Category Archives: Republican Network for Unity
In Review: Marisa McGlinchey’s ‘Unfinished Business’
Marisa McGlinchey, Unfinished Business: the politics of ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2019, 231pp; reviewed by Philip Ferguson
Marisa McGlinchey’s book should be read by all radical republicans, Marxists and anyone else genuinely interested in national liberation and socialism in Ireland.
Don’t be put off by the fact that the back cover features praise for the book from the likes of Lord Bew of the Stickies and Richard English, both of whom have carved out well-rewarded academic niches writing attacks on republicanism and producing material that can only aid British imperialism. Their reasons for praising the book are entirely different from those of anti-imperialists.
There are two key strengths to this book.
One is that it is based on on a substantial set of interviews (90 in all) the author conducted with republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Provo leadership’s move into the service of the British state and the statelets which are the result of partition in Ireland and the Provos’ move from sort sort of vision of socialism to embracing the market and capitalist austerity.
The other strength is that she largely lets the interviewees speak for themselves, rather than trying to stitch them up. Thus, for instance, she refrains from referring to them in the book as “dissident” republicans – the book’s sub-title was chosen, presumably, by the publisher. Instead, she refers to them by the much more accurate term of “radical republicans” and treats them as rational political activists rather than some kind of pathology.
The interviewees, some of whom are now dead and some of whom have left the organisation they were in at the time they were interviewed, cover the gamut of radical republican groups, some of which are linked to armed organisations and some of which are not. Thus the interviewees include independents and members of Eirigi, RNU, Saoradh, the IRSP, RSF and the 32CSM. They range from younger activists such as Louise Minihan to veterans who go back to the 1956-62 border campaign and even earlier, such as Peig King and Billy McKee. Some of the activists support Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, 32-County Sovereignty Movement, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Censorship, Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, IRSP, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - current, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity
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RNUer on the need for unity of republican-socialists
Frustratingly, articles on the site of the Republican Network for Unity don’t have dates on them, so I’m not sure when this first appeared. I assume, from where it is positioned in the list of articles, and from its reference to “election results” – presumably the British general election of June 8, 2017 – that it was some time in the past six or seven months. It addresses an issue very close to my heart: the need for socialist-republicans to unite, instead of being divided into half a dozen small competing groups which, individually, simply can’t pose an alternative to the Shinners.
The writer is the PRO of Republican Network for Unity, a small socialist-republican current formed originally by former POWs who had come together to express opposition to the Sinn Fein leadership’s support of the policing boards in the north.
by Nathan Stuart
The election results pose many questions and challenges for those who continue to hold out for separation between Ireland and England. Any Irish republican who believes the current situation that anti-agreement republicanism finds itself in is in any way desirable isn’t examining the situation with honestly.
Sinn Féin are undoubtedly the winners of the election. Their results represents a seismic protest vote against DUP corruption and sectarian rhetoric. Sinn Féin, admirably, are portraying this result as an expression of separatism, without examining the reasons behind the electoral mobilisation or admitting the severe limitations of the Belfast Agreement in delivering for those with aspirations for Irish unity.
The Stormont project has been a failure from its inception. All it has to offer is a Read the rest of this entry →
Speech by RNU’s Paul Crawford at July 3 Newry anti-internment rally
“I’d like to begin by thanking the organisers of today’s picket for asking myself to represent the Republican Network for Unity and our POW’s department Cogus here this afternoon. It’s a privilege and an honour to address you all.
“The fact that we are here for the 3rd year in a row is evidence that Internment as a tactic to disrupt political activity is very much alive but also that our opposition to Internment is equally alive.
“In order to oppose Internment we must first understand what it is and what it is used for. In many ways the word has been over used and as such has lost much of its impact and meaning. There are those who would say that everyone incarcerated by the British or the Free State are interned. There are those who would state that while all internees are political prisoners, not all political prisoners are internees.
“For our purposes, however, it is enough to state that the original definition of internment is correct. Those who are detained without charge for the political expediency of the state. People like my comrade Tony Taylor, a perfect example of internment by the state to prevent and hamper legitimate political activity.
Tony, like Martin Corey before him, has been remanded in custody at the behest of the British secretary of state. No semblance of a trial, no pretence of a trial. Secret evidence that can’t be disclosed and won’t be disclosed because it doesn’t exist.
“We have miscarriages of justice like the cases of the Craigavon 2, men who have been deliberately framed on the word of informers and Walter Mittys. Set up by the dirty hand of the British security apparatus and practically ignored by the political elite despite a growing realization that these men are innocent across the board. Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Frame-ups, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish politics today, Partition, Prisoners - current, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Republican Network for Unity, six counties
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Maghaberry prison administration steps up aggression
Statement by prisoners, July 1, 2016:
Yesterday the naked aggression of the Maghaberry administration toward republican political prisoners was once again exposed. The day of sinister events began at 11am when the notorious riot team raided three cells on Roe 3 occupied by Cogús republican prisoners. The three political prisoners concerned were not present in Roe House during this lockdown raid due to parole, court and visiting arrangements.
The day’s events then culminated during the evening lockup when once again the riot team entered Roe 3 and forcibly removed political prisoner and current internee Tony Taylor from Roe House and moved him to the jail’s punishment block – the SSU.
The prison administration and particularly security governor Brian Armour and Ciaran McGuinness over recent months have been overt in their attempts to fuel conflict through introducing red herring arguments to deflect possible resolutions to the main issues and systematically playing Machiavellian games.
Yesterday’s events can only be seen as a plan to further intensify tensions in Roe House. Cogús republican prisoners will not stand idle and let such antagonistic actions go unchallenged, though in contrast to the bigoted reactionary forces, we will meet their provocations in a disciplined and an organised manner, employing an intelligent and practical strategy to ensure our rights as political prisoners are won.
Roe 3, Maghaberry
Remembering Tony Catney
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish politics today, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Republican Network for Unity, Revolutionary figures, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism
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Gay marriage referendum
I’ve written a feature-length article about this for another blog. Because it’s written for a mainly non-Irish audience, it explains things that wouldn’t need explaining to Irish readers, but hopefully is still well worth a read by this blog’s readership.
You can find it at: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/irish-society-and-politics-and-the-referendum-on-gay-marriage/
Posted in 1798 - 1803, 1930s and 1940s, 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, Catholic church/church-state relations, Censorship, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Free State in 1920s, General revolutionary history, Irish politics today, IRSP, Officials, Political education and theory, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Republicanism pre-1900, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Wolfe Tone, Women, Youth and youth rights
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Shinners seize the moment – socialist-republicans need a serious alternative
The bould Shinners have certainly stolen a march, a big one, on both Fianna Fail and the government by announcing their 100th anniversary celebrations of the Rising. And that these celebrations are open to all. In other words, they are effectively acting as if they are the government and the state and the inheritors of the mantle of 1916, all rolled into one.
Their programme begins early – it starts this August by marking the 1915 funeral of Fenian O’Donovan Rossa, one of the events that showed the size and power of the Irish Volunteers (the Citizen Army also took part). And, of course, it was at Rossa’s funeral where Pearse gave his famous graveside oration, culminating with the words “Ireland unfree will never be at peace.”
An exhibition on the Rising, Revolution 1916 Eiri Amach, will run for no less than 33 weeks at the Ambassador Hotel at the top of O’Connell Street. International Women’s Day, March 8, will be dedicated to the role of women in the Rising and the dual fight for the rights of Ireland and of women. (Ironic, considering the Shinners tawdry shilly-shallying on the very basic right of women to access abortion.)
A visual spectacular is planned for the GPO, running the actual 100th anniversary of the dates of the Rising – April 24-29. A 3D video will tell the story of the rebellion, with the GPO itself even appearing to come under shell fire and be engulfed with flames, as it was in 1916.
A number of other events, including a reconstruction of the Citizen Army marching from Liberty Hall to St Stephen’s Green, and events marking the Irish diaspora, are also planned.
Another way in which the wily Shinners have stolen a march on both the Soldiers of Destiny and the government is getting descendants of the 1916 leaders on Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in éirígí, Commemorations, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish Citizen Army, Irish politics today, IRSP, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Republican Network for Unity, twenty-six counties, Women, Women in republican history
A Fianna Fail/Fine Gael coalition? – A socialist-republican response
Turbulent times often bring about new political alignments. This is certainly very true of Ireland.
In the north the turbulent times of the armed conflict brought about a coalition between the Paisleyite DUP and Sinn Fein. In the south, the turbulent times produced by the economic meltdown and the implementation by Fianna Fail and then Fine Gael/Labour of Troika-imposed austerity has shaken up politics too. The result has been the rise of Sinn Fein and, to a more modest extent, the Trotskyist left.
The ruling class in the south are now faced with something of a dilemma. Do they agree to bring Sinn Fein in entirely and make them part of the establishment circle because they’ll need them in government to ensure stability and carrying the austerity programme through to its conclusion? Or do they throw their weight into bringing together Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, the two traditional parties of the 26-county ruling elite?
Although political differences between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail narrowed a long time ago – after they came to power in 1932 the Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, éirígí, British state repression (general), Corruption, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Irish politics today, IRSP, James Connolly, Partition, Provos - then and now, Republican Network for Unity, Social conditions, Toadyism
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1916, 2016: them and us
This first went up on the site back on April 28 this year; I’m putting it back up on the home page because it remains relevant. I’ll be highlighting it continuously as long as I need to!
One of the products of the end of the Provisionals’ armed struggle in the six counties and their signing up to, and enthusiastic participation in, an internal settlement there is that the kind of historical revisionism that was officially-backed from about the mid-1970s until the end of the 1990s has become outmoded. The kind of nonsense delivered up by the likes of a would-be Sebastian Flyte such as Roy Foster is now surplus to requirements.
Instead, there is a new war over ‘1916 and all that’. The southern establishment is much more relaxed about recognising and celebrating the importance of 1916 than they have been at any time since the explosion in the six counties at the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s. On the other hand, the establishment is vitally keen on tying the 1916 rebellion and subsequent war for independence into its own history. They want to present the events of 1916-21 as finding their natural and logical conclusion in the establishment and development of the 26-county state.
Moreover, they want to show that this state and its population, or certainly its ruling elite, have ‘matured’ to the level of putting the old ‘enmity’ with England behind them. ‘We’ can now recognise the ‘sacrifices’ made by Orangemen in the First World War and also commemorate men from nationalist Ireland who joined the British imperialist army and died on the slaughter fields of that war. It’s all just part of Ireland’s rich and diverse Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, Bernadette (Devlin) McAliskey, British state repression (general), Commemorations, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Independent Workers Union, Internationalism, Irish Citizen Army, Irish politics today, IRSP, James Connolly, Padraic Pearse, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - current, Prisoners - past, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Secret police, The road to the Easter Rising, Toadyism, Trade unions, Women, Women in republican history, Women's rights
Exchange with Sinn Fein
Much to my surprise I received an official email from Sinn Fein inviting me to join their on-line supporters’ group.
I replied to it as below. I could’ve said a lot more, but there’s no point in sending them a tirade of abuse (which was what was going through my head when I opened their email!) or trying to convince them of the error of their ways.
Here is my response; below that is their original email (I guess I got it because at some point I read AP/RN on-line or I ordered something from their on-line shop):
To: New Sinn Fein
I received your email with interest.
Since Sinn Fein has abandoned not only socialism but also, eventually, republicanism, I will not be taking up your offer to become an on-line supporter of New Sinn Fein.
Instead, I have joined Clann éirígí as I wish to give my support to the struggle for a 32-county socialist republic.
The Provisional leadership, or the main part of it, opted for an internal settlement in the north and is helping the Brits in running the six-county state, including administering capitalist austerity and hobnobbing with the parasites who sit atop Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, British state repression (general), Corruption, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Irish politics today, IRSP, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties
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