Monthly Archives: May 2012
Divided views on republican split
I write in reply to Pádraig Yeates’s letter (May 9th) concerning the events of more than 40 years ago.
The Irish Press of January 29th, 1971 (Book Review page) carried an extensive review by me of Dr J Bowyer Bell’s The Secret Army: A History of the IRA 1916-1970. In it I dealt with the army convention of 1969 and Sinn Féin ard-fheis of 1970.
The voting figures given show that the “decision” at the convention was not a valid one. These figures given by me lacked a two-thirds majority and were never challenged from any source then or since. I quote once more: “The voting at the army convention of December 1969 is given [in Dr Bell’s book] as 39-12 in favour of recognising Westminster, Stormont and Leinster House, while those who were there know that it was Read the rest of this entry
It’s a mark of the new post-Orange six-county statelet that someone like Barra McGrory can be Director of Public Prosecutions and, in this post, be in charge of what the Republican Network for Unity has called “imprisonment by remand”, following the recent arrest of seven republicans (not to mention the ongoing imprisonment and mistreatment of Marian Price).
Only a couple of months ago, McGrory was defending the renewed use of supergrasses. When a supergrass trial of a dozen loyalists accused of murdering a leader of a rival loyalist group came unstuck at the end of February – all 12 were acquitted – McGrory defended the legislation that had made the trial possible.
It’s also interesting that McGrory is an Irish-speaking member of the nationalist community and a Read the rest of this entry
I get a steady but very small stream of emails from people being very positive about the blog. Also, hits on the blog have been about 300% higher this year – on a month-to-month basis – than last year. So there is clearly an audience and there is a layer of people who are glad the blog exists and see a use for it. In the past six months a small number of people in Ireland, centred in Kildare, have started to write for it, mainly about local events such as the struggle of the turf-cutters, but also about wider stuff like the Austerity Treaty, the Household Tax, the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s and so on. There is also a Belfast-based contributor.
Once in a while, I’ll even get people leaving comments on articles!
It would be great to get more feedback, in terms of comments on articles, and in terms of writing stuff. For instance, I’ve had a number of people email me to say what a good idea a political economy research/writing project would be, but only one solid offer of involvement. So, at present, that project is on the back burner. I’ll get up some more material about Marx’s critique of political economy (basically how capitalism works, why it goes into crisis and so on) over the next few months and then refloat the idea.
Such a project could also suit people outside Ireland. People who might have more time, because they’re not involved in the level of activism that is possible and necessary in Ireland itself. If there are any readers outside Ireland who haven’t contacted me about the idea of the Claochlú project simply because they live in some other country, I’d actually love to hear from you!
I’m only too aware that some stuff I had promised to get up by the end of May is not yet up. In particular some book reviews, the Markievicz pamphlet What Republicans Stand For, and something on the role of government spending in a specifically capitalist economy and why the Keynesian call for its expansion will make the crisis worse not be some kind of improvement. In the next couple of weeks I am rather frenetically busy, but will be able to get up some of this stuff. From mid-June, however, my work-work eases off a fair bit and I’ll have more time to work on the blog.
One of the things that I hope to be able to do is a weekly review of what’s on socialist-republican sites. I’m often tempted to put up heaps of stuff on this site from those other sites, and I do in fact put up quite a lot. In future, however, while I’ll still be putting up stuff from those sites, I’m going to cut down the amount of it by doing a regular review with links to particular articles and videos.
What I want to start getting stuck into after mid-June is book reviews; more interviews; a series of educational study guides on Irish history, Connolly, Costello and Marx & Engels (in particular around the intertwined national and class question); and work on the political economy of the island today. I will also be continuing to argue for socialist-republican unity in action.
I believe the mid-long term aim of such unity in action should be the formation of a single socialist-republican organisation but even unity in action for its own sake would be a significant step forward. For instance, I think it’s crazy that each organisation has its own Easter commemoration. What is so difficult about, for instance, éirígí, the IRSP and the RNU – all of which declare themselves to be unequivocally socialist-republican – holding common Easter commemorations? What law of the universe, let alone of socialist-republicanism, declares that they must all hold separate commemorations? From what I can see the only reason this happens is that the three groups all arose at different times from different splits – one a split from the Officials and the other two arising originally from recent splits in the Provos.
OK, fair enough, that’s just how things happen. But can we now not move beyond how things historically have created these three organisations to understanding the need to act consciously to maximise the impact of socialist-republicanism and build a revolutionary movement across the island?
Take the Easter commemorations. Imagine a joint éirígí/IRSP/RNU commemoration in Belfast and Dublin. Have a speaker from each organisation plus someone like Bernadette. Mobilise everyone that can be. In fact, for events like Easter commemorations, invites could go to groups like the 32CSM (who don’t call themselves socialists, although most individual members probably would) and RSF, who may be determined All Aloners but who may also surprise – don’t know until you try them.
In the meantime, socialist-republican disunity makes the Brits and the Free Staters stronger and leaves the Provos laughing all the way to Stormont. And the working class puzzled.
Anyway, enough of the frustrated rant. The other practical thing I want to do is start organising some public meetings here to build solidarity with socialist-republicans in Ireland and publicise issues around the prisoners and repression.