The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Rite Of Passage
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities - Voltaire
Anthony McIntyre • 3.10.03

Unfortunately but frequently The Blanket has, without hesitation, found itself in the position of giving voice to those whom wider and more powerful forces would seek to silence. Often these are the voices of 'dissident republicans.' On occasion associates of the 'antisocial' fraternity too have had their say. In such cases The Blanket virtually never shares the perspective of those whose voices have broken free from the vow of silence imposed on them by more powerful institutions. But their right to speak is as inviolable as the desire to silence them is malevolent.

Few seriously dispute that for a number of years there has been an ongoing systematic campaign by the Provisional Republican Movement to suppress those other republicans who are opposed to the Provisionals' political project, which basically amounts to the naked pursuit of institutional power characterised by a willingness to ditch every tenet of republicanism in order to make the journey into officialdom easier. Rite of passage from a position of radical critique to one of conservative entrenchment invariably involves undergoing a certain ritual. Stamping on former comrades is like a symbolic public act of circumcision whereby the radical boy becomes a conservative man - the bloody and sharpened knife has to be brandished in order to demonstrate that the snip is complete.

For the most part the Provisional campaign of suppression is subtle and insidious. But from time to time the coercion is brutal and public as in the case of Gerry Adams' West Belfast constituent, Jo Jo O'Connor who was left dead in the street in front of local people including children. Only a matter of weeks ago the case of Brendan Shannon, who now lives under the burden of a death threat, was raised in the pages of this journal. So obsessed is Provisional republicanism with emulating the strategy of the Workers Party that, with a measure of state and media complicity, there has been no abatement in its willingness to defend the process and disregard the peace. Seemingly, the peace process is not a peaceful process.

In the early hours of yesterday morning a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement was abducted by armed men in South Belfast. Although the 32 CSM contends that Stephen Moore's abductors claimed to be members of the Provisional IRA and that they had threatened his young girl friend, the father of the girl has disputed this on both counts. Moore, who has in the past been the target of police pressure aimed at coercing him into becoming an informer, was, according to Marian Price, harangued by a senior Provisional late last month that if he did not hand himself over for interrogation at the hands of Sinn Fein's secret police he would face the same fate as Gareth O'Connor. The latter vanished while travelling from his Armagh home to Dundalk Garda station earlier this year. 'Members of the Provisionals told Stephen he had to hand himself in to them to be cleared by them. He refused, but the men told him if he didn’t they would do a Gareth O`Connor on him.' Apart from being redolent of the arrogant triumphalism of the Argentine military (it too lost the war) this has added ballast to the already weighty suspicion that the Provisionals were behind the Armagh City man's disappearance. In a poignant twist, the mother of Gareth O'Connor last night rang Marian Price to inquire had Stephen turned up yet. In the view of Marian Price the deluge of relief that engulfed the woman was audible. Bernie O'Connor was uplifted to find that Stephen Moore's mother would not have to face the ordeal that the Armagh family has underwent since May. She expressed the wish to Marian Price that the Provisional IRA would disclose the location of her son's whereabouts.

Despite all its howling over the years about RUC and prison service ill-treatment it seems that the Provisional Movement far from defeating those opponents, has been both outfoxed and influenced by their methods. People who try to excuse by way of contextualisation violently suppressing other voices through recourse to some grand metanarrative - the peace process - have themselves become constituted by the very unequal power relations they profess to oppose. In a statement from the 32 County Sovereignty Movement it was claimed that:

Stephen was stripped naked, had his head and face covered in duct tape, and then dressed in a white paper overall. His captors then bound his hands and feet behind his back and left him in a cold damp derelict house until this morning. He was then interrogated about anti-agreement republicans and told he was about to be shot. Apparently after a commotion outside Stephen was given his clothes and released.

Also, according to Marian Price, a woman visited friends of the kidnapped man in the Lower Ormeau Road and told them if the press or police were notified 'there would be serious repercussions.' Local people have told The Blanket that the woman in question was a member of Sinn Fein.

Stephen Moore is a West Belfast man. His constituency MP has on many occasions faced the accusation that he is also a member of the Provisional IRA's army council, an allegation the Sinn Fein president swats away with limp-wristed conviction; the Sinn Fein cumann in Outer Mongolia apparently alone in believing him. West Belfast republicans who dissent from the current Sinn Fein leadership should not be cowered into a soundproof corner where their protestations go unheard. Nor should they play by the rules of the game which the British and Irish governments are happy to host whereby all must acquiesce in the regime of deceit which has become the lifeblood of the peace process. They should employ a counter discourse which reverses and disrupts the linguistic falsities and niceties of the political class by publicly and vociferously stating that they want parity of esteem. This means openly demanding from every rooftop that, like other constituents governed by the British parliament, they cannot be murdered, mutilated or abducted on the orders of their Westminster MP. Had Enoch Powell faced similar accusations in relation to his black constituents in Wolverhampton there would have been a public outcry. As Liam Kennedy observes ‘we inhabit a strange, deformed society.' Finchley, West Belfast definitely is not.

The Provisional republican leadership could do worse than pay attention to the words of Danny Morrison who astutely addressed the matter of internecine bloodletting. 'Most feuds were initiated by leaderships who could not handle challenge and dissidence. It is important to persistently engage in dialogue, to listen and to realise, above all, the humanity of the people who frustrate, anger, threaten and even attack you.' Unfortunately, such a scenario seems as far away as the Provisional IRA army council becoming poverty stricken.





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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

3 October 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


The Rite of Passage
Anthony McIntyre


32 CSM Condemn Abduction of its members
Andy Martin


Irish Republicanism As I See It
Thomas Gore


A Question of Class
Davy Carlin


It All Leads Back to This
Mick Hall


I Dreamt I Saw Joe H Last Night
Anthony McIntyre


Tail Biting Prohibited
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain


28 September 2003


Edward Said, 1935-2003
Liam O Ruairc


Civil Rights Anniversary
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


Nothing But Contempt for the Court of the Rich
Anthony McIntyre


Ireland and Post Colonial Theory
Liam O Ruairc


2 Statements on the death of Edward Said


The Letters Page has been updated.




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