Hughes: Trust Your Leaders?

Danielle Ni Dhighe nidhighe at
Fri Apr 12 17:26:36 MDT 2002

The Blanket
8 April 2002

Trust Your Leaders?
By Brendan Hughes

James Connolly, in 1915 wrote a sarcastic article titled 'Trust Your
Leaders!' In it he claimed that 'in Ireland we have ever seized upon
mediocrities and made them leaders'. He could just as easily have
been writing about 2002 rather than 1915. How can you trust leaders
who endlessly tell you one thing and do the opposite?

Taking the gun out of Irish politics is a joke. It is a sick joke
because the only gun being taken out is the republican gun. Now that
another bunch of weapons has been decommissioned I feel for all those
poor people who never made it to the TV studios, who never graced
foreign capitals, who lived in tiny homes with their door always open
as we hid our guns in their cupboards, under their beds, in their
drawers and beneath their floorboards. The anonymous poor, the real
heroes and heroines of this struggle.

We are occupied and have more right to have weapons than those who
occupy us. Yet the British demand that we and not they give up guns.
Imagine England invaded by the Nazis and the appeasers advised the
English people to 'destroy your weapons. The Nazis insist on it'.
Would you? I am not comparing the English people to the Nazis but the
point is that we in Ireland have been invaded by armed English
soldiers intent on murdering, torturing and jailing a civilian
population. Why should we - the victims in all of this - hand over or
allow the weapons to be destroyed? Those weapons were used not to
invade but to defend our communities and to obtain Irish freedom.

I can see what has happened today as nothing other than surrender.
But not everybody surrenders. One thing holds true in all of this and
that is Ireland is occupied by Britain and for as long as that
remains there will always be Irish people who will resist that
occupation. Handing over or destroying weapons in order to accept
British rule in Ireland is neglecting our own responsibility and
passing it on to another generation.

And what social conditions will a new generation face? Tony Blair has
proclaimed New Labour. Republicans have proclaimed New Sinn Fein. All
new waffle. There is not much that I can see that separates them.
What then about something really new? What about new socialism? A
socialism that would ignore the tripe talkers and their vanguard
party nonsense? One thing that is not new is the working class. It is
as old as capitalism itself. They are still being exploited,
maltreated, forced to work for bad pay on unhealthy sites with poor
safety regulations. Could someone please tell me where a worker's
wage packet is fatter than a politician's? Or where oppression of the
working class is not planned? It is not in Stormont, Leinster House
or Westminster. They all love the workers alright as long as they can
keep them working for buttons.

Take the gun out of Irish politics - maybe. But not at the command of
those in the above three parliaments. As long as there is injustice
the gun will always be there. And if we really want to take it out
why not give it to the Palestinians? And who will have the cheek to
tell us that they do not need it?

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