UDA cashing in on community funding

Date:

Recent fury over our local ruling class giving away £1.7 million of the Social Investment Fund to Charter NI in East Belfast, headed by a suspected leading member of the UDA, is indicative of a continuing corrupt political settlement where there is one rule for the few and another for the rest of us.

The reality of a ‘peace process’ is built on the zero-sum game of bribing everything from multi-national corporations to paramilitaries while working class communities continue to bear the blight of militarism and state sponsored financial terrorism in the form of a massive housing crisis, job insecurity and cuts public services such as mental health.

Charter NI basically a front for the UDA, is an organisation that has received millions in Government funding for allegedly helping to tackle social deprivation and regeneration in ‘protestant working class communities’. This latest story comes after a recent BBC Spotlight investigation into funding for the Lower Shankill Community Centre (LSCC) revealed it as basically the C Company UDA headquarters.

We also need to be wary of the media and political establishment, and its media lapdogs, conflating reactionary loyalism with protestant working class communities. Their poor performance in elections in recent years indicates that their claims to speak for the protestant working class need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Government funding of ‘community programmes’ headed by ex combatants is nothing new and has been successfully deployed by the British Government in republican communities as part of a carrot and stick approach to pacify, disempower and neutralize. In turn, the Provisional republican movements were able to solidify their power base with ‘jobs for the boys’ while sidelining any dissenters. As former republican activist Brendan Hughes described it over 16 years ago, “I just see the movement which I spent my life in becoming part of the corrupt, rotten regime which we tried to destroy.” (1)

Recently, Dee Stitt, Chief Executive of Charter NI, told the Guardian in an audio interview that “North Down Defenders is our homeland security, It says it in its name, we are here to defend North Down. ..From anybody," he laughed (2). Remarks not only suggesting his continuing involvement in the UDA, but exposing the corrupt façade of the New Era where some self-appointed ‘community leaders’ are propped by the so-called great and good of the British state.

We should expect nothing less from the British state and its various intelligence agencies that have sponsored, directed and colluded with loyalist paramilitaries - activities that have been well documented in recent years.

From the same status quo that has brutalized and criminalized working class communities with a vicious austerity agenda, that has no interest in removing sectarian division because they thrive off our fear and insecurity..

1) https://tenyearson.wordpress.com/…/brendan-hughes-interview/
2) http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/…/northe…/brilliant-loyali

WORDS: Sean M

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