[Marxism] addition to Paul LeBlancs tribute

David Walsh davidrail68 at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 4 11:52:19 MDT 2009

Paul forgot to mention one other key struggle that helped to radicalize so many youth in his excellent tribute to Steffie Brooks. The Irish Civil Rights movement. It helped Irish-American kids, like me, at that time to make some important connections to Black Liberation and then even broader issues.                                                      Northern Ireland is a European country which has witnessed violence over many decades mainly because of sectarian tensions between the Catholic and Protestant community.


Bloody Sunday (1972) memorial mural
The Civil Rights struggle in Northern Ireland can be traced to women in Dungannon who those are some to fight for better housing for the members of the Catholic community. This domestic issue would not have led to a fight for Civil Rights if the policies of Northern Ireland did not make being a registered householder the qualification for the local government franchise. Thus these women were not only challenging what they saw as unfair housing policies, they were also taking the first steps toward fighting for Civil Rights for their community. Using various means to defend and improve the conditions for their communities, these women were in fact preparing a large part of the Catholic population to move beyond local and domestic issue and to embrace the larger purpose of the Civil Rights battle. This substantial contribution made by women is often erased from the general history of Northern Ireland primarily because this country still has a Protestant
 majority and a conservative culture who often overlook the role of women in the political sphere. [1].
On a more broad based and organized front, in January 1964, the Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) was launched officially in Belfast. This organization took over the woman's struggle over better housing and committed itself to end the discrimination in employment. The CSJ promised the Catholic community that their cries would be heard. They challenged the government, promising that they would take their case to the Commission for Human Rights in Strasbourg and to the United Nations[2].
Having started with basic domestic issues, the Civil Rights struggle in Northern Ireland escalated to a full scale movement who found its embodiment in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. NICRA campaigned in the late sixties and early seventies, consciously modeled itself on the 


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