Wednesday, March 02, 2005

1969-94: An Armed Civil Rights Campaign?

1969-94: an armed civil rights campaign?

Source: IRIB

Date: 16/09/2004

by Liam Sheridan
To mark the 10th anniversary of the PIRA ceasefire some of the Northern news agencies interviewed former and current leading members of the Provisional movement. Danny Morrison was one of the more interesting interviewees during the 10th anniversary. In one particular interview, when question about the current state of the PIRA ceasefire, Mr. Morrison stated that the only situation in which the PIRA would return to war was if the civil rights of the nationalist population in the North were to be infringed upon again, as had happened in previous decades.

The general gist of the interview was that the basis for the PIRA's war was a battle for civil rights for the nationalist minority in a gerrymandered six county statelet. This somewhat revisionist view of the last thirty years of struggle is not entirely surprising given the recent soundings from Provisional spokespersons on the need for the PIRA to disband.

The Provisionals are trying to conveniently disguise the fact that the Irish republican struggle transcends a minimalist civil rights campaign within a British occupied six county state. The objective of the Irish republican struggle is self-determination: the ownership of a free and independent Ireland by the people of Ireland, and a belief that this ownership is sovereign and indefeasible. These are the integral driving forces of the Irish republican struggle. Don't get me wrong, the civil rights issue was and is an important - albeit minor - part of the republican struggle. However, under the auspices of the Adams-McGuinness leadership, the demand for nationalist civil rights within a British six county state has replaced the traditional political objective of free and independent Ireland. This is the political crux of the matter.

It's much easier to say that the struggle was for civil rights and now that has been achieved there is no longer any need for the IRA. However, the truth is that the war was fought to remove the British state from this Island and many believed that the IRA would not stop until such times as this was achieved. The current path chosen by New Sinn Féin has no room for armed struggle or the PIRA and thus the demand for civil rights takes precedence over the objective of a British withdrawal.

It must be hard for the Provisional leadership to sit down and negotiate with the London government. After years of fighting various British administrations the Provisionals now have to sit (politically impotent), while the Blair government calls the shots regarding devolution and the exercise of power at Stormont.

One other noticeable aspect of the period surrounding the 10th anniversary was the criticism that New Sinn Féin received for the claim that they are "building an Ireland of equals". Recently, some of the letters pages of the northern papers have taken issue with this slogan - and rightly so. How can a party claim to be building an Ireland of equals when it supports the maintaining of the Raytheon factory in Derry (Raytheon are a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin the largest arms manufacturer in the world and are making electronics for war planes)? How can they claim to be building an Ireland of equals, when they rush up to Hillsborough to meet George W. Bush (the number one state-terrorist in the world)? Where is this Ireland of equals, when they kidnap and threaten those who disagree with their politics or voice political dissent?

New Sinn Féin pays lip service to socialism but only does so in order to keep certain sections of their membership content. As we all know they have no intention of looking after the interests of the Irish working class. Ask yourself, as a member of the working class, have things got better for you under the Belfast Agreement? Has this new devolved Stormont produced a huge amount of new jobs? Is there an extension of health care with A&E departments being kept open and maternity and cancer services being extended? Is there now a universal opportunity for the working class to go to third level education? The simple answer to all these questions is no. Leave aside the fact that as republicans we are principally opposed to a partitionist assembly and we can still see that Stormont is such a waste of time and money. What has it achieved? Nothing!


Blogger John said...

Great post - well said and well put !

And thank you for the 'link' to my blog ; will be shortly adding you to my list on '1169....' .
Will check back on a regular basis .

Sharon .

6:50 PM  

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