the Irish flag

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Sun Nov 17 13:42:06 MST 2002


Please ignore my earlier piece posted by mistake without signature or
clipping of extraneous post -- my apologies.

Hi Philip, Walter, Danielle,

The present situation in Ireland seems to me the bourgeois settlement
implicit in the Irish Republican flag -- an identity politics involving
partition between Green (nationalist) and Orange (colonialist), a position
which has been lucidly argued in the past on traditional Irish liberal
democratic republican grounds -- and which probably does, even if to their
own deep regret, represent the real ideology of a majority in the south,
which is why ex-articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution (claiming the
integrity of the 32 county national territory) were surrendered in return
for a promise of civil rights in the North.

There are ex officio 122 Orange deputies on the 800-strong Ulster Unionist
Council, which controls the Unionist party and its leader, who is
continually challenged there in repeated cliff-hangers by hardliners
Donaldson and Burnside. The orange order is not only pro-imperialist but
blatantly "sectarian" ( if one can use that misleading word in this
context). For instance in its constitution the order champions the (British)
Succession Act which legislates that the British monarch must be Protestant;
something of which few English (or indeed southern-Irish) people are aware,
but which is literally a matter of life and death here in the North.

Given the acceptance of a 6 county partitionist settlement Irish
nationalists and Republicans are forced into the only way to avoid the
brutal one-party Unionist majority dictatorship they endured for 50 years,
that is, a quota on voting nationalist or Unionist (and *not* Catholic or
Protestant, as recent fancy footwork by members of the Alliance Party and
the Women's Coalition in Stormont showed). Such facts must be faced. For
instance Paisley's party was originally called the Protestant Unionist
Party, until someone pointed out that that was not good for PR, and that
since Protestants were a majority in the six counties, and democracy was
majority rule, the name Democratic Unionist Party represented its
aspirations adequately.

So Danielle is wrong to accuse Sinn Fein of "sectarianism" -- a term much
abused by "Official"  (Stalinist) Republicans, who had a flood of (covertly
anti-"Provisional Sinn Fein) posters, showing a fist squeezing the neck of a
snake, with the abstract and uninformative slogan "Crush Sectarianism!" That
is in fact a goal which could only be achieved by banning the Orange Order.
It was actually done by the British in 1836 -- but the Orangemen made
themselves indispensable again for putting down the 1848 rising.

I remember seeing an "Official" propaganda sheet of the very early Seventies
(a time when they counted) which in a totally misguided feature about one
event condemned "Provisionals" for being anti-Protestant, and then some
pages later on condemned an American right-winger for promoting WASP
ideology.

Comradely,

James Daly.









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