The Irish Questions

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Mon Oct 14 21:48:23 MDT 1996

At 12:07 AM 10/15/96 +0000, you wrote:
>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 ?

>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.

>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.

Jj has written several posts on the Irish question and he does deserve a
thoughtful answer.

For me that is somewhat difficult as I feel involved at one level and at
another level English Marxists enrage me when they shit on about Ireland
because generally they are looking for an excuse not to confront their own
ruling class.  I include the NLR  and the Hobsbawm mob in that and I am
half inclined to toss JJ in with them.

Let us begin with his what is to be done? He says we should return to the
Civil Rights movement.  why not return to the Easter 1916 Uprising? there is
as much relevance and a much likelihood. But what he means here that we
should go back to agitating for civil liberties within the Orange State.  Of
course the very existence of  the state meant that such civil liberties were
impossible but JJ won't see that because that  would lead him into
supporting the confrontation between the Irish catholic population and the
Orange state which is of course guaranteed in the first & last instance by
British military might.

Now JJ should not be allowed to get away with a lie here.  He accuses the
IRA os smothering the Civil Liberties movement.  Wrong and very wrong.  That
movement was intrinsically reformist and it came to its logical end when the
Orange state said  enough is enough and started shooting.  Sitting down in
the streets and marching etc are not the sort of tactics with which one
confronts an armed state.  Unless one is of course a mystic or a Ghandian.
And then one deserves to get shot.

Let me make  this point absolutely clear. the civil  Liberties movement chad
no answer when the RUC started shooting.  In this conjuncture the people
turned to the IRA and this organization then moved centre stage.  they
succeeded in gathering support which has withstood over twenty years of
incredible oppression.  Why? Because  the IRA had a central truth and that
was that the Orange State could not be reformed but had to be smashed.
Nothing that has occurred  in the years since 68 has proved that to be

Now let me deal with JJ's concerns for Protestant workers  and women seeking
abortion in an Irish catholic state following a putative IRA victory.

This of course is  extremely touching.  It is good to  see the concern for
Irish women that the English Marxists have  discovered.  But beneath the
pieties is of course a fundamentally non or rather anti-Marxist approach.
The Catholic Ireland which JJ opposes and which I personally loathe is only
possible because of the division of the Island.  The Catholic church and the
British Imperialists & the Orange Order are in a mutually supportive
relationship.  The Church pretends to look after catholics and The British
State uses the existence of  the church as a bogey to lure the Protestant
working class into an alliance with imperialism.  they condemn each other in
various ways but they certainly  need each other.  A defeat for the Orange
state would be the death blow to  Rome's already weakening hold over the
Irish people.  Marxists used to try and think dialectic ally.  Certainly JJ
needs to work at this.

Now let me deal with the Protestant worker bit and hopefully this will
answer Adam Rose too.

The Protestant working class  is fundamentally pro-imperialist.   It is
rusted onto a relationship with its own ruling class.  It must be understood
as a white settler/colon grouping rather than in class terms.  That is the
absolute truth and it gives me no pleasure  to say it.  the Protestant
working class and their allies must be defeated/ smashed.  And please spare
me the pseudo marxist bullshit about "my workers right or wrong".  One needs
to go beyond the pious cliches and look coldly and analytically at what the
protestant working class is  doing.  And it is not pretty.  I grew  up in N.
Ireland and I know. So shove the bullshit.

Finally english Marxists of a certain variety seem to think they can win an
argument by using the word "nationalist".  the ultimate  insult it seems and
the  ultimate proof of perfidy.  Again this is anti-Marxist but convenient
for a layer which while attacking Irish revolutionaries for not engaging in
class war, are themselves in a tacit relationship with their own ruling class.



BTW the post that Hugh R. forwarded was very good.

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