The Irish Questions

Jj Plant jplant at
Tue Oct 15 00:07:00 MDT 1996

In-Reply-To: <326097DE.964 at>
Richard wrote :

>Sounds like an exam question.

Sorry about the tone. Just trying to be concise.

>The six counties were separated from the rest of the country in the

That's true of course. But national borders do not exist outside of history. In
earlier stages there were several 'states' or 'kingdoms' within the island. The
point surely is what is it right to do now, not what was right 70 years ago. My
questions are about what would happen if the IRA came to power and 'united'
Ireland ; who would benefit and how ? Why is it a demand that communists should
support ? (assuming that the state in south permitted that to happen of
course). Why are you supporting PIRA/INLA/whoever, when you have the chance to
advance your own communist solutions ? Do you think that the workers and women
would gain anything from living under a severe catholic regime ?

>Re-integrating the two would not be easy, but not insurmountable.
The question poses the possibility that maybe the occupied territory
shouldn't be part of Ireland.

Do you think that protestant workers can or should be bombed into joining a
catholic state ? What is there in the programmes of PIRA/INLA that makes you
think they address the needs of workers and women in the occupied areas ?

>Why do you want to know that from me so "precisely"? Those are questions
for the people in Ireland to decide.

Omit the word 'precisely' if it worries you. But these are literally life and
death questions for many thousands of people. I don't go as far as Workers
Liberty and say its a 'Bosnia waiting to happen', but I do think that
formulation indicates some of the scale of the problem. I think the
responsibility of communists is to cut across sectarian divisions and seek to
unite the workers of whatever national or religious background, in their own
common interests.

>I know someone who openly
sells 40 copies of An Phoblacht per week on the Isle of Dogs.

That's pretty remarkable. There has always been a big irish catholic element in
the proletarian population on the Isle of Dogs of course, since they were
brought over to dig out the docks (including one of my great great
grandfathers, who came over from Co Cork) and they played a great part in the
industrial tradition of the area.

Most of the pubs I know in East London where An Phoblacht used to be sold
regularly have long since made paper sellers unwelcome. Likewise in the Irish
clubs. Many years now since the Ilford club had a republican fundraiser - they
had some memorable nights with music from the Wolfe Tones to raise money for
'the men behind the wire'.

What do I think should be done ? Return to the principles of the Civil Rights
Movement before the Republicans smothered it. Class politics first, national
politics second if at all.

jplant at

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