The Republican Position After Good Friday

"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

Today The Pensive Quill carries a piece from guest writer Antaine Mac Dhomhnaill continuing the discussion around physical force republicanism.

Recent calls seeking an immediate end to armed struggle were made through the Unionist media and my view on that is wholly negative. I believe that all of those interviewed have access to senior members and prisoners of all the groups who claim to be on a military footing, that they have the means to call collective assemblies whereby rational and logical analysis can be put forward and discussed and more importantly that they have the ears of those capable of delivering what they claim to seek.

The GFA referendum in 1998 was supported by a people united in a desire to see killing and misery stop. It was ushered in by Collusive Loyalist massacre and the British Military Intelligence compromising of the Provisional Leadership.

Opposition to the GFA from a Republican Socialist perspective was that the lull in killing and break from misery would not only be a temporary measure but a false nirvana, as while killing and prison may stop temporarily, the basis of the agreement meant they would be replaced with social despair for the working classes forced to sink deeper and deeper into sectarianism until the inevitable return of violence. The agreement addressed none of the core issues of conflict. That analysis has been proven 100% correct.

The INLA remained on a military footing until their declaration of a ceasefire a week after the Omagh Bombing.

“We recognise that armed struggle can never be the only option for Revolutionaries. In the new conditions prevailing it is only right to respond. Those conditions demand a cease-fire… the people of the island of Ireland have spoken clearly as to their wishes… We recognise their desire for a cessation of violence expressed through the referendum and for a peaceful future”

The ceasefire declaration was undoubtedly accelerated by the reality of post-Omagh Republicanism, yet the decision was evidently long in the planning and has been fully vindicated by the trajectory of others engaged in armed struggle since.

In 1997 the IRA had split. The GFA enshrined an entirely new relationship between the Free State and British Governments and joint efforts in combating militant republicanism were extremely successful. Drastic changes to membership laws in the Free State equalled internment. The state did what it refused to do with Adams and McGuinness and just removed the leadership of what the media dubbed the “Real” IRA and interned them.

The black propaganda, kidnap, intimidation and assassination campaign by the Provisionals along with their nefarious and pro-active strategy to undermine the RIRA was as devastating as anything the state perpetrated. The RIRA then seem to have crushed themselves. In response to weakening capability haphazard recruitment led to an unsuitable membership, poor intent and ill discipline. An underground army that is not meeting its military requirements suffers an inevitable descent into criminality; criminality is the natural progression from futility. Attempts at redress resulted in another split.

One section of the movement called for reorganisation. The other section called them traitors; and in attempting to resurrect an already defunct campaign and now with at least half the resources they entered a stage of quasi-militarism, that accelerated the descent in to militant futility and the criminality that inevitably follows it.

The consequence of this terrible ethos we seen splashed all over the redtops as part of an Emasculation strategy against a republican re-emergence last year. This has further alienated the Irish People. The people have been made apathetic. They have been betrayed by Religious, Financial and now Political institutions. All things purporting to be beyond badness have been exposed as rotting. Support of the GFA is strongest amongst the completely apathetic.

Society has relinquished any emotional attachment to the militant expressions of post-defeat despair. Normalization is embedded into the psyche. The various movements which presented themselves as a war force constituted nothing more for the committed than a way to hurt yourself, destroy your family or someone else’s, or for the criminal element, an opportunity to make money and attain social standing without going to work. Despite good on paper arguments and some credible spokespeople, they were absolutely and totally without the means to organise for or fight a war and without the stomach or the heart to endure one. Many of these groups have split beyond recognition or any identity now and each split lessened the little resources they had.

An influx of former Provisionals into the anti-GFA fold created quite a stir between 06-08. A competent independent movement seemed to have a good relationship with what became an Óglaigh na h-Éireann emerging from a period of reorganisation. Attacks on British Personnel and interests were capably carried out and they were credible.

In 2008 South Fermanagh was labelled a no-go area. A specialist British Crown Force regiment was deployed along the border, Ulster Unionists demanded Crown force regulars back on the streets, land mines and mortar attacks on the RUC were followed some months later by the Masserene ambush, the first fatalities incurred by the crown forces since LCP Stephen Restorick: the next day the first RUC man since the signing of the GFA was shot dead by the Continuity IRA and a military momentum was very forcefully building.

The coal face of struggle shifted to Maghaberry in 2010 and a horrendous period of sheer brutality was faced by the Prisoners as courageously as any prisoners before them. By the end of 2010 previously good relationships that had been harvesting positive results for militants were in tatters. Fear, paranoia and suspicion reigned as divisions were fostered among republicans inside and outside the Prisons in quests for supremacy power and prestige. Any division occurring in Prison is imposed by the gaoler or the circumstance of being gaoled, yet these artificial divisions are pursued with vigour by those also pursuing an “undermine and absorb” policy initially used against the INLA in Long Kesh.

Ask some Republicans and they will tell you that everyone is the enemy apart from the British occupation. Ask some prisoners and they will tell you everyone around them has them locked up apart from their Gaoler. The psychological aspect of struggle cannot be underplayed and defeatism is as much the product of enforced division and schism as criminality is the result of groups not committing to their workload.

Today there is an assortment of apolitical, ill-disciplined, fractured and futile collectives expressing either despair or counter agency sporadically; they possess no strategy, politics, intent or discipline; and there is no leadership, so even if they were asked to cease by those they do call leader they would merely disobey them to form another alphabetic conundrum.

Many of the individuals leading these groups are known to have long-term roles as British agents and have been deployed at crucial stages in the GFA – St Andrews – Haass process. Draconian legislation and major Republican concessions require pseudo gangs. They have had 20 names but the titles are only different ribs, of the same cage, connected to the one spine of a dangerous beast not of Irish origin.

These groups are designed to undermine credible, genuine resistance to the state by perpetrating atrocity and criminal futility in the name of the same cause that genuine resistance movements claim to pursue. Their continued existence is the greatest inter-communal test of ONH and the IRA’s commitment to National Liberation Struggle and defence of the people.

The IRA was at risk of finding itself in a similar position to the INLA at the time Ta Power wrote his groundbreaking document. Militancy/the tradition of militancy has completely assumed command over Revolutionary politics. The recognised political manifestations of the amalgamated are, apart from some inspirational examples, almost defunct with reactionary policies barely holding them together.

There are a number of extremely committed IRA prisoners in the midst of, or about to commence, lengthy sentences. They will see elements of their wider movement responding more than a little favourably to these new calls for a cessation while reformist strategies are being promoted as Republicanism, strategies when questioned are justified as support building exercises. Rightly or wrongly all those calling for a cessation are identified as “closer” to the IRA family then the ONH one.

ONH also share a position the INLA found recorded. They claim as the INLA did throughout their prison struggle that their Volunteers are being ostracized, ridiculed and maligned as part of an undermine and absorb policy. It seems in response they are making rash decisions. The suppression of their right to exist is forcing them to prove themselves as capable hurriedly.

The situation militant republicanism faces has not existed before. When the IRA called to dump arms in 1923 and again after operation harvest the calls were made to one army by one leadership in full command of that army. Such control no longer exists thus calls for cessations are futile and divisive. In November 2012 I wrote to address the process of expelling large numbers of undesirable elements and publicizing it through the enemy media. I cautioned that such an exodus would be called a purge and lead to the building of a movement to house the expelled. The announcement of Saoirse na h-Éireann Dublin has vindicated that position.

Militant Republicanism dwells on the periphery of what is an artificially created and maintained society. It is contented in that position by its opposition to that society and the understanding that society is held together with nonsense politics regularly smashed into smithereens by the sectarian capitalist evildoers who support it; so militants can be excused for believing they could topple it in opposition. A dearth of revolutionary politics and understanding has seen militancy arrive as the sole and only bond of loyalty among many of the militant Republican youth. They need to belong to the biggest and the best. Who has the largest presence? Who is the “elite”? Political Objectives have been sacrificed for personal aspirations existing in cliques and cults.

Calls for ceasefires at a time when armed actions increase in an era of fracturing are pointless; they are also dangerous and counter productive. The minute one group calls a ceasefire another will claim it among their membership as a clearing of the field and an opportunity to march forth.


To reach stage of cohesion and collective responsibility, a period of reparation is required. The division fostered in prisons is self harming and needs to be brought to an end. There are a number of routes to achieve this.

The Republican Socialist Movement drafted a charter of rights and responsibilities for Prisoners and their staffs some time ago. Prisoners could incorporate the charter internally and work to rebuild cohesion from within encouraging the recognition of each others rights and mutual respect etc. Critical self analysis should be the standard of all POWs at all times in all dealings.

The other option is a mature acceptance that divisions occurring in prison environments are always manipulated by the state and in negative surrounds, the descent is quick and deep and so may have went beyond the point of any resolution. In this case an accord of separation or segregation is to be made, as was done by the INLA in Long Kesh in ’96. Separated then all efforts go in to rebuilding cohesion externally until a point whereby the charter can be successfully implemented.

Pseudo gangs

Their activities must cease. All groups need to work together on behalf of and in defence of the Working class nationalist people falling victim to these groups. They must issue statements each and every time these groups operate. They have to cut all and any link to their membership and be cold in their dealings with them.

Draconian Legislation

Legislation drafted in and applied by the Free State to cripple the 26-County based ‘97-‘03 RIRA leadership is today being used in the six counties along with other draconian measures. Raids, arrests and periods of internment are going to increase until the State (s) are satisfied they have inflicted sufficient damage upon the leadership and membership of ONH and the IRA as to render them incapable of mounting a challenge. Both groups have a choice here. They can resist this in the same way the RIRA did and commit the same errors or they can analyse the experience of the RIRA and formulate a way ahead from it. The Provisional movement did not experience this element of assault and basing a response on the Provisional experience is the wrong thing to do.

Politics in Command

I see two main strands of militant thought as regards a cessation:

(i) There will be no ceasefire full stop.

Those contented by the level of current military activity are supported by the endless crisis at Stormont and the evidence that the inevitable return to conflict, and sectarian conflict, that the IRSP discussed in 1998 is now.

They are opposed by failed operations, increasing numbers of arrests, failure to secure sufficient support from the working class people they need and an inability to translate the support of military resistance they claim to have into examples of civil disobedience on the streets.

(ii) A ceasefire is required to resolve the issues preventing a credible campaign.

Those susceptible to calls for a ceasefire or a process of reorganisation are supported by the majority left and it seems most pragmatists in both main groups. The example of the first RIRA is that when faced with issues ‘98-‘03 that are prevailing again today, it did similar and on remerging anew initially achieved its stated aim. In calling a period of reorganisation the first RIRA had a number of long-term prisoners just beginning 20 – 30 year sentences.

They are opposed by the conspiracy theory a recent influx of former Provisionals into Anti-GFA militancy was a Kitsonite process to deliver the final end of militancy. That senior ex-Provo’s were unwittingly emasculated by their experience in the Provisionals. Early release licences, US Junkets, new found respectability, social status and acceptance, financial security, indeed all of the things not found and that will never be found in groups engaging in armed struggle today therefore — being faced with the consequence of involvement today — seek refuge and shelter from that in a ceasefire or talk of reform. They will also be opposed by the example of the RIRA as when it did declare an end to armed action to rebuild that movement split in two.

All those truly committed to Irish National Liberation must agree that the Good Friday Agreement has completely failed as we knew that it would. The Republican Socialist analysis has been proven as the correct one. All those committed to armed struggle must agree that the current level is not sufficient to move an imperialist occupation and therefore there is a duty to reconsider their means based on defence of ones membership. All those serious about achieving a cooperative cessation must agree this is impossible without true cohesion being built.

The Republican Socialist position that a return to conflict in Ireland is inevitable is the logical conclusion in all of this.

Has the inevitable return to conflict in Ireland arrived before Republican Socialists organised the masses on a Connolly-Costello path to liberation and if so, what should be the response?

Or: Are groups today undermining efforts at organising the people on a Connolly – Costello path? And if so, are they perpetrating this betrayal of the worker due to a lack of understanding and revolutionary intent?


  1. Antaine-

    " Today there is a assortment of Apolitical,ill disciplined,fractured and futile
    collectives "

    It has been said/known for years that the position of the disso was just a me me me policy and those groups never cared for the Irish people-

    " Many of the individuals leading these groups are known to have long-term roles as british agents "

    Why else do you think that the british press call them hardline-
    those disso groups now could not break eggs or split a banana-they can do what they want-they are causing no harm these days-

  2. Michaelhenry,

    "It has been said/known for years that the position of the disso was just a me me me policy and those groups never cared for the Irish people"

    I am not sure that is accurate, to be pragmatic then one accepts that such an element exists, however the sacrifice of many Anti-GFA Republicans belies the generalization, in particular those Volunteers who to took the war to England and remain incarcerated. Also in stating this you must concede those who signed the GFA in the knowledge it could only stall violence had no empathy for the future generation / care for the people.

    "Why else do you think that the british press call them hardline-
    those disso groups now could not break eggs or split a banana-they can do what they want-they are causing no harm these days"

    In agreeing that British Military Intelligence arms, trains and directs pseudo gangs in our society will you relinquish your support for the institutions they bolster and come to the defence of the working class people enduring the misery they inflict? Or will you use pseudo gangs as Kitson intended them to be used, as weapons to justify your support of such evil.

    Michaelhenry do you believe we are at the point of conflict or merely returning there?

  3. It would be good if there was some way to keep the Sinn Féin court jester out of this debate, its too important for that fool to be interjecting with his moronic ramblings.

    This is a fantastic piece and an accurate summery of the history of dissent since 96/97.
    I agree totally that the recent raft of statements to the Newsletter was wrong, it will have achieved little more than a round of applause from Unionist readers and those in the establishment who will view it as evidence of the Republican intelligentsia distancing themselves from 'the rabble'.

    Without doubt there is merit in arguing for a cessation, as a means of creating the space to allow an alternative political initiative to grow.

    However, those who went to the Newsletter have now made it harder to argue this point to the armed groups who (rightly or wrongly) are answering the articles by stating that most of the commentators have done nothing themselves to assist in building any alternative.

    An announcement somewhere in the area of a 'dumping of arms' would pose a great problem for both partitionist states in Ireland as we could then begin putting real scrutiny on the shortcomings of both corrupt setups and perhaps build some real momentum.

    Repetitive statements in the Newsletter using terms such as 'utter madness' etc where never going to bring any change of mindset within the armed groups, and the authors must have known this.

  4. Ciaran-

    When you tell people that they are wrong to go to a certain newspaper but refuse to say which newspaper or media out-let you would like to see them going to it
    shows that you have not thought your argument / reasoning through-

    Would the Irish news be better to you-why cant you say-

  5. I'd go along with a lot of that Pip, a call to dump arms would offer the space to build on the great work being done in the community by the likes of yourself and many others

  6. And sorry I meant to say what an insightful article from Antaine, so many questions posed and all of them needing an andwer

  7. Just in terms of using the Newsletter I think the purpose has been achieved - the debate is now happening and that's what matters

  8. Or: Are groups today undermining efforts at organising the people on a Connolly – Costello path?

    Of course, it could. It could be any armed insurrection of either connolly or costello led to failure in itself.

    For example, it could be argued Costello took the wrong path when he split from the officials and took part in military operations underlying the growth of a united worker revoluntary intent in the first place as it led to nowhere but the finishing questions of this article.

    And if so, are they perpetrating this betrayal of the worker due to a lack of understanding and revolutionary intent?

    Betrayal of the worker, you would need to gauge what the armed groups think about thee worker first, socialism.

    All the worker rethoric "simply might not be their bag".

  9. Im refusing to answer McIvor on this as he is a menace and a troll, so im addressing this reply to my good friend Sean Bresnan and other readers of TPQ.

    The logic being expressed by Mackers, Tommy McKearney et al has merit, i have personally been articulating it since 2005 when i was still in Maghaberry. Trust me when i say i took alot of flack for taking that line, some people still barely speak to me because I openly said the conditions were wrong for an armed campaign and it wasnt worth the number of young men who were going to gaol.

    Around 5 or 6 of us felt the same way and we chose to release a statement to the papers explaining our rationale. In hindsight this was a bad mistake which i personally regret.

    While our motivation was the furtherment of Alternative Republicanism, immediately the statement was latched onto by Martin McGuiness who used it at the PSF Ard Fheis to berate our outside comrades. We would have been as well saying nothing than allowing our feelings to be twisted and exploited by supporters of the GFA. Better still we should have expressed our opinions within Republican structures, where they would have been given much more consideration than via headlines or letters pages.

    People involved in armed actions and those groups perceived to be close to them live life outcast-ed by much of society, harassed by the state and berated by the press. When republicans question their actions via headlines, it comes across not as an act of comradely concern but as just another condemnation.

    The same dynamic was played out by the Newsletter publishing these articles, and i suspect that the response from the groups will be the same, none.

  10. Ciarán Cunningham

    Thank You for taking the time to read and reply Ciarán. I agree that using the Unionist media makes it more difficult now to impress upon the militants, in particular the youth the patriotic necessity required.

    Ta Power said we have a limited time to achieve, I do not believe he meant we have a limited time to fight for the sake of it, I believe he meant we have a limited time as revolutionaries to build it, to win or to build something capable of winning... we are in no panic, what is 5 years? A membership charge? We have time, so much time and time despite the attempts of reactionary politicians to drag us back to sectarian based conflict over nonsense.

    If a dump arms order was the alternative and it was supported by attempts to build a broad front of the militant Republican left much work would have to first go in to preparing the membership (s) as premature orders would lead to schism.

    On your second comment,

    Having experienced the awful consequence of “No dissent” our generation has every right to resist the ethos and question every wrong and personally I am very thankful to the much maligned dissenting voices that emanated from Long Kesh and continue to inspire and provide a platform for debate today for our way out of “no dissent”.

    Most of us of my generation have now up to and over 15 – 20 years experience of active involvement in post-cessation Republican activism, with prison, prison struggle, all of it a feature etc,
    We are not youths anymore and have a duty to stand before all of the risks people have before us, as it is for the same cause.

    Defending the sanctity of the cause of Irish Freedom is a worthy struggle in all action, defending the lives and the freedom of ones comrades and people is an honourable position to hold and whether that defence is conducted in meeting halls, houses through discussions or whether it is on the streets or in battle fields it is the same. Circumstance determines the scene, what are today's circumstance and what scene do they set?
    Patriotism has no ego or need for material militant laced glory.

    I agree all discussion is to be held among the Republican people through the appropriate structures and all of it accountable and honest and none of it accepting of a single tenet of reform.

    Sean Bres,

    I am always humbled by the time you take to contribute to these debates here and elsewhere and inspired by the content. I would repeat my concerns over premature dumping of arms orders. In terms of the press we have been trained to hate and despise the Unionist media, those who ridiculed us at our worst it alienates the young militants that will deliver the order.

    Yes it could be said bereft of his writings and experience. Connolly made it clear that he was prepared to fight alongside those who he felt may very well halt before the realization of the Socialist Republic and did so because all moves forward would assist, to bring people forth and hope they are inspired to continue when their lesser goals are secured but prepared to fight on if that does not occur.

    Costello spoke eloquently on the Broad Front indeed on all of these issues and why he committed to the means he did, he was of course vindicated by the Stickies decisions. And you are correct in that the socialist aspect of some armed groups is not there to be analysed and it would be refreshing to hear what their view on it is, Rhetoric is not reality and the reality is that the working class people are being dragged in to a reemerging conflict by the failure of the establishment to secure a single resolution on a single core issue of conflict.

  11. Maybe part of the reason for using the News Letter was to 'plant seeds' in the loyalist community to get them to ask the same questions...Kinda like helping them to kick start a debate within loyalism about the reason for using arms and look for alternatives...The people who spoke to the News Letter have been saying the same thing within republican circles for years..

    To build a broad working class socialist party that appeals to everyone then sooner or later you'll have to cross over to the PUL and 'steal' votes..Socialism doesn't just belong to Republicans or Loyalists but to everyone.

    All this call to dump arms etc... isn't going to happen. No matter how strong a case anyone makes. At least not for the next 20yrs..Demographics might play a part but asking todays PFR to dump their arms, they aren't going to listen. Personally I think the whole thing will kick off again. Sandy Boyer was right (IMO) a few weeks back when he likened todays sporadic campaign to that of the 40s, 50's & 60's.....A lot of political talk and every now and then a few operations. And the IRA then didn't care what people thought, same as todays PFR-ism...

  12. Frankie,
    Thank you for replying. I have stated my personal opposition to the method used, I would continue to hold that opposition I appreciate Seán Bres’ observation that it led to a debate and a much needed debate at that and although I do not believe they would if the articles have stirred any consciousness in the PUL community then that would be positive.
    Votes mean nothing to me the building of Socialism and mass struggle must be totally outside the demands for establishment acceptance or the Provisional sickness that electoralism equals a strategy, it doesn’t. We learned the hard way what it does.
    The Campaigns of the 40s, 50’s 60,s and up until now have one thing in common, all of them failed. Is anything better than nothing or is their a revolutionary duty to build only for victory?

  13. Antaine,

    many good points here. Thanks for using TPQ to get your argument out there.


    the criticism of 'using' the News Letter is for the most part a smoke screen. The same was said about the BBC by the Provos. Guardian and Observer commentary met with the same response. Even when the Irish News was the site of comment on one occasion the Provos picketed our houses.

    Nor was it a conscious or coordinated attempt to use the NL. There was a series of republican attacks and the NL contacted Richard and then others including myself.

    I can think of no good reason not to respond to the News Letter. I can think of a substantive reason - sectarianism - but it is hardly a good one.

    Had the Irish News asked the response from each of us who spoke to the News Letter would presumably have been no different. I can't see why it would have been. But then the criticism would have followed from some quarters that the Irish News was the anti-republican press etc.

    In my view, there is a widespread republican unease about discussion and critique, with the gravitational pull being towards getting discussion into some cul de sac where it can be safely strangled.

    I am surprised at how the discussion did kick off as there was no general plan. Nothing has been said that was not said in 2000. It was the unanticipated outcome of the freedom to comment.

  14. The way I see it the boys have injected a much-needed dynamic into the debate that might not otherwise have come to pass and the onus is on all of us to take advantage of it. I recognise the point about using the Unionist media to an extent but in terms of the bigger picture I think the end justifies the means and there's an opportunity now to be grasped and to move the discussion on.

    We can't for one second underestimate the extent of our strategic defeat, republicanism has never been in as bad a condition in the best part of a century. Not even the disastrous state of the movement after the failed 'Operation Harvest' campaign can be held up as an example of a lower point in our struggle. And the principle reason for this is we now have republicans administering British rule in Ireland and unfortunately for us, whether we choose to recognise it or not, more people than ever before in our history are comfortable with these arrangements. Britain has boxed clever, yielding minimal concessions that do not conflict with its strategic goals for Ireland but are still enough to satisfy a significant section of society, who in all fairness would rather anything than a return to the violent conflict of the recent past.

    That's reality and a reality we must be prepared to contend with if republicanism is to have a future. The time now should be to reflect and rebuild, to face up to uncomfortable truths while of course not allowing them to take away all hope. There's still hope for republicanism in Ireland but what's certain is it needs carefully nurtured - like a flickering flame near the point of being extinguished it needs protection until it grows strong enough to burn brightly once again. That's the business we need to be about and we can only hope that all we worked so hard to build up can one day come again - sorry if that all sounds a bit melodramatic!

  15. (contd.) From my perspective we need to offer an alternative way forward rather than simply sticking to a dogmatic interpretation of what constitutes republican resistance. There's a pressing need for a new narrative, based yes on the historical struggle of the republican movement and its integrity but one capable of challenging the wide-ranging counter-revolutionary apparatus that exists in the Ireland of the 21st century. In short we have to build a movement capable of addressing all the challenges that currently face us.

    Those who continue to pursue an armed strategy at this point and in the current circumstances as they exist at present need to question the strategic logic of what they're doing and whether it's of benefit to the republican position or not. No matter the historical lineage of the armed approach this gives no-one carte blanche to ignore how their actions might impact on the overall struggle, especially given the fragile state of republicanism at present. There's an onus on everyone to pause for thought and consider how we can genuinely get this project back up and running. If armed struggle hinders such efforts then it goes without saying it needs knocked on the head - you can't elevate a tactic to a principle, especially with the times that are in it. There's near-zero appetite for another long-war strategy and without legitimate reason to believe it might actually succeed in its objectives then under no circumstances should it be used, in fact we're morally obliged to refrain. There are other avenues of resistance open to republicans which should be exploited and exhausted to the full before we countenance a return to physical force.

    This is a position consistent with the Tone-Connolly analysis and if it were to be embraced it might actually succeed where the previous armed struggle failed. At the very least it might restore the republican narrative to a position of strength within our communities and dislodge the notion that Provisional Sinn Fein is the only show in town. Because being on the side of right is no longer good enough on its own, we can be right for all eternity and never see the realisation of the Republic. The long and the short of it for me is that what actually constitutes such resistance has as much to do with future strategic considerations as the debate on the use of armed struggle itself. There are many ways to skin a cat...

    Antaine when we discussed this ourselves, round this time last year or so, you mooted the idea of a republican congress which I say is a superb way of maybe getting like-minded heads together. But as I said at the time there probably needs to be a cessation of the armed struggle before it can become any kind of serious item on the political agenda because absent this there's little onus on the broad church of republicanism to engage in such a process - which is something all proponents of such a process are going to have to take into account. If it's going to come down to dogmatic determination to carry on for the sake of continuity but perhaps at the expense of the wider struggle then people are going to have to ask themselves some tough questions in the period ahead

  16. (contd.) Going back to something I touched on earlier we need to realise there's no shame in admitting to strategic defeat, not in the slightest. In fact to move forward with the collective confidence required probably necessitates such an admission, even if it's only an admission private to ourselves in such a republican congress or the like. It certainly wouldn't signal the defeat of the republican project but rather its rebirth. If you recall our discussion on local workshops as a forum for broadening out discussion I reckon there's a lot of merit in that type of approach and I'd see that as a far more significant development than simply elites from different strands coming together to debate, negotiate or whatever you want to call it on our behalf. We need to create a situation whereby the republican movement belongs to its people, with the people having a real determining stake in what it does. The more localised the approach the better - it could help return the republican struggle to republicans themselves rather than to a cabinet of decision-makers acting on their behalf. We see where that led last time round.

    There's still a lot to discuss and even this conversation of its own demonstrates that people like ourselves are not only willing to have the conversation but are actively seeking it out. Let's have some more of it, let's build the structures we need to advance it further and who knows where we might end up - even though we probably won't agree on everything. What's important is we at least have the conversation.

    Ultimately I say it's about the now and where we stand at this moment. There's bound to be a lot of common ground between those who dissociate from the Provisional leadership if we could only find a structure to accommodate the necessary debate and discussion that more and more are recognising needs to happen. We should be thankful that Tony provides us the opportunity to engage with the subject matter here on his blog, even if it's only a starting point. That I feel was also the purpose of the recent engagement with the Newsletter by the parties concerned, although as far as I'm aware in the case of Mackers himself they approached him for an opinion rather than the other way round and the engagement was minimal. I think it's important we bear that in mind before leveling the charge of using inappropriate channels, though of course Anthony's big enough and boul' enough to speak for himself - sorry for the intrusion Mackers!

    Regardless, let's go on from here and start having the conversation, building the conversation, building the alternative - because if we don't armed struggle will continue to thrive in the vacuum regardless of its strategic merit. If we don't provide an alternative than what else can we realistically expect? Let's build that alternative starting with throwing our combined efforts behind all those standing on an alternative republican ticket in the coming elections whether they belong to our own particular sect or not. The friendships and camaraderie forged in this way can only speed the process of forming and playing out the critical debate we all seem to recognise needs to happen

  17. But surely a socialist based political regrouping would also be futile. This is something I don’t like to dissent on because I know opinions are entrenched on this, but lets say you are successful and convince the majority of in the Northern entity that unlike everywhere else in the world socialism will work in Ireland. Would you entrust that amount of power to the state given the calibre of politicians you have had? But lets accept they will devolve the power back to the workers, and the South is unified too. You will have relinquished a lot of international corporations of their assets, so now you won’t only have to face the might of the British Empire, you will have the international community agitating for the new states failure.

  18. Antaine, thanks for taking the time to post your article. i thought it was well constructed and raised numerous good points. your article touched on what i think is a major problem within the whole of republicanism our inability to disagree without it tuning hate filled.
    We all have our opinion on physical force whether its productive or not and we are all entitled to them. i dont understand criticism of people speaking out on any forum. free speech should be a basic human right.
    I think there is an unhelpful attitude within republicanism that if we have a socialist agenda we have a moral agenda. Coming from the social-economic situation that most of us do socialism appeals to us, we have all been proud socialists at one point i think ,however the problem is that there is a global structure in place that controls all isms. The supposed paradox of the Rothschilds sponsoring Troksky and the soviets became no paradox at all when you witnessed the consolidation of power the soviets achieved. In the same way the monopolized the the west through central banking etc. I am digressing here but it is all intertwined the strategy has been the same from Machiavelli to Kitson and they have agents in all walk of life.

  19. Sean,

    as I said to you in our private correspondence this would make a great piece on its own. Pip's would also if expanded on. I think points don't always get the airing they should when they feature in the comments section rather than as stand alone pieces.

    On the question of the News Letter the 'intrusion' is fine but don't make it sound as if it was something we are not really responsible for!! We did freely choose to talk. I didn't pause for a second to weigh up whether it was a unionist paper or not. The unionists make up half the population in the North and have as much right to hear viewpoints as nationalists. I have spoken to unionists for years. No need to stop now or to change the tone to one of whispering so that the republicans who don't approve don't hear and have their sensibilities offended. Protecting opinions from offence is not one of my concerns.

    Minimal indeed, the conversation I had with the paper was, but had it been maximal I would have welcomed it. The paper made the approach but had we made the opening gambit it would have made no difference. It is the paper's right to tackle the issue and each republican's right to talk to the paper. Very importantly, from speaking to some of those after their comments appeared, they were very happy that the paper got their views out accurately and did not misrepresent them or take them out of context.

    I think the News Letter is to be applauded for taking an interest in elements of republican thinking. I would also like to see those who favour armed activity expressing their views through the paper.

    However, of more concern to me than the paper, is that the climate of censorhip that prevails means that people who do support armed campaigns do not have the opportunity to make the case even in terms of why they thinks as they do. They run the very real risk of being arrested and jailed. Look at Stephen Murney - and that was for something far less than supporting armed actions.

    People even risk jail over Facebook comments. It is a state strategy aimed at closing down debate and producing a discourse of sameness. It is much worse than the censorhip that prevailed during the actor's voice farce in the North.

  20. It is unlikely that any physical force republicans will end any campaign nor hand over any weapons to be put beyond use. There will always be irishmen/women who will take the military road as long as there is a brittish establishment running Irish affairs. Everyday irish people are reminded they are under the rule of a repressive occupier. In my opinion irish republicans have full justification in oposing the brits and reminding them at every opportunity, that we dont want them here.

    Your opinion and those of others from within republicanism should always be considered, especially because of the experiences you have all had.

    Wish all the contributors to the TPQ all the best for 2014. The same goes for all Republicans in jail the families of these men/women,and to the Irishmen and women still fighting. Thank you all.

  21. AM,
    Thank You for providing a platform for discussion and debate.
    Sean Bres,
    17 – 25 year olds are hard to convince or talk down. It is ironically very difficult to accept in youth that there is time to “do your do”. I remember being told at a meeting when I was 17 that it was a different struggle now and good heads were needed more so than strong arms. That Gun’s and glory were macho tools of ego…that now was the time to “win the peace” I felt sick then and I feel sick repeating it. Going to the media is good for debate, but how good is it for a youth who can be told, if he or she is being used “Ah don’t listen to them, sure what republicanism have they in them that they went to the Unionists to speak their say?” it makes it easy for those who refuse to listen, to refuse to listen.
    AM is correct, in saying disdain directed towards the media is created artificially to stifle debate I would say the knowledge of that should be used to counter it by those aware of this.
    I have no real influence but I know many who do will not mind supporting and assisting whatever strategies are put forward to further the cause of Irish Freedom providing they are not based on populist reformism or electoralism, and that each strategy is wedded to the empowerment of the people and those communities Catholic, Protestant, dissenter and a growing number of new communities, who are perpetually asked to pay the highest price for the establishment’s failures.
    There is no doubt the future of Republicanism is secure and that the occupation, when correctly defined can be removed. “Mol an oige agus tiocfaidh sí”. It is however easy to delude ourselves in false hope. I recall discussing “The IRA 1926-1936” by Brian Hanley round a dinner table in Gaol, I gave thanks that things weren’t as bad for us - a well known Republican POW and veteran, an extremely committed man, near spat his dinner out laughing that I could be so naïve and arrogant.
    I believe strongly in community realignment and Nation building. This year I seen Republicans engage in a lot of community activism, credible activism and the response was fantastic. There is the evidence of where to look to go forth.
    From what I understand on personal experience a ceasefire/dump arms order is impossible at the minute. No group has enough control or a proven presence to enforce one let alone expect others from the varied and many entities claiming to be on a military footing to follow. There is a pervasive ethos within militancy that anything is better than nothing and a collective of evil who use that romanticism to manipulate the vulnerable and pursue their own personal needs.
    If it can be sufficiently proven that the inevitable return to conflict is some time away and we have the time to build something that could prevent that return to conflict then of course all efforts will go in to building a cohesive strong credible alternative political movement.
    If it cannot be proven, and all we are faced with is the steady decline we have seen recently- and that descent is at the point of return and on in to conflict then the same job of work needs completed but in a very defensive and militant role and that would be the sad consequence of Stormont’s failure, in particular the failure of Nationalist Parties to advocate for resolutions on issues of conflict for over 15 years.
    Both scenarios demand a huge effort that I do not see around me as currently happening.

  22. DaithiD,
    Futility seems the name of the game. Partition is obviously futile and Stormont has totally failed all together. I have yet to see the Republican socialist approach build let alone fail yet I know it would address every single issue of conflict in this Nation. I would classify the Free State & British equal, along with the international corporations and agencies bolstering imperialism so as to seize our natural resources and view them as equal opponents in any struggle, view it a necessity to confront them. Revising the Republican position towards the Free state is an urgent requirement not least in the shadow of the militarization of the Free States foreign and defence policies

  23. If The new ONH hurry up with their
    ceasefire and dumping of weapons it should be nicely timed for next years local elections-they have / need to get the RNU into the news over some-thing

    Cant see New Co following-but who knows-

  24. Thanks Antaine, I much enjoyed your assessment it’s just my heart sinks a little when the “S” word gets mentioned with Republicanism. You would have to convince a great many people, against a (in my view) pragmatic aversion to anything socialist in a solution to partition. England is no longer setting the terms for world trade, so Connolly’s warning “England would still rule you…” seems a moot point. If socialism had no alternate narrative to the credit crisis (beyond pointing fingers), its fair to say that its ship has sailed? But I don’t believe the current armed campaign is futile, its keeping the flame alive until better conditions prevail. Look at what the ceasefires of ’75 did to the movement, an indefinite cessation would render it impossible to restart again. Too much knowledge and good will would leave the movement, and the subsequent media onslaught would convince us it was always criminal.In summary, just keeping it simple would be the basis for unity.

  25. MH..ime not saying there should be any sort of armed actions.But when the orangemen come back to burn bombay st will you be there.its happened in the 20s 40s 60s and its still happening today.your 70 mile from the barricades.[peace wallls.]lol.will sf defend these people.Or will the long haired ones hold the line till the brits arrive.

  26. DaithiD:

    Thank You Daithi, I appreciate how rhetoric and the grandiose revolutionary worded approach to problem solving can alienate the pragmatist and realist. I grew up in the Republican tradition on the border.

    Socialism was a laughable word used by opportunistic reformists in Belfast to win favour over traditionalists and make them look handy in wooly jumpers.

    When I moved to the city and experienced segregation, deprivation and its consequence it became quite real in daily survival but secondary to “fenianist republicanism”

    The imperialist occupation of Ireland is currently active in 32 Counties. It is being ingeniously concealed by a very confident British occupation of the North East.

    All efforts directed into the North East alone are missing a huge opportunity to redefine the struggle and mobilize a people. The militarization of Domestic policy in the 26 Counties is frightening but international events are heartening.

    Republicanism today is lacking many elements required for success namely international links, these are to be found in anti-imperialist struggles internationally.

    Fracking, shell to sea, austerity, etc are coming to the fore and being ignored for the pursuit of archaic fenianism.

    If the British Garrison withdrew tomorrow we would be in a sorry state of affairs as it is only a percentage of those holding us captive. A protracted people’s struggle sounds ludicrous, would will be and is laughed at but it is the reality of what is required for actual National Liberation. There was absolutely no credible socialist response to the Recession as no credible socialist entity or broad front yet exists and it is here the evidence of requiring exactly that is needed.
    Keeping the flame alive unnerves me. The right of the Irish Nation to sovereign independence can never be extinguished and there will never be a period in history where that right is not advocated but do we have the right to advocate a militant defence of this Nations rights while incurring death and prison unless assured of victory?

    If the armed campaigns are to continue so be it. I would not get bogged down in dissuading people from their chosen path. I feel an enormous sense of pride having served time with the Rocky Burn’s and the Madge McConvilles of our day, we had no 10,000 man/woman protests, no glory, most of us had no identity, no parties on being released, but I would ask if they genuinely believe the inevitable return to conflict has arrived then they consider it their duty to honour their commitment as an armed force and fight like one against an identifiable enemy. This would mean redefining the struggle entirely and operating at a completely different level than ever before.

  27. Billy brooks-

    Unless you missed the news this year Orangemen and loyalists did try to attack Catholic / Republican areas but unlike in the past this time the police did hold the lines-

    " your 70 miles from the barricades "

    Like you were 70 miles from the barricades during the Drumcree barricades / protests-but so what-
    some people and their own little areas think they are so big-

  28. Redefining the struggle and operating at a completely different level than before - sounds like the only way out of this mess

  29. Sean
    I don't think you would find too many to argue with your assessment.

    Get our prisoners out and start over!

    Great piece Antaine, it has given people a lot to think about.

  30. Would it not be a good idea if the republicans who have worked alongside each other in Belfast (anti internment league ,garc,no royal beacon on Mac gorts fort etc) to sit down and form some sort of Belfast republican congress??

  31. Treehugger,

    I have participated in discussions where that has been suggested and received most favourably by those who actually organized and pushed those success stories you listed.

    A number of people have discussed a congress styled initiative, or building community councils, there has been public talks, free cycle schemes etc the Republican alternative is becoming more involved in community issues and liaising with other bodies progressing and radicalising slowly.

    I would like a congress to implement cohesion based on "respect of the other" begin dealing with the urgent, a defence plan against reprisal raids, actual cohesive city wide Prisoner committee for transport and finance encouraging Prisoner defence and cohesion and in the summer schools for youth camps like the Zapatista's have, there is no limits to the success awaiting

  32. While I agree with you that supporting the prisoners and challenging political policing is urgently important, I believe the single most important issue for all republicans is a rebuilding strategy which would take a lot of people to be honest and in a lot of cases some people to bury the hatchet with other republicans. There is some great talent in all the group's and independents out there and if we could even sit down and have conversations on a way forward it would be a start.

  33. treehugger,

    Indeed the result of any true cohesion would be a completely new assessment of a redefined struggle. Utilize what is on-going to radicalize the participants and attract a new movement of people.

    A re-emergence of Revolutionary intent to replace post-defeat tokenism, I would like to see the urgent issues addressed and also used as platforms to nurture a realignment and building of coherent revolutionary strategy away from defeatist futility.

    You are 100% correct on the talent and commitment and in that is great confidence

  34. Antaine McDhomhnaill,

    “Indeed the result of any true cohesion would be a completely new assessment of a redefined struggle. Utilize what is on-going to radicalize the participants and attract a new movement of people.”

    This just reads of politeness basically indirectly admitting the failure not only of the present token symbolic armed struggle but also the failure of any solid political initiative.

    One noticeable problem with reinventing revolution from a far left perspective is the message(s) are delivered in a trickle that evaporates long before it reaches a stream which in turn guarantees it will never meet a river and ultimately the ocean.

    Isn’t the notion of youth camps a little grandiose and even more misleading as you mention Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional as an example yet fail to point out the polarity between the youth in the north and the youth of rural Chiapas where the very poor indigenous people are largely forgotten and if memory serves the leader is not indigenous?
    Meanwhile a little further north in Mexico the government even with the aid of the Americans can’t make a dent in the very filthy rich beyond compare drug cartels that eliminate any opposition with brutality likened to the Nazis.

    And if you believe these very powerful cartels who enjoy the capitalist life would not decimate the poor people of Chiapas if the Left wing Zapatistas dared bring their message beyond their own we corner of their country then think again.

    Your target audience seems to be the youth and for most of the younger ones the only revolution that matters is the Xbox mobile phone computer driven what the latest brand name gear is best to buy one.

    How do you plan on reversing the well established capitalist commercial driven society and convince the people to follow a leftist new or improved revolution?

    Although you speak eloquently of a new redefined movement aren’t you just isolating the already isolated by trying to inject fresh blood into largely proven failed leftist revolutions?

    If you wish to reach the youth then take your message to their arena that being the capitalist driven social media youth camps.

  35. Tain Bo,
    Thank you for replying, may I first apologise for not getting back to you on the other discussion I mean no disrespect cara and appreciate your time and effort.
    I think in this you have picked me up wrong. At no point have I ever advocated militancy. I accept the reality that it does and it will exist but that it does so always as the consequence of a militant occupation. Violence in Ireland is an English made thing. The first guns I ever seen were English ones at checkpoints going to school.
    I have never ignored the consequence of complete and utter defeat or would I shy away from the fact an entirely new movement is required for an entirely new world and enemy. What I was suggesting was that for those seeking a new movement we must first understand and engage what is present and then through fraternity hope to influence it. This has successfully occurred in other Nations and other struggles.
    No one genuinely committed to National Liberation will mind where the struggle is, in the trade unions, in the estates, on farms, or in battle fields it is the same struggle but first the struggle needs defined, what is it, and where is it.

    There is nothing grandiose about youth camps, the Gaeltacht is a youth camp I attended as a child for the Irish Language, Feile na n-óg and other Ceol work shops, why not a youth camp for literature and learning on socialism and empowerment philosophy or why not one that incorporates culture, sport and revolutionary teachings? There is nothing that cannot be achieved unless of course the defeat has taken your belief.
    I used the example of the little schools of revolution because they exist, and what exists already inspire a belief that similar methods could easily exist in Ireland for the Irish People for the benefit of the Irish Struggle, it is immature in thought to believe drawing international example is hoping to mimic or mime others, drawing influence from what succeeds elsewhere is healthy;

    My target audience is anyone who has a plan to move forward in the hope I can assist that plan, I do not mind what that plan is providing it is in support of the people, the promotion of their rights and the rights of the Irish Nation and advocated always for nothing short of success.
    Materialism, apathy, consumerism. Lethargy, political alienation, Normalization they exist as bulwarks against progress that is all they are, obstacles and there is no reason why they cannot be deconstructed, after all they were imposed.

    The reversal of “the well established capitalist commercial driven society and convincing the people to follow a leftist new or improved revolution” is dependent on leadership. Information, education and revolutionary growth and success.
    Lastly, Where ever poverty and depravation exists so does the evidence of capitalism’s failure, it exists among the exploited who are also those who suffer most under sectarianism and partition.
    The Free State is held together by other Nations, while England robs 700 million from the 6 County worker to pay other peoples debts. The Free State Government is a shambles and Stormont has effectively collapsed. Where has socialism or the left failed? It has yet to build but it will, and the message will not be defeat, or blaming the Irish for the violence and depravation imposed upon them by imperialists, nor will it be acceptance of an acceptable level of violence or the exploitation or isolation of a sinlge worker.
    Maybe the capitalist message could be brought to the streets of Dublin, or the ghost estates, the grave yards filling with suicide victims of recession, or to those who will suffer the failure of Haas, most, cannot see it making many friends though as Loyalist areas awash with crime and violence rise unguided and misled and Palace Barracks were evil reigns in secret to chain us calls the tune of tomorrow.

  36. Antaine McDhomhnaill,

    I appreciate the sentiment though no apology is needed as in my experience here it is easy to overlook or forget to reply as at times the articles and comments arrive fast.
    Also I believe on that last article it was being used as a platform to attack the messenger and disregarding the message which is not uncommon but does have the effect of denying open debate.

    I was by no means inferring you are an advocate of armed struggle and if it read that way then you have my apology on that score.

    Ultimately I would agree with the English being the manufacturer of wholesale violence pre-and post war as for the distribution of the violence that belongs in the 3 warring quarters.

    The major problem for militants in the post conflict arena being that the once very imposing and extremely threatening British military landscape was dismantled and something resembling a “normal” society has evolved which the vast majority of our citizens approve off which would be expected after the long drawn out conflict.
    With the exception of the MI5 building there is no real visible British presence by no means is this accidental but deliberate on behalf of the British war machine.

    Whilst our leaders were busy making peace British intelligence was quietly improving on its latest strategy to deal with any residual violence that might arise.
    They grew to understand us and the war being waged by the RM and learned some valuable lessons along the way.
    The sheer force approach has been binned for the near future as they don’t want to engage militants as that would almost guarantee new support.

    The new war is more unwinnable than the old war as they are now the invisible enemy or ghost army in far less number but far more effective.
    The psychological war is being won by the British with enhanced surveillance capabilities that are frequently updated and improved
    Hard intelligence basically arrives at their door and they decide how to counter from behind a computer.
    Naturally they cannot contain every perceived threat but to date have managed to contain and restrict militant activity with apparent ease to the point that would suggest they have a hand in some of the minor attacks or let them take place knowing in a few days the PSNI will pick up the usual or likely suspects.

    They have progressed in an extremely sophisticated manner and the militants have regressed to basically pipe bombs hoax bombs and the very rare pot shots.
    All with the defeating result of filling up the jails again.

    Even the PSNI approach is dictated by the psychological war were the RUC preferred bashing heads the PSNI prefer taking names and be seen as minimal in confrontation.
    I can understand the militant’s position but view it as symbolic as the phoenix will only rise again under the right conditions and circumstances.

    I am not opposed to socialist camps but under the present circumstances with militant republicanism such camps would be relabeled indoctrination camps.
    I am not so sure many a youth would be interested for some it could be possible but for the most I believe they enjoy the American and British influences.

    There is plenty of room for a political socialist party but the reality of that could be defined by an own goal in the republican family that being the feuds between PIRA and INLA.
    Not all nationalists/republicans lean towards the left.

    The other major obstacle being the PUL community although there are socialists within these communities the majority presence always leans to the right even if they suffer from the same class differences.
    Many people north and south usually conditioned or influenced by the Catholic church also tend to avoid anything thing that remotely points to the red menace.


  37. ...
    The only thing I know for sure is that anti-treaty republicans are against the wall and although militant republicanism attracts the few it also drives away the many not because they don’t believe in national sovereignty but more so they have their own struggles to believe in and one high priority is to not let their children grow into an unwinnable lost war.

    It is an uphill battle but losing intelligent minds to British jails only hinders any political initiative that anti-treaty republicans need.

    I can’t remember off the top of my head the name of the Nazi who was in charge of operation Kathleen and operation Green during the Second World War.

    In a nutshell he remarked something very interesting about the Irish saying something to the effect of “the Irish are great at dying for their cause but not so good at living for it.”

  38. Tain Bo

    I agree Normalization is embedded now in the National psyche and the effects of this are huge. Militants have assessed this as sufficient grounds for sporadic attacks which when criticized will be justified as smashing Normalization. The British have proven themselves susceptible to over reaction and violence recently and no doubt this is fueling a belief that they can be coaxed in to revealing the extent of their occupation.

    I agree the Occupation has boxed clever, my opinion of the process was that it was designed to humiliate, emasculate and then neutralize all resistance. 16 years doing overtly, perhaps a total of 35 or more when added to what went on behind the scenes and it has worked a treat for them.
    Defeatism is prevalent and it seems mostly among the militants, all of the actions seem those of people assured of defeat which is actually frightening and suggests the consequence of the British long war / containment strategy has had quite an impact on the militant mind. Not to discount the defeatism within the institutions Good Friday created, the slightest hint at a problem and it is advertised as in absolute tatters, but the 1st stage of any brain wash is crisis, so perhaps this is all part of it.

    The RUC approach against Republicans is violently disgusting and as bad as anything witnessed when it was my fathers generation getting it, so I do not agree they are playing a psychological war there have been escalating attacks on known Republicans and Ex POWs lately and although they are contained they are spreading.

    The Camps don’t necessarily have to be Socialist / Internationalist they don’t even have to be camps, They don’t have to be anything other than though provoking workshops, tables in a University campus on freshers week, a stall prior to a function or a march, inter county football tournaments with talks after, anything that draws people into developing an understanding of the positions of those around them, to think big and formulate real plans, accept reality, anything that smashes down this belief youth are too young to lead.
    The only way to achieve revolutionary success is for struggle to be built on revolutionary principles. In voicing those principles we remember, we are Irish not of another Nation and our experiences are different as is our struggle. We remember all philosophies seem to have been betrayed by human error and when you speak of Revolutionary philosophy someone will shout you down with the terrible betrayals of tyrants. We need to build past that.
    The Provisional campaign was the dust of petty reform and on to dust it did return. Maybe In the rush to relinquish any attachment to anything that could associate the Provos to their former self, they failed to materialize on their seizing of the NICRA movement and radicalize the politics of their membership and the obvious conclusion of the Provo campaign, physically and psychologically rested at British Rights for British Citizens.

  39. ......

    The PUL community are not the biggest bulwark against National Liberation any longer, not only is there a new 6 County class defining themselves as NI, but there are millions of 26 County Citizens hostile to unity or any form of Republican Socialism developing, the biggest bulwark against Irish Freedom is the Pro British Free State, its government, and the mentality of the people.

    I don’t like any violence, I oppose futility and I will not support any act, political or militant bereft of clear coherent strategy I will support nothing unless it is waged in the pursuit of absolute victory only. It would be nonsensical of me to discuss the possibility of effective cessation orders. Everyone I met in Prison went out after the so called cease fires, that’s the evidence. There will always be some act of violence being planned or employed against the violence of the British regime in Ireland and while this is a tragedy it is the reality. Building an ethos that rejects failure and futility is more realistic yet impossible without an analysis of society and a revolutionary means of confronting it.
    Gunther Shutz I believe his name was I seen it on a TG4 Documentary some years ago and that he said it in Mountjoy, I use the quote often, it is poignant for this debate

  40. Antaine, first let me thank you for answering every point put to you, I think this process, in addition to the proposals within the text, is of massive benefit. One potential contradiction with agitating on social issues, like welfare or housing is that it will ultimately prove counter revolutionary. Surely it is welfare is the opiate of the masses, and this is a key bulwark against any real shake up of the establishment. By extension, lets say you improve all you say you will approve and more, surely this removes any revolutionary urge within the community? Thus it would be a pyrrhic victory for your ideals.
    In general is this not the narrative of the every previous IRA campaign?
    The reason I think militant Republicanism is better placed than previously, is that every surge in activity going back to the 20’s was in relation to a State placing a boot in the face of the Irish people, thus the removal of the boot to restore the status quo (stopping the Tans looting and burning, not shooting protesting civilians, removal of institutional sectarianism, and I’m afraid restoration of prison ‘privileges’ are a handful of examples of this) became the victory, and did nothing to address the underlying issue of partition. I think the absence of anything as overtly hostile as before could result in a purer movement that will not be ‘boxed clever’, as you rightly point out. This is all on the theoretical side, on the practical side, there is more portable technology in smart phones than anything the Provisionals would of faced , certainly pre-94 ceasefire, these are hugely dual use items that could be exploited better.

  41. DaithiD,

    I would agree that total engagement in social issues risks immersing oneself in pursuits of prestige through achieving petty social reform, while a people well looked after have little cause to rebel.

    The thrust of a revolutionary movement in the community elsewhere has been to become the recognised government of the people through community councils. The satisfaction of the peoples needs is then linked by them to the advancement of revolutionary objectives.

    I still believe in and support the right of the Irish People to assert arms in pursuit of sovereign independence, and no Irish man or woman requires anyone's permission to do so, however, in militancy today there is a big throwback to a failed past. Those advocating militancy in the belief they can work, socialize, have a family life or even a home are sorely mistaken. Those engaging in militancy that is not based on clear and coherent revolutionary politics are wrong.

  42. Tain Bo,
    Hard intelligence basically arrives at their door and they decide how to counter from behind a computer.

    I'm in total agreement with you on IT front. PFR need to get to grips with it quicky. Learn how to encrypt files/HDD. As I said a few days back learn how to root your android device (Jailbreak your Iphone), turn off your GPS, learn how to network...use proxies to hide (mask/spoof) your IP addy....And sometimes go back to basics and use pen & paper (then burn the paper after)..As I said the other day...for example an ASU are planning an attack or other and they think the safe house is bugged with a listening up a word document..type the 'idea' on the document with out speaking and when all is done an dusted simply delete without saving leaving no trace...

    I don't think PFR is as infiltrated as they think, I'm convinced the British are simply using technology to track who ever they want (or who ever leaves themselves open to be tracked).

    Getting around all the CCTV is harder..but this facial recognition. Under 'your" mask do a Marlon Brandon and alter your outline by cotton wool, put things inside the mask to alter the outline of 'your face'...

    Sometimes the best answers are the simplest but people dismiss them for whatever reason..

    How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator? You simply open the door and put the giraffe in....

  43. Frankie,
    I also believe that PFR is not as infiltrated in today’s world the Brits have the advantage of very sophisticated technology which requires the same sophistication to use properly.
    It is the enemy within that makes British intelligence collecting easy as you stress simple counter methods to hide or mask electronic footprints.
    On that front it would be easy to assume that PFR are largely unaware and suffer greatly from a poor understanding of the technology they use.

    That being said the Brits are also no dummies and still use the street level to gain hard intelligence as they understand the low level is just as important as the easier high level information they obtain.

    Even if the groups developed a better understanding of how to use electronic gadgets to their advantage it wouldn’t take long for the Brits to twig on and counter them which would create a game of cat and mouse the Brits with endless resources will always have the upper hand.

    I don’t think they need to place as many infiltrators within these groups but without doubt they have some very secure sources within.

    It is just another good reason to call an end to the present round of fighting.
    As I said before you can’t fight an invisible army.

  44. Antaine McDhomhnaill,

    I understand your point about the cops enforcing harassment on certain republicans this being a tactic of the psychological war being waged wearing down nationalist resolve is high priority.
    As you are aware the acts range from petty harassment to detention.

    They have had more than 16 years to put a fresh coat of paint over almost everything and with the help of the media packaging it all off as an almost normal society.
    Derry being stripped of its former image as a revolutionary symbol now has the very deliberate fancy label of the city of culture.

    I think post conflict republicanism missed out and put the cart before the horse only to later notice that the cart had no wheels and the horse was old and near knackered.
    The opportunity to build a movement based along the NICRA & the Anti H Block & Armagh committee which would attract more support as the militant angle tends to reduce support and alienate a large section of non militant anti GFA people.

    I think you hit the nail on the head and lifted the lid on that old crypt there is no disguising there are many in the south who only accept republicans that hail from the center or right and worse the conservative.
    This is nothing new but you are right they view socialists almost as a plague to be avoided at all costs.
    Then we have that other myth that all Catholics in the north would welcome reunification when we have large numbers of the middleclass that would prefer staying under the union jack and to a lesser degree many working class also feel that way.
    Both the Brit and Free State governments are happy feeding the divisions and will continue doing so.
    It is up to anti treaty republicans to get their camp in order and rebuild from the ground up growing politically stronger and challenging the Status Quo from across the table is the only foreseeable way forward.