The Return of Anthony McIntyre

Domhnall donaloc at peterquinn.com
Mon Apr 15 10:39:43 MDT 2002


Danielle, a chara,
Once again you see fit to post stuff by this character. During the military
campaign he was counselling a ceasefire. As soon as the ceasefire was
announced, he started shouting about sell-outs. I think that his nonsense is
fairly self-apparent but just to highlight a few key sentences:

>It Never Happened - Again
>By Anthony McIntyre

>What would never happen has happened again. The strategy of 'never
but will' trundles on oblivious to the silent well of sensitivity and
layers of sacrifice abandoned as mere backwash in its wake. The IRA
leadership has opted for a further round of decommissioning and has
effusively praised itself for having done so.

Decommissioning - see what they wrote, not what McIntyre writes - my last
post.

>There will be those in the republican leadership who will in the days
ahead troop around the republican family meetings in West Belfast and
elsewhere to perform a little pirouette of prevarication. They will
tell anyone who will listen that nothing was decommissioned; that de
Chastelain - who yesterday in a Freudian slip described how he wished
to 'recapitulate' again - made it all up; London, Dublin and
Washington went along with it to keep the peace process alive. There
are even some who will swear to having been there when
decommissioning didn't happen - again. 'Honest, that's the second
time I saw it not being done'.

He twists words to make himself look correct. He implies that de Chastelain
said that arms were 'decommissioned' - see the IICD's latest statement - I
quote:

1. "We wish to inform you that we have witnessed an event in which the IRA
leadership has put a varied and substantial quantity of ammunition, arms and
exploisive material beyond use. In accordance with the governments' Scheme
and Regulations, we have taken an inventory of the arms concerned, which we
will provide to the two governments when our task is completed.

2. As before, we have agreed to the IRA's condition of confidentiality
regarding details of this event, as provided for in the same Scheme and
Regulations.

3. We will continue our discussions with the IRA representative in the
pursuit of our remit. We will also continue our discussions with the
loyalist paramilitary groups."

As someone who was a former member, he should understand the nature of the
Constitution and understand what is under discussion here. Where in this
statement does de Chastelian say the D-word??

>A common thread running through the queries of observers, somewhat
perplexed at the incredible ease with which the bulk of republicans
accept what would only recently have occurred over their 'dead
bodies', is whether there really is anybody other than
the 'terminally stupid' within the republican base who believe such
nonsense.

That's a hell of a lot of Republicans are clean eejits, then!

> But this is to come at it in the wrong way. No one should
be so arrogant as to presume that the entire republican grassroots
are gullible fools. Yes, as elsewhere, there are those a la the
Seán Ó'Faoláin character who labour without 'a spare
sixpence of an idea to fumble for'. And their numbers are indeed
reinforced by fawning acolytes who know better than to believe any of
it but who, wanting to maintain what power they have by dint of being
apparatchiks, seek to emulate Lord Copper's sycophantic gofer in
Evelyn Waugh's Scoop who remained incurably anxious never to
contradict his boss. Yet, there are others who are disgruntled
but 'pragmatically acquiesce' out of a sense of impotence, concluding
that the leadership have it all sewn up and that open opposition will
only bring the green shirts to their door.

I think that this is a failed attempt to caractature the movement into
groups - the stupid, the sycophantic and the impotent - it's no wonder he
left so quickly - how we ever waged war against the Brits for 30 years is a
wonder to humanity!

> Even in the middle level bureaucracies - a comfortable home in every
organisation for the flunkeys and sycophants who disproportionately
populate the functionary niches - there are to be found some who
steadfastly refuse to celebrate what only the week before they
condemned; who are not to be seen tearing through the dictionary in
search of new ways to say 'courageous and imaginative'; who make no
pretence that patriotism is a synonym for surrender; and who will run
a million miles from humiliating Mexican waves aimed at pleasing US
presidents who have just signed the latest cheque for the child
murdering Israeli government. But even if they never read him nor
heard of his name they are instinctively alert to the perception of
Alexis de Tocqueville that people are more afraid of being
marginalised than of being wrong. Experience has left its mark. Those
who wish to think differently learn quickly that critical questioning
can lead to social suicide. Ostracism is a powerful tool carefully
honed to exert maximum pressure upon those who decline to conform.
For the place seeker with ambition, leading the mob of social
banishers may help improve the political career CV. There is no
shortage of would-be councillors to be found when it comes to waging
campaigns of intimidation against those who speak out. And to add
sinister muscle the 'Kray Twins', Mug & Thug - the leadership's
thought police - are all too willing to visit homes and ominously wag
the trigger finger.

It's almost as if he knows me personally! - perhaps he's reading marxmail?
:) Well, as far as marginalisation within the movement is concerned - being
critical is a prerequisite to being a good Republican (albeit constructively
and in a comradely fashion - i.e. not shouting 'sell-out' at everyone you
disagree with and listening to opponents and then not misrepresenting them).
I can't convince anyone of anything different unless they witness it
themselves - readers at marxmail should know that I don't fear stating my
mind (even if I'm wrong) well that's part of the culture that's coming up
through the movement - we just need to generalise it - security is still
tight but things are changing.

Sure, there are plenty of people who wouldn't be confident to say (as I
have) there are dangers of becoming institutionalised in Stormont - but the
leadership encourages a culture of activism and questioning - it's just that
it must be disciplined by the collective will and the need to maintain a
solid party front to our enemies. At base, Anthony McIntyre needs
recognition for his intellectual prowess - he is an intelligent man -
however, no-one can get their way all the time - and people like that just
leave and then when outside the movement decide to paint it all sorts of
colours and to misrepresent facts - which is what this article is all about.
It's a common problem - it's unfortunate - he could have been a very useful
activist - but he chose to not treat the 'unclean' as equals. It's a
difficult sacrifice for intellectuals to make within the movement and it's
not always justified - but on my estimation - it is right now and will be
for the medium-term at least.

>So, at best the stupid thesis remains unproven, at worst demeaning.
It is more credible to contend that the grassroots have been
subjected to a prolonged campaign of attrition strategically designed
to intellectually cauterise them by managing and filtering
information. Advised not to listen to or, worse, speak with
the 'enemy press' the bulk of their take was formed by what the
leadership - who have no qualms about speaking to the 'anti-
republican media' - tell them.

As far as Republicans not reading the press - I think that we try but find
it too sickening to stick with. We tend to read 'authorised papers' such as
our own publications and letters into local papers. Sure, its bad practice
but reading Eoghan Harris is enough to make anyone get annoyed - I tend to
read the FT or the Guardian - with a dash of salt as indicated with their
coverage of Venezuala (long live the Bolivarian Revolution). Strangely,
mainstream Republicans often do read dissident publications - although
constant references to us as 'sell-outs' can turn us off from taking on
board real comments - indeed, I would suggest that more might be bought by
mainstream republicans than by the dissidents themselves. I don't think that
there are any Republicans who don't know that the press are pushing the
decommissioning lie - so that's another one of McIntyre's lies. As far as
people e.g. McIntyre himself, being 'in the know' about what exactly is
happening - well unless he gets information of a high calibre directly off
the Brits then I doubt it. I'm sure that even the majority of the
'leadership' don't know exactly what has happened - although we are told by
people who don't lie that nothing constitutional has been broken. As for
these people - well, you can choose to trust them or not - and I'm not
talking about political figureheads here - at least for those outside the
movement. I'm sure those making these comments know the sort of people - I
would just ask them which would they trust most McIntyre or those people - I
know which I go for 1,000,000 times over. In fact, I would be more likely to
trust the average journalist than McIntyre never mind revolutionary veterans
of the highest order.

> That leadership, inebriated on the arrogance of power, rarely managed
to conceal a rabid hatred of anyone disagreeing with it. Committed to
zero tolerance of alternative viewpoints it ensured the Republican
Movement would be a cold house for other voices. Even in supposedly
democratic Sinn Fein, the hidden centre of power in republicanism -
the prosperous men of the Army Council - sought to rule the party
with the ethos of the army. Under its domination, dissent - initially
promoted by it for its own sectional ends against the
O'Bradaigh/O'Conaill axis - was viewed as a contagious disease. Those
who displayed the symptoms were quarantined by being either
marginalised out of the movement entirely or banished to some remote
corner within it. Heads raised above the parapet would immediately
draw the attention and surveillance of thought traffic control and
the fire of the verbal snipers, their weapons loaded with vitriol,
eager to impose silence and prevent republicanism becoming more
democratic.

I guess that's why (even) Sinn Fein in every area were called together for
meetings to discuss the issue. People were encouraged to raise
disagreements - so that things could be aired internally and not in pubs
afterwards. Our meeting turned into a discussion over the need for
Revolutionary politics in Stormont and the need to 'Republicanise' the
organs of civil society - i.e. quangos, to enable more fundamental change -
kind of a discourse between Republican viewpoints from activists locally and
those centred around the struggle in Stormont respectively - it was useful.
The issue of arms seems to have not had anywhere near the same impact as the
first time this was raised.

>For long enough most could be expected to acquiesce in this given
that there was a war to be prosecuted which helped generate an
imperative to protect the struggle from anything that could be
presented as divisive. There was an acceptance that the civilian
values of democratic rights and equality had no place in an army.
Hierarchy was what was needed - and plenty of it. Those at the top
sought to dangerously totalise intellectual life. And that fierce
self-serving ambition of leaders to empower themselves while
disempowering followers was best served by suppressing any sign of
independent thinking which might lead to a rupturing of the banks of
conformity and an irrigation of that barren terrain where previously
little in the way of new ideas sprang to life.

Apart from his woesome mis-characterisations of the leadership (he's pretty
off the wall on this); there are aspects to the movement which are vestigial
to the military campaign - among them is a reticence to criticise. This is
something needing constant challenging - in most cases it is the youth who
were not involved in previous campaigns who are opening up the movement in
this - they are linking up to the ex-prisoner community to develop more
revolutionary thinking and action. I think that he is seeking to mispresent
facts knowingly here. Anyone listening to the main players will hear of
their encouragement of discussion and participation (within the normal
confines of similar movement).

>Yet when the war wound down matters did not improve. With no obvious
need to consent to leadership demands for quiet, the institutional
imperative for self-preservation kicked in and leaders coerced
silence. Consequently, dissenting views were ignored or explained
away through the illogic articulated by the hounding hacks. Those who
believed that the leadership would sign up to a partitionist
arrangement no different from Sunningdale, describe strategic
failures as new phases of struggle, invent idiotic phrases like 'a
transition to a transition', sit in Stormont, join centre-right
coalition governments North or South, administer British rule, accept
the consent principle, settle for no abolition of the RUC, endorse a
new status as an establishment party, criminalise the armed struggle
of other physical force groups, murder members of alternative
republican organisations and decommission weapons were dismissed as
mentally ill, alcoholics, whores, self-publicists and egotists. If a
party member opposed to the leadership strategy drank three nights a
week they were automatically consigned to the doghouse. Strangely
though, if on the other hand your tipple ran to thirty-one days a
month, but you supported the strategy, you could cruise comfortably
at leadership level, even arriving to speak at commemorative events
blocked.

The 'transition to a transition' one is new to me. He misrepresents so much
here that this paragraph is almost worthless - but it is a polemic I guess.
The references to alcoholic behaviour is not totally clear to me - perhaps
someone else will be able to spill the beans?? Gerry A. very rarely drinks,
Martin McGuinness doesn't, Alex Maskey goes months without drinks, Bairbre
probably drinks once or twice a week (wine I guess). About the biggest
drinker I know is Joe O'Toole - who is a typical Dublin Trade Unionist - you
know: likes a few jars in the pub with his mates. I can't think of anyone I
would describe as an alcoholic within the movement - although that's
probably my definition for you! So I don't know what to make of this?

> A regime of truth was being constructed. It didn't matter if it was
all false - just that people believed it to be true, or at least said
as much. And yet the pervasive culture of conformity has failed to
subdue everyone. There are still republicans both inside the movement
and without who reject and resist the repressive concept of Section
31 regardless of who wields it; who remain determined that a
sanitised and revisionist account shall not monopolise the historical
record; who feel they have every right to ask the difficult question.
Why should we have to rely on the probing of Seamus McKee, Noel
Thompson or Mike Nesbitt to elicit answers which make the leadership
look foolish and fumbling, seeking the cover of the nearest stone
from under which to complain 'but that is not helpful to the peace
process'? We invested considerably more in this struggle than any
media interviewer so why should we not be able to publicly confront
these leadership figures in a bid to satisfy ourselves that we have
not been defrauded of a rightful return on that investment?

If he still was in the movement, he would have ample opportunities to raise
these issues with the very top people - but then again perhaps he would
prefer to stay outside and shout about how we are selling out. I suppose his
post-modernist friends are better company anyway, they probably recognise
his polemical skills and complement him on them frequently - sure, the food
is nicer anyway!

>The leadership of course would not agree. They want only Stalinist
clones with an ability to reiterate someone else's cloned phrases.
The type who when told, metaphorically, that everybody needs shoes,
think size 7s all round is the solution - and off to the social gulag
with anybody possessing the ungrateful temerity to complain that
their feet hurt.

Again, total misrepresentation. Most comrades are mad about Paulo Freire -
they even arrange seating in circles so that there is no divide between
'leadership' and 'activists'. As for Stalinists within the movement - most
people are very loyal to the movement - but loyalty is to the 1916
Declaration and the 1919 Democratic Programme not individuals. I guess it is
a failing of the cadres - that individuals tend to get made into heroes -
but then most people I know would shy away from that treatment because they
know that the project requires a party of leaders and not a party following
a leader or a set of leaders. It is precisely in this characterisation of
the leadership that he is misrepresenting the situation most. The biggest
difficulty is that most people in the party are one-dimensional in their
understanding of imperialism - they can see the big barracks, the
helicopters, the Army and the renamed RUC - but they can't see the
underlying global/economic issues. I'm afraid we are very weak when it comes
to that sort of politics - a handful of people do 95% of the work - it isn't
a closed shop, just that people don't feel confident of putting forward
their opinion. Also people like me can be overbearing and can talk in ways
which leaves others feeling inadequate. So we have lots of things to work
at, but for him to say that 'the leadership...want only Stalinist clones' is
pure tripe. Last month, we organised a day on our Education policy - now we
have 30 activists involved in policy-making in that area - that's possibly a
half of the total involved across the board. But that's the party, perhaps
Anthony is referring to the Army.

The army like any other army has a hierarchy - I don't think anyone would
suggest an anarchistic structure - not much direction/impact there. Anthony
probably felt excluded because he was not at the top - so he left. I'll
leave this one here.

>The republican struggle is over.

Now this is probably the crux of the article. The man who opposed war during
the conflict and then opposed peace during the ceasefire has now decided
(unilaterally) that the struggle is over. I guess I'm just imagining that
I'm working 16 hours a day then! That election campaign out in the bogs of
North Leitrim is a waste too. The Brits are just going to stay in my
village. This guy has just gave it all away - in his flight of fastasy, he
has concluded that God no longer believes in himself. He may as well
conclude that around the world 'History has come to an end' and that those
of us living in semi-colonial or neo-colonial states should just save
ourselves the effort and throw the towel in now.

>The energies expended in it and the
structures moulded through it are now being used for a different
project entirely. Republicans without republicanism are little
different from constitutional nationalists. The blood spilt was a
costly fuel with which to power the ambitions of self-proclaimed
establishment politicians. The ends have corrupted the means.
Genuinely taking the gun out of Irish politics would be a step
forward. Taking the dignity and defiance out of Irish republicanism
is a step too far.

There's still plenty of dignity and defiance down my way, Comrade. It will
remain thus until that certain day.
Domhnall



~~~~~~~
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.



More information about the Marxism mailing list