Monday, March 30, 2009

James Connolly quote; No 1

A commenter asked for some James Connolly discussion, so I just couldn't help myself. I feel a Kurt Vonnegut quote coming on, something about,

"Thumbing my nose at You Know Who"

Let us free Ireland! Never mind such base, carnal thoughts as concern work and wages, healthy homes, or lives unclouded by poverty.

Let us free Ireland! The rackrenting landlord; is he not also an Irishman, and wherefore should we hate him? Nay, let us not speak harshly of our brother – yea, even when he raises our rent.

Let us free Ireland! The profit-grinding capitalist, who robs us of three-fourths of the fruits of our labour, who sucks the very marrow of our bones when we are young, and then throws us out in the street, like a worn-out tool when we are grown prematurely old in his service, is he not an Irishman, and mayhap a patriot, and wherefore should we think harshly of him?

Let us free Ireland! “The land that bred and bore us.” And the landlord who makes us pay for permission to live upon it. Whoop it up for liberty!

“Let us free Ireland,” says the patriot who won’t touch Socialism. Let us all join together and cr-r-rush the br-r-rutal Saxon. Let us all join together, says he, all classes and creeds. And, says the town worker, after we have crushed the Saxon and freed Ireland, what will we do? Oh, then you can go back to your slums, same as before. Whoop it up for liberty!

And, says the agricultural workers, after we have freed Ireland, what then? Oh, then you can go scraping around for the landlord’s rent or the money-lenders’ interest same as before. Whoop it up for liberty!

After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn’t that worth fighting for?

And when you cannot find employment, and, giving up the struggle of life in despair, enter the poorhouse, the band of the nearest regiment of the Irish army will escort you to the poorhouse door to the tune of St. Patrick's Day. Oh! It will be nice to live in those days!

“With the Green Flag floating o’er us” and an ever-increasing army of unemployed workers walking about under the Green Flag, wishing they had something to eat. Same as now! Whoop it up for liberty!

Now, my friend, I also am Irish, but I’m a bit more logical. The capitalist, I say, is a parasite on industry; as useless in the present stage of our industrial development as any other parasite in the animal or vegetable world is to the life of the animal or vegetable upon which it feeds.

The working class is the victim of this parasite – this human leech, and it is the duty and interest of the working class to use every means in its power to oust this parasite class from the position which enables it to thus prey upon the vitals of labour.

Therefore, I say, let us organise as a class to meet our masters and destroy their mastership; organise to drive them from their hold upon public life through their political power; organise to wrench from their robber clutch the land and workshops on and in which they enslave us; organise to cleanse our social life from the stain of social cannibalism, from the preying of man upon his fellow man.

Organise for a full, free and happy life FOR ALL OR FOR NONE.

I've got goosebumps.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Protest

There has been considerable concern around Queen's Student Union about This.

They had little to worry about. No-one showed. As one commenter put it,

"They wouldn't have the brass neck"

He was right. Despite copious posters and leaflets and texts, nobody came. The True Believers of the Socialist Workers' Party stood around in the rain hugging their wet placards and looking ever more stupid. I would have felt sorry for them, but I thought their protest was a cynical prank at the expense of the handful of residents imprisoned in the Holyland.

-No Riot Police in student areas.

An interesting demand. How are we to deal with public disorder? You will by now have seen the clips on YouTube. Should we offer such people a nice cup of tea and a bun if only they'll keep the noise down and stop wrecking cars? There are churches in the area that hand out free burgers and coffee and biscuits to this lot on their way to and from the pub. A representative of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church told a residents' meeting that they should do just that and it'll make things better. I suppose he thought we should pray too. The prayers of many have not prevented the death of the area, nor will they resurrect the corpse of a community that has clearly died.

-No Slum Student Housing

An admirable demand. One might ask where the untold millions in HMO grants have gone. At the recent PACT meeting it was pointed out that the landlords have demolished the area and built a slum. Declan Boyle took great offense at this.

"My properties are to the highest standard. They're passed by Building Control. They're passed by the Housing Executive. There's nothing wrong with them."

Such righteous indignation ignores the obvious question. What exactly are the authorities doing? They have doled out £240 million in HMO grants across the province, financing the rape of untold communities. This money came out of the housing budget, a fact that would explain the presence of 20,000 homeless. The Housing executive is not allowed to build. Instead it finances the private sector through grants and £140 million every year in housing benefit. In a sane and just society this money would be recycled to finance environmentally sustainable public housing. I digress. To demolish a family home and build flats to house 16 students in rooms smaller than a prison cell is slum housing, no matter what the authorities say.

- No expulsions for St Patricks Day.

I, and apparently the Union, had expected a large turn-out in support of this. No show. Why? Perhaps because no-one will be expelled and we all know it. At the PACT meeting Gerry McCormack belittled the concerns of residents to the point of obscene absurdity. As it happens Queens do expel people; if they can't pay fees for example, or their studies have suffered because of health concerns or adverse circumstances. Students call this the "Sweeny Todd" syndrome, but it's not just the head of Occupational Health, Denis Todd, that flushes people down the toilet. The School of Psychology does it too, and this 40 years after they expelled Bernadette Devlin just before her finals.

This brings me to the big point. Queens was once a hotbed of radical student activism. Today it's a cultural sewer. Why will they not fight against fees? Why will they not demand full grants? Why do they not demand decent housing for all? The destruction of the Health Service; anyone care? Apparently not. Water privatisation; anyone listening? Silence.

What has happened to the student body? The answer can be found on YouTube. Thinkers are packing their bags and going. We are in intellectual meltdown. We are also in moral meltdown. Whether it is privileged nihilists high on ethnic chauvinism, or a lost generation who drown their despair in drugs, our youth have no sense of purpose. I could argue that this shows the moral bankruptcy of Christian schooling, and I would not be wrong. I think the larger issue is structural. Thatcher and her heirs have quite literally destroyed society and in its place is that thing understood by Connolly; the morality of the pig trough.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Aftermath: Part Six: a Cry for Help

Click to enlarge.

Does Harry Hutchinson consider himself a socialist? He is, I assume, one of those who considers the bank manager to be a fellow worker who lives by selling his labour. I will not get into a deep discussion about structuralism and the "co-ordinator class". Instead I will refer you to Michael Albert's Parecon site.

In Northern Ireland we have "peculiar arrangements". A middle class has been engineered in Mid-Ulster. These people bear no resemblance to the description above which refers to the working class. Such despair is painfully apparent in the Lower Ormeau; thus the epidemic of drug crime.

What can be seen five nights a week in the Holyland is the rampage of those who are privileged, arrogant and bigoted. It was not the lost generation that rioted last Tuesday. It was a middle-class of nihilistic ethnic chauvinists.

Harry Hutchinson would do well to get his facts straight before firing off his words of wisdom to the Irish News.

Aftermath: Part Five; The Movie

The cops and universities already have these videos, but they would never be admissible in court. Even I was shocked. Each description below is a link. Just click it, or open in a tab.

It's not just residents that wreck cars

"Someone needs to throw the first bottle"

"Waddya think ah the car? It's good crack like isn't it?

"We all live in the Holy-Holy-Land"

Dancin' in the streets

"Let's go fucking mental"


This could be the beach bonfire in The Lord of the Flies

"That's fantastic, boy"

"Violence not seen for a long time in Northern Ireland"

The day after. At around 0.59 you can hear the voice of our future. He can barely talk. He has no remorse. What the fuck is this creature doing at a university?

"Tomorrow belongs to me." The beer garden scene from Cabaret. Watch carefully and see the resonance with the Holyland.

Aftermath; Part Four

Suzanne Breen's article.

Click the link above.

Thus Spake Gerry

I think of Gerry McCormack as a smug, fat, grey Nero who fiddles as the Holyland burns. He sat, addressing a meeting with his back to us, and fiddled with imaginary game consoles.

"We had 30 complaints from one individual about students next door playing computer games. Now I don't think that merits expulsion, or a fine, or a disciplinary. If we expel someone from university, we're giving them a life sentence."

This was at a meeting to discuss St Patrick's Day.

"How many students, have you disciplined?", asks a resident.

"This year we and UU have disciplined 218 of which 50 were fined. Our system is meant to be transparent, accountable...blah...blah...blah"

"", says Una Calvert in that slow, ponderous voice that...fakes...sincerity...but...shows...she...doesn't...give...a...fuck.

I have much to say about the PACT meeting, and want to spread it over several articles to tease out the issues and savour the absurdity of the whole thing.

How many students, bar St Patricks Day, have you expelled for anti-social behaviour?"


Gerry's proud of this and incites the wrath of the articulate graduate from Queens,
"Since I graduated in 2001 I've noticed it gets worse every year. These people have no respect for anyone. We have to make it clear that if you're going to behave like an animal you will lose the opportunity to complete a third level education."

Until a week ago such views would have been considered extreme. I've been called that for voicing them. Now we've had our wake-up call.

"These people have filmed themselves and put it on YouTube", voices the chairman with passion,"I would like to think that people identified from these videos would be expelled"

Gerry's not listening. He's playing with his imaginary games console.

"We saw students coming out of court giving one fingered salutes".

It's the graduate. His shock and disgust pour out with admirable force.


Una's right. She doesn't say it'll never be students, unless they're working class and therefore scapegoatable.

"Why were people taken into a prison van and then released?"

"We only have 15 cells in South and East Belfast."

Gordon the new, new, new inspector informs us. These people come and go so fast I can't keep track of them.

"We take their details and then let them go to come back and be processed later."

"There's an empty jail up the Crumlin Road you can use!!"

She may be a pensioner, but she's no dope.

The teachers in Botanic Primary School were so scared for the children they canceled the clubs meetings. They had despaired of calling the cops to deal with the mob of hostile "students" floating around outside. They called the parents to come and collect their terrified children. Thursday was an exception, not because of the menace that oozes from our "students" like sweat. What was different was the presence of four landrovers in the area; tactical support units. What's interesting is that their presence was felt necessary then, 2 days after the "cultural event", but not today, or tomorrow or any other day that these people own the streets and act out their dominance day and night under the noses of cops who drive on by, legitimising it with their deliberate inaction.

Jimmy Spratt pulls Gordon on resources. He can't get an answer other than that the Holyland has the largest single share of manpower in the sector; at least they did last week. Normal service will be resumed shortly. Jimmy's angry at Gordon's evasions, and is taking this to Orde at the next policing board. I hope Hugh has his figures ready. Jimmy's on a warpath, but as we'll see in later articles, he's easily fooled by the whole "partnership" number. I like Jimmy. I never thought I'd say that about a DUPer.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Aftermath: Part Three

"Can I ask you a personal question?"
This is interesting.
"Why do you stay here?"
"I don't. I've left. But the others........they can't get rehoused."

It was the evening. The rioters had gone to the pub. We're talking as he waits for his taxi. It could take some time; the drivers have refused to come into the area. We've discussed the day's events and I've played ball as he pulls out the tiny minority argument despite having witnessed the mayhem on his doorstep. Then he lets it slip,
"Jordanstown had me up for anti-social behaviour. Well I said fuck them. I threatened them with Human Rights and all the rest. I threatened to sue the cunts"
He might have a case. The Holyland is "Off-Campus". However most punishments are so trivial that they are not contested. Why go to court over a hundred pound fine? And that will only happen after you've had your wrist slapped a couple of times for previous antics. However if someone chose to fight them they would probably win. There is no contract for off-campus behaviour, nor will there be. A "code" is not a contract. It's not like forty years ago when Bernadette Devlin was fucked out of Queens' School of Psychology just before her finals. They have other ways of fucking their students these days; other excuses for expulsion, money being one.

If you're a bogus student they don't give a fuck. You can do what you want and they'll still give you your degree. Just keep the money rolling in. It's a business. It's no longer academia.

His question was an honest one. Why would anyone want to live there? It's no longer a community. A handful of disparate and demoralised people is just that. They've turned on each other like the survivors on The Raft of the Medusa. It's such a shambles they need an outsider to speak for them. Why are those who want out ignored? How can the lie of "regeneration" be taken seriously? What Tuesday has made clear is that there is no longer, and can never again be, a community in the Holyland. How longer can people be kept imprisoned there? Who can justify such torture? People have served their time in hell. Give them new homes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Aftermath; Part Two

This is Henry McDonald's piece from the Guardian Website. He's kindly let me publish it here along with my detailed reply.

There is an inconvenient truth at the core of the controversy over student misbehaviour in one square kilometre of south Belfast and it is all to do with sectarianism.

On St Patrick's Day the issue of student drunkenness and hooliganism came into sharp focus once again. The battleground was of course Belfast's Holylands, a small area running from the edge of the university district down to the River Lagan where the streets are named after the cities and biblical place names of the Middle East.

Scenes of drunken students taunting police officers, setting fire to cars, throwing bottles and stones at PSNI riot lines and blocking off streets while they held al fresco parties have reignited the arguments about whether it is right to shoehorn so many third level students into a tightly packed area.

Amid all the outrage and anger, most of it from the few remaining indigenous residents of the Holylands, two facts about those causing the trouble are rarely amplified. The first is that judging from the Gaelic football and Glasgow Celtic shirts as well as the names of those the PSNI decided to arrest, it is clear the overwhelming majority of the raucous revellers come from Catholic/nationalist areas of rural Northern Ireland. This is the unspoken truth of the culchie-student "invasion".

The second is that the dominant presence of these students has transformed what was once the only non-sectarian working-class/lower middle-class district to survive the Troubles into an eight-months-a-year nationalist ghetto. The most important lesson to draw from the brazen behaviour of the rural lager louts on St Patrick's Day is how tribalism actually solidified and grew during the years of the peace process.

It would be inaccurate to say that an area such as the Holylands escaped the Troubles. There were a few incidents of bombings and shootings where people living in the area lost their lives. Nonetheless the numbers were far fewer than say across the River Lagan in north Belfast, where almost a quarter of all the deaths in the conflict took place.

Throughout nearly 30 years of civil strife, however, the Holylands remained an enclave for the lower-paid leftwing lecturer, the aspirant teacher, the radical fringe, the punks from both Northern Ireland and beyond (many, for some inexplicable reason, from Bristol in the 1980s) in their squats or those simply wanting to live in an area where territory was not marked out by flags or painted kerbstones.

Among those who grew up or spent decades living in the Holylands even in the darkest years of the Troubles there is a common perception today that the influx of a monoreligious, rural student population, many reared on an aggressive nationalist diet, has altered the nature of the area.

Conversely the main driving force behind the St Patrick's Day violence may have been nihilistic and drink-fuelled but in the background lurked a collective belief among the third level revellers that this is now somehow "their area", that this is now "their territory". Indeed, during a previous television documentary about the rural student influx, longer-term residents who remonstrated with them were dismissed and told this was now "our area".

Back in the 1980s it would have been shocking to witness the sight of, say, an Orange band playing loyalist party tunes marching around the streets of the Holylands. People who wanted to escape parades and paramilitary murals felt relatively safe there even if just south of the river, across the Ormeau Bridge for instance, the UDA was engaged in a campaign of sectarian assassination. Even by the beginning of the peace process it had still survived as a haven for the aspirant worker and the radical leftwinger.

At present the devolved government in Northern Ireland is officially committed to a "shared future" programme that is designed, on paper at least, to create more common space in areas such as housing, sport or education between the two communities. It faces major challenges such as what to do about the so-called "peace walls" that have become near-permanent symbols of division between Protestant and Catholic areas.

The blueprint for social integration also has to tackle a divided education sector in which the overwhelming majority of Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren are still educated apart. There are serious doubts about how much the programme can achieve in terms of creating non-sectarian environments – especially on the big issues of the physical walls or the separate schools.

Perhaps the first place to start would be the Holylands, where the power-sharing coalition could create financial enticements for families to move into the area and conversely to encourage landlords not to turn their houses into homes of multiple occupancy; to persuade the two universities to build more on-campus halls of residence and ensure they become socially, ethnically and religiously mixed; to launch an education campaign within education aimed at persuading second level students, particularly those from rural nationalist Ulster, about the benefits of not following their mates from primary school all the way to Queen's and the UU and instead to go out and meet new people, maybe even in a university outside Northern Ireland.

In short, restoring the Holylands as a unique area of integration, both in terms of religion and class, would be one small step in that "shared future".

This is my reply:-

Hi Henry,
I disagree with you fundamentally about what can be done with the Holylands. Six years ago the Extern organisation survey found 200 residents besieged by 5,000 students. Today there are between 50 and 80 residents left. Most want rehoused, but the authorities will not do that. The area is gone. The landlords have demolished most of the houses in Rugby Avenue and replaced them with flats. They're pulling the rest down as I speak. Theree is no community left there, and there never will be again. This is profoundly sad and unbearably true. No-one should be rehoused in that area, and no-one will willingly choose to live there.

We have to face up to the fact that the ethno-political conflict continues in a different form. It has metamorphosed into the destruction of neutral spaces like the Holyland, and now Stranmillis. The Universities are being homogenized and the brain drain is not just that of protestants. Anyone who thinks for themselves and can afford to is leaving to study elsewhere, whether below the border or across the water. It's not just the chill factor within the student body. The quality of tuition in Queens is atrocious and it is rightly viewed as an academic slum.

The new middle class from mid-ulster will not study elsewhere because this is where they want to be. They're also not that keen on studying. It's an excuse to party for three years and get a degree at the end of it. What value can anyone place on such a qualification? This is a frightening issue. If our brightest and best are leaving this ignorant bunch will be our future professionals. They will be the glue that holds society together and that should scare everyone shitless. Do you want them teaching your kids, treating you in hospital, representing you in court? A society in intellectual meltdown is doomed and we have to face this rather than hide from it.

Our political class are working together,sometimes I think for their benefit rather than ours. On the ground however, the two communities are pulling further apart. Look at mid-Ulster and South Armagh. The triumphalism of its demon offspring comes from the aggregation of brutal victories by its parents' generation. Every protestant farmer shot off the back of a tractor, every protestant family driven from their home becomes a "fact on the ground". And this mentality plays itself out in the Holyland. It's "their area" and residents, especially protestants, can get lost. A community was driven out, deliberately and systematically by landlords and their tenants. The journalist Suzanne Breen tells her own story. A gang stopped her on a dark night and told her to,
"Sell your house and get the fuck out of the Holylands. This is our area now"

It is.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aftermath; Part One

Click to enlarge:-

Apologies for not pouncing on this immediately. I wanted the press to have their head before I turned around and said "I told you so". Apologies also to commenters, I wanted to get this published before I got round to you.

The chickens have come home to roost. The universities can't PR their way out of this one. No-one's listening to their fake residents' group, who will have run out of nice things to say about them. Having said that, there's no depths to which some people will not plumb (I expect colourful comments in reply to that ;-)

I want time to reflect on this because I have much to say. However, I do note that it was not students that were charged. None will be, unless they're working class. The new middle class in Mid-Ulster must not be alienated, no matter that they are sectarian ethnic chauvinists. It is wonderful to contrast the cosmopolitan parade in the city centre with the ugly truth that lies within. What did the wider world see? The manufactured image of the "New Northern Ireland" was drowned out by who we really are. Your future lawyers, teachers, doctors are waving pizza boxes and throwing (badly) bottles. They couldn't riot for shit; Designer Republican Arsewipes. They really are good for nothing. What a waste of public money.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How did she fail to get elected?

When she grows up she wants to be Christine Bleakley. Hide the fake tan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Feck Fees

People have been complaining about these. I don't know why. We should be immune to the vulgarity and it's hard to disagree with the sentiment. What the fuck are people paying for? Why are genuine students (unlike our friend above) excluded from higher education because they can't afford £3,500 a year? Queens, Academic Slum Extraordinaire, are planning to up it to £10,000 a year. Who are these cunts fooling? Not our brightest and best who are queuing up to get the fuck out of Dodge. Good luck to them, I wish I could join them.

Shane Boylan was not elected, much to the relief of Queens. Let's have a look at his manifesto.

Click to enlarge. You might want to have a closer look at this:-

Click to enlarge.

You couldn't make him up. Note the "extremely small minority" myth, those who's misdeeds are used to "blacken the name of the student community". Residents are given a "disproportionate voice", perhaps because they actually do live there. How someone who has a "home address" and a "term time address" can claim to be a resident is beyond me. The distinction is obvious; the "home address" is not in the Holyland. Shane might well have wondered how it became a "student area", but that would address the fact that an entire community were driven from their homes, and we just can't go there can we?

It is "discriminatory and totally unfair" that those imprisoned in "student areas" should be heard. Six years ago the Extern organisation found 200 hundred residents beseiged by over 5,000 "students". Today there are about 50. If they're outnumbered 100 to 1 perhaps they should have one hundredth of a voice. Queens would love that.

Friday, March 06, 2009

He hasn't gone away you know

Apologies for my absence. Some of us have lives (that's a hint to my pet Troll). I've also been having technical problems with Blogger. They have still not been sorted. What are "HTML errors"?
Computers drive me crazy.

Still, It's good to be back.


Student Culture

Friday 13 February 2009

Is it any wonder no-one can live among them.

Friday 6 March 2009


Summary of Judgment

Mr Justice Hart, sitting today in Belfast Crown Court, imposed a sentence of two years’ detention on Ciaran Laverty, aged 19, for the manslaughter of Aaron Montgomery outside the Skye nightclub in Belfast on 15 February 2008.

Aaron Montgomery (aged 23) was standing outside the nightclub with his brother and his friend. A large number of people were leaving the bar at this time and there was some congestion in and around the doorway. Ciaran Laverty was head-butted and was mistakenly told by his friend that it was Aaron Montgomery who had attacked him. Mr Laverty then punched Aaron Montgomery on the side of the head or neck and he fell to the ground. The court heard that such a blow can cause very rapid death.

Mr Laverty remained at the scene and was arrested by police. He expressed remorse and regret for has actions immediately and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Mr Laverty had no previous convictions. The court heard a number of testimonies about his previously excellent character - at the time of the attack he was a first year student at Queen’s University. He told the court that in the course of the evening he had drunk ten bottles of beer, two pints of beer and a cocktail.

Mr Justice Hart was provided with victim impact statements from Aaron Montgomery’s parents, brother and sister and other relatives. He said that they “eloquently and movingly expressed the acute loss and deprivation each has suffered as a result of Aaron’s sudden and unnecessary death”.

The judge accepted that Mr Laverty’s conduct that night was out of character. He said that Mr Laverty was “an able and intelligent young man of hitherto excellent character”:

Sadly the reason for his behaviour is all too familiar with cheap alcohol readily available and large numbers of drunken young people spilling onto the streets when pubs and night clubs close. The events of this night were brought about by the combination of heavy drinking and a mistake on [Ciaran Laverty’s] part as to who had earlier assaulted him”.

Mr Justice Hart noted that a custodial sentence will clearly have a severe effect on Mr Laverty and his future but said that “it has to be remembered that his conduct brought about the death of a young man of blameless character who had done nothing whatever to provoke this unjustified attack which it appears was because of a case of mistaken identity”.

He sentenced Ciaran Laverty to two years’ detention.


1. The full judgment is available on the Court Service website (

2. The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland in the case of R v Ryan Arthur Quinn [2006] NICA 27 held that the proper range of sentence in this type of case on a plea of guilty falls between 2 and 6 years’ imprisonment.


Blood Money



You may not have noticed this:-

Amnesty Urges Action on QUB Corporate Sponsor Caterpillar

Posted: 08 May 2007

Amnesty International is urging Queen's University and its students at to bring pressure on Caterpillar Inc for their role in the destruction of Palestinian homes.

As reported in The Gown, the Queens University student newspaper, The company - which has recently given $100,000 to the university towards the costs of its new library - is one of the biggest equipment suppliers to the Israeli army. Amnesty International has previously reported how Caterpillar bulldozers are being used to destroy thousands of homes of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The company's bulldozers have also been used in the construction of the fence/wall built around and through the West Bank. In 2004 the International Court of Justice declared the fence/wall to be unlawful.

The company has donated $100,000 to the University towards the cost of its new £45 million library, due for completion in 2009. The library is due to have an area named after the company's charitable wing.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:

'Caterpillar produces the bulldozers used by the Israeli army to destroy the homes of innocent Palestinians. This is clearly illegal - a serious violation of international law which deprives innocent people of the right to a home.

'Amnesty International has asked Caterpillar to adopt a code of conduct which complies with the United Nations Human Rights Norms for Business. To date, the company has refused to do so and to take steps to prevent their products being used to commit human rights abuses.

Peter McGovern, chairperson of the Amnesty Student Society at Queen's University said:

'Caterpillar's sponsorship of Queen's University provides the perfect opportunity for the university to ask some hard questions of the company. Meanwhile, the student body and faculty should bring pressure to bear on the company to abide by international human rights standards. Caterpillar may see this donation as a positive PR opportunity - let's see them prove their bona fides as good corporate citizens by ending their complicity in these abuses.'


Excerpt from the Amnesty International report, Israel and the Occupied Territories - Under the rubble: House demolition and destruction of land and property, published in 2004.

"Tens of thousands of men, women and children have been made homeless or have lost their livelihood as a result of house destruction by the Israeli army. Thousands of other houses have been damaged, and tens of thousands of others are under threat of demolition, their occupants living in fear of homelessness. House demolitions are usually carried out without warning, often at night, and the occupants are forcibly evicted with no time to salvage their belongings. Often the only warning is the rumbling of the Israeli army's US-made Caterpillar bulldozers beginning to tear down the walls of their homes.

"The victims are often amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged. In most cases the justification given by the Israeli authorities for the destruction is "military/security needs", while in other cases it is the lack of building permits. The result is the same: families are left homeless and destitute, forced to rely on relatives, friends and humanitarian organizations for shelter and subsistence."

The link to this on the Gown blog is now dead; down the memory hole. Google it and see.

Rachel Corrie was murdered with a Caterpillar bulldozer.

Queens are naming a wing of their new building after Caterpillar. It is apt that having sponsored the destruction of the Holyland they take money from a corporation that has profited from far worse crimes.

Caterpillar Foundation's $100,000 donation to new Queen's Library

The Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global company Caterpillar Inc, which includes leading Northern Ireland firm FG Wilson, has made a $100,000 donation to Queen's University's landmark new library. In recognition of the gift, the Periodical Collection area on the Science and Engineering (3rd) Floor of the library will be named in honour of the Caterpillar Foundation.
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We are very grateful to the Caterpillar Foundation for this very generous donation. This gift is an excellent example of how local companies can support the communities in which they operate. The University's new library will not only enhance the Queen's Experience for our staff and students, but in doing so, will also play a leading role in sustaining and expanding the local knowledge-based economy.

“This donation will further enhance the links between the University and FG Wilson. We have enjoyed a productive relationship for many years, with the company's sponsorship of a major schools outreach project, ‘ABC for Life’, under which medical students teach CPR skills to Year 7 primary school children in order to create a generation of young people with the skills to save lives.”

The Caterpillar Foundation was founded by CAT in the early 1950s and since then has invested over £125 million in a wide variety of projects around the world. In 2005 some £15 million was distributed, with more than £600,000 awarded to projects in the United Kingdom. Since 2003 the Foundation has been active in the UK, working in partnership with CAT's UK businesses, especially in the area of education.

The decision to support this education based project lies comfortably within FG Wilson's philosophy and approach to social responsibility. The Company is a major employer in Northern Ireland and aims to support projects which impact the whole community in a positive manner. To date providing support for education based projects has been a key focus of FG Wilson’s sponsorship activity.

“The Caterpillar Foundation is delighted to work in partnership with FG Wilson and Queen's University to assist in this most important project. As its first direct investment in Northern Ireland, the Foundation sees this as a flagship for its future endeavours in the Province, and in association with FG Wilson looks forward to identifying further projects with the University”, said Dick Elsden, Director for Government Affairs for Caterpillar Inc in the United Kingdom.

Building work has commenced on the £45 million library, which is due for completion in 2009. Designed by Boston-based architects Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbot (SBRA), the new building will accommodate 2000 reader places and house 1.5 million volumes.

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310


The blurb from the QUB website will probably follow the gownn article down the Memory Hole, so I have published it here.

Gregson and the Caterpillar people can be seen in the photograph above. A dying Rachel Corrie can be seen in the photograph below.