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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
of which the British would have been very aware
of, in either regard.
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
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.
especially given their experiences from many aspects
of the state that had seen brutality and injustice
dished out to many innocents at the time.
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.
progression though as to how, we have arrived at
today, is though another question altogether, and
I leave to another time.
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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.
we have been here before, in oh so many ways.
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.
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
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.