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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

'The Beginning of the End has Past …'


Davy Carlin, Organise! • 2 June 2006

Over the period of the Irish peace process, we have seen much change in some regard, while on the other hand seeing little change. This is not a contradiction in terms but just a mere observation, more especially when relating to 'specifics' of the 'process'.

Indeed on the one hand we have seen that which was once voiced as 'Radical Republicanism now 'moved to that of Constitutional Nationalism (as an organisation, as there are still many Republicans and Socialists within SF) thus seeking solely reform through electoralism.

Then on the other hand we have seen the sight of Ian Paisley when offered the 'Prime-minister-ship' of Northern Ireland, by the President of Sinn Fein, once again, hearing that word, NO!

Both situations though are of little surprise to oneself, given the Shinners progression and progressiveness (in the Constitutional Nationalist sense), and Ian Paisley's past history and present reasonings.

Yet when we look back to the start of the recent conflict and the formation(s) of the IRA, there were a number of reasons as to why those at the time got involved. This ranged from defence through to seeing injustice all around them and seeking an end to it, with such injustice including repression, brutality, Sectarianism, discrimination, poverty and such likes. And therefore in doing so such individuals joined those organisations that could provide, eventually, the means for defence and the direction as to what, then, they believed needed to be done.

Indeed many individuals (despite what one was signed up to) only ever thought about (in real terms, let alone advocated) a 32 county Socialist Republic once they had started to become politicised. This through an understanding within both an historical local nation state and International context.

It was also of no surprise either that such an end goal was advocated given the recent international struggles that had taken place in the past decade or two, prior to the raise of the Provo's. And for many therefore (who became politicised) they came to understand that the fight needed to move on to be a fight for re - unification and Irish revolution with the Brits sent home.

And of course such Socialism was at times used and seen in shifts for positioning, splits, and ousting's to name but a few of its uses, in the course of the revolution.

Yet such, I believe, as the situation continued and given the tactics employed, could never succeed beyond defence and an end game of an internal negotiated settlement based on aspects of equality and justice, a situation, some, came to understand early on (the situation in Ireland was a completely different situation to other such recent struggles). And so with that in mind (and however one may disagree with such tactics) good leadership would then mean that one would still need to seek such eventual negotiations from a position of strength and not from one of weakness.

Something of which the British would have been very aware of, in either regard.

Today I hear many Republicans saying what was it all for and that Republicanism is finished etc. Such sentiments are not isolated; more especially when one sees how much death and tragedy has happened only to arrive at where we are at today. Indeed many would (although many not openly) echo Anthony Mc Intrye's (from 'the Blanket') thoughts on the matter when he states,

'During the armed struggle it seemed a reasonable enough proposition for Sinn Fein to make, that IRA volunteers would end up leading a transitional government and Paisley would be in jail. Today the point has been reached where Sinn Fein openly calls for Paisley to lead a partitionist government and IRA volunteers to be jailed',

How this situation was arrived at, many will come to their own conclusions, for oneself though my thoughts go initially to the beginnings of this recent conflict and to that that I have long stated. That initially many were driven into the politic of the gun, for no other reason than that they believed that they had no other alternative, given what was happening around them to both themselves and loved ones.

More especially given their experiences from many aspects of the state that had seen brutality and injustice dished out to many innocents at the time.

Whether one agrees or not to their reasoning, the reality is that many once law abiding citizens, (primarily working class) had believed that there was in fact, as stated, 'no other alternative' and therefore were driven into that politic, in which they were both provided with the eventual means, and the direction.

The progression though as to how, we have arrived at today, is though another question altogether, and I leave to another time.

I must say though that I believe, without that revolution there will be no constitutional change, but the border will in many regards wither away over the decades, this within a wider European context.

Yet it must be said that much has changed and that 'war to win' such equality and justice has won some ground in that regard, many believe.

With that though we also today see SF (in the North) as the largest Nationalist party. The largest, yet all constitutional and established, and soon to implement and continue to secure (in many eyes) British rule in Ireland, very possibly under the Northern Ireland Parliament leadership of Ian Paisley himself.

Also much radicalisation will be left for those (within such) to see what worthy cause is the worthiest cause to survive, as comrades argue and debate over their share from the scraps of the Northern table as so to ward off closure and unemployment. And for those already de-radicalised they can again choose to implement Privatisation for the British Government as those who had done previously as British ministers, to the detriment still, of those most disadvantaged.

And as for the police and judiciary, well the Shinner's British police and Courts will take time out to round up those Republicans who are out to create mischief by attempting, still, to get the 'Brits' out of Ireland (however ill thought out their tactics also are, in attempting to achieve such).

Some say this is simply being pragmatic, nevertheless there will be those extra millions and the increasing of direct British intelligence agencies into Ireland to attempt to hammer the nail right through. This, to attempt to hammer through on what is termed, and once respected or critically supported by many radicals the world over as - Irish Republicanism.

Indeed we have been here before, in oh so many ways.

And so to those who state that they are Irish Republicans, I would suggest that if Irish Republicanism is to survive then such individuals need to re-think and re-group and to attempt to organise in the here and now of the 21st century, with a 21st century world in mind.

And on that point it is more a matter of urgency, I believe, to ask the question of, and seek the answer to, "where now?" Rather than to presently concentrate on the question of, "how did it happen?"

If not, then I believe we are in the era of the last throes of Irish Republicanism for many a year to come, as the final preparations are made to attempt to secure that outcome, and its definitive farewell.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

6 June 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

We Believe Freddie McGuinness
Anthony McIntyre

Under Scrutiny
John Kennedy

Unionism's New Puppetmasters
Robert Matthews

Dr John Coulter

Two Peace Processes
Mick Hall

'The Beginning of the End has Past …'
Davy Carlin

How Many Grannies?
Dr John Coulter

Even the Dogs Bark in Irish?
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Bards for St Brigid's
Paul Dougherty

USA v Iran
John Kennedy

Threat to Iran Based on Duplicity
David Adams

Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism

Profile: Bernard Henry-Levy
Anthony McIntyre

BHL: Bernard Henri-Levy
Liam O Ruairc

Freedom of Speech index

28 May 2006

Humpty Dumpty
Anthony McIntyre

Eamon Sweeney

Political Status
Geoffrey Cooling

Enough, Enough of Stormont
David Adams

Joined at the Hip
John Kennedy

Loyal to What
Fred A Wilcox

No Rest In Peace
John Kennedy

'Penetrated' Has Become the Sinn Fein Brand Mark
Anthony McIntyre

Code Red
Dr John Coulter

Review of the Field Day Review 1: Debut Issue, 2005
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Profile: Salman Rushdie
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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