The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Response to:
"Irish Americans"

(Gerry O'Hare • 17 April 2004)

Peter Urban

In his article 'Irish Americans' Gerry O Hare makes a fundamentally valid point concerning the political shortcomings of Irish American republican activists, but he has allowed to appallingly poor quality of political candidates in America to leave him grasping at straws.

Indeed, there are a great many lessons that Irish republican activists in the US might have learned along the way. As O Hare points out, they might have learned that the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York are the price one pays for running rough-shod over the nations of others throughout the globe, but when I issued a statement on behalf of the IRSCNA making precisely that point, posting it onto Irish republican discussion lists on the Web brought me three days of multiple death threats and seemingly endless attacks on the moral uprightness of my mother instead. One Irish republican activist from the U.S. finally spoke his feelings openly, he said, "Yes, American lives are worth more than other people's lives." Some people are slow learners.

Irish American republicans might have also learned something about the nature of oppression, occupation, denial of rights, and imperialism; and had they done so, they might have stopped wallowing in reactionary campaigns, like the attempt to make a hero of the Irish American cop that Mumia Abu Jamal was convicted of shooting or terrorising young women outside abortion clinics because they were trying to exercise their legal right to terminate a pregnancy.

They might have embraced what the Irish hold in common with the people of Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Basque lands and ofofferedheir solidarity to the communities of these nations in America. They might have recognised that being Catholic in Belfast is very much akin to be African American in South Central and demonstrated that fact by being outspoken in their opposition to racism.

They might have recognised that America's long-standing 'special relationship' with Britain renders their own government anything but a friend to Irish republicanism and been more open to questioning their own government's motives every time they turned around.

They might have watched events in Ireland unfold a little more keenly than they did as well, so that rather than proclaiming the excellence of Sinn Fein's candidates, they might have recognised the many mistakes made by Sinn Fein in pursuing its "peace talks" with the British and Irish governments, as well as in SF's behavior to others within the republican community--such as those left crippled or with neurological deficits. They might have recognised the incredible damage Sinn Fein's mistaken policies have done to the struggle to end partition.

Finally, rather than simply bemoaning the poor quality of American political candidates compared to the only mediocre ones that Ireland finds in Sinn Fein, Irish Americans might have actually supported the efforts to launch a Labour Party going on in America, or supported the Peace and Freedom Party in California, or any of the various socialist candidates that one generally finds on the ballot at election time, but my guess is that few of them ever looked beyond the "not a dime's worth of difference" Democrats for an alternative to the current thugs and monsters who make up the American executive branch.

The truth, however, is that relatively few of them appear to have learned these lessons at all. In the course of my 23 years working with the IRSP I have learned some things relevant to US politics. Chiefly, I've learned that my government is the source of most of the evil in the world today and that it should be brought to its knees. In addition, I've learned that there is little hope of the American people taking hold of the political process in America anytime soon and America's working people are doomed to face an increasingly bleak future as a result. The most important thing I've learned though, is that it isn't the failings of the individual politicians in the U.S. that damn us to poor government, it is the failing of the system of capitalism which we Americans continue to embrace that is the cause of our misery and American imperialism which exports that misery to the rest of the human species.





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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.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

11 June 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


US Nationwide Irish American Group Holds 2004 Convention in Belfast
Sean Mc Aughey


The Chen Case @ the European Court of Justice - Money Talks and a Government Lies
John Meehan


A Left Vote for the Right Person
Anthony McIntyre


John Martin


Response to:
"Irish Americans"

Peter Urban


Sri Lanka: up country with the Tamil Tigers
Cedric Gouverneur


The Letters page has been updated.


7 June 2004


“A house ransacked by soldiers”: Translation’s plunder and preservation
Seaghán Ó Murchú


Acquittal of the Bogotá 3 - Interview With Caitriona Ruane
Toni Solo


Da Big Gorilla
John Kennedy


John, Pat and Neil Sedakas
George Young


Volunteer Robin Livingstone
Anthony McIntyre


The Anti Racism Network (ARN), in the beginning …
Davy Carlin




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