Irish question

Tony.Hamill at Queens-Belfast.AC.UK Tony.Hamill at Queens-Belfast.AC.UK
Wed Oct 16 09:30:58 MDT 1996

Gary Maclennan made some valid points in his last post concerning
the Irish question, namely the reformist character of the Civil
rights movement, Catholic Chaurch etc. However there are a couple of
points which I find confusing. He says:

>Why? Because  the IRA had a central truth and that was that the
>Orange State could not be reformed but had to be smashed.

Where does this leave the protestant working class? Do you consider
them as part of the Orange State and therefore have to be smashed

> 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.

I find this statement unbelievable. I agree that sections of the protestant
working class may not be as class conscious as elements in the catholic
working class, but to lump the entire mass together, and call for them to be
smashed is ludicrous. You are proposing to use methods of supression that
have already been used on the catholic working class. Also I believe it is
naive to not acknowledge the raising of the class conscionce of protestants
workers in recent times, for example the formation of the UDP, and PUP, both
of which admittedly are loyalist, but both have expressed their allegiance to
the working class and elements within them have claimed to be socialist, and
address social issues. I dont by any standards support the fringe groups but
they at least demonstrate that the character of the protestant working
class is fluid, and changing.
Also I dont know how the fact that you grew up in N.Ireland gives you some
sort of extra credentials.
Finally to label the IRA as "Irish Revolutionaries" is hardly accurate. The
IRA are a small guerilla organisation, and not a mass movement. The support
>from the catholic working class for Republicanism, mainly stems in my
opinion, from the presence of Sinn fein in working class catholic areas,
in the form of advice centres and community agitation, and the policing
carried out by the IRA.
Sinn Feins position in the Irish republic is extremely weak. A united Ireland
under Bruton is hardly a bright prospect.


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