The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Whither Traditional Republicanism?

Michael Gillespie • 13 April 2007

On first writing to The Blanket I made clear I am a dissident, dissenting from Traditional Republicanism, Nationalism, and Unionism, seeing these as failed entities that have past their sell-by date and should be thrown out and replaced with the new, improved, up-to-date stock of Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein. On reading current articles in The Blanket, contributed by Republicans, it is now becoming clear that Early Sinn Fein's original message is finding an affinity with thinking Republicans where traditional Republicanism is being seen as a futility.

Traditional Republicanism has been abandoned by Late Sinn Fein which now props up a Right Wing Union Jack Unionist 6 county state by buying into the 1801 Act of Union at Stormont. Like Early Sinn Fein, traditional Republicanism is opposed to the 1801 Act of Union and wants rid of it; but unlike Early Sinn Fein, traditional Republicanism doesn't know how to achieve that goal. Violence has been the traditional means towards the end, but that means proved futile in '98, in 1916 and in the recent spate of violence in the 6 counties. So the question is: Whither Traditional Republicanism?

The 1801 Act has been rendered secure in the 6 counties and, being secure, partition is copper- fastened and sectarianism institutionalised. Ian Paisley can now become expansive and make a benevolent visit to Dublin and shake hands with the unprincipled partitionist Bertie Ahern who has the full approval of a unprincipled Catholic partitionist foreign Dail Eireann. All of this is greeted with euphoria by an unthinking media.

In the knowledge of all of that, Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein holds to the principle that the Act of Union was a military imposition in 1801 and undemocratic, and remains an undemocratic military imposition on a sizeable section of the population in the 6 counties at the present time. To resolve this Early Sinn Fein advocates the replacement of the imposed Act of Union 1801 by a new acceptable and democratic Act of Union —The National Government of Ireland Act. Ideas for such an Act have already been published in The Blanket. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein is as one with Traditional Republicanism in its opposition to the 1801 Act as an end, but Early Sinn Fein advocates reason, not brute force as a means.

Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein also wishes to see the day when sectarianism will be non-existent in Ireland. Being realistic, sectarianism has its roots in the fracture of Christianity in ages past and is bound up with denominational religion in Ireland. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein believes that one's religion is a private matter between the individual and God and religion shouldn't be worn on the sleeve, or mouthed about in public, or paraded in public for votes. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein profoundly believes that no single brand of denominational Christianity holds a monopoly of Christian truth but that since the fracture of Christianity at the Reformation, the Christian truth is held in a partial fragment by each one of the Christian denominations. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein profoundly believes that no single Christian denomination offers an exclusive route to personal salvation but that each one of the Christian denominations offers a route to personal salvation, the various denominations being six of one and half a dozen of the other. In that belief, Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein is aware that Ian Paisley preaches from the pulpit that his brand of denominational Christianity is the whole Christian truth and nothing but the Christian truth. Preaching thus, Ian maintains that his brand of denominational Christianity is a super-brand, and like Persil it washes whiter. Is Ian then the role model of the super Christian and is he the superstar of Christianity? If Ian had behaved like a Christian and spoke like a Christian 40 years ago and had backed Captain O'Neill in the introduction of modest reforms in the 6 counties and had shaken the hand of Sean Lemass in friendship as he does now with Bertie Ahern, in the judgement of Early Sinn Fein there would never have been an I.R.A., and there would never have been violence and 3000 people who are now dead would still be alive. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein maintains that Ian Paisley is a man with much on his conscience and has much to answer for. Because of that, Early Sinn Fein calls on the reverend gentleman to admit his guilt, confess his sins and in company with his unchristian political partner at Stormont, Martin, who has an unchristian record of terrorism, wear sackcloth and ashes as repentant sinners who are joined at the hip in an unhealthy, unholy and ungodly union at Stormont. On the other hand Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein is prepared to assist in the healing of the multiple fracture in Christianity by advocating in the National Government of Ireland Act that Christian Ecumenism be made the official state religion of a New Ireland.

The reverend gentleman preaches that the Pope is the anti-Christ and believes that all Catholics are clones of the Pope and would have us believe that Mary McAleese should be called 'Dolly the Pope' because of her Catholicism. He preaches that his brand of religion, and it alone, offers personal salvation and that he personally is saved but maybe if the full truth were known the only thing saved in Ian's life are the files on his computer. Those with an ounce of Christian sense in their make up must realize that neither Ian or Martin have a Christian bone in their body and in both their faces can be seen the unacceptable face of Christianity.

On following the articles in The Blanket, the theme recurs that the Irish problem can be resolved in socialism. It would be interesting to know the origins of this notion. It could be that this notion originates in Long Kesh with Republican prisoners being brainwashed and indoctrinated into the dogma that revolutionary socialism is the cure-all. This has been put to the test in the 6 counties and has been shown to be flawed, faulty and defective. Socialism has also been put to the electoral test by that foot soldier of socialism, Eamon McCann, and by the Worker's Party. The electoral results speak for themselves. Socialism collapsed in Europe with the Berlin Wall but there are those who still cling to the forlorn hope that if only the Shankill and the Falls would unite as working class people in socialism, unity would follow and all would be well. This hope was put to the test by the old Northern Ireland Labour Party but without electoral success. The difficulty with the Labour Party lay in the reality that to split the party from head to toe on sectarian lines, all that was needed was a motion proposing that the Party recognise the border. So in the old Labour Party the unity of socialism was skin-deep and superficial. What touched the quick and divided the party was the border; i.e. the constitution. So Federal Unionism reiterates again that to unite Catholic Protestant and Dissenter requires a new reformed U.K.constitution in Ireland, i.e. The National Government of Ireland Act and that Ireland can be united in no other way.

On following the themes in The Blanket, there is the assertion that in Ireland disunity is due to the naughty British who back unionists and if only the British would stop doing that and went away Protestant loyalist Ireland would convert en masse to Republicanism and a united Ireland would follow. This foolish assertion fails to understand loyalist Ireland. The central plank of that community's culture is loyalty to the Crown. It has to be accepted as reasonable that loyalty is a praiseworthy human attribute; be it loyalty to friend, family, organization, country or Crown. In a liberal democracy that allows freedom of expression, loyalty should be freely expressed, not repressed, as loyalty to the Crown would be in a Republic. The case in point is the Protestant loyalist community in the 26 county statelet. There the central plank of the community's culture was taken away and the Protestant community, ill at ease in an imposed alien culture, voted against the statelet with their feet by walking out, so it is true to say that Protestants are as scarce on the banks of the Shannon, nowadays, as Sioux Indians are on the banks of the Mississippi. The fate of Catholics in the 6 counties is in marked contrast. Since 1921 the Catholic community in the 6 counties has increased, multiplied and flourished even though they have felt badly done by Right Wing Union Jack Unionism, so Catholics in the 6 counties don't seem to have any objection in principle to being within the U.K. provided they get a fair crack of the whip. By the same token, the Catholics of Kerry could equally increase multiply and flourish if they were to be within a reformed United Kingdom.

Some time ago I saw Catriona Ruane of Late Sinn Fein mention a New Ireland to a on TV. It was a mystery to myself, the DUP, man and also to the viewers what Catriona was talking about. Everyone would want to know what Catriona's new Ireland would be like, where it would come from, how it would be constitutioned, and what we all would be letting ourselves in for in this new Ireland but Catriona never mentioned any of that. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein is willing to come to the lady's assistance and offer the lady, free of charge, a brand new Ireland which, unlike the muddy waters of Late Sinn Fein's Eire Nua, is clearly thought out, clearly presented, and clearly constituted and with no hidden agenda so that the lady can study the National Government of Ireland Act and see how she would like to live in a united Ireland as an Irish Christian Liberal Democracy within the United Kingdom. I hope Catriona reads The Blanket.

When first writing to The Blanket I described myself as a teacher and a writer. If the readership doesn't like teachers and writers especially teachers I can describe myself in the way Shaw described himself to the Fabian Society:

"I am not a teacher. I am a fellow traveller who is pointing the way."





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Index: Current Articles

24 April 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Tús Nua - Céim chun tosaigh
A new beginning - a step forward

W. Harbinson

Which Way We Are Facing
Mick Hall

Whither Traditional Republicanism?
Michael Gillespie

The Drumcree Conspiracy
John Kennedy

We Must Deal Openly With The Past
David Adams

What Was It All For?
Antaine Uas O'Labhradha

The New Wolfe Tone?
Dr John Coulter

Felon Setting
Martin Galvin

UVF Threats Further Proof of Political Policing
Press Release: 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Widgery II
John Kennedy

Easter Statement
Republican Socialist Youth Movement

Commemoration Report
Cathleen O'Brien

The Road Ahead for the UUP
Dr John Coulter

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!
Patrick Hurley

David Ervine
Anthony McIntyre

9 April 2007

Alternative Ulster
Gerard Gallagher

Back to the Old RUC Ways
Martin Galvin

Cross Border Co-Operation
John Kennedy

Statement from the Morley Family
The Morley Family

Time for Truth is Now
Mick Hall

Revising the Uprising?
Paul Maguire

Easter 2007 Oration
Francis Mackey

Stormont an Obstacle to Realising Ideals of 1916
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Destined for the Dustbin of History
Dr John Coulter

A Beginning Must Be Made
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

Vision for Northern Ireland
Ian Eggleston

House Trained At Last
Brian Mór

Bullies Top the List
Dr John Coulter

Niall Griffiths' antidote to the 'Vomit Novel'
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Two Looks Back in Time
Dr John Coulter

Blame It On The Shinners, Bono & That Freak Sir Bob
Brian Mór

Levi's Law
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Facing Up to Reality of Holocaust
David Adams

The Big Bribe
John Kennedy

Everywhere The Past
Anthony McIntyre



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