The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

What Practical Alternatives To Provo Republicanism exist?

Seaghán Ó Dubhslaine

We read these days blunt criticism of what Provisional Republicanism has not delivered for Ireland, but has delivered to its dissenters.

However 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 practical-repeat practical-alternatives.

If 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?

It 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" answer.

First, how many people truly oppose British occupation? Where are they, and what can they commit in terms of manpower, intellectual, political, and financial resources?

On what can Republican groups who dissent from the Provos agree in terms of priorities, and coordinated, sustained campaigns?

Could a military campaign compel an end to partition?

What might Republicanism extend to Unionism to help it gain from unification?

If elected representatives abstain from taking seats at Westminster, Stormont, Leinster House, and Brussels, should they take seats in local government?

How should the Republican leadership treat dissenting Republicans?

Then, 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.

Discussion should likely include other important questions not suggested above. Let's not waste time wringing our hands over spilt milk now, though.

Those 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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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
- Thomas J. Watson

Index: Current Articles

27 February 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Blair in Belfast
Sean Smyth


Bernadette Devlin McAliskey Deported from USA
Tommy McKearney


Sinn Fein's Helpful Hints for Upholding Harmony
Eamon Lynch


Jomo Kenyata in the Mau Mau - Never

John Nixon


What Practical Alternatives To Provo Republicanism exist?

Seaghán Ó Dubhslaine


Caoimhe Butterly
Anthony McIntyre


'The Left Isn't Listening' - Really Mr Cohen?

Paul de Rooij


Israel's Proxy War?

M. Shahid Alam


Jack Holland And The Obsolescence Of Republican Socialism
Liam O Ruairc


23 February 2003


Knowing Too Much and Saying It Too Well: Bernadette McAliskey Barred from US
Anthony McIntyre


A Unity of Purpose Against the War
Aine Fox


UK Complete Me
Jimmy Sands


The Left Isn't Listening
Nick Cohen


The Letters page has been updated.




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