A group of reports on Socialist Youth - Socialist Party activity

January 2003 Socialist Voice

University College Dublin Student's Union President
Vote Paul Murphy No.1

by Finghin Kelly

SOCIALIST PARTY member Paul Murphy, secretary for the Campaign for Free Education, is standing for the position of Students' Union President in UCD. Paul, who is well known in UCD as a fighter for student rights will be standing on a programme of creating a fighting, democratic Students' Union.

Paul told the Socialist Voice: "We need a union which earns the respect of the students, and which organises mass campaigns on the key student issues - fees, grants and student accommodation."

The Socialist Party in UCD has fought a continual battle against the right-wing leadership of the Students' Union, who have repeatedly failed to campaign for students' rights.

The right-wing attitude of the current Students' Union leadership meant that last year they initially refused to condemn the proposed re-introduction of full fees! Students responded to this betrayal by launching the Campaign for Free Education (CFE), which mobilised students to campaign against fees.

The Socialist Party/Socialist Youth has played a leading role in initiating the CFE, in building for demonstrations, and in arguing within CFE for militant tactics as the only way to defeat the government.

While CFE has had success in organising a number of occupations and protests attended by around 500 people, it is clear that with the full backing of the Students' Union, bigger and more significant protests could be organised. Electing Paul Murphy as SU President would be an important step towards getting the union focused on a major campaign against fees.

Regardless of the result, the struggle to reclaim our Students' Union will continue. The Socialist Party/Socialist Youth and other left activists will also be standing for a number of officers and Executive Committee positions.

North: We Want Our Skate park!

by Chris Loughlin

OVER THE last few weeks Lisburn City Council has taken the step to recommend that police enforce by-laws in the area to make sure Skateboarders are not allowed to skate in Lisburn city centre.

This ludicrous step means that skateboarders in Lisburn will be prosecuted for skateboarding; talk about a free country! But, what has lead to this dangerous situation, where literally hundreds of young people will be given a criminal record for skateboarding?

The council claims "hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage" has been done to Lisburn city centre. Anyone who walks through Lisburn won't see any damage to any property, young people are simply being scapegoated as "nuisances" and "pests". The step to use these by-laws comes nearly a year after a public meeting was held in Lisburn where the council promised to build skate park facilities. The council even set up a working group to establish what would be the best way forward.

But, as is usual young people are at the bottom of the list of priorities for a council made up of old men, cronies and huge conflicts of interest. The council of Lisburn has sold off huge numbers of football pitches in the area to private contractors and has managed to waste huge amounts of money on the "Lagan Valley Island" and its 30 000 pound a year fountain!

Young people in Lisburn we have to organise to fight for a publicly owned skate park. The council will not give a skate park to us without pressure being put on them to do so. None of the politicians or parties in Lisburn are in touch with young people, they represent the people with money. This is not just an issue for Lisburn. In most other towns across Northern Ireland it is the same. Young people need to link up and campaign together for proper facilities.

Join the alternative, fight for a socialist society where things are run for people's needs not profit, Join Socialist Youth today! Contact ;Special Feature Bertie Ahern has dragged Irish people into this bloody drive to war by allowing US warplanes refuel at Shannon Airport.

In recent months massive anti-war demonstrations have taken place in Europe and significantly in the US itself. With the outbreak of war these demonstrations will not diminish, but will instead dramatically grow in size and anger as the brutality of this war is brought home.

Here in Ireland, the focus must be on building a mass anti-war movement to oppose the use of Shannon Airport, but also to oppose the rightwing character of this government who would prepare to back Bush than deal with issues such as homelessness or low pay.

It is young people through out the world and indeed in Ireland who have the most to lose from this war and the developing world recession as our future is increasingly dominated by poverty, wars for profit and instability. For this reason Socialist Youth has launched Youth Against War as an active campaign open to all young people to oppose this war.

We call on all young people to join and get active in Youth Against War. Set up an anti-war group in your school. Hand out leaflets and collect a petition to show that Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fail do not represent us. Most importantly, get your friends and class mates to join and get active. 15 February is international day of action against war. Protests will be held in capital cities all across the world. Make sure you and your friends and school are represented in Dublin on that day. Ring Matthew @ 087 6684616

Youth Against War Activist Speaks Out

YOUTH AGAINST War activist Anita OíFlynn is Student Council President at ScoilPol boarding school in Co.Cork.

Anita in her capacity as Student Council President was asked to address the end of year school assembly. She was meant to do a reading from the Bible but instead stood up in front of all of the students, teachers and nuns and read out a statement she had prepared about Bushís preparations for a war against Iraq.

The stunned nuns threatened to suspend Anita from school but due to support she received from other pupils, teachers and parents this threat was lifted. Anita and other YAW activists in her school have gone on to produce an anti-war newsletter. YAW and Socialist Youth school students should follow Anitaís courageous example - get your friends organised in YAW campaign groups in your school.

For more info, click here to see the Youth Against War Website

Get Organised Now - Build Youth Against War

In the North

By Chris Loughlin

THOUSANDS OF troops are being mobilised as we speak, from California to Southampton. Troops, war ships and airforce personnel are getting ready to go to war against Iraq.

Over the last weeks the drive to war has intensified and it now looks more than likely that war will be declared by George Bush Jnr. in the short term with or without UN backing. This war however, is not a crusade for democracy or a "war on terror", it is a war for western oil interests, plain and simple.

The effects of this war will be devastating on the Iraqi people. 60% of Iraqi people depend on the UN sanctioned oil-for-food programme, which means in real terms that millions of Iraqis have been living on less than $0.65 worth of food per day for the last ten years.

Not to mention the fact that over one million children have died over the last ten years due to malnourishment and lack of basic medical supplies. The people who will die in this war are not Saddam Husseinís cronies who will live in their bunkers for the duration, but ordinary Iraqis who are in Saddamís conscript army, together with defenceless women and children.

What can we do to stop this bloody drive to war? We can organise and demonstrate, win people to our viewpoint that this war is just another war for oil. Most importantly though, we have to register, every single one of us, to our friends, family, school and the politicians that we donít support this war for oil; that we donít believe the lies and propaganda of Bush and Blair nor those of Saddamís brutal dictatorship.

Thatís why Socialist Youth has taken the step to set up Youth Against War, as a broad organisation for all young people who are opposed to this war. In your workplace or school, you could hand out leaflets, organise a meeting against the war or even have a protest outside with your friends!

The most important thing is that we start to organise and demonstrate now. Socialist Youth is fighting for a socialist society where peopleís needs not profits come first. Get organised, join Youth Against War and help stop the war machine. Ring Chris @ Belfast 90232962

For more info, click here to see the Youth Against War Website