position of the IRSP in regards to this issue
goes beyond the basics of traditional republicanism.
What would not have been conceivable in the past
has today become a reality. The fact that some
republicans, are being asked to support and endorse
the PSNI and the judicial system, has become a
bitter pill to swallow, within both pro-GFA and
For Republicans the PSNI can never be accepted
as a legitimate and fully representational police
service purely because they are the institution
of British law in occupied Ireland.
They serve the Queen and not the people. They
uphold British parliamentarian law in this land.
They enforce British rule in our island!!
The PSNI, like any other police force in the capitalist
world, protects property before people and act
as an instrument of the ruling class.
To become representational of the working class
of Ireland, any Police Service would be set up
by the people and for the people. This can only
be completed and implemented within the parameters
of a 32 County Socialist Workers Republic Any
such Police Service would be supportive of the
needs of our communities.
A genuine police force of the people would not
favour the investor, the landlord, the oil magnates,
the Coca Cola's, the Sellafields, Multi-National
Corporation or the rich at the detriment of the
poor and the working class. It would exist to
uphold public order, to protect the inhabitants
of this island from those who would wish to exploit
them, and to protect the needs of the working
class from the greed of capitalism.
What we stand for
Until we have this system in place, until we have
the abolition of partition, until we have the
complete removal of the British stranglehold on
this islands economy. Until we have the complete
removal of the British militarily from this land,
until the foreign monarchy imposed upon our people
is removed and we are declared a 32 County Socialist
Workers Republic, then we are not in a position
as republican socialists to accept anything less.
Therefore the IRSP will refuse to give any kind
of legitimacy to a political police force, the
PSNI, or to a corrupt British judiciary. These
are the fundamental basics for republican socialists.
Even if partition ended tomorrow support and endorsement
for an all-Ireland police force under a capitalist
regime would be a bridge too far for republican
socialists. Indeed it would!! We only have to
look at how the Gardai behaved in the Shell to
Sea protests in County Mayo and to whose interests
they were really protecting.
But for now let us deal with some of the realities
that republicans are asked to face and accept:
and endorsement of the PSNI
and endorsement of a British judicial system that
is anti republican and anti working class
Support and endorsement of a prison service that
brutalised republicans for years and even today
refuses to recognise the political nature of republican
We have been told by the leaderships of both Provisional
Sinn Fein and the SDLP that they are currently
negotiating the ending of political policing and
the removal of MI5. Does anyone here really believe
that the British government will capitulate and
allow North of Ireland politicians, never mind
republican politicians, to have full control of
the policing and judicial system? The British
will never allow that to happen!!
Political policing will always remain with us
whilst partition exists!!!
Only recently our ex-prisoners group, Teach Na
Failte, became the latest subject of political
policing. Our offices in Belfast and Strabane,
as well as twenty three homes, were raided in
a blaze of publicity. The TV camera crews arrived
at one of the places to be raided even before
the PSNI arrived themselves. They seized all materials
which we needed to apply for funding and returned
the same materials several weeks after the funding
deadline had expired effectively closing us down
with the loss of jobs and services to ex-INLA
prisoners and their families. All of the rest
of the materials were returned just less than
a year later with nothing of interest to the PSNI
The raison d'etre of the PSNI, regardless of whatever
cosmetic changes are affected, is primarily, the
maintenance and protection of the States interests
and enforcement of British parliamentarian law
in this land.
During recent years our communities have been
bombarded with media hype that we need an accountable
policing service, we want an accountable policing
service, and we deserve an accountable policing
service to combat rising crime and anti-social
behaviour in our society.
Will acceptance and endorsement of the PSNI and
Judicial system do that? Of course it wont!!
Lets face reality here, we have never had
proper policing since partition and some would
say that we have never had proper policing for
Our communitys s fears are being exploited
with a view of pushing the PSNI down our throats
as the only alternative. But there are alternatives
out there within our communities themselves. Our
communities are capable of accepting revolutionary
and innovative initiatives if they are participants
in its creation and stakeholders in its success.
The IRSP may not have all the answers but we do
have views on interim alternatives which is a
separate debate for another day. .
We recognise that people want civic policing and
we have often heard recently, in defence of endorsement
of the PSNI, things like what about if Miss Bloggs
gets raped should she not go to the PSNI. That
is civil policing in which republicans never batted
an eyelid, even during the height of the conflict,
when people choose to use the RUC/PSNI in cases
like that. We have no problem with people using
the existing police force on issues of so-called
ordinary crime. We do have a problem when that
same police force use criminals death drivers
and drug dealers as informers on republican activists.
Let us focus a bit on crime and would acceptance
and endorsement by PSF and the SDLP of the PSNI
and judicial system have any impact on the issues
that arise from this.
We need look no further than the Free State where
all the major parties, including PSF, accept the
Gardai as the legitimate police force of the 26
counties. What impact has this had on the spiralling
crime rate, the drug barons who are flooding working
class areas with heroin, the feuding gangsters,
the contract killers, the corrupt politicians
and of course the criminal activities of some
sections of the Guards themselves. The answer
is no! There are very few 'white collars' in Portlaoise,
Maghaberry or for that matter in any of the prisons
The prisons are full of those from working class
communities. Acceptance of a police force in itself
does not necessarily equate with the successful
combating of crime particularly in a capitalist
We should not fall victim to the simplistic analysis
of acceptance and endorsement of a police force
equals order and safety. This is further evidenced
in the fact that the RUC and PSNI were/are accepted,
supported and endorsed in Protestant and Loyalist
areas yet they suffer the same, if not worse,
social and economic crimes and anti-social behaviour.
We have also been told by the SDLP, the Irish
and British governments and indeed from the PSNI
that we now have the most accountable police force
in the world. But we are still waiting for them
to account for their past collusion with loyalist
death squads, we are still waiting for them to
account for their many crimes committed against
the republican/nationalist community, the torture
and false imprisonment of many republican activists
and of course an account from the judiciary for
their decades of perverting justice via the Diplock
We have yet to have even an acknowledgement on
the torture of republican prisoners in the Cages
and H-Blocks. Only recently the revelations of
the activities of police agent and UVF Commander
Mark Haddock suggest that the PSNI are still involved
in the murders of its citizens since its name
change from the RUC. The PSNI wont even
make public 'The Stalker and Stevens reports'
into collusion. MI5 wont even acknowledge
there past presence in the North never mind their
murderous activities nor have they commented on
their collusion into the importation of weapons
from South Africa or their prior knowledge of
the murder of human right solicitor Pat Finucanne.
Who here believes them when they say their presence
in Ireland is to protect us from so-called international
terrorism? Who is going to protect us from MI5
and CIA terrorism? Yet we are being asked to believe
them when they say they are the most accountable
police force in the Western World.
Republicans cannot solve the policing issue by
becoming the police within this corrupt and unaccountable
system. We should tackle the issues and not try
to effect cosmetic change within a British controlled
and irreformable model of policing. To recognise
the PSNI as the legitimate police service of the
North of Ireland is recognising Britains
right to rule a part of Ireland. We cannot bow
to the pressure of making a hasty and ultimately
counterproductive decision on these issues.
The endorsement of the PSNI and Judicial system
has the potential to set back or completely derail
any radical change. It also has the potential
to assimilate republicans into the institutions
we are committed to replacing. It would be a massive
republican misjudgement to do so. We will only
become a part of the problem not the solution.
To sum up we must keep our republican integrity
intact and refuse to endorse the judicial system
and the PSNI as the legitimate legal forces of
the North of Ireland.