[Marxism] Who's to blame?

seamus currann redflag32 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 29 04:21:51 MDT 2008


At the time of writing a young man, emmett shiels, is lying in a morgue with
a bullet wound in his stomach because he was in the wrong place at the wrong
time. Shot at point blank range because he dared to take on a group of local
youths who proclaimed to be Republican and fighting for the betterment of
their neighbourhood. A tragedy of this magnitude should encourage the
Marxists and Republicans in Irish society to start asking themselves how and
why something like this can occur. In a part of Ireland which finds
itself at the other end  of a lenghty and bloody national liberation
struggle, this murder should not have happened and strikes deep and hard
into the memory of the local masses.

There are two questions that need to be answered in relation to this.
Firstly, why is it that a group of youths find it necessary to organise on
military lines under the banner of republicanism to defend there
neighbourhood? And secondly, why do these youths believe that militarism is
the way to defend their neighbourhood?

Without considering the militarist aspect to the defending/organising of
this group of youths lets firstly ask ourselves why they might feel the need
to defend or organise at all?

These youths are between the ages of 17 and 23 so they don't have the same
memories of the struggle as older members of that community have, but yet
they still seem to want to go back to what the provisional movement were
doing 20 or so years ago. Why is this? It seems that the largest republican
bloc (PSF) have let these youths down. The direction of PSF has not
encouraged these youths to take on board their political persuasion, infact
the only people seeming to go along with the direction of PSF are the older
people of the community. Is this because there memories of armed resistence
are different than those of the youths? The last thing these people want is
a return to war, they have seen that it was a futile attempt at the time and
it would be a futile attempt now. Any political strategy that wasnt fascism
would be embraced by the people of the bogside just for the sake of peace.
This surely isn't the singular reason for the older generation in accepting
the petty-bourgeoisie politics of the provisional movement, but it is a
strong argument and one we cant ignore in relation to this tragedy.

The youth still find it nesecarry to be active in the national liberation
struggle simply because that struggle has been left alone by PSF. The GFA is
a defeat for PSf when it comes to the unification of Ireland, and the youth
can see this. This is the failing of PSF, they have taken with them the
battered and war weary of their own generation, but they have left the
progressive youth behind. We can atleast take one fact from this, if the
youth are still trying to organise-even in the wrong way- then the policy of
PSF has failed. If there was even a possibility that the national liberation
struggle could be tackled from within the framework of the GFA (good friday
Aggreement) then the youth would not feel the need to organise in their
communities under the banner of republicanism.

The militarist nature of this organisation on the other hand cannot be
solely blamed on the provisional movement. The IRSM were also very active
during the national liberation struggle so any problems we may have with the
militarist nature of this group of youths has to be directed at the
IRSP/INLA aswell. The national liberation struggle didnt have to be a
militarist one, but the PIRA and INLA took on the idea that it had. Lets not
assume it was the wrong decision or that the national liberation movement
had much choice after the behaviour of the British establishment during the
civil rights movement but if we can agree that it wasnt the only option
available at the time it would be enough for this discussion.

Militarism has turned into a cancer in Northern Ireland society. The tactics
of the Republican movement have changed little since the days of the 1916
rising. The IRA's support would rise and fall with the particular societal
circumstances it found itself in but its tactics would never change. It has
always been about trying to win the support of the masses for armed
resistence and not about changing the tactics of republicanism to gain the
support of the masses. This had not changed up untill the provisional
leadership started to move away from militancy, through socialism and into
neo-liberalism. The tag of socialism was only taken on board by the
provisional movement because they needed a transition of radical ideology.
They couldnt see the prospect of hopping from militarism to neo-liberalism
so they fooled the membership into thinking they were radical by assuming a
"socialist" position during the late 70's. This enabled them to move towards
neo-liberalism because the threat of having there own guns fired on them was
dealt with and also because they failed,purposely, to instil a solid
socialist theory into the grass roots during there "socialist" stage.If
there "socialist" stage was honest then they would have found it impossible
to move the grass roots in the direction they have taken.

This transition by PSF is an embarrasment to Republicanism but it is the
first time the republican movement moved away from militarism. What we
understand form this is what follows.MIlitarism is not radicalism. Adams
knew this so he encouraged the idea that the party had a radical theoretical
position to fool his party into being confident with the direction of the
party. However when this is applied to the other militarists of the national
liberation struggle,the IRSM, who already consider themselves not only
socialist but marxist, you realise that this supposed radical position is
not there because of their un-willingness to abandon militarism. Militarism
represents radicalism for the vast majority of the grass roots membership of
the IRSM and it is the nervousness of this membership to abandon it which
highlights the lack of any real radicalism in the party. If the IRSM was
ideologically sound they would see no need to continue on in the
militaristic way that they do,because militarism is so out dated in relation
to the Irish struggle that it is holding the IRSM back to the point of
possible collapse. What is missing from the IRSM is a real radical position
and theoretical base. If it had this it would disown militarism (even for
now) and it would flourish.

So how does this all tie in to the tragedy of the murder of Emmett Shiels?
Look at it logically. The youth still feel a need to organise towards a
united Ireland so the GFA position of PSF has failed them. The militarist
history of the PIRA and the current militarist position of the INLA,CIRA and
RIRA are to blame for the structure of this organisation. If you let a mess
like that to fester,and openly allow this organisation  to arm itself in
your community and swan around acting like its 1916 then this tragedy was
bound to happen someday. Its a tragedy for republicanism aswell. Because of
the failure of the republican movement to curb this cancer it could mean the
rejection of the anti-GFA bloc of republicans in the city of Derry and the
herding of the masses towards the politics of the neo-liberalist PSF. The
politics of republicanism has let down Emmett Shiels, can that group of
people now begin to put things right so it wont happen again? I look forward
to hearing your opinions.

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