The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Legitimacy of Our Struggle
Liam O Comain • 11.10.03

Since the Bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York during the Autumn of 2001, those in the capitalist world and elsewhere who are opposed to the world's national liberation struggles have attempted to brand all national liberation movements as terroristic.

They have cynically used the emotional reaction to the bombings as a means of supporting illegal regimes throughout the globe when freedom seeking people threaten their global capitalist interests. In some countries people will hesitate to act out aspects of their strategies of liberation in fear of being branded as terrorists due to the scare mongering of George Bush and his British lap dog - Tony Blair. In fact, some freedom-seeking peoples may find in the future, because of the Bush factor, American troops facing them in the name of rooting out all terrorists. That is why it is important that the integrity of authentic liberation struggles be uppermost in the minds of the participants and that they seek at all times to uphold the nobility of their cause.

If the people of North America had not succeeded against the British a few hundred years ago, and it was the reality that what has become the USA today was still under British rule, then only a fool would claim that there was no justification morally or otherwise for an armed struggle to place the country in the hands of the people. Which raises the question of what type of armed act is justified in the legitimate pursuit of national freedom? Perhaps this question is better answered by looking at the concept of terrorism. Any act of physical force which threatens the lives of innocent people is the basis of terrorism. Arising from such acts, maiming and the death of the innocent or non-combatants can be the result. I believe that it is counterproductive. We must at all times seek the support of the ordinary people, for it is them and them alone we seek to liberate. Without their support the guerilla movement cannot succeed and anything that does not warrant that support is negative and self-defeating.

In fact, one of the unwelcome aspects of the republican campaign over the last three or four decades of struggle was the reality of terroristic acts experienced by the ordinary people. Many innocent victims entered our homes on the evening TV news and one wondered if such slaughter of the innocent was worthy of an Irish freedom movement. Yes, mistakes can be made in a war situation but the number of civilian casualties was inexcusable.

That is why it is my contention that the use of the car bomb or the fire bomb, etc., where the innocent are at risk, has no part in the continuing struggle and that the infantile behaviour of hoax bombs at railway property is no way of winning the people's support. Or for that matter the blowing up of a hotel where the local community regard it as their 'own'. In addition, do organisers of such futility realise the risk to their volunteers and the innocent? Do they not consider the amount of energy and time used to accomplish what at the end of the day isolates them from their community, and thus providing for our detractors the ammunition by which they can condemn the legitimacy of our struggle?

I recall many years ago a conversation that I had with the late Seámus Costello, who at the time was the Adjutant General of the Irish Republican Army and who eventually founded with others the Republican Socialist Movement, in which he stated that during active service in the campaign of 1956-62, while resting in a dug-out, he began to question the acts of blowing up telephone boxes and wee border bridges. Seámus then recognised the futility of such deeds; and I contend that the freedom fighters of the present must do the same, as well as question aspects of their operations.

Now in relation to the justification for armed struggle in Ireland against the British administration and their armed forces, it prevails within the reality of that administration and armed presence. It is a presence which is contrary to justice and thus is illegal. That is why the referendum around the Belfast Agreement is itself illegal and bereft of justice. For illegal structures helped to administer the referendum: thus how can the referendum be acknowledged as legal if the basis itself is illegal?

To clarify one important point: by armed struggle I mean the physical act of a guerilla army against the illegal occupation forces and their political masters not the terrorist-type acts which in due course fill the graveyards with innocent victims and isolate the freedom fighter from the people upon whom they depend for their very existence and survival.



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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

12 October 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Tribalism is little more than the lowest common denominator
Thomas Gore


Separation vs. Segregation
Eamon Sweeney


The Legitimacy of Our Struggle
Liam O Comain


Not Losing His Way
Anthony McIntyre


A Hero of Reknown
Kathleen O Halloran


West Belfast - Childhood and the Wars
Davy Carlin


Abduction of Republican
32 County Sovereignty Committee


RSF attend Sardinian Conference
Des Dalton


6 October 2003


Tangled Times
Eamon McCann


Heroes and Villains
Tommy Gorman


Who Was Responsible?
Michael Kearney


Costello Commemoration
Paul Little


Uncharted Waters
Anthony McIntyre


Date Change: Anti Racist Network Meeting
Davy Carlin


Coming Soon to the United States?
Toni Solo




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