The Irish Questions

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Mon Oct 14 23:47:42 MDT 1996

Good reply Gary. I thought that the report from Socialist Voice was good
too. Maybe Hugh should do that more often.

Gary MacLennan wrote:
> 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
> incorrect.
> 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.
> regards
> Gary
> BTW the post that Hugh R. forwarded was very good.


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