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Armed Struggle, delusions and romantic notions

category national | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Monday April 28, 2008 17:17author by Larry Connolly Report this post to the editors

A brief look at the state of the Republican movement.

When I joined the republican movement, I was a young Idealist. I recognised the right of the IRA to wage war on occupation forces. This has not changed, nor has that right. But the conditions have. I have also slowly become a realist, I have analysed the current situation, I’ve heard from the ordinary grass roots and ex POWs (the people who actually took risks, while the majority of people who encourage armed struggle sat tucked up in bed).

Some people believe, the leadership of certain armed groups are compromised. It was suggested to me, that people who stand in senior positions in republicanism, are in fact agents for one or another state. It is said these people won’t let volunteers take overt aggressive action against enemy forces. If the pistols are there for shows of strength, wouldn’t it be better to fire them at the enemy forces? If the leadership don’t believe in armed struggle, why don’t they issue a directive similar to the directive in the border campaign? (When they ordered IRA volunteers to dump arms).

I can only surmise that a lot of volunteers in the IRA feel the struggle is going nowhere. Many are in prison for absolutely nothing. These men should be out with their families and friends. In the past 6 Years, no British soldier or RUC man has been harmed by the IRA. Other republican groups have managed to inflict damage on the RUC, why haven’t the IRA? These are the questions being asked by everyone.

It’s time for everyone who purports to support armed struggle to look at the situation and analyse what has happened. Since the IRA reorganised in 1986, the army has not inflicted a single casualty. It’s all well and good for these so called supporters to write about former republicans and their obsession with them (and everything they do). How many times did the Sinn Fein or the IRA issue statements about the sticks during the war? Was it weekly? Like Sinn Fein now seem to do about former republicans. A lot of the people who rant about former republicans or encourage armed struggle (usually in the bar room or on the internet), won’t be on the front. They are the romantic fools who will never lift a stick, let alone a gun (Mao would call them paper tigers).

Above all the situation on the ground is different; it’s different to what it was even 7 years ago. At this present time, there is no appetite for armed action. The nationalist community are more concerned with who’s dealing drugs in their areas, who’s driving the stolen car around at high speed, who’s robbing their houses, who’s beating up and murdering their citizens. If the Republican movement wish to gain any support. It is from here they should start, otherwise they are doomed to fail repeatedly, without the working class, no armed movement will ever be successful.

author by UnRepentantShinnerpublication date Mon Apr 28, 2008 19:30Report this post to the editors

A Chara,

Very well said. Only with the realisation of the changed environment of the struggle can republican's of all groups can succeed, without addressing the important and relevant issues in our communities today we are doomed to fail.

author by Patrick Henrypublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:01Report this post to the editors

Larry, I too was a former Volunteer and I agree 100% with what you say, in fact you have put My Thoughts in writing.
However I would add that Provisional SF must look at their position within Stormont and ask themselves, what really has been achieved since the GFA? As far as I am concerned nothing has been gained and the DUP are undoubtedly running the show while SF remain passive, content to play second fiddle while peddling the lie that to their grassroots that a United Ireland is still on the cards.

author by Irish citizenpublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 13:54Report this post to the editors

Aren't you forgetting that the majority of people on this island voted for the GFA?
Aren't you forgetting that the majority of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland voted to remove articles 2 & 3 from the Irish Constitution?
Aren't you forgetting that the majority of the population in Northern Ireland consider themselves British citizens and want to remain in the United Kingdom?
The majority of republicans support the GFA and the majority of Sinn Fein supporters support the Stormont government and the majority of the people on this island do not support the so-called "armed struggle" (the deliberate bombing and shooting of innocent Protestant and British civilians).
Practically where are you going to get the cannon fodder for your armed struggle?
Where are you going to source your weapons and finance? Iran? North Korea?
And if by some miracle you manage to overthrow the democratic governments North and South, defeat the PSNI, the Gardai, the British and Irish armies and cow the entire island into submission how do you hope to maintain control? Dictatorship? Ethnic cleansing of the Protestant loyalist population?

author by Barry - -publication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 14:21Report this post to the editors

"""Aren't you forgetting that the majority of people on this island voted for the GFA?
Aren't you forgetting that the majority of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland voted to remove articles 2 & 3 from the Irish Constitution?"""

Can i ask, Irish Citizen. What percentage of the Irish population turned out to vote? (and please give a source).

If its anything like the general elections, you would be looking at around 25% turnout (three quarters dont vote). No more. Hardly the majority of people, far from it.

I very much suspect that you stating that the "majority of people on this island" is >completely< inaccurate.

author by Irish citizenpublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 16:00Report this post to the editors

Turnout in the GFA referendum in Northern Ireland was 81% of voters of whom 71.1% voted in favour of the agreement.
In the Republic turnout was average but the yes vote was 94.39%.
Any republicans who advocate a return to war do not have any democratic legitimacy.
There is no a single democratically elected representative on this island, North or South, who supports a return to war.
You people have no significant support whatsoever.

author by Irish citizenpublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 16:13Report this post to the editors

If you don't believe me check out this link.

(Irish turnout was about 55%).

Related Link: http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/fref98.htm
author by Irish citizenspublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 16:18Report this post to the editors

Anyone who suggests the violent overthrow of the government of Northern Ireland is not a democrat.
If an armed secretive group plans an armed revolt against the institutions of a democratic state that group is criminal fascist and terrorist.

author by Barry - -publication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 17:23Report this post to the editors

"""If you don't believe me check out this link.

(Irish turnout was about 55%).

Related Link: http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/fref98.htm"""

Ok, that is an acceptable source.

What was the basis for which the electorate were informed on the arguements for and against the GFA?

What media forms and institutions were dedicated to the arguments in favour, and for those against?

What is the requirements in order to establish an effective means of communication and information distribution?

What of cultural hegemony? what of the propaganda model? what of elite interests and social control?

"""Anyone who suggests the violent overthrow of the government of Northern Ireland is not a democrat.
If an armed secretive group plans an armed revolt against the institutions of a democratic state that group is criminal fascist and terrorist"""

Democratic state? - in what sense.

Was the vote against the Nice treaty an acceptable democratic decision? - what of the second which voted yes?

What is the criteria for which there may be a second referendum? - or a third? fourth?. Why does the GFA not meet this criteria?

So many questions must be asked. Accepting a "democratic will" is more than just seeing who gets the greatest 'percentage'.

Information, Politicization, Institutional & Political alienation amongst many factors must be taken into account.

Not accounting for these factors amongst many can lead to the legitimization of anything. Hitler and the Nazi Party, God and the Creation account of the world, the Iraq war.

author by Cael - Sinn Féinpublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 18:30Report this post to the editors

Of course its true that most anti colonial struggles are built on the people's struggle for the land and natural resources. The Republican Movement has dabbled in this problem all right, but has not thrown itself in wholeheartedly. this has been a great part of our weakness. Its time for the RM to take on the Irish Landlord class - head on with no holds barred. the Brit occupation and the Landlord appropriation of the people's land and resources are actually one and the same thing and must be fought in the same way.

Related Link: http://admin2.7.forumer.com/index.php
author by Libertarianpublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 19:46Report this post to the editors

Interesting to see the week Bertie announced his resignation date that there was a huge Public Relations campaign about how Bertie was one of the “leaders” who bought peace to Northern Ireland. This is an example of the elite revisionism of history. It is disrespectful to the countless amount of suffering endured against people who had the bravery to fight against the British state and who suffered as a result and made other people suffer and have to live with the consequences of their actions to this day.

The GFA is just another example of how politicians don’t represent us and no matter what PR they churn out. Parliamentary democracy is a unless and an ineffective system and for vast majority of peoples interests to prevail over dominate elite interests a system of Direct Democracy is needed.

Everytime you hear that Bill Clinton or Tony Blair helped bring peace don’t swallow it. Ordinary people paid the price and Parliamentary democracy spongers gave away (on both sides) what was hardly and bitterly fought for by both sides.

author by Patrick Henrypublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 20:25Report this post to the editors

The reason that I have thus far declined to reply to Irish Citizen is because I don't believe that you can have a sensible debate with someone who goes off on a rant while not listening nor in this case reading what I said. Paisley was an expert at shouting people down because he had no other argument.
Nowhere have I advocated a return or continuation of violence, in fact I fully agreed with the poster Larry Connolly.
As for the GFA, and the tired old argument of the Majority of people voting for it. Politicians only listen to the majority of people when it suits Their agenda. The Majority of Nationalists voted for the SDLP throughout the duration of the War, did Adams and McGuinness heed their mandate then? It was only when they were in a position to overtake the Stoops electorally did they start mouthing off about the wishes of the Majority of people.
As for the Unionists and their concern for the wishes of Majority. Don't make me laugh, they were given the portion of this Island where they would be in the Majority, by the British and they abused the minority Catholic community and treated them like sub-humans and in the case where Catholics were in the majority they created gerrymandering.

As for the bombing and killing of innocent Protestants I won't get into that argument with someone who turns a blind eye to State Terrorism.

author by interestedpublication date Tue Apr 29, 2008 21:09Report this post to the editors

can people stay on topic here. apparently a former C ira volunteer and ex prisioner is starting a debate about relivence with his movement. this is more intesting than the usual terrorist/freedomfighter dance that goes on all over the internet

author by Seamus O Raghallaighpublication date Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:34Report this post to the editors

Interesting that the turn out for the vote on the gfa was 55%. Dont forget that 10% voted no so now the great majority is suddenly down to 45% of the electorate who bothered thier arses to go out and vote. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Furthermore, dont forget that that all of the Irish people were not allowed vote together on the gfa. The artificial majority (how democratic is that I ask yeh?) in the six counties voted seperately. The powers that be would be too scared to put a referendum to an all Eire vote.

Now what was that about majorities and democracy in Ireland again?

Is mise
Seamus

author by Irish citizenpublication date Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:06Report this post to the editors

"Furthermore, dont forget that that all of the Irish people were not allowed vote together on the gfa. The artificial majority (how democratic is that I ask yeh?) in the six counties voted seperately. The powers that be would be too scared to put a referendum to an all Eire vote."

The 6 counties of Northern Ireland are part of the United Kingdom with the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland.

You are implying that the political status of the Unionist population as British citizens independent of the Dublin government should be ignored.

That is a recipe for war.

The Unionists do not want to be part of a 32 county united Ireland independent of Britain and they cannot be force to against their will.

55% voter turnout in the south IS a majority and almost 95% of those voters supported the GFA so the referendum was carried.

Ireland will not be united until the unionists agree and the majority of the voters in the south accept that.

author by p - WSMpublication date Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:29Report this post to the editors

From Workers Solidarity 102

For decades they sold the concept of ‘freedom’ and talked about a ‘socialist republic’ but now, with Martin McGuinness chuckling around the world with Ian Paisley, it’s clear that Sinn Fein’s concept of ‘freedom’ and their supposed vision of a ‘32-County Socialist Republic’ was at best an illusion.

Thousands were killed and injured by those fighting for 'freedom'. But today true freedom remains as far away as ever. As they participate in government in the North and scramble for respectability south of the border, Sinn Fein’s claims to provide a radical alternative are shown to be just so much hot air.

The Shinners’ stampede to the centre-ground of Irish politics leaves behind a gap to be filled. Over coming years, an important political question for those who want to see a new Ireland built will be what ideas will fill that gap. One possibility will be that people who are attracted to radical politics will look to the so-called ‘dissident’ republican groupings - groups such as Republican Sinn Fein, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement or the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Inevitability
But what do any of these groups offer in terms of a real vision for change or indeed in terms of democracy and freedom? The answer is very little. Republicanism, as an ideology, will always inevitably lead to the place where Adams and McGuinness find themselves today.

There’s nothing new about it – Fianna Fáil did it in the 1920s (they still describe themselves as ‘The Republican Party’), The Workers Party did it in the 1970s. It’s as inevitable as night following day – the limitations of republicanism as an ideology inevitably brings it to the point of compromise.

Any groups which remain wedded to the idea of ‘armed struggle’ and the right to have a secret army must operate in a rather murky world. It’s a world that leaves the majority of supporters reduced to the status of cheerleaders and minders.

Ask any of the many activists who have left Sinn Féin over the last decade or more and they’ll tell you that internal democracy was almost non-existent. To question the political direction of the leadership was seen as almost an act of treason. It’s inevitable both because of the need for military discipline and because of the authoritarian nature of the political thinking which drives the ideology.

Democracy
Democracy, that much-abused term, is what sets anarchists apart from this type of politics. When anarchists refer to democracy we mean real democracy – or as it is sometimes called ‘direct democracy’ or ‘participative democracy’. It has little or nothing in common with parliamentary democracy.

read more at

http://www.wsm.ie/news_viewer/3673

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie
author by Irish citizenpublication date Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:50Report this post to the editors

"When anarchists refer to democracy we mean real democracy – or as it is sometimes called ‘direct democracy’ or ‘participative democracy’. It has little or nothing in common with parliamentary democracy."

Explain how "direct democracy" would be practically operable in a modern nation state and do you avoid it becoming a tyranny?

author by shortcipher - nonepublication date Wed Apr 30, 2008 19:46Report this post to the editors

"Explain how "direct democracy" would be practically operable in a modern nation state and do you avoid it becoming a tyranny?" - Irish citizen.

I believe that however badly implemented it is, that 'Agenda 21' is the best legal framework to intoduce some form of real (direct/participative) democracy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21

Related Link: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/index.htm
author by Cael - Sinn Féin Poblachtachpublication date Thu May 01, 2008 23:27Report this post to the editors

I agree a chara, Anarchist ideas mixed with Irish Republicanism would really send the crony capitalists running for the bunkers. The debate has started already:

Related Link: http://admin2.7.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=8721&start=15
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