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What lies behind the current impasse in Ireland’s peace process

28th December 2009 Socialist Action 0

By Frances Davis

Yet again, a crisis is brewing in the Irish peace process. This time it centres on the ongoing failure of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to agree a date for the transfer of powers on justice and policing from Westminster to the Assembly in Belfast.

The DUP’s obstructive approach on the issue has seen, at every twist and turn, excuse after excuse in order to block this key element of the new system, which is an integral part of the peace process.

Over 11 years ago, the Good Friday Agreement was endorsed by referenda in the two parts of Ireland. It outlined a series of key measures to address one of the central inequalities of the northern six-county statelet – a legal system and a police force which were riddled with injustice to the core. From the foundation of the ‘Northern Ireland’ state in 1921, an armed sectarian police force acted to suppress and brutalise that section of the population which did not support British rule, and upheld in the most brutal way a rotten, sectarian state, which systematically discriminated against Catholics and Irish nationalists. This history of brutality, of the ‘police’ acting as a pro-British state militia, combined with a blatantly discriminatory system of so-called justice, was unique to that part of the ‘UK’. It included the use of non-jury ‘Diplock’ courts, torture, collusion, political bans and other methods which drew international condemnation – all of which has been well documented. Unsurprisingly, it met with sustained and mass popular resistance and political opposition.

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Copenhagen talks lay bare the class conflict at the heart of climate change

22nd December 2009 Socialist Action 0

By Paul Lewis

The failed climate change talks in Copenhagen last week demonstrated how climate change has become a central aspect of the international class struggle.

By failing to agree binding terms to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the capitalist nations, led by the USA, have demonstrated that they are prepared to allow the avoidable suffering of hundreds of millions of Africans, Asians, Caribbeans and Latin Americans, rather than risk a challenge to its model of capitalist imperialism that has dominated humanity for over two centuries.

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Copenhagen talks lay bare the class conflict at the heart of climate change

22nd December 2009 Socialist Action 0

By Paul Lewis

The failed climate change talks in Copenhagen last week demonstrated how climate change has become a central aspect of the international class struggle.

By failing to agree binding terms to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the capitalist nations, led by the USA, have demonstrated that they are prepared to allow the avoidable suffering of hundreds of millions of Africans, Asians, Caribbeans and Latin Americans, rather than risk a challenge to its model of capitalist imperialism that has dominated humanity for over two centuries. As Muhammed Chowdhury, a lead negotiator of the G77 group of 132 developing countries, explained: “The hopes of millions of people from Fiji to Grenada, Bangladesh to Barbados, Sudan to Somalia have been buried. The summit failed to deliver beyond taking note of a watered-down Copenhagen accord reached by some 25 friends of the Danish chair, head of states and governments. They dictated the terms at the peril of the common masses.”1 

This dynamic demonstrates one of the most basic propositions of Marxism – that a class can only take society forward if it represents not only its own narrow interests but also the wider interests of humanity as a whole. The bourgeoisie is incapable of this. Last week in Copenhagen we saw the inherent conflict between capital’s particular interests and those of the future development of human civilisation.