The Blanket



The Blanket is a journal of protest and dissent coming from the Irish Republican tradition. This might seem problematic. Protest and dissent existed long before people called themselves Irish Republicans, and many people around the world can dissent without being at the same time Irish Republicans. History has also shown that on a number of occasions Irish Republicans have crushed dissent and protest inside and outside their ranks, and that the ideology has been used to legitimise conservative and oppressive structures of power.

To the first objection, it can be replied that in the Irish context, it is very difficult to think and develop protest and dissent if one ignores the Republican tradition. The second argument passes over the issue of whether, in spite of the occasions where Republicans have crushed protest and dissent, does the tradition still have any progressive potential left. The baby shouldn't be thrown out with the bath water. The ideas of Irish Republicanism have been able not just to survive, but to develop over the last two centuries in Ireland, precisely because they could critically address the major problems faced by the Irish people at different periods in time. It is within Irish Republicanism that the forces of dissent and protest have found the necessary intellectual resources to criticise the practices and discourses of powers responsible for the problems they faced.

This journal believes that those ideas contained within Irish Republicanism will continue to grow and are still relevant for 21st century Ireland, because the problems they address haven't yet been resolved; and as the ideals of Irish Republicanism are still waiting to be realised. Until that day, Republicanism remains the unsurpassable horizon of our time.

However, this journal is also very conscious that Irish Republicanism is at present facing a serious crisis. To attempt to solve this crisis, this journal intends to regenerate what is best in the Irish Republican tradition. We believe that what is most valid in it could be summarised as the "three Ds:" defiance, defence and dissent. Any society needs dissent from the structures of power, defence against the structures of power, and to defy the structures of power.

Provisional Republicanism long enough provided that until those ideas were "decommissioned" by people claiming to be Republicans. Failure to regenerate them today will allow Truceleers and Good Friday Soldiers to use the Republican tradition to legitimise their own ends. Nowadays, it is "Republican" to recognise British rule in Ireland, it is "Republican" to sit in Stormont. The concept of a "transitional phase" towards a united Ireland is nothing but a metaphor for the transition of the Provisionals into the British administration.

Deconstructing the rhetorical strategies and exposing the underlying tropes of their discourse is no academic exercise. It is about reclaiming the discursive space of Irish Republicanism for dissent; and defending it from censorship and Direct Action Against Thought. This in turn will facilitate the process through which the "three Ds" will be able to re-emerge and protect what is best in Irish Republicanism from stagnation.

Liam O'Ruairc and
Anthony McIntyre
October 2001




Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives





Winter 2002
Vol. 1 No. 1

Free Speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game.
Free speech is life itself.
- Salman Rushdie

Republicanism in Crisis

The Cracks in the "PNF"

A Journal of Dissent

Under the Foot of the Mountain: Brendan Hughes

Author's Choice: Rogelio Alonso, A Just War?

Interview: Marian Price

Books: Soul Wars

Books: Anthologies Package our Literary Past

Unionism and Decommissioning

Turkish Hunger Strike Report

Taking Sides in the War on Modernity

Writing This Issue



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices