The (d)Evolution of Revolution

Guest writer Sean Ashe addresses issues raised by John Coulter in an earlier piece on TPQ.

A recent article published on The Pensive Quill from Dr John Coulter was supposed to be about addressing the use of armed struggle. Instead the article meandered from why republicans should not engage in armed struggle just in case they inflame loyalists, to a nonsense about the ability or non
ability to march that tied in Ardoyne, the Boys Brigade and the Catholic Church!

Dr Coulter stated that:

Republicans must no longer use violence, not primarily because they can never defeat the British in a long war scenario, but because of the effects it will have on an increasingly disaffected loyalist community.

Yet a mere few lines later Dr. Coulter contradicts himself:  'Armed conflict as a weapon of political agitation is now a spent cause.' If attacks by republicans are affecting the Loyalist community and by default the attempts at normalisation in the six counties then it could be argued that republicans engaged in armed struggle are achieving something.

In the face of major military powers obviously a military victory is something even the most hard line militaristic republican would admit is not feasible, however is a military victory the end goal? I would say from observation it is not. However the destabilising of the fa├žade that passes as democracy and government in the six counties could well be in their sights. Can this be achieved without armed struggle is a question republicans should well be asking themselves, more so can it be achieved without compromising their beliefs and selling out as the Provisional Movement has done?

I'm not attempting to justify nor condemn the use of armed struggle. In the face of a media that portrays Republicans opposed to the Stormont regime as horned headed bloodthirsty warmongers I believe there needs to be a proactive approach by republicans to demonstrate that Republicanism isn't a dirty word, but something that will progress the Irish nation as a whole, Catholic, Protestant, Dissenter, Athiest, Jew Hindu, Gay or Straight ...

Republicans who oppose the Stormont regime are constantly goaded by those who administer British rule in Ireland to take them on electorally. The question republicans should be asking is why should Irish republicans dance to that tune?

When the suggestion that republicans should engage with the Stormont regime in electoralism arises I'm always minded of the words of Arthur Griffith. Quoted in Macardle's excellent book The Irish Republic. Griffith contended that Irishmen in Westminster were wasting their time, something I would apply to Stormont. Griffith stated that:

Ireland has maintained a representation of 103 men in the English Parliament for 108 years...The Irishmen are faced with 567 foreigners ... Ten years hence the majority of Irishmen will marvel they once believed the battleground for Ireland was one chosen & filled by Ireland's enemies.

As an Irish Republican I have no problem with qualifying Stormont in the same way that Griffith qualified Westminster. Why would modern day republicans enter a battleground chosen and filled by Ireland's enemies? What we do and how we do it, as republicans to create an alternative to the accepted and normalised status quo in the occupied six counties is something that we must focus our energies on.

I believe we must encourage a revolution of consciousness, of thought, we must encourage people to think and to challenge; to ignore what they are being spoon fed by the media and the Stormont regime.

However in turn we must be prepared to be challenged for our actions and deeds. Our actions should be for the good of all, not just a chosen or select few on this island of equals.

It is oft said that money is the root of all evil. I would surmise that money is the glue that holds Stormont together, that and some deft 'ruling by fooling' as James Connolly so wisely said.

The media and political spin doctors sit day after day, churning out press release after press release feeding the masses their hot air and the Stormont normalisation line. As such we need to turn the tables, cut through their spin and propaganda and spell out what they would happily gloss over. And we need to highlight this to as many people as possible, locally, nationally and internationally.

What these bastions of democracy say, how they said it and how they act should be scrutinised at every turn, as should the conduct of party members in 'community positions' funded from the public purse.

The Stormont regime's double standards and hypocrisy should be exposed at every opportunity. Sadly at present it seems that the unionist leaning press coupled with the TUV's Jim Allister, and on occasion the Irish News, have been at the forefront of recent revelations around specific failings of pro-Stormont parties, their members and their associates. No opportunity should be missed. There may be a stanglehold over the mainstream media, but they can't stop bloggers, social media, or leaflets going in doors. The essential thing is to ensure the information is accurate, and it can be substantiated. This is where information obtained under freedom of information comes into play. Under the Freedom of Information Act govt departments and public bodies are legally bound to provide you with information or documents you ask for.

The political parties in the six counties have been exposed time and time again for their hypocrisy, the wastage of public money that the TUV's Jim Allister points out on a regular basis, the unfair allocation of homes to family members by leading Shinners, the investment of MLA's pensions in nuclear weapons, and the recent Red Sky/Nelson McCausland scandal. How Stoop MLA Pat Ramsey can justify £98,000 in expenses when many are barely eking out a living. People should be told these things, and reminded of them time and time again.

Republicans need to begin to make a concerted effort to publicly expose how people are being failed You may not support the Stormont regime, but you have every right to question it. You don't have to take them on electorally, you can choose the how and when you challenge them, exploiting
every opportunity to do so.

If the DSD provide funding for a Sinn Fein community quango, and jobs go to those politically affiliated, then ask for copies of the funding applications. Look for copies of their monitoring returns and see what they are claiming they are doing. I'm sure you will find a great disparity on certain occasions. Make sure they are providing what they have received funding for, and make sure they are not ghettoising your community to fill their back pockets with money that should be invested in communities.

We must involve ourselves in community projects, providing oversight and ensuring that when resources are earmarked for an area that they are delivered equitably, that communities are consulted in an open honest and transparent manner, and that the wishes of the community are respected.

An example of this being effectively put into play was a couple of years back when a Sinn Fein community quango in cahoots with the NIO erected 'security gates' in the middle of the Bogside in Derry. It was proved their consultation with the community was somewhat lacking. Republicans and local
residents came together and removed the gates.

As political and community activists we need to be practical and pragmatic. As individuals or members of groups we need to start this work within our own communities at a grass roots level. This should not to merely expose the failings of the politicians, but for the betterment of all, for a true island of equals.

I'm delighted to say I do see this happening in some areas, people are organising and working on the ground, within our communities, and not just for nice funded jobs. This has seen the start of new community groups, food banks and active support for communities suffering from anti-social

As the MLA fat cats award themselves pay rises and sponge off their huge expense accounts in their subsidised eateries Republicans should be involved in activities that benefit everyone especially those who are most vulnerable: working with the people for the good of the people, not against the people.

If I was to suggest one thing that would help advance any alternative to Stormont then I would encourage people to question. This is something I do with with my friends and work colleagues on a regular basis. And because I am raising the topic in general terms and not specifically Republican terms then it provides more scope for conversation, and in turn they may go and talk to people about what we have discussed. A prime example being the recent conduct of former Sinn Fein Councillor Joe O'Donnell in Belfast who
bypassed a homeless man in favour of his niece. That brought up some interesting conversations, which then led to other discussions: the result being that next election at least two of my colleagues will be abstaining.

As Bobby Sands is often quoted:

Everyone Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.

 Perhaps now is a prime opportunity to bring those words to life.


  1. Interesting comparative of Stormont and Westminster in regard to Ireland. Considering that the piss-process is nothing more than a huge never ending gravy train for a coalition of the willingly corrupt and spineless, it is little wonder there is no official opposition in the place.

    Maybe it is a good angle for people and alternative political groups to research the antics of the all for one and one for all scoundrels on the hill. It may also slowly but surely shake the media from it's position of facilitating at all costs the crap that passes for progress here. Be interesting to see just what they've been up to. TOGETHER AT THE TROUGH.

    Yep, a research project outside Stormont by independent groups may be the perfect answer seeing as they are all in cahoots and a law to themselves. An opposition based outside the place and independent of the rogues in it.

  2. the result being that next election at least two of my colleagues will be abstaining.

    Thats a great idea. Next elections (European, council or other). No one vote. Everyone who stands will lose their deposits and it will be an eye opener to everyone. Let's not forget people, Belgium went over 500 days without an elected gov.

    Or instead of voting in the same political dinosaurs..Vote in fresh blood.

  3. When will irish republicans reconcile themselves to the absolute fact that unionists are the front line of Bruttish occupation of Ireland and not just a symptom of it.

    The proclamation was all well and good in an idyllic world but dont let it chain you to an ideal that is far from the reality.

  4. When will irish republicans reconcile themselves to the absolute fact that unionists are the front line of Bruttish occupation of Ireland and not just a symptom of it.

    Feel te love, Irish republicans figured that out long ago. What they (Irish republicans) have so far failed, is convincing PUL-ers that the Brits are simply using them. As for the proclamation, it's probably more relevant today than anytime in the last 50/60 yrs. All you have to do is look at the bollicks the the banks left the 26C's in. As for Tony Blair & call me Dave..They didn't do anyone any favours apart from the choosen few.

  5. Frankie

    It's not simply the Brits using the loyalists, you have that relationship misjudged in my view. Loyalism is 'loyal' only in so far as its vested interests are met by Westminster. They are the ones doing a greater percentage of the 'using'. When the time comes I expect them to become as ugly towards the UK as they are towards Ireland.

  6. Frankie-

    " No one vote "-
    " Vote in fresh blood "-

    Great campaign slogan you have-Lol-

    Poor Rich Conall McDevitt has jumped from the Assembly with more pay packets than the Liverpool team-x number two in the stoops is still crying-just goes to show that money cant buy everything-just a Stoop or two-

  7. Frankie you are talking balls. Dont take that personal as it is just my opinion of what you advocate, or the proclamation advocates. The Loyalists are scum and in my opinion there is no place in Irish society for them. Just like there is no place for bent bankers or corrupt politicos. Dont ask me to sup from your,(lets wean them attitude to the true path). They are all cunts in my opinion and I have arrived at that stance from experience and Frank I am from Ardoyne> earlier post.

  8. Sean,

    welcome to TPQ with a debut article. Hopefully, there are many more.

  9. feel the love, such a facist attitude 'there is no place in Irish society', sounds like a protestant state for a protestant people only the colours are different. When loyalists apply that logic I would condemn it, when neo nazis would use that logic I'd condemn it, when a Repubican uses it I'd condemn it.

    And Michael 'HoHoHo' Henry you gave me a chuckle, from someone who supports a party whose members lets say have many revenue streams, and are known to ignore employment legislation to be making comment about someone in another party. Ah well, you should get a tattoo, shinners in glass houses should't throw stones :o)

  10. I just saw on BBC1 Scooterland that over 30% of homes in Glasgow are without a single household member in employment. It did cause me to laugh with a mixture of shock and disbelief. But it also made me wonder about the UK burden here with all the wee taigs on the dole who insist they are not British. I'm starting to think the Westminster has a huge masochistic streak and loves being used, by everybody!

  11. @ Mackers. I had to laugh at that.

    @ Snowtorch, I am no facist, in my opinion but you are entitled to yours. In my opinion you are wrong about loalists, "they dont belong here", but if they are to remain here they should adhere to the democratic wishes of the population. Not like the last time when it did nt go their way nearly 100 years ago. This time anyone who does nt like the outcome and opposes it, should be executed by the governing state as an example to to rest of those whom would oppose the will of the people. Alternatively they could fuck of to those not so far of lands were nobody wants them.

  12. Larry, going on past 'stat's and today's 'figures'...loads more deaths, 10 billion GBP per yr and fcuk knows for what. You've said repeatly you hope to leave the cauldron soon. Do it....

    What I like the TPQ for is simple. Gives me space to understand...or at least fill in a jig-saw.

    I don't see the difference in someone in Clichy or Ardoyne...Woodstock Road, Bronx or where ever not having a pot to piss in. Personally I don't. All I know is no one has the money to buy a pot in the first place.

    While our Lords and Masters are afraid to wipe their arse because they drank gold leaf laced Vodka at lunch this afternoon.

  13. Frankie

    Not at all sure what you are getting at, other than possibly class division..?

    I don't have a problem with well healed people, just with the likes of a senile old witch like Thatcher sitting in the Ritz while having no idea where she was as her friends were imposing a bedroom tax on dole-ites. That miffs me.

  14. Yes Frankie I agree with that. I would love nothing better than a revolution along the lines of the French type. A new world order with a lot less money orientated cunts. Frank I dont care what pot loyalists piss in or on but,my attitude is cultivated from their ability to piss on the community I come from, remember (St Mathews). Dont worry Frankie your point has nt been lost on me. Orange men are just what it says on the tin and there is no place in this country for the scum unless they are willing to accept me and every other human being on this piece of ground as nothing more or less than themselves. There is only one thing I hate more than loyalist scum and that is Sinn Fein scum. Pussys like you perpetuate the conflict here by your proclytype idealistic view of the world. The brits are scum and got were they did by murder ,torture, oppression in its many forms. All I want is them gone from here so that the people of this island can challenge the mentality that has beset the free state and brought it to its knees.

  15. Feel te love,

    'Feel te guff' appears so much more appropriate.

  16. I grew up in a loyalist area and even I am still beyond confused by them. I personally do not believe that hardline thugs who spew venom will ever be changed, regardless of how much sense or evidence may be presented to them. Whilst walking my dog past the Short Strand / Albertbridge road last night, I looked over at the small crowd of flag protestors. Most were just standing talking and looking awkwardly around and of course, trying to stare down any residents of the Short Strand. A lone police wagon sat watching. Out of the small crowd, I wondered about how they are being used by the PUP and DUP. They are so easy to lead and from the vast majority I have spoken to, they are not the brightest bulbs around. 10 months into these protests and the no surrender ever crowd has faded away to watch Eastenders. I think social mediums like facebook is to an extent, keeping the protests and hatred at the front. It is it's life support. Sadly it gives voice to hatred from the like of jim dowson and that crazy Frazer guy. I have met Jim Dowson and Jamie Bryson last December and well, they live in fantasy world. Reality is that only a small fanatic group of non church going / actual practicing Protestants are in support of this extremism. I was raised to only call yourself a Protestant if you actually take part within that religion. Sadly it is nothing but a cheap convenient sectarian label for these people.
    The UVF are now painting more gunmen on walls. The latest features a warning against oppression. As a child I remember a local band that was a very well known UDA band, marching through the area with a colour party in full UDA combats carrying UFF flags. The mass crowd tagging along with their blue bags of beer and teenage drunks singing along to UDA songs that ironically are set to some Irish rebel tunes. My Mother would quickly shut the windows and draw over the curtains to block it out. Those are people so far gone from the point of return with hatred. Ireland is changing fast and as we can see from the British government, they want to leave to extreme element behind.

  17. I think I first saw this link on the TPQ a while back, this seems to be the way to go.

    Exposing how the people are being taken for a ride by those who claim to be working for the good of the people and backing it all up with substantive evidence.