read these days blunt criticism of what Provisional
Republicanism has not delivered for Ireland, but has
delivered to its dissenters.
true or well intentioned, much of this criticism provides
no clear leadership for dissenting Republicans. If
defining only what has failed, opponents of Provisional
Republicanism neglect urgently needed discussion of
one will not accept constitutional Nationalism, collaboration
with British authority, continued partition for the
foreseeable future, and economics as usual, toward
what precisely should leaders and activists in Ireland,
Britain, North America, and elsewhere, work this year?
In five years? In ten years?
is clear enough now what the Provos cannot deliver.
What would seem most constructive now is immediate
reexamination of what Republicanism stands for, and
what its near-term and medium-term goals are. These
and other matters deserve vigorous debate sooner rather
than later. And no question about the future should
automatically receive a "Yes" or "No"
how many people truly oppose British occupation? Where
are they, and what can they commit in terms of manpower,
intellectual, political, and financial resources?
what can Republican groups who dissent from the Provos
agree in terms of priorities, and coordinated, sustained
a military campaign compel an end to partition?
might Republicanism extend to Unionism to help it
gain from unification?
elected representatives abstain from taking seats
at Westminster, Stormont, Leinster House, and Brussels,
should they take seats in local government?
should the Republican leadership treat dissenting
could the Provos possibly have brought us where they
have because we collectively gave no clear answers
to some basic questions like these? Many of us left
too much latitude to priests and bishops and we know
where that brought us. Again, no question-here at
least-about the future should automatically receive
a "Yes" or "No" answer.
should likely include other important questions not
suggested above. Let's not waste time wringing our
hands over spilt milk now, though.
who articulate the most credible and coherent answers
to fundamental questions could easily become new Republican
leaders. But until all of us take some responsibility
for short-term and medium-term goals, then organizing
ourselves to reach each step including designating
leaders, there seems no alternative to the Provos.
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