Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Usual suspects hauled in to snipe at Shinners

Damien Kiberd:

Since Thursday’s IRA statement signalling a complete end to the war there has been a predictable catalogue of criticism. The usual suspects have been rounded up by the British media to attack the republican movement. The suspects in question are ex-republican prisoners who are now making a career from attacking mainstream republicanism. Their belly-aching is just as nauseating as it is predictable: while acting in the objective interests of the British state, they claim to be advancing some higher form of republicanism than that which is currently being promoted by the leadership of Sinn Fein.

In the media, there are other stooges, people who claimed that Adams and McGuinness had gone completely soft in the mid-90s but who now earn a living by appearing on radio and television to claim that both men are wedded to criminality. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. Adams and McGuinness have the best interests of the Irish people at heart. They are not criminals and never were. And they offer real and principled leadership to people who have the wit to accept it.

This is not leadership that will lead to the creation of a United Ireland, but it is leadership which is well-meaning, decent and which seeks to achieve economic goals which might be termed as reasonable by anybody who operated with good authority.

Those people who slam the leaders of Sinn Fein should go back into history and read a book written a long time ago by a man called VI Lenin, whose brother was executed for attempting to assassinate a local potentate, but who later came to play a role in guiding global politics. The book is called Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder. And it deals extensively with the sort of double dealing politics that is promoted by people who want to have it every way: radical on Monday, reactionary on Tuesday, and so forth.

The reality is that you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

People who have devoted years to attacking the republican movement at the behest of the most vile forces operating in the southern and the British media, now emerge to claim that they have been betrayed by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinnness. What exactly does their criticism signify?

It signifies little or nothing. Anybody with an ounce of sense could have seen in 1998 that the leadership of the republican movement had embarked upon a course which would lead them to accept a partitionist solution to the conflict in the six counties. Indeed, many people were of the view that this process had been set in stone many years before.

That is all that was left to the leadership of the republican movement, and after three decades of the most courageous and principled opposition to British rule in Ireland. They had, if you will forgive the expression, given the task on hand their best shot, but one should not seek to pretend that what has been achieved is anything other than a second-best solution.

Those who sought, at the time, to pretend that the Agreement would open the door to a United Ireland were simply living in a fantasy world. The Agreement, as it was constructed, accepted the legitimacy of partition. At the time some of us had the temerity to point this out using arguments based on the most rigorous legal reading of what had been agreed, but we were not thanked for our efforts. In the euphoria which surrounded the creation of the so-called Belfast Agreement we were supposed to welcome the risible rhetoric that attended the creation of the Agreement. Namely to accept that it represented –to quote Mao Tse Tung- some sort of Great Leap Forward for Irish republicanism. It was nothing of the sort.

The reality is that many northern republicans were simply - and again to quote Lenin’s terminology which he used to defend Bolshevism in 1905 - economists.

They did not have a fundamental belief in the absolute right of the Irish people to self-determination. They simply shared a sense of grievance at a perceived economic disadvantage that was inflicted upon them by a sectarian state. The fact that Catholics were treated in an absolutely shabby way by the state-in a period when the British state extolled some kind of belief in social democracy- propelled many young nationalists into a state of rebellion, but their sense of outrage was based on economics, not on any fundamental belief that the interference of the British people in the affairs of their neighbouring island was inherently wrong.

Purist republicanism has never won the support of a majority of the Irish people, although the members of the Republican Sinn Fein will claim that it did so in the 1918 elections to Dail Eireann. The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 was clearly a betrayal of republican principles, but it won widespread support through the island of Ireland. Indeed the northern units of the republican movement did not seek to obstruct it in any meaningful way. The fact that there was so much visible opposition to the Treaty in Dublin was due in no small measure to the fact that political extremists had come to hold office in the First Dail Eireann (they were swept to power in the 1918 elections by people who had never previously elected a sovereign Irish parliament).

The fact that these people were clearly unrepresentative of the wider population became apparent shortly afterwards when Eamon de Valera sought to test the public mood by sponsoring a civil war against the forces of the nascent state. The “war” was a logistical disaster: suppressed by the most ruthless techniques available to what might in other periods be termed the comprador bourgeois classes.

Men like Liam Mellowes, Liam Lynch and others paid with their lives for pursuing the aims of purist republicanism.

The reality now is that Sinn Fein will have to seek an historic compromise with political forces which are among the most backward in Europe - namely Paisley and the Democratic Unionist Party. The Sinn Fein party is now visibly reliant on the willingness or otherwise of openly sectarian people to negotiate and ultimately to share power in a rump state with their neighbours. That is a problem for both Adams and McGuinness and for the rest of the Sinn Fein party.

Will Paisley, or Robinson or Dodds play ball with Sinn Fein? Why would they?

The DUP has so far been rewarded by the electorate for its refusal to bow down to republicanism.

Sinn Fein is peddling an economic philosophy which is almost anathema to the likes of the DUP and possibly to large parts of their own (nationalist) electorate. It is entirely unclear how the party will promote this economic philosophy in the six counties, even if the DUP is prepared to facilitate it.

It is absolutely unclear how this economic philosophy is going to be promoted in the 26 counties.

Reacting to the latest developments on Thursday, Sinn Fein convened a press conference at a Dublin hotel at which a fancy backdrop bore the slogan “Building an Ireland of Equals”. The subsidiary message emblazoned on the hoarding proclaimed “Saoirse, Ceart agus Siochain” (Freedom, Rights and Peace). There were uncanny echoes of the Official Republican Ard Fheiseanna of the mid-70s when Cathal Goulding and others indulged their Marxist fantasies under banners which proclaimed that their ideals were –to quote directly- “peace, work and class politics”.

The Irish people did not buy into Goulding’s Marxist pipe-dreams. Indeed one of Goulding’s followers in west Belfast subsequently contested an election in which he won the grand total of 47 votes, substantially less than might have been achieved by Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party, had he bothered to fight the electoral contest in west Belfast.

EDITORIAL: Unionist hypocrisy blatantly obvious

Feud killing fuels fears of attacks on nationalists

Appeal follows 'sectarian' attack

Apologise

2 Comments:

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Belfast resident said...

The IRA have declared a 'complete' ceasefire FOUR times in the last ten years and after each occassion have returned to violence! Now again we are supposed to take the word of the IRA as if it were the word of god himself. Each time they brokered new consessions from the British government and then returned to violence against the whole community. The provos know that their terrorist campaign can no longer expect backing from misguided Americans due to the supposed war on terror (of course there is always retarded exceptions like yourself). So the IRA have not suddenly become peace loving friendly hippies.... No, they have just changed tactics. Why then should unionists (whom the IRA have been murdering for 35 years) drop at the feet of the provos and thank them for not murdering anymore innocent people? True intent is shown by deeds not words. We will wait in hope then decide.

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Diarmid said...

The IRA have declared a 'complete' ceasefire FOUR times in the last ten years and after each occassion have returned to violence!

Wrong. They ended one ceasefire and then a while later started another which they have sustained.

Now again we are supposed to take the word of the IRA as if it were the word of god himself.

I would take the word of the IRA before that of a bunch of British colonists.

Each time they brokered new consessions from the British government and then returned to violence against the whole community.

Wrong. You have mistaken the IRA for the loyalists.

The provos know that their terrorist campaign can no longer expect backing from misguided Americans due to the supposed war on terror (of course there is always retarded exceptions like yourself).

The IRA are not involved in a "terrorist campaign", they are involved in a war against British colonialism. The only terrorists in the Six Counties are the loyalists who use violence to fight FOR British colonialism.

So the IRA have not suddenly become peace loving friendly hippies.... No, they have just changed tactics.

Why should the IRA become "peace loving friendly hippies" when the menace of British colonialism still exists in the north of Ireland.

Why then should unionists (whom the IRA have been murdering for 35 years) drop at the feet of the provos and thank them for not murdering anymore innocent people?

The unionists are British colonists who have no business being in Ireland. There is a big difference between using violence against British colonists and "murdering innocent people".

True intent is shown by deeds not words. We will wait in hope then decide.

It would be better if you and your fellow British colonists left Ireland to its indigenous population.

 

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