Strategic article on Irish freedom struggle

Domhnall Ó Cobhthaigh donaloc01 at
Tue Sep 16 09:57:49 MDT 2003

Suspension of the Assembly should not represent political stasis for
republicans, argues DOMHNALL S COBHTHAIGH, but an opportunity to develop new
sites of struggle.

MANY REPUBLICANS are aggrieved by the continued failure of the British
Government to call elections for the Assembly - with all its attendant
implications for North-South institutions. Some may feel that this heralds
the end of the Good Friday Agreement as a vehicle to forward the pursuit of
national liberation. This may be true, and we might be looking at a
renegotiation in the future - however unlikely this might appear at present.

Some may even feel that the antidemocratic behaviour of the British
Government represents a ``call of the republican bluff'' - that, in short,
the Peace Process is blocked or at a conjuncture. This latter position may,
I feel, often be rooted in a fundamental misconception of the current
republican strategy.

It is, after all, a commonplace that this strategy is based exclusively upon
electoralism. Contrary to this, I feel that it should be recognised that the
strategy relies upon a wider conception of struggle - one in which the
Republican Movement seeks to engage its various opponents in an
ever-widening number of ``sites of struggle''. Consequently, the power
struggle (i.e. that conducted by ``leadership'' in negotiations) on which
most people focus is really only a concentrated form of the underlying
conflict. Seen in this light, the suspension of the narrow field of
democratic practice at Stormont represents, not a mere obstacle to political
advancement - signalling a dispiriting and disempowering period of stasis -
but an opportunity to adapt; to widen the variety of political engagements
in which republicans challenge our opponents. It offers a challenge for us
to get beyond ``electoralism'' as the primary arena of struggle - to open a
second front in the struggle for political strength.

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