"Q: What do you say to those people who are unhappy but are pulled the other way by feelings of loyalty?

A: Examine their consciences. Take a good look at what is going on. If they agree - ok. If not then speak out."  - Fourthwrite interview with Brendan Hughes


Yesterday the Belfast News Letter ran a piece by Gemma Murray based on separate interviews she had conducted with myself and Richard O’Rawe. While not a joint venture the opinions expressed complemented each other and amounted to a rejection of the armed activities of physical force republicanism. Gemma Murray’s report reflected accurately what we had told her. There was nothing taken out of context and we were not misrepresented. Today the News Letter followed up with further comment from Tommy McKearney.

What has come as a surprise is the response to our comments, as if it is the first time we have made them. Yet what we said had been said many times before. See for example the following piece from The Blanket published 11 years ago, 'Silent But Lethal'.

Those who persist in a belief that physical force offers a way out need to reflect and think again. They are certainly not devoid of intelligent leaders or activists. For many of them the current debacle they view, as they gaze over the debris of a past struggle, is for the most part the result of being cheated by the Sinn Fein leadership rather than being defeated by the sheer weight of the political and military forces arrayed against them. Despite Sinn Fein machinations, the strategic balance of forces was never remotely tilted in favour of republicanism. No victory was possible. There is no shame in losing to superior forces. But it would be shameful to prosecute an armed campaign that has no chance of success and which can only fill the jails and worse. 

Republicans owe it to each other to provide frank critique no matter how unpalatable that might be. Tonight TPQ reproduces the piece by Gemma Murray to facilitate discussion on the issue, in the comments section and beyond. Readers can consider the merits or demerits of the points made as they see fit; at the very least, the ideas should be considered and debated rather than hidden away - there is more to fear from silence than frank talk.

"The most important thing at the moment is truth. The next most important thing is that people should be allowed free speech. The third objective is to force republicanism to broaden the base of debate."
- Brendan Hughes

Dissident campaign madness and it should stop, say former IRA men
by Gemma Murray
News Letter

Two former senior IRA men yesterday branded the ongoing campaign by dissident republicans as “madness” and called for them to stop.

Antony McIntyre and Richard O’Rawe spoke out after a serving PSNI officer revealed to the News Letter that dissident republican numbers are swelling even further “with young recruits who have had no previous connection to the conflict”.

Seventeen bomb attacks have been carried out in the Province by dissident republicans in the last six weeks.

Mr McIntyre said: “Republicans lost the war and the IRA campaign failed and the dissidents need to be told that it failed rather then be allowed to continue thinking what they do.

“It cost so many lives.”

The former IRA man, who now lives in the Republic, said he believes the “current republican armed campaign is disastrous”.

“On Friday night anyone’s kid could have been in the city centre.

“After Omagh (bomb) that sort of thing should never ever have happened.”

Mr McIntyre added that he believes Sinn Fein needs to tell dissidents “that the IRA lost the war”.

“Armed republicanism was defeated and it was given up,” he said.

“That needs to be explained to them. They are making republicanism seem pathological instead of ideological.”

Richard O’Rawe said he did not believe the original IRA campaign “was worth one life”.

He said: “I don’t see any direction to what dissident republicans are doing – or any strategy.

“And I certainly don’t see any hope of them succeeding in removing the British from Ireland and getting a united Ireland.”

Mr O’Rawe, from Belfast, added that he believes their “whole campaign is insane”.

“There is no strategy to it and I don’t see any reason for it,” he said.

“It is going nowhere and it should stop.”

Former life prisoner Antony McIntyre, above, spent 18 years in the Maze, with four of those on a dirty protest.

After his release in 1996 he completed a PhD in history in Queen’s University. He has since worked as a journalist and author.

He was involved in the Boston College oral history project and is currently embroiled in controversy after transcripts of the interviews held by Boston College, were subpoenaed by the PSNI in relation to an investigation of the 1972 abduction and killing of Jean McConville.

Richard O’Rawe was IRA public relations officer in the H-Block during the hunger strike in 1981.

He is a strong critic of the IRA campaign and the current Sinn Fein leadership.

Mr O’ Rawe, a published author, wrote Blanketmen: An untold story of the H-block hunger strike. He has taken part in numerous documentaries on the IRA.



Dissident campaign madness and it should stop, say former IRA men: Debate & Discuss


"Q: What do you say to those people who are unhappy but are pulled the other way by feelings of loyalty?

A: Examine their consciences. Take a good look at what is going on. If they agree - ok. If not then speak out."  - Fourthwrite interview with Brendan Hughes


Yesterday the Belfast News Letter ran a piece by Gemma Murray based on separate interviews she had conducted with myself and Richard O’Rawe. While not a joint venture the opinions expressed complemented each other and amounted to a rejection of the armed activities of physical force republicanism. Gemma Murray’s report reflected accurately what we had told her. There was nothing taken out of context and we were not misrepresented. Today the News Letter followed up with further comment from Tommy McKearney.

What has come as a surprise is the response to our comments, as if it is the first time we have made them. Yet what we said had been said many times before. See for example the following piece from The Blanket published 11 years ago, 'Silent But Lethal'.

Those who persist in a belief that physical force offers a way out need to reflect and think again. They are certainly not devoid of intelligent leaders or activists. For many of them the current debacle they view, as they gaze over the debris of a past struggle, is for the most part the result of being cheated by the Sinn Fein leadership rather than being defeated by the sheer weight of the political and military forces arrayed against them. Despite Sinn Fein machinations, the strategic balance of forces was never remotely tilted in favour of republicanism. No victory was possible. There is no shame in losing to superior forces. But it would be shameful to prosecute an armed campaign that has no chance of success and which can only fill the jails and worse. 

Republicans owe it to each other to provide frank critique no matter how unpalatable that might be. Tonight TPQ reproduces the piece by Gemma Murray to facilitate discussion on the issue, in the comments section and beyond. Readers can consider the merits or demerits of the points made as they see fit; at the very least, the ideas should be considered and debated rather than hidden away - there is more to fear from silence than frank talk.

"The most important thing at the moment is truth. The next most important thing is that people should be allowed free speech. The third objective is to force republicanism to broaden the base of debate."
- Brendan Hughes

Dissident campaign madness and it should stop, say former IRA men
by Gemma Murray
News Letter

Two former senior IRA men yesterday branded the ongoing campaign by dissident republicans as “madness” and called for them to stop.

Antony McIntyre and Richard O’Rawe spoke out after a serving PSNI officer revealed to the News Letter that dissident republican numbers are swelling even further “with young recruits who have had no previous connection to the conflict”.

Seventeen bomb attacks have been carried out in the Province by dissident republicans in the last six weeks.

Mr McIntyre said: “Republicans lost the war and the IRA campaign failed and the dissidents need to be told that it failed rather then be allowed to continue thinking what they do.

“It cost so many lives.”

The former IRA man, who now lives in the Republic, said he believes the “current republican armed campaign is disastrous”.

“On Friday night anyone’s kid could have been in the city centre.

“After Omagh (bomb) that sort of thing should never ever have happened.”

Mr McIntyre added that he believes Sinn Fein needs to tell dissidents “that the IRA lost the war”.

“Armed republicanism was defeated and it was given up,” he said.

“That needs to be explained to them. They are making republicanism seem pathological instead of ideological.”

Richard O’Rawe said he did not believe the original IRA campaign “was worth one life”.

He said: “I don’t see any direction to what dissident republicans are doing – or any strategy.

“And I certainly don’t see any hope of them succeeding in removing the British from Ireland and getting a united Ireland.”

Mr O’Rawe, from Belfast, added that he believes their “whole campaign is insane”.

“There is no strategy to it and I don’t see any reason for it,” he said.

“It is going nowhere and it should stop.”

Former life prisoner Antony McIntyre, above, spent 18 years in the Maze, with four of those on a dirty protest.

After his release in 1996 he completed a PhD in history in Queen’s University. He has since worked as a journalist and author.

He was involved in the Boston College oral history project and is currently embroiled in controversy after transcripts of the interviews held by Boston College, were subpoenaed by the PSNI in relation to an investigation of the 1972 abduction and killing of Jean McConville.

Richard O’Rawe was IRA public relations officer in the H-Block during the hunger strike in 1981.

He is a strong critic of the IRA campaign and the current Sinn Fein leadership.

Mr O’ Rawe, a published author, wrote Blanketmen: An untold story of the H-block hunger strike. He has taken part in numerous documentaries on the IRA.



53 comments:

  1. There is plenty of literature on armed struggle in this day and age, but trying to take the teachings of Mao Zedong and apply it to the North of Ireland in 2013 is absurd. This will set you up for a not so romantic failure. The wide availability of the Internet has also caused changes in the tempo and mode of armed struggle in such areas as coordination of strikes, leveraging of financing, recruitment, and media manipulation. While the classic guidelines still apply, today's anti-guerrilla forces need to accept a more disruptive, disorderly and ambiguous mode of operation. Palace Barracks in Holywood means that a rerun of the Provo campaign is unfeasible and unrealistic, Republicans seemingly cant sneeze without MI5 knowing about it. Any armed struggle now must be based on intelligence warfare and new tactics, also learning from the mistakes that the Provos and the INLA made during their campaigns.

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  2. I recognise that only British imperialism and the capitalist class would gain from Irish republicans giving up the ability to wage a war of liberation. For this reason I show unconditional support to republican POWs for example, and pledge to support their rights as political prisoners.

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  3. AM-

    " Sinn Fein need to tell the dissidents that the IRA lost the war "-

    The Provos didn't know how to lose-but were they going to keep up with the tonne bombs in England that the brits could not stop or would they try another option so we could try and live in peace-I am glad we now live in a Peace process-

    The dissidents are not at madness
    for war's sake they are mad because they cant fight a war-cant even fight a scrap if the truth be told-but even most of them are seeing that elections could hold the key to drag them away from a fight with just the cops-the loyalist fleggers can force extra police to be pulled in from England to help the PSNI but the armed disso's cant even reach that level-

    I seen your interview in a few sites today with most supporting you but a few putting the boot in with no answers from themselves-

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  4. I just posted this on facebook as a comment so I'll repost it here...

    Lets look at this honestly. We have a series of proxy bombs seen by many, including me, as putting the risk onto civilians of delivering a bomb to it's target. We have a bomb abandoned which could have killed civilians. The quick AK rattles at the PSNI etc. To be brutally honest this has become embarrassing.

    The Outcome... More prisoners in Maghaberry.

    Achievement... None... unless you are a SF politician relying on such acts for votes.

    What do we as Republicans do?

    We use our heads, we don't continue to play into the hands of the enemy.

    Put the guns away as Republicans have always done, until SF did otherwise. Begin to rebuild and create unity. If we can't unify Republicanism, we cannot unify anything else.

    Use the failures of the system to build support. Lead as Republicans but in the direction the people want to see us leading. For example in attacking the cuts, the failure of the politicians, MLAs/Councillors, to take on the system; which in effect is the British Government.

    Look at the Bloody Sunday marches where each year Republicans march in unity...

    If we can do this in protest against the cuts then we are capable of sending real shockwaves throughout the system, more than any bomb or gun attack.

    If we can do this then we have started back off on the right road, even if it is a long road with no end in sight. At least we are back on it again.

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  5. I always recall at times like this something Davy Ervine said about the seemingly intractable divisions between folk in NI: you cannot use argument to move people out of a position they've adopted out of an emotional attachment.

    The violence is not rational, it's a generational commitment to a long running narrative. What it is calling out for is a convincing counter-narrative!

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  6. Red Flag and Mick,

    welcome here as first time commenters.

    Mick,

    I think the Irvine sentiment was articulated by Jonathan Swift: 'It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.'

    Richard in his comment alluded to the irrationality.

    It is a tough nut to crack. And for those of us who hail from a republican stable there is no point in pretending physical force republicans are aliens beyond our comprehension, capable of actions we could never dream of. They drink from the well we filled. And, tiring as it might be at times, there is an onus on us to continue trying to reason with them.

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  7. I used to think most of NI's issues could be solved by education, and once educated, people could debate. Then I grew up. It isn't just the discourse in Ireland, it is -everywhere-. There is no _debate_ anymore (was there ever?), just people shouting, increasingly shrilly, their own points at each other. No one -listens-. (But at least others can hear, and as long as they can't hear the guns, that is a bonus.)

    So I don't expect 'dissidents' to listen. (Turns out I am a dissenter too, though I'll take the Jimmy Dean approach, and dissent against whatever you have.) I don't expect the 'politicians' to listen. And I certainly don't expect the 'community leaders' (nnnnnn) to listen.

    During my formative years, I was always told of the 'unity' of the working classes (either side). But if that were true, why did they *ever* engage in an armed struggle? There were far more...effective and disruptive ways of tackling things. Oh, I understand the reasons the guns were taken up, doesn't mean I agree with it.

    It still annoys me the whole thing is *always* couched in Left-ist language. Why do they hate freedom so much? It leads to (as has been pointed out, though he arrives at his conclusions from a different angle than myself, by AM for *years*) the groupthink/control exacted by the Republican leadership. The people get the leaders they deserve.

    Were the IRA wrong? Yes. Were the Loyalists wrong? Yes. Were the Brits wrong? Yes. Were the (unoccupied 26) Irish wrong? Yes.

    A total waste of youth, energy and time. For what?

    No one learns any lessons from history, and every age thinks it the pinnacle. We are not even close to that.

    They have chosen their own reality, and I applaud the efforts of those such as AM and RoR to reason with them.

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  8. most republicans i have encountered not just s f supporters recognize armed struggle is over. Its hard to admit for republicans but British intelligence had the upper hand against us. In our history its been failed insurrection after failed insurrection which leads to civil war, infighting so i do not see how an armed struggle would be beneficial to republicans as a whole. Having said that i find it difficult to be critical of people who are willing to put themselves on the line for Irish liberation. I go over and over this issue in my head and never do i see a happy ending for republicans its depressing.

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  9. UNPRECEDENTED LEVEL OF SPYING USED AGAINST DISSIDENT TRIO ACCUSED OF POLICE MURDER PLOT
    So the headline legend opens up in todays Vatican Times,aka the Irish News ,when your playing with a full deck ,poker is no gamble at all,with their home grown spies in the form of quisling $inners aiding and abetting in this dirty game the spooks are having an open season on anti agreement republicans,its time we reversed this situation by changing the game plan.
    Dixie has pointed out quite correctly over on FB that the political parties especially the big two rely on a certain amount of sectarian strife to retain their stranglehold on power here, these overpaid overfed wasters are being subsidized by us the taxpayers for doing fuck all other than feed their fat faces in the subsidized restaurant up in Stormont,the "fleg "dispute as an example of their most recent engineered crisis these micro ministers are a waste of money and in this time of austerity they should have been given their p45,s long ago , others reckon another 45 would be more effective, which brings me to that other subsidised industry that is booming here ,but in reality is causing so much misery, I refer here to the "security forces" and in particular MI5 ,these people like the politicians rely on sectarian strife to keep their expense accounts overflowing, their operatives are having a ball here and making a fortune as they go , and what do we get ? our young people are on a conveyor belt straight into jail,both sides of the community , for what? the failed military tactics of the PRM need to be ditched,the war was lost and the volunteers who gave their all were sold down the Lagan by quislings and touts with a sprinkling of carpetbaggers thrown in ,we need to change the record any attempt to imitate the failed tactics of the Ra is a waste of peoples lives,we need to dump those quislings and their cronies ,the struggle for Irish Independence must go on but we must be do it on our terms not as turkeys lining up for the Christmas chop.

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  10. Provisional Armed Republicanism was defeated. Anthony you have written extensively on Adams etc, so is it any wonder it was defeated with leaders of that quality? What if the current armed phase is guarding the torch, until people realise the GFA cant deliver unity, and Adams presented a false prospectus? Surely republicanism is about facing down overwhelming odds?

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  11. Anthony its only as tough as the method you use a cara, I truly believe that Richard and your statement is the something that is badly needed and given recent events couldnt come at a better time, what is sadly lacking here at the moment for the new generation and possibly a lot of old hand republicans is a level headed leadership who will talk sense not the old tired rhetoric of the past, we know that quisling $inn £eind has sold out and the other groupings are making very little impact ,that will take time but its doable,in the meantime the vacuum is being filled by those who wish to promote violence, here the players are crims in loyalism the securocrats their agents and of course as stated those wasters in power,If ex pows from all sides were to take a platform and call on the young and misguided to find another alternative to militant action.I think such a call could do nothing but good and would be heeded,

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  12. AM you're almost onto the same page as McGuinness. Next you'll be arguing they're a disgrace!
    And if you ethically follow the logic of your own, Richard's and Tommy's line then eventually ye too will be advocating co-operation with 'the forces of law and order'.

    There is little probability that the Provisionals will follow your call to admit that they lost the war.
    Even through some in senior and influential positions were 'compromised' the actions of the PIRA, particularly in London, suggested they still had capacity. To say they were politically and militarily defeated is just as erroneous as to claim they were victorious.

    I like yourself Anthony, and indeed Richard and Tommy wouldn't be urging young people into armed resistance but I'm not going to pretend that there isn't still a well that sustains those who embark on that path. That 'well' that sustains them wasn't and doesn't need to filled by anyone (reminds me of the arm-chair generals clap-trap used against middled aged and veteran republicans of my youth) that 'well' is sourced by several springs, the springs of history, dishonesty and injustice.

    That another generation sups from it is just the way it is, and the way it will always be until the springs that feed the well run dry.

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  13. I was in the Sinn Fein shop today and seen a t-shirt that says " IRA, undefeated Army " across it. Yet SF are sat in a British Stormont handing out British laws. I believe the peace process is a far better alternative than armed campaign. These micro groups have never and will never unite Ireland. These bombs are garden shed types and small to boot. Reckless shooting at the PSNI driving pass. None of it comes anywhere close to the major campaign the PIRA waged. 30 years the PIRA volunteers, fought, died and spent years locked up.
    Politics is the way forward.

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  14. My thoughts as a member of the unionist community - Irish Republicans need to think about their primary objective. If it is unification, then violence is counter-productive. They should remember the words of Father O'Flanagan about the futility of forcing people to love. The impression I have is that the "struggle" is not primarily about unification - but is based on a false view of the position - that this is not an internal problem and that "War against 'the Brits'" is the driving force. And as long as they are stuck in this cul de sac they continue to alienate my community and motivate and validate their equivalents on my side of the fence. Learn from the past - the Border campaign and the Provo campaign made unification impossible for the foreseeable future. Further violence will only strengthen the divide.

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  15. Anthony, you and your colleagues who spoke in the interviews with Gemma have brought a breath of fresh air to our suffocating society.

    Honest reflection and open acknowledgement of the conclusions - just what all sides need if we are to escape the follies of our past.

    I hope my fellow-unionists will have as much integrity in examining our past actions (and lack of actions).

    Reality checks will free us to find the solutions we need. A new analysis of the national question is required, and understanding how the old ones failed is a good beginning.

    Many thanks.

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  16. Marty the headline in the irish news today was and is a collaboration of the state and media in attempting to justify internment.

    I have heard there was to be a meeting held to discuss these detentions but have no idea of where or what time.

    Mackers much of what you say is correct.
    There will be so much more pain and hurt doled out before the problems of this society are solved. My greatest regret is most of it will be endured by republicans and sadly most of it will be self inflicted.

    One of the realities of Ireland is its many faces and though the case can always be made for a non violent approach. Equally the presence of the brits in Ireland will make enough of a case for armed actions for many people.

    For some it is the journey, for others, outcomes.

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  17. Anthony and Ricky have raised a valid, salient point that republicanism simply needs to address if it has any hope of establishing a renewed relevance to the body politic of the Irish struggle. With Tommy McKearney now coming out with similar sentiment then given the authority behind these voices there's an onus on us to take them seriously. We need to get behind these statements and fully endorse what the boys are saying.

    There is support out there for what republicanism has to offer, untapped support, but no-one in the wider community, generally speaking, wants a return to armed struggle and thus will accept stability and the status quo over a return to physical force. That's political reality. In effect then the recent campaign, for want of a better word, is actually detrimental to achieving republican objectives despite whatever intentions may motivate it.

    What really needs considering is that the armed struggle was to a great extent forced on us by British policy and the actions of Britain's military and as such was qualitatively different to what's going on at present - it was reactive to the needs of the people for self-defence at that time rather than being of our choosing. As a result the army received tacit support from within the nationalist community because it understood the causal factors behind the IRA campaign and recognised its inherent legitimacy.

    The situation at this time is simply not the same and it's incumbent on those who wish to persist with armed tactics to recognise this. The people want peace and they deserve peace after everything this society has been put through as a result of Britain's terrorist war here. The onus is on republicanism to exhaust every avenue of struggle available to it and an armed option should only ever be used as a defensive last resort in the event of Britain attacking our people again.

    McIntyre, O'Rawe and McKearney are nobody's fools, we should take heed of their analysis - at the very least we need to debate the merits of it. Either that or we may well end up providing Britain with the victory it could never achieve during the war here and which it hoped it might accomplish through co-opting the Provisional leadership into its apparatus of occupation and control. Let's at least have the conversation before continuing with this strategy, surely we owe the people we claim to be fighting for that much

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  18. Republicanism needs to be about building a credible political alternative to the failure of the process that gave us the Belfast and St. Andrew's Agreements. It must be based on a realistic analysis of the lie of the land and offer practical solutions to the difficulties represented by the counter-revolutionary strategy of the previous leadership. Simply being right while others are wrong is not enough, we need to evolve or face an ignominious end. There are opportunities there to be grasped and we have to take them.

    The brave and timely intervention of these men may well just open up the space required to move in a new direction, to progress our national struggle in ways that are more relevant to the existing situation in which our people find themselves, to move towards the final phase of removing the British occupation and re-establishing the all-Ireland sovereign republic for which we strive. We can still get there but we need to broaden the struggle and not narrow it.

    It's time to find a new, more-inclusive direction to move things forward that the people can embrace. We need to offer them a credible analysis, realistic solutions, a coherent strategy and ultimately something they can feel comfortable with supporting. For what my own opinion's worth I don't see this limited effort at waging an armed campaign as having any role in any of that for they are mutually exclusive. It's time for a recognition that the space we need to open up the struggle is precious and that a continuation of these armed attacks hinders the efforts to do so.

    The authority of those who've spoken out the last few days should give us the confidence to express this position now clearly so it's really time this conversation was had by one and all with an interest in bringing freedom and independence to our country. Hopefully it can be the starting point we need to get the republican struggle back where it belongs - in the bosom of the people for which it fights

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  19. HJ,

    a measured criticism even if I think the McGuinness comparison is unfounded (although funny). It is a complex area and I am glad you threw something in. I think the full range of republican opinion needs to grapple with this.

    Wolfsbane,

    the strange thing is that we have been saying it for more than a decade. However, one thing I did learn was that if we are to capture the interest of the wider unionist community (which I hadn't even considered when I spoke), then the News Letter is the optimum forum.

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  20. It is difficult to argue against armed struggle as old emotional loyalty usually hinders objectivity enhancing the already strong sense of betrayal which is negated by a quiet admiration for those willing to continue.

    I don’t believe I am alone in that sense of feeling the full weight of the sellout.
    I think many feel and are motivated by that sense of betrayal angered by the deaths and imprisonment of countless volunteers convinced it was all for nothing.

    In reality it wasn’t all for nothing the sacrifices made accomplished an important mainly overlooked fact that nationalists/republicans will never again be second class citizens in our own country unionism orange-ism and loyal-ism will never again trample us under their British boots.

    Unlike pre 69 unionists now know that republicanism is a force to be reckoned with and they would wish for nothing more than the rise of “physical force” republicans which effectively would give them back complete control.

    Physical force republicanism is at the moment facing off with a far superior invisible enemy a more sophisticated electronic digital enemy one, they cannot compete against.
    The RM was only as effective as its support base physical force republicanism does not have that luxury.

    Emulating the old tactics is a failed venture as the British know from experience how to combat every trick in the book and being honest they seem to do it with great ease.
    The British government seems comfortable enough to let the PSNI handle the combatants that is with the invisible British forces on the ground.

    Physical force republicanism is restricted in its movements already if the BA returned to the streets they would become almost immobile and from that perspective they would be setting themselves up for a complete defeat.
    Barring anything short of a civil war or another round of sectarian strife there is no military winnable objective.

    The only viable solution is to remain largely a symbolic defensive force enter into talks with the British offer a permanent ceasefire broker a deal for the release of all prisoners(again) and enter into the political arena and challenge the status quo from within.

    Anthony,

    you highlight this is not the first time you have taken a stance against physical force.
    11 years past you reference the same message but I believe most anti treaty republicans were reacting to the full weight of conditional surrender.
    I doubt amongst the confusion and division and added anger there was no room for clear minds to think logically and with objectivity.

    Instead there was desperation more of a symbolic nature that the RM could be resurrected from the ashes of defeat.
    I believe in the haste to reform that became a major stumbling block as personality rather than unity led the way splintering into sub factions within factions.

    Even today that is evident as there seems to be a dispute as to who will carry the torch and light the way forward.
    This being done with the absence of any viable strategy that could work effectively it is nothing the leaders and members are not aware of in one line...

    “it is like watching a flea trying to draw blood from an elephant” it is admirable and even noble that they wish to continue the armed struggle but neither admiration nor nobleness will deliver a sound military defeat of the British.

    The campaign should remain symbolic in nature they have proved they did not surrender but to carry on with physical force they are living in a delusion as if and when the Brits decide to strike they will be met with superior physical force.

    Lately they have shown recklessness rather than control the serious issue of the cowardly tactic of civilian proxies should be condemned by all.
    The numerous hoax bombs and even viable devices seem to do little but cause disruption not for the British government but for the ordinary people.

    ...

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  21. I don’t see how they can justify a military campaign given they appear to fail at almost every operation.
    They have a lot of problems facing off against the PSNI what will their strategy be if the BA returns?
    Even though a recent study suggest they will grow in number it fails to mention that so will the conviction rate where in today’s terms the prisoners are largely forgotten about.


    In the end game the tide will not turn in their favour the conditions for war are long past.

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  22. Well said Sean a cara to me that is exactly the kind of thinking we need now, why the fuck should we subsidize a security industry ie,spooks and screws for nothing more than see our young sent down by corrupt judges in a corrupt justice system and abused in prisons run by members of the loyal orders,we need to plug the plug on this conveyor belt of misery and begin the task of exposing this farce of a statelet as the corrupt entity as it is, run by gangsters and carpetbaggers, aris Sean great post a cara ..

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  23. I know this has been touched on-
    but I have a different take on it-

    On the front page of todays Irish
    News Allison Morris says that Colin Duffy-Alec McCrory and Harry
    Fitzimmons were the subject of a
    un-precedented scale of covert
    surveillance which included-
    Mi5 tracking their movements-
    placing listening devices in items of clothing-[ James bond could not do this-]-
    Spying technology was placed in areas where duffy went on walks-
    etc-etc-
    No details of this was given in court yet Morris knows the Mi5 secrets-God knows why Mi5 trusted
    Morris with these secret details-
    is it a two way street-Mi5 tells so they are told details of fidos friends-are there many reporters who have a active Mi5 source-if the full truth were to come out it could make the Profumo scandal
    look like childs play-this is the
    journalist who brought us the Hezbollah rockets carry on in Armagh-whats going on-

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  24. Since Republicanism does need an alternative to Provisional SF, who can fill that gap? Republican SF seem very conservative and dedicated party but I really do not understand the idea of the IRA Army council being the government of Ireland. If somebody could point me in the correct direction for that.
    Eirigi I rather do like as a group. They share a lot of my own beliefs and seem to be the biggest threat to SF.
    Should a new party be formed? An armed struggle in 2013 will not work. Even as typing this, there is a bomb scare in Belfast. Days from Christmas and young families are out shopping. That is not going to unite the people of the 6 counties. Just turns them against their core message. Though beyond " brits out" what is their message?.

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  25. Although many republicans would recognised the armed campaign as being over and view it as futile, to me it is still understandable why some choose to such a strategy.

    After all Stormont has failed, politicians, north and south, on the island of Ireland, and across the water, have all failed. The GFA has also failed, not just for republican objectives, but for all. The Haas talks, and the still bitterly divided society provide the evidence for this.

    With such failures is it any wonder that there is an upsurge in "dissident" republican activity or recruitment of those who were not born in "post-confilct" times. Is an armed campaign still viewed by some as a last resort when politics has failed, and it has failed, miserably. Where else is there for some people to turn. Myself, as a young republican, with little memory of the troubles, it is still easy to feel disenchanted with the political system when it is clear that political policing still exists or when you see the use of internment once again, and the treatment of republicans such as Marion Price, Martin Corey or Stephen Murney.

    Maybe the armed struggle is futile, maybe not. But the same question should be asked about the political system. It has not delivered and we are also allowing it to destroy lives such as the above mentioned.

    Where is there for militant republicans to turn if they give up on the armed campaign? There is no political outlet for them. Would they simply be dwarfed by the likes of SF?

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  26. Touché Mickey I see you are doing a bit of pre Christmas nut cracking.

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  27. AnBuachaill,

    You present a fairly reasonable argument that applies to segments of your generation. It is a voice we rarely hear from and in a sense largely goes unacknowledged.
    You appear to be knowledgeable and articulate and coming from a post war point of view it is one that should be listened to as 10, 20, 30 years from now many of the posters here shall be no more.

    I didn’t make my contribution to the debate lightly it is and has been something I have given a considerable amount of thought too over the years.

    Militant dissidents have been nipping at the heel of the British establishment and whether we like it or not they have been pretty much ineffective.
    For arguments sake let’s say they find their foothold and become very effective to the point the PSNI cannot contain them and the Brit Army returns.
    By that time we can expect the loyalists will be picking of Catholics nationalists and republicans and their community will suffer losses as well.

    Another possible bloodbath that doesn’t really affect you until family or friends become another statistic.
    Militarily one thing we can be sure of if the BA returns it won’t be the same BA that invaded before.
    If they do return they will hit the ground running that is running the militant dissidents out of business.
    Their practical learned experience of fighting the RM is not stored away on some shelf collecting dust.
    It will be applied along with all the more advanced and sophisticated gadgets they have in their arsenal and don’t be fooled the British Government are callous bastards when it comes to holding on to what they accomplished here in the north.
    They are not about to relinquish the union more so now they are satisfied they have pacified its greatest threat to them.

    Unless militant dissidents can take the war to them and repeatedly strike at their Achilles heel which is their financial district which they are not capable of doing so nipping at their heel whilst annoying is not a serious threat to their rule.
    Like yourself I and many others feel uninvolved in the present political climate the main objective of this discourse is to be honest and open up serious discussion for an alternative for independent and dissident republicans.

    The reality is it is where we are at and from a republican perspective that is even further away now from where we wanted to be.

    Another protracted war of attrition will only result in more needless deaths and even more destruction.

    “Where is there for militant republicans to turn if they give up on the armed campaign? There is no political outlet for them. Would they simply be dwarfed by the likes of SF?”

    Is it not up to independent and dissident republicans to create an outlet and proper representation for the voiceless?

    And thanks for your time and contribution it is important that the younger generation have their say.

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  28. The onus is on us then to build an effective alternative to both the armed struggle and the Sinn Fein strategy. We can do so by returning the republican struggle to the communities from which we come, by building the type of republican movement envisaged by Bobby Sands - a movement of the people that fights for the interests of the people. There is more than one way to fight a political struggle just as there's more than one way to skin a cat.

    In my opinion an army should only exist to defend the people's revolution from attack. It needs to offer the space for the people to achieve their revolutionary capacity and of course it has a role in organising this as the spear-head of the movement. But an army alone does not make a movement and we need a movement in order to achieve our goals - we need to rebuild the republican movement first and foremost. Whatever follows after that will follow.

    But first we need to understand and examine the damage done to the structure of the republican movement by the Adams clique - we need to admit where we are currently at. The movement is badly fractured, as a man I know would say it's like a mirror dropped on a floor from on high - shattered into innumerable pieces. We need to put those pieces back together again and provide another generation with the tools and wherewithal to see this struggle through. For it's not over. That's the project we should engage with in my humble opinion.

    The vehicle I say best placed to carry out this task is the 1916 Societies. The work we're currently engaged in is to provide the basis for a renewed republican movement to develop and to offer an alternative way forward for Irish republicanism

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  29. anBuachaill, i have 100% empathy with what you are saying i was 11in 94 i can remember the euphoria surrounding the ceasefire, i thought we won. I was 14 in 97 and i can remember being told were in the final phases, we have won. I am 31 now and what have we got ?our traditional beliefs abandoned, our largest party administrating British rule. I understand past volunteers speaking from experience and telling us armed struggle is futile but what else we got? I cant except the status quo, they tell me armed struggle is pointless, we have no political alternative to s f so am genuinely asking, whats left?

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  30. David Higgins,

    What’s left? Absolutely nothing and absolutely everything it all depends on how one views things.

    Debating the purpose of armed struggle either for or against is not a sign of weakness in the face of great political adversity.
    Militarily the armed dissident factions are self defeating as there is no unity the only common thread is they are fighting the good fight.

    First and most importantly is we have to at some juncture come to terms with the defeat and put aside the myth that the IRA won.

    If a military campaign is to be taking seriously then it should be from a position of strength endurance and sustainability along with consistency.
    The reality of that being the death and destruction which is not the same on paper as you can’t smell the burning flesh or see the steam rise from an inflicted wound or look at the ashen lifeless body.
    Then the funerals then the track in and out of jails or to and from not to mention that if we return to the bad old days the new campaigns will need to surpass the levels of violence of the lost campaign which can only lead not to an united Ireland but a bloody vicious civil war.
    The loyalists are not going to rely on the British army as far as they are concerned they got shit on in this deal and republicans got too much out of it.

    Talking about an armed struggle on paper is not the reality of what it will entail.
    Are republicans entitled to believe they can conduct a successful armed campaign and succeed were the entire RM failed?
    Yes, but in my opinion they are operating out of position and lack the capacity to take the war to the British consistently and worse they lack a substantial support base.
    Does that mean the anti war comments are right? No, it just means a serious discussion on the issue is long overdue and let the court of public opinion weigh in on the issue at hand.
    The discourse is not to condemn armed struggle but to evaluate its necessity and provide an in-depth look at where it is at and where it can or cannot go.
    More importantly is there a salvageable alternative that can be built upon.

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  31. UP The kashmir road the Bemen came we were playing a shooty.in at the corner of kane st not an ira man in sight.we were 13 n 14 yr old and didnt know it was on big time geraldo mc.cauley was shot dead that day .thn mauitu says about sean o,riordans grave aged 13 he was in nets that day,2 jumpers lol.the center forward was a lad called micheal loughran murdered by the bould billyboy hutchision .Thats only 3 or 4 of the KIDS team MURDERED .Will it happen again it happened from belfasts been here.if its tried again will you be depending on the psni lol.

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  32. Like a few posters here, I am also 30 years old so missed out on living thtough the darkest days. My Mothers generation greatly suffered. I hope we never return to those days but I feel that whilst Britain remains then history will repeat.
    I just bought a new book called " the famine plot". It is truly heartbreaking to know what my own family suffered at the hands of those sat in England. Even some English politicians of the time stated that England had ruined the people of Ireland.

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  33. Following on to AM's earlier quote from Swift, and what the thread in general evokes in me, I include a verse from 'The Prophet' by Lebanese artist and poet Kahlil Gibran.



    And the priestess spoke again and said: "Speak to us of Reason and Passion."

    And he answered saying:

    Your soul is often-times a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgement wage war against passion and your appetite.

    Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

    But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

    Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

    If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

    For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

    Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing;

    And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

    I would have you consider your judgement and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

    Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

    Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason."

    And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion."

    And since you are a breath In God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

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  34. Things are ddifferent today.people wont support civillian murders.when you look at the dead body of the child of even your most hated and despised enemy its still the same as looking on that of your best friend .im not from the north i can never fully understand the issues as reading talking and observing are no substitute for living with oppression i totally understand and would never condemn anyones fight in the north unless it purposely targets children or other vulnerable sections of society but killing civillians in the north wont make tory party flinch they have no love for either side
    the loyalists to them are like informers to police theyll use them but nobody likes a little sell out rat trying to crawl up their ass.Theres no point planting bombs in ireland to bother england as that is why they partition every country
    they leave.to foster division and therby keep themselves from having to do as much.I dont condemn or suggest anyone should kill or bomb anyone but surely to god the target of any and all attacks should be on british targets only therby causing less new generations of irish orphans to carry on the hate .It was not possible to keep it this way yrs ago as catholics werent safe at home but today it is possible to do this

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  35. Id just like to point out that in the north there is and can never be winners and losers that defeats thepurpose of equality .the ira didnt and dont claim to have won they forced a stalmate and that is all they claim .they forced them to talks

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  36. Patrick o grady, that eejit Joe Cahill spouted with clenched fist at quisling $inn £einds ard feis "ya we won" another fucking lie from that shower o wasters . commandant Gerrybroy Kelly said on entering talks leading up to the gfa that "we are here to negotiate for a united Ireland " we could flag up their lies ad infinitum,then we could start quoting the biggest fucking liars of them all messers Gerry Itwasntme and Martybroy,but really I dont have that long to live .

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  37. Tain Bo,

    I agree that to a certain extent it is up to independent and dissident republicans to create an outlet and adequate representation for the voiceless. However, I think that those who are advocating an end to armed campaigns should really play a leading role in creating such an outlet. Although there is an onus on such republicans I could never see armed groups abandoning an armed strategy unless such outlets with real or solid prospects already exist. They need a greater incentive or to at least see greater merits in a peaceful strategy than an armed one.

    Of course the Brit Army back on the streets would result in much bloodshed. I agree the BA would be more sophisticated, ruthless etc and also armed strategies will not ease unionist concerns or persuade them in to a united Ireland. But as it stands what incentive do armed groups have to change strategy? They look at SF and i am sure they see the horrendous failure of a peaceful strategy.

    "Dissidents" must see more advantage in bringing the army back on the street, and subsequently winning support from the nationalist community. Maybe then they would have the ability to mount a sustainable campaign and strike at the Brit financial district and maybe they would learn from past mistakes by SF.

    Personally, my mind is boggled by the whole situation. I think both armed and peaceful strategies towards a united Ireland have flaws and advantages. Currently I do not fully support an armed campaign, but I certainly don't oppose it. I know it is a contradiction. One thing is for sure though, when I hear of an attack on British army, or PSNI I certainly wont be shedding any tears.

    I also think it would be great if other outlets for independent/dissident republicans could really take off. Nearly 16 years since the GFA, such alternative republican groups have a lot of work to do to build support or to build a united group. But I would also think they are running out of time if they wish to dissuade the youth from armed groups.

    David Higgins,

    We are certainly in similar positions, although you have a couple of years on me! I also understand why older generations, who have directly experienced the conflict would claim it is futile. I suppose it is natural for younger people to want to rise up against oppression or injustice, be it peacefully or violently. Maybe some of the older generation, warning of the futility, in their youth and in our present situation, would have a slightly different attitude?

    There clearly is a lack of a political alternative to SF. Whats left is three choices i suppose, try to build one, take the armed route, or do sweet fuck all. I firmly believe that SF have such a grip on nationalist/republican communities that the emergence of an alternative would be incredibly difficult. It would certainly be an arduous task.

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  38. Anthony said:
    'Wolfsbane,
    the strange thing is that we have been saying it for more than a decade. However, one thing I did learn was that if we are to capture the interest of the wider unionist community (which I hadn't even considered when I spoke), then the News Letter is the optimum forum.'

    Indeed - I never encountered your comments/ideas until recently (other than a sound-bite or so). Unionists in general don't read Republican newspapers or journals - and those who do occasionally dip in find the rhetoric wearisome. Same old same old. So we've missed the genuine thinking/reflection that you have been offering.

    I think it was the coverage in the Newsletter of your speech to the Orangemen that flagged up The Pensive Quill to me. TPQ has been very helpful to me in seeing the tensions and debate among Republicans.

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  39. In my hometown Derry, the shinners struggle to get 200 to attend their so called commemorations and other events. This despite the fact that they must have that many working for them in various positions from politician to community worker plus their families.

    Quite a large proportion of these shinners are Johnny-come-latelies and it says a lot when they can't even get their own membership out.

    However, given the amount of Republicans who are either ex-combatants, ex-prisoners and of course former active supporters, we must ask ourselves where have these people gone?

    Many I know have no time for the shinners but I don't see them supporting groups who stubbornly stick to Armed Struggle.

    In fact a few times in the recent past I've asked former prisoners to come out and support the present day prisoners in Maghaberry and by far their reply was that they weren't willing to stand behind banners supporting certain groups in case it was perceived as supporting those groups.

    These groups need to seriously face the fact that the majority of Republicans not aligned to the shinners don't support nor want to be mistaken as supporting these groups, therefore how can they hope to achieve anything?

    As has been pointed out numerous times the only ones to benefit by the armed campaign are MI5 and the shinners.


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  40. AnBuachaill,

    you raise some very thoughtful points and appear to be highly politically elucidated.
    Nothing said here is in stone and I am sure to the youth and others some of us here might sounds like a bunch of surrender monkeys.
    Age and experience does not necessarily add up to wisdom.

    Although there is a right to disagree with armed struggle that’s where it ends as ultimately each individual has the right to choose which path they will walk through life.

    You raise an interesting dilemma for the youth or at least for the politically inclined youth which respectfully also highlights a failure on behalf of dissidents and independents.
    That failure being to establish a unified political party (wing) which is essential to any armed campaign.
    Without the presence of a determined political unified party what would be the point of conducting a military campaign and let’s say a successful one that removed the Brits.
    Then what? The campaign would be a failure as there would be no solid political voice for the people.

    Another great failure being we focus so much on SF who now is just a cog in the British apparatus. They are not the enemy but extremely dangerous hypocrites that call on the nationalist/republican community to assist the PSNI and tout out anyone that doesn’t agree with them.

    I say dangerous as they still have a very staunch following that would have no bother in doing what the dictatorship say.

    This is a major drawback for armed republicans as the Brits have a viable resource of information coming from former republican strongholds.
    Don’t be fooled SF have learned well from their masters and enjoy goading the militants to strike as they reap the political reward of publically denouncing them.

    You are not alone in your confusion the whole caper was set up to look like a victory and it was the only problem it was a resounding British victory.

    There was not a great deal of thought given to continue as it is impossible to continue with something that was soundly defeated.

    Emulating old tactics will not help what would help is if they studied and set reasonable objectives.
    The British are content to watch them run around doing the same old things the RM did I would think a serious change in strategy is needed if they are to continue.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting on the BA returning the armed campaign would have to achieve if not surpass the levels of violence of 72.
    There is a possibility when the loyalists get bored feuding they might stiff a taig to celebrate but getting drawn into a sectarian war will only further alienate the already besieged militant factions.

    Perhaps, and I would hope so your message gets across that we need a unified party for the people something the youth can feel productively a part of.
    If the younger generation is as politically astute as you then it would be a waste of a valuable resource to have your intelligence caged in cell.

    You are right we do need something substantial politically unfortunately, much like the fractured armed faction we have fractured parties wherein for the better part personality, rather than ideology dictates the pace.

    On a personal note my friend I hope you continue to voice your opinion here as you fluently represent what we older ones overlook the voice of what many youths think.

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  41. Dixie-

    " Jonnie-come-latelies "-

    That's a problem some of the youth would have if they wanted to help you out at your prison protests-they know that you would be calling them jonnie-come latelies behind their backs-

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  42. michaelhenry are you seriously as stupid as you make out you are?

    Who said I asked johnny-come-latelies to support the prisoners? If you'd read what I wrote I said Republicans, as in ex-combatants, ex-prisoners etc.

    Each time I read one of your comments it adds credence to the points I made about the quality of SF's present membership...more so given I know that you are a so called politician...

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  43. I agree with what Mackers, Ricky and Tommy are saying.

    It strikes me that the 1950's campaign might actually be closer to the present situation than the Provo war.

    The 50's campaign had little popular support and so it was ultimately crushed by repression in the form of internment.

    Just because internment backfired in the 1970's it doesn't automatically follow that internment by remand will backfire in the 2000's.

    Like any analogy this can be pressed too far but it may be worth thinking about.

    Sandy Boyer

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  44. AnBuachaill

    I think if an alternative political movement came about it would be crippled and undermined by violent dissidents. Whatever the origins and intent of Eirigi; it was either an not very convincing non-violent political party or it was consumed by having to defend violent dissidents -either way, it was useless as an apologist platform for violent dissidents or it sacrificed itself to defend violent dissidents.

    In reality should any articulate and progressive non-violent republican movement arise the existence of violent dissident will undermine them because the Brits, media and stormont politicians will always dump it on them to answer for the violent dissidents -in other-words violent dissidents play into the hands of the Brits, MI5 and their indigenous administration in stormont.

    Thus far violent dissidents at best have shown themselves to be incompetent and ineffective. In addition much resources, time and energy has been diverted on campaigning on behalf of various prison issues or prisoners. How much energy and resources will be expended campaigning on behalf of the three most recent high profile arrests? At face value there is not a shred of evidence on these men but that is not the point; the diversion and distraction caused is what is of value to their captors.

    The existence of violent dissidents is the biggest help the brits and SF could ask for. They secure SF political position, they generate large budgets for MI5 and other security agencies to operate and they narrow or obscure the real issues.

    In short there is not one single logical or rational explanation for their existence other than to maintain the political/security status quo of NI.

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  45. I think one of the major set backs for Eirigi is their failure to not stand for a broader voter base than just simply standing only in Republican areas such as the Falls. If they are for everybody in Ireland and that includes people living in Unionist areas who would vote for them. Then they are missing out on potential success.
    Believe it or not but there are plenty of Socialist minded, non sectarian voters in unionist areas who are waiting for a decent party to come along. SF stands in unionist areas. Ravenhill Road proved to be a huge success of votes for SF.

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  46. Stray Taoist,

    I would not agree that nobody learns from history. I think quite a lot do. But the needs of the present trump history and then history is viewed from the needs of the present and often is shaped accordingly.

    Dixie,

    a big ask in circumstances where some people still prefer the emotive noise of the gun rather than strategic effectiveness.

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  47. Maitiu Connel

    Resources and manpower would probably limit their reach. Though you are spot on about their short sightedness or limited areas of interest. My point though is that they have danced to the beat of violent dissidents drums or the media putting them up as spoke persons for violent dissidents. They allowed themselves to be cornered so easily or at least they failed to maintain their distance that not many could differentiate.

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  48. David,

    I can understand the sentiment you express about being reticent to criticise people you feel are putting their necks on the line for Irish Liberation. Yet the Irish people seem to be overlooked and never asked what it is they want to be liberated from. I imagine more of them want to be liberated from republican political violence than they do from partition. Given that, republicans have to ask what republican strategy should be rather than seeking to find something in 1916 that might reinforce an argument for using it.

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  49. Following on to your invitation to 'grapple' with ongoing violence in the occupied zone I include a piece from my current reading:

    "And yet, as the postwar editor of the newspaper Liberation, subsidised by the French Communist Party, d'Astier seemed determined to fit into their particular view of the world. Upon the publication of 'Neither Victims nor Executioners,' D'Astier gave Camus an ear boxing by way of review. By condemning all forms of violence out of hand, wrote D'Astier, denied the revolutionary raison d'etre of the Resistance. In a metaphor that must have deeply cut Camus, D'Astier reasoned that his fellow resistance fighter might just as well support a movement for the eradication of tuberculosis without providing it with the means of doing so. Instead, for D'Astier, Camus had become little more than an apologist for liberalism and the status quo of western societies. At times only violence as the title of the review declared could pry the victim from the grasp of the executioner.
    As Camus made clear in his reply, d'Astier's brief on behalf of political violence begged the question at hand. Camus knew that violence is unavoidable: 'the years under the Occupation taught me this.' What he had always refused, though, was to mistake its ineluctability for legitimization. 'Violence is at one and the same time unavoidable and unjustifiable. 'As a result, our duty is to quarantine violence, to make its use exceptional, and to recall, as vividly and as clearly as possible, what it does to both those who use it and those against whom it is used. 'I have a horror of easy violence, ' Camus told D'Astier, 'I have a horror of those whose words go beyond their actions. It is for this reason that I stand apart from those great minds and (those) whose appeals to murder I will despise until they themselves use the executioner's gun.' "

    A Life Worth Living, ALBERT CAMUS AND THE SEARCH FOR MEANING. By Robert Zaretsky.

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  50. Never got to bed yet . The poteen is keeping me up!

    HJ,

    did you read Elements of a Life yet? The one you quoted from is one I have on hold in the basket. I am just wondering what is the best one to get. The Outsider is my favourite book of all time. My mother sent it into me while in prison and told me I had not choice but to read it. I have some of his won work here along with a copy of the Conor Cruise O'Brien Modern Master series. I had two but gave one to Alec the day before he got arrested, unfortunately.

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  51. Poteen Anthony! Though my grandfather was banged up with Tommy McIlhatton in Larne Workhouse and on the prison ship Argenta my taste is is a little more refined ( lol ).
    I prefer mine well aged in oak.
    No I haven't read Zaretsky's original book on Camus. He does mention it in the prologue of ' A Life Worth Living ' :

    " When I wrote my first book on Camus. Albert Camus: Elements of a Life, I tried to situate his thought and writings in four pivotal moments to his life, seeking to explain their meanings through the contexts in which they unfolded. I believed then, and believe now as a historian, that there was much to be said for such an approach. But by the time I had completed the book, I was also dissatisfied : bound to the historical context, I felt I had slighted certain intellectual or moral themes we have associated with Camus ' work. As with absurdity, some are elements of the human condition; as with fidelity or measure, they are virtues toward which humankind must strive; or as with silence or revolt, they are both elemental and ethical facets of our lives. They are in short, what I believe are necessary parts of our effort to define a life worth living ".

    So from my perspective this is a more useful book. My general ontological interest in the human condition and my journey in self exploration has brought me to Camus.
    Truth told, I'm not a very literary man. So I'm not in a position to advise or recommend in this instance.

    Back on topic;
    I am of the opinion that Camus' paradoxical declaration, " Violence is at one and the same time unavoidable and unjustifiable. " is the most useful frame in which to view and explore any possibility for influencing physical force republicanism.
    Didactic pronouncements from Cahal Daly, Gerry Fitt et al never had much effect in the past.
    Why would we expect that current commentators could have any more success?

    Indeed if cast ourselves back in time we might discover that in truth many of those at the receiving end of such condemnations, appeals for restraint, call them what we may became only more entrenched in their positions.
    If we could equally acknowledge inevitably ( underlying inherent causes) as well as unjustifiably, wouldn't it be more useful?

    Finally Athony I'm saddened about Alec too and inded all the other exploitive manipulations of the judicial process (which further add to inevitable and unjustifiable outcomes).

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  52. HJ,

    I don’t go for anything as above my station as oak – a dirty sock is okay! I get a bottle every now and then and confess to enjoying it. Getting too old for pints.

    Sound on the Camus books. I will probably go for the one you have as it is already in the basket.
    It is an interesting position he takes but as you point out earlier he spoke of the need to quarantine it, much in the way I felt that AC Grayling talks of the need to quarantine exceptions to the free speech rule. I think it is useful but doubt it will influence the PFR mindset. I imagine it will be dismissed in that quarter as fancy philosophy unfortunately. The minds already familiar with that type of argument still don’t apply the nuance that you seem to bring to it. So I guess we will end up with you thinking it but those you might hope to influence may well prove impervious to it.

    Unlike Fitt, Daly et al, the current commentators have been there, done it and continue to be actively involved in defending prisoner rights and tackling the state and its abuses. They feed into a discourse that might become something else but is unlikely.

    If we could equally acknowledge inevitably ( underlying inherent causes) as well as unjustifiably, wouldn't it be more useful?

    No reason why it would. The stated underlying cause is justification enough for those who persist with PFR. Restating it is probably just that, restating it. I simply don’t know what it will take because I have spoken to many of that mindset for years on end and never seemed to make much progress.

    Alec’s situation is particularly annoying on a personal level because of the past history between us. All I can do is be here for him throughout whatever he faces. I am not going to be judgemental of him. As I said to him in a letter I wrote to him yesterday he can only remain true to himself which is what I think he has always done.

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  53. @Tain bo..(can't find the article you made this replies, sorry AM if they (my comments) aren't in 'tune' with the thread)

    It reminds me of the history of the Titanic proud invincible and determined to reach its port.

    The Titanic. Built by the Irish sank by the British.

    The on the ground facts would prove different as there is no effective military campaign.

    My take is this, people can argue all day & night about the rights and wrongs of PFR-ism but as long as the island is partitioned and under British law then it's always going to be there be they 2, 20 or 200 in number (history is teaching me that).

    As I said elsewhere today’s militants would have to achieve if not surpass the levels of violence of 72.

    No they don't. A simple period of sustained rioting like the 'Battle on the Bogside' and the BA will have more boots on the ground. The PSNI/RUC even with all their James Bond toys couldn't cope. They had to draft in support from the mainland with the G8 summit and as back up for the parades during the summer.

    The Brits are far superior with technology on their side which means there would be fewer troops on the ground

    PFR need to 'up grade'. They need to get to grips on the IT front. Maybe they already are. The provisionals employed accountants to launder monies, set up buisnesses etc..maybe todays PFR's need to employ IT heads to combat the technology war..

    Getting around listening devices is easy. Just go back to basics ( Russia is doing it). For example two/three people are planning an operation in a 'safe house'. Why don't they simply open up a document on any PC/Mac and type the convo/operation. Once the convo is over simply delete and don't save..No trace on the PC/device. GPS tracking etc..Learn how to root or jailbreak your device and turn off GPS. They could learn how to use tools like wireshark or other to monitor their own network. As I said before here it doesn't take a great deal of brain power to 'crack' any router, once that is done taking control of a PC/Mac or accessing their HDD is easy. . Use proxies and VNP and stop using windows. Migrate to linux...


    As for less BA on the ground..they are still there only invisble..

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