The Irish Questions

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Mon Oct 14 23:07:21 MDT 1996

Jj Plant wrote:
> 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
> 1920s.
> 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.
> _________________________________

Sorry John, but I find your whole point totally incoherant. You are
ignoring the realities of the situation.

Of course Communists are for class politics, and I would hope that Irish
Communists are putting that perspective to people. At the same time you
cannot ignore hundreds of years of history, and the national questions
must be answered.

It seems that you are saying that we should put our heads under the
pillow and hope that it will all go away. I do not want you to
misunderstand this John. In effect your arguement is siding with


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