Much has been written recently about the need for a complete cessation of armed actions by militant Republicans. Former guerrilla fighters have spoken out on this site and other media and have done so sincerely rather than for political or personal gain. I agree with them.
The analysis of the authors is rooted in their experience of the PIRA and INLA campaigns and a great unease and remorse can be readily ascertained from their writings. Much suffering was inflicted and sustained for an overall loss from a Republican strategic perspective. I'm not interested in debating the moral legitimacy of Republican armed struggle: it's an emotional issue. The people of the six counties are products of environmental, emotional conditioning: many of us were subject to extreme emotional experience from an early age and some were affected more deeply than others.
Strategic legitimacy is another matter altogether. Strategic thinking has to be rational and unemotional and the rational, unemotional analysis of current armed militancy is that it has no strategic legitimacy.
I remember a terminally ill and tired looking Brian Keenan speaking at Cappagh in 2007 about how IRA Volunteers “did their best” and indeed they did. But not so those who led them. Those who presided over a culture of informers, misdirection and criminality willingly surrendered all the strategic collateral gained from the daring and sacrifices of the Volunteers who, along with their families, took all the risks.
Can we have any confidence that today is any different? The evidence would suggest otherwise. In fact it’s much worse, although all on a smaller scale. Patsy Gillespie strapped into a chair to drive a proxy bomb then – pipe bomb placed behind Derry bus driver’s seat now. Both scenarios have the stink of FRU-type false flaggery but the most recent incident indicates how much easier the social engineer’s task has become. The Brits no longer need to orchestrate atrocities to influence public opinion but they won't hesitate to if they feel the need to.
Continued armed militancy provides a fertile plain for Britain’s most malicious to do their worst. The successors of those who ran the MRF and FRU, armed and directed orange terror and orchestrated the Omagh bomb are enabled by the uncertainty surrounding what’s real and what’s orchestrated. It’s only a few years since we were told a Brit agent was responsible for firebombing toy shops in the run up to Xmas. What confidence can anyone have that any incident isn't the actions of agents provocateurs? Looking back there is no longer much certainty around the PIRA campaign because of the level of infiltration. It's no better now and will not get any better in the future.
In the climate of uncertainty any Republican who attains any public profile will be vilified and demonised by the media wing of the British corporate war machine. One only has to look at the weekly, lurid character assassinations and felon setting carried in the Scummy World. The propagandists pen badly written pieces equating any Republican of choice with the worst examples of spook manipulation and criminal infiltration. Public consciousness softened by spook media saturation becomes hardened to legitimate claims of injustice.
As such, continued armed activity is strategically counterproductive. Furthermore, social media and communications are used not only to monitor activists but also to monitor reactions to events and profile people. The Brit intelligence gathering machine has never had it so good. They barely even need touts as the tools of surveillance are carried around by a passive population.
At a time when Republicans could be using this same technology offensively and exploiting the myriad triggering and monitoring opportunities afforded by wifi, laser and infrared; the pipe bomb seems to be the pinnacle of their engineering. This might be due to the fact that pipe bombs are unlikely to be misused for mass atrocities as happened at Omagh. Or it could be that it's more about posturing and a pretense of armed resistance. Either way the pipe bomb is a symbol of pointlessness. Few would give much credence to a modern day Brian Keenan claiming that current armed militants have done "their best". This leads to questions about what exactly they are doing and what motivates them.
Obviously there are agents provocateurs furthering Brit propaganda and job security and there are those involved in criminality. The two most likely go hand in hand. It has long been British policy to promote criminality in Republican groups, and there can be no doubt that what happened in the past is continuing. The only way for genuine Republicanism to disassociate from the cancer of criminalisation is to cut off its host by calling a complete cessation.
Survival and evolution in nature are Darwinian processes. Organisms need a healthy relationship with reality and the ability to adapt and learn if they are to evolve and survive. Republicanism as a dynamic product of the human organism is no different. If we want Republicanism to ever become vibrant and relevant then a line needs to be drawn. The alternative is extinction in a few generations.