The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
British Anti-Insurgency
Liam O Comain • 10.11.03

The republican struggle during the decades prior to the appearance of the Belfast Agreement met the full onslaught of British anti-insurgency strategy. The thinking behind such a strategy can be digested in various publications but especially the writings of the British military anti-insurgency expert, Kitson.

As well as seeking to divide and conquer the nationalist and republican elements of society by courting the more moderate elements, the strategy involved the arming of opposition groups: in our context the various fascist Loyalist organisations who were then released upon the anti- Unionist population; and in due course the murder gangs created a situation so that the alleged 'defenders of the people', i.e., the PIRA, could not defend even their own.

There were cases where apparently the loyalists came to murder republican activists who were not at home but shot instead other members of the activists' families. It grew impossible for the PIRA, especially in rural areas, to protect the lives of anyone for the murder gangs had the freedom to pursue their blood thirst from the so-called security forces.Parallel with this was the shoot-to-kill policy of the RUC and the British Army pertaining towards certain republican activists.

But a more sinister development was taking place, while this naked violence was occurring, and that was the policy of pouring finance into the deprived nationalist and republican areas of the occupied territory.

A multitude of little groups - community and otherwise - sprung up, as small factory units employed small groups of the unemployed. Government schemes appeared apparently out of nowhere for the sole purpose of smashing the revolutionary movement: provide work and leisure facilities and there will be less recruits for the PIRA,the CIRA, or the INLA was their intent.

Even today in the community service area the nationalists are far ahead of the unionists in this respect due to the fact that Kitsonian ideas have been earlier applied to the former.

I knew of one community or tenant's group in the north- west that was heavily under the influence of republicans who were receiving grants and assistance from various British based so-called charities but the republicans were not aware that the ideas of Kitson was influencing their work.

There is no doubt also that a war weariness had set in within the psyche of elements of the Provisional leadership arising from the anti-insurgency strategy of the British: volunteers who had given much and lost even their youth and family members to the struggle. A long drawn out struggle that appeared to have no end, the latter being salved by the yearly expressed slogan in An Phoblachta - 'This is the year of freedom...'

Also there were those bitten by the bug of 'power' in the leadership who could not see themselves stepping aside and being replaced by new blood but lacking the will to continue they sought solace from elsewhere via an excuse to end the war without losing face. (Now here I'm being kind to certain individuals.) Thus the whole scenario of apparent nationalist unity, with the input of right wing Irish America, provided the Provisional leadership or elements of it with the means to continue in power pursuing peace and equality based upon partition (republican stroke unionist) instead of national liberation and self-determination.

The rot had set in and it was only a matter of time for republican principles to be thrown aside along with the concept of revolution. Earlier, without a whimper Connolly's socialism had met the same fate from the leadership.











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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

10 November 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Address to Ard-Fheis 2003
Ruairí Ó Bradaigh


British Anti-Insurgency

Liam O Comain


From A Belfast Granny
Kathleen O Halloran


Planes, Trains and Big Wains!
Eamon Sweeney


The Most Important Election Ever, Again
Anthony McIntyre


What Went Wrong in the New South Africa?
Andrew Nowicki


7 November 2003


Ted Honderich Interview
Mark Hayes


Disappeared and Disapproved

Anthony McIntyre


HMP Maghaberry: First Flames from a Tinderbox
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


Housebreaking Ulster Style
Brian Mór


United Irishmen
Davy Carlin


From A Granny
Kathleen Donnelly


An Enemy of the Republic
Liam O Comain


Some Count, Some Don't
Michael Youlton


If Voting Changed Anything It Would Be Made Illegal!
Sean Matthews


Hackneyed Views of Cuba
Douglas Hamilton


Colombian Trade Unionist in Belfast: Meeting
Sean Smyth




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