NEWS IN BRIEF
Basque Militants Refuse to Disarm
The ETA announced a permanent ceasefire in March, but the Basque separatist group has said it will not relinquish weapons until the Basque lands get independence from Spain.
Three hooded ETA volunteers told a rally in the town of Aritxulegi, in late September, near San Sebastian, that their fight was not a thing of the past, despite a ceasefire announced six months ago. This was the sixth communication by the ETA since it declared a permanent ceasefire in March.
In their statement, the volunteers said: "Until we achieve independence and socialism in the Basque country, we reaffirm our commitment to keep taking up arms firmly.
"The fight is not a thing of the past. It is the present and the future."
After the announcement, the militants fired shots into the air and disappeared into the forest.
Meanwhile, 51-year-old ETA prisoner of war Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos has been on hunger strike since August 7 to protest his continued detention.
In 1987, he was sentenced to over 3,000 years in prison for his part in eleven armed actions, in which 25 people were killed. However, under Spanish law he only had to serve 18 years of his sentence, ending in 2005. Much like Dessie O Hare of the INLA, the Spanish state refused to release de Juana Chaos. His condition is now considered serious.
Scottish Socialist Party Splits
Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne announced the formation of a new Scottish socialist movement, called Solidarity, officially launched on September 3rd in Glasgow.
The new organization was formed after Sheridan left the Scottish Socialist Party and was followed swiftly thereafter by the CWI and SWP, the two largest platforms formerly in the SSP. A founding party congress is planned for November.
Solidarity has announced its intention of contesting all eight seats in the upcoming Scottish parliamentary elections and will contest targeted council seats across Scotland.
Like the SSP before it, Solidarity’s new program is largely reformist. While calling for an independent socialist Scotland, the initial statement then goes on to call its goal “a modern pluralist republic”, undefined by class and even going so far as to declare the party’s statement lacks any calls for expropriation of the intent to safeguard “individual freedom in all its aspects”. While calling for redistribution of wealth, the
capitalist class. However, such has come to be expected from parties campaigning under the banner of socialism these days.
Only time will tell if the new party will retain its commitment to Scottish independence, but the departure of the CWI and SWP from the SSP hasn’t been shown to have bolstered the party’s commitment to republican socialist goals in Scotland.
FBI Murders Puerto Rican Revolutionary
Longtime Puerto Rican nationalist leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios was killed by the FBI. The shooting occurred after FBI agents surrounded a house where he was staying. According to an autopsy, Rios bled to death after being hit with a single bullet, because the agents didn't enter his home until the next day, many hours after he was shot.
The bullet lacerated one of his lungs but did not damage any arteries or major organs. The forensic investigators and his doctor, Héctor Pesquera, speculated that this type of wound would not have killed Ojeda immediately. The evidence suggests, and the autopsy concluded, that he bled to death, and the nature of the wounds suggested the shots may have been fired by a sniper. At the time of death, Ojeda was wearing a bulletproof vest. The FBI claimed the 72-year-old Ojeda Rios fired first, but activists accused the FBI of assassinating him.
For the past four decades Ojeda Rios had been a leader of the Puerto Rican revolutionary movement against US colonial rule. In 1967 he founded and led the Armed Revolutionary Independence Movement and later was a key organizer with the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) and then the Boricua Popular Army, also known as the Los Macheteros. He had been living underground for 15 years, because of ties to a 1983 $7 million bank robbery, in Connecticut.
Hundreds of supporters of the revolutionary movement protested the shooting by blocking one of the main roads in San Juan. Demonstrations were also held within the émigré Puerto Rican communities of the US.
Cymuned Fights English Dumping in Wales
Five Merseyside councils began waste-dumping at the disused quarry at Johnstown near Wrecsam in August. In response Cymuned, a Welsh language community group, spent the day phoning the offices of Mersey Waste Holdings demanding they stopped work immediately at the site in Johnstown. Protesters were unable to persuade the Wrecsam Council to halt dumping of rubbish from Merseyside at Hafod quarry in North Wales, but the campaigners are undeterred.
The chief executive of Cymuned, Aran Jones, said the tactic was aimed at making "a very strong point about the strength of feeling" and went on to attack the Welsh Assembly for its inertia over the issue saying, "it is absolutely appalling the Liverpool Council are attempting to avoid the rules by getting rid of their waste in Wales. But even worse is the lack of a response from the Assembly—the body which is supposed to represent and defend the people of Wales.'
It is claimed that dumping at the quarry could continue for the next 55 years. However, it seems likely that as long as dumping persists at the site the protests will continue.
O'Hara Family Statement
The family of INLA hunger strike martyr Patsy O Hara issued a statement in August calling upon the ex-Lord Mayor of Derry City, Lynn Fleming (Sinn Fein), “to formally apologise, on behalf of the Provisional Republican movement, to the Devine and O Hara families for the harassment and attacks which both suffered at the hands of their members, during many months, which in turn contributed to the imprisonment of Patsy and Mickey in 1976.”
The family stated that, “It was due to death threats from the provisional movement upon the Republican Socialist Movement, which in turn directly led Mickey and Patsy to raid an arms shop in Lifford, CountyDonegal. During this raid they took 28 medium to low calibre rifles, to protect both themselves and the Movement to which they belonged.”
Both Patsy and Mickey, along with two other INLA volunteers were later arrested in Derry and charged with possession with intent. While the charges against Patsy were dropped due to a lack of evidence, the other three, including Mickey Devine, were later sentenced to 12 years.
The family stated, “If no threats had been made upon the membership and extended families of the RSM, then it would have been unlikely that Mickey would have found himself imprisoned during this period in time.”
They went on to say, “Patsy had received a beating from a group of up to 13 of the Provisional movement a few weeks previous to these threats.”
IRSN Raffle to Support Dessie O Hare
The International Republican Socialist Network raffle held to provide financial support to Irish National Liberation Army prisoner of war Dessie O Hare, following his release from prison in the 26 county statelet of Ireland drew international support.
O Hare the only republican prisoner of war held after the concluding of the Good Friday Agreement and its related general release of all prisoners of war. The raffle was held to provide financial assistance to O Hare because of the additional hardship he endured as a result of this persecution by the Irish government.
Book Drive for Prisoners of War
Carrying on a tradition begun by San Francisco members of the Irish Republican Socialist Committees, the International Republican Socialist Network is wrapping up a book drive, which will be used to prepare holiday packages for prisoners of war from the Irish National Liberation Army, as well as others from the Puerto Rican, Breton, Catalonian, and Basque national liberation movements.
The IRSN hopes to send book packages to at least eight POWs, including the two remaining INLA POWs and two each from the other three struggles.
Libyan Revolution Remembered
The International Republican Socialist Network commemorated the anniversary of the Libyan Revolution on September 1st, hailing the overthrow of the Libyan monarchy 38 years ago, which led to the establishment of the present Libyan Jamahiriya.
Though saddened by recent moderation of the previously unwavering revolutionary stance of the Libyan nation, the IRSN recognizes that this partial retreat is not the fault of the Libyans, but of the international revolutionary movement which failed to provide the solidarity necessary to withstand the protracted attacks by the imperialist powers, especially the United States.