Reply to Michael Keaney

D OC donaloc at
Tue May 13 04:18:18 MDT 2003

A chara,

Read your last analysis. I’m pretty much in agreeance with most of it -
although it is discussed in very general terms. I think with any process of
change you could look at it from at least two perspectives - one from the
perspective of those who want to push it forward progressively and the other
from those who want to control the process in order to re-establish new
lines of regressive control. It’s really that latter perspective which you
have attempted to understand, and I don't necessarily disagree with much of
what you said. Except in as much as it is very difficult to know exactly
what is happening within organisations such as MI6 and MI5. My focus is,
understandably, within my own areas of activity and it is this, which is
necessary to gain a full appreciation of the situation (taken in conjunction
with what you have done). I won't tire readers by relocating the Peace
Process within a Republican strategy as I have previously and will instead
attempt to 'flag up' those elements of your analysis which I feel need to be
complemented by an Irish-Republican viewpoint.

>Much is being made in this article and elsewhere of the “devastating
that these revelations are having on the republican movement. That may be
true -- others are better placed to evaluate the situation.

The situation with this issue is not at all clear just now. Things will
obviously clear up with time but just now, but we really should wait to see
what comes out. One thing, there are sure to be all sorts of allegations
which will light up the papers. Secret Agents are part and parcel of any
national-liberation struggle so it’s nothing new. However, the impact of
such an agent will be marked up in order to sell copy so no-one can
immediately jump to conclusions. Having said that, obviously if the role
within the organisation in question which was identified in reports was
occupied by a British-agent then the organisation would be pretty nervous
just now. There are varying reports that the alleged agent is still in
Belfast, in Dublin and in a US Airbase in London - things are unsure so I
think we need to wait a little before assessing where things stand after
this outcome.

>However, I would like to suggest that there is another agenda at work here,
>and it involves the slow but steady decay of the UK security apparatus’s
ultimately undermining the rationale for the Union. How does this work?

I never really bought that about how Brit Agent ‘Kevin Fulton’ was getting
annoyed at his allowance and personal protection levels so he was going to
‘out’ ‘Stakeknife’. I wouldn’t be surprised that such threats would be
viewed very negatively by organisations such as MI5 who aren’t known for the
softness of their approach.

>we must assume that ...b) key elements within the British state apparatus
>are deliberately doing what they can, within the parameters set in part by
>themselves, to chip away at the edifice of British occupation and thereby
>pave the way for eventual
reunification of Ireland within the context of a European Union itself
subject to greater (presumably dominant, as it must always be) participation
by British state and capital.

I'm not quite yet used to admitting to the concept that key elements of the
Brit. state are working to ‘chip away’ at the edifice of British occupation.
We’re seeing something at work here but I'm not sure it's politically
directioned in just this manner.

>it is possible to imagine a scenario in which there has been formulated at
>the very least a tacit agreement between the hegemonic state fraction and
>the Sinn Fein
leadership, in which concessions from the IRA are to be extracted in return
for the continuing disintegration of the British occupation's superstructure
(assuming that the base has already evaporated, as argued above), which acts
to undercut Unionist demands for further concessions amounting to abject
surrender by the republicans in addition to rendering Unionist arguments
concerning the essential desirability of the Union irrelevant, again for
reasons adumbrated above.

This is the reverse of the way I would see it, but somehow it reads the
same!! Although things look almost 180 degrees opposite to this just now, I
have little doubt that this (or my parallel universe viewpoint) is what is
happening in the medium term. The current hiatus cannot be ignored, however,
and it would seem to contradict this analysis. I think that the war in Iraq
has strengthened the hand of those who are arguing for a ‘victory’ in the
north over the RM and this ties into Blair's attachment to saving David
Trimble as the Unionist leader he would most prefer to work with.

>If the political and economic base for Unionism is shrinking relative to
>that supporting reunification (as opposed to republicanism, which should be
>treated as a distinct fraction within the reunification movement), then,
>from the British point of view, this is a clever exit strategy conducted
>with the full connivance of the political party most likely to ascend to
>hegemonic status within the North, and possibly elsewhere in the remaining
>26 counties - especially if “moderates” within Sinn Fein,
>post-reunification, tie up with Fianna Fail.

This is the bit, I'm not so sure about. Quite clearly, if the Brits are
engaged in such an exit strategy, then they will try to build up the parties
of the centre. The problem with this is, I think, that they appear to have
planned that the middle parties of the liberal-nationalist SDLP and that of
the 'mainstream' conservative Unionist (UUP) would be dominant in the
transitional period. The preferred outcome for many within the British state
is a part-institutionalised and split RM within a power-sharing executive
which will act as a holding house until reunification happens. What has
actually happened is that Sinn Fein has done very well from peace, and has
managed to retain and build upon its historically high levels of support to
the stage where it now is set to consign the SDLP to the fringes of
political power (not a good place for a liberal-bourgeois type party). I
think that this, coupled with the political breakthrough of SF and threat of
more in Dublin’s parliament, the part failure of the British assault on
voter registration, and the emboldening of Blair following the Gulf War has
possibly encouraged those with a view to speeding up British disengagement
to do what they can.

I am not sure whether you are alluding that SF or Fianna Fail are set for
hegemony in the North. I suspect it is the former that you mean. I think
that the recent crisis in the whole process has demonstrated where political
opposition to Republicans has embraced the entire spectrum of the political
parties both here and in Britain. We saw Bertie Aherne lining up behind
Blair’s and Trimble’s demands because of a coincidence of interests. Of
course, SF wouldn’ allow such an alliance to remain for long, hence the
statements which attempted to meet at least some of the demands made.

>The recent revision of Europe policy by Sinn Fein, alluded to some time ago
Domhnall, might contain the seeds of such an outcome, although it should be
remembered that such a rethink is also necessary for the development of a
pan-European workers’ movement opposed to US imperialism and the imposition
of a neoliberal agenda by European and US capital. Such are the
contradictions and potentialities of the present.

Pretty much agree. Just that chances of moderates linking up with Fianna
Fail are very unlikely. SF’s not exactly a run-of-the-mill type party with
fractions and disputes. The situation post-reunification is hard to be sure
about. It appears to be some way off that just now, although the situation
within the traditional Unionist support base is interesting.

Is mise

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