[Marxism] Re: The pom-pom treatment

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Thu Aug 11 10:03:20 MDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Fred Feldman" <ffeldman at bellatlantic.net>

To: "'mxmail'" <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>

Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 4:16 PM

Subject: [Marxism] Re: The pom-pom treatment

Fred Feldman writes:

On Ireland, I have no doubt that a process of the leadership moving 
away from the struggle for national independence and unity as a mass 
popular struggle has been taking place... ...

... is there any denying the exhaustion of the old forms of armed 
struggle that had been pursued for decades. No proof has been giving 
that just hanging on to those weapons, or using them willy-nilly was 
leading to the defeat of British rule.

....the IRA should not be buried prematurely, nor should its demise be 
measured simply by the decline of the "old-time religion" of the 
nationalist gunmen.


Fred Feldman's contributions are among those I value most highly on 
the list, so it was a shock and disappointment to read the part of his 
recent post which referred to the present situation in Ireland, where 
at the height of the Peace Process ("conflict resolution") loyalists 
still continue their murder, arson, triumphalist intimidatory parades 
and political intransigence, not only with impunity but with police 
support, while Sinn Fein confines itself to vigorously controlling the 
militant opposition of the loyalists' victims. My reaction, as an 
internationalist socialist, like that of John McAnulty and Philip 
Ferguson, is not a residue of "the old-time religion of nationalist 
gunmen". That never existed; however, free distribution of copies of 
an article by James Connolly on the "Physical Force Party" was a 
standard part of Stalinist "Official" Sinn Fein propaganda during the 
Official IRA's campaign ("feud") against the Provisionals ---- along 
with suppression of all his late writings against partition and for 
insurrection. After the Officials' inevitable ceasefire in 1972 all 
popular support in the North deserted them completely, including 
electorally, where they are a laughing stock. In the South they have 
liquidated into the minuscule Labour Party. The resurrection of their 
ancient charge of mindless militarism against the Provisionals is 
tantamount to mindless abuse on Fred's part.

There is no such thing as war without politics, including in this case 
dealing with the lasting political damage created by the Officials, 
carrying out the British CP politics, in their heyday. The Provos' 
politics have been honed in diligent networking, including with 
intermediaries of the British government ever since Gerry Adams's open 
Downing Street visit in 1972. In fact the IRA's stated war aim was not 
a British withdrawal but only a declaration of intent to withdraw (a 
vote of confidence in perfidious Albion!). Quite early on Harold 
Wilson offered a withdrawal, but nobody took the offer up. Later John 
Hume got the British to state that they have no interest in remaining 
in "Northern Ireland" and would go when a majority asked them to. *No 
one* objected to that. It looks as if Sinn Fein wants a very gradual 
withdrawal, in order to accommodate Unionism. That, and not 
"exhaustion of the old forms of military struggle", "hanging on to 
those weapons" or "using them willy-nilly" (?!) is the source of the 
Provos' defeat.


James Daly

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