDR were allies for ever. He even warned me about what he termed “Helmut Kohl’s politics, who had wagered everything on the horse of nationalism.” I still trusted Gorbachev. I didn’t know at that time that his emissaries had long since made contact with Bonn to establish what price Bonn was prepared to pay for German unity.

And how did it develop?
Following my meeting with Gorbachev I received intelligence reports from Moscow, Warsaw, and Berlin. Therein was contained information suggesting that certain political forces were planning to storm the border at the Brandenburg Gate on the 4th of November 1989. A concerted breach of the border at the Brandenburg Gate—regardless of who organised it—could have resulted in a war at that point. It was for this reason that I, as chairman of the Defence Council of the GDR, issued an order on the 3rd of November: “The use of weapons in connection with a possible demonstration is forbidden, without exception.” This order was in place also on the 9th of November.

Does this explain why everything passed off peacefully on the 9th of November?
Without doubt. On the morning of the 10th things got pretty heated. The Soviet ambassador pointed out to me that the GDR did not have the authority to open the border, as Berlin still remained under the control of the Four Powers (i.e. the USSR, the United States, Great Britain, and France). It was only in the late afternoon that the news came that Gorbachev was in favour of the border being opened. At the same time he communicated a verbal message to the West German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, warning him against “destabilising the GDR.” A day later the Soviet foreign minister, Shevardnadze, made telephone contact with his West German counterpart, Genscher, to express his concern about the content of a speech given by Kohl on the 10th of November at the Schöneberg town hall in West Berlin.

What made the situation so dangerous?

A wrong or a hasty decision on the 9th of November or in its aftermath could have led to civil war. There was even the danger that the superpowers might have been drawn into military conflict. In the final analysis, they insisted on the “Four-Power status of Berlin.” Gorbachev had warned Kohl on the 10th of “a chaotic situation with unforeseeable consequences.”

It has been claimed that the GDR had intended to use violence but was prevented by Gorbachev. The Frankfurter Allgemeine stated: “Despite the demands of the GDR security forces, the Soviet military were ordered by Moscow to remain in their barracks.”
That is complete nonsense. That champagne rather than blood flowed on the 9th of November is thanks to the GDR security and border troops. Had the GDR leadership really wanted to use violence it could have done so without the assistance of the Soviet military. Our own forces of law and order would have been strong enough, and there is no evidence for such a request by the GDR. However, it is documented that the GDR leadership requested the Soviet troops stationed in the GDR not to move outside their barracks for the autumn manoeuvres, as this might have sent out a wrong signal.
The Soviet military complied with the GDR’s wishes. There is no evidence of a similar order by Gorbachev. At no point in October or November 1989 did the GDR leadership intend to use violence against its own people. The noble conduct of the border guards on the 9th of November and the ensuing days demonstrates how absurd the West German media’s portrayal is of these troops as “heartless killers.”

What does this anniversary mean to you today?

We are experiencing a massive propaganda campaign, suggesting that the 9th of November 1989 is the most significant date in twentieth-century German history. I continue to believe that the most important day for Germans is the 8th of May 1945, the day Germany was liberated from Hitler fascism. Without this victory by the anti-Hitler coalition, Germany would never have emerged from barbarity.
The 9th of November is hardly a suitable date for the day of the century. It is the anniversary of many episodes, not only of the November Revolution of 1918. It is above all the day on which one of the most terrible acts in German history was committed. It was the day that signalled the beginning of one of the most heinous crimes of humankind, the genocide of the Jewish people [the pogrom on the so-called Kristallnacht]. Such a date must never be overshadowed by any other event.

What exactly do you mean?
The spin that propagates the lie of “two German dictatorships,” which places the GDR on a level with Nazi Germany, aims at revising history from an anti-communist standpoint. The truth is, if war had not emanated from German soil there would have been no refugees from Eastern and Western Prussia, Pomerania, and Silesia. There would have been no occupation by foreign troops, no division into zones, consequently no two German states; no border right through Germany and Berlin, and indeed there would not have been a wall. To really understand post-war German history one must pose the question, How and by whom was Germany divided? Germany was long divided by the time the GDR was founded. It is essential to understand the nature of the Cold War.

What was the Cold War, in your opinion?
It was far more than a propaganda war. It was in its nature a Third World War. While it was cold, it always hovered on the edge of a possible nuclear war. Instead of celebrating the fact that peace was maintained, the powers that be today continue to use the Cold War as a way of condemning the GDR.

When did it become clear to you that the GDR would not continue to exist the way it was?
Quite late. At the end of November 1989 Gorbachev had informed me that he would be declaring the end of the Cold War at his meeting with Bush in Malta. This made me wonder what would become of the GDR: it was, after all, an outcome of the Second World War and the Cold War that followed.
In a situation where one side unilaterally declares a conflict to be at an end, this amounts to a political capitulation. Today NATO stands on the border with Russia, while the Warsaw Treaty no longer exists. Neither the world nor Germany has become safer or more equal. Following the end of the Soviet Union, hostility began in the Balkans. And Germany is waging war once again. In 1989 I would not have thought this possible in my wildest dreams.
The GDR did not prevent violence in 1989 so that the soldiers of a united Germany could spill their blood in the Hindu Kush [the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan]. That would have been inconceivable at that time. This is a historical fact: the GDR is the only German state never to have waged a war. In view of these facts it is scandalous how the Federal Republic of Germany handles GDR history.

Is there anything you are proud of?

Of course there is. There was much greater importance attached to social and economic rights in the GDR than in Germany today. There was equal pay for equal work. Men, women and young people were equal. The GDR had child-care facilities that allowed both parents to work. It had a modern education system, which guaranteed equal opportunities for all the children of the nation. Free or heavily subsidised access to the treasures of culture and the arts, an effective health system . . .
The German president, Köhler, is of the opinion that the GDR bought its social security through huge foreign debts that eventually caused bankruptcy. This is not true. According to an official statement by the German State Bank regarding the GDR debt, “at the end of 1989 the net debt was 19.9 billion marks.” This converts to €10 billion—a lot of money. However, the economist Horst Köhler is well aware that this does not cause the bankruptcy of a state unless the political conditions for this are in place. Compare the GDR’s debt with Germany’s present state debt of more than €1.6 trillion. With more than €86 billion, Germany has achieved the highest level of new borrowings since the Second World War. That is for only one year—eight times the amount of the GDR’s total debt.

And what about the wall?

The wall didn’t fall out of the sky. No less a person than the US president John F. Kennedy said in 1961: “It is not a very nice solution, but it is a hell of a lot better than war.” The wall marked not only the German-German border. It was in its way unique in the world. It was the border between systems, capitalism and socialism, between blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Treaty, between economies, the EEC and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. I always regretted deaths and casualties on the border. Every one of them was one too many. But it would be dishonest of me not to add that at the time of the Cold War a unilateral change of this border by the GDR would have been impossible.

How do you see socialism today?

Between 1989 and 1991 a certain model of socialism disappeared, but not the socialist idea. It lives on. The present crisis, which is not merely a financial crisis but a crisis of the system, confirms Marx’s analysis.
The world cannot stay as it is. I am certain that our grandchildren will do better than us. I agree with Rosa Luxemburg: socialism or barbarism.

Women and the EU

The talk given to the Desmond Greaves Summer School, September 2009.

€2.50 (£2) from Connolly Books, 43 East Essex Street, Dublin 2; postage €1.


Week of Solidarity with Palestine

Dearest friends, comrades and supporters,

I'm writing to contact you about the upcoming Week of Solidarity Against the Apartheid Wall and the Siege of Gaza organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Attached to this email you will find a full brochure of the events - film screenings, talks, information stalls and a National Demonstration on 14th Nov in Dublin - we've organised taking place all around Ireland. They will be taking place in Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Tullamore, Maynooth, Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Derry. You can also read about it online by going to

We would appreciate it if you could circulate this email and the attached brochure to all your contacts, mailing lists, forums etc. And if you have a website we are asking you to promote it on those too please. We are approaching the first anniversary of Israel's brutal attack on Gaza which left over 1,400 people dead, thousands wounded and homeless and totally devastated the already besieged strip, home to 1.5m people. When that 'war' was taking place, people in Ireland mobilised in their thousands to oppose it - its important that we do so again in order for the world to see that we haven't forgotten. Anything you can to do spread the word will be appreciated, thanks! (Also attached is a web banner that you can post on websites linking it to

If you would like to help out during the week then please don't hesitate to contact me ( / 01 6770253) - we can always use a helping hand!

In solidarity,

Slán and thanks
Kevin Squires
IPSC National Coordinator

An Economy for the Common Good

Dear friend,

Recently the Communist Party of Ireland published “An Economy for the
Common Good,” a critical analysis of the present crisis of capitalism
and the nature of the crisis, both globally and nationally. We are now
planning a series of public forums around the Dublin area both to
provide an opportunity for our party to present its view on the crisis
and to discuss some of our proposals for a possible way forward, while
at the same time we wish to engage in as wide a dialogue as possible
with the general public and with other left forces. We do not claim to
have all the answers, but we will present some ideas for debate and

The first of these open forums will take place in the Village Inn,
Crumlin Village, on Monday 9 November at 8 p.m. If you live in or near
Crumlin you are very welcome to come along.

The second meeting will take place in Cabra on Monday 16 November. You
are very welcome to attend. Also if you would like to circulate it to
someone whom you feel might be interested in attending please feel free
to forward this mail to them.

Yours in solidarity,

Eugene McCartan

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Dear comrades,

Warm Greetings from Budapest, once again!

Here is the link of the WFDY News:

Comradely yours,

Tiago Vieira
President of WFDY

Sunday, November 1, 2009

solidarity with Coca Cola workers

The All-Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) realised a protest outside the headquarters of the Coca-Cola 3E enterprise in Athens due to the dismissal of 130 workers in Ireland. It was a demonstration expressing the international solidarity of the class trade union movement with the 130 workers who were fired by this monopoly group in Ireland.

Under the slogan “No to the dismissals of Coca-Cola workers,” trade unionists of the Trade Union Federation of Milk, Food and Beverages remained for over an hour under the pouring rain outside the head office of the enterprise. During the manifestation of PAME the board of the company was holding a general assembly of the shareholders in Greece.

“An attack against a worker is an attack against his class as a whole” was the message of yesterday’s mobilization. "The phenomenon of dismissals does not only have to do with the Coca-Cola Enterprise in Ireland,’ mentioned Dimos Koumbouris, member of the Executive Secretariat of PAME in his statement. “It’s a common phenomenon in all countries, including Greece. Every day there are more dismissals and factory closures and more pressure is exerted on workers so that they work under worse conditions.”

Panagiotis Tsichlis, president of the Trade Union Federation of Milk, Food and Beverages, mentioned in his statement that “we came here to express our international solidarity with the workers in Ireland who take action against the anti-worker measures of the enterprise that wants to throw them on the streets. We have experienced such kind of plans ourselves too. In 2005 the workers of Coca-Cola in Greece proceeded in manifestations for fifty days against the dismissals.”

The workers of Coca-Cola in Ireland sent a message to PAME thanking the class trade unions for the interest on their struggle.

Coca-Cola 3E, in the framework of the “reorganisation” of the enterprise and the assignment of the supply chain to subcontractors, proceeds with thousands of dismissals. Some articles report staff reductions by 4,500 workers, including those who retire. The result of this policy, according to the company, will be a cost saving of €115 to 120 million in 2009. Thus, workers get dismissed so that the profits of the employers grow.

Class struggle and international proletarian solidarity is a precondition for the reconstitution and strengthening of the class-oriented working-class movemTo the workers dismissed by Coca-Cola and to the working class of Irelandent.

CPI statement on TU salaries

Over the years the Communist Party of Ireland has pointed out the dangers inherent in the salaries of leading trade union officers getting so far ahead of the members that they could become a stick with which to beat the whole movement. The mass media have now taken the opportunity to use the salary of some leading trade union officers to attack the trade union movement, in the hope of dividing and demoralising the membership of the unions.

For the first time in decades, trade unions have adopted a position of independence from both the government and the employers and are providing the leadership that is required at this crucial time, when workers face a massive assault on their wages and conditions by their employers and the state.

This media campaign is aimed at reinforcing stereotypes of out-of-touch trade union “bosses.” In exploiting what in some instances is clearly an indefensible position it aims not only to create division within the ranks of organised workers as they begin to develop the necessary fight back but also to discredit trade unions per se in the eyes of the tens of thousands of workers who are either not permitted to join a union or at this moment do not recognise the importance of joining a union.

The Communist Party of Ireland calls on workers and loyal trade union members not to fall for this divide-and-rule trick of the employers and their corporate media. Union members who are unhappy with their own unions’ policies or structures need to become more involved in the unions’ internal democratic structures so as to campaign for the changes they want to see.

The priority must be to continue to mobilise to make the 6th of November a resounding success and a platform for further mobilisation, while at the same time there is a job of house-tidying to be done within the labour movement to make it more responsive to its members and to bring salaries back in line with those pertaining to the members.

CPI on You Tube

On Sunday 18 October the Peadar O’Donnell Weekend in Dunglow, Co. Donegal, heard a number of speakers on the future of the left in Ireland, including Eddie Glackin (National Executive Committee, CPI).

A clip of his contribution can be viewed on You Tube at


Neo-Nazis not welcome

North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris and Tralee Town Councillor
Cathal Foley have issued a warning to hotel and pub owners to be
weary of taking bookings for functions without knowing the type of
function being held. They made their call after being informed that a
suspected group of east European neo-Nazis successfully booked a
function room in Kerry this weekend to hold a concert for white

In a joint statement Deputy Ferris and Cllr. Foley said: “We were informed
that a large group of notorious neo-Nazis from Slovakia, the Czech Republic
and Poland were going to be descending on a location in Kerry this weekend
to hold a concert to celebrate the birthday of one of its leading members.
The groups reported to be attending include a Czech outfit that has been
banned in that county and the bands lined up are among the favorites of
white supremacists across Europe. One of those bands from Slovakia is
called “Juden Mord” which translates as “Jewish Death”.

“It is clear that this group has been attempting to find a location that
would attract the least amount of attention and they were successful in
booking a room in Kerry without the owner knowing the true motivation
behind the event. It is also important to point out that at no time was the
businessman aware of whom or what he was dealing with. It is just fortunate
that we became aware of the event in time to inform the owner and we
believe that it has now been cancelled.

“We would hope that our statement will act as a warning to hotel, hostel
and bar owners across the state to be weary when taking large bookings from
people without knowing what type of event is being held.

“In recent court cases in the Czech Republic these groups have been linked
with violent racist attacks on ethnic minorities. It is also believed that
these groups have strong links with Loyalists based in the 6 counties. We
want to state quite clearly that these people are not welcome in Kerry or
in Ireland and hopefully if this event has now been stopped that these
people will get the message that they will never be welcomed here.