reply to Gary re N. Ireland - from Tom O'L

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Feb 2 01:43:52 MST 2003


Gary

I know little of Northern Ireland, but my thoughts are these:

1. A labour aristocracy is not the same as a settler population.  It would
be interesting to discuss whether the standard of living of Jewish
Israelis is in fact artificially propped up by imperialism. But it is a
separate question.
2. if you can prove empirically that the Protestant *working class*
specifically benefits from imperialism, perhaps you could present the
evidence. Actually I was under the impression that many Protestant
workers in the north are not terribly well off compared to the rest of the
British state, which would suggest that they only THINK  they benefit
from imperialism.
3. Of  course if one group is better off than another, you can call that
"privilege" if you like. The question is whether they are better of
fbecause imperialism takes wealth from the Catholics and pays it into
the bank accounts of the Protestants (so to speak). I doubt this
happens.
3. Apart from that, this debate began with Ben's suggestion that  social
democratic reformism derives from the labour aristocracy.  In Northern
Ireland I believe social democratic reformism takes two main forms: the
SDLP and now Sinn Fein. So Ben would need to find a labour
aristocracy amongst the CATHOLIC workers. Hmm, seems to me this
aristocracy theory gets diabolically tangled.
 4. Your comments on utopia reminded me of how you raised this at
Graeme Grassie's funeral. Despite us being in the midst of conflict at
the time, I remember your warmth towards me on that occasion. I can
will happily agree that a moral and even utopian SPIRIT is needed for
us to survive these dark times. But our analysis still needs to be
scientific, which means there has to be a material basis for thinking that
workers will unite. If we actually believe that white workers benefit from
racism, that material basis disappears.  I would find that utterly tragic;
but fortunately I don't believe any such thing.

- best
Tom


There is a lot buried here, Tom, is there not?  I think for instance of N.
Ireland. There the Protestant working class can be empirically proven
to
benefit materially from their links to British Imperialism - still, but
presumably to a much lesser extent than before the Civil Liberties
uprisings of 1968.

The British Left like to deny this, but they are simply refusing to seek
truth from facts as China's Machiavelli once said.

However where the Protestant working class did not benefit was in
cultural
and moral terms.  The iron logic of this can be seen if we compare a
leader
of the Catholic working class - Gerry Adams - with a leader of the
Protestant working class - Mad Dog Adair. Of course random or not so
random
samples of two are hardly scientific.  But I rest happy on any
comparison
between the workers who wave the Israeli flag and those who raise the
Palestinian flag.

Are the Protestant working class then a labor aristocracy?  It would
seem a
shocking thing to say, but of course they are. How, though, could an
aristocracy produce such a lumpish thug as Mad Dog Adair? However
when
unemployment in Catholic working class estates is twice or more that of
the
unemployment in Protestant working class estates, no other category is
adequate to describe this situation, IMHO. Privileges are relative, but

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