‘Battle With Capitalism’ — In France As In Ireland — Lies In Renewing The Republic

Sean Bresnahan thinks there are similarities between protests in France and oppositional currents in Ireland.

The ‘Gilets Jaunes’ protests ongoing in Paris are symptomatic of working class discontent — not only in France and with the Élysée Palace but with governments and states across the West.

But for the emerging movement in France to succeed it must establish a political direction. The manifesto commitment of Jen-Luc Melenchon — to mount a constituent assembly upon a ‘Fifth French Republic’ — is the direction it hopefully travels.

This, too, is where we should aim towards in Ireland.

The core objective for a movement as this, here, must be to restore the sovereignty and unity of the Irish Republic. For ourselves, the battle with capitalism unfolding on the Champs Élysées lies there — in establishing anew that Republic.

The French, too, should do likewise, by bringing forward the assembly proposed by Melenchon at the last election — giving, thus, power to the people to determine their affairs and their destiny.

We are dealing, in the now, with a rigged system — one designed by the already powerful to preserve their position over that of working people. We need, then, to design a new system and that is what a constituent assembly can give onto.

In the times of flux before us, born of Brexit and new demographic realities, we must ensure that when we arrive at a nationalist majority — triggering thus political change — that we move not to a revision of the standing order but instead to a new beginning.

Asserting Irish sovereignty and independence will be key in that event; building a movement capable of doing so the necessary precursor and the task now to hand — a popular extra-constitutional movement that upholds the Republican object.

People in France, likewise, must have a clear programme and a clear idea as to what and where they intend, if their discontent is not to be hijacked in the event it succeeds toward change.

Through such endeavour, we can arrive together at our shared objective — the free association of free nations envisaged by the great James Connolly. Whether in France or in Ireland, his timeless vision is now where our efforts must set toward. 

Sean Bresnahan, Chair, Thomas Ashe Society Omagh blogs at An Claidheamh Soluis

Follow Sean Bresnahan on Twitter @bres79

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

15 comments to ''‘Battle With Capitalism’ — In France As In Ireland — Lies In Renewing The Republic"

  1. Sean you seem to have missed the word “fuel tax” out of the article (I’ve read it twice)? If we are to draw parallels to Ireland, we need to identify what we are actually witnessing surely? Is this omission because the Irish Left (I group you there loosely) is such an advocate for this type of “green” policy ?

    The next big source of malcontent across Europe is the end effect of open borders migration. A few-ish years ago on here I identified France (again), and it’s farmers in the South as the region that will detonate, the Irish Left are isolated from the insurgent energy since this is another article of faith for them.

    It seems any potential challenge to the status quo the Left could of made is stillborn on delivery due to fashionable,metropolitan ethical models adopted many years before.

    I would of liked to have seen your reaction to the Angela Nagles article recently carried on TPQ, it’s seems to articulate precisely the concerns Republicans and the Irish Left should be advancing, ordinary people’s concerns, unvarnished and challenging as they may be. Instead it seems they will continue to argue for ‘Direct Plantation’ etc whilst others seize these uniquely disruptive events to take power.

  2. I read that article, David, and thought it an excellent piece. I didn’t comment on it, though, as I don’t really comment here these days — it invariably ends up in a dispute with yer man. I still read the site and have never stopped reading it.

    Ultimately, the point I was making in the article is that political protest, as that in France, need political direction or it can be co-opted and usurped by elements as the Boyd Barrett’s and Mary Lou’s, who pose as radical but are in reality mudguards of the establishment. They serve to divert protest into constitutionalism, not to energise it towards real change. I would like to see such movements energised and think a coherent political direction can serve to do this.

    As prospects for constitutional change in Ireland continue to grow — we see now polls that declare the ‘unity’ position the majority position in the North — it is critical that we set toward the political direction we ought to. That is that I’m more focused on than anything else at this point.

  3. Asserting Irish sovereignty and independence is fine. Yet, it will still need a lot of work to garner support both North and South. While its understandable that these ideas will be proposed, especially so with the potential flux that exists around Brexit, I still believe they are largely based on hope rather than objective analysis. As such I see little realistic potential for their fulfillment any time soon.
    In recent exchanges with AM on the Seamus Grew & Roddy Carroll thread I ceded to him with some reluctance and qualification "your points are well made. Yes, British behaviour rather than merely a British presence was central; central to the genesis and indeed the longevity of the conflict. I think that's a useful distinction to bear in mind when reviewing the past (and also when anticipating a future)."

    Assuming AM's analysis is correct and acknowledging his prescience on similar matters I think it unlikely that the nationalistic consensus required for the movement Sean proposes can be achieved. Old nationalism particularly in the South, save but for a smallish minority, is long dead. For the greater majority its tenuous and unlikely to be resuscitated.
    The implication in AM's observation is that there isn't as great an anti-British sentiment as some republicans imagine and there's every possibility that a sizable enough number of 'CRN's' in the North even might also possibly oppose any motion that aspired to unity; that, or they might conveniently and quietly abstain from the process. Add to all this the probability that a majority of 'PUL's' still have a greater disdain for Dublin governance in any shape or form than that they may have for such from Brussels and the improbability of the movement as Sean proposes become fairly clear.

    (The Gilets Jaunes had a great banner on the Arc de Triumph today Fuck Your Old Woman, Not Us ).

  4. HJ, as long as someone cares enough about their local community and sense of nationhood enough to firebomb hotels laid out and paid up for anyone but us Irish, then the freedom torch will live on.

    Hahah that has a whiff of soaring rhetoric , the type of stuff I used to moan at when Sean did it funnily enough, but now I love it, groups and individuals buy into more than the forms I used to advocate (sort of simple, plainly structured, nothing too dreamy or over ambitious etc) , its our shared myths and illusions that binds us as a distinct people, the empirical and observable is for everyone and no one .

    That’s why extrapolating the trajectory of our Island and assuming its permanence is an error.

    We know Irish history is replete with major political fuck ups, we can see its latest incarnation with direct provision, there are other majorly disruptive events coming along. Will the transition to a post AI world be as shocking as what followed the industrial revolution, whose effects and after shocks we still live with today? All this is no more hopeful or less valid than the latest economic predictions of future supply chain risks (for example) , we need to be thinking about this stuff now so we are in a position to profit from them. Sorry if this is waffly.

  5. DaithhD - it would probably help if you made it a little clearer.

  6. Daithi,
    It's interesting you bring up AI, not a lot of people seem to be talking about it. I watched Elon Musk among others warning that up to 90 per cent of human labour could be taken up by AI. Theoretically it could be a golden age for humanity, the biggest exploiter of man, human labour, being no more. Though i don't hold my breath. If you look what the industrial revolution helped create, debt houses,starvation, social revolution that resulted in the cold war. What happens when this sort of power is in the hands of a few or worse beyond the control of humanity?

  7. David - and there is moi thinking he meant Amnesty International!!

  8. David, very broadly it was the Russians inability to transition from an agrarian society to an industrial one that led to Communism and conflict, at the very least it was a necessary condition.

    The post-AI world transition could be even more fraught and I’m not optimistic the benefits will be immediately measurable to the average person, of course no Western politician will attempt to grapple with this , they barely deal with immediate concerns.

    I know this will have profound implications for the concept of individual property rights, whose foundational logic is that owners who purchased land will utilise it better than those who get it for free. This is not the case in an AI planning world.

    Also highlighting the lack of pre planning , we are signing a migration pact in the UN to allow the third world to travel to the West “to do the jobs we Westerners won’t do” apparently, but unskilled manual labour will be the first victim of AI, are these people simply going to return home?

  9. Daithi D - pretentious? No: French.

    In rushing your fences you seem not to have noticed Sean's title.

  10. DaithiD - no, French, not Kenyan

  11. AM, thought you were throwing around a bit of French so beloved of the Islington inteligencia types!

  12. DaithiD - one of those occasions where context is not mere alibi


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