Re(2): Republican Movement & GFA

jbm7 at jbm7 at
Sun Aug 1 13:05:26 MDT 1999

Reply from Jim Monaghan. I hope my unsigned version was safely deleted.
Jim Monaghan
>This was Phillip at his best. At present the list has so many quality
>contributions that it has become a very valuable resource.
>I must say that it was good to see Karl resurface after all this time,
>though to be honest I think Phillip had the best of the exchange. I have
>cut out the speculative parts of Phillip's post, the bits where he is not
>sure of what is going to happen.  These are for me the most interesting
>valuable. It is the kind of break with dogmatic certainty that the Left
>badly needs.
>>I'm not sure that Blair is trying to concede as little as possible to SF.
>>I think he probably much prefers Gerry Adams to any of the Unionists.

There is some basis in this. Reasonable Republicans can be dealt with. The
suprise for Blair is the fact that the extreme Unionists are so racist and
reactionary. The beast used toi rule Ireland make George Wallace seem
reasonable. The religious sectarians of the fundamentalist Protestans
(probably 405 of the Protestant population) regard Catholics as followers
of the anti Christ.
>>If anything, I would go further than Karl on this score.  I tend to see
>>republican leadership these days as the Irish Blairites.

A rather crowded space in Irealnd. Electorally the only narket for the
Sinn Fein peolle is the poorest and most marginalised sectors. Philp
worked on this. Blairite reformism simply will not deliver for thes layers
>>I think old-style Unionism is historically obsolete and its chips are
>>cashed in.

Yes An agreed new treat a federal state would make sense for Imperialism.
But ahving ruled Ireland with the aid of a bigoted and (see above) it is
not that easy to restructure. Sunningdale collapsed because extreme
Unionism believes the only good Taig is one on his/her knees. This GFA,
Sunningdale mark 2 with less for Nationalists looks like going the same
way. The root of Unioniosm is that it is incapable of reform. THat is why
it trips up its inventors and supporters
>>A lot more has changed in Ireland, than Karl seems to be taking into
>>I have an open mind on this one, but I think the British have modified
>>structures of oppression in the north a great deal.  For seventy years,
>>instance, the Catholic middle class had no power in the north.  I would
>>that these days the Catholic middle class is probably stronger in the
>>political machinery of the north than the Orange Order.

A section of the Catholic middles class has benefitted. As have similar
groups elsewhere. But the entrenched position of the bigots still
continues.On the surface a lot has changed. But Catholics are still vastly
overrepresented amongst the unemployed and p[oorer paid jobs. The Catholic
middle class still services the Catholic population. Bigotry is entrenched
in the protestant population not just the poor white sector.
>I am inclined to have reservations about the 'weaknesses of Unionism'
>position that Phillip pushes so strongly. I do not doubt they are in
>crisis. However for me they are still the principal expression of British
>Imperialism in Ireland, though of course the ruling parties in the south
>are now pushing for the premier position.

As far as the Tories are concerned you do not desert old allies. I think
the British as a whole fear the ability of the Southern Bourgeoisie to
controll the entire island. Stability is the aim of Imperialism at this
juncture. If the compradors could deliver they would get the job.
>The Unionists still have a veto over political developments.  Blair may
>well prefer personally to work with Adams but the British Right would
>permit the dumping of the Unionists.

The GFA ave them a veto and this is not enough. The Provos cannot
decommission. Imagine keeping arms in case of Armeggedon in the ghettos
and being told to hand them into a superficially reformed RUC. Yet,
Trimble is haunted by Faulkners fate. Again and again the Republicans are
being urged to "save " Trimble from his own ultras.
> The Right in Britain have signalled to
>Blair that they have reservations about his policies. Thus the anti-Blair,
>and pro-Unionists articles printed in the Daily Mail in England are
>reprinted in the Murdoch press here in Australia.  A few weeks ago we had
>profile on Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionists, saying how
>brilliant he was. Christ! Blair is fundamentally a liberal and liberals
>never, never resist threats from the Right.

Also look at the reality. Trimble won in the GFA.And still 50% of his own
party are not satisfied. I think that if he came back with all the IRA
arms and the heads of the army councill the extreme Unionists would still
call him a Lundy. ( Govenor of Derry who wanted to surrender to
Jacobites). Again Paisley commands over 50% of the Unionist vote.
>So we are in for a period of stagnation.  The unionists cannot be made to
>shift, while the Republican Movement appears to be fissuring.  The current
>gun smuggling episode surely casts doubts over Adams' ability to call the
>shots totally, does it not?

Hard to say. I think a renewal of an armed campaign with only the support
of ghettos is a reciep[es of disaster and more Omaghs. It is by
concentrating on concreste support for communities like Garvaghy that a
alternative leadership can be created that can break out of the strait
jacket of militarism and avoid the trap of pan nationalism
>2. Phillip wrote:
>>We may be moving to a situation in which the national question, as it has
>>been posed over the last 200 years since Wolfe Tone, becomes less
>>and 'straight' class lines of cleavage become more important.

I sill think it is fundamental. The Sticks thought this. But again it is
necessay to go beyond Republicanism not substaitute abstract "clas"
demands. I recall Lenin on those who expect a "pure" clas struggle.
>>I am not sure about this.  I am just raising it as one of the
>>which might flow out of the new forms of capitalist rule and
>>in the north.

That is the Blair /Ahern dream.
>>Five years ago I could not have conceived that the national question in
>>Ireland would be partly solved by the Brits and be taken off the agenda;
>>now I am not so sure.

In a way it is Unionist bigotry that keeps it alive. Then is that not
always the result of oppression. The pro GFA vote in the North is
99% of Nationalist.
45 to 49 % of Unionists.
The bigotry of the Unionists blinds them to reality.
>Who knows? But I am inclined to think that not only Phillip sees the
>of an Ireland without a sectarian divide.  If Blair resolves the "Irish
>question" i.e. if he removes the national struggle from the agenda, then
>perhaps class politics would emerge in an non-mediated form. Could it be
>that this is why Blair and co will continue to support the Unionists and
>that the National question will remain on the agenda?

While the Celtic economy roars the class struggle will remain quite. Real
wages in Ireland are going up.

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