The Plough
Volume 2, Number 13
14 November 2004

E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1. Political Secretary's Report to the 2004 Ard-Fheis (Edited Version)
2. Kids Die For Profit
3. Robbing the Poor to Pay the Rich
4. Letters
5. From the Newspapers
a. Brussel Sprouts
b. Most Smoking Deaths in Poor Areas
6. What's On

*******

Below is an edited version of the POLITICAL SECRETARY'S REPORT TO THE
2004 ARD-FHEIS of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

Comrades,

In this the 30th year of the founding of our party it is an honour and
privilege to address you as Political Secretary. Although 30 years
old, we are also a relatively new party, because we have had to
re-build from scratch. Many in the party have no long-term experience
of political work and maybe lack the skills that other more
professional parties may have.  But comrades while the party may be
organisationally in its infancy we are not children when it comes to
the politics of Ireland. We are, and I say this without arrogance, the
most principled radical revolutionary party in Ireland precisely
because we have stayed true to the core principles of republican
socialism. 

While republicanism is progressive and democratic, it stands for 'the
people' or 'the Irish people', not just the Irish working class. Our
republican socialism primarily stands for the interests of the working
class. Our politics draws its inspiration first and foremost from the
struggles and ideas of the working class in Ireland and worldwide
rather than simply the republican tradition. But, comrades, no serious
revolutionary movement or process can be built in Ireland outside or
apart from that republican tradition. Republican socialism attempts to
develop the radical potential within republicanism. You cannot
establish socialism in Ireland unless you resolve the national
question, and that national liberation is meaningless unless it also
means the liberation of the working class. The national struggle and
the class struggle are organically linked. The struggle for national
liberation is not opposed to the struggle for socialism, but an
integral and necessary part of it. 

The task of this party is to help train and prepare the working class
to take power. This is what Connolly and Costello attempted to do
politically, militarily, and industrially. The central task of the
Republican Socialist Party is to try to direct the struggles of the
working class by organising and leading all the oppressed on the road
to power by engaging with all struggles and point them to a political
struggle against the capitalist state. 

Some of the above words I have stolen from the writings of one of our
younger comrades. The youth of our movement have absorbed the core
principles of republican socialism and no matter what organisational
cock ups we may sometimes have, no matter what policy or personality
clashes we have, there is no doubt in my mind that we are on the right
road. And we are on that road because of the collective spirit of the
comrades in this movement. Comrades young and old who have come
through some very trying times.

Ten years ago this movement was in shambles -- the party was
non-existent, the army was under the control of an apolitical and
possibly British controlled leadership -- the prisoners had no
political recognition and there was an almost total lack of respect
within the working class for the Republican Socialist Movement. The
PIRA had taken the first tentative steps towards surrender to
imperialism. Opposition to the moves towards accommodation with
imperialism was muted and based only on more of the same failed armed
strategy. The defeat of the northern resistance struggle was signalled
by the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the entry into a
British administration of Sinn Fein (Provisional).

Our own role in contributing to that defeat has to be acknowledged. 
Our indiscipline, our militarism, our acts of sectarian violence, our
macho posturing, our recruitment policies, our inability to man
manage, our failure to politically educate and build up an experienced
political cadre, our failure to engage with the wider working class in
Ireland outside of the northern ghettos, our motor mouth propaganda,
our neglect of our own socialist values, and our failure to learn the
lessons from the writings in particular of Seamus Costello and Ta
Power. All these things and more helped to contribute to a situation
where the mass of the people could only see one republican leadership
they could follow even unto defeat.

When a small number of us sat down in 1994/95 to see how we could
rescue the movement from the dead end it was in we tried to hammer out
a number of basic principles we would follow. The necessity for
collective leadership was paramount. Also it was important to trust in
and listen to the membership and apply the Ta Power principles to all
we were going to do. Chief of those principles was the primacy of
politics. This led us to agree with Gino in the subsequent failed
negotiations with the Torney gang that if there was to be an amicable
split then we would keep the party name and they could have the army.
That was how strong our commitment was to the process of
politicisation.

For it was clear even then that the armed struggle phase was coming to
an end. When the movement was formed in 1974 the world situation was
very different from what it was to become in 1994. The Cuban
revolution was a beacon of hope, the Vietnam war had shown that
imperialism could be defeated, and the Soviet Union still existed and
competed with Communist China in trying to assist, usually for their
own narrow selfish ends, national liberation struggles. The Heath Tory
government had been brought down by workers actions in England. And in
Ireland there was both armed and mass struggles taking place. The
economy of the South was in trouble and workers militancy was at a
high level. It was possible to believe that socialism was achievable,
that we could build the Workers Republic of Connolly within our
lifetime.

Fast-forward twenty years, 1994, and the world was different. The USSR
had collapsed, China had set out on the capitalist road. Actual
existing socialism appeared to have failed with the exception of Cuba
and Vietnam. There was one dominant imperialist power. Thatcherism had
ripped the heart out of many working class areas and a culture of
selfish me-ism was flourishing. In Ireland there was a clear yearning
among the mass of the nationalist population for some way out of the
dead end that the armed struggle had taken us. And among the
Protestant working classes the process of de-industrialisation meant
that a sense of despair was gripping many areas. Even the language of
anti-imperialism now seemed old fashioned and out of date. In the
South the Celtic Tiger was announced with fanfare and many,
particularly upper working class and middle classes, were doing very
nicely thank you.

It was against this background that we began the process of
re-building. Almost immediately we were faced by armed attacks from
the Torney gang that cost us the life of Gino Gallagher who had been
the driving force behind the re-building. That meant that nearly the
best part of a year was taken up with internal matters of security and
meant that the public face of the movement was one of fratricide.
Therefore we had no political influence had a weak, very weak support
base and many people who in other circumstances would have been our
supporters simply did not want anything to do with us.

Once the movement overcame the Torney gang, for the first time in many
years, maybe even since 1977, all sections of this movement spoke with
one united voice. Party and army shared the same vision, shared the
same goals, shared the same approach. Leading comrades took personal,
never mind political, risks to deliver the '98 ceasefire. And they
took those risks because that was the politically correct thing to do.
Does anyone here doubt, particularly in the light of the experiences
of the Real/Continuity IRAs, the correctness of that decision?  

Furthermore we have seen a steady increase in the party, the calling
of Ard-Fheiseanna, the slow politicisation of volunteers, the relaunch
of "The Starry Plough," the establishment of our websites and,
comrades, most important of all putting our ideas back on the
political agenda of the working class. Comrades, the result of all
this work by so many of our comrades is that the IRSP is now taken
seriously, not by our enemies, but by our class. If any of you share
the notion that we seek acceptance from the Provos, the Brits, the
loyalists or the Free Staters, then discard that notion now for you
forget who we are. At all times the central question we should ask
when facing an issue is does this advance the interests -- not of me,
not of the Irps -- but of our class. It is because we are a serious
revolutionary party dedicated to the overthrow of imperialism and
capitalism that political work is so vital even though for some it can
be boring and unexciting. 

Some comrades feared that our involvement in ex-prisoner work through
Teach Na Failte would mean that the movement would suffer. The
contrary is the case. We have benefited from our involvement with
Teach Na Failte. Through Teach Na Failte we were able to reach out to
many who had become disillusioned and walked away from the movement. 
The memorial committee under the leadership of Gerard Murray played a
major part in reaching out. We have more influence now than two years
ago, we have more activists now than two years ago, we have more
stability than we had two years, and thanks to Teach Na Failte our
dead volunteers now have public memorials to their memory. We now have
two offices in Belfast, one in Strabane, and one in Derry. That's down
to local initiatives and we have been able to use Teach Na Failte as a
driving force for all parts of the movement. All of those involved in
Teach Na Failte, especially Eddie McGarrigle, deserve the warmest
congratulations of this movement.

The leadership that has steered this organisation over the past 10
years have done a magnificent job despite military attacks, political
scorn, personal difficulties, and the everyday fear of a bullet in the
back of the head from any one of our many enemies. I know they won't
thank me for it but, comrades, salute in particular (names deleted).
Of course there are others whose contribution has been immense. 

The current leadership of the whole movement has been the longest we
have ever had. You have heard some of my speeches about old men
dreaming dreams of days of former glory. I would hate to think that
that was us. Dreaming dreams of former glory while the world moves on.
No, comrades, we need renewal and change and I hope this Ard-Fheis
gives us all hope and expectation for further advances for the working
class.

A slow, steady political approach has nourished many of our members,
given them confidence to grow politically and contribute greatly to
the respect this party and movement now have with a lot of people but
more importantly with the advanced sections of the working class.
However this approach can be frustratingly slow and I know some
comrades were impatient with it. Fair enough. Others, however, seem to
mistake it for weakness and have sought to take advantage of it. Their
egos cannot submit to the greater good of the movement. None of us in
the leadership is above criticism. I hope in the debate when I finish,
comrades, feel free to speak their mind with out fear or favour but
with respect for all of us here as comrades. Of course no procedure is
perfect. It is for the Ard-Chomhairle to ensure that our internal
procedures are transparent, accountable, and democratic. We need
dedicated revolutionary comrades who can make a positive contribution
to the liberation of the Irish working class. Comrades, we need to
raise both our sights and our standards. Second best is never good
enough especially for a party seeking to build socialism. 

Our political analysis of the pacification process and the signing of
the Good Friday Agreement was and is spot on. The strategy of Sinn
Fein brought them electoral gains and bourgeois approval. So much so
that they now cannot condemn the election of Bush. It brought them an
almost mafia-like control of many nationalist areas. The slow spread
of corruption within formerly staunch republican areas is alienating
many not only from the Provisionals but also from any politics.

Their grand strategy did not split unionism. Now the DUP are the
largest unionist party. Well done, Gerry!! It did not destroy
Stormont, it did not reform the police, and it did not improve the
chances of Northern Catholics to get jobs. It did not gain a United
Ireland. It did exacerbate the poison of sectarianism, it did deliver
the weapons of resistance into the cemented dumps of the imperialists,
it did demean the magnificent struggle the masses of Northern
nationalists waged from 1968. 

Their argument that within five years they could be in power north and
south of the border cuts no ice with me. So what? They as junior
partners will introduce repressive measures against the working class
and increase stealth taxes that will further exploit the exploited.
Having closed hospitals and introduced privatisation into the public
sector the politicians of Sinn Fein (P) will have no problem working
along side the builders, speculators, exploiters of Fianna Fail and
unionism of whatever variety.

Some of us in this hall years down the line may well be in jails under
the control of Sinn Fein ministers. That's the price revolutionaries
have to pay. If you want to change society then expect trouble, expect
reaction, expect repression.

But lets not build our party on what others do. What do we do? That's
what Ard-Fheiseanna are about, deciding what direction we take. There
is no leadership driven control that tells you what to think.
Regardless of any other position you hold, comrades, when you enter an
Ard-Fheis, when you vote, when you speak, you do so as an IRSP member
freely and without directions from anyone else. All my own personal
political activity and that of those of us who set out in '94/'95 to
save this movement, for the past ten years has been about giving the
movement back to the membership. That's what the struggle against
Torneyism was about. You in this room vote and act as free individual
members of the best revolutionary organisation on the islands off the
coast of Europe today. Our policy is decided by the membership not by
the leadership. That's why Ard-Fheiseanna are so important. 

Finally, comrades, I know I have not dealt with a wide range of
issues. I have not put our struggle in Ireland in its international
context, I have not set out clearly our future strategy, but I didn't
think you wanted to hear a four hour speech ala Fidel Castro. In the
aftermath of my speech please feel free to criticise, to question, to
condemn, to educate, to elucidate, or to support. We Irps were not
born to be yes men or women. 

Finally, may I finish with a quote from James Connolly? 

"The architects of that freedom will and must be the Irish working
class. Ours is the task to prepare them. While that preparation is
going forward we must take our place in every good and wise movement
for the upholding of the highest ideals born of the age long struggle
of our people."

*******

KIDS DIE FOR PROFIT

Sub-contractors of giant chemical company Bayer are employing about
1.500 children younger than 15. The kids are working in fields, which
are growing cottonseed for Bayer. This is the result of a research
project, which has been done by the three non–governmental
organisations German watch, Coordination against Bayer dangers and
Global march against child labour.

The three groups have made a formal complaint against Bayer because of
their constant and serious breaking of the OECD–guide lines for
multinational companies. The research project, which was conducted by
a scientist from India, gives a grim picture. Bayer–daughter Pro
Agro buys cottonseed. The growers use child labour. The kids don't go
to school, they work up to 14 hours per day, they earn less than 50
cents per working day and their health is being damaged for life. At
least 3 children aged 8, 12 and 13 died within the last couple of
months. They were killed in the fields, poisoned by pesticides.

70% of the children are kept in what can only be described as a brutal
form of slavery. The parents are given an up front loan which the kids
have to work off, including absolutely horrendous interest. In many
cases this "contract" lasts several years. Other kids are being bought
by cotton farmers, separated from their families and have to live in
huts without any basic facilities. These huts are being built on the
fields.

Cornelia Heydenreich of German Watch told me: "We have been trying to
talk to Pro Agro about the problem of child labour for the past year
without any progress. We are now trying to put increased pressure on
them by making an official complaint to OECD." Rainer Kruse of Global
March Against Child Labour: "Risking the lives of these kids must end
now. Every new cotton growing season damages a new generation of
children." Philip Minkes of the Coordination Against Bayer Dangers
says: "The Company has known about the conditions at its
sub-contractors for many years. It would have been an easy thing for
them to solve the problem of child labour by paying better prices and
introducing strict controls. Nothing has happened."

Nothing is going to happen as long as their endless greed drives Bayer
and the like across the globe, chasing for more profit.

Cotton production in India at present is using more than 100,000
children and the numbers are on the increase. Shanta Sinha is the
general secretary of the Indian Foundation Against Human Rights
Violations. She has made the fight against child labour one of her
priorities the main reason for the cruel situation she says, are the
unfair contracts which firms like Bayer are forcing upon the cotton
framers. The prices are so low that the producers have to employ
children as cheap workers. Shanta Sinha: "One of our main demands are
fair contracts for the farmers and better prices which would help put
an end to child labour which is one of the most cruel forms of
exploitation."

Shanta Sinha and many other activists are motivated by humanism and
unselfishness. Unfortunately Bayer -- a true heir of IG Farben who
used prisoners from the concentration camps as cheap workers -- is
absolutely unwilling to integrate human demands into its calculation
of the profits margins. They have to be right and that is all that
counts -- capitalism without any disguises!

But as often with even the greediest of companies, organised protest
can force them to make concessions. In the case of the kids from
India, the protest is growing. German Watch, Coordination Against
Bayer Dangers, Global March Against Child Labour, the Indian Human
Rights Foundation, the Dutch India Committee, the International Labour
Rights Foundation (USA), Amnesty International, Hivos (Holland) and
Novib/Oxfam have got together and developed six minimal demands:

1) Immediate implementation of an action plan to abolish child labour
in the Indian cotton industry. Guarantee for every child to be allowed
to go to school.

2) Fair prices for cotton farmers which enable them to employ grown up
workers and pay them at least the official minimum wage, equal pay for
men and women.

3) Abolishment of all forms of slavery in the production of cottonseed
in India.

4) Protective clothing and gear for working with pesticides and
training for farmers in the use of them.

5) The right of the workers to form trade unions and negotiate their
wages has to be respected.

6) The implementation of the minimal demands has to be publicly
accountable and observed by independent experts.

Very basic demands indeed in the year 2004! Their fulfilment will by
no means end the system, which has lead to barbaric situations like
this time and time again. But it would put a halt to the killing and
crippling of kids in the cotton fields in India.

And even these very humble demands will only be made reality in a hard
struggle. The Bayer workers and indeed the labour movement as a whole
will have to play an important role. So far not a single trade union
has added its voice to the protest -- if this doesn't change soon,
they will go on killing kids for profit.

[By Marion Baur.  First written for Communist Party weekly paper
Unity.]

*******

ROBBING THE POOR TO PAY THE RICH

How the Irish the government has picked your pocket. 

The government has turned Ireland into a tax heaven for the wealthy,
paid for by the less well off through stealth taxes. The government is
rewarding the rich to the tune of 8.5 billion Euros while
simultaneously clawing back billions from low and middle earners a
Sunday Tribune investigation has revealed (14 November 2004). 

Over the last few years, Minister for Finance Charles McCreevy
introduced a range of stealth taxes and charges, steadily increased
VAT, which has pushed up prices in shops, and sanctioned massive price
hikes in electricity, gas, postal service and waste charges. In short,
McCreevy was robbing Peter to ensure Paul stayed wealthy; robbing from
the poor to give to the rich. 

His switch to stealth taxes has hit the lower paid hardest because
they spend a larger proportion of their income on consumer goods.
These concern smoking, VAT, bank cards, electricity, waste and water
charges, TV licence, driving and public transport. In the five years
to 2004, consumer prices in Ireland have risen by 17.5 percent, over
twice the EU average, and government led decisions have contributed to
almost half of that increase. On the other hand, a whole series of
generous tax reliefs means that many of our multi-millionaires pay no
tax at all. A group of 41 people who last year earned over 500,000
Euros a year paid no tax at all. According to revenue figures
presented to the government last week, the exchequer loses 8.5 billion
a year through those various tax breaks. As the government needs 40
billion Euros to run the country, this is a big chunk out of its
budget.

*******

LETTERS

Comrade,

Further to your article on the Black Watch, it should not be forgotten
that they ravaged this country too.  I enclose this song about their
exploits here:
 
Black Watch 
 
You've heard about the B-men the cruel RUC
You've heard about the Black and Tans in bygone history
But there's another regiment the devil calls his own
They’re known as the Black Watch commissioned by the throne
 
Strolling down the Falls Road with riot guns and gas
Terrorising women as they're coming out of mass
A bunch of Scottish traitors we never will forget
Thank God we know the IRA sure aren't beaten yet
 
These soldiers come from Scotland a place you all know well
From the hardest part of Glasgow the teddy boys do dwell
They're given a British uniform they're given a British gun
They joined a British regiment to have themselves some fun
 
When I grow up and marry and have a little son
I'll tell him of the regiment the terrible things they've done
And when that he grows older becomes a man like me
He'll become a volunteer and set old Ireland free
 
Go raibh maith agat,
Seán

*******

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS

*

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

The European Commission wants to give the EU cops at Europol the right
to access giant databases of individual bank accounts -- while the
European Union's own 200,000 bank accounts remain unaudited.

The proposals, intended to give Europol a role in fighting financial
fraud, were published in an EU Working paper in June and repeated by
Europol at a tax crime conference in Prague last month. Delegates were
told that the EU will support the establishment of central registers
of bank accounts, as exist already in France and Germany.

Meanwhile the UK's serious fraud office (SFO) is deciding whether to
investigate the European Commission, based on evidence presented by EU
whistleblower, Marta Andreasen, the former chief account who was
sacked after claiming that corruption and misuse of public funds were
rife within the commission.

The documents she has handed to the SFO show that the Commission has
200,000 accounts in 45 different banks. The EU Court of Auditors has
refused to sign off the budget every year since 1994 because the
accounts are so riddled with errors or are unverifiable.

[From PRIVATE EYE, London, 12-25/11/04]
 
* 

MOST SMOKING DEATHS IN POOR AREAS
 

More than 1,600 people in England die each week because of smoking,
with the greatest number of deaths occurring in the most deprived
areas, a study says. 

Some 86,500 people died in England on average each year from 1998 to
2002, the Health Development Agency said. 

About 62% of the deaths were men and 38% were women. The area with the
highest proportion of smoking-related deaths was north Liverpool,
where 43% of deaths in people over 35 were due to smoking.  This was
followed by Knowsley, also on Merseyside, and Tower Hamlets in east
London with 42%. 

Harlow in Essex, Islington in north London, east Hull, central
Liverpool, Southwark in south London and north Manchester all had
smoking-related death rates of 40%. 

Highest proportion of smoking deaths North Liverpool 43% Knowsley,
Liverpool, 42% Tower Hamlets, London, 42%. The lowest rates were in
the west and south east. In East Devon 23% of deaths in over-35s were
down to smoking.  In Bexhill and Rother, East Sussex, and Uttlesford,
Essex, the figure stood at 24%. 

It is the first time the figures have been broken down on a regional
level and has led to renewed calls for anti-smoking measures in the
Public Health White Paper, which is due to be published next week. 
Deborah Arnott, director of campaign charity Action on Smoking and
Health (ASH), said: "The study clearly shows that the highest rates of
smoking deaths and smoking is in the most deprived areas. 

"If the government is serious about tackling health inequalities it
should introduce a smoking ban in public places and work places."

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, said the
country was in the "grip of a smoking epidemic." 

"Smoking isn't just a national problem, these figures show clearly how
our local communities are affected. 

"I believe this will be a useful document for everyone working to
tackle the prevalence of smoking in this country."

And Dame Yve Buckland, chair of the Health Development Agency, added:
"Smoking is an important cause of health inequalities -- the poorer
you are, the more likely you are to smoke, you're less likely to quit
and you're more likely to die from smoking related causes."

Lowest proportion of smoking deaths East Devon 23% Bexhill and Rother,
East Sussex, 24% Uttlesford, Essex, 24%. The report, The Smoking
Epidemic in England, produced by the University of Portsmouth for the
HDA, showed that 85% of lung cancer deaths were estimated to be
smoking attributable with 17,400 deaths from chronic obstructive lung
disease being caused by smoking. 

About 11,500 deaths from ischaemic heart disease, caused by the
inadequate flow of blood, among those over 65 were estimated to be due
to smoking.  But overall smoking deaths dropped from 120,000 a year in
1995 to 106,000 a year between 1998 and 2002 across the UK -- a fall
largely attributable to the falling number of smokers. 

In 1974 45% of the population smoked but in 2003 the figure had fallen
to 26%. 

Simon Clark, director of smoker's lobby group Forest, said to say it
was an epidemic was "crackers" and was bringing the anti-smoking lobby
into disrepute. 

"I think this is just an attempt to bully the government into bringing
in a smoking ban. 

"Statistics can be very misleading. I am not saying smoking is not
harmful but smokers also often lead unhealthy lifestyles and eat a
poor diet and this contributes to death as well."

A British Medical Association spokeswoman said the report made
"depressing reading." 

"As doctors we know that behind all these statistics lie personal
tragedies. This so-called 'pleasure' is costing people their lives."

[Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/4003969.stm] 

*******

WHATS ON

*

IRAQ: THE TRUTH OF THE US MILITARY EXPERIENCE

·Teachers Club, 8pm, Monday November 15th
·Speaker: John McDonagh
·Video: "The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying Children"
·Chair: Mary Kelly

John McDonagh is a Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist. He works
with US veterans of the Iraq war and will describe the real experience
of the US military in Iraq. He will talk about the level of morale and
the resistance to the war and occupation within the US military. John
also runs a radio station based in New York which has consistently
opposed the US military use of Shannon and supported the disarmament
actions of Mary Kelly and the Pitstop Ploughshares.

Also, will be shown a video on the work of Prof. Siegwart-Horst Gunter
who exposed the destruction caused by depleted uranium from the two
Iraq wars and the war on Yugoslavia: "The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium
and the Dying Children." Prof. Gunter was recently in Ireland to
support Mary Kelly at her trial in Ennis.

Organised by Fairview Against the War

Contactfairviewantiwar@eircom.net for more information.

*

Wednesday 17th November at 4pm

The South Belfast Anti Racism Network have decided to call a picket on
Homefinders for Wednesday 17th November at 4pm. A flavour of their
vetting procedures was described in Sunday Life and the Irish News.

Homefinders in Botanic Avenue has marked "no Chinese!!," "not suitable
for people from ethnic backgrounds" and "not suitable for Chinese or
Black community" against a number of homes. The messages were written
in an internal document, believed to have been circulating in May.

Homefinders have excused such vetting saying they are protecting the
minority ethnic community, defending their own staff and property, and
that it happens in other parts of Belfast!  

*

Thursday 25th November

Migrating Songs
Linen Hall Library
Thursday 25th November at 8pm 

Tickets only £7.50 to members, to book call 028 9032 1707.

Playing five string banjo, and accompanied by her son Kieron Means on
guitar, Sara Grey will be tracing the migration of songs from
Scotland, through the north of Ireland and onto America. 

As a youngster in North Carolina Sara Grey was surrounded by music.
She got her first banjo at the age of 15 and her Dad played the
fiddle, which Sara remembers as: "a bit of Cape Breton, a bit of
classical stuff, some Quebecois tunes."  She started collecting songs
during the late sixties -- exchanging ballads in the logging camps of
northern Ontario, and the fishing communities of Nova Scotia and Cape
Breton -- swapping a song for a song. Interested in the migration of
songs across the Atlantic she made several collecting trips to the UK
and eventually she moved to Scotland in 1970, where she still lives
today, on the Isle of Skye.

Although helped by Radio 2's Mike Harding, she first found it
difficult to get gigs in the traditional folk clubs, as they didn't
want an American singer. But she quietly proved that there is interest
in the ballads that traveled, and "got honed down, mislearned, or
improved," as The Tradition Bearers' Brian Peters describes it. Some
stayed exactly the same, as Sara discovered with the County Fermanagh
broken token song Her Mantle So Green, which is sung in just the same
way in New Brunswick, just north-east of her old home in New
Hampshire. 

*

10 December 2004

Women's Rights are Human Rights - summit conference

Women into Politics will mark International Human Rights Day with a
conference on Globalisation and the challenges for Women's
participation and leadership. This conference entitled Women's
Participation and Leadership in Global Processes is a summit following
a series of workshops on globalisation and its impact on women's lives
-- locally and globally. The day is dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, the
Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Winner. 

The summit will address themes that increasingly define our world and
that pose enormous challenges to women, women's movements and
feminists worldwide. The conference takes place on 10 December 2004
in Grosvenor House, Glengall Street, Belfast, from 9.00am to 4.00pm
and will analyse the diverse forms of globalisation in local,
regional, and global arenas and its impact on communities and on every
woman’s right to participate at all levels of society and will
also explore ways of showing global solidarity.

There are limited places left so please contact Carola Speth on tel:
028 9024 3363 or email: dialogue@womenintopolitics.org to register.

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