Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Workers Solidarity #126 Out Now!

The latest issue of Workers Solidarity March / April 2012, issue 126 of Ireland's anarchist paper is out now. 

Anyone wishing to receive a copy in Derry or the North West just drop us an email.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What is the Fiscal Compact: Smoke & Mirrors

As the flames from the latest round of rioting in Greece die down, the incapacity of the mainstream media to tell the story of the current Eurozone crisis leaves us as much in the dark as before the Molotov’s lit up the nightly news.
 
Much of last year was taken up by endless rounds of Euro chiefs crisis meetings, followed by announcements that this time they had fixed the problem. Each announcement caused a brief market rally before, a few weeks later, another crash as the traders discovered that the politicians hadn’t really fixed anything at all.

That cycle came to an end in early December last year when the latest Eurocrisis meeting announced a new device, a “Fiscal Compact”, that was going to fix things for good this time, honest. Since then, the recurring market crises seem to have gone into remission a bit. So what is the Fiscal Compact and how has it calmed the markets?

The first thing to understand is that the announcement of the Fiscal Compact is not what’s calmed the markets. What really poured oil on the troubled waters was the decision by the European Central Bank to extend a practically unlimited supply of 3-year loans to all the private banks in the Eurozone.

Effectively the ever-shortening cycle of Euro-summits and subsequent crashes had led to a semi-hidden crisis in the interbank lending market amongst European banks. This was the same unwillingness of banks to lend to each other that triggered the global crash of 2007-2008, but on a European level. By the end of 2011 it had become clear that the Euro interbank market had more or less seized up. Hence the ECB’s sudden drastic move.

The whole Fiscal Compact announcement, then, was mostly a smokescreen to cover this emergency move by the ECB. As to what it is, it’s basically the old Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) on steroids. The SGP said that countries should not exceed 3% of Gross Domestic Product in annual budget deficit and not exceed 60% of GDP in total accumulated debt. The Fiscal Compact wants to repeat this, but then make it even more stringent by reducing the annual deficit from 3% to 0.1%, and that each Eurozone country has to write this so-called “debt brake” into their constitutions.

A number of observations of why this is stupid, hypocritical and entirely unable to prevent a re-occurrence of the crash that has plunged us into this crisis have already been made by commentators across the political and economics spectrum. But they bear repeating. 

Firstly, until the crisis, Ireland was running a budget surplus, so locally this measure would not have helped avoid the crisis then, nor will it in the future. Secondly, the first country in the EU to go over the SGP’s 3% deficit limit was Germany, so they have a blatant neck to blame the crisis on poor fiscal management by other countries, such as Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain and Ireland. Thirdly, all but the most delusional economists agree that while avoiding government deficits in a period of growth is a good idea, trying to cut the government deficits that arise naturally during a crash, due to loss of income tax and increased unemployment costs, is the quickest way of turning a recession into a 1930s style depression. 

For that last reason, most balanced budget statutes implemented around the world provide for exceptions to the “no deficit” rule during recession. However the Fiscal Compact does not do this. It pays lip service to the issue by stating that it is the “structural” deficit that is targeted, rather than the actual current deficit. But how to calculate the difference between the two has never been established by any agreed formula. In practice the current deficit is always treated as if was the same as the structural deficit by right-wing politicians demanding cuts. Hence the decision whether a country’s current deficit is structural or merely “cyclical” comes down to politics. Given past Euro experience that means whether the country in question is Germany or France, or rather a “peripheral” country instead.

So what happens next? The immediate question facing us is whether this Fiscal Compact needs to be put to a referendum in Ireland. Clearly the Compact is utterly incapable of preventing future crises and could potentially make them worse, depending on the power dynamics around whether it is used by the Franco-German core to force disastrously destructive policies on smaller Eurozone countries. So for a country like Ireland to vote for the Compact is akin to turkeys voting for Christmas. 

The lack of any positive side to the Compact is why the stick of withdrawing bailout funds is now being threatened. But the truth of the matter is that the existing bailout is for the benefit of the bondholders, not the population. In that light, the central struggle for people to defend their livelihoods and the future of their children is to throw off the yoke of alien debt that the bank bailout has placed on us. In that struggle, the referendum is a sideshow, because what matters is forcing a default on this illegitimate debt and the way to do that is through mass non-payment of the new taxes and tithes the troika and the Irish capitalist class is trying to hang around our necks, starting with the Household tax.

Derry Solidarity Action for Marian Price and Hana al-Shalabi

THE PEOPLE v STATE TERROR: INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE

A demonstration in Derry on Wednesday21st March, will draw a link between Palestinian hunger-striker Hana al-Shalabi and Republican prisoner Marian Price.


The demonstration, organised by Palestinian solidarity campaigners and the Prisons Crisis Group, will be held at five pm in Guildhall Square.

Hana al- Shalabi, 30, has been on hunger strike since being seized by Israeli troops in the West Bank on February 14th. She is being held in “administrative detention” and has not been charged with any offence. She is a political activist in the Islamic Jihad group. She denies any connection with violence.


Marian Price, 58, a member of the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, has been imprisoned since last May when NI Secretary of State Owen Patterson declared a pardon granted 32 years ago cancelled and ordered her to serve out a life sentence. A campaign for her release has been supported by a wide range of groups, including Derry Trades Council and political parties including the SDLP and Sinn Fein.


Said Betty Doherty, spokesperson for the Prisons Crisis Group: “Our group has been focused on prisoners in the North and particularly Marian price. But the parallels with Hana’s case are striking. Both are in prison without charge or trial on the say-so of politicians. That is to say, both are political prisoners who have felt compelled to resort to hunger-strike to make their situation known and their voices heard.


Linking the cases reminds us that the struggle for justice is the same the whole world over. We ask people to bring banners and placards to the Guildhall at five o’clock but most of all to bring themselves.”

Stormont healthcare cuts to blame for tragic death of hospital patient

The tragic death of a 77 year old man who died alone and unnoticed waiting for treatment on a hospital trolley for 22 hours in Belfast’s main A&E ward in the Royal Hospital, is the result of savage healthcare cuts and the reduction of A&E services such as the closing down the ward in the Belfast city hospital last November.

While a full independent investigation must be held into the tragic circumstances of this death, we must not let our local politicians off the hook or the senior management in the Belfast Trust who are collectively implementing £823 million of vicious cuts in jobs and services throughout the health care system. This at a time when we have seen the approval for an 11% increase in wages for MLA’s. Ironically Pat McCartan, chairman of the Belfast Trust, who voted to close the City A&E was on the independent review panel which handed the MLA’s a £5000 increase in wages.

Last week it emerged that an 86 year old woman with a suspected stroke had waited more than 30 hours on a trolley for treatment. Latest figures show that 2,850 patients waited more than the four-hour government target at the Royal’s casualty unit in December 12 per cent more than the October figure. A total of 170 A&E patients faced delays in excess of 112 hours at the Royal-a staggering increase on the October figure of just 31.

We must also reject attempts from sections of media and our political class to blame our struggling underpaid and over-worked healthcare workers for the decisions being made and imposed from above in interests of capital before that of the patients and workers. We need to organise and fight for better healthcare services as part of building a mass movement from below upwards against these savage cuts because one death is one too many.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Images of todays protest in Derry

Activists in Derry attended the Independent Workers Union (IWU) organised protest earlier today outside the Timber Quay DHSS office.

During the protest those in attendance were treated to a bit of street theatre against attacks on those on welfare and disability payments.

Following the protest some members move on to Guildhall Square to distribute leaflets.

For more info on how to get involved with the IWU: http://union.ie



Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Derry Protest aganist Employment Supported Allowance Cuts!

Independent Workers Union has organised a protest against the Tory government's cruel campaign against the unwell. Cameron and Co. claim that they can simply remove 40% from the list of those in need of long term sickness benefits. 

Defend yourself      -    What to do when they come for you!

In Derry the Tories have sent in a special squad to carry out the work and hence the reference to 'Cameron's miracle cure'.

Get a full photocopy of your original ESA questionnaire

Get a full copy of the health care professionals report straight away - you are entitled by law to have a copy of this and a copy also of the Decision Makers report

If you do not have these "demand" them from the DWP Jobcentre Plus as per the telephone number on the letter that advised you of your failed result.

Photocopy absolutely everything you do in writing with DWP or ATOS
 

You have one month to appeal your decision (get Appeal Form GL24) so get to your GP as soon as possible and ask him/her for a brief cover note of your history of health issues and photocopy this and attach the original to the Appeal Form GL24

There is never enough room on GL24 , you can use as many plain sheets outlining your condition and the reasons why you think the decision is unfair

Ask as many questions as you can as to why the decision maker scored or as is the case underscored you.  Keep a record of these questions, even if you do not get answers , this may give weight and advantage to you if you have to go to Tribunal.

You must also inform them when you telephone that you "Are" appealing against the decision they (DWP) should then put you onto the ESA Assessment rate of £67.50 weekly usually payable fortnightly, so you will have a little money coming in . 


(http://dwpexaminations.blacktrianglecampaign.org)

Get in contact with your nearest advice centre:
 

Rosemount Resource Centre, 1a Westway, Creggan     028 7128 829
Dove House, 32 Meenan Square, Bogside             028 7126 9327    
Citizens Advice Bureau, 3 Strand Rd                       028 7136 2444
Gailliagh Independent Advice Centre, 55 Fergleen Pk   028 7135 8370
Carnhill Resource Centre, Racecourse Road                    028 7135 2832

For more info and details on how to join locally: http://www.union.ie/ 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Victory to the Strikers!

This Friday and Saturday workers in Primark will embark on a two day strike action over wages.

Make an effort to get down to the picket lines in the City Centre and at Lisnagelvin Shopping centre.

Spread the word. Show your Solidarity and Support!

Victory to the Strikers!!

Hundreds attend Belfast public meeting to demand the release of Marian Price

Hundreds of people packed Conway Mill in West Belfast last Thursday in one of the largest gatherings in years to mark International Women’s Day against the continuing internment of Marion Price who has been held captive by the British state because of her political beliefs.

In April last year her license was revoked by the Secretary of State Owen Patterson for ‘holding up a piece of paper’ for a masked member of the RIRA reading out a statement at an Easter Commemoration in Derry last year. Unlike other political prisoners in the North, she has had no trial, no sentence, no release date and not even a date when the Parole Commission will review her case. Unless the courts intervene, she will only be released by order of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson.

The justification given was that the threat that she poses has “significantly increased” and that she had been encouraging support for an illegal organisation based on her involvement in the commemoration. Since than she has faced further charges in relation to her alleged involvement in the Massareene barracks attack in 2009. Last November, Marian was moved from Hydebank young offenders to the all male Maghaberry prison where she remains in solidarity confinement which is tantamount to torture and inhuman treatment.
Twice she has been arrested and brought before a non-jury Diplock Court. Twice a judge has ordered that she be released on bail. Each time Owen Paterson overruled the judge and ordered her back to prison. He said that he was revoking her license.
But Marian Price was not actually on license. Convicted of bombings in Britain, she received a full royal pardon (the “Royal Prerogative of Mercy”) when she was freed in 1980 because she appeared to be on the brink of death from severe anorexia nervosa. The anorexia was the result of being force fed more than 300 times when she was on hunger strike in a British prison.

The Northern Ireland Office now says the pardon “cannot be located” – that it has either been lost or shredded. Price’s solicitor Peter Corrigan recently told a crowded meeting in Belfast’s Conway Mill that this is the only time in the entire history of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy that a pardon has gone missing. Mgr. Raymond Murray, the veteran human rights campaigner, said simply “You can draw your own conclusions.”

Nevertheless, the Parole Commission sided with the Northern Ireland Office and refused to release Marian Price. Her lawyers will be appealing to the High Court. Marian Price is being held in conditions designed to break her body and spirit. She has been in solitary confinement for more than 300 days although the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture says solitary confinement for more than 15 days amounts to torture.
She is locked in her cell 21 hours a day. There is a camera in the cell. She has been told it is switched off but there is no way to know if that is true. She has no privacy because prison staff is constantly going in and out of her cell. At night male prison officers open the peep hole and shine a light in her face so she can’t sleep. 

Marian has told relatives she feels like she is "in a zoo."The public meeting organised by an independent group of women listened to a range of speakers including human rights lawyer Peter Corrigan, Monsignor Raymond Murray and Bernadette McAliskey who outlined the legal and political nature of her incarceration representing a threat to us all regardless of whether you agree with her political views or not. Questions and comments from the floor covered a range of views from the silence of former comrades in the Sinn Fein leadership to the psychological damage than can occur after 15 days in isolation, to her health and well-being and what can be done.

Article continues: http://www.wsm.ie/c/belfast-public-meeting-demand-release-marian-price

Monday, 12 March 2012

International Womens Day in Turkey

This is a link to International Womens Day celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey. Anarcha-Feminist activism by the group Kadinlar Sokakta.
More images can be found at:  http://kadinlarsokakta.org/a/?p=1044

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Campaign to demilitarise Queens University cancels British Army event

Troops off our campus sends out clear message that British Army recruiters will no longer be able to publicly organise without significant opposition, after the Officer Training Corps were recently forced to cancel their event in the PFC fitness centre in Belfast.

As Cllr Claire Heaney said after an unsuccessful motion proposing to ban British Army recruitment in Queens in November: “This would be a very public demonstration in support of peace. The British Army are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, for extraordinary renditions.' Since than Troops off campus have stepped up their activities and action as only popular pressure will deliver results.

The event organised two weeeks ago by the Officer Training Corps which is designed to provide leadership skills to students at universities across the UK who are interested in a ‘career’ in the British Army was met with opposition from the early morning. Under the watchful eye of undercover cops a couple of protestors unsuccessfully attempted to locate the OTC meeting in the fitness centre. A decision was soon made to re-group after lunch outside the main student union building to re-assess the situation after being told by reliable sources that the OFC would reconvene their training in the afternoon.

By the this stage the protestors swelled to around 30 people including anarchists and republicans of all shades. Despite increased security presence the protestors made their way to the venue and attempted to gain access to the building only to be told that the event had been cancelled by the organisers.

While it remains unclear whether the military recruitment event was actually cancelled a message was sent out loud and clear that militarism will no longer be tolerated on the campus. Places of learning and our a wider society should be neutral and free from the plague of militarism and violence from any source. In recent years OTC schemes have provoked controversy in universities across the UK. 

In March 2008, a motion was passed at the University College London Union Annual General Meeting to ban Armed Forces groups and societies such as the University Royal Naval Unit (URNU), Officer Training Corps (OTC) and University Air Squadron (UAS) from operating within University College London Union locations and events. This action made headlines in the British national press, partly due to an unrelated issue at the time where RAF personnel in Peterborough had been ordered not to wear uniform off-site for fear of aggression from members of the public.

As anarchists and anti-militarists, we are opposed to the forces of militarism and imperialism on an anti-sectarian class basis. Don’t be fooled and used as cannon fodder to serve the interests and power of the ruling class at home and abroad. We believe and fight for a demilitarised libertarian communist society where we the working class are in control of our own destiny, free from the violence and terror of capitalism and the state.

The CNT calls a General Strike for March 29

The CNT rejects any kind of negotiation over the rights conquered by the working class through years of struggle. We call for this strike with the primary objective of immediately repealing the the labor reform that was approved yesterday by the Parliament, which we consider a head-on assault against the working class. This reform continues the measures started by the previous government, such as the labor reform of 2010 and the cuts to public employee salaries, to pensions, and to public services, cuts which are being deepened by the current government.

The CNT demands the end of an economic policy designed to make the workers pay for the crisis of the banks and the employers. This policy has led to an unacceptable number of unemployed workers, a number which does not stop growing, as well as to an impoverishment and worsening of the working class’s living conditions.

The CNT also calls this strike against the cuts. The strike will happen the day before the setting of the General State Budget which will incorporate a brutal attack against public services and social rights.
The CNT rejects the agreement reached in February between the CCOO and UGT unions and the employers’ confederation, the CEOE, as well as the amendments that those unions have presented to the parliamentary process of the labor reform. The CNT rejects these amendments as a valid alternative, since they share the spirit of the reform and assume the logic of the employers and the government, who suppose that the only escape from their crisis must come through the workers surrendering their rights, placing the working class into a position of weakness from the start. The same logic has already led these unions to accept the raising of the retirement age to 67, even after the general strike of September 29, 2010.
For the CNT, the strike on March 29 must be only the beginning of a growing and sustained process of mobilization, one which includes the entire working class and the sectors that are most disadvantaged and affected by the capitalist crisis. This mobilization must put the brakes on the dynamic of constant assaults on our rights, while laying the bases for the recovery and conquest of new social rights with the goal of a deep social transformation.

All of these reasons have led the CNT to make this call for March 29 on its own account. With this call the CNT wants to give coverage to everyone who is taking up positions for a real and continued confrontation that will pay back the assaults on the working class with the same force with which we are receiving them, together with all workers’ organizations that share these objectives and reject the policies of agreement and social peace.

For the CNT, a confrontational rejection of the policies and the bureaucratic union model of the CCOO and the UGT, and their discredit among broad groups of workers, must not become excuses not to take action or struggle. Instead, this rejection must spur us on to reinforce our struggle through a different form of unionism – one based on direct action, on autonomy, and on mutual aid. Against assaults of the magnitude that we are facing, working-class unity is fundamental. This unity must take place in the rank-and-file, in workplace and neighborhood assemblies, in industrial actions and pickets, until the mobilization against those who are responsible for and benefit from this situation – the employers, the banks, and the government – is turned into an unstoppable dynamic that raises a barrier against the temptation to turn the rights that belong to everybody into a bargaining chip that belongs to nobody.

It’s time for all workers – unemployed or employed, retired, on the black market, students, and the precarious – to say “Enough!”

We must seize the streets rather than abandon them in order to impose our strength and our demands.

March 29 – everyone in the street, everyone on the strike.
http://cnt.es/en/news/cnt-calls-general-strike-march-29

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Community Action Against Vigilante Group in Derry

Today’s protest rally in Derry against the vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) went ahead despite calls for it to be cancelled. Hundreds of people filled Guildhall Square to voice their rage against the recent shooting of two teenage cousins earlier in the week. 
Relatives of those recently targeted, attacked and murdered by RAAD also attended the city centre rally calling for an end to the attacks. 

These so-called ‘punishment’ shootings, which took place late on Wednesday evening followed on from a community rally held in the Creggan area which local anarchists also attended with several hundred other concerned parents and community activists.  That public rally had been arranged by the mothers of several teenagers threatened by the vigilante group.

It was during that event where mothers of four teenage boys informed the community how RAAD had visited their homes, ordering them to bring their sons to nearby shops to be shot. They were told in no uncertain terms that if the boys did not turn up for their appointment, they would be shot in the head.

Understandably, given the seriousness of this unfolding situation the rally itself was an emotional and highly charged event.  The mother of 25 year old Andrew Allen, recently murdered by RAAD called on the community to stand together to reject the threats, and called publically on the group to go away as the crowds cheered in approval.

As a response, today’s city centre demonstration, organised by ‘RAAD - Not in Our Name’ group was undoubtedly one of the largest witnessed against RAAD calling on it to immediately disarm and disband. 

A number of political representatives spoke at the event echoing the calls made by the families for the community to reject all threats issued by RAAD.  Prior to today’s rally taking place, word came though local intermediaries that threats had been lifted against two of the teenagers. One of the organisers stated: "I don't know that there have been too many threats lifted in the past by them, and I hope that that's a reflection of the pressure.

"I believe every time there's a threat made, that people need to demonstrate publicly against them."

Throughout the past number of decades anarchists have consistently rejected the use of paramilitary-style policing of working class communities right across the six counties from both republican and loyalist organisations. Not only do we reject it for its "kangaroo court style" justice and subsequent levels of barbarity however as anti-authoritarians, we totally reject the brutalisation of our class from whatever quarter it comes from, be it the forces of the State or the various armed groups.

Such actions show the contempt to which these self-appointed vigilantes’ hold the entire community; a community which they profess to protect has got to be challenged once and for all. This is not about protecting working class communities from drugs and criminality, it never has been. They serve no one but themselves and time and time again it is ordinary working class communities who have to suffer.

What is for certain is that the issues surrounding the drugs problem will not be effectively challenged until armed groups such as RAAD end their brutalisation of working class communities.

As anarchists we call for a unified community response such as what was witnessed on the streets of Derry over the last number of weeks, ordinary working class people taking a stand against attacks on the community. Its time for an open, an educated and community response the all the issues around drugs starting from the increase hopelessness, poverty and deprivation our class are facing day in day out. Its time to end, once and for all the brutalisation of our youth, its time to tell those involved that enough is enough.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Stormont unleashes savage housing cuts

Thousands of people will be forced into poverty and homelessness as Stormont imposes the latest cut backs. Government changes mean young people aged between 24 and 35, who live alone and receive housing benefit face cuts of up to £40 a week, resulting in homelessness or forced into shared housing. These housing cuts are compounded by the lack of social and affordable housing while slum landlords and property developers continue to be subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of millions every year. 

These latest welfare reforms in housing are a direct assault on all of us as working people and should be opposed on this basis. The latest in a serious of save cuts in social welfare, cuts to wages and salaries, attacks on the public services such as our pensions that we all depend on, ever lengthening dole queues and slave labour workfare schemes.

Stormont continues to be  an active administer of the neo-liberal offensive. Militant working class resistance to these cuts needs to be built in every street, community and workplace as part of building a real alternative to the rotten status-quo and not rely on empty promises from our local green and orange Tories because the reality is change comes from below. The defeat of the proposed introduction of water charges here through the threat of mass-payment and the Poll Tax; to the recent liberation of the former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast city centre provides a small glimpse in confidence of what is possible if we stand together based on direct action, self-managment and solidarity.

Source: http://www.wsm.ie/c/stormont-savage-housing-cuts

Workfare and the anarchists

After the millionaire Tory politician and Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith claimed on Radio Four that “out of touch anarchists” were behind the campaign against the coalition’s hated compulsory workfare scheme, we take a quick look at which anarchist groups have so far publicly supported the initiative and will be involved in the massive nationwide day of actions against workfare this Saturday 3rd March.


The Day of Action was called by Boycott Workfare a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. It is a grassroots network formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact, which seeks to expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare.

More on this: http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2012/03/02/workfare-day-of-action-and-the-anarchists/

The Spirit of 1968 - Lessons from the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement

AS we continue to bear the brunt of the recession and our politicians stabilise the interests of the rich and fat cats, the 1960s provides us with an example in the necessity for struggle and social revolution. Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic and Labour Party, pillars of the establishment continue to squabble over the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement they all share one thing in common when it comes to defending the status-quo and attacks on workers rights and conditions.

Origins of the CRM
After World War Two, the 1950s and 1960s were marked by a world wide economic boom which ensured general high levels of employment and real improvements in the standard of living, together with the creation of the welfare state. In terms of health, there were improvements in vaccinations and the overall death rate and infant mortality rate began to fall.

There was also a post-war housing boom, which saw 103,000 houses built between 1944 and 1962. However, there also began a gradual decline of Northern Ireland's main industries including shipbuilding, textiles and linen.
As a result of economic changes, there was also the creation of a larger Catholic middle-class who would soon provide the conservative leadership of the NICRM. As the Cameron report (1969) into the eruption of social unrest noted,
“They were less ready to acquiesce in the situation of assumed inferiority and discrimination that was the case in the past.”
Historians Paul Bew and Henry Patterson offer a more complex interpretation of social change in term of the decline of skilled working class and secondary industry. In 1911 employment in these industries composed 58% of the population (52% of Catholics; 60% of Protestants). With their decline it was Catholics who were more likely to experience unemployment. They would later go on to provide the backbone of the NICRM and the basis of support for resurgent ‘armed struggle’.

It is now generally accepted that the Catholic population in the period 1922-1968 suffered discrimination at the hands of the Unionist government. Catholics were under-represented on statutory bodies and among the higher ranks of such bodies. The Campaign for Social Justice (1969) listed 22 public bodies, with a total membership of 332, of whom 49 or 15% were Catholics.

In the first election to the Stormont Parliament in 1921, Sinn Fein polled 100,000 votes to 60,000 for Nationalists but each party won six seats. In 1925 Nationalists won 10 seats to 2 for Republicans. However, republicans refused to contest further elections to the 'partitioned' parliament. Even if the minority chose to work within the institutions of the state they were not trusted thus. For example, of 608 Acts of Parliament in its first twenty years only one, The Wild Birds Act (1931), was successfully introduced by the opposition.
However, there still continues some debate as to the 'extensive' nature of sectarian discrimination. We should also remember that the ‘carnival of reaction’ (as republicans often throw up) in terms of sectarianism and discrimination pre-dated partition (i.e., Derry was gerrymandered to produce a Unionist majority in 1896, not 1922). In the absence of a vibrant revolutionary workers movement, it was almost inevitable that partition would occur due to the gradual emergence of ‘two national identities’ especially during the various Home Rule crises.

The Unionist Government only served to copper-fasten sectarianism and operated like all governments - those who supported the regime should benefit, rather than those who did not. It just so happens that this was decided on the basis of religion and national aspiration.

From an anarchist perspective this is the logic of state which serves to protect the interests of the minority over the majority, which is why we struggle for its overthrow.

It is, of course, quite reasonable to ask the question "why if things were so bad, did the catholic population tolerate them until the 1960s?"

Article continues:  http://www.wsm.ie/c/1968-lessons-northern-ireland-civil-rights-movement