Bunting/Little Memorial Speech by Bernadette McAliskey

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Sat Nov 16 21:53:37 MST 2002


Great, great speech by Bernadette.  Just as I'd expect.

She cuts through all the blarney and double-talk of the leaders who have
brought the struggle to an ignominious end in exchange for a few seats
at the master's table.

One thing I disagree with her on though is this bit, where she is
talking about the Provo leadership:

> But equally in order to maintain the
> British position, while it was necessary to draw them in to
> facilitate its creation, the maintenance of those systems and their
> smooth running mean that they must now be excluded. They were
> necessary to create devolved administration. They are not necessary
> to maintain it. It is as simple as that.


I think the Provo leadership is actually rather more important to
British strategy than she suggests here.  I think the British are keen
to modernise the 6-county statelet - not out of generosity but because
the struggle has forced them to.  However, they have also found that you
can modernise the political apparatus without changing the basic
economic structure, South Africa's transition from apartheid to
post-apartheid capitalism being a good model.

But when you make the transition you need people capable of the process
of modernisation.  While there are certainly some Unionist modernisers
in the 6 counties, they seem to be a distinct minority.  They also seem
rather fearful of Paisley and his constituency, which may be marginal in
terms of political power but is still quite sizeable and loud.

Adams and co, it seems to me, are almost as necessary to the process of
modernising the 6 counties as Mandela and the ANC leadership was to the
transition from one political form of capitalism to another in South
Africa (ie capitalism can have various political forms, and one changed
in South Africa was these forms).

The Brits are just making sure the Provo beast is converted into a
house-trained poodle before being allowed into the living room and
bedroom and onto the furniture.  At present, it can only stroll around
the hall and get peeks at the rest of the house.

The Provo leaders will huff and puff, maybe even march a few thousand of
their supporters up and the down the street, and then they will finish
disarming the IRA and disband it.  Bernadette is surely right on that score.

Lastly, she ends her speech by saying "It's time, comrades, we
organised!"  I hope this means that she is now willing/prepared to work
towards building the socialist-republican party which is so desperately
needed in Ireland now and which the IRSP (of which she was a founding
member) seems to be getting back on track with building too.



Philip Ferguson

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