The militant 5000 strong demonstration to the Ulster Office in London on Sunday marked a new stage in the development of the Irish Civil Rights Solidarity Campaign.
With the escalation of the fighting in Northern Ireland against the B-Specials and the Orange pogroms, the campaign can now spread its influence among the mass of Irish working men and women in Britain as well as among British trade unionists. Both British and Irish newspapers have described the Solidarity Campaign as “setting the pace” for the whole civil rights movement in Britain.
Since the campaign was launched four months ago by the International Socialists and the London branch of People’s Democracy, branches have been set up throughout the main Irish areas of London and in a number of other British cities. In the coming weeks there are plans to set up more branches in the leading industrial cities.
It is vital that the tens of thousands of Irish workers throughout Britain are given the opportunity to express their solidarity with the beleaguered fighters in Derry, Belfast and the rest of the six counties.
In addition to demonstrations and meetings, it will be important for the ICRSC to develop more concrete expressions of solidarity in the next few weeks. Already a call has gone out for volunteers to return to Northern Ireland to help the resistance to police and B-Special brutality. But it is vital that the campaign also involves a wider number of people through collections for medical aid and other supplies for the resistance forces.
The ICRSC should launch a national appeal similar in scope to the Vietnam Medical Aid campaign. It should involve not only Irish people but also the British trade union and shop stewards movement.
Perhaps the most effective support which can be given in this country to the workers in Northern Ireland is through industrial action. Already strikes have taken place on a number of building sites demanding that the Specials be disarmed, that political prisoners be freed and that the vicious Unionist Special Powers Act be abandoned.
In the next weeks as many British trade unionists as possible should back these demands being made of the hypocritical Labour government by taking action in their own factories and place of work.
Join the Solidarity Campaign
Please send details of the ICRSC. Post to 8 Cottons Gdns E2.
Last updated on 20.6.2002